What Saudi purge and Prince Salman’s game of thrones means for West Asia politics

The purge of the princes, unprecedented in recent Saudi politics, is clearly aimed as clearing the way for Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ascend the throne

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Saturday, November 4, was an extraordinary day: it witnessed three developments which, taken together, suggest a major escalation in the armed conflict in West Asia is in the offing, even as the region is already groaning under the violence of bloody wars in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, in which half a million people have been killed and several million have been displaced.

Saudi Arabia is at the heart of all these developments. First, in a dramatic coup within the royal family, engineered by Prince Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 11 princes have been detained, along with four sitting ministers and several former ministers and officials.

Three developments

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the commander of the National Guard, the country’s powerful domestic security force, has been summarily dismissed, so that force has now also come under the control of the crown prince. The instrument used to effect these changes is the anti-corruption committee set up by the king on Saturday, with the crown prince as its chairman.

The second development was the sudden announcement in Riyadh by the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, that he was resigning. Hariri had taken charge only in December 2016 after entering into a power-sharing agreement with President Michel Aoun. In his public remarks, Hariri said that Iran had planted “disorder and destruction” in his country and had made Hezbollah a “state within a state” in Lebanon…..READ MORE

 

Panama Papers scribe killed in Malta car bomb

Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats

Daphne Caruana Galizia

Today’s paper : A journalist who led the Panama Papers probe into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her residence, the media reported.

Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device, reports the Guardian.

A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the American news outlet Politico as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

Her latest revelations accused Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack, the Guardian reported.

Malta’s President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm. “In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgement and to show solidarity.”

In a statement, Muscat condemned the “barbaric attack”.

“Everyone knows Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine,” said Muscat, adding “Both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way.”

He announced in parliament later on Monday that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers were on their way to Malta to assist with the investigation, following his request for help from the US government.  | Click here to know more about panama papers

 

Indian-origin teenager Akshay Ruparelia becomes UK’s youngest millionaire

Ruparelia claims to have already sold 100 million pounds worth of properties since he set up his business

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Today’s Paper : An Indian-origin teenager has become one of Britain’s youngest millionaires after his online estate agency business got valued at 12 million pounds in just over a year.

Akshay Ruparelia, at just 19 years of age, juggled his school work with negotiating property deals for his no-frills business that offers to sell properties for a fraction of the cost charged by established high street estate agents.

This week “doorsteps.co.uk” became the 18th biggest estate agency in the UK just 16 months after the website went live.

Ruparelia claims to have already sold 100 million pounds worth of properties since he set up his business.

“I got the website up and running and after a couple of weeks a man in Sussex asked me to sell his home and a separate chunk of land he owned beside it.

“I had to pay my sister’s boyfriend 40 pounds to drive me to Sussex to take photographs of the house, as I hadn’t passed my driving test and didn’t have a car,” he recalls.

The north London-based schoolboy was able to sell the property and land within three weeks, which set the ball rolling.

He started his company with 7,000 pounds, borrowed from relatives and now employs 12 people. | Click here to know more about Akshay Ruparelia

UK attack: 19 dead after explosion at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

The blasts reportedly went off at the end of the concert near the box office area of the venue

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At least 19 people have been killed and 50 injured in an explosion which is treated as a “terrorist incident”, at a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in the Manchester city in the UK Attack , police said today.

“Police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. So far 19 people have been confirmed dead with around 50 others injured,” Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” the statement said.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud “bang” from inside the venue, which was playing host to a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande. Video footage from the scene showed bloodied victims being helped by emergency services.

Also Read : Manchester blast: Singer Ariana Grande tweets she is ‘broken’ and sorry

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Grande is safe, her spokesperson said.

“It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us,” an eyewitness said.

The blasts reportedly went off at the end of the concert near the box office area of the venue. readmore……..

Watch: Aftermath of blast at Ariana Grande’s UK concert

At least 19 people have been killed and 50 injured in an explosion at a pop concert by US star Ariana Grande in the Manchester city in the UK, police said on Tuesday. The explosion is being treated as a “terrorist incident”.

“Police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. So far, 19 people have been confirmed dead with around 50 others injured,” Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

“This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise,” the statement added. Click Here

Full text: Govt using CBI to target my son, alleges Chidambaram post raids

Chidambaram alleged that the Modi govt was trying to muzzle his voice

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Former Union minister P Chidambaram said that Tuesday’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids at his and his son, Karti Chidambaram’s, residences were an attempt by the Modi government to muzzle his voice.

While no official word has come from the CBI, sources have said that the raids were conducted in connection with the Aircel-Maxis probe, where Chidambaram’s role as then finance minister in granting Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) approval to the deal has been called into question. Recently, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also searched Chidambaram’s house.

In his official statement regarding the Tuesday morning raids, Chidambaram said that the Modi government was using the CBI and other agencies to target his son. The Congress leader alleged that the government was trying to silence his voice and stop him from writing against its policies and actions.

“FIPB approval is granted in hundreds of cases,” the statement said, adding, “Every case was processed according to law and approval was granted or refused in accordance with the recommendations of the FIPB consisting of five secretaries to the Government of India.”

 

Below is the full text of his official statement:
FIPB approval is granted in hundreds of cases. The five Secretaries who constitute the FIPB, the officials of the FIPB Secretariat and the competent authority in each case are the public officials. There is no allegation against any of them. There is no allegation against me.

Every case was processed according to law and approval was granted or refused in accordance with the recommendations of the FIBP consisting of five Secretaries to the Government of India.

The government, using the CBI and other agencies, is targeting my son and his friends. The government’s aim is to silence my voice and stop me from writing, as it has tried to do in the cases of leaders of Opposition parties, journalists, columnists, NGOs and civil society organizations. All I will say is, I shall continue to speak and write. |READMORE…

ALSO READ : CBI Raids Congress Leader P Chidambaram’s House In Chennai

ALSO READ : Aircel-Maxis Deal: Govt Trying To Silence Me, Says Chidambaram On CBI Raid

ALSO READ :  I-T raids in benami land deals worth Rs 1,000 crore linked to Lalu Prasad

 

Getting an H1-B visa to get harder as US announces new anti-fraud measures

USCIS has said that US companies are shirking their responsibility to hire local workers

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The US on Monday announced multiple measures to “deter and detect” what it described as “fraud and abuse” of H-1B work visas, the most sought after by Indian IT firms and professionals.

The announcement by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) comes on a day on which the federal agency started accepting applications for H-1B visas for the financial year beginning October 1, 2017.

The USCIS announcement indicated that the US government is going to be tough and stringent in approval of H-1B visas this year.

The USCIS has a Congressional mandate to issue 65,000 H-1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for those applicants having higher education – masters and above — from US universities in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Asserting that its multiple measures announced on Monday will further “deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse”, the USCIS said the H-1B visa programme should help US companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country.

“Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programmes is a priority for the USCIS,” a statement said.

The USCIS also announced the launch of a email helpline against abuse and fraud of H-1B visas. The USCIS will now onwards take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the work sites of H-1B employees.

The USCIS will focus on cases where it cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to US workers, as defined by statute); and employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organisation’s location. (readmore…)