International Current Affairs

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  • Transgender recruits will be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, the Pentagon said 11 Dec, as President Donald Trump's ordered ban suffered more legal setbacks.
  • The new policy reflects the difficult hurdles the federal government would have to cross to enforce Trump's demand earlier this year to bar transgender individuals from the military.
  • Three federal courts have ruled against the ban, including one 11 Dec in Washington state.
  • In October, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly barred the Trump administration from proceeding with its plan to exclude transgender people from military service. Part of the effect of the ruling was that the military would be required to allow transgender people to enlist beginning Jan. 1.
  • The government had asked Kollar-Kotelly to put the Jan. 1 date on hold while they appealed her full ruling but she declined 11Dec, reaffirming the Jan. 1 start date. The Department of Justice is now asking a federal appeals court to intervene and put the Jan. 1 requirement on hold.

  • US President Donald Trump on 11 Dec signed a new space policy which directs NASA to send Americans to the Moon for the first time in decades, a step he said would subsequently lead them to a future Mars trip.
  • "The directive I'm signing on 12 dec will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery. It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use," Trump said at the White House.
  • The last time US astronauts visited the Moon was during the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 1970s. "This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars. And perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond," Trump said adding that this directive will ensure America's space program once again leads and inspires all of humanity.
  • Trump described his directive as a "giant step toward that inspiring future" and toward reclaiming America's proud destiny in space.
  • "Space has so much to do with so many other applications, including a military application. So we are the leader and we're going to stay the leader, and we're going to increase it many-fold," Trump said.
  • According to Vice President Mike Pence, the new space policy directive ensures that "America will lead in space once again." "To guide this new era of American space leadership, President Trump has relaunched the National Space Council," he said. "And at the Council's inaugural meeting in October, we unanimously approved a recommendation to instruct NASA to return American astronauts to the moon, and from there to lay a foundation for a mission to Mars," Pence said.

  • The leader of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the group that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, on 11Dec urged nuclear nations to adopt a UN treaty banning atomic weapons in order to prevent “the end of us”.
  • ICAN is a coalition of 468 grassroots non-governmental groups that campaigned for a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 nations in July. The treaty is not signed by and would not apply to any of the states that already have nuclear arms.
  • Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s Executive Director, urged them to sign the agreement. “The United States, choose freedom over fear. Russia, choose disarmament over destruction. Britain, choose the rule of law over oppression,” she added, before urging France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel to do the same.
  • Ms. Fihn delivered the lecture together with Setsuko Thurlow, 85, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing and now an ICAN campaigner, who recalled some of her memories of the attack.
  • The Nobel prizes in literature, physics, chemistry, medicine and economics were awarded later on 10 Dec at a separate ceremony in Stockholm.

  • As the world continued to react to Donald Trump's fiercely controversial decision to move the US embassy to Israel's Holy City, I received my most recent Prayergram post. It is, quite aptly, on the topic of the day: the "Jerusalem Prayer".
  • One passage reads: "God bless Donald J Trump! He understands the real principles behind success. It is not being good at what you do or understanding theory and practice. It is being on the right side of the blessing of God. Whoever blesses Israel shall be blessed: whoever curses Israel shall be cursed."
  • And, lest there be any misunderstanding: "If we bless Israel, regardless of its faults, lack of faith, both personally and organisationally, God bless us. While the world cries out, Donald J Trump who learned about the blessing on his mother's knee, masters the simple, plodding art of doing the right thing regardless of consequences."
  • Prayergram send their posts not just to the believers, but others, like journalists who have written negatively about the Christian right or Donald Trump. This is intended to show us the error of our ways and also, if possible, save our souls.
  • The "Jerusalem Prayer" was, the evangelists stress, of great importance, something that needed to be widely disseminated after Trump had announced that the US embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

  • Saudi Arabia said on 11Dec that public cinemas would be allowed in the conservative kingdom and the first cinemas were likely to open early next year.
  • "As the industry regulator, the general commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom," Minister of Culture and Information Awwad bin Saleh Alawwad said in a statement.
  • "We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018."

  • Iraq has been completely liberated from the ISIS, the Iraqi armed forces claimed in a statement.
  • Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the end of the war in Iraq against ISIS, claiming his forces have regained full control of the border with Syria.
  • The news came as the Iraqi army released a statement declaring the country totally liberated from the militant group.

  • Sri Lanka on 9 Dec formally handed over the southern sea port of Hambantota to China on a 99-year lease.
  • Two Chinese firms, namely Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) and Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS) managed by the China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPort) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority will own the port and the investment zone around it, officials said.
  • Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during a visit to China in April had agreed to swap equity in Chinese infrastructure projects launched by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in his home district.
  • Former Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka, last year had said that the island country owed China $8 billion.
  • "With this agreement we have started to pay back the loans. Hambantota will be converted to a major port in the Indian Ocean," Wickremesinghe said while addressing the handing over ceremony held in parliament.
  • "There will be an economic zone and industrialisation in the area which will lead to economic development and promote tourism," the prime minister said.

  • Researchers from California Institute of Technology in the US developed an inexpensive method by which DNA origami self-assembles into large arrays with entirely customisable patterns, creating a sort of canvas that can display any image.
  • While DNA is perhaps best known for encoding the genetic information of living things, the molecule is also an excellent chemical building block. A single-stranded DNA molecule is composed of smaller molecules called nucleotides - abbreviated A, T, C and G - arranged in a string, or sequence.
  • The nucleotides in a single-stranded DNA molecule can bond with those of another single strand to form double- stranded DNA, but the nucleotides bind only in very specific ways: an A nucleotide with a T or a C nucleotide with a G. These strict base-pairing "rules" make it possible to design DNA origami.
  • A large DNA canvas is assembled out of many smaller square origami tiles, like putting together a puzzle. Molecules can be selectively attached to the staples in order to create a raised pattern that can be seen using atomic force microscopy.
  • Researchers developed software that can take an image such as the Mona Lisa, divide it up into small square sections, and determine the DNA sequences needed to make up those squares. They then got those sections to self-assemble into a superstructure that recreates the Mona Lisa.

  • Task management app Dunzo has raised $12.3 million in an investment round led by Google.
  • Existing investors Aspada Advisors and Blume Ventures, who had previously put in $2 million, also invested in the second funding round for the Bengaluru-based company.
  • Started in 2015 by Kabeer Biswas, Mukund Jha, Ankur Aggarwal, and Dalvir Suri, Dunzo lets users run errands of all kinds, from ordering food to picking up keys to doing deliveries through its mobile app. It is currently operating only in Bengaluru. The round was led by the Next Billion Users unit of Google last week.
  • Sahil Kini, prinicipal at Aspada Investments said in a LinkedIn post that the company will be next expanding to Pune and said the funding slowdown of 2016 had affected the fund raising process for the company.
  • "We couldn't have asked for a more capable and wonderful coinvestor on this journey and are confident that they will be the rocket-fuel that Dunzo has rightfully earned," he said.

  • India's global initiative International Solar Alliance (ISA), becomes a treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation.
  • With Australia ratifying the treaty it has got the status of inter-governmental organisation. It aims to increase solar energy deployment in member countries.
  • In terms of its Framework Agreement, with ratification by Guinea as the 15th country on 6th November 2017, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization on 6 dec.
  • The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the president of France on 30 November 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN climate conference.
  • It aims at addressing obstacles to deployment at a scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
  • Till date, 46 countries have signed and 19 countries have ratified the framework agreement of the ISA. The ISA interim secretariat has been operational as a de-facto organization since 25 January 2016.

  • The Palestinians and the Israelis have contrasting reactions to the possible move by the united states to recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. While the Palestinians are seething with rage and a sense of betrayal, Israelis have welcomed the move.
  • Later tonight, Trump is expected to announce that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, breaking with longtime U.S. policy and potentially stirring unrest.
  • Even the Us's allies in the middle east such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan along with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation..which represents 57 Muslim-majority countries..have dissuaded Trump from making the announcement later tonight..
  • Jerusalem - specifically, its eastern Old City, home to major Jewish, Muslim and Christian shrines- is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the wider Arab and Muslim world's views on Israel.

  • The US Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.
  • The justices, with two dissenting votes, said early 5 dec. morning (IST) that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts. The action suggests the high court could uphold the latest version of the ban that Trump announced in September.
  • The ban applies to travellers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a "bona fide" relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.
  • Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have left the lower court orders in place
  • The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.
  • Both courts are dealing with the issue on an accelerated basis, and the Supreme Court noted it expects those courts to reach decisions "with appropriate dispatch."
  • Quick resolution by appellate courts would allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the issue this term, by the end of June.

  • Three bodies and a dilapidated wooden boat believed to have come from North Korea washed ashore in northern Japan on Monday, coast guard officials said.
  • The coast guard said a Japanese fishing boat picked up a male body floating off the coast of Sakata in Yamagata prefecture and two more bodies washed up on a nearby beach an hour and half later. The bodies were decomposed, but one of them had a lapel pin thought to be North Korean.
  • Officials are investigating if the bodies were from a boat that washed ashore 2 Dec.
  • Winds and water currents push dozens of boats onto Japan's northern coasts annually. Rickety North Korean fishing boats are particularly vulnerable because they lack the sturdiness and equipment to return home.But the alarming pace over the past few weeks has prompted Japanese authorities to step up patrols.
  • Twenty-eight of the vessels dubbed ``ghost boats'' were detected in November, up from just four in November last year. Usually, only the boats or fragments wash ashore. It is very rare for survivors to be rescued and brought ashore by the Japanese.
  • The increase may be related to a campaign led by Kim Jong Un to boost fish harvests as a means of increasing sources of protein for the nation, which continues to fall short of food self-sufficiency and remains vulnerable to health problems caused by the lack of a varied, balanced diet.
  • In order to reach their quotas, the North Korean fishermen may be taking more risks and venturing farther from their usual waters.

  • The first phase of the strategically located Chabahar port was inaugurated on 3 Dec. by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. India, Iran and Afghanistan reiterated their commitment to the early operationalization of the port that will contribute to bilateral and regional trade and economic development, apart from providing land-locked Afghanistan an alternative access to regional and global markets.
  • Minister of state (shipping) Pon Radhakrishnan represented India at the inauguration of phase one of what is known as the Shahid Beheshti port at Chabahar.
  • He also represented India in the second edition of the India-Iran-Afghanistan ministerial-level meeting on Chabahar port development.
  • The Chabahar project, located on the Gulf of Oman, only 85km from China's Gwadar port in Pakistan, is important for India as it will allow it to bypass Pakistan in accessing Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • The MEA said the three countries agreed to further intensify efforts on issues concerning regional connectivity and Chabahar port development under the trilateral transit and trade agreement at the meeting.
  • The agreement is yet to be ratified by Iran but India expressed "positive appreciation" to the Iranian side on recent steps taken towards ratification by Iran's Majlis, its parliament.
  • "The completion of the internal procedures on the ratification process by Iran is expected to lead to full and early operationalisation of the transit and trade arrangement between the three countries through the Chabahar port," a government statement said.

  • The world's oldest complete Latin Bible in existence is set to return to the UK after over 1,300 years for display in an exhibition by the British Library next year.
  • The one-foot thick Codex Amiatinus, one of the three great single-volume Bibles that was made at the monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow, is returning to England for the first time in 1300 years, after it was taken to Italy as a gift for the Pope in 716, the British Library said.
  • "It is now held in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence which is generously loaning the manuscript next year," the library said in a blog post on November 30.
  • The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition will be open at the British Library from October 19, 2018 to February 19, 2019.
  • The Bible will be on show with the St Cuthbert Gospel, the earliest intact European book, which was also made at Wearmouth-Jarrow and was acquired by the British Library in 2012.
  • "The two books are very different while the St Cuthbert Gospel, which contains only the Gospel of John, can be held in one hand, the spine of Codex Amiatinus, containing the whole Bible, is nearly a foot thick.
  • "These two books will be exhibited alongside the Lindisfarne Gospels, one of Britain's greatest artistic treasures, and other illuminated manuscripts of international significance made in the late 7th and 8th centuries," it said.
  • Ranging from the 5th to the 11th centuries, the exhibition will explore this "long, dynamic period" when the English language was used and written down for the first time and a kingdom of England was first created.
  • The library said a key theme in the exhibition will be the development of the English language and the emergence of English literature.

  • Francis on 29 Nov used the word "Rohingya" for the first time during his tour to Asia to refer to refugees who have fled in large numbers from violence in Myanmar.
  • "The presence of God today is also called Rohingya," he said in an improvised remark after meeting 16 refugees brought to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka from their camps in Cox's Bazar near the border with Myanmar.
  • "In the name of all of those who have persecuted you, hurt you, I ask forgiveness. I appeal to your large hearts to give us the forgiveness that we are asking," Francis added.
  • The pope looked sombre as each member of the group, which included 12 men and four women, including two young girls, told him their stories through interpreters at the end of the gathering.
  • On the first leg of his current trip, in Myanmar, he did not use the word Rohingya to describe the refugees. The term "Rohingya" is disputed by the Yangon government and military.

  • Republicans pushed a nearly $1.5 trillion tax bill through the Senate on 2 Dec after a burst of eleventh-hour horse trading, as a party starved all year for a major legislative triumph took a giant step toward giving President Donald Trump one of his top priorities by Christmas.
  • Presiding over the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence announced the 51-49 vote to applause from Republicans. Senator Bob Corker, was the only lawmaker to cross party lines, joining the Democrats in opposition.
  • The measure focuses its tax reductions on businesses and higher-earning individuals, gives more modest breaks to others and offers the boldest rewrite of the nation's tax system since 1986.
  • "Big bills are rarely popular. You remember how unpopular 'Obamacare' was when it passed?" Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said in an interview, shrugging off polls showing scant public enthusiasm for the measure. He said the legislation would prove to be "just what the country needs to get growing again."
  • Republicans touted the package as one that would benefit people of all incomes and ignite the economy. Even an official projection of a $1 trillion, 10-year flood of deeper budget deficits couldn't dissuade GOP senators from rallying behind the bill.
  • "Obviously I'm kind of a dinosaur on the fiscal issues," said Corker, who battled to keep the bill from worsening the government's accumulated $20 trillion in IOUs.
  • The Republican-led House approved a similar bill last month in what has been a stunningly swift trip through Congress for complex legislation that impacts the breadth of American society. The two chambers will now try crafting a final compromise to send Trump.
  • After spending the year's first nine months futilely trying to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, GOP leaders were determined to move the measure rapidly before opposition Democrats and lobbying groups could blow it up. The party views passage as crucial to retaining its House and Senate majorities in next year's elections.

  • India has been re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation under a category that represents nations with the largest interests in international sea borne trade.
  • India was re-elected to the body under Category B at an assembly of the organisation at its headquarters here on 1 Dec.
  • Indian High Commissioner to the UK Y K Sinha represented India at the assembly where India secured the second-highest number of votes (144) from member-countries, just after Germany's 146 and ahead of Australia's 143.
  • The other countries to make the cut included France (140), Canada (138), Spain (137), Brazil (131), Sweden (129), The Netherlands (124) and the UAE (115).
  • "India is hereby putting forward its candidature for a re-election to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in Category B, representing the developing countries and those with the largest interests in international sea borne trade," Union Shipping and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had said in his address to the IMO in London earlier this week.

  • Preet Didbal has been elected as the mayor of Yuba city in California, becoming the first Sikh woman to hold the position in the US.
  • Dibal was appointed by the California city council and will be sworn in on December 5, KCRA-TV reported. There are other Sikh mayors across the country Ravi Bhalla was elected earlier this month as mayor in Hoboken, New Jersey.
  • However, Didbal is the first Sikh woman to be elected as mayor in the country, the report said. Didbal was elected to Yuba city council in 2014 and is currently vice-mayor. She is the first in her family to graduate from college.
  • "Seeing someone that looks like you, that comes from the same faith as you, to be elected in a public office in this country is inspiring and exciting," Jaydeep Singh with the Sikh Coalition said. "When Ravi Bhalla was elected in New Jersey, that was the first time I saw someone who looked like me, who was in a public office in the United States of America," he said.
  • The Sutter-Yuba region is home to one of the largest Sikh communities in the US.

  • The great game in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), where both India and China are jostling for the same strategic space, is unfolding at a rapid clip.
  • Around the time a Chinese nuclear submarine is expected to cross over into the IOR early next year, in keeping with past deployments, India would be kicking off major military exercises to project power and hone combat capabilities on the high seas.
  • Concurrently, India is also fast-tracking plans to eventually induct six nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs), four nuclear-powered submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBNs) and 18 diesel-electric submarines.
  • At present, the Navy has only 13 old conventional submarines, one indigenous SSBN in INS Arihant, which was commissioned last year, and a SSN in INS Chakra leased from Russia, which does not have nuclear-tipped missiles due to international treaties.
  • But INS Aridhaman, the second of four indigenous SSBNs being constructed at Vishakhapatnam for over Rs 90,000 crore, is slated for induction next year. Moreover, India has also launched the over Rs 60,000-crore plan to construct six indigenous SSNs, which was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in early-2015, as was first reported by TOI.
  • "It (the SSN project) has kicked off. It is a classified project. The process has started. I will leave it at that," said Admiral Sunil Lanba on Friday, speaking ahead of the Navy Day on December 4.
  • The Navy chief was more forthcoming on the new operational plans and stepped-up presence in the IOR, even as the Modi government has signalled its intent to join the revived quadrilateral with US, Japan and Australia. The Quad's aim to ensure "a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region" will be an effective counter to China's expansionist and unilateralist behaviour as well as its Belt and Road Initiative.

  • With its indoor swimming pool, sun-splashed patios and liveried staff, the Saudi complex has the trappings of a five-star resort, but it is actually a rehab centre for violent jihadists.
  • Riyadh's Mohammed bin Nayef Counselling and Care Centre, a cushy halfway house between prison and freedom, spotlights a controversial Saudi strategy for tackling homegrown extremists .
  • While the global fight against terrorism is often associated with drone strikes and torture, the philosophy that underpins the centre's approach is that extremism requires not coercion but an ideological cure.
  • Overseen by clerics and psychologists, it works to prevent convicts who have served their sentences from returning to jihad, through what it calls religious counselling and ideological detoxification.
  • "Our focus is on correcting their thoughts, their misconceptions, their deviation from Islam," Yahya Abu Maghayed, a director at the centre, said while giving AFP a golf cart tour of the sprawling, palm tree-lined complex.
  • The convicts are housed in a series of low-slung buildings, outfitted with large-screen televisions and king-size beds, all framed by manicured lawns.
  • Many linked to groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban walk around freely in flowing white robes, and have access to a spacious gym, a banquet hall and furnished apartments reserved for visits from spouses.
  • "We make the 'beneficiaries' feel they are normal people and still have a chance a chance to return to society," Abu Maghayed said, insisting the centre refrained from calling them prisoners or inmates.

  • The United States sold military hardware and equipment worth over USD 38 billion this year, the Pentagon said on 30 Nov.
  • While a country-wise breakup was not available, according to a State Department official, the sale of military equipment was the maximum in Central Asia and Near East region, which amounted to $22 billion.
  • This was followed by the Indo-Pacific ($7.96 billion), Europe ($7.3 billion), Western Hemisphere ($641.6 million) and Africa (USD 248.6 million).
  • Riding high on the figures, the Defence Security and Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the sales demonstrated a strong demand for US products and services, particularly through foreign military sales (FMS).
  • "This positive sales trend isn't surprising as the United States is the global provider of choice for Security Cooperation," said LTG Charles W Hooper, who became the DSCA Director in August.
  • "We deliver not only the most effective defence systems to our partners, but we also ensure a "Total Package" approach that includes the provision of training, maintenance, and sustainment, to support full spectrum capability for our partners," he said.
  • FMS is a security assistance program authorised by the Arms Export Control Act under the direction of the secretary of state.

  • Senior Saudi Arabian Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, has been freed after agreeing to pay over $1 billion to settle corruption allegations against him, a Saudi official said on 29 Nov.
  • Miteb, 65, son of the late King Abdullah and former head of the elite National Guard, was among dozens of royal family members, high officials and senior businessmen rounded up this month in a crackdown on graft that has strengthened the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • The official, who is involved in the crackdown and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Miteb wasreleased on 28 Nov after reaching "an acceptable settlement agreement".
  • The official said he believed the agreed sum to be the equivalent of over $1 billion. "It is understood that the settlement included admitting corruption involving known cases," the official said, without giving details.
  • According to the official, Prince Miteb was accused of embezzlement, hiring ghost employees and awarding contracts to his own firms, including a deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear. Prince Miteb is the first senior figure known to be released among identities.

  • After 2 months of relative peace, North Korea launched its most powerful weapon yet early 29 Nov, a presumed intercontinental ballistic missile that could put Washington and the entire eastern US seaboard within range.
  • Resuming its torrid testing pace in pursuit of its goal of a viable arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the US mainland had been widely expected, but the apparent power and suddenness of the new test still jolted the Korean Peninsula and Washington.
  • The launch at 3:17am. local time and midday in the US capital indicated an effort to perfect the element of surprise and to obtain maximum attention in the United States.
  • The firing is a clear message of defiance aimed at the Trump administration, which had just restored the North to a US list of terror sponsor . It also ruins nascent diplomatic efforts, raises fears of war or a pre-emptive US strike and casts a deeper shadow over the security of the Winter Olympics early next year in South Korea.
  • A rattled Seoul responded by almost immediately launching three of its own missiles in a show of force. The South's president, Moon Jae-in, expressed worry that North Korea's growing missile threat could force the United States to attack the North before it masters a nuclear-tipped long-range missile, something experts say may be imminent.

  • Former military dictator of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf said this week that he is banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba's (LeT) "biggest supporter" and that he's aware they "like" him too.
  • When asked by Pakistan's AryTV if he's similarly appreciative of LeT's founder and mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed, Musharraf nodded, saying Saeed "is involved in Kashmir" and he "supports" that involvement.
  • Saeed, a United Nations-designated terrorist was freed from house arrest last week on an order from the Lahore high court. Musharraf, meanwhile, was declared a fugitive from justice by Pakistan in August this year.
  • "I am the biggest supporter of LeT and I know they like me and JuD (Jamaat-ud-Dawa) also likes me," said Musharraf, referring to both groups founded by Saeed. JuD is the LeT's 'charitable' wing.
  • The US has also branded Saeed a terrorist and put a $10 million bounty on Saeed's head after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Musharraf claimed Saeed was not involved in the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 because Saeed "himself denied the charges" of being the attacks' mastermind.
  • The LeT is banned in Pakistan since 2002 and it was, in fact, the Musharraf government that banned the group. When reminded of that fact, Musharraf said he didn't know much about Saeed at the time. He implied that he wouldn't have banned LeT if he had known more about Saeed.

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