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India, Pakistan in ICJ for Kulbhushan case

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THE HAGUE: India will ask the UN’s top court Monday to order Pakistan to take an alleged Indian spy off death row, in a case that could stoke fresh tensions after a deadly attack in Kashmir.

Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was arrested in Balochistan in March 2016 on charges of espionage and sentenced to death by a military court.

The International Court of Justice urgently ordered Pakistan in 2017 to stay the execution of Jadhav, pending hearings on the broader Indian case that take place this week in The Hague.

The rare foray into the international courts for the nuclear-armed rivals could be another flashpoint after Thursday’s suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 41 troops.

New Delhi’s lawyers will present their arguments on Monday to the court, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, followed by Pakistan’s on Tuesday.

Jadhav, a former Indian navy officer, was accused of working for the Indian intelligence services in the province bordering Afghanistan, where Islamabad has long accused India of backing separatist rebels.

After a closed trial he was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on April 10, 2017, on charges of “espionage, sabotage and terrorism”.

India insists Jadhav was not a spy, and that he was kidnapped in Pakistan. New Delhi in court documents is asking that the ICJ order Islamabad to annul the sentence.

It accused Islamabad of violating the Vienna Convention by failing to provide him with consular access, as well as breaking human rights law.

If Pakistan is unable to quash Jadhav’s death sentence, Islamabad should be found in violation of international law and treaties, and be told to “release the convicted Indian national forthwith”, India said.

USA

Record number of US black women graduating from West Point

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WASHINGTON: They pose proudly in uniform, swords in hand: 34 young black women are set to graduate from West Point on Saturday, a record for the prestigious US military academy.

It is not the only record for the class of 2019: of the 985 cadets who have completed their four-year training, 221 are women.

“The strength of our Army lies within the diversity of its people and @WestPoint_USMA continues to prepare our future leaders to lead the modern #Soldier,” the US Army said on its Twitter account.

“Nothing standard-wise has changed, it’s just a concerted effort to broaden the people applying,” said academy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Ophardt.

“Our last true integration was in 1980 when the first group of women graduated from the Academy. Since then, we had a diverse pool, but not what we wanted,” he said.

According to data released by West Point, the class of 2019 includes 110 African Americans (11 percent), 79 Asians or Pacific Islanders (eight percent), 88 Hispanics (nine percent) and seven Native Americans (0.7 percent).

One of the proud graduates-to-be, Tiffany Welch Baker, this week told the NBC’s Today show that she wanted to be a role model.

“I hope those girls can see themselves in us,” she said. “I want these little black girls to say hey, I can do it too! It is possible for me.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Iran FM: US troop boost ‘threat to international peace’

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TEHRAN: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Saturday a US decision to deploy 1,500 additional troops to the Middle East is a “threat to international peace,” state media reported.

“Increased US presence in our region is very dangerous and a threat to international peace and security and must be confronted,” Zarif said while talking to newsmen before heading home from a visit to Pakistan.

Washington says the reinforcements, which come after the deployment earlier this month of an aircraft carrier task force, B-52 bombers, an amphibious assault ship and a missile defence system, are in response to “campaign” of recent attacks approved by Iran’s top leadership.

“Americans make such claims to justify their hostile policies and to create tension in the Persian Gulf,” Zarif said.

The United States this month ended the last exemptions it had granted from sweeping unilateral sanctions it reimposed after abandoning a landmark 2015 nuclear between major powers and Iran in May last year.

The move dealt a heavy new blow to Iran’s already reeling economy as even vocal critics of the renewed sanctions, like Turkey, announced they had stopped buying Iranian oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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US military helicopter destroyed in Afghanistan ‘hard landing’

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KABUL: Passengers and crew aboard a US military helicopter were injured when the chopper they were travelling in was destroyed during a “hard landing” in Afghanistan, a US official said Saturday.

According to Colonel David Butler, a spokesman for US Forces Afghanistan, a CH-47 Chinook helicopter “hit the ground hard on the way to drop passengers off” during a mission in Helmand province.

Butler said the helicopter had been totally destroyed during the landing.

“Both Afghan and US personnel were injured but all are stable and expected to recover,” he said.

“No hostile fire or enemy contact involved.”

 

 

 

 

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