Pulwama Attack: Death Toll Goes Up to 40
Nearly 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and many others injured when terrorists targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district today, in what is the worst attack ever on security personnel in the state.
The injured have been moved to the army base hospital in Srinagar, 20 km from the attack site. Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Condemning the attack, the government in a strongly-worded statement, demanded that "Pakistan stopped supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from their territory." The centre also appealed to the "international community to support the proposal to list terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar, as a designated terrorist under the 1267 Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the sacrifices will not go in vain. "The attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs. May the injured recover quickly," he said.
Trump Declares National Emergency to Build US-Mexico Border Wall
Donald Trump has defied fierce criticism to announce that he is using emergency powers to bypass Congress and pursue the building of a wall on the US-Mexico border.
At a combative, rambling and at times incoherent press conference in the White House, the US president insisted he had no choice but to declare a national emergency to stop illegal immigrants spreading crime and drugs.
Yet Trump admitted that he did not “need” to take the step now and was only doing so for speed. Opponents seized on the remark to accuse him of falsehoods and fearmongering for political ends, describing the move as “unlawful” and a violation of the US constitution.
Speaking in the White House rose garden, Trump noted that the National Emergencies Act of 1976 gave presidents leeway to declare an emergency and several have done so. “There’s rarely been a problem,” he said. “Nobody cares. I guess they weren’t very exciting. But nobody cares. They sign it for far less important things in some cases, in many cases.”
A list compiled by the Brennan Center says Bill Clinton declared 17 national emergencies, George W Bush 13 and Barack Obama 12, but nearly all were for crises that emerged overseas. Trump added: “We’re talking about an invasion of our country, with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.”
Trump Signs Spending and Border Security Bill into Law, Preventing Another Shutdown
President Donald Trump emerged from one political crisis Friday and immediately dove into another.
The president signed a spending and border security plan into law to keep the government running through Sept. 30, with only hours to spare before parts of the government shut down Saturday. Before he did so, Trump also declared a national emergency to repurpose funds from other parts of the government to build his proposed border wall without congressional approval.
"I'm going to be signing a national emergency, and it's been signed many times before, by many presidents. It's rarely been a problem. nobody cared," the president said during unscripted remarks Friday morning in the White House Rose Garden. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders then shared an image that she said showed Trump signing the declaration.
Cabinet approves Company Law Amendment Bill
Union Minister Arun Jaitley on February 19 said that the Cabinet has approved the ordinance on Company Law Amendment Bill and the banning of unregulated deposit schemes.
In a bonanza for government employees, the Cabinet approved an additional dearness allowance (DA) of 3 percent over the existing rate of 9 percent for government employees and pensioners, which will be effective from January 1, 2019. The Cabinet also approved Cabinet the construction of phase II of the Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project, as well the Delhi-Meerut-Ghaziabad corridor.
Jaitley announced that the Cabinet has approved building 1.95 crore households under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Grameen (PMAYG) by 2022. It has also revised norms for companies to sell 25 percent of coal from captive mines.
4 Soldiers Killed in Overnight Encounter at Pulwama
Four soldiers including an officer were killed in an overnight encounter with Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, days after over 40 soldiers were killed there in a terror attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy. Two soldiers have also been injured.
A search operation was launched late last night by army, police and CRPF personnel after a tip-off that JeM terrorists were hiding in the Pinglan area.
Those killed belong to the 55 Rashtriya Rifles. Two or three terrorists are believed to be still hiding in the area and firing is on.
A civilian was also killed in the encounter, said the police.
On February 14, a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist drove his car close to a CRPF convoy of 78 buses on the Jammu-Srinagar highway and detonated around 60 kg of RDX, killing over 40 personnel reporting to duty after leave.
The suicide bomber, Adil Ahmad Dar, had joined the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad a year ago.