SEVERAL DEAD AS INDIA INTENSIFIES CAMPAIGN AGAINST MILITANTS IN KASHMIR

Houses on fire during gun batte in Indian Kashmir (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Khan)Deadly protests against Indian rule erupted in several parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir on Sunday following the killings of several suspected militants during gun battles with government forces, officials said.

A total of three Indian soldiers and 13 rebels died in the worst day of violence so far this year as clashes erupted in several locations south of Srinagar, the main city of the region. Protests against Indian rule in Kashmir (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Khan) Much of the violence took place around the village of Dragad, where seven of the alleged militants were killed, along with two soldiers. Continue reading

FUNNY: GERMANY’S BEST APRIL FOOLS’ JOKES FROM 2018, EXPLAINED

Three people laughing at a Laptop (Colourbox)1. Berlin neighborhood passes alcohol ban

The joke: The German daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported on Sunday that the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin would introduce a ban on the sale of alcohol between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in July. Locals had complained about late night binge drinking and the tram smelling of beer, according to the paper.

Why it’s funny: If any of Berlin’s districts were to introduce a alcohol ban, it would be Prenzlauer Berg. The neighborhood is considered to be affluent, cosmopolitan and family friendly — a far cry from the more bohemian districts Berlin is known for. But it didn’t introduce the ban. That makes the joke funny.

2. German Heimat minister wants to reintroduce brown bears

The joke: Germany’s last brown bear was killed around 200 years ago. German Interior and “Heimat” (roughly translated as “home”) Minister Horst Seehofer told German public broadcaster ARD on Sunday: “The brown bear belongs to Germany like the wolf, bison and moose. Continue reading

TRUMP VENTS ANGER ON IMMIGRANT PROGRAMME

US President Donald Trump has reasserted his opposition to legalising the status of hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

He declared on Twitter that Republicans should “go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws [on illegal migrants] NOW”.

He accused Mexico of doing “very little, if not NOTHING”, to stop migrants crossing its northern border. The top candidates for Mexico’s presidency have hit out at Mr Trump.

Mr Trump also threatened to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement. Continue reading

OLDEST US GUN MAKER FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

A salesperson holds a Remington handgun at Chuck"s Firearms in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 13 February 2018.

The oldest gun manufacturer in the US, Remington Outdoor, has filed for bankruptcy in the wake of slumping sales.

The firm, founded more than 200 years ago, filed for bankruptcy protection to cut a deal with its creditors.

Remington’s chief financial officer said the company’s sales dropped significantly in the year before its bankruptcy, court papers show. The filing comes amid fresh demands for greater gun control in the US. Continue reading

MARVIA MALIK – PAKISTAN TV AIRS FIRST TRANSGENDER ANCHOR

Marvia MalikA Pakistani news channel has hired the country’s first transgender TV newsreader. Marvia Malik, a journalism graduate who has also worked as a model, told the BBC she was moved to tears when she was offered the job.

She anchored her first show on private broadcaster Kohenoor on Friday, after three months of training.

Transgender people face discrimination in Pakistan and many struggle to find employment. Some are forced into begging, dancing or prostitution to earn money. Continue reading

HOW BRAZIL HAVE CHANGED SINCE THEIR 7-1 DEFEAT

Brasilien Belo Horizonte Fußball WM Halbfinale Deutschland vs Brasilien (picture-alliance/AP Photo/N. Pisarenko)

When Germany host Brazil in an international friendly in Berlin on Tuesday, it will be the first time that the two teams have faced each other since the Germans embarassed Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup.

For Tite, Brazil’s national team coach, the crushing defeat at the Mineirao stadium in Sao Jose in eastern Brazil still stings.

“The 7-1 at the World Cup is like a ghost,” Tite said in an interview published in this Monday’s edition of the German sports publication Kicker. “It’s present, people still talk about it, but the more you talk about it, the less this ‘ghost’ disappears … [Tuesday’s friendly] won’t just be a sporting challenge, but a huge emotional challenge too”.

‘GERMANY, MUST AND WILL BETTER’

Berlin Training Nationalmannschaft Deutschland (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Charisius)

German national team coach Joachim Löw is planning to make at least six changes to his team ahead of Tuesday night’s friendly against Brazil in Berlin – the final game before the announcement of Germany’s provisional World Cup squad on May 15.

Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil have both been allowed to return home after featuring in Germany’s 1-1 draw with Spain in Düsseldorf on Friday, while goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen will also make way.

Sami Khedira and Jonas Hector are to be given a rest while Emre Can has left the squad with a back problem. Marvin Plattenhardt, Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sané and Matthias Ginter are all set to come into the team, while Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp will play one half each in goal.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Löw confirmed that Jerome Boateng will captain the side in his hometown, a challenge the Bayern Munich central defender is relishing.

“Since I was a child I have dreamed of playing in the Olympic Stadium against Brazil,” the 29-year-old said, ahead of the first senior meeting between the two countries since Germany’s infamous 7-1 win in the 2014 World Cup semifinal in Brazil.

“We couldn’t really believe it,” recalled Boateng. “But at halftime, we said we had to see the game out professionally and that’s what we did in the second half.”

Asked by visiting Brazilian journalists how important that semifinal was to Germans, Löw responded: “I think it’s more important in Brazil than here. Of course it was a big game for us, but it was a step on our route to the final. Concentrating on beating Brazil’s arch rivals [Argentina] in the final was more important.”

Fußball-WM 2014 Halbfinale Brasilien - Deutschland 1:7 (picture-alliance/dpa)The 7-1 defeat to Germany was the biggest humiliation in Brazil’s footballing history

Nevertheless, Löw and his players are adamant that Tuesday’s clash in Berlin represents a different challenge.

“Brazil have improved noticeably under their new coach, Tite, who has given them a new mentality. It’s no secret that Brazil love to play attacking football but now they are more disciplined defensively as well,” Löw said.

“In 2014, we didn’t focus on a single superstar; ultimately, the team performance takes precedence over individual class.”

Brazil’s greatest superstar, Neymar, will miss the game through injury, but the 72,717 capacity crowd in the Olympic Stadium can still look forward to watching a host of top names, including: Thiago Silva and Daniel Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcelo and Casemiro (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho  (Barcelona), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).

“Friday night [against Spain] was a test at the very highest level. When you look at the statistics, both teams had incredibly high successful pass ratios which shows that it was a match between two technically strong teams – and we expect more of that tomorrow [against Brazil],” Löw said.

“We’re glad to be able to play against such opposition because we can learn a lot. Germany can still get better. We must get better and we will get better.”

‘NIGERIAN ARMY IGNORED WARNINGS ABOUT DAPCHI ATTACK’

Falmata at home
Campaign group Amnesty International says that the Nigerian army ignored repeated warnings of an attack on Dapchi town, hours before 110 schoolchildren were kidnapped from the government girl’s school.

They said they spoke to 23 different local leaders who said they saw the militants in the vicinity on the day of the attack.

The local leaders alerted the Nigerian army to the presence of a convoy of militants in a village called Gumsa, about 30km (18 miles) from Dapchi town.

That was early on Monday 19 February. Later that evening, militants attacked the school on at least nine vehicles, kidnapping 110 children. Continue reading

GERMAN NATIONAL TEAM GATHERS AHEAD OF SPAIN, BRAZIL FRIENDLIES

Fußball Nationalmannschaft - Ankunft am Teamhotel (picture-alliance/dpa/K. Bergmann)

Even before the players nominated to his latest Germany squad arrived in Düsseldorf on Tuesday, Joachim Löw warned those on the fringes needed to convince him that they should be on the plane when it leaves for Russia in June.

“Before we name the final World Cup squad, we want to see and feel that the players put our goals above everything else and give everything they’ve got to achieve them,” Löw said after he arrived that the team hotel on Monday. “If we want to be successful in Russia, we will have to have an unconditional hunger for success.”

With 26 players, Löw has named a relatively large squad for these two friendlies, meaning that at least three of them won’t make it to Russia – and probably more than that, assuming that first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the oft-injured Marco Reus regain fitness in time for the World Cup. Also notably absent from the latest squad is Reus’ Dortmund teammate Mario Götze.

The fact that just eight players from Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team are included in the latest squad is a reflection of Löw’s policy of gradual renewal based not on a player’s history, but his current form and fitness. Seventeen were part of the relatively young team that won last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia.

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