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India grants land ownership rights to refugees who fled Pakistan 70 years ago

BANGKOK: Refugees in India’s western state of Maharashtra have been granted land ownership rights 70 years after fleeing what is now Pakistan, when the countries were violently partitioned at independence, officials said. The move is part of a wider push to give more rights to certain refugee groups in different parts of India. About 3 million refugees from Sindh and Punjab provinces in Pakistan are believed to have fled to India, as carnage between Hindus and Muslims sparked a massive migration across a border created…

Girl named Independence turns 10 with divided Kosovo

PRISTINA: On February 17, 2008, Kosovo's parliament unanimously endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia.  The same day a baby girl was born: Her family named her Pavaresia, the Albanian word for "independence". But 10 years on from that historic day, Pavaresia is representative of her country's youth: she says she has "never met" the children of Kosovo's Serb minority who live nearby. In her village of Sllovi (Slovinje in Serbian), almost all 3,000 residents are Albanian -- the predominant ethnicity in…

Kosovo marks 10 years after independence

PRISTINA: The assassination of a prominent Serb politician has cast another dark cloud above Kosovo as it is prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of its independence. Unilaterally declared on February 17, 2008, the independence of Serbia's breakaway province is recognised by more than 110 countries. But Belgrade and many of the 120,000 members of Kosovo's Serb minority, refuse to do so almost 20 years after the 1990s war. The conflict pitting Serbian security forces against Kosovo Albanian guerrillas claimed 13,000…

Canada recognises ‘a united Spain’: official

OTTAWA: Canada rejected the Catalan regional government's unilateral declaration of independence on Friday and urged dialogue between Madrid and the breakaway region of Spain. "In accordance with international legal principles, these decisions must be made within the constitutional framework," Andrew Leslie, the parliamentary secretary to Canada's foreign affairs minister, told the Commons. "Given this, Canada recognises a united Spain," he said. "A dialogue between Spain and Catalonia within the constitutional…

‘Time to declare independence’: 450,000 protest in Barcelona

BARCELONA: Led by Catalonia's separatist president Carles Puigdemont, hundreds of thousands of independence supporters protested in Barcelona on Saturday, shouting "freedom" and "independence" after Madrid announced drastic measures to stop the region from breaking away. "It's time to declare independence," said Jordi Balta, a 28-year-old stationery shop employee, adding there was no longer any room for dialogue. The protest in the centre of the Catalan capital had initially been called to push for the release of the…

Protesters rally against Catalan independence in Barcelona

BARCELONA: Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving demonstrators packed central Barcelona on Sunday to rally against plans by separatist leaders to declare Catalonia independent following a banned secession referendum. Catalans calling themselves a "silent majority" opposed to leaving Spain broke their silence after a week of mounting anxiety over the country's worst political crisis in a generation. The crowd waved both Spanish and Catalan flags and chanted "Viva Espana! Viva Catalonia!" as they made their way through…

Catalan leaders to declare independence in Spain crisis

BARCELONA: Catalan leaders were preparing Wednesday to declare independence after a violence-hit referendum, defying a warning from the country's king that national stability was in peril. As the European Union urged dialogue to ease the standoff between separatists in the northeastern region and Madrid, a regional government source said the independence declaration could be as early as Monday. The standoff has morphed into Spain's worst political crisis in decades, with images of Spanish police beating unarmed…

Catalan leader calls for mediation with Spain over independence

BARCELONA: Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont called Monday (Oct 2) for international mediation in the crisis pitting his regional separatist executive against Madrid, a day after police violence marred an independence referendum banned by the central government. Speaking to reporters, he called for "mediation", "which means there must be the presence of a third party, which must be international to be efficient." Just as he spoke to reporters, Catalans took to the streets of central Barcelona in droves to protest the…

Turkey wants summit with Iran and Iraq after Kurd vote: PM

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Thursday he wants to hold a summit with Iranian and Iraqi leaders to coordinate how to respond to the controversial Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum. "We are planning to come together in the near future to coordinate the steps to be taken for the next period with regard to these issues," Yildirim told reporters in the central Turkish province of Corum. "We want a three-way summit... we think that this format would be more productive," he added. Iran, the Iraqi…