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Trump administration considering legal immunity for Saudi Crown Prince

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New delhi, Dec 23: The Trump administration is considering granting legal immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) from a federal lawsuit in an alleged assassination plot. The lawsuit was registered against MBS by Saad Aljabri for allegedly sending a team of agents to kill him.


Aljabri was a former top aide in the Saudi Interior Ministry and is now residing in Canada. He was fired from his position in 2015 shortly before the then crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef was ousted from his rank by MBS to become the second in line to the throne. He had fled the country in 2017.


Aljabri in August publicly accused the crown prince of sending a team of agents to Canada to kill him.


In his lawsuit to the DC district court, he said that the same team of assassins that had murdered Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was sent to kill him as well.Granting legal immunity to MBS has dire consequences to other cases that are pending against him as well. Most notably the Khashoggi murder, a Saudi dissident who was working as a columnist for the Washington Post.


The CIA had already concluded in 2018 that MBS was involved in Khashoggi’s murder. The journalist had been very critical of the crown prince’s policies in the kingdom.


Granting immunity would mean that the crown prince would now have a legal basis to dismiss these cases against him.
The administration had sent questionnaires to Aljabri’s legal team to help high level officials there decide whether it should recommend immunity for the MBS to the Department of Justice. The questions ask for details about his allegations of the crown prince’s alleged plot to murder him.


Aljabri’s legal team had already been sent questionnaires this month by the administration. The questionnaire of which a copy was given to CNN from a source close to Aljabri says it was to ‘help high-level officials’ there decide whether to advise the Department of Justice in granting immunity to MBS.
It is uncertain if the administration would reach a decision before the end of Trump’s term, who has been publicly supportive of the crown prince, in January or even if it would grant immunity to MBS.


President-elect Joe Biden had been very critical of Saudi Arabia, and he had vowed to end support for Saudi’s war on Yemen.(Agencies)

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Afghanistan: 37 killed, over 70 injured as blast hits Shia mosque in Kandahar

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(Asian News Hub) – Suicide bombers assaulted a Shiite mosque in southern Afghanistan that was packed with worshippers attending weekly Friday prayers, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70, Associated Press reported quoting hospital official and an eyewitness.

The attack on the Imam Barga mosque came a week after a bombing claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate killed 46 people at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan.

Also Read: Amit Shah warns Pakistan, refers to surgical strike

Murtaza, an eye-witness who like many Afghans goes by one name, said four suicide bombers attacked the mosque. Two detonated their explosives at a security gate, allowing the other two to run inside and strike the congregation of worshippers.

Speaking to The Associated Press by phone, he said Friday prayers are typically attended by around 500 people.

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At least 20 killed, over 300 injured in an earthquake in Pakistan

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(Asian News Hub) – At least 20 people were killed and over 300 others injured after a powerful 5.9 earthquake struck Pakistan’s Balochistan province early on Thursday, October 7, 2021, according to PTI quoting media reports.

Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase, Geo News reported.

According to the seismological centre, the epicentre was located near Harnai at a depth of 15 km.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said many of the dead were women and children.

The quake affected Quetta, Sibi, Harnai, Pishin, Qila Saifullah, Chaman, Ziarat and Zhob in Balochistan.

Images on social media showed people in the city of Quetta out on the streets in the aftermath of the quake, Dawn newspaper reported.

Aftershocks are still being felt in different areas. The earliest tremors were felt at 3:20 am after which panicked citizens rushed out of their houses reciting verses from the holy Quran. Relief and rescue activities are underway, with an emergency declared in all hospitals.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Harnai Sohail Anwar Hashmi, several people have been rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

He said that several buildings in Harnai have been damaged. Many people were left buried under the rubble.

The power supply to the area has been suspended, he said.

According to the rescue sources, more than 70 houses were reported damaged in Harnai.

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World surpasses 5M COVID-19 deaths

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(Asian News Hub) – The coronavirus death toll around the world surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to Reuters’s tally.

Around the world, an average of 8,000 deaths a day were reported, according to the outlet. However, it noted that the global death rate has slowed in recent weeks.

Reuters reported that it took over a year to accumulate 2.5 million deaths, but it took under eight months to accumulate the second 2.5 million deaths.

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