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Japan cabinet OK's anti-conspiracy bill amid civil rights concerns

Japan cabinet OK's anti-conspiracy bill amid civil rights concerns

Tokyo, March 21 (Reuters) Japan's cabinet today approved legislation that would penalise criminal conspiracies, a move critics say threatens civil liberties, but officials say is needed to prevent terrorist targeting events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Proponents say the steps are vital in a security climate where terrorism risks have grown and in order to ratify a UN Treaty aimed at battling international organised crime. "Considering the current situation regarding terrorism and looking ahead to the Olympics and Paraolympics three years hence, it is necessary to fully prepare to prevent organised crimes including terrorism," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. Japanese governments have tried to pass similar legislation three times since 2000, when the United Nations adopted a Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, but the bill stands a better chance of success this time. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition has a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament and public worries about terrorism ahead of the Olympics have grown after deadly attacks overseas, although an opinion poll released by Kyodo news agency on March 12 showed 45.5 per cent were opposed to the bill while 33 per cent favoured it. Suga said the legislation would apply only to groups preparing to commit terrorist acts and other organised crime groups and would not target the "legitimate activities" of civil groups or labour unions. Opponents, including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, have doubts. They view the proposed change as part of Abe's agenda to tighten control at the expense of individual rights, chilling grassroots opposition to government policies such as the construction of a US military base on Okinawa island. "It is very clear that the Japanese public security sector – police and prosecutors – employ an extremely expansive interpretation of any aspect of criminal law so ... regardless of the limited list of potential crimes, they will interpret it in an extremely elastic way," said Lawrence Repeta, a law professor at Meiji University in Tokyo. The lawyers' association has said Japanese law already prohibits preparations to commit certain serious crimes such as murder, arson and counterfeiting or plotting an insurgency or the use of explosives, so additional legislation is unnecessary. REUTERS RSD 0822

Top News
It's cold-blooded murder, will review whole anti-naxal strategy: Rajnath on Sukma attack

It's cold-blooded murder, will review whole anti-naxal strategy: Rajnath on Sukma attack

Raipur/New Delhi, Apr 25 (UNI) Home Minister Rajnath Singh today described the Naxal attack on CRPF jawans which claimed 25 lives as a 'cold-blooded' murder, and said an appropriate response to it would be given to it in due course.

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25 Apr 2017 | 1:08 PM
Malegaon bomb blast: Sadhvi Pragya Singh granted bail

Malegaon bomb blast: Sadhvi Pragya Singh granted bail

Mumbai, Apr 25 (UNI) The Bombay High Court today granted bail to Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in the 2008 Malegaon blast case on a cash surety of Rs 5-lakh with two sureties of the same amount for the bail.

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25 Apr 2017 | 3:30 PM
Turkish warplanes strike Kurdish militants in Syria, Iraq's Sinjar

Turkish warplanes strike Kurdish militants in Syria, Iraq's Sinjar

ISTANBUL/BEIRUT, Apr 25 (Reuters) Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish militants in Iraq's Sinjar region and in northeastern Syria today, killing at least 18 fighters and officials in a widening campaign against groups affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

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25 Apr 2017 | 4:41 PM
Non-agri income of farmers must be taxed: NITI Aayog

Non-agri income of farmers must be taxed: NITI Aayog

New Delhi, April 25 (UNI) NITI Aayog today advocated for taxing the farmers' non-agriculture income so that the tax net could get widened.

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25 Apr 2017 | 4:59 PM
Nifty breaches 9,300-mark for first time

Nifty breaches 9,300-mark for first time

Mumbai, Apr 25 (UNI) Market benchmark Nifty surged past the 9,300-level for the first time today, fuelled by a rally in Reliance Industries and other bluechips on upbeat earnings.

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25 Apr 2017 | 5:20 PM
Mehbooba meets Army top brass over security situation in Kashmir

Mehbooba meets Army top brass over security situation in Kashmir

Srinagar, Apr 25 (UNI) In the backdrop of the protests by students in the Kashmir Valley over a week, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today met top brass of Army, State police and other security agencies and discussed the security situation in Kashmir.

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25 Apr 2017 | 4:26 PM
BJP president Amit Shah begins 'Booth Cholo Aviyan' after having lunch in Naxalbari

BJP president Amit Shah begins 'Booth Cholo Aviyan' after having lunch in Naxalbari

Naxalbari, West Bengal, Apr 25 (UNI) Aiming to capture West Bengal in 2021 Assembly elections, BJP president Amit Shah today launched his "Booth Cholo Aviyan" after having a simple veggie lunch at a dalit's tin-roof hut in this erstwhile Naxalite bastion.

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25 Apr 2017 | 5:15 PM
Ensure sanctity of database created, Javadekar urges NAAC

Ensure sanctity of database created, Javadekar urges NAAC

25 Apr 2017 | 5:52 PM

New Delhi, Apr 25 (UNI) Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar today advised the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) authorities to expand its team to make inroads into reaching out to more and more institutions to ensure the 'sanctity and authenticity' of the database created.

Portal for bringing talented children in sports: Goel

Portal for bringing talented children in sports: Goel

25 Apr 2017 | 5:58 PM

New Delhi, Apr 25 (UNI) Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel today said that his ministry is preparing a portal providing information on talented children for the mega events like Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian games.

TCS launches  'Merchant Pay '

TCS launches 'Merchant Pay '

25 Apr 2017 | 3:00 PM

Mumbai, Apr 25(UNI) IT major, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), today announced the launch of 'Merchant Pay ' a unified transaction solution that will help retail organisations seamlessly integrate payments across multiple payment channels such as Aadhar, Credit or Debit card or even phone-based payments through a single interface.

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