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Three suspects have been charged by Canadian police over the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in Vancouver last June, in an incident that sparked a diplomatic spat between Ottawa and New Delhi.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a temple by masked gunmen in Surrey, outside Vancouver, on 18 June 2023.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police assistant commissioner David Teboul said police could not comment on the nature of the evidence or the motive.

“This matter is very much under active investigation,” Teboul said.

The three suspects – Indian nationals Kamalpreet Singh, Karan Brar and Karampreet Singh – were arrested in Edmonton, Alberta, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

Superintendent Mandeep Mooker said: “This investigation does not end here. We are aware that others may have played a role in this homicide and we remain dedicated to finding and arresting each one of these individuals.”

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Canada killing ‘linked’ to India govt

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sparked a diplomatic feud with India when he said in September that there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the killing. India angrily denied involvement.

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Mr Nijjar, an Indian-born citizen of Canada, was a leader in what remains of the Khalistan movement – a once-strong group calling for the creation of an independent Sikh homeland.

He was organising an unofficial referendum in India for an independent Sikh nation at the time of this death and had denied allegations of ties to terrorism.

The Khalistan movement has lost much of its power but is still supported by some in the Punjab state in northwestern India and in the Sikh diaspora overseas.

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A violent, decade-long Sikh insurgency shook north India in the 1970s and 1980s, and was ultimately crushed in a government crackdown which saw thousands of people killed, including prominent Sikh leaders.

In June 1984, Indian forces stormed the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar, where separatists had taken refuge.

In more recent years, the Indian government has repeatedly warned that Sikh separatists were trying to make a comeback.

Read more: What is the Khalistan movement?

The rift between the two nations is growing, after Justin Trudeau's accusation angered Narendra Modi, India's prime minister. Pic: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP
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Mr Trudeau’s accusation angered India PM Narendra Modi. File pic: AP

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The diplomatic row saw diplomats expelled by both India and Canada.

The Indian government said it “completely rejected” Mr Trudeau’s allegations and added: “We are a democratic polity with a strong commitment to rule of law.”

The dispute derailed trade talks between the two countries and ultimately saw Canada withdraw 41 of its 62 diplomats in India.

At the time, Canada did not provide public evidence to back up Mr Trudeau’s allegations. However, it did reveal the claims were based on intelligence provided by a major ally and surveillance of Indian diplomats in the country.

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has directly called on his US and Chinese counterparts to join his latest summit for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking from Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Friday, Mr Zelenskyy announced a “global peace summit”, co-hosted by Switzerland, starting on 15 June.

He claimed 80 countries have already confirmed their attendance.

But he said: “I am appealing to the global leaders of the world who are still outside the global efforts of the global peace summit.

“To President Biden, the leader of the United States, and to President Xi, the leader of China, we do not want the UN charter to be burned.

“Please show your leadership in advancing the peace.”

Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

He added that it must be “real peace – not just a pause in the strikes” after various ceasefire breaches by the Russians.

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Finally, he urged: “The efforts of the global majority are the best guarantee that all commitments will be fulfilled.”

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Shopping mall hit by strike in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

Printworks and shopping centre targeted this week

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, with a pre-war population of 1.5 million people, is close to the frontline, and has been consistently targeted since the initial invasion in February 2022.

On Thursday, its ‘Vivat’ printworks, which is the country’s largest, was hit by missiles, killing seven people, and destroying an estimated 50,000 books. A further 21 people were injured, Ukrainian officials said.

On Saturday, a strike on a shopping centre killed six people, injured 40, and left a further 16 unaccounted for, local authorities said.

Elsewhere in the city, an additional 11 people were injured as a result of strikes, including a 13-year-old boy.

Just over the border, in Russia’s Belgorod region, the regional governor there said four residents died as a result of Ukrainian attacks on Saturday.

Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

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Mr Zelenskyy warned a new Russian offensive is being planned northwest of Kharkiv.

Ukrainians and military analysts have repeatedly warned of depleting weapon supplies on the frontline.

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Earlier this month the US agreed to a further $2bn (£1.6bn) in military support for Ukraine.

It has consistently resisted calls to send US troops there, in line with NATO’s refusal for direct involvement in the conflict.

China has resisted calls by NATO and its member states to take a direct stance against Russia in support of Ukraine.

President Xi hosted Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a show of “friendship” earlier this month.

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

Hamas has launched rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza for the first time in months.

The barrage of rockets set off air raid sirens in cities as far away as Tel Aviv.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, although Palestinian militants have continued to sporadically fire rockets and mortar rounds at communities along the Gaza border since then.

Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles crossed into Israel after being launched from the area of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces recently launched an incursion.

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after ‘chain of explosions’

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after 'chain of explosions'

At least six newborn babies have died after a fire broke out at a children’s hospital in India, according to reports.

Firefighters said they carried 12 newborns out of the centre in the Vivek Vihar district of east New Delhi late on Saturday night, but five of them died due to smoke inhalation.

Two other infants are believed to have already died, according to local media. There are differing reports as to whether six or seven infants have been killed so far.

Another five survived and are being treated in a nearby hospital, Delhi fire department chief Atul Garg said.

The blaze, which broke out on the first floor of the hospital, was put out after about an hour.

Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of a baby care center in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 26, 2024. A fire broke out in the care center on Saturday night killing six infants, a fire service officer said on Sunday. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)
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Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of the hospital. Pic: AP

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Mr Garg told the ANI news agency that an oxygen cylinder blast was the likely cause of the fire, but there has been no official confirmation.

“It was a very tough operation,” he was quoted as saying by India Today.

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“We made two teams. One team started firefighting because there was a blast of cylinders. We can say it was a chain of blasts of cylinders.

“We had to save ourselves also. We started rescue operations for babies as well. Unfortunately, we could not save all the children… That is a regrettable incident.”

The owner of the baby hospital has fled, according to Delhi police.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, called the fire “heartbreaking”, adding that the “causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared”.

Machines move the debris following a fire in a gaming zone in Rajkot, in the western state of Gujarat, India, May 26, 2024. REUTERS/Amit Dave
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Machines move debris after a fire in Rajkot. Pic: Reuters

Earlier on Saturday, at least 27 people were killed in a fire at a crowded amusement park in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat state in western India.

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