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Islamic World News (07 Jul 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Upset over the Rising Mob Lynching Incidents This Muslim Officer from Madhya Pradesh Wants to Change His Name to Hide his Identity








Upset over the Rising Mob Lynching Incidents This Muslim Officer from Madhya Pradesh Wants to Change His Name to Hide his Identity

Why Is Nusrat’s Rath Yatra Visit Viewed As Secular But Mamata’s Iftar Party As Minority Appeasement?

Muslim Youths Thrashed, Forced To Chant Jai Shri Ram in Assam

Ulema Council Supports Aceh’s Plan to Legalize Polygamy

Political Parties In The Two Parts Of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Faces Existential Problems: Study

Iran to Raise Uranium Enrichment, Announce More Nuclear Deal Reductions

Sudan Army Ruler Vows to ‘Implement’ Deal with Protesters

 

India

Upset over the Rising Mob Lynching Incidents This Muslim Officer from Madhya Pradesh Wants to Change His Name to Hide his Identity

Why Is Nusrat’s Rath Yatra Visit Viewed As Secular But Mamata’s Iftar Party As Minority Appeasement?

Muslim Youths Thrashed, Forced To Chant Jai Shri Ram in Assam

Pakistani terrorists being trained in Afghanistan after Balakot

Owaisi urges Centre to frame law against lynching

Fact-check: Was the case of Tabrez Ansari’s mob-attack raised at a UN convention?

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Southeast Asia

Ulema Council Supports Aceh’s Plan to Legalize Polygamy

Paternity Leave Will Help Fathers Fulfil Religious Duty: Women’s Aid Organisation

Annuar’s logic flawed, says PPBM man on 1MDB funds

Kuala Dulang mosque draws foreign scholars, leaders

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Pakistan

Political Parties In The Two Parts Of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Faces Existential Problems: Study

Police Arrest Al-Qaeda Funder In Pakistan

Corrupt politicians posing threat to democracy: Sheikh Rashid

Govt floods ground with rainwater to stop rally, alleges PML-N

Asif Ghafoor cautions against 'irresponsible, biased use of social media'

37 PML-N MPAs have almost formed a forward bloc, claims Rashid

 ‘Terrorist’ killed in Nasirabad encounter

Pakistan Judge 'Blackmailed' Into Issuing Verdict Against Nawaz Sharif: Maryam

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Mideast

Iran to Raise Uranium Enrichment, Announce More Nuclear Deal Reductions

Arab Coalition says Houthi drones intercepted before they reached targets

Iran’s contribution is needed to rebuild Iraq after Daesh: Envoy

Media falsely portrays Iran’s suspension of nuclear deal commitments as dash to bomb

Yemeni army, allies attack Saudi Arabia's Jizan airport by drones

Second Turkish ship to begin drilling off Cyprus: Energy minister

Hamas will continue activities against US deal of century: Official

Turkey fires central bank chief as policy differences with Erdogan deepen

Turkey’s Erdogan meets head of weakening Tripoli government Sarraj

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Africa

Sudan Army Ruler Vows to ‘Implement’ Deal with Protesters

How Omar al-Bashir’s ties to Qatar alienated his allies in his final hours

Tunisia recovers 14 migrants’ bodies after dozens drowned off coast

Turkish president urges end to Haftar’s ‘unlawful attacks’ in Libya

Eastern Libya, US firm close to signing Libya port deal

Sudan’s army council head visits Uganda for talks

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab executes 14 people in past three days

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South Asia

Casualties Toll from Taliban Mortar Attack on Faryab Market Rises To 53

Afghan Special Forces Kill 9 ISIS Khurasan Militants In Kunar Province

Senior Taliban leader Mawlavi Abdul Qahar and his comrade killed in Takhar

Afghan, U.S. forces kill 24 Taliban militants during separate raids in Logar and Wardak

Taliban car bomb kills at least 12 in attack on Afghan security compound

After Sri Lanka attacks, Muslims face boycotts and violence

US hails talks with Taliban, denies troop withdrawal window

Taliban, Afghan leaders all set for key talks in Doha

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Arab World

Turkey-Backed Militants Torturing, Harassing Aleppo Refugee Camps' Residents

US Sends New Military Forces, Equipment to Ein Al-Assad Base in Western Iraq

Ankara after Annexing Idlib Province to Occupied Territories in Aleppo

Hezbollah Releases Audio Files of Iraqi Officer's Phone Coordination with CIA against Hashd Al-Shaabi

2 ISIL Executors Arrested in Iraq

Iraqi army launches offensive against ISIS near border with Syria

Russian-led assault in Syria leaves over 500 civilians dead: Rights groups

20 civilians killed in northwest Syria: monitor

Saudi Arabia intensifies arrest campaign against Palestinians

OIC chief and Russia Federation Council head discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties

Syria Kurds host conference on Daesh detainees

Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa provides training to Thai Muslim scholars

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Europe

Tories suspend members over new Islamophobia claims

France, Iran Agree To Seek Conditions to Resume Nuclear Talks By July 15: Macron

Second Turkish ship to start drilling off Cyprus

London facing international isolation over refusal to release Iranian tanker

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North America

US Sent Warning Message To Iran After Drone Downing: Iranian Official

US envoy lauds latest 'peace talks' with Taliban as 'most productive' so far

US denies German-Iranian father visa for son’s funeral

US welcomes deal to end unrest in Sudan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/upset-over-the-rising-mob-lynching-incidents-this-muslim-officer-from-madhya-pradesh-wants-to-change-his-name-to-hide-his-identity/d/119105

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Upset over the Rising Mob Lynching Incidents This Muslim Officer from Madhya Pradesh Wants to Change His Name to hide his Identity

July 7, 2019

Upset over the rising mob lynching incidents in the country, a Muslim bureaucrat in the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh wants to change his name.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, senior officer Niyaz Khan expressed his fear for the safety of the Muslim community in the country.

Opening up about how he has been looking for a new name of himself so he can hide his Muslim identity, Khan said it is a must if he wants to save himself "from the sword of hate".

"The new name will save me from the violent crowd," he said.

He mentioned how he can easily get away from hate and violence as his appearance don't make him look like a typical Muslim - who don an Islamic cap, wear a kurta and have a beard - by telling the crowd a fake name.

He said, however, that is not the case with his brother. "If my brother is wearing traditional clothes and has beard he is in most dangerous situation," Khan said.

Niyaz Khan

@saifasa

The new name will save me from the violent crowd. If I have no topi, no kurta and no beard I can get away easily by telling my fake name to the crowd. However, if my brother is wearing traditional clothes and has beard he is in most dangerous situation.

19

2:47 PM - Jul 6, 2019

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The bureaucrat added that it is better for Muslims to resort to changing their names since no institution is capable of protecting them.

"Since no institution is capable to save us, it is better to switch the name," he said.

Further, he advised Bollywood actors of his community to find new names for themselves to protect their films. He cited the reason saying that even the films with top actors have started to flop and they should understand why that is happening.

"Bollywood actors of my community should also start finding a new name to protect their movies. Now even the top stars movies have started to flop. They should understand the meaning," Khan wrote on Twitter.

Niyaz Khan

@saifasa

Bollywood actors of my community should also start finding a new name to protect their movies. Now even the top stars movies have started to flop.  They should understand the meaning

8

2:51 PM - Jul 6, 2019

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The officer also made headlines in January when he took to social media saying how he has always felt like an untouchable in his service due to the discriminatory behaviour. "Khan surname hounded me like a ghost," he said earlier.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/why-this-muslim-officer-from-madhya-pradesh-wants-to-change-his-name-1563759-2019-07-07

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Why is Nusrat’s Rath Yatra visit viewed as secular but Mamata’s iftar party as minority appeasement?

Shoaib Daniyal

July 7, 2019

Nusrat Jahan, the first-time Muslim MP from the Trinamool Congress, created waves on June 25 when she took her oath in the Lok Sabha wearing sindoor and a mangalsutra, both traditional signs of a married woman in Hinduism. When Jahan was criticised by a Muslim cleric for having disrespected Islam, many came to her defence, citing her recent inter-faith marriage as a “bright example of secular India”.

Jahan was back in the news on Thursday as International Society for Krishna Consciousness decided to invite her as a special guest for its Rath Yatra in Kolkata. The reason for the invitation, said the Times of India, was because the Hindu religious group was “impressed by Nusrat Jahan’s secular stand” when she took her oath as MP.

“Nusrat Jahan rises above faith, embraces ‘Sabka Saath’ [inclusiveness] by practicing Hindu rituals, chants Vande Mataram. Nusrat Jahan puts India first, not faith,” read one tweet from the TV news channel Times Now when reporting on the Rath Yatra.

The presence at the event of Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also elicited media attention. An editorial comment in the Indian Express declared that Banerjee’s decision to attend the Hindu religious event alongside Jahan would “boost her secular image” after accusations from the Bharatiya Janata Party that Banerjee was guilty of “minority appeasement” – acting in a manner that privileged minorities.

The paradox was apparent. Jahan, a Muslim, had indeed upheld India’s vision of secularism by participating in the festival celebrated by people professing a faith that she had not been born into. But when Mamata Banerjee did the same thing, attending iftar dinners to mark the end of the day’s fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan, her critics accused her of “minority appeasement”.

The chief minister’s picture, with her head covered as part of a Muslim stereotype, went viral on Bengali social media and played a significant part in pushing a narrative of appeasement during the recent general elections.

The criticism even led to an acerbic comment from the chief minister after the results: “Since I appease Muslims, I shall attend it [iftar] a 100 times”.

What does this contradiction mean for India today, where a member of a minority community participating in the majority group’s culture is praised but a Hindu politician is criticised for attending events organised by Muslims or Christians?

Journey to Ayodhya

Looking back at another rath yatra might help explain how this incongruous situation came about. In 1990, LK Advani, who was BJP president at the time, embarked on a two-month journey to demand that the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya be demolished and a temple built in its place. The BJP and its supporters claimed that the mosque stood on the spot on which the god Ram had been born.

Advani’s politics had an electric effect, setting in motion events that would lead three decades later to Narendra Modi becoming one of the most powerful prime ministers India has ever seen.

The BJP veteran’s impact was much deeper than simply making prime ministers. Advani changed India’s political culture, root and branch. He popularised a neologism that came to powerfully define Indian politics: “pseudo-secularism”. According to Advani, India’s secular politicians at the time indulged in “minority appeasement” and neglected the Hindu majority. This formulation had little to do with reality, given high poverty levels among Indian Muslims, their poor access to education and low representation in government jobs. But, nevertheless, this definition of “pseudo-secularism” played a vital role in shaping the BJP’s ideology and, given the party’s subsequent popularity, India’s politics.

Among its other consequences, this formulation of pseudo-secularism discouraged displays of Muslim symbols in India’s political space. Famously, during his time as Gujarat chief minister, Modi refused to put on a Muslim skull cap. “My job is to respect all communities, respect the values of all communities but I have to accept my own values,” Modi explained. “I live with my values.”

This argument seems reasonable – until one realises that Modi has often been pictured wearing headgear from places as far away from his native Gujarat as Nagaland. The problem, it seems, related only to things identified as Muslim.

Hobbling Indian secularism

Indian secularism is, of course, very different from the Western idea of separating church and state. It is better understood as a consocialist model of power sharing, which is reflected as multi-culturalism in the public sphere.

In a country with significant levels of illiteracy, political ideas are often communicated using actions rather than words. This would include politicians wearing regional attire or participating in public rituals to signal their concern for a particular social group. This tradition of conveying political ideas using forms of dress in fact, goes right back to Mohandas Gandhi, who, despite being a lawyer educated in England, consciously adopted the loincloth of Indian peasants.

Hindutva understood this feature of Indian secularism – and sought to dismantle it. The claim that its opponents were guilty of pseudo-secularism was not an attempt to separate church and state or banish religion from the public sphere. In fact, deploying religion in the public sphere was critical to the BJP’s Hindu nationalism. Instead, the party’s project was to get rid of every religion other than Hinduism from the public sphere.

A Hindu public sphere

As a consequence, even as the BJP has shrunk away from being publicly associated with symbols associated with Islam in the five years Modi has been in power in Delhi, there have been large, public celebrations of Hinduism.

But rival parties patronising religions other than Hinduism have been attacked.This is, of course, why the Trinamool’s endorsement of Ramzan is held up as an example of minority appeasement.

This logic is visible in a number of other instances. In Haryana, Hindutva groups have attacked Muslims for praying in public spaces when, of course, Hindu rituals being performed in the same spaces pass without comment. There is, therefore, a largely successful attempt to make sure that the public sphere is exclusively Hindu and to cement religious majoritarianism as the new normal.

‘Secular’ religious majoritarianism

In this endeavor, maybe most bizarre of all is the use of the word “secular” to rationalise a situtation that is quite the opposite – religious majoritarianism. In 1946, in his masterful essay “Politics and the English Language”, British writer George Orwell argued that “political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible”.

One way it did that was through the use of what Orwell called “meaningless words”. “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’,” wrote Orwell.

While Orwell was writing for 1940s England, his diagnosis holds remarkably well for India in 2019. Since majoritarianism cannot be celebrated or multi-culturalism condemned, words like “secularism” and “appeasement” are cast in a new light in an attempt to obliterate their meaning.

As a result, a minority taking part in a majority’s rituals is now cast secularism while, simultaneously, a powerful majority taking part in a minority’s culture is sneered at as appeasement.

https://scroll.in/article/929617/why-is-nusrats-rath-yatra-visit-viewed-as-secular-but-mamatas-iftar-party-as-minority-appeasement

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Muslim youths thrashed, forced to chant Jai Shri Ram in Assam

July 6, 2019

Barely two weeks after a youth was arrested for forcing some Muslim youths to chant 'Jai Shri Ram', four miscreants in Assam's Barpeta district thrashed three Muslim youths and forced them to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'.

According to the police, the incident took place at the Jyoti Gaon area located near the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College in the wee hours of Friday when four bike-borne miscreants came to a medical store and thrashed one of its employees, Rakibul Haque.

"The miscreants also caught hold of Kurban Khan and Buran Ali, who worked at a nearby tea stall and verbally abused and thrashed them for no reason. Later, they also forced the trio to chant 'Jai Shri Ram'," said Jakir Hussain, President of the West Barpeta Traders' Association.

"We have received an FIR in this regard and have started an investigation. The culprits will be brought to the book soon," the police said, adding that they have also seized the motorcycles of the miscreants.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/3-muslim-youths-forced-to-chant-jai-shri-ram-in-assam-1563697-2019-07-06?utm_source=recengine&utm_medium=web&referral=yes&utm_content=footerstrip-2

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Ulema Council supports Aceh’s plan to legalize polygamy

July 6, 2019

West Aceh Ulema Council (MPU) chairman Teungku Abdurrani Adian has expressed support for a plan by the Aceh administration to legalize polygamy.

"Polygamy is legal in Islam, but it has not been regulated in the local bylaws. We [ulema] will support if it will be implemented," Adian told Antara in on Saturday.

The legalization of polygamy, he said, would be the best solution for suppressing nikah siri (marriages blessed by an ulema but not registered by local administrations), which were commonly initiated by men in the sharia-governed province.

He added that as the marriages were not acknowledged by the state, women tended to be put at a disadvantage, specifically in terms of the distribution of inheritances and child recognition.

Adian also argued that if polygamy was not legalized then the number of illegal headmen would grow in Aceh.

Indonesian law does not prohibit polygamy, but civil servants, as well as police and military personnel, are barred from having more than one wife.

"We support the proposed regulation, even more so if polygamy is legalized by state laws; it would even be better," said Adian. (ars)

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/07/06/ulema-council-supports-acehs-plan-to-legalize-polygamy.html

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Political Parties In The Two Parts Of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Faces Existential Problems: Study

July 6, 2019

New Delhi [India], July 6 (ANI): Political Parties in the two parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) -- Gilgit- Baltistan (GB) and the misnamed "Azad" Kashmir ('AJK') -- are facing the question of their survival for different or similar reasons.

One similar reason is that their dependence on their patrons in Pakistan, which in their view, obviates the need to labour in their constituencies. Also, Pakistan's patronage emboldens them to indulge in corruption without fear. Thus, the people helplessly vote for them without reposing respect and confidence in them.

In GB, there is confusion about how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will affect its people and what will be the region's constitutional status. In PoK, the Pakistani Army seems to have shifted its patronage from political parties to India-focussed militants. Thus the Muslim Conference and the Pakistan People's Party in PoK have been abandoned. The local people's support for present political parties has waned in both parts of occupied Kashmir.

"Pakistan Occupied Kashmir: Politics, Parties and Personalities," produced by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), New Delhi, is perhaps the first thorough work on this subject in India. It has been authored by three scholars of IDSA. They are Surinder Kumar Sharma, Yaqoob ul Hassan and Ashok Behuria, all staunch Pakistan watchers.

The book makes a separate study of political parties, their growth and the challenges facing them, providing a critical analysis of the politics of GB and PoK and acquaint the readers with different personalities playing important role in their regions. There is one common point between the two parts of PoK; they both have two political entities, out of which one supported by Pakistan is called a mainstream political party. They have the wherewithal to fight and win elections. The other political entity is made up of weak nationalist parties who are too poor to fight elections or win them.

The irony is that the former wins the elections without much interest in the problem of their constituencies while the latter cannot fight or win elections despite their knowledge of and their concern for the region. In October 2005, when an earthquake struck PoK and killed thousands of people, its politicians fled to Pakistan only to return when things became normal. They did not feel the need to apologise to their voters for deserting them in the hour of need. Till recent years, GB had no tradition of political activity.

Under Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) a political activity was a crime. In 1974, the then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto abolished this law. But it took 20 more years for the people of GB to take part in electoral activities when former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto allowed party-based elections in 1994.

The 1994 reform led to the mushroom growth of Pakistan-based political parties supported by their mother parties in Pakistan. These parties included the Pakistan People's Party(PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-i-Islami and branches of all political parties and Islamic groups. In the past 25 years, the PPP and PML-N have alternatively ruled GB whenever their mother parties were in power in Pakistan. This means the elections in GB have never reflected the wishes and aspirations of the local population.

Help from their mother parties or the establishment in Pakistan has made mainstream political parties so callous and shameless that they never felt the need to apologise for well-known cases of corruption even at the time of elections.

Before the July 2016 Assembly elections in PoK, the 'AJK' Election Commission registered 44 political parties. This large number of parties included Pakistani political parties who made a steady incursion into PoK local politics and decimated local traditional parties. These 44 parties did not include nationalist parties who reject the Pakistan-imposed ideology of Kashmir's accession to Pakistan.

The most notable among these 44 political parties is the Muslim Conference which was established by Sheikh Abdullah in 1932. In 1939, Sheikh Abdullah secularised it by renaming it the "National Conference."

However, the pro-Pakistan elements split and retained its original name - the Muslim Conference. The Pakistan government rewarded it by making its leader Sardar Ibrahim the first President of Kashmir territory which it occupied after its invasion and named it "Azad" Kashmir. As a protege of Pakistan, this party has ruled PoK with loyalty to Pakistan's objectives in Kashmir but no commitment to the people of PoK. It won or lost elections not because of voters' choice but because of mechanisations in Islamabad.

On August 14, 1973, Z.A. Bhutto became Prime Minister of Pakistan under the just-promulgated 1973 Constitution. His first target seemed he wanted to rid PoK of the Muslim Conference. He was full of clever tricks. He designed the 1974 Constitution (Provisional) cleverly associating PoK President Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan with its preparation, whose party, the Muslim Conference was going to be its victim.

This party got a very big shock to its existence in 1975 when Bhutto organized the first Assembly elections in PoK under the1974 Constitution. Bhutto's PPP, the new entrant in the region, forced the Muslim Conference out of its muscle power. Its foundations were shaken. In 1985, General Zia helped his party to return to power but its inner dissensions, mostly because of fearless corruption, had pushed it down the hill. Sardar Qayyum died (July 11, 2015) and his son Sardar Attique, known for his corruption, took charge of the party and took it to its logical end in 2016 when it got only 3 seats and all its heavyweight members were defeated.

When the PPP ruled Pakistan, the AJKPPP swept the June 2011 elections in PoK, bundling out the Muslim Conference. In 2013, the Muslim League came to power in Pakistan. The next elections took place in 2016 when Nawaz Muslim League consigned the Muslim Conference and the AJKPPP to three seats each. The weak Muslim Conference is so badly riven with intrigues and rivalries that its revival seems near impossible. The revival of AJKPPP also seems difficult because its mother party in Pakistan has been confined to Sind and some pockets in Punjab.

The condition of political parties is no better in GB either because here also a political party comes to power if its mother party is in power in Pakistan. Thus, when the PPP is ruling Pakistan, the PPPGB won the elections.

The PML-GB and other Pakistan-based parties have tried to keep themselves alive by ferociously campaigning for making GB the fifth province of Pakistan. The Supreme Court in its verdict in January this year said that this cannot be done without holding a UN plebiscite. Thus the undeclared status of GB is a challenge for CPEC.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/pakistan-occupied-kashmir-faces-existential-problems-study-119070600557_1.html

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Iran to raise uranium enrichment, announce more nuclear deal reductions

6 July 2019

Iran will announce on Sunday that it will raise its uranium enrichment level to 5%, a concentration above the limit set by its 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers, an Iranian official told Reuters.

“The main announcement tomorrow will be the increase of the level of enrichment to 5 percent percent from 3.67 percent that we agreed under the deal,” the official said on Saturday on condition of anonymity.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported earlier that Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi will announce more cuts in its commitments to the pact on Sunday.

On Friday, a top advisor to Iran’s supreme leader had hinted Tehran could boost its uranium enrichment to five percent for “peaceful” aims, ahead of deadline it set for world powers to save a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran is acting on its May 8 threat to suspend from Sunday parts of the agreement in response to US President Donald Trump’s reimposition of crippling sanctions after withdrawing from the deal in May last year.

The accord capped Iran’s enrichment maximum at 3.67 percent, sufficient for power generation but far below the more than 90 percent level required for a nuclear weapon.

Uranium enrichment “will increase as much as needed for our peaceful activities,” Ali Akbar Velayati, international affairs advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in an interview published on Friday on the leader’s official website.

“For Bushehr nuclear reactor we need five percent enrichment and it is a completely peaceful goal,” he added.

Bushehr is Iran’s only nuclear power station and is currently running on imported fuel from Russia that is closely monitored by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

On May 8, Iran announced it would no longer respect the limits set on the size of its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water, and threatened to abandon further nuclear commitments, including exceeding the agreed uranium enrichment maximum from July 7.

It has also threatened to resume building from that date a heavy water reactor -- capable of one day producing plutonium -- in Arak

in central Iran, a project that had been mothballed under the deal.

The move comes in response to what Iran deems a failure by the remaining parties to the deal -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- to provide Tehran with relief from the US sanctions.

“The US has directly and Europeans indirectly violated” the deal, said Velayati.“We will react proportionally the more they violate it.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/06/Iran-to-announce-more-reductions-to-nuclear-deal-commitments.html

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Sudan army ruler vows to ‘implement’ deal with protesters

7 July 2019

Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan vowed Saturday to protect and implement the power-sharing deal agreed with protesters that aims to end the country’s months-long political crisis.

“We, as the military council, promise to protect what has been agreed upon and ensure that it is implemented,” Burhan said in a statement broadcast live on state television.

The Alliance for Freedom and Change and the ruling military council agreed on Friday to form a joint ruling body, which in turn is to install a transitional civilian administration – the protesters’ main demand.

Prominent protest leaders Ahmed al-Rabie and Khalid Omar confirmed to AFP that the civil disobedience campaign had been canceled.

“It is to give room for the agreement” to be implemented, Rabie said.

A deal is expected to be ready for signing by the two sides early next week, although the draft has postponed the formation of a 300-seat transitional parliament that had been agreed upon in previous talks.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/07/Sudan-army-ruler-vows-to-implement-deal-with-protesters.html

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India

 

Pakistani terrorists being trained in Afghanistan after Balakot

Jul 07, 2019

Shishir Gupta

India’s diplomatic missions and offices in Kabul and Kandahar have been put on high alert after intelligence inputs indicated that cadre of terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have shifted to Kunar, Nangarhar, Nuristan and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan after the Indian Air Force’s strike on the Balakot terror camp.

Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage jets attacked JeM’s Balakot terror camp at Manshera in Pakistan, retaliating to the February 14 attack by a Jaish suicide-bomber on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir.

According to documents reviewed by Hindustan Times, both the Pakistan-based proscribed groups have joined hands with the Afghan Taliban and Afghan insurgent group, Haqqani Network, across the Durand Line that separates Pakistan from Afghanistan, for training their extremist cadre in subversive activity. It is perhaps due to this reason that the Modi government has not taken at face value the action taken by Pakistan’s Imran Khan government on July 1-2 on 15 over-ground LeT leaders and five charity organisations linked to terror funding. India has called for visible and verifiable action against armed terror groups and not window-dressing.

Indian security agencies believe that the terrorist cadre’s shift to across the Durand Line has been done to avoid black-listing of Pakistan by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its Paris conference later this year. The multilateral body formed to crack down on cross-border money laundering and terror financing has been extremely critical of Pakistan and placed it on a grey list.

Indeed, people familiar with the matter in India’s counterterror agencies say that even as Pakistan was launching its July actions, Indian diplomatic establishments, including the embassy in Kabul, were under threat from a heavily-armed group of JeM terrorists led by Haji Abdul Safi. There was also a threat from another terrorist Qari Wari Gul to carry out a vehicle-borne IED attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. And there was an alert against a Taliban attack on the Indian consulate in Kandahar. The people added that these were very real threats.

The North Block has also been informed that a significant number of Jaish cadre shifted to Kot and Momandara (Nangarhar); Sanguin and Marja (Helmand); Logan, Nawa (Ghazni), Zurmat (Paktia), Kunar, Faryab and Kunduz provinces of Afghanistan in coordination with the Taliban. Intelligence reports also indicate that both the Taliban and the Haqqani Network offered shelter to Jaish emir Maulana Masood Azhar in Afghanistan in February 2019 but the latter felt more safe under the protection of the Pakistani Army in Bhawalpur.

The revelation about increased JeM footprint in Afghanistan came when two of its terrorists, identified as Sediq Akbar and Ataullah were arrested by Afghan National Security Force in January this year from Jalalabad while they were en-route to Kabul. Trained at Markaz Usman-e-Ali in Bhawalpur and Balakot terror camps, the two revealed that they had been tasked to conduct surveillance on Indian interests in Kabul and Kandahar.

Apart from this, LeT has established training centres for its cadre in Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar, Helmand and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan. It has moved its cadre from Peshawar to Kabul, and also decided to train its cadre in subversion and sabotage with the help of Taliban.

A recent Pentagon report noted that the LeT, with more than 300 fighters in Afghanistan, posed a significant threat to the US and allied forces. The group has also been instrumental in forging peace between Taliban and so-called Islamic State of Khyber-Paktunkhwa.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pak-terrorists-being-trained-in-afghanistan-after-balakot/story-LScNbk5jsCcZXxEM2HmljM.html

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Owaisi urges Centre to frame law against lynching

Jul 6, 2019

HYDERABAD: AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi has said the Centre should come out with a law against lynching and wondered why such legislation was not brought out despite a Supreme Court suggestion to frame one.

Addressing a meeting here on Friday against lynchings, Owaisi accused the Sangh Parivar of spreading hatred and false propaganda against the Muslims, adding that it had resulted in such incidents.

"You read their literature... What has Deendayal Upadhyaya (RSS ideologue) written in the theory of integral humanism? What has he written about Muslims? You read it," he said.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader, who spoke at length about the lynching of Tabrez Ansari, alleged that the perpetrators of the incident were terrorists.

Ansari, 24, died after he was allegedly tied to a pole and thrashed with sticks by a mob in Jharkhand's Seraikela Kharsawan district last month on the suspicion of theft. The newly-married youth was purportedly seen in a video being forced to chant "Jai Shri Ram" and "Jai Hanuman".

Owaisi asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi would call those who killed Ansari terrorists.

"Why don't you frame a law, Mr Modi? Why cannot such a law be brought out when the Supreme Court had told you to do so?" he asked.

In July last year, the Supreme Court had asked the Parliament to consider enacting a new law to effectively deal with incidents of mob lynching, saying "horrendous acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm.

Referring to the budget, Owaisi said he also wanted to see India become a superpower and a USD 5-trillion economy, but wondered whether it could be achieved if hatred was spread against the Muslims.

The Hyderabad MP said the Muslims should not get disappointed or live in fear. He asserted that the people of the community would not raise the slogans even if they were forced by the mobs.

The AIMIM chief said he was against anyone taking law into their own hands, but underlined the need to continue to the fight according to the law.

Owaisi underlined that his party was not against the Hindus, but against Hindutva.

"Hindu nationalism is different and Indian nationalism is different. Indian nationalism includes all religions. Hindu brethren in the country are secular and will remain so," he said.

Referring to BJP president Amit Shah's comments last year that the AIMIM was a "Razakar's party", Owaisi said he had nothing to do with the militia of the erstwhile Nizams. "Those who are Razakars had gone to Pakistan. Those who are dutiful, that is the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslim," he said.

At a rally before the Telangana assembly election, Shah had called the AIMIM a "razakar's party".

Referring to the BJP's plans to form the government in Telangana, Owaisi said TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao was also a "strong Hindu". "If Modi goes to two temples, Chandrashekar Rao goes to six," he said.

Owaisi claimed that the BJP knew it cannot beat Rao in the name of Hinduism and the party was not able to understand what to do with him.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/owaisi-urges-centre-to-frame-law-against-lynching/articleshow/70106891.cms

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Fact-check: Was the case of Tabrez Ansari’s mob-attack raised at a UN convention?

Aqib Pathan

6th July 2019

A video clip with the claim that it is a United Nations conference is doing rounds on social media since the last few days. In this video, a representative can be heard speaking about the recent mob-lynching in Jharkhand where Tabrez Ansari was tied to a pole and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

“Tabrez Ansari ke liye awaaz UNO tak pahunchgayi. India is getting defamed because of Gau Rakshaks in front of the whole World… Shame,” is the most common caption used to share the video.

In the video, the speaker begins his note by saying, “In the last five years Muslims in India have seen a rise in hate crimes committed against their community. In the last five years, there have been lynching of Muslims and Dalits across India by fanatic Hindu mobs ostensibly for the protection of the holy cow,” then goes on to talk about the lynching of Tabrez Ansari. “Ten days ago, 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari was beaten for hours until he died in the hands of the Hindu mob in the eastern state of Jharkhand for not chanting Jai Sri Ram,” he states.

The clip quote-tweeted by AIMIM President Assauddin Owaisi. Several people have reached out to Alt News, asking about the veracity of the claim that mob-lynchings in India was discussed at the UN.

It’s true

Alt News found that Tabrez Ansari’s case and mob-lynchings in India were indeed raised at the 7th Meeting of the 41st Regular Session held before the UN Human Rights Council. Paul Newmman Kumar Stanisclavas of the NGO Centre for Africa Development and Progress raised the issue. The complete video is posted on the official website of the United Nations Web TV. At 2:09:36 hours in the video, the relevant portion can be heard.

UN Human Rights Council is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

While addressing the session, Newmman said that India is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights but in the last five years, mob-lynching against Muslim and Dalits in India have been on a rise.

His entire speech on the issue is as follows:

“In the last five years Muslims in India have seen a rise in hate crimes committed against their community. In the last five years, there have been lynching of Muslims and Dalits across India by fanatic Hindu mobs ostensibly for the protection of the holy cow. Since April 2017, at least 10 Muslims have been lynched in public in suspected hate crimes. The attacks have contributed to a growing sense of insecurity among Muslims and intensified religious tension. The recent trend is to make Muslims chant Jai Sri Ram. Ten days ago, 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari was beaten for hours until he died in the hands of the Hindu mob in the eastern state of Jharkhand for not chanting Jai Sri Ram. Recently, a Muslim teacher has attacked in a train for being Muslim. He was heckled to say Jai Sri Ram, when he refused he was beaten and forced to get off the train. Member of Parliament, Pratap Sarangi, of the ruling party, in his first speech in the Parliament, asked why people who refuse to chant Hindu slogans should be allowed to live in India. These fanatic Hindu mobs have moved around with apparent impunity. The Indian state has remained mute to the cries of the minorities.”

It is noteworthy that BJP MP Pratap Chandra Sarangi, in his maiden Parliament speech, did not say that people who refuse to chant Hindu slogans should not be allowed to live in India. His comment was on ‘Vande Mataram’ and not ‘Jai Shri Ram’ or any other Hindu slogans.

Newmman ended his speech by urging the UNHRC to intervene and requested India to follow the principles laid down in its Constitution.

Full report at:

https://www.altnews.in/harassment-of-a-minor-girl-in-zafarabad-up-falsely-attributed-to-members-of-muslim-community/

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Southeast Asia

 

Paternity Leave Will Help Fathers Fulfil Religious Duty: Women’s Aid Organisation

By Siti Fatimah Abdul Rahman

July 6, 2019

IN light of the upcoming amendments to the Employment Act, the Women’s Aid Organisation is calling for the introduction of at least seven days of paternity leave in the private sector, similar to the current practice in the public sector.

This news brings to mind the to-do list that Islam highly recommends to parents, especially fathers, in welcoming the newborn.

If paternity leave is granted to fathers working in the private sector, it will help Muslim fathers to play their roles according to the Sunnah (ways of Prophet Muhammad).

For Muslims, the first seven days after a child is born is very important, especially for the father. Other than to help out and be with his wife and their newborn baby, there are a few things that fathers need to do.

Although some of these responsibilities can be postponed, it is best to do them within seven days of the birth, following the Sunnah.

In Islam there is a to-do list with regard to the newborn: (i) saying the azan and iqamah to the baby; (ii) performing tahnik; (iii) shaving the baby’s head; (iv) giving a name to the baby; and, (v) performing the aqiqah.

The first thing a father needs to do is to say the azan and the iqamah to the newborn. While the azan is the call to prayer that we hear every day from the mosque, iqamah is the final call to prayer which is done more swiftly as it addresses those who are already in the mosque.

Normally, this takes place at the hospital. After the baby is cleaned, the father will carry the baby close to his chest and say the azan to the baby’s right ear and iqamah to the left ear.

By doing this it is hoped that the first thing the baby hears is the word of the supreme call which contains Allah’s magnificence and glory and the shahadah which represent his first step into Islam.

Secondly, fathers are recommended to perform the tahnik. It refers to the act of placing something sweet like chewed dates or honey inside the baby’s palate.

Normally, the honour of doing this is given to a pious and righteous man, in order to seek his blessing and in the hope that the baby grows up pious and righteous.

This man will chew the dates, put some of it on his fingertip, insert it in the baby’s mouth, and gently move his finger right and left, until the whole mouth is rubbed with the chewed dates.

It is believed that this act will strengthen the muscles in the baby’s mouth and thus enhance its suckling experience.

Thirdly, Islam recommends that the head of the newborn be shaved on the seventh day.

The hair is then weighed and the equivalent price in silver is to be identified and given away to the poor and needy.

Shaving the baby’s head will get rid of the weaker hair the child is born with and open up the pores so that stronger hair can grow.

Giving money to the poor and needy serves as a social function that reflects social solidarity and cooperation.

Fourthly, giving a name to the baby. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, once said, “You will be called at doomsday by your names, your father’s name, so choose nice names.”

Parents are advised to choose the most beautiful names, following the Prophet’s guidance.

Last but not least, aqiqah, which involves slaughtering a goat or a sheep for the newborn and sharing its meat with friends and family.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Aqiqah must be offered for every newly born child, to be slaughtered on his seventh day, and he is given a name, and has haircut”.

Although aqiqah is not obligatory, it has many benefits and Muslims are encouraged to perform it. It is a way of expressing gratitude to Allah for the blessing of having a child. It is also believed that aqiqah brings a child close to Allah soon after entering this world.

Furthermore, it is a cause for gathering family, friends and the community in welcoming the newborn.

No doubt aqiqah can be done later. It is highly recommended to do it on the seventh day as the Prophet did.

Apparently, many fatherhood responsibilities need to be carried out for a newborn, especially in the first seven days.

In that sense, the seven days’ paternity leave for the private sector is eagerly anticipated as Muslim fathers can follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad in welcoming the additional member of the family.

https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/07/502089/paternity-leave-will-help-fathers-fulfil-religious-duty

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Annuar’s logic flawed, says PPBM man on 1MDB funds

Melissa Darlyne Chow

July 7, 2019

PETALING JAYA: A PPBM leader has called out Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa over his claim that money in the party’s frozen accounts has nothing to do with 1MDB.

Annuar had claimed this was because the funds from former Umno president Najib Razak had been used up by 2014.

PPBM Supreme Council member Tariq Ismail said Annuar’s logic was flawed.

“So, if Umno received funds in 2011, 2012 and 2013 from 1MDB and used it all in 2014, it means they are not guilty?

“Going by that logic, if a thief steals money and uses it, he is innocent?

“Annuar should do some soul searching as he is part of the gravy train of Umno leaders that were only too happy to receive the alleged 1MDB money,” he told FMT.

Tariq also criticised Annuar’s definition of kleptocracy as “personal accounts but not for personal gain”.

“So, using state funds for a sovereign wealth fund to create movies and pay off Umno is not stealing but somehow an act of charity?” he asked.

Stating that Annuar was in denial in believing that Umno was really innocent, Tariq said that under money laundering laws, it does not matter whether the money has been spent or not when the account is frozen.

“As long as an account is suspected of receiving illegal money, that account is liable to be frozen, regardless of whether that illegal money has been spent or otherwise at the time the account is frozen,” he said.

Annuar reportedly claimed the money in the party’s frozen accounts had nothing to do with 1MDB as the funds from Najib were used up by 2014.

“I can swear on behalf of Umno, not a single sen of the money that has been frozen in Umno’s accounts has anything to do with 1MDB,” he was reported to have said at the Kuala Terengganu Umno delegates’ meeting yesterday.

“I dare to make this statement because I have already seen the documents in detail.

“The accusation is that (Umno) received (funds) from Najib’s accounts in 2011, 2012 and 2013. By 2014, the money received from Najib’s accounts had been completely cleaned out.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/07/07/annuars-logic-flawed-says-ppbm-man-on-1mdb-funds/

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Kuala Dulang mosque draws foreign scholars, leaders

By Nur Aqidah Azizi

July 7, 2019

Steeped in history, the district of Jelebu in Negri Sembilan is a well-known gem among travellers from all over the world.

While the colonial past of former mining town Sungai Muntoh is evident trough the discovery of colonial artifacts, its oldest mosque in Kampung Peninjau continues to draw huge congregations and Islamic scholars.

Masjid Kuala Dulang, located 1.5km from Kuala Klawang town, is known for intriguing tales that makes it a popular destination for visitors.

For many years, the mosque has attracted local and foreign congregations, including those from neighbouring countries who make regular visits to the mosque to pray and pay their nazar (vows) by fasting and distributing food to residents.

Masjid Kuala Dulang, which can accommodate 500 people, is believed to have been founded by Datuk Nika and Mudim Khatib Raja, Islamic preachers from Minangkabau, Indonesia, who arrived in Jelebu in the 16th century to spread the teachings of Islam.

Both men later explored the area, which spawned the name Kampung Peninjau (“peninjau” means explorer).

According to locals, the mosque was originally built as a hut with its roof made from ijuk (nipah palm leaves). Interestingly, it was originally built without a single nail.

Datuk Nika and Mudim Khatib Raja had sought shelter inside the hut before it was turned into a mosque.

As for the name of the mosque, Suffien Arif, who is the imam there, said a popular story had it that Islamic scholars who performed their prayers at the mosque discovered a mysterious dulang (tray) containing food at the mosque afterwards.

“This story, although unverified, was passed down from generation to generation. The story goes that the scholars were hungry, but they didn’t have any food,” he said.

“After praying, they discovered a tray full of food at the mosque. However, they couldn’t find the person responsible for this act of kindness.

“Until today, the identity of the person who gave the food is unknown.”

Suffien said the tray was used to serve food for the congregation and it always provided enough food for everybody.

“However, the tray went missing 400 years ago. The story has it that a man accidentally dropped and broke the tray,” he said.

The story of the tray, which is immortalised in the name of the mosque, may be out of sight, but nipah palm leaves are still used to cover the mosque’s pulpit as a nod to its past.

In tourism pamphlets, the mosque is also known as Masjid Warisan Kampung Dulang.

The presence of the mosque’s tabuh, or beduk (barrel drum used to call to prayer), believed to have arrived in the 16th century, also has its own story.

It began when villagers were searching for ways to call to prayer, following the construction of the mosque.

“One night, heavy rain had caused water from nearby Sungai Triang to overflow. The next day, a large tree, which had fallen and been swept away by the river, appeared in front of the mosque,” Suffien said.

“The tree was used to make the body of the tabuh, with a cow hide stretched over it as the drumhead.”

He said the cow hide was stolen a few times in the past due to its historical significance, forcing the mosque’s committee members to replace it with new ones.

“People had previously cut it off and sold it as souvenirs. There were also those who turned it into amulets, a practice that is forbidden in Islam.”

Due to the mosque’s close location to the river, which is only a few metres away from its steps, it is not be spared from floodwaters when the area is hit by heavy rain.

“However, we are thankful that the mosque has survived at least two major floods — one before Merdeka and the other in 1970.

“During the incidents, nearby villages were inundated with water from the river, but the mosque was not affected. It is one of the God-given miracles that adds another unique element to the mosque.”

The mosque is said to have been visited by religious leaders from all over the world, who wanted to perform their prayers there.

Full report at:

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/07/502242/kuala-dulang-mosque-draws-foreign-scholars-leaders

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Pakistan

 

Police arrest al-Qaeda funder in Pakistan

7 July 2019

Authorities in Pakistan say counterterrorism forces have arrested a man who funding for al-Qaeda militants under the cover of a non-governmental organization.

Officer Ilyas Khan of the provincial Counter-Terrorism Department said late Saturday Ali Nawaz was using multiple bank accounts linked with the NGO, Human Concern International.

The official said federal investigators have monitored heavy transactions in the organization’s accounts in recent months.

He said the counterterrorism forces in the northwestern city of Peshawar raided the NGO offices on Saturday, arresting its regional director Nawaz and three others.

In recent months, Pakistani authorities have launched a heavy campaign against terrorism financing. The country is currently on the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list, denoting its status as a haven for money laundering. It has until October to avoid black listing.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/07/07/Police-arrest-al-Qaeda-funder-in-Pakistan.html

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Corrupt politicians posing threat to democracy: Sheikh Rashid

July 6, 2019

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Saturday said corrupt politicians could pose serious threat to democracy in the country.

Addressing a press conference at Pakistan Railways (PR) Headquarters, he said  next 90 days including the current month were very significant for politics in the country as the corrupt elements would be taken to task.

The minister said Shehbaz Sharif was made opposition leader in National Assembly through a conspiracy to get escape from jail, adding, production orders of those facing any accusations should not be issued.

To a question about opposition’s motion against Senate chairman, Sheikh Rashid said opposition wanted to change Senate chairman but it could not do so.

To another query, he said no one issued his production orders when he was in jail, while no facility including television or air-conditioner was provided to him. All facilities were being provided to Nawaz Sharif in Jail, he added.

The minister said that about 37 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) from Punjab were ready to form a forward bloc. He said it was a success of the PR to win Royal Palm Club case.

Sheikh Rashid said Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit the United States (US), and then Russia, which was a success of the Foreign Office.

To a question, he said it was a perception that Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar would not deliver, but his performance had been outstanding and he was working day and night for welfare and uplift of people.

The minister said PR’s property worth billions of rupees had been occupied and he would take up the matter in the cabinet meeting.

To another question, he said sons of Nawaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, would not return to the country, adding that former finance minister Ishaq Dar would be brought back soon.

Regarding the Railways performance, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said by adopting a comprehensive policy, 24 new passenger trains had been launched during one year, and an addition of six million passengers was made so far.

About 3.5-million-litre oil has also been saved during a year, he added.

He further said PR had taken over the charge of Royal Palm Club, adding that PR would also forward the cases against Shalimar Hospital and Business Express.

Full report at:

https://www.brecorder.com/2019/07/06/507994/corrupt-politicians-posing-threat-to-democracy-sheikh-rashid/

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Govt floods ground with rainwater to stop rally, alleges PML-N

July 07, 2019

GUJRAT: The local administration of Mandi Bahauddin sealed the main gate of the Quaid-i-Azam Ground, also known as Cinema Ground, and deployed police contingent there on Saturday in a bid to stop the PML-N from holding a rally today [Sunday].

The ground had also been allegedly filled with the rain and drainage water after the heavy rain on Saturday and it seemed difficult that a rally could be held there in the current situation.

Earlier, the administration and police did not grant the PML-N permission to hold the rally at the venue, citing security reasons. Maryam Nawaz was expected to address to rally, according to the initial plan.

However, Mushahid Gujjar, a local party leader and the host of the scheduled rally, told Dawn the rally would be held as per its schedule on Sunday (today) at the same venue around 6pm despite administration’s tactics to create hindrances to stop the peaceful political activity.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had held two public meetings at the same venue during the PML-N era and the then government had granted the PTI permission for the meetings while during the election campaign of the 2018 polls, both the PML-N and PTI held public meetings at the same place.

Mr Gujjar alleged that the administration had brought the police from neighbouring districts and a crackdown on the PML-N workers had been launched to arrest them.

Meanwhile, the PML-N claimed more than a dozen of its workers had been arrested and the administration had intentionally diverted the water of a drain to the venue.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1492552/govt-floods-ground-with-rainwater-to-stop-rally-alleges-pml-n

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Asif Ghafoor cautions against 'irresponsible, biased use of social media'

July 07, 2019

Days after a hashtag calling for the arrest of journalists briefly became the top Twitter trend in Pakistan, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, via his personal Twitter account, cautioned against making "sweeping targeted statements or trends" against any individual, profession or institution.

"Irresponsible biased use of social media and vested negative trends can lead to misunderstandings/spats," said the director general (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), army's media wing, on Sunday.

"Sweeping targeted statements or trends against any individual/profession/institution are unethical. One such example is sweeping trend against journalists," he said, ending it with the hashtag #StayResponsible. His tweet, however, did not specify if he was addressing anyone in particular.

The alarming hashtag #ArrestAntiPakjournalists was used or forwarded more than 28,000 times on Thursday. Many users accompanied it with a composite photograph of prominent journalists and TV anchors, some of whom regularly criticise the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the powerful military establishment.

An image of Hamid Mir, one of Pakistan's most high-profile TV anchors, was prominent among the photographs of journalists being shared.

Mir made international headlines in 2014 after surviving multiple gunshot wounds in an attack he blamed on Pakistan's top spy organisation.

Two days prior to the anti-journalists hashtag, he launched a Twitter tirade against increasing censorship after his interview with former president Asif Ali Zardari, now an opposition leader, was abruptly taken off the air shortly after it began.

“We are not living in a free country,” he wrote.

'Life-threatening campaign'

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists has taken notice of the malicious campaign launched on social media.

The union’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) adopted a resolution at its meeting on Saturday, which urged the government to take action against those responsible for the “life-threatening campaign”. It called upon the government, state institutions and judiciary to take immediate and urgent notice of the campaign, which has been launched on the basis of religious hatred.

Under the campaign, concocted and fabricated allegations have been posted online that have termed some journalists “foreign agents”, posing a direct threat to their lives and that of their families.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1492659/asif-ghafoor-cautions-against-irresponsible-biased-use-of-social-media

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37 PML-N MPAs have almost formed a forward bloc, claims Rashid

July 07, 2019

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid has hinted at more arrests from the opposition, including former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in the coming days.

He also claims that former finance minister Ishaq Dar would be brought back to Pakistan from the UK in the next seven days.

“Whosoever is crying these days is about to be arrested. Ishaq Dar too will be brought back soon to Pakistan from the UK. He will be here before my next press conference next week,” he told journalists at a press conference on Saturday.

The minister also faced reporters’ anger over the misbehaviour of Pakistan Railways (PR) chief executive officer (CEO) with a senior journalist last week over the reporting of a derailment at the Lahore railway station. As soon as the minister started the press conference, the journalists urged him to summon the CEO for tendering an apology.

Although the minister tried to pacify the journalists by apologising on behalf of the CEO, they did not agree and boycotted the press conference. However, they returned after sometime and condemned the minister for not behaving with them appropriately.

Continuing his presser, the minister said a forward bloc of 37 PML-N MPAs was almost formed in the Punjab Assembly. However, the bloc in the National Assembly only had a handful of members so far. “In the PA, the bloc still needs seven more members to be effective,” he added.

Rashid criticised PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz for creating troubles for her family. “Maryam Nawaz Sharif is the person who put the PML-N government into great troubles. If she wants to do a public meeting, she can, as it doesn’t matter for the government,” he added.

Talking about the ongoing development in the railways, he said several chunks of benami property worth billions belonging to the PR had been detected. On the instructions of the prime minister, the Mianwali Express would be launched on July 19 between Lahore and Mianwali.

He further said the PR had taken over administrative and functional control of the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club on Saturday. “There will be no problems for the club members, as they can carry out their routine activities there. We have also issued a direction against allowing entry of any person, including non-member PR officers, to the club.”

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1492549/37-pml-n-mpas-have-almost-formed-a-forward-bloc-claims-rashid

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‘Terrorist’ killed in Nasirabad encounter

JULY 7, 2019

The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) on Saturday claimed to have killed a terrorist during an exchange of fire with its officials on Friday night, and added that two other terrorists managed to escape from the scene in Notal area of Nasirabad district of Balochistan. According to details, CTD conducted an operation in Notal on a tip that terrorists were present in the area, during which the militants hiding in a compound opened fire. The CTD personnel returned the fire as a result one terrorist was killed while two others managed to escape. A CTD spokesperson informed media that the killed terrorist was identified as Shukar Ullah who acted as facilitator in two suicide attacks on District Bolan. The CTD personnel also recovered a suicide jacket, explosive material and arms from terrorists’ hideout.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/425443/terrorist-killed-in-nasirabad-encounter/

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Pakistan judge 'blackmailed' into issuing verdict against Nawaz Sharif: Maryam

Jul 7, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz has released a video clip purportedly showing an accountability court judge allegedly confessing that he was "blackmailed and forced" to convict former premier Nawaz Sharif in a corruption case.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Saturday alongside the top leadership of the PML-N, Maryam, the daughter of 69-year-old Sharif, said that her father's entire judicial process was severely compromised.

Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018 when the accountability court convicted him in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case - one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of the apex court's July 28, 2017 order in Panama Papers case.

Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing and allege that the corruption cases against them were politically motivated.

Maryam claimed Accountability Court Islamabad Judge Arshad Malik, who sentenced Sharif to a seven-year imprisonment in the Al-Azizia corruption case, confessed in his conversation with PML-N supporter Nasir Butt that he was "blackmailed and forced (by hidden forces)" to give verdict against the former premier.

The video purportedly shows the judge speaking to Butt and claiming that he was coerced to hand down the prison sentence against Sharif despite there being no proof of corruption against him.

The Imran Khan government termed the leaked video "doctored" and demanded its forensic audit, saying that "it is an attack on the judiciary."

Maryam said this was a "divine help" as her father failed to get justice in cases against him.

She said Judge Malik had categorically declared that there was no evidence of money laundering, commission or any other wrong financial transaction against Sharif but he had "orders to send him jail for which I am repenting."

The judge was "blackmailed" into handing down the sentence against Sharif after some people threatened that they would release a private video of his, she alleged. She said the judge did not write the sentence but "was made to write" the prison sentence for Sharif.

She claimed the judge was under immense pressure to send the former prime minister to jail, and that he had contemplated committing suicide several times since.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-judge-blackmailed-into-issuing-verdict-against-nawaz-sharif-maryam/articleshow/70112842.cms

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Mideast

 

Arab Coalition says Houthi drones intercepted before they reached targets

6 July 2019

The Arab Coalition has denied claims made by the Houthis that the militia targeted aircraft belonging to the coalition within Saudi territories.

The spokesperson of the Arab Coalition, Col. Turki al-Maliki, said on Saturday that forces were able to intercept the drones launched by the Houthis before they reached their targets inside Saudi Arabia.

“The attempts of the Houthi militia to continue targeting civilians and public facilities will be constantly confronted and neutralized in accordance with international humanitarian law and its customary rules,” al-Maliki said in a statement.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/07/06/Arab-Coalition-says-it-intercepted-Houthi-drones-before-they-reached-targets.html

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Iran’s contribution is needed to rebuild Iraq after Daesh: Envoy

Jul 6, 2019

Iraq’s ambassador to Iran says the Arab country dearly needs Tehran’s economic and technical support as it seeks to rebuild territories ravaged by Daesh terrorists while insisting that US pressure would fail to break the intimate bonds between the two neighbors.

“Huge damage was inflicted on Iraq during the time of Daesh and we need Iran’s contribution to reverse the damage,” said Sa’ad Jawad Qandil while addressing a trade conference in Tehran on Saturday.

Qandil said US economic sanctions on Iran would be no deterrent to Iraq and its efforts to consolidate trade and business ties with its Iran, insisting the two neighboring countries were “determined to weather the crisis”.

He said Iraq’s refusal to adhere to US sanctions on Iran was meant to compensate Iran’s support for Iraq which persisted until two years ago when the Arab country purged Daesh militants from its territories.

“As Iran was beside Iraq at the time of Daesh insurgency, now Iraq will stand by its friendly and neighboring country during sanctions,” said the Iraqi ambassador.

In his speech, Qandil expressed hope that the value of trade between Iraq and Iran could increase from the current level of $12 billion and reach a target of $20 billion a year.

He said that Iraqi embassy in Tehran was ready to issue free-of-charge visas, which has been in place for Iranian pilgrims since last year, for businessman, saying the process would be carried out  in the shortest time possible.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600319/Iran-support-Iraq-reconstruction-envoy-Qandil

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Media falsely portrays Iran’s suspension of nuclear deal commitments as dash to bomb

Jul 6, 2019

By Ben Armbruster

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the UN nuclear watchdog tasked with vigorously monitoring Iran’s nuclear program under the 2015 accord—confirmed this week that Iran exceeded the limit on its supply of low-enriched uranium (LEU). Unfortunately, with a few notable exceptions, reporting from many in the media on this development wasn’t great. Reporters and commentators portrayed Iran, not Donald Trump, as the primary provocateur, with many going so far as to claim, without any evidence whatsoever, that Iran is now racing to build a nuclear weapon.

One goal of the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) was to stretch the timeline to one year in terms of how long it would take Iran to enrich enough uranium for one bomb. To achieve that outcome, the United States, the UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, and Iran agreed that Tehran could continue enriching uranium for civilian energy purposes but also to cap the amount of LEU it could have on hand at any one time to about 660 pounds. Before the agreement, and ostensibly under the untenable George W. Bush-era policy of “zero enrichment,” Iran had amassed around 10,000 pounds of LEU, which if further refined, could be transformed into fuel for nuclear weapons. After the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran shipped out 98 percent of its LEU stockpile and verifiably maintained, until this week, the 660-pound cap, even after Trump last year unilaterally reimposed sanctions that were lifted as part of the deal.

And the reason Iran surpassed the cap? Back in May, as part of its unprovoked “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, the Trump administration revoked sanctions waivers allowing Iran to ship out any excess LEU it produces beyond the 660-pound cap. That left Iran with a choice: bow to Trump’s gratuitous demands even though Iran was adhering to the deal or carry on enriching uranium as allowed under the JCPOA.

Iran chose the latter course, in a move that experts say is actually “a calculated effort to get European leaders to reinforce the nuclear deal and halt the drift toward war.” Experts also say that breaching the cap, for now, “does not pose a near-term proliferation risk.” But that’s very far from how some in the U.S. mainstream media portrayed it.

Hours after the news broke, CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto tweeted that Iran surpassing the 660-pound LEU stockpile limit “appears to be the first violation of the terms of the JCPOA following the US withdrawal from the deal last year.” This is completely false. Donald Trump first violated the terms of the JCPOA in November 2018 when he reimposed all economic sanctions on Iran without cause. Trump set this JCPOA-violation crisis in motion, not Iran.

In another example, editors at The New York Times headlined an opinion piece responding to the news: “Iran Is Rushing to Build a Nuclear Weapon—and Trump Can’t Stop It.”

There is no evidence that Iran is rushing to build a nuclear weapon. In fact, U.S. intelligence has concluded that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program some time between 2002 and 2004.

The text of the Times piece argued, somewhat controversially, that given everything that Iran has endured from the United States, Iran probably should build a nuclear weapon to deter further American right-wing aggression. But the piece never presented any evidence that Iran, based on the latest news of breaching the LEU cap, is dashing toward a bomb. And its author, an American professor of political science at the University of Chicago, isn’t involved in the Iranian leadership’s decision-making processes. He is stating what he believes Iran should do, not what Iran is actually doing or plans to do.

Similarly, but perhaps less surprisingly, the Wall Street Journal editorial board referred to the news as a “nuclear breakout,” a term that is used to describe an actual move toward building nuclear weapons, which of course Iran is not doing.

Perhaps the most egregious reporting on Iran surpassing the LEU cap came in a piecefrom the seemingly left-leaning news outlet Vox. The original version of the story falsely claimed that Iran “vows to increase enrichment to weapons-grade level by July 7.” Although Iran has gotten close, it has actually never enriched uranium to weapons-grade levels, and its leaders have made no such vow. Vox corrected that assertion, but the entire piece, entitled “Why Iran just violated part of the 2015 nuclear deal,” never once mentioned the actual reason Iran violated the deal, namely that Trump reimposed sanctions and thereby prevented Iran from shipping out its stockpiled LEU.

These are just a few examples of how the media has undeserved the American public on the recent Trump-induced crisis with Iran. And it’s reminiscent of how the mainstream U.S. media handled the Bush administration’s march to war in Iraq. At that time, the media often relayed false or misleading administration claims at face value with little to no scrutiny and did the White House’s bidding by framing the issue on its own aggressive terms, which in turn helped produce public opinion supportive of military action. This same dynamic appears to be at play today.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600282/mdeia-bias-Iran-JCPOA

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Yemeni army, allies attack Saudi Arabia's Jizan airport by drones

Jul 6, 2019

The spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces says army troopers and allied fighters from Popular Committees have launched a string of airstrikes against hangars in Saudi Arabia's Jizan airport near the border with Yemen, using a squadron of domestically-manufactured Qasef-2K (Striker-2K) combat drones.

Speaking during a press conference in the capital Sana’a on Saturday, Brigadier General Yahya Saree (pictured below) said the unmanned aerial vehicles struck the designated targets with precision, noting that the operation led to the disruption of air traffic at the airport.

Saree reiterated that the Yemeni drone strikes are in line with the right of self-defense, and a legitimate response to the continued Saudi-led military aggression against Yemen and the blockade of the conflict-plagued Arab country.

Scores of Saudi mercs slain in Yemeni army attacks

Meanwhile, scores of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to Yemen's former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi lost their lives when Yemeni army soldiers and Popular Committees fighters launched separate offensives against their positions across the country.

An unnamed Yemeni military source told the media bureau of the Houthi Ansarullah movement that Yemeni troops and their allies launched a drone strike against a gathering of Saudi mercenaries in Qaniyeh area of the country’s central province of al-Bayda on Saturday, leaving many of them dead or injured.

Yemeni soldiers and fighters from Popular Committees also dealt a heavy blow to Saudi-backed militia forces in the al-Wazi'iyah district of the southern province of Ta’izz, when they struck their fortifications with a number of domestically-manufactured ballistic missiles.

Elsewhere in the northern Yemeni province of al-Jawf, Saudi mercenaries suffered a major setback when Yemeni soldiers and their allies targeted their military camps in Sabrin area of the Khabb wa ash Sha'af district.

Also on Saturday, a civilian lost his life and seven others, mostly women and children, sustained injuries when Saudi-paid militiamen targeted residential neighborhoods in the western coastal city of Hudaydah.

A civilian was killed after Saudi-sponsored forces launched a barrage of mortar shells at Sawiq area in the al-Tuhayta district of Hudaydah province.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600315/Yemeni-army-allies-attack-Saudi-Arabias-Jizan-airport-by-drones

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Second Turkish ship to begin drilling off Cyprus: Energy minister

Jul 6, 2019

Turkey's energy minister says a second Turkish ship will begin drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus within a week, a move that could stoke tensions with neighboring Cyprus and Greece.

Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu quoted Fatih Donmez as saying on Saturday that "the second drilling ship, Yavuz, is currently at the port of Mersin doing final tests and taking on supplies."

"God willing, within a week Yavuz will begin drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, in Carpasia (peninsula), in the area where we have got a license from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” said Donmez.

Turkey's first drilling vessel, Fatih, has already started searching for gas and oil off Cyprus. Cyprus has issued arrest warrants for the ship’s crew members, accusing the vessel of breaching the republic's sovereign territory.

Last month, Greece and Cyprus called on the European Union to take punitive measures against Turkey after Ankara announced it would expand exploration for potentially lucrative gas resources in the region.

Turkey, which does not have diplomatic ties with the Greek Cyprus, has vowed to prevent what it sees as a unilateral move by Greek Cypriots to claim offshore resources. It says some areas of Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone fall under what Ankara calls the territory of the Turkish Cyprus.

The island has been divided into Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern and Greek Cypriot-controlled southern territories since a brief war in 1974, which saw Turkey intervene militarily in response to a military coup on the island, which was backed by the Athens government to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600309/Turkey-drilling-ship-Yavuz-Cyprus

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Hamas will continue activities against US deal of century: Official

Jul 6, 2019

A high-ranking official from the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says his group will continue its activities against US President Donald Trump’s controversial proposal for “peace” between the Israeli regime and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century.”

Khalil al-Hayya said he believed Palestinians were capable of confronting and thwarting all attempts to liquidate their national cause, emphasizing that Hamas would join forces with all Palestinian parties to frustrate conspiracies targeting their cause.

Hayya went on to say that the US-sponsored Bahrain economic workshop, held late last month, had failed just before it was convened because the Palestinians had decided to boycott the event.

The senior Hamas official then stressed the importance of Palestinian unity in the face of such conspiracies, lauding official and popular efforts by Arab and Muslim countries against the Bahrain conference.

Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, expressed his movement’s profound gratitude to Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri for his rejection of Trump’s much-touted proposal as well as the Bahrain conference.

The so-called Peace to Prosperity workshop opened in Bahrain on June 25 and ran through June 26.

The Palestinian leadership boycotted the meeting, leading critics to question the credibility of the event.

Palestinians staged rallies across the occupied West Bank in protest against the conference and participation of Arab delegations.

Demonstrators gathered in Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jenin, al-Khalil, Tulkarm, Salfit, Qalqilyah and Ariha, while a general strike was staged in the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600291/Hamas-will-continue-activities-against-deal-of-century-Official

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Turkey fires central bank chief as policy differences with Erdogan deepen

Jul 6, 2019

Turkey has fired its central bank governor and replaced him with the bank's deputy governor amid high inflation and an economic slump.

According to a presidential decree published on the official gazette on Saturday, Murat Cetinkaya, who had been serving as Turkey’s central bank governor since April 2016, was removed from his post and replaced by his deputy Murat Uysal.

The central bank said in a statement that it would continue to operate independently and that its new governor would focus on maintaining price stability as the country faces volatility in the lira currency.

The sacking came amid latest speculations that Cetinkaya could be replaced due to disagreements with the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on cutting interest rates.

Erdogan has repeatedly called for lower interest rates to stimulate growth in the country.

Two Turkish government sources told Reuters that differences between the government and the central bank governor have deepened recently over the conduct of monetary policy.

“The president and the finance minister demanded his resignation, but Cetinkaya reminded of the bank’s independence and declined to resign,” said one of the sources.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) raised concerns about the central bank's credibility following the sacking.

"Those who removed the central bank governor overnight have lost the right to demand confidence in the country's economy. The central bank is a captive being kept in the palace," said CHP spokesman Faik Oztrak.

Turkey’s debt-soaked economy is currently in recession after a currency crisis last year chopped 30 percent from the lira and sent inflation and unemployment soaring.

The Turkish president has suggested the West is behind the country’s financial turbulence.

In August 2018, he accused the US of waging economic “war” on Turkey, saying that dollars, euros and gold were now “the bullets, cannonballs and missiles of the economic war being waged against our country.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600264/Turkey-central-bank

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Turkey’s Erdogan meets head of weakening Tripoli government Sarraj

July 06, 2019

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s president has met with the head of Libya’s “recognized” government, following heightened tensions between Turkey and forces loyal to a rival Libyan authority.

In a statement from his office late Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his support for Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj’s forces.

Libya is split between two warring governments. Sarraj leads the weakened Tripoli government in the west, supported by an array of militias.

The Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar rules much of the rest of the country. His ongoing offensive to seize the capital has threatened to plunge Libya into another bout of violence on the scale of the conflict that ousted Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Erdogan called on Haftar’s forces to cease their attacks.

The military commander’s forces has said that Turkish vessels and interests would be considered targets, after accusing Turkey of helping militias allied with the Tripoli government. Six Turkish nationals were freed this week after Turkey threatened action.

The LNA also said it deployed more troops to join the Tripoli fighting.

On Friday, its media center posted footage it says shows “military battalions” that would be sent to the front for the first time. The footage showed dozens of armored vehicles moving in the desert under air cover.

The reinforcements came less than two weeks after Haftar’s forces were driven out of the strategic town of Gharyan, in a surprise attack by militiamen aligned with the Tripoli government.

The UN health agency said the death toll from the fighting around the capital had reached nearly 1000, including 53 who were killed in the airstrike on the Tajoura detention center for migrants.

The World Health Organization said the fighting has wounded over 5,000 others since Haftar launched his offensive on April 4.

Fighters aligned with the government in Tripoli received Turkish-made armored vehicles in May. The LNA said it destroyed Turkish-made drones during the fighting.

In a telephone call Saturday, Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the Libyan crisis, among other topics. Haftar is backed by Russia, along with his Arab allies of the UAE and Egypt.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1521651/middle-east

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Africa

 

How Omar al-Bashir’s ties to Qatar alienated his allies in his final hours

6 July 2019

President Omar al-Bashir’s final hours reveal how his close ties with Qatar were a big part of why the ousted president was becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle East in the lead up to his downfall.

The night before ousted President Omar al-Bashir was removed from power, Sudan’s intelligence chief Salah Abdallah Gosh had reassured the former leader that the protests outside the Defense Ministry would be crushed, according to a Reuters report.

But when Sudan’s then-leader awoke early on April 11, his palace guards where gone and replaced with army officers who were waiting to take him to the Kobar prison in Khartoum where he remains.

“There was an order from the presidency that night to deal with the protests once and for all using the security apparatus. Members of the Supreme Security Committee in Sudan all unanimously rejected this. We decided it was time to stop the bloodshed and side with the people,” Jalal al-din al-Sheikh, the deputy head of the National Intelligence and Security Service, told Al Arabiya.

At Kobar prison, al-Bashir is awaiting trial for the killings of demonstrators during the anti-regime protests that led to his removal from power.

The lead-up to al-Bashir’s fall

In a documentary titled “Al-Bashir: The final hours”, Al Arabiya spoke to several sources including members of al-Bashir’s immediate family, his office staff, and his closest security advisers. Those sources said that weeks before al-Bashir’s downfall, Gosh had been contacting political prisoners and Sudanese opposition groups to gain their support to remove al-Bashir.

Three days after Al Arabiya aired the documentary, a Reuters report confirmed the account of al-Bashir’s final days in power. The Reuters report spoke to several sources, including an unnamed former government minister and a member of the coup. They described al-Bashir as a skilled manipulator who was able to control rival extremist and military factions within Sudan, but also said that he was becoming increasingly isolated regionally and internationally.

His reluctance to eliminate extremist influence in Sudan and join Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in severing ties with Qatar because of its support for terrorism compelled opposition leaders to devise a plan to remove him from power.

An opposition leader told Reuters that in early January, Gosh began visiting political prisoners to ask them to support plans for a new political order in Sudan.

Gosh continued to meet with senior Sudanese officials – including the defense minister and the army’s chief of staff – to plan when to remove al-Bashir from power and prevent Qatar and its allies from exerting its power in Sudan.

“If the army was planning to interfere, I said I would’ve been the first to welcome them,” al-Tayeb Mustafa, al-Bashir’s uncle, told Al Arabiya. “We knew that we wanted a peaceful transition rather than jumping into an abyss,” he added.

Relationship with Qatar

Al-Bashir had long considered Iran and Qatar close allies. However, in 2014 he began to respond to the UAE’s moves to counter extremist groups in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2014, Sudanese authorities ordered the closure of Iranian cultural centre in the capital Khartoum.

From 2014 until the Qatar boycott in the summer of 2017, Al-Bashir sought closer ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

In February 2017, al-Bashir met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss plans to counter extremism in the region. According to Reuters, between March 2017 and March 2018, the UAE donated $7.6 billion in aid to Sudan’s central bank through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and private investments. According to a Reuters report, al-Bashir had promised the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince that he would reject the influence of extremists.

However, al-Bashir refused to join Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt in severing ties with Qatar in June 2017 for threatening stability and security in the region, undermining their sovereignty, and embracing various terrorist and sectarian groups.

Under the influence of extremist allies, al-Bashir maintained his relationship with Qatar, and in March 2018 the two countries announced plans to jointly develop the Red Sea port of Suakin off Sudan’s coast.

That same month, the Eritrean government released a statement accusing Qatar of funding extremist groups in Sudan.

“Followers of the radical Islamic Cleric, Mohammed Jumma, opened an office, under extreme secrecy, in a secluded area to organize political and military activities as well as to train their members. Funding of their activities is provided by the Embassy of Qatar in Khartoum. Training and other logistical functions are managed by the Sudanese Security and Intelligence Service,” the statement read.

In what was his first trip abroad since the anti-government demonstrations broke out, al-Bashir arrived in Qatar in January 2019 to discuss “bilateral relations,” SUNA, Sudan’s state news agency, reported.

The Sudanese leader then met with senior officials in Qatar, including its ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the official news agencies in both countries said.

A new government

Following al-Bashir’s removal from power, Sudanese authorities cut ties with Qatar in a long-awaited move by opposition leaders.

When a Qatari delegation headed by Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani traveled to Sudan in April 2019, Sudanese authorities refused to receive it, a source confirmed to Al Arabiya.

The Qatari delegation then left the Sudanese capital and returned to Doha.

The Sudanese source told Al Arabiya and Al Hadath that the Qatari delegation was refused because diplomatic protocols were not followed.

On April 21, the UAE and Saudi Arabia announced they would deliver $3 billion worth of aid to Sudan.

The two Gulf countries shared their support for the continuation of dialogue in Sudan as different parties sought to reach an agreement.

After Sudan’s military junta and civilian protest leaders concluded a power-sharing deal, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash congratulated Khartoum on July 5 and said it would stand with the new government in “good times and bad times.”

Saudi Arabia also confirmed its support for the power-sharing deal on July 5, according to the Saudi Press Agency, and expressed hope that the deal would start a new phase of security and stability in Sudan.

On July 4, the Associated Press reported that the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which spearheaded the protests, said on its Facebook page: “Today, our revolution has won and our victory shines.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/06/How-Omar-al-Bashir-s-support-for-Qatar-in-his-final-hours-alienated-his-allies-.html

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Tunisia recovers 14 migrants’ bodies after dozens drowned off coast

7 July 2019

Tunisia’s Coast Guard recovered on Saturday the bodies of 14 African migrants who drowned when their boat carrying more than 80 people sank after setting off for Europe from neighboring Libya, the Tunisian Red Crescent said.

Tunisian fishermen rescued four people but one later died in hospital, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Thursday. The others on the overcrowded boat were feared drowned.

At least 65 migrants heading for Europe from Libya drowned last May when their boat capsized off Tunisia.

Libya’s west coast is a main departure point for African migrants hoping to reach Europe, though numbers have dropped due to an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan Coast Guard.

Although the fighting in Libya has made the situation more difficult for people-smugglers, international aid officials have warned it could also prompt more Libyans to flee their country.

Libyans who are picked up by the Libyan Coast Guard are routinely brought back to Libya and detained. The United Nations has pleaded with Libya’s government to free the detainees, some of whom have been locked up for years.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/07/07/Tunisia-recovers-14-migrants-bodies-after-dozens-drowned-off-coast.html

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Turkish president urges end to Haftar’s ‘unlawful attacks’ in Libya

Jul 6, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for an end to “unlawful attacks” by militiamen loyal to the renegade commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar.

“The president renewed his support for the internationally-recognized government and urged an end to unlawful attacks by Haftar’s forces,” Turkey’s presidency quoted Erdogan as saying during a meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Istanbul on Friday.

Libya has been divided between two rival governments, the House of Representatives, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, and Serraj's internationally-recognized unity Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli.

Haftar, who is presumably loyal to the government in the east, launched a deadly campaign on April 4 to invade and conquer Tripoli, resulting in repeated fierce clashes, particularly on the southern edges of the capital, leaving nearly 1,000 people killed so far.

Last month, Haftar, whose forces hold much of eastern and southern Libya, ordered his army to arrest all Turkish nationals and close all restaurants and shops with Turkish names after he lost a major town to forces backing the GNA.

On July 1, a day after Haftar’s forces destroyed a Turkish drone parked at Tripoli’s only working airport, the LNA released six Turkish sailors after it briefly detained them. Their release came after Ankara vowed that the LNA would become a “legitimate target” unless the men were released immediately.

“The price of hostile attitudes or attacks will be heavy. They will be responded to with the most efficient and hard manner,” said Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar on June 30.

Turkey’s interest in Libya goes back to the Ottoman era as the North African country was part of the vast empire until 1912.

Separately on Friday, the United Nations Security Council called for a ceasefire in Libya, condemning the late Tuesday attack on the Tajoura detention camp east of the capital.

In a statement, the council “stressed the need for all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation and to commit to a ceasefire.”

Libya has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled from power after an uprising and a NATO military intervention.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600254/Turkey-Libya-Erdogan-Haftar-LNA-GNA

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Eastern Libya, US firm close to signing Libya port deal

July 07, 2019

TUNIS, BENGHAZI: Eastern Libyan authorities and US security firm Guidry Group plan to finalize an agreement to develop a major port in the east of the troubled oil producer, both sides said.

Talks have been going on for about a year to build a port in Susah, which would mark a rare sign of investment in Libya. Most of the country has been in chaos since the toppling of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

“The Guidry Group and the State of Libya through the Sea Port Authority officially signed the concession agreement on May 13 for the development of a multi-purpose, deep sea port in Susah, Libya,” the Guidry Group said in a statement to Reuters.

“Next steps for the project will involve establishing all the technical, financial, operational and commercial requirements,” the firm said.

Salah Elhasi, head of the eastern port authority, said no final deal had been signed yet but 90 percent of work was done.

“We are in the final stage of the agreement. ...and are reviewing the agreement’s details,” he said.

Neither side gave details. In February, both had put the investment volume of the project at $1.5 billion.

A final signature would be a coup for the parallel government in charge of eastern Libya which has not gained international recognition. The UN-backed government sits in Tripoli in western Libya.

The Susah port is supposed to be the main entry port for goods into Libya as a sea depth of up to 40 meters would enable containers to load goods on smaller vessels headed for other cities.

Officials hope the port will create jobs in a country where most look to a bloated public sector or join armed groups.

Since the negotiations started, tensions between the two governments have escalated as eastern Libyan forces led by Khalifa Haftar allied to the parallel government started a military campaign to seize Tripoli.

The port is meant to serve the whole of Libya.

The Guidry Group said it was “very close” to signing a funding agreement for the port.

Some fear a port may damage ancient historical sites.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1521731/business-economy

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Sudan’s army council head visits Uganda for talks

Hassan Isilow 

06.07.2019

The head of Sudan’s transitional military council pledged to restore Sudan’s former glory by reconciling all political formations and other groups in the country.

Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan made his remarks in a meeting with Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni in the Mbale district, east of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, on Friday.

"We wish that this visit will have a very positive reflection on the way forward for Sudan internally, regionally and externally,” he said.

In a statement issued Friday night, Museveni said: “I had a good briefing from his excellency. I am very happy now the military council has agreed with the groups. I encourage the Sudanese to agree because this type of agitation is very dangerous."

During the meeting, Museveni said his country had previously faced a similar situation like Sudan which affected its development.

“By the time we were trying to get out, we had lost a lot of time for development. The earlier we agree to move in a democratic way, the better,” he said.

Burhan’s visit came a day after Sudan’s ruling military generals and a coalition of protest and opposition groups reached an agreement to share power during a transition period until elections.

Experts believe the agreement will end the political deadlock and protests which rocked the country for nearly two months after the overthrow of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/sudan-s-army-council-head-visits-uganda-for-talks/1525045

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Somalia’s Al-Shabaab executes 14 people in past three days

July 6, 2019

The militant group Al-Shabaab has executed 14 people across Somalia in the past three days over accusations ranging from practising black magic to spying for government forces.

The executions, detailed in a report on Al-Shabaab’s propaganda site Somali memo, happened in the southern Shabelle and Jubba regions.

On 5 July, three alleged Somali soldiers were hanged in Kurtun Warey town, Lower Shabelle Region, after an Al-Shabaab court sentenced them to death.

They were identified as 23-year old Amin Tifow, 36-year old Muhudin Mohamed Abdirahim

and 30-year old Abdiwahab Ahmed Hassan.

The three were reportedly captured by Al-Shabaab militants following clashes with government forces in the region.

On the same day, the militants executed another man, 35-year old Ali Haaney Ahmed Kaytoy, in Buale town of Middle Shabelle Region after accusing him of practising black magic.

Between 3 and 4 July, Al-Shabaab executed a total of 10 alleged spy agents in the Lower and Middle Jubba regions.

Full report at:

https://www.somaliaffairs.com/news/somalias-al-shabaab-executes-14-people-in-past-three-days/

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South Asia

 

Casualties toll from Taliban mortar attack on Faryab market rises to 53

06 Jul 2019

The Afghan military has confirmed that the casualties toll from mortar attack on Faryab market has climbed to 53 people.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the Taliban militants fired mortars on Khwaja Sabz Posh market early on Friday.

The statement further added that the attack killed 14 civilians and wounded 39 others including several children.

Furthermore, the 209th Shaheen Corps said the Taliban militants launched the attack as dozens of people had gathered in the market to shop in Friday Bazar.

Meanwhile, the 209th Shaheen Corps said the security forces launched an immediate operation to shift the wounded civilians to medical facilities.

The 209th Shaheen Corps also added that the security forces also donated blood to help the injured civilians.

https://www.khaama.com/casualties-toll-from-taliban-mortar-attack-on-faryab-market-rises-to-53-03830/

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Afghan Special Forces kill 9 ISIS Khurasan militants in Kunar province

04 Jul 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed 9 militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan in Kunar province.

The informed military officials said Thursday that the Special Forces killed the militants in Watahpur district of Kunar.

Furthermore, the Special Forces destroyed a small weapons cache during the same operation.

The ISIS sympathizers have not commented regarding the operation so far.

Kunar is among the relatively volatile provinces in East of Afghanistan.

Both Taliban and militants are active in some districts of the province and often conduct terrorist related activities.

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces routinely conduct counter-terrorism operations against the anti-government armed groups in this province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-special-forces-kill-9-isis-khurasan-militants-in-kunar-province-03818/

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Senior Taliban leader Mawlavi Abdul Qahar and his comrade killed in Takhar

07 Jul 2019

The security forces killed a senior Taliban leader and his comrade during a raid in north-eastern Takhar province.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the security forces killed Mawlavi Abdul Qahar, a senior Taliban leader in Dasht-e-Qala district.

The statement further added that the raid was conductd late on Saturday night in Ozon Kotal area of the district.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/senior-taliban-leader-mawlavi-abdul-qahar-and-his-comrade-killed-in-takhar-03846/

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Afghan, U.S. forces kill 24 Taliban militants during separate raids in Logar and Wardak

07 Jul 2019

The Afghan and U.S. forces killed 24 Taliban militants during separate raids conducted in central Logar and Wardak provinces.

The 203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said the U.S. forces conducted airstrikes in Pul-e-Alam and Baraki Barak districts of Logar in past 24 hours.

The statement further added that the airstrikes killed 19 Taliban militants.

Furthermore, the 203rd Thunder Corps said the Afghan security forces killed 5 Taliban militants during a joint raid in Wardak province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-u-s-forces-kill-24-taliban-militants-during-separate-raids-in-logar-and-wardak-03845/

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Taliban car bomb kills at least 12 in attack on Afghan security compound

7 July 2019

Taliban Islamist fighters killed at least eight Afghan security force members and four civilians, as well as wounding more than 50 civilians, by blowing up a car bomb in central Ghazni province on Sunday, government officials and the Taliban said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for detonating the bomb near the National Directorate of Security (NDS) compound in Ghazni city during Sunday morning’s rush hour. “Dozens of NDS

officers were killed or wounded,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

Arif Noori, a provincial government spokesman in Ghazni, confirmed eight members of the NDS and four civilians died in the blast, with more than 50 civilians injured. “Many injured people were being rushed to the hospital,” he said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/07/07/Taliban-car-bomb-kills-at-least-8-Afghan-security-force-members.html

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After Sri Lanka attacks, Muslims face boycotts and violence

By Joanna Slater and Hafeel Farisz

July 7, 2019

MINUWANGODA, Sri Lanka —  The New Fawz Hotel was a bustling institution in this small Sri Lankan town, beckoning diners with its huge red neon sign and hot plates of chicken and rice available day and night. But after the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, customers stopped showing up.

Things got worse. In May, men on motorbikes arrived wielding sticks, their faces covered with helmets. They smashed the restaurant’s glass windows as a huge crowd gathered, then surged into the premises and destroyed everything inside. M. M. Mohomed Indhas, the proprietor, fled out the back, afraid for his life.

“We were born here, this is my hometown,” said Indhas, 52, standing outside the wrecked shell of the restaurant. “Now we wonder whether there is a future in Sri Lanka.”

Indhas is a Sri Lankan Muslim, a religious minority in this predominantly Buddhist country. In the wake of the devastating April attacks — carried out by local Islamist extremists — the entire community braced itself for retaliation.

Now those reprisals have arrived. Muslim-owned businesses are facing informal boycotts. Anti-Muslim riots broke out in two provinces in May, damaging hundreds of businesses, homes and mosques and leaving one person dead. Nine Muslim ministers resigned in June, partly because they feared that if they did not, more violence was imminent.

M. M. Mohomed Indhas with his son outside his restaurant, a 24-hour eatery called the New Fawz Hotel. Anti-Muslim rioters attacked the premises on May 13. (Joanna Slater/The Washington Post)

Experts worry that Sri Lanka, a multiethnic and multireligious democracy whose bloody civil war ended in 2009, is poised for a new outbreak of tensions. This time the divisions are emerging along religious lines, rather than the long-standing ethnic cleavage between Sinhalese and Tamils.

Even before the Easter attacks, Muslims, who make up about 10 percent of the population, had faced discriminatory rhetoric and sporadic violence, particularly with the rise of hard-line Buddhist nationalist groups after the end of the civil war.

But the current climate marks a perilous turn. Last month, one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent Buddhist monks called for a boycott of Muslim-owned businesses and appeared to condone violence. “Don’t go to their shops or eat their food,” said Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero, endorsing a bigoted slur that Muslims are trying to sterilize people. “Buddhists must protect themselves.”

The country’s finance minister shot back, saying that such statements were a perversion of the faith. “True Buddhists must unite NOW against the Talibanization of our great philosophy of peace & love of all beings,” wrote Mangala Samaraweera on Twitter.

After the April attacks, which killed more than 260 people, conspiracy theories have run rampant. A Muslim gynecologist was recently accused by a nationalist newspaper, without providing any evidence, of sterilizing thousands of Sinhalese Buddhist women against their will. The unsubstantiated allegations dominated media coverage for weeks.

Some observers say that the anti-Muslim rhetoric serves a political purpose: to polarize the electorate ahead of presidential elections later this year. Opposition parties “want to keep this pot boiling,” said Rauff Hakeem, leader of the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, a political party that is part of the current governing coalition.

Hakeem was one of the nine Muslim ministers who resigned in June. (Two have since been reinstated.) He said that the group made the decision to step down as a response to “a presupposition of links to terrorism” that was “demonizing the entire community.” On May 13, packs of men on motorcycles began roaming towns in areas north of the capital, Colombo. Police did little to stop them from targeting Muslim businesses and homes, witnesses said, whether out of fear, complicity or a lack of manpower. A national police spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

In Minuwangoda, part of a district of 177,000 people — just 3 percent of them Muslim — northeast of Colombo, the rioters came prepared. After mobs attacked the area near the New Fawz Hotel, they traveled five miles down the road to where Ali Jisthy’s family had completed a new pasta factory, the largest of its kind in Sri Lanka. A crowd of about 200 people pushed down the large aluminum sliding doors leading to the facility. Once inside, they set tires on fire, Jisthy said.

Neither the police nor the fire department took any action, but two hours after the fire began, the army showed up. The blaze burned until 1 p.m. the following day. The three-story-high imported Italian pasta machine, which had taken nine months to build, was gutted. The cost of the damage and lost sales is about $4 million, Jisthy estimates.

Anti-Muslim rioters burned Sri Lanka’s largest pasta factory, near the town of Minuwangoda on May 13. (Joanna Slater/The Washington Post)

“Purely because of your faith you’re being attacked,” said Jisthy, 23. “That’s something I’ve never experienced before.”

At the police station in Minuwangoda, chief inspector L.B. Aberatha said that 70 people had been arrested for the rioting and nearly all were granted bail. He said he could not fathom why the rioters had picked the town, nor state whether the violence had been planned. In total, 76 businesses and homes and one mosque were damaged.

Residents of towns farther north described a similar phenomenon that night: men arriving on motorbikes bent on destruction. In Ihala Kottaramulla, a Muslim enclave, Mohamed Sali Fausul Ameer, a 49-year-old carpenter, told his wife and four children to turn off the lights and lock the door while he went outside.

As they huddled in the back, they heard rioters attacking a neighboring house then breaking down their own gate and trying to set their car on fire. Then the crowd was running away. Ameer’s wife, Fatima Jiffriya, said she went outside and found her husband on the ground, bleeding from a deep cut to his neck. He later died.

The police “didn’t even help me take him to the hospital,” she said. “Now my life is completely ruined.”

Two people have been arrested for the killing, a local police officer said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.

Full report at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/after-easter-sunday-attacks-muslims-face-boycotts-and-violence-in-sri-lanka/2019/07/06/3e4a405a-91f6-11e9-956a-88c291ab5c38_story.html?utm_term=.19a953615ad6

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US hails talks with Taliban, denies troop withdrawal window

Jul 6, 2019

KABUL: The latest round of talks with the Taliban - now in their second week - has been "very productive," a member of the American negotiating team said on Friday, while strenuously denying Washington sought a fixed deadline for the withdrawal of its estimated 14,000 troops from Afghanistan as part of a final peace deal.

Negotiations have had fresh momentum in recent weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, at the end of last month. At the time, he said Washington was hopeful of an agreement before September 1.

The appointment last year of Zalmay Khalilzad as a US special peace envoy began the accelerated effort to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan's war and America's longest military engagement.

Since then Khalilzad has held scores of talks with the Afghan government in Kabul and abroad, with the Taliban as well as with Afghanistan's neighbours — including Pakistan which has been accused of aiding the insurgents.

The US official in Qatar's capital, Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office and talks are being held, told The Associated Press that the US "definitely did not offer" an 18-month withdrawal as part of a peace deal.

Speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the talks, the US negotiator was responding to a timeframe Taliban officials told the AP months earlier.

The US negotiator said the deal being negotiated in Doha with the Taliban is "comprehensive and includes specifics on all four parts including a cease fire, timeline, participating in intra-Afghan negotiations and counter-terrorism assurances."

On Saturday, several prominent Afghan figures left Kabul for Doha ahead of much-anticipated all-Afghan talks to begin on Sunday. The talks are co-sponsored by Germany and Qatar, and include the Taliban.

An earlier round of intra-Afghan talks, which were to be held last April, were scuttled after the two sides could not agree on participants. The Afghan government had submitted a list of 250 people. The Taliban likened it to a wedding party.

This time the Taliban say 60 people will participate.

Attaullah Rahman Salim, the deputy head of the government's high peace council, said 64 would be sitting around the table.

The list includes former mujahedeen who fought the Soviet in the 1980s as well as former government officials, former ambassadors, civil society representatives and a smattering of women.

Participants at the table will be there as ordinary Afghans "on equal footing" and not as government representatives, said the German sponsors.

The Taliban who have consistently refused to hold direct talks with President Ashraf Ghani's government calling it a puppet administration. They have, however, readily agreed to talks with any Afghan, including from within the government, but as an ordinary Afghan.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/us-hails-talks-with-taliban-denies-troop-withdrawal-window/articleshow/70106510.cms

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US hails talks with Taliban, denies troop withdrawal window

July 7, 2019

DOHA: The latest round of talks with the Taliban — now in their second week and paused for two days — has been “very productive,” a US negotiator said, and denied Washington sought a fixed deadline for the withdrawal of its estimated 14,000 troops from Afghanistan as part of a final peace deal in the 17-year-old war.

The talks are being paused while another summit with Afghan representatives takes place, a Taliban spokesman said on Saturday.

Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban’s office in Qatar, said they were pleased with progress in the talks.

“Tomorrow and the day after, because of the intra-Afghan conference, no talks will take place,” Shaheen tweeted, referring to separate talks due to start Sunday in Doha between the Taliban and Afghan delegates.

“We are happy with progress and hope the rest of the work is also done. We have not faced any obstacles yet,” he added.

Negotiations picked up momentum after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, at the end of last month. He said then that Washington was hopeful of an agreement before September 1.

The appointment last year of Zalmay Khalilzad as US special peace envoy began the accelerated effort to find a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s war and America’s longest military engagement.

Since then, Khalilzad has held scores of talks with the Afghan government in Kabul and abroad, with the Taliban as well as with Afghanistan’s neighbours including Pakistan.

The Taliban have refused to talk directly with Kabul, considering it a US puppet. The insurgents, however, say they will sit down with any Afghan, even a government official, but as an ordinary citizen and not as a government representative.

The Taliban currently control nearly half of Afghanistan, and are more powerful than at any time since the 2001 US-led invasion.

More than 2,400 US service personnel have died in Afghanistan since the US-led coalition invaded in October 2001 to oust the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The US official in Qatar’s capital, Doha, where the Taliban maintain a political office and where talks are being held, told The Associated Presson Friday that the US “definitely did not offer” an 18-month withdrawal as part of a peace deal. That’s the time frame that Taliban officials gave the AP months ago.

The official spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The US negotiator said the deal being negotiated in Doha with the Taliban is “comprehensive and includes specifics on all four parts including a cease-fire, timeline, participating in intra-Afghan negotiations and counter-terrorism assurances.”

On Saturday, several prominent Afghan figures left Kabul for Doha ahead of much-anticipated all-Afghan talks to begin Sunday. The talks are co-sponsored by Germany and Qatar, and include the Taliban.

An earlier round of intra-Afghan talks, which were to be held last April, were scuttled after the two sides could not agree on participants. The Afghan government had submitted a list of 250 people. The Taliban likened it to a wedding party.

This time the Taliban say 60 people will participate.

Attaullah Rahman Salim, the deputy head of the government’s high peace council, said 64 would be sitting around the table.

The list includes former mujahedeen who fought the Soviet in the 1980s as well as former government officials, former ambassadors, civil society representatives and a small number of women.

Participants at the table will be there as ordinary Afghans “on equal footing” and not as government representatives, said the German sponsors.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/07/06/us-hails-talks-with-taliban-denies-troop-withdrawal-window/

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Arab World

 

Turkey-Backed Militants Torturing, Harassing Aleppo Refugee Camps' Residents

Jul 06, 2019

The Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that Ahrar al-Sharqieh terrorist group affiliated to the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) has staged a raid on the refugee camps in Northern al-Bab City in Northern Aleppo, arresting a number of civilians.

It noted that the Ankara-backed terrorists have tortured the arrested civilians, and said that they have also ask for hefty amount of money for releasing those detained.

Meantime, media activists in Northern Aleppo reported that tens of residents of al-Rayan camp which is controlled by FSA have started rebellion and protests near the city of Izaz in Northern Aleppo.

In a relevant development in late June, the residents of a refugee camp controlled by Ankara staged protest rallies in the city of al-Bab in Northeastern Aleppo as the critical and unfavorable conditions of the camp were deteriorating.

Hundreds of residents of Zoyouf al-Sharqieh refugee camp controlled by the Turkish Army and its allied militants in al-Bab city in Eastern Aleppo poured to the streets in protest to their poor situation, media activists in Northern Syria said.

The sources pointed to the difficult conditions of 200 families living Zoyouf al-Sharqieh Camp, and said that the residents of the camp are protesting against the acute shortage of everyday needs, including water, foodstuff, medicine and milk powder.

The residents of refugee camps in areas under the control of Turkish Army and its allied militants in Aleppo and Idlib provinces are facing very aggravating conditions.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980415000661

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US Sends New Military Forces, Equipment to Ein Al-Assad Base in Western Iraq

Jul 06, 2019

The Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted a security source in al-Anbar province as saying on Saturday that a new group of US forces, equipped with light and medium weapons have entered Ein al-Assad base in al-Baghdadi region of the town of Heet.

The source added that the US forces are specialized in combat missions and heliborne operations, but they decline to name their mission or the nature of their presence.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Soumeriyeh news quoted a military source as saying that nearly 100 US military vehicles have entered Ein al-Assad base through two passageways, including Taribil, adding that American forces were transferred to the airbase on planes.

A security source also said last month that the US security firms had sent tens of personnel to Ein al-Assad airbase in line with Washington's plan to redeploy large amounts of military equipment and weapons systems from Jordan and Syria in Iraqi province.

Al-Ma'aloumeh quoted a security source in al-Anbar as saying that the security firms' personnel had arrived in Ein al-Assad on special planes and under tight security measures.

He added that the new group came to Ein al-Assad concurrent with the transfer of military and engineering equipment from Jordan and Syria to the airbase by their security firms and in line with the US plans to transfer military equipment to the Western parts of al-Anbar.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980415000976

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Ankara after Annexing Idlib Province to Occupied Territories in Aleppo

Jul 06, 2019

The Arabic-language al-Arabi al-Jadid newspaper quoted Syrian dissident sources as saying on Saturday that Turkey wants to put Idlib province under the command and control of the Olive Branch and Operation Euphrates Shield forces which already control Afrin and the nearby areas in Northern Aleppo.

They added that the main problem for Turkey to attain this goal is the presence of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorists, noting that the Turkish officials have told them that Tahrir al-Sham will be dissolved by the yearend, through either war or peace to leave the Russians with no excuse to continue their military operations in the region.

The sources also said that the interim government affiliated to the dissidents will gain control of the bordering corridors between Syria and Turkey and the residents of these regions will be provided with main services with the revenues of these passageways.

Meantime, the deputy governor-general of Turkey's Hatay province will supervise the administrative and service providing activities in Idlib province and the Ankara-backed National Army forces will carry out military and security missions, they said.

Based on an agreement with Russia, Turkey was due to pave the ground for the withdrawal of terrorists from the demilitarized zone in Idlib which was never materialized.

Reports said earlier this month that differences between Russia and Turkey had increased amid the Syrian army's air and ground offensives against the terrorist groups' positions and moves in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib.

Also, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported in June that Turkey ordered Tahrir al-Sham to reinforce strategic military positions in Jbal al-Zawiyeh in Idlib province after it turned down Russia's demand for withdrawing militants from the region. It wrote that with an aim to confront the Syrian Army in Northern Hama, Tahrir al-Sham has sent large volumes of its military equipment to al-Jolmeh to North of Mahradeh.

"Turkey's intelligence body has asked Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups in Northern Syria to reinforce its defense lines, including 50 towns and villages up to the city of Ariha in Aleppo-Lattakia international highway as clean-up operation by the Syrian and Russian armies in Jabal al-Zawiyeh in Idlib is imminent," al-Watan quoted local and opposition sources in Idlib as saying.

The sources reiterated that Turkey's operations room in Shir Mughar region in Jabal Shahshabou in Northern Hama where terrorists are constantly supported in terms of weapons, ammunition and intelligence has warned terrorists that the Syrian army might soon capture Jbal Shahshabou which overlooks Sahl al-Ghab in Northwestern Hama and towns to the South of Idlib and then advance towards Jabal al-Zawiyeh.

The newspaper also further quoted the sources as saying that Russia had recently asked Turkey to make terrorists retreat from Jbal Shahshabou region in Northwestern Hama and Kabani town in Northeastern Lattakia which are regarded as the Southern and Western gates of Idlib, but Ankara has strongly turned down the demand.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980415000870

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Hezbollah Releases Audio Files of Iraqi Officer's Phone Coordination with CIA against Hashd Al-Shaabi

Jul 06, 2019

The audio files disclosed contacts between Mahmoud al-Falahi, the commander of al-Anbar operations in the Iraqi army, with a CIA agent who is an Iraqi national.

The CIA agent asked al-Falahi to provide him with the geographical coordinates of the existing military bases at the borders between Iraq and Syria "to be attacked by the US and Israeli air forces".

He also told al-Falahi to meet with "the US army and intelligence service commanders in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan region or at the US forces' base in al-Habaniyeh" in Western Iraq.

During the conversations, al-Falahi provided the detailed coordinates of military bases in al-Anbar to the agent.

Hezbollah described the audio files as documents showing al-Falahi's "plot against the Iraqi army, security, Hashd al-Shaabi and resistance forces ", warning that his spying for the CIA and Israeli Mossad spy agencies has endangered Iran's national security.

Iraqi security sources disclosed in 2016 that Washington was exerting pressure on the Baghdad government to end Hashd al-Shaabi's partnership in war against ISIL and dissolve the militia army that has the lion share in the war on terrorism in the country. "The US government has conveyed the message to the Iraqi government through its diplomats that there is no need to Hashd al-Shaabi forces and their role should come to an end," a senior Iraqi source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told FNA at the time.

A senior member of the Iraqi parliament revealed last month the US plots and attempts to dissolve Hashd al-Shaabi with pressures on Iraq's government after the popular forces regained control over Iraq's borders with Syria.

The Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Odai Awad as saying that the US was pressuring Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to force him act against Hashd al-Shaabi.

He referred to the US embassy's contacts with the ISIL commanders, and said certain regions in Iraq are showing allegiance to the ISIL again in a way that a number of Iraqi security commanders have compared the situation to the situation in 2014.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980415000510

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2 ISIL Executors Arrested in Iraq

Jul 06, 2019

The Iraqi police forces in Nineveh province arrested a key ISIL leader of the terrorist group's so-called Religious Court in the town of Achhaleh in Southern Mosul, the Arabic-language Sumeriya News quoted spokesman of Iraqi Interior Ministry Brigadier General Sa'ad Ma'an as saying.

The captured ISIL terrorist has been in charge of execution of a large number of civilians and Iraqi security forces, it added.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted an Iraqi security body as reporting that the country's security forces have captured notorious ISIL Commander Seraj Kamel al-Azawi, nom de guerre Abu Riyaqdh al-Askari in the city of Uldoz in Kirkuk province. Al-Azawi was a notorious ISIL commander in al-Azim region of Diyali province.

Al-Azawi was in charge of 2014 attack on al-Azim region and carried out abductions and massacre of civilians in Anjaneh region.

In a relevant development in late June, a prominent Iraqi security expert warned of the US plot to transfer the ISIL terrorists to the bordering areas with Syria in collaboration with the two countries' tribes.

The Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Hossein al-Kanani as saying that the US attempts to transfer the ISIL terrorists to the bordering areas of Iraq and Syria and build safe shelters for them through coordination with a number of tribal leaders in the region.

He referred to the recent attempts by US Ambassador to Baghdad Matthew Tueller to meet the Iraqi tribal leaders, and said other goals are also pursued by the measure, including targeting the Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces) and Iraqi security forces in these regions and cutting Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus-Beirut connections by taking control over the Iraqi-Syrian borders.

Meantime, a senior official in al-Qiyarah region in the Southern parts of Nineveh province said that the ISIL terrorists have increased their operations in the desert areas in the Western parts of the region under the nose of the US planes and drones that fly over the same regions.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980415000653

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Iraqi army launches offensive against ISIS near border with Syria

7 July 2019

The Iraqi army launched the first phase of an operation against ISIS on Sunday morning near the country’s border with Syria, they said in a statement.

The statement said that the operation is taking place in the areas between the governorates of Saladin, Nineveh and al-Anbar.

They added that the operation is led by several Iraqi paramilitary forces, including the Iraqi Air Force and the international coalition.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/07/Iraqi-army-launches-offensive-against-ISIS-near-border-with-Syria.html

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Russian-led assault in Syria leaves over 500 civilians dead: Rights groups

7 July 2019

At least 544 civilians have been killed and over 2,000 people injured since a Russian-led assault on the last rebel bastion in northwestern Syria began two months ago, rights groups and rescuers said on Saturday.

Russian jets joined the Syrian army on April 26 in the biggest offensive against parts of rebel-held Idlib province and adjoining northern Hama provinces in the biggest escalation in the war between Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his enemies since last summer.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), which monitors casualties and briefs various UN agencies, said the 544 civilians killed in the hundreds of attacks carried out by Russian jets and the Syrian army include 130 children. Another 2,117 people have been injured.

“The Russian military and its Syrian ally are deliberately targeting civilians with a record number of medical facilities bombed,” Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, told Reuters.

Russia and its Syrian army ally deny their jets hit indiscriminately civilian areas with cluster munitions and incendiary weapons, which residents in opposition areas say are meant to paralyze every-day life.

Moscow says its forces and the Syrian army are fending off terror attacks by al Qaeda militants whom they say hit populated, government-held areas, and it accuses rebels of wrecking a ceasefire deal agreed last year between Turkey and Russia.

Last month US-based Human Rights Watch said the Russian-Syrian joint military operation had used cluster munitions and incendiary weapons in the attacks along with large air-dropped explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated civilian areas, based on reports by first responders and witnesses.

Residents and rescuers say the two-month-old campaign has left dozens of villages and towns in ruins. According to the United Nations, at least 300,000 people have been forced to leave their homes for the safety of areas closer to the border with Turkey.

“Whole villages and towns have been emptied,” said Idlib-based Civil Defence spokesman Ahmad al Sheikho, saying it was the most destructive campaign against Idlib province since it completely fell to the opposition in the middle of 2015.

On Friday, 15 people, including children, were killed in the village of Mhambil in western Idlib province after Syrian army helicopters dropped barrel bombs on a civilian quarter, the civil defense group and witnesses said.

The heads of 11 major global humanitarian organizations warned at the end of last month that Idlib stood at the brink of disaster, with 3 million civilian lives at risk, including 1 million children.

“Too many have died already” and “even wars have laws” they declared, in the face of multiple attacks by government forces and their allies on hospitals, schools and markets,” the U.N.-endorsed statement said.

Last Thursday an aerial strike on Kafr Nabl hospital made it the 30th facility to be bombed durng the campaign, leaving hundreds of thousands with no medical access, according to aid groups.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/07/Russian-led-assault-in-Syria-leaves-over-500-civilians-dead-Rights-groups.html

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20 civilians killed in northwest Syria: monitor

6 July 2019

Syrian regime and Russian bombardment have killed 20 civilians including seven children in northwestern Syria, a war monitor said on Saturday, in the latest deadly raids on the embattled opposition bastion.

Regime warplanes and helicopters late on Friday carried out air strikes on Mahambel village in Idlib province, killing 13 civilians including the seven children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Another seven civilians were killed on Saturday, including a woman hit by regime rocket fire on the outskirts of the town of Khan Sheikhun in the south of the province, the Britain-based war monitor said.

Three members of a family were killed by a Russian air strike on the town of Morek, in neighboring Hama province, the Observatory reported.

Idlib, a region of some three million people, many of whom fled former rebel-held areas retaken by the government, is the last major bastion of opposition to the Russia-backed Damascus government after eight years of civil war.

The region on Turkey’s doorstep is administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, but other militant and rebel groups are also present.

Idlib is supposed to be protected from a major regime assault by a September deal between Moscow and Ankara, but Damascus and its Russian ally have ramped up their deadly bombardment of the region since late April.

More than 530 civilians have been killed since then, according to the Observatory.

The United Nations says 25 health facilities in the region have been hit, the latest including the second attack in two months on an underground hospital in the town of Kafranbel on Thursday.

“The attacks happened despite the fact that the coordinates of this hospital had previously been shared with the parties to the conflict in a deliberate, carefully planned effort to prevent any attacks on it,” an UN official said on Friday.

“I am horrified by the ongoing attacks on civilian areas and civilian infrastructure as the conflict in northwest Syria continues,” said Mark Cutts, UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syrian crisis.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/06/Regime-bombardment-kills-13-in-Syria-s-Idlib.html

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Saudi Arabia intensifies arrest campaign against Palestinians

Jul 6, 2019

An exiled academic and political dissident says Saudi authorities have launched a new arrest campaign against Palestinian expatriates living in the conservative kingdom.

“There is an intensified campaign to arrest more Palestinians living in the kingdom, with the same charges that have so far been leveled against some 60 Palestinians. The arrest campaign will involve a number of Egyptian citizens,” Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Saturday.

Ghamdi added that Saudi officials have recently released 20 Palestinian and Egyptian women, whom they had arrested during the Hajj pilgrimage last year on charges of affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood.

He added that the women were being kept in Dhahban Central Prison near the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. They have apparently been warned not to talk about their detention situation.

Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization seeking to promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a series of posts on its official Twitter page on June 11 that more than 150 Palestinians were languishing in Saudi detention centers. Some 40 Palestinians were arrested in Jeddah alone.

The rights group added that Saudi intelligence agents had committed rights abuses against Palestinians during and after their arrest.

Arabic-language al-Khaleej Online news website reported last month that Saudi officials had blocked money transfers between the kingdom and the Gaza Strip.

The report described residents of the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip as the main victims of the move. Most of the bank transfers that used to be carried out normally in the past were frozen just a few days before the start of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Remittance transactions are taking much longer than usual – something that used to be done in a matter of few hours.

Many Palestinians have complained of the move, and termed it as “unprecedented.” They argue that the process of transferring money between Saudi Arabia and the Gaza Strip has become extraordinarily difficult.

Over the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting the Hamas resistance movement financially, politically or through social networking sites.

The Riyadh regime has imposed strict control over Palestinian funds in Saudi Arabia since the end of 2017.

All remittances of Palestinian expatriates are being tightly controlled, fearing that these funds could be diverted indirectly and through other countries to Hamas.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600305/Saudi-Arabia-intensifies-arrest-campaign-against-Palestinians

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OIC chief and Russia Federation Council head discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties

July 06, 2019

RIYADH: The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, met Valentina Matviyenko, chairwoman of the Federation Council, in Moscow on Saturday.

During the meeting, they discussed strengthening bilateral relations between the OIC and the Russian council.

Al-Othaimeen praised the coexistence and harmony among different religions in the Russian Federation.

Matviyenko welcomed the OIC secretary-general, stressing the matching of views with the OIC.

Meanwhile, the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded an honorary doctorate to Al-Othaimeen during a ceremony that took place at the academy’s headquarters in Moscow.

In his address, Prof. Evgeny Petrovich Bazhanov, the academy’s president, hailed the role played by the OIC in bringing people closer and for its efforts to support and promote peace.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1521696/saudi-arabia

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Syria Kurds host conference on Daesh detainees

July 06, 2019

BEIRUT: Dozens of international experts gathered in northeastern Syria on Saturday to discuss how to manage thousands of suspected Daesh members crammed into Kurdish-run prisons and camps.

French lawyers and US-based analysts were among those attending the three-day conference on the challenges still facing the region after Daesh’s territorial defeat, organizers said. Officials of the autonomous Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria, which is hosting the conference in the town of Amuda, were also due to take part.

In March, Kurdish-led fighters overran the last pocket of the militants’ cross-border proto-state with support from a US-led coalition.

Now, the Kurds are struggling to cope with the thousands of alleged Daesh members they detained during the battle.

They include around 1,000 suspected foreign militants held in jail, and some 13,000 family members in overcrowded camps.

With no local court equipped to deal with the large number of militant suspects, the Kurds have pressed their home countries to take them back.

But Western governments have been reluctant to repatriate them or put them on trial at home.

“There is global consensus that action urgently needs to be taken to deal with the thousands of foreign Daesh fighters and affiliates, plus Daesh-linked children, currently detained in northeast Syria,” the organizers of the three-day conference said.

“However, there is near-total lack of consensus as to what this action will look like.”

Syria’s Kurds have called for outside help to set up an international tribunal.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1521536/middle-east

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Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa provides training to Thai Muslim scholars

Jul. 7, 2019

CAIRO – 7 July 2019: In cooperation with Thailand’s embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian Dar al-Iftaa – the Sunni institution concerning with issuing fatwas and Islamic laws- launched a training program on disseminating the Islamic moderate ideology for Thai Muslim scholars and Imams, said the institution in a statement on Saturday.

The 7-day training will tackle the moderation of Islam under title “The Characteristics of the Moderate Ideology,” the statement added, noting that the program will start on Sunday.

Dar al-Iftaa’s regular programs have been given to Thai students since 2016 for, according to a statement published on Dar Al-Iftaa’s official website. The statement clarified that the training program discusses some books used by terrorist groups, who trade in the name of Islam for their personal gains.

Since 2015, Dar al-Iftaa’s General Secretariat for Fatwa Authorities Worldwide has provided dozens number of training programs for would-be scholars and Imams of many countries; it provided a two-month training for 17 African Imams in 2019 March-April.

Furthermore, 17 Imams and Scholars have received a three-year training before going back to their homes for disseminating Islamic teachings. The graduated envoys went to Switzerland, Holland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tajikistan, Thailand, China, and Kyrgyzstan.

In 2017, the General Secretariat also gave training to 16 Imams of Islamic and Mosques in Britain on combating the terrorist ideology, enhancing social integration of Muslims, and fighting the Islamophobia.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has called Egypt’s religious institutions to renew religious discourse to provide the true message of peace and tolerance in Islam.

Full report at:

http://www.egypttoday.com/Article/1/72513/Egypt%E2%80%99s-Dar-al-Iftaa-provides-training-to-Thai-Muslim-scholars

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Europe

 

Tories suspend members over new Islamophobia claims

6 JULY 2019

The Conservative Party has suspended several members over claims of Islamophobia following months of calls for it to act over the issue.

The move came ahead of claims to be broadcast by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme on Monday that Tory party members, including supporters of leadership candidate Boris Johnson, have posted derogatory comments on Facebook about Muslims.

One member of the Boris Johnson Supporters Group said: ‘I would ban all Muslim (sic) from entering the whole of Great Britain.”

In response to a member of Jacob Rees Mogg Appreciation Society writing: “Two mega mosques agreed planning permission in Maidstone and Worcester how we feel about this” another person posted: “WRONG”....

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/06/tories-suspend-members-new-islamophobia-claims/

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France, Iran agree to seek conditions to resume nuclear talks by July 15: Macron

7 July 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday he and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had agreed to seek conditions for a resumption of dialogue on the Iranian nuclear question by July 15.

“The President of the Republic has agreed with his Iranian counterpart to explore by July 15 conditions to resume dialogue between the parties,” Macron’s office said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/07/07/France-Iran-agree-to-seek-conditions-to-resume-nuclear-talks-by-July-15-Macron.html

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Second Turkish ship to start drilling off Cyprus

6 July 2019

A second Turkish ship will begin drilling for oil and gas in a disputed region off Cyprus next week, an official said, ramping up exploration despite mounting tensions with the European Union, which has deemed Ankara’s search “illegal.”

The discovery of huge gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has fueled a race to tap underwater resources and triggered a dispute between Turkey and EU member Cyprus, which also plans to ramp up its exploratory activities in the area.

Turkey, which on June 20 sent a second ship for exploratory activities off the eastern Mediterranean, says its actions abide by international law.

“God willing we will be starting the first drilling within a week,” Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted as saying by the private NTV broadcaster.

The ship called Yavuz will be exploring off the peninsula of Karpasia, the minister added.

The EU last month warned against Turkey’s “illegal” drilling, raising the threat of sanctions unless Turkish officials abandon the project.

But Ankara insists that it is drilling inside its continental shelf.

Turkey’s first drilling vessel, Fatih, has already started searching for gas and oil in waters considered part of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/07/06/Second-Turkish-ship-to-start-drilling-off-Cyprus.html

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London facing international isolation over refusal to release Iranian tanker

Jul 6, 2019

Britain’s on-going illegal seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off the Spanish coast continues to draw international condemnation.

In the latest development, Russia’s foreign ministry condemned the UK’s action by describing it as a “deliberate step” to inflame regional tensions.

Prior to this, the Spanish daily El Pais reported that Spain was set to complain against the seizure in waters which Madrid claims as its own. Earlier, the Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, had questioned Britain’s stated motive of seizing the tanker, Grace 1, to enforce European sanctions against Syria.

According to Mr. Borrell, the British action had been prompted by a request from the United States.

It is clear that Spain has been humiliated by the British action, which forced a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel to stand by as British Royal Marines from 42 commando swooped upon the Iranian super-tanker.

The British claim that the military seizure was prompted by the receipt of information from the so-called Gibraltar government has touched off a flurry of ridicule and indignation.

Analysts and experts have been at pains to point out that the so-called Gibraltar government is merely a colonial construct which cannot make any decisions on diplomacy and international affairs without London’s direction.

Provoking a diplomatic incident with Spain is just one consequence of Britain’s illegal action in Spanish territorial waters.

Even if the British version of events is accepted at face value, the UK still risks widespread international condemnation by attempting to enforce sanctions whilst simultaneously violating a sovereign nation’s territorial integrity.

As some analysts have pointed out, if the real issue at stake is the enforcement of EU sanctions against Syria, then Spain was the country best-placed to execute that task.

Spain not only exercises sovereignty in that area, but equally important Madrid is an enthusiastic member of the European Union. By contrast, the UK is set to crash out of the EU in three months.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600289/UK-Foreign-policy

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North America

 

US sent warning message to Iran after drone downing: Iranian official

7 July 2019

The United States conveyed a message to Iran warning of a limited strike against the country after its unmanned drone was shot down in the Gulf, Iran's civil defense agency chief Gholamreza Jalali was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency on Sunday.

“After the downing of its intruding drone, the United States told us through diplomatic intermediaries that it wanted to carry out a limited operation,” said Jalali who is also a senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

“But Iran's response was that we regard every operation as the beginning of the war.”

A day after the drone was downed in the Gulf, Iranian officials told Reuters on June 21 that Tehran had received a message from US President Donald Trump through Oman after the drone was downed warning that a US attack on Iran was imminent. Iranian and US officials denied the report.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/07/07/US-sent-warning-message-to-Iran-after-drone-downing-Iranian-official.html

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US envoy lauds latest 'peace talks' with Taliban as 'most productive' so far

Jul 7, 2019

US special envoy to “peace talks” with notorious Afghan Taliban terrorist group, Zalmay Khalilzad, has described the latest round of their negotiations in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar as the “most productive session” as both sides are set to reconvene the talks in two days.

“There is still important work left to be done before we have an agreement,” Khalilzad wrote in a Twitter message on Saturday, insisting that the latest round of discussions were the “most productive session” to date.

The Afghan-born US diplomat, who has been negotiating since last year with the radical militant group – purportedly aimed at ending the 18-year US-led war in Afghanistan – further added that the current “peace talks” will resume on Tuesday after an intra-Afghan dialogue, involving a group of Afghan delegates.

The two sides began a seventh round of the talks last week, aimed at forging a plan for the withdrawal of the US-led foreign military forces in exchange for guarantees by Taliban terrorists that international militant groups will not use Afghanistan as a base for launching attacks on US and its allies.

According to news reports, clarity on a final agreement on the timetable of foreign force pullout has been elusive so far, but in a sign of progress the Taliban agreed on the sidelines of the current negotiations to hold separate talks with a group of Afghan representative not formally affiliated with the government in Kabul.

Khalilzad reportedly intends to secure a political settlement with the Taliban, which has intensified its bombings and terror attacks in capital Kabul and elsewhere in the war-torn country in recent months and now controls more Afghan territory than at any time since being ousted by US-led forces in 2001.

He further claimed – without elaborating -- that substantive progress had been made on all four parts of a peace deal: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, participation in intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations, as well as a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

This is while 20,000 US-led foreign troops, most of them American, remain in Afghanistan as part of a purported NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces, though some US troops are engaged in what American military officials describe as counter-terrorism operations.

The development came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a trip to Kabul last month that Washington was close to finishing a draft agreement with the Taliban terrorists on “counter-terrorism assurances,” expressing hopes that a peace deal could be reached by September 1.

Moreover, US media outlets cited anonymous “Taliban officials” as saying last week that Washington was seeking up to 18 months to complete a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan even as US President Donald Trump told Fox News earlier in the week that a withdrawal had already quietly begun and that troop strength had been cut to 9,000.

However, AP cited a senior US official on Friday as contradicting Trump’s remarks, insisting that force strength remains unchanged at nearly 14,000. It further cited “an American official familiar with the talks” as disputing the 18-month withdrawal time frame, without mentioning what Washington was proposing.

Trump also vowed during an interview with Fox News on Monday to maintain a “very strong intelligence” presence in Afghanistan, while repeating earlier claims that he intends to withdraw American troops from the war-torn country.

“We will be leaving very strong intelligence, far more than you would normally think,” Trump said in the interview, adding that the problem with pulling the 9,000 US troops from Afghanistan was that the country “just seems to be a lab for terrorists... I call it the Harvard of terrorists.”

The interview with Trump was broadcast just after the Taliban claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist attacks in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul and other parts of the country as Washington began the new round of negotiations with the militant group. Meanwhile, US and Taliban negotiators further decided on Saturday to put the “peace talks” on hold for two days, to allow for a meeting between rival Afghan groups to be held in Qatari capital of Doha, according to reports citing officials of the two sides.

US officials are reportedly demanding a ceasefire agreement and a commitment on direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government before a peace deal is finalized.

A spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Sohail Shaheen, was also cited as saying the ‪US-Taliban dialogue would resume after the two-day intra-Afghan conference.

A previously planned meeting between Afghan representatives broke down back in April before it began amid disagreements over the size of the proposed 250-strong Afghan delegation as well as over its status as a representative body.

This time, nearly 40 high-profile Afghan figures and activists are due to arrive in Doha but will not have any official status — a condition made necessary by the Taliban’s refusal to deal directly with the government in Kabul.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/07/600329/US-envoy-Zalmay-Khalilzad-Afghanistan-peace-talks-Taliban-militants-Qatar-most-productive

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US denies German-Iranian father visa for son’s funeral

Jul 6, 2019

The US has denied a three-day visa to a German-Iranian father, who wanted to attend his son’s funeral procession in Washington.

Dr. Seyed Shahram Iranbomy, a human rights and discrimination lawyer who runs a law firm in Frankfurt, lost his 20-year-old son, Irman, in a car accident in Washington on June 10.

Iranbomy told German broadcaster DW on Friday that the US consulate in Frankfurt had rejected his visa request and accused him of taking advantage of his son's death “to immigrate to America.”

Iranbomy was denied a non-immigrant visa because he "sought to procure a visa, other documentation, admission to the US, or immigration benefit by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact,” read the official US consulate document.

The father also said the US consulate had told him that he "did not have roots in Germany."

However, Iranbomy, who has lived in Germany for more than 40 years, said, “I am more German than Iranian," adding that he was not interested in moving to the US.

He further noted that he had appealed the US consulate’s decision, but was yet to receive a response.

He also announced plans to file a formal criminal complaint over inhumane treatment.

"My son still has dignity today, not only my dignity is violated, but the rights of the person who is dead," Iranbomy said.

Frankfurt Mayor Peter Feldmann wrote a letter to US Consul General Patricia Lacina to call for a review of the German-Iranian father’s visa application.

Iranbomy has organized a protest in Frankurt's rebuilt historic city center near the cathedral on Sunday.

"I ask you, if your son was dead and the government didn't allow you to give him to the earth, what would you do?" he asked US President Donald Trump.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/06/600271/Germany-Iran-visa-Shahram-Iranbomy

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US welcomes deal to end unrest in Sudan

6 July 2019

The United States has said it welcomes a power-sharing deal designed to end months of political unrest in Sudan.

The agreement was reached on Friday between protest leaders and the country’s ruling generals after two days of talks.

It calls for establishing a so-called sovereign council with a rotating military and civilian president for three years.

The State Department called this “an important step forward.”

It expressed hope that the agreement will lead to the creation of a civilian-led transitional government broadly acceptable to the Sudanese people.

“We look forward to immediate resumption of access to the internet, establishment of the new legislature, accountability for the violent suppression of peaceful protests, and progress toward free and fair elections,” department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/07/06/US-welcomes-deal-to-end-unrest-in-Sudan-.html

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   1


  • Neither Nusrat’s Rath Yatra visit nor Mamata’s iftar party is an example of either secularism or of minority appeasement. They both are examples of how civilized people express friendship among themselves.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 7/7/2019 12:04:00 PM



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