New Age Islam
Tue Nov 30 2021, 12:58 AM

Islamic World News ( 5 Oct 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Egyptian Islamic Scholar Ahmed Mamdouh Permits Limited Instances of Hymen Repair in a Recent Fatwa

New Age Islam News Bureau

06 October 2021

 

Women's rights activists in Egypt appreciate the new ruling despite the controversy on social media

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• US Freedom-Of-Expression Group Honours Imprisoned Iranian Writers

• Inquiry Finds 216,000 Child Sex Abuse Cases in French Catholic Church Over 70 Years

• Taliban Leader Anas Haqqani Praises Mahmud Ghaznavi Calling Him ‘A Renowned Muslim Warrior’

• COVID-19 Plays Spoiler to Visit My Mosque Program Tour for Non-Muslims in India

 Arab World

• Diplomat in the UAE Rescues Baby Bird for Young Afghan Refugee

• Lebanon PM Mikati says family wealth legal in response to ‘Pandora Papers’

• Iraq’s Iran-backed militias seek to consolidate political power in vote

• Israel is ready to solve dispute with Lebanon over sea border: Energy minister

• UAE issues Golden Visa to more than 500 doctors in Abu Dhabi

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North America

• US Republicans Blast Arab States over Normalization Efforts with Syria’s Assad

• Diplomacy is best way to rein in Iran's nuclear program: Biden's adviser

• A first for US military: War in Afghanistan ended with zero MIAs

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Europe

• UK government officials hold talks with Taliban in Kabul

• Greece should not be provoked by others against Turkey: Turkish defence minister

• Georgian, Turkish, Azerbaijani defence chiefs agree to improve cooperation

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South Asia

• Afghanistan to start issuing passports again after months of delays

• From Insurgency To City Beat: Taliban Police Learn The Ropes

• Taliban Introduces 38 New Members in Caretaker Govt

• Prices Soar at Opium Market In Taliban-Ruled Afghanistan

• Taliban Unlawfully Killed 13 Hazaras, Says Rights Group

• Kabul Gurdwara Ransacked In Broad Daylight, Guards Tethered

• UK envoy holds Kabul talks with Taliban leaders: Officials

• Taliban captures 11 IS-affiliated terrorists in Kabul

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India

• Uttarakhand Govt Accused of Targeting Muslims as It Flags ‘Rising Numbers of a Community’ Ahead Of the State Assembly Elections In 2022

• Mumbai: Mosques, Dargahs to Reopen With ‘Halal’ Sanitiser

• BJP got power by pitting Hindus against Muslims: Lalu

• FB whistle-blower’s complaint details importance of Indian polls, hate speech

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Mideast

• Israeli Minister Says UAE Should Train Palestinian Imams on 'Moderation'

• Gaza Sculptor Exhibits Disembodied Limbs, Inspired By Palestinian Amputees’ Loss

• Al-Aqsa: Dozens of Israeli settlers storm mosque after Jewish holidays

• Iranian Sends More Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

• Russia, US discuss reviving Iran nuclear deal

• Quest for more leverage drives Iran’s nuclear stalling tactic: Analysts

• Azerbaijan shuts mosque linked to Iran supreme leader Khamenei

• Azerbaijan shuts down office of Khamenei’s representative in Baku: Iranian media

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Pakistan

• Pakistan Shares Western Military Tech with China, Cautions IAF Chief

• PM Imran urges Bill Gates to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghan people

• Pakistan court gives India more time to appoint lawyer in Kulbhushan Jadhav case

• ECP bench reserves judgement on delay in local govt polls in Islamabad

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Southeast Asia

• Sarawak MP Urges Police to Act against Preacher Who Made Racist Remarks against Non-Muslims and Dayak Community

• I Was Misunderstood, Speech Was Only For Muslims, Says Preacher

• Penang Opens Up Mosques to Fully-Vaccinated Foreigners

• Mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for civil servants in line with shariah, says expert

• Foreign minister: Malaysia prepared to hold dialogue with Myanmar’s National Unity Govt

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Africa

• Red Crescent Says Bodies of 17 People Washed Ashore In Libya

• Libya legislative vote rescheduled for January: Parliament

• Rival Libya factions dispute over on new election law

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:    https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/egyptian-scholar-islamic-hymen-repair/d/125521

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Egyptian Islamic Scholar Ahmed Mamdouh Permits Limited Instances of Hymen Repair In a Recent Fatwa

05 October 2021

 

Women's rights activists in Egypt appreciate the new ruling despite the controversy on social media

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A recent fatwa issued by a senior Egyptian Islamic scholar that permits limited instances of hymen repair may have opened the door for other women-related social issues, long considered a taboo in Egypt.

During a live broadcast on the official Facebook page of Dar Al-Ifta – the institution tasked with issuing religious fatwas [Islamic edicts] – Ahmed Mamdouh, head of the Islamic Sharia law research department argued in late August that hymen repair was "permissible and necessary,” for example, where a girl has been raped or deceived [by a man] and wished to repent and turn a new page."

He added that concealing the sin was required or else it was “closing all doors of mercy [that may lead sinners] to despair or encourage them to continue doing immoral deeds.”

Mamdouh’s comments came in response to an inquiry by a gynaecologist on whether the procedure is permissible in Islam. She said that she performed the surgery on survivors of rape and on girls tricked into having sexual intercourse with their lovers, fearing repercussions if their parents or possible suitors knew they were not virgins.

A righteous fatwa?

Mamdouh’s rather controversial fatwa stirred up mixed reactions on social media. While some believe it was overdue, others thought it would encourage girls to engage in sex outside wedlock and lead to deception.

The fatwa is not new to Egyptians. In 2007, former Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa issued a similar edict that allowed the practice in almost all cases, arguing that “since God concealed a woman’s sin, she should not scandalise herself.”

“I believe these edicts are quite upright conforming to the reality we are surviving. This is practical, realistic thinking that applies to this era, even though I don’t agree with the concept of trickery,” counselling psychologist Dr Mervat El-Amary told The New Arab.

She further believes that “the society has pushed women towards going through an experience like hymen repair, regardless of whether it’s right or wrong.”

“People are fooling themselves. Sex is one of the basic human needs. If it’s not met in a virtuous manner, it could be met in a roundabout way,” El-Amary argued.

“In developed countries, people are truthful about their needs and they are responsible for their acts,” she added.

Hymen reconstruction is commonly practised in Egypt in secret at private clinics and medical centres. Yet, surprisingly, some of these facilities promote their activities on social media. Ultimately, there is no clear law criminalising the practice.

When contacted by a female reporter with The New Arab personifying a client, a man named Karim representing a Cairo facility replied answering her seemingly anxious questions.

He identified the main doctor performing the surgery as Engy El-Saeid. According to Karim, a permanent hymen repair carried out under local anaesthesia costs 12,000 Egyptian pounds (about $760/£560), while a temporary one performed two days before the wedding night costs only 4,000 EGP (around $250/£186).

Karim added that “the practice may be illegal but carried out at a legal facility… while [El-Saeid] has no time to examine clients prior to the procedure, only performs it on-demand and follows up with them before their weddings.”     

A social schema

In Egypt and other eastern and Arab countries, an intact hymen is a schema, often regarded as a girl’s proof of virginity and, hence, chastity, though, medically, it could be torn due to reasons other than engaging in sexual activity.

The subject is even found in local folklore. An Egyptian proverb compares a girl’s virtue (in this case the hymen) to a piece of a matchstick that can only be struck once, while songs in the countryside and southern Egypt are often performed during weddings that hint at deflowering the bride’s hymen and how virtuous she turned out to be.

Not only that, in some rural, southern and lower-middle-class communities in Egypt, the bride is often subjected to a demeaning, traumatising situation on her wedding night, when her hymen is unfolded in the presence of women from her family and her husband’s, either via a midwife’s or by the husband’s finger.

Afterwards, they put blood released from the hymen on a white handkerchief to show the wedding invitees and her father that she was a virgin. 

In case the bride’s hymen does not release blood, she may be killed by her father, another male guardian, the husband or widely scandalised and immediately divorced.

A paradox

Mamdouh’s fatwa has highlighted how hypocritical  Egyptian society could be. While a man can engage in pre-marital sex without being judged or he can just be simply reprimanded, a woman can be named licentious or even killed for doing the same.

“It’s a contradictory society perceiving men with several relations as being masculine and women having relationships before marriage as being shameless… We lack the appreciation of the value of a woman in many communities, looking at her as a physical body rather than a human being with a soul and feelings,” El-Amary said.

“Both men and women don’t have a culture of responsibility, while many relations are based on fear. In our society, it’s honesty versus fear,” she argued.

“Men and women are not equal when it comes to rights and duties. Women are mostly the ones stigmatised when it comes to relationships because they bear children and lose their virginity as a result,” El-Amary concluded.

Source: The New Arab

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/features/controversial-fatwa-opens-door-female-taboos-egypt

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US Freedom-Of-Expression Group Honours Imprisoned Iranian Writers

06 October 2021

 

PEN America Recognizes Abtin, Bajan, and Khandan Mahabadi with PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, Raising Crucial Awareness as the Pandemic Exacerbates Dire Conditions for Imprisoned Writers Around the World

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Freedom of expression non-profit PEN America honored three imprisoned Iranian writers on Tuesday at its annual gala that featured actors Jodie Foster and Awkwafina.

The literature and human rights organization awarded Baktash Abtin, Keyvan Bajan and Reza Khandan Mahabadi the 2021 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.

The trio are serving a combined 15 and a half years in prison for their involvement with Iranian Writers Association (IWA), an anti-censorship group.

PEN paid tribute to them at a star-studded gala at New York’s American Museum of Natural History after last year’s event was held virtually because of the pandemic.

“They are writers who are called not only to offer prose and ideas on a page, but to live fearlessly—and sacrifice immensely in service of the liberties that underpin free thought, art, culture, and creativity,” PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a press release ahead of the event.

Abtin, a poet and screenwriter, novelist and journalist Bajan, and Mahabadi, an author and literary critic, have been imprisoned in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison since September last year.

Abtin and Mahabadi contracted coronavirus there and have not received proper hospital treatment for other ailments, according to PEN.

Some 800 guests attended the gala, which is typically the highlight of New York’s literary calendar.

Star of “The Farewell” Awkwafina hosted the event while Foster and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka helped present the awards.

The gala is the latest New York cultural highlight to return following the pandemic after last month’s Met Gala.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/10/06/US-freedom-of-expression-group-honors-imprisoned-Iranian-writers-

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Inquiry finds 216,000 child sex abuse cases in French Catholic Church over 70 years

Cindi Cook and Faruk Zorlu  

05.10.2021

PARIS

In a stunning revelation, an independent commission Tuesday said that there were 216,000 cases of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church in France between 1950 and 2020.

During a news conference, the French Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in Church (CIASE) said anywhere from 2,900 to 3,200 priests and other members of the church were given a free hand to abuse parishioners, which was subsequently covered up by the church leaders.

The commission was set up in 2018 by the Bishop’s Conference of France and the national congregations conference to look into the matter.

Former CIASE head Jean-Marc Sauve puts the figure of 216,000 as a minimum estimate.

The 2,500-page report, which details the abuse occurring over the past 70 years, took two and a half years of investigation.

The report discusses the mechanisms as well that allowed the abuse to continue and possible remedies for its end.

"Pope Francis learned with pain and sorrow of the report's contents during the recent visit of the French bishops to Rome," Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See Press Office, told journalists, according to Vatican News website.

Pope's thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their wounds, Bruni said, adding: "Pope Francis is grateful to them for “their courage to speak out” and for “turning to the Church of France, so that, having become aware of this appalling reality."

In September, Pope Francis raised the issue of sexual abuse with French bishops during a meeting at the Vatican. The issue is now expected to be studied further by the Vatican and senior members of the clergy.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/inquiry-finds-216-000-child-sex-abuse-cases-in-french-catholic-church-over-70-years/2383274

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Taliban Leader Anas Haqqani Praises Mahmud Ghaznavi Calling Him ‘A Renowned Muslim Warrior’

Oct 06, 2021

Taliban leader Anas Haqqani on Tuesday visited the tomb of Mahmud Ghaznavi, who attacked the Somnath temple in Gujarat multiple times in the 17th century. Haqqani, younger brother of Taliban's new Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani of the infamous 'Haqqani Network', glorified Ghaznavi calling him "a renowned Muslim warrior".

"Today, we visited the shrine of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, a renowned Muslim warrior & Mujahid of the 10th century. Ghaznavi (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) established a strong Muslim rule in the region from Ghazni & smashed the idol of Somnath," Anas Haqqani wrote about the visit on Twitter. He also posted pictures of the tomb.

Today, we visited the shrine of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi, a renowned Muslim warrior & Mujahid of the 10th century. Ghaznavi (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) established a strong Muslim rule in the region from Ghazni & smashed the idol of Somnath. pic.twitter.com/Ja92gYjX5j

— Anas Haqqani(انس حقاني) (@AnasHaqqani313) October 5, 2021

Ghaznavi was the first independent ruler of the Turkic dynasty of Ghaznavids, who ruled from 998 to 1030 AD.

According to history, Mahmud Ghaznavi attacked the Somnath temple 17 times, and finally ransacked it in 1024 AD. The chief deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. Ghaznavi specifically targeted Hindu temples, since they were the centres of wealth, economy and ideology for the Hindus.

Anas Haqqani was a member of the Taliban's negotiation team in its political office in Doha.

The Haqqani Network and the Taliban came closer during the 1990s, and this time too, the dreaded terror group is part of the government led by Taliban. In fact, Sirajuddin Haqqani - a global terrorist - heads Afghanistan's interior ministry.

It is widely believed that Mullah Omar, the one-eyed founder of the Taliban, was radicalised in Darul Uloom Haqqania in Pakistan's Khyber-Paktunkhwa province, from which the Haqqani network derives its name.

The Haqqani network is a jihad group incorporated in Pakistan with two of its members, Sirajuddin Haqqani, deputy leader of Taliban, and Khalil Haqqani, the Taliban emissary, carrying USD 15 million in reward on their head. The group is linked to some of the most brazen attacks on Indian interests in Afghanistan.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/taliban-leader-anas-haqqani-praises-ghaznavi-who-attacked-somnath-temple-101633502816224.html

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COVID-19 Plays Spoiler to Visit My Mosque Program Tour For Non-Muslims In India

Shuriah Niazi  

06.10.2021

NEW DELHI

Although communal tensions often hog the headlines from India, a Muslim organization has been attempting to bridge the gap between religious communities by arranging a tour of non-Muslims to mosques.

But like other activities, COVID-19 related restrictions have halted the Visit My Mosque Program as well, according to organizers.

Coinciding annual Mosques and Religious Officials Week which is being observed in Turkey from Oct. 1, the organizers Rahmat Group – a charitable trust in the southern Indian city of Bangalore – told Anadolu Agency that last year they had managed to bring several hundred non-Muslims to see Muslims praying at the city's historic Modi Masjid.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency Vinay Sahai, a Hindu said that he got a chance for the first time to see the mosque from the inside and learned what is happening there.

He described it as a very good initiative since it allowed non-Muslims like him to interact with the Muslim community. He said the program has also helped to remove the negative stereotyping build around the community.

"It was a new and different initiative," said Sahai, who had visited a mosque in Bihar Sharif, the seat of the Nalanda district in the eastern state of Bihar, last year.

“Our initiative had received significant support from diverse communities as people wanted to learn about Islam,” said Mohammed Suhaib Usmani Qasmi, an office-bearer of Rahmat Group.

Afternoon prayers were also shown to the participants in this half-day program so that they could know about Muslim prayers.

“Practical Islam was shown to the visitors as they were welcomed and taken inside,” he stated and added that there was a separate area for women and that this encouraged more ladies and families to visit the mosque.

Qasmi, however, said that because of coronavirus restrictions, his organization has been unable to organize such programs for the last one and a half years.

“People frequently ask us questions, but the government has placed restrictions on religious places, and we are not permitted to host such events,” he said.

- Encouraging feedback

“No one put a negative comment in a feedback form before leaving,” he asserted.

Last year, a similar program was organized in India’s commercial capital Mumbai. The tour was conducted by the socio-religious Muslim organization Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH).

“We wanted people to see what Muslims do inside mosques directly. People learned and experienced everything firsthand rather than being told about it, and they recognized that a mosque is a good place where nothing improper is taught,” Akhtarul Iman, president of JIH in Kalyan locality of Mumbai, told Anadolu Agency.

He believed that with such programs non-Muslims would gain an understanding of the place of worship and remove misconceptions about Islam.

The majority of those who took part in these activities stated in their feedback that visiting the mosque made them feel peaceful and relaxed and that they would like to return if they get the opportunity in the future.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/covid-19-plays-spoiler-to-mosque-tour-for-non-muslims-in-india/2384022

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Arab World

 

Diplomat in the UAE rescues baby bird for young Afghan refugee

06 October ,2021

The Ambassador of France to the United Arab Emirates has revealed how he saved a baby bird that a young girl fleeing the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan had smuggled with her during rescue evacuation operations.

The UAE helped more than 20,000 people who led Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban regaining control of their country and facilitated the evacuation to countries around the world.

Among those was a young girl, Alia, who was evacuated to Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE, wrote diplomat Xavier Chatel on Twitter.

In her possessions when she arrived from her 1,800 kilometer journey from Kabul was a tiny young bird.

“This is a story I have been meaning to tell for a while,” the diplomat said. “During the Afghan evacuation operation, a young girl arrived at Al Dhafra airbase, exhausted, with an unusual possession; a bird. She has fought all the way at Kabul airport to bring the treasured thing with her.”

However, the diplomat said for sanitary reasons, the bird could not leave with the young refugee as she embarked on her next plane to France, where she would be rehomed with thousands of other Afghan refugees.

“She cried silently. I was moved and I promised to take care of the bird and feed him. I said she could visit him any time and take him back. I won’t forget her look of gratefulness.”

The diplomat said that during a fortnight at the base, he was only sleeping about three hours each night, so intense was the evacuation of desperate Afghan refugees.

However, he still found time to feed the bird – which he named Juji – and managed to take the small creature to the French embassy in the UAE.

“This energetic little mynah managed to escape his box and make a big mess in the car,” he wrote on social media, sharing a video which has since been viewed thousands of times. “He hid behind the seat and wouldn’t budge. When I tried to talk him into coming back, the fierce little fellow showed me that if he survived the Kabul airport, I was no match.”

However, the diplomat said he refused to give up on the promise he had made to the young refugee.

“I bought him a nice cage, fed him and took him out in the cool morning so he could see other birds. He has a girlfriend now - a dove that visits him every day.”

The diplomat then began noticing the bird was trying to communicate.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/10/06/Diplomat-in-the-UAE-rescues-baby-bird-for-young-Afghan-refugee

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Lebanon PM Mikati says family wealth legal in response to ‘Pandora Papers’

05 October ,2021

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s family wealth comes from a communications business that has been audited in the past and is legal, a statement by his office said on Tuesday in response to a giant leak of financial documents.

A Lebanese news organization, Daraj, was one of a number of international media outlets that reported the “Pandora Papers”, a set of leaked documents purported to reveal offshore transactions involving global political and business figures.

Daraj had said Mikati owned an offshore firm in Panama called Hessvile through which he purchased a property in Monaco worth 7 million euros.

On Tuesday, Mikati said owning property through firms was a common commercial practice that was legal.

Mikati’s family wealth was audited when his communications firm listed in London in 2005 and when it merged with South Africa’s MTN later, the statement said.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/05/Lebanon-PM-Mikati-says-family-wealth-legal-in-response-to-Pandora-Papers-

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Iraq’s Iran-backed militias seek to consolidate political power in vote

05 October ,2021

Among the candidates running in Iraq’s general elections this week is the leader of one of the most hard-line and powerful militias with close ties to Iran who once battled US troops.

Hussein Muanis joins a long list of candidates from among Iran-backed Shiite factions vying for parliament seats. But he is the first to be openly affiliated with Kataib Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, signaling the militant group’s formal entry into politics.

The group is on a US list of terrorist organizations and is accused by US officials of targeting American forces in Iraq. Muanis himself was jailed by the Americans for four years from 2008 to 2012 for fighting US troops.

“Our entrance into politics is a religious obligation. I battled the occupiers militarily and now I will battle them politically,” he said, speaking to The Associated Press recently in his office in central Baghdad.

Muanis, 50, says he has given up his militia fatigues in favor of politics. He now heads a political movement called “Harakat Huqooq,” or Rights Movement, which is fielding 32 candidates and an electoral program stressing the departure of US troops from Iraq.

The Kataib Hezbollah group has been struck by US forces near the Iraq-Syria border several times. In December 2019, the US carried out strikes targeting military sites belonging to the group after blaming it for a rocket barrage that killed a US defense contractor at a military compound near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Around 20 militiamen were killed.

Harakat Huqooq’s campaign advertisements decorate the streets of Shiite dominated areas in Baghdad and southern Iraq.

Iraq is holding elections on Oct. 10, the fifth parliamentary vote since the US-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, which shifted the country’s power base from minority Arab Sunnis to majority Shiites. The vote was brought forward by one year in response to mass protests that broke out in late 2019 over endemic corruption, poor services and unemployment.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/05/Iraq-s-Iran-backed-militias-seek-to-consolidate-political-power-in-vote

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Israel is ready to solve dispute with Lebanon over sea border: Energy minister

05 October ,2021

Israel is ready to renew efforts to solve its dispute with Lebanon over the delineation of their territorial waters in the Mediterranean, but it will not accept that Beirut dictates the terms of the negotiation, its energy minister said on Tuesday.

The talks mediated by the United States were launched a year ago to try to resolve the dispute, which has held up exploration in the potentially gas-rich area. The talks stalled in May.

US special envoy Amos Hochstein is due in both countries this month to try to give fresh impetus to the talks just as Lebanon has sought clarifications from the international community after Israel granted US oilfield services group Halliburton an offshore drilling contract.

“We need to look for a solution that leads to a break through and not try to think in the old ways of drawing lines,” Israel’s Karine Elharrar told Reuters in an interview in Paris, adding that she would speak to Hochstein soon.

At the end of talks in May, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said there should be no preconditions. He rejected the US mediator’s suggestions asking for negotiations to be on the basis of Israeli and Lebanese border lines already submitted and registered with the United Nations.

“We started (negotiations) by one line and then they (Lebanon) pushed the line. Pushing and pushing the lines literally,” Elharrar said. “It’s not the way to have a negotiation. They cannot dictate the lines.”

Earlier talks stalled after each side presented contrasting maps outlining proposed borders that actually increased the size of the disputed area.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/05/Israel-is-ready-to-solve-dispute-with-Lebanon-over-sea-border-Energy-minister

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UAE issues Golden Visa to more than 500 doctors in Abu Dhabi

06 October ,2021

The United Arab Emirates has issued more than 500 Golden Visas to doctors in the capital Abu Dhabi, as part of “efforts to reinforce the emirate as an incubator of talent and honor the achievements of residents working the healthcare sector,” the Abu Dhabi Media Office (ADMO) reported Wednesday.

“The doctors were nominated for their distinguished commitment, responsibility and sacrifice to ensure the health and safety of the community,” ADMO said.

“Ensuring doctors and their families enjoy long-term residency in the UAE and highlighting the importance of the healthcare sector,” the media office added.

The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi (DOH) held a virtual ceremony for the doctors and healthcare professionals that were awarded the Golden Visa.

Golden Visa

The UAE’s Golden Visa is available in Abu Dhabi to global talent and investors. It provides successful applicants with visas for up to 10 years, with holders permitted to live, work and study in the emirate without the need of a national sponsor, ADMO reported.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/10/06/UAE-issues-Golden-Visa-to-more-than-500-doctors-in-Abu-Dhabi

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North America

 

UK government officials hold talks with Taliban in Kabul

Muhammad Mussa  

05.10.2021

LONDON

UK government officials on Tuesday traveled to Afghanistan for talks with the interim Taliban government in Kabul.

Sir Simon Gass, the UK prime minister’s high representative for Afghan transition, and Martin Longed, the charge d’affaires of the UK mission to Afghanistan, met with senior Taliban commanders and leaders and discussed an array of pertinent matters.

“They met senior members of the Taliban, including Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, and Mawlawi Abdul-Salam Hanafi,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.

The pair talked about how the UK could be of assistance in addressing the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, the essentiality of the country not becoming a hotbed and launch pad of terrorism, and the continued need of safe passage for those Afghans looking to leave the country.

“The government continues to do all it can to ensure safe passage for those who wish to leave, and is committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan,” the statement added.

The government representatives also discussed the issue of the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/uk-government-officials-hold-talks-with-taliban-in-kabul/2383624

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Diplomacy is best way to rein in Iran's nuclear program: Biden's adviser

06 October ,2021

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser told his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday that diplomacy is the best way to rein in Iran’s nuclear program even as he reaffirmed Biden’s warning to Tehran that Washington could turn to other options if negotiations fail.

Biden senior aide Jake Sullivan hosted Israeli national security adviser Eyal Hulata for talks which, according to a US official, gave the two allies a chance to share intelligence and develop a “baseline assessment” of how far Tehran’s nuclear program has advanced.

Under a 2015 deal, Iran curbed its uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to nuclear arms, in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. Then-US President Donald Trump quit the deal in 2018 and the Israeli government opposes US efforts to revive it.

US experts believe the time it would take Iran to achieve nuclear “breakout” - enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb - has “gone from about 12 months down to a period of about a few months” since Trump pulled out of the pact, the US official said earlier, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Iran, Israel’s regional arch-foe, has consistently denied it is developing a nuclear bomb.

Sullivan in Tuesday’s talks “emphasized President Biden’s fundamental commitment to Israel’s security and to ensuring that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon,” the White House said in a statement.

“Mr. Sullivan explained that this administration believes diplomacy is the best path to achieve that goal, while also noting that the president has made clear that if diplomacy fails, the US is prepared to turn to other options,” it added.

Sullivan’s words echoed the message that Biden gave Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during a White House meeting in August.

Tuesday’s meeting of the US-Israel Strategic Consultative Group included military, intelligence and diplomatic officials and came amid stalled international diplomacy with Iran.

Western powers have been trying for weeks to get Tehran to commit to resume indirect negotiations with the US in Vienna. The talks have been on hold since June, after hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s president, and Tehran has been vague about when it might return to the table.

US officials have declined to specify what actions are under consideration if diplomacy with Iran collapses.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/06/Diplomacy-is-best-way-to-rein-in-Iran-s-nuclear-program-Biden-s-adviser

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A first for US military: War in Afghanistan ended with zero MIAs

Oct 6, 2021

When the last US military cargo jet flew out of Afghanistan in August, marking the end of the US’ longest war, it also signalled a largely overlooked accomplishment. For the first time in the nation’s history, a major conflict was ending without the US military leaving any troops behind: no one missing in action behind enemy lines, and no nameless, unidentified bones to be solemnly interred in the Tomb of the Unknowns.

It is a stunning change from previous wars that ended with thousands of troops forever lost, their families left to wonder what had happened to them.

Christopher Vanek, a retired colonel who commanded the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, spent a combined 6 1/2 years deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and took part in a number of high-profile searchand-rescue operations. He said rescues became the priority. Even for low-ranking troops with little strategic importance, he said, the military spared no effort to find the missing.

When two navy sailors were missing in 2010 in Logar province, south of Kabul, “all combat operations came to a screeching halt,” Vanek recalled. “We had 150 aircraft working on trying to find them. We refocused our entire effort from fighting and killing al-Qaida to recovering these men.” The bodies of both sailors were located and retrieved several days later.

There are several reasons no one was left behind this time. In Afghanistan, combat smoldered more often than it blazed, and lacked the large-scale chaos that led to many losses in the past. Modern DNA analysis can identify any service member from a sample of just a few shards of bone. And unlike the jungles of Vietnam or the beaches of Tarawa Atoll, it was comparably difficult to lose sight of a comrade in the dry, open terrain of Afghanistan.

But the driving factor, experts say, is a military culture that has changed considerably since the draft ended in the 1970s. That culture now makes the recovery of troops — dead or alive — one of the military’s highest priorities. “It has come to be seen as almost a sacred commitment from the nation to those who serve,” Vanek said. “It’s hard to overstate the amount of resources that were committed to look for someone who was lost.”

“Straight rescues are hard as hell because the enemy holds all the cards,” said Jimmy Hatch. World War II left 79,000 Americans unaccounted for. The Korean War, another 8,000. Vietnam, 2,500 more. In Korea and Vietnam, rescue efforts were few and many US troops wasted away in prison, facing torture. After Vietnam, though, the nation’s attitude began to change, according to Mark Stephensen, whose father was a fighter pilot who was shot down over Vietnam in 1967.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/a-first-for-us-military-war-in-afghanistan-ended-with-zero-mias/articleshow/86799656.cms

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Europe

 

UK government officials hold talks with Taliban in Kabul

Muhammad Mussa  

05.10.2021

LONDON

UK government officials on Tuesday traveled to Afghanistan for talks with the interim Taliban government in Kabul.

Sir Simon Gass, the UK prime minister’s high representative for Afghan transition, and Martin Longed, the charge d’affaires of the UK mission to Afghanistan, met with senior Taliban commanders and leaders and discussed an array of pertinent matters.

“They met senior members of the Taliban, including Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund, and Mawlawi Abdul-Salam Hanafi,” a government spokesperson said in a statement.

The pair talked about how the UK could be of assistance in addressing the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, the essentiality of the country not becoming a hotbed and launch pad of terrorism, and the continued need of safe passage for those Afghans looking to leave the country.

“The government continues to do all it can to ensure safe passage for those who wish to leave, and is committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan,” the statement added.

The government representatives also discussed the issue of the treatment of minorities and the rights of women and girls.

In August, the Taliban retook Afghanistan in a lightning offensive that saw the Afghan government and its 300,000 strong NATO-trained militaries collapsed in less than two weeks. The armed movement, however, said that Afghanistan would no longer play host to foreign groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/uk-government-officials-hold-talks-with-taliban-in-kabul/2383624

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Greece should not be provoked by others against Turkey: Turkish defence minister

Sarp Ozer

06.10.2021

Greece should not be provoked by others against Turkey, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Tuesday.

Underlining that Turkey has always believed in a peaceful solution in compliance with international law and good neighbor relations, he noted that Ankara favors dialogue with Athens.

Akar made the remarks while speaking to the press following a meeting with Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze and Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov.

Referring to a recent incident in which the Greek research vessel Nautical Geo was intercepted while trying to violate the Turkish continental shelf, Akar stressed that Greece continues to engage in provocations and violations despite Turkey’s warnings.

Although Turkey favors dialogue and a peaceful solution, it will not allow its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots to be violated, he said, noting that any fait accompli would not be tolerated by Turkey.

Also commenting on recent big-ticket arms purchases by Greece, Akar reiterated that Greece should not allow some countries to provoke it against Turkey, noting that such actions would not benefit Greece.

Turkey has never been a threat to any party but on the contrary always a credible, strong and efficient ally, Akar concluded.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/greece-should-not-be-provoked-by-others-against-turkey-turkish-defense-minister/2383946

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Georgian, Turkish, Azerbaijani defence chiefs agree to improve cooperation

Ruslan Rehimov, David Kachkachishvili, and Sarp Ozer  

05.10.2021

Georgian, Turkish, and Azerbaijani defense ministers on Tuesday underlined the significance of trilateral cooperation in regional security, peace, and stability.

The cooperation in the field of defense among the three countries is of crucial importance for the stability of the whole region, said Juansher Burchuladze in a news conference following the 8th Georgia-Turkey-Azerbaijan Defense Ministers Meeting with Hulusi Akar and Zakir Hasanov in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

At the end of the meeting, the defense chiefs inked the Trilateral Meeting Final Statement which mainly focuses on further improving cooperation among the three countries.

Referring to the geostrategic importance of the region, Burchuladze said he believes that the only possible alternative to solve the present disputes is through peace, and added that the aim is to preserve and maintain security and stability of the region through joint efforts.

He emphasized the significance of trilateral and multinational military drills, recalling the drill participated by Azerbaijani and Turkish soldiers, Indestructible Brotherhood 2021, currently taking place in Georgia.

The training of the Indestructible Brotherhood 2021 exercise to be held in Nakhchivan with the participation of Azerbaijan has been carried out successfully, Turkey's National Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

Noting that another drill is soon to be held in his country, Burchuladze said Turkey and Azerbaijan are also invited to participate in the exercise and added that the friendship and unity will last among the three countries.

On his part, Hasanov said the meeting with his Turkish and Georgian counterparts is a clear example of the strategic-level trilateral dialogue.

The ways to improve the relations among the three neighboring and friendly countries through bilateral and trilateral ways were discussed during the meeting, he added.

They also discussed that the terrorist and separatist activities in the region pose a direct threat to the peace, stability, and economic development, as well as the security of international activities, Hasanov said.

He noted the importance of solving conflicts through the principles of international law, especially in line with the UN, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and European Council decisions, based on respect towards territorial integrity and internationally recognized borders.

Hasanov underlined that the trilateral activities of Georgia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan should be considered a peaceful message for the preservation of stability, and voiced agreement on the decision to carry out more joint military drills to reach reconciliation among the military troops.

Akar and Burchuladze met ahead of the meeting in the Telavi province. During the meeting, the two sides discussed cooperation in the fields of defense and security.

During the meeting, Akar said Turkey and Georgia are two strategic partner countries with common geographical, historical, and cultural ties.

Akar stressed the need to further increase cooperation in the fields of military education and the defense industry.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/georgian-turkish-azerbaijani-defense-chiefs-agree-to-improve-cooperation/2383901

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South Asia

 

Afghanistan to start issuing passports again after months of delays

October 6, 2021

KABUL: Afghanistan will start issuing passports to its citizens again, a senior official said on Tuesday, following months of delays that hampered attempts by those trying to flee the country after the Taliban seized control in August.

The process, which had slowed even before the Taliban’s return to power following the withdrawal of US forces, will provide applicants with documents physically identical to those issued by the previous government, the official said.

Alam Gul Haqqani, the acting head of the passport office, said between 5,000 and 6,000 passports would be issued each day, with women being employed to process those meant for female citizens.

“No male employee has the right to perform a biometric (check) or other passport work on a woman,” he told reporters in Kabul, the capital.

Interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayeed Khosti told the briefing that 25,000 applicants had reached the final stage of paying for passports, with roughly 100,000 applications in the earlier stages of the process pending.

Outside the passport office in Kabul, a resident, Najia Aman, said she was relieved it was open again, so that a member of her family could get a document to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“I am very happy the passport office has been re-opened,” she said. “We faced a lot of problems and we could not get a passport to go to Pakistan for his treatment.”

Women’s soccer team

Members of the Afghan women’s soccer team are uncertain about their future after evacuation to Australia following the Taliban takeover, captain Shabnam Mobarez said on Tuesday.

Australia evacuated more than 50 Afghan women soccer players, athletes and their dependents after the Taliban seized control of the capital, Kabul, on Aug 15.

Mobarez, who lives in the United States, said the evacuated Afghan players were receiving good care in Australia, but were still confused about their future.

“It is very unsure, the situation they are in right now,” Mobarez told Sky Sports.

“It was a traumatising experience getting out. Now they are trying to get used to this whole normal new life.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1650352/afghanistan-to-start-issuing-passports-again-after-months-of-delays

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From insurgency to city beat: Taliban police learn the ropes

October 6, 2021

KABUL: After spending 13 years as a Taliban fighter waging an insurgency, Rahimullah is now slowly adjusting to the relatively ordinary role of a policeman in Afghanistan’s capital.

Like the rest of the Taliban, he is grappling with an awkward transition from rebel fighter to civilian patrolman, as the hardliners vow security and build a new police force.

Kabul residents say street crime has dropped, with widespread fear rooted in memories of the Taliban’s brutal regime in the 1990s, infamous for harsh punishments such as public stoning, lashing and amputations.

“This is not risky work,” says Rahimullah, who joined the Taliban as a teenager “for Islam and for my country”.

The 28-year-old from neighbouring Wardak province, along with his team of eight men, has the task of managing security in a central Kabul district.

His work involves “catching thieves, murderers and those who drink wine”, he tells AFP, which was allowed to accompany a patrol overseen by a more senior Taliban official.

Some of his colleagues appear unsure of how to navigate their new role in a city far from their previous lives in the much more conservative countryside.

“It’s not our favourite job, but it’s our responsibility,” admits the Taliban commander overseeing the patrol.

Instead of the jackets and trousers formerly worn by officers, many Taliban forces don traditional Afghan dress, called shalwar kameez.

Some have had new versions made from the blue-and-black camouflage material used in old Afghan uniforms.

At one station, in Kabul’s 10th district, the emblem of the previous police force can still be seen, near the Taliban’s white and black banner.

Taliban punishments have already been on display in some parts of Afghanistan – last week, the bodies of four suspected kidnappers were hung from a crane in the city of Herat.

Challenging transition

The old police force, created by the international powers that drove out the Taliban in 2001, no longer exists.

It collapsed when the Taliban swept back into power on Aug 15, as former policemen and civil servants fearful of revenge and abuse scurried into hiding or fled the country.

The Taliban authorities are eager to keep their promise of strict law and order in the new Afghanistan, where the justice system under the US-backed government was plagued by corruption and inefficiency.

“There is a training programme underway, and there will be professionals at all levels,” said interior ministry spokesman Qari Sayed Khosti, who has invited former to return.

The new force already counts about 4,000 men in the capital, says Kabul police spokesman Afez Sirajuddin Omeri, insisting the city is far safer than before.

“Under the previous government, there were 300 to 400 crimes reported each day. Now in total they report around 15 a day,” said Omeri as he drove a dusty old Toyota Corolla through the city, his car radio playing religious songs.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2021/10/06/from-insurgency-to-city-beat-taliban-police-learn-the-ropes/

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Taliban introduces 38 new members in caretaker govt

Oct 6, 2021

KABUL: Taliban on Monday announced 38 new members of its caretaker government of Afghanistan, in civil and military positions.

The new appointments include a Political Deputy for the Prime Minister, acting Minister for the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled, deputy ministers and commanders of corps.

The names of Afghanistan's military corps have changed from 209 Shaheen Corps to "Mazar corps" in the new list.

"We hope the new army can defend Afghanistan's territorial integrity and respond to any possible movements by enemies and forces opposed to the current government," said Mohammad Sadeq Shinwari, a former military figure, TOLOnews reported.

The names of some key members of the caretaker cabinet include Political Deputy for Prime Minister- Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, acting Minister for the Ministry of Martyrs and Disabled Affairs- Mullah Abdul Majid, the head of Afghan Red Crescent Society- Mawlawi Muti-ul Haq, Deputy Head of the Red Crescent Society- Mawlawi Nooruddin Turabi, the Commander of Kandahar Corps- Mullah Mehrullah Hemad, the Commander of Kabul Corps- Mawlawi Hamdullah, the Commander of Mazar Corps- Mawlawi Attaullah Omari, TOLOnews reported.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-introduces-38-new-members-in-caretaker-govt/articleshow/86800784.cms

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Prices soar at opium market in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan

Oct 6, 2021

HOWZ-E-MADAD: While the economy teeters on the brink of collapse, vendors at an opium market in southern Afghanistan say prices for their goods have skyrocketed since the Taliban takeover.

Plunging his knife into a large plastic bag filled with four kilograms (nine pounds) of what looks like brown mud, Amanullah, who asked to use a fake name, extracts a lump and places it in a small cup suspended over a primus flame.

The poppy resin quickly begins to boil and liquify, and he and his partner Mohammad Masoom can display to buyers that their opium is pure.

"It is haram (forbidden) in Islam, but we don't have any other choice," Masoom says, at the market on the arid plains of Howz-e-Madad, in Kandahar province.

Since the Taliban overran Kabul on August 15, the price for opium -- which is transformed into heroin either in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran before flooding the European market -- has more than tripled.

Masoom said smugglers are now paying him 17,500 Pakistani rupees ($100, 90 euros) per kilogram. In Europe, it has a street value of over $50 a gram.

As he sat beneath a canvas suspended from four stakes to protect the precious wares from the burning sun, he said the price prior to the Taliban takeover stood at just a third of what he can make today.

Speaking to AFP on his field a few kilometres away, poppy farmer Zekria confirms that prices have skyrocketed.

He says his opium is more concentrated -- and therefore of better quality -- than Masoom and Amanullah's because the flowers were picked at the start of the harvesting season.

He says he now gets over 25,000 PKR per kilo, up from 7,500 before the Taliban's takeover.

Back at the market, hundreds of producers, vendors and buyers chat over green tea around sacks of opium and hashish, discussing the soaring prices.

The weather, insecurity, political unrest and border closures can all affect the ever-fluctuating opium price, but everyone seems to agree that it was a single statement by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid last month that made the prices take off.

At the time, he told the world the Taliban did not want to see "any narcotics produced" -- but added that international backing was needed to allow farmers to shift away from the trade.

The rumour that a ban on poppy-growing was imminent spread through the province, a historical Taliban stronghold and the centre of the country's opium production and drug trafficking.

Buyers are bracing for a looming shortage, "so the opium price is soaring," said Zekria, who also used a pseudonym to avoid retribution.

But the 40-year-old, who like his father and grandfather has spent much of his life growing poppies, said he did not believe the Taliban "can eradicate all poppy (farming) in Afghanistan".

In 2000, during the hardliners' last stint in power, the Taliban banned poppy growing, declaring it forbidden under Islam, and virtually eradicated the crop.

After the US-led ouster of the Taliban in 2001, poppy farming again proliferated, even as the West poured millions of dollars into pushing alternatives, such as saffron.

Then, with the Taliban switching from ruling Afghanistan to insurgency against US-led forces, they relied on opium production to finance their rebellion.

In 2016, half of their revenue came from the trade, according to the United Nations.

Afghanistan's opium production has since remained high year after year, producing about 6,300 tonnes last year alone, the UN says.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/prices-soar-at-opium-market-in-taliban-ruled-afghanistan/articleshow/86800090.cms

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Taliban unlawfully killed 13 Hazaras, says rights group

Oct 6, 2021

KABUL: Taliban forces unlawfully killed 13 ethnic Hazaras, most of them Afghan soldiers who had surrendered to the insurgents, a rights group said on Tuesday.

The killings took place in the village of Kahor in Daykundi province in central Afghanistan on August 30, according to an investigation by Amnesty International. Eleven of the victims were members of the Afghan national security forces and two were civilians, among them a 17-year-old girl. The reported killings took place about two weeks after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a blitz campaign, culminating in their takeover of Kabul.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-unlawfully-killed-13-hazaras-says-rights-group/articleshow/86799154.cms

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Kabul gurdwara ransacked in broad daylight, guards tethered

Oct 5, 2021

AMRITSAR: A group of 15-17 unidentified people barged into Gurdwara Karte Parwan in the Afghan capital Kabul in broad daylight on Tuesday, ransacked the holy structure, tethered guards and left after breaking the CCTV cameras installed there.

President of Gurdwara Karte Parwan Gurnam Singh informed TOI over phone from Kabul on Tuesday that the group barged into the gurdwara around 3.15 pm. “They tied the guards and demanded to hand over their vehicle, but then they left after some time, not before breaking the CCTV cameras,” he said.

While denying that anyone in the gurdwara knew them, Singh said there were around six to eight Sikhs there at the time of the incident.

“We have demanded justice from the Taliban regime. Two police teams have visited the gurdwara and took stock of the situation,” Singh said, adding that the Talibani police tried to recover the recordings from the damaged CCTV cameras.

In the past, Talibani representatives had visited Gurdwara Karte Parwan twice and had assured the minority Sikh community of safety. They have also shared their contact numbers in case of any emergency.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/kabul-gurdwara-ransacked-in-broad-daylight-guards-tethered/articleshow/86785721.cms

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UK envoy holds Kabul talks with Taliban leaders: Officials

Oct 5, 2021

KABUL: A British envoy held talks with senior members of Afghanistan's new Taliban government in Kabul on Tuesday, officials from both governments said.

Simon Gass, the UK's representative for Afghan transition, spoke to deputy prime ministers Abdul Ghani Baradar and Abdul Salam Hanafi, the British foreign office said.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/uk-envoy-holds-kabul-talks-with-taliban-leaders-officials/articleshow/86782453.cms

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Taliban captures 11 IS-affiliated terrorists in Kabul

Oct 5, 2021

KABUL: The Taliban on Tuesday captured 11 terrorists affiliated with Islamic State (IS) group in Kabul, Afghanistan, said a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, Qari Sayed Khosti.

The Taliban on Monday captured IS operatives from the Bagh-e-Daud area, Xinhua reported.

The arrests happened after a bomb blast in Kabul on Sunday.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-captures-11-is-affiliated-terrorists-in-kabul/articleshow/86779581.cms

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India

 

Uttarakhand Govt Accused of Targeting Muslims as It Flags ‘Rising Numbers of a Community’ Ahead Of the State Assembly Elections In 2022

PRITHVIRAJ SINGH

5 October, 2021

Dehradun: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttarakhand has asked local authorities in the state to identify areas that are witnessing a spurt in the population of a certain “community”, leading to Opposition allegations that it is fuelling Hindu-Muslim tensions ahead of the state assembly elections in 2022.

The government order comes in the backdrop of complaints by members of the BJP over an alleged rise in the state’s Muslim population and illegal construction of mosques.

In an order issued on 24 September, the state home department directed district magistrates and SSPs to identify outsiders living in the state, and set up committees to resolve “communal issues” that have allegedly arisen with the “rise in population of a community”.

“DGP, district magistrates and SSPs have been directed to identify and prepare lists of persons from other states living in Uttarakhand and have criminal history. A complete record of their business activities and verified domicile residential areas must be prepared. A district-level committee should be constituted to suggest measures for resolving communal issues arising out of the rise in population of a community,” the order stated.

The Pushkar Singh Dhami government has also asked district authorities to track the “illegal sale and purchase of lands” in the areas allegedly witnessing the rise in population.

“It has to be seen that people should not sell their properties under pressure or in fear. Details of the foreigners living in these districts, who have obtained Indian voter and other identity cards, must be prepared and legal action be initiated,” noted the order.

A statement by the state government, on 24 September, also seemed to make a veiled reference to an alleged rise in Muslims’ population, and raised concerns about the possible migration of Hindus from the state.

“Some areas in Uttarakhand have witnessed demographic shifts due to excessive population growth. Its fallout is manifested as migration of members of a particular community from their homelands,” the statement, issued by the state home department, said. “Apart from this there is every possibility of rise in communal discord in these areas under present circumstances,” it added.

Reached for comment, Anand Bardhan, the CM’s additional chief secretary and head of the home department, told ThePrint, “DGP, district magistrates and all 13 SSPs have been informed about the concerns of the state government resulting from rising population in select areas as stated in the order. They have been asked to remain alert and take appropriate actions in accordance with the directions in the letter.”

“It’s a continuous process that requires enforcement agencies to be on alert mode and provide feedback to the government. Prior to this, the DGP was also asked to provide opinions on some specific complaints received by the chief minister,” he said, adding the government also wants to prevent “criminal elements taking refuge in Uttarakhand”.

‘Illegal mosques have been constructed’

Over the past few weeks, the state government has received complaints about an alleged rise in the Muslim population.

Darshan Bharti, a Right-wing activist who heads the NGO Uttarakhand Raksha Abhiyan, said “several locations in hill areas are witnessing a shift in demography. Illegal mosques have been constructed on government lands”.

Bharti had written a letter to CM Dhami on the issue on 23 July.

“I started a fast-unto-death against ‘love jihad’ and ‘land jihad’ witnessed in Uttarakhand and called it off after the chief minister promised to take steps. The Dhami government’s decision is a welcome step but it must be buttressed by appropriate action on the ground.”

Ajendra Ajay, a senior BJP leader and former media adviser to the Uttarakhand government, also wrote to the chief minister in August asking him to curb “illegal construction of mosques” in the state.

“There are several areas in Uttarakhand, especially in the hill areas, where there is demographic instability and illegal construction of mosques. Villages in Pithoragarh district along Nepal border have a few such examples,” Ajay told ThePrint.

“Recently, the district administration dismantled a mosque constructed illegally in Tehri. The government must enact a law to discourage bulk purchase of land by those coming from other states. This is important also as Uttarakhand shares two international borders,” he added.

Last month, the Dhami government posed a query to Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar, seeking his opinion on the purported demographic shift.

“There is a demand for a separate strict law restricting land purchase in hilly areas. It is being looked into after the home department’s directive to the DGP seeking his opinion was circulated to the divisions and officials concerned in the state police and administration,” a senior official from the state police’s intelligence wing told ThePrint.

The official, however, refused to name the areas that the state government is specifically looking into.

‘BJP government trying to communalise population issue’

In light of the order, the Congress has accused the BJP government of fueling Hindu-Muslim polarisation and targeting a particular community ahead of next year’s assembly elections.

Source: The Print

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https://theprint.in/india/governance/uttarakhands-bjp-govt-accused-of-targeting-muslims-as-it-flags-rising-numbers-of-a-community/744835/

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Mumbai: Mosques, dargahs to reopen with ‘halal’ sanitiser

Oct 6, 2021

MUMBAI: With places of worship reopening on Thursday, the city’s mosques as well as iconic Sufi shrines like Haji Ali and Mahim dargah are making their own preparations, which includes arranging for halal (non-alcoholic) sanitisers for worshippers.

Islam prohibits the use of alcohol. The halal sanitisers used by these shrines will instead contain hydrogen peroxide and colloidal silver.

“We will ensure that the SOPs issued by the government are complied with. We will also keep halal or non-alcoholic sanitisers for devotees,” said Sohail Khandwani, managing trustee of Mahim dargah and trustee of Haji Ali dargah.

He added that no devotee will be permitted inside the shrines without face masks, and social distancing will be maintained strictly. Both at Haji Ali and Mahim dargahs, separate queues for men and women will be formed for better crowd management.

Shoeb Khatib, president of Juma Masjid of Bombay Trust, which manages both Juma Masjid near Crawford Market and Bada Kabrastan at Marine Lines, said that a full-body disinfection machine is being installed at the iconic mosque’s entrance. “Nobody will be allowed to enter the mosque without getting sanitised completely. We will follow all the protocols that the government has issued,” he said.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/mumbai-mosques-dargahs-to-reopen-with-halal-sanitiser/articleshow/86794357.cms

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BJP got power by pitting Hindus against Muslims: Lalu

October 05, 2021

Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad on Tuesday launched a vitriolic attack on the BJP, which he accused of pitting Hindus against Muslims (Ram aur Rahim ke bande), and likened it to a beast that has "tasted blood".  

Addressing party workers here through video conferencing, Prasad, who has been in Delhi since his release from jail a few months ago, also expressed "strong condemnation" for the incidents in Lakhimpur Kheri district of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, where a car allegedly belonging to son of a Union minister ploughed into a crowd of agitating farmers.

The former Union minister, who had been an MP for many terms before getting barred from contesting elections in 2013, also lamented the lack of unity in the opposition and asserted that the BJP could be defeated if all parties opposed to it could keep their flock together.

Prasad, who had to step down as the Bihar chief minister in 1997 because of the charge-sheet filed against him the fodder scam, also predicted an "early fall" of the Nitish Kumar government, which returned to power in the assembly elections last year.

The outspoken OBC leader, a mascot of pro-Mandal politics, also expressed outrage over the Centre submitting before the Supreme Court that it would not be able to enumerate the numerically powerful social group despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi having hinted otherwise during a meeting with an all-party delegation from Bihar, headed by Kumar and including Prasad's son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav. He claimed that the BJP has looked down upon affirmative action and declared, "We will fight and see to it that caste census is undertaken and policies are formulated taking population of different castes into account".

The septuagenarian also appeared to place a lid on the controversy triggered by the declamation of his elder son Tej Pratap Yadav that the RJD supremo was being "held captive in Delhi and prevented from visiting Bihar", remarks which were seen as the mercurial leader's outbursts aimed at his younger, but more powerful, sibling Tejashwi. Prasad told the gathering in Patna, where Tejashwi was present, "I will soon come to Bihar.

Almost every day I keep asking my doctor here when can I go. I suffer from a serious kidney problem and have been advised to keep my daily intake of water limited to one litre. But my health is improving and I look forward to being with you soon". "The country is reeling under joblessness and soaring prices. But the BJP has no interest in resolving these problems. It has tasted blood, (munh khoon lag gaya hai) having come to power by pitting the followers of Ram and Rahim against each other," said Prasad. He also reaffirmed his commitment to secularism, reminding the people of the arrest of BJP leader L K Advani when the Ram Rath Yatra was crossing through the state.

Prasad, whose party recently snubbed the Congress, its ally in Bihar, by fielding its candidates from both by-poll bound assembly seats despite the latter wishing to contest one of these, also made a snide remark about the "high command culture" prevailing in the national party contrasting it with his style of functioning. "During elections, candidates of other parties including Congress used to wait for clearance from high command for their tickets getting finalised. I used to put my signature sitting under a tree," said the RJD supremo, known for his earthy mannerisms.

Source: The Week

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2021/10/05/bjp-got-power-by-pitting-hindus-against-muslims-lalu.html

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FB whistle-blower’s complaint details importance of Indian polls, hate speech

By Vishal Mathur

Oct 06, 2021

Whistle-blower Frances Haugen has submitted internal documents with her complaint to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) referencing allegedly fear-mongering and dehumanising content promoted by Facebook accounts purportedly believed to be either run by or associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“RSS (Indian nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamswvak Sangh) Users, Groups, and Pages promote fear-mongering, anti-Muslim narratives targeted pro-Hindu populations with V&I (violence and inciting) intent...,” says the complaint filed with the SEC.

HT has reached out to the BJP and RSS for their comments. The copy will be updated once they respond.

On Tuesday, Haugen, a former Facebook employee, appeared before a US Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection.

Facebook is defending allegations that the company has long ignored teenage safety on its platforms, particularly Instagram, resolving conflicts in favour of profits. Facebook has been accused of hiding internal research about how Instagram’s algorithms were negatively impacting young users’ mental health and other important information.

An “Adversarial Harmful Networks – India Case Study” document that has been filed with the complaint cites “political considerations”, the categorisation of India in “Tier 0” alongside the US and Brazil when it comes to what the company calls “Top 3 Political Priorities” and the company’s internal awareness about the issue of content against a particular religion in India.

Only 0.2% of the reported hate speech is taken down by automated checks, according to internal assessment. Then there is the known problem of the lack of language classifiers, which will be able to check for translations as well. The complaint says that Facebook’s internal records show how this problem of lack of Hindi and Bengali classifiers meant much of the reported content, particularly the anti-Muslim narrative, was never dealt with or flagged by the systems either.

Facebook has over 340 million users in India, which makes for a large demographic of its 2.89 billion monthly active users globally.

Classifiers are automated systems and algorithms that are designed to detect hate speech in content on Facebook.

Facebook has maintained it is detecting and eliminating more and more hate speech than ever before. In 2019, it claimed that hate speech detection algorithms on the platform supported four Indian languages—Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, and Tamil.

Yet, Haugen has claimed that Bengali classifiers are unavailable to monitor content in India.

Haugen’s complaint highlights the categorisation India gets alongside the US presidential elections as well as the elections in Brazil. In 2020, the “Top 3 Policy Priorities” for Facebook are referenced as “Tier O includes Brazil, India, United States” while Tier 1 includes Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, and Italy. What exactly the prioritisation to Tier 0 means in terms of Facebook’s investment in India remains anyone’s guess.

Facebook has faced allegations of inaction against content posted by certain groups in India. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) last year cited an internal report and said it termed Hindu nationalistic group Bajrang Dal a “dangerous” organisation. But the company did not act on the report because of financial and safety concerns. WSJ reported that Facebook “balked at removing the group” because its security team warned that action against Bajrang Dal “might endanger both the company’s business prospects and its staff in India”. No decision was eventually taken on the issue.

Source: Hindustan Times

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/facebook-whistle-blower-s-complaint-details-importance-of-indian-polls-duplicate-accounts-hate-speech-101633501776720.html?4D3AF1B4-264F-C348-9A28-6AC66650828B_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

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Mideast

 

Israeli minister says UAE should train Palestinian imams on 'moderation'

05 October, 2021

The Israeli interior minister has suggested to her Emirati counterpart that Palestinian-Israeli imams could be trained in the UAE on "religious moderation", according to media reports.

Israeli Minister Ayelet Shaked made her first official visit to the UAE where she met her counterpart Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo 2020 on Monday.

The meeting comes ahead of an agreement to cancel entry visa requirements for both states' citizens.

Shaked reportedly suggested that Palestinian imams in Israel could be trained and educated in the UAE on "religious moderation, tolerance, and combating violence", Israel Hayom newspaper reported.

The Israeli interior ministry oversees the appointment of around 300 imams who are Palestinian citizens of Israel.

The minister also reportedly highlighted the importance of a strategic relationship between the two countries, as she invited Al-Nahyan to visit Israel in November to participate in a "joint interfaith prayer".

The ministers also discussed initiatives to enhance cooperation between Israel and the UAE, which include interfaith projects.

The UAE shocked the Arab world by agreeing on a normalisation deal with Israel last year and has sought to portray itself as a moderating power in the region.

"I experienced today what true peace is. The administration has gone out of its way to make it clear that a real partnership has been forged between the countries. I see great importance in strengthening the strategic relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates," said Shaked, according to Israel Hayom.

Source: The New Arab

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/israeli-minister-says-uae-should-train-palestinian-imams

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Gaza sculptor exhibits disembodied limbs, inspired by Palestinian amputees’ loss

05 October ,2021

Palestinian artist Khaled Hussein’s sculptures of human limbs are on display in a Gaza exhibition he calls “I Miss You Very Much,” inspired by the loss felt by amputees, including victims of the conflict with Israel.

“There’s a great number of amputees everywhere. It has become a phenomenon, so I wanted to work on this issue and reflect it artistically,” Hussein, 46, told Reuters.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in 2019 there were at least 1,600 amputees among Gaza’s population of two million people. Assalama Charitable Society, which cares for wounded and disabled people, said 532 Gazans had lost limbs in the conflict.

Seven of Hussein’s sculptures of limbs went on display this month in a Gaza art gallery. The life-sized sculptures are made from clay and then cast in other materials such as bronze or concrete, and create a haunting image in the small gallery space.

One shows two legs standing side by side, the big toe of one curled gently over the other foot. Another shows a naked foot poking out from under a rug lain over a calf.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/life-style/art-and-culture/2021/10/05/Gaza-sculptor-exhibits-disembodied-limbs-inspired-by-Palestinian-amputees-loss

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Al-Aqsa: Dozens of Israeli settlers storm mosque after Jewish holidays

5 October 2021

Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday, in a move seen as "provocative" by Palestinians.

Local media reported that 70 or so settlers entered al-Aqsa through the Moroccan Gate on the western side of the compound, which the Israeli authorities have controlled since the beginning of the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967.

Jerusalem's Islamic Waqf has repeatedly described the settlers' tours as "provocative" and said that Palestinian worshippers and guards at al-Aqsa Mosque feel uncomfortable with the presence of Israeli police and settlers at the Muslim holy site.

In September, almost 6,117 Israeli settlers broke into the compound during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, according to a monitoring report by Palestinian National Agency (Wafa).

Despite a longstanding joint agreement between Israel and Jordan, Israeli far-right activists have repeatedly pushed for an increased Jewish presence at al-Aqsa.

Some right-wing Israeli activists have advocated for the destruction of the al-Aqsa Mosque complex to make way for a Third Temple.

But others want to seize the eastern area of the complex, known as al-Rahmeh Gate, to turn it into an exclusive Jewish praying site, accessed by an ancient gate in the eastern wall of the Old City.

Palestinian Muslims and Christians do not seek to pray in the Western Wall Plaza, the holiest site in Judaism to the east of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Their access to the site, however, has to go through a strict security check.

Under attack

The al-Aqsa Mosque was one of the flashpoints of the violence in May. Israeli forces stormed the site in the month of Ramadan and assaulted Palestinian worshippers, firing rubber-coated bullets and tear gas at them.

At the height of the Covid-19 outbreak, in early 2020, the complex was closed altogether for 69 days, finally reopening on 31 May. During the closure, Israeli authorities still allowed settlers to tour and enter the site.

Source: Middle East Eye

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/palestine-israel-jerusalem-al-aqsa-settlers-storm-mosque

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Iranian Sends More Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan

2021-October-5

The aid, which is the fifth shipment from the Islamic Republic of Iran, was delivered to the officials of the interim Taliban government in the presence of the charge d'affaires of the Iranian embassy at Kabul airport.

The shipment contained food and medical commodities, which was donated by the Iranian Red Crescent to the Afghan Red Crescent officials to be distributed among people in need in the neighboring country,the Iranian Embassy in Kabul said.

In a relevant development in late September, Iran dispatched a plane carrying 21 tons of humanitarian food aid to Afghanistan.

According to a recent survey by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), only five percent of Afghans currently have access to three adequate quality meals a day.

“In the last two weeks, about 50 percent of the Afghan people have been without at least one meal,” said Arif Husain, the chief economist and director of the Food Security Analysis and Trends Service at the WFP.

The UN agency has already asked for $200 million in emergency aid to deliver food to Afghanistan's vulnerable people before the winter season, Husain said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000713000395/Iranian-Sends-Mre-Hmaniarian-Aid-Afghanisan

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Russia, US discuss reviving Iran nuclear deal

06 October ,2021

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has discussed reviving Iran’s nuclear deal with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Lavrov was set to meet his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian later in the day.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/06/Russia-US-discuss-reviving-Iran-nuclear-deal

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Quest for more leverage drives Iran’s nuclear stalling tactic: Analysts

05 October ,2021

Western powers have been trying for weeks to get Tehran’s answer to one question - when will the Islamic Republic return to nuclear talks that have been on hold since June. Iran’s response has been vague and simple: “soon.”

Behind Tehran’s stalling is an attempt to gain leverage to extract more concessions when negotiations do eventually resume, officials and analysts said, including by advancing its uranium enrichment program, a possible pathway to a nuclear bomb.

Iran has long denied seeking to weaponize nuclear energy.

The talks, which aim to bring both Washington and Tehran back into compliance with a 2015 nuclear pact aimed at curbing the Iranian enrichment program, were adjourned in June after hardliner cleric Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s president.

“Iran will eventually return to the talks in Vienna. But we are in no rush to do so because time is on our side. Our nuclear advances further every day,” a senior Iranian official said on condition of anonymity.

Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, said “more time equals more leverage, given the exponential growth of Iran’s nuclear program.”

While China and Russia, closer trading partners of Iran, are more restrained, Western parties to the pact can scarcely conceal their frustration. The United States and European powers have urged Iran to resume talks, saying the diplomatic window would not stay open forever as Tehran’s nuclear program is advancing well beyond the limits set by the 2015 pact.

The nuclear agreement limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activity to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear arms, in return for lifting international sanctions.

But former US President Donald Trump ditched the deal in 2018, saying it did not do enough to curb Iran’s nuclear activities, ballistic missile program and regional influence, and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

In response, Tehran breached the deal by rebuilding stockpiles of enriched uranium, refining it to higher fissile purity and installing advanced centrifuges to speed up output.

“They (Iran) keep saying they are going to come back to the table. But when they say soon ... it means absolutely nothing,” said a senior European diplomat.

“That doesn’t mean we think they don’t want to come back, but we think they want their cake and to eat it. They want to create a fait accompli on the ground - technical and nuclear - and preserve the possibility of a negotiation.”

More for less

Emboldened by the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iran’s rulers are confident their stalling strategy will not bring serious repercussions, analysts said, especially when US President Joe Biden is embroiled in a growing rivalry with China and battling a COVID-19 crisis at home.

In contrast, the Biden administration is signaling that Iran should take nothing for granted.

Top US officials will tell visiting Israeli counterparts in Washington on Tuesday they are committed to diplomacy but would be prepared to pursue “other avenues” to ensure Tehran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, a senior US official said.

Israel says it will not allow Tehran to get a nuclear bomb.

The man with ultimate authority in Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has blamed the United States for the pause in the talks.

“Ayatollah Khamenei seems to believe that by waiting, he can get a better deal from Washington. That time is on his side,” said Meir Javedanfar, Iran lecturer at Israel’s Reichman University.

Tehran and Washington still disagree on which steps need to be taken and when, with the key issues being what nuclear limits Tehran will accept and what sanctions Washington will remove.

The fact that indirect talks between Tehran and Washington paused after the election of Raisi was a sign of Tehran’s plan “to press for major concessions” from the United States, said a former Iranian official.

“The establishment is also weighing different tactics to get more and give less in return. It takes time to determine their strategy,” he said.

Naming Ali Bagheri Kani, an ardent critic of the 2015 pact, to replace former pragmatist chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi, signals Tehran will take an uncompromising approach when the talks resume, Eurasia Group analyst Henry Rome said.

Economic risk

In addition to seeking the lifting of Trump-era sanctions in a verifiable process, Tehran also wants Washington to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from a terrorism blacklist. It also wants Europe to guarantee foreign investors will return, and assurances that Washington will not renege on the deal again.

For his part, Biden wants to restore the pact’s nuclear limits and, if possible, extend them while pushing back against what he has called Iran’s other destabilizing activities.

Sanam Vakil, deputy director of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Program, said Iran would ‘win’ if it gained further concessions from Washington, but should the deal collapse Iran’s rulers sense that they could survive through “maximum resistance”, a reference to economic self-reliance.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/features/2021/10/05/Quest-for-more-leverage-drives-Iran-s-nuclear-stalling-tactic-Analysts

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Azerbaijan shuts mosque linked to Iran supreme leader Khamenei

05 October ,2021

Azerbaijan has closed a mosque linked to Iran’s supreme leader, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported Tuesday, days after Tehran launched war games near their shared border in a move denounced by Baku.

“The mosque and representative office of Seyyed Ali Akbar Ojaghnejad, representative of supreme leader (Ayatollah) Ali Khamenei in Baku, were sealed and closed today by order of the authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” Tasnim said, without giving further details.

Ojaghnejad has held the post since 1996, according to the website of his office, which is located inside the mosque.

Azerbaijan’s interior ministry spokesman Eskhan Zahidov said in a statement that the move was necessary because of “a surge in Covid-19 cases in several locations in Baku” and that the mosque’s operation had been “suspended temporarily”.

Iran’s embassy in Baku said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it had followed up on the matter via diplomatic channels, adding that there had been no advanced warning of the move.

Since mid-September, tensions have soared between the two neighbors, who share a 700-kilometer (430-mile) border.

On Friday, the Iranian army’s ground forces began maneuvers near the frontier, a move criticized by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

“Every country can carry out any military drill on its own territory. It’s their sovereign right. But why now, and why on our border?” Aliyev had told Turkish news agency Anadolu.

Iran invoked its “sovereignty” to dismiss Azerbaijan’s concerns.

“Iran will not tolerate the presence of the Zionist regime near our borders,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, alluding to Iran’s arch-foe Israel.

Israel is a major arms supplier to Azerbaijan, which last year won a six-week war with neighbor Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva said Monday that Iran’s claims were groundless.

“We reject the allegations of any third party’s presence near the Azerbaijani-Iranian border, such allegations are totally baseless,” she said.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/05/Azerbaijan-shuts-mosque-linked-to-Iran-supreme-leader-Khamenei

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Azerbaijan shuts down office of Khamenei’s representative in Baku: Iranian media

05 October ,2021

Azerbaijan on Tuesday shut down the office of the representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Baku, Iranian state media reported.

Azeri authorities shut down the mosque and office of Ali-Akbar Ojaghnejad, the semi-official Tasnim news agency said, without providing further details.

The Iranian embassy in Baku later on Tuesday denied the closure of Ojaghnejad’s office, saying that only a congregation hall affiliated with the office has been closed due to COVID-19 related restrictions, Tasnim reported.

Tensions between Tehran and Baku have risen over the past week.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev last week criticized Iran for holding military drills near his country’s borders.

“Every country can carry out any military drill on its own territory. It’s their sovereign right. But why now, and why on our border?” Aliyev said in an interview published Monday with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

In response, Iran said the drills near the border with Azerbaijan were a “question of sovereignty.”

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/05/Azerbaijan-shuts-down-office-of-Khamenei-s-representative-in-Baku-Iranian-media

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan shares western military tech with China, cautions IAF chief

Oct 5, 2021

NEW DELHI: Making it clear that there was nothing to fear from the Sino-Pak partnership at the global or regional level, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief, Marshal VR Chaudhari on Tuesday cautioned the western countries against providing weapon systems to Islamabad as it shares their military technology with Beijing.

Addressing his maiden Air Force Day press conference, the IAF chief also suggested that the IAF had an edge over the Chinese Air Force as even though the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) was building three bases very close to the Indian territory in Eastern Ladakh, they would continue to remain weak in terms of capability to launch multiple high altitude operations.

"There was nothing to fear from this (partnership between Pakistan and China), the only worry is about the western technology (given in aid to Pakistan by western countries including US, Sweden and other European countries) passing from Pakistan to China," Chaudhari said when asked about the possibility of a two-front war and the ongoing collusion between the two adversaries at the multiple fora.

When asked about the deployment of fighter aircraft by the Chinese side on their side of the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the IAF chief said the disengagement process was on in the area but the Indian Air Force was fully prepared and deployed there to deal with any eventuality.

Source: Times of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-shares-western-military-tech-with-china-cautions-iaf-chief/articleshow/86784704.cms

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PM Imran urges Bill Gates to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghan people

October 6, 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to consider providing humanitarian assistance to poverty-stricken people in Afghanistan.

In a telephonic conversation on Tuesday, the prime minister highlighted that more than half the population in the war-torn country was living below the poverty line and in dire need of financial assistance.

The two leaders shared their concerns regarding the health system in Afghanistan — the only other country in the world that is polio-endemic along with Pakistan, according to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

Expressing their resolve to eradicate the infectious disease from both countries, they discussed the resumption of polio campaigns in Afghanistan to secure Pakistan's recent gains in the elimination of the poliovirus.

**Read more: Pakistan, Afghanistan will enhance cooperation to stop polio transmission

The premier apprised Gates of Pakistan's "continued progress" against polio eradication and appreciated the invaluable assistance provided by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in that regard.

He added that the country had reported only one case of wild poliovirus (WPV) this year and positive WPV environmental samples had decreased substantially.

He stressed that his government remained committed to ending all forms of polio in the country.

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1650446/pm-imran-urges-bill-gates-to-provide-humanitarian-assistance-to-afghan-people

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Pakistan court gives India more time to appoint lawyer in Kulbhushan Jadhav case

Oct 6, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad high court has given India more time to appoint a lawyer to review the death sentence ordered to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.

According to a report in Dawn, an IHC larger bench, comprising chief justice Athar Minallah, justice Amer Farooq and justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, on Tuesday took up a petition filed by the law ministry seeking a lawyer for the Indian spy.

Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was arrested in March 2016 in Balochistan, according to Pakistan authority. He was sentenced to death by Pakistan military court in 2017. India has rejected Pakistan's allegations and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar. In early 2017, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death.

During Tuesday's hearing, the attorney general Khalid Jawed Khan showed the court correspondence between Pakistan and India for providing counsel to Jadhav in order to comply with the verdict in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

He said the Indian government did not respond and argued that the federal government had filed the petition seeking the appointment of a lawyer so that the verdict of the military court could be revisited at an appropriate forum.

The ICJ has ruled that Pakistan was in breach of its international obligations because of the failure to provide consular access to Jadhav.

Source: Times of India

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-court-gives-india-more-time-to-appoint-lawyer-in-kulbhushan-jadhav-case/articleshow/86804495.cms

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ECP bench reserves judgement on delay in local govt polls in Islamabad

Kashif Abbasi

October 6, 2021

ISLAMABAD: A two-member bench of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday reserved its judgement after hearing the view point of government officials over delay in holding of local government elections in the capital.

The bench comprising Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Mohammad Jatoi heard comments of the interior secretary, chief commissioner and deputy commissioner regarding the government’s preparation for local government elections in the capital.

During the hearing, ECP Special Secretary Zafar Iqbal told the bench that the term of local government elections completed on Feb 14 and ECP was supposed to conduct elections within 120 days. He said the ECP had written several letters to the interior secretary and chief commissioner in this regard.

Interior Secretary Yousuf Nasim Khokhar said he had mentioned to the ECP that steps were being taken for holding local bodies elections in Islamabad, adding that the federal government was going to formulate a new Local Government Act to give more power to the new system. A draft act has been sent to the Ministry of Law and Justice for vetting.

After vetting from the law ministry, the draft bill will be presented before the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases (CCLC) for approval.

It is relevant to note here that the interior secretary and chief commissioner had been summoned by ECP for the said hearing over the matter relating to delay in provision of requisite information and enactment of local government law ahead of the upcoming local government elections.

The ECP, through separate letters (dated Sept 27), had directed the aforementioned officers to appear before the commission.

Earlier, on Aug 5, a meeting was held at the ECP Secretariat, which besides others was attended by both the interior secretary and chief commissioner.

According to the letter issued by the ECP: “In the afore referred meeting on the assurance of the federal government for taking necessary steps/making arrangements i.e establishment of union councils with an average population of 20,000 per union council and requisite legislation/enactment of new Local Government Act with the approval of federal cabinet, period of one month was allowed to the federal government doing the needful.”

Source: Dawn

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1650390/ecp-bench-reserves-judgement-on-delay-in-local-govt-polls-in-islamabad

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Southeast Asia

 

Sarawak MP urges police to act against preacher who made racist remarks against non-Muslims and Dayak community

05 Oct 2021

BY SULOK TAWIE

KUCHING, Oct 5 — A Sarawak politician today urged police and the Attorney General’s Chambers to take action against a preacher who allegedly made inflammatory remarks against non-Muslim religions and the Dayak community while giving a religious talk.

Selangau Member of Parliament Baru Bian said many reports have been lodged all over the country against preacher Syakir Nasoha for making the remarks in a one-minute video clip, which was uploaded online recently and had since gone viral on social media.

“It is obvious to me that an offence under the law had been committed.

“The video in question may have been made in 2017, but it is just as damaging to our unity today as it was then, and should be condemned by those who are in positions of power in this country,” he said in a statement today.

He urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders to take a stand against the preacher and all those who try to sow discord, ill-will and hate in the country.

He said many civil society groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have lodged police reports against the preacher, including Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) and representatives of the Dayak community in Sarawak.

He said former Member of Parliament Tawfik Ismail had also lodged a police report against the preacher, stating that the preacher is a threat to the peaceful coexistence of multiracial, multi-religious, and multicultural society in Malaysia.

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/10/05/sarawak-mp-urges-police-to-act-against-preacher-who-made-racist-remarks-aga/2010995

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I was misunderstood, speech was only for Muslims, says preacher

October 5, 2021

PETALING JAYA: Preacher Syakir Nasoha, who allegedly made inflammatory remarks against other religions in a one-minute video that has since gone viral on social media, said his speech was taken out of context and misunderstood.

His explanation comes after 3,000 police reports were lodged against him across the country for making such remarks.

He added that his speech was meant for Muslims only.

“The video was recorded back in 2017 at a mosque in Sungai Petani, Kedah. I did not ask for my speech to be recorded. What I said in the video was meant for Muslims only, not for non-Muslims,” he said in a YouTube video today.

Syakir explained that the viral video posted online containing parts of his speech was taken out of context and did not show his full remarks.

“The original video was about one hour and 30 minutes long. The shorter version of the video could have led to the misunderstanding, especially among non-Muslims.

“I would like to explain that in the original video, I was talking about the Quran and the hadith.

“I did not criticise other religions, I was only talking about our beliefs and religion. As a Muslim, I must put the Quran and the hadith above all. That’s my right as a Muslim,” he added.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/10/05/i-was-misunderstood-speech-was-only-for-muslims-says-preacher/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=pmd_HPMNBBjLdqu0bitJQ4UtfFYLNud1uN9uxS3W9n0Milk-1633511381-0-gqNtZGzNAnujcnBszQtl

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Penang opens up mosques to fully-vaccinated foreigners

Tuesday, 05 Oct 2021

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 5 — Penang will begin allowing foreigners who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to perform Fard and Friday prayers at mosques and surau from tomorrow.

Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JHEAIPP) director, Mohd Zakuan Zakaria, said it will be according to venue capacity.

“After the announcement by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, and based on the current situation, decisions were made including allowing foreigners to come and pray as long as they are fully vaccinated,” he said in a statement today.

Aside from this, Subuh sermons lasting 45 minutes are allowed, but attendees must remain where they are or in the demarcated area.

Mohd Zakuan added that sermons, Quran and Yassin recitations are permitted after the Maghrib prayer till the Isyak prayer, but attendees must remain where they are or in the demarcated area.

He said congregants for the funeral (Janaza) prayer are based on venue capacity.

Mohd Zakuan said guest imam and khatib are not allowed to lead prayer or deliver the Friday sermon.

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/10/05/penang-opens-up-mosques-to-fully-vaccinated-foreigners/2011029

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Mandatory Covid-19 vaccination for civil servants in line with shariah, says expert

06 Oct 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 ― The government’s decision to make it compulsory for civil servants to be vaccinated against Covid-19 is sanctioned under shariah (Islamic law) and shouldn’t be considered as restricting individual freedom, said a shariah expert.

Dr Syed Shahridzan Syed Mohamed, who is Federal Territory Mufti Office (PMWP) Principal Assistant Mufti (Research), said that based on siyasah syar’iyyah (authority to act according to the benefit), the government can take disciplinary action against the group of people disobeying the order related to the public interest.

“Islam, through siyasah syar’iyyah, gives the government full right to issue certain orders to help manage an emergency like Covid-19.

“Under siyasah syar’iyyah, disciplinary action by the government can be categorised as mild punishment,” he told Bernama when recently contacted.

Syed Shahridzan said that vaccinations are for the public good and that cooperation is necessary for success.

“We utilise the fiqh (principle) that “al-masalahatu al-‘ammatu muqaddamatun ‘ala al-maslahati al-khaassati” (the public interest takes precedence over private interest), in this case.

“The government can require civil servants to get the Covid-19 vaccine based on maslahat (benefit).

“With the advantage provided by siyasah syar’iyyah, the government could make the Covid-19 vaccine compulsory for all citizens,” he said.

Syed Shahridzan said it was based on the fiqh that “tasarruful Imami ‘ala al-ra‘iyyati manutun bil maslahati” (the ruler’s decision for the people is to be executed in their interest).

He added that the majority of Muslims in Malaysia belong to the Sunnah Wal Jamaah school of thought that makes it obligatory to follow a ruler’s orders in matters related to the public interest and not against syariah.

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/10/06/mandatory-covid-19-vaccination-for-civil-servants-in-line-with-shariah-says/2011158

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Foreign minister: Malaysia prepared to hold dialogue with Myanmar’s National Unity Govt

06 Oct 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 ― Malaysia is ready to consider holding a dialogue with Myanmar's National Unity Government (NUG) if the five-point consensus agreed upon by Asean to resolve the crisis in the country, does not get the cooperation of the current ruling military junta.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting last Monday was informed that Naypyidaw was still not cooperating with the terms of the consensus.

“In the past, Malaysia had been the first country to facilitate constructive engagement even before Myanmar became a member of Asean,” he said during question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat today.

He said this in response to a supplementary question from Wong Chen (PKR-Subang) who wanted to know if Malaysia was willing to hold a dialogue, even when Asean as a bloc, has yet to have one with the NUG.

NUG is shadow government formed last April by representatives from the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi and others. NUG activities are largely carried out online.

Saifuddin said if there was still no progress on the part of the Myanmar authorities to implement the consensus, Malaysia is of the opinion that it would be difficult to invite the army chief currently in power in Naypyidaw to attend the Asean Summit on October 26 to 28.

“However, the five-point consensus is still being worked on in whatever humanly possible by the special envoy (Asean),” he said.

Source: Malay Mail

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/10/06/foreign-minister-malaysia-prepared-to-hold-dialogue-with-myanmars-national/2011201

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Africa

 

Red Crescent says bodies of 17 people washed ashore in Libya

06 October ,2021

At least 17 bodies, likely of Europe-bound migrants, have washed ashore in western Libya, the Libyan Red Crescent said.

They were found Tuesday near the western Libyan town of Zawiya, the Red Crescent’s branch in the town said. The bodies were handed over to authorities for burial, it said.

The migrants likely drowned. The UN migration agency says more than 1,100 migrants were reported dead or presumed dead in numerous boat mishaps and shipwrecks off Libya so far this year.

The Red Crescent posted images purporting to show its workers carrying white body bags with the Mediterranean Sea in the background.

Libya was plunged into turmoil by the NATO-backed 2011 uprising that toppled and killed former leader Muammar Ghaddafi. The North African nation has since emerged as a popular, if extremely dangerous, route to Europe for those fleeing poverty and civil war in Africa and the Middle East.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/06/Red-Crescent-says-bodies-of-17-people-washed-ashore-in-Libya

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Libya legislative vote rescheduled for January: Parliament

05 October ,2021

Libya’s legislative elections have been postponed until January, the country’s eastern-based parliament said on Tuesday, instead of being held on December 24 as planned.

“The election for members of the House of Representatives will take place 30 days after the presidential vote,” still scheduled for December 24, parliamentary spokesman Abdullah Bliheg told a press conference.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/05/Libya-legislative-vote-rescheduled-for-January-Parliament

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Rival Libya factions dispute over on new election law

05 October ,2021

Two rival Libyan factions have again disagreed over legislation governing elections planned for December, raising further doubts Tuesday over whether the UN-backed polls can take place.

In the latest dispute the equivalent of Libya’s senate, based in the western city of Tripoli, said on Tuesday that it had rejected a law that eastern-based MPs adopted a day earlier on the planned legislative elections scheduled for December 24.

The polls are supposed to help unify the country after years of conflict and division, but disputes over their legal and constitutional basis have again laid bare the extent of the split between the country’s east and west.

The Tripoli-based chamber “rejects ongoing violations by the parliament... the latest being the promulgation of what it called the ‘electoral law of the parliament’,” said Mohammed Nasser, spokesman for the body formally known as the High Council of State.

On Twitter he wrote that a deal signed in 2015 requires parliament “to come to an agreement with the High Council of State on this law.”

Legislators would be held responsible for “any delay or disruption to the date of the elections due to unilateral actions,” he added.

The law passed on Monday by the eastern-based chamber in the city of Tobruk came less than a month after Aguila Saleh, speaker of that body which is known as the House of Representatives or parliament, signed off on legislation for a presidential election also to be held on December 24.

Opponents said the move bypassed due process and favored a run by his ally, the eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The High Council of State also rejected the text covering the presidential poll.

Libya has endured a decade of conflict since the 2011 fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising, which unleashed a complex civil war that dragged in multiple foreign powers.

Source: Al Arabiya

Please click the following URL to read the full text of the original story:

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/05/Rival-Libya-factions-dispute-over-on-new-election-law

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URL:    https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/egyptian-scholar-islamic-hymen-repair/d/125521

 

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