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Islamic World News ( 24 Feb 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Second 'Hindu Mahapanchayat' Called By Bajrang Dal and VHP for Monu Manesar, Calls for Anti-Muslim Violence

New Age Islam News Bureau

24 February 2023

  

Participants at the Hindu Mahapanchayat in Hathin, Haryana. Photo: Yaqut Ali/The Wire

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• Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court Hands Down Death Sentence to Shia Activist Mohammed Abdullah al-Faraj

• Religious Scholars Can Play a Role in Govt Policies Because They Act As A Reference Group, Says Malaysian Dy PM

• Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Regime Should be punished through Political Pressures and Sanctions: EU Official

• Prince Harry ‘Boasting’ Over Taliban Kills: UK Defence Minister

 

India

• Uddhav’s Mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ Calls Javed Akhtar ‘True Patriot’ For Taking Potshots at Pakistan

• No Aid to Pakistan: External Affairs Minister Ruled Out Any Kind of Rapprochement with Pakistan

• India Slams Pakistan after It Rakes Up J&K during UNGA Session on Ukraine

• Trust wants Muslim Library unlocked till revamp, NMC says plan lapsed

• India slams Pakistan after it rakes up J&K during UNGA session on Ukraine

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Arab World

• Israel thanks Oman for opening airspace to all carriers

• Death Toll from Turkey, Syria Earthquake Tops 47,000

• Lebanese judge charges long-time central bank governor with money laundering: Source

• Arab states support UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

• Turkey’s main opposition leader sends condolence letter to Syria’s Assad

• France's NGE announces deal to build 330km of high-speed train line in Egypt

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Southeast Asia

• Man sent to Henry Gurney School for stealing mosque fund

• Ministry to build integrated Islamic school in new capital Nusantara

• Earthquake of magnitude 6.2 hits Indonesia

• UPI may extend to UAE, Mauritius & Indonesia

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South Asia

• Taliban Ministry: Books against Islam, National Interest Will Be Collected

• Top IS-Khorasan Commander Killed in Southern Afghanistan

• IEA Authorities to Initiate Investment Consortium in Afghanistan

• Explosion at least kills four in Afghanistan’s Takhar Province

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Europe

• Vatican establishes diplomatic ties with Oman

• UK ruling delivers rare victory for Beirut port blast victims

• Post-quake climate allows restart of dialogue between Ankara, Athens: Greek foreign minister

• Türkiye rescues 30 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushbacks

• Germany jails Syrian man for war crimes in Damascus

• Court convicts UK firm over cataclysmic 2020 blast in Beirut

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Pakistan

• Eight Terrorists Killed In Operation after ‘Foiled-Ambush’ In Kech

• Pakistan Minister’s Private Jail Had 3 Dead; Balochistan Case Shows ‘Law of the Jungle Supreme’

• Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing shut after brief reopening

• Fly economy: Pakistan’s belt-tightening begins in high places

• Pakistan rubbishes US State Dept ‘concerns’ about China loans

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Mideast

• Nuclear Chief: IAEA Left with No Excuse for Adoption of Anti-Iran Resolution

• Israeli Excavations and Blocking Of Restoration Eat Away At the Fabric of Al-Aqsa Mosque

• Islamic Jihad: No one can suppress resistance in West Bank

• Iran's Leader Underlines Necessity for IRGC to Boost Military Power

• Israel-Gaza border heats up after West Bank violence

• Tens of millions still use Instagram in Iran despite crackdown: Meta

• Iran executes two political prisoners in two days

• Israel passes bill in 1st reading to ban funding of medical treatment for Palestinian detainees

• US intentionally prolonging Yemen conflict to earn substantial profits from arms deals: Ansarullah leader

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Africa

• Jordan’s PM And British Minister Highlight Strong Strategic Relationship between Their Nations

• Zambia Says Stands By Türkiye Following Devastating Earthquakes

• US calls for ‘immediate’ cease-fire in Somalia’s Lasanod town

• Burkina Faso’s former revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara reburied

• Jordan sends humanitarian aid to quake-hit Syria

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North America

• US Transfers Two Guantanamo Bay Detainees Affiliated to Al-Qaeda to Pakistan

• Canada relaxes immigration rules for Iranian temporary residents

• US commends Oman’s decision to open airspace to Israel

• Blinken to travel to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India next week

• US says robust trade relationship important to bolster Pakistan’s economic stability

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hindu-mahapanchayat-bajrang-muslim-violence/d/129189

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Second 'Hindu Mahapanchayat' Called By Bajrang Dal and VHP for Monu Manesar, Calls for Anti-Muslim Violence

 

Participants at the Hindu Mahapanchayat in Hathin, Haryana. Photo: Yaqut Ali/The Wire

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Yaqut Ali

Hathin (Haryana): A second ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’, called by members of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Hathin in Haryana on February 22, in support of cow vigilante Monu Manesar, saw open calls for violence against Muslims and police who try to take action against Monu.

The Hathin event was attended by more than 400 members and leaders of the Bajrang Dal, VHP and Hindu Sena from across north India. It was also attended by locals.

The first such ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’ was held in the Manesar town of Haryana on Tuesday, February 21. In it, speakers warned police against acting against Monu, a Bajrang Dal leader and member of the Haryana cow protection task force. Monu is named in an FIR on the brutal killing of Junaid and Nasir, two Muslim men who cow vigilantes allegedly set ablaze after accusing them of illegally transporting cows.

Shortly after this ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’ ended, Rajasthan Police released a new list of eight ‘wanted’ persons in this case along with their photographs. The names and photos of Monu Manesar and Lokesh Singhla were missing from the list, even though they have not been arrested yet. Bharatpur Police (in Rajasthan) has claimed that investigations are still on against Monu and Lokesh.

“The news which is being circulated is misleading, we have also clarified it through Twitter and Facebook. He is still wanted,” Bharatpur SP Shyam Singh told The Wire.

In the first ‘Mahapanchayat’, speakers had also threatened to block the highway if Monu – who has been linked to more than one incident of cow vigilantes killing Muslim men after raising cow transporting accusations – is arrested.

A speaker at the Wednesday ‘Mahapanchayat’ identified as Bajrang Dal leader Aastha Maa said, “If a Muslim man as much as looks at a Hindu daughter or sister, a skewer will be driven into his eyes.”

Aastha Maa also began her speech with the line, “Yes, Bajrang Dal and VHP workers are indeed gundas [gangsters].”

Speakers enthused the crowds to participate in chants that went, “We are Hindus and Hindustan is ours.”

A large number of young men were seen filming the event. Some told The Wire that they wanted to share the speeches with others through social media.

One Prateek Sharma told this reporter that he didn’t know about the details of the Junaid-Nasir case.

“We don’t know about the case, but we are here to support Monu Manesar,” Prateek said. He was at the event with his friend, Rahul Pandit.

Prateek then revealed that he did know some details of the case and made a declaration.

“This is a conspiracy by Rajasthan’s Police against Monu Manesar. We are ready to take lives and give our lives for Monu Manesar,” he added.

When asked about whether the speakers calling for Muslim genocide were flouting the law, Prateek said, “We have no problem with Haryana Police. They are with us.”

Another participant told The Wire that those who arrest cow vigilantes should be shot.

Yet another participant asked this reporter to stop recording, in spite of the large number of people recording the event.

One of the speakers, Acharya Azad, who is also the vice-president of the Haryana wing of the ‘Gau Raksha Dal’ called for bulldozers. Recently, bulldozers have been used in anti-encroachment drives in several Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states. Many have alleged that such drives have targeted Muslims and the poor.

“I request Haryana CM [Manohar Lal] Khattar to learn from Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and bring bulldozers to the houses of cow smugglers. Drive the bulldozers through their houses,” he said. Loud applause followed his words.

Ved Nagar, who is the national president of the ‘Gau Raksha Dal’, added, “I want to tell Haryana Police to take training from UP’s DGP and bring the UP model here too.”

Meanwhile, the picture in Ghatmeeka, Rajasthan, was in sharp contrast. This is the village Junaid and Nasir were residents of. Villagers have been out on the streets asking for justice for the two for a week now.

“We want Bajrang Dal to be banned in India so that Muslims can live safely in the country, and all accused to be arrested by Rajasthan Police,” Wasim Akram, one of the protestors, told The Wire. He added that they have been protesting since February 17.

Source: The Wire

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

https://thewire.in/communalism/haryana-at-second-hindu-mahapanchayat-for-monu-manesar-calls-for-anti-muslim-violence

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Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court Hands Down Death Sentence to Shia Activist

 

Saudi Shia dissident Mohammed Abdullah al-Faraj (Photo via Twitter)

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Mohammed Abdullah al-Faraj

23 February 2023

Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court has sentenced an anti-regime activist from the kingdom’s oil-rich and Shia-populated Eastern Province to death, as the House of Saud is pressing ahead with a heavy-handed crackdown against members of the religious community.

The Riyadh-based tribunal found Mohammed Abdullah al-Faraj guilty of trumped-up charges of “membership in a terror cell, attempts to assassinate Judge Mohammad al-Jirani, shooting at security forces and their cars, chanting slogans against the government, setting tires on fire, and providing medical support to convicted criminals.”

This comes as the Saudi Prosecutor's Office levelled other charges of “attempts to instigate public opinion, participation in sit-ins and funerals, incitement of demonstrations, and contacting opposition groups on social networks.”

Saudi regime forces in plainclothes raided Faraj’s workplace in the city of Dammam on February 28, 2017, arrested him without a warrant and took him to prison.

He was not allowed to contact his family until a week after his arrest. Later on, Saudi authorities put him in solitary confinement, and he had no contact with his family for 4 months.

The Shia dissident used to be severely tortured and beaten with his hands tied to the door of his cell. Prison guards would also hang him from the ceiling with a rope, and mercilessly beat him unconscious.

Saudi authorities threatened to arrest her sisters if he did not make a confession. One of his sisters was also summoned for questioning on the charge of hiding Mohammed’s personal laptop.

The systematic brutal torture inflicted on him resulted in a laceration on his knee. He was not allowed to receive treatment for the injury. Interrogators reportedly forced Faraj to sign confession papers without letting him read them.

After four years of detention and repeated requests, Saudi authorities appointed a defense lawyer for him. The lawyer, however, did not cooperate and did not inform the family of the dates of his hearings.

The first trial session was held on September 6, 2019, alongside five other defendants in a mass trial.

Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province.has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the region.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown, with regime forces increasing security measures across the province.

Ever since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

As a result, Islamic scholars have been executed, women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured, and freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

In January 2016, Saudi authorities executed Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was an outspoken critic of the Riyadh regime. Nimr had been arrested in Qatif in 2012.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/23/698773/Top-Saudi-court-hands-down-death-sentence-to-Shia-activist-from-Qatif

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Religious Scholars Can Play a Role In Govt Policies because they act as a reference group, Says Malaysian Dy PM

 

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said cooperation between leaders and scholars can ensure that every problem faced by the country could be overcome based on the teachings of Islam. (Bernama pic)

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18 Feb 2023

PUTRAJAYA: Religious scholars play an important role in a government because they act as a reference group before a policy is implemented, says Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

In delivering a welcoming speech at the Liqa’ Perdana Ilmuwan Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah ceremony at his official residence Sri Satria here last night, Ahmad Zahid said that scholars’ views can ensure the direction in policies guided by the Quran and Sunnah (Islamic practices) so that all efforts made achieve the set goals.

Cooperation between leaders and scholars can ensure that every problem faced by the country could be overcome based on the teachings of Islam. All criticism and advice from scholars were welcomed to ensure that the country’s leadership is always blessed, he said.

In order to strengthen the check and balance mechanism of policies introduced by the government, he said religious councils with scholars would serve as an important platform to help the government to come up with various ideas for dignifying Islam.

He said scholars were a beacon for the community and played a role in providing enlightenment in all aspects of human life based on the Quran, Sunnah, ijma (consensus) and qiyas (jurisprudence or analogy).

However, Zahid warned scholars not to misuse the verses of the Quran or use religion to justify an immoral action, or to use ijma and qiyas to achieve political goals, but to apply the relevant knowledge to strengthen and maintain the purity of Islam.

He said the unity government led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was created to ensure that people of all races and religions in Malaysia stay united and respect one another.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/02/18/religious-scholars-can-play-a-role-in-govt-policies-says-zahid/

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Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Regime Should be punished through Political Pressures and Sanctions: EU Official

 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and a former deputy to Mullah Omar. Baradar

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By Nizamuddin Rezahi

February 24, 2023

Josep Borrell, the EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on Thursday in New York said that senior Taliban leadership does not agree with their Supreme Leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada’s latest decisions restricting women and girls from education and work. 

In order to pressurize the Taliban regime, the existing difference among the Taliban leadership should be utilized, the civil society should be contacted, and the people of Afghanistan should be supported, Borrell said. 

The high-ranking European official believes that Hibatullah Akhundzada’s latest decrees restricting the rights of women and girls from work and education have caused differences among the Taliban leadership.

“Taliban senior leadership do not agree with the Supreme leader’s ideas on key matters, because they know that the implementation of such decrees would further isolate the country and cause new problems for the ruling regime. We have to utilize the intergroup differences,” Borrell said.

In the recent past, Bloomberg news channel had reported that the Taliban’s verdicts against women have intensified the differences among the Taliban leadership, and each group is trying to mobilize its supporters. The source said that Mullah Yaqoob, Defense Minister, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Interior Minister oppose the decisions of the group’s leader.

Whereas, some Taliban leadership, including Abbas Stanikzai, the Deputy Foreign Minister has rejected the inter-group issues among the Taliban senior leaders, and has said that they willingly accept the Supreme leader’s orders.

Borrell criticized the Taliban leadership in a biting tone in front of reports. “The Taliban Supreme leader believes that girls do not deserve to live as human beings in the world. Girls love to attend school and learn,” he said.

He further added, “we cannot cut off the cash aid to Afghanistan, aimed at meeting the basic requirements, because we do not want to punish the ordinary people of Afghanistan. However, the point is how to punish Afghanistan’s ruling regime, which would not affect the Afghan populace. Maintaining a balance between the two is difficult.”

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/iea-regime-should-be-punished-through-political-pressures-and-sanctions-eu-official/

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Prince Harry ‘Boasting’ Over Taliban Kills: UK Defence Minister

 

Prince Harry speaks with U.S. military cadets during a visit to the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., June 25, 2010. (AP Photo)

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February 23, 2023

LONDON: Prince Harry was “boasting” over his recollection of killing 25 Taliban fighters and has “let down” his former military colleagues, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a radio interview, The Times reported.

The minister is the most senior figure to criticize the prince over his comments, which were part of the recently released memoir “Spare.”

In the book, Prince Harry claims to have killed 25 fighters while serving as an Apache helicopter pilot during the War in Afghanistan.

He said: “So my number is 25. It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me.

“When I found myself plunged in the heat and confusion of combat, I didn’t think of those 25 as people. They were chess pieces removed from the board. Bad people eliminated before they could kill good people.”

Wallace, who served with the armed forces in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, said during the interview on LBC: “Look, I think you’d have to ask Prince Harry … I frankly think boasting about tallies or talking about tallies does two things.

“It distorts the fact that the army is a team game. For an infanteer to go over the top, that person is supported by hundreds of people behind them, whether they’re in headquarters in Britain, whether they’re in the royal logistic corps, who helped them get there.

“It’s a team, and so it’s not about who can shoot the most or who doesn’t shoot the most.

“If you start talking about who did what, what you are actually doing is letting down all those other people, because you’re not a better person because you did and they didn’t.”

In a previous interview with The Sunday Times, Wallace spoke about his military experience in Northern Ireland.

He said: “The (Irish Republican Army) were very, very active. We had over 100 incidents: would-be bombings, shootings, riots.

“We had two soldiers die, one murdered, one committed suicide. There were some scary times, but I never felt scared.

“I can remember lying in bed and hearing a machine gun open up against the fence a few meters away from me. I was on the way to the cookhouse and they threw some grenades against the fence that blew up. Someone tried to throw a bomb at me once.”

Prince Harry has faced criticism from the UK’s military community over his memoir.

Derek Hunt, who campaigns for veteran mental health welfare, and whose son Nathan served in Afghanistan and later committed suicide, condemned “Spare” in comments to MailOnline.

He said: “However he tries to justify his comments, what he said cannot be unsaid. This is too painful for too many people to be discussed so loosely in public.

“Veterans were not crying out for this debate, they have spent years trying to forget about the realities of combat, such as taking people’s lives.

“If the disclosure was part of his therapy, then it should have stayed between him and his therapist.

“I think he has brought back a lot of memories for those men and women who served and are trying to forget. If all this was for their benefit, then Harry has made a mistake.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2256746/world

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India

 

Uddhav’s Mouthpiece ‘Saamna’ Calls Javed Akhtar ‘True Patriot’ For Taking Potshots at Pakistan

23rd February 2023

Mumbai: ‘Saamna’, the official newspaper of Uddhav Thackeray faction on Thursday appreciated Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar for showing the mirror to Pakistan during the ‘Faiz’ festival in Lahore as he slammed the country for 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Saamna’s editorial stated, “A Muslim writer-poet did what PM Modi and his blind devotees could not do to Pakistan. Senior poet-lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar was invited to Lahore’s celebration on poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s commemoration day.”

The publication hailed Javed Akhtar’s guts to accuse Pakistan in Lahore and slammed the Modi-led central government for only indulging in narratives and wrote, ” It is not easy to go to Pakistan and utter such strong words’ as Akhtar did. It is easy to threaten Pakistan by sitting here in Delhi and Mumbai. A roar of “Ghuskar Marenge” by doing a ‘surgical strike’ during elections is common but saying the enemy,’ You are the enemy of our country on their face is not easy. Only a true patriot can do this.”

Saamna in its latest editorial further took on Bharatiya Janata Party for having different definitions for nationalism and treason as “for them who do not follow them (the party) or are not ready to be their slaves are termed traitors in their eyes. According to BJP, one who is not a Modi devotee does not belong to be in the country”.

“On the occasion, Akhtar said, “The mastermind of the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai is still roaming freely in Pakistan. We are Mumbaikars. We have seen the attack on our city. The attackers didn’t come from Norway or Egypt, they came from your country. If Indian people have a complaint about this, then the people of Pakistan should not consider it an insult,” the editorial read further.

“Akhtar also said, ‘I wouldn’t hesitate to say that though we have organised so many grand functions of Nusrat (Fateh Ali Khan) sahab and Mehdi Hassan sahab in our country, you couldn’t organise a single event of Lata (Mangeshkar) ji,” Akhtar said. The audience also gave a loud round of applause to Javed Akhtar. The courage of the audience who supported Akhtar must also be appreciated. Akhtar has set an ‘example’ of patriotism and courage in front of the country,” the letter reads further.

Meanwhile, questioning India’s leaders Saamna said, “The special thing about Pakistani’s audience and their rulers is that they tolerated these statements on their land, but is there so much tolerance and restraint left in our country today?”

Attacking on BJP, Saamna wrote, “BJP’s leaders and ministers openly say ‘we eat beef’, and burn innocent Muslim youths in the name of cow protection. They create Hindu-Muslim, and India-Pakistan tussle to win elections.”

“Pakistan is the enemy of the country, and so is China, but Modi only stands against Pakistan and is afraid of China. Modi government’s courage against China is only limited to the banning of some Chinese ‘apps’. These people create a raging atmosphere against the common Muslims of Pakistan and India for political benefits,” the editorial added.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/only-a-true-patriot-can-do-this-uddhavs-mouthpiece-on-javed-akhtar-taking-potshots-at-pakistan-2533570/

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No Aid to Pakistan: External Affairs Minister Ruled Out Any Kind of Rapprochement with Pakistan

Anita Joshua   |   New Delhi 

24.02.23

External affairs minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday ruled out any kind of rapprochement with Pakistan, which is going through economic difficulties, pointing out that terrorism remains its basic industry and the public sentiment in India is also not in favour of such “walk-arounds”.

Essentially also ruling out any offer of assistance without saying so in as many words, Jaishankar made it clear that Pakistan has to make very tough choices. He was responding to a question at the inaugural Asia Economic Dialogue on whether Pakistan’s economic difficulties are at a point where there can be some kind of rapprochement between the two countries in keeping with India’s “neighbourhood-first” policy.

“The reality of this particular relationship is that it has a fundamental issue which we cannot and we must not avoid. And that issue is that of terrorism. Because the moment we start doing this walkarounds — let’s find the joint statement which will get us agreed language, let us reach out at this point and see where this goes — that’s been the talk of the last 75 years and look where it got us.

“We need clarity and we mustn’t be in denial of what are very fundamental problems in that relationship. Just as a country has to fix its economic issues, a country has to fix its political issues too. A country has to fix its social issues. No country is ever going to come out of a difficult situation and become a prosperous power if its basic industry is terrorism. Among the changes which need to be made are also changes pertaining to all of that. That remains a very major problem. Also, as someone in politics, if I were to look at any big decision I’m making, I would also look at what is the public sentiment,” Jaishankar said.

At the same time, the minister also made it clear that it is in nobody’s interest that any country — least of all a neighbouring nation – get into severe economic difficulties. “Nobody sensible, nobody mature would even nurse that thought.”

Having said this, Jaishankar went on to add that no one can help a country out of the doldrums if it is not prepared to solve the problems itself.

“This is not a Pakistan point, it is a generic global point,” he said.

The world can provide options and support systems but the bottom line, he said, has to be done by that country and often it will require very tough choices.
Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/pulse-of-public-no-aid-to-pakistan/cid/1918534

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India slams Pakistan after it rakes up J&K during UNGA session on Ukraine

Feb 24, 2023

UNITED NATIONS: Exercising its "Right of Reply" during a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on Ukraine, India on Thursday slammed Pakistan for raking up Jammu and Kashmir issue and advised the neighboring state to examine its track record of harbouring and providing safe havens to terrorists with impunity.

“I'm taking the floor today to say that India chooses this time not to respond to Pakistan's mischievious provocations. Our advice to the delegate of Pakistan is to refer to our numerous Rights of Reply that we have exercised in the past,” Pratik Mathur, counsellor in India's Permanent Mission to the UN, said.

Govt bans Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force for terror acts

Mathur exercised India's "Right of Reply" after Pakistan's envoy at the UN Munir Akram referred to Jammu and Kashmir while delivering the explanation of vote on the UN General Assembly resolution on Ukraine during the emergency special session.

Mathur described Pakistan's uncalled-for provocation as regrettable and stated that after two days of intense discussions, all members present at the UN agreed that the only path to resolve conflict and discord is through peace.

India has prioritized the listing of Pakistani-based terrorists during its tenure in the UNSC in 2021-22, and five names, including Makki, were submitted for designation under 1267 in 2022.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-slams-pakistan-after-it-rakes-up-jk-during-unga-session-on-ukraine/articleshow/98193835.cms

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Trust wants Muslim Library unlocked till revamp, NMC says plan lapsed

Feb 24, 2023

Nagpur: The Muslim Library Trust sought unlocking of the facility in its affidavit submitted before the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on January 16, but the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) rejected the proposal while making a U-turn of its redevelopment plan.

The trust, now having newly elected office-bearers, proposed to run the library as it was being done before the NMC locked the facility after taking back possession of the 13,000sq ft prime land on September 15 last year. The land was leased out to the library 94 years ago and its ground rent had been accepted till 2023. In its affidavit, the trust said possession of the library continues to be with it and all books and other materials are retained in the locked structure.

In a bid to convince the NMC, the petitioner submitted that it was ready to vacate the premises on one-month notice for the construction of a new building consisting of a modern full-fledged library and a community hall. The petitioner also sought 5,000sq ft area in the new building for running the Muslim Library.

Dr Sarfaraz Ahmed, secretary of the trust, said the proposal was made keeping board and other exams in mind. “Muslim students don’t have any other library in the area to study,” he said.

On October 18 last year, the NMC’s plan to build a modern complex with a library and hall came to fore in its submission before the lower court, where the trust had moved soon after the civic body sealed the library alleging misuse of the land and violation of lease conditions.

The district court had upheld the NMC’s move while rejecting the appeal. The trust then moved the HC which ordered status quo while seeking verification of the NMC’s disclosure on the library’s makeover plan before the district court.

SS Ahmad, representing the petitioner, said the civic body informed the court that it doesn’t have a specific project for the land right now. “The respondent changed its stand thrice. It accepted the ground rent till 2023 but still sealed the library before that. Then, NMC told the lower court that it has planned a modern library and hall on the land. On November 15 last year, the civic body handed over a letter stating that the proposal for construction of library has lapsed because of pending litigations,” he said.

NMC takes back possession of Muslim Library after 94 years, on September 15, 2022

Informs lower court its plan to build a modern complex with library and community hall. Says Rs50 lakh received from DPC fund for the purpose

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/trust-wants-muslim-library-unlocked-till-revamp-nmc-says-plan-lapsed/articleshow/98189028.cms?from=mdr

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India slams Pakistan after it rakes up J&K during UNGA session on Ukraine

Feb 24, 2023

UNITED NATIONS: Exercising its "Right of Reply" during a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on Ukraine, India on Thursday slammed Pakistan for raking up Jammu and Kashmir issue and advised the neighboring state to examine its track record of harbouring and providing safe havens to terrorists with impunity.

“I'm taking the floor today to say that India chooses this time not to respond to Pakistan's mischievious provocations. Our advice to the delegate of Pakistan is to refer to our numerous Rights of Reply that we have exercised in the past,” Pratik Mathur, counsellor in India's Permanent Mission to the UN, said.

Govt bans Jammu and Kashmir Ghaznavi Force for terror acts

Mathur exercised India's "Right of Reply" after Pakistan's envoy at the UN Munir Akram referred to Jammu and Kashmir while delivering the explanation of vote on the UN General Assembly resolution on Ukraine during the emergency special session.

Mathur described Pakistan's uncalled-for provocation as regrettable and stated that after two days of intense discussions, all members present at the UN agreed that the only path to resolve conflict and discord is through peace.

India has prioritized the listing of Pakistani-based terrorists during its tenure in the UNSC in 2021-22, and five names, including Makki, were submitted for designation under 1267 in 2022.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-slams-pakistan-after-it-rakes-up-jk-during-unga-session-on-ukraine/articleshow/98193835.cms

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Arab World

 

Israel thanks Oman for opening airspace to all carriers

23 February ,2023

Israel’s foreign minister on Thursday thanked Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said for opening Oman’s airspace to all carriers, including Israeli airlines, which will now be able to offer shorter routes to Asia.

“It’s an historic and significant decision for the Israeli economy and the Israeli traveler,” said Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/aviation-and-transport/2023/02/23/Oman-airspace-open-to-all-carriers-that-meet-Civil-Aviation-Authority-requirements

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Death toll from Turkey, Syria earthquake tops 47,000

23 February ,2023

The death toll from the massive earthquake that hit parts of Turkey and Syria on February 6 continues to rise as more bodies are retrieved from the rubble of demolished buildings.

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck the already battered province of Hatay this week damaged or demolished more buildings, compounding the devastation.

Here’s a look at the key developments Thursday from the aftermath of the earthquake.

Death toll tops 47,000

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has raised the number of fatalities in Turkey from the magnitude 7.8 earthquake to 43,556.

The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria now stands at 47,244.

In an interview with state broadcaster TRT late on Wednesday, Soylu said teams were sifting through two buildings in hard-hit Hatay province in search of further bodies. Search operations elsewhere have come to an end, he said.

Meanwhile, at least 164,000 buildings have either collapsed or are so damaged that they need to be demolished, said Murat Kurum, Turkey’s minister for the environment and urbanization.

Syrians shelter in tents and cars

The local civil defense in northwestern Syria, known locally as The White Helmets, said Thursday that thousands of children and tens of thousands of families have taken shelter in cars and tents “fearing they would face a repeat of the earthquake.”

In government-held Syria, a first plane from Bahrain loaded with aid landed in Damascus. The Gulf monarchy is among many Arab countries that in recent years have tried to thaw relations with President Bashar al-Assad.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/23/Death-toll-from-Turkey-Syria-earthquake-tops-47-000

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Lebanese judge charges long-time central bank governor with money laundering: Source

23 February ,2023

Longtime central bank governor Riad Salameh, his brother Raja and one of his assistants have been charged with money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment, a senior judicial source said on Thursday.

The charges come after an 18-month investigation into whether Salameh and his brother embezzled more than $300 million from Lebanon’s Central Bank between 2002 and 2015.

Judicial authorities in at least five European countries are investigating Salameh and his brother Raja on the same allegations.

The Salameh brothers have denied the charges.

“As I declared previously, I am innocent of these charges,” Salameh said in a text message to Reuters on Thursday, adding that Thursday’s step was “not an indictment.”

“I am respectful of the laws and of the judicial system and will abide by the procedure, and as you know one is innocent till proven guilty by a court of law,” he wrote.

He has dismissed accusations of illicit enrichment as part of an effort to scapegoat him for Lebanon’s financial collapse, which has brought new scrutiny to his three-decade tenure.

The preliminary investigation carried out by Lebanon’s judiciary was completed in June 2022 but had since stalled.

The country’s prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat had at the time referred Salameh and a number of unidentified associates to a Beirut prosecutor to file charges including illicit enrichment, embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion.

But the prosecutor recused himself and was later removed from the case following a complaint from Salameh.

Oueidat said in January he was planning on naming a new prosecutor to take the case forward.
Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/23/Lebanese-judge-charges-longtime-central-bank-governor-with-money-laundering-Source

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Arab states support UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

24 February ,2023

A UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was adopted on Thursday, with an overwhelming majority of member states voting to call for the Kremlin to withdraw its troops immediately.

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war on Ukraine, 141 UN members voted in favor of the resolution, which calls for an immediate end to Moscow’s hostilities. Seven countries opposed the resolution, with 32 others abstaining, including China, India, Pakistan and Ethiopia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/24/Arab-states-support-UN-resolution-condemning-Russia-s-invasion-of-Ukraine

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Turkey’s main opposition leader sends condolence letter to Syria’s Assad

23 February ,2023

The head of Turkey’s main opposition party on Thursday sent a condolence letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose country was also devastated by the Feb. 6 earthquake, saying he felt the pain of the Syrian lives lost.

The rare communication from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who may emerge as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rival in the country’s upcoming election, came after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, killing more than 49,000 people and leaving millions homeless.

“As this disaster and the pain we have experienced show once again, we are partners and neighbors in our grief, we share the common pain of our peoples,” Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP), said.

“Therefore, I take this opportunity to express my condolences to you and your people and hope that we will not share our sorrows but our hopes in the future.”

There has been no regular contact between the main Turkish opposition and Assad, but Kilicdaroglu has urged Erdogan “not to pick a fight” with Syria and CHP officials have called on the government to open a dialogue with Damascus.

After providing military and political support to the Syrian opposition fighting Assad for over a decade and sending Turkish troops into swathes of northern Syria, Erdogan in early January said he might meet the Syrian president.

The defense ministers of the two countries met late last year for the highest-level talks between the two foes since the Syrian war began in 2011.

Turkey hosts more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees who have become increasingly unwelcome amid economic hardship in Turkey.

Erdogan has talked about returning some refugees, although neither the president nor the opposition has set out how that could safely take place.

Russia helped Assad turn the tide of the war in his favor and says it is seeking a political end to the conflict and wants to bring the two leaders together for talks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/23/Turkey-s-main-opposition-leader-sends-condolence-letter-to-Syria-s-Assad

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France's NGE announces deal to build 330km of high-speed train line in Egypt

23 February ,2023

French construction company NGE has signed a contract to build 330km of a high-speed train line connecting the Red Sea Port of Sokhna with Borg al-Arab near the Mediterranean port of Alexandria, it said on Thursday.

Egypt's National Authority for Tunnels in May signed a contract with Siemens Mobility, Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors to build about 2,000km of high-speed railway for what would be the world sixth-largest such network.

A section awarded to NGE is part of a 600km double-track line that will further extend to Marsa Matrouh on Egypt's northwest coast, an NGE statement said.

Egypt will later build another line from Cairo to Luxor and a third between Luxor and Hurghada on the Red Sea coast.

The construction will be carried out by NGE subsidiary TSO, 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/2023/02/23/France-s-NGE-announces-deal-to-build-330km-of-high-speed-train-line-in-Egypt

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Southeast Asia

 

Man sent to Henry Gurney School for stealing mosque fund

23-02- 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: The teenager who was caught stealing from a mosque’s donation box and was ‘bathed like a corpse’ by mosque officials, who recorded the act and posted it on social media as punishment, has been ordered by the Selayang Magistrate’s Court here to be sent to Henry Gurney School after he pleaded guilty to stealing from a surau.

Magistrate Nur Hafizah Rajuni handed down the decision yesterday after examining the social report by the Social Welfare Department (JKM) Kon Daniel Iskandar, now 20.

“The accused is a young offender. Therefore, the court orders that he be sent to the Henry Gurney Scholl until he reaches the age of 21,” said the magistrate.

Daniel was ordered sent to the Henry Gurney School at Telok Mas, Melaka, yesterday.

He was charged under Section 380 of the Penal Code with stealing RM74 from the donation box of Surau Al Munir, Batu 17 Kuang, Rawang, at 12.44 pm on Dec 5, 2020.

The charge provides imprisonment for up to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine, and for a second or subsequent offence, shall be punished with imprisonment and shall also be liable to fine or to whipping, upon conviction.

During mitigation, lawyer Suhaida Mohd Sobri, from the Selangor Legal Aid Department, said her client is a young offender and has remorse.

“Before he was arrested, he worked at a car workshop and was cared for by his grandfather. His parents have divorced and he is the oldest of three siblings, with one of them a person with disabilities (PwD).

JKM officer Mohamad Hanafi Sedi requested for Daniel to be sent to the Henry Gurney School, while deputy public prosecutor Wan Nur Iman Wan Ahmad Afzal requested a deterrent sentence.

On Jan 13 last year, Daniel was sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined RM4,000 for attempting to steal money from the donation box of the Al Islahiah Mosque in Kuang, Rawang.
Source: The Sun Daily

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

https://www.thesundaily.my/local/man-sent-to-henry-gurney-school-for-stealing-mosque-fund-IA10672802

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Ministry to build integrated Islamic school in new capital Nusantara

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Religious Affairs will immediately build an integrated madrasah (Islamic school) at the new capital city (IKN) Nusantara, East Kalimantan, at the direction of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

The integrated madrasah includes madrasah ibtidaiyah (elementary school level), madrasah tsanawiyah (junior high school level), and madrasah aliyah (high school level).

"Several days ago, (I was) asked by the president to build an integrated school in IKN, from madrasah ibtidaiyah to madrasah aliyah," Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas noted in a written statement received here on Wednesday.

Qoumas conveyed the statement at the Coordination Meeting of the Heads of Religious Affairs Ministry's Regional Offices of East Kalimantan in Balikpapan City, East Kalimantan, Wednesday.

The minister spoke of having called on the ministry's Directorate General of Islamic Education to follow up on the project.

He urged the regional office heads in East Kalimantan to coordinate regarding the construction of the integrated madrasah in terms of the budget, location, and other technical aspects.

He expressed hope that the construction project would be realized in 2023, thereby necessitating swift action of all relevant parties.

"There are only 10 months left this year. Thus, all (parties) must work hand in hand in order to realize the task from the president," he remarked.

The minister laid emphasis on paying attention to several aspects in the project, including the requirement for vast land. Qoumas appealed to his staff to immediately coordinate with the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing regarding this matter.

Source: Antara News

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/273609/ministry-to-build-integrated-islamic-school-in-new-capital-nusantara

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Earthquake of magnitude 6.2 hits Indonesia

Feb 24, 2023

HALMAHERA: February 24 (ANI): An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 on the Richter scale occurred North of Halmahera, Indonesia on Friday, the National Center for Seismology (NCS) said.

According to the NSC, the earthquake originating at a depth of 99 Km, was felt at 01:32:47 IST.

"Earthquake of Magnitude:6.2, Occurred on 24-02-2023, 01:32:47 IST, Lat: 3.28 & Long: 128.36, Depth: 99 Km, Location: North of Halmahera, Indonesia," NCS tweeted.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/earthquake-of-magnitude-6-2-hits-indonesia/articleshow/98193585.cms

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UPI may extend to UAE, Mauritius & Indonesia

Feb 24, 2023

BENGALURU: After Singapore, the RBI is in talks with several countries, including Indonesia, UAE and Mauritius, for establishing a direct payment link of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with networks in these countries to enable quicker and cheaper fund transfers using mobile phones.

A senior RBI officer told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors that some Latin American countries have also shown interest. The central bank is showcasing UPI and the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), or the digital rupee, to delegates at the event and also allowing foreigners to use UPI.

The regulator and the government are keen to expand UPI payment links to aid fund transfers and do away with the high costs charged by banks and reduce the time taken. The move is seen to be especially beneficial for the Indian diaspora.

The RBI official said use of UPI for non-resident Indian will also be operationalised next month, which will allow the use of the tool through international phone numbers. Although the tool was enabled, it could not be implemented due to technical issues.

Asked about the central bank digital currency, RBI officials said they are trying to significantly ramp up the pilot to cover as many cases as possible in a closed user group. On the retail side, pilots are going on in several cities and the RBI is now looking to expand to more areas and include more banks.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/upi-may-extend-to-uae-mauritius-indonesia/articleshow/98194616.cms

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South Asia

 

Taliban Ministry: Books Against Islam, National Interest Will Be Collected

By Hadia Ziaei

Books that are opposed to Islam and the interests of the country will be collected, said officials of the Ministry of Information and Culture.

Officials said that publishers have handed thousands of such books to the Ministry of Information and Culture.

"There are still hundreds of books on the market that are written against Islam, against Islamic principles, or that promote other ideologies like secularism. And also, there are some books that lead to the immorality of youth,” said Abdulhaq Hemad, the ministry's head of media and publication control.

Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Publishers and Booksellers Union said that books with such content were either imported or published in the nation during the last 20 years.

The union said that steps would be taken to stop such books from being published in the country.

"If books are published that add to national tension, political problems, and controversies that drive the nation to a crisis, we will attempt to not publish such books again,” said Sayed Ahmad Saeed, the head of the Afghanistan Publishers and Booksellers Union.

"We are ready to carry out any order that has been approved by the Publishers' Union and the Ministry of Information and Culture. We have never published such books. Those who printed it should understand this,” Inayatullah, a publisher, told TOLOnews.

Some young people urged the Ministry of Information and Culture to focus on fostering the nation's reading culture.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182195

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Top IS-Khorasan Commander Killed in Southern Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

February 23, 2023

A Top Kashmiri commander of the Khorasan Brach of ISIS has been killed in southern Afghanistan, a report said on Tuesday.

The senior commander Ejaz Amin Ahangar, known as Abu Osman Al-Kashmiri, is a senior member of the Islamic State of Khorasan in the southern province of Afghanistan.

According to intelligence authorities and members of his family, Abu Osman is thought to have been slain in southern Afghanistan. He is accused of being the leader of an Islamic State cell responsible for a string of suicide attacks by Indian nationals in Kabul and Jalalabad.

Abu Osman was previously a part of the “Mujahideen Movement” in Kashmir, Pakistan. In 2015, he eventually joined ISIS after initially joining Al-Qaeda.

Abu Osman has reportedly been slain by the Taliban and was discovered dead in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province.

Recently, the group has increased their attacks in different parts of Afghanistan, particularly Kabul city, targeting Taliban officials and foreign nationals and people.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/top-is-khorasan-commander-killed-in-southern-afghanistan/

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IEA Authorities to Initiate Investment Consortium in Afghanistan

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

February 24, 2023

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment has announced that the Islamic Emirate authorities plan to initiate an investment consortium in which investors from Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran will participate.

Nooruddin Azizi, the Acting Minister of Commerce and Investment on Wednesday said the ministry has signed memorandums of understanding with foreign companies to send representatives to Kabul for assessing the project worth a billion dollars. 

According to Commerce and Industry Ministry’s officials, representatives of this consortium from Russia, Iran, and Pakistan will come to Kabul to initiate the infrastructural works of the project in the near future.

“The initial investment of the consortium is estimated to be one billion dollars, and representatives of the foreign investment companies will soon initiate their work,” Akhundzada Abdul Salam, the spokesperson of the ministry said.

Minister Azizi said in an interview with Reuters that 14 Afghan businessmen are involved in this consortium, and their participation in this mega project instills positive energy in other Afghan investors to return to the country.

He further added that besides power and mining projects, the consortium will assess the possibility of a second tunnel in Salang which connects the north of Afghan to the rest of the country, a project that transfers water from Panjshir to Kabul, and the reconstruction of Kabul-Herat high way.

Azizi also stated that the Islamic Emirate is planning on creating special economic zones to attract foreign investment to the country.

This comes as foreign investment in Afghanistan is almost zero since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021. The late regime change forced foreign and national investors to leave the country fearing their safety.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/iea-authorities-to-initiate-investment-consortium-in-afghanistan/

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Explosion at least kills four in Afghanistan’s Takhar Province

By Fidel Rahmati

February 23, 2023

According to local media on Thursday, an explosion was reported in Taloqan, the centre of Takhar province in Afghanistan.

A bomb attached to a vehicle in the Sar Chowk area of Taloqan city reportedly caused the explosion.

In the blast, at least four people were killed, and several others were injured, according to the report. The injured people have been transported to the local hospital.

Currently, no groups or individuals have taken responsibility for the incident.

The incident comes a day after the high Pakistani delegation visited Kabul to discuss security and cooperation with the interim government.

A statement after the meeting indicated that “matters relating to the growing by TTP and ISKP came under discussion. The two sides agreed to collaborate to effectively address the threat of terrorism posed by various outlets and organizations.”

On the other hand, recently, the Kashmiri leader related to the IS-K known as Abu Osman, was killed in the Kunar province of Afghanistan in an operation by the Taliban government.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/explosion-at-least-kills-four-in-afghanistans-takhar-province/

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Europe

 

Vatican establishes diplomatic ties with Oman

24 Feb 2023

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican and Oman established diplomatic ties on Thursday, marking a further widening of the Holy See’s official relations with the Arab Muslim World.

In a joint statement, both sides said they wanted to promote mutual understanding and cooperation and that ambassadors would be named.

The Vatican, a sovereign city-state surrounded by Rome, now has diplomatic relations with every country on the Arabian Peninsula except Saudi Arabia.

Oman, a Sultanate, is predominately Muslim, like the other countries on the peninsula. Oman has only four Catholic parishes and 12 priests, the Vatican said in a separate statement.

The Vatican hopes that with the upgrading of relations, the Church could continue to contribute to the social well-being of the country, the statement added.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2023/02/24/vatican-establishes-diplomatic-ties-with-oman/

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UK ruling delivers rare victory for Beirut port blast victims

23 February ,2023

A British court has ruled a London-based company that delivered the explosive ammonium nitrate to Beirut’s port is liable towards the victims of a devastating blast in 2020, Lebanon’s Beirut Bar Association said Thursday.

On Aug. 4 that year, hundreds of tons of the chemical, typically used in fertilizers, detonated, killing more than 200 people, injuring over 6,000 and damaging large parts of Beirut. Families of the explosion’s victims saw the development as a rare step towards justice and against the political intervention that has obstructed the investigative judge leading a probe in Lebanon for over two years.

The ruling in London is an unusual judicial success for the victims’ families, members of whom have advocated for an unimpeded national investigation. Some have opted to file lawsuits abroad.

The London-registered chemical trading firm, Savaro Ltd., is suspected of having chartered the shipment of the ammonium nitrate in 2013 that ended up in Beirut. Documents show a handful of senior political, judicial and security officials were aware of the substance in the port for years, but did not take decisive action to get rid of it.

The Beirut Bar Association, alongside three victims’ families, filed a lawsuit against Savaro Ltd. over a year ago.

The judgment by the High Court of Justice in London means that the proceedings now move to a “damages phase” of the case that determines the firm’s compensation for the families, Camille Abousleiman, one of the lawyers involved in the case, told The Associated Press.

“It’s the first time there is an actual judgment on this matter in reputable courts,” Abousleiman, also a former Lebanese labor minister, said. The ruling “certainly will open the door for potential justice in courts overseas.”

Mariana Foudoulian, whose sister Gaia died in the explosion, called the judgment a “very important step.”

“Through this judgment, we can try to access more important details,” Foudoulian told the AP. “This does give us some hope.”

The civil suit against Savaro Ltd. was filed in August 2021. Soon after, UK authorities blocked the firm’s attempts to dissolve the company. It remains unclear who the owner of the company is. The listed owners are agents from a corporate services firm, investigative journalists from Lebanese and international outlets reported. The High Court of Justice in June 2022 ordered the company to reveal its true owners, though the firm never has done so.

Elsewhere, the Swiss foundation Accountability Now and some of the victims’ families filed a lawsuit in Texas against US-Norwegian geophysical services group TGS, which owns a company that allegedly sub-chartered the ship carrying the ammonium nitrate in 2012.
Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/23/UK-ruling-delivers-rare-victory-for-Beirut-port-blast-victims

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Post-quake climate allows restart of dialogue between Ankara, Athens: Greek foreign minister

Ahmet Gençtürk 

24.02.2023

The climate that emerged following the Feb. 6 earthquakes in Türkiye, during which Greece became one of the first countries to offer aid, allows Athens to restart its dialogue with Ankara, the Greek foreign minister said Thursday.

Even though both countries are now preparing for general elections, which limits the chances of making long-term moves, it is still possible to restart negotiations on confidence-building measures or explanatory talks, Nikos Dendias said during an interview with Skai TV, one of the country’s major private broadcasters.

Underlining that now a positive climate is prevailing in bilateral relations thanks to contributions by both parties, he said: “For me, the main task right now is not finding solutions, it is protecting the (positive) climate.”

When he was reminded about the tensions between the two countries before the quakes, Dendias said: “I want to stick to the positive part: that at the moment, there is an excellent climate. Within this climate, I think unified approaches to extremely difficult issues can be built.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/post-quake-climate-allows-restart-of-dialogue-between-ankara-athens-greek-foreign-minister/2829653

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Türkiye rescues 30 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushbacks

Mustafa Gungor  

23.02.2023

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 30 irregular migrants who were illegally pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek authorities, officials said Thursday.

According to the Turkish Coast Guard Command, teams were dispatched off the coast of Cesme, Izmir after detecting 30 foreign nationals in a boat.

After they were rescued, all migrants were taken to provincial migration offices.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants wanting to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkiye-rescues-30-irregular-migrants-after-illegal-greek-pushbacks/2829577

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Germany jails Syrian man for war crimes in Damascus

Ayhan Simsek  

23.02.2023

BERLIN

A German court on Thursday sentenced a 55-year-old Syrian man to life in prison for committing war crimes in Syria.

Mouafak D. was convicted of four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, by intentionally firing a grenade into a group of civilians.

The Berlin Higher Court ruled that there was sufficient evidence to prove that Mouafak D. carried out the attack in 2014, in the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus.

At that time, the camp was controlled by armed opposition groups, and it was encircled by the Syrian regime forces.

At least four civilians were killed in the grenade attack, but the actual number could be higher, the presiding judge said.

The Berlin court ruled out any parole before Mouafak D. serves 15 years -- the average life term in Germany -- “due to the exceptional severity of the crimes” he committed.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-jails-syrian-man-for-war-crimes-in-damascus/2829272

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Court convicts UK firm over cataclysmic 2020 blast in Beirut

23 February 2023

The UK High Court has ruled a London-based company that delivered the explosive ammonium nitrate to Beirut’s port is liable towards the victims of a devastating blast in 2020.

Lebanon’s Beirut Bar Association said on Thursday the high court had ruled the London-registered chemical trading firm, Savaro Ltd., will have to pay compensations now.

The huge Beirut port blast on August 4, 2020 killed more than 200 people, injuring over 6,000 and damaging large parts of the port city.

Friends and families of the blast's victims saw the legal development as a rare step towards justice and against the political intervention that has obstructed the investigative judge leading a probe in Lebanon for over two years.

The court ruling in London is an unusual judicial success for the victims' families, some of whom opted to file lawsuits abroad.

The Beirut Bar Association, alongside three of the victims' family members, filed a lawsuit against the British firm more than a year ago.

The ruling by the High Court of Justice in London means the proceedings now move to a “damages phase" of the case that determines the firm's compensation for the families, Camille Abousleiman, one of the lawyers involved in the case, told media.

Head of the Bar Association Nader Kaspar considered the ruling a "great achievement," paving the way to continue the quest for justice and the truth about what caused the devastating explosion in Beirut's port.

“It’s the first time there is an actual judgment on this matter in reputable courts,” Abu Suleiman, also a former Lebanese labor minister, said. The ruling "certainly will open the door for potential justice in courts overseas.”

Mariana Foudoulian, whose sister Gaia died in the explosion, called the judgment a “very important step."

“Through this judgment, we can try to access more important details,” Foudoulian told media. “This does give us some hope.”

Court documents showed Savaro chartered a huge shipment of ammonium nitrate in 2013 which eventually ended up in Beirut’s port area.

Documents show officials were aware of the highly inflammable chemical substance docked at the port for years, but did not take decisive action to have it removed.

The lawsuit against Savaro was lodged in August 2021. It remains unclear who own(s) Savaro. Probes into the company's ownership listed agents from a corporate services firm. 

Accountability Now, a Swiss organization, said some of the Beirut blast victims’ families had filed a lawsuit in Texas against US-Norwegian geophysical services group TGS.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/23/698772/UK-court-Savaro-Beirut-blast

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Pakistan

 

Eight terrorists killed in operation after ‘foiled-ambush’ in Kech

February 24, 2023

RAWALPINDI: As many as eight terrorists were killed by the security forces in a follow-up operation launched after foiling an ambush on convoy of security forces in Kech District, Balochistan.

According to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) news release on Thursday, the terrorists on the evening of Wednesday (Feb 22), attempted to ambush a convoy of security forces in Kech District.

The alert and combat-ready troops foiled the cowardly attempt without any loss of life and then immediately commenced a follow-up operation to hunt down the fleeing terrorists, using ground and aviation assets.

Resultantly, on Thursday morning a suspected hideout of the terrorists was identified in Mazaaband Range where a sanitisation operation was launched. In the ensuing exchange of fire, eight terrorists were killed with a large cache of arms and ammunition, including explosives, recovered.

“The security forces of Pakistan will continue to thwart such attempts by inimical elements, on the behest of hostile intelligence agencies, to disrupt the hard-earned peace in the province,” the ISPR said.

The development comes amid a surge in terrorist activities in the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, since the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ended its ceasefire with the government in November.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/02/24/eight-terrorists-killed-in-operation-after-foiled-ambush-in-kech/

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Pakistan Minister’s Private Jail Had 3 Dead; Balochistan Case Shows ‘Law of the Jungle Supreme’

Unnati Sharma

23 February, 2023

A twisted triple murder involving a top minister who allegedly held people as prisoners in an illegal private jail near his house has shocked Pakistan. On 22 February, three bodies—of two men and one woman—were recovered from a well in the Haji Kot area of Barkhan district near Minister Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran’s residence. But a day after they were identified as the wife and sons of a local tribesman who accused the minister of murder, the police tracked down and “recovered” his family members. They were very much alive.

Meanwhile, Khetran, who is the member of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, holds the post of Provincial Minister for Science and Technology and Food and Population Welfare, was arrested Thursday. The identity of those found dead is yet to be established.

The bodies were ridden with bullets and trussed up in sacks. Medical reports showed that the victims had been tortured.

Dead or alive?

When the bodies were first discovered, they were identified as Giran Naz, wife of tribesman Khan Muhammad Marri and their two sons, Mohammad Nawaz, in his 20s, and teenager, Abdul Qadir believed to be between 15-20 years old.

In a report in Dawn, Khan Muhammad alleged that in 2019 his wife and seven children had been imprisoned in Khetran’s private jail. He had claimed that they were ‘arrested’ for not testifying in a case involving Khetran and his son, Sardar Inam Khetran.

Muhammad said that a video of his wife had surfaced on a website after which his family’s bodies were found, said the Dawn report.

However, the post-mortem report revealed that the deceased female was not a woman but a teenage girl.

In an interesting turn of events, the Levies Force (parliamentary forces of Pakistan) “recovered” his wife, Giran Naz — who had been presumed dead — and their five children including a girl— all allegedly abducted by Khetran.

The strongman minister

The triple murder case is just the latest in a string of controversies that have been associated with Khetran.

In 2014, women and children had been rescued from his ‘private jail’. Police had registered cases against Khetran, his son and eight others for kidnapping three policemen and snatching weapons from them. Seven people, including two women, three children were recovered from the private jail.

Khetran has been the Minister of Science and Information Technology since August 2018. In the past, he won from constituency PB-17 as a candidate of Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) and became Minister in Provincial Assembly of Balochistan from 2013 to 2018.

The powerful minister is now being interrogated, said Abdul Khaliq Sheikh, Inspector General of Balochistan. He added that the police had conducted raids on all suspected places for the recovery of Khan Muhammad Marri’s five children, including four sons and a daughter.

As per a viral video, the woman Girnar Naz is seen holding a copy of the Quran and urges the authorities to save their lives.

Jungle law reigns supreme

Former PM Imran Khan condemned the incident saying: “Strongly condemn illegal incarceration, physical abuse & killing of a poor Baloch woman & her children in Khetran, Balochistan in private jail of Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, a prov minister. Immediate action must be taken against this law of the jungle.”

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan leader Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said the  bloodshed is the responsibility of Balochistan Federal Government, Supreme Court and the entire state.

The Humans Rights Commission of Pakistan said it is” horrified by the discovery of three bullet-ridden bodies” and the related alleged illegal detention of Khan Muhammad Marri, urging that the serious allegations must be investigated promptly.

Senator Omar Ahmadzai called Tribal Jirga (council) after the tragic murder. The tribal chieftains and elders gave two days ultimatum to the government to accept the demands of relatives of the slain family.

A Dawn editorial said that the incident confirms that the law of the jungle reigns supreme in the hapless province.

“One wonders how such a gruesome state of affairs can exist in a nation which claims to be ruled by the law. In large swathes of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan, the law has no meaning. This is not the first time Abdul Rehman Khetran has been accused of running a private jail,” the editorial said.

Source: The Print

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https://theprint.in/go-to-pakistan/pakistan-ministers-private-jail-had-3-dead-balochistan-case-shows-law-of-the-jungle-supreme/1393669/

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Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing shut after brief reopening

Feb 24, 2023

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN: Pakistan shut down a key border crossing with Afghanistan just hours after it was reopened on Thursday, officials said, the latest twist in the controversial closure of the Torkham junction that started earlier this week.

The issue of the crossing, a key trade route for both Afghanistan and Pakistan, has added to increasing tensions between the two countries, which share a troubled and volatile boundary.

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers on Sunday closed the crossing, claiming Islamabad was not abiding by an agreement with Kabul to allow Afghan patients and their caretakers to cross into Pakistan without travel documents for medical care. On Monday, Afghan Taliban forces and Pakistani border guards exchanged fire, which wounded a Pakistani soldier.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's defense minister, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, and secret service chief, Lt general Anjum Nadeem, travelled to Kabul and met senior Taliban officials to discuss the border issue.

On Thursday morning, Torkham was reopened by Afghan Taliban forces, allowing some of the thousands of trucks that had lined up for days at the border — many with vegetables, fruits and other perishable food items — to cross over and ease the backlog.

The Afghan embassy in Pakistan tweeted the news of the reopening and on the Pakistani side, truck drivers rejoiced as their vehicles began moving along the Khyber Pass.

However, the crossing closed hours later. Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, director of the Pakistan-Afghanistan joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Pakistan was unable to make the border crossing “fully functional because of administrative issues." He did not explain.

Other officials in Islamabad were not immediately available for comment.

“The Torkham gate has been closed by the Pakistani side after it was opened today by the officials of the Islamic Emirate,” the media center in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province said on Twitter.

For Pakistan, the Torkham border crossing is a vital commercial artery and a trade route to Central Asian countries. But Islamabad has also accused the Afghan Taliban of providing sanctuary for Pakistani militants whose cross-border attacks have led to a spike in violence in Pakistan.

The Afghan Taliban administration has said the Pakistani delegation was told during Wednesday's meeting that it was up to Pakistan to provide all the “necessary facilities" for travelers at Torkham and also at Spin Boldak, another crossing further south, as well as special facilities for the transportation of patients needing emergency medical care. The Pakistani side promised to resolve these matters quickly, Kabul said.

Closures, cross-border fire and shootouts are common along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said its delegation to Kabul also raised during Wednesday's talks “the growing threat of terrorism in the region," particularly by the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tahreek-e Taliban-Pakistan or TTP, and the Islamic State group.

On Thursday, senior security officials told The Associated Press that the Pakistani delegation demanded the Taliban prevent Pakistani Taliban militants from launching cross-border attacks on Pakistan from within Afghanistan.

The demand, the officials said, is urgent as the Pakistani Taliban allegedly plan to launch their “spring offensive” in March. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Pakistan has recently warned that it has the right to target TTP sanctuaries in Afghanistan if the Taliban administration fails to rein in the militants, increasing the prospect of more cross-border violence.

The Pakistani Taliban are a separate group, but allied with the Afghan Taliban, who seized power more than a year ago as the U.S. and NATO troops withdrew from the country after 20 years of war.

The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has emboldened the TTP, which in recent months stepped up attacks in Pakistan, where security forces often raid their hideouts. In the latest raid in the northwestern district of Lakki Marwat, security forces on Thursday killed six Pakistani Taliban militants, police said.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-afghanistan-border-crossing-shut-after-brief-reopening/articleshow/98196337.cms

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Fly economy: Pakistan’s belt-tightening begins in high places

Feb 23, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani ministers can no longer fly business class or stay in five-star hotels abroad. And the government thanks them for taking salary cuts.

The South Asian nation fighting to stay solvent and avoid a debt default has unveiled $764 million of cost-cutting measures needed to help revive a $6.5 billion of International Monetary Fund bailout. The government will follow up with further austerity measures in the next budget in July, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Wednesday.

“This is need of the hour,” he said after a cabinet meeting in Islamabad. “We have to show what the time demands from us and that’s austerity, simplicity and sacrifice.”

The world’s fifth most populous country has descended dangerously close to a debt default in recent months. The $350-billion economy, with just $3 billion of foreign-exchange reserves by one estimate, also faces a dollar squeeze that tests its external stability. Supply disruptions caused by flooding, food shortages and steps the government took to meet IMF’s preconditions for the rescue may push inflation above 30% for the first time on record, according to Bloomberg Economics.

As common people come out on streets to protest crippling conditions, the government is trying to show austerity begins at the highest levels. Several federal and state ministers besides high-ranking government officials have volunteered to forgo salaries and perks, Sharif said. The government has also banned the purchase of luxury items and cars until next year, he added.

Parliament this week voted to roll out tax increases including higher levies on luxury imports. The government had raised energy prices and let the currency weaken after the IMF called on the nation to scrap subsidies and enable a market-determined exchange rate.

Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan has raised the benchmark rate by 725 basis points since the start of 2022 and signaled more monetary tightening is coming. SBP will hold its next policy review on March 16.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/fly-economy-pakistans-belt-tightening-begins-in-high-places/articleshow/98169803.cms

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Pakistan rubbishes US State Dept ‘concerns’ about China loans

FEBRUARY 24, 2023

Pakistan on Thursday rubbished controversial remarks by a US official about China’s loans under CPEC, asserting that Islamabad is proud of its friendship with Beijing which has always come to assistance whenever needed.

“China has always come to Pakistan’s assistance whenever needed. Pakistani nation is proud of its friendship with China,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told a weekly press briefing when asked about the US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet’s recent statement regarding Pakistan-China relations

The spokesperson said Pakistan being a sovereign state exercises the right to choose its economic partners from around the globe on mutually beneficially basis. “Pakistan considers China as an all-weather strategic cooperative partner,” she reiterated. “China has been a consistent, generous and steadfast friend that has stood by Pakistan for the last several decades,” she added.

It is worth mentioning here that US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet had said last week during visit to Islamabad that United States was concerned about debt owed to China by Pakistan and other countries. He had also said that Washington was talking to Islamabad about the “perils” of a closer relationship with Beijing, but would not ask Pakistan to choose between the United States and China.

While commenting on the recent violence in the West Bank where 11 Palestinians people have been martyred by Israeli forces, the spokesperson said Pakistan condemns all acts that lead to the killing of innocent civilians including in occupied Palestinian territories. She said Pakistan’s position on Palestine is consistent. “We support a comprehensive approach for resolution of Palestinian issue,” she added.

The spokesperson said Pakistan remains concerned over the ongoing human rights violations in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. She said Pakistan will continue to raise its voice against grave human rights violations in the occupied territory. “We will also continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to our Kashmiri brothers and sisters for the just and peaceful settlement of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions,” she added.

Source: Daily Times

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https://dailytimes.com.pk/1066149/pakistan-rubbishes-us-state-dept-concerns-about-china-loans/

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Mideast

 

Nuclear Chief: IAEA Left with No Excuse for Adoption of Anti-Iran Resolution

2023-February-23

Eslami was asked by reporters on the possibility of the adoption of an anti-Iran resolution at the upcoming quarterly meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors, which will begin next Monday.

“We do not give any excuse to them” to adopt an anti-Tehran resolution at the IAEA BoG, the nuclear chief said.

Back in mid-November, the IAEA passed a resolution called on Iran to cooperate with an investigation into alleged traces of uranium found at three nuclear sites. The resolution criticized Tehran for what it called a lack of cooperation with the nuclear agency. It was put forward by the United States, Britain, France and Germany, in continuation of their political pressures on Iran. Russia and China voted against the motion.

AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi has repeatedly stated that Tehran has fully cooperated with the IAEA about three sites in question inside the country, adding that detection of nuclear traces at Iranian sites does not mean Tehran has undeclared nuclear material.

The AEOI began enriching uranium to 60% purity at Fordow nuclear site in a tit-for-tat move against the IAEA BoG's resolution against Tehran. (READ MORE)

The IAEA Board of Governors has also passed a resolution in June, accusing Iran of not cooperating with the UN body. Iran, in response, turned off a number of IAEA’s cameras which were functioning outside the Safeguards Agreement.

Iran has always had full cooperation with the IAEA and allowed it to visit the country’s nuclear sites, but calls the nuclear agency's approach unconstructive and destructive. Tehran has asked the watchdog to avoid politicizing the issue and focus on technical aspects in line with the organization’s mandate.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011204000370/Nclear-Chief-IAEA-Lef-wih-N-Excse-fr-Adpin-f-Ani-Iran-Reslin

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Israeli excavations and blocking of restoration eat away at the fabric of Al-Aqsa Mosque

February 23, 2023

The Israeli occupation authorities are continuing their criminal, racist policies against Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and attempting to implement the Talmudic plans to fulfil the dream of extremist Jewish settlers to demolish the mosque and build a temple on its ruins, the Palestinian Information Centre has revealed. Every possible crime is committed with this objective in mind, including excavations under Al-Aqsa Mosque and its courtyards to undermine the foundations, said the news outlet, as well as in the surrounding neighbourhoods to change the demography. Moreover, the Islamic Religious Endowments Department is prevented from carrying out essential restoration work on the fabric of the ancient structures in the Noble Sanctuary.

Recent heavy rain has exposed serious cracks in the sanctuary's buildings, facilities, walls, ceilings and floors; rainwater has leaked into the Marwani Mosque and soaked the carpets. Paving stones on Via Dolorosa near Al-Ghanamwa Gate have collapsed and stones on the Western side of the Dome of the Rock have fallen.

Israeli excavations have also recently caused the collapse of retaining walls and floors in houses in Jerusalem's neighbourhoods. In Silwan, part of the house of Jerusalem resident Kayed Al-Rajabi collapsed in the Batn Al-Hawa area, and a retaining wall collapsed in Ain Al-Lawza neighbourhood. There is a real danger of homes belonging to Palestinian Jerusalemites collapsing, and this threat has increased after the occupation forces demolished a retaining wall belonging to the Abu Tayeh family a few days ago.

The Elad illegal settlers' association revealed earlier that it had concluded its excavations in Jabal Mukaber and Silwan, and that it had obtained the approval of the occupation-controlled municipality in Jerusalem to start building a huge tourist centre at the top of Jabal Mukaber. Settlers' groups are working to link illegal settlements between Silwan and Jabal Mukaber, blocking any expansion of Palestinian residential areas.

"The [Israeli] occupation is deliberately preventing the restoration in conjunction with the continuation of its excavations under Al-Aqsa and its surroundings, in order to have an impact on the buildings of the mosque and expose them to collapse," Muhammad Hamada, the spokesman on Jerusalem issues for Hamas, told the Palestinian Information Centre. He also referred to the Talmudic plans to demolish the mosque and build a temple in its place.

Hamada explained that the rain damage is an example of the deliberate Zionist policy and "crimes" against Al-Aqsa Mosque. Alarm bells should be ringing every time there is any bad weather, he insisted. "What are we waiting for in order to protect the mosque and prevent a catastrophe after which regret will not be of any use?" He stressed the need for action at all levels to force the Israeli occupation authorities to allow restoration and repair work and the entry of the necessary equipment to carry this out. "All gaps and holes need to be closed as a matter of urgency. Stonework needs to be strengthened, including the walls. Proper, regular maintenance should start without delay."

The Hamas spokesman said that the Zionist occupation is fully responsible for what is happening to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa, as it has prevented restoration work for years.

"This is serious. It poses a risk to the mosque as well as the worshippers and those who stay in religious seclusion and work there. The occupation's continued escalation of its Judaisation plans and systematic excavations in Al-Aqsa expose its facilities and the fabric of the buildings to many dangers. It is a heinous crime being done to provoke the Palestinians and Muslims around the world."

Nevertheless, added Hamada, the people and the nation will support Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. "And our people will continue to act as a barrier to defend them by all means."

Source: Middle East Monitor

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230223-israeli-excavations-and-blocking-of-restoration-eat-away-at-the-fabric-of-al-aqsa-mosque/

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Islamic Jihad: No one can suppress resistance in West Bank

February 23, 2023

Senior Islamic Jihad leader, Mohammad Allan, yesterday warned that no one can suppress the Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank, Al-Resalah newspaper reported.

Speaking to the Gaza-based newspaper, Allan said: "The increasing number of martyrs will only lead to the increasing and development of resistance until it reaches martyrdom operations."

"If the Israeli crimes against Palestinians do not stop, the occupation has to wait for martyrdom bombers who will return to Tel Aviv."

Allan, who hailed the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, stressed: "The occupied West Bank will return to be the capital of martyrdom operations."

He concluded: "We say to the Americans and the Israeli occupation … your efforts to suppress resistance in the occupied West Bank have failed, and no one will be able to extinguish the fire of West Bank resistance."

Israeli warplanes launched several air strikes on alleged Palestinian resistance targets and sites in a number of areas across the besieged Gaza Strip before dawn today. The attack followed the Israeli occupation army's announcement earlier that six rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Ashkelon and settlements near the besieged enclave.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20230223-islamic-jihad-no-one-can-suppress-resistance-in-west-bank/

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Iran's Leader Underlines Necessity for IRGC to Boost Military Power

2023-February-23

Ayatollah Khamenei sent a message to a gathering of the IRGC commanders and military officials, which was read out by IRGC Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami as the session opened on Thursday.

The Leader urged the IRGC to double its efforts to strengthen its military and moral power with the goal of protecting the ideals of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“The convening of the meeting, which is aimed at outlining the horizons of the IRGC and the Basij Force’s movement toward a bright future for the Islamic Revolution, is a source of joy and will, God willing, bring blessings,” the message read.

"The IRGC is expected to attract, train and educate the talented youth at a level that befits the Islamic Revolution, enable the IRGC to achieve all capabilities [required] to fortify the Revolution, and bolster its own spiritual, revolutionary and military power,” the Supreme Leader added.

The call comes after the European Parliament adopted an amendment, calling on the European Union and its member states to include the IRGC on their terror list. It also passed another resolution later, calling for more sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities and putting the IRGC on the EU terrorist list over alleged human rights violations during the recent riots.

The EU has not acted on the decision, arguing that the bloc lacks the necessary legal basis for such designation. However, it has imposed sanctions against a number of Iranian officials and entities for what it claims to be a crackdown on the recent foreign-backed unrest, which were triggered after the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran in September.

The move has been strongly condemned by Iranian officials, commanders and the Armed Forces.

Tehran has repeatedly announced that the IRGC is an official state body which has had and will continue to have an important and key role in ensuring the security of Iran and the region.

Iranian officials have warned the EU that its plan to blacklist the IRGC as a “terrorist organization” may have unbearable consequences, urging Europe to avoid repeating the past mistakes.

They cautioned the European governments against falling into the trap of a plot hatched by the US and Israel, calling on the EU to maintain its independence from the US.

Tehran stresses the European states enjoy safety because of the elite forces' efforts in the fight against terror groups in the region.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011204000535/Iran's-Leader-Underlines-Necessiy-fr-IRGC-Bs-Miliary-Pwer

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Israel-Gaza border heats up after West Bank violence

Feb 23, 2023

GAZA: Gaza militants fired rockets and Israel carried out air strikes across the Israel-Gaza frontier on Thursday, a day after 11 Palestinian were killed during a Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank, renewing concerns of broader escalation.

Mediation efforts were underway by Egypt and the United Nations to calm the situation, officials said.

Israel's military said six rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip overnight, setting off air raid sirens in southern Israeli communities. Five rockets had been intercepted by missile defences and the other had fallen in an open area. No injuries were reported.

The Palestinian militant faction Islamic Jihad stopped short of directly claiming responsibility for the rocket attack on Thursday but said it had the right to defend against Israeli aggression.

Israeli fighter jets had later struck a weapons manufacturing site belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, the Israeli military said. No injuries were reported.

The cross-border attacks followed an Israeli operation in the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday. Israeli troops had killed 11 Palestinians, including at least four gunmen and four civilians, and wounded more than 100 people, Palestinian sources said.

The Israeli army said troops there had tried detaining militants suspected of planning imminent attacks when they had come under fire and shot back.

The Islamic Jihad said Israeli troops had surrounded two of its Nablus commanders in a house, triggering a clash that drew in other gunmen. Explosions sounded and youths pelted armoured troop transports with rocks.

Palestinian sources said the two Islamic Jihad commanders had been killed along with another gunman. The four civilian fatalities had included a 72-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy, they said.

"I am continuing my engagement with all concerned parties to de-escalate the situation. I urge all sides to refrain from steps that could further enflame an already volatile situation," said U.N. envoy Tor Wennesland in a statement.

Palestinian groups in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza called for a general strike on Thursday. Schools, universities and banks in Gaza did not open after activists walked the streets with loudspeakers calling on businesses to remain shut.

Nablus and nearby Jenin have been a focus of raids that Israel has intensified over the past year following a spate of lethal Palestinian street attacks in its cities.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/israel-gaza-border-heats-up-after-west-bank-violence/articleshow/98174164.cms

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Tens of millions still use Instagram in Iran despite crackdown: Meta

23 February ,2023

Meta on Thursday said that tens of millions of people in Iran are using Instagram despite government efforts to block the service due to months-long protests.

Iran has been rocked by citizen outrage since the September 16 death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest for an alleged breach of dress rules for women.

“Instagram has been widely used by Iranians to shed light on the protests and the brutal response to them,” Meta president of global affairs Nick Clegg said during a briefing.

“People have also shared Instagram footage of the protests with international media outlets, many of whom can’t report directly from Iran.”

Protests triggered by Amini’s death resulted in authorities clamping down on speech and freedom of assembly, and limiting the use of the internet and apps such as Instagram, Clegg noted.

“Despite attempts to block Instagram, we’re seeing tens of millions of people still finding ways to access it,” Clegg said.

Tactics to access the image-centric social network service include using virtual private network software that encrypts and conceals online activity, said Meta head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher.

People in Iran are also using a “light” version of the Instagram app released in Iran last year that is designed for places where internet bandwidth is meager, Gleicher added.

Meta has also put policies in place to remove posts that “outs” activists, journalists.

“It’s an unfortunate reality that when a government wants to prevent its citizens from having access to public debate, they have a lot of tools in place that they can use to do that,” Gleicher said during the briefing.

“But, we are seeing the Iranian efforts not be as effective as I’m sure they would like.”

Since Amini’s death, hashtags related to protests in Iran have been used on Instagram more than 160 million times, according to Meta.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/23/Tens-of-millions-still-use-Instagram-in-Iran-despite-crackdown-Meta

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Iran executes two political prisoners in two days

23 February ,2023

Iran said it executed on Wednesday a Kurdish militant who had been convicted of killing a police officer, a move condemned by rights groups who called him a political prisoner.

This came two days after activists reported the execution of another political prisoner.

“Arash Ahmadi, also known as Sarkot, a member of the Komala terrorist group, was executed this morning,” Iranian state television said.

It said Ahmadi, 29, had assassinated police major Hassan Maleki in Ravansar, a town in the western province of Kermanshah, in August 2018.

The channel showed videos of Ahmadi “confessing” that he had been behind the attack.

Such videos are common in Iran and are frequently condemned by rights groups, arguing that confessions are often forced and the result of torture.

Foreign-based rights groups said Ahmadi was arrested in early 2021 while attempting to flee overland to Europe after being convicted of the murder.

He had always denied the charges.

Ahmadi was hanged on Wednesday morning at a prison in the western city of Kermanshah, the Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group, Kurdish-focused Hengaw group and Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network said in separate statements.

The execution was carried out in secret without his family being notified in advance, they added.

A political activist, he had been a member of the Kurdish Komala political party, which pushes for greater autonomy for Iran’s Kurdish minority but is banned as a terror group by Tehran, they said.

He had spent some time in neighboring Iraq where Komala’s leadership is based, before returning to Iran, they added.

“The execution of this Kurdish political prisoner was carried out without notifying the family and conducting a last meeting,” IHR said.

Kurdistan Human Rights Network said, citing relatives, that Ahmadi had been “subjected to severe torture to accept the accusations against him and make forced confessions.”

On Monday, Iran executed Hassan Abeyat, an ethnic Arab, the Ahwaz Human Rights Organization (AHRO), which monitors human rights violations in Arab-populated regions in southwest Iran, said.

Abeyat had been in prison since 2011-2012 on charges of membership in an opposition group, it said.

The executions come weeks after state media reported that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had pardoned “tens of thousands” of prisoners, including many arrested in recent anti-regime protests following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini in September.

Rights activists expressed skepticism over that announcement at the time, pointing out that many prominent figures remain in jail and activists continue to be arrested.

Iran executes more convicts every year than any other country except than China, according to rights groups including Amnesty International.

Campaigners have also accused Tehran of using the death penalty as a weapon to suppress the protests that erupted after the death of Kurdish-Iranian Amini, who had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress code for women.

It has already executed four men on charges related to the protests while IHR says 87 people have been executed so far in 2023 alone.

Amnesty said Wednesday that Iranian authorities had “forcibly disappeared” four Kurdish dissidents linked to Komala who were now at “grave risk” of unfair trials on charges that carry the death penalty.

The four men -- Pejman Fatehi, Vafa Azarbar, Mohammad Faramarzi and Mohsen Mazloum -- were arrested in July 2022 and are believed to be facing spying and terror charges.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/23/Iran-executes-two-political-prisoners-in-two-days
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Israel passes bill in 1st reading to ban funding of medical treatment for Palestinian detainees

23.02.2023

JERUSALEM

The Knesset (Israel's parliament) on Thursday passed a bill in the first reading to stop the state funding of medical treatment for Palestinian detainees.

According to public broadcaster KAN, the bill, when enacted into law, will prohibit the state funding of unnecessary medical treatment, including cosmetic treatment, for Palestinian prisoners.

The bill still needs two more rounds of voting before becoming law.

Qadura Fares, the head of the Palestinian Prisoner Society NGO, decried the bill as a violation of the rights of Palestinian detainees.

"Although international laws and norms guarantee the right to medical treatment and health care, the [Israeli] occupation authorities continue to violate what the international community has approved," Fares said in a statement.

He added that there are nearly 200 Palestinian detainees who suffer from chronic diseases and 24 who are diagnosed with cancer.

Hamas group, which rules the Gaza Strip, said the bill “is part of the occupation’s policy of deliberate medical negligence, and reflects the Israeli government’s fascist plans against the Palestinian people."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-passes-bill-in-1st-reading-to-ban-funding-of-medical-treatment-for-palestinian-detainees/2829582

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US intentionally prolonging Yemen conflict to earn substantial profits from arms deals: Ansarullah leader

23 February 2023

The leader of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah resistance movement says the United States is deliberately prolonging the world's worst humanitarian disaster in war-torn Yemen in order to reap huge profits from arms deals with Saudi Arabia and its regional allies, which are engaged in the devastating war on the country.

Abdul-Malik al-Houthi made the remarks in a Thursday televised address as people attended a ceremony in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a to pay homage to late chairman of Yemen's Supreme Political Council Saleh al-Sammad.

“The US is trying to take advantage of the prolonged Yemen crisis. Washington has already made enormous profits from the war through arms deals [with the Riyadh regime and its allies]. US statesmen intend to install a vassal state in Yemen so as to bring the nation under their control. They have no good intentions at all,” Houthi said.

He added that the US continues to torpedo any initiative by the Sultanate of Oman and others to restore nationwide peace and stability to Yemen.

“The United States, Britain and the United Arab Emirates need to take on commitments in any future agreement. Yemen’s natural reserves have been occupied by the Saudi-led coalition of aggression, and the alliance is accountable for depriving Yemenis of sale proceeds,” Houthi said.

“We cannot accept the presence of occupying forces on the Yemeni soil, as their deployment translates into interference in our domestic affairs. We will spare no effort to drive occupying American and British forces out of our country,” the Ansarullah chief pointed out.

Houthi added that Washington is directing the devastating military campaign against Yemen, stressing that the Riyadh and Abu Dhabi regimes are simply executing its orders.

“It was the US which provoked Saudi officials to assassinate Sammad [in a drone airstrike in late April 2018]. Americans have also commanded the Saudi-led bombing raids against various Yemeni regions ever since the aggression started back in March 2015,” he said.

“The Saudi-coalition mistakenly thought it would be able to break the willpower of the Yemeni nation through Sammad’s targeted killing. The result was strikingly different from what it had expected, and Sammad's assassination made Yemenis more determined and courageous in their struggle against aggressors,” the Ansarullah chief stated.

Houthi also denounced the extent of the Saudi-led coalition’s brutality, stating, “The alliance of aggression has perpetrated absolutely horrendous and horrifying crimes and acts of savagery in Yemen under the auspices of the US, the Israeli regime and Britain. Nothing can justify their crimes.”

He underscored that Yemen is demanding the release of its assets frozen abroad, and that Yemeni Armed Forces have beefed up their military capabilities in the face of the Saudi-led aggression.

“Humanitarian issues must be given top priority over any other matters during negotiations over ending the Yemen war. The US should come to terms with the fact that it is an occupier and complicit in the Saudi-led onslaught against Yemen. It cannot present itself as a peace broker,” Houthi said.

Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states, launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015.

The objective was to crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen, and reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The Saudi-led coalition has failed to achieve any of its objectives, leaving hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead and spawning the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Ansarullah leader highlighted the Yemeni nation’s unflinching support for oppressed Palestinians, and lambasted certain Arab countries for normalization of ties with Israel's apartheid regime.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/02/23/698768/US-intentionally-prolonging-Yemen-conflict-to-earn-substantial-profits--Ansarullah-leader

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Africa

 

Jordan’s PM and British minister highlight strong strategic relationship between their nations

February 23, 2023

AMMAN: Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh highlighted the strong strategic relationship between his country and the UK when he met the British minister of state for development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, in Amman on Thursday.

Khasawneh praised the UK for its support of his nation, and its development, during his talks with Mitchell, who is on an official visit to the country, the Jordan News Agency reported. The PM also reiterated his commitment to the enhancement of bilateral cooperation to serve the interests of the countries and their peoples.

He briefed Mitchell on the challenges the Jordanian economy faces as a result of the large number of Syrian refugees it hosts, and the effects this has on the country’s budget, its health and education sectors, and the labor market. He stressed the importance of the ongoing support from the international community for refugees and their host communities.

He also highlighted the comprehensive national project, under the leadership of King Abdullah II, to modernize Jordan’s political, economic and administrative systems.

Mitchell hailed the strategic partnership between the two countries and the UK’s commitment to the enhancement of cooperation in all fields.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2256836/middle-east

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Zambia says stands by Türkiye following devastating earthquakes

James Kunda  

23.02.2023

Zambia said Thursday it stood by Türkiye following the devastating effects of two earthquakes that struck earlier this month.

Foreign minister Stanley Kakubo signed a book of condolences at the Turkish Embassy in Lusaka in honor of the victims.

"Zambia stands by Türkiye during this difficult period. As we wish quick recovery to the injured and fortitude to the survivors, we pray that the bereaved families and indeed the entire Turkish nation, are granted God’s wisdom, strength and comfort at this time of great sorrow,” he wrote in part.

Kakubo was received by Türkiye's Ambassador to Lusaka Istem Circiroglu who led him through the book's signing.

President Hakainde Hichilema conveyed his condolences and solidarity to Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syria Arab Republic's Bashar al-Assad on Feb. 8 for the tragic loss of lives and injuries in the earthquakes.

At least 43,556 people have been killed and more than 105,000 injured by the earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, according to officials.

The 7.7- and 7.6-magnitude quakes, centered in the Kahramanmaras province, affected more than 13 million people across 11 provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa and Elazig.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/zambia-says-stands-by-turkiye-following-devastating-earthquakes/2829578

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US calls for ‘immediate’ cease-fire in Somalia’s Lasanod town

Mohammed Dhaysane 

23.02.2023

MOGADISHU, Somalia

The US diplomatic mission in Somalia demanded an “immediate” unconditional cease-fire Thursday in Somalia’s northern town of Lasanod.

The remarks came after a delegation from the mission, led by Chargé d’Affaires Tim Trenkle arrived in the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa and held a series of political and civil society discussions.

The delegation met Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi and discussed violence in Lasanod.

“Frank discussions this morning with #Somaliland President @musebiihi about the tragic loss of lives and violence in Lascanood. The United States joins the international community in calling for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire & unhindered humanitarian access,” said the US Embassy in Somalia.

The Somaliland presidency said the Somaliland president and Trenkle discussed Somaliland-US engagement, violence in Lasanod, and regional security.

“They also discussed resuming Somaliland-Somalia negotiations,” it added.

Lasanod, the provincial capital of the Sool region in the breakaway region of Somaliland, has seen fierce fighting between Somaliland forces and local militias that have been ongoing for the past three weeks. The violence has killed more than 100 people, including women and children from both sides.

The fighting started after a group of traditional leaders announced they would no longer recognize the Somaliland government and declared the territory of the Sool and Sanaag region will be ruled from Mogadishu.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/us-calls-for-immediate-cease-fire-in-somalia-s-lasanod-town/2829463

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Burkina Faso’s former revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara reburied

James Tasamba 

23.02.2023

KIGALI, Rwanda

The remains of Burkina Faso’s former revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara were buried Thursday at the site where he was assassinated in a coup more than three decades ago.

Sankara was buried along with 12 former comrades at the Thomas Sankara Memorial in the nation’s capital of Ouagadougou.

Several officials of the military government led by Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyelem attended the ceremony that was boycotted by Sankara’s family.

The 13 caskets containing the remains were draped in the national flag colors with portraits placed against each for officials to pay their respects before reburial.

Religious leaders of different denominations urged reconciliation of the Burkinabe people to achieve peace in the West African country plagued by insecurity.

Sankara's family said earlier they would not attend because they are not satisfied with the site.

But the government said the choice of the burial site was “mainly based on socio-cultural and security imperatives of national interest.”

Sankara, who assumed power in 1983, was killed Oct. 15, 1987, during a coup led by Blaise Compaore, a former ally. He was 37.

Campaore seized power and was deposed in 2014 in a popular uprising after 27 years in office.

The 13 bodies were exhumed from a cemetery on the outskirts of the capital following Compaore's downfall.

An investigation that followed culminated in the trial of 14 people accused of plotting Sankara’s assassination. In April 2022, Compaore, who was the main defendant, was handed a life term in absentia.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/burkina-faso-s-former-revolutionary-leader-thomas-sankara-reburied/2829455

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Jordan sends humanitarian aid to quake-hit Syria

Laith Al-Jnaidi 

23.02.2023

AMMAN, Jordan

Jordan dispatched 14 aid trucks to neighboring Syria on Thursday following the Feb. 6 earthquakes that killed thousands there and in Türkiye.

The trucks prepared by the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization are loaded with medicines, foodstuffs, blankets and drinking water, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The humanitarian aid was delivered to the quake-hit areas in Syria via the Jaber-Nassib border crossing, it added.

According to the statement, seven aid trucks were delivered to the High Relief Commission in Syria, while the remaining trucks were given to UN agencies operating in Syria.

Ministry spokesman Sinan Majali said Jordan will continue its support and assistance to the quake victims in both Syria and Türkiye.

Jordan has dispatched 13 relief aid planes, 75 aid trucks and 10 ambulances, in addition to an air bridge to transport 10,000 tents for the quake victims.

More than 43,500 people have been killed in the deadly earthquakes in Türkiye, according to the country’s disaster management agency AFAD.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/jordan-sends-humanitarian-aid-to-quake-hit-syria/2829486

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North America

 

US Transfers Two Guantanamo Bay Detainees Affiliated to Al-Qaeda to Pakistan

February 24, 2023

The United States has transferred two brothers from the Guantanamo Bay U.S. detention facility in Cuba to Pakistan, bringing the total number of people held at Guantanamo down to 32, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The Guantanamo camp was established by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002 to house foreign terrorism suspects following the 2001 hijacked plane attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed about 3,000 people.

It came to symbolise the excesses of the US “war on terror” because of harsh interrogation methods that critics have said amounted to torture.

There were 40 detainees when President Joe Biden, a Democrat, took office in 2021. Biden has said he hopes to close the facility. The federal government is barred by law from transferring Guantanamo detainees to US mainland prisons.

On Thursday, the Pentagon announced the repatriation of Abdul Rabbani and Mohammed Rabbani to Pakistan.

Both were arrested in 2002. Abdul Rabbani was an al Qaeda facilitator while Mohammed Rabbani was a financial and travel facilitator for prominent al Qaeda leaders, according to the Pentagon’s website.

“The United States appreciates the willingness of the Government of Pakistan and other partners to support ongoing US efforts focused on responsibly reducing the detainee population and ultimately closing the Guantanamo Bay facility,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1738879/us-transfers-two-guantanamo-bay-detainees-to-pakistan

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Canada relaxes immigration rules for Iranian temporary residents

24 February ,2023

The Canadian government announced on Thursday a relaxation of immigration rules for Iranians in Canada, amid “gross and systematic human rights violations” in Iran.

“These measures will make it easier for Iranians who wish to extend their temporary status in Canada,” the immigration department said in a statement.

Iranians will be able to apply for a new permit to study or work in Canada and will be exempt from certain processing fees.

They will be also able to apply for a work permit that allows them to pursue any occupation and for any employer of their choice.

“Canada will not stand idly by in the face of these aggressions as the Iranian regime continues its ongoing human rights violations,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said.

“Applications from Iranians in Canada will also be processed on a priority basis,” the statement said, noting the measures will take effect March 1.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/02/24/Canada-relaxes-immigration-rules-for-Iranian-temporary-residents-

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US commends Oman’s decision to open airspace to Israel

24 February ,2023

The US on Thursday praised Oman’s decision to open its airspace to all civilian planes, including those flying to and from Israel.

Oman announced that its airspace would be open to all carriers that meet the civilian aviation authority’s requirements for overflying.

The White House said Oman’s “historic step” completed the process begun last year during US President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East when Saudi Arabia opened its airspace to all civilian planes.

“Oman’s announcement promotes President Biden’s vision of a more integrated, stable, and prosperous Middle East region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of the American people and our regional partners,” National Security Council Spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said.

She added: “For the first time in history, passengers flying to and from Israel will now be able to travel on direct routes between Israel, Asia, and points in between.”

Washington supported these efforts through months of “quiet diplomatic engagement,” according to Watson.

The White House also voiced particular gratitude for their partnership with Oman and for the leadership of Sultan Haitham bin Tariq.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/02/24/US-commends-Oman-s-decision-to-open-airspace-to-Israel

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Blinken to travel to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India next week

Servet Gunerigok 

24.02.2023

WASHINGTON

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and India next week, the State Department announced Thursday.

Blinken’s first stop will be Astana, Kazakhstan set for Feb. 28, where he will meet with senior Kazakh officials to deepen bilateral cooperation, according to a statement.

"He then will participate in a C5+1 Ministerial (meeting) with representatives of each of the five Central Asian states," said the statement, referring to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, plus the US.

Blinken will then travel to Tashkent, Uzbekistan to meet with Uzbek officials “to further advance our partnership on a range of bilateral and regional issues,” the statement said.

On March 1, he will travel to New Delhi, India to participate in the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/blinken-to-travel-to-kazakhstan-uzbekistan-india-next-week/2829691

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US says robust trade relationship important to bolster Pakistan’s economic stability

February 24, 2023

A “robust trade relationship” between the United States and Pakistan is important to bolster the latter’s economic stability, especially after last year’s devastating floods, and expose American businesses to new markets, the US State Department has said.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price made the remarks in response to a query at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

“We believe that a robust trade relationship between the United States and Pakistan is more important than ever to bolster Pakistan’s economic stability as it recovers from devastating floods, while at the same time also providing an opportunity to Americans and to American businesses in this country, exposing them to new markets — Pakistani markets in this case,” he said.

The comments come at a time when Pakistan is looking for breakthroughs in talks on the US-Pakistan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

The two sides on Thursday held their first ministerial-level meeting of a Pak-US trade and investment body in seven years, where Commerce Minister Syed Naveed Qamar sought greater cooperation in the IT sector.

Speaking to the press today, Price referred to the meeting and reiterated the US commitment to “deepening our economic and commercial ties with Pakistan”, adding the trade relationship has “helped both Pakistani industries and consumers”.

“We have long been Pakistan’s largest export market, with potential for even further growth. And we believe there is great potential to expand bilateral trade with Pakistan further, particularly in energy, agricultural equipment and products, franchising, retail trade, information and communications technology products and services,” he said.

Furthermore, Price pointed out that the US was a leading investor in Pakistan for the past two decades, with investments increasing to 50 per cent in the past year.

“US investment in Pakistan is the highest it’s been in over a decade, and US corporations have announced more than $1.5 billion in investment plans in Pakistan since 2019.

“US companies and their local affiliates, moreover, are among Pakistan’s largest employers, with roughly 80 US companies directly employing more than 120,000 Pakistanis,” the spokesperson added.

‘Afghan Taliban should live up to their commitments’

In response to a question on the rise in terror incidents in the region, Price said that the US and Pakistan “have a shared interest in ensuring the [Afghan] Taliban live up to the commitments that they have made”.

“That terrorist groups that may be active in Afghanistan […] are no longer able to threaten regional stability.

“Our engagement on this subject is rooted in the fact that terrorism is a threat that has taken many Pakistani, Afghan, and other innocent lives over the course of far too many years now,” the spokesperson added.

On Wednesday, a high-ranking Pakistani delegation met Taliban Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar Akhund, Defence Minister Mawlavi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid, Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani and Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in a [one-day visit to Kabul][4].

The delegation among others included ISI Chief Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum, Foreign Secretary Asad Majid, Special Envoy on Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq and Pakistan’s chargé d’affaires in Afghanistan Obaid Nizamani.

During the meeting, the two sides agreed to collaborate to effectively address the threat of terrorism.

Over the past few months, terrorism has been rearing its head again in the country, especially in KP and Balochistan. There has been a rise in terrorist attacks believed to have been planned and directed by Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) leaders based in Afghanistan.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1738884/us-says-robust-trade-relationship-important-to-bolster-pakistans-economic-stability

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