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Islamic World News ( 19 Dec 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘Hum Hindu Hain Hindu, Tu Mulla Hai Mulla‘: 22-Year-Old Killed By Mob In Haryana

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 December 2021

 

 

Rahul Khan a 22-year-old resident of Rasoolpur village in Haryana’s Palwal

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• Reconvert And Pray In Temples: A Right-Wing Hindu Outfit To Muslims On Namaz Row

• OIC Meet On Afghanistan Concludes Without Any Pledge For Aid

• Stop Propagating Against Afghanistan, Daesh Has Been Threatening Afghanistan From Pakistan: Karzai To Imran Khan

• Taliban Will Not Allow Daesh To Establish Foothold In Afghanistan, Says FM Muttaqi

• Acting Muslim Brotherhood Leader Mahmoud Ezzat Sentenced To Life In Prison For Espionage

 

India

• Political Violence In Kerala Changes Colour With Entry Of Hardline Islamic Outfits With The CPM On One End And BJP/RSS On The Other

• Delhi forms UAPA Tribunal to probe ban on Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation

• ‘Real Enemies Of Muslims Are So-Called Secular Parties’: AIMIM Maharashtra President

• V Muraleedharan terms murder of Kerala BJP leader as 'handy work of Islamic terrorist group'

• AMU association release charter of demands before UP polls

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Pakistan

• Man Arrested On Charge Of Blasphemy In Taxila On The Information of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan

• Oldest Buddhist Apsidal Temple Of Country Found In Swat

• Death toll climbs to 17 in Pakistan's Karachi blast

• Afghanistan will become biggest man-made crisis if world doesn’t act, says PM Imran at OIC summit

• JI’s Karachi power show declares Sindh local govt bill ‘black law’

• Saudi FM calls on PM Imran, hails Pakistan’s efforts to help Afghanistan

• Three terrorists killed, security official injured in shootout: ISPR

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South Asia

• Afghanistan's Herat witnesses high poverty due to surge in unemployment

• OIC member states agreed on Trust Fund for Afghanistan

• India, Central Asian countries support peaceful Afghanistan, condemn terrorism

• Tariq Ali Bakheet appointed OIC’s special representative to Afghanistan

• Afghanistan is world’s worst man-made crisis, world must act now: Imran Khan

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Arab World

• Al-Azhar Urges Action to Address Climate Change

• Kuwait stresses Afghanistan aid amid pan-Islamic body talks

• Two Chinese firms to build 1,000 schools in Iraq

• UN chief urges Lebanon’s leaders to put people first and reform

• Two rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone, one destroyed, two cars damaged: State media

• Arab Coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting King Abdullah airport in Jazan

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Mideast

• Iran Calls On France To Revise Anti-Muslim Laws After Assault On Religious Freedom

• Turkey’s Erdogan Says Islam Demands Lower Rates and So Does He

• Iran FM stresses OIC role in resolving Muslim world problems

• Iranian FM Voices Concern about Terrorism, Refugees in Afghanistan

• Iran: Vienna Talks Break Collective Decision

• Iran holds air defence exercise near Bushehr nuclear plant

• Iran says inspecting new IAEA cameras for nuclear site

• Palestinian woman stabs Israeli man in attack near Hebron in West Bank

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Africa

• African Union Chief Urges Africa-Turkey Cooperation Against Terrorism

• Sudan security forces fire tear gas at protesters in Khartoum: Witnesses

• Security forces block roads, bridges in Sudan’s Khartoum against post-coup protests

• Ethiopia’s military again controls religious town of Lalibela

• No technical problems impeding Libya polls: Elections commission

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North America

• UN, US Lawmakers Back Efforts To Prevent Afghanistan’s Economic Meltdown

• Pentagon documents reveal civilian deaths of US war in Mideast 'drastically undercounted'

• US and West ‘waged decades of war on Iran by other means’: Analyst

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Europe

• EU’s Mora: 'Now We Have Common Basis' On Removal Of Iran Sanctions

• Iraq agrees to move stranded nationals to Lithuanian capital

• Turkish Cypriot says Greek side's Navtex is move to escalate tension

• France praises troops after probe into killing of civilians in Niger

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Southeast Asia

• Pakistan, Turkey, And Malaysia To Jointly Launch TV Channel To Promote Media Link: Fawad

• Elite Expressway crash: Remains of nine family members buried in common grave

• Labour Migration to Malaysia: Employers to bear costs at their end

• Minister: Mosques in KL, Putrajaya open doors to flood victims

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/hindu-muslim-killing-lynching-haryana/d/125997

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‘Hum Hindu Hain Hindu, Tu Mulla Hai Mulla‘: 22-Year-Old Killed By Mob In Haryana

 

Rahul Khan a 22-year-old resident of Rasoolpur village in Haryana’s Palwal

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December 19, 202

Meer Faisal and Musheera Ashraf report:

On 13 December, Rahul Khan a 22-year-old resident of Rasoolpur village in Haryana’s Palwal, left his home with his friends named Kalua, Akash and others. And Khan never returned to home.

Kalua and Akash came to Khan’s home at Rasoolpur on Monday and they demanded a treat from Khan, which he denied. They still took Khan with them. “Little did he know that this would cost him his life,” says Akram, brother in law of Rahul Khan.

On 14 December, Rahul Khan’s relative received a call from Kalua stating Khan met an accident.

“I went to Kalua’s house after the phone call. To my surprise, I was abused. They said: ‘Mulla, Tu B Agya , Tujhe Bhi Mardene.’ This made me scared and I ran off,” he said to Maktoob.

The family members of Khan took Khan to hospital where he breathed his last almost 6 hours after admission.

Believing Kalua, Khan’s family lodged an FIR at nearest police station Chandhat stating that Khan was killed in an accident but in the morning of 15 December, they came across a viral video, in which Khan was seen blood-soaked and being beaten mercilessly.

“In the video, the attackers can be heard saying ‘Hum Hindu Hain Hindu, Tu Mulla Hai Mulla‘,” Akram said to Maktoob.

“His body was in a bad situation, it seems he was beaten with axe and rods,” Akram said to Maktoob.

A social media user Sunil Chahal Chahal uploaded Khan’s photo on Facebook with a song in the background in which his blue black wounds were clearly visible.

“Later, he deleted the story,” Akram claims.

Later, an FIR was lodged under IPC 209 and 304A at the Chandhat police station.

When Maktoob reached out to the police, the in-charge said that the case is being investigated and one arrest has been made so far.

“The video is also being investigated,” he added.

The post mortem report highlights the multiple traumatic injuries over the body. It also describes multiple injuries on the head, legs and eyes.

Source: Hindutva Watch

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

https://hindutvawatch.org/you-are-a-muslim-22-year-old-killed-by-mob-in-haryana/

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Reconvert And Pray In Temples: A Right-Wing Hindu Outfit To Muslims On Namaz Row

 

Representational image of Namaz prayers. (File Photo)

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19th December 2021

Gurugram: A right-wing group disrupting Friday Namaz being held in the open here on Sunday asked Muslims to "reconvert" and pray in Hindu temples.

Ancestors of a majority of Haryana Muslims belonged to Hindu community, said Mahaveer Bhardwaj, chairman of the Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, a body of 32 right-wing Hindu outfits.

"We can organise a mass 'Ghar Wapsi' in Leisure Valley here and they will be taken back in their castes and accepted with open arms," Bharadwaj said.

"They will have their temples to pray and this Namaz issue will end," he added.

In the past some months, members of some Hindu outfits have objected to the offering of "Namaz" by Muslims in open spaces.

They have been raising "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Jai Shri Ram" slogans to disrupt the Friday prayers by Muslims.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2021/dec/19/reconvert-and-pray-in-temples-hindu-outfit-to-muslims-onnamaz-row-2397440.html

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OIC Meet On Afghanistan Concludes Without Any Pledge For Aid

 

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan (File photo)

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Omer Farooq Khan

Dec 20, 2021

Islamabad: the extraordinary conference of the member nations of the organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Afghanistan concluded in Islamabad on Sunday without any direct announcement of economic and humanitarian assistance for the war-ravaged country.

Envoys from 57 Islamic nations and observer delegations participated in the conference in Islamabad, the biggest event on Afghanistan after the fall of the US-backed government in the country. The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August had prompted the international community to freeze the country's billions of dollars in aid and assets, plunging the nation of 38 million into the worst economic and humanitarian disaster.

Pakistani officials said that 70 delegations, including interim Taliban foreign minister Mullah Amir Khan Muttaqi and delegates from the US, China, Russia the European Union and the UN, took part in the event.

At the end of the session, a draft resolution was issued that was full of phrases, like the extraordinary session of the OIC council of foreign ministers welcomed the initiative, commended Pakistan's role, recognised the deep-rooted Islamic values that form the ethos of the Muslim society. Moreover, the resolution carried statements, such as the body of Islamic nations expressed deep alarm at the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. It noted with deep concern the breakdown of Afghanistan's health system, disease outbreaks and severe malnutrition. Furthermore, it urged on necessity for continuation of economic cooperation to the country and reaffirmed strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

Speakers also called for a quick opening of the country's banking system. The president of the Islamic Development Bank Muhammad Sulaiman al-Jasser, who attended the meet, offered several concrete financing proposals. He said the IDB can manage trusts that could be used to move money into Afghanistan, jumpstart businesses and help salvage the deeply troubled economy. The OIC also resolved Sunday to arrange for a team of international Muslim scholars to engage with the Taliban on issues "such as, but not limited to, tolerance and moderation in Islam, equal access to education and women's rights in Islam".

Pakistan PM Imran Khan, during his keynote address at the meeting, warned the global community that situation in Afghanistan would become the biggest "man-made crisis in the world" if it did not act immediately. Khan said no other country had suffered as much as Afghanistan, adding that 75% of the country's budget was supported by foreign aid before the Taliban had seized control. He urged Washington to delink the Taliban government from the Afghan citizens. "They have been in conflict with the Taliban for 20 years but this concerns the people of Afghanistan," Khan said, reiterating that Afghanistan would head for chaos if the world failed to take immediate action. "Such a situation will not suit the US because chaos means the inability to fight terrorism." He noted that the Taliban had to fulfil the commitments they had made to the international community, which included forming an inclusive government and ensuring women's rights. Earlier, the acting Afghan foreign minister calimed the Taliban government has restored peace and security and done much to address demands for more inclusive government with respect for human rights, including the rights of women.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/oic-meet-on-afghanistan-concludes-without-any-pledge-for-aid/articleshow/88380263.cms

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Stop propagating against Afghanistan, Daesh has been threatening Afghanistan from Pakistan: Karzai to Imran Khan

 

Afghanistan’s interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrives at the conference in Islamabad. (AP)

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20 Dec 2021

Afghanistan’s former president Hamid Karzai reacted to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statements and called them inflammatory and sheer disrespectful for the people of Afghanistan.

Speaking at OIC’s extraordinary session on Afghanistan in Islamabad, Imran Khan said that not allowing girls to get an education is part of Afghanistan’s history.

Imran Khan also said that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan Branch (ISIS-K) is active in Afghanistan and is threatening Pakistan.

A statement released by Hamid Karzai reads, the presence of ISIS-K affiliates in Afghanistan is propaganda against Afghanistan and that the fact of the matter is vice versa.

Karzai said that ISIS-K has always threatened Afghanistan from Pakistan.

“I recommend Imran Khan to stop propagating and interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. Imran Khan must not necessarily speak on behalf of Afghanistan on the international stage and act like a good neighbor.” Reads the statement.

In the meantime, Afghanistan’s former ambassadress to Norway Shukria Barkezai also reacted to Imran Khan’s comment and said that it is disrespectful to the people of Afghanistan.

She wrote on her Twitter post that Khan’s comments over girls not being allowed in Afghanistan’s culture show his lack of knowledge about the history of Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/stop-propagating-against-afghanistan-daesh-has-been-threatening-afghanistan-from-pakistan-karzai-to-imran-khan-346357/

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Taliban Will Not Allow Daesh To Establish Foothold In Afghanistan, Says FM Muttaqi

 

Afghanistan’s interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi

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December 20, 2021

ISLAMABAD:  Afghanistan’s interim Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said on Sunday that the Afghan Taliban would not allow the Daesh militant group to gain a “foothold” in the country or allow any terror outfits to use Afghan soil against other nations.

Muttaqi spoke to Arab News in an interview on the sidelines of an Organization of Islamic Corporation summit held in Islamabad on Sunday to help Afghanistan, which is facing a looming economic meltdown and humanitarian catastrophe.

“We have controlled Daesh in the whole of Afghanistan and haven’t permitted anyone to use our land against any other country,” Muttaqi said. “It is our promise to the whole world that Afghan soil will not be used against anyone. We will not allow it.

“We will not let Daesh or any other group establish a foothold in Afghanistan as the Afghan people want peace,” he added.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, earlier said during Sunday's gathering that  Afghanistan must not turn into a shelter for terrorist and extremist groups.

The humanitarian crisis since the Taliban seized power in August could compromise regional stability, Prince Faisal warned.

He said Saudi Arabia would begin transporting humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and he hoped mechanisms could be created to deliver it to the Afghan people.

Afghanistan, which is also suffering from a banking liquidity crisis as the cash flow dries up due to sanctions, is facing the risk of economic collapse since the Taliban took over.

But Muttaqi said there was now peace in Afghanistan and the government was strong and stable: “The people are happy,” he insisted.

Afghanistan parked billions of dollars in assets overseas with the US Federal Reserve and other central banks in Europe, but that money has been frozen since the Taliban ousted the Western-backed government in August.

Muttaqi pressed for the release of the billions of dollars of central bank reserves as the drought-stricken nation faces a cash crunch, mass starvation and a new migration crisis.

“The financial assets of Afghanistan belong to the Afghan people, it is not our (Taliban’s) money,” the foreign minister said, urging the US and other Western nations to allow access to the funds.

“Why have they frozen those assets and created problems for the Afghan people? Not even one Afghan person who is working abroad can send their hard-earned money back to their country. Is this an example of respect for human rights?”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1989766/world

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Acting Muslim Brotherhood Leader Mahmoud Ezzat Sentenced To Life In Prison For Espionage

 

Mahmoud Ezzat

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El-Sayed Gamal El-Din

9 Dec 2021

According to the prosecution’s investigation on the case that dates back to 2013, Ezzat, along with others, is charged with committing acts that undermine the independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the country.

A life sentence in Egypt carries 25 years in jail.

The official charges levelled against the defendants are communicating with foreign organisations with the aim of committing terrorist acts inside the country and financing terrorism to achieve the purposes of the international organisation formally known as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Investigations showed that the defendants cooperated with elements affiliated with a terrorist group in Sinai and qualified others to spread rumors to influence public opinion.

Ezzat, who was arrested in 2020, was first handed a death sentence in absentia in 2015.

Under Egyptian law, in absentia convictions must be re-tried once the defendant is apprehended.

Today’s ruling against Ezzat, who is currently standing trial in other cases, can be appealed.

Source: Ahram Online

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

https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/446748.aspx

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India

 

Political Violence In Kerala Changes Colour With Entry Of Hardline Islamic Outfits With The CPM On One End And BJP/RSS On The Other

20th December 2021

By Cynthia Chandran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When it comes to political killings in the state, the recent trend indicates the growing brutal force of Islamic fundamental outfits such as SDPI and PFI, punching their weight in equal measure with the CPM on one end and BJP/RSS on the other.

While the police claim that the number of political murders has come down significantly in recent years, the two revenge killings in Alappuzha in a span of 12 hours have brought to focus the growing violent approach of hardline Islamic outfits such as SDPI and PFI.

The murder of BJP leader Renjith Sreenivasan early on Sunday was in retaliation to the killing of SDPI leader KS Shan - which is in turn suspected to be a case of revenge for the murder of Nandu Krishnan, an RSS activist, at Vayalar allegedly by SDPI activists in February.

Last month, RSS worker A Sanjith (27) was killed allegedly by PFI workers. In 2018, SFI leader Abhimanyu (20) was stabbed to death by the activists of Campus Front, the students' wing of PFI. Until a few years ago, retaliatory killings have mostly been witnessed in Kannur, which is considered the hotbed of CPM and RSS politics.

The latest twin murders in Alappuzha come at a time when the CPM was just recovering from the shock of seeing their former MLA arraigned by the CBI in the Periya twin murder case at Kasaragod. During the previous outing of the LDF government (2016 -21) led by Pinarayi Vijayan, nearly 30 political killings were reported - 10 of them in Kannur alone.

CPM politburo leader MA Baby told The New Indian Express that this was not the first time political killings were happening in the state as neither the RSS nor the SDPI required a reason to unleash violence. "Now the SDPI has emulated the RSS' style by initiating retaliatory killing. Creating unrest is a matter of existence for these two fundamentalist forces. It is high time people voice their strong displeasure against them," said Baby.

If so far cadre parties like CPM and RSS were at loggerheads, now a minority radical outfit like SDPI seem to be emerging stronger in the practice of retaliatory killing.

Senior BJP leader PK Krishnadas said the SDPI has been treading a dangerous path, unlike political parties. "The slain BJP leader Renjith’s face was disfigured in the attack. Only a terrorist outfit with a wide network like SDPI can carry out such a gruesome killing. Their plan is to target their political detractors under each subdivision," said Krishnadas.

Four political murders in state this year

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/kerala/2021/dec/20/political-violence-in-kerala-changes-colour-with-entry-of-hardline-islamic-outfits-2397493.html

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Delhi forms UAPA Tribunal to probe ban on Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation

Dec 14 2021

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS): The Centre has constituted an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice D.N. Patel under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) provisions to adjudicate whether there is sufficient cause for banning Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), founded by the controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

The development comes following the earlier order of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) dated November 15, which had extended the ban on the IRF for five more years.

"The Central Government hereby constitutes an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal consisting of Justice D.N. Patel, Chief Justice of High Court of Delhi, for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the Islamic Research Foundation as an unlawful association," the Ministry of Home Affairs' notification dated December 13 read.

Earlier, the Central government had observed that the unlawful activities of the IRF are not curbed and controlled immediately, it will take the opportunity to continue its subversive activities and re-organise its activists who are still absconding.

The government also apprehended that the IRF cadre and supporters may disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony, propagating anti-national sentiments, escalating secessionism by supporting militancy, and undertaking activities that are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country and it was necessary to extend the ban on IRF for five years more.

The Centre had declared the IRF an unlawful organisation for the first time on November 17, 2016, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967) for a period of five years. The ban was to expire on Tuesday.

Source: Daiji World

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

https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=904260

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‘Real enemies of Muslims are so-called secular parties’: AIMIM Maharashtra president

by Zeeshan Shaikh

December 20, 2021

Imtiaz Jaleel, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Maharashtra president and Aurangabad Parliamentarian, speaks to The Indian Express about the status of Muslims in Maharashtra’s polity and why he feels that the Congress-NCP pose a bigger threat to Muslim empowerment than the BJP.

Your party held a rally in Mumbai last week seeking reservation for Muslims. What is your next course of action on this issue?

Our emphasis is on creating awareness about the need for reservation for the Muslim community. The rally was part of this awareness drive that the AIMIM’s state chapter has been conducting over the past three months across Maharashtra. There is strong empirical data to show that Muslims are justified in seeking reservations. The AIMIM is also keen on exposing the duplicity of the so-called secular parties who were crying hoarse on how the community needed reservation when (ex-CM) Devendra Fadnavis was in power but have now gone silent on the issue after coming to power themselves.

The AIMIM is being accused of raking up this issue to polarise ahead of the upcoming corporation elections in the state…

If people are claiming that we are politicising this issue, then let me tell you that they are 200 per cent correct. We are politicising this because we want the community to question these politicians when they land up at their doorsteps seeking votes. We want people to question them as to why they have gone mum on Muslim reservation. The AIMIM has now become used to being referred to as “vote cutters” by these so-called secular parties. I have a counter offer to make to them: If the Maharashtra government brings in a Bill for Muslim reservation in the upcoming winter session of the Assembly, I promise that the AIMIM will not contest a single seat in the upcoming corporation or council elections.

The Mahmood-Ur-Rahman committee that was set up by the Maharashtra government had recommended 8 per cent reservations to Muslims both in jobs and education. The HC, however, upheld only 5 per cent reservation for the community, that too in education. Is the AIMIM comfortable with this?

In India, most of the reservation demand — be it of the Maratha community or that of Other Backward Classes — are stuck in courts. The reservation of Muslims is the only proposal that has cleared the judicial process. With the kind of disempowerment that the Muslim community faces, 5 per cent reservation, that too only in education sector, is not enough. But, it is a beginning. I also think that the Maharashtra government failed to put its point effectively before the Bombay HC…

You have also raised the issue of Waqf land in your rally. What is it that you are seeking from the state government on this issue?

Our demands are very specific. There are hundreds of government offices which are built on Waqf lands. When the state government builds or takes properties on leases or rents for its offices, it pays money to the original owners. The state should pay rent as per the present ready reckoner rate to the Waqf board too.

The AIMIM talks about marginalisation of Muslims in Indian polity. However, Maharashtra, at this point of time, has a record number of Muslim ministers in the cabinet.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/real-enemies-of-muslims-are-so-called-secular-parties-aimim-maharashtra-president-7680850/

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V Muraleedharan terms murder of Kerala BJP leader as 'handy work of Islamic terrorist group'

December 19, 2021

Thiruvananthapuram: Hours after BJP OBC morcha state secretary Renjith Sreenivasan was allegedly killed in Alappuzha, Union Minister V Muraleedharan termed it as the "handy work of Islamic terrorist group".

" I've been told that State Secy of BJP OBC Morcha was stabbed to death, this morning. This is the handy work of Islamic terrorist group is the info coming from Alleppey (Alappuzha). I demand the State government to take strict action against perpetrators," he tweeted.

He also added," This is not the first incident, a few weeks ago, a BJP worker was killed. The state had not taken the required action to prevent such incidents. They have been taking a soft stand with Islamic terrorists which has encouraged them to indulge in more violence."

Two murders of senior political functionaries from SDPI and BJP have rocked Kerala's Alappuzha, forcing the local administration to impose Section 144 in the district.

In two separate incidents, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) state secretary KS Shaan was allegedly attacked and murdered in Kerala's Alappuzha on Saturday night. This was followed by a separate incident in which BJP OBC morcha state secretary Renjith Sreenivasan was killed at his house by unidentified people early on Sunday morning in Alappuzha.

Source: Firstpost

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

https://www.firstpost.com/india/v-muraleedharan-terms-murder-of-kerala-bjp-leader-as-handy-work-of-islamic-terrorist-group-10221941.html

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AMU association release charter of demands before UP polls

20th December 2021

Lucknow: The Lucknow wing of the Aligarh Muslim University Old Boys’ Association (AMUOBA) has released its list of nine demands from the political parties vying for the minority votes for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

The AMUOBA said that this was the right time for Muslims and other backward communities to strike a bargain with political parties.

Demanding representation of Muslims in the government bodies proportional to their vote percentage, AMUOBA president Prof Shakeel Ahmad Kidwai said, “All political parties are lobbying to get the votes of the backward communities and Muslims in their favour. These communities have been exploited by the political parties and have not been given any political importance in the state.”

He said that it is the opportune time for them to bargain rather than enter caste and religion-based politics.

“We demand reservation for Muslims in higher educational institutions in line with West Bengal government which is in accordance with Sachar Committee recommendations, the establishment of good schools, ITI and vocational centres in minority and Dalit dominated areas, the establishment of minority university in Lucknow in the name of renowned educationist Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who should also be conferred with Bharat Ratna posthumously,” he said.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/amu-association-release-charter-of-demands-before-up-polls-2244560/

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Pakistan

 

Man Arrested On Charge Of Blasphemy In Taxila On The Information of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan

December 20, 2021

TAXILA: Police arrested a man on Sunday for allegedly making disparaging remarks against a companion of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

The man was arrested after a delegation comprising local religious leaders led by Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s area president Yasir Mehmood Rizvi informed the Wah Saddar police that the suspect had allegedly used derogatory language against one of the Prophet’s companions publicly in a hotel.

The delegation presented video footage against the suspect.

Police registered a case against the suspect under Section 298-A of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and launched a hunt to arrest him. They took him into custody during a raid on his house and sent him behind bars.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1664748/man-arrested-on-charge-of-blasphemy-in-taxila

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Oldest Buddhist apsidal temple of country found in Swat

Fazal Khaliq

December 20, 2021

SWAT: The archaeologists have discovered the most ancient Buddhist apsidal temple of Pakistan in Bazira area of Barikot tehsil in Swat.

The site was discovered by archaeologists of Ca’ Foscari University and Italian Archaeological Mission in collaboration with the provincial department of archaeology and museums.

Italian Ambassador to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese told Dawn that he was excited that the new discovery was also made by Italian archaeologists.

“It is so impressive to find something common between the archaeology of Pakistan and that of Italy. It is something that shows that even in antiquity we have a kind of globalisation where people had exchange of certain techniques and ideas of culture and religions which is astonishing. The more we search for the past, the more we find that we have future together,” he said.

According to Prof Luca M Olivieri, the director of Italian Mission, it is possible to date the foundation of the Buddhist sacred structure to the Mauryan period, certainly to the 3rd century BC.

This was followed by a major reconstruction undertaken in the 2nd century BC.

When the Greeks arrived and refortified the city of Bazira, known to them from the times of Alexander the Great, they found an existing structure constructed during the Mauryan period at the time of Ashoka.

Since then, after the rule of King Menander in the mid-second century, the monument was enhanced and kept in function for centuries till the third and fourth century when it was eventually abandoned, as the Kushan city of Bazira was razed by an earthquake.

“This is an astonishingly important discovery as it attests a new architectural shape of Buddhist structure in Gandhara. We only have one other example of apsidal temple in a city at Sirkap, Taxila.

“However, the apsidal temple of Bazira is so far the earliest example of this architecture in Pakistan,” said Prof Luca.

He said that the new discovery was revolutionary because it was proving the presence of Buddhists since the third century in Swat.

The discovery also confirms the claim that Indo-Greek ruler Menander and his successors supported Buddhism.

The archaeologists unearthed not only a well-preserved four-metre high monument, the apsidal temple, but also one of the main streets of the ancient city leading eventually to the discovery of one of the gates of the city.

“We have found coins, among which a silver specimen issued by King Menander, an onyx-made seal decorated with a Hellenistic intaglio depicting the image of a youth in Greek attire with a Kharosthi inscription, a monumental Kharosthi epigraph, many other Kharosthi inscriptions on pots, and potsherds belonging to the Indo-Greek cultural horizon such as fish

plates and polished black pottery that imitates Attic models,” said Dr Michele Minardi, another Italian archaeologist.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1664783/oldest-buddhist-apsidal-temple-of-country-found-in-swat

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Death toll climbs to 17 in Pakistan's Karachi blast

Dec 19, 2021

KARACHI: The death toll in the powerful blast that ripped through a building of a private bank in Pakistan's financial capital of Karachi has gone up to 17 after another injured person died at a hospital on Sunday.

The blast took place in a gas pipeline running through a sewage drain on Saturday, killing at least 16 people and wounding 15 others while causing immense damage to the building constructed atop the drain, a spokesperson for the Karachi Police said.

The spokesperson said that there was no lead suggesting that the blast might be linked to terrorism.

Another victim of Karachi's Shershah blast succumbed to his injuries at a hospital Sunday morning, pushing the death toll from the explosion to 17, Geo News reported.

The dead also included the father of Alamgir Khan, a member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

Expressing grief over the loss of lives, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet: "My heartfelt prayers [and] condolences go to all the families of victims of the twin blasts at Sher Shah Paracha Chowk, Karachi. I am especially saddened to hear of the loss of our MNA Alamgir Khan's father who also perished in the blast. May Allah give him the strength to bear this loss."

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has directed the commissioner Karachi to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report over its findings, a spokesperson of the chief minister said.

“Police officers should be included in the inquiry so that all aspects [of the blast] can be investigated, " the chief minister said.

The explosion occurred a day before Pakistan was hosting the 17th extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign minister in Islamabad to tackle the situation in Afghanistan.

The police believe that the blast occurred inside the sewerage line in Shershah due to the accumulation of gas. A case has been registered in connection with the blast on the behalf of the state through a police inspector.

Source: Times of India

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Afghanistan will become biggest man-made crisis if world doesn’t act, says PM Imran at OIC summit

December 19, 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday issued a clear warning to the global community, stating that Afghanistan could potentially become the biggest "man-made crisis in the world" if it did not act now.

The premier expressed the views while delivering the keynote address at the 17th extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers to discuss the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan at the Parliament House in Islamabad.

Envoys from 57 Islamic nations as well as observer delegations are participating in today's session. The premier, who was the last to speak before the televised portion of the event concluded, began his speech by welcoming the participants to Pakistan.

"Forty one years ago, an extraordinary session of the OIC was held in Pakistan to discuss the situation in Afghanistan," he told the gathering, which also included Taliban foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi alongside delegates from the United States, China, Russia, the European Union and UN.

PM Imran said no other country had suffered as much as Afghanistan, adding that even before the Taliban seized control, half of the population was below the poverty line. He said that 75 per cent of the country's budget was also supported by foreign aid.

He noted that any country, in a situation similar to that of Afghanistan, would collapse.

Commending the other speakers for highlighting the gravity of the situation in the war-torn country, he said: "If the world doesn't act, this will be the biggest man-made crisis which is unfolding in front of us."

PM Imran said that the OIC also had a "religious duty" to help the Afghans.

Specifically addressing the United States, the prime minister said that Washington must "delink" the Taliban government from the 40 million Afghan citizens.

"They have been in conflict with the Taliban for 20 years but this [concerns] the people of Afghanistan," he said, adding that it was important to take immediate action.

He noted that the Taliban had to fulfill the commitments they had made to the international community, which included forming an inclusive government and ensuring women's rights.

"[However], the idea of human rights is different in every society," he said, giving the example of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which borders the war-torn country.

"The city culture is completely different from the culture in rural areas [...] we give stipends to the parents of the girls so that they send them to school. But in districts bordering Afghanistan, if we are not sensitive to the cultural norms, then they won't send them to school despite receiving double the amount. We have to be sensitive about human rights and women rights," he said.

He reiterated that Afghanistan was headed for chaos unless the world took immediate action. Such a situation will not suit the US because "chaos means the inability to fight terrorism," he said, adding that Pakistan also faced a threat from ISIL (Daesh).

PM Imran said that Pakistan was currently housing over three million refugees, adding that country was also providing shelter to more than 200,000 refugees who had overstayed their visas.

"The situation in Afghanistan means they can't go back. We are already suffering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are not in a position to deal with a influx of refugees."

He questioned how poorer countries, that were still struggling to get their economic back up, would be able to cope with an influx of refugees.

Addressing the participants, the premier said he was impressed by the suggestions put forward by Islamic development banks for providing immediate assistance.

"I look forward to the fact that you will come up with a road map by the end of this evening," he said, reiterating that "chaos in Afghanistan suited no one".

Pledge to help unlock frozen Afghan assets

According to an OIC resolution released after the meeting, the participating countries resolved to work with the United Nations to try to unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in frozen Afghan assets in a bid to tackle its growing humanitarian crisis.

Delegates said they would work “to unlock the financial and banking channels to resume liquidity and flow of financial and humanitarian assistance”.

The Islamic Development Bank would lead the effort to free up assistance by the first quarter of next year, the resolution read.

It also urged Afghanistan's rulers to abide by “obligations under international human rights covenants, especially with regards to the rights of women, children, youth, elderly and people with special needs”.

The 31-point resolution was short on specifics and gave no figure for financial assistance.

Qureshi proposes six-point framework to support Afghans

The session began with the recitation of Holy Quran, following which Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi formally declared the extraordinary session "open". He was the first to address the summit.

"Let me start by commending Saudi Arabia for their leadership in convening this session," Qureshi said. "I want to welcome OIC Secretary General Taha. this is first the foreign ministerial meeting after his appointment."

"Pakistan is also gratified by the trust reposed in us by the OIC. Your presence here on a short notice affirms the importance the world and OIC holds for the people of Afghanistan. The significance of this gathering goes beyond mere symbolism. It is a matter of survival for them."

The foreign minister detailed the plight of people in Afghanistan, saying: "Over half their population — 22.8 million people — face food shortage. Millions of Afghan children are at risk of dying from malnutrition. This situation has been brought about by a multiplicity of factors such as years of conflict, poor governance and excessive dependence on foreign aid."

"August 2021 may have altered the political landscape in Afghanistan, but the needs of the people are the same."

Qureshi said that as per the UN, the Afghanistan situation "could become the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world", adding that those with "direct knowledge" have been giving "dire warnings" in this regard.

"It is unfortunate that the hardship and suffering of the Afghans has not eased," he said as he urged the Islamic world to stand with the people of Afghanistan just as it backed the right of "self-determination of the Palestinians and the Kashmiris".

"This is the moment to extend a collective helping hand. This is not the time to withhold support," he added.

"This organisation (OIC) has consistently supported the rights of the people and called on the rest of the world to think beyond their economic and domestic compulsions."

The minister highlighted that Pakistan would also be impacted by a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, adding that a "complete economic meltdown" could not be ruled out.

"The consequences of a humanitarian crisis and an economic collapse will be horrendous [...] we must not allow this to happen," he said, adding that Pakistan was doing all it could to help its Afghani brethren.

Qureshi said that the OIC session must usher in "visible change" and show the people of the war-torn country that it is united in helping them stabilise their economy and country.

Qureshi proposed a six-point frame work for the OIC to lead which included creating a vehicle with the OIC to channel "immediate and sustained humanitarian and financial support to the Afghan people".

"We should also agree to increase investment in the people of Afghanistan, bilaterally or through the OIC, in areas such as education, health and technical and vocational skills to the Afghan youth," he said.

He also proposed establishing a group of experts to consider ways and means to facilitate Afghanistan’s access to legitimate banking services. He also called for enhancing food security in the war-torn country, investing in building the capacity of Afghan institutions in countering terrorism and combating illicit trade in narcotics, and engage with Afghan authorities to help advance the expectations of the international community.

Concluding his speech, the foreign minister called on the countries to seize this "historic opportunity" to turn the tide in Afghanistan.

'Afghans have suffered for too long'

Addressing the OIC session, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said that the economic difficulties could trigger a humanitarian crisis and lead to further instability which could impact regional and international peace.

He said that the OIC meeting expressed solidarity with the Afghans and demonstrated to the world the need for immediate action to put an end to the situation in the war-torn country.

"The people of Afghanistan have suffered for too long," he said, adding that they had faced years of instability.

The Saudi minister urged OIC member states to play a part in providing the Afghans with the necessary support and to prevent an economic collapse in the country.

Highlighting the assistance provided by the kingdom in the past, he said that Saudi Arabia had recently airlifted food supplies on the directives of King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

He said that the kingdom also condemned terrorist actions targeting minorities in Afghanistan. "We promote peace and security as it requires cooperative action from the international community," he said.

Concluding his speech, he expressed the hope that the OIC meeting would come up with a proper resolution as well as recommendations to alleviate the difficulties being faced by the Afghans.

'OIC moot sends universal message of harmony and solidarity'

OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha began by thanking the participants for electing him. He also voiced his appreciation for Saudi Arabia for supporting "Islamic solidarity", and thanked Pakistan for the cordial welcome.

"By hosting this event, Pakistan reaffirms its total commitment to the issues facing the Muslim community with a keen dedication to security and peace for region and world," he said.

He also thanked the participants for travelling for the OIC meeting despite the pandemic and the spread of the Omicron variant. "This effort gives a universal message of harmony and solidarity," he said, adding that the Afghan issue has always been high on the OIC agenda.

"The OIC has always taken a strong position which supports its member countries [...] the joint secretariat calls for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Afghanistan," he said.

The OIC secretary general said that the role of OIC members in delivering humanitarian assistance was more important now than ever before as the pandemic had exacerbated existing challenges.

"We commend the humanitarian assistance provided by some member states to the Afghan people. We also call for all parties concerned to cooperate with the OIC mission in Kabul to provide relief to the affected Afghan people," he said.

"The OIC is ready to carry out a follow-up of the outcome and to play its role in supporting humanitarian action in coordination with the relevant OIC missions and relief agencies across the Muslim world,' he said.

Capital on lockdown ahead of moot

On Sunday, the capital was on lockdown, ring-fenced with barbed wire barriers and shipping-container roadblocks where police and soldiers stood guard.

The foreign ministers of about 20 countries are attending the meeting, while 10 other countries are being represented by their deputy ministers. The rest have sent senior officials for the session.

Moreover, officials of the UN, global financial institutions, international and regional organisations and important non-OIC countries like Japan and Germany have also been invited.

Source: Dawn

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JI’s Karachi power show declares Sindh local govt bill ‘black law’

Imran Ayub

December 20, 2021

KARACHI: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Sunday announced that it would protest against the recently passed Sindh Local Govern­ment Amendment Bill 2021 and stage a sit-in outside the provincial assembly on Dec 31 in an effort to compel the Pakistan Peoples Party ‘dictatorship’ to reverse the ‘black law’.

The announcement came at a JI rally titled ‘Karachi Bachao March’ staged against the LG bill on M. A. Jinnah Road by the JI Karachi chapter and participated by top JI leadership. A large number of people, including women and children, turned up to express their “anger against PPP government and its policies”.

Addressing the participants, JI chief Sirajul Haq expressed the resolve that a countrywide movement would be launched to build momentum for the rights of Karachi.

He warned that the existing policies of the federal and provincial governments for the country’s business capital would cause suffering to masses and could lead to a national disaster.

“The Karachi is not run by any administration but a mafia,” he said. “Here you will find [water] tanker mafia, land mafia, arms mafia, education mafia, builders mafia, gas and petrol mafia. And every mafia is backed and supported by federal and provincial governments. But we want to make it clear that we wouldn’t tolerate it anymore. This movement would end only after achieving its desired results,” the JI chief declared.

He added that the movement for the rights of Karachi was not for or from the people of this city alone. “Now the people of Karachi will see that their voices and slogans are raised and heard from Badin to Khyber and Kashmir to Gwadar.”

The march has come following a month-long campaign by the Karachi chapter of the JI that demands withdrawal of the recent LG bill calling it against the spirit of Article 140-A of the Constitution.

The party also demands a number of measures for Karachi and its people ranging from status of mega metropolis to infrastructure development and autonomy in local governance to authority of city mayor in law enforcement and revenue generation.

Among several other demands, the party also seeks holding of a ‘true’ census for Karachi, saying that actual population of the metropolis is more that around 30 million.

Riding motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks and carrying placards, banners and party flags, the participants in the rally were calling for an independent and empowered local government system for the city.

“Isn’t it an irony that a city that generates employment for the people of every district and town of the country is never owned by rulers,” said Senator Haq. “Isn’t it a tragedy that this city that deserves to become the world’s centre, is pleading for its due rights from its very own rulers? From General Ayub Khan to the present day rulers, this city has never been given its due rights and share. But enough is enough. This city has always been deprived of its true leadership through rigging, violence and conspiracies. Now we are here to fight the case of this city.”

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1664778/jis-karachi-power-show-declares-sindh-local-govt-bill-black-law

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Saudi FM calls on PM Imran, hails Pakistan’s efforts to help Afghanistan

December 19, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud Sunday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed with him key issues of bilateral interests.

The Prime Minister conveyed cordial greetings for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Appreciating the Saudi initiative to convene the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Premier Imran Khan expressed the hope that the world would not repeat the mistake of disengaging with Afghanistan. He urged the

international community to support the vulnerable people of Afghanistan.

To alleviate the sufferings of the Afghan people, the Prime Minister highlighted that Pakistan remained committed to facilitate humanitarian organizations working from Pakistan for their humanitarian support to Afghanistan.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s abiding commitment to the continued well-being of the people of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister highlighted that Pakistan has already committed to immediate relief of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs. 5 billion, which comprises of food commodities including 50,000 MT

of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies.

On Pakistan-Saudi Arabia bilateral relations, PM Imran Khan underscored the special significance of the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relationship, which is based on close fraternal ties, historic links, and support at the gross-roots level.

Recalling his visit to Saudi Arabia in October 2021, the Prime Minister highlighted the assiduous follow-up on the decisions taken and stressed the need for exploring new avenues of cooperation to further deepen bilateral relations in diverse fields.

Thanking the Prime Minister for the hosting the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Prince Faisal expressed hope that the Session would be instrumental in mobilizing the international community to support the people of Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds.

He also underscored the importance that Saudi Arabia attaches to its strong relationship with Pakistan, based on bonds of brotherhood.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/19/saudi-fm-calls-on-pm-imran-hails-pakistans-efforts-to-help-afghanistan/

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Three terrorists killed, security official injured in shootout: ISPR

December 19, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Three terrorists, including a commander, were killed and one security official was injured during an exchange of fire between security forces and terrorists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, separate army statements said.

The statements said that security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in the Bajaur district.

During the exchange of fire, a terrorist commander was killed and one security official was injured, the military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in the statements.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/19/three-terrorists-killed-security-official-injured-in-shootout-army/

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South Asia

 

Afghanistan's Herat witnesses high poverty due to surge in unemployment

Dec 19, 2021

KABUL: The third-largest city of Afghanistan, Herat, is witnessing a high rate of poverty due to a surge in unemployment after the Taliban took control of the country.

The high rate of poverty has recently affected many people in the western province of Herat, officials said on Saturday, reported Tolo News.

Herat has seen a rapid surge in unemployment that has severely affected its residents. This comes as the UN and other humanitarian organizations have repeatedly raised alarms over an economic meltdown in the country after the Taliban takeover of the country.

The head of the provincial disaster management authority, Sayed Habib Rahman Ruhani, said that dozens of people are asking for help from the department on a daily basis.

"The demands are high. But the assistance of the disaster management department is limited. It depends on the emergency situation. When a flood or drought takes place, we provide our aid," he said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday the people received some aid from the humanitarian package provided by Turkmenistan. The aid consisted of one pack of vegetables, reported Tolo News.

"It is not aid--- these are vegetables that are eaten after a meal- not as a meal. The people are struggling with economic problems," said Ahmad, a Herat resident.

"We want them to provide us with flour, oil. What will we do with carrots and other vegetables?" said Naznin, a Herat resident.

Some of the vulnerable people who were not enrolled gathered at the site to receive aid. They said that poverty has forced them to stand in the line and ask for help, reported Tolo News.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghanistans-herat-witnesses-high-poverty-due-to-surge-in-unemployment/articleshow/88372895.cms

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OIC member states agreed on Trust Fund for Afghanistan

20 Dec 2021

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the close of OIC’s 17th extraordinary session on Afghanistan said that the member states agreed on a financial Trust Fund for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The Fund will be made under the umbrella of the Islamic Development Bank and will be playing the role of channel for humanitarian aids to Afghanistan with other organizations.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation held the one-day session on addressing the humanitarian crisis of Afghanistan in Islamabad on Sunday, December 19.

22 foreign ministers of member states and representatives of over 50 countries had taken part in the session.

The joint statement of the session asked for means and approaches for the release of Afghanistan’s assets to prevent the economic collapse of the country.

Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Motaqi was invited to represent Afghanistan while US’s special representative for Afghanistan Thomas West was representing the US.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/oic-member-states-agreed-on-trust-fund-for-afghanistan-458458/

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India, Central Asian countries support peaceful Afghanistan, condemn terrorism

19 Dec 2021

The joint statement of the India-Central Asian Dialogue condemned all forms of terrorism and supported a peaceful and stable Afghanistan while emphasizing the respect for sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity, and non-interference in its affairs.

India and five central Asian countries- Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan- held a conference in the Indian capital New Delhi on Sunday, December 19.

The countries unanimously condemned terrorism and reiterated that providing safe haven for terrorists, terror financing, and using terror proxies for cross-border terrorism is against the principles of humanity and international relations.

Foreign ministers of the participant countries discussed Afghanistan’s situation and its impacts on the region.

The dialogue in Indian comes parallel with OIC’s extraordinary session in Islamabad that is aimed at discussing the humanitarian situation of Afghanistan.

The joint statement reads that foreign ministers decided to continue humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and to continue consultation on the country.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/india-central-asian-countries-support-peaceful-afghanistan-condemn-terrorism-346346/

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Tariq Ali Bakheet appointed OIC’s special representative to Afghanistan

20 Dec 2021

Organization of Islamic Cooperation in a statement said that the organization’s Secretary-General Hissein Brahim Taha announced Tariq Aali Bakheet’s appointment as his special envoy to Afghanistan.

Tariq Ali Bakheet was Taha’s Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian, Cultural, and Social Affairs.

The OIC’s new envoy is assigned to follow up on the implementation of the resolution of the Council of Foreign Ministers, particularly as regards coordinating efforts for the supply of humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

The special representative will not only be coordinating humanitarian assistance and support to Afghanistan but will also pursue economic and political engagement.

Bakheet was appointed at the close of OIC’s 17th extraordinary session on Afghanistan that was held on Sunday, December 19 in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/tariq-ali-bakheet-appointed-oics-special-representative-to-afghanistan-34737/

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Afghanistan is world’s worst man-made crisis, world must act now: Imran Khan

19 Dec 2021

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the ongoing situation is the worst man-made humanitarian crisis on earth and called on the international community to act now.

Speaking at the OIC’s extraordinary session on Afghanistan in Islamabad, the Premier expressed his concerns over Afghanistan’s situation and asked the world not to be indifferent to the country’s case.

He added that no country has been that impacted as much as Afghanistan did in the past years and added that if another country had a situation like Afghanistan it would have fallen.

 Imran Khan said, “More than half of the population of Afghanistan was starving before the Taliban’s takeover.” He also said that “Afghanistan’s economy was dependent on foreign aids and 75% of the country’s budget was coming from other countries.”

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-is-worlds-worst-man-made-crisis-world-must-act-now-imran-khan-346346/

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Arab World

 

Al-Azhar Urges Action to Address Climate Change

19 December, 2021

Al-Azhar has ordered its institution to draft a curriculum to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change and coordinate efforts to address environmental and climate crises.

This comes as part of Egyptian institutions’ preparations to host the COP27 United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2022 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

“Preserving the environment and limiting the climate change crisis is a crucial matter and underestimating its negative impacts exacerbates poverty rates,” it noted.

Al-Azhar University’s third scientific conference for environment and sustainable development kicked off on Saturday in Cairo, under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The three-day event is attended by Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, Awqaf Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa and Egypt’s Grand Mufti Dr. Shawki Allam, as well as prominent religious figures.

Among various topics, the conference will discuss the impact of pollution on climate and the negative effect of climate change on health, industry, water and agriculture, as well as the role of greenhouse gas emissions in upping pollution rates and global warming.

Tayeb underlined the importance of coordinating efforts between religious leadersو scholars and political leaders to raise awareness about environmental and climate crises.

Tayeb said that Sisi’s sponsorship of the event asserts Egypt’s interest and keenness to claim responsibility and play its role in facing the major challenges facing humanity.

Climate change is causing rise in temperatures, the outbreak of fires in forests, snowfall in the seas and oceans and the extinction of many animal and plant species, he stressed.

These have prompted officials in the east and the west to warn from these dangers, hold international conferences to address the causes of this catastrophe and work hard to prevent it and criminalize its perpetrators.

President of Al-Azhar University Mohamed al-Mahrasawi said climate change is an “old, modern and renewed issue,” considering it one of the most complex matters.

Poor peoples are still paying a heavy bill as a price for the welfare of the major industrialized countries, their exploitation of the environment and their pollution and global warming.”

Source: Aawsat

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https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3367716/al-azhar-urges-action-address-climate-change

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Kuwait stresses Afghanistan aid amid pan-Islamic body talks

19/12/2021

ISLAMABAD: Kuwait believes that it is imperative that Afghans get access to much needed aid as Kabul copes with a worsening humanitarian crisis, its foreign minister said yesterday. Leading Kuwait’s delegation to the Pakistan-hosted Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) talks on Afghanistan, Sheikh Dr Ahmad Al-Nasser Al-Sabah said the Islamic world is in the throes of a myriad of challenges, chief among them the “humanitarian crisis” unfolding in Afghanistan.

On the talks, the Kuwaiti top diplomat said it was tantamount to a “message of support” to Afghanistan, as some 23 million people stand on the precipice of starvation, he highlighted, in addition to more than a half million others displaced by the crisis. He reiterated his country’s stern rejection of “all forms of violence and terrorism,” saying the international community should never allow Afghanistan to turn into a “hotbed of extremism and terrorism,” adding that the talks should be a step towards bringing the aspirations of Afghans to fruition.

Kuwait has provided Afghanistan with aid worth $92 million, he said, saying his country will continue to “work diligently” with global aid bodies in order to ensure that Afghans ultimately get access to much needed assistance. Islamic countries are meeting in Pakistan for extraordinary talks as part of efforts to prevent the situation in neighboring Afghanistan to descend into further bedlam.

Bilateral relations

Meanwhile, Sheikh Dr Ahmad met yesterday with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi on the sidelines of the extraordinary session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM). During the meeting, both sides discussed bilateral relations between Kuwait and Jordan, and ways of enhancing them, in addition to the latest international and regional developments.

On Saturday, Kuwait’s Foreign Affairs held a session of bilateral talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad. The meeting dealt with the solid bilateral ties between both countries, as well as ways to enhance and develop the strategic partnership between them in various fields. Topics on the agenda of the OIC extraordinary session were also discussed by the two ministers.

Source: Kuwait Times

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https://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/kuwait-stresses-afghanistan-aid-amid-pan-islamic-body-talks/?0F304667-004C-3A41-AC43-9012548044AB_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

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Two Chinese firms to build 1,000 schools in Iraq

19 December ,2021

Iraq has signed agreements with two Chinese companies to build 1,000 schools in the country in the space of two years, an Iraqi government official said on Sunday.

The country needs a total of 8,000 schools “to fill the gap in the education sector”, a housing ministry official, Hassan Mejaham, was quoted as saying by the official Iraqi News Agency.

The deals were signed on Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi, with Power China, to build 679 schools and Sinotech the remaining 321.

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Despite being rich in oil, Iraq has suffered for decades from crumbling infrastructure because of successive wars and endemic corruption.

Construction of the schools is due to be completed in two years, with the first delivered a year after work begins “very soon”, Mejaham said.

He added that Iraq would pay for the project using oil products.

A second phase will see the construction of an additional 3,000 schools, with 4,000 more to be built in a final phase.

“Decades of conflict and under-investment in Iraq have destroyed what used to be the best education system in the region,” UNICEF said on its website, adding that “one in every two schools is damaged and needs rehabilitation”.

In the country of 40 million people, “there are close to 3.2 million school-aged Iraqi children out of school”, it said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/19/Two-Chinese-firms-to-build-1-000-schools-in-Iraq-

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UN chief urges Lebanon’s leaders to put people first and reform

19 December ,2021

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged Lebanese leaders to put people first and implement reforms to rescue the country from a financial depression and its worst social crisis in 30 years.

Guterres met President Michel Aoun at the start of a four day visit for talks with politicians, civic leaders and humanitarian workers on how the world body can help the country overcome mounting problems.

“It is essential for leaders to put the people first, and implement the reforms needed to set Lebanon back on track, including efforts to promote accountability and transparency, and root out corruption,” he said in a video message ahead of the visit. He repeated the message after his arrival.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

In a country fractured along sectarian lines, successive governments made up of nearly all Lebanon’s main parties have repeatedly failed to implement the reforms needed to fix the national finances.

Foreign donors have long pressured politicians to enact the changes, long promised but never delivered because of vested interests, before they release funds.

UN agencies have warned of a dramatic deterioration in living conditions, and Guterres said he was deeply concerned about hardships faced by ordinary Lebanese.

Guterres echoed a call by many Lebanese activists and politicians to hold accountable those responsible for a huge chemical blast at Beirut port last year that killed 200 people and caused billions of dollars of damage.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/19/UN-chief-urges-Lebanon-s-leaders-to-put-people-first-and-reform

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Two rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone, one destroyed, two cars damaged: State media

19 December ,2021

Two Katyusha rockets hit Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, Iraq’s state news agency reported early on Sunday citing security forces.

One rocket was destroyed in the air by the C-RAM defense system and the other landed near the zone’s festivals arena damaging two cars, the report added.

Security forces started an investigation to detect the launch site, the agency reported.

A US military official told Reuters that the C-RAM system brought down one of the rounds and none of them landed on the US embassy. The official said there were no American casualties.

The Green Zone hosts foreign embassies, including the US embassy, and government buildings and is regularly the target of rockets fired by groups that US and Iraqi officials say are backed by Iran.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/19/Two-rockets-hit-Baghdad-s-Green-Zone-one-destroyed-two-cars-damaged-State-media

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Arab Coalition destroys Houthi drone targeting King Abdullah airport in Jazan

20 December ,2021

The Arab Coalition destroyed on Monday a drone that was aiming to target civilians at King Abdullah airport in the southern city of Jazan in the Kingdom, state media reported.

The drone was launched from Sana’a international airport in Yemen’s capital, where the Iran-backed Houthi militia is in control.

The Coalition also announced it destroyed sites for launching drones and weapon caches for the Houthis in Sana’a, including two workshops for assembling explosive-laden drones as well as locations for storing drones and weapons.

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The Arab Coalition added it took precautionary measures to ensure there were no civilian casualties.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/20/Arab-Coalition-destroys-Houthi-drone-targeting-King-Abdullah-airport

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Mideast

 

Iran calls on France to revise anti-Muslim laws after assault on religious freedom

19 December 2021

A senior Iranian rights official has called on France to revise laws targeting the Muslim minority across the European country after the French government ordered the closure of nearly two dozen more mosques in a fresh assault on freedom of religion.

Kazem Gharibabadi, the secretary-general of Iran's Human Rights Office, made the call in a Saturday tweet, days after France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin appeared on the French television LCI and said 21 mosques that showed signs of “extremism” had been closed in the country.

The minister said the French security forces had carried out raids at 99 mosques on suspicion of extremism, and closed 21 of the mosques in question while the process of closing 6 others was underway.

“In western approach, terrorists in Iran are human rights defenders and religious freedom in their own countries is tantamount to terrorism! The French Interior Minister: 21 mosques were currently shut and 6 will be closed soon based on laws against extremism and separatism,” Gharibabadi wrote.

“We call on France to revise its anti-Muslims laws that target France's 5.5 million minority Muslims, their worship places, educational and other centers,” he added.

The hostile move by the French government is seen as yet another Islamophobic attack targeting the country’s persecuted minority Muslim community, which has in recent years faced deep marginalization and a witch-hunt campaign.

Earlier in the year, the lower house of the French parliament approved a controversial bill targeting religious freedom and stigmatizing Muslims, while tightening rules on the funding of mosques, associations, and non-governmental organizations belonging to Muslims.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/19/672964/Iran-Kazem-Gharibabadi-France-Muslims-mosques-

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Turkey’s Erdogan Says Islam Demands Lower Rates and So Does He

(Bloomberg) -- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to continue interest rate cuts that have made the Turkish lira the world’s worst performing currency over the past three months, referring to Islamic proscriptions on usury as a basis for his new policy push.

Turkey’s Erdogan Evokes Religion in New Push for Lower Rates

“What is it? We are lowering interest rates. Don’t expect anything else from me,” Erdogan said Sunday in televised comments from Istanbul. “As a Muslim, I’ll continue to do what is required by nas,” Erdogan said, using an Arabic word used in Turkish to refer to Islamic teachings.

For a second time in a month, Erdogan invoked religion to justify the current monetary stance, which is in line with his demands for lower borrowing costs to boost economic growth. The lira’s collapse is the outcome of an economic siege, but Turkey won’t back down from its new economic policy, the Turkish leader said.

Turkey Stock Rout Triggers Circuit Breakers Twice in an Hour

The lira has lost almost half its value against the U.S. dollar over the last three months, with declines gaining pace after Erdogan unveiled last month an economic model that relies on lower borrowing costs and a cheaper currency.

In the eyes of the president, Turkey can free itself from reliance on foreign capital flows by abandoning policies that prioritized higher interest rates and strong inflows. At the heart of his ideas is a belief that lower interest rates will also curb consumer price growth -- the exact opposite of the consensus view among the world’s central bankers.

He’s put that idea to the test since September when the central bank began cutting interest rates in the face of soaring consumer prices. The ensuing monetary stance eventually left the lira unanchored, with the currency sinking to fresh record lows almost every day.

The currency’s collapse fed into consumer prices almost overnight, resulting in inflation so rampant that supermarket employees were barely able to keep up with changing labels. Working-class Turks and pensioners began forming long lines in front of municipality stalls to get subsidized bread in recent weeks while the country’s top business associations started publicly attacking the government for destabilizing the economy.

“Of course, we know the impact from price increases on people’s daily lives. We are of course aware of the instability caused by the lira’s fluctuations and its impact on prices,” Erdogan said. “But we will put up resistance against these. I announce from here: there is no backing down.”

Business Groups

Erdogan’s most recent policy pivot also drew the ire of Turkish industrialists, with several business associations calling for measures to stabilize the lira’s exchange rate.

Turkish Business Group Says Erdogan’s Economic Model Is Failing

Key business group Tusiad -- once the umbrella organization for Turkey’s most powerful businesses -- called on Erdogan’s government over the weekend to abandon the current policy stance, citing recent market turmoil as proof that the experimental model is bound to fail.

Source: Bnnbloomberg

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https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/turkey-s-erdogan-says-islam-demands-lower-rates-and-so-does-he-1.1698196?AC383956-88EA-FF4C-9DDB-F9E0277C1E55_kav_cup_C6FA3ED5_6D17_47D1_B6E2_F4B02CC905E0_

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Iran FM stresses OIC role in resolving Muslim world problems

Dec 19, 2021

Amirabdollahian made the remarks in a meeting with OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha on the sidelines of a foreign ministerial meeting of the Organization.

Earlier in the day, Amirabdollahian also met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Turkey. 

Source: Irna

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https://en.irna.ir/news/84582968/Iran-FM-stresses-OIC-role-in-resolving-Muslim-world-problems

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Iranian FM Voices Concern about Terrorism, Refugees in Afghanistan

2021-December-19

Upon arrival in Islamabad on Sunday to participate in the 17th extraordinary session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers on Afghanistan, Amir Abdollahian raised concerns about the rise of terrorism in Afghanistan and the outflow of refugees toward the Iranian border in recent months.

“We believe that the solution to the Afghan issue lies in the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnicities,” he added.

Amir Abdollahian also underlined the need for the formation of an inclusive government in neighboring Afghanistan with the participation of all ethnic groups, amid concerns about the rapidly unfolding humanitarian crisis in the South Asian country.

He also expressed hope that the participants at the OIC meeting would be able to send a unanimous message to the international community and the interim governing body in Afghanistan regarding the formation of such a government in Kabul.

The top Iranian diplomat pointed to close and fraternal relations with Pakistan, saying that the Islamic Republic pays “special” attention to neighbors, and that Pakistan is one of Iran’s good neighbors.

“The 13th government has a clear plan and roadmap for further development of ties with the friendly and brotherly country of Pakistan,” he added.

Amir Abdollahian also noted that he would discuss the details of the plan for enhanced Tehran-Islamabad relations in meetings with high-ranking Pakistani officials, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Envoys from 57 Islamic nations are attending at the OIC summit aimed at relieving the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, while testing diplomatic ties with its new Taliban rulers.

The meeting is the biggest major conference on Afghanistan since August, when the government and military collapsed in the face of the Taliban’s swift advances on the ground, which many attribute to a hasty withdrawal of US-led occupation forces from the country.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000928000500/Iranian-FM-Vices-Cncern-ab-Terrrism-Refgees-in-Afghanisan

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Iran: Vienna Talks Break Collective Decision

2021-December-19

"Despite the Western side's claim about Iran’s request for a pause in the (Vienna) talks, these countries and other members of the G4+1 (Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) know very well that this time schedule is (the result of) a collective consensus which has been made by taking into account the European parties' Christmas and New Year holidays," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday.

He added that it was not the first time that the Western parties have resorted to distorting realities and spreading disinformation, rejecting their latest claim as "unrealistic". 

Khatibzadeh underlined that the three European parties to the multilateral nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), may have sought to make up for their previous demand for an early return to their capitals by making such an "unrealistic" claim.

The Iranian spokesperson urged the European trio to show seriousness and determination to contribute to the progress of the talks, instead of insisting on their “threadbare and useless blame game”.

Khatibzadeh's remarks came after senior European diplomats on Friday claimed that they were disappointed by Iran's decision to request a pause in the Vienna talks amid what they described as “technical progress".

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA -- Britain, Germany, France, Russia and China -- resumed talks in Vienna on November 29 after a five-month hiatus, marking the first round of negotiations under President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi’s administration and the seventh overall.

During the seventh round of the Vienna talks, Iran presented two draft texts which address, separately, the removal of US sanctions and Iran’s return to its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA. Tehran also said it was preparing a third draft text on the verification of the sanctions removal.

Iran and the G4+1 group of countries resumed the talks in the Austrian capital on December 9 after being paused on December 3, when the participants returned to their capitals for additional consultations on the two draft proposals that Tehran had put forward.

As the seventh round of discussions in Vienna concluded on Friday, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani said the three European parties to the JCPOA, also known as the E3, intimately agreed to accept Tehran’s viewpoint as a basis for “serious, result-oriented” talks.

He added that the pace of reaching an agreement depends on the will of the opposite side, adding, "If the other side accepts the rational views and positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new round of talks can be the last one and we can achieve a deal in the shortest possible time."

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000928000194/Iran-Vienna-Talks-Break-Cllecive-Decisin

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Iran holds air defence exercise near Bushehr nuclear plant

20 December ,2021

The sounds of anti-aircraft fire heard on Monday from around Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant was the result of an air defense exercise to increase the defense system’s abilities, an official told Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.

“This exercise took place at 5 a.m. local time (1:30 GMT) with full preparation and coordination with the armed forces,” the official, Mohammadtaqi Irani, said.

Indirect talks between Iran and the US have resumed to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, which the US abandoned three years ago, reimposing harsh sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/20/Iran-holds-air-defense-exercise-near-Bushehr-nuclear-plant

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Iran says inspecting new IAEA cameras for nuclear site

19 December ,2021

Iran said Sunday the technical inspection of new surveillance cameras for the Karaj nuclear facility had begun after Tehran said previous cameras were damaged in an attack it blamed on Israel.

The new cameras, provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are to replace those Iran says were damaged on June 23 during an Israeli “sabotage” operation.

Tehran and the Vienna-based IAEA announced Wednesday that they had reached agreement on replacing the cameras at the TESA nuclear complex in Karaj, west of Tehran, a facility which makes centrifuges.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, listed the three conditions set by Tehran for the reinstallation.

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Iran demands “legal and security investigations into the sabotage”, the IAEA's condemnation of the matter, and a “technical and security investigation of the cameras” before their installation, he said, speaking on state television.

“The authorization given by Iran did not come in the form of a new agreement, but after the three prerequisites were met,” Kamalvandi added.

The IAEA was not able to recover the camera memory cards destroyed in June, and on Friday the agency's director general Rafael Grossi said he had “doubts” over a missing camera memory unit.

Suspicions have been raised in Iran that June's attack could have been enabled by the hacking of the cameras.

But Grossi dismissed that suggestion as “absurd”, insisting the monitors were tamper-proof and that, once installed, they had no means of remote data transmission.

For the rest of the cameras at Karaj, as well as at other sites where the IAEA's activity has been restricted since February, Iran has said the footage will only be available to the IAEA once US sanctions are lifted.

How and when Iran could get sanctions relief is one of the topics being discussed at the Vienna talks.

Former US president Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions including a unilateral US ban on Iran's oil sales, vowing to bring the US adversary to its knees.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/19/Iran-says-inspecting-new-IAEA-cameras-for-nuclear-site-

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Palestinian woman stabs Israeli man in attack near Hebron in West Bank

18 December ,2021

A Palestinian woman on Saturday stabbed an Israeli settler near a disputed holy site in Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, wounding him slightly, a border guard spokesperson said.

The attack took place near a flashpoint site known to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarch and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi mosque, a place revered by both faiths.

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Israeli border guards said they had arrested the attacker, a 65-year-old Palestinian woman from a nearby village, the statement added.

The wounded man was a 38-year-old resident of the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Israel seized the West Bank in the Six-Day War of 1967. Since then nearly 700,000 Jewish Israelis have moved into West Bank and east Jerusalem settlements that much of the international community regard as illegal.

Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank with some 200,000 Palestinian residents, also has some 1,000 Jewish settlers living there under heavy protection from the Israeli army.

The attack comes as Israeli security forces continue a manhunt for the assailants behind a deadly shooting on Thursday near the northern West Bank wildcat settlement outpost of Homesh.

Israel’s army said Palestinian attackers opened fire on a car, killing 25-year-old Jewish religious student and settler Yehuda Dimentman.

No one has claimed responsibility for that attack, but multiple Palestinian organizations praised the shooting.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/18/Palestinian-woman-stabs-Israeli-man-in-attack-near-Hebron-in-West-Bank

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Africa

 

African Union chief urges Africa-Turkey cooperation against terrorism

Sadik Kedir Abdu 

18.12.2021

Urging strong cooperation between Africa and Turkey against terrorism, the president of the African Union said on Saturday that maintaining peace and security on the continent is imperative for achieving sustainable development.

Addressing the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul on Saturday, Felix Tshisekedi, who is also the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, affirmed Africa's trust in Turkey's expertise in various sectors, saying: "Africa needs concrete projects in the areas of trade, infrastructure, agricultural development, governance, and health."

"In some parts of Africa, unfortunately, there is instability and insecurity due to terrorist activities. Therefore, it is a must to ensure peace and security in order to move forward," he said, stressing the need for cooperation against terrorism.

Meanwhile, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said: "Our partnership with Turkey concerns not only Africa but the whole world. Our partnership will bring solutions to major global problems."

Noting the investments of many Turkish firms in different African countries, Mahamat said that bringing that partnership to a strategic level would be a solution for major global issues.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/african-union-chief-urges-africa-turkey-cooperation-against-terrorism/2451038

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Sudan security forces fire tear gas at protesters in Khartoum: Witnesses

19 December ,2021

Sudanese security forces fired tear gas Sunday at a huge crowd of protesters who had gathered near the republican palace in the capital Khartoum, witnesses told AFP.

Tens of thousands rallied on Sunday to mark three years since the start of demonstrations that led to the ouster of Omar al-Bashir, as well as against the current military chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/19/Sudan-police-fire-tear-gas-at-protesters-in-Khartoum-Witnesses

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Security forces block roads, bridges in Sudan’s Khartoum against post-coup protests

19 December ,2021

Security forces blocked major roads and bridges in Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Sunday against planned protests over the Oct. 25 military coup that have continued even after the reinstatement of the prime minister.

Demonstrations were also planned in other cities across the country to mark the third anniversary of protests that touched off a popular uprising which led to the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir.

On Saturday night, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok warned in a statement that Sudan’s revolution faced a major setback and that political intransigence from all sides threatened the country’s unity and stability.

Security forces sealed off major roads leading to the airport and army headquarters as well as most bridges connecting Khartoum to sister cities Bahri and Omdurman across the Nile river.

Protesters planned to march towards the presidential palace in downtown Khartoum, where security forces including joint army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces were heavily deployed.

It would be the ninth in a series of demonstrations against the coup that have continued even after the military reinstated Hamdok, who had been under house arrest, on Nov. 21 and released him and other high-profile political detainees.

The Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors says 45 people have been killed in crackdowns on protesters since the coup.

The military and civilian political parties had previously shared power since Bashir’s removal. But the deal reinstating Hamdok faces opposition from protesters who had seen him as a symbol of resistance to military rule and denounced it as a betrayal.

Civilian parties, and neighborhood resistance committees that have organized several mass protests, demand full civilian rule under the slogan “no negotiation, no partnership, no legitimacy.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/12/19/Security-forces-block-roads-bridges-in-Sudan-s-Khartoum-against-post-coup-protests

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Ethiopia’s military again controls religious town of Lalibela

19 December ,2021

The Ethiopian military is again in control of the town of Lalibela, famed for its rock churches, state media reported on Sunday, showing pictures of the deputy prime minister visiting the site.

It was unclear when government forces recaptured the town, which has spiritual significance for millions of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and has changed hands several times during a conflict with rebellious forces from northern Tigray province.

Tigray troops captured it in August but government forces pushed them back at the beginning of December in an ongoing offensive that has forced the Tigrayans to withdraw hundreds of kilometers.

Last Sunday, residents reported that the Tigrayans had retaken the town after the military and its allies withdrew.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/12/19/Ethiopia-s-military-again-controls-religious-town-of-Lalibela

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No technical problems impeding Libya polls: Elections commission

Mohammad Erteima 

19.12.2021

TRIPOLI, Libya

Libya's elections commission said Sunday there are no technical issues hindering the holding of the country’s general election as scheduled.

"Technically, we don't have any problem to conduct the polls on time," Emad Al-Sayeh, the head of the High National Elections Commission, told Anadolu Agency.

His remarks came two days after Al-Hadi Al-Saghir, head of the parliamentary elections committee, said Friday that postponing the polls was "inevitable."

"The House of Representatives (parliament), not the commission, is the one who announces postponing the polls," Al-Sayeh said.

Libya's presidential elections are set to take place on Dec. 24, followed by parliamentary polls after 52 days, under an UN-sponsored agreement reached by Libyan political rivals during meetings in Tunisia on Nov. 15, 2020.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/no-technical-problems-impeding-libya-polls-elections-commission/2451645

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North America

 

UN, US lawmakers back efforts to prevent Afghanistan’s economic meltdown

Anwar Iqbal

December 20, 2021

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations joined Pakistan on Sunday in appealing to the world to help prevent Afghanistan’s economic collapse as 39 US lawmakers also backed the call.

In a message to the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC foreign ministers, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths reminded the world that “now is the time” to save Afghanistan from a total collapse.

“The need for liquidity and stabilisation of the banking system is now urgent – not only to save the lives of the Afghan people but also to enable humanitarian organisations to respond,” he said.

In Washington, 30 lawmakers put their signatures to a letter to US secretaries of state and treasury on Saturday, asking them to help rebuild Afghanistan’s failing economy and to unfreeze the country’s assets.

The letter includes four proposals: Releasing frozen Afghan assets of more than $9 billion to an appropriate UN agency, expanding sanction exemptions for international organisations dealing with Afghanistan, assisting multilateral organisations to pay salaries of essential workers, and allowing international financial institutions to “inject the necessary economic capital into Afghanistan to stave off the economic meltdown”.

In his virtual message, Mr Griffiths warned that Afghanistan’s economy was in “free fall” and if decisive and compassionate action was not taken immediately, it may “pull the entire population with it.”

The message depicted a grim picture of the current situation in Afghanistan: 23 million people facing hunger; malnourished children overflowing in health facilities; 70 percent of teachers working without salaries; and millions of students out of school.

Mr Griffiths warned that the plummeting value of the Afghani currency, a lack of confidence in the financial sector, ever-decreasing trade and the narrowing space for borrowing and investment had further complicated the situation.

The UN official welcomed the decision by the World Bank’s Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to transfer $280 million by the end of December to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

“This step should be followed by reprogramming of the whole fund to support the Afghan people this winter,” he said. “Families simply do not have the cash for everyday transactions, while prices for key commodities continue to rise.”

In Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador Asad Majeed Khan also urged the international community to understand the seriousness of the situation.

“We are deeply concerned over the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan that threatens millions of Afghans with hunger, disease and death,” he said.

He said that Pakistan convened the OIC conference to demonstrate the Islamic world’s solidarity with the Afghan people and to “mobilise international support for a coordinated global response to prevent the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan.”

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1664752/un-us-lawmakers-back-efforts-to-prevent-afghanistans-economic-meltdown

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Pentagon documents reveal civilian deaths of US war in Mideast 'drastically undercounted'

19 December 2021

Newly obtained Pentagon documents reveal that the US military’s aerial campaigns in the Middle East have been marked by “deeply flawed intelligence and claimed the lives of thousands of civilians, including many children, without accountability.

According to a report — the first of a two-part series — published by the New York Times on Saturday, a trove of confidential documents covering more than 1,300 reports of civilian casualties undercuts Washington’s claims of aerial raids with “all-seeing” drones, precision strikes and smart bombs.

The Times said US forces carried out more than 50,000 airstrikes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria over a five-year period.

In compiling its report, the daily newspaper said its reporters had “visited more than 100 casualty sites and interviewed scores of surviving residents and current and former American officials.”

While several of the cases mentioned by the Times have been previously reported, it said its investigation showed that the number of civilian deaths had been “drastically undercounted.”

Among three cases cited was a July 19, 2016 bombing of purported strongholds of the Daesh terrorist group in northern Syria. Initial reports alleged that 85 militants were killed in the strikes. The fatalities were, instead, 120 farmers and other villagers.

Another example was a November 2015 attack in the central Iraqi city of Ramadi, located about 110 kilometers (68 miles) west of the capital, Baghdad, after a man was seen dragging “an unknown heavy object.” The “object,” a review found, was a child, who died in the aerial assault.

The report added that poor or inadequate surveillance footage often contributed to deadly targeting failures.

Before launching air raids, the US military should navigate elaborate protocols to estimate and minimize civilian deaths.

“In the report of the investigation, targeteers and weapons experts describe the ultimately disastrous calculations taken to win approval for the strike,” the paper said.

For instance, when a crowd of people rushing to the scene of a bomb attack could possibly be mistaken as militants, not would-be rescuers.

Sometimes, the Times said, “Men on motorcycles moving ‘in formation,’ displaying the ‘signature’ of an imminent attack, were just men on motorcycles.”

The paper added that the promises of transparency and accountability regularly were not fulfilled.

“Not a single record provided includes a finding of wrongdoing or disciplinary action,” the paper reported.

Trying to justify the civilian deaths, Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for the terrorist US Central Command (CENTCOM), told the Times that “even with the best technology in the world, mistakes do happen, whether based on incomplete information or misinterpretation of the information available. And we try to learn from those mistakes.”

Last month, the New York Times, citing anonymous sources and classified documents, published a report that said a previous American air strike in March 2019 hit “a large crowd of women and children huddled against a river bank” near the town of Baghuz, and may have resulted in the Pentagon’s largest civilian casualty incident in Syria.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/19/672953/Pentagon-documents-reveal-%E2%80%98deeply-flawed%E2%80%99-US-air-war-IN-Middle-East,-report-says

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US and West ‘waged decades of war on Iran by other means’: Analyst

18 December 2021

The United States and the West have “waged decades of war on Iran by other means,” according to American writer and political commentator Stephen Lendman.

Lendman made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday while commenting on a statement by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan who said on Friday that talks for the US to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal are “not going well.”

“It’s not going well in the sense that we do not yet have a pathway back into the [Joint the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)],” Sullivan said at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

As another round of discussions in Vienna comes to a close, Sullivan said the past few days have brought “some progress” at the negotiating table, but Iran has “raced” its nuclear program since the United States pulled out of the clear deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump.

“Getting that program back into a box through a return to mutual compliance with the JCPOA has proven more difficult through the course of this year than we would have liked to see,” Sullivan said. “And we are paying the wages of the disastrous decision to leave the deal back in 2018.”

The JCPOA was abandoned by Trump in May 2018. Trump then targeted Iran’s economy with what he called a “maximum pressure” campaign, which failed to compel Iran to negotiate a “new deal.”

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA -- Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China -- began the talks in the Austrian capital in April with the aim of removing the sanctions after the US, under President Joe Biden, voiced its willingness to return to the agreement.

Meanwhile, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said on Friday the three European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the E3, intimately agreed to accept Tehran’s viewpoint as a basis for “serious, result-oriented” talks.

Bagheri Kani was briefing reporters on Friday, at the end of the seventh round of talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the five remaining signatories to the multilateral nuclear deal aimed at removing the US sanctions imposed on Tehran and saving the agreement.

He said the pace of reaching an agreement depends on the will of the opposite side, adding, "If the other side accepts the rational views and positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new round of talks can be the last one and we can achieve a deal in the shortest possible time."

Lendman said, “JCPOA talks in Vienna going nowhere reflect longstanding US/Western hostility toward Iran.  Their ruling regimes demand everything, offering nothing in return but hollow promises to be broken.”

“It’s been this say since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, freeing the nation and its people from hegemon USA control. Both right wings of its war party want to regain what was lost.  They want control of Iran’s vast oil and gas reserves.  They want ordinary Iranians exploited to serve US interests.  They’ve waged decades of war on Iran by other means,” he added.

“The Obama/Biden regime breached the JCPOA nearly straightaway after its adoption,” he said.

Hardliners controlling the imposter in the White House have no intention of observing what’s mandated by Security Council Res. 2231 — ignoring that its binding international and US constitutional law under its Supremacy Clause,” the analyst said.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/18/672940/US-and-West-%E2%80%98waged-decades-of-war-on-Iran-by-other-means%E2%80%99

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Europe

 

EU’s Mora: 'Now we have common basis' on removal of Iran sanctions

18 December 2021

European Union deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora says the parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal somehow have a “common basis” on the removal of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Mora's remarks came on Saturday after the seventh round of talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, confirming Iran's announcement that the Europeans had accepted its draft proposals on how to proceed with the negotiations.

“Now we have a common basis though not entirely there on sanctions lifting chapter but that bit has a different internal logic so no big deal. Hope that clarifies why next is 8,” Mora tweeted.

Chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani announced on Friday that the three European members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — known as the E3 — had accepted Iran's proposals as the basis for future talks.

Bagheri Kani said the pace of reaching an agreement depended on the will of the other side.

"If the other side accepts the rational views and positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the new round of talks can be the last one and we can achieve a deal in the shortest possible time."

The senior official said Iran and the P4+1 group of countries had reached “two new documents for talks both on the issue of sanctions and on the nuclear issue,” referring to the bans that the US imposed on Iran after withdrawing from the deal and the retaliatory nuclear steps that Tehran took away from the accord.

He emphasized that the fresh round of Vienna talks would be based on these new texts which incorporate Iran’s viewpoints and positions.

Iran’s chief negotiator explained that the talks were paused on Friday because the two sides agreed on the basis of the future negotiations, noting that they would resume a fresh round with serious discussions on the texts which have been agreed upon by all the negotiating teams.

EU claims about pause dismissed

The official also rejected claims by the E3 that the pause in the talks had been requested by Iran.

“Iran did not want to stop the negotiations at this stage, but we had agreed from the beginning that it would be necessary for us to take a rest after reaching a draft agreement,” he said.

“Iran has stressed from the beginning the need to continue negotiations to reach a draft agreement,” he added.

His remarks came after the European signatories to the JCPOA claimed in a joint statement that Iran had asked for a pause in Vienna talks.

Overjoyed at the news, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid wrote in a tweet, “BREAKING: E3 diplomats: We are disappointed by Iran’s decision to ask for a pause in the nuclear talks in Vienna. In just few weeks the non-proliferation advantages achieved by the 2015 nuclear deal will be lost. We are rapidly approaching the end of the road for these talks.”

Ravid had also swiped at the E3 for accepting Iranian demands for proceeding with the Vienna talks in another round.

"So you basically accepted Iranian demands to change the TOR of the talks," he wrote under a thread of tweets by Mora.

Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA resumed talks in Vienna on November 29 after a five-month pause, marking the first round of negotiations under President Ebrahim Raeisi’s administration and the seventh overall.

The Islamic Republic maintains that its presence at the talks is intended to have the US sanctions removed, which would, in turn, secure a US return to the nuclear deal.

The US, which is not allowed to directly participate in the talks as a result of its 2018 withdrawal from the JCPOA, claims that it is willing to undo the withdrawal and repeal its “maximum pressure” policy against Iran.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/18/672911/European-Union-deputy-foreign-policy-chief-Enrique-Mora-JCPOA-common-basis-Vienna

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Iraq agrees to move stranded nationals to Lithuanian capital

Ali Jawad 

18.12.2021

The Iraqi government on Saturday agreed to have its nationals stranded along the Lithuanian border moved to residential complexes in the capital, Vilnius.

In a statement, the Ministry of Immigration said the agreement was reached following a visit by an Iraqi government delegation to Lithuania to assess the humanitarian conditions of Iraqis stranded along the Lithuania-Belarus border.

The statement said the deal will see Iraqis in border camps transferred to residential complexes in Vilnius.

The ministry said the Lithuanian government has increased financial grants paid to those wishing to return voluntarily to their country from 300 euros to 1,000 euros.

Last Sunday, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said 3,556 Iraqis who were stranded on the border between Lithuania and Belarus have been brought back home.

Their evacuation came as the humanitarian crisis worsened for thousands of irregular migrants at the borders of Belarus and the European Union.

Due to unfavorable living conditions in Iraq, a large number of people have been waiting in difficult conditions at the Belarusian border to travel to Europe for a better life.

Since August, EU countries bordering Belarus -- Lithuania, Latvia and Poland -- have reported a dramatically growing number irregular migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria crossing their borders.

Reports say that since the start of the year, the Lithuanian border guards have caught more than 4,000 migrants, mostly from Iraq, compared to only 81 in 2020.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/iraq-agrees-to-move-stranded-nationals-to-lithuanian-capital/2450999

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Turkish Cypriot says Greek side's Navtex is move to escalate tension

Beyza Binnur Dönmez  

18.12.2021

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Friday denounced a navigational telex, or Navtex, published by the Greek side to operate in the disputed area of the Eastern Mediterranean.

A Navtex is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area as well as other information.

"These unilateral activities, which continue despite all our warnings, serve no other purpose than to escalate the tension in the Eastern Mediterranean region," the Foreign Ministry of TRNC said in a statement.

The ministry was referring to the Navtex published Tuesday, indicating that the Greek side will operate in the Eastern Mediterranean Dec. 17 - Jan. 1 with the Italian flagged ship Odin Finder.

Underlining that the area where the activity is planned "coincides" with the license area issued for the Turkish Petroleum Corporation by TRNC, it said: "It is obvious that the Greek Cypriot side does not refrain from usurping the equal and vested rights of the Turkish Cypriot people."

It urged the international community, especially the EU, to recognize that "it is the Greek side that prevents the creation of an environment of peace and tranquility in the Eastern Mediterranean."

The TRNC, together with “Motherland Turkey,” will take corresponding steps to protect its legitimate rights and interests, it added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-cypriot-says-greek-sides-navtex-is-move-to-escalate-tension/2450548

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France praises troops after probe into killing of civilians in Niger

19 December 2021

France has praised its troops who killed civilians during a standoff in Niger last month after allegedly conducting an investigation into the incident.

Florence Parly, the French defense minister, said on Sunday that the country’s army had carried out an "internal investigation" into the clashes during in three people lost their lives during one of its convoy patrols in Niger.

The investigation came after Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum pressed for a probe into the Mali-bound French military convoy that sparked violent protests and led to the fatalities.

In November, the convoy ran into trouble in Niger after being delayed by protests in Burkina Faso, with the Nigerien government reporting three deaths and more than a dozen wounded.

French army spokesman Pascal Ianni said at the time that "no French soldier was wounded," however, "two civilian drivers in the convoy were wounded through stones pelted at them.”

Declining to accept France’s responsibility in the deadly clashes, Parly said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche that, “There was an internal investigation, which showed that in the face of great violence, our soldiers demonstrated the necessary control and reacted adequately.”

She added, "We continue to discuss with the Nigerien authorities to understand what happened before, during and after these clashes.”

The supply French convoy, which arrived on African soil in Ivory Coast earlier in the month, had crossed into Burkina Faso before entering Niger on its way to Mali.

It was heading for a base at Gao, central Mali, a hub of France's Barkhane operation which claims to be protecting the Sahel region against militancy that began in northern Mali nearly a decade ago despite strong opposition from the said countries.

French troops are stationed in the Sahel region under the pretext of fighting the spread of extremist militant forces there, while reports have emerged that their convoys deliver arms to the Takfiri militants.

France recently deployed more troops in the Sahel despite opposition to its presence in the volatile region.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/19/672972/France-Florence-Parly-Niger-investigation-Barkhane-force-

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Southeast Asia

 

Pakistan, Turkey, and Malaysia to jointly launch TV channel to promote media link: Fawad

Dec 20 2021

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has announced the establishment of a joint television channel to boost media cooperation between Pakistan, Turkey, and Malaysia, reported Radio Pakistan on Monday.

Speaking to the press in Islamabad, he stated that focal persons for media sharing have been designated and a cooperative media network will be developed.

According to Chaudhry Fawad, extremism must be countered in Pakistan, Malaysia, and other Muslim countries.

He stated that an OIC platform should include a unit of scholars to provide counsel on religious matters.

The minister stated that the Rehmat-ul-Alamin Authority's jurisdiction would be increased and that a similar organisation would be established under the OIC.

Pak-Turk drama series

Earlier this year, Pakistan and Turkey had announced that the two they are collectively bringing a period drama on the life of Salahuddin Ayyubi.

A great warrior and founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, Salahuddin, also known as Saladin is one of the most celebrated Muslim rules around the world.

The series will jointly be produced by Pakistan's Ansari & Shah Films and Emre Konuk, owner of Turkey's Akli Films.

Source: Geo TV

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

https://www.geo.tv/latest/388703-pakistan-turkey-and-malaysia-jointly-launch-a-tv-channel-to-promote-media-connectivity-fawad

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Elite Expressway crash: Remains of nine family members buried in common grave

19 Dec 2021

SHAH ALAM, Dec 19 — The Section 21 Muslim Cemetery near here, was shrouded in sadness when eight funeral vans arrived with the remains of nine family members who perished in the horrific accident along the Elite Expressway near here last Friday.

The vans, driven by health workers donned in full PPE clothing and escorted by the police, were seen entering the main gate of the cemetery at 12.40pm today.

By 1.30pm the remains were buried in a common grave as requested by the family after the autopsies and Covid-19 screening were performed and funeral prayers conducted at  the Shah Alam Hospital Forensic Unit here.

The remains of Norul Naziah Buyong, 37, were buried with her eight children, Razarul Amin Abd Razak, 17; Razatul Aliah, 16; Puteri Hidayah, 12; Muhamad Aizat Syazwan, 10; Muhamad Rolkaizat Rezky, 9; Muhamad Hidayat Hakimie, 7; Puteri Nur Ain Syalwana, 3; and 10-month-old Muhammad Raid Fathi.

Norul Naziah’s younger sister, Nurul Atika, 33, said five of the deceased children tested negative for Covid-19 but four others, including the baby, were Covid-19 positive.

Norul Naziah, her husband Abd Razak Majit, 50, and their eight children were travelling in two Proton Wira cars but had stopped on the emergency lane after one of the cars broke down.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/19/elite-expressway-crash-remains-of-nine-family-members-buried-in-common-grav/2029619

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Labour Migration to Malaysia: Employers to bear costs at their end

Jamil Mahmud

Dec 20, 2021

Employers in Malaysia will bear Bangladeshi workers' migration costs incurred in that country, the expatriates' welfare ministry said in a press release after the signing of an MoU between the two countries.

Expatriates' Welfare Minister Imran Ahmad and Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Saravanan signed the memorandum of understanding, which will be in effect until December 2026, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The release did not mention how much the workers have to pay while in Bangladesh before migrating to Malaysia.

The MoU will end a freeze of more than three years on Bangladeshi workers' recruitment in Malaysia. In September 2018, the Malaysia government froze recruitment from Bangladesh following allegations of labour exploitation and high migration costs of up to Tk 4 lakh per worker.

Despite the development, however, fears remain over syndication of a few recruiting agents driving costs up.

The ministry hoped recruitment of Bangladeshi workers will start soon upon completion of necessary procedure.

However, fears also remain over whether labour migration would meet the ethical recruitment criteria of employers covering migration costs at both ends.

The costs that employers will cover include the service charge of the Malaysian recruiting agency, travel to and from Malaysia, and accommodation, according to the expatriates' ministry press release.

Moreover, employers will pay the immigration, visa, medical test, insurance, Covid-19 test, and quarantine fees in Malaysia, it said.

The presence of Malaysian recruiting agencies will be a new inclusion in the labour-sending process as previous recruitments were operated by Bangladeshi agencies.

The ministry expects that recruitment costs will now reduce significantly.

Andy Hall, a migrant worker rights specialist on Malaysia, however expressed doubt over the extent to which Bangladeshi workers would actually be spared the costs of migrating to Malaysia.

He said it's often the case in practice in Malaysia that an employer or agent will deduct workers' wages to cover recruitment costs, which the employers paid for in advance.

According to the International Labour Organisation, the "employer pays principle" cites that no worker should pay for a job and the costs of recruitment should be borne not by the worker but by the employer.

The costs include recruitment, travel, visa and administrative expenses and other forms of unspecified "fees" and "service charges", according to ILO.

Hall raised concerns that a lack of transparency may result in a return to illicit and syndicated recruitment activities, which could in turn lead to "systemic debt bondage and forced labour" of Bangladeshi workers newly brought into Malaysia under the deal.

Noting that the details of the MoU have not been made public, he urged both countries to do so.The signing of the MoU is expected to meet the urgent need for recruitment in Malaysia, reads a Malaysian human resources ministry statement.

Its implementation will be regulated by a Joint Working Group with members from both countries.

Bangladeshi workers are expected to be hired in various sectors including plantation, agriculture, manufacturing, services, mining, quarrying, and construction.

The statement further says, as per a standard operating procedure, the workers need to complete Covid-19 vaccination in Bangladesh and RT-PCR tests two days prior to travel.

The workers are only allowed to enter through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Besides, workers will have to undergo quarantine for seven days in Malaysia.

Source: The Daily Star

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

https://www.thedailystar.net/nrb/migration/news/labour-migration-malaysia-employers-bear-costs-their-end-2921231

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Minister: Mosques in KL, Putrajaya open doors to flood victims

19 Dec 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — Mosques in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, including the Federal Territory Mosque and Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, have been turned into temporary accommodation for flood victims.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Idris Ahmad said he had instructed the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) to coordinate the matter.

“Mosques are ready and will also provide the appropriate assistance. The mosques also manage food assistance through the Dapur It’am and Jawi Food Bank programmes,” he said in a statement today.

In addition, the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) was to provide the necessary assistance to the victims.

The Klang Valley was hit by floods causing some 15,000 residents to be evacuated to more than 100 temporary evacuation centres as of 2pm today, as well as scores of road users stranded due to roads and highways being inundated by floodwaters.

Apart from Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, other states affected by the floods are Kelantan, Pahang, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and Terengganu.

Meanwhile, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) has also turned its mosque into temporary accommodation for all flood victims around Shah Alam and its Shah Alam campus’ colleges will house affected students and staff.

It said the move was taken following severe floods that hit the Klang Valley.

“Special flash flood assistance for UiTM residents has also been established following this incident, managed by the university’s zakat (tithe), contribution and waqf (Zawaf) division,” it said in a statement.

Those who wished to contribute to the fund could do so to Bendahari UiTM via the Affin Islamic Bank account (105140003422), while UiTM staff and students around the Klang Valley who need assistance or wish to become volunteers can contact Ku Hadzrill of UiTM Volunteers Brigade at 019 3813863.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/19/minister-mosques-in-kl-putrajaya-to-shelter-flood-victims/2029618

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