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Islamic World News ( 7 March 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Men Who Marry Non-Muslims ‘By Concealing Identity’ Commit Grave Sin: Cleric of Dargah-e-Aala Hazrat

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 March 2023

  

(Photo: Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi/ Twitter)

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• Federal Shariat Court Of Pakistan Declares Minimum 18 Years Age, For both Girls and Boys, For Marriage as Islamic

• Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Urges Govt to Declare Ahmadiyyas ‘Non-Muslim’; Qadiyani Committing Reckless Activities against Islam

• Britain Terms Restrictions on Afghan Women ‘Gender Apartheid’

• Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Those Who Poisoned Schoolgirls Deserve Death

 

India

• Religious Harmony: Muslim Couple Marry In Temple Run By Hindu Group In Himachal As Per The Islamic Wedding Rituals

• Mosque in in Aligarh’s Most Sensitive Crossroad Covered with Tarpaulin Ahead of Holi Celebrations to "Maintain Peace and Order"

• RSS Fascist Organisation, Built On Lines of Muslim Brotherhood: Rahul Gandhi in London

• Kerala Muslim Actor C Shukkur to Remarry To Prevent Gender Discrimination under Muslim Personal Law

• Muslim Outreach, Population Control Likely to Come Up during RSS Annual Meet from Mar 12-14

• Construction of Ayodhya Mosque in Lieu of Babri May Start After Ramzan, to House Hospital, Kitchen & Museum

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Pakistan

• Suicide Blast Kills Nine, Including Eight Security Officers, Wounds 13 In Balochistan

• Pakistan court rejects Imran Khan's plea seeking suspension of arrest warrant

• Brawl erupts at a Pakistan university over some Hindu students celebrating Holi, 15 injured

• Pakistani migrants play deadly 'game' chasing future abroad

• Toshakhana case: It seems that Imran won’t appear in court even today, says judge

• NAB team ‘not allowed’ to serve summons on Imran

• FIR against Imran, Shibli for harassing Islamabad police

• Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide bombing in southwest Pakistan

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South Asia

• EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan: Islamic Emirate Should Prove Public's Support with Forum

• Islamic Emirate 'Fully Prepared' to Begin Work on TAPI: Ministry

• Iran to Hand Over 1,700 Afghan Prisoners to Islamic Emirate

• Amnesty says Taliban must halt their abuses in Afghanistan

• Bangladesh investigates massive fire at Rohingya refugee camps

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Europe

• Conference in Qatar withdraws invitation of UK’s former health secretary

• Belgian media joins efforts for fundraiser to aid quake victim in Türkiye, Syria

• Turkish kapsalon doner was most-ordered dish in Netherlands last year: Report

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Mideast

• Iran Hands Down Death Sentences to 6 Members of Al-Ahwaziya Terror Group

• Iran: Israel Unable to Escape Inevitable Fate by Concealing Truth

• Israel’s Ben-Gvir orders demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem during Ramadan

• Turkiye’s fractured opposition unites against Erdogan

• Iran Strongly Rejects Interim Agreement on JCPOA Revival Talks

• Judiciary Chief: 80-90k Inmates Pardoned on Iranian Supreme Leader’s Order

• Yemeni official calls out Iran for supporting Houthis in war-torn country

• New US drone strike kills top Al-Qaeda commander in Yemen

• Ansarullah: US encroachment in al-Mahrah, Hadhramaut violate Yemen’s sovereignty

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North America

• Muslim American Civil Rights Group Sues US Prison for Pepper-Spraying Muslim Inmates While They Prayed

• Empire State Building Lit up with Turkish Flag’s Colours for Earthquake Victims

• US sanctions Syrian military intel officer for 2013 killings in Damascus

• US says Iran poisoning probe could fall under UN mandate

• US Defence Secretary makes surprise trip to Iraq as 20-year anniversary of invasion

• US says Iran probe into girls’ poisoning may fall under UN mandate

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Southeast Asia

• PM Anwar Urges All Parties to Respect Ban On Political Talks in Mosques in Malaysia

• Selangor Sultan hopes national council for Islamic affairs will bring change to elevate Islam

• Indonesia landslides kill 10, rescuers search for 42 missing

• Negeri Sembilan Islamic council zakat scandal: 11 individuals called to give statement, say police

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Arab World

• Unfolding Developments Suggest Imminent Collapse of Israeli Regime, Hezbollah Chief Says

• Senior Hezbollah official: Lebanon's president must be elected by people without foreign interference

• UAE Fatwa Council Clarifies Details about Children’s Celebration on 15th Shaʻban

• “Makkah Brings Us Together” Entertainment Event Draws Crowds

• Lebanon’s Hezbollah backs Christian politician Frangieh for presidency

• US sanctions Syria intel officer, warns against restoring ties with Assad regime

• Dubai Metro Music Festival celebrates sustainability in third edition

• Suicide: Cruel choice for Lebanese unable to feed their children

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Africa

• Tunisian Politician’s Daughter, Kaouther Ferjani, Urges UK to Condemn His Arrest

• Opposition presidential hopeful in Nigeria leads protest march against election results

• Nigeria election ‘failed to meet’ expectations of citizens: US envoy

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/muslim-marry-sin-cleric-dargah-aala-hazrat/d/129266

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 Muslim Men Who Marry Non-Muslims ‘By Concealing Identity’ Commit Grave Sin: Cleric of Dargah-e-Aala Hazrat

 

(Photo: Maulana Shahabuddin Razvi/ Twitter)

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by Amit Sharma

March 7, 2023

A cleric associated with the Dargah-e-Aala Hazrat (Barelvi) in Uttar Pradesh has issued a fatwa that Muslim men who “conceal their religious identity to marry non-Muslim women” are very close to being ostracised from the community and that such marriages are void.

Maulana Shahbuddin Razvi, president of the All India Muslim Jamaat, an organisation associated with the Dargah Hazrat, said at a press conference in Bareilly on March 5, “In Islam, putting a tilak on the forehead, knotting braids and wearing the kalawa on the wrist are treated as gunahe kabira (grave sin difficult to be pardoned), but some Muslim men do this in order to conceal their religious identity and marry women belonging to the other community. Such actions that amount to concealing one’s religious identity are haram (forbidden) in Islam and thus such marriages are illegal.”

Razvi recently hit the headlines when he termed the marriage between actress Swara Bhaskar and SP leader Fahad Ahmed “illegitimate”, saying that the union would be valid only if Bhaskar accepted Islam.

Razvi was asked by one Dr Mohammed Naeem about Muslim men marrying Hindu women “by concealing their identity”. Answering Dr Naeem’s query, Razvi said those following Islam should always remember that their religion had given them a “grand way of life” and some markers of identity (skullcaps and the beard) that show they are Muslims.

“Concealing one’s identity is totally unacceptable in Islam and any act (such as marriage) performed through hidden marks of identification is a grave sin,” Razvi said at the press conference on Sunday afternoon.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/lucknow/uttar-pradesh-cleric-muslim-men-marry-non-muslims-concealing-identity-grave-sin-8482073/

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Federal Shariat Court Of Pakistan Declares Minimum 18 Years Age, For both Girls and Boys, For Marriage as Islamic

 

Representative Image

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March 6, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Declaring minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys at 18 years in Sindh in accordance with the injunction of Islam on Monday Federal Shariat Court (FSC) ruled saying fixation of this age limit objective is to provide reasonable time period for girls to complete basic education in order to develop mental maturity in a person.

A full bench of the FSC comprising Chief Justice Dr Syed Muhammad Anwar and Justice Khadim Hussain Shaikh ruled while hearing a plea challenging vires of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, which set the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys at 18 years in the province.

The bench said, “setting a minimum age for marriage i.e. an act which is “Mobah” (permissible) and not absolutely “Farz” (mandatory) like marriage is in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, because such fixation of minimum age limit provides reasonable time period to girls to complete basic education at least, which normally helps in developing mental maturity (Rushd / رشد) in a person”.

The bench announced the judgment in response to a plea of a citizen who invoked the FSC jurisdiction challenging vires of the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, which set the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys at 18 years in the province. The petitioner had contended that the Act was un-Islamic and violated the injunctions of Islam.

After providing ample opportunity to parties of the case, the full bench decided that the Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 is in accordance with the injunctions of Islam, and therefore does not violate any constitutional or Islamic provisions. The court further stated that the Section 2(a) of the Act is in line with the Islamic teachings of protecting the rights of children and ensuring their well-being.

It is pertinent to mention that the Act 2013 was enacted to prevent child marriages by fixing the minimum age limit and promote the protection of children’s rights in the province. It sets the minimum age of marriage at 18 years for males and females.

It has been stated in the verdict of the FSC that fixing of an age limit to enter into marriage by the state or a government, as is done in the impugned law, is not against the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.

“The act of setting a minimum age limit for marriage and setting age for an adult eligible to solemnise marriage vide impugned Section 2(a) of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, 2013 is not against the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah,” read the judgement.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/03/06/fsc-declares-minimum-18-years-age-for-marriage-as-islamic/

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Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Urges Govt to Declare Ahmadiyyas ‘Non-Muslim’; Qadiyani Committing Reckless Activities against Islam

 

Hefazat-e-Islam chief Shah Ahmed Shafi on Tuesday attends a islamic convention in Panchagarh Dhaka Tribune.

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Mar 07, 2023

Demanding that the government officially declare the Ahmadiyya community ‘non-Muslim’, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami’s acting secretary general Maulana ATM Masum issued a statement on March 5.

The statement released on Jamaat’s website says, ‘Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country where 90 per cent people are Muslims. In this country, Qadiani (Ahmadiyya) community is committing reckless activities against Islam. The Islam-loving people will never accept it. The government’s role in this regard is questionable.’

‘The government should resolve the Qadiani crisis permanently paying full heed to the public views and also to declare Qadiani Non-Muslim officially,’ the statement added.

On Friday, a protest march against an Ahmadiyya religious event moved towards the Ahmednagar area of Panchagarh. As police stopped the procession at Chowrangi intersection, the men started throwing brickbats at the law enforcers, according to reports.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells to disperse them, witnesses said.

Two men died and scores, including policemen, sustained injuries in the clash. Some journalists covering the violence were also among the injured. Shops in Panchagarh town were closed down as violence induced panic among people.

The angry mob also looted around 20 houses belonging to the Ahmadiyya community located in Ahmednagar.

According to a report published in The Daily Star, the Ahmadiyya community in Panchagarh are living in fear of further attacks from hardliners.

Many members of the community, particularly the elderly, women and children, have left their houses and are taking shelter in educational institutions or relatives’ homes, added the report.

Meanwhile, since Friday’s violence, a series of tweets were posted from the verified account of Basherkella – known as a ‘Jamaat mouthpiece’ – with ‘police brutality’ and ‘boycott Qadiani (Ahmadiyya)’ in hashtags.

Members of the community are calling this a ‘hate campaign’ against Ahmadiyyas.

Source: New Age Bangladesh

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

https://www.newagebd.net/article/196182/bangladesh-jamaat-e-islami-urges-govt-to-declare-ahmadiyyas-non-muslim

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Britain Terms Restrictions on Afghan Women ‘Gender Apartheid’

 

The representative of Britain at the UN Human Rights Council criticized the existing situation in Afghanistan and said the restrictions on Afghan women is equal to ‘gender apartheid’, based on the findings of Richard Bennett, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan.

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By Nizamuddin Rezahi

March 7, 2023

The representative of Britain at the UN Human Rights Council criticized the existing situation in Afghanistan and said the restrictions on Afghan women is equal to ‘gender apartheid’, based on the findings of Richard Bennett, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan.

Simon Manley, the United Kingdom’s representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday at the fifty-second session of the human rights assembly said the restrictions by the Islamic Emirate have imprisoned half of Afghanistan’s population in their homes, and the world sees it with open eyes.

Manley further added, “if women defend their freedom and protest on the streets, they will face the risk of persecution and detention by the ruling regime.”

“Currently, having a pleasant and satisfying life in Afghanistan is impossible”, especially for women and girls, the UK representative at the UN Hunan Rights Council says.

The UN Human Rights Council based in Geneva on Monday held a session on Afghanistan, in which Richard Bennett, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan presented his findings about the human rights situation in the war-ravaged country.

As per the findings of Bennett, the human rights situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated compared to that of last year and described the Taliban’s actions regarding human rights as ‘gender apartheid’ and a ‘crime against humanity’.

In order to ease the pressure and criticism from the international community regarding the gender-based policies barring female students from university education, the Taliban group has termed the ban as “temporary”.

The Afghan interim government is under immense pressure from the international community for violating human rights, women’s and girls’ rights in particular.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/britain-terms-restrictions-on-afghan-women-gender-apartheid/

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: Those Who Poisoned Schoolgirls Deserve Death

 

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,

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Mar 7, 2023

DUBAI: Iran's supreme leader said on Monday that if a series of suspected poisonings at girls' schools is proven to be deliberate, the culprits should be sentenced to death for committing an 'unforgivable crime'.

It was the first time supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, has spoken publicly about the suspected poisonings, which began late last year and have sickened hundreds of children.

Iranian officials only acknowledged them in recent weeks and have provided no details on who may be behind the attacks or what chemicals -- if any -- have been used. Unlike neighbouring Afghanistan, Iran has no history of religious extremists targeting women's education.

"If the poisoning of students is proven, those behind this crime should be sentenced to capital punishment and there will be no amnesty for them," Khamenei said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Authorities have acknowledged suspected attacks at more than 50 schools across 21 of Iran's 30 provinces since November.

Iran's interior minister Ahmad Vahidi said over the weekend that 'suspicious samples' had been gathered by investigators, without elaborating. He called on the public to remain calm and accused unnamed enemies of inciting fear to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Vahidi said at least 52 schools had been affected by suspected poisonings, while Iranian media reports have put the number of schools at over 60. At least one boy's school reportedly has been affected.

Videos of upset parents and schoolgirls in hospital emergency rooms with IVs in their arms have flooded social media.

Iran has imposed stringent restrictions on independent media since the outbreak of nationwide protests in September, making it difficult to determine the nature and scope of the suspected poisonings.

On Monday, Iranian media reported that authorities arrested a Qom-based journalist, Ali Pourtabatabaei, who had been regularly reporting on the suspected poisonings. The hard-line Kayhan newspaper in an editorial had called for the arrests of newspaper publishers who printed articles on the crisis critical of Iran's theocracy.

Meanwhile, international pressure continues to grow on Iran over the suspected poisonings. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called for a 'credible, independent investigation' into the incidents.

"If these poisonings are related to participation in protests, then it is well within (the) mandate of the UN independent international fact-finding mission on Iran to investigate," she said on Monday.

The September protests were sparked by the death of a young woman who had been detained by morality police for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code. Religious hard-liners in Iran have been known to attack women they perceive as dressing immodestly in public. But even at the height of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, women and girls continued attending schools and universities.

The children affected in the poisonings have reportedly complained of headaches, heart palpitations, feeling lethargic or otherwise unable to move. Some described smelling tangerines, chlorine or cleaning agents.

Reports suggest at least 400 schoolchildren have fallen ill since November. Vahidi, the interior minister, said in his statement that two girls remain in hospital because of underlying chronic conditions. There have been no reported fatalities.

As more attacks were reported on Sunday, videos were posted on social media showing children complaining about pain in the legs, abdomen and dizziness. State media have mainly referred to these as "hysteric reactions".

The World Health Organization documented a similar phenomenon in Afghanistan from 2009 to 2012, when hundreds of girls across the country complained of strange smells and poisoning. No evidence was found to support the suspicions, and the WHO said it appeared to be "mass psychogenic illnesses".

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iran-leader-those-who-poisoned-schoolgirls-deserve-death/articleshow/98464766.cms

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 India

 Religious Harmony: Muslim Couple Marry In Temple Run By Hindu Group In Himachal As Per The Islamic Wedding Rituals

07th March 2023

By Harpreet Bajwa

CHANDIGARH: Giving the message of religious harmony, a Muslim engineer couple got married as per the Islamic wedding rituals on the premises of a Hindu temple in Rampur in Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh.

The wedding took place on Thakur Satyanarayan temple complex premises in Rampur which is run by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).  The Nikah ceremony was performed in the presence of a Maulvi. Both the Muslim and Hindu communities came together and attended the wedding ceremony.

Thakur Satyanarayan Kapooria Temple Trust Rampur General Secretary Vinay Sharma said for the first time a Muslim couple got married at the hall at the Dhramsala in our temple complex. The marriage was solemnized on March 3 (Friday). The booking of the marriage hall was allowed “as per as per our rules and regulations which they followed”, he said. “There was no discrimination and everyone is welcome and it was gentle gesture from our side,” he added.

The groom’s party came from Chamba and a marriage reception was hosted in the hall in which Dham, a traditional vegetarian festive Himachali cuisine meal was served. “We give the hall in the temple complex for social functions like marriage and death ceremonies with a condition no egg of meat will be served, Sharma said, adding that Vishwa Hindu Parishad runs the temple and the district office of RSS situated in the complex.

Mahendra Singh Malik, father of the girl said, “We solemnised the marriage at the hall within the temple complex as it was in our neighbourhood as we respect all religions besides this has been appreciated by all the people of the area who took active part in organising this wedding. The purpose of getting this marriage done on the temple premises is to spread the message of religious harmony and brotherhood.’’

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/mar/07/religious-harmony-muslim-couple-marry-in-temple-run-by-hindu-group-in-himachal-2553897.html

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Mosque in in Aligarh’s Most Sensitive Crossroad Covered with Tarpaulin Ahead of Holi Celebrations to "Maintain Peace and Order"

Mar 7, 2023

A mosque in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh was covered with tarpaulin to ensure it is not smeared with colour during Holi celebrations. The administration said the mosque was covered to "maintain peace and order".

The move will ensure that Abdul Karim Masjid, located in Aligarh’s most sensitive crossroad, is not smeared with colour. The mosque was covered with a tarpaulin on Monday night, news agency ANi reported.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/aligarh-mosque-covered-with-tarpaulin-ahead-of-holi-celebrations-2343554-2023-03-07

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RSS fascist organisation, built on lines of Muslim brotherhood: Rahul Gandhi in London

Loveena Tandon

Mar 7, 2023

The RSS is built on the lines of Muslim brotherhood, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi while speaking at London-based think tank Chatham House on late Monday evening.

Stepping up his attack on the RSS, the Wayanad MP said, "The nature of the democratic contest in India has completely changed and the reason is that one organisation called RSS. It is a fundamentalist and fascist organisation that has basically captured pretty much all of India's institutions."

"It shocked me how successful they have been at capturing the different institutions of our country. The Press, Judiciary, Parliament, and Election Commission are all under threat and are controlled in one way or the other," Rahul Gandhi said.

Rahul Gandhi said he does not believe in the 'nobody can beat the BJP' narrative.

"The Congress party is an idea. We have ruled the country for many more years than the BJP has. 'Nobody can beat the BJP' is a narrative in the media. BJP is not going to be in power forever," he said.

Calling India a negotiation between people, the Congress leader said, "India is transitioning between rural to urban. And we missed the urban boat. It is a negotiation between people. This negotiation is complex. It happens through institutions, parliament. The architecture of these is broken down."

'MY PHONE HAD PEGASUS'

Rahul Gandhi also claimed that his phone had Pegasus in it. "You can ask any Opposition leader as to how agencies are used. My phone had Pegasus on it, which was not happening when we were in power," he said in London.

"In India, you can see what is being done to Dalits, tribals, and minorities. It is not that Congress is saying it. There are articles in the foreign press all the time that there is a serious problem with Indian democracy," Rahul Gandhi said, launching a scathing attack on the BJP.

Meanwhile, Virendra Kumar Sharma, a Labour Party politician said, "What he [Rahul Gandhi] said will have no impact on what politicians think here. It's Rahul’s personal political view."

ON RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR

Talking about the Russia-Ukraine war, Rahul Gandhi said he agrees with the government on Ukraine policy. "I agree with the foreign policy on the issue of Ukraine. There is also national interest. Having said that, I am against any kind of war," he said.

Earlier, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that the structures of Indian democracy are under “brutal attack” and there is a full-scale assault on the institutions of the country.

Gandhi's comments at Cambridge University that Indian democracy is under attack have become the latest flashpoint between the Congress and the BJP.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/rahul-gandhi-chatham-house-london-address-attack-bjp-rss-2343465-2023-03-07

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Kerala Muslim actor C Shukkur to remarry to prevent gender discrimination under Muslim Personal Law

March 06, 2023

A Muslim couple in Kerala's Kasaragod district are going to take their wedding vows again under the Special Marriage Act (SMA) for ensuring the financial security of their three daughters.

Advocate and actor C Shukkur, known for his role as a lawyer in the Kunchacko Boban starrer Nna Thaan Case Kodu, is going to remarry his wife Sheena, former pro-vice chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University—on International Women's Day on March 8.

In western countries and among some Hindu castes, couples often renew their vows or get remarried to their spouses after a certain number of years together in marital life, but this couple will be taking a special route to re-register their marriage due to certain conditions imposed in Muslim inheritance laws.

The laws state that daughters will only get two-thirds of their father's property and the rest will go to his brothers in the absence of a male heir.

The couple, who have been married for 29 years now, hope to change the situation by re-registering their marriage under the SMA.

In a Facebook post, Shukkur said that in the past he had two near-death experiences which prompted him to think about what he was leaving back for his daughters and whether they would inherit all of his savings and property.

His concern was that according to the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937 and the stand taken by the courts, only two-thirds of the father's property goes to the daughters and the rest would go to his brothers if there was no male progeny.

Moreover, under Sharia law, leaving behind a will is not permitted, he said in his post.

Therefore, just because they were born as girls, they will face such gender discrimination, he pointed out.

According to Shukkur, the only way out of this predicament is to get married under the SMA.

So he hopes that his decision would show the way to end the gender discrimination faced by daughters in Muslim families and help to raise the self-confidence and dignity of girl children.

"May Allah raise the self-confidence and dignity of our daughters. All are equal before Allah and our Constitution," he said in his post.

He further said, in his post, that this decision of theirs to get remarried was not to defy anyone or anything or the Sharia law as it exists presently.

"We are only exploring the possibility that Muslim personal law will not affect those who marry through the Special Marriage Act. Sheena and I are remarrying for our children," he said.

Speaking to a TV channel, he said: "We just want to secure our daughters' future."

His wife, who too spoke to the channel, said the difficulty they had gone through is faced by many Muslim families who have only daughters.

When teaching at college or while speaking at some public forum, after it gets over, many parents come to me and ask whether this (the inheritance issue) is right.

"We have been hearing this for years. We could ask someone to do something about it or we have two options -- take the legal route or show the way through our life choices. We should do what we can," Sheena said.

Source: The Week

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

https://www.theweek.in/news/entertainment/2023/03/06/kerala-muslim-actor-c-shukkur-to-remarry-to-prevent-gender-discrimination-under-muslim-personal-law.html

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Muslim Outreach, Population Control Likely to Come Up During RSS Annual Meet from Mar 12-14

MARCH 06, 2023

During its three-day Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha’s annual meet to be convened from March 12 to 14 in Panipat’s Samalkha, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is likely to discuss and deliberate on issues such as outreach in the Muslim community and population control.

The Sangh has made several attempts in the past where it had discussions with major Muslim community leaders on various issues.

A senior functionary in the RSS also said that no major changes are likely in this meet due to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. It is in this annual meet that major changes in the responsibilities of Sangh functionaries take place.

Among other issues that are contemporary and socially relevant, the top functionaries of the RSS are likely to deliberate on how to work progressively towards population control. During his Vijayadashmi speech, Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat had spoken on the issue. He had said that having an ever growing population is a burden as well as an asset and population control policy should take into consideration all these factors.

As far as outreach towards Muslims is concerned, Bhagwat has met many Muslim intellectuals in the past.

The meet also holds significance as the RSS needs to plan how to celebrate its centenary-year in 2025. Senior functionaries said that expansion of shakhas is on the charts as there has been a spike in the response in the past couple of years. Resolutions would be passed in the meet. The emphasis will be on building a consensus within society before introducing major policies affecting people.

The meet will review the works done last year by all its affiliates and discuss the works required to be done in the coming year which will include training of the cadre, planning and organizing Shiksha Vargs. “Every affiliate gets only four to five minutes to sum up their work or speak on the issues they would want to work on,” said a senior functionary.

Apart from this three-day meet, there would be meetings building up to the ABPS meet. Kshetriya Pracharaks and Prant Pracharaks too will meet with Bhagwat separately.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/muslim-outreach-population-control-likely-to-come-up-during-rss-annual-meet-from-mar-12-14-7232365.html

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Construction of Ayodhya Mosque in Lieu of Babri May Start After Ramzan, to House Hospital, Kitchen & Museum

MARCH 06, 2023

The construction of a grand mosque in lieu of the Babri Masjid is likely to start after the holy month of Ramzan. The long-pending construction of the mosque complex in Ayodhya’s Dhannipur village gained momentum after the Ayodhya Development Authority (ADA) gave clearance to the complex’s layout in a recent board meeting.

Nitish Kumar, district magistrate and chairman of ADA, Ayodhya, said: “All pending clearances to Ayodhya’s mosque cum complex project were cleared in the recent board meeting. The sanctioned layout of the mosque will be handed over to the Sunni Central Waqf Board (SCWB) in the next couple of days after completing a few formalities.”

SCWB called the development a big move and said it will call a meeting, probably after Ramzan, in this context.

“We appreciate the move. We will call a meeting after Ramzan where we will finalise the plan to start construction. In the same meeting, we will also chalk out the final date to begin construction of the mosque complex,” said Atthar Hussain, secretary Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) — the trust formed by SCWB to look after the construction in Dhannipur.

The holy month of Ramzan is likely to start from March 22 and conclude on April 21.

On November 9, 2019, the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench permitted the construction of a temple in Ayodhya at the site where the 16th Century Babri Masjid once stood and was brought down by ‘Kar Sevaks’.

The apex court, in the same judgment, had also asked the government to allot a “prominent and suitable” five-acre plot in Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque in lieu of the Babri Masjid.

While the board’s clearance has paved the way for the construction of the mosque, the SCWB has maintained its stand since Day One after the SC’s decision that they didn’t want to associate the upcoming mosque with the disputed 16th Century structure that was brought down on December 6, 1992. Hence, they said, it would not be named after any Mughal emperor.

Hussain said the mosque cum complex that is named after freedom fighter and revolutionary Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Faizabadi would include a mosque, hospital, community kitchen, and museum among other attractions.

“The maximum area would be allocated to the hospital. We plan to develop a multi-specialty hospital that would be equipped with state-of-art facilities. The entire hospital will be established in two phases. In the first phase, arrangement for 100 beds would be made while in the second phase, 100 more beds will be added. The hospital will offer the best treatment in cancer care, transplants, spine, heart, robotics, orthopaedics, emergency and others,” he added.

Professor SM Akhtar, a Lucknow-based architect-cum-town planner and founder dean, faculty of architecture, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi, has been appointed by the trust to design the mosque.

Besides, the trust has also appointed renowned historian, international relations expert and chronicler of Indian cuisine Professor Pushpesh Pant as consultant curator of its archival museum that would be a part of the mosque complex.

SOME KEY FEATURES OF THE MOSQUE COMPLEX:

• The rectangular layout of the complex in Dhannipur village also includes a specialty hospital, community kitchen and a museum housed in a multi-storey vertical structure. These will be metres away from the mosque and a century-old Sufi shrine will be in between.

• The mosque will be spherical in shape with a capacity to accommodate 2,000 ‘namazis’ or worshippers at a time. It will be four-times bigger than the Babri Masjid. The hospital complex will be six-times the size of the mosque. The mosque will be built on 3,500 square metres of land while the hospital and other facilities will straddle an area of 24,150 square metres.

• The building will be zero-energy to convey a message on climate change. All power demands in the mosque will be met with the help of solar panels and there will be no electricity connection.

• A green patch will be developed and saplings will be procured from all over the world, including Amazon rainforest, places where the bushfire took place in Australia and other geographical locations in India.

• The community kitchen and museum have been curated by Pushpesh Pant.

• There is no detailed plan to collect contributions for the project. Two separate bank accounts have been created to collect money for the construction — the first for the mosque and the second for other structures.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/construction-of-ayodhya-mosque-in-lieu-of-babri-may-start-after-ramzan-to-house-hospital-kitchen-museum-7227259.html

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Pakistan

 

Suicide Blast Kills Nine, Including Eight Security Officers, Wounds 13 In Balochistan

Mar 7, 2023

ISLAMABAD: At least eight security officers and a civilian were killed and 13 more people wounded Monday when a suicide bomber triggered an explosion by ramming his motorcycle into a police truck in Pakistan’s restive southwestern Balochistan province.

The blast was reported from Dhadar tehsil of Kacchi district, about 150km east of Quetta, the provincial capital.

Interior minister Rana Sanaullah said the police van was targeted when it was returning to Quetta from Dhadar, where the Balochistan Constabulary personnel — a department of the provincial police force that guards important events and sensitive areas, including jails — was posted for a cultural festival in Sibi city.

Agha Samiullah, the deputy commissioner of Kachhi district, said the truck was carrying 22 members of the Balochistan Constabulary. The wounded, three of them in a critical condition, were shifted to Combined Military Hospital in Sibi. “We fear the death toll will increase to double digits,” said Mehmood Notezai, a senior police officer in Kachhi.

It is unclear who is behind the suicide bombing as several separatist groups in Balochistan have been fighting the government for decades. The Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for a number of similar attacks in the past.

Pakistan has not succeeded in its effort to address its worsening security situation. Last month, a bomb blast in Balochistan’s Barkhan city killed five people and wounded 14. In January, at least 13 people were wounded after an explosion in a passenger train in the province’s Bolan district.

PM Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack, calling it a part of “nefarious designs to create instability in the country”. “All such conspiracies will be made unsuccessful with the public’s support,” Balochistan CM Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo said in a statement.

Monday’s blast follows attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest and areas bordering Afghanistan. Since talks with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) broke down in November last year, the group has intensified its attacks. Insurgents in Balochistan have also stepped up their violent activities.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/suicide-blast-kills-nine-wounds-13-in-balochistan/articleshow/98460560.cms

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Pakistan court rejects Imran Khan's plea seeking suspension of arrest warrant

Mar 7, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A district and sessions court in Islamabad upheld on Monday the non-bailable arrest warrants for former Prime Minister Imran Khan after rejecting his plea seeking the suspension of the court’s earlier order in a case of alleged corruption against him related to the purchase and sale of gifts from the Toshakhana (state depository).

Additional sessions judge Zafar Iqbal announced the verdict, reserved earlier in the day, after hearing arguments on an application filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief seeking the cancellation of his warrants.

The same court had last week issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Imran after he decided not to turn up before the court while attending hearings of three other cases — prohibited funding, terrorism, and attempted murder — filed against him in other local courts located in the same judicial complex.

On Sunday, Islamabad police went to his Lahore residence to arrest him but the PTI chairman had evaded arrest and later addressed his supporters, lashing out at the current coalition government for its incompetence and targeting army ex-chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for his ouster from office last year.

His speech had prompted Pakistan’s media regulator to ban television channels from broadcasting his speeches and news conferences. The authorities accused Imran of attacking the state’s institutions and promoting hatred.

Imran has thrice skipped indictment hearings in an Islamabad sessions court in the case. The allegation against Imran is that he had not shared details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana and proceeds from their reported sales. A reference was filed by lawmakers from the ruling coalition last year in this regard with the speaker of the National Assembly, who sent it to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The electoral watchdog had concluded in October last year that Imran had made “false statements and incorrect declarations” regarding the gifts he had purchased from the Toshakhana and disqualified him for being “dishonest and corrupt”.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-court-rejects-imran-khans-plea-seeking-suspension-of-arrest-warrant/articleshow/98460460.cms

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Brawl erupts at a Pakistan university over some Hindu students celebrating Holi, 15 injured

Mar 7, 2023

LAHORE: At least 15 students from Pakistan's minority Hindu community were injured on Monday after members of a radical Islamic student organisation allegedly stopped them from celebrating Holi at the Punjab University premises here. Holi, a festival of colours, is celebrated to mark the onset of spring.

The incident took place at the Law College of Punjab University on Monday, when around 30 Hindu students gathered to celebrate Holi.

"As students gathered at the lawns of the law college, the Islami Jamiat Tulba (IJT) activists forcibly stopped them from celebrating Holi, which led to a clash resulting in injuries to 15 Hindu students," Kashif Brohi, a university student and an eyewitness told PTI.

They had taken a prior permission from the university administration, Brohi claimed.

Khet Kumar, who suffered injuries on his hand, said the university guards thrashed them when they held a demonstration outside the Vice-Chancellor office to protest the treatment meted out by IJT members.

"We have filed an application with the police against the IJT and the security guards involved in thrashing and torturing us, but FIR has not been registered as yet," Kumar said.

When contacted by PTI, IJT (Punjab University) spokesperson Ibrahim Shahid denied the involvement of its students in the incident.

"None of the students involved in a brawl with the Hindu students belong to the IJT," he said and added the IJT organised 'Quran Reading' at the law college.

Punjab University spokesman Khurram Shahzad told PTI that the varsity administration had not given permission to the hold Holi celebrations at the lawns of the law college.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/brawl-erupts-at-a-pakistan-university-over-some-hindu-students-celebrating-holi-15-injured/articleshow/98461015.cms

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Pakistani migrants play deadly 'game' chasing future abroad

Mar 7, 2023

When Muhammad Nadeem left home in eastern Pakistan, he asked his mother to pray for his safe passage to Europe then slipped away before she could object.

Ali Hasnain showed off the new clothes he would wear as he prepared for the long journey west to a better life.

Both men departed from Gujrat, in Punjab province, and although they did not know each other, became fellow travellers on the human trafficking trail, escaping Pakistan's rapidly deteriorating economy.

They died on the continent's doorstep last month, relatives say, after boarding a boat in Libya and floundering in Mediterranean waters -- the latest lives dashed on the world's deadliest migrant route.

"It was like heaven had fallen when we first heard the news," said Nadeem's mother Kausar Bibi, as his wife keened in another room.

"I cannot bear this pain," she told AFP in their family home, a basic concrete husk.

Pakistan is in economic freefall. A dire downturn -- caused by decades of mismanagement and political instability -- has drained dollar reserves, spurred runaway inflation and caused widespread factory closures.

The desperate situation is creating an incentive for Pakistanis to take perilous, illegal routes to Europe.

Nadeem, 40, was making only 500 to 1,000 rupees ($1.80 to $3.60) a day in a furniture shop to support his wife and three boys when he left for Italy via Dubai, Egypt and Libya a few weeks ago.

"I was happy he was going for his children, that it would brighten their future," said his 20-year-old brother, Muhammad Usman.

After coordinating the 2.2 million rupee ($8,000) loan to pay the agent, Nadeem told a friend he anticipated a smooth passage.

"The sea is calm and there is no problem. I am in the game," he said, using a euphemism adopted for the illegal odysseys.

Pakistan's foreign office confirmed his death nearly two weeks later.

Hasnain's family, meanwhile, learned of the 22-year-old's death from an image of their dead son before it was officially reported.

"We also believed in sending him," said his grandfather, 72-year-old Muhammad Inayat, after taming wails of grief.

"It's becoming hard to survive here."

Gujrat has long been a springboard for migrants.

In the 1960s, a British firm built a gargantuan hydroelectric dam in the region, displacing more than 100,000 people who were invited to the UK as labourers.

The wealth was shared back home, giving families a footstep out of poverty, and the Pakistan diaspora organised legal migration for relatives, establishing communities in Europe.

But after the 9/11 attacks, controls were tightened and human traffickers began to thrive.

Today, Gujrat city and its suburbs are known as a hotspot for "agents" -- shady middlemen who smuggle customers by land, sea and air.

Nadeem and Hasnain's final communications suggest they may not have been on the same boat, but they are seen together in a video, seemingly recorded by agents, sitting on blankets in a whitewashed room with around a dozen other South Asian men.

"We are sending you on a small ship. Are you going by your own will and nobody forced you?" a voice asks.

"Nobody forced us," the men answer in muddled unison. "God willing, we will reach Italy."

Nadeem's brother Usman says smugglers "took advantage" of the scarce opportunities in Pakistan.

But a Gujrat agent speaking anonymously to AFP claimed to be making a "positive impact".

"Do you have any other alternative that can improve the lives of locals so quickly?" he asked.

"They come to us with dreams, and we do our best to fulfil them, but there are inherent risks involved."

Nearly 90 percent of Pakistanis who recently arrived in Italy used a human smuggler, according to a 2022 survey by the Mixed Migration Centre, a Europe-based research group.

An official from Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency, speaking anonymously, estimated 40,000 illegal trips are attempted every year.

Spain recently announced those living in the country for two years could seek temporary residency and officially enter the workforce, while Italy has also introduced a scheme to "regularise" the employment of undocumented migrants.

"It frustrates us and it's shameful," said Farooq Afgan, a local politician in Gujrat.

"Nobody wants to leave his country, but poverty, lawlessness and hunger force people to migrate."

Those living abroad can create a "princely lifestyle" for relatives back home, he said, enticing new migrants to try their luck.

Outside Gujrat, the village of Bhakrevali is an outcrop of white and pastel-coloured mansions, tiered like wedding cakes, amid wheat fields sputtering with irrigation pumps.

"You will not find a single house where they have not tried to send one of their youngsters to Europe," remarked one local.

Malik Haq Nawaz, once a farmer, built his own villa, with a new 4x4 parked out front and gold filigreed furniture inside, after despatching three sons to Barcelona.

One travelled legally, the others via agents in 2006 and 2020, and all now have the right to work, Nawaz says.

By living frugally, they can pool up to 1.2 million rupees ($4,300) to send home every month.

But neighbour Faizan Saleem's migration attempt to Spain saw him deported multiple times from Turkey at a loss of hundreds of dollars.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistani-migrants-play-deadly-game-chasing-future-abroad/articleshow/98470524.cms

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Toshakhana case: It seems that Imran won’t appear in court even today, says judge

Umer Burney

March 7, 2023

Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal — hearing the Toshakhana case against the PTI chairman — said on Tuesday that it seemed that former prime minister Imran Khan would not appear in court today as well.

The 70-year-old ex-premier, who has been recovering from a gunshot injury from an assassination attempt in Wazirabad last year, has thrice skipped indictment hearings in an Islamabad sessions court in the case.

He is accused of concealing, in his assets declarations, details of the gifts he retained from the Toshakhana — a repository where presents handed to government officials from foreign officials are kept.

Imran was set to be indicted in the Toshakhana Reference on Feb 28, but his lawyer had requested the judge that he be exempted from the hearing because he had to appear in several other courts. His indictment was deferred twice before.

The judge had then issued arrest warrants for Imran and adjourned the hearing till March 7.

On March 5, an Islamabad police team was sent to Lahore to arrest Imran with the court summons on Sunday. However, it returned empty-handed after the PTI chief evaded the arrest.

Subsequently, Imran had approached the court for the cancellation of the arrest warrants, arguing that the withdrawal of the summons would enable him “a fair opportunity to appear and defend himself” in the case.

However, ADSJ Iqbal rejected his request on March 6 and upheld the warrant, ruling that the PTI chairman “wilfully avoided” appearing before the court.

The hearing

As the proceedings commenced today, Imran’s junior lawyer Sardar Masroof Khan appeared in court. Prosecution’s Mohsin Shahnawaz and the Election Commission of Pakistan’s counsel Saad Hasan were also in attendance.

At the outset of the hearing, the judge asked the PTI chief’s lawyer if his client won’t appear in court today as well to which Masroof replied that he was unaware of Imran’s appearance in court.

“But his senior legal team will be arriving by 10am,” he said.

“Do you not have any information regarding Imran’s appearance in court?” ADSJ Iqbal inquired. “Is his guarantor not in court?”

Here, the PTI lawyer said that a notice could not be issued to the guarantor because the legal procedure had yet to be completed.

At that, the judge said that the guarantor was bound to ensure that the former prime minister appeared in court.

However, the ECP’s counsel said that the court should be informed in the morning if Imran had plans of appearing before the court. “Why do you waste time?” he added.

Subsequently, the hearing was adjourned for some time.

When the hearing resumed, another PTI lawyer Sher Afzal Marwat appeared in court and informed the judge that Imran’s legal team was at the Islamabad High Court.

“I will submit my power of attorney in court within a day or two,” he said and then requested that the hearing be adjourned till next week.

ADSJ Iqbal said that the proceedings were underway for Imran’s summons.

“Imran Khan is not feeling well … he has a disability,” Marwat contended, adding that a “circus” regarding his client’s arrest was being seen by everyone across the world.

For his part, ECP’s Hasan urged the court to issue a notice to the PTI chief’s guarantor and cancel his surety. He also requested that the hearing be adjourned till March 9.

At that, Marwat revealed that Imran had to appear before the IHC on March 9 at any cost. “I have been told that it will be easier for Imran to appear in F-8 Katcheri next week,” he added.

Here, the judge remarked: “So this means Imran won’t appear in court even on March 9.”

ADSJ Iqbal noted that Imran’s lawyer was not present in court today, remarking that he was waiting for a decision from the IHC in the case.

“But if the situation remains the same, we can take a decision. Imran has not even once appeared in court in person. And it is evident that he won’t appear today as well.”

The judge further remarked that the law was equal for all, highlighting that all the legal requirements would be fulfilled during the case.

Meanwhile, Shahnawaz said that the case was pending in the court for the past six months and the PTI chief had not once appeared before the judge.

Here, ADSJ Iqbal said that not a single case had been dragged on for long in the court. “Imran Khan appeared before other courts but not the sessions court even though his exemption requests were repeatedly accepted,” he added.

The judge then instructed Imran’s lawyer Marwat to submit his power of attorney in court and adjourned the hearing till 2pm.

Imran challenges arrest warrants in IHC

Separately, the PTI chairman has petitioned the IHC, praying that the sessions court’s Feb 28 and March 6 orders be set aside so that he could have a “fair opportunity” to appear in court and defend himself.

In the application, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Imran admitted that he had been summoned in the Toshakhana case on Feb 28, but argued that he had to attend three other hearings on the same day at the IHC and the Islamabad Judicial Complex.

He stated he was at the IHC until after office hours that day and couldn’t even “think of non-appearance before the court”.

According to the petition, the arrest warrants against Imran were against the facts and laws and “passed by ignoring the settled proposition that each case has to be seen on its peculiar circumstances”.

“It is also a settled law that the superior courts being superior in the hierarchy of the adjudication are to be attended in priority and the same was followed by the petition.”

It also said that Imran was facing “serious health issues” after the Wazirabad shooting and his medical consultants were refraining him from any sort of travelling.

At the same time, the petition added, there was a threat to the petitioner’s life under the current circumstances which was a hindrance to his court appearances.

Toshakhana case

The reference, which alleges that Imran had not shared details of the gifts he retained from the Toshaskhana (during his time as the prime minister) and proceeds from their reported sales, was filed by lawmakers from the ruling coalition last year. On October 21, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had concluded that the former premier had indeed made “false statements and incorrect declarations” regarding the gifts.

The Toshakhana is a department under the Cabinet Division that stores gifts given to rulers and government officials by heads of other governments and foreign dignitaries. According to Toshakhana rules, gifts/presents and other such materials received by persons to whom these rules apply shall be reported to the Cabinet Division.

The watchdog’s order had said Imran stood disqualified under Article 63(1)(p) of the Constitution.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1740875/toshakhana-case-it-seems-that-imran-wont-appear-in-court-even-today-says-judge

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NAB team ‘not allowed’ to serve summons on Imran

Zulqernain Tahir | Wajih Ahmad Sheikh | Malik Asad

March 7, 2023

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: A day after Islamabad police returned empty-handed from its mission to arrest Imran Khan, former prime minister Imran Khan refused to cooperate with a National Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) team on Monday, which visited his house in Zaman Park to serve summons in connection with the prohibited funding case.

On the other hand, the PTI chairman failed to secure relief from the Lahore High Court and a lower court in Islamabad in cases pertaining to violence outside the judicial complex in the federal capital and the Toshakhana matter.

Still reeling from the visit of the police team a day earlier, PTI supporters gathered outside Mr Khan’s residence were on edge, resulting in a tense atmosphere during the visit of the NAB team.

After spending some time waiting at Zaman Park, the two-member team returned without seeing the ousted premier owing to “security concerns”. As it made its way back to Pindi, a few PTI workers present at the scene asked the team if they had delivered the summons.

“Summons are not rece­i­ved,” one of the officials respo­nded. Sources said NAB had summoned Imran Khan on March 9.

Last week, a NAB Rawal­pindi team visited Zaman Park and served summons on Mr Khan and his wife to appear before a combined investigation team in the Toshakhana gifts probe on March 9. Mr Khan’s lawyer had received the summons at the time.

No relief from LHC

Separately, the LHC registrar’s office returned two petitions filed by Mr Khan, seeking interim protective bail in cases pertaining to the judicial complex attack and the Toshakhana case.

The office refused to fix the petitions for the hearing due to non-provision of necessary documents by the petitioner. Advocate Azhar Siddique took the petitions back to furnish the required documents, including the copies of the orders of bail granted to other PTI leaders, in the case concerning the attack on the judicial complex. However, the lawyer did not file the petitions afresh until the end of office hours.

Plea rejected by session judge

In Islamabad, Additional District and Sessions Judge Zafar Iqbal rejected a plea seeking the cancellation of non-bailable warrants issued for Mr Khan’s arrest at the complaint of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

In the order, the judge noted that “the accused was in a position to appear in the court on Feb 28… but he wilfully avoided to appear in this court.” It said that the warrant was issued for the appearance of the accused but he was still not present in the court. “The accused has not surrendered himself before the court till yet and no application for his personal appearance for today is annexed for the record,” it added.

During the course of the hearing, Mr Khan’s counsel Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said that the PTI chief had planned to appear before the trial court on Feb 28, but he had to appear in an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC), banking court, as well as in the Islamabad High Court on the same day.

He argued that Mr Khan is appearing before the courts despite the threats to his life and his absence was not deliberate. Barrister Gohar requested the court to cancel the arrest warrants.

The court noted that in addition to the criminal complaint lodged by the ECP, Imran Khan was skipping proceedings in a private complaint registered against him under Section 174 of the Elections Act. The judge further noted that the said complaint was admitted for regular hearing on Dec 15, 2022, and Mr Khan was summoned on January 09, 2023.

Separately, in a comment on Imran Khan’s refusal to cooperate with the police and NAB, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Imran Khan will have to appear before the court at the next hearing, otherwise, he will be presented before the judge.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1740847/nab-team-not-allowed-to-serve-summons-on-imran

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FIR against Imran, Shibli for harassing Islamabad police

Asif Chaudhry

March 7, 2023

LAHORE: The provincial capital police have lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against PTI Chairman Imran Khan, party leader Shibli Faraz and 150 workers for harassing and hurling life threats at an Islamabad police team when it visited Zaman Park to arrest the former prime minister.

The FIR was registered by the Race Course police on the complaint of Islamabad Secretariat police SHO Nadeem Tahir.

The SHO said he was part of the team of the federal capital police constituted for the arrest of PTI chairman Imran Khan to comply with the orders of additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ), Islamabad.

He said as they reached the Zaman Park residence of the PTI leader along with his non-bailable arrest warrants issued by ADSJ Zafar Iqbal, a charged group of 100-150 PTI workers carrying clubs surrounded them.

The SHO stated in the FIR that the attackers hurled serious life threats at the Islamabad police officials, saying they would kill them if they dared to enter their leader’s house.

Teams formed to conduct raids, arrest suspects nominated in the case; PTI chief also booked in Quetta

Following the seriousness of the matter, he said, the police told them that they had arrived from Islamabad to comply with the court orders. “However, the attackers rejected the repeated requests of the Islamabad police,” the SHO said.

Meanwhile, he said, PTI senior leader Shibli Faraz appeared from the charged crowd and the police apprised him of the court orders about arrest of Irman Khan. The SHO said Mr Faraz too barred the police from entering the residence and used delaying tactics.

While receiving the court notice, he put up a note on it saying “Imran Khan is not available at his residence”, read the FIR. The SHO alleged that Mr Faraz deliberately distorted the facts about the presence of Imran Khan at his residence as moments later the PTI chairman addressed party workers from his Zaman Khan residence.

The live telecast of his speech showed Imran Khan was present at his residence when police reached there, the SHO said. He alleged that Imran Khan, with the connivance of Shibli Faraz and 150 charged party workers, committed a crime by dodging and barring the Islamabad police from discharging their duty.

Meanwhile, Lahore Capital City Police Officer Bilal Siddique Kamyana told Dawn that the police would arrest all those involved in harassing and threatening the ICT police. “It is a legal obligation of the police to arrest the violators/attackers booked by the police,” he said, adding that the police teams have been formed to conduct raids and arrest the suspects nominated in the FIR.

Separately, an FIR was registered at a police station in Quetta against Imran Khan on Monday over his alleged remarks against state institutions and their offices and spreading hatred against them.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1740830/fir-against-imran-shibli-for-harassing-islamabad-police

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Islamic State claims responsibility for suicide bombing in southwest Pakistan

Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing attack in southwestern Pakistan that killed nine policemen on Monday, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

A suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle into a police truck in in Sibbi, a city some 160 km (100 miles) east of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

"ISIS claims suicide attack in Sibi, Balochistan," tweeted Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intel Group that tracks Islamist extremists.

Hospital officials said at least 7 policemen were wounded in the attack, the latest in a series targeting police personnel in Pakistan.

Source: TBS News

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

https://www.tbsnews.net/world/south-asia/islamic-state-claims-responsibility-suicide-bombing-southwest-pakistan-595638

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South Asia

 

EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan: Islamic Emirate Should Prove Public's Support with Forum

March 6, 2023

The European Union’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, said that the “de facto” officials in Afghanistan need to prove they have the people’s support through an election or Loya-Jirga (Grand Assembly).

Speaking to TOLOnews, Niklasson said that the recognition of the caretaker Afghan government has been delayed due to the “actions and sometimes inaction of the Taliban."

In response to a question on how could the “Taliban” show they have the support of the people of Afghanistan, Niklasson said:

“They can show that through elections, they can perhaps show that through a Loya Jirga, they make a claim that Afghans support us. How do we know? How can they prove that? But what we do know and what we do see is that the human rights situation is consistently moving with a few exceptions in a very negative development,” he said.

But the Islamic Emirate’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that the people have an affinity for the current government and that there is no need for election. 

“The Islamic government was the ambition of everyone and the Afghans have fought for 40 years for this government. No one should show concern in this regard. We don’t need elections or other programs but both we and the nation know that we are satisfied with each other,” he said.

“The amount of satisfaction and support of the people from the government is only possible through the expression of people’s will, and the holding of an election,” said Sayed Jawad Sijadi, a political analyst.

Niklasson also said that the “de facto” Afghan authorities need to engage in talks with the non-Taliban Afghans.

“I think the first thing, as I mentioned, would be to find a way of entering into dialogue with non-Taliban Afghans. Bringing them on board in the government, giving them a voice over the future of the country. Continuing to make progress--and they have made some progress in the fight against terrorist organizations inside the country-- respect human rights. Those three would be – three very, very good starting points,” he said.
Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182373

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Islamic Emirate 'Fully Prepared' to Begin Work on TAPI: Ministry

By Bibi Amina Hakimi

The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP) said that the Islamic Emirate is fully prepared to launch the practical work on the TAPI pipeline project.

A spokesman for the MOMP, Homayoun Afghan, called said existing challenges in the TAPI member countries were the main obstacles for the implementation of this project.

He said that legal and technical obstacles ahead of the implementation of the project have been removed.

“The relevant countries, for example Turkmenistan, Pakistan and India, they might have technical and legal problems so this project has been delayed. We have completed all of the issues,” he said.

“The relevant countries and the World Bank should focus on this project from the financial side, so that all of us reach the regional goals,” said Abdul Latif Nazari, deputy of Ministry of Economy.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, said that there have been several meetings with the countries involved in the TAPI pipeline projects.

Meanwhile, the economists said that the TAPI pipeline project is important for the economic enhancement of the country.

“Until the political engagement between India and Pakistan remains unsolved, the TAPI project will not move forward. This is why Pakistan is trying to implement TAP (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan) project instead of TAPI,” said Sayed Masoud, an economist.

“The implementation of this project in Afghanistan will strengthen Afghanistan’s position from the geopolitical side and from the economic side, it meets the needs of power and gas for Afghanistan,” said Darya Khan Baheer, an economist.

Earlier, Russian TV Channel 24 reported that Moscow is also willing to engage in the TAPI pipeline project.

Source: Tolo News

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

https://tolonews.com/index.php/business-182375

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Iran to Hand Over 1,700 Afghan Prisoners to Islamic Emirate

By Naseer Ahmad Salehi

The government of Iran is due to hand over 1,700 Afghan inmates who are imprisoned in Iranian jails—and the first batch of more than 500 inmates arrived at Islam-Qala port of Herat on Monday.

Over 400 of the inmates have been sentenced to death by the Iranian courts, according to Islamic Emirate officials.

“(They) are either 1,786 or 1,728 people that will be transferred to Afghanistan within three days and these people will be handed over to the Islamic Emirate,” said Fazal Mohammad Haqqani, the Islamic Emirate’s ambassador to Iran.

The head of the general department of prisons in the country, Mohammad Yousuf Mustari, said that Afghan inmates returning from Iran will be prosecuted based on the Afghan judicial process.

“The decisions that they made is contingent on these people being kept in our country. Of course, if these people were sentenced to be freed in our courts, they (Iran officials) will agree with us. Many of them have spent half of their time in prison,” he said.

Many of them have spent several years in Iran’s prisons.

“It has passed very hard. When you are in another country, it is very difficult but we are very happy here now and we will tolerate the remaining term of the prison here,” said Ghulam Rasul, a prisoner.

“I was arrested on charges of drug dealing. I was sentenced to 13 years in prison and I was fined 150 million (tomman),” said Mohammad Awaz, a prisoner.

According to Afghanistan's embassy in Tehran, at least 6,000 Afghans in Iranian prisons.

Many of them are sentenced to various types of punishment for being involved in drug dealing, murder and robbery.

Source: Tolo News

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-182372

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Amnesty says Taliban must halt their abuses in Afghanistan

Mar 6, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A leading international rights group appealed on Monday for the UN Human Rights Council to address the ongoing, “relentless abuses” by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers, including severe restrictions on women and freedom of speech.

Despite initial promises for a more moderate stance, the Taliban have imposed harsh measures since taking power in August 2021 as US and NATO forces were in the final weeks of their pullout from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.

The Taliban have banned women from public life and girls education beyond the sixth grade, carried out public executions after sentences before Taliban courts and cracked down on minority communities.

Amnesty International said the Taliban have also targeted women's rights defenders, academics, and activists in recent months and detained them unlawfully. The arrests are arbitrary and those detained have no legal recourse or access to their families.

The London-based watchdog called on the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigative mechanism in Afghanistan as soon as possible and for United Nations members to act toward ending impunity and ensuring justice for victims of Taliban abuses.

“The human rights situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating rapidly, and the Taliban's relentless abuses continue every single day,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty's secretary general.

“It is clear that the Taliban are not willing nor able to investigate actions by their members that grossly violate the human rights of Afghanistan's population,” she added.

The group also said that people who publicly criticize “abusive rules” of the Taliban have been arrested without any explanations while the crackdown on women's rights and public killings of minority ethnic Hazaras continue unchecked.

Among those detained are Narges Sadat, a women's rights defender; civil society activist Fardin Fedayee; author and activist Zekria Asoli and also Afghan-French journalist Mortaza Behboudi. Former Afghan lawmaker Qais Khan Wakili and journalist Muhammad Yar Majroh are also in custody, Amnesty said.

In many cases, no information was given for the arrest and whereabouts of those detained, amounting to enforced disappearance, the group said.

Taliban spokesmen were not immediately available to comment on Amnesty's report.

Separately, Amnesty reported Taliban abuses in northern Panjshir province, where their forces are fighting resistance members of the so-called National Resistance Front.

The rights group said it authenticated photos and videos on social media posts of at least eight incidents between May and August 2022, showing arbitrary arrests and detentions of some 87 people in Panjshir.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/amnesty-says-taliban-must-halt-their-abuses-in-afghanistan/articleshow/98452466.cms

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Bangladesh investigates massive fire at Rohingya refugee camps

SHEHAB SUMON

March 06, 2023

DHAKA: Bangladeshi authorities launched on Monday an investigation into a massive fire at Rohingya refugee camps that has left 12,000 people without shelter.

The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon in Cox’s Bazar, a southeastern coastal district and the world’s largest refugee settlement, which hosts about 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims who fled violence and persecution in neighboring Myanmar.

The blaze swept through the Kutupalong and Balukhali camps, reducing to ashes some 2,000 huts before it was brought under control in the evening.

“The fire broke out in three blocks of the Rohingya camps, affecting around 12,000 Rohingyas. All of them lost their shelter,” Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mizanur Rahman said, adding that no casualties have been reported so far.

“Cox’s Bazar district administration has formed a seven-member committee today to find the exact reason for the fire. The committee is asked to file the report in three days.”

Rahman told Arab News that work to restore the shelters have already started, and the International Organization for Migration has distributed housing materials among the Rohingya, who will be rebuilding their homes themselves.

The UN Children’s Fund estimated that half of the refugees affected by the fire were children.

Sheldon Yett, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, said in a statement on Monday that infrastructure critical to their education and healthcare has been destroyed, including 20 learning centers, at least one nutrition center, and several sanitation facilities.

The Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar are prone to fires.

Atish Chakma, deputy assistant director of the Fire Service and Civil Defense Department in Cox’s Bazar, told Arab News that the danger of fire in the area is high due to congestion, the flammable materials the shelters are built from, and a lack of water to immediately put out the flames.

“Rohingya camps are highly congested, and the makeshift homes were built side by side, keeping no distance in between. Besides, the plastic materials that were used for building these shelters are highly flammable. So, whenever a fire erupts in one house, it spreads rapidly,” he said.

“There is a huge scarcity of water inside the camps. For this reason, our firefighters face difficulties while dousing the fire.”

Between January 2021 and December 2022, at least 222 fire incidents were recorded in the settlements, according to Defense Ministry data.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2263361/world

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Europe

 

Conference in Qatar withdraws invitation of UK’s former health secretary

March 07, 2023

LONDON: The UK’s former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has had his invitation to a travel industry conference in Qatar revoked after his WhatsApp messages about COVID-19 restrictions were leaked.

The Institute of Travel and Tourism announced on Wednesday that Hancock would be a guest speaker at its annual conference, which will be held in Doha in June.

A few days later, leaked WhatsApp messages revealed Hancock joking with Cabinet Secretary Simon Case about hotel quarantine, The Independent reported on Monday.

The UK government imposed hotel quarantines in February 2021, a month after introducing a 19-week ban on international leisure travel.

“We are giving big families all the suites and putting pop stars in the box rooms,” Hancock wrote.

Case replied: “I just want to see some of the faces of people coming out of first class and into a Premier Inn shoe box.”

The former health secretary also accused the aviation industry of being “totally offside” and “completely unhelpful,” The Independent reported.

Regarding the decision to revoke Hancock’s invitation, Steven Freudmann, ITT chair, said: “The decision was triggered by the publication of his WhatsApp messages.

“Some of his private messages are really shocking and clearly we now know that he is no friend of the travel industry, as evidenced by his messages and avalanche of criticism on social media.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2263666/world

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Belgian media joins efforts for fundraiser to aid quake victim in Türkiye, Syria

Agnes Szucs 

06.03.2023

BRUSSELS

Belgian broadcasters called on Monday to make donations for the victims of the powerful earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria last month.

Following the call of the 12-12 consortium assembling the seven biggest charity organizations, Belgian media outlets across the country urged their audience to contribute to the fundraising campaign for the people affected by the natural disaster.

Radios and TV channels dedicated spots to talk about the disastrous effects of the earthquakes, while newspapers and online outlets presented articles and advertisements for the campaign.

The radio stations also played all day the song “People help the people,” featuring 30 singers, including Turkish artist Hadise.

The timing of the media campaign is “symbolic” since the earthquakes happened exactly a month ago, the 12-12 consortium said in a press statement.

This is the first time that all the Belgian media outlets regardless of their linguistic differences joined their efforts for a charity campaign since the tsunami and earthquake in the Indian Ocean in 2004, Gilles van Mortel, the coordinator of the 12-12 consortium stressed.

Caritas International, Red Cross Belgium, Handicap International, Medecins du Monde, Oxfam Belgium, Plan International Belgium and UNICEF Belgium are members of the 12-12 consortium.

The charities raised over €8.27 million ($8.83 million) in the first two weeks after the earthquakes, according to their numbers.

More than 46,000 people were killed in Türkiye by magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes that hit on Feb. 6, according to officials.

The strong tremors, which were centered in Kahramanmaras province, also hit 10 other provinces: Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Elazig.

Some 13.5 million people have been affected in Türkiye by the massive quakes which struck in less than 10 hours.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/belgian-media-joins-efforts-for-fundraiser-to-aid-quake-victim-in-turkiye-syria/2838736

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Turkish kapsalon doner was most-ordered dish in Netherlands last year: Report

Selman Aksunger 

06.03.2023

Turkish kapsalon doner became the most-ordered dish online in 2022, a Dutch online food ordering platform revealed on Monday.

According to a report by Thuisbezorgd, Turkish kapsalon doner was the favorite dish in seven out of 12 regions in the Netherlands and the second-most ordered dish in one region.

Selahattin Dagasan, owner of Hilal Shoarma, a restaurant in Amsterdam, told Anadolu that kapsalon allures many Dutch people in the country.

"We sell 40-50 kapsalons on weekdays and 100-120, sometimes up to 150, on weekends," he added.

People, he said, like sauces most at kapsalon, which they are preparing with a special sauce made with mayonnaise and garlic.

"It is a very delicious hot sauce with melted cheese, potatoes and meat," he added.

"While some other dishes are preferred in areas where foreigners live mostly, such as in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, we see that kapsalon is the most-ordered dish in places where Dutch people are live."

Frankie Ruiz, a 24-year-old American, told Anadolu that kapsalon is among his favorite dishes.

Ruiz said he likes the combination of different ingredients like potato, chicken and his favorite garlic sauce, adding he orders kapsalon at least twice a week.

Also speaking to Anadolu, Dutch Sijmen de Hoogh said that he likes Turkish cuisine so much and he eats kapsalon almost every Friday at Hilal Shoarma.

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-kapsalon-doner-was-most-ordered-dish-in-netherlands-last-year-report/2838690

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Mideast

 

Iran Hands Down Death Sentences to 6 Members of Al-Ahwaziya Terror Group

2023-March-6

A court in the Southern Iranian city of Ahvaz has sentenced six members of Harakat Al-Nazal terror group to death in connection with terrorist attacks in Khouzestan province.

The six were involved in the armed operations by the grouping in 2017 and 2018.

They got the sentence for acting on the orders of the grouping’s ringleaders in Europe including Habib Nabgan and Habibollah Faraj Chaab nicknamed Habib Asyoud.

The convicts killed two Basij members in the city of Aabdan and separately a law enforcement staff and a draftee in the nearby Bandar Imam Khomeini.

The so-called Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz terrorist group (SMLA) has also claimed responsibility for an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz that killed 25 people, including members of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and civilian bystanders, and injured 70 others.

The outfit has carried out several operations, including assassinations, bombings, espionage and armed robbery, against the Iranian people which martyred and wounded at least 274 civilians. Members of the terror group are currently based in Several European states, including Sweden and Denmark.

The ringleader of Al-Ahwaziya, Chaab, was arrested in November 2020 on the back of a set of “specialized and combined measures” by Iranian intelligence forces.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011215000734/Iran-Hands-Dwn-Deah-Senences-6-Members-f-Al-Ahwaziya-Terrr-Grp

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Iran: Israel Unable to Escape Inevitable Fate by Concealing Truth

2023-March-6

Kana'ani said Iran has recently been targeted by an intensifying media campaign to deflect attention from the unrest and internal crisis plaguing the Zionist regime.

"Some foreign media have always propagated lies against the Islamic Republic of Iran, but such false propagations have been intensified during the past few months and that has several reasons," the senior diplomat wrote on Twitter.

The spokesperson, however, underscored that hiding the facts will not save the Tel Aviv regime from its doomed future and collapse.

In recent months, Israel has been hit by massive and sometimes violent protests against the far-right cabinet headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israelis are angry at his policies, particularly his so-called judicial reforms.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011215000394/Iran-Israel-Unable-Escape-Ineviable-Fae-by-Cncealing-Trh

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Israel’s Ben-Gvir orders demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem during Ramadan

Burak Dag 

06.03.2023

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir ordered police to continue the demolition of “illegally built” Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported Monday.

Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset, is set to start later this month.

Israel did not carry out home demolitions during Ramadan in the past years to avoid tension with the Palestinians.

While Palestinians see Israel’s demolition policy as an attempt to drive them out of East Jerusalem and strengthen the Israeli occupation of the city, Israeli authorities consider these houses illegally built without a permit.

Meanwhile, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said Israeli police warned Ben-Gvir that the fasting month of Ramadan could be extremely volatile as they are already stretched to the limit amid tension across the occupied West Bank.

Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

In November 2022, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that "the whole world is worried" about Ben-Gvir’s far-right views.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-s-ben-gvir-orders-demolition-of-palestinian-homes-in-east-jerusalem-during-ramadan/2838370

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Turkiye’s fractured opposition unites against Erdogan

March 7, 2023

ANKARA: Turkiye’s bickering opposition leaders ended months of fierce debate on Monday and agreed to name the head of the main secular party as their joint candidate against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May 14 polls.

A last-ditch deal aimed at averting a split of the opposition vote will see CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu name the other five opposition leaders as vice presidents should he end Erdogan’s two-decade rule.

“We would have been eliminated had we split up,” Kilicdaroglu told huge crowds of cheering supporters after emerging from hours of tense talks.

Kilicdaroglu, 74, head of the country’s second-biggest party, aims to emerge from Erdogan’s shadow and oust the president after a two-decade reign that has transformed the Nato member country and major emerging market economy. “Our table is the table of peace. Our only goal is to take the country to days of prosperity, peace and joy,” said Kilicdaroglu.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1740833/turkiyes-fractured-opposition-unites-against-erdogan

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Iran Strongly Rejects Interim Agreement on JCPOA Revival Talks

2023-March-6

"Iran would not by any means consider signing an interim agreement in the course of the talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting the sanctions on Tehran," Kan'ani told reporters at a weekly press briefing in Tehran on Monday.

“What we consider is the return of all parties to the deal,” he underlined.

The spokesperson added that Iran’s national interests define how far it will persist with the course of the JCPOA negotiations.

He reiterated that Iran is committed to diplomacy and will keep cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in order to resolve the remaining issues over Tehran’s civilian nuclear activities.

“We will stay on this path as long as we observe our interests (are being fulfilled). What we emphasize is that the sanctions must be lifted and our relations with the nuclear agency should be in their natural mode,” Kana'ani underscored.

The top diplomat noted that IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi’s latest trip to Tehran was in line with Iran’s active diplomacy with the UN nuclear agency and yielded encouraging results.

He expressed hope that the trend of cooperation between Iran and the nuclear agency would result in the resolution of issues pertaining to the Safeguards Agreement in a technical manner and would eliminate any chance for those who consider the matter as an obstacle on the path of returning to diplomacy.

“Iran has utilized all recognized rights and has explored available political and legal channels, as well as international regulations. Protection of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and capacities has been carried out in light of such measures,” Kana’ani continued.

The spokesman further explained that Iran has time and again emphasized its rights in line with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) when it comes to cooperation with the UN nuclear agency.

Tehran and the IAEA have issued a joint statement following the UN nuclear watchdog chief’s visit to Tehran, and agreed to continue their interactions in a spirit of cooperation and in full conformity with the competencies of the agency and the rights and obligations of Iran. (READ MORE)

On the Iran-US talks, the senior diplomat noted that there have not been any official and overt talks, but the two sides send messages through third parties and that the American official confirmed the contacts continue.

Asked about the US officials’ attempt to deny the exchange of messages between Washington and Tehran through third parties, the official added that the American authorities underlined that they have their own channels to exchange messages and that High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell plays the role of a mediator, so the US officials should be asked about their paradoxical attitude.

Iran stresses it has not quit the negotiating table with the world powers, but will not put all its eggs in the negotiation basket and will not wait for the United States to return to its commitments under the 2015 agreement. Iranian officials stress Tehran has maintained its constructive aproach towards a good, strong and lasting agreement on the revival of the accord and arriving at a deal requires the US pragmatic attitude.

Tehran says it will not be able to trust Washington as long as President Joe Biden continues the wrong policy of maximum pressure and sanctions practiced by Donald Trump against Iran. Iranian officials say the Biden administration has yet done nothing but hollow promises to lift sanctions against Tehran. They blast the US addiction to sanctions, and slammed the POTUS for continuing his predecessor's policy on Iran.

In quitting the agreement, Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a mistake and a failure.

Iranian officials say the ball is in the US' court, and the Biden administration should assure Tehran that it will not repeat Trump's past mistakes.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011215000593/Iran-Srngly-Rejecs-Inerim-Agreemen-n-JCPOA-Revival-Talks

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Judiciary Chief: 80-90k Inmates Pardoned on Iranian Supreme Leader’s Order

2023-March-6

Mohseni Eje’i made the remarks in an interview with Ayatollah Khamenei’s website on Sunday.

He confirmed that the number of prisoners who have been pardoned based on the recent order by Ayatollah Khamenei has reached over 80,000.

He stated that those who have been granted amnesty include many people who were arrested in recent unrest in the country, adding that the number of pardon cases could reach 90,000.

The judiciary chief noted, however, that the pardons have not affected inmates who are behind bars because of complaints by private plaintiffs.

Back in early February, Ayatollah Khamenei agreed to pardon or commute the sentences of thousands of convicts, including large groups of detainees found guilty of involvement in the recent unrest in Iran.

The prisoners, who were granted clemency, had had their verdicts issued at courts of common pleas and Islamic Revolution tribunals, the Judicial Organization of the Armed Forces and the State Discretionary Punishment Organization.

The convicts to whom the amnesty applies should not be facing charges of espionage for outsiders, direct links with the foreign intelligence services, murder or intentional injuries, as well as vandalism or arson attack on governmental, military and public sites, and also should not be involved in a suit filed by a private plaintiff.

The clemency, however, does not apply to certain types of convicts, including those who have been sentenced for their role in the armed smuggling of narcotics, arms trafficking, kidnapping, acid attacks, rape, armed robbery, bribery, embezzlement, counterfeit money forgery, money laundering, disruption of economy, smuggling of alcoholic drinks, and organized smuggling of commodities.

Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi said last month that his government had been authorized to use the pardon power to release university students, cultural, sports and media figures who have been arrested because of their involvement in the riots.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

The unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing acts of terror and sabotage across the country. Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed the enemy waged a hybrid war against the country to weaken national solidarity and hinder the country's progress, stressing that some 200 people lost their lives in the riots sparked by separatist and terrorist groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011215000481/Jdiciary-Chief-0-90k-Inmaes-Pardned-n-Iranian-Spreme-Leader%E2%80%99s-Order

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Yemeni official calls out Iran for supporting Houthis in war-torn country

06 March ,2023

A Yemeni official accused Iran of sending “gifts of death” to his war-wracked country as the two sides clashed publicly at a UN summit for poor nations on Monday.

Othman Majali harangued Iran, which backs Yemen’s Houthis, during his speech at the Least Developed Countries meeting in Qatar, drawing a terse response from Iranian Vice-President Mohsen Mansouri.

The Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital in 2014, prompting an intervention by Arab Coalition forces the following year that has triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Yemen is living in “exceptional situations whose reasons are not a scarcity of resources... (rather) the coup and the war waged by the terrorist Houthi militia against the Yemeni people, the militias that were trained and funded by the Iranian regime”, Majali, a member of Yemen’s presidential council, told the anti-poverty summit.

Majali also condemned “terrorist and racist movements created by Iran in the Arab countries to spread chaos and control the region” and “Iran’s continued sabotage practices in Yemen.”

When it was Mansouri’s turn to address the summit, the Yemeni delegation got up and walked out of the conference hall.

The Iranian vice-president hit back at Majali’s comments, calling them “unreal, baseless, and irresponsible statements.”

“His attempt to divert the focus from the agenda of the meeting is regrettable,” Mansouri told the conference.

“For the dear people of Yemen, I sincerely wish for peace and tranquility, progress, and exit from crises caused by foreign interference and aggression.”

Iran says it provides political support to the Houthis but denies helping them militarily.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/06/Yemeni-official-calls-out-Iran-for-supporting-Houthis-in-war-torn-country

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New US drone strike kills top Al-Qaeda commander in Yemen

SAEED AL-BATATI

March 06, 2023

AL-MUKALLA: A senior leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been killed in a US drone strike in Yemen, the terror group admitted on Monday.

The attack targeted Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Tamimi, also known as Abdel Aziz Al-Adnani, at his home in the central Marib province on Feb. 26.

Militant sources said Tamimi spent nearly four years in prison in Saudi Arabia before traveling to Yemen in 2013. An Al-Qaeda ideology and media officer, he headed AQAP’s leadership council and was the group’s“judge.”

His death was the second major blow to Al-Qaeda in Yemen in just over a month. On Jan. 30, a US drone killed three Al-Qaeda operatives, including the notorious bomb-maker Hussein Hadboul.

Elisabeth Kendall, a terrorism expert and mistress of Girton College at the University of Cambridge, told Arab News that Al-Tamimi’s death was a significant loss for Al-Qaeda. “He was both talented and prolific, operating in the dual realms of jihadi media and jurisprudence. He spearheaded media initiatives like the video interview with AQAP leader Khalid Batarfi in November 2021,” she said.

Batarfi is now the most senior AQAP chief left alive. US drones have eliminated key commanders and scores of younger militants since early 2015 at the height of the group’s military push through southern and central Yemen, Kendall said. “AQAP has hemorrhaged leaders in recent years, largely as a result of drone strikes. While new leaders can always be found, the pool of candidates with solid experience is dwindling,” she said.

Yemeni security and military officials say the presence of Al-Qaeda leaders in Marib province suggested that they were launching operations from there against government forces in the south.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2263481/middle-east

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Ansarullah: US encroachment in al-Mahrah, Hadhramaut violate Yemen’s sovereignty

07 March 2023

Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance group has condemned recent hostile movements by the United States in the eastern provinces of al-Mahrah and Hadhramaut as a “dangerous assault” and “flagrant violation” of the Arab country’s sovereignty.

In a statement carried by Yemen’s al-Masirah television network on Monday, Ansarullah’s Political Bureau held the self-proclaimed Yemeni regime, backed by Saudi Arabia and the US, responsible for any betrayal or breach of the country’s sovereignty.

It came after US Ambassador to the self-proclaimed Yemeni regime Steven Fagin and Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, the head of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, visited al-Mahrah and held talks with its governor Mohammed Ali Yaser. The talks took place at a meeting room with pictures of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Ansarullah’s Political Bureau voiced opposition to any foreign activities on Yemeni soil, saying that the nation reserves the right to counter foreign intervention in all possible ways.

“The US movements are in line with the eight-year aggression against Yemen. They amount to a new betrayal by mercenaries to sell or rent Yemen’s coasts and islands to the occupiers,” it said.

“Once again, we express our opposition to the aggressive and hostile movements of the US in al-Mahrah. We condemn these actions and warn of their consequences.”

Also in its statement, Ansarullah’s Political Bureau called on the Yemenis living in southern and eastern regions to exercise vigilance and work towards foiling the conspiracies that target the country’s unity, sovereignty and independence.

Informed sources said the US delegation made its visit to al-Mahrah under the pretext of fighting the smuggling of weapons and drugs.

The visit, they added, is in line with the US government’s secret plans in eastern Yemen meant to boost military presence in the strategic region.

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

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

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/07/699437/Ansarullah-rebukes-US-dangerous-assault-al-Mahrah-Hadhramaut

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North America

 

Muslim American Civil Rights Group Sues US Prison For Pepper-Spraying Muslim Inmates While They Prayed

6 March 2023

A Muslim American civil rights group has filed a lawsuit against several officials of the Missouri prison system for allegedly pepper-spraying Muslim inmates while they prayed.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the prisoners by the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair), accused the state's department of corrections officials of violating the inmates' constitutional rights, including to freely practise their religion.

“This lawsuit is about holding state officials to account and upholding the rights of all citizens,” Cair attorney, Kimberly Noe-Lehenbauer, said in a statement. “Once a person enters a correctional facility, they do not lose their most basic rights and become an open target for violence and abuse.”

According to the lawsuit filed last Thursday, 28 February 2021, a group of nine Muslim prisoners were praying in a common space when a corrections officer told them to stop.

The inmates say they had prayed together without issue three times earlier in the day and had also done so "hundreds of times in the months" prior.

In this instance, twenty officers responded to the scene. Two of the inmates stopped praying and stepped away, while another two men also stopped praying but were then put in handcuffs.

The five others were doused with pepper spray, some while they were handcuffed, and one prisoner was beaten, according to the lawsuit.

The inmates said that guards ultimately isolated seven of them in cells with pepper spray still covering their bodies. They were not provided medical evaluations, eye washes, showers, cleaning supplies, or medical advice, the lawsuit says.

“The treatment these incarcerees were reportedly subjected to is appalling and in complete violation not only of their legal rights but their basic human dignity,” Yasir Ali, who serves on the board of Cair-MI. “We are hopeful that justice will prevail in this case and those who are guilty will be held accountable.”

According to the lawsuit, one of the guards involved had been removed from meal delivery during the month of Ramadan a few years earlier, after telling some of the inmates that "he had PTSD from having been 'trained to kill Muslims in Afghanistan', and objecting that he now 'has to feed these mother****ers'."

Middle East Eye reached out to the Missouri Department of Corrections for comment on this story.

Several lawsuits have been filed in recent years dealing with the issue of Muslim inmates' ability to practise their faith while incarcerated.

Between 2017 and 2019, 16 religious freedom cases related to Muslim inmates were filed in federal court. More than 60 of those were about dietary needs, and another 34 were linked specifically to violations during the holy month of Ramadan.

In January, a federal court partly undid a decision made against a Muslim inmate, ruling that a Virginia jail must defend its practice of broadcasting Christian services on every television screen on Sundays.

The inmate has argued that the broadcasting of Christian services is a violation of the Constitution's freedom of religion clause.

Source: Middle East Eye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/muslim-inmates-sue-us-prison-after-being-pepper-sprayed-while-praying

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Empire State Building Lit up with Turkish Flag’s Colours for Earthquake Victims

Rabia İclal Turan

07.03.2023

WASHINGTON

New York’s Empire State Building was lit with the red and white colors of the Turkish flag Monday evening in a show of support after major earthquakes hit the country’s southern provinces on Feb. 6.

The move came in partnership with Turkish Airlines on the one-month anniversary of the earthquakes to honor those affected by the tragedy.

Empire State Realty Trust, which owns the iconic building, also shared information on an aid campaign launched by the Turkish Consulate General in New York, calling on people to help the quake victims.

More than 46,100 people have been killed in the two quakes that shook Türkiye on Feb. 6, according to officials.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/empire-state-building-lit-up-with-turkish-flag-s-colors-for-earthquake-victims/2838832

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US sanctions Syrian military intel officer for 2013 killings in Damascus

Servet Gunerigok 

06.03.2023

WASHINGTON

The US on Monday announced sanctions on a Syrian military intelligence officer for his killings in the Syrian capital Damascus 10 years ago.

Amjad Yousef is accused of "coldly and methodically" murdering at least 41 unarmed civilians in Tadamon, a neighborhood in the city, on April 16, 2013.

The designation came days ahead of 12th year of conflict in Syria.

The State Department is "designating Amjad Yousef, a Warrant Officer in the Syrian Military Intelligence Directorate ... due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killings," said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.

"As a result of today's action, Yousef, as well as his wife, Anan Wasouf, and their immediate family members, are ineligible for entry into the United States," said Blinken.

Citing the killings, the top diplomat also urged nations against normalizing ties with the Bashar al-Assad regime "absent enduring progress towards a political resolution."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-sanctions-syrian-military-intel-officer-for-2013-killings-in-damascus/2838739

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US says Iran poisoning probe could fall under UN mandate

Mar 7, 2023

WASHINGTON: The White House said Monday an investigation into the recent poisoning of school girls in protest-hit Iran could fall under the mandate of the United Nations.Several hundred cases of gas poisoning have been reported in more than 52 schools across Iran since the end of November, according to an official count.

The cases come more than five months after the start of protests, labelled riots by Tehran, that were sparked by the death of Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly breaching the country's strict dress code for women.

"If these poisonings are related to participation in protest then it is well within the mandate of the UN independent international fact finding mission on Iran to investigate," said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, referring to the body established in November to investigate human rights abuses in Iran.

"There must be a credible independent investigation, accountability for those responsible," she said during her daily press conference, condemning the poisonings as "unconscionable."

For more than three months, hundreds of female pupils have reported suffering symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea and vertigo after detecting "unpleasant" or "unknown" odors, with some girls being hospitalized.

The wave of incidents has sparked fear among parents and calls for authorities to act, with deputy health minister Younes Panahi saying recently the suspected attacks were aimed at shutting down education for girls.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-says-iran-poisoning-probe-could-fall-under-un-mandate/articleshow/98469210.cms

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US Defense Secretary makes surprise trip to Iraq as 20-year anniversary of invasion

07 March ,2023

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday, in a visit that an official said was aimed at showing that Washington was committed to keeping its military presence there nearly 20 years after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein.

“What (Iraqi’s) will hear from him is commitment to retaining our force presence, but it’s not just about the military instrument. The United States is broadly interested in a strategic partnership with the government of Iraq,” the senior US defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told reporters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/07/US-Defense-Secretary-makes-surprise-trip-to-Iraq-as-20-year-anniversary-of-invasion-n

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US says Iran probe into girls’ poisoning may fall under UN mandate

07 March ,2023

The White House said Monday an investigation into the recent poisoning of schoolgirls in protest-hit Iran could fall under the mandate of the United Nations.

Several hundred cases of gas poisoning have been reported in more than 52 schools across Iran since the end of November, according to an official count.

The cases come more than five months after the start of protests, labelled riots by Tehran, that were sparked by the death of Iranian Kurd Mahsa Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly breaching the country’s strict dress code for women.

“If these poisonings are related to participation in protest then it is well within the mandate of the UN independent international fact finding mission on Iran to investigate,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, referring to the body established in November to investigate human rights abuses in Iran.

“There must be a credible independent investigation, accountability for those responsible,” she said during her daily press conference, condemning the poisonings as “unconscionable.”

For more than three months, hundreds of female pupils have reported suffering symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, and vertigo after detecting “unpleasant” or “unknown” odors, with some girls being hospitalized.

The wave of incidents has sparked fear among parents and calls for authorities to act, with deputy health minister Younes Panahi saying recently the suspected attacks were aimed at shutting down education for girls.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/07/US-says-Iran-probe-into-girls-poisoning-may-fall-under-UN-mandate-

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Southeast Asia

 

PM Anwar Urges All Parties to Respect Ban On Political Talks in Mosques in Malaysia

07 Mar 2023

PUTRAJAYA, March 7 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the ban on politicians giving lectures or political talks in mosques and surau must be respected by all parties.

He said the ban is applicable to all parties, including himself.

Anwar, who is also finance minister, said he, himself, would avoid accepting invitations to give talks at mosques.

“In respecting the order (by religious authorities), I avoid giving talks when I stop at a mosque for Friday prayer,” he said when met by the media after attending the Finance Ministry’s monthly assembly here today.

The prime minister said this in response to a statement by PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang on March 4, where he was reported to have said that there was nothing wrong with politicians delivering sermons or religious lectures at mosques and surau, instead it was compulsory for them to do so.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/life/2023/03/07/pm-anwar-urges-all-parties-to-respect-ban-on-political-talks-in-mosque/58374

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Selangor Sultan hopes national council for Islamic affairs will bring change to elevate Islam

06 Mar 2023

PUTRAJAYA: Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah hopes that the 69th National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI) meeting, chaired by him today (March 6), will serve as a starting point in the efforts to return the role of governing on matters related to Islam to the right party.

Sultan Sharafuddin, who presided over the council meeting for the first time since being elected as MKI chairman last year, said that it was his great hope that all parties would respect the provisions, stipulated under the Federal Constitution, which guarantee the rights and powers of the Malay Rulers.

"I am confident that with the start of this new chapter, the Conference of Rulers, as the voice of the Rulers in Malaysia, can play an appropriate role to advance Islamic administration at the federal level and enable a closer relationship with the states, in line with the principles of the constitution,” said His Royal Highness at Istana Melawati, Putrajaya here.

The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also MKI deputy chairman, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar.

The Selangor Sultan also hoped that the people’s representatives and the ministers would focus on solving the various problems, which the people are facing, as well as restore the prosperity and glory of the country.

"Recently, I read newspaper excerpts related to the policy of the government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, where he gave his assurance that the LGBT group (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender), the secular state concept and communism will never be recognised by his administration.”

Sultan Sharafuddin said that the assurance given by the Prime Minister was timely, to give confidence to the people that the government is serious about preserving Islamic principles based on Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

He also called for all parties to give solid support to the efforts to elevate Islam, empower MKI and place the administration of Islamic religious institutions at the federal level on the right track.

"Representatives in their respective states should also bring up any suggestions, which have been implemented at the state level, that are suitable to be shared for the common interests of our country and fellow Muslims.

"I hope that, with the start of this new chapter of MKI, we will all be able to walk together with a new spirit and mindset, bringing good changes in the effort to elevate Islam in Malaysia," he said.

In the 258th Conference of Rulers last year, Sultan Sharafuddin was elected as chairman of MKI for a period of two years.

The conference also decided that one of the ruling monarchs should take over the role and responsibilities of the chairman, in rotation for two years, while the Prime Minister is appointed as deputy chairman in accordance with the recommendation of the Islamic Affairs Committee.

Source: The Star

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

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2023/03/06/selangor-sultan-hopes-national-council-for-islamic-affairs-will-bring-change-to-elevate-islam

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Indonesia landslides kill 10, rescuers search for 42 missing

Mar 7, 2023

JAKARTA: Rescuers were searching for 42 people still missing Tuesday after two landslides triggered by torrential rains hit villages on an island in Indonesia's remote Natuna regency, disaster officials said.

Dozens of soldiers, police and volunteers joined the search in the Genting and Pangkalan villages on a remote island surrounded by choppy waters and high waves in the Natuna group at the edge of the South China Sea. There were reports of 42 people trapped in 27 houses that were buried under tons of mud from surrounding hills.

Natuna's disaster agency lowered the death toll Tuesday morning to 10 from 11 despite fears it could rise. It said on its website that rescuers pulled 8 injured people from the landslides, 4 of whom were in critical condition and have been rushed to a hospital in Pontianak city on Borneo island, about 285 kilometers (180 miles) away.

The landslides displaced more than 1,200 people who were taken to evacuation centers and other shelters.

National Disaster Management Agency spokesperson Abdul Muhari said authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas. He said two helicopters and several vessels carrying rescuers and relief supplies, including tents, blankets, food and medical teams, have departed from Jakarta and nearby islands.

"Distribution of relief supplies has been difficult because the injured and displaced are spread out and hard to reach," Muhari said, and the search and rescue operation has been hampered by rainy weather around the disaster site, downed communications lines and lack of heavy equipment.

Seasonal rains and high tides in recent days have caused dozens of landslides and widespread flooding across much of Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains close to rivers.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/indonesia-landslides-kill-10-rescuers-search-for-42-missing/articleshow/98466599.cms

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Negeri Sembilan Islamic council zakat scandal: 11 individuals called to give statement, say police

06 Mar 2023

SEREMBAN, March 6 — Eleven individuals including Negeri Sembilan Islamic Religious Council (MAINS) Zakat Sdn Bhd officials have been called up to have their statements recorded on the alleged misappropriation of zakat funds, said Negeri Sembilan police chief Datuk Ahmad Dzaffir Mohd Yussof.

He said the police were still waiting for further instructions from the deputy public prosecutor and to determine if it was necessary to record statements from other individuals to assist in the investigation into the case.

“So far, we have recorded their statements and the investigation is carried out on the advice of the Negeri Sembilan state prosecution director’s (PPN) office.

“The police have completed the investigation into the case and the investigation paper was sent back to the PPN office on March 2,” he told reporters at the state police contingent headquarters here today.

Ahmad Dzaffir said the investigation was conducted in accordance with Section 409 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust.

On February 13, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) reportedly confirmed that the case over the alleged misappropriation of zakat funds involving the agency was being reviewed.

The issue had previously gone viral on the Telegram application, alleging that MAINS had misappropriated zakat money.

In another development, Ahmad Dzaffir said a total of 2,833 commercial crime cases involving losses amounting to RM62.51 million were reported in the state last year.

“During the same period, 1,425 individuals were arrested, with 469 of them having been charged in court.

“Cases that recorded an increase were telecommunications scams with 318 cases, non-existent investments with 93 cases and e-financial fraud with 38 cases,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Dzaffir said two people lost RM1.4 million after they were cheated over a non-existent investment scheme offered through Facebook.

“The first victim was a retiree who lost RM1.2 million, while the other victim was a 49-year-old accountant who was cheated of RM200,000,” he said.

He said the victims lodged a police report on February 20 and February 22, respectively, and the cases were being investigated under Section 420 of the Penal Code.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/06/negeri-sembilan-islamic-council-zakat-scandal-11-individuals-called-to-give-statement-say-police/58260

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Arab World

 

Unfolding developments suggest imminent collapse of Israeli regime, Hezbollah chief says

06 March 2023

The sectary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says unfolding developments in the occupied territories suggest that annihilation of the Israeli regime is not a wish anymore, but a reality that will come true in the near future.

“The course of developments in the occupied Palestine indicates that Zionists are moving towards downfall and collapse. All decisions taken by Israeli authorities would only reinforce the determination, faith and perseverance of Palestinian people to carry out more retaliatory operations,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech during a Monday ceremony in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut in commemoration of veteran Hezbollah fighters.

He lambasted the far-right cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for passing a draft bill, which after becoming a law would authorize the execution of Palestinian prisoners, saying, “The savage Israeli enemy believes it can deter Palestinians by posing threats against Palestinian resistance fighters, and imposition of death penalty on them.”

“We express our solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, and take on our own responsibility in this regard. The entire Muslim world is obliged to support the Palestinian nation in the face of the Israeli regime,” Nasrallah said.

“I address Palestinian prisoners, their families and the entire Palestinian nation that the Lebanese nation is all aware of the pains and sufferings that you are now enduring in the West Bank, Huwara, Nablus and East al-Quds, as we have experienced the sufferings throughout all years of Israeli occupation and heroic resistance,” the Hezbollah leader said.

He added, “Thousands of Lebanese resistance fighters have been arrested and held in Israeli jails either in southern Lebanon or elsewhere across the occupied Palestinian territories. The Lebanese youths should know about them and the sacrifices they have made.”

The Hezbollah chief further highlighted that his movement is acting as a deterrent force in the face of the Israeli military, and its military prowess and defense capabilities enable Lebanese Armed Force to protect the country’s southern borders and confront any possible act of aggression by Israel.

“Diligent efforts must be made in order to liberate Shebaa Farms and Kafrchouba Hills from the grip of the Israeli occupation. All those who care about Israel’s security, above all the United States, seek to strip Lebanon of its strong position,” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah leader went on to stress that the demarcation of Lebanon’s southern maritime border with Israel does not translate into normalization of ties with the occupying regime, warning against any delay in oil and gas exploration activities in Lebanese territorial waters.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah emphasized that Hezbollah does not accept the power vacuum in Lebanon after President Michel Aoun left the presidential palace on October 30 last year, and strongly supports the election of a new head of state.

“Hezbollah insists on the two-third quorum for the parliament to convene and elect a new president. We categorically reject any foreign diktats to impose a president on Lebanon,” he stated.

Nasrallah added that Hezbollah will back Christian politician Suleiman Frangieh to be the country's president.

"The natural candidate we support in the presidential elections is (former) minister Suleiman Frangieh," Nasrallah said.

Lebanon’s presidency has seen stalemate several times since the 1975-1990 civil war. The country has also had only a caretaker government since May 2022.

The Arab country has been mired in an economic crisis that the World Bank has described as one of the worst in recent history, which comes amid crippling sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value on the black market since 2019.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/06/699408/Unfolding-developments-suggest-collapse-of-Israeli-regime-imminent,-Hezbollah-chief-says-

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Senior Hezbollah official: Lebanon's president must be elected by people without foreign interference

06 March 2023

A high-ranking official of Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance movement has stressed the need to elect the country's new president through dialogue and domestic consensus without any foreign interference.

“We believe that Lebanese people should elect a president for their Lebanon. What will save our country is to spring into action and pick the next head of state without further waste of time. Those who intend to prolong the political process for the election of the president should know that such an approach will not benefit them,” the head of Hezbollah Executive Council, Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, said during a ceremony in the southern Lebanese village of Kharayeb on Sunday.

He added that enemies have used all means at their disposal in order to plunge the country into chaos, noting that Hezbollah and its allies have, however, withstood such attempts and thwarted the seditious moves.

“Despite all the lies and campaigns that certain parties and embassies have launched against Hezbollah, the movement has always remained committed to the principle of de-escalation," he said.

“We care about Lebanon more than anyone else. We are decent and strong enough to defend our rights and our nation. The deceptive gestures and tall tales of foreign embassies are actually meant to create chaos within the Lebanese society. We must exercise vigilance and deal with enemies' bids fiercely,” the Hezbollah official highlighted.

Moreover, the deputy chairman of the Executive Council of Hezbollah, Sheikh Nabil Qaouk, said “latest developments” have increased the chances for “consensus” on presidential election.

“It is our foremost priority to elect a president, prevent collapse of the economy and rescue the country. The main priority of the rival camp, however, is to embark on a new adventure and alter the domestic political equations,” the senior Hezbollah official said.

“They want to seize control of the country to change its identity, position and regional role, and put it on the path of normalization [with Israel],” Sheikh Qaouk added.

“There are now international sides, besides lawmakers and political forces in Lebanon that have changed their stance in favor of the consensus plan. They have come to realize that the only way out of the ongoing crisis is through dialog,” he said, noting that such a change of position has “infuriated” the rival camp and prompted it to wage a “smear campaign against Hezbollah and its supporters.”

Lebanon’s presidency has seen stalemate several times since the 1975-1990 civil war. The country has also had only a caretaker government since May 2022.

The Arab country has been mired in an economic crisis that the World Bank has described as one of the worst in recent history, which comes amid crippling sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value on the black market since 2019.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/03/06/699400/Top-Hezbollah-official-calls-for-selection-of-Lebanon-president-without-foreign-interference

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UAE Fatwa council clarifies details about children’s celebration on 15th Shaʻban

The Emirates Council for Sharia Fatwa affirmed that there is nothing wrong with children celebrating the night of mid-Sha`ban with “Haq Al-Laila.”

The Council’s fatwa in this regard stated “The night of the middle of Sha’ban is one of the virtuous nights in which God bestows His pardon and forgiveness on His servants.

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “God - glory and majesty - appears to His creation on the night of the middle of Sha’ban, and He forgives His servants except for two: quarrels and a soul-killer.”

The fatwa confirmed that there is no legal objection to children celebrating this night and going out to it in the usual way in society, just as there is no objection to giving them gifts, such as sweets and others, to make them happy, as long as this is one of the inherited habits, which is not prohibited in the law.

The Haq Al Laila is celebrated on the 15th day of Sha’ban, serving as a precursor to the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Source: Gulf Today

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

https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2023/03/06/uae-fatwa-council-clarifies-details-about-childrens-celebration-on-15th-shaban

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“Makkah Brings Us Together” Entertainment Event Draws Crowds

TAREQ AL-THAQAFI

March 06, 2023

MAKKAH: The Royal Commission for Makkah City and the Holy Sites this week launched the “Makkah brings us together” event, attracting large crowds of residents and visitors.

The 10-day free event features “Harat Al-Tayyibin” at the entrance of the event site, where visitors can see exhibits showcased by more than 30 craftsmen and families, in addition to local products.

Children can also enjoy a special area that offers activities such as theater performances, storytelling, cartoon movies, bicycles, face painting and drawing. The children’s area also includes games, including the cheetah race, ambassador challenge, video games, an arcade and boxing.

CEO of the Royal Commission for Makkah City Eng. Saleh bin Ibrahim Al-Rasheed said that the event aims to improve quality of life in Makkah, including through entertainment, and contribute to achieving the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 by enriching the visitor experience and creating opportunities for the events sector.

“What distinguishes the event is that it reflects Makkah heritage’s and the old neighborhood in all its urban and cultural details, in addition to entertainment technology. It is a mix between the past and the present,” Al-Rasheed added.

The event also features a public activity area that includes a wide variety of technical and sports activities such as endurance and strength games, backgammon and billiards, as well as a giant screen displaying movies and visual content. An adventure area where visitors can climb walls and practice zip-lining is also available.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2263526/saudi-arabia

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Lebanon’s Hezbollah backs Christian politician Frangieh for presidency

06 March ,2023

Lebanon’s powerful armed Hezbollah group will back Christian politician Sleiman Frangieh to be the country’s president, the group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday, a move that gives him important backing but does not secure his election.

Lebanon has had no head of state since former president Michel Aoun’s term ended at the end of October, deepening institutional paralysis in a country where one of the world’s-worst economic crises has been festering for years.

“The natural candidate we support in the presidential elections is (former) minister Sleiman Frangieh,” Nasrallah said.

Frangieh, 56, is heir to an old Lebanese Christian political dynasty and a friend of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

His grandfather, of the same name, served as president from 1970 into Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war.

Frangieh has the support of House Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement party but still falls short of the 65 votes required for him to be elected.

A close Hezbollah ally, he appeared close to becoming president in 2016, but Hezbollah’s support went to Aoun - another of its Christian allies who now have a 20-member bloc in parliament but have opposed Frangieh’s election.

Frangieh’s candidacy is also opposed by the Lebanese Forces party led by Christian politician Samir Geagea.

Frangieh’s parents and sister were killed by the Lebanese Forces militia in 1978 at their home in the north of the country.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/06/Lebanon-s-Hezbollah-backs-Christian-politician-Frangieh-for-presidency

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US sanctions Syria intel officer, warns against restoring ties with Assad regime

06 March ,2023

The US sanctioned a Syrian intelligence officer on Monday, accusing him of “coldly and methodically” murdering at least 41 unarmed civilians in 2013 and warning countries against normalizing ties with the Assad regime.

Next month will mark 12 years since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, which has pitted the Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russia, against opposition groups, some of which have turned into terror organizations.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed during the yearslong war, many of which have been victims of the Assad regime’s brutal tactics.

Legal bodies and much of the international community have asserted that the Assad regime committed war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout the years.

“One of these atrocities was a massacre committed in Tadamon, a neighborhood of Damascus, where on April 16, 2013, Amjad Yousef, an Assad regime military intelligence officer, murdered at least 41 unarmed civilians,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

He pointed to video evidence that was first publicly shared last year after an investigation by independent researchers.

Yousef is seen shooting dozens of civilians as they run into a pit, which is then set on fire.

As a result of Monday’s sanctions, Yousef, his wife and their immediate family members are banned from entering the US.

In an indirect jab at countries that have restored diplomatic ties with Syria or are considering doing so, Blinken issued a warning.

“The footage of this massacre, coupled with the ongoing killing and abuse of countless Syrians, serves as a sobering reminder for why countries should not normalize relations with the Assad regime absent enduring progress towards a political resolution,” he said.

Several Arab and Gulf countries have normalized ties with Syria after being on opposite sides of the fight for most of the 12-year-old war.

But Washington has refused to budge or ease crippling economic sanctions on the Syrian government and its officials. It has demanded a peaceful solution and political agreement between warring sides.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/03/06/US-sanctions-Syria-intel-officer-warns-against-restoring-ties-with-Assad-regime

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Dubai Metro Music Festival celebrates sustainability in third edition

06 March ,2023

The third edition of the week-long Dubai Metro Music Festival begins today, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Sunday.

The music festival starting on March 6 will go on till March 12, and will take place daily between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Twenty international musicians are set to perform at Dubai Metro Stations across the city such as Union, Mall of Emirates, Burjuman, Dubai Financial Center, and Sobha Realty.

“We are excited to launch the third edition of the Dubai Metro Music Festival, which will bring together a mix of traditional and experimental musicians, classical instrumentalists and fusion musicians to entertain Dubai’s cosmopolitan community,” Director of Brand Dubai, Shaima al-Suwaidi was quoted by WAM as saying.

Dubai Metro Music Festival is organised by Brand Dubai, which is a part of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), and the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

According to al-Suwaidi, this year’s music festival follows a theme of sustainability in sync with the UAE’s pledge of declaring 2023 as the Year of Sustainability.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/03/06/Dubai-Metro-Music-Festival-begins-today-

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Suicide: Cruel choice for Lebanese unable to feed their children

NAJIA HOUSSARI

March 06, 2023

BEIRUT: At least four Lebanese people have died by suicide in the past week.

The population of the country is finding the prevailing economic and social conditions hard to bear, and Diab Audi, a retired warrant officer in the Internal Security Forces, died after suffering a heart attack inside a Lebanese bank, unable to retrieve withheld savings.

Lebanon is in the midst of a devastating economic crisis that has plunged more than 80 percent of its population into poverty, according to the UN.

Information International, a Beirut-based research consultancy firm, has recently published a study showing a significant rise in registered suicides following a decrease in numbers in 2022.

The average number of suicides from 2013 to 2022 was 143, with the highest, 172, recorded in 2019.

Preliminary investigations revealed that last week’s figures were exacerbated by adverse economic and living conditions.

Mohammed Ibrahim was found dead on Sunday after reportedly shooting himself in his hometown of Wardaniyeh. His employment involved working on the judges’ mutual fund at the Sidon Palace of Justice, and he was the nephew of financial prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim.

The previous day, Hussein Al-Abed Mroueh, 40, from the town of Zararia in south Lebanon, was found dead in one of the orchards surrounding his home.

It was clear from statements of his acquaintances that he “had constant economic and financial problems and does not work in a specific field.”

Mousa Al-Shami, a resident of Jarjouaa, also died by suicide and left a recorded message to a friend that was shared on social media, asking him to take care of his children.

Al-Shami said that he could no longer bear the economic burdens and his difficult situation, adding that he could no longer feed his children.

A young man in his 30s strangled his wife and 4-year-old child in the Daraya area in Mount Lebanon governorate in late February, before his death by suicide. He was reportedly unable to pay his debts.

Embrace Lebanon, a nongovernmental organization that bids to administer mental health help, has defined suicide as a process involving psychological, social, biological, cultural, and environmental factors, adding it is a summary of an experience of crises, disasters, violence, abuse, chronic pain, illness or loss, and a sense of isolation.

It stated that suicide rates are high among vulnerable groups that suffer discrimination, and the strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt.

According to a 2022 survey conducted by the Central Administration of Statistics and the International Labor Organization, the collapse of the national currency, and the state’s inability to carry out the reforms required by the international community, has resulted in the percentage of families receiving income from retirement and other social insurance allowances decreasing from 28 percent to 10 percent.

The survey further noted that 85 percent of families are unable to survive — even for one month — in the event of losing their sources of income.

General Labor Union President Bechara Al-Asmar met Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Monday.

Al-Asmar later said: “The state is looking for revenues, but it should not be at the expense of 90 percent of the population.

“Taxes and fees must be reduced at this difficult stage, but in reality the state has increased taxes and fees, and raised the exchange rate on the central bank’s Sayrafa platform to 70,000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, making employees lose on average 56 percent of the value of their incomes.

“All these decisions have not been properly reviewed before implementation.”

Al-Asmar added: “Military and civilian retirees have all become poor. Compensation in the public sector is still at the previous official exchange rate of 1,500 Lebanese pounds to the dollar.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2263546/middle-east

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Africa

 

Tunisian Politician’s Daughter, Kaouther Ferjani, Urges UK To Condemn His Arrest

March 06, 2023

LONDON: The UK has been urged to pressure Tunisia to release a leading politician imprisoned by the government who previously lived in London for 20 years.

Said Ferjani, 68, sought refuge in the UK from the regime of Tunisia’s former leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 1989, having been detained and tortured for his political activities.

Ferjani, a senior figure in the Ennahda party, never applied for dual citizenship in the UK because of his determination to return to his homeland, which he did after the Arab Spring and the ousting of Ben Ali in 2011.

But Ferjani has since been targeted by the government of President Kais Saied, who has clamped down on opposition figures since altering the role of Tunisia’s Parliament to consolidate his power in 2021. Ferjani was arrested on Feb. 27.

His daughter Kaouther Ferjani told The Observer that British politicians need to speak up on behalf of her father and, by extension, Tunisia’s democratic future.

“The fact that he is now being held as a political prisoner under Kais Saied’s regime is alarming and must be condemned by the international community,” she said, adding that “the collapse of the country into a fascistic dictatorship (represents) one of the great tragedies of modern politics.”

She said her father was interrogated and hospitalized shortly after his detention, having gone on hunger strike. He has yet to be charged with any offense.

“As a democratically elected politician and leading figure in Tunisian politics, my dad has played an instrumental role in promoting democracy and human rights in Tunisia since the Arab Spring,” she added.

“His imprisonment, along with at least 16 other political prisoners this month — including politicians, journalists, and judges — is a blatant attempt to suppress opposition voices.

“Tunisia is heading down a very worrying path of authoritarianism and it is important that the UK speaks out strongly against this.”

Saied’s crackdown on dissent has seen a significant drop in popularity, which he in turn has tried to stem with populist rhetoric blaming undocumented black migrants for Tunisia’s ills.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2263281/middle-east

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Opposition presidential hopeful in Nigeria leads protest march against election results

Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu 

06.03.2023

KANO, Nigeria

An opposition candidate in last month's Nigerian presidential ballot launched a protest on Monday against the election results.

Alongside other party leaders, Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) marched on the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), protesting the results.

The march took off during the day and was joined by PDP National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu and other members of the party's National Working Committee (NWC).

Addressing reporters at the INEC headquarters, Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku said they were at the headquarters to present their letter to the electoral commission on their position concerning the results.

"We were cheated in the presidential election, and we have come to express our position on the development."

Vowing to continue protesting every day, Atiku said the electoral process was flawed. "We complained to INEC from the collation center that we are not okay with the way the results have been released but they refused."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/opposition-presidential-hopeful-in-nigeria-leads-protest-march-against-election-results/2838788

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Nigeria election ‘failed to meet’ expectations of citizens: US envoy

Hassan Isilow 

06.03.2023

The US has said the Feb. 25 election in Nigeria “failed to meet” the expectations of Nigerians.

“The people of Nigeria demonstrated their dedication to democracy on February 25, but there are many angry and frustrated Nigerians as well as many who are celebrating victories they believe were hard-fought and well-earned,” US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard said in a statement on Sunday.

“It is clear that the electoral process as a whole on 25 February failed to meet Nigerians’ expectations,” she added.

According to the official count, Bola Tinubu took the top spot in the presidential race with 8.7 million votes, followed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 6.9 million and Labor Party (LP) candidate Peter Obi with 6.1 million votes.

Both the PDP and LP have announced they will challenge the results in court.

Leonard said it will be important for the future of the country that Nigerians not let their differences divide them, and that the legally established process for resolving challenges to the election be allowed to take its course.

“We commend Mr. Obi and Mr. Abubakar for their recent statements committing to take this path (Legal path), and Mr. Tinubu, who the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the president-elect under Nigeria’s electoral framework, for acknowledging their right to do so,” she said.

The ambassador said: “The United States is no stranger to election-related controversy and conflict. As much as it can be unsatisfying to end an electoral process in a courtroom, in a constitutional democracy bound by the rule of law, that is where electoral conflicts may appropriately conclude.”

She noted that Nigeria has accomplished much in just over two decades since its return to democracy, and a gradual improvement in the quality of its elections in that time constitutes one of those accomplishments.

“We recognize that Nigerians want that positive trend to continue, including through the use of new technology intended to make the process of reporting results more transparent,” Leonard said.

Many Nigerians raised concerns after the INEC decided to manually transmit results, opting against using an existing instant transmission system.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/nigeria-election-failed-to-meet-expectations-of-citizens-us-envoy/2838363

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