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Islamic World News ( 16 Sept 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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A First in A UK Mosque: London Mosque Worshippers Sing God save The King in a Service to Honour the Life of Queen Elizabeth II

New Age Islam News Bureau

16 September 2022


The chairman of the Prince's Trust International Board, Shabir Randeree, described it as a "very moving moment".



• Miniskirts Can Be Banned In Schools but Not Hijab: Muslim Side

• Taliban's Retort to Pakistan: Jaish Chief Masood Azhar with You, Not Us

• Joe Biden on Anti-Hindu, Anti-Sikh, and Anti-Muslim Violence: ‘That Line of Hate Never Fully Goes Away, Have No Place in America’

• UAE President Invites Israel’s President to Abu Dhabi Space Event



• Vienna Meeting to Discuss Afghanistan’s Future: Afghan Political Figures Gather in Austria

• Northern Ireland's first Muslim scout group set for Belfast

• Armenia says 135 soldiers killed in clashes with Azerbaijan



• Uttar Pradesh Holds Survey of Historic Islamic Seminary, Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, a 125-Year-Old Islamic Seminary in Lucknow

• Karnataka Man Accused of Love Jihad, Assaulted By Hindu Activists

• 4 Men Booked For Stopping Inter-Faith Marriage: Police

• Muslims Arrested, Hindus Untouched For Violence In MP Town

• Job Discrimination against Indian Muslims Rises By 9% in 16 Years: Report

• Ambedkar Remarks Cited In Karnataka HC Hijab Ban Order ‘Deeply Offensive’, Muslim Parties Tell SC

• Terrorist in touch with Pak handlers arrested in J&K’s Reasi


South Asia

• Bolton: World should be concerned about Increasing Influx of International Terrorists in Afghanistan: Former Advisor to US NSC

• Taliban Accuse US of ‘Usurping’ Afghanistan’s Frozen Assets

• BSCO Summit in Uzbekistan: Taliban Officials Not Invited

• UK Contributes £24M to Provide Emergency Support for Afghan Women, Children


North America

• Not too late' to conclude nuclear deal with Iran, US says as talks stall

• Iran condemns US charges against three over cyber attacks

• Blinken offers condolences to Armenia’s PM after Azerbaijan shelling kills scores

• US House speaker heading to Armenia following Azerbaijan clashes: Report


Arab World

• No Active Members Of The Muslim Brotherhood On Qatari Soil: Qatar’s Emir Tamim

• Iraqi PM visits Karbala as over three million Iranian pilgrims attend Arbaeen

• IMF to send mission to Lebanon next week to discuss slow reform progress

• New batch of Syrian prison photos opens ‘old wounds’

• With a Russian nudge, Turkey and Syria step up contacts

• Dubai court orders Sanjay Shah, others to pay Denmark $1 billion

• Turkish forces 'neutralize' 5 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq



• Two of World's Oldest Mosques Discovered in Israel’s Negev Desert

• Iran Calls for Mechanisms to Hold Sanctioning Countries Accountable

• Iranian Envoy: Israeli Raids on Syria's Civilian Infrastructures Amounts to War Crime

• Israel’s election campaign kicks off, polls predict further deadlock

• Israeli premier holds talks with UAE foreign minister in Jerusalem



• Pakistan Faces TTP, JeM Hurdle in Exiting FATF Grey List

• PTI Hits Out At Govt for Fanning ‘Religious Hatred’ Against Imran

• ‘Don’t Downplay Seriousness of Terrorism Charges,’ IHC CJ Tells Govt In Terror Case Against Imran Khan

• Second anti-Taliban tribal leader killed in Swat in week

• Ashrafi urges Muslim world’s aid agencies to help flood victims in Pakistan

• Pak court grants bail to Imran’s aide in sedition case

• PM Shehbaz Sharif says, "Even friendly countries started looking at Pakistan as beggars"

• Buttler ‘excited’ as England arrive in Pakistan after 17 years

• Chinese national arrested on charge of raping girl in Islamabad

• PM arrives in Uzbekistan to attend SCO regional security bloc summit


Southeast Asia

• Promoting Empathy, Inclusivity through Malaysian Theatre

• Muslim Unity Narrative A Ruse to Weaken Umno, Says Analyst

• Leave Malaysia if you want it more like Afghanistan or North Korea

• Dr M mocks ‘opportunistic’ PAS over past ‘infidel’ remarks

• Jakarta governor ‘prepared’ to run for president

• Funds withheld from PAS reps will be paid straight to needy, says exco

• Xi urges more ‘political trust’ with Turkey

• Incompetency nothing to do with racism, PAS leader told

• PH a gathering of ‘bribe givers and receivers’, says Hadi

• China’s Xi to meet Turkish president Erdogan at regional summit: State media

• China’s Xi set to meet Iran’s president at regional summit



• 18 Terrorists Killed, 'Strategic' Al-Shabaab Assets Destroyed In Somalia Operation

• At least 134 dead, scores of homes wiped out in Sudan seasonal floods

• Book reveals Jordan king left 'bent doubled-over' after Trump’s West Bank offer

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



A First in A UK Mosque: London Mosque Worshippers Sing God save The King in a Service to Honour the Life of Queen Elizabeth II


The chairman of the Prince's Trust International Board, Shabir Randeree, described it as a "very moving moment".


15 September, 2022

Worshippers at London Central Mosque have sung God Save the King, in what organisers said was a first in a UK mosque since the Queen's death.

Muslim community leaders attended a service at the mosque in Regent's Park to honour the life of the Queen and to mark the accession of King Charles III.

Ahmad Al-Dubayan, of the Islamic Cultural Centre, said they wanted to show how Muslim communities felt.

He said: "Muslims are so grateful and acknowledge all the things she did."

He added: "The Queen was loved by everybody, and everybody remembers the achievements and the good things about her."

He praised the Queen's commitment to multiculturalism and her "commitment and devotion for the service of everybody that made the UK an oasis of freedom".

The chairman of the Prince's Trust International Board, Shabir Randeree, described it as a "very moving moment".

"It raised the hairs on the back of my neck for two reasons," he said. "First, I was thrilled to be standing in a mosque singing God Save the King. And the second, I was deeply touched of course in trying to remember the Queen. It was a momentous moment and a very touching moment.

"The Muslim community are united with everyone, and you've seen an outpouring of grief, not just from the Muslim community but from all communities in the UK, and, dare I say, in the Commonwealth and worldwide as well.

"And it's been an opportunity, a very positive opportunity, for all communities to show we stand together and we also mourn what is a very sad moment in our history, but we also celebrate the life of the Queen and her contribution.

"I think it's very important for the Muslim community to be out here and to say what they felt, and to also have the royal family and others and the entire country notice that they mourn deeply the passing of the monarch."

Source: BBC

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Miniskirts Can Be Banned In Schools but Not Hijab: Muslim Side


Photo:  The Times of India


Sep 16, 2022

NEW DELHI: The Muslim side on Thursday told the Supreme Court that a girl student can be barred from wearing a miniskirt to an educational institution, but not a hijab, by applying the restrictions of public order, decency and morality to the freedom of expression under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal in his brief arguments crystallized the constitutional issue requiring adjudication by posing a series of questions: “Does the Muslim women’s right of expression not include a choice of dress (hijab) to display her identity, culture and the religious group to which she belongs to?”

“If Muslim women have been traditionally wearing hijab to educational institutions, from where did the Karnataka government derive its power now to ban it when there is no such restriction under Article 19(2)? When the Muslim women are not opposed to uniform, but want to wear an additional headscarf of a colour matching with the uniforms, how can it be banned,” he asked.

When a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia said the state government’s action was probably to address the situation arising from certain students wearing saffron shawls, Sibal said Article 51A(f) of the constitution casts a duty on every citizen to “value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture”.

“They should actually encourage Muslim women to wear hijab as it reflects our composite culture. How can someone object to a Muslim girl’s hijab, which she has been traditionally wearing for decades in Karnataka? If a Muslim girl can wear a hijab outside in public, how can other students object to her wearing one to school? How did the Karnataka HC import a non-existent concept of ‘qualified public space’ to uphold the ban on hijab? The situation was deliberately created to enable the state to ban hijab in educational institutions,” Sibal said.

He said because of hijab ban there has been an alarming rate of dropout from educational institutions among Muslim women. “If this trend is started by other states, it would have a devastating impact on the nation where Muslim women would, because of their religion and gender, be deprived of their fundamental right to education,” he said. Others who argued against the hijab ban included Shoeb Alam, Colin Gonsalves, Prashant Bhushan, Abdul Majeed Dar, Jayna Kothari and Meenakshi Arora. The arguments would continue on Monday.

Source: Times Of India

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Taliban's Retort To Pakistan: Jaish Chief Masood Azhar With You, Not Us


Taliban rejected Pakistan's claims that Jaish Chief Masood Azhar is in Afghanistan.


September 15, 2022

Kabul: Talibani spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has denied that Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar was in Afghanistan, and said he is, in fact, in Pakistan, Afghanistan's local media outlet Tolo News said.

This comes as Pakistan has written a letter to Afghanistan for the arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Bol News reported citing sources and added that Maulana Masood Azhar is probably present in Afghanistan's Nangarhar and Kanhar areas.

However, reacting to the letter, Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, "The leader of the Jaesh-e-Mohammad group is not here in Afghanistan. This is an organization which could be in Pakistan. Anyway, he is not in Afghanistan and we have not been asked anything like this. We have heard about it in the news. Our reaction is that this is not true," reported Tolo News.

Moreover, the Taliban-led Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said that such allegations can affect the relations between Kabul and Islamabad. "We also call on all parties to refrain from such allegations lacking any proof and documentation. Such media allegations can adversely affect bilateral relations," said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a Talibani spokesman said.

This report comes after Paris-based international watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) forced Islamabad to take action against some of the UN-designated terrorists, offering the possibility of getting out from the grey list now.

Notably, Pakistan's recent action on Lashkar e Taiba (LeT) operational commander Sajid Mir, which it kept on declaring dead until now, is the result of FATF's persistent pressure on Pakistan.

Pakistan maintains that Azhar is not present in Pakistan and likely to be in Afghanistan. Despite claims by Pakistan that he is not traceable, he continues to publish articles on Pakistani social media networks exhorting JeM cadres to indulge in Jihad and eulogizing the Taliban takeover of Kabul, claiming that Taliban victory would open avenues for Muslim victories elsewhere, reported South Asia Press.

Source: ND TV

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Joe Biden on Anti-Hindu, Anti-Sikh, and Anti-Muslim Violence: ‘That Line of Hate Never Fully Goes Away, Have No Place in America’


US President Joe Biden speaks at an event in Washington on Sept. 15, 2022. (AP)


September 16, 2022

US President Joe Biden has asserted that white supremacy, all forms of hate fuelled by violence have no place in America, amidst a spurt in hate-related incidents across the country, including those against the Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.

“Regardless of our backgrounds, our beliefs, we have to stand united against hate-fuelled violence, which you know than anyone, that forever an attack on one group of us is literally an attack on all of us,” Biden said in his address to the “United We Stand” summit organised by the White House on Thursday.

Addressing the participants who had gathered from across the country in the East Room of the White House, Biden said he decided to run for president after such incidents

“I had no intention of running. I give you my word. I was teaching and I thought that was the best thing for me to do, as Chris knows, my colleague from Delaware. But Charlottesville changed everything because I believed our story is to unite as people of one nation and one America,” he said.

“When those folks came out of those — that field carrying torches, the United States of America, carrying torches, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in Germany in the early ’30s, accompanied by white supremacists holding Nazi flags, and I thought to myself, my God, this is the United States of America, said how could that happen?” said the president.

In 2020, hate crimes in the US were the highest in more than a decade, and the Justice Department has pledged to increase efforts to counter it.

The idea of America, he observed, guarantees everyone, everyone is treated with dignity and equality, an idea that ensures an inclusive, multiracial democracy, an idea that we give no safe harbour, none, to hate.

“While we’ve never, as I said, fully lived up to the idea, we’ve never walked away from it before. Look, on the — Kamala (Harris) and I travelled to Atlanta to grieve with Asian-American residents, the violence against the community grew during the pandemic, too many people fearful just walking the streets of America,” he said.

Noting that the summit is being joined by presidents of historic black colleges and universities, who should be able to focus on providing the best experience possible for their students, he said instead, they’re having to worry about more bomb threats against their institutions. Too often Native Americans, disabled Americans face harassment, discrimination, and violence and victimisation.

“Unfortunately, such hate-fuelled violence and threats are not new to America. There is a through the line of hate, from massacres of indigenous people to the original sin of slavery, the terror of the Klan, anti-immigration violence against the Irish, Italians, Chinese, Mexicans, so many of those laced through our history,” he said.

“There’s a through the line of violence against religious groups, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, anti-Muslim, anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh. Look, folks, that line of hate never fully goes away. It only hides,” Biden said.

Hate, he observed, can be defeated. “It only hides. When you give it any oxygen, it comes out from under the rocks. And the last few years it’s been given much too much oxygen in our politics, in our media, and on the Internet, too much hate all for power and profit,” he said.

“You need to say clearly and forcefully white supremacy, all forms of hate fuelled by violence, have no place in America. A barrier called out is complicity, my dad would say. If your silence is complicity, we can’t remain silent,” he said.

Biden said his administration will use every federal resource available to help communities counter hate-fuelled violence, build resilience, and foster greater national unity.

For example, training on identifying, reporting and combating hate-fuelled violence from local law enforcement agencies, workplaces and houses of worship. Partnerships with schools that help them address bullying and harassment. “And I’m calling for a new era of national service to organizations like AmeriCorps, to foster stronger communities and bridge divides in our society,” he said.

Biden called on Congress to do its part, and raise the living allowance for national service positions to include USD15 an hour. This would make national service an accessible pathway to success for more Americans of all backgrounds. “Pass my budget and increase funding to protect nonprofits and houses of worship from hate-fuelled violence,” he said.

“Hold social media platforms accountable for spreading hate and fuelling violence. I’m calling on congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency for crime on all of them,” said the president.

Recent incidents

Recently, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said that she has been receiving abusive and hate messages over the phone from a male caller who even asked her to go back to India.

Jayapal, 55, is the first-ever Indian-American Congresswoman who represents Seattle in the US House of Representatives.

Typically, political figures don’t show their vulnerability. I chose to do so here because we cannot accept violence as our new norm. We also cannot accept the racism and sexism that underlies and propels so much of this violence, Jayapal, from the Democratic Party, said in a tweet.

There have been hate-related incidents against the Indian-American community also in the US.

On September 1, an Indian-American man has been racially abused by a compatriot in California who hurled racist slurs that he is a “dirty Hindu” and a “disgusting dog”, days after another hate crime was reported against four women from the community in Texas.

Krishnan Jayaraman was verbally attacked by 37-year-old Singh Tejinder in the Taco Bell at Grimmer Boulevard in Fremont, California on August 21, NBC News reported.

On August 26, four Indian-American women were racially abused and smacked by a Mexican-American woman in Texas who hurled racist slurs at them that they are “ruining” America and should “go back to India”.

The incident took place in a parking lot in Dallas, Texas. The woman, identified as Esmeralda Upton, has been arrested.

Source: Indian Express

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UAE President Invites Israel’s President To Abu Dhabi Space Event


President Sheikh Mohamed has invited Israeli President Isaac Herzog to the event being organised by the Emirates Space Agency. AFP


15 September, 2022

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed has invited Israel’s President to an Abu Dhabi space event, as the countries continue to build relations two years after the normalization of ties.

Sheikh Mohamed invited Israeli President Isaac Herzog to the Space Dialogue in December, state news agency WAM reported on Thursday.

The event will see professionals from the space industry across the globe travel to the UAE to “strengthen cooperation” and “formulate new international policies”, Sheikh Mohamed said in a Tweet earlier in September.

The meeting is just one of many between officials of the countries since the UAE normalized ties with Israel in September 2020 through signing the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

The invitation to the space conference comes a day after UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed arrived in Tel Aviv for an official visit to Israel, marking the two-year anniversary of the signing of the accords.

Officials from the UAE and Israel discussed in a meeting the importance of increasing cooperation in areas such as economy, investment, and food security, WAM reported.

The discussions included efforts to consolidate peace and stability in the region.

The Abraham Accords have “opened up promising prospects for building privileged relations” between the UAE and Israel, Sheikh Abdullah stressed, according to WAM.

Experts told Al Arabiya English that the countries are continuing to benefit from the agreement.

Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and co-founder of the UAE-Israel Business Council Fleur Hassan-Nahoum told Al Arabiya English that over the past two years the UAE has become one of the fastest-growing trade partners for Israel and predicts trade deals will double in the 12 months ahead.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Vienna Meeting to Discuss Afghanistan’s Future: Afghan Political Figures Gather in Austria

By Saqalain Eqbal

15 Sep 2022

Political adversaries of the Taliban have gathered in Vienna, the capital of Austria, for a three-day meeting, behind closed doors, to discuss the current situation in Afghanistan and resistance against the Taliban.

At least 31 Afghan political figures and civil activists were invited to the meeting, according to preliminary knowledge acquired by Khaama Press; however, some of them were unable to attend the first day due to personal or visa-related reasons.

Today, September 15, the first day of the Vienna meeting, was held behind closed doors with strict security measures in the Bruno Kriesky Forum, a “forum for dialogue”, in Vienna.

A report is reportedly going to be made public at the conclusion of this three-day meeting, which is themed “Coordination for the Future of Afghanistan” and will continue for two more days.

Figures such as Ahmad Masood, the leader of the National Resistance Front, Dr. Spanta and Zalmai Rasool, the former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Mahmoud Saikal, former diplomat, Fawzia Koofi and Shukria Barekzai, former members of the lower house of the parliament are among those who participated the Vienna meeting.

Sayed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, the former State Minister for Peace, Said Tayeb Jawad, the former ambassador to the Russian Federation, the UK, and the US, and Jawid Ludin, the former ambassador to Canada, were not present at the Vienna meeting, according to a credible source in Vienna who confirmed this to Khaama Press.

This is the first gathering of anti-Taliban politicians to discuss a solution to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan that has been hosted by a western country.

The Austrian Institute of International Affairs, the Bruno Kriesky Forum, and the Austrian Research and Development Organization are also hosting this meeting, which is being moderated by prominent Austrian politician, Wolfgang Petristch.

Source: Khaama Press

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Northern Ireland's first Muslim scout group set for Belfast

By Robbie Meredith

15 September, 2022

The first Muslim scout group in Northern Ireland is to be established in Belfast.

The 117th Belfast Islamic Centre Scout Group has been set up with the help of Scouts NI.

It is holding an event to register new members for the group on Saturday 17 September.

There are about 12,000 members and leaders in the Scouts in Northern Ireland, making it one of the biggest youth organisations in the country.

There are already more than 70 Muslim Scout groups in the UK, who are part of the wider-UK Scout organisation.

But the one in Belfast will be the first group in Northern Ireland.

The chief commissioner of Scouts NI, Stephen Donaldson, said that the new group would enable the movement to keep growing in Northern Ireland.

"We're looking to areas where we haven't been so much in evidence in the past," he told BBC News NI.

"With my role being a national role and being across in England quite a lot, I got to know about the Muslim Scout fellowship.

"That was the motivation for us to get it started in Northern Ireland.

"We kind of thought that there's a community there that probably needs us as much as we need them.

"To get people involved in scouting you need to be in their community, so that's very much our way of looking at this in Northern Ireland as well."

The leader of the new Muslim Scout Group is Ameer Ibrahim.

He had been a Sea Scout in Sudan as a child before he came to live in Northern Ireland.

"I enjoyed my time when I was in the Sea Scouts, I learned a lot - swimming, canoeing, sailing, camping," he told BBC News NI.

"Scouts is a worldwide organisation, it has no religious ideology or any political point of view."

Mr Ibrahim said that the differences in the Muslim Scouts were small and mainly to do with some of the uniform worn, rather than any activities.

"Our girls can wear the scarf, they can cover their body," he said.

"Same for the men, if they want to do their prayers, whatever, they will have that identity that belongs to them.

"We can do our own ritual things when we need to, such as fasting during the month of Ramadan."

Otherwise the Muslim Scouts do the same activities and take the same badges as any Scout group.

Mr Ibrahim said the new group hoped to attract some refugees and asylum-seekers who had recently come to Northern Ireland.

More than one in every 20 schoolchildren in Northern Ireland are "newcomer pupils" who make up over 5% of the school population.

There has also been a rise in the number of children coming to Northern Ireland as refugees or asylum-seekers in recent years.

"More and more people come from diverse, different countries to Northern Ireland, especially youth," Ameer Ibrahim said.

"They don't know where to go or where to belong.

"People with language barriers or any financial difficulties, that will not be a problem.

"We'll be there just to help them and obviously the Scouts are there to help and give them that opportunity for their potential to be fulfilled."

He added: "There are a lot of challenges but we've got a lot of help from the local Scouts.

"I can't speak highly enough about them, I appreciate all their help."

The 117th Belfast Islamic Centre Scout Group will meet in the cross-community Agápē Centre on Belfast's Lisburn Road.

It is registering new members for Scouts aged from 10 - 14 and Explorer Scouts aged from 15 -18 at the Centre on Saturday 17 September from 1800 to 2000 BST.

According to Ameer Ibrahim groups for younger children will follow in future as more volunteer leaders are recruited.

For Stephen Donaldson, the new Muslim group is further evidence of Scouting's global reach.

"I was at the last world scout jamboree in America and there were about 50,000 or 60,000 scouts there from all over the world," he said.

"All those young people just mixed, it was just unbelievable how much they mixed and came together.

Source: BBC

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Armenia says 135 soldiers killed in clashes with Azerbaijan

16 September, 2022

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Friday that 135 Armenian service personnel had been killed in clashes with Azerbaijan this week, the Interfax news agency reported from a session of Armenia’s parliament.

Pashinyan on Wednesday said 105 soldiers had died and that the figure was likely to rise.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Uttar Pradesh Holds Survey of Historic Islamic Seminary, Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, a 125-Year-Old Islamic Seminary in Lucknow

Sep 16, 2022

A three-member team of the Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday held a survey of Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, a 125-year-old Islamic seminary in Lucknow, as part of an ongoing exercise to assess unrecognised madrasas (religious schools) in the state, officials said.

The committee, comprising sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Naveen Chandra, block education officer (BEO) Rajesh Singh and district minority officer (DMO) Sone Kumar, arrived at the seminary for the survey at 10.20am and left around noon.

The team tried to collect information about the seminary, including details about its affiliation and source of income, Kumar said. The seminary is not affiliated to the state madrasa education board.

“The madrasa Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama is not recognised by the UP State Madrasa Education Board. The authorities here said the seminary is registered under the 1860 Societies Registration Act and is even older than the UP State Madrasa Education Board,” the DMO said.

“However, they (seminary) have some courses which are recognised by West Bengal and Bihar madrasa boards. They said they have applied for recognition of some graduate courses with Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Language University in Lucknow. They have promised to submit all the documents soon,” he added.

The controversial exercise, which began on September 10 and will be held over a span of 46 days, is in consonance with an order of the minority welfare and waqf department, directing UP Board of Madrasa Education and district magistrates across the state to carry a survey of all unaffiliated madrasas.

On August 31, minister of state for minority affairs Danish Azad announced that the state government will soon conduct a survey of unrecognised madrassas to gather information on the number of teachers, curriculum, basic facilities available there and their affiliation with any non-government organisations. The survey will be held in accordance with the requirement of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in connection with availability of basic facilities to students in madrassas, he said.

“Nadwa authorities said there are 2,410 students and 81 teachers in the seminary. They have a library with 2.5 lakh books. They also have a hostel for around 2,200 students,” Singh said.

On funding and source of income, authorities said they run the seminary with the support of the people and using the money they get in the form of rent from some property.

They were asked to provide documents to corroborate their statement, Kumar said. “Once they provide the details, all the members will sit and make a detailed report that will be submitted to the government,” he added.

The Nadwa management cooperated with the survey team and provided all information, vice-principal Abdul Aziz Nadwi said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Karnataka man accused of love jihad, assaulted by Hindu activists

16th September 2022

CHIKKAMAGALURU: A Hindu girl, in love with a Muslim boy, on Wednesday approached the sub-registrar’s office to register their marriage officially. A few pro-Hindu activists, who learnt about the incident, came to the office and allegedly assaulted the boy, terming the marriage as ‘Love Jihad’. The boy has lodged a complaint in connection with the assault at a police station.

The girl is from Lakshmipura, near Dasarahalli in Kasaba taluk. Members of a few Hindu outfits accused the boy of committing ‘Love Jihad’ and assaulted him. They took the pair to Basavanahalli Women’s police station.

Soon after the incident, district SP Uma Prashanth rushed to the police station. She said that the boy, who got engaged to marry the girl, had lodged a complaint accusing the Hindu activists of moral policing. She added that an investigation has been launched.

The police confirmed that the pair had agreed to marry with mutual consent without any coercion. They have also ruled out ‘Love Jihad’ and said that the moral policing incident will be investigated. The mother of the girl, Shobha, who is a labourer, arrived at the Women’s police station and demanded that the police show her daughter’s face.

Source: New Indian Express

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4 men booked for stopping inter-faith marriage: Police

Sep 16, 2022

Karnataka police on Thursday registered a case against four unidentified men, a day after a group of suspected Bajrang Dal workers stopped an interfaith marriage in Chikkamagaluru, officers said.

Police said a group of Bajrang Dal activists on Wednesday stopped the marriage of a Hindu woman to a Muslim man, terming it a case of “love jihad”.

An FIR was lodged on Thursday based on a complaint filed by the Muslim man, Basavanahalli police said.

The man and woman, both residents of Lakshmipuram in Chikkmagaluru taluk, were in love and they had planned to get married at the sub-registrar’s office in Chikkamagaluru. A group of Bajrang Dal activists, who got information about the marriage, intervened and stopped the marriage.

Chikkamagaluru superintendent of police Uma Prashanth said the couple were not minors and an investigation was underway to ascertain the identity of the four suspects.

“The Muslim man and Hindu woman were stopped on Wednesday by the four people from registering the marriage. The two were then taken to the women’s police station. The girl was asked to remain there and the four men took the Muslim man to the Chikkamagaluru rural police station,” Prashanth told reporters.

“In his complaint, the man said the four people had stopped him from getting married and hit him,” the SP added. The SP said it was an incident of “moral policing”.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Muslims arrested, Hindus untouched for violence in MP town

Syed Ali Mujtaba

15th September 2022

Bhopal: Anti- Muslim violence has come to light from Udaipura town in Raisen district Madhya Pradesh, during the Ganesh idol immersion procession. The incident took place on the night of September 10, 2022.

A Ganesh idol immersion procession stopped at a Muslim locality, playing loud music with provocative songs. When the procession halted near a madrasa and did not proceed further it angered the Muslim community living in there. A Muslim woman threw a slipper on a group of Hindu teenagers who were part of the procession and dancing in front of her home. It is alleged that some Muslims poured hot water on the procession from the rooftops which triggered violence.

Thereafter, the Hindu mob allegedly set on fire more than 12 vehicles belonging to the Muslims. A video has gone viral showing a group of enraged men toppling vehicles. Subsequently, as violence was exacerbated, a curfew was imposed in the area to maintain peace.

The police lodged an FIR against four Muslims, including two women for inciting violence. They also lodged a suo-moto FIR against unidentified persons for damaging Muslim properties and vehicles.

Amrat Meena, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Raisen district said, “All the four accused in the case have been arrested, and FIR against the unidentified person has been lodged as the accused are yet to be identified.”

The Hindu group is demanding the demolition of the properties of the four Muslims arrested in this case. This demand comes at a time when the state Home Minister Narottam Mishra has publically proclaimed; “Jis ghar se patthar ayenge, usi ke patthar nikale jayenge (Houses from where stones are thrown will be demolished).

Source: Siasat Daily

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Job discrimination against Indian Muslims rises by 9% in 16 years: Report


A higher number of Indian Muslims are jobless and face discrimination in accessing salaried jobs and income through self-employment compared to their non-Muslim fellow citizens, according to the UK’s independent charitable organizations focusing on global poverty alleviation.

In rural areas, unemployment among Muslims increased by 17% compared to non-Muslims during the first quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the rural Muslim unemployment rate to 31.4%, Oxfam stated in its “India Discrimination Report 2022,” which was released on Thursday.

While only 15.6% of the urban Muslim population aged 15 and above had regular salaried employment, nearly 23.3% of non-Muslims had regular salaried jobs in 2019-20.

Discrimination against Muslims in the labor market, which contributed to their low employment rate, rose to 68.3% in 2019-20.

The report shows that the discrimination faced by Muslims in 2004-05 was 59.3%, indicating an increase in discrimination by 9% over the last 16 years.

Regular-salaried non-Muslims in urban areas earn an average of 20,346 Indian rupees (about $255), which is 49% more than Muslims, who earn 13,672 Indian rupees (about $171).

Self-employed non-Muslims earn 15,878 Indian rupees (about $199) on average, while self-employed Muslims earn 11,421 Indian rupees (about $143) despite their overrepresentation in urban self-employment. This means non-Muslims are earning one-third more than Muslims in self-employment.

The report said the Muslim population in urban India is mostly engaged in self-employment compared to other communities, largely because of the low-quality family professions and related difficulties in finding other options in the labor market.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Ambedkar remarks cited in Karnataka HC hijab ban order ‘deeply offensive’, Muslim parties tell SC

by Ananthakrishnan G

New Delhi

September 16, 2022

Muslim appellants who have challenged the hjijab ban in Karnataka told the Supreme Court on Thursday that B R Ambedkar’s statement, extracted in the High Court’s judgment, is “deeply offensive” and “totally biased”, and it is not one “that should be repeated in India”.

“Ambedkar’s statement, although he was a pillar, is a deeply offensive statement. It is not a statement that should be repeated in India, great though he may have been. (It was a) totally biased statement,” senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing some of the appellants, told a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

The comments came following an exchange with the bench about the HC judgment. Gonsalves said, “The judgment, read as a whole, is basically from the majoritarian perspective. It does not conform to the kind of constitutional independence that a judgment ought to have…. I will show you why I say this…startling paragraphs and hurtful paragraphs.”

Explaining why the HC order “cannot be relied upon at all”, Gonsalves referred to parts of the verdict linking the wearing of hijab to cultural practices of the past, women’s emancipation, and developing a scientific temperament. “So (according to HC), hijab is not a part of religion…. I wear the hijab, (but according to HC) I can’t be emancipated. I wear the hijab, I can’t have scientific temperament,” he submitted.

He said the HC order links wearing of the hijab with indiscipline and chaos, with social separateness and sectarianism of every kind.

Intervening, Justice Dhulia said, “This was said in reference to what Dr Ambedkar had said at some point of time. So it is not the judge saying it.”

He also said that the verdict “cannot be read like a statute, cherry-picking (here and there)…this was said in some different context altogether”. He then asked Gonsvalves to read the part where the verdict quotes Ambedkar’s statement, as extracted from his book ‘Pakistan or the Partition of India’.

Referring to Ambedkar’s statement, the HC had said in its order, “What the chief architect of our Constitution observed more than half-a-century ago about the purdah practice equally applies to wearing of hijab. There is a lot of scope for the argument that insistence on wearing of purdah, veil, or headgear in any community may hinder the process of emancipation of women in general and Muslim women in particular.”

“So let’s not mix the entire thing,” Justice Dhulia told the senior counsel.

Gonsalves said the judgment is “not in keeping with constitutional values, and certainly not respectful of the rights of minority communities”. He asked why the hijab cannot be allowed if Sikhs can be allowed to wear turban. “The Constitution is a living organism…you change with the times…. What was previously not acceptable but today (has) to be accepted,” he added.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, also appearing for the appellants, said the matter should be referred to a Constitution Bench. Contending that “what you wear is an expression of the self”, Sibal said the question is, “if the right (to wear hijab) is available to me in a public place, is my fundamental right extinguished when I enter a school?”

He said that wearing a hijab is also a part of one’s persona and cultural tradition and asked, “Do I have a right to carry on my cultural tradition, or does that stop at college gate?”

Sibal said Muslim girls have been wearing the apparel since the birth of Karnataka, “and there has been no untoward incident”. He said there was no compelling need for the government to come out with the order.

The senior counsel also said that information obtained under RTI by the ‘Deccan Herald’ newspaper showed that “in government-aided and constituent colleges of Mangalore University, Uduppi district, 145 out of 900 Muslim girl students who had enrolled in 2020-21 and 2021-22 had collected transfer certificates” following the ban om hijab.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan contended that unlike a private club, a public educational institution, particularly a government institution, cannot impose a dress code.

Asked if he meant to say that government schools cannot have a uniform, Bhushan replied, “Yes, even if they can, they can’t restrict hijab.”

Advocate Shoeb Alam submitted that hijab is a matter of personal identity, and the extent to which an individual chooses to cover his or her body to feel secure from public gaze is a matter of personal choice. He argued that the right cannot be taken away by virtue of a person being in a public place.

Source: Indian Express

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Terrorist in touch with Pak handlers arrested in J&K’s Reasi

Sep 16, 2022

JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday arrested a terrorist, who was in touch with his handlers in Pakistan, from Resai and recovered arms and ammunition on his disclosure.

Reasi SSP Amit Gupta said that acting on a tip-off, police arrested Zaffar Iqbal of Bal, Angralla tehsil in Mahore from Plaasu Nallah. Upon being subjected to sustained interrogation, he confessed to his links with terror organisations.

During his questioning, the accused revealed that one of his relatives, Abdul Rashid of Ladh Tehsil in Reasi, was in Pakistan and was working with terror groups. His brother Mohd Ishaq was also a Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist and was killed in an encounter with security forces in Rajouri.

Based on Zaffar’s disclosure, a joint operation was launched in Angralla forest by teams of Reasi police, 58 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF’s 126 Battalion, the SSP said. Arms, ammunition and explosives, including pistols, four magazines, 22 live rounds of 9 mm and one grenade, were recovered from a hideout during the operation. Cash amounting to Rs 1,81,000, meant for terror-related activities, was also recovered.

Source: Times Of India

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South Asia


Bolton: World should be concerned about Increasing Influx of International Terrorists in Afghanistan: Former Advisor to US NSC

By Saqalain Eqbal

15 Sep 2022

John Bolton, a former adviser to the US National Security Council, said in an interview that the increased influx of international terrorists in Afghanistan should worry everyone in the world.

Bolton claimed that US intelligence findings show that ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorist groups are restructuring in Afghanistan in an interview with Voice of America (VOA).

Bolton told VOA that the rapid growth of ISIS and the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan has put not only Afghanistan but also the region and the rest of the world in grave danger.

The former National Security official of the US accused the Taliban government of having ties with international terrorist groups and failing to comply with the provisions of the Doha Agreement to battle terrorism.

“The Taliban have proven once again that their words are not worth the paper they are printed on. They have created a worldwide danger, not only in Afghanistan,” Bolton said.

According to the top former American official, the Taliban made assurances to the US in the Doha Agreement to break ties with the terrorists and prevent Afghanistan from functioning as a safe haven for terrorists once again.

However, the group, according to Bolton, has not fulfilled the commitments made under the Doha Agreement, especially with the stay of al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban accuse US of ‘usurping’ Afghanistan’s frozen assets

September 16, 2022

KABUL: Taliban authorities accused the United States on Thursday of having “usurped” Afghan assets, after Washington revealed plans to set up an external fund to manage $3.5 billion of its seized national reserves.

When the Taliban stormed back to power in August last year, the US froze $7 billion in central bank assets, exacerbating a poverty crisis caused by the collapse of the old regime and suspension of foreign aid.

Earlier this year US President Joe Biden revealed a plan to split the cash, with half for aid to Afghanistan and half going to victims of the 9/11 terror attacks that prompted the US-led invasion.

Since then Kabul’s new leaders have been courting Washington to unlock the aid cash as Afghanistan has been lashed by a winter food crisis, economic free-fall and devastating earthquake. But on Wednesday the US said the $3.5 billion would be stored in a professionally run fund, as it did not trust the Taliban leadership with the country’s money.

“The assets of the people of Afghanistan have been usurped by the United States,” government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. “We consider it an invasion on the property of Afghans,” he added. “The United States is not the owner of these assets.” He demanded the funds are released “without any conditions”.

The new Afghan Fund, based in Geneva, will not provide humanitarian assistance but will be put in charge of core central bank functions such as paying Afghanistan’s international arrears and for its electricity imports — and potentially for necessities such as printing currency.

Since the end of the 20-year military intervention, the US and other nations have been grappling with how to funnel aid to Afghanistan without going through the Taliban.

“There is currently no institution in Afghanistan that can guarantee that these funds would be used only for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan,” US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo wrote in a letter to the country’s central Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) on Wednesday.

“Until these conditions are met, sending assets to DAB would place them at unacceptable risk and jeopardize them as a source of support for the Afghan people,” said. DAB also criticised the plan to deposit its reserves in Switzerland.

Source: Dawn

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BSCO Summit in Uzbekistan: Taliban Officials Not Invited

By Saqalain Eqbal

15 Sep 2022

Due to opposition from several Shanghai Cooperation Organisation members, the Taliban leadership was not invited to the summit even though Afghanistan was one of the main topics of discussion for the Council of Heads of State at the SCO summit, international media reported.

This week, on September 15 and 16, Uzbekistan hosts the SCO summit in Samarkand under the theme “dialogue and cooperation in an interconnected world,” to which the Taliban officials are not invited.

The status of Afghanistan’s membership as an observer country in SCO remains unknown as a result of the Taliban’s reinstatement to power, Rahmatullah Nourimbtov, the coordinator for Uzbekistan at the SCO Summit, informed the media.

Along with the heads of the SCO’s full members, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, India, and Pakistan, the Samarkand meeting of SCO will also include Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia as heads of the observer countries.

In the months leading up to the SCO Summit, which started on Thursday the issue of whether or not to invite the Taliban was under discussion, according to foreign media reports.

According to ThePrint, citing diplomatic sources, some countries wanted to include the Taliban in the SCO Summit this year, but others refused.

The issue of the international recognition of the Taliban as the ruling body of Afghanistan is reported to have been the reason for not inviting the Taliban to the summit.

The Taliban Deputy spokesperson also stated the group has not been invited to the SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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UK Contributes £24M to Provide Emergency Support for Afghan Women, Children

By Arif Ahmadi

15 Sep 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has contributed an additional GBP 24 million towards UNICEF’s $2 billion Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for Afghanistan, UNICEF said in a report.

With these funds, UNICEF aims to deliver lifesaving nutrition, water and sanitation, and child protection services to over 1.6 million people affected by the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis. As estimated, around 1.3 million – 77 per cent – are children.

“We are grateful to the United Kingdom for its continued partnership during this critical time,” said Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan. “These funds will allow us to continue addressing the immediate needs of the most vulnerable girls, boys and women across the country.”

Meanwhile, the funds will enable UNICEF to improve the nutritional status of over 700,000 children, provide safe drinking water and improved hygiene awareness to more than 350,000 people, and increase access to key protection services, including mental health and explosive ordnance risk education support, for over 500,000 people.

A further 18,000 households with pregnant and lactating women will also benefit from humanitarian cash assistance intended to address their nutrition needs and provide an entry point for the provision of case management services to over 3,400 children.

Addressing the ongoing geopolitical and economic crisis in the country, Ayoya said, “Afghanistan remains one of the toughest places on earth to be a child. Children’s rights are under attack; their childhoods are marred by deprivation.”

“Compounding factors including drought, malnutrition, the spread of preventable disease, the detritus of war, a stagnating economy, and limited and fragile social basic services are exacerbating challenges for children and women,” he added.

This contribution from FCDO follows a GBP 25 million contribution made in 2021 towards UNICEF’s emergency response, the report stated.

What We Know About Afghanistan Economy Since the Takeover

The ongoing political crisis since the takeover last August has “hit hard” private sectors in Afghanistan, where businesses were halted and put to uncertainty, according to a latest survey conducted by the World Bank.

Due to shortage in sells, private companies have laid off more than a half of their employees on average, a rising concern on unemployment rate in the country.

“The majority of surveyed businesses reported a drastic decline in consumer demand for their products and services and have been forced to scale back operations, reduce investments, and lay off employees,” the report said. 

According to the survey, small enterprises have been hit hardest with about 38 percent of them seizing operation, comparing to a 25 percent among medium and 35 percent among large businesses in the country.

The finding shows Afghan domestic inputs have become more expensive and yet difficult to obtain due to supplier closure and supply chain disruptions, which all lead to price inflation since the beginning of political uncertainty.

Source: Khaama Press

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North America


Not too late' to conclude nuclear deal with Iran, US says as talks stall

Michael Hernandez  



It is "not too late" to secure a mutual return to compliance with the landmark nuclear deal world powers struck with Iran, the US said Thursday.

The State Department continued to blame Tehran for an ongoing impasse in the indirect talks, saying Iran has failed to respond reasonably to a draft agreement put forward by the EU that would enable it to receive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)'s economic benefits in return for its full compliance with the deal's nuclear-related restrictions and inspections.

"There is only one reason that we have not yet reached an understanding on a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA, and that is because Tehran has not yet accepted the reasonable basis presented by the EU," spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

"It's clear from Iran's response that these gaps still remain. Iran's response did not put us in a position to close a deal. But we continue to contend that it's not too late to conclude a deal, as long as we believe that pursuing a mutual return to compliance with the JCPOA is in the interests of the United States, and our national security interests," he added.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell presented the draft agreement to the parties in August and while it was initially met with signs of optimism from the parties, recent weeks have seen major gaps emerge.

Notably, reports have suggested that Iran revived its demand that an International Atomic Energy Agency probe into traces of uranium being found at three undeclared sites in 2019 be closed.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany and the EU. Under the agreement, Tehran committed to limiting its nuclear activities and allowed for a broad range of international inspections on its program in exchange for world powers agreeing to drop their economic sanctions against Iran.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iran condemns US charges against three over cyber attacks

15 September, 2022

Iran on Thursday strongly condemned what it called false accusations levelled by the United States against three of its citizens for alleged cyber-attacks in the US and other countries.

The US justice department unveiled the indictments on Wednesday accusing the trio of exploiting computer vulnerabilities to extort “hundreds” of victims, including inside Britain, Australia, Iran, Russia and the United States.

In a statement on Thursday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani “strongly condemned” the US measures against “citizens and companies on the false accusation of being involved in cyber-attacks.”

“Resorting to launching a propaganda campaign... against Iran is part of the failed Iranophobic policy of the American government, which of course will not lead anywhere,” Kanani said.

“The US, which has previously remained silent against numerous cyber-attacks against Iran... and has even directly or indirectly supported these attacks, lacks the jurisdiction to accuse others.”

The Islamic republic has also been targeted by cyber-attacks, most notably in 2010 when the “Stuxnet” virus -- believed to have been engineered by Israel and the US -- infected its nuclear program.

On Wednesday, the US justice department said a shelter for victims of domestic violence and a children’s hospital were among those targeted by the three accused between October 2020 and August 2022.

It identified the three accused as Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatibi Aghda, and Amir Hossein Nikaeen Ravari.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Blinken offers condolences to Armenia’s PM after Azerbaijan shelling kills scores

16 September, 2022

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Armenia’s prime minister on Thursday to convey Washington’s condolences for those killed by Azerbaijani attacks along the border, the State Department said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a battle for years over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh but fighting escalated this week, with each side blaming the other. A fragile ceasefire seems to have been held over the last 24 hours.

“The Secretary reiterated our commitment to helping Armenia and Azerbaijan resolve issues peacefully,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.

Price added that Blinken said diplomacy was the only way forward, pledging to remain personally engaged.

There was no reported call between Blinken and Azerbaijan’s president, but a senior State Department official said Thursday’s call with Nikol Pashinyan was at the latter’s request.

The official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, reiterated previous US calls for more direct engagement between Yerevan and Baku to reach a lasting solution but also criticized the shelling inside Armenia proper.

“We also have to think about the rights and the security of ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been an important element of this conflict. But I think also what was striking this week was the concern about shelling on sovereign Armenian territory,” the official said.

As for Russia’s role in the most recent ceasefire, the official played down any work so far by Moscow. “I will say we do not see any indication that Russian efforts contributed in a positive way towards securing the most recent ceasefire of this week,” the State Department official said.

According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the State Department, Defense Department, Energy Department, and USAID provided around $808 million for assistance for Azerbaijan in fiscal years 2002 through 2020.

Around $164 million of these funds were for security assistance to Azerbaijan. Asked if the US would consider cutting military aid after Azerbaijan attacked areas inside of Armenia this week, the official said it was too early to say.

“We are still in the early days of this, and I will say that we are still trying to understand exactly what happened on the ground. And that’s why our call has been initially for an immediate and full cessation of violence,” the official said. “And now that the ceasefire is in place, we are very focused on both sides maintaining that ceasefire.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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US House speaker heading to Armenia following Azerbaijan clashes: Report

Michael Hernandez



US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will travel to Armenia in what is being is billed as support for the Caucasus nation following clashes with neighboring Azerbaijan that left more than 170 dead, according to a report published Thursday.

Pelosi is slated to make the visit alongside congresswoman Jackie Speier, who is Armenian-American, following a summit in Berlin, the Politico news website reported.

Pelosi's office declined to confirm or deny the travel in advance when contacted by Anadolu Agency. It adopted the same position ahead of Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

While in Armenia, Pelosi will meet Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan, as well as other government officials, according to Politico.

The recent fighting claimed lives on both sides with Azerbaijan reporting 71 soldiers killed and two civilians wounded. Armenia said 105 of its soldiers were killed and six civilians were wounded. A cease-fire was declared Wednesday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Arab World


No active members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Qatari soil: Qatar’s Emir Tamim

15 Sep 2022

The Qatari Emir’s remarks came in an interview with the French Le Point Magazine published Wednesday on the last day of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s first-ever two-day visit to Doha.

In a question about the relationship between the Gulf state and the Islamist organisation – outlawed in several Arab countries including Egypt – Emir Tamim stated that Qatar deals with states and their legitimate government and not with political organisations.

“This relationship does not exist, and there are no active members of the Muslim Brotherhood or any related groups on Qatari soil. We are an open country and a large number of people with different opinions and ideas pass through it, but we are a country and not a party, and we deal with countries and their legitimate governments, not with political organisations,” the magazine quoted Emir Tamim as saying.

Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in 2013, the same year Egypt’s late Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power. Since then, bilateral diplomatic and political relations between Egypt and Qatar had been strained over the latter’s alleged support for the Brotherhood.

President El-Sisi said in May 2022 that the Brotherhood had repeatedly threatened to target the army and sow chaos across Egypt, adding that the Brotherhood’s Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat El-Shater – who is currently in prison after having been found guilty in several cases – had threatened him personally when the group ruled the country.

In 2017, Egypt along with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain cut ties and transport links with Qatar, accusing Doha of backing radical Islamist groups chief among them the Brotherhood and cooperating with Iran as well as interfering in other countries’ affairs. Such accusations have been denied by Qatar.

Since January 2021, the three Gulf states along with Egypt have resumed diplomatic ties with Qatar after signing the Al-Ula Declaration, which ended the three-and-half-year diplomatic and economic boycott the four Arab states had placed on Doha.

In the wake of Al-Ula Declaration, Cairo and Doha have agreed to move beyond their disputes and work towards settling all their outstanding issues, forming an Egyptian-Qatari follow-up committee that has held seven rounds of negotiations over the past year, the last of which was in Doha last September.

The course of the follow-up committee has seen the signing of a number of bilateral deals to bolster ties between the two countries, which eventually formed the Egyptian-Qatari High Joint Committee – headed by the two foreign ministers – in March.

According to the Egyptian Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Rady, El-Sisi’s visit to Doha this week was “a culmination of the intensive discussions held recently between the two countries with the aim of strengthening bilateral cooperation on all levels.”

El-Sisi’s visit to Doha comes after Emir Tamim’s visit to Cairo in June, which was his first since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties following the Al-Ula agreement.

Source: Ahram

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Iraqi PM visits Karbala as over three million Iranian pilgrims attend Arbaeen

15 September, 2022

Mustafa al-Kadhimi, the Iraqi caretaker prime minister, paid a visit to the holy city of Karbala on Wednesday to follow up on security and service measures as millions of Shia pilgrims from around the world arrived to mark Arbaeen.

Al-Kadhimi, accompanied by several security and public service ministers, met with officials in the province and emphasised on protecting visitors and providing services for them, according to a statement by the Iraqi government.

"Karbala embraces a large number of pilgrimages during Arbaeen, as well as during 10th of Muharam, nevertheless the infrastructure in our province and across Iraq is poor," Kadhimi said in the statement.  "However, the cooperation by people, state institutions, the local authorities and the holy shrines have big roles in reducing the obstacles."

Millions of Shia Muslims from around the world annually visit Iraq's holy city of Karbala, to attend the Arbaeen pilgrimage.

Arbaeen marks the end of the 40-day mourning period for the killing of Imam Hussein – a founding figure in Shia Islam and grandson of the Prophet Mohammed – by the forces of the caliph Yazid in 680 CE.

Iran's interior minister Ahmad Vahidi Wednesday was quoted by Iran's state media saying that the number of Iranians entering Iraq has exceeded three million, and around 1.5 million of them have already returned from the trip.

Eleven Iranian Shia Muslim pilgrims and their local driver died on Sunday in central Iraq when their minibus collided with a truck and burst into flames, a health official said.

Iraq's powerful cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sunday said that pilgrims should not hold weapons, and requested that Kadhimi's government not let Sadr's Saraya al-Salam militias or the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) control any checkpoints in or around the city.

Iraqi security forces recently confiscated weapons from Iranian visitors when they tried to enter the country through the official's border gates.

Political observers are cautioning of new chaos in Iraq by early next week, after Arbaeen ends, as Iran-backed Shia groups are trying to form a new government in defiance of Sadr and other liberal protestors. 

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, successive governments in Baghdad have been struggling to provide fresh drinking water, electricity and health services to r own citizens, especially during hot summer months.

Source: The New Arab

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IMF to send mission to Lebanon next week to discuss slow reform progress

15 September, 2022

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that a staff mission will visit Lebanon next week to discuss ways to “speed up” implementation of agreed reforms required for an IMF loan program amid deteriorating living conditions in the country.

“We are looking to support Lebanon as strongly as we can. It’s a difficult situation,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a regular news briefing. “There’s been slow progress in implementing some of the critical actions that we think are required to move forward with a program.”

The IMF and Lebanon in April reached a staff-level agreement on a $3 billion loan program, but this was contingent on enactment of a range of economic reforms, including addressing unrealized losses in Lebanon’s banking system.

The slow progress, including what the IMF views as “key deficiencies” in a proposed bank secrecy law, has raised questions about whether Lebanon has the political will to meet key conditions for a program.

Rice said the meetings in Beirut starting on Sept. 19 will “prepare the ground for a full mission” after a new Lebanese government is formed.

“Delaying the implementation of these reforms only increases the costs to Lebanon and Lebanese people,” Rice added.

Rice also said the Fund was “fully committed” to working closely with authorities in Egypt to help stabilize its economy amid shocks from the war in Ukraine, but declined to say whether a deal for an IMF loan program was close at hand.

Source: Al Arabiya

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New batch of Syrian prison photos opens ‘old wounds’

15 September, 2022

It had been nearly a decade since Mahmoud al-Khalaf laid eyes on his father, but he immediately recognized the bruised and battered face in the graphic photograph circulating online.

It was one of four published samples from a cache of 800 images allegedly showing Syrians who died in the summer of 2013 in government detention in the northern Aleppo Central Prison.

Reuters could not immediately verify the accuracy of the four photos published by the Syrian website Zaman al-Wasl. The Syrian government did not respond to a request for comment.

Zaman al-Wasl said it had received the full portfolio from the Syrian military photographer who took the images in 2014 and later defected, without disclosing the soldier's name.

A previous batch of photos taken by another Syrian military photographer codenamed Caesar who defected in 2013 set off a diplomatic furore when some of them were published in 2014. Former war crimes prosecutors described those images as clear evidence of systematic torture and mass killings.

A US law that imposed a tough round of sanctions on Syria in 2020 was named the Caesar Act, after the photographer.

Zaman al-Wasl called the latest cache of photos “Caesar 2”, suggesting the pictures have similar potential to shed light on the behavior of Syrian security forces.

Like the earlier photographs, the new batch of photos showed bodies with blackened skin, some with visible wounds to their torso and others with bruises around their eyes.

Khalaf said only part of his father's face was recognizable beneath the bruises.

“It was so hard to look at the picture and see what they did to him,” he told Reuters from Turkey, where he and his four siblings fled with their mother in 2014.

He said his father had been arrested in 2011, the year Syria's conflict broke out, and had not been heard from since.

“We still had a small sliver of hope that he was still alive. We never got official confirmation until now,” Khalaf said.

Zaman al-Wasl's editor-in-chief Fathi Buyud told Reuters at least one other family had also been able to identify a loved one in the photo.

‘Scream to the heavens’

Tens of thousands are estimated to have disappeared in Syria's prisons since 2011, leaving families both in the country and abroad wondering what happened to their relatives.

The UN Secretary General's office last month recommended establishing “a new international clarify the fate and whereabouts of persons reasonably believed to be missing in the Syrian Arab Republic”.

Without this mechanism, families like Khalaf's have searched for answers in photo dumps, death certificates published by Syrian authorities years after individuals passed away, or scanning surviving detainees released in official amnesties.

Syrian woman Yasmin Mashaan learned of her brother's death in government detention when someone tagged her in a photo from the Caesar cache that was circulating on social media platform Facebook in 2015.

“There's anger, sadness, you just want to scream to the heavens – and at the same time you think, 'thank God he doesn't have to be tortured anymore,'“ the 42-year-old told Reuters.

Mashaan, who now campaigns for other relatives of forcibly disappeared Syrians with the Caesar Families Association, said the new batch of photos from Aleppo “reopens old wounds.”

A study earlier this year by the association found that the unregulated publishing of such images by media outlets caused families “a lot of pain.”

Laila Kiki, executive director of The Syria Campaign, a group seeking justice for crimes during Syria's war, said the new photographs should be handed to Syrian rights groups and independent investigators to verify and use in possible international criminal proceedings.

“Family members of those disappeared and detained in Syria should not learn of their deaths in news reports or be forced to search through distressing images of tortured and mutilated corpses online to discover the fate of their loved ones,” Kiki told Reuters.

The Commission on International Justice and Accountability said it had not sought access to the new batch of photos, but said they “appear to verify” other allegations of violations.

“These photos may help shed light on (the) destiny of individual prisoners, many of whom lost their lives in Aleppo prison. They may also be used by national justice actors in any future cases,” said CIJA's director of external relations Nerma Jelacic.

War crimes investigators at the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said the “emergence of this reported cache of photographs” once again showed that an international mechanism to determine the fate of the missing “is urgently needed.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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With a Russian nudge, Turkey and Syria step up contacts

15 September, 2022

Turkey's intelligence chief has held multiple meetings with his Syrian counterpart in Damascus over the last few weeks, a sign of Russian efforts to encourage a thaw between states on opposite sides of Syria's war, four sources said.

A regional source aligned with Damascus told Reuters that Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT), and Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk met as recently as this week in the Syrian capital.

The contacts reflect a Russian policy shift as Moscow steels itself for a protracted conflict in Ukraine and seeks to secure its position in Syria, where its forces have supported President Bashar al-Assad since 2015, according to two Turkish officials and the regional source.

Any normalization between Ankara and Damascus would reshape the decade-long Syrian war.

Turkish backing has been vital to sustaining Syrian rebels in their last major territorial foothold in the northwest, after Assad defeated the insurgency across the rest of the country, aided by Russia and Iran.

But rapprochement faces big complications, including the fate of rebel fighters and millions of civilians, many of whom fled to the northwest to escape Assad's rule.

Turkey, a NATO member country, has troops on the ground across the area, deemed occupying forces by Assad.

During the meetings, Fidan - one of President Tayyip Erdogan's closest confidants - and Mamlouk evaluated how the two countries' foreign ministers could eventually meet, according to a senior Turkish official and a Turkish security source.

“Russia wants Syria and Turkey to overcome their problems and achieve certain agreements...which are in the interest of everyone, both Turkey and Syria,” said the Turkish official.

One big challenge is Turkey's desire to include Syrian rebels in any talks with Damascus, the official added.

Russian shift

The Turkish security official said Russia has gradually withdrawn some military resources from Syria in order to focus on Ukraine, and had asked Turkey to normalize relations with Assad to “accelerate a political solution” in Syria.

The Damascus-allied source said Russia had nudged Syria to enter talks as Moscow seeks to nail down its position and that of Assad in the event it must redeploy forces to Ukraine. Russia has sustained stunning losses on the ground in Ukraine over the past week.

The most recent meetings - including a two-day visit by Fidan to Damascus at the end of August - had sought to lay the ground for sessions at a higher level, the source said.

The senior Turkish official said Ankara does not want to see Iranian or Iran-backed forces - already widely deployed in government-controlled parts of Syria - plugging gaps left by Russian withdrawals.

The Turkish security official said neither did Russia want to see Iranian influence expand as it reduces its presence.

A diplomat based in the region said Russia had pulled a limited number of troops out of Syria's south earlier this summer, particularly in areas along the border with Israel that were later filled by Iran-aligned forces.

While Fidan and Mamlouk have spoken intermittently over the last two years, the pace and timing of recent meetings suggests a new urgency to the contacts.

The regional source allied to Damascus and a second senior pro-Assad source in the Middle East said the Turkish-Syrian contacts had made a lot of progress, without giving details.

A third regional source aligned with Damascus said Turkish-Syrian relations had begun to thaw and were advancing to a stage of “creating a climate for understanding”.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the contacts, which have not been publicly disclosed.

The Russian foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkey's MIT declined to comment and the foreign ministry did not immediately comment. The Syrian information ministry did not immediately reply to emailed questions from Reuters.

Unthinkable becomes thinkable

Turkish-Syrian rapprochement seemed unthinkable earlier in the Syrian conflict, which spiraled out of an uprising against Assad in 2011, killing hundreds of thousands of people, drawing in numerous foreign powers, and splintering the country.

Erdogan has called Assad a terrorist and said there could be no peace in Syria with him in office, while Assad has called Erdogan a thief for “stealing” Syrian land.

But in an apparent change of tone last month, Erdogan said he could never rule out dialogue and diplomacy with Syria.

Erdogan faces tight elections next year in which a key issue will be repatriating some of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees now in Turkey.

The Turkish-Syrian contacts come against the backdrop of a flurry of meetings between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, including one planned on Friday in Uzbekistan.

In July, Turkey helped seal a UN-backed deal that lifted a blockade on grain exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports which had prevailed since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbor.

After a recent visit to Moscow, Erdogan said Putin had suggested Turkey cooperate with Damascus along their joint border, where Ankara has waged several offensives into areas where Syrian Kurdish groups have carved out autonomy since 2011.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Dubai court orders Sanjay Shah, others to pay Denmark $1 billion

16 September, 2022

A Dubai court has ordered Sanjay Shah and several other people and companies tied to the hedge fund trader to repay Denmark more than 8 billion kroner ($1.1 billion), broadcaster DR reported on Thursday citing tax authorities.

The Danish Tax Agency, which confirmed the ruling, said it “is satisfied with the decision of the appellate court against one of the central players in the fraud committed against Denmark.”

The agency declined to provide further details or confirm the amount.

Denmark has sought to claw back more than $2 billion that authorities said networks of bankers, lawyers and others defrauded the country out of.

Shah was named as the mastermind of the scheme in which pension plans filed for tax returns to which they weren’t entitled, because they never paid the taxes to begin with. Shah maintained his innocence.

Jack Irvine, a spokesman for Shah, said that his lawyers intend to lodge an appeal. Bloomberg couldn’t confirm the ruling directly with the Dubai court.

Shah, who was arrested in Dubai earlier this year, won’t be extradited to Denmark to face charges in connection cum-ex case, a court in the country ruled Monday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish forces 'neutralize' 5 PKK terrorists in northern Iraq

Zehra Nur Düz 


Turkish security forces "neutralized" five PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, near the Turkish border, authorities said on Thursday.

The terrorists were targeted in the Operation Claw-Lock zone, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

Turkish authorities use the term "neutralize" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

Türkiye launched Operation Claw-Lock in April to target PKK terrorist hideouts in northern Iraq's Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan regions, near the Turkish border.

It was initiated after Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle to root out terrorists hiding in northern Iraq and plotting cross-border attacks in Türkiye.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Two of world's oldest mosques discovered in Israel’s Negev desert

Hadeel Al Gherbawi

eptember 16, 2022

In June, the Israel Antiquities Authority unearthed an ancient mosque dating back 1,200 years in the Bedouin city of Rahat in the Negev desert in southern Israel.

Back in 2019, the authority uncovered another mosque dating back to the seventh and eighth centuries AD.

In a June 8 statement, the authority explained that both the previous and new discoveries of mosques suggest that the area made a transition from Christianity to Islam, adding that the first relics found were marble columns belonging to churches.

The authority stated that the excavation works will continue and the mosques will be restored and preserved as historical monuments.

Yasser al-Amour, who has worked at the Israel Antiquities Authority for 28 years, was among the first people to unveil the discoveries of the mosques in the Negev.

“I was truly overwhelmed when we found the two mosques. I even called my Muslim colleagues to prayer. An indescribable feeling took over me. These two mosques are among the oldest in the world and evidence of the presence of Islam for more than 1,200 years,” he told Al-Monitor.

“Of course, there are other mosques in the area, but these two will turn Rahat into a tourist area,” he added.

Amour explained that “the population of Rahat is about 75,000 people, all of whom are Muslim Bedouins and most of whom took part in this great exploration. This archaeological site will bring economic benefits to the city’s residents.”

“The municipality of Rahat demanded [of the Israel Antiquities Authority] that a new mosque be built next to the newly discovered ones in a bid to attract visitors and tourists to the area. The municipality also called on the Israeli Ministry of Antiquities to preserve and renovate these discoveries, which are a source of pride for us, as Muslims, and for the city of Rahat,” he added.

“The two mosques actually mark the end of the Umayyad era and the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate, i.e., the advent of Islam in the year 636 AD,” he explained.

Amour said that these “great discoveries took place during construction works to expand the city and build new housing units for the residents. We actually discovered four archaeological sites, including these two mosques.”

“The site is really ancient, dating back more than 1,000 years, and the mosques are unique and sacred and are as significant as Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Although there are many well-known mosques inside Jerusalem, it is rare to find a place of worship that is that ancient,” Amour added.

Archaeologists at the Israeli Ministry of Antiquities began excavation works in the city of Rahat in January. They discovered several sites and monuments dating back to the period between the Byzantine era and the modern Islamic era.

These archaeological sites, which include churches and mosques, are further proof that the region was under the yoke of the Christian Byzantine rule for hundreds of years before the emergence of Islam, thus the presence of mosques.

Mansour al-Nasasira, a lecturer in international relations at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, told Al-Monitor, “These discoveries date back to the seventh and eighth centuries AD, which was during the Umayyad caliphate. This period of time witnessed many conquests — and Beersheba, one of the Negev desert’s cities in which excavations were carried out, was anciently the headquarters of the Islamic leader Amr Ibn al-Aas.”

“The area was inhabited by Muslims during that time. The new discovery did not come as a surprise to us, as many foreign missions had visited different areas in Palestine, including the Negev desert, and unearthed significant archaeological monuments dating back to the Islamic period,” he added.

Nasasira explained that “these [discoveries] of mosques, agricultural villages and the ancient soap factory [in 2020] are evidence that the area was an extremely important agricultural area during that period, which refutes the Israeli narrative claiming that the Negev desert had not been inhabited and does not have any relics or antiquities.”

Omar Zaidan, an antiquities inspector in Acre in Israel who took part in the excavation and exploration works in Rahat, told Al-Monitor, “We found many peasant houses that date back to the Umayyad era, which consisted of a room and a kitchen with pottery and ovens. But the mosques that date back more than 1,200 years were the highlight of our discoveries.”

“Every hill in the site where we carried out our excavation works revealed to us houses and relics dating back to that period of time. Excavations are ongoing, which means that we will have new information to fill the gaps regarding the Umayyad period in the area,” he added.

Despite the paramount significance of the discovery, it was not spared the political bickering between the Palestinian archaeologists and the official Israeli authorities.

In fact, the discovered mosques confirm that since ancient times, the Palestinians inhabited the Negev and built their houses of worship and cultivated lands, which is in conflict with Israeli claims that the Bedouins have no history in Palestine.

Kayed Abu Latif, a resident of Rahat, told Al-Monitor, “These discoveries created controversy in the area because it had been said that Bedouins were invaders and not indigenous population, and that the Negev desert was not inhabited and did not have any archaeological landmarks.”

“But now, with these discoveries, the official narrative has changed. The Negev desert is a very strategic location linking the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt. And now, it has also become an important archeological area,” he added.

The Israeli Ministry of Antiquities also uncovered Aug. 23 a desert mansion that dates back more than 1,200 years.

Source: Al Monitor

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Iran Calls for Mechanisms to Hold Sanctioning Countries Accountable


Qaribabadi made the comments during his speech at the 51st regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva where he spoke about the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures (UCM) on the enjoyment of human rights.

He said on Wednesday that the Iranian people are the main victims of sanctions that are imposed against them as a war tool, and added that the sanctions have been imposed under the so-called maximum pressure campaign that has been launched with the aim of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Iranian people.

The Iranian rights official blasted the United States and its allies for their unilateral coercive measures against Iranians, noting the measures violate the basic principles of international law, the United Nations Charter as well as fundamental human rights.

He underlined the need for the establishment of effective mechanisms in order to hold the sanctioning states to account, stressing that the step must be an integral part of any appeal and legal discourse on the negative impacts of sanctions.

“How come certain states, which are always pretending to support the human rights of Iranians, have the face to encroach upon the rights of Iranians on a large scale by imposing and supporting cruel sanctions or remaining silent about them?” the human rights chief went on to question.

Qaribabadi underscored that it was an absolute necessity to establish a conceptual framework for a compensation and grievance mechanism in order to make reparations to the victims of human rights violations as a result of sanctions.

The judiciary official stated that significant attention should be paid to the impacts of unlawful unilateral coercive measures.

In 2018, the United States began to unilaterally reimpose sanctions against Iran after former President Donald Trump's administration abandoned the 2015 nuclear agreement and launched what it called a maximum pressure campaign against Tehran at the time, targeting the Iranian nation with the “toughest ever” sanctions.

Washington has insisted that sanctions on Tehran do not affect the trade of humanitarian items and food. However, strict bans on banking transactions involving Iran have made it impossible for the country to access critically needed medicine and medical equipment over the past years.

Iranian authorities say the Unite States has been bullying companies in Europe and other parts of the world to make them stop trading with Tehran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian Envoy: Israeli Raids on Syria's Civilian Infrastructures Amounts to War Crime


Iravani made the remarks on Wednesday through a statement before the United Nations Security Council meeting on "The situation in the Middle East: (Syria)".

"We reiterate our consistent position that there is no military solution to Syria. The crisis must be resolved peacefully, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law, as well as with full respect for the independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic," The permanent representative of Iran said.

"Ending the occupation and ongoing violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria is essential for such a solution and political process," he added.

"The fight against terrorism must not be used to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria," the official continued, stressing, "The illegal presence of foreign forces in parts of Syria, which has created ideal conditions for terrorist activities, must be ended."

"Recent military airstrikes in the Northeast of Syria by illegal foreign forces cannot be justified under Article 51 of the Charter or by an arbitrary interpretation of self-defense. These attacks constitute a flagrant violation of international law and the United Nations Charter," Iravani stated.

"The free movement of terrorist organizations within Syrian territory, where foreign forces are illegally present, endangers regional and international peace and security," the Iranian official noted.

"We strongly condemn the repeated aerial military aggression and violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic by the Israeli regime," he continued.

"The ongoing Israeli regime’s attacks, particularly the systematic and deliberate targeting of civilians and critical infrastructure in Syria, including the most recent attack on Aleppo International Airport on August 31, are a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and constitute an act of aggression and a war crime," Iran's envoy stressed.

"We call on the Security Council to hold this regime accountable for such violations and atrocities, which threaten regional and international peace and security," he stated.

"We support Syria’s standing in the region and its improved bilateral relations," Iravani said, adding, "The Syrian Arab Republic has always played a significant role in regional peace and security. A secure, stable, and prosperous Syria benefits the Syrian people, the region, and the international community."

Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, as a result of which Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other terrorist groups emerged in the country.

Israel frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian Army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

The Tel Aviv regime rarely comments on its cowardly attacks on Syrian territories, which many see as a knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s success in confronting and decimating terrorism.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Israel’s election campaign kicks off, polls predict further deadlock

15 September, 2022

Israeli political parties submitted their final lists of candidates on Thursday for an unprecedented fifth election in four years, which looks unlikely to break the deadlock between former premier Benjamin Netanyahu and his bitter rivals.

The Nov. 1 ballot will see the veteran Netanyahu leading a bloc of right-wing and ultra-religious parties against centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid who is leading a far more fragmented camp, spanning left to right.

So far polls have shown neither camp winning an outright majority in Israel’s 120-seat Knesset, an outcome that analysts say could leave Israel facing many more months of political uncertainty as economic and security troubles mount.

Since 2019, Israel has seen four inconclusive elections deliver two short-lived coalition governments and just one state budget while Netanyahu stands trial on corruption charges that he denies.

“Israel has been in political crisis mode since 2019. This has deep implications for policymaking across the board. The country is paying a price,” said Israel Democracy Institute President Yohanan Plesner.

He noted long-needed economic, education and transportation reforms that would help lower soaring living costs and expand Israel’s work force.

Netanyahu, who was in power consecutively from 2009 to 2021, on Wednesday pledged to form a “strong, stable and national” government that he pledged would “quash terrorism, restore national pride and reduce living costs.”

But while his Likud party is likely to be the largest in parliament, recent polls show his camp, comprising three more factions, falling between one and four seats short of a commanding majority.

At the same time, Lapid’s camp is set for an even weaker showing and its various parties have ruled out membership in any Netanyahu coalition government.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israeli premier holds talks with UAE foreign minister in Jerusalem

Said Amouri 



Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday met with United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at his office in Jerusalem.

A statement by Lapid's office said the Israeli premier had, at first, a session between him and the top Emirati diplomat before holding an expanded meeting with teams from both sides.

Lapid and bin Zayed reviewed bilateral relations and ways to develop their cooperation in the fields of economy, agriculture, energy and food security.

According to the statement, the two sides congratulated each other on the second anniversary of the normalization of ties between the two countries.

Lapid also voiced support to Abu Dhabi in the face of what he said "terrorist attacks" -- in reference to drone attacks targeting the city by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in January.

In September 2020, the UAE and Israel signed a US-sponsored deal to normalize their relations. Since then, the two countries have exchanged official visits by senior officials and signed dozens of bilateral agreements in various fields, including investment, banking services, and tourism.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Pakistan faces TTP, JeM hurdle in exiting FATF grey list

16 Sep-2022

Islamabad: The UN's anti-terrorism watchdog - the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) - will meet next month to evaluate not just enacting of laws and their enforcement, but also individuals and terror groups suspected to be the beneficiaries in Pakistan, reported local media.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is scrambling to play down the rebellious Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)'s marauding of innocent civilians in the Swat Valley, but also convince the FATF that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief, Masood Azhar, is absconding and is not being sheltered on Pakistan territory, reported Islam Khabar. Pakistan's record on the flow of funds into terrorist activities has been under sustained scrutiny by FATF which has placed it on the 'grey' list since 2018.

Pakistan has to explain not only Azhar but also the role of his chief aide, Sajid Mir, besides others who conduct their activities in and out of Pakistan in a shadowy manner.

For form's sake, Islamabad has sent a formal letter to Kabul, ruled by an intransigent Taliban group, to locate Azhar. But it can expect no cooperation for a simple reason: Kabul is not obliged to help Islamabad and it is not affected by the FATF scrutiny, reported Islam Khabar.

Indeed, the entire Afghanistan-Pakistan region is a hotbed of terrorist activity and its massive financing, partly from the huge quantities of narcotics that Afghanistan produces year after year, irrespective of who rules in Kabul.

Of course, both nations deny the presence of any terrorist group, when affiliates of Al Qaida and Islamic State - Province of Khorasan (ISPK) are having a field day.

As for the TTP, it has claimed responsibility for nearly 13 attacks in the tribal areas since September 2, leaving nobody in doubt of its growing clout, continued defiance of the government and tacit support it enjoys from the Kabul regime.

On the TTP's role, Dawn newspaper (September 14, 2022) referred to a debate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly when lawmakers "pointed to the rising incidents of gun attacks, targeted killings and extortion in the sensitive area, while it was also said that militants were roaming around freely in parts of the province."

The FATF sent a team this month to see on-the-ground enforcement of the measures against money laundering. On return from the visit, it reported that Pakistan's capability to enforce the anti-terror measures remains 'low,' Pakistani newspapers reported last week, reported Islam Khabar.

In an editorial (September 14, 2022), Dawn newspaper linked FATF and militancy and noted that Pakistan's level of effectiveness is "low" on 10 of 11 anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terror goals, even though the country is compliant with 38 out of 40 technical recommendations."

With Pakistan facing multiple crises, the newspaper demanded transparency on dealing with the FATF as it "simply cannot afford to ignore this matter, as being put back on the grey list will impact the country's ability to attract foreign investment and trade freely with the world."

Source: First India

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PTI hits out at govt for fanning ‘religious hatred’ against Imran

Ikram Junaidi

September 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Leaders of the formerly ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday lashed out at the coalition government for what they called creating religious discord against party chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan.

Separately, the party submitted a requisition for a Senate session on the raid on Senator Saifullah Khan Nyazee’s residence in Islamabad.

Former religious affairs minister Noorul Haq Qadri, former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser and former federal minister Iftikhar Durrani held a press conference here in the capital and alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was running an organised campaign to make former premier Khan controversial among people.

Their reaction comes hours after PML-N federal minister Javed Latif, in a press conference, alleged that Mr Khan had “attacked the basic principles of Islam” while in power.

Former minister Qadri, who enjoys a following among religious circles, said he had joined the PTI due to the party’s both religious and political ideologies. He said Imran Khan always expressed his love and respect for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He warned that the allegations levelled by the government were dangerous and could lead to divisions and violence among the masses.

Asad Qaiser also criticised Latif’s statements, saying such comments would lead to religious discord. He claimed former prime minister Khan was at the peak of his popularity and their party comprised people from all segments of society.

Iftikhar Durrani said the government was violating the National Action Plan as well as the Constitution by spreading religious hatred. He alleged that the PML-N was founded on the basis of dictatorship.

Senate session requisition

Meanwhile, a delegation of PTI senators, led by leader of the opposition in the house Dr Shahzad Waseem, submitted a requisition to Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani for a session of the upper house of parliament on the alleged political victimization of party Senator Saifullah Khan Nyazee and violation of the sanctity of his private residence by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officers and armed policemen.

The delegation comprised senators Dr Waseem, Nyazee, Faisal Javed, Azam Swati, Abdul Qadir, Saifullah Abro, Seemee Ezdi, Fawzia Arshad, Dost Mohammad and Falak Naz Chitrali were also part of the delegation.

The senators asked the upper house chairman to take appropriate action on the breach of the privilege of a parliamentarian.

Dr Waseem claimed Senator Nyazee’s house was raided by FIA officers and armed policemen as part of the continued political victimisation of PTI leadership and workers. He further said the sanctity of the PTI lawmaker and his private property had been violated.

Senator Nyazee also submitted a privilege motion against the Islamabad police and FIA over the breach of his privilege. He said as soon as he reached home, he was ambushed by a dozen FIA officers and armed policemen who snatched his mobile phone and took away laptops from his car.

“They entered my house violating the sanctity of my private property and even barged into my bedroom,” he claimed.

Nyazee said they searched through his belongings and took away many other things, including his wife’s mobile phone. He said the behaviour of the FIA and Islamabad police, including alleged harassment of his wife and daughters, was tantamount to the breach of privilege of the house of the federation and its member, therefore, the Senate chairman should take appropriate action on this breach.

Source: Dawn

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‘Don’t downplay seriousness of terrorism charges,’ IHC CJ tells govt in terror case against Imran Khan

September 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday told the government not to downplay charges as serious as terrorism while questioning whether PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s speech against a female judge and Islamabad police warrants the offence.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah made the remarks while hearing a plea seeking dismissal of the terror case against PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Khan was booked in a case under sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ACT) for making threatening remarks against an additional sessions judge and senior officials of the Islamabad Police in his speech at a rally.

The party had moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to grant Khan transit bail till August 25, but the court had directed the former premier to approach an ATC as it was a terror case.

The FIR registered against Khan states that he threatened Additional Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and police officers at a rally in F-9 Park to “terrorise” police officials and the judiciary.

The main aim was to prevent the police officers and judiciary from carrying out their legal obligations, states the FIR. The FIR was registered on the complaint of Magistrate Ali Javed in Islamabad’s Margalla Police Station under Section 7 of ATA.

A two-member bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Saman Rifat conducted hearing on PTI’s plea.

At the outset of the hearing, the Justice Minallah said that the court had ordered Imran Khan to join the investigation and asked the investigation officer to guide the court on whether the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) is applicable to the former premier’s statement.

“Do not confuse things, as a separate case of contempt of court is under trial against Imran Khan,” the chief justice said.

At this, the special prosecutor informed the court that Khan appeared before the joint investigation team (JIT) to record his statement on Wednesday.

Following the court’s directives, Abbasi read the transcript of Imran Khan’s “threatening” speech at the rally, contending that sections of ATA apply to the words used in the speech.

“Is there anything else other than his [Imran Khan] speech? This allegation is of a very serious nature. There is a Supreme Court verdict on the matter,” Justice Minallah said.

“The speech was absolutely wrong, with inappropriate words used, but does not warrant terrorism charges,” the judge remarked.

“Don’t downplay the seriousness of terrorism charges,” IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah said, while responding to the arguments of the special prosecutor.

The IHC adjourned the hearing till September 19, while directing the JIT officials to meet and then inform the court about the developments in the probe on Monday (September 19).

At a rally at the F-9 park in Islamabad, the PTI chair had warned that he would “not spare” Islamabad’s inspector-general, deputy inspector general, and female magistrate, vowing to file cases against them for allegedly torturing PTI leader Shahbaz Gill.

“We will not spare the IG and DIG,” he said while addressing the rally. The former prime minister called out Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry, who had approved Gill’s two-day physical remand at the request of the capital police, and said she, too, should prepare herself as a case will also be registered against her.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Second anti-Taliban tribal leader killed in Swat in week

September 15, 2022

PESHAWAR: A second member of a local state-allied peace committee was shot dead in the space of a week by unidentified gunmen in Charbagh town of Swat late on Wednesday, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

The police identified the deceased as Shirin Khan whose bullet-riddled body was discovered in a nearby area.

After the incident, a police team reached the spot and cordoned off the area to arrest the accused who managed to escape.

According to Rifaqat Ullah, a journalist, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group has claimed responsibility for the killing. Pakistan Today couldn’t independently verify the claim.

Khan’s killing came less than a week after a blast in the picturesque region killed five people, including an influential anti-Taliban tribal leader, on Tuesday, in the first major bombing in over a decade in a city that was once a battleground between the army and TTP.

The attack comes as fears rise about the return of the TTP to Swat, and peace talks between Pakistan Army and Afghanistan-based militants, that started last year, have failed.

Meanwhile, locals and several civil society groups staged a demonstration in Mingora city to protest the recent wave of militancy in Swat.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Ashrafi urges Muslim world’s aid agencies to help flood victims in Pakistan

SEPTEMBER 16, 2022

Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and Middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, emphasizing the need to accelerate the relief activities, Thursday urged the Muslim world’s aid agencies to help the flood victims in Pakistan.

Talking to APP, Ashrafi who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council, assured the development charities for all possible support to conduct relief and rehabilitation work in the flood-hit areas of the country.

“His august office and state institutions doors are always open to those organizations and individuals want to help the people facing critical situation due to monsoon rains and flash floods in the country,” he added.

He also asked the government machinery to further improve the cooperation and coordination mechanism with the national and international philanthropists and welfare agencies that wanted to carry out relief activities in the flood affected areas.

Expressing gratitude to Saudi government for taking extraordinary measures to help the flood-stricken people in Pakistan, he said the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) had dispatched hundreds of tons relief goods including food, medical supplies and shelters in the affected areas so far.

Ashrafi also welcomed the KSrelief’s initiative for launching a countrywide humanitarian campaign to help the flood affected people in Pakistan.

He said Khateeb and Chief Imam of Masjid Al Haram Sheikh Abdul Rehman Al Sudais had also appealed the Muslim Ummah to come ahead for all-out support to the affected people.

Keeping in view the prevailing crisis, he proposed the political leadership of the country to express unity particularly to cope with this national emergency on a war footing.

Lauding Ulema and Mashaykh’s contribution in the rescue and relief activities across the country, he said they

Source: Daily Times Pakistan

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Pak court grants bail to Imran’s aide in sedition case

Sep 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad high court on Thursday granted bail to a top aide of Pakistan’s former PM Imran Khan in a sedition case. Shahbaz Gill, Khan’s chief-of-staff since his ouster from office in April, was arrested last month over his comments on a TV channel that were described by authorities as “highly hateful and seditious” and intended to “incite the armed forces towards revolt”.

He was booked for stoking up mutiny by asking junior officers not to follow “illegal” orders of their officers that violated “the will of the majority”.

Gill, who claimed to have been humiliated, tortured and sexually abused during detention, had approached the Islamabad high court last week after a trial court denied him bail.

During Thursday’s hearing, chief justice Athar Minallah granted bail to Gill on a surety bond of Pakistani rupees 500,000 (approximately $2,200), but ruled that the investigation against him in the sedition case must continue.

“No one should be deprived of the right to be released on bail until there is solid evidence against him/her. There wouldn’t be any remedy if the person turns out to be innocent later,” Justice Minallah remarked.

Following Gill’s arrest, the government had also cancelled the operating license of ARY News, the channel that had aired his conversation during a live political talk show.

Imran Khan’s strong reaction against his aide’s arrest involved him in legal contests, too. A terrorism case was filed against him for threatening to take “legal” action against police officers over Gill’s arrest and torture.

Source: Times Of India

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PM Shehbaz Sharif says, "Even friendly countries started looking at Pakistan as beggars"

Sep 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has presented a bleak picture of the country's dwindling economy, regretting that even friendly countries have started looking at Pakistan as one that was always begging for money.

"Today, when we go to any friendly country or make a phone call, they think that we have come [to them] to beg for money," Dawn news quoted the prime minister as saying in an address to a lawyers' convention on Wednesday.

Sharif said even small economies have surpassed Pakistan, "and we have been wandering for the past 75 years carrying a begging bowl".

According to Sharif, Pakistan's economy was facing a "challenging situation" even before the floods, whi-ch had made it more "complicated".

He said Pakistan was on the verge of "economic default" when he assumed power in April, following the ouster of then prime minister Imran Khan, and the coalition government had saved the country from default through its hard work.

He added that the coalition government led by him controlled "to some extent" the economic instability in the cash-strapped nation.

Admitting that inflation was "at its peak" when he took charge, the premier indirectly blamed the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government for this situation in the country.

Sharif alleged that the previous rulers had violated the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), compelling the incumbent government to agree on tough conditions.

The IMF had even threatened withdrawal of its programme if the agreed conditions were not met, he added.

The IMF on August 29 approved a bailout package for cash-starved Pakistan, including disbursement of about USD 1.18 billion.

The IMF move followed the completion of the USD 4 billion in bilateral financing from four friendly nations, including China.

The prime minister also warned of a possible gas crisis in the coming winter, stating that he had been struggling to arrange gas before the advent of the winter season.

He said the rains and floods had played unprecedented havoc in the country, adding that such climate-induced catastrophe had perhaps not been witnessed anywhere in the world, according to the Dawn report.

The cash-strapped nation has been struggling with the worst floods in the past 30 years, leaving more than 1,400 dead and 33 million people affected since early June.

A third of the country is submerged in water and one in every seven persons is badly affected by the floods that have led to an estimated USD 12 billion in losses that have left about 78,000 square kilometres (21 million acres) of crops under water.

The UN said that USD 150 million have been pledged so far in response to flash appeals for Pakistan's flood victims but only USD 38 million has been converted into assistance.

While several countries have come forward to provide aid to Pakistan in such a crisis, Pakistan and the UN had launched a flash appeal for USD 160 million in initial funding out of which USD 150 million has been pledged.

United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Julien Harneis said the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Australia, Singapore, and others were the main donors besides the Central Emergency Response Fund of the United Nations, which raised USD 10 million.

Meanwhile, the Nepalese government Wednesday sent humanitarian relief materials to Pakistan to support the flood-affected people. The Nepal Airlines chartered flight carried food items, medicines, and garments apart from other household items.

Canada on Wednesday announced an additional USD 25 million of funding in humanitarian assistance to support Pakistan in this difficult time.

Source: Times Of India

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Buttler ‘excited’ as England arrive in Pakistan after 17 years

Mir Shabbar Ali

September 16, 2022

KARACHI: England have arrived, finally, after 17 long years and after they abruptly called off their visit to Pakistan last year.

All is forgiven now as the 19-man side checked into a five-star hotel here on a quiet afternoon on Thursday, ahead of what will be an extensive Twenty20 International series.

Led by Jos Buttler, England will play seven games against the hosts, with the last scheduled for October 2, just 20 days before their first match at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

“We’re all excited to be here and very much looking forward to the tour and it is great to be back as an England cricket team after a long time,” Buttler told a news conference on Thursday.

England are without the likes of key players in all-rounders Liam Livingstone and Ben Stokes and pacer Chris Jordan for the Pakistan tour. The trio, however, has been named in the T20 World Cup squad.

While the Pakistan series will give the visitors the time and space to delve into and experiment numerous possibilities, it will also be about the players’ workload management — a phenomenon that is now common in the sport with the advent of T20 leagues.

“For many of us to build up towards the World Cup, we’re in a bit of a unique situation as a team with few guys who are injured and will be fit in time for the World Cup but not necessarily fit here,” said Buttler.

“There’s a few guys who are coming back to full fitness so we’ll have to manage ourselves through this tour and obviously the main aim for everyone is to turn up to Australia, fully ready to go to the World Cup.

“It’s important to us in that sense to get players to where we want them to be to familiarise some roles.”

The absence of some regular players might see a group of emerging youngsters and second-string personnel in action during the Pakistan games. Few of those who are likely to feature have decent experience of playing in the country via the Pakistan Super League, namely David Willey, Phil Salt, Will Jacks, Liam Dawson, Harry Brook, Luke Wood and Ben Duckett.

Their presence will give England an edge on the ground, but these players have also contributed in England’s decision to send a nearly full-strength team to Pakistan.

“Many of our players have played in the PSL and shared their positive experiences from being here and more than anything how much the public here love their cricket so we are delighted to be here and looking forward to the series,” Buttler said.

The England skipper believed the series will deliver high-quality cricket and it was important for the visitors, ranked top in the world, to not take Pakistan lightly.

“Pakistan are a very strong side we look forward to challenging ourselves against them and I expect to see some great cricket,” Buttler said.

“We know how strong Pakistan are and also how volatile T20 cricket is, its not necessarily a game where you need to be the favourite.

“There are a lot of match winners on both teams and that’s what you need in T20 cricket.”

The high number of games, Buttler said, would help England go through rigorous preparatory routine going into the World Cup.

“They will give us a very tough challenge and we look forward to that to be battle-hardened going into the World Cup after tough seven-match series,” the 32-year-old observed.

“Seven games will be a challenge; some of them are back to back as well.”

The England players have also decided to make a donation to the Disaster Emergency Committee’s appeal for the people affected by the recent floods in Pakistan.

The call has been supported by England players’ bodies TEPP and PCA and the donation will be matched by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“The tough times the people of Pakistan are facing at the moment with the floods, we hope that with us being here, we can uplift that a little bit and raise spirits by seeing us play cricket,” Buttler said.

Source: Dawn

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Chinese national arrested on charge of raping girl in Islamabad

September 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A Chinese national has been arrested by the capital police on the charge of sexually assaulting a teenage girl for months, police said.

A case was registered against the suspect at the Koral police station in response to a complaint lodged by the girl.

According to the FIR, the 16-year-old girl is a student of grade 9 and was working as a translator with the Chinese national, operating a CCTV installation business at Ghauri Town on Rs15,000 per month salary since May 2021.

The suspect started harassing her soon after she started the job and sexually assaulted her in January this year. He threatened her with dire consequences and continued raping her.

As a result, the girl got pregnant but did not disclose it to her family. However, her elder sister noticed her condition and took her to a private hospital at F-8 where she was pronounced over 31 weeks pregnant, the FIR said. Later, the sister approached the police for registration of a case.

The police said the suspect had been arrested and his custody obtained on two days’ physical remand from a magistrate’s court. His passport has also been confiscated, they added.

Medical of the suspect and the girl was conducted to collect samples for DNA matching.

Source: Dawn

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PM arrives in Uzbekistan to attend SCO regional security bloc summit

September 15, 2022

SAMARKAND: The prime minister arrived in Uzbekistan Thursday on a two-day state visit to attend the annual meeting of the heads of member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) being held in the historical city of Samarkand on September 15-16.

Abdulla Aripov, prime minister of Uzbekistan, received Shehbaz Sharif on his arrival at the Samarkand International Airport. The prime minister is accompanied by a high-level delegation including his ministers for foreign affairs, defense and finance as well as the foreign secretary.

In a tweet prior to his departure, the prime minister said Pakistan reiterated its commitment to the so-called “Shanghai Spirit” of the event.

“Mutual respect and trust can be the bedrock of shared development and prosperity,” he said.

Sharif said the SCO had a great potential to chart a way forward at a time of deeply worrying transformation in the geo-political and geo-economic fields.

“The global economic turbulence has necessitated the need for more cooperation among the SCO member countries. The SCO vision represents the aspirations of 40 percent of the world population,” he said.

On the first day of his visit, the prime minister held separate meetings with Shavkat Mirziyoyev, president of Uzbekistan, and Emomali Rahmon, president of Tajikistan.

Sharif is scheduled to meet participating world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov.

Immediately after his arrival at the airport, the prime minister proceeded to the Hazrat Khizr Mosque, where he will visit the mosque and will also pay respects at the mausoleum of Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov.

The prime minister will attend the banquet hosted by the Uzbek president in honour of the guest leaders.


Meanwhile, Sharif also held a meeting with Rahmon wherein he discussed matters of bilateral and regional importance.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the summit.

The meeting focused on the ways and means to strengthen the relationship between Islamabad and Tashkent in fields including trade, economy, energy and people-to-people contacts.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Southeast Asia


Promoting empathy, inclusivity through Malaysian theatre

Danial Azhar

September 16, 2022

PETALING JAYA: An ungrateful son turned to stone by his heartbroken mother. A comparison of history textbooks to uncover the erasures, exclusions and questions surrounding the Malayan Emergency. And two dancers attempting to reclaim their freedom and identity as Malaysian Chinese women.

For Mark Teh and June Tan, these are only a few of the many narratives that local plays and performances explore in Malaysia’s diverse theatre and performing arts scene.

Teh and Tan, both a part of Five Arts Centre, a collective of local artists, activists and producers, believe that theatre is an art form to encourage empathy and understanding through the telling of alternative and marginal stories.

Citing a theatre play he recently directed titled ‘A Notional History’, Teh said it was important to tell inclusive stories that validate and narrate a person’s experience without disregarding, silencing or erasing someone else’s experience.

“How do you tell a story without erasing someone else’s story?” he asked, referencing a line from the performance.

In ‘A Notional History’, Form 4 history textbooks published after the 2018 general election, are compared to older versions. This period was of great interest to Teh as it marked Barisan Nasional’s fall from power after governing the country for over 60 years.

Teh said he was interested in determining what changed between the textbooks, what remained unchanged and what elements of Malaysia’s history were unchangeable.

The performance also included decades-old interview footage of members of the outlawed Malayan Communist Party. This, Teh said, was to ensure that those who were largely excluded from that period of the country’s history could convey their experiences.

Tan, a producer and stage manager, said the public must continue to show a curiosity for others and an openness to experiences different from their own.

“We shouldn’t be afraid of alternative narratives or fear shifting our own opinions and perceptions having seen all these alternative narratives,” she told FMT. “Even if we don’t agree with these narratives, at least we have the necessary information to understand them.”

She said Malaysians are accustomed to difference and diversity as it is a country teeming with various cultures and ethnicities.

Actor, director and writer Jo Kukathas expressed her confidence that Malaysian theatre could continue to be an avenue for open expression, differing opinions, tolerance, empathy and understanding.

“Most people in the arts are trying to tell minority stories that aren’t often heard, which is important because when you hear your story reflected back, it’s very powerful.”

She said arts and culture were constantly evolving and theatre was no different, adding that playwrights always try to respond to the changing face of the country.

‘And Then Came Spring’, a play Kukathas directed earlier this year, is reflective of this.

It tells the tale of a 14-year-old Afghan girl, Nazanin, who dreams of going to school but is sold off by her father to settle his debts. Nazanin then finds herself married to a man twice her age and is soon with child.

Kukathas’ theatre company, Instant Café, collaborated with Parastoo Theatre, a troupe of Afghan refugees in Kuala Lumpur, to stage the play.

“I wanted Instant Café to do this collaboration because there are a lot of new migrants in Malaysia now and refugees speaking different languages.

“There was so much xenophobia during the pandemic, I felt we should listen to their stories and why these refugees ended up in Malaysia rather than just being suspicious of them and unaware of their humanity,” she said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Muslim Unity Narrative A Ruse To Weaken Umno, Says Analyst

Nora Mahpar

September 16, 2022

PETALING JAYA: PAS’ Muslim unity narrative when pushing to work with Umno in the coming general election is a subtle ploy to weaken the latter, an analyst said.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said PAS realised that Umno will not join forces with them as long as they remained with Perikatan Nasional, the coalition led by Bersatu.

Umno had previously declared it would not work with Muhyiddin Yassin’s party.

“They are trying to portray Umno as a party that does not care for Muslim unity (by continuously spurning the invite).

“This is an ingenious way of weakening and belittling Umno,” he told FMT.

On Sept 11, PAS said it still regarded Umno as a partner after revealing that no progress had been made in its discussion with the party for the 15th general election.

Azmi said he also expected the Muslim unity narrative to be raised by PN during the election campaigning period where the coalition would paint Umno as being selfish and power-hungry.

However, he felt that PAS’ tactic could backfire as Umno might turn the tables on them by accusing PAS of flip-flopping merely to bring Umno down.

“PAS needs to be careful about courting both Umno and Bersatu at the same time,” he said.

Umno and PAS, the two largest Malay-based parties, formed Muafakat Nasional in September 2019 as an electoral pact aimed at uniting the Malay-Muslim vote.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Leave Malaysia if you want it more like Afghanistan or North Korea

Adzhar Ibrahim

September 16, 2022

I’m sure you’ve heard people saying “If you don’t like this country, leave”. But here’s the crucial question: what exactly is the kind of Malaysia that you’re supposed to like, which you must leave if you don’t?

The official version of Malaysia is that it is a multiracial democracy born this day in 1963, not long after a few other British colonies became independent.

Most of us are Malaysian citizens by virtue of being born to Malaysian parents (or at least to Malaysian fathers!). Some were naturalised after due process or playing a few football matches, and many others through the abuse of power of some powerful, well connected crooks.

Those latter actions were obviously wrong. Regardless of the identity cards they hold, the recipients are not Malaysians. They are clearly among those who should “leave”.

Our nation, along with many other former British colonies, came into being in the middle of the last century when nationalism, often boosted by socialism, was in tune with the post-war exhaustion of the colonial powers.

Indonesia had objected to the formation of Malaysia. Its president, Sukarno, started an armed attack, the “Konfrontasi”, which failed. The Philippines claimed Sabah, reverberations of which are still felt to this day.

The majority of Malaysians are Malays, a mix of many local and not so local peoples, bound together by customs and Islam.

The immigrant peoples, mostly Chinese and Indians, joined the Malays and the indigenous people, in becoming Malaysians. Of the indigenous people, we have the many Orang Asli tribes in the Peninsula and the larger groupings such as the Ibans and the Kadazan-Dusuns in East Malaysia.

But even among them, we also have the seafaring Bajau Laut of Sabah, people who have no papers that determine citizenship of a political state as today’s world demands, but who could claim to be as Malaysian as anybody else.

If we go back further, we’re all part of the long trek from the Rift Valley of Africa across the land bridge that extended to Australia. So, we’re all pendatangs to this land – migrants from Africa.

Singapore left Malaysia in 1965, and seemed to be doing all right. We had a major race riot in the Peninsula in 1969, with many repercussions felt to this day. The Bornean members of the federation meanwhile felt deprived of their rights as founding members of Malaysia – in essence being colonised by the “west” all over again!

But overall, we prospered as we’re blessed with bountiful natural resources, hardworking people and relatively good governance.

Things, however, started to slide in the 1980s.

Politics, which had been focused on nation building in earlier days, became fixated on tribalism and religion. Well-intentioned affirmative actions implemented after the May ’69 riots to ensure the economic rise of the Malay people, or officially the Bumiputeras, became much abused.

Like strong medicine, it can cure or it can harm if taken for too long. After a while, it became a bitter pill to swallow for the non-Malays, whilst it became a soporific, hallucinatory drug for the Malays.

Malay politicians started treating the many extra-constitutional affirmative action privileges as rights, and mostly ignored responsibilities. They battled for what was easy (quotas, discounts, special rights) instead of what was necessary but hard – education, health, self-sufficiency etc.

Islam has penetrated deeply into Malay politics. It’s not the Islam that led the early Muslims to conquer Europe and set up civilisations still admired to this day, but rather the Islam of ritual piety and culture wars.

An example is the recent new political issue about the apparently insidious and well- planned efforts to destroy the faith of the Muslims by bringing in…foreign musical concerts!

Jakim has been invoked as gatekeeper against such “invasions”. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka are likely to be roped in to ensure that performances, if any, are only in Malay. Special Advisors to the PM will be appointed, and GLCs will be granted monopolies to organise such concerts. That is the Malaysian way.

If this puts Islam in a bad light, remember the ones who shout the loudest and the harshest in any religion are always the ones most frightened and insecure. It’s exactly the same here.

I have no idea who this Billie Eilish person is, who recently performed here and created so much controversy. I don’t know which football team he plays for, but I’m happy many enjoyed watching him perform, and that the country gained some respite and revenue.

Good for you Billie, and that Japanese chap Odori-San, and the German gentleman Herr Oktober and whoever else who comes here and follows the laws of the land.

Most of the Muslims I know have strong faith and aren’t intimidated by people having fun. My late parents would’ve said Billie Eilish is not quite their taste, but go ahead and watch her if you like.

The leaders busy churning up emotions are those who want to impose the rules and norms of Afghanistan or North Korea in Malaysia, against our own multiracial norms and mores, and especially against our laws and constitution.

They invoke the threat of the wrath of God because of this permissive culture. They would cite any natural disaster as proof of such wrath – which is easy because many of our natural disasters are caused by people like them destroying our own hills and rivers anyway.

Wrath of God? I give you Exhibit #1 – Afghanistan. They haven’t had peace for decades, maybe even centuries; can barely feed themselves, treat women like chattels, and are often visited by natural disasters like the recent earthquake. Those indeed do sound like the wrath of God.

Perhaps it would be good to have Billie Eilish go and play football there. The Afghans won’t have to worry about the wrath of God. After all, He can’t be any angrier with Afghanistan already.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Dr M mocks ‘opportunistic’ PAS over past ‘infidel’ remarks

Nora Mahpar

September 16, 2022

SERDANG: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has taken a dig at PAS for seeking to work with Umno despite describing its members as infidels in the past.

Mahathir said PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang used to call Umno members infidels because the party worked with non-Muslim parties in Barisan Nasional (BN), but was now “allowing PAS members to become infidels” themselves by partnering with Umno in Muafakat Nasional (MN).

“I find PAS’ actions peculiar because it’s different from its previous stand,” the Pejuang chairman said at a press conference.

“Last time, PAS accused Umno members of being infidels and other things. But, without denying that Umno is an infidel party, it means they are now working with infidels.

“PAS is opportunistic. When they see an opportunity, they put aside their principles. However, they say that they struggle for Islam, that they cannot work with infidels or they themselves will become infidels.”

Yesterday, Hadi claimed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) was a coalition that gave and took bribes, adding that those in the coalition were immoral and not religious.

In response, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said PAS under Hadi’s leadership was a different party from the one led by its past leaders.

The PKR president said the views of the late Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Fadzil Noor would have differed from Hadi, and pointed out that the current PAS president had branded Umno members as infidels in the past.

Nik Aziz was PAS’ spiritual leader from 1995 until his death in February 2015, and Fadzil, who died in 2002, was Hadi’s immediate predecessor.

Separately, asked if the Pejuang-led Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) would work with PH in the next general election (GE15), Mahathir simply said it would not work with the corrupt or those who formed a backdoor government.

He was alluding to Perikatan Nasional (PN), which was formed by his former party Bersatu and PAS, and which joined forces with BN to topple the PH government in February 2020.

GTA comprises Malay-based parties, NGOs, academics and professionals, Pejuang, Berjasa, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (Iman).

Mahathir also said that many had urged him to become prime minister for a third time, though he has yet to make any decision on this matter.

“I have neither rejected nor accepted (their proposals),” he said.

Mahathir first became prime minister in 1981 and went on to become the longest-serving prime minister, leading the nation until 2003.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Jakarta governor ‘prepared’ to run for president

September 15, 2022

SINGAPORE: The popular governor of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta today said he is “prepared” to run for president of the world’s third-largest democracy in 2024, despite not yet securing the support of any political party.

With his five-year term as governor coming to a close next month, Anies Baswedan, 53, has emerged in independent opinion polls as one of the top figures expected to contest the presidential election due in February 2024.

“I’m prepared to run for president if a party nominates me,” he told Reuters in an interview in Singapore, adding that not being a member of a party allows him “room to communicate with all factions”.

“These unsolicited surveys happening before I’m even campaigning, I think they give me more credibility,” said Anies, a former education minister and university rector.

Other popular potential candidates include defence minister Prabowo Subianto, who ran twice before, unsuccessfully, and Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo, an up-and-coming politician in the ruling party. Incumbent Joko Widodo has reached his two-term limit and cannot run again.

Analysts say Anies is a likely frontrunner given his popularity at the helm of one of Southeast Asia’s biggest cities, a position often considered a springboard to the presidency. Widodo was the city’s governor for two years before winning the top job in 2014.

But Anies has also been criticised for how he rose to power in Jakarta in 2017, helped by hardline Islamist groups who had agitated for months against his opponent and former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – an ethnic Chinese Christian – who was later jailed for insulting Islam.

At the time, Anies, who espouses moderate Islam, was seen to be doing little to mend widening religious and communal rifts in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

But he says his policies as governor had “united the people of Jakarta”.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Funds withheld from PAS reps will be paid straight to needy, says exco

Nora Mahpar

September 15, 2022

PETALING JAYA: The decision to stop allocating funds for eight PAS assemblymen in Pahang does not mean the state government is neglecting the people in these areas, says a state executive councillor.

Unity, welfare, women and family development committee chairman Shahaniza Shamsuddin said funding and aid will instead be channelled directly to the needy.

She also dismissed claims that the termination of the RM20,000 allocation would hinder the development of Malay-Muslims in the state.

“What’s important are the people, not the elected representatives. So it’s not true to say that we’re restricting the development of the Malay-Muslim community just because they (the PAS assemblymen) don’t receive funds.

“Recently, I handed over RM288,000 in state government funding to the Luit constituency. In total, I’ve given about RM2 million to Luit and Chenor,” she told FMT.

Luit and Chenor are represented by PAS assemblymen Sofian Abd Jalil and Mujjibur Rahman Ishak, respectively.

She said the Barisan Nasional state administration will look after the people’s welfare in all constituencies by appointing exco members as “caretakers” in areas held by the opposition.

“Constituencies under PKR, DAP or PAS are all going to get the funding. There’s no special treatment just for BN areas, we’re not cruel,” she said

Shahaniza, who is the “caretaker” for Luit and Chenor, is also the Maran Umno division chief.

Yesterday, PAS’ Panching assemblyman Tarmizi Yahaya said the party’s elected representatives have not received allocations from the Pahang government since January.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Xi urges more ‘political trust’ with Turkey

September 16, 2022

BEIJING: China’s president Xi Jinping met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on today, urging “political mutual trust” between the two sides during a regional security meeting in Central Asia.

Xi and Erdogan met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Turkey is a dialogue partner of the SCO, which was set up in 2001 and consists of China, India, Pakistan, Russia and several ex-Soviet states.

“The two sides should consolidate political mutual trust, respect each other’s core interests and consolidate the political foundation of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations,” Xi said, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

“We should focus on development cooperation (and) give full play to the role of various cooperation mechanisms and respective strengths between the two countries,” China’s leader was reported as saying.

Xi also pushed for more cooperation on his signature Belt and Road global trade initiative, and said the two countries should “contribute to safeguarding international industrial and supply chains, food and energy security”, according to CCTV.

Beijing’s ties with Ankara have been overshadowed by international criticism of China’s alleged human rights abuses against Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in the northwest Xinjiang region.

The readout of the meeting made no mention of Xinjiang or Uyghurs.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Incompetency nothing to do with racism, PAS leader told

Predeep Nambiar

September 15, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Idris Ahmad’s cry of racism over criticism that he is an incompetent minister is uncalled for, DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng said.

Lim pointed out that Idris’ poor rating was first suggested by academic Agus Yusoff, who branded all PAS ministers as incompetent. He said he was merely supporting Agus’ claim.

Idris, the religious affairs minister, recently accused Lim of trying to “fan the flame of racism” and widening the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.

This was after Lim said Idris “tops the list of incompetent PAS ministers”, claiming he brought no value to his job “apart from threatening national unity and disrupting religious harmony”.

“Is Idris trying to distract attention from his incompetence by using the racial and religious bogey, preying on people’s fears to hide their incompetence?

“I wonder why he isn’t saying anything about Agus. Idris is not a sacred cow … as a minister, he is subject to criticism,” he told FMT.

Lim had responded to an FMT report on Monday in which Agus, of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said Umno should not partner with PAS as the Islamic party was starting to grow unpopular, even among Malays and Muslims.

Agus said the public could see “how PAS rides on religion, governs certain states poorly, and has incompetent ministers”.

DAP central committee members Young Syefura Othman and Syahredzan Johan also hit out at Idris for his outburst.

Syefura said Idris’ call to Muslims not to attend the Bon Odori festival was testament of the poor rating given by Agus.

“For me, someone’s incompetence has nothing to do with a person’s religion or race. It is an individual trait,” she said.

Syahredzan said Idris’ use of religion to justify his actions “missed the point” of the criticism levelled at him.

Idris received flak last week for his remarks on a teenage actress who shared that she was molested by her father when she was younger.

He was quoted by Berita Harian as saying the 15-year-old should not have gone public with her experience but should have reported the incident to the police and let the law take its course.

Noting that the brickbats against Idris came from all quarters, Syahredzan said “this is not a religious issue but about a woman who suffered horrific abuse and came out to expose it”.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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PH a gathering of ‘bribe givers and receivers’, says Hadi

September 15, 2022

PETALING JAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang says the party rejects cooperation with Pakatan Harapan (PH) as the coalition “gathers groups of bribe givers and bribe receivers”.

In a Facebook post, he also described PH as a coalition full of those “without beliefs and morals”.

“PAS firmly rejects cooperation with PH as it can destroy the country’s foundations and key branches,” he said.

However, he did not provide any proof to back his claim that there were those within PH who were involved in corruption.

Hadi also alleged that some people in PH were “clearly anti-Islamic, threatening the royal institution, the Rukun Negara, and the foundations of the Federal Constitution, especially Islam as the religion of the federation”.

He also claimed that there were those in PH who “fanatically hate Malays and Bumiputeras”.

He said this was done without thinking about the rights enjoyed by other races and religions, which were “already sufficient”.

Without naming anyone, Hadi also said some in PH were against PAS’ efforts to implement Islam democratically, and that these parties continued to defend laws from the colonial era and its fragile judicial system.

He said PAS’ previous political cooperation with several component parties in PH had made it clear to PAS that PH was “trying to prevent the Islamic struggle”, which was the basis of the Islamic party.

Previously, in a statement on Aug 20, Hadi had accused non-Muslims and non-Bumiputeras of being at the root of corruption and forming the “majority of those involved in ruining the country’s politics and economy”.

This led to several police reports lodged against the Marang MP, and he was called in for questioning by the police.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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China’s Xi to meet Turkish president Erdogan at regional summit: State media

16 September, 2022

China’s President Xi Jinping will meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Central Asia, state media said.

Beijing’s ties with Ankara have been overshadowed by international criticism of China’s alleged human rights abuses against the Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in the country’s northwest Xinjiang region.

“On the morning of September 16, President Xi Jinping will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Samarkand,” Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said, announcing the meeting on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the city in Uzbekistan.

Source: Al Arabiya

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China’s Xi set to meet Iran’s president at regional summit

16 September, 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping will have his first face-to-face discussion with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi on Friday, state media reported.

The meeting comes days after the European Union warned that negotiations to bring Iran and the US back into a nuclear deal curbing Tehran's nuclear program are in “stalemate”.

China is one of the key members of the multilateral dialogue -- alongside France, Germany, Britain, Russia and the United States -- that is trying to revive the troubled 2015 nuclear deal.

“On the morning of September 16, President Xi Jinping will meet with Iranian President Raisi in Samarkand,” Chinese broadcaster CCTV said, announcing the meeting on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the city in Uzbekistan.

Iran, one of four SCO observer states, applied for full membership in 2008 but its bid was slowed by UN and US sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.

Raisi said on Wednesday Iran still intends to pursue membership of the SCO, but several members do not want a country under international sanctions in their ranks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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18 terrorists killed, 'strategic' al-Shabaab assets destroyed in Somalia operation

Mohammed Dhaysane


BAIDOA, Somalia

At least 18 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in military operations in central Somalia, the army said on Thursday.

A key base used by the terror group was also destroyed in raids by the Somali military in Buq Aqable, a district in the Hiran region.

The operation successfully targeted “stations, offices and other terrorist sites” in the Buq Aqable area, which is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Hiran’s capital Beledweyne, according to an army statement.

These were “strategic” assets that al-Shabaab used to organize attacks on Somali forces and civilians, it added.

The latest operation comes days after the Somali military said it killed 100 al-Shabaab terrorists and freed 20 villages in a major offensive in three states.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who took office this May, has declared a “total war” on al-Shabaab after last month’s deadly hotel siege in the capital Mogadishu – a 30-hour attack that killed at least 21 people and injured nearly 120 others.

Somalia has been grappling with increasing insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab being one of the main threats in the Horn of Africa country.

Since at least 2007, al-Shabaab has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces that has claimed thousands of lives.

The United Nations has also warned of growing instability in the country, with its periodic reports on Somalia this year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and pro-Daesh/ISIS groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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At least 134 dead, scores of homes wiped out in Sudan seasonal floods

15 September, 2022

Flooding in Sudan has killed at least 134 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes in the northeast African country's ongoing wet season, police said on Thursday.

Heavy rains usually fall between May and October in Sudan, which faces severe flooding each year, wrecking property, infrastructure and crops.

The National Council for Civil Defense said the floods have killed a total of 134 people, left 120 others injured, and damaged or destroyed more than 128,000 homes so far this wet season.

Water can be seen engulfing villages and roads in footage of the flooding aired on state television.

People have taken shelter under makeshift tents made from tattered fabrics after the floodwaters washed away mud brick homes.

Last month, the government declared a state of emergency due to flooding in six of Sudan's 18 states.

This season's death toll has risen from 112 given earlier this month.

In the latest figures, the highest number of fatalities occurred in the central state of North Kordofan, while the largest figure of home collapses was recorded in southern White Nile state.

The main causes of death were collapsing homes, drowning and electrocution.

The official SUNA news agency said a hospital was heavily damaged due to flooding in a village in the eastern state of Kassala.

“Toilets collapsed, and doors and windows were smashed at Um Gargour hospital,” SUNA said.

“The village is currently surrounded by water which threatens the collapse of more homes and facilities.”

The United Nations, citing government figures, said this week that the flooding has so far affected 286,400 people.

The eastern states of Gedaref and Kassala, North and South Kordofan state, River Nile state, and the region of Darfur were among the worst affected, according to the UN children's agency, UNICEF.

The UN has warned that flooding this year could affect up to 460,000 people -- far higher than the average 388,600 people affected annually between 2017 and 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Book reveals Jordan king left 'bent doubled-over' after Trump’s West Bank offer

16 September 2022

According to a new book which is set to be published soon, former US president Donald Trump offered Jordan's King Abdullah II control over the occupied West Bank in 2018.

Citing Peter Baker and Susan Glasser's book titled The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021, the Washington Post points to the Jordanian king’s reaction as he told a friend: “I thought I was having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe. I was bent doubled-over.”

According to the book, Trump made this offer in January 2018. This is one of the several new details about his 4-year tenure as revealed by the two White House reporters.

Amman had control over the West Bank from 1948 to 1967 before it was illegally occupied by the Israeli regime. Nearly half of Jordan’s population of 9.5 million is comprised of the descendants of the Palestinians who escaped the war and many of those refugees still live in camps in the country.

Since the start of the occupation, the Israeli regime has been building settlements in the West Bank that are considered illegal under international law. The settlements are said to be one of the main impediments to peace in the region.

Despite signing a peace treaty with Tel Aviv, Amman has not recognized Israel’s 1967 occupation of east Jerusalem al-Quds and other parts of the West Bank.

Trump’s offer came as Washington had no authority to give away this Palestinian land. The former US president had been condemned by Palestinians for his pro-Israel stances. Among his controversial measures with regard to Palestine was relocating the US embassy to Al-Quds, not considering settlement inconsistent with international law, and pushing for a peace plan which had not included Palestinian rights.

Source: Press TV

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