New Age Islam
Fri Aug 14 2020, 10:12 AM

Islamic World News ( 8 Sept 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, To Host A Community Gathering Where both Hindu and Muslim Rajputs Will Congregate To Promote Unity and Serve the Nation







Ahmedabad, Gujarat, To Host A Community Gathering Where both Hindu and Muslim Rajputs Will Congregate To Promote Unity and Serve the Nation

Hindus Stop UP Forest Department Team from Demolishing 150-Year-Old Peer Baba 'Mazar'

Mochi and Ansari, Icons of 2002 Gujarat Communal Discord Now A Picture Of Religious Harmony

Pakistanis Troll Their Science Minister for His Chandrayaan Dig

Taliban Say US 'Will Be Harmed More Than Anyone' After Trump Halts Talks

Islamic Affairs Minister Highlights Saudi Effort to Spread Moderation

IAEA Found Uranium Traces at Iran’s ‘Atomic Warehouse’, Allege Diplomats

A Muslim Man Told A Starbucks Barista His Name Was 'Aziz.' The Employee Wrote 'ISIS' On His Cup

France Says Iran Actions Negative, But Dialogue Still Open

Anwar Moots Halal Food for Govt's Free School Breakfasts

 

India

Ahmedabad, Gujarat, To Host A Community Gathering Where both Hindu and Muslim Rajputs Will Congregate To Promote Unity and Serve the Nation

Hindus Stop UP Forest Department Team from Demolishing 150-Year-Old Peer Baba 'Mazar'

Mochi and Ansari, Icons of 2002 Gujarat Communal Discord Now A Picture Of Religious Harmony

Jaish chief Masood Azhar secretly released from Pakistan jail: Intelligence report

Kashmir Lockdown over Muslim Processions by Shiite Muslims during Muharram

Why 'Jihadi' News, Kashmiri Pandits Ask Washington Post

India wanted Fawad Khan but it got Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan science minister who trolled ISRO

India unlikely to seek Pak nod again for Air India One flights

Rajouri: Houses, temple damaged in heavy shelling from Pak forces, Indian Army retaliating

'91 per cent of Kashmir Valley region free from any day-time restrictions'

Pakistan summons India's deputy high commissioner over Kashmir issue

1,000 ‘descendants’ of Lord Ram reach Ayodhya, demand temple at disputed site

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Pakistan

Pakistanis Troll Their Science Minister for His Chandrayaan Dig

National Commission For Human Rights Dysfunctional For Over Three Months

China stresses on bilateral agreements to resolve Kashmir dispute

China plans to invest $1 bn in Pak development projects

Pakistan says it'll give 'fullest possible response' to India over Kashmir

PM Imran assures China of CPEC projects’ speedy execution

Taking government allies along not easy: Balochistan CM

Peshawar-Kabul motorway paves way for Afghanistan’s entry to CPEC

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South Asia

Taliban Say US 'Will Be Harmed More Than Anyone' After Trump Halts Talks

At least 100 Taliban militants killed as Afghan forces recapture Wardoj after 5 years

49 Taliban militants killed, wounded; strategic compound destroyed in Balkh

Bangladesh University Suspends Student for Being Rohingya

Afghan forces kill 4 Taliban extortionists in Ghazni province

Taliban’s Red Unit commander among dozens killed in Wardak airstrikes

German police suspend training in Kabul after attack

Afghan government says real peace will come when Taliban stop violence

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Arab World

Islamic Affairs Minister Highlights Saudi Effort to Spread Moderation

Over 5,000 Dead Bodies of Civilians Found in Raqqa Mass Graves

Saudi king tightens grip with promotion of another son

Thousands of Terrorists Deployed to Borders with Turkey at Al-Jolani’s Order for Battle with Syrian Army

Ankara Calls for Extension of Ceasefire in Northern Syria as Deadline Expires

People Hold Massive Rallies Against US-Backed Militias, Call for Expulsion of SDF from Deir Ezzur

Kuwait’s ruler in US hospital for tests, postpones Trump meeting

Saudi Arabia, UAE urge Yemen government, STC to halt military actions

Former Hezbollah official found dead in his Beirut flat: Report

Air strikes kill 18 pro-Iran fighters in east Syria

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Mideast

IAEA Found Uranium Traces at Iran’s ‘Atomic Warehouse’, Allege Diplomats

Dozens Of Palestinians Disappear In Saudi Arabia, Families Testify To Group

Iran’s nuclear chief says EU failed to fulfill its commitments to nuclear deal

Hamas ‘to foil Israel plot against Palestinian right of return’

Israel confiscates more Palestinian land for settlement expansion in West Bank

Hezbollah claims to down Israeli drone

Israeli government approves voting cameras, critics cry foul

Hamas ‘will act if Israel continues to kill Gazans’

Saudi Arabia, UAE welcome response for southern Yemen dialogue

Arab coalition air forces destroy Houthi positions in Al-Jawf province

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North America

A Muslim Man Told A Starbucks Barista His Name Was 'Aziz.' The Employee Wrote 'ISIS' On His Cup

US, Taliban keep open door to talks after summit scrapped

US will sanction whoever purchases Iran’s oil: Official

Ghani spokesman: Taliban leaders receive orders from Qatar to kill Afghans

US defends plans for Trump-Taliban meeting at Camp David

US puts Kushner’s ‘coffee boy’ in charge of Mideast peace

US and Turkey begin joint patrols under Syria 'safe zone' agreement

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Europe

France Says Iran Actions Negative, But Dialogue Still Open

Australia blocks access to websites showing video of Christchurch attacks

Turkey shouldn’t threaten Europe over refugees: Greece

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu refers to UK's Boris Johnson as 'Boris Yeltsin'

Extremist who threatened Muslims with home-made stun gun jailed

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Southeast Asia

Anwar Moots Halal Food For Govt's Free School Breakfasts

Muslim groups to rally against PTMP, reclamation project

Anti-Shia raid may cast a pall over Dr M’s planned visit to Iran

Philippines: Foreign-looking militant dies in suicide attack

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Africa

At Least 29 Killed In Two Attacks In Burkina Faso

Sudan’s first post-Bashir cabinet sworn in

Tunisia’s Ennahda party rebrands for election race

Roadside blasts kill at least 5 in Somalia

Boko Haram attacks Nigerian military convoy, carts away cash, equipment

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/ahmedabad,-gujarat,-to-host-a-community-gathering-where-both-hindu-and-muslim-rajputs-will-congregate-to-promote-unity-and-serve-the-nation/d/119697

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Ahmedabad, Gujarat, To Host A Community Gathering Where both Hindu and Muslim Rajputs Will Congregate To Promote Unity and Serve the Nation

Sep 9, 2019

Ahmedabad: In a first, the city is going to host a community gathering where both Hindu and Muslim Rajputs will congregate under the banner of Samast Gujarat Rajput Samaj (All Gujarat Rajput Community). The aim of the event, which will be held on September 15 at Sabarmati Riverfront near Nehru Bridge, is ostensibly to promote unity and serve the nation. The organizers have already obtained police permission for the event.

Vikramsinh Maharaul, member of the executive committee of the consortium, said that they have been holding such programmes to bring Hindu and Muslim Rajputs together for 15 years.

“Such events revive cultural values in Muslim Rajputs whose forefathers were converted by force and allurement 500 years ago ,” said Maharaul, a resident of Miyagam in Vadodara. “Later, we as an organization gave a pace to this kind of meetings where Molesalams (a Rajput community who follow Islam) participate in great numbers.”

On the need for such events, Maharaul claimed, “We want Rajputs from both religions to adhere to their culture. Muslim Rajputs follow different way of worshipping, but many of them still follow the culture of Rajputs in marriage and other occasions.”

Satyam Rao, who claimed to be associated with the RSS in Vadodara and involved in organizing such events, said that this is the 10th such event and first in Ahmedabad city. When asked about the role of RSS in the event, Rao said, “This is not about the RSS only, community leaders from both the religions have been holding it. RSS just wanted to bring unity in the country so that India can gain its lost place in the world.”

He said that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had in 2013 participated in one such even held in Vadodara, and this time joint secretary of the Sangh, Krishna Gopalan will attend the event. Gopalan is the same Sangh leader who had last month blamed Islam for untouchability.

A Muslim Rajput member, Rafiq Pawar said, “The event is held to bring the community members together without discriminating on the basis of religion. The event will also help in curbing communal riots by instilling confidence in members of both religions.”

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/hindu-muslim-rajputs-to-hold-unity-meeting/articleshow/71040108.cms

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Hindus Stop UP Forest Department Team from Demolishing 150-Year-Old Peer Baba 'Mazar'

September 8, 2019

Ateam of the forest department had to return without demolishing a mazar' after Hindus stopped them from doing so in Uttar Pradesh's Mahoba district on Sunday.

"There are only five-six Muslim families in Salat village. The belief of the Hindus in the 150-year-old 'mazar' is more than the Muslims," Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Mahoba Ramji Rai said.

Rai said in this situation, it was not possible to demolish the Peer Baba 'mazar', which he said is located on forest department land.

The team went to the village on a complaint from the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Charkhari, Brijbhushan Singh Rajput, the officer said.

"However, everyone was surprised at seeing the situation and the faith people have in the mazar," Rai said.

The DFO informed that during the inspection, it was found that people from all sections of the society had donated to revamp the 'mazar'.

The officer has sought a report from the forest ranger about how old the 'mazar' was and the attachment of the people to it.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/hindus-stop-up-forest-dept-team-from-demolishing-mazar-1596981-2019-09-08

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Mochi and Ansari, Icons Of 2002 Gujarat Communal Discord Now A Picture Of Religious Harmony

by Sohini Ghosh

September 7, 2019

Marking a fresh start, Ashok Parmar alias Ashok Mochi, (45), a photo of whose saffron-bandana-clad, iron-rod-wielding self after the 2002 Godhra train burning had become a photographic reminder of the carnage, opened a shoe shop in the city Friday. Cutting the ribbon to mark the inauguration of the shop was Qutubuddin Ansari, a tailor recognisable for his photo seen pleading for help on February 28, 2002 during the riots.

Mochi has been repairing shoes for over 25 years on the footpath near the Delhi Darwaza. “With the Metro construction, whatever little I used to earn, even that was affected. Say from Rs 300 per day, I could barely make Rs 150 per day,” he told this paper on Friday.

Funds for Mochi’s shop, named ‘Ekta Chappal Ghar’, as well as initial funding for carrying out his business, have been provided by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Kerala.

For now, Mochi will be selling ready-made shoes, bought from the wholesale market of Ahmedabad. There isn’t any specific vendor tie-up but subsequently Mochi expects to find one, including vendors from Delhi, which has a more expansive wholesale market.

Qutubuddin Ansari, who was the guest of honour at Mochi’s shop opening, had temporarily settled in West Bengal in the aftermath of the riots. Ansari, a tailor, was caught on camera pleading to Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel for help, from his home on the Narol-Naroda road on February 28, 2002, when the riots were at its peak in Naroda Patiya area of Ahmedabad. The picture of his blood stained shirt and his tear-filled eyes became the image that spoke for the victims of the Gujarat riots.

Ansari is wary of disclosing when he returned to the city but says he came back after “things became normal”.

Ansari continues to work as a tailor with a workshop set up at his home, procuring ready-made cloth from cloth markets. “I do the stitching and sewing labour and then sell it at the same market. I get the labour wages,” says Ansari.

Speaking about his relationship with Mochi, Ansari says, “We keep meeting from time to time. He (Ashok) told me he wanted me to inaugurate his shop and I agreed. What more can I want other than to see him do well. I inaugurated (the shop) and even bought a pair of slippers. I wish him well and I hope his business flourishes.”

Mochi had joined the Dalit Azaadi Kooch in Gujarat in 2017 to fight for the rights of his community after the public flogging of Dalits in Una. Seen cutting a busy figure of a warm host at the inauguration of his shop, Mochi points out, “This is the Hindu varna system that continues to keep me stuck as a cobbler. They don’t let us move ahead.”

This Lok Sabha election, Mochi and Ansari, were seen campaigning in Kerala for CPI (M) candidate P Jayarajan, who was contesting from the Vatakara constituency in north Kerala. Although the images of Mochi and Ansari have been used by political parties in elections in several states since the riots, this was the first time they were part of an election campaign.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/icons-of-2002-communal-discord-now-a-picture-of-religious-harmony-5974111/

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Pakistanis troll their science minister for his Chandrayaan dig

Sep 9, 2019

NEW DELHI: Pakistan science and technology minister Fawad Chaudhry was trolled on Twitter by many, including his own countrymen, over several comments regarding the setback to the Isro's lunar mission. After lander Vikram lost contact with the ground station, Chaudhry in a series of tweets trolled the mission.

In one post Chaudhry wrote, "Dear Endia (sic); instead of wasting money on insane missions as of Chandrayyan or sending idiots like #abhinandan for tea to across LoC concentrate on poverty within, your approach on #Kashmir ll be another Chandrayyan just price tag ll be far bigger."

The minister, however, was schooled in science by none other than Pakistan Twitterati. Pakistan newspaper Dawn, in an online article, even called out the minister for his "childish jibe".

F.K @fzaklm: India ke paas 900 crore hai ye sab karne ke liye! Aur apke paas ye muft ka twitter account...

Hassan A. Niazi @HNiaziii: Ridiculing India's space mission is childish, especially when their success in that area dwarfs ours. They are investing in science and tech knowing its value for the future. Perhaps we will too one day, when DHA Phase Moon is required.

The PTI minister, however, does not seem to have paid any heed to his countrymen. He further tweeted, "Endia (sic) only way now you can reach moon is through Bollywood,another 100 crore and you guys ll be on the moon. on serious note extremists always fail and you failed when instead of scientists you relied on Jotshi and delayed the mission,Come out of hatred for other communities."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistanis-troll-their-science-minister-for-his-chandrayaan-dig/articleshow/71040851.cms

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Taliban say US 'will be harmed more than anyone' after Trump halts talks

Sep 8, 2019

KABUL: The Taliban said the US "will be harmed more than anyone" but left the door open for future negotiations Sunday after President Donald Trump abruptly announced that he had called off year-long talks to end America's longest war.

"We still... believe that the American side will come back to this position... Our fight for the past 18 years should have proven to the Americans that we will not be satisfied until we witness the complete end of the occupation," the group said in a statement released on Twitter by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The statement said the insurgents had "finalised" a deal with the US that had been expected to allow Washington to begin withdrawing troops in exchange for security promises from the Taliban.

It added that both sides had been preparing for the deal to be announced and signed when Trump tweeted late Saturday that he had "called off peace negotiations".

Trump had cited a Taliban attack in Kabul on Thursday which killed 12 people including a US soldier as his reason for calling off the talks, including a secret meeting with the insurgents at Camp David in Maryland planned for this weekend.

But the Taliban dismissed his reasoning in their statement, saying it showed "neither experience nor patience", and accused the US of killing "hundreds of Afghans" in the fighting.

"Americans will be harmed more than any other," by Trump's decision, the statement said, adding that the US's "credibility will be harmed, their anti-peace stance will become more visible to the world, their casualties and financial losses will increase, and the US role in international political interaction will be discredited even further."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/taliban-say-us-will-be-harmed-more-than-anyone-after-trump-halts-talks/articleshow/71037083.cms

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Islamic affairs minister highlights Saudi effort to spread moderation

September 09, 2019

MAKKAH: The Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh received the Bangladeshi Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah.

Abdullah was head of a delegation arriving in the Kingdom to participate in the 41st King Abdul Aziz international competition for memorizing, reciting and interpreting the Holy Qur’an.

Al-Asheikh welcomed the Bangladeshi minister, noting the deep and solid relations that bound Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh together, especially with regard to Islamic call.

The Saudi minister also highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts to serve Islam, spread moderation, reject and fight extremism, and work for the unity of Muslims of all ranks throughout the world.

The Bangladeshi minister pointed out that his country fully supported the Saudi stance and said the Muslim world should follow in the Kingdom’s footsteps in spreading the message of moderation and uniting behind King Salman to fight evil around the globe. Abdullah added that memorizing the Holy Qur’an in Bangladesh was of high importance and was the reason behind his country taking part in the competition. He also praised Saudi Arabia’s success in organizing this year’s Hajj season.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1551666/saudi-arabia

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IAEA Found Uranium Traces at Iran’s ‘Atomic Warehouse’, Allege Diplomats

September 09, 2019

VIENNA: Samples taken by the UN nuclear watchdog at what Israel’s prime minister called a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency’s inspections work closely say.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating the particles’ origin and has asked Iran to explain the traces. But Tehran has not done so, according to the diplomats, stoking tensions between Washington and Tehran. US sanctions have slashed Iranian oil sales and Iran has responded by breaching its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

In a speech a year ago Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vehemently opposed the deal, called on the IAEA to visit the site immediately, saying it had housed 15 kg (33 lb) of unspecified radioactive material that had since been removed.

It was first reported in April that the IAEA, which is policing the nuclear deal, had inspected the site — a step it had said it takes “only when necessary” — and environmental samples taken there were sent off for analysis. Israeli and US media have since reported that the samples turned up traces of radioactive material or matter — the same vague language used by Netanyahu.

Those traces were, however, of uranium, the diplomats said — the same element Iran is enriching and one of only two fissile elements with which one can make the core of a nuclear bomb. One diplomat said the uranium was not highly enriched, meaning it was not purified to a level anywhere close to that needed for weapons.

“There are lots of possible explanations,” that diplomat said. But since Iran has not yet given any to the IAEA it is hard to verify the particles’ origin, and it is also not clear whether the tra­ces are remnants of material or activities that predate the landmark 2015 deal or more recent, diplomats say.

The IAEA did not respond to a request for comment. Iranian officials were not available to comment.

The deal imposed tight restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, and was based on drawing a line under Iran’s past activities. Both the IAEA and US intelligence services believe Iran had a nuclear weapons programme that it ended more than a decade before the deal. Iran says its nuclear ambitions have always been peaceful.

Hawks such as Netanyahu, who has repeatedly accused Iran of seeking Israel’s destruction, point to Tehran’s past to argue that it can never be trusted. The Islamic Republic’s previous secrecy might explain why uranium traces were found at a location that was never declared to the IAEA.

The IAEA takes environmental sam­­ples because they can pick up telltale particles even long after material has been removed from a site. Uran­ium traces could indicate, for example, the former presence of equipment or material somehow connected to those particles. Cornel Feruta, the IAEA’s acting director-general, met Iranian officials on Sunday. An IAEA statement said afterwards: “Feruta stressed that the­se interactions (on its nuclear commitments) require full and timely cooperation by Iran.” The United Sta­tes, pulled out of the nuclear deal last year by President Donald Trump, is trying to force Iran to negotiate a more sweeping agreement, covering Teh­ran’s ballistic missiles and regio­nal behaviour, than the current accord.

Iran says it will not negotiate until it is granted relief from US sanctions, which France is trying to broker. In the meantime, Iran is breaching the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities step-by-step in response to what it calls US “economic warfare”. A quarterly IAEA report issued a week ago did not mention the sample results because inspection-related ma­t­­ters are highly confidential. But it did say Iran’s cooperation could be better.

“Ongoing interactions between the Agency and Iran...require full and timely cooperation by Iran. The Agency continues to pursue this objective with Iran,” the report said.

It is far from the first time Iran has dragged its feet in its interactions with the IAEA over the agency’s non-proliferation mandate. The IAEA has made similar calls in previous reports, in relation to promptly granting access for inspections.

The IAEA has likened its work to nuclear accounting, patiently combing through countries’ statements on their nuclear activities and materials, checking them and when necessary seeking further explanations before reaching a conclusion, which can take a long time.

The process of seeking an explanation from Iran has lasted two months, the IAEA’s safeguards division chief told member states in a briefing on Thursday, diplomats present said. But he described what it was seeking an answer to far more generally as questions about Iran’s declaration of nuclear material and activities, since the details are confidential.

“It is not something that is so unique to Iran. The agency has these cases in many other situations,” a senior diplomat said when asked about the current standoff with Iran. “Depending on the engagement it can take two months, six months.” That does not mean all member states will be happy to wait.

“IAEA Acting Director General going to Iran just as IAEA informs its Board that #Iran may be concealing nuclear material and/or activities,” US National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Twitter on Saturday. “We join with other @iaeaorg Board member states eager to get a full rep­ort as soon as possible.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504347/iaea-found-uranium-traces-at-irans-atomic-warehouse-allege-diplomats

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A Muslim Man Told A Starbucks Barista His Name Was 'Aziz.' The Employee Wrote 'ISIS' On His Cup

Sept. 8, 2019

NEPTUNE, N.J. - Was it a mistake or discrimination? Depends on whom you ask.

Niquel Johnson says he visited a Starbucks in Philadelphia late last month while wearing traditional Middle Eastern dress, and placed an order for three drinks, according to NBC News.

He says he gave the barista the name "Aziz," a shortened version of his Muslim name.

The 40-year-old later discovered that the barista had written "ISIS" on his cups.

"I was shocked at first, and then angry because I felt as though we were discriminated against," Johnson said of the name, which is the acronym for the Islamic State terrorist organization.

A Starbucks spokesman told NBC that it had investigated.

"The customer approached and provided the name 'Aziz,'" the spokesman said. "The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly." He called the incident a "regrettable mistake."

Starbucks closed more than 8,000 stores one afternoon last year to train about 175,000 employees in unconscious bias after two black men were arrested for sitting at a Philadelphia location without ordering anything.

The Washington Post reports Johnson is considering legal action.

Follow Ilana Keller on Twitter: @ilanakeller

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/09/08/barista-writes-isis-muslim-mans-starbucks-cup/2257142001/

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France says Iran actions negative, but dialogue still open

8 September 2019

Iran’s decision to further reduce its commitments to the 2015 nuclear is reversible and France will continue to pursue dialogue to bring it back into full compliance, France’s foreign minister said on Sunday.

“The actions they have taken are negative but not definitive. They can come back and the path of dialogue is still open,” Jean-Yves le Drian told Europe 1.

He said Iran was still several months away from a nuclear bomb.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/08/France-says-Iran-dialogue-channels-still-open-.html

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Anwar moots halal food for govt's free school breakfasts

08 September 2019

BY IDA LIM

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — The government could source for halal food from entrepreneurs for the proposed free breakfasts in schools, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim suggested today.

Anwar, who is also PKR president, said he would seek to find ways to help entrepreneurs and talk to the relevant ministers.

Anwar suggested that the food for the free breakfast programme be sourced locally in the individual districts throughout the country.

“For example, now we have a good proposal from the Education Ministry to give food to students.

“We can do this through tender and a big contract to big bosses, or we can do through tender but with the conditions that it is mandatory to take food that is halal, of quality, and clean from all districts,” he said, adding that such food should also not have excessive sugar levels.

“If that is done, we have a project that maybe hundreds of million, spent on annually, but benefits thousands of people in a district,” the Port Dickson MP said at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Anwar said this concept which he termed as “payung” (umbrella) was in use when he was the finance minister in the past.

He spoke of a project to provide wooden chairs and tables to students, where the contract was given to a big company that was then required to find smaller companies to supply the items according to specifications.

“Means from one company, we give to 60 small and medium companies, with the majority also coincidentally Bumiputera (companies), to help,” he said of the example.

“This is what we can do, and this is included also in the government's approach of those among leaders who understand and care,” he said.

Anwar was speaking at a forum titled “Pemberdayaan Ekonomi Umat” (Empowerment of the people's economy), which was part of the Halal Fiesta Malaysia hosted by the Prime Minister's Department.

The event touted as Malaysia's largest halal expo was jointly organised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (Maiwp).

In the same forum, Anwar spoke of how non-Muslims in Malaysia could learn about the Islamic approach through concepts such as halal (permissible for Muslims).

“So don't introduce a concept that can cause enmity. If we say halal is only for Muslims, Muslim entrepreneurs for Muslims only, it's not true.

“If for example products from Muslims, if we guarantee it is hygienic, we guarantee its quality, non-Muslims will also buy.

“Many non-Muslims in Malaysia who are successful economically, they produce products that are safer for us, if it is of quality, clean and halal, I see this as a positive initiative,” he said.

Anwar said the halal concept does not only cover whether a product has ingredients that are haram or forbidden to Muslims such as lard, or how an animal was slaughtered.

He said the halal concept instead means a product must be clean, fulfilling Shariah laws, be of good quality, efficient and excellent.

Anwar had recently criticised a campaign on social media to boycott products produced by non-Muslims, calling it an unhealthy method to promote halal products.

Earlier this week, the Cabinet had urged Malaysians to buy Malaysian products instead of boycotting products made by non-Muslims.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/09/08/anwar-moots-halal-food-for-govts-free-school-breakfasts/1788511

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India

 

Jaish chief Masood Azhar secretly released from Pakistan jail: Intelligence report

Sep 09, 2019

Neeraj Chauhan

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has alerted the government about the deployment of additional Pakistani troopers along the border near Rajasthan and said Islamabad has released Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar to carry out terror attacks, according to two officials aware of the developments. HT has also accessed an input issued in this regard.

According to the input, Pakistan is planning “big action” in Sialkot-Jammu and Rajasthan sectors in the coming days in response to the government’s move to revoke Article 370 that gave Jammu and Kashmir some autonomy and prevented non-residents from buying property and getting government jobs in the state. The input warned that Pakistan has started deploying additional troops near the Rajasthan border as part of the plan.

The input has been conveyed to the respective Border Security Force and army field formations in Jammu and Rajasthan sectors “to avoid any surprises” from the Pakistani army and the troops have been asked to remain alert, the officials cited above said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday threatened “fullest possible response” to India’s moves in Jammu and Kashmir. Khan added the global community would be responsible for any “catastrophic” aftermath as he continued his rhetoric amid rising tensions with New Delhi since the government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

The comments by Khan, who last week said there was a risk of India-Pakistan war, came on a day Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said they were prepared to “go till any extent”. Bajwa added they were ready to “give sacrifices for our Kashmiri brothers, fulfil our duty till the last bullet, last soldiers and last breath”.

Amid rising tensions between the two countries, the IB input said Pakistan has “secretly” released Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar to plan terrorist operations while other terror organisations were also working openly. There were uncorroborated reports after the February 14 car bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama that Pakistani agencies had taken Azhar into protective custody.

JeM took responsibility for the attack in which 40 paramilitary troopers were killed and prompted India to carry airstrikes on the group’s camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26.

One of the officials cited above said Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had no inkling that the Indian government would revoke Article 370 on August 5. “It is being considered the ISI’s biggest intelligence failure in history and now they are under pressure to act,’’ the official said on condition of anonymity.

The official added while the Pakistani army will try to play mischief, militants like Azhar have been unleashed to carry out terror attacks in India. “Pakistan may try to use the current situation and the Indian government’s focus in Jammu and Kashmir to target somewhere else.”

Azhar, who is wanted in India for several attacks, including the 2016 Pathankot airbase attack, was among four people declared as individual terrorists on August 4 under a new anti-terror law passed in August.

In an interaction with journalists on Saturday, national security adviser Ajit Doval said Pakistan is trying to create trouble and some 230 terrorists have been spotted across the border.

There have been sporadic skirmishes along the India-Pakistan border since August 5. Army chief General Bipin Rawat told HT last week that Pakistan has reopened terror training camps and attempted to push infiltrators. He said that the Indian Army is ready for any eventuality.

Internal security expert Ajay Sahni said Pakistan sees the abrogation of Article 370 as a provocation and has to be seen doing something about it, saying: “Also, Pakistan is under tremendous pressure from the international community over terrorism, failing the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] yardsticks, the economic situation, and others, which are limiting its capacity to respond. It is difficult to predict how Pakistan will respond.” Sahni, however, cautioned against taking all the IB inputs at face value.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/jaish-chief-masood-azhar-secretly-released-from-pak-jail-intel/story-EUozcOwyEMJqYxE4haz8NJ.html

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Kashmir Lockdown Over Muslim Processions By Shiite Muslims During Muharram

September 9, 2019

Srinagar (India) (AFP) - Authorities on Sunday tightened a month-long security lockdown in Indian Kashmir's main city of Srinagar after breaking up religious processions by Shiite Muslims who defied a ban.

A military clampdown was imposed in Muslim-majority Kashmir from August 5 to prevent unrest as New Delhi revoked the disputed region's autonomy, with mobile phone networks and the internet still cut off in all but a few pockets.

Police drove around the city from early Sunday, announcing through loudhailers that "residents are informed not to venture out of their homes".

"Strict action under law would be taken against violators," they added.

Shiite Muslims worldwide stage processions and hold rallies during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar -- which started on September 1 this year -- to mark the anniversary of the death of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Most such processions have been banned in Indian-administered Kashmir since the outbreak of insurgency against New Delhi's rule in 1989, on grounds that the rituals could be used to stoke anti-India sentiment.

AFP saw at least two small protests on Sunday morning by between eight to 10 Shiite mourners, who were quickly detained and taken away in police vehicles.

Police were also seen hitting the mourners with bamboo sticks.

Witnesses told AFP they saw at least six more similar protests, with police also detaining the participants.

Locals said the processions have taken on a political aspect this year after India's controversial autonomy decision.

- Bamboo sticks -

Kashmir, split between India and Pakistan since 1947, has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between the two nuclear-armed arch-rivals.

Indian-administered Kashmir has seen a decades-old armed rebellion -- backed by Pakistan, New Delhi claims -- against Indian rule with tens of thousands, mostly civilians, killed.

On Saturday, four local journalists were injured while covering a protest involving up to 5,000 demonstrators, one of the biggest gatherings since the lockdown was imposed.

One journalist said his camera lens was broken and another had visible marks on his body after he was allegedly hit with bamboo sticks by security personnel.

Security forces also fired tear gas and live ammunition in the air.

Authorities had loosened the curfew in parts of Srinagar gradually in recent weeks but began to enforce it again from Friday.

An AFP reporter said Sunday's clampdown was one of the tightest since August 5. While barricades had been manned by up to three paramilitary troopers, there were now up to 10.

Tensions could further heighten on Tuesday, which is Ashura, the climactic 10th day of Moharram.

While the rituals are traditionally marked by Shiite Muslims in the Sunni-majority valley, Sunnis told AFP they would take part in processions on Tuesday to show solidarity with their fellow Muslims.

Full report at:

https://news.yahoo.com/india-tightens-kashmir-lockdown-over-muslim-processions-140707090.html

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Why 'jihadi' news, Kashmiri Pandits ask Washington Post

Sep 9, 2019

Upset by its communally coloured reports alleging human rights violation and throttling of media freedom in Jammu and Kashmir, despite the Indian government winning over the locals, hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits protested outside the office The Washington Post.

The peaceful gathering in the US capital on Saturday was to send out a strong message to the daily as well as many other Western media houses for their "one-sided" reportage on Kashmir. It was organised by the demonstration was organised by the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora.

"Why Choose Jihadi news?," asked the protesters as they challenged the Washington Post to "Hear our Voices. Tell our Stories."

Dr Mohan Sapru, chief coordinator of the rally, said, "The Washington Post's biased reporting ignores the inconvenient truth that Article 370 and Article 35A imposed years after Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India have denied democratic rights to minorities, women and weaker sections of the society while throttling Kashmir's economy."

Sapru said the special status allowed the Valley to become a breeding ground for rampant corruption, separatism and Islamic terrorism that resulted in the worst form of "human rights violation, including rape, murder and eventual ethnic cleansing of the native Kashmiri Pandits".

He said the Centre's decision will address the menace of cross-border Islamic terrorism, facilitate the empowerment of women and lead to the restoration of justice to minorities and provide economic opportunities for all.

"We fully support and endorse the revocation of these repressive Articles."

Dr Vijay Sazawal, the international coordinator of Indo American Kashmir Forum, said, "Western journalists, including the Post, should be ashamed of their reporting on Kashmir. The Post by stating the changes introduced by the Indian Parliament on the reorganisation of J&K as a victory of Hinduism over Islam is disgraceful, disgusting, and disingenuous."

Full report at:

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-why-jihadi-news-kashmiri-pandits-ask-washington-post-2788383

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India wanted Fawad Khan but it got Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan science minister who trolled ISRO

SAMIRA SOOD

8 September, 2019

When the communication link between ISRO’s mission control and Chandrayaan-2 lander, Vikram, was lost, Indians took to social media to support the heartbroken ISRO team. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook were flooded with messages of solidarity with ISRO and pride in all it has achieved so far. Even as NASA lauded ISRO’s work.

But Pakistan’s federal minister for science and technology, Fawad Chaudhry, decided ‘failure’ must be called out as a failure, the truth must be spoken, no matter how bitter.

Ch Fawad Hussain

@fawadchaudhry

So ja Bhai moon ki bajaye Mumbai mein utar giya khilona #IndiaFailed https://twitter.com/abhayka74264251/status/1170073540621586433 …

ABHAY KASHYAP

@Abhayka74264251

Replying to @fawadchaudhry

#Chandrayaan2Live

This wait is killing....too much of tension to bear. ISRO please make some announcement

8,274

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Ch Fawad Hussain

@fawadchaudhry

Ufff really I missed that great moment #IndiaFailed https://twitter.com/foadiz/status/1170073644065841153 …

foadiz

@foadiz

Replying to @fawadchaudhry

You havent seen how modi ran away from the control room😂😂😂😂

6,733

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So, who is this great self-appointed Pakistani science expert Fawad Chaudhry?

Turncoat who made losing look good

When Fawad Chaudhry says India has failed, we need to take it seriously. After all, who knows more about failing?

In 2002, Chaudhry, a lawyer by training, ran as an independent candidate and got only 161 votes, while his opponent got 38,626. That was the first in a string of electoral defeats for him, no matter which party he went to.

He has, in less than two decades, tried his luck with multiple parties – All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) – and almost never won an election. In the 2013 general election, in fact, he ran independently from one seat and won a grand total of 82 votes. In 2016, he joined Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the first election he ever won was in 2018, when he secured both the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly seats in his native district. The fact that he has been given a platform in every party and by every politician he has attacked in the past speaks less about him and more about the visionless leaders in Pakistan, say many Pakistanis.

Despite this belated electoral success, he has managed to hold on to power for almost two decades. He has been the APML’s general secretary. He was appointed as the special assistant for information and political affairs, with an MoS rank, to then PM Yousuf Raza Gilani of the PPP. He was also the special assistant on political affairs to PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

Last year, he was made the PTI’s minister for information and broadcasting, a post he was evidently suited for, given his love for staying in the limelight and his feelings towards the fourth estate and its freedoms.

Soon, disagreements with Naeemul Haque, Imran Khan’s key aide, allegedly led to him being given the less prominent science and technology portfolio.

Then Chaudhry caused quite a stir when he slapped senior journalist Sami Ibrahim at a wedding ceremony.

The rationalist with a twist

According to many in Pakistan, Fawad Chaudhry’s “anti-Mullah” stance comes as a breath of fresh air. Except that his idea of real scientific contribution is a moon-sighting website and app. Launched in May this year, it promises to do away with the confusion and controversy surrounding the sighting of the moon during religious festivals such as Eid.

So helpful, no? Way better than spending Rs 900 crores on a failed moon mission, I’d say.

But the clerics were unhappy with this interference in traditional, Islam-mandated moon-sighting methods.

So, when Fawad Chaudhry makes fun of India’s space programme and tells us we’ve failed, we need to stop getting our nationalist knickers in a twist and actually listen. This is coming, after all, from the guy who leads science and technology in a country that is really known for its strides in the space race.

Murtaza Ali Shah

@MurtazaViews

Fawad Chaudhary claims that Hubble Space Telescope was sent into orbit by Suparco (Pakistan's space agency) and wants to use the same technology for Moonsighting.

NASA is dead. Long live PTI. #RamadanMubarak

The great unifier

But here’s a curious thing. Fawad Chaudhry unites India and Pakistan. The way he sacrifices his own self-respect for the greater cause of cross-border solidarity and friendship is pretty inspiring. Just look at some of the responses to his statements from people on the other side of Wagah.

Naila Inayat नायला इनायत

@nailainayat

Fawad Chaudhry counting the money India just spent.. 😂

Embedded video

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Muhammad Zubair

@zubairhoonmain

India, the Moon and Us

The Moon is 384,800 km from Earth and India failed at the last 2.1 km. That is a margin if 0.0005463%.

In 10 Billion Rupees they got a rover that close to the moon, we haven’t been able to make Peshawar BRT in 73 Billion Rupees yet.

(1/4)

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Look at how he is able to denude himself of all ego and izzat as he claims that Imran Khan’s chopper commute costs less than 60 bucks a kilometre – a ‘fact’ that he knows because he… googled.

Or how he cares so much for the people of Kashmir that he is even willing to appear on Arnab Goswami’s show.

Full report at:

https://theprint.in/opinion/india-wanted-fawad-khan-but-got-fawad-chaudhry-pakistan-science-minister-who-trolled-isro/288537/

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India unlikely to seek Pak nod again for Air India One flights

Sep 9, 2019

NEW DELHI: India is unlikely to seek Pakistan's nod again to use its airspace for Air India One flights in foreseeable future, at least till relations between the two countries improve. Sources in the know said, "diplomatically they (Pakistan) will not be asked for our AI One (operated on AI Boeing 747s for medium to long haul routes) or IAF One (operated on IAF's Boeing Business Jets for short hauls). We will take alternate (longer) routes to and from the west for these VVIP flights operated for the President, V-P and Prime Minister."

Pakistan had on Saturday denied permission for AI One to use its airspace while flying President Kovind on a European tour this week. "When they have said no once, there is no point in us approaching them again," said sources. The longer route to between Delhi and the west means an extra flying time of up to an hour for VVIP flights which are low on passenger load and can uplift more fuel from origin.

Giving clearances to VVIP flights is a normal diplomatic process globally. "We regret the decision of the government of Pakistan to deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country. We call upon Pakistan to recognise the futility of such unilateral actions," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said on Saturday.

While closure and denial of airspace by Pakistan is a relatively new phenomenon, many foreign airlines that employe Indian nationals as pilots do not put Indian crew on duty for operating flights to Pakistan. If you wonder why, a senior Indian pilot, who has worked with such airlines, gives the reason.

"About two decades ago, I operated a flight of a neighbouring country's airline from its base to Karachi. It was to be a quick turnaround flight. However, the aircraft developed a snag in Karachi and was grounded. While rest of the crew was sent to hotels, I was not allowed to leave the airport as I was an Indian. The next morning, I left on another airline's flight to Dubai and from there flew to the base of the airline I was working for then," said the pilot.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-unlikely-to-seek-pak-nod-again-for-air-india-one-flights/articleshow/71040627.cms

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Rajouri: Houses, temple damaged in heavy shelling from Pak forces, Indian Army retaliating

Sep 8, 2019

RAJOURI: Several houses in the Kalal and Deeing village in Nowshera sector were damaged due to heavy shelling by Pakistani forces on Sunday, said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) (Nowshera) Brijesh.

"Today firing and heavy mortar shelling from across the border started in the morning, targeting the Deeing and Kalal villages especially. There has been no loss of life but damage to several structures has occurred," Brijesh told ANI here.

Stating the measures taken by the administration to ensure the safety of the people in the region, the police official added, "We move our mobile bunkers (BP bunkers) and provide security to the people who live in the area where firing and shelling occurs. The villagers also have bunkers at their residence which they use to hide during the time of shelling."

The shelling from Pakistan side started at around 9 am and continued till afternoon.

Indian Army too retaliated to the heavy fire from across the border.

A resident of the area alleged that Pakistan had recently taken to targeting civilian areas in order to cause maximum casualty and also blamed them for damaging a place of worship.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rajouri-houses-temple-damaged-in-heavy-shelling-from-pak-forces-indian-army-retaliating/articleshow/71039498.cms

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'91 per cent of Kashmir Valley region free from any day-time restrictions'

Sep 8, 2019

SRINAGAR: The situation in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is turning back to normal as the majority of areas continue to function peacefully without any day-time restrictions, said official sources in the government of India.

"91 per cent of Kashmir valley is free from any day time restrictions, while all of Jammu and Ladakh regions are free from any day-time restrictions," said sources.

Adding that telephone and mobile communications have been restarted in the majority of the regions, the sources added, "All landlines are functional. Mobile facility restored in all districts of Jammu and Ladakh division and in Kupwara district of Kashmir."

The administration is also going to launch the biggest ever recruitment drive in the two Union territories to fill up close to 50,000 positions lying vacant in the government sector.

The information has come almost a month after the Central government scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution, which conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Centre, in August, had also bifurcated the state into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The sources also added that there were hardly any instances of violence reported from the Valley region and the minuscule number of protests which took place were handled by the police without any significant damage to life and property.

"The situation has remained peaceful across the Kashmir valley. There has been no incident of major violence. Not even a single live bullet has been fired. There has been no loss of life. Some protests have been handled by local police while exercising full restraint," the government sources said.

All primary, middle and high schools are running with improved performance while the banks and ATMs are functioning normally in the region.

They also said that the administration has set up a media centre to enable both the local and national media houses to cover events in the region.

A media centre has also been set up in Jammu and Kashmir to enable the media to cover events in the region. While regular press briefings are being held, over 400 press passes have been issued, the majority to local journalists. "All mainstream newspapers are being printed. Satellite channels and cable TV networks are operational," the sources said.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/91-per-cent-of-kashmir-valley-region-free-from-any-day-time-restrictions/articleshow/71038260.cms

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Pakistan summons India's deputy high commissioner over Kashmir issue

Sep 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday summoned India's deputy high commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia over recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan foreign ministry said that it "categorically rejected" India's "portrayal of normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir."

Pakistan is shocked by the Indian government's historic move to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad has gone on a diplomatic overdrive criticising India's decision and demanded international intervention in the issue, which has strongly been opposed by India.

The country has found itself completely isolated on the international forums, after being snubbed at the United Nations Security Council, as well as by countries like Russia, France, and the US.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-summons-indias-deputy-high-commissioner-over-kashmir-issue/articleshow/71037753.cms

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1,000 ‘descendants’ of Lord Ram reach Ayodhya, demand temple at disputed site

September 9, 2019

Around 1,000 people from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan reached Ayodhya on Sunday, claiming to be the descendants of Lord Ram and the Ikshvaku dynasty.

BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh’s Shivpuri district, Birendra Raghuvanshi, was also part of the rally, which had started from Bhopal on Friday under the banner of Akhand Raghuvanshi Samaj Kalyan Mahaparishad.

Addressed to the President and the Prime Minister, a memorandum was also given to the district administration, demanding a Ram temple be built at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/1000-descendants-of-lord-ram-reach-ayodhya-demand-temple-at-disputed-site-5977994/

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Pakistan

 

National Commission for Human Rights dysfunctional for over three months

Ikram Junaidi

September 09, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has been dysfunctional as the process to appoint its chairman and members could not be started even after more than three months.

The four-year tenure of the chairman and six of the seven members of the NCHR expired on May 30.

On the other hand, the employees of the commission fear that the organisation may not be made functional due to sour relations between the prime minister and leader of the opposition in National Assembly, who have to pick the names through consensus.

However, Director General Ministry of Human Rights Mohammad Arshad told Dawn that the posts of chairman and members would be re-advertised soon. But considering the past experience, he added, it may take six to seven months to complete the process of appointments.

Complying with its international obligations, Pakistan established the NCHR under an Act in accordance with the Paris Principles.

The National Commission for Human Rights Act 2012 stipulates a broad and overarching mandate for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights as provided for in Pakistan’s Constitution and international treaties.

As an impartial state body, the NCHR works independently of the government and is directly accountable to parliament.

The NCHR’s financial and performance reports are also directly presented to the parliament for approval on an annual basis.

The primary functions and powers of the NCHR include to hold investigations into allegations of human rights abuse(s) either on petitions filed by individuals or institutions or through suo motu, review existing and proposed legislation in relation to human rights principles, carry out research and advise on policy matters pertaining to the situation of human rights, contribute to national human rights awareness-raising and advocacy initiatives in the country, review and report on the government’s implementation and monitoring of the state of human rights, make technical recommendations and follow up on the implementation of treaty obligations and develop a national plan of action for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights in Pakistan.

Former members NCHR from Islamabad Chaudhry Shafique told Dawn that as everyone knew that the NCHR would become dysfunctional on May 30, the posts of the chair and members were advertised at the end of March, and April 14 was the last date for filing applications for the posts.

“The process was completed and names were shortlisted. However, later while discussing the matter in the federal cabinet an objection was raised that the federal government had to give permission for the advertisement and as per order of Supreme Court the federal government meant the federal cabinet. So again permission was sought from the federal cabinet for the re-advertisement of the posts. But so far the process could not be completed,” he said.

Mr Shafique said at the time he left the NCHR there were 61 employees but some of them have left as their contracts were not extended.

“I believe that after expiry of the tenure of the chairman NCHR retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan and the members, all decisions having financial and other implications for the commissions would be considered illegal. We were expecting that the new chairman and members would be finalised by July but the process could not be started so far,” he said.

When contacted, Justice Chowhan said the NCHR was also one of the requirements of the General System of Preferences (GSP) Plus. Moreover, a functional NCHR would be helpful for Pakistan to take up the issue of Kashmir at the international level, he said.

GSP Plus is a mechanism introduced by the European Union (EU) to grant non-reciprocal preferential treatment to imports from developing countries.

Mr Arshad said the four-year tenure of the commission expired and as per directions of the government the posts of chairman and seven members were to be re-advertised.

When asked about the process, he said after verifying the applicants the prime minister and leader of the opposition in National Assembly would have to reach a consensus and finalise three names for the post of chairman and three for each post of members. The names would be forwarded to a parliamentary committee for finalisation.

“If they fail to develop consensus both the PM and the opposition leader would send three names, on their own, for each post and the names would be discussed by the parliamentary committee. The committee would finalise the names for the chair and members but past experience shows that it may take six to seven months,” Mr Arshad said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504289/national-commission-for-human-rights-dysfunctional-for-over-three-months

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China stresses on bilateral agreements to resolve Kashmir dispute

Sep 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: China on Sunday said the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history and should be addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.

A joint press statement released by Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) on the concluding day of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s two-day visit said: “Both sides exchanged views on the situation in J&K. The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation, including its concerns, position and urgent humanitarian issues… The Chinese side responded that it was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue is a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”

China, according to the FO statement, opposed any unilateral action that complicates the situation.

During his visit, Wang held separate meetings with prime minister Imran Khan, president Arif Alvi, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the country’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest, according to the FO.

“The Chinese side reaffirmed its support for Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national dignity, in choosing its development path in light of its national conditions, in working for a better external security environment, and in playing a more constructive role in regional and international issues,” said the joint statement.

Wang’s visit and meetings with top Pakistani civilian and military leadership took place in the backdrop of the tense situation between India and Pakistan following New Delhi’s scrapping of special status of J&K last month. India has categorically told the international community that the defanging of Article 370 is an internal matter of the country.

Both sides, the FO said, expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to deepen strategic coordination and consultation. “Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and support for multilateralism, free trade and win-win cooperation. Both sides agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation on regional and international affairs,” the statement read. The two sides underlined that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. “Parties need to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and equality,” the statement said.

They reiterated that the “time-tested all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan is an anchor of peace and stability in the region and beyond”.

“This partnership remains unaffected by any adverse regional and international development and continues to move from strength to strength. Both sides reaffirmed that China-Pakistan relationship is a priority in their foreign policies, and committed to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era,” the statement said.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/china-stresses-on-bilateral-agreements-to-resolve-kashmir-dispute/articleshow/71039545.cms

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China plans to invest $1 bn in Pak development projects

Sep 8, 2019

ISLAMABAD: China is planning to invest $1 billion in development projects in Pakistan, Beijing's envoy here has said, as the two all-weather allies seek to further boost bilateral ties.

Talking to a delegation at the Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) in Islamabad, China's Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has said that the pace of development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is satisfactory.

The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Beijing has planned to invest $1 billion in development projects in Islamabad, he said.

Yao said that that the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) will be finalised in October after which 90 percent of Pakistani exports including agricultural products and seafood will attract a zero percent duty.

"Market access will increase Pakistan's exports by $500 million, which will reduce the disparity between bilateral trade," said Yao.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/china-plans-to-invest-1-bn-in-pak-development-projects/articleshow/71035634.cms

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Pakistan says it'll give 'fullest possible response' to India over Kashmir

September 6, 2019

Pakistan will make the fullest possible response to India's actions in disputed Kashmir and the global community would be responsible for any "catastrophic" aftermath, Imran Khan, the prime minister of the Muslim-majority nation, said on Friday.

The rhetoric on the annual Defence Day remembrance of Pakistan's fighters in a 1965 war with India underscores rising tension between the nuclear-armed foes after New Delhi last month revoked the autonomy of its part of disputed Kashmir.

"I have informed the world that Pakistan does not want war, but at the same time, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the challenges posed to its security and integrity," Khan said in a statement on the website of state-run Radio Pakistan.

"We are prepared to give the enemy the fullest possible response. Failing, the world community will be responsible for the catastrophic aftermath," he added.

This week Khan had said war between the South Asian neighbours was a risk, but Pakistan would not act first.

Khan has led a vigorous international diplomatic campaign seeking the support of the United States, former colonial power Britain and others to press India over the Himalayan region, but his Hindu-majority neighbour has ruled out outside involvement.

Pakistan will never abandon Kashmir, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told a defence function in the city of Rawalpindi.

Full report at:

https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/pakistan-says-itll-give-fullest-possible-response-to-india-over-kashmir/story/377647.html

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PM Imran assures China of CPEC projects’ speedy execution

Amir Wasim

September 09, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday Pakistan was committed to timely completion of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and hoped that more Chinese companies would make investments in the country.

During his meeting with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the prime minister highlighted the importance of the proposed CPEC authority for speedy execution of the projects.

Mr Khan also briefed the Chinese FM on the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) and both agreed on more high-level exchanges between Pakistan and China to further promote bilateral ties and shared goals.

During his two-day official visit, the Chinese FM also held meetings with President Dr Arif Alvi, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa. During the meetings bilateral, regional and international issues were discussed and both sides agreed to jointly promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.

The prime minister hoped that as the CPEC’s benefits expanded, more Chinese companies would invest in Pakistan and help support Pakistan’s process of industrialisation and its policies of greater agricultural productivity and innovation.

He highlighted that CPEC was a project of great national significance that contributed immensely to revitalisation of Pakistan’s economy.

Mr Khan underscored that friendship with China was cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. He briefed the Chinese side on the evolving situation in IoK following India’s Aug 5 unilateral and illegal action to strip the region of autonomy.

He stressed that the ongoing curfew for 35 days and continued lockdown and communications blockade coupled with massive human rights violations had created a dire humanitarian situation in IoK which needed to be urgently addressed.

Prime Minister Khan said that the curfew and other restrictions needed to be immediately lifted.

To deepen strategic cooperation, Pakistan and China should continue their close coordination and consultation to ensure that peace and stability in the region was maintained, he said.

Wang Yi said that Pakistan-China relationship was based on mutual respect, trust and strong bonds of friendship. He appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to achieve goals of national development under Prime Minister Khan’s leadership, and extended China’s utmost support in this regard.

He noted that with the policies of the government, Pakistan’s economic and financial condition was improving.

Wang Yi emphasised that the CPEC, which was being jointly implemented by Pakistan and China, was a demonstration project of high quality Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects.

The Chinese foreign minister conveyed best wishes of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to Mr Khan and said China-Pakistan relationship was rock-solid and unbreakable.

Wang Yi reaffirmed China’s support and reiterated opposition to any Indian unilateral action (regarding held Kashmir) as well as the measures by Delhi that could further complicate the situation.

Both leaders agreed that more high-level exchanges should continue to take place between Pakistan and China to further promote bilateral ties and shared goals of economic development, peace, and security across the region.

Joint statement

Earlier, the Foreign Office issued a joint statement at the conclusion of the two-day official visit of the Chinese foreign minister.

According to the statement, Wang Yi also called on President Dr Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and met Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

During the meetings, both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Both sides reiterated that the time-tested all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan remained unaffected by any adverse regional and international development and continued to move from strength to strength.

Both sides reaffirmed that China-Pakistan relationship was a priority in their foreign policies, and committed to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.

Both sides agreed to maintain frequent mutual visits and meetings at the leadership level and continue to hold bilateral meetings between their leaders on multilateral occasions.

They noted that China and Pakistan had enjoyed mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core interests. They reiterated the resolve to implement consensus reached by the leadership of both countries to enhance strategic mutual trust and improve all-round cooperation to jointly promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.

The Chinese side reaffirmed its support for Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and national dignity, in choosing its development path in light of its national conditions, in working for a better external security environment, and in playing a more constructive role in regional and international issues.

Both sides believed that the CPEC, as a pioneering project of the BRI, had entered a new phase of high-quality development. They agreed to continue to firmly push forward the construction of CPEC, complete its ongoing projects in a timely manner, and realise its full potential by focusing on socio-economic development, job creation and better livelihood and accelerating cooperation in industrial parks and agriculture.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the close cooperation between the two countries at multilateral fora and resolved to deepen strategic coordination and consultation. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and support for multilateralism, free trade and win-win cooperation. Both sides agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation on regional and international affairs.

Both sides underlined that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia was in common interest of all parties and agreed that parties needed to settle disputes and issues in the region through dialogue on the basis of mutual respect and equality.

Both sides also exchanged views on the situation in India-held Kashmir.

The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the situation, including its concerns, position and urgent humanitarian issues.

The Chinese side responded that it was paying close attention to the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated that the Kashmir issue was a dispute left from history, and should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. China opposes any unilateral actions that complicate the situation.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504379/pm-imran-assures-china-of-cpec-projects-speedy-execution

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Taking government allies along not easy: Balochistan CM

September 09, 2019

QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani has said that running government in the country’s largest province is not an easy task as all coalition partners have to be taken along, but that does not mean he ignores corruption.

“I have zero tolerance for corruption,” he said, adding that the Chief Minister’s Inspection Team and anti-corruption department had reviewed 1,000 schemes and taken action against many people.

“There is a need for teamwork to run the government as it can’t be run single handedly,” he said, adding that huge sacrifices were given for restoration of peace to the province.

CM Alyani said: “I am working with honesty. Maulana Fazlur Rehman lauded us [the government] in a meeting and dubbed the meeting as the one meant for seeking NRO.”

He said Balochistan was on the road to development. For the restoration of peace, security forces along with the masses had rendered huge sacrifices as all institutions were jointly working for peace and development in Balochistan. “2019 is the year of development of Balochistan; we have laid the foundation of development,” he said.

Responding to a question, he said that the Senate became a political arena due to the no-trust motion against Senate chairman. “Such things should not have happened. After that process, the political parties themselves did not feel good,” he added.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504337/taking-government-allies-along-not-easy-balochistan-cm

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Peshawar-Kabul motorway paves way for Afghanistan’s entry to CPEC

BY MIAN ABRAR

September 9, 2019

ISLAMABAD: In a major breakthrough, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have agreed to expand road connectivity as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) enters its second phase.

The agreement was made at the third round of the third Trilateral Dialogue between the three neighbours, where they agreed to the construction of the Peshawar-Kabul motorway.

Diplomatic sources told Pakistan Today that foreign ministers of the three countries discussed the future regional scenario as US forces plan their withdrawal from war-torn Afghanistan, observing that the Peshawar-Kabul motorway may provide the foundation for Afghanistan’s formal joining of the CPEC as Peshawar is already linked with the route.

“So when Kabul and Peshawar are linked through road, it would automatically connect Kabul to CPEC – the pilot project of a multi-continental connectivity project launched by China called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The formal announcement may be made at some later stage,” the source added.

“The construction of this motorway would not only link Afghanistan with Pakistan and China, it would also link landlocked Afghanistan with Pakistan’s strategic port of Gwadar which would alleviate Kabul’s trade issues,” the source further said.

“However, due to some diplomatic hitches, the three friendly neighbours have decided that the motorway would be named ‘China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Plus Cooperation’ (CAPPC). The initiative aims at jointly working towards promoting trade and connectivity projects between the three countries,” the sources stated, adding that a document was also signed at the moot.

It merits mention here that CPEC is being constructed in Pakistan under a mega investment initiative of around $62 billion by China. Out of the total portfolio, projects worth $20 billion have already been completed while the remaining projects are being executed.

BRI was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in late 2013. Since then, around 165 countries and international organisations have joined the initiative while 86 countries, including Afghanistan, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China so far.

It is self-evident that the BRI mega project carries much significance for Afghanistan, which intends to regain its historical position as an “Asian transit and trade roundabout” connecting South Asia to Central Asia, and East Asia to West Asia.

Afghanistan also became a permanent member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in 2017.

“It seems that Afghan President Dr Ashraf Ghani has a change of heart on joining the CPEC. China had initially floated the idea to include Afghanistan into CPEC in 2017 but Dr Ghani was reluctant so he did not take up the offer,” the diplomatic source said.

The source revealed that the offer was again put forth in the second Trilateral Dialogue held in 2018 but Kabul regime did not respond. China had also hinted on the offer publicly when Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing in November 2018 had said that Kabul can also act as a bridge to help expand connectivity between east, south and central Asian regions.

“Under the BRI, China wants peaceful development of all its neighbours and would take all necessary measures to achieve peaceful development in Afghanistan,” the source quoted Yao.

Further, the Joint Declaration issued after the third Trilateral Dialogue in Islamabad again hinted on the development.

“The three sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their relations, exploring new ways of deepening cooperation, including advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) and other regional economic initiatives,” the declaation stated.

“The three sides welcomed the progress made on implementation of projects agreed under the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Practical Cooperation Dialogue (CAPPCD). They agreed to continue cooperation in the fields of economic development, capacity building, improving livelihood and people-to-people exchanges,” the declaration added.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/09/08/peshawar-kabul-motorway-hints-at-elevation-of-warn-torn-afghanistan/

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South Asia

 

At least 100 Taliban militants killed as Afghan forces recapture Wardoj after 5 years

07 Sep 2019

The Afghan forces recaptured Wardoj district in North-eastern Badakhshan province killing at least 100 Taliban militants including many foreign fighters.

The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the security forces launched a major offensive and recaptured the district earlier today.

The statement further added that the security forces killed at least 100 Taliban militants including many foreigners and shadow governor of the Taliban Qari Fasiuddin.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense said the security forces also killed Qari Hafiz, the shadow military chief of Taliban for Badakhshan.

The defense ministry also added that the security forces also wounded dozens of Taliban militants during the operation.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense said the security forces did not suffer casualties during the operation.

https://www.khaama.com/at-least-100-taliban-militants-killed-as-afghan-forces-recapture-wardoj-after-5-years-03979/

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49 Taliban militants killed, wounded; strategic compound destroyed in Balkh

09 Sep 2019

The Afghan forces killed or wounded at least 49 Taliban militants during the operations in northern Balkh province.

The 209th Shaheen Corps said in a statement that the security forces conducted the operations in Siya Aab Village of Sholgara district and Arzankar Village of Chamtal district.

The statement further added that the security forces killed 36 Taliban militants and wounded 13 others during the operations.

Furthermore, the security forces destroyed a strategic compound of the militants and four motorcycles.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/49-taliban-militants-killed-wounded-strategic-compound-destroyed-in-balkh-03992/

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Bangladesh University Suspends Student For Being Rohingya

September 9, 2019

COX'S BAZAR - A Bangladesh university has suspended a student for being Rohingya, officials said Sunday, as impatience with the refugees grows following a second failed attempt to repatriate them to Myanmar.

Some 740,000 of the Muslim minority fled to camps in southeast Bangladesh after a military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017, joining 200,000 Rohingya already there.

Formal education in Bangladesh is forbidden for refugees.

Cox's Bazar International University said it had suspended Rahima Akter Khushi, 20, and would investigate her case after local media said she hid her Rohingya identity to enrol.

"Rohingya can't be admitted to our university, because they are refugees," the institution's head Abul Kashem said.

"Foreigners can study here, but they must follow a procedure."

He said the young woman had supplied documents showing she completed high-school studies in Bangladesh's port city of Chittagong.

Khushi, who was studying law, told AFP the private university's decision had "mentally shattered" her.

"Any other girl may have killed themselves by now. But... I am trying my best to face the situation," she said.

The decision follows the latest repatriation attempt by Bangladesh and Myanmar, which failed with not a single refugee volunteering to cross the border back home.

Bangladeshi authorities have since ordered operators to shut down mobile phone services in the camps, which have seen an outbreak of violence in recent weeks, while high-speed internet has also been suspended at night.

News website Rohingya Post said Khushi was targeted after a 2018 interview with international news agency Associated Press went viral in Cox's Bazar, where the camps are.

Khushi said her parents arrived in Bangladesh from Rakhine in the 1990s and she was born and raised in Cox's Bazar.

"I wanted to go further. But I don't know how I would do it," Khushi told AFP.

Full report at:

https://ewn.co.za/2019/09/08/bangladesh-university-suspends-student-for-being-rohingya

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Afghan forces kill 4 Taliban extortionists in Ghazni province

08 Sep 2019

The Afghan forces killed four Taliban extortionists during an operation in South-eastern Ghazni province of Afghanistan.

The Ghazni Governor’s Office said in a statement that the security forces killed the 4 Taliban extortionists in Aab Band district.

The statement further added that the four militants were occasionally setting up check points to extort people on Kabul-Kandahar highway.

Furthermore, the security forces destroyed 9 motorcycles of the militants together with a medical facility and some military kits during the raid.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-kill-4-taliban-extortionists-in-ghazni-province-03987/

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Taliban’s Red Unit commander among dozens killed in Wardak airstrikes

08 Sep 2019

The security forces killed dozens of militants including a commander of the Red Unit of Taliban in Maidan Wardak province.

The Special Operations Corps said in a statement that the security forces conducted airstrikes in Nerkh district of Wardak province.

The statement further added that the airstrikes killed 23 Taliban militants including one of the Red Unit commanders of the group.

Furthermore, the Special Operations Corps said the airstikes also killed 15 militants of the Red Unit of Taliban.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/talibans-red-unit-commander-among-dozens-killed-in-wardak-airstrikes-03990/

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German police suspend training in Kabul after attack

8 September 2019

German police have suspended the training of Afghan officers in Kabul in the wake of last week’s deadly attacks by the Taliban, it was confirmed on Sunday.

At least 16 people were killed and more than 100 injured last Monday in a bomb attack on Kabul’s Green Village, a large fortified compound that houses aid agencies and international organizations.

The 22 members of the German Police Project Team (GPPT), in Kabul to train Afghan officers, were in the compound at the time and survived the attack, but their accommodation and offices are “no longer habitable,” a spokesman said.

As a result, German police have suspended the training, with half of the team flown out of Afghanistan while the rest are housed in Kabul’s German Embassy.

“The other half of the members of the... GPPT are flying out for the time being for a lack of accommodation,” an interior ministry spokesman said in a statement from Berlin.

“The question of the continued ability to work is currently being clarified,” the spokesman said.

He said “The continuation of the successful cooperation with the Afghan security authorities also depends on this.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/08/German-police-suspend-training-in-Kabul-after-attack-.html

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Afghan government says real peace will come when Taliban stop violence

8 September 2019

President Ashraf Ghani’s office on Sunday said real peace in Afghanistan was only possible when the Taliban stopped their violence and held direct talks with the government.

US President Donald Trump on Saturday cancelled peace talks with the Taliban’s “major leaders” at a presidential compound in Camp David, Maryland after the insurgent group claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul last week that killed an American soldier and 11 other people.

Taliban fighters, who now control more territory than at any time since the war started in 2001, launched assaults on the northern cities of Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri over the past week and carried out two major suicide bombings in the capital Kabul.

“Real peace will come when Taliban agree to a ceasefire,” Ghani’s officials said in statement in response to Trump’s cancellation of secret peace talks.

Trump said he had also planned to meet with Afghanistan’s president.

Trump’s surprise announcement left in doubt the future of a draft peace accord worked out last week by Zalmay Khalilzad, the special US envoy for peace in Afghanistan.

Under the draft accord some 5,000 US troops would be withdrawn over the coming months in exchange for guarantees Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks on the United States and its allies.

A full peace agreement to end more than 18 years of war would depend on “intra Afghan” talks involving officials and civil society leaders as well as further agreement on issues including the remainder of the roughly 14,000-strong US forces as well as thousands of other NATO troops.

The Taliban currently refuse to talk directly with the Afghan government.

Ghani’s office said it was committed to working together with the United States and allies for a “dignified and long-lasting peace,” and emphasized the holding of the presidential election this month.

Ghani is seeking a second tenure in elections scheduled for Sept. 28, but the Taliban want the elections to be cancelled as a precondition to signing a peace accord with the Americans.

“A strong, legitimate and a legal government through the upcoming elections to take the ongoing peace process forward with complete accuracy and prudence,” said the Ghani statement.

The Taliban spokesmen were not available for a comment.

The Taliban’s strategy of fresh assaults appears to be based on the assumption that battlefield success would strengthen their hand in future negotiations with US and Afghan officials.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/08/Afghan-government-says-real-peace-will-come-when-Taliban-stop-violence.html

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Arab World

 

Over 5,000 Dead Bodies of Civilians Found in Raqqa Mass Graves

Sep 08, 2019

“A new mass grave has been discovered in Harreh al-Badou region of Raqqa City and over 15 dead bodies have been retrieved from it,” the Arabic-language Zaman al-Vasl quoted Head of Raqqa Civil Team Yasser al-Khamis as saying.

He noted that over 5,100 corpses have been taken out from 16 mass graves and the debris of over 200 ruined building in Eastern part of Raqqa, and said that nearly 700 dead bodies have already been identified.

Al-Khamis noted that the discovered dead bodies belong to the victims of the ISIL crimes and the US-led coalition airstrikes on the region.

Two years after the occupation of the city by the US and its allied militants, dead bodies and mass graves are still found in Raqqa City each week.

In a relevant development in late March, the bodies of over 300 victims of the ISIL and the US air raids, including those of slain women and children, were discovered in mass-graves and from under the rubles of destroyed buildings in Raqqa.

The Hawar News reported at the time that the corpses of 304 people had been unearthed from a mass-grave in Fakhikheh region in Southern Raqqa since early January.

He added that most of the bodies belonged to the civilians, including women and children, noting that some of the victims had been executed.

Meantime, media activists reported that bodies of several civilians, most of them women and children, were pulled out of the debris in al-Adkhar and al-Ta'aminat districts of Raqqa in the past few days.

They said the corpses belonged to the people killed by the ISIL terrorists or in the US coalition airstrikes on Raqqa.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980617000549

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Saudi king tightens grip with promotion of another son

Sep 8, 2019

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Sunday replaced the energy minister with one of his sons, state media said, in a major shakeup as the OPEC kingpin reels from low oil prices.

The appointment of Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, half-brother to de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, marks the first time a royal family member has been put in charge of the all-important energy ministry.

He replaces veteran official Khalid al-Falih as the world's top crude exporter accelerates preparations for a much-anticipated stock listing of state-owned oil giant Aramco, expected to be the world's biggest.

"Khalid al-Falih has been removed from his position," the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a royal decree.

"His royal highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman is appointed minister of energy."

Since his appointment as oil minister in 2016, Falih has been the face of Saudi energy policy but the veteran technocrat had seen his portfolio shrink in recent weeks.

His ouster comes just days after he was removed as chairman of Aramco and replaced by Yasir al-Rumayyan, governor of the kingdom's vast Public Investment Fund.

Falih's powers were diminished last month when the world's top oil exporter announced the creation of a new ministry of industry and mineral resources, separating it from his energy ministry.

It was widely speculated that top officials were dissatisfied with Falih as oil prices sagged ahead of the Aramco IPO.

Economic uncertainty fanned by an ongoing US-China trade war has dragged Brent crude prices to around $60 a barrel in recent weeks, well below the $85 mark that experts say is needed to balance the Saudi budget.

The OPEC petroleum exporters' cartel and key non-OPEC members are scheduled to meet in Abu Dhabi on Thursday to review their strategy on limiting production to halt a slide in prices.

Cartel kingpin Saudi Arabia, which pumps around a third of OPEC's oil, has resorted to massive production cuts to lift prices since the market crash in mid-2014.

It was unclear whether there would be a change in policy under Prince Abdulaziz, who joined the oil ministry in the 1980s and has held a variety of senior roles.

"Prince Abdulaziz is a very seasoned veteran of Saudi and OPEC policy making," Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, told Bloomberg News.

"He won't have a learning curve. I don't expect any big rupture in current Saudi oil policy."

His appointment further concentrates power within the king's family. His other son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, controls the major levers of power and is heir to the Arab world's most powerful throne.

A younger son, Prince Khalid bin Salman, is deputy defence minister.

Aramco is stepping up efforts to float around five per cent of the company, seeking to raise up to $100 billion based on a $2 trillion valuation of the whole firm.

But low oil prices have left some investors in doubt that Aramco is really worth that much.

Failure to reach a $2 trillion valuation as desired by Saudi rulers is widely considered the reason the IPO, earlier scheduled for 2018, was delayed.

The planned IPO forms the cornerstone of a reform programme envisaged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the Saudi economy off its reliance on oil.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/opec-kingpin-saudi-arabia-replaces-energy-minister-with-kings-son/articleshow/71036026.cms

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Thousands of Terrorists Deployed to Borders with Turkey at Al-Jolani’s Order for Battle with Syrian Army

Sep 08, 2019

The Arabic-language website of Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted local sources in the city of Jisr al-Shoghour in Northwestern Idlib as saying that over 2,000 Jeish al-Izzeh terrorists who had formerly fled from areas under their control towards Ma’aret al-Numan and the city of Idlib due to the Syrian Army’s advances have now been dispatched to areas under control of Turkistani Party.

The local sources pointed to the deployment of the terrorists in battlefronts of Sahl al-Ghab in Northwestern Hama and Northeastern Lattakia near borders with Turkey, and said that the dispatch of the terrorists took place after al-Jolani’s recent meeting with Tahrir al-Sham’s senior commanders.

They also pointed to the deployment of terrorist groups in Sahl al-Ghab and Northeastern Lattakia to confront the Syrian Army, as the Syrian Army is preparing for imminent military operations after the end of ceasefire in Northern Syria.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Arabic-language media outlets said that the Syrian Army was fully preparing itself for resuming large-scale military operation in the demilitarized zone as terrorist groups continued to violate the ceasefire.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted local sources in the city of Ma’aret al-Numan in Southern Idlib as saying that Tahrir al-Sham has reinforced its military positions in the city, specially its Southern and Southeastern sections and in al-Tamane’ah with the aim of preventing the Syrian Army advance.

The newspaper noted that the terrorist groups have not retreated from Aleppo-Damascus and Aleppo-Lattakia highways, and said that the Syrian Army is at its highest level of preparedness to resume military operations after the ceasefire comes to an end in the demilitarized zone.

Meantime, the Syrian Army’s battlefield sources pointed to the dispatch of massive military convoys comprising tanks and military equipment to Tal-e al-Zawiqat in Northeastern Lattakia near the strategic Kabaneh region to carry out military operations against the Turkistani Party and Uigurs.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980617000511

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Ankara Calls for Extension of Ceasefire in Northern Syria as Deadline Expires

Sep 08, 2019

The Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper quoted a battlefield source as saying that the terrorist groups, including Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front), have not retreated from the demilitarized zone and continue violating the ceasefire despite the pledges given by Turkey to Russia and end of an eight-day deadline.

It pointed to Tahrir al-Sham’s reinforcement of its military positions in the surroundings of the city of Ma’aret al-Numan and the nearby towns and villages in Southern and Southeastern Idlib, and said that the terrorist groups are preparing themselves for an upcoming battle as the ceasefire would end.

Meantime, sources close to Ankara-backed National Liberation Front (NFL) terrorist group said that the Turkish Army officers in a meeting with terrorist commanders have informed them that Ankara has asked the ceasefire to be extended until the upcoming trilateral summit between Iran, Russia and Turkey later in September.

Despite the failure to remain committed to the implementation of the Sochi agreement, including its pledges to dissolve Tahrir al-Sham in the demilitarized zone, Ankara is trying to reinstate a permanent ceasefire there.

Meantime, the Syrian Army pounded the terrorists’ movements towards military points in Southern Idlib while thwarting terrorists’ drone attacks on the government forces’ military positions in Sahl al-Ghab in Northwestern Hama, downing three drones.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Arabic-language media outlets said that the Syrian Army was fully preparing itself for resuming large-scale military operation in the demilitarized zone as terrorist groups continued to violate the ceasefire.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted local sources in the city of Ma’aret al-Numan in Southern Idlib as saying that Tahrir al-Sham has reinforced its military positions in the city, specially its Southern and Southeastern sections and in al-Tamane’ah with the aim of preventing the Syrian Army advance.

The newspaper noted that the terrorist groups have not retreated from Aleppo-Damascus and Aleppo-Lattakia highways, and said that the Syrian Army is at its highest level of preparedness to resume military operations after the ceasefire comes to an end in the demilitarized zone.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980617000447

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People Hold Massive Rallies Against US-Backed Militias, Call for Expulsion of SDF from Deir Ezzur

Sep 08, 2019

The local sources in Deir Ezzur province reported that a large number of residents of al-Moizlieh and al-Azabeh in Northeastern Deir Ezzur closed the roads and protested against the SDF and the US.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that the civilians called on the Kurdish militia commanders to hand over the areas under their control to the indigenous population before protests spiral out of control.

The residents of Deir Ezzur also took to the streets for protest after the US Army troops attacked the town of al-Kasar in al-Basirehh region in Eastern Deir Ezzur, abducting four members of a family and transferring them to an unknown place.

In a relevant development in late August, the Kurdish-majority SDF continued to crack down on public dissent in Eastern Syria as hundreds of the US military trucks carrying military equipment had arrived in Hasaka province to back up the SDF.

Local sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur reported that tens of residents of the towns of al-Azabeh and Moizlieh staged protest rallies against the SDF, and called for their exit from al-Jazeereh region.

The Kurdish militia dispersed the crowd by firing at them. The protesters shouted against SDF’s corruption, plundering oil and public assets as well as closing al-Salehieh crossing which is linked to the areas under the Syrian Army’s control.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980617000565

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Kuwait’s ruler in US hospital for tests, postpones Trump meeting

8 September 2019

Kuwait’s ruling emir has been admitted to hospital in the United States for medical tests and has postponed a meeting with US President Donald Trump planned for this week in Washington, state news agency KUNA said on Sunday.

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, 90, who had been due to meet Trump on Sept. 12, will meet him at a later date, KUNA said, citing a statement from the emir's office.

It had said last month he was in “good condition” after suffering an unspecified health setback.

He had held public meetings with members of his cabinet in Kuwait before travelling to the US.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/09/08/Kuwait-emir-admitted-to-US-hospital-for-tests-meeting-with-Trump-postponed.html

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Saudi Arabia, UAE urge Yemen government, STC to halt military actions

8 September 2019

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates called on Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the government to halt all military actions in south Yemen.

“We assert the importance of completely halting all military actions ... or violations against public and private property,” the two countries said in a joint statement carried by Saudi state news agency (SPA).

The two countries also reiterated their support for the Yemeni government. They added that Yemen has continued to support plans to thwart the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/09/08/Saudi-Crown-Prince-receives-two-US-senators-in-Jeddah.html

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Former Hezbollah official found dead in his Beirut flat: Report

Sep 8, 2019

A former official in the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has been found dead in his flat in a Beirut neighborhood, a Lebanese news agency reported.

The state-run National News Agency says security officials found the body of former official, identified only as Ali H., inside his apartment in the Bourj el-Barajneh neighborhood.

Security forces have immediately opened an investigation into the incident and were awaiting the arrival of a forensic doctor to determine the cause of death, the report said.

No other information was immediately available, nor what position the deceased had held in the group.

The incident comes a week after the fiercest shelling exchange between Hezbollah and the Israeli military since the 2006 Lebanon war.

The cross-border fire followed an Israeli drone attack against Lebanon, after which Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned that it could be a precursor to assassination attacks by Israel.

In reaction to the Israeli air raids, Hezbollah fired two anti-tank guided missiles at a moving Israeli armored vehicle at the Avivim base north of the occupied lands, killing and wounding its occupants.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605692/Lebanon-hezbollah-official-beirut-found-dead

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Air strikes kill 18 pro-Iran fighters in east Syria

September 09, 2019

Beirut: Air strikes hit positions of pro-Iranian forces and allied militias in eastern Syria overnight, killing 18 fighters, a war monitor said Monday.

It was not clear who carried out the raids in the region of Al-Bukamal near the border with Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1551866/middle-east

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Mideast

 

Dozens of Palestinians disappear in Saudi Arabia, families testify to group

Sep 8, 2019

Dozens of Palestinians have forcibly disappeared in Saudi Arabia and their fates remain unknown, according to testimonies by their families given to a Swiss-based rights group.

The Euro-Mediterranean for Human Rights Monitor, an independent, nonprofit rights organization, announced the information in a statement on Saturday.

It said it was unable to give the exact number of the Palestinians who have forcibly disappeared in Saudi Arabia, but said it had the names of some 60 Palestinians who had met that fate.

The Palestinian community in Saudi Arabia believes that the real number of the abductees is far higher.

The Euro-Med said the Palestinians in question — among whom are students, residents, businessmen, and academics — have been completely isolated from the outside world without any indictments against them.

They have not been brought before public prosecution, nor allowed to communicate with their relatives or lawyers, it added.

“The campaign in Saudi Arabia of arresting Palestinians is but one in a long series of human rights violations in the country,” Selin Yasar, Euro-Med’s communication and media officer, said.

‘I don't know if he is dead or alive’

The wife of one Palestinian engineer who had been working for a Saudi company but disappeared without a trace said she was completely in the dark about her husband’s fate.

“My biggest pain is not knowing anything about my husband. I do not know if he is alive, dead, healthy or tortured, and this made his disappearance more painful for my children, his parents, and his siblings,” she said.

His family and friends say Saudi authorities won’t respond to queries about his fate.

“The Euro-Med considered the practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice, which guaranteed everyone the right to a fair trial including knowing charges against them, the right to defense and access to a lawyer,” the statement said.

The rights group called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz to order executive authorities to immediately reveal the fate of the Palestinians who have disappeared.

It also urged the international community and the Arab kingdom’s allies in the West to pressure Riyadh to end the forced disappearance of its nationals and foreigners and to put an end to the flagrant human rights violations in Saudi Arabia.

Over the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting the Hamas resistance movement financially, politically, or through social networking sites.

The rights group also cited an Algerian national who was released recently from a Saudi prison as saying that interrogators and jailers at the Dhahban Central Prison in Saudi Arabia used various methods of torture against detainees, including depriving them of sleep or access to medical treatment.

The Algerian national also revealed to the Euro-Med that food inside the prison “was served in a humiliating way and was sometimes offered in bags, and that the jailers kept detainees shackled even while in their prison cells.”

The Dhahban Central Prison is located in a small, isolated village off the Saudi coast, 20 kilometers outside the borders of the western port city of Jeddah. Thousands of prisoners for alleged political, human rights, terrorism, and violence charges are kept in the prison.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605652/Saudi-Arabia-Palestinians-disappear

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Iran’s nuclear chief says EU failed to fulfill its commitments to nuclear deal

8 September 2019

Iran’s nuclear chief said on Sunday the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal have failed to fulfill their commitments under the pact, a day after Tehran announced further breaches of limits on its nuclear activity set by the pact.

The deal curbed Iran’s disputed nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions, but has unraveled since the United States withdrew last year and acted to strangle Iran’s oil trade to push it into wider security concessions.

France, Germany and Britain have tried to launch a barter trade mechanism with Iran protecting it from US sanctions but have struggled to get it off the ground, and Tehran on Wednesday set a 60-day deadline for effective European action.

“Unfortunately the European parties have failed to fulfil their commitments... The deal is not a one-way street and Iran will act accordingly as we have done so far by gradually downgrading our commitments,” said Ali Akbar Salehi, director of Iran’s nuclear energy agency.

“Iran will continue to reduce its nuclear commitments as long as the other parties fail to carry out their commitments,” Salehi said, speaking after meeting the acting head of the UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA), Cornel Feruta, in Tehran on Sunday.

Feruta, whose non-proliferation inspectors monitor Iran’s nuclear program, also planned to see Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other senior Iranian officials.

The IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors will discuss Iran at a quarterly meeting that begins on Monday.

Retaliation

Since May, Iran has begun to breach caps on its nuclear capacity set by the deal in retaliation for US pressure on Iran to negotiate restrictions on its ballistic missile program and support for proxy forces around the Middle East.

Iran says its retreat from terms of the deal is reversible if European signatories manage to restore its access to foreign trade promised under the nuclear deal but blocked by the reimposition of US sanctions.

“The actions they have taken are negative but not definitive. They can come back (to full compliance) and the path of dialogue is still open,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said on Sunday.

Upping the ante in its stand-off with Washington, Tehran said on Saturday it was now capable of raising uranium enrichment past the 20 percent level of fissile purity and had launched advanced centrifuge machines in further breaches of the deal.

IAEA inspectors reported in July that Iran had cranked up enrichment to 4.5 percent purity, above the 3.7 percent cap suitable for civilian energy generation set by the 2015 accord.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/08/Iran-s-nuclear-chief-says-EU-failed-to-fulfil-its-commitments-to-nuclear-deal.html

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Hamas ‘to foil Israel plot against Palestinian right of return’

Sep 8, 2019

A senior leader of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has warned that Hamas will thwart any plot designed by the Israeli regime to target Palestinian refugees’ right of return to Palestine.

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, made the remark during a speech at a gathering in the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday, accusing US and Israeli media of encouraging Palestinians to emigrate from their homeland.

“The issue of refugees has been the target of a conspiracy since the beginning of the first refugee displacement and expulsion,” he said.

“Today, more than any time in the past, we need a clear and national strategic plan in order to face this dangerous plot,” which is “against al-Quds, against the refugees, against our land and against human beings.”

The Hamas official said the resistance movement would never succumb to pressure by the Israeli regime and its allies and would defend the refugees’ right of return.

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which led to the forging of the Israeli regime and its subsequent occupation of the Palestinian territories, displaced around 750,000 Palestinians, none of whom were ever allowed back to their homeland.

The Palestinians diaspora has continued to grow since the first expulsion and it is now estimated that more than seven million Palestinian refugees are scattered around the world.

Haniyeh said the US-planned “deal of the century” sought to consolidate the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and kill the Palestinian cause, adding that so-called deal was based on three issues, “targeting of al-Quds, targeting the refugees’ right of return, and targeting and controlling the occupied West Bank.”

That US plan on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — which is widely reported to be biased in favor of the Tel Aviv regime — has already been unanimously rejected by all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

The US unveiled the economic portion of the initiative during a conference in Bahrain on June 25-26 despite a Palestinian boycott.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605685/Palestine-Hamas-Haniyeh-refugees-right-of-return

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Israel confiscates more Palestinian land for settlement expansion in West Bank

Sep 8, 2019

Israeli authorities have issued a military order to confiscate nearly 25 acres of private Palestinian land in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, as the Tel Aviv regime goes ahead with land expropriation and settlement construction policies in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official in charge of monitoring Israel's settlement expansion activities, told Palestine's official WAFA news agency that Israeli officials have handed over orders to people in the villages of Qaryout and Jalud, located approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of Nablus, notifying them of the decision to seize almost 100 dunams (24.7 acres) in order to expand nearby Shilo settlement.

Daghlas added that similar notices had been distributed among the residents of Turmus Ayya town.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605668/Israel-Palestinian-land-settlement-West-Bank

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Hezbollah claims to down Israeli drone

9 September 2019

Hezbollah sources claimed on Monday to have downed an Israeli drone in Lebanon.

The Lebanese organization downed an Israeli drone outside Ramyah, a town in southern Lebanon, according to Hezbollah's al-Manar TV.

The Israeli drone is now in the hands of Hezbollah's fighters, the Iran-backed group added in a statement.

In response, the Israeli army confirmed that a small drone “on an ordinary mission” fell inside Lebanon and added that there is no danger of the drone leaking information.

Israel and Hezbollah exchanged fire along the Lebanese border on Sunday after a week of rising tensions, but no casualties were reported following the brief flare-up and UN officials immediately urged restraint.

The recent confrontation came after two other Israeli drones fell in Hezbollah-dominated south Beirut in August. The organization said one drone exploded and one crashed in the southern suburbs of Beirut, causing damage to its media center.

A few hours earlier, the Israeli military had attacked targets near Syria's capital of Damascus in what it said was a successful effort to thwart an imminent Iranian drone strike on Israel, stepping up an already heightened campaign against Iranian military activity in the region.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader said that while the flare-up with Israel at the border had ended, the episode had launched a “new phase” in which the Iran-backed movement no longer has red lines.

In response, the Israeli army said on Tuesday that it had exposed a Hezbollah site dedicated to the manufacture of “precision-guided” missiles in Lebanon.

“The IDF is exposing a facility belonging to Hezbollah... designed to convert and manufacture precision-guided missiles,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/09/Hezbollah-claims-to-down-Israeli-drone.html

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Israeli government approves voting cameras, critics cry foul

8 September 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved draft legislation on Sunday to have cameras monitor polling stations in Israel’s election next week, a move opponents said was effectively meant to intimidate Arab voters.

Fighting for political survival after an inconclusive ballot in April, the right-wing Netanyahu has made voter fraud a key issue in his campaign for a fifth term, cautioning that victory could be stolen from him in what polls show to be a close race.

In the previous election, Netanyahu’s Likud party sent monitors equipped with body cameras to a several polling stations with Arab constituents in what Arab politicians described as voter intimidation.

On election days in Israel, representatives of most parties sit at venues to check the pre-vote identification process. Voters are then handed an envelope and go behind a screen to cast their ballot in private.

Addressing his cabinet on Sunday, Netanyahu said that under the legislation, which will go to parliament for approval before the Sept. 17 election, monitors will be able to use their cellular telephone cameras to record outside of the actual voting booth. “Everyone films,” Netanyahu said in public remarks at the meeting. “Any shop is filmed by cameras, so the polling stations are the only places where you can’t film?”

In his comments to the cabinet, which government officials said approved the legislation unanimously, Netanyahu pledged: “The secrecy of the vote will be strictly preserved.”

Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab Joint List party, said on Twitter that Netanyahu’s focus on the issue of voter fraud was aimed at “triggering a panic vote” by his supporters on the right and “suppressing the Arab vote.”

“(Netanyahu) is preparing the ground for the day he declares, ‘Arabs have stolen the elections’, and contests the results if he loses,” Odeh said.

Yair Lapid, co-leader of the centrist Blue and White Party, which is running neck-and-neck with Likud in polls, alluded to the impact the deployment of cameras might have on Arab voter turnout, describing the bill as “racist” in comments on Twitter.

Arabs make up 21 percent of Israel’s population and generally vote not for Likud but for their own Arab parties or centrist or left-wing Jewish parties.

The proposed bill was opposed by the head of the Central Election Commission that oversees the vote, who said the last-minute introduction of cameras might “lead to chaos.”

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, who advises the cabinet on legal issues, also came out against the legislation, saying it could violate laws ensuring voters’ privacy.

For that reason, most Western democracies have restrictions on the use of cameras at ballot stations.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/08/Israeli-government-approves-voting-cameras-critics-cry-foul.html

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Hamas ‘will act if Israel continues to kill Gazans’

Sep 8, 2019

A high-ranking official from the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has vowed that if Israel continues to kill Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, his movement will take action to force the regime to end its violations of the truce understandings over the coastal enclave.

Khalil al-Hayya, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, made the warning on Sunday, stressing that the resistance movement was able to compel Tel Aviv at the right time to respect the mediated ceasefire understandings reached over the Gaza Strip.

In press remarks, carried by the Palestinian Information Center, the Hamas official also urged the mediators of the truce — the United Nations, Egypt, and Qatar — to intervene to curb Israel’s aggressive practices against the blockaded sliver.

Hayya said there were ongoing contacts with the mediators regarding the matter.

Back in May, Israeli airstrikes killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes later struck some 350 sites in Gaza, claiming the lives of 27 Palestinian people. In response, Hamas fired some 700 rockets at the occupied lands, killing four Israelis and wounding 200 others.

After three days of deadly Israeli airstrikes and retaliatory Palestinian rocket attacks, the two sides reached a ceasefire agreement with mediation by Egypt and Qatar.

However, the Israeli regime regularly violates the ceasefire by launching ground and aerial attacks against the inhabitants of Gaza.

Israeli regime forces have also been using live fire against Palestinian protesters along the fence separating the coastal sliver from the occupied territories. At least 307 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since regular protests began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. Over 18,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

Hayya said the protests would continue. He also added that the Israeli targeting of peaceful protesters in the besieged enclave would encourage Gazans to take part in the rallies more actively.

The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli siege since June 2007.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605674/Gaza-Hamas-Israel-violations

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Saudi Arabia, UAE welcome response for southern Yemen dialogue

September 08, 2019

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and UAE have welcomed the response by the Legitimate Government of Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council, on the Kingdom’s call for dialogue, saying it was “a major and positive step” towards ending the recent crisis in the governorates of Aden, Abyan and Shabwa.

The two countries said it was important to continue working under “this positive environment and in a spirit of brotherhood” to renounce division, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

In a joint statement, the governments of both countries said that they have been working in close coordination with various parties to implement a cease-fire.

They also said they have been preparing for a constructive dialogue to end the dispute and address its effects, as part of their responsibilities being in the Coalition Supporting the Legitimate Government in Yemen, and in continuation of their political and military efforts to contain the crisis.

This statement follows a previous one issued on August 26, 2019 pertaining to the events that took place in Yemen’s interim capital of Aden.

Meanwhile, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash on Monday tweeted in Arabic that “the joint messages from Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the developments in Yemen are an affirmation of the strategic partnership that unites us.”

They also called for an immediate end to all military operations as well as violations against any public and private property, the need to stop media propaganda, and for parties to take responsibility to overcome the crisis, as well as prioritize the interests of the Yemeni people who seek security, stability and unity, WAM reported.

Furthermore, they called for the clashing parties to work seriously with the Joint Committee formed by the Kingdom and the UAE, to monitor and stabilize the cessation of military activities or any others affecting public order.

The two governments went on to reaffirm their continued support for the Legitimate Government of Yemen in its efforts to preserve the Yemeni state, defeat the Houthi militia, terrorist organizations operating in Yemen and Iran’s expansion scheme.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1551416/middle-east

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Arab coalition air forces destroy Houthi positions in Al-Jawf province

September 09, 2019

DUBAI: Arab coalition forces have attacked positions of the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Al-Jawf province of Yemen, state news agency SPA reported on Monday.

The coalition’s aircraft targeted the locations and gatherings of the Houthi militia, which resulted in the loss of lives and equipment.

The Arab coalition also destroyed a Houthi warehouse in Sa’ada, which was storing light and medium weapons and ammunition.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1551831/middle-east

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North America

 

US, Taliban keep open door to talks after summit scrapped

Sep 9, 2019

WASHINGTON: The United States and Afghanistan's Taliban on Sunday both left the door open to fresh talks after President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled a secret summit, but the insurgents threatened to inflict greater costs.

Washington also said it would not relent in fighting the militants after Trump blamed the scuttling of the unprecedented meeting on a Taliban attack that killed a US soldier.

Trump said he had invited Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for talks Sunday at the Camp David presidential retreat on a draft deal that would see the United States withdraw thousands of troops and wind down its longest-ever war.

In a series of television interviews, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not rule out a return to talks but said the United States needed a "significant commitment" from the Taliban.

"I'm not pessimistic," Pompeo told NBC. "I've watched the Taliban do things and say things they've not been permitted to do before." "I hope it's the case the Taliban will change their behaviour, will recommit to the things that we've been talking to them about for months," he said on ABC.

"In the end, this will be resolved through a series of conversations," he added, urging the Taliban to drop their long-running refusal to negotiate with Ghani's internationally recognized government.

He said that Trump had not decided whether to go ahead with a withdrawal, which under the draft deal would pull 5,000 of the roughly 13,000 US troops from Afghanistan next year.

But Pompeo warned that the United States was "not going to reduce the pressure" on the Taliban, saying US forces had killed more than 1,000 insurgents in the past 10 days alone.

Veteran US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad had spent a year meeting with the Taliban, who said that Trump showed "neither experience nor patience."

"Americans will be harmed more than any other" by Trump's decision, warned a statement by the group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

But he added that the Taliban still believed "that the American side will come back to this position" of talks that seek "the complete end of the occupation."

The office of Ghani, whose government is rejected by the Taliban as illegitimate, cautiously saluted the "sincere efforts of its allies" after Trump called off the summit.

The Afghan presidency in a statement also insisted that "real peace can only be achieved if the Taliban stop killing Afghans and accept a ceasefire, and face-to-face talks with the Afghan government."

Trump's dramatic about-face came weeks ahead of Afghanistan's presidential elections, raising fears that the Taliban will step up their campaign of violence to disrupt voting.

Trump relishes dramatic gestures, such as meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but the idea of inviting Taliban leaders to US soil still stunned Washington.

The would-be talks angered even some allies of Trump, who noted that the Taliban would be visiting three days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, which triggered the US invasion of Afghanistan.

"Camp David is where America's leaders met to plan our response after Al-Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever," tweeted Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman and daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney.

Considering Trump's penchant for bombast, some questioned if the summit was even set to take place.

"I'm still looking for confirmation an actual, physical trip to Camp David was planned," Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro told CNN, adding: "It's very odd to invite a terrorist organization like that to Camp David."

Islamabad, meanwhile, urged both sides to "re-engage to find (a) negotiated peace from the ongoing political settlement process."

"Pakistan looks for optimized engagement following (the) earliest resumption of talks," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Afghanistan's neighbour Iran -- which historically has opposed the Taliban and has tense relations with the United States -- said it was "gravely concerned."

Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, tweeted: "Defeated foreigners must leave and fratricide must end, especially as foreigners can exploit the situation, bringing renewed bloodshed."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-taliban-keep-open-door-to-talks-after-summit-scrapped/articleshow/71041736.cms

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US will sanction whoever purchases Iran’s oil: Official

 8 September 2019

The United States will continue to impose sanctions on whoever purchases Iran’s oil or conducts business with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and no oil waivers will be re-issued, a US official told Reuters on Sunday.

“We will continue to put pressure on Iran and as President (Trump) said there will be no waivers of any kind for Iran’s oil,” said Sigal Mandelker, US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Mandelker added that Iranian oil sales have taken a “serious nose dive” because of US pressure.

Iran’s crude oil exports were slashed by more than 80% due to the re-imposed sanctions by the United States after President Donald Trump exited last year Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Since ditching the nuclear deal, calling it skewed to Iran’s advantage, Trump has re-imposed sanctions to strangle its vital oil trade and force Tehran to accept stricter limits on its nuclear activity, curb its ballistic missile program and end its support for proxy forces around the Middle East.

In retaliation, Iran has been reducing its commitments under the deal since May, pressuring European countries to the pact to protect Tehran’s interests and its economy.

France, Germany and Britain have tried to launch a barter trade mechanism with Iran protecting it from US sanctions but have struggled to get it off the ground, and Tehran on Wednesday set a 60-day deadline for effective European action.

In addition to saving the deal, Tehran wants to restart selling its oil.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/08/US-will-sanction-whoever-purchases-Iran-s-oil-Official.html

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Ghani spokesman: Taliban leaders receive orders from Qatar to kill Afghans

8 September 2019

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on Sunday, Sadiq Sediqi, a spokesman for President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, that the Afghan people would never accept an incomplete peace deal with the Taliban that results in their death.

Sediqi said that the Taliban leaders staying in Qatar for peace talks were “having (a) honeymoon in Doha,” adding that the “Taliban leaders receive orders from Qatar to kill Afghans.”

Negotiations in Qatar are incomplete, and the Afghani government has shared its concerns with the US about the “flawed process,” Sediqi said.

Ghani’s spokesperson said that US President Donald Trump’s decision on Saturday to cancel peace talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders proved that the government’s concerns were acknowledged. Trump cancelled the talks after the insurgent group said it was behind an attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier and 11 other people.

“The peace talks provided an opportunity to the Taliban to embrace political life,” Sediq Sediqqi told reporters in Kabul.

“We (the Afghan government) expected an outcome leading to a ceasefire and holding direct talks with the Taliban but we did not see any real effort from their (Taliban) end,” he said.

Ghani’s office said in a statement it was committed to working together with the United States and allies for a “dignified and long-lasting peace.” He added that the country will be holding the presidential election this month.

Ghani is seeking a second tenure in the elections scheduled for September 28, but the Taliban have called for the elections to be cancelled as a precondition to signing a peace accord with the US.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/08/Ghani-spokesman-Taliban-leaders-receive-orders-from-Qatar-to-kill-Afghans.html

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US defends plans for Trump-Taliban meeting at Camp David

Sep 8, 2019

The US has defended plans for a meeting between President Donald Trump and Taliban’s leaders at Camp David as prospects of a deal shatter between the two sides.

Hours after Trump called off the secret meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told NBC on Sunday that "it was appropriate to have the Taliban set foot on Camp David."

"The president ultimately made the decision that if we could get that, if we could get commitments and then put in place a verification regime that would give us confidence that we could observe that those commitments were being honored, that it was a useful effort to try and get all of those parties in one place so that we could have serious conversations about how to reduce America's risk so that there won't be other secretaries of state that have to travel to Dover to go see these amazing American heroes who have given so much for our country," said the US secretary of state.

Reports of such a meeting faced backlash from lawmakers, including Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney, tweeting that "no member of the Taliban should set foot" at Camp David "ever."

"Never should leaders of a terrorist organization that hasn’t renounced 9/11 and continues in evil be allowed in our great country. NEVER. Full stop," said Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger.

Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy also asked whether the broken deal could gain legitimacy just by being signed on the US soil.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

• Sep 8, 2019

Replying to @realDonaldTrump

....an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they....

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

....only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?

81.8K

4:21 AM - Sep 8, 2019

Twitter Ads info and privacy

36.2K people are talking about this

"How on earth would legitimacy of a deal in Afghanistan been enhanced by it being signed in America rather than Afghanistan?" he tweeted, asking what the point was "of dragging [Afghan President Ashraf] Ghani and Taliban leaders all the way to Camp David?"

 US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad presented a draft US-Taliban agreement to Ghani at the beginning of the month, which outlined plans for a US withdrawal from the country in exchange for a Taliban pledge not to plot attacks on the United States and its allies.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605691/US-defends-plan-to-host-Taliban-at-Camp-David

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US puts Kushner’s ‘coffee boy’ in charge of Mideast peace

Sep 8, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s new Middle East envoy is a 30-year-old White House administrative assistant who used to run errands and get coffee for his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a new report states.

Trump announced Thursday that Avi Berkowitz will replace former envoy Jason Greenblatt, who announced his resignation the day before.

A Harvard Law School graduate who finished his studies in 2016, Berkowitz has zero foreign policy experience except for being Kushner’s right-hand-man. He also joined the Trump campaign in 2016.

The Business Insider, in a 2017 article, quoted former White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks as saying that Berkowitz’s main duties had been “daily logistics like getting coffee and coordinating meetings” as Kushner’s close aide.

A former employer of the new man in charge of America’s Middle East peace efforts also said on Twitter that he was “not very impressive and needed significant hand-holding to handle even simple assignments. But Mideast peace? I’m sure he’s got this!”

A Middle East expert described Berkowitz as “a glorified intern,” according to the Telegraph.

Jasmine El-Gamal, a former Middle East advisor to the Pentagon said the appointment shows the Trump administration’s “lack of seriousness” in their plans to broker peace in the Middle East.

“They are not even pretending otherwise by hiring a qualified person as an envoy,” she told the British media outlet.

Berkowitz’s background as a Zionist, a trait he shares with both Kushner and Greenblatt, has also raised concerns in various political circles.

The young diplomat inherits America’s so-called “deal of the century” peace deal, which was masterminded by Kushner and Greenblatt as the ultimate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The deal, which has already been rejected by the Palestinians and the international community, seeks to do away with Palestinian’s right to statehood in exchange for basic economic opportunities.

Berkowitz and Kushner’s Zionist affiliations only lays bare the inherent bias that comes with any US-brokered peace talks between Palestine and the Tel Aviv regime.

Washington showed that it does not even care enough to hide the bias, as Trump thanked Greenblatt for his “dedication to Israel” upon his departure.

The Telegraph cited experts as saying that Berkowitz could be a disposable player that the Trump administration has brought on board only to kick out later in order to save face in the event of the peace deal’s anticipated failure.

Upon the unveiling of the deal of the century’s first installment at a conference in Bahrain in June, which was boycotted by Palestinian officials, Kushner’s creation was met with widespread criticism.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605688/US-Trump-Kushner-Berkowitz-coffee-boy-Mideast-peace

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US and Turkey begin joint patrols under Syria 'safe zone' agreement

Sep 8, 2019

The US and Turkey on Sunday began joint patrols in north-eastern Syria under a deal aimed at easing tension between Ankara and US-backed Kurdish forces.

Six Turkish armoured vehicles crossed into Syria through an opening in the concrete wall erected between the two countries as two helicopters flew overhead. Turkey's Defence Ministry said drones were also being used.

The US and Turkey agreed on August 7 to establish a safe zone between the Turkish border and the Syrian areas east of the Euphrates River, controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia.

The YPG is a US ally in the fight against ISIS in Syria but Turkey considers the group a terrorist organisation and has repeatedly threatened to launch an offensive to drive them back from the border.

US Col Myles Caggins, spokesman for the coalition against ISIS, said the Turkish forces "observed first-hand progress on destroyed YPG fortifications and areas where YPG elements voluntarily departed the area".

Turkey and the US set up an operations centre to oversee the safe zone last month but differences remain as to how far into Syria it will extend. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said US leader Donald Trump had promised it would be 32 kilometres wide, but that has not been confirmed by the US.

Hours after the patrols began, Mr Erdogan raised new doubts about deal.

"We are negotiating with the US for the safe zone but we see at every step that what we want and what they have in mind is not the same thing," he said.

"It seems that our ally is looking for a safe zone for the terrorist organisation, not for us. We reject such understanding."

The Syrian government, which withdrew from the area after a civil war broke out in 2011, condemned the joint patrol, calling it "an aggression in every sense of the word".

Its Foreign Ministry said the move was a "blatant violation of international law and the sovereignty" of Syria.

Turkey has carried out several incursions into Syria in the course of the war to contain the influence of Kurdish forces along its border.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/us-and-turkey-begin-joint-patrols-under-syria-safe-zone-agreement-1.907898

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Europe

 

Australia blocks access to websites showing video of Christchurch attacks

9 September 2019

Australia has ordered internet service providers to block access to eight websites still showing footage of deadly attacks on two mosques in New Zealand earlier this year.

A lone gunman armed with semi-automatic weapons attacked Muslims attending Friday prayers in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island on March 15, killing 51 people in the country’s worst mass shooting. The attacker broadcast the shooting live on Facebook, and footage was widely shared.

Most websites quickly removed links to the video, but Australia's eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant said on Sunday eight local sites had defied her requests for the content to be deleted.

“We cannot allow this heinous material to be used to promote, incite or instruct in further terrorist acts,” Grant said in an emailed statement.

The blocking of the eight websites comes amid a concentrated effort by Australia to clamp-down on the sharing of violent content online.

Australia in April passed legislation that allowed Canberra to fine social media companies up to 10 percent of their annual global turnover and imprison executives for up to three years if violent content is not removed “expeditiously”.

It is now an offence in Australia for companies such as Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, which owns video sharing site YouTube, not to remove any videos or photographs that show murder, torture or rape without delay.

Companies must also inform Australian police within a “reasonable” timeframe.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/09/Australia-blocks-access-to-websites-showing-video-of-Christchurch-attacks.html

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Turkey shouldn’t threaten Europe over refugees: Greece

Sep 8, 2019

Greece says Turkey should not try to pressure Europe in a bid to receive more support for a plan to resettle Syrian refugees in northern Syria.

“Mr. Erdogan (the Turkish president) must understand that he cannot threaten Greece and Europe in an attempt to secure more resources to handle the refugee (issue),” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told a news conference in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki on Sunday.

“Europe has given a lot of money, six billion euros in recent years, within the framework of an agreement between Europe and Turkey and which was mutually beneficial,” he said.

On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country might be forced to stop preventing the flow of refugees into Europe if the European Union (EU) and the United States did not act to provide Ankara with more support toward retaining them.

Erdogan said he would go ahead with a plan to resettle a million refugees in northern Syria, adding that his country had already spent 40 billion dollars hosting what he said was a population of four million refugees from Syria, which was plagued by militancy starting in 2011.

Europe has been the destination of hundreds of thousands of refugees from such crisis zones as Syria, including elsewhere in Asia and Africa, in recent years. Particularly when the crisis began in 2015, many of the refugees arrived in Greece — one of the nearest destinations in Europe — often via Turkey.

But, under a deal signed with the EU in March 2016, Turkey agreed to take back all the refugees who had used its territory to illegally reach European shores in return for a number of commitments from the EU, including financial aid, visa liberalization, and an acceleration in negotiations with the EU over Ankara’s membership in the bloc.

That deal was what Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, was referring to in his Sunday remarks.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605649/Greece-Turkey-refugees-Syria-Erdogan-threat

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Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu refers to UK's Boris Johnson as 'Boris Yeltsin'

Sep 9, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has released a video that clumsily tries to edit out a gaffe where he calls the British prime minister the wrong name.

Mr Netanyahu misspoke at Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, referring to his British counterpart Boris Johnson as Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president who died in 2007. Cabinet ministers immediately corrected his error.

But an official video of the meeting released hours later suddenly cuts away from Netanyahu at the moment he says Yeltsin — instead he’s heard saying “Boris Johnson.”

The gaffe comes as Mr Netanyahu fights for his survival before next week’s re-do election. His campaign has branded the long-serving leader as a veteran statesman with close relations with world leaders.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/israel-s-benjamin-netanyahu-refers-to-uk-s-boris-johnson-as-boris-yeltsin-1.907975

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Extremist who threatened Muslims with home-made stun gun jailed

Paul Peachey

Sep 8, 2019

A right-wing extremist who built a home-made stun gun to attack British Muslims has been jailed after he confessed his murderous plans to police.

Darren Dale, 41, had been flagged as a threat because of his extremist views and made racist threats when officers came to check up on him.

Dale, from Blackpool in northwest England, also told officers about his violent plans to attack and kill Muslims. He said that he had watched YouTube videos to learn how to make home-made bombs and had built an arsenal of weapons.

Dale showed them the weapons, which included a metal bar cut from a dumbbell and two stun guns, including one that he said he made himself.

He boasted that the stun gun was as powerful as a police-issue device, which delivers a powerful electric shock, and just needed a battery for it to work.

The devices are used by Britain’s largely unarmed police service to incapacitate violent or armed criminals.

Police returned to Dale’s home with a search warrant the same day and discovered a black plastic block with wires sticking out.

Dale was jailed for three years and four months on Friday after admitting to charges of attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and making threats to kill.

Senior counter-terrorism officer Detective Supt Will Chatterton said: “It’s horrifying that an individual planned to carry out a pre-empted venomous attack intending to harm people because of their religion.”

The jailing of Dale came after another extremist, who called himself the ‘Muslim Slayer’, was jailed on Tuesday for 12 and a half years for a letter campaign that included calls for a “Punish a Muslim”.

David Parnham, 36, sent letters – some containing white powder to raise fears of an anthrax attack – to prime ministers and Queen Elizabeth as part of a two-year hate campaign targeting Muslims.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/extremist-who-threatened-muslims-with-home-made-stun-gun-jailed-1.907770

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Southeast Asia

 

Muslim groups to rally against PTMP, reclamation project

Predeep Nambiar

September 3, 2019

GEORGE TOWN: A coalition of 40 Muslim interest groups is planning to protest this Sunday against the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project in hopes of reaching a compromise on the matter with the state government.

Ummah Pulau Pinang chief Mohd Akhir Che Mat said the purpose of the rally is to defend the rights of some 5,000 fishermen who claim their livelihoods will be affected by the PSR project.

The PSR is a state government initiative to finance the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) through the reclamation of three islands covering 4,000 acres of land off Permatang Damar Laut.

Akhir said the groups understood that the project had already been given approval, but that they nonetheless hoped to change the authorities’ minds.

“We are not against development, but we want the PTMP to be reviewed and the reclamation project to be called off altogether.

“We want PTMP to be reviewed so that the projects move people, not cars,” he said in a press conference here today.

He added that a compromise appeared to have been reached in a recent meeting between PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

“We know it has been approved, but we feel there is room to review the project. That is why Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sent Anwar to speak to the fishermen,” he said.

During the meeting which took place last month, Anwar and Chow had received a briefing on the PSR project. Chow then said the state would consider scaling down the reclamation projects if Putrajaya agreed to fund the LRT and Pan Island Link 1 highway.

Akhir said he expects over 5,000 people including opposition leaders from Umno and PAS to attend the protest, which will be held at the Permatang Damar Laut field.

“We have gotten a good response from the police and we hope to get a permit from them soon,” he added.

“We will continue fighting all the way until the next election if needed.”

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/09/03/muslim-groups-to-rally-against-ptmp-reclamation-project/

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Anti-Shia raid may cast a pall over Dr M’s planned visit to Iran

September 7, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: One of several raids in recent days by Selangor Islamic authorities on private Shia Muslim events in the state appears to have ruffled diplomatic feathers, with pressure growing on Tehran to protest what is seen as a violation of religious rights of its citizens in Malaysia.

FMT understands that the raid was carried out in Ampang on Sept 4 at the house of an Iranian national, two days before a similar raid at a Shia religious centre in Gombak led to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) arresting 23 men, women and children for breaking state enactments banning Shia practices.

Sources close to diplomatic circles told FMT that the incident in Ampang threatens to cast a shadow over a planned visit to Iran next month by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is viewed positively in Iran for his public statements condemning Western powers and Washington, the traditional enemy of the Islamic republic.

Queries to the Iranian embassy in Kuala Lumpur were not returned, an indication that the country was treading carefully so as not to be accused of interfering in domestic affairs.

The raids are part of an annual crackdown against Shia Muslim adherents in conjunction with the 10 Muharram mourning ceremonies, also called Ashura.

Shia Muslims worldwide mark the week leading to Ashura, which falls on Sept 9 this year, with events to commemorate the death anniversary of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein, a central figure in Shia Islam.

Religious authorities in Malaysia have over the years been enforcing a fatwa declaring Shia teachings as “deviant”, with raiding parties mostly targetting local Shias.

But a spokesman for the tiny Shia community in Malaysia said authorities have in recent years been emboldened to act against foreign Muslims who follow Shia Islam, the second largest branch of Islam which is predominantly followed in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and several parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan.

“This is the second anti-Shia raid in two years involving foreigners, and is a violation of their right to practise their faiths,” said the spokesman, requesting anonymity for fear of being monitored by Islamic authorities.

In the raid on Sept 4, it is learnt that authorities detained an Iranian woman who is believed to have hosted the private function. She was later served a summons for questioning by Jais on Sept 19, accused of “being in contempt of religious authorities”. FMT also understands that she was released from detention following intervention by a senior Iranian embassy official.

In 2017, authorities arrested scores of Iraqi students in Serdang, Selangor, who were at a Muharram 10 celebration; they were released following intervention from the Iraqi embassy.

The arrests drew protests from Baghdad, which said it “would not tolerate the Malaysian authorities’ detention of (Iraqi) students”, and warned Putrajaya that the action was damaging bilateral relations.

Foreign Shia Muslims in Malaysia are increasingly being prevented from practising their beliefs, despite an assurance in 2013 by the then-minister in charge of Islamic affairs that Shia followers would be allowed to practise their beliefs as long as they do not propagate to others.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/09/07/anti-shia-raid-may-cast-a-pall-over-dr-ms-planned-visit-to-iran/

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Philippines: Foreign-looking militant dies in suicide attack

8 September 2019

A foreign-looking militant was killed in a suicide bombing attack on Sunday on a military detachment that failed to inflict any other deaths or injuries in the southern Philippines, military officials said.

The suicide attacker, who wore a traditional black Muslim woman’s gown, tried but failed to enter a detachment in Sulu province’s Indanan town and died when a bomb the militant was carrying exploded. It was the third known suicide attack in Sulu this year.

Regional military chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the bomber failed to enter the detachment due to tight security.

A military spokesman in Sulu, Lt. Col. Gerard Monfort, said by phone that troops took cover and assumed combat positions, some behind sand bags, when the militant refused to step away from the outpost’s gate and carried something that bulged in the bomber’s gown.

“A wary soldier yelled at the militant to ‘go away, go away’ and other soldiers who heard him took cover and assumed combat positions,” Monfort said. “Then an explosion killed the militant.”

The blast damaged the detachment’s gate but did not cause any other deaths or injuries, Monfort said, adding that there were no civilians in the rural area at the time.

It was the third known suicide bombing this year by militants linked to ISIS, a terrorist group in Sulu, including a deadly Jan. 27 bombing by an Indonesian militant couple in a Roman Catholic cathedral in the predominantly Muslim province.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/08/Philippines-Foreign-looking-militant-dies-in-suicide-attack.html

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Africa

 

At least 29 killed in two attacks in Burkina Faso

Sep 9, 2019

At least 29 people were killed in two attacks in northern Burkina Faso on Sunday, in a region prone to extremist violence, the government said.

One vehicle transporting people and goods "rode over an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Barsalogho area" leaving at least 15 passengers dead, government spokesman Remis Fulgance Dandjinou said in a statement.

A security source said most were traders.

Meanwhile, around 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, 14 people were killed when food vans travelling in convoy were attacked, the spokesman added.

Local sources said many of the dead were the drivers of the three-wheeler vans, which were carrying provisions for people displaced by fighting.

"Military reinforcements have been deployed and a thorough search is under way," Dandjinou said.

A former French colony that ranks among the world's poorest countries, Burkina Faso has been struggling with an extremist revolt since 2015.

The country's army has been increasingly targeted by the radical militants. Earlier this month, an attack on a military base in northern Burkina Faso killed 24 in an unprecedented blow to the army in its campaign against extremists.

The insurgency, which came from neighboring Mali, began in the north but has since spread to the east.

Since 2015, more than 500 people have died in attacks that have become increasingly violent especially in the north and the east, according to a toll compiled by AFP.

The capital Ouagadougou has been attacked three times, including a March 2018 extremist assault on the military headquarters that left eight dead.

A summit of regional heads of state is due to be held in Ouagadougou on Saturday to discuss the security situation.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/09/605699/Twin-attacks-burkina-faso-extremist-Ouagadougou

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Sudan’s first post-Bashir cabinet sworn in

Sep 8, 2019

Sudan’s first cabinet since the ouster of president Omar al-Bashir was sworn Sunday as the African country transitions to civilian rule.

The 18-member cabinet led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok took oath at the presidential palace in Khartoum, AFP reported.

It is expected to steer the daily affairs of the country during a transition period of 39 months.

The cabinet includes four women, among them Asmaa Abdallah, who becomes the country’s first female foreign minister.

It also includes Ibrahim Elbadawi, a former World Bank economist who will serve as finance minister, and Madani Abbas Madani — a leader of the civilian coalition that negotiated the transition deal with the military — as minister of industry and trade.

The line-up was formed after Sudan last month swore in a “sovereign council” — a joint civilian-military ruling body that aims to oversee the transition.

The 18 ministers were seen greeting members of the sovereign council, including its chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, in images broadcast by state television from the palace.

The council itself is the result of a power-sharing deal between the protesters and the generals who had seized power after the army ousted Bashir in April.

Hamdok’s cabinet is expected to lead Sudan through formidable challenges that include ending internal conflicts in three regions. Rebel groups from the marginalized regions of Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan states had waged long wars against Bashir’s forces.

Sudan’s power-sharing deal aims to forge peace with armed groups.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/08/605675/Sudan-cabinet-postBashir-sworn-in

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Tunisia’s Ennahda party rebrands for election race

September 09, 2019

TUNIS: Chastened by its early experiences of holding power in post-revolution Tunisia, Islamist-inspired party Ennahda has moderated its image and selected lawyer Abdelfattah Mourou as its candidate for next Sunday’s presidential election.

Hesitant at first, Ennahda party only entered its first-ever presidential contest after polling was brought forward following the July death of incumbent President Beji Caid Essebsi.

In the absence of any ally to support and faced with a rushed electoral calendar, Ennahda came forward with its own candidate rather than abstain and risk a poor showing at legislative polls set for Oct. 6.

“Tunisians have grown used to the idea of Ennahda as a normal party, so the situation is more favorable,” according to its head, Rached Ghannouchi, who was exiled during longtime autocrat Zine El-Abidine‘s rule, when Ennahda was banned.

Ghannouchi has been a major force in Tunisia’s democratization process since the 2011 revolution that ousted Ben Ali, and is running for office himself for the first time in next month’s parliamentary vote.

Whereas the last legislative elections, in 2014, were fought along pro- and anti-Islamist lines, economic and social factors are the key issues in the next polls.

“This divide between Islamists and supporters of secularism is no longer ... credible,” said political scientist Hamza Meddeb, pointing out that all of Tunisia’s main political parties have governed in coalition with Ennahda over the past five years. But Ennahda carries the scars of its first taste of political power after the party in late 2011 won the first legislative polls after Ben Ali’s fall.

Weighed down by crises and faced with a strong opposition, Ennahda had to make way for a Cabinet of technocrats in early 2014.

Since 2016, Ennahda has been branding itself as a “civil” movement that distinguishes between politics and religion, and it now describes itself as a “Muslim democratic” party.

Opinions are divided on whether its candidate will emerge as one of the two candidates who go forward to a second round of presidential polling. But Mourou, who has been interim speaker of Parliament since July, is widely seen as a moderate and far less divisive figure than Ghannouchi.

“He’s the least Islamist of the Islamists, he can attract voters who are not close to the party,” according to Meddeb.

A lawyer in his 70s who wears traditional costume while advocating more openness in the party, Mourou is not typical of Ennahda.

Although it was beaten in 2014 by Essebsi’s secular Nidaa Tounes party, Ennahda took part in a coalition. In effect, it has never been fully left out of power in the last eight years of transition to democracy.

In the presidential contest, voters will for the first time have to decide whether they can entrust Ennahda with the office of head of state, responsible for the North African nation’s defense.

Trust on social issues is also a key factor.

As for Ghannouchi, he has his sights set on the post of Parliament speaker after the October vote and wants Ennahda to play a key role in forming Tunisia’s next government, political analysts say.

Full report at:

But “if Mourou gets a low score, it risks being swept away in the legislative polls,” he said.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1551706/middle-east

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Roadside blasts kill at least 5 in Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane 

08.09.2019

MOGADISHU, Somalia

At least 5 people including African Union peacekeeping mission forces in Somalia (AMISOM) were killed and several others wounded when a double roadside blasts targeted Amisom convoy in Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region on Sunday, local media reported.

The attacks took near African Union forces base in Burane vicinity near the town of Mahaday Middle Shabelle region.

”At least five people, mostly Amisom soldiers from Burundi, were killed and several others wounded after their convoy was targeted in double explosions near Mahaday district,” local radio broadcast Risaala said.

Muhiyidin Hassan, a police officer in the region, confirmed the attack to Anadolu Agency over the phone but did not provide further information on the attacks.

African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia also confirmed the incident and said that the attacks wounded two Amisom soldiers.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/roadside-blasts-kill-at-least-5-in-somalia/1576367

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Boko Haram attacks Nigerian military convoy, carts away cash, equipment

September 8, 2019

Samuel Ogundipe

Boko Haram fighters have stolen a large amount of money from the Nigerian military following an ambush on a logistics convoy on Friday morning, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

One soldier was also wounded in the attack.

Soldiers of Nigerian Army Super Camp 3 and the 231 Battalion — both under Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole — were moving supplies from Damaturu, Yobe State, to Biu, Borno State, when they drove into a Boko Haram pitfall around Azare-Kamuya end of the highway at about 9:00 a.m., military sources said.

A fierce firefight that followed left at least one soldier wounded and large military equipment destroyed. A gun truck for the 231 Battalion was seized by the insurgents and taken away.

They also made away with N15,492,000 in ration cash allowance for soldiers on the frontlines. At N1,000 per day, the amount can cover allowances of 20,000 troops for a week.

A reinforcement from 27 Task Force Brigade, Damaturu, which later intervened in the attack killed one of the insurgents. French newswire, AFP, reported that Boko Haram claimed two soldiers were killed in the attack.

Military sources told PREMIUM TIMES one Boko Haram fighter was killed but insisted only one soldier was wounded and no military casualties in the Friday morning attack.

The attack comes as Boko Haram continues to exploit a lack of military presence on large swathes of the interstate between Borno and Yobe. The army said it was implementing a strategy of concentrating soldiers at ‘super camps’ rather than at smaller outposts across the troubled region.

While Boko Haram fighters have invaded smaller units since they renewed targeting of military bases in mid-2018, they have also overrun large battalions and even brigades in different parts of the northeast. The attacks combined have left scores of soldiers killed, including the assault that devastated 157 Task Force Battalion last November.

As the military moves soldiers to super camps to make attacks on bases more difficult for insurgents, Boko Haram has been taking over communities left unprotected by the new measure. At least two local government areas were taken over by Boko Haram in recent weeks.

Full report at:

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/351159-boko-haram-attacks-nigerian-military-convoy-carts-away-cash-equipment.html

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