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Islamic World News ( 4 Jan 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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AIMPLB Asks Muslim Students Not to participate In 'Surya Namaskar,' calling it A Form of "Sun Worship," Though It Is Just a Beneficial Yogic Exercise

New Age Islam News Bureau

05 January 2022

  

(Photo courtesy: The Art of Living)

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• Martyr Soleimani Fought For Islamic Ummah: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan

• Mullah Baradar Calls Ex-Officials 'Corrupt', Says No Place for Them in the Cabinet

• US-Based Muslim Civil Liberties Organization Urges Tesla To Close Showroom In Xinjiang

• Gen. Soleimani’s Assassination Backfired On US, Israel: UK News Website

 India

• Bulli Bai App Case: Three Arrested, More Could Be Involved, Says Mumbai Police Chief

• Gurgaon 'Namaz' Row: Hindu Groups File FIR against Former MP, Mohammad Adeeb Accusing Of Disrupting Communal Harmony

• Hindu pilgrims visit Pakistan; Muslim delegation to leave for India in late January

• Jammu and Kashmir: Three JeM terrorists killed in encounter with security forces in Pulwama

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Pakistan

• Madina Masjid at Tariq Road: SC turns down request to stop demolition of mosque

• Church Of Pakistan Condemns Religiously-Motivated Violence In India

• Conference in Pakistan’s Karachi Seeks to Combat Islamophobia

• UN praises Pakistan for carrying out registration of 1.4m Afghan refugees

• Imran Khan’s party tried to conceal foreign funding from Election Commission: report

• Pakistan sends to Afghanistan technical team to install machinery

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South Asia

• Thousands of Rohingya shops demolished, Bangladesh confirms

• Taliban deny skirmish with Turkmenistan’s border guards

• Recognition for Taliban behind Pakistan push for SAARC summit

• Pak-Afghan border fencing issue will be addressed through 'diplomatic channels': Taliban

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North America

• US hoping to build on ‘modest progress’ made during Iran nuclear deal talks

• Israel, in US visa talks, eyes easing access for Palestinian-American dual nationals

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Europe

• US, EU sternly warn Sudan’s military against appointing PM unilaterally

• Turkish-origin politician in Sweden receives hate mail

• Report: 10,000 UK War Veterans in Iraq Discharged Due To Mental Scars

• Kazakhstan government resigns amid mass protests over fuel price hike

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Southeast Asia

• Tolerance and Harmony between Religious Communities in Indonesia Extraordinary: VP Ma'ruf Amin

• Indonesian Forces Gun down Suspected Pro-IS Militant in Central Sulawesi Mountains

• Thailand's Muslim insurgents mark New Year with attacks

• Tesla criticised for opening showroom in China’s Xinjiang region

• Covid-19 quarantine: Malaysian Umrah pilgrims can opt for private or govt-run centres, says minister

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Arab World

• Around 125 Houthis Killed In Clashes near Yemen’s Marib

• 2 children killed in northwest Syrian violence since New Year

• Lebanon PM will call cabinet meeting within days: Report

• Rocket attack hits near base hosting US forces in Baghdad: Sources

• Israel downed a Hezbollah drone from Lebanon: IDF

• Drone attack on US forces foiled west of Iraq’s Baghdad

• Arab Coalition strikes targets in Yemen’s Sana’a in response to Houthi drone attacks

• Arab Coalition warns of targeting Houthi-controlled ports after Emirati vessel seized

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Mideast

• Iran Asks Instagram, Facebook to End Censorship of General Soleimani

• Leader’s Military Aide: IRGC Qods Force “Engine” of Resistance

• FM: Israel’s Ill Wishes against Iranian Nation Never Come True

• Envoy Underlines High Importance of Iranian President’s Visit to Russia

• Palestinian prisoner ends hunger strike in deal with Israel

• OIC calls for release of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner

• Turkiye 'neutralizes' 3 YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria

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Africa

• South African Corruption Inquiry Releases 'State Capture' Report Covering Zuma Era

• British Council confirms probe into racism allegations in its Kenya office

• Sudan’s security forces fire tear gas to disperse latest round of protests

• Somalia's international partners urge leaders to ensure credible elections

• Thousands protest in Sudan after prime minister’s resignation

• Libyan actors propose ‘sequenced’ elections

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/aimplb-surya-namaskar-sun-worship-yogic/d/126101

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AIMPLB Asks Muslim Students Not To Participate In 'Surya Namaskar,' Calling it A Form Of "Sun Worship," Though It Is Just A Beneficial Yogic Exercise

 

(Photo courtesy: The Art of Living)

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Jan 4, 2022

NEW DELHI: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board Tuesday asked Muslim students not to participate in 'Surya Namaskar' exercise, claiming it is a form of "sun worship" which is not allowed in their religion.

It also demanded the government withdraw an order issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in this regard.

On December 29, the UGC had issued a notice requesting all higher educational institutes to have their students perform the 'Surya Namaskar' exercise as part of the celebrations of the country's 75th year of independence.

In an official statement, the AIMPLB Tuesday said India is a secular country where many religions are practised. "Sun worship is not allowed in Islam and other minority religions. The government should withdraw the order while respecting the secular values enshrined in the Constitution," it said.

If the government wishes to organise any programme in schools it should organise something related to patriotic music, it said.

The statement said the government should instead focus on issues like unemployment, price rise and its "failure" to protect the country's borders.

"Muslim students are not allowed to participate in the programme," read the AIMPLB statement.

Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh reacted to the statement, advising the AIMPLB to desist from "politics" and alleging it appears the Board's stand is aimed at benefiting the Congress in election.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/after-ugc-advisory-aimplb-asks-muslim-students-not-to-participate-in-surya-namaskar/articleshow/88695949.cms

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Martyr Soleimani fought for Islamic ummah: Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan

 

Martyr Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani

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January 5, 2022

Senior leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan strongly condemning the US terrorist operation to martyr the commander of Qods Force of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said General Qasem Soleimani was a fighter and defender of the rights of Islamic nations.

Provincial chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Muhammad Hussain Mehanti expressed these views during a meeting with Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought Hamid Shahriari at Jamaat-e-Islami head office in Karachi on Tuesday.

Molavi Nazir Ahmad Salami, Member of Iranian Assembly of Experts, Kamran Pezeshki, Caretaker of Iran Culture Center, Asadullah Bhutto, the Secretary General of the National Solidarity Council of Pakistan, and Saber Abu Maryam, Secretary General of Palestine Foundation of Pakistan were also present.

The head of the Jamaat-e-Islami Sindh referred to the common vision of Imam Khomeini, the great founder of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, and Maulana Abul-Ali Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islamic for the uplift of Islamic nations and the defense of Muslims against injustice.

Muhammad Hussain Mehanti emphasized the people of Pakistan, especially the Jamaat-e-Islami, support Iran's struggle for the victory of the Islamic Revolution and defend Iran's resistance against colonialism.

Referring to the anniversary of the martyrdom of the glorious commander of Islam, Lieutenant General Qasem Soleimani, he condemned the terrorist acts of the Americans and added General Soleimani fought for the rights of the Islamic nations and the United States committed a crime by assassinating him and violated international law.

Expressing his devotion to the Supreme Leader and praising Iran’s support to the oppressed nations of the region, including Palestine, the Pakistani politician stressed US conspiracies against the Iranian nation and government are doomed to fail.

Welcoming the recent talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, he added we believe in the important role of Tehran in helping to solve the problems of the Islamic world and promoting interaction between Islamic states to resolve the ambiguities.

Welcoming the idea of the Secretary General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought for unity of Islamic sects he added we are witnessing unrest in some Islamic countries and to overcome this crisis we must promote joint trade and close cooperation.

Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought stressed the importance of close interaction between Iran and Pakistan, especially bilateral trade and economic cooperation for the welfare of the two countries, adding the Islamic Republic of Iran is always determined to interact with neighbors.

Hamid Shahriari emphasized the problems of the Islamic world, particularly Yemen and said Yemen issue must be resolved through peaceful means, and Yemeni groups must be allowed to solve their problems by themselves.

He said Iran welcomes the improvement of relations with Saudi Arabia and is ready to play a role in helping to resolve the problems of the Islamic world.

During the meeting, Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought praised the efforts of the Palestine Foundation of Pakistan (PLF) to highlight the problems of Palestinian people, the liberation of Jerusalem and enlightenment in Pakistani society about the occupation and atrocities of the illegitimate Zionist regime.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//martyr-soleimani-fought-for-islamic-ummah-jamaat-e-islami-pakistan_1215739.html

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Mullah Baradar Calls Ex-Officials 'Corrupt', Says No Place For Them In The Cabinet

 

Afghanistan's hardliner and Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar

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Jan 4, 2022

KABUL: Afghanistan's hardliner and Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in an interview with Radio-Television of Afghanistan (RTA) on Monday, said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will not include any of the ex-officials of the previous republic government in its cabinet.

Baradar accused the ex-officials of being "corrupt". He said that the integrity of the Islamic State will be harmed if he includes even one of the former officials, reported TOLOnews.

The interviewer asked Baradar about his stand on the international demand that Afghanistan should form an inclusive government. Responding to the question, Baradar said that during the Doha talks the US had given the names of some government officials to meet the same demand.

He said, "These people cannot be with us in the government, because even if they are five (even if only five people are included), they will harm our government's standing and we don't want our government to be brought down by such people,"

Baradar claimed that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has fulfilled all the conditions being put in front of them as a precondition to their recognition. He said that as the conditions are fulfilled, the world should recognize them.

He added, "The Islamic Emirate has fulfilled the requirements for recognition and the world should have recognized it."

Speaking on the current economic crisis which Afghanistan is grappling with, Baradar said that if the world does not help Afghanistan, then the country will be majorly impacted. He also emphasized that not only Afghanistan will be burdened but neighbouring countries and the world will be put in a bad light.

When asked about the girls' education and the reopening of the universities, Baradar said that right to access education is everyone's right. But he cited the country's economic crisis and moral issues as the reason for the universities not to be opened.

"The education sector needs a strong economy. When economic challenges are resolved, we will provide educational facilities for all those who want to pursue their studies," he said.

Baradar also denied the allegations by the former president Ashraf Ghani that he--Ghani-- would have been killed if he had not left Kabul.

Afghanistan's acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hassan Akhund, during his first public address last year, accused Ghani of corruption and funds embezzlement, local media reported.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/mullah-baradar-calls-ex-officials-corrupt-says-no-place-for-them-in-the-cabinet/articleshow/88696007.cms

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US-Based Muslim Civil Liberties Organization Urges Tesla To Close Showroom In Xinjiang

 

Representative Image

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5th January 2022

Washington: A major Muslim civil liberties organization in the United States has called on Tesla motors CEO Elon Musk to close a recently-opened showroom in China’s Xinjiang region, saying no American corporation should be doing business in a region that is the focal point of a campaign of genocide targeting a religious and ethnic minority.

In a statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that Tesla must cease what amounts to economic support for genocide.

US-based Tesla opened the showroom in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi with an announcement on the Chinese social media platform Weibo.

“No American corporation should be doing business in a region that is the focal point of a campaign of genocide targeting a religious and ethnic minority,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Elon Musk and Tesla must close this new showroom and cease what amounts to economic support for genocide.”

According to media reports, Tesla has said it has begun operations in a showroom in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. This has drawn widespread criticism.

US lawmakers accuse China of imprisoning as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in a system of extrajudicial mass internment camps, where they are forced to produce textiles, electronics, food products, shoes, tea, and handicrafts.

Beijing, on the other hand, has repeatedly denied all accusations of being engaged in abuses in Xinjiang.

Meanwhile, the White House has urged private companies to oppose the human rights abuses and genocide by China in Xinjiang.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/us-based-muslim-civil-liberties-organization-urges-tesla-to-close-showroom-in-xinjiang-2253013/

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Gen. Soleimani’s Assassination Backfired on US, Israel: UK News Website

 

Palestinians attend a ceremony in Gaza to commemorate the second anniversary of the US assassination in Iraq of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani (portrait), on January 3, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

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04 January 2022

The US assassination of Iran’s top commander General Qassem Soleimani has backfired on Washington and Tel Aviv as they have “failed abysmally” to achieve their objective of pushing Tehran back, according to an article.

In an article published on Monday, on the second anniversary of General Soleimani’s assassination, the Middle East Eye cast doubts on the effect of the assassination to alter the strategic landscape of the region in favor of the US and Israel.

The article opined that it is difficult to argue that Iran is more deterred than it was before General Soleimani’s assassination.

Referring to the Israeli manipulation behind former US president Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate the top Iranian strategist, it added, “The then prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, thought he was being clever in persuading Trump to withdraw from the 2015 Iran deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in 2018, and apparently twisted his arm in doing the dirty work of Soleimani’s elimination for Israel. However, it is becoming clear that neither decision served Israel’s national interest, not to mention that of the US.”

It further enumerated US policy failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine, particularly as they relate to the assassination.

“The US has humiliatingly withdrawn from Afghanistan, losing the game in Central Asia, with potentially serious repercussions in Western Asia, too; the Iraqi parliament has voted for the US’s complete withdrawal from the country; the Syrian government maintains and consolidates its grip on the useful part of its country, as once-hostile Arab leaders are now increasingly going back to Damascus; and Hezbollah continues to hold sway over the Lebanese political landscape,” the opinion piece claimed.

It added: “Further, the Houthis (Ansarullah movement), no matter how heavily Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemen, are close to winning the strategic city of Ma’rib, one of the most important Saudi strongholds in the country. Hamas still holds Gaza – last spring Israel, for the first time in its history, saw its Arab citizens siding with the Palestinians protesting in the street of al-Quds, leaving the chilling sensation of a possible civil war inside” the occupied territories.

On January 3, 2020, the US military conducted an air operation under Trump’s order targeting General Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport after his arrival. The attack also killed the general’s companions, including Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Iran has called General Soleimani’s assassination “state terrorism” and vowed to put an end to the US military’s presence in the region as the ultimate act of revenge.

As part of its retaliation, the Islamic Republic launched a volley of ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and another airbase in Erbil on January 8, 2020, as a result of which 110 US troops were diagnosed with “traumatic brain injuries”.

The Middle East Eye further said, “If the principals behind Soleimani’s killing bet on Iran’s self-deterrence, they miscalculated, as the bombing of the US al-Asad base in Iraq has proven – a far more damaging and accurate attack than it was initially considered.”

“Any serious professional involved in the shadowy world of intelligence and asymmetric warfare in the Middle East will tell you that a person as important as Soleimani should not have been eliminated. His intrinsic value in maintaining a modicum of stability, and in avoiding dangerous miscalculations and escalations, outweighed any benefits that could arise from his death.”

“Only neophytes like Trump, or Israelis who had a short-term interest in conflict generation like Netanyahu, could go that far; and, if the intent was to push Iran back, they have failed abysmally,” the article added.

European parliamentarian slams US ‘brutal crime’

Also on Monday, Mick Wallace, an independent Irish Member of the European Parliament, took to Twitter again to censure Washington’s “brutal crime” and “total disrespect” for international law and the EU’s silence over the assassination.

“The murder of #Soleimani on this day 2 years ago was a brutal crime by the #US Government which showed once again their total disrespect for International Law and the #UN Charter,” he wrote.

“What does it say about the #EU and Member State Governments who refused to condemn this crime...?” he added.

Also, speaking with the Press TV website days earlier, Wallace recalled his last year’s visit to Iraq, where he met with ordinary people trying to build a sustainable independent state, saying, “The name of General Soleimani was never far from their lips.”

“He was too young to die, but for the US imperialism, he was too effective, too powerful, and too good to be allowed to live,” he remarked.

The Irish politician added that nobody did more to defeat Daesh in Iraq than General Soleimani, while the US and its allies were responsible for the rise of terrorist groups.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/04/674033/Gen-Soleimani-assassination-backfired-US-Israel

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 India

 

Bulli Bai App Case: Three Arrested, More Could Be Involved, Says Mumbai Police Chief

Mumbai   | 05.01.22

Three people have been arrested in the Bulli Bai' app case, Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said here on Wednesday.

Two of those nabbed are from Uttarakhand, Nagrale told reporters, adding some more people could be involved in this matter.

Police are investigating whether there was a conspiracy in the case, he said.

"The probe in the case is on and anyone involved in the crime directly or indirectly will be arrested and prosecuted, he said. As the investigation is of a sensitive nature, we will not be able to share more details, he added.

As the investigation is online, sharing details may hamper the probe, he said.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/bulli-bai-app-case-three-arrested-more-could-be-involved-says-mumbai-police-chief/cid/1846274

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Gurgaon 'Namaz' Row: Hindu Groups File FIR against Former MP, Mohammad Adeeb Accusing Of Disrupting Communal Harmony

Our Bureau, PTI   |   Gurgaon   |

 05.01.22

Amid the ongoing row over offering 'namaz' in the open, the police here have lodged an FIR against former Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb and others on a complaint filed by local Hindu activists accusing them of disrupting communal harmony and trying to grab land.

The FIR has been lodged against Adeeb, Abdul Haseeb Kashmi and Mufti Mohammad Salim Kashmi at Sector 40 police station under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, officials said.

When contacted, Kuldeep Singh, Station House Officer of Sector 40 police station, said the facts are being verified and action will be taken as per law.

In December, Adeeb had moved the Supreme Court seeking contempt action against Haryana director general of police and chief secretary for failing to comply with the court's directions regarding measures to curb communal and violent sentiments that result in hate crimes.

The complainants, Dinesh Bharti, Himmat and Vikky Kumar, accused Adeeb of disrupting communal harmony and trying to grab land, actions that could lead to riots.

They alleged that repeated attempts have been made to grab the land of locals.

Bharti claimed that in Sector 40, a plot where the ancestors of one Mangtu Manihar were laid to rest has been declared a graveyard and it is being demanded that a mosque be constructed there.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/gurgaon-namaz-row-hindu-groups-file-fir-against-ex-mp-who-moved-sc/cid/1846277

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Hindu pilgrims visit Pakistan; Muslim delegation to leave for India in late January

Jan 4, 2022

ISLAMABAD: An international delegation of 200 Hindu pilgrims in Pakistan will depart on a four-day religious tour to a recently restored century-old shrine in the country’s north.

The pilgrims from India and the UAE arrived on Saturday via Wagah border and Dubai. They will visit the Samadhi of Hindu guru Shri Paramhans Dayal Ji Maharaj in Teri village of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

There are 159 pilgrims from India. They were transported to Peshawar by air and to the Teri Samadhi by road amidst tight security.

Last year, a mob had set the Samadhi on fire. The Pakistan government has restored the damage.

After the incident, the Pakitan government arrested and fined several people, including members of the Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party, for vandalizing the place of worship.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that anyone targeting the country’s non-Muslim citizens would face stern consequences.

The visiting pilgrims told reporters they appreciated the arrangements made for them as well as the opportunity to pay their respects at the Samadhi. Many were overwhelmed with emotions.

بھارتی ہندو یاتری واہگہ بارڈر کے ذریعے لاہور پہنچ گئے۔۔ہندو یاتری مذہبی رسومات کی ادائیگی کے لئے لاہور آئے ہیں۔… https://t.co/8iwEaUJo75

PTV News (@PTVNewsOfficial) 1641020376000

We felt as if we have entered jannat when we reached here,” Varona Malhotra, a pilgrim from New Delhi said.

The visibly emotional visitor said that she felt fortunate to visit the Samadhi and hoped that pilgrims from both India and Pakistan would be allowed to visit their holy sites across the border.

The hospitality extended to us in Pakistan and especially in this province made us feel at home,” she said.

غیر ملکی سیاحوں کو پاکستانی حکومت اور عوام کی مکمل حمایت اور سر پرستی حاصل ہے۔ان دنوں بھارتی ہندو یاتری خیبر پختونخ https://t.co/41D7M8jgcv

PTV News (@PTVNewsOfficial) 1641110594000

Another pilgrim hoped that such visits between the two countries would continue in the future.

The primary purpose of Hindu pilgrims, led by Shriman Mahatma Param Nityanand Ji, is to visit the Samadhi of Shri Param Hans Ji Maharaj, Teri Temple,” said parliamentarian and patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.

Vankwani said the Hindu Council is also arranging regular visits of Pakistani delegations to Muslim shrines in India. The first such visit to Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan is scheduled for late January.

In early December, Vankwani signed an agreement with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) to launch special charter flights from the UAE to facilitate religious pilgrims.

Hindus form the largest non-Muslim majority in Pakistan, accounting for 2 percent of the population of the country which gained independence from British rule in 1947 when the subcontinent was partitioned into Muslim-majority Pakistan and Hindu-majority India.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/hindu-pilgrims-visit-pakistan-muslim-delegation-to-leave-for-india-in-late-january/articleshow/88684738.cms

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Jammu and Kashmir: Three JeM terrorists killed in encounter with security forces in Pulwama

Jan 5, 2022

NEW DELHI: Three JeM terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces on Wednesday in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said.

One of the terrorists killed in the encounter is a Pakistani national, an official said.

"Incriminating materials, arms & ammunition including 2 M-4 carbines & 1 AK series rifle has been recovered from them," IGP Kashmir said.

Earlier, an encounter broke out between terrorists and security forces in Pulwama.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jammu-and-kashmir-three-jem-terrorists-killed-in-encounter-with-security-forces-in-pulwama/articleshow/88702441.cms

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Pakistan

 

Madina Masjid at Tariq Road: SC turns down request to stop demolition of mosque

By Sohail Khan

January 05, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the plea of Attorney General for recalling its order to demolish the Madina Masjid at Tariq Road, Karachi.

A three-member special bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, adjourned the case for January 13 and sought a comprehensive report from the Sindh government.

The chief justice said that the order passed for removing encroachments from the park would not be recalled adding that if they recalled their orders, then what would be the purpose of the whole exercise.

Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, another member of the bench, observed that constructing a mosque on encroached land is an un-Islamic step and Islam does not allow such steps. The judge further said that religion was being used for land grabbing.

The Attorney General, however, requested the court to review its earlier decision of December 28 pertaining to demolition of the mosque adding that due to the court’s order, several questions were being raised.

The chief justice, however, told the AGP that the Government of Sindh should give an alternate piece of land for the construction of the mosque. We have seen this park where encroachments have been made, the CJP said.

The Attorney General said he knew that it was the duty of the state and provincial government to allocate land for the construction of mosque but would request the court to recall its order of razing the mosque.

The AGP further submitted that religious tension was on the rise since the order was passed for razing the mosque. “We can only order that the mosque may not be demolished till the provision of new space for its construction," the CJP told the AG. The Attorney General submitted that as the Sindh government was not a party in the case, therefore, it would be appropriate that a comprehensive reply was sought from the provincial government.

Source: The News Pakistan

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

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/922511-sc-turns-down-request-to-stop-mosque-razing

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Church Of Pakistan Condemns Religiously-Motivated Violence In India

January 4, 2022

LAHORE: The senior leadership of Church of Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the violence perpetrated by Hindu extremist elements on religious minorities in India in the recent years, demanding the Narendra Modi-led government to stop patronising such right-wing policies.

Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Press Club, the Church of Pakistan leaders, including President Bishop Dr Azad Marshall, Bishop of Multan Leo Roderick Paul, Bishop of Sialkot Alwin Samuel, Bishop of Lahore Irfan Jameel, Bishop of Karachi Fredrick John, Bishop Emeritus Manu Rumal Shah and Reverend Shahid Meraj, urged the international community to take notice of the persecution of Christians, Muslims and other religious minorities in India.

In his address, Bishop Azad Marshall said the leadership of Church of Pakistan is extremely concerned by the rise in attacks on Christians and other minorities in India. “India takes pride in being the world’s largest democracy but its brazen violations of religious freedom have laid bare its claims of being a truly secular country,” said Bishop Marshall.

He added that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in its recent report has highlighted that the BJP-led government in India is promoting Hindu nationalist policies, resulting in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, which negatively impact non-Hindu religious communities, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits and Adivasis.

“The attacks on religious minorities, vandalism of minorities’ worship places, enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and persecution of Christians under the guise of action against religious conversions should be the issues of serious concern for the world,” he said, adding that the misuse of policies such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Financial Contribution (Regulation) Act has enabled the Indian government to silence or restrict individuals and NGOs from reporting on and combatting religious persecution.

Bishop Marshall also called for the protection of minorities in Pakistan, saying effective legislation is needed to save underage minority girls from being sexually exploited.

He also announced that the church has established a helpline, where Christians can report their issues and get legal assistance.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/01/04/church-of-pakistan-condemns-religiously-motivated-violence-in-india/

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Conference in Pakistan’s Karachi Seeks to Combat Islamophobia

January 04, 2022

An Iranian delegation, headed by Hojat-ol-Islam Hamid Shahriari, secretary general of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought (WFPIST), attended the event as special guests.

It was organized by the Iranian Culture House in Karachi.

In his address as the keynote speaker, Hojat-ol-Islam Shahriari said the enemies are frightened by Islamic unity.

He said unity among Muslims is a Quranic commandment and based on the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The cleric also referred to the martyrdom anniversary of top Iranian commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, saying the senior commander was committed to strengthening unity in the Muslim world.

General Soleimani spared no efforts to help the nations of Iraq and Syria who had been suffering under the rule of the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorist group, he added.

Another speaker, Pakistani politician Assadollah Bhutto, also paid tribute to Martyr Soleimani and lauded his sacrifices in fighting terrorism.

He also stressed the need for Muslims to unite against the US and its allies.

He said the Americans have been humiliated by their defeats in the region and are thus trying to hatch evil plots to foment discord among Muslims.

Source: IQNA

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https://iqna.ir/en/news/3477223/conference-in-pakistan%E2%80%99s-karachi-seeks-to-combat-islamophobia

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UN praises Pakistan for carrying out registration of 1.4m Afghan refugees

Anwar Iqbal

January 5, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has successfully completed its first ever smartcard registration of Afghan refugees, a UN agency reported on Tuesday.

In another report, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) urged the international community to scale up its support to Iran, which received about half a million Afghan refugees in 2021.

The UNHCR report noted that this week Pakistan completed its first ever drive to verify data of around 1.4 million on-the-move refugees. Those registered include more than 200,000 children under five.

“UNHCR commends Pakistan for its country-wide campaign to verify and update the data and to issue smart identity cards” to the refugees, the UN report added.

Also, this week the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi completed a three-day visit to Iran, noting that like Pakistan, Iran was also sheltering hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees.

“Iran has been a generous host of refugees for decades, despite their precarious economic situation made worse by the pandemic,” he said in a statement issued after the visit. “As the situation in Afghanistan remains fragile, we need to ensure those fleeing to Iran can get the protection and assistance they need,” he added.

The UN report noted that Pakistan completed its first large-scale verification of Afghan refugees on Dec 31. The data of 1.25 million Afghan refugees were also updated during the campaign, officially known as the documentation renewal and information verification exercise (DRIVE).

More than 700,000 new smart identity cards have also been issued to date. The remaining cards will be printed and distributed in early 2022.

The cards will be valid until 30 June 2023 and contain biometric data that are technologically compatible with systems used in Pakistan for authentication. The new smart identity cards would give the refugees faster and safer access to health and education facilities and to banking services.

DRIVE would also enable Afghan refugees to flag any specific protection needs or vulnerabilities. UNHCR hopes the data would also be useful to support those who decide to go home.

The UNHCR report pointed out that the DRIVE program was part of a wider effort to assist and protect Afghan refugees, including through the support platform for the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees (SSAR).

In the second report, the UNHCR chief urged Iran to recognise the protection needs and risks faced on return to Afghanistan.

Mr Grandi traveled to Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchistan province, where he met Afghan families, including infants and elderly people, who fled to Iran from Nimrooz some four months ago.

“Afghan refugees spoke of their pain and desperation at having to leave their homes behind,” he said. University-aged women conveyed to the High Commissioner their anguish at having had to abandon their studies and not knowing what their future will hold.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1667682/un-praises-pakistan-for-carrying-out-registration-of-14m-afghan-refugees

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Imran Khan’s party tried to conceal foreign funding from Election Commission: report

JANUARY 05, 2022

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party has under-reported an amount of PKR 312 million over a four-year period, between FY 2009-10 and FY 2012-13

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party grossly under-reported funds received from foreign nationals, firms, and also concealed its bank accounts, a media report said on January 5, quoting a damning report compiled by the Election Commission.

The ruling party has under-reported an amount of PKR 312 million over a four-year period, between FY 2009-10 and FY 2012-13.

The year-wise details reveal that an amount in excess of PKR 145 million was under-reported in FY 2012-13 alone, the Dawn newspaper reported.

“A perusal of the chartered accountant’s opinion on the accounts of the party for this period does not indicate any deviation from the reporting principles and standards,” it quoted the report compiled by the Scrutiny Committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as saying.

According to the data provided to the committee by the State Bank of Pakistan, the PTI had 26 bank accounts.

Between 2008 to 2013, the party had disclosed funds to the tune of PKR 1.33 billion to the ECP, whereas a report by the SBP, the central bank of Pakistan, shows the actual amount to be PKR 1.64 billion, the committee’s report said.

The party also failed to disclose details of three banks in documentation provided to the ECP, it said.

The report stated that around 1,414 companies in Pakistan, 47 foreign companies and 119 potential companies provided funds to Mr. Khan’s PTI.

It had also received $2.3448 million as funds from the U.S., but the committee couldn’t access the party’s U.S. bank accounts, the report said.

Of those to have contributed these funds include 4,755 Pakistanis, 41 non-Pakistanis and 230 foreign companies.

Besides the U.S., Mr. Khan’s party also received funds from Dubai, U.K., Europe, Denmark, Japan, Canada and Australia, the report said.

A private bank provided details to the SBP regarding $2.2 million funds being received by the party from Dubai.

But the committee could not get details into these transactions, the report said.

The committee also sent the party a detailed questionnaire on the funding received from the U.S. and other foreign countries, but received no clear response, it added.

In a post-Cabinet meet on January 4, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudry termed the Scrutiny Committee’s report as ‘inaccurate’ and demanded an inquiry into the accounts of Opposition political parties like the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party. “The report [of the ECP scrutiny committee] does not point towards foreign funding [...] it has been decided that there is no case of foreign funding,” he said.

According to the Dawn newspaper, the report was tabled as the ECP resumed hearing of the foreign funding case against the ruling party on January 4 after nine months.

The last hearing took place on April 6, 2021, following which the ECP had directed the dissident founding member of the party, Akbar S. Babar, to employ two auditors for the perusal of the documents submitted by the ruling party.

Source: The Hindu

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https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/imran-khans-party-tried-to-conceal-foreign-funding-from-election-commission-report/article38123417.ece

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Pakistan sends to Afghanistan technical team to install machinery

05 Jan 2022

Pakistan has sent a team of engineers and technical personnel to the Afghan capital Kabul, Nangarhar, and Logar provinces to get the construction process of hospitals completed and install machinery, Pakistan’s Dawn Newspaper reported.

The team is comprised of four engineers and technicians and is said to install medical equipment worth 2 million Pakistani rupees in these hospitals.

The report reads that installation of the machinery for completion of the construction of the hospitals is part of the five billion Pakistani rupees pledged by Pakistani PM for addressing Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis.

The machinery is supposed to be installed in Jinnah hospital based in Kabul, in Nishtar hospital based in eastern Nangarhar province, and in Logari hospital based in Logar province.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/pakistan-sends-to-afghanistan-technical-team-to-install-machinery-476457/

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South Asia

 

Thousands of Rohingya shops demolished, Bangladesh confirms

Jan 4, 2022

COX'S BAZAR: Bangladesh authorities have bulldozed more than 3,000 Rohingya-run shops since last month, a government official confirmed Tuesday, as struggling refugee families voiced their dismay at the demolitions.

About 850,000 members of the stateless Muslim minority are packed into overcrowded displacement camps in Bangladesh, most having fled neighbouring Myanmar after a 2017 military clampdown that prompted an international genocide investigation.

Bangladesh has been praised for taking in the refugees but rights groups have criticised restrictions placed on the refugees, most recently a drive to knock down makeshift shops that serve their communities.

The country's deputy refugee commissioner Shamsud Douza told AFP that "more than 3,000 illegal shops" had been demolished.

"The number of Rohingya is increasing. And they need shelters. We are already building sheds on the premises," he said, adding that relief groups were ensuring the refugees were still getting daily necessities.

But Khin Maung, a Rohingya community leader and rights activist, told AFP the demolitions had already hurt tens of thousands of refugees in the camps.

"Rohingya families are large and the amount of food ration given to them is decreasing. Many families used to rely on the income from the shops," he said.

Salim Ullah, whose grocery shop was torn down, said he would now struggle to feed his family of eight.

"That shop was my last hope. How do I run a family now? There is no way out except to die. I am helpless," he said.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/thousands-of-rohingya-shops-demolished-bangladesh-confirms/articleshow/88692635.cms

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Taliban deny skirmish with Turkmenistan’s border guards

04 Jan 2022

Foreign ministry of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan denied armed engagement between the Taliban and Turkmenistan border guards in northern Jawzjan province.

Spokesperson of the ministry Abdul Qahar Balkhi in a series of twitter posts said that rumors about skirmishes between the two countries’ border police are untrue.

“There is no issue between Afghanistan and our neighbor nations Turkmenistan and we want positive relations with all countries.” Reads a Twitter post.

Balkhi in the Tweet said that the IEA is seeking positive relations with all countries including Turkmenistan through diplomatic means.

In the meantime, the spokesperson said that recent conflict between Afghan and Pakistani border guards in different provinces is an issue that needs to be negotiated upon.

He added that diplomatic means for resolving the issue with Pakistan will soon be undertaken.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/taliban-deny-skirmish-with-turkmenistans-border-guards-868767/

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Recognition for Taliban behind Pakistan push for SAARC summit

Jan 04, 2022

Pakistan’s rediscovered enthusiasm for holding a SAARC summit in Islamabad is likely aimed at shoehorning the Taliban as the representative of Afghanistan.

Reacting to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s desire for a SAARC summit and advising India to attend it virtually if its leadership did not want to visit Pakistan, sources here pointed out that even before such an interaction is considered, the eight-member grouping would need to reach a consensus on who will represent Afghanistan.

With the Taliban not yet recognised by a single country, it is unlikely that any of the other SAARC members, barring Pakistan, will be comfortable with sharing the round table with the insurgent group’s representatives, they added.

Pakistan has been pushing the Taliban leadership’s claim at various fora but the international community will prefer to be guided by the deliberations at the United Nations. Last month, the UN Credentials Committee had failed to reach unanimity on giving representation to the Taliban and Myanmar’s military regime. The committee chief and Sweden's Permanent Representative Anna Karin Enestrom said after the closed-door meeting that it was decided "to defer its decision of the credentials" and no other meeting has been scheduled in the near future.

Pakistan had sought the ouster of the Ghani-regime representative Ghulam Isaczai and his replacement by the Taliban’s Suhail Shaheen.

Source: Tribune India

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https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/recognition-for-taliban-behind-pakistan-push-for-saarc-summit-358125

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Pak-Afghan border fencing issue will be addressed through 'diplomatic channels': Taliban

Tahir Khan

January 4, 2022

The Taliban government in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that issues related to the fencing of Pak-Afghan border would be addressed through diplomatic channels, echoing an earlier statement by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Qureshi, during a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, had acknowledged that there were "some complications" pertaining to the fencing of Pak-Afghan border but added that the matter was being discussed with the Afghan Taliban government as he blamed "certain miscreants" for blowing such incidents out of proportion.

Taking to Twitter, Taliban foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi said: "Recently, a few incidents have taken place along the Durand Line between Afghanistan and Pakistan that have given rise to the need for the authorities of the two sides to address the problem."

The official said that the Taliban government, which believed in addressing problems through "understanding, talks and good neighbourliness", would address the issue through diplomatic channels.

Dawn.com has also learnt that the Pakistani embassy in Kabul has sought an official response from the Taliban government over the issue.

Over the past few weeks, videos have surfaced on social media purportedly showing Taliban fighters uprooting a portion of the fence along the Pak-Afghan border, claiming that the fencing had been erected inside Afghan territory.

In a more recent video being shared on Twitter, Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarzmi was seen saying that Pakistan had no right to fence the border and create a divide, adding that such a move was "inappropriate and against the law".

Last month, a video went viral on Twitter that showed Taliban soldiers seizing spools of barbed wire, with a senior official asking Pakistani soldiers stationed at security posts in the distance not to try to fence the border again.

Fencing amounts to dividing a nation: Taliban spokesman

Earlier, Taliban spokesman and Afghanistan's acting information minister Zabihullah Mujahid had issued a statement in an apparent contradiction of FM Qureshi's comments, saying that there was no need for border fencing by Pakistan as the issue of the Durand Line had not yet been resolved.

“The issue of the Durand Line is still an unresolved one, while the construction of fencing itself creates rifts between a nation spread across both sides of the border. It amounts to dividing a nation,” Mujahid said in a recent interview with a local YouTube channel in Kabul.

“As this issue is still unresolved, there was no need for fencing at all,” he told the Paktiawal Official channel.

Mujahid said the people living on both sides of the border had connections with each other and fencing was like creating a disconnect between them.

“The Durand Line has divided one nation along both sides. We do not want it at all. We want a rational and logical solution to the problem,” the Taliban spokesman maintained.

Like the previous Afghan governments, the Taliban rulers also consider the border as an artificial line, while Pakistan considers the border with Afghanistan as a settled issue and a closed chapter.

The Durand Line agreement was signed between Afghan King Abdul Rahman Khan and British India's Foreign Secretary Sir Mortimer Durand in 1893. The Durand Line constitutes part of the current border between Pakistan and Afghanistan and not the entire mutual border.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1667628/pak-afghan-border-fencing-issue-will-be-addressed-through-diplomatic-channels-taliban

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North America

 

US hoping to build on ‘modest progress’ made during Iran nuclear deal talks

05 January ,2022

The US said on Tuesday that it was hoping to build on the “modest progress” that was made last week during indirect talks with Iran on a nuclear deal.

But Washington also warned, once again, that time was running out for a deal to be reached.

“What is clear is that if we do not soon reach an understanding on mutual returns to compliance, Iran’s accelerating nuclear steps will increasingly diminish the non-proliferation benefits of the JCPOA,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a phone briefing.

Pressed about remaining time before the US quits waiting, Price said: “The clock will run out when our experts here... come to the conclusion that the benefits [of a return to the nuclear deal]… would be outweighed by the advancements that Iran has made in its nuclear program.

The talks resumed last week before being adjourned for the New Year holiday. They once again picked up on Monday, Price said.

“There was some modest progress in the talks last week,” Price said. “We hope to build on that this week.”

Asked about sanctions relief, Price said that the topic was “really at the heart of the negotiations that are ongoing.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/05/US-hoping-to-build-on-modest-progress-made-during-Iran-nuclear-deal-talks

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Israel, in US visa talks, eyes easing access for Palestinian-American dual nationals

04 January ,2022

Israel is prepared to permit Palestinian-American dual nationals to transit its territory as part of an emerging US visa waiver deal for its citizens, a top Israeli official said on Tuesday.

With US-sponsored peacemaking long stalled and violence simmering in the occupied West Bank and in Gaza, Israel strictly limits access by Palestinians - including to the Tel Aviv and Eilat airports, both a few hours’ drive from the territories.

Instead, Palestinians coming in from abroad generally make more onerous trips through Jordan and the Israeli-run West Bank boundary, or through Egypt’s Sinai desert, which borders Gaza.

Giving Palestinian-Americans domiciled in the territories an Israel-transit option “is a demand by the Americans going back many years,” Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said.

“The Shin Bet (Israeli security service) can handle it, and in the context of the visa waivers - if that process does indeed happen - an American who also has Palestinian citizenship will be able to enter Israel like any American,” she told reporters.

The deal could be concluded in February 2023, she added.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price, discussing the visa waiver talks on Dec 28, said Washington would “continue to work with Israel toward fulfilling the equal treatment of all Americans ... seeking to enter or transit through Israel.”

Shaked said her staff was also addressing US complaints that Arab-Americans are subject to unusually intrusive questioning by Israeli airport security.

Among proposals, she said, was for security agents to receive airline passenger lists 12 hours in advance, to enable more selective screening.

Another condition for US visa waiver is reducing the current Israeli applicant refusal rate to 3 percent, both sides say.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/04/Israel-in-US-visa-talks-eyes-easing-access-for-Palestinian-American-dual-nationals

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Europe

 

US, EU sternly warn Sudan’s military against appointing PM unilaterally

04 January ,2022

The US and Europe warned Sudan’s military on Tuesday against any attempts to appoint a new prime minister and cabinet without involving “civilian stakeholders.”

“The Troika and the European Union will not support a Prime Minister or government appointed without the involvement of a broad range of civilian stakeholders,” a statement from Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union said.

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

This was one of the strongest statements from Western powers since Abdalla Hamdok stepped down as Sudan’s prime minister over the weekend.

Despite signing a deal with the military, which arrested him and forced the collapse of his government, Hamdok said that he was “unable to combine all the components of the transition to reach a unified vision.”

In their statement Tuesday, the so-called Troika and the EU said Hamdok played a major role in leading Sudan’s democratic and economic reforms. “His resignation as Sudanese Prime Minister, two months after the military’s unconstitutional seizure of power, reinforces the urgent need for all Sudanese leaders to recommit to the country’s democratic transition and deliver on the Sudanese people’s demands for freedom, peace, and justice,” the statement said.

The statement also said the Western powers look forward to working with a government and a transitional parliament, “which enjoy credibility with the Sudanese people and can lead the country to free and fair elections as a priority.”

They added that this would necessary to facilitate any economic assistance to Sudan.

“In the absence of progress, we would look to accelerate efforts to hold those actors impeding the democratic process accountable,” they added, in a sign of potential sanctions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/01/04/US-EU-sternly-warn-Sudan-s-military-against-appointing-PM-unilaterally

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Turkish-origin politician in Sweden receives hate mail

Atila Altuntas  

04.01.2022

STOCKHOLM

A Swedish politician of Turkish origin has said that he received a racist hate letter.

Mikail Yuksel, chairman of the Nyans Party, told Anadolu Agency that the letter contained pejorative remarks and read: "Go back to your country."

Underlining that he had been the target of racists and opponents of Turkiye for a long time, Yuksel said this was because his politics, "especially against terrorist organizations and Islamophobia, bothers many people."

Noting that he had received racist letters before, Yuksel said sending letters had become normal for perpetrators, who "don't want me to do politics here."

He also pointed out that the letter includes racist comments insulting Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Muslim people.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-origin-politician-in-sweden-receives-hate-mail/2465299

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Report: 10,000 UK war veterans in Iraq discharged due to mental scars

02 January 2022

The British army’s most senior clergyman has lamented his participation in the military invasion of Iraq, saying mental scars from the war zone have left him in “the valley of the shadow of death” for years even after returning from the Arab country.

Clinton Langston made the revelation in a report published by the Daily Mail on Saturday as more than 10,000 British troops involved in the Iraq war have been discharged due to mental health problems over the past 20 years.

Official figures show that another 500 quit last year after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other disorders.

“I have remained, as have so many of our soldiers, in the valley of the shadow of death – a place of utter desolation where our shadows yearn to feel and love and live again but where our families find only the shell of who we were,” Langston said.

The senior clergyman said he became “sick with fear” after writing letters to his wife and children that were to be opened in the event of his death during a six-month deployment in 2004.

“I returned home six months later. Both the immediate days after and the years since have been dominated by my inability to dial my emotions back up,” he underlined.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/02/673900/British-army-Clinton-Langston-Iraq-war-

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Kazakhstan government resigns amid mass protests over fuel price hike

05 January 2022

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has accepted the government's resignation after a wave of unprecedented protests that swept the oil-rich Central Asian country over fuel price hikes.

"In accordance with Article 70 of the Republic of Kazakhstan, I hereby resolve to accept the resignation of the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan," Tokayev said in a presidential decree on Wednesday.

According to the president's office, Alikhan Smailov was appointed as acting prime minister.

The announcement came hours after Tokayev declared a two-week state of emergency in the country's biggest city, Almaty, as well as western Mangistau Province, where protests over surging gas prices turned violent. Photos and videos that surfaced online showed armored vehicles moving in the streets.

"Calls to attack government and military offices are absolutely illegal," he said in a video address, adding, "The government will not fall, but we want mutual trust and dialog rather than conflict."

In Almaty, Kazakhstan's financial capital, police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds of thousands of people who had gathered in the city's main square on Tuesday, as protesters toppled, smashed, and set police cars alight. Intense clashes went on between riot police and protesters for hours in nearby areas.

Video footage showed a large crowd of people rocking a police van onto its side, vandalizing police cars, and setting several law enforcement vehicles on fire.

The mass protests began in Mangistau on Sunday, following the government's decision to lift price controls on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) — a move that roughly doubled gas prices within a matter of days — and engulfed other parts of the country.

Tokayev later ordered the acting cabinet members and provincial governors to restore LPG price controls and broaden them to gasoline, diesel, and other "socially important" consumer goods. He also ordered the government to develop a personal bankruptcy law and consider freezing utilities' prices and subsidizing rent payments for poor families.

The president also claimed the situation was improving in protest-hit cities and towns after the state of emergency was declared, which included a curfew, movement restrictions, and a ban on mass gatherings.

Kazakhstan is a major energy power, among the top exporters of oil globally and in the leading 20 for gas. The country's government has subsidized liquefied petroleum gas for years, but argued that price controls needed to be lifted as keeping them in place was no longer sustainable.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/05/674099/Kazakhstan-government-resigns-amid-mass-protests-over-fuel-price-hike

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Southeast Asia

 

Tolerance and Harmony between Religious Communities in Indonesia Extraordinary: VP Ma'ruf Amin

05 Jan 2022

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The tolerance and harmony between religious communities in Indonesia has received recognition and praise from various nations, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has said.

"They see how we can build the integrity of the nation because there is an agreement on Pancasila. So, they are amazed. We sometimes don't feel like we are in the spotlight of various nations," he said here on Tuesday in a release issued by the press, media, and information bureau of the Vice President Secretariat.

The Vice President recalled meeting an Italian film producer who wanted to document the interreligious harmony in Indonesia. The producer and the team visited several areas, including Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Mount Bromo in East Java, and the interior of Lebak in Banten to get to know about the life of the local community, he said.

"I was visited by a film producer from Italy. He wanted to see what Islam in Indonesia looked like. He came to Banten to see Baduy, Borobudur, Bromo where the Hindus are. They sleep soundly, surrounded by Muslims, and there is no problem," he informed.

The producer acknowledged that interreligious life in Indonesia put tolerance first and foremost, as well as maintenance of harmony, Amin said.

"He (the producer) said 'This is it, Islam in Indonesia, which is very tolerant'. Then a film was produced, there was an Islamic boarding school, and I became an advisor (for the film), it was distributed, screened in Rome, at the Vatican. He said it was great," he added.

Amin said he also received a representative of the Abu Dhabi-based Association of Muslim Scholars, the Hukama Al Muslimin Council, who wanted to learn about tolerance in Indonesia.

Source: Antra News

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/207777/indonesias-interreligious-tolerance-extraordinary-vp

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Indonesian Forces Gun Down Suspected Pro-IS Militant in Central Sulawesi Mountains

2022-01-04

Indonesian security forces on Tuesday shot dead a suspected member of a pro-Islamic State militant group who was accused of taking part in beheading locals in Central Sulawesi province, officials said.

The suspect, identified as Ahmad Gazali, was killed during a shootout at a village in the mountains of Parigi Moutong regency, police said.

His death brought the number of suspected members of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) down to three men, according to officials. He and the handful of other holdovers were the target of a massive manhunt still under way in the area known for its steep and rugged jungle terrain.

“After checking with the list of most wanted persons, it is confirmed to be Ahmad Gazali,” provincial police spokesman Didik Supranoto told reporters in Palu, the provincial capital, referring to Ahmad’s body.

It was taken to a hospital in Palu for an autopsy.

“If no family claims the body, Gazali will be buried in a public cemetery in Palu,” Didik said.

A joint military and police task force confiscated a homemade bomb, a bottle containing gunpowder, a machete and other evidence after the shootout, Didik said.

Ahmad, 27, (alias Ahmad Panjang) joined MIT in 2016 and was involved in terror attacks, including in May 2021 when MIT militants killed four farmers in Kalemago, a village in Poso regency, according to Didik. One of the victims was beheaded.

Ahmad was linked to an attack in November 2020 where a victim was decapitated as well.

A resident of Luwu regency, Ahmad was born and raised in Palu, Didik said, adding that the militant was skilled in making bombs and had mastered the terrain of Poso, Parigi Moutong and Sigi regencies where police believe MIT has hideouts.

On Monday, police said they had mapped the whereabouts of four remaining MIT members in the mountains between Poso and Parigi Moutong. Police based this information on tips from residents who reported seeing the suspects enter a plantation to steal food.

Ahmad Gazali was the first MIT suspect to be killed since Sept. 18, 2021, when police and military members of the Madago Raya task force gunned down Ali Kalora, MIT’s top commander at the time, and a follower identified as Jaka Ramadhan in the jungles of Parigi Moutong. Their deaths reduced MIT’s membership to four, with police vowing to capture the remnants “dead or alive.”

In January 2016, the government launched Operation Tinombala, a joint military-police task force, with a mission to capture or kill MIT militants. The name changed to Madago Raya (Kindness), as part of a strategy that focused on humanitarian and social activities, police said.

At the time of the killings in September 2021, the task force had more than 1,300 members. With the arrival of the new year, authorities reduced that number to 400 and allowed it to operate for another three months, Inspector General Rudy Sufahriadi, the Central Sulawesi police chief who leads the operation, told BenarNews on Monday.

He did not elaborate on how much money was allocated for the extension, saying it came from the National Police budget.

‘Already weak’

Lukman Tahir, a terrorism analyst at the State Islamic Institute in Palu, said the three remaining MIT fugitives were getting weaker and desperate, adding that patrols should be intensified.

“They are already weak. This is an opportunity for the task force to raise operational tensions so that they can capture the three fugitives,” Lukman told BenarNews.

Mohammad Affandi, a terrorism researcher at the Ruang Empat Kali Empat, a think-tank in Central Sulawesi, said the task force should not kill the three.

“Don’t let all MIT members be shot dead. We need them to be arrested alive. We need to bring the remaining members to the court and make them reveal all involved in helping MIT,” Affandi told BenarNews.

Affandi said authorities should capture sympathizers who supplied food, logistics and weapons.

Source: Benar News

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

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/militant-killed-01042022144453.html

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Thailand's Muslim insurgents mark new year with attacks

January 05, 2022

The New Year has brought no let-up in terrorism in Thailand’s restive Muslim-majority southernmost region with a series of bomb and gun attacks targeted at security forces.

Suspected Islamist insurgents attacked a military checkpoint in the province of Narathiwat on Jan. 3, killing a ranger and wounding two others, according to official sources.

During a shootout that lasted around half an hour, armed men exchanged fire with rangers at the checkpoint before retreating, officials said.

On New Year’s Eve, meanwhile, six bombs set by suspected insurgents exploded in the province of Yala, another of three violence-ridden provinces bordering Malaysia.

The bombs damaged power posts and a mobile phone signal tower, among other targets, leading to a blackout in the area, but there were no reported injuries.

The Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), a shadow separatist group whose name translates as National Revolutionary Front, claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The group said on its website that its “warriors of a new generation” were making their mark against the Thai state, whose rule over the predominantly Malay provinces the insurgents have sought to end.

Despite various peace-building initiatives aimed at local Muslims and heavy-handed crackdowns on suspected militants, Thai security forces have been unable to suppress militant cells that appear to operate with impunity at times since hostilities erupted in 2004.

Representatives of insurgent groups and Thai officials are scheduled to meet in Kuala Lumpur this month for a new round of peace talks.

Whether these talks will bear fruit remains in doubt as insurgent groups have so far rebuffed offers of increased autonomy from Thai officials while insisting on full independence for four Muslim-majority provinces in Thailand’s southernmost region.

In all, well over 7,000 people have died in hostilities since 2004 and tens of thousands of people have been injured.

Complicating matters for Thai security forces is that insurgent groups appear to operate independently from one another with no clear organizational structure and are manned by disgruntled local Muslim youths.

“The insurgent movement is distinguished by its secrecy and reluctance to assert an organizational identity. Insurgents tend to identify simply as juwae (fighters) rather than as members of a particular militant group,” said Matthew Wheeler, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, an organization that seeks to prevent wars worldwide.

“It remains a parochial nationalist insurgency — distinct from transnational jihadist movements — in which Islam is foremost a marker of Malay cultural identity.”

Source: UCA News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/thailands-muslim-insurgents-mark-new-year-with-attacks/95591#

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Tesla criticised for opening showroom in China’s Xinjiang region

January 4, 2022

SHANGHAI: Tesla’s announcement that it has opened a showroom in Xinjiang has attracted criticism from US rights and trade groups, making it the latest foreign firm caught up in tensions related to the far-western Chinese region.

Xinjiang has become a significant point of conflict between Western governments and China in recent years, as UN experts and rights groups estimate more than a million people, mainly Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities, have been detained in camps there.

China has rejected accusations of forced labour or any other abuses there, saying that the camps provide vocational training and that companies should respect its policies there.

The US electric car maker announced the showroom’s opening in Xinjiang’s regional capital, Urumqi, on its official Weibo account last Friday. “On the last day of 2021 we meet in Xinjiang,” it said in the post.

Today, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest US Muslim advocacy organisation, criticised the move, saying that Tesla was “supporting genocide”.

The US has labelled China’s treatment of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang as genocide. The US and a few other countries plan a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February over the issue.

“Elon Musk must close Tesla’s Xinjiang showroom,” Council on American-Islamic Relations said on its official Twitter account, referring to Tesla’s founder.

Similar criticism came from a US trade group, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, and US senator Marco Rubio.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The carmaker operates a factory in Shanghai and is ramping up production there amid surging sales in China.

A slew of foreign firms in recent months have been tripped up by tensions between the West and China over Xinjiang, as they try to balance Western pressure with China’s importance as a market and supply base.

In July, Swedish fashion retailer H&M reported a 23% drop in local currency sales in China for its March-May quarter after it was hit by a consumer boycott in March for stating publicly that it did not source products from Xinjiang.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/business/2022/01/04/tesla-criticised-for-opening-showroom-in-chinas-xinjiang-region/?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=FvoXg4tHEFLz0ZK1j6NlnTvMwPOIbYgj3_FS1qguqD8-1641368666-0-gaNycGzNDGU

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Covid-19 quarantine: Malaysian umrah pilgrims can opt for private or govt-run centres, says minister

04 Jan 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — Umrah pilgrims have the option of dealing directly with private quarantine centres in hotels listed by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) or undergoing quarantine at government-run centres.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Tasks) Datuk Abd Latiff Ahmad in a statement today said for quarantine placement at government-run centres, a person under surveillance (PUS) and are tested negative for Covid-19 by the Ministry of Health (MoH) will be placed in hotels or public training centres depending on the availability of rooms on the day of arrival.

“For this option, the quarantine cost will be borne by the government, including meals and airport transfer,” he said.

He said the statement was issued as the government was aware that many umrah pilgrims were worried about the additional cost of undergoing quarantine.

The minister said the quarantine period was set by the MoH and there were six public training centres listed as quarantine centres for umrah pilgrims, namely at the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) and Institute Aminuddin Baki in Nilai; Institut Latihan Islam Malaysia (ILIM), Institut Semarak Felda and the Judicial and Training Institute (ILKAP) in Bangi; and the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Kuala Lumpur.

Other than that, Dr Abd Latiff said 19 hotels in Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were also listed as quarantine stations for umrah pilgrims.

The hotels in Negri Sembilan are Klana Resort in Seremban, while the hotels in Kuala Lumpur are Royal Hotel, Swiss Garden Hotel in Bukit Bintang, IBIS Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Furama Hotel in Bukit Bintang, Mercure Hotel, Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade, IBIS Style KL Fraser Business Park, AnCasa Hotel, Cosmo Hotel, KIP Hotel and Arena Star Hotel.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/01/04/covid-19-quarantine-malaysian-umrah-pilgrims-can-opt-for-private-or-govt-ru/2032940

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Arab World

 

Around 125 Houthis killed in clashes near Yemen’s Marib

04 January ,2022

About 125 members of the Iran-backed Houthi militia have been killed in fresh clashes near the strategic Yemeni city of Marib, military and medical sources said Tuesday, as the seven-year war witnesses a surge in violence.

The clashes took place over the past 24 hours.

The coalition has been fighting for nearly seven years in support of Yemen’s government against the Houthis, in a conflict that has displaced millions and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the United Nations.

As hostilities escalate, the Houthis on Monday seized a United Arab Emirates-flagged ship that the coalition said was carrying medical supplies.

In September, the Houthis intensified their efforts to take Marib, a provincial capital which is the government’s last northern stronghold.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/01/04/Around-125-Houthis-killed-in-clashes-near-Yemen-s-Marib

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2 children killed in northwest Syrian violence since new year

Servet Günerigök

04.01.2022

WASHINGTON

Two children were killed and five injured in northwest Syria because of violence that occurred in the first four days of the new year, UNICEF said Tuesday.

"Last year, more than 70 per cent of grave violations against children in Syria were recorded in the northwest," the international organization said in a statement.

"Children and services catering to them must never come under attack," it said. "It has been 11 brutal years of war on the children of Syria. How much longer can this go on?"

The agency said earlier this week that a UNICEF-supported water station came under attack in the Arshani village outside Idlib in northwestern Syria.

"The attack put the station out of service cutting water supply for over 241,000 people, many of whom are internally displaced," it added.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/2-children-killed-in-northwest-syrian-violence-since-new-year/2465374

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Lebanon PM will call cabinet meeting within days: Report

05 January,2022

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Wednesday he will call for a cabinet meeting within days, Al Jadeed TV reported.

Mikati spoke after a morning meeting with President Michel Aoun, the report said. The Lebanese Cabinet has not met since Oct. 12 due to a dispute over the investigation into the Beirut port blast.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/05/Lebanon-PM-will-call-cabinet-meeting-within-days-Report

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Rocket attack hits near base hosting US forces in Baghdad: Sources

05 January ,2022

A Katyusha rocket hit an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. forces near Baghdad’s international airport on Wednesday, Iraqi security and military sources said.

An Iraqi military statement said it found a rocket launcher with one rocket in al-Jihad district in western Baghdad near the airport.

The sources said that nobody was hurt in the incident.

U.S. officials have warned in recent weeks they expected an uptick in attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, in part because of the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

While there were no immediate claims of responsibility for recent attacks, Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate for killing Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Wednesday’s attack is the second one this week targeting the base near Baghdad’s international airport after an attack by two drones was foiled on Monday.

Two explosive-laden drones were also shot down on Tuesday by Iraq’s air defenses as they approached the Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts U.S. forces, west of Baghdad.

Soleimani was killed on Jan. 3, 2020 in a drone strike near Baghdad airport ordered by then-U.S. president Donald Trump.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/05/Rocket-attack-hits-near-base-hosting-US-forces-in-Baghdad-Sources

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Israel downed a Hezbollah drone from Lebanon: IDF

04 January ,2022

Israel downed a drone launched by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group which crossed over into Israel from Lebanon, the Israeli Defense Forces said on Tuesday.

“We downed a Hezbollah drone that crossed from Lebanon into Israel today. The drone was monitored by our soldiers throughout the incident,” IDF said in a tweet.

“The IDF will continue to operate against any attempt by terrorists to violate Israeli sovereignty,” it added.

Israel considers the Iran-backed Hezbollah an enemy and has long threatened it will respond with extreme counterattacks in “the next war” against threats from Lebanon and its main supporter Tehran.

Hezbollah has long enjoyed financial and military support from Iran. Israeli defense officials assess Iran spends nearly $1 billion annually on Hezbollah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/04/Israel-downed-a-Hezbollah-drone-from-Lebanon-IDF

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Drone attack on US forces foiled west of Iraq’s Baghdad

04 January ,2022

Two explosive-laden drones were shot down on Tuesday by Iraq’s air defenses as they approached the Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts US forces, west of Baghdad, an official of the US-led international military coalition said.

US officials in recent weeks had warned that they expected an uptick in attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria, in part because of the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

A similar attack was foiled on Monday, when Iraqi air defenses downed two drones as they approached a base hosting US forces near Baghdad’s international airport.

Separately, another coalition official told Reuters that the coalition had carried out strikes against an “imminent threat” after they saw several rocket launch sites near the Green Village in Syria.

While this official did not say which country in the coalition carried out the strikes or who was responsible for the launch sites, Iranian-backed militia forces have occasionally targeted US forces in both Iraq and Syria.

The United States is leading the international military coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and in Syria.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/04/Drone-attack-on-US-forces-foiled-west-of-Iraq-s-Baghdad

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Arab Coalition strikes targets in Yemen’s Sana’a in response to Houthi drone attacks

05 January ,2022

The Arab Coalition conducted air strikes on targets in Yemen’s capital Sana’a in response to drone attacks launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia towards Saudi Arabia, state media reported early Wednesday.

This development comes after the Coalition announced the interception and destruction of a drone in Yemeni airspace, launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militia towards Saudi Arabia's territory earlier in the day.

The coalition stated that the drone was launched from the capital, Sana'a, with the aim of targeting civilians.

Yemen’s Houthis have launched dozens of cross-border aerial attacks on Saudi Arabia during 2021. The Iran-backed militia targeted civilian areas and energy facilities in the Kingdom with explosive-laden drones and ballistic missiles.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/01/05/Arab-Coalition-strikes-targets-in-Yemen-s-Sana-a-in-response-to-Houthi-drone-attacks

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Arab Coalition warns of targeting Houthi-controlled ports after Emirati vessel seized

04 January ,2022

The Arab Coalition demanded on Tuesday Houthis immediately release the seized Emirati vessel “Rawabi” with its full cargo, and if the Houthis don’t comply, then any of the ports they use for launching maritime piracy and armed robbery attacks will become legitimate military targets.

Spokesman Brigadier General Turki al-Maliki said the attack was a criminal act by the Iran-backed Houthi militias, launched from Hodeidah port to intercept a commercial ship in international waters, according to state news agency SPA.

He added that “Rawabi” carried medical field equipment and supplies for the Saudi field hospital on Socotra Island.

Maliki warned the Houthis against violating maritime laws and described their actions as “terrorist acts” which undermine the security of waterways and directly threaten maritime navigation and global trade.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/01/04/Arab-Coalition-warns-of-targeting-Houthi-controlled-ports-after-Emirati-vessel-seized

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Mideast

 

Iran Asks Instagram, Facebook to End Censorship of General Soleimani

2022-January-4

Ministry of Information and Communications Technology of Iran asked directors of Meta and Instagram social media platforms to end censorship of written material as well as photos related to General Soleimani.

The call was made in a letter written to directors of Facebook and Instagram by the Iranian ministry’s director general for legal affairs, Reza Fazel, who condemned the measure taken by the two social media platforms and asked for an explanation on their illegal policy toward their users.

The letter was primarily sent to Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer of Meta Platforms, Inc., which is the parent organization of Facebook and Instagram, while copies of the letter were forwarded to Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, and the current Chairwoman of the US Federal Communications Commission Jessica Rosenworcel.

The letter added that deletion and censorship of the photos and written material related to General Soleimani, who is a well-known hero of the fight against terrorism and eradicator of the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group, “does not conform to any international norm”.

January 3, 2022 marked the second anniversary of the cowardly assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, who was even admired by the Western media for defeating the ISIL and who was killed by extremist warmongers in the former US president Donald Trump's administration while on an official diplomatic trip to Iraq, the Iranian ministry said.

Following this terrorist attack, the letter added, while many regional nations were mourning the top commander's assassination, Instagram began to delete all content related to General Soleimani heedless of international regulations in a widespread online censorship, which was unprecedented in the history of social networks.

Since then, millions of Iranian and non-Iranian Instagram users have been banned from sharing photos, texts and any information related to their beloved hero and they have not been even given any explanation in this regard or any instructions on ways to recover their account, it added.

The letter further said Instagram executives are expected to respect millions of users who adore this anti-terror hero and end this widespread censorship as soon as possible.

Iran’s human rights chief also reacted to social media censorship of photos and texts related to General Soleimani, urging people all over the world to file complaints or objections against this “anti-human rights act”.

Deputy Head of Iran’s Judiciary for international affairs and secretary general of the country's High Council for Human Rights Kazzem Qaribabadi also made the call in a Monday tweet, saying, “Tens of millions of posts regarding this great national hero have been deleted by Instagram under the pretext of its so-called policy on violence.”

Slamming Instagram’s anti-human rights policy, the Iranian official added, “After physical assassination of Martyr Soleimani, a harbinger in fight against terrorism, he was also virtually assassinated.”

Qaribabadi also urged people of the world, especially Iranians, to file their complaints and objections against Instagram's biased policy through UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression Irene Khan and the UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet.

“I encourage the people throughout the word, including my fellow Iranians, to present their complaints or objections on this anti-human rights act to: @IreneKhan, SR on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression; @mbachelet, UNHCHR; and HRC President,” he wrote.

Former Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s PMU, and ten of their deputies were martyred by an armed drone strike as their convoy left Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. The attack was ordered by then US President Donald Trump.

To date, Iran’s chief civilian prosecutor has indicted tens of individuals in connection with the assassination, among them former president Trump, the head of US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., and former US Secretaries of State and Defense Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper.

The file remains open to the further addition of individuals that Tehran determines to have played a role in the killing.

Both commanders were highly popular because of their key role in fighting against the ISIL terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Back in January 2020, two days after the assassination, the Iraqi parliament passed a law requiring the Iraqi government to end the presence of the US-led foreign forces in the Arab country.

Last year, Baghdad and Washington reached an agreement on ending the presence of all US combat troops in Iraq by the end of 2021.

The US military declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq this month, but resistance forces remain bent on expelling all American forces, including those who have stayed in the country on the pretext of training Iraqi forces or playing an advisory role.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001014000469/Iran-Asks-Insagram-Facebk-End-Censrship-f-General-Sleimani

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Leader’s Military Aide: IRGC Qods Force “Engine” of Resistance

2022-January-4

General Rahim Safavi made the remarks in Tehran on Tuesday, addressing the International Conference on Iran and Neighbors.

He hailed the IRGC Quds Force as “the engine and operating agent of the resistance”.

“In fact, what has made the US angry with the Islamic Republic is the process of generating power in Iran’s regional politics. This power has been created in the first layer in West Asia with the wise and courageous leadership of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the role of the Quds Force in the battlefield under the command of the martyred general, Qassem Soleimani,” General Rahim Safavi said.

“In parallel with the advent of the new arrangement or order led by the Islamic Republic in West Asia, based on the shared goal of countering American hegemony, Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Cuba, and Peru, have also strengthened their ties with the resistance front,” he added.

General Rahim Safavi described the Muslim world as a future power that can compete with current dominating Western and Eastern powers, saying Iran and the resistance front are reshaping the geopolitics in the region.

He added that the current century will witness the Muslim world as a new pole of power with a cultural, civilizational, economic, and demographic nature that would put up great resistance against Western and Eastern powers.

The geopolitics of resistance means “changing the social, cultural (religious), economic, and military structures and processes of the Islamic Ummah (community) so as to gain freedom and independence and form the Islamic world’s power in competition with the dominating powers of the West and East at various national, regional, and global levels”, General Rahim Safavi said.

“The flag-bearer of this new geopolitics is the Islamic Revolution forces, the Islamic Awakening movements and the Resistance Front led by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and the late founder of the Islamic Republic (Imam Khomeini),” he added.

General Rahim Safavi also noted that following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the resistance focused on the issue of Palestine and the Zionist regime’s aggression and occupation, followed by the struggle against corrupt and oppressive governments in Islamic countries.

He also stressed Iran’s role in presenting and institutionalizing the concept of resistance after the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s imposed war against Iran in the 1980s.

The commander further cited Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, Palestinian resistance groups, Iraq, and Syria as members of a new resistance bloc, saying, “With the birth of the Ansarullah movement in Yemen, this bloc or axis is having another official member today.”

Former Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s PMU, and ten of their deputies were martyred by an armed drone strike as their convoy left Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020. The attack was ordered by then US President Donald Trump.

To date, Iran’s chief civilian prosecutor has indicted tens of individuals in connection with the assassination, among them former president Trump, the head of US Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., and former US Secretaries of State and Defense Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper.

The file remains open to the further addition of individuals that Tehran determines to have played a role in the killing.

Both commanders were highly popular because of their key role in fighting against the ISIL terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Back in January 2020, two days after the assassination, the Iraqi parliament passed a law requiring the Iraqi government to end the presence of the US-led foreign forces in the Arab country.

Last year, Baghdad and Washington reached an agreement on ending the presence of all US combat troops in Iraq by the end of 2021.

The US military declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq this month, but resistance forces remain bent on expelling all American forces, including those who have stayed in the country on the pretext of training Iraqi forces or playing an advisory role.

Since the assassination, Iraqi resistance forces have ramped up pressure on the US military to leave their country, targeting American bases and forces on numerous occasions, at one point pushing the Americans to ask them to “just leave us alone”.

Iran and Iraq in a joint statement last month underlined their determination to identify, prosecute and punish the culprits behind the assassination of General Soleimani and al-Muhandis.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001014000951/Leader%E2%80%99s-Miliary-Aide-IRGC-Qds-Frce-%E2%80%9CEngine%E2%80%9D-f-Resisance

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FM: Israel’s Ill Wishes against Iranian Nation Never Come True

2022-January-4

Amir Abdollahian’s comments came in response to recent claims by Lapid that the Zionist regime “could attack Iran if necessary without informing the Biden administration”.

Lapid claimed on Friday that “Israel has capabilities, some of which the world, and even some experts in the field, cannot even imagine”.

In response, Amir Abdollahian wrote on his twitter page that the senseless remarks made by the “fake Israeli regime against the great Iranian nation” are a dream, which will never come true.

“We will defend the nation’s rights, interests and progress with power and wisdom,” Iran’s foreign minister said.

“Zionism has no place in the future world,” he underlined.

The Israeli regime has never stopped advertising the threat of “military action” against Iran and falsely accusing the Islamic Republic of seeking to acquire non-conventional military capability.

Iranian generals, for their part, have decisively warned the Tel Aviv regime on multiple occasions against any adventurism against the country, pledging a crushing response to any attack.

Last Tuesday, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Headquarters Major General Gholam Ali Rashid underlined Iran’s plan to stage several military drills, warning enemies of his country’s crushing response to any aggression.

“A sum of 25 massive army, IRGC andd joint drills have been scheduled for the current year and so far 15 massive wargames have been staged by the Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and of course, some of them will not be publicized,” General Rashid said, addressing the Armed Forces’ commanders.

“We want the enemy not to be after testing our will and power because it will not be able to bear the costs of a massive and all-out confrontation. Therefore, believing the Islamic Republic of Iran’s power will certainly have lower costs for the enemy,” he added.

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said last week that the IRGC’s recent Great Prophet 17 military drills were held in response to the threats of the Israeli regime.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001014000403/FM-Israel%E2%80%99s-Ill-Wishes-agains-Iranian-Nain-Never-Cme-Tre

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Envoy Underlines High Importance of Iranian President’s Visit to Russia

2022-January-4

The visit of President Rayeesi to Russia is a turning point in Tehran-Moscow relations, Jalali said.

"The President's visit to Moscow is doubly important given the developments in the international arena, and especially the issues that exist in our region," he added.

President Rayeesi is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Iranian ambassador said, adding that the two presidents will discuss and exchange views in various fields of international and regional issues and bilateral cooperation.

Stating that the expansion of relations with neighbors is one of the main principles of the new government policy, Jalali said, "Russia, as our great and powerful northern neighbor, is one of the countries that has a lot of potentials to expand relations."

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh referred to the Iranian president's visit to Moscow in the coming days, and said, "His visit will take place at the invitation of Mr. Putin and will focus on economic, political and cultural cooperation."

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001014000576/Envy-Underlines-High-Imprance-f-Iranian-Presiden%E2%80%99s-Visi-Rssia

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Palestinian prisoner ends hunger strike in deal with Israel

04 January ,2022

A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for over 140 days to protest being imprisoned without charge agreed Tuesday to end his fast after reaching a deal with Israel to be released next month, his lawyer said.

Hisham Abu Hawash, a 40-year-old father of five and a member of the Islamic Jihad militant group, is among several Palestinians who have gone on hunger strike to protest being held under “administrative detention,” a controversial measure Israel says is needed for security.

His lawyer, Jawad Boulos, said he agreed to end the hunger strike after Israel pledged to release him on Feb. 26. There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.

Palestinians have protested across the occupied West Bank and Gaza in support of Abu Hawash and Islamic Jihad had threatened military action against Israel if he died in custody. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 57 Muslim-majority states headquartered in Saudi Arabia, issued a rare statement expressing “grave concern” over his condition.

The Prisoners’ Club, which represents former and current Palestinian prisoners, hailed the strike as a victory. It said Abu Hawash had previously spent eight years in Israeli prisons, more than half of it in administrative detention.

The 2.5 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank are subject to Israeli military courts, while Jewish settlers living in the territory are citizens subject to Israel’s civilian justice system. Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state.

Under administrative detention, which is only rarely used against Jews, suspects can be held for months or years without being charged or seeing the evidence against them. Israel considers Islamic Jihad, which has killed scores of Israelis, to be a terrorist group.

Israel says administrative detention is needed to foil attacks and to detain dangerous militants without revealing sensitive intelligence sources.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/04/Palestinian-prisoner-ends-hunger-strike-in-deal-with-Is

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OIC calls for release of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner

Omar Alothmani

04.01.2022

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday called for the release of a Palestinian prisoner, who has been on a hunger strike for 141 days in protest against his detention without trial by Israel.

Hisham Abu Hawwash has staged an open-ended hunger strike to protest his arrest under Israel’s policy of administrative detention, which allows Tel Aviv to detain anyone for six months without charge or trial.

In a statement, OIC Secretary-General Hussein Ibrahim Taha said he is "deeply concerned about the critical health condition of Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawwash, in protest of his administrative detention in Israeli occupation prisons."

“The organization stands by the Palestinian detainees in the prisons of the Israeli occupation and works to convey their voice and their suffering to the whole world,” he added.

The OIC chief called on human rights groups and international organizations to intervene to release the Palestinian detainee and “to put pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to fulfill its obligations under international human rights law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of Palestinian prisoners."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/oic-calls-for-release-of-hunger-striking-palestinian-prisoner/2465072

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Turkiye 'neutralizes' 3 YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria

Gözde Bayar  

05.01.2022

ANKARA

Turkish forces have "neutralized" three YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria, the National Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

The terrorists were targeted when they opened fire and attempted to infiltrate the areas of Turkiye's cross-border anti-terror offensives – Operation Peace Spring and Euphrates Shield, the ministry said on Twitter.

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

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkiye-neutralizes-3-ypg-pkk-terrorists-in-northern-syria/2465682

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Africa

 

South African corruption inquiry releases 'state capture' report covering Zuma era

Hassan Isilow 

05.01.2022

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Tuesday that the just released “State Capture Inquiry” report will provide a foundation for greater transparency, accountability and ethical conduct in the country.

Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the chairman of the “State Capture” commission, handed over the first volume of the report to Ramaphosa at the seat of government in the capital Pretoria.

The commission was probing allegations of widespread corruption during President Jacob Zuma’s nearly a decade in office.

Zondo heard testimony from hundreds of witnesses detailing their account of events in how the state was captured by business and friends of Zuma– particularly the influential Gupta family – who allegedly took control of most state operations and finances.

“It’s been a grueling four years of the commission, and in a few days’ time, on Jan. 9, we will complete four years since the announcement of the establishment of the commission,” Zondo said at the handover of the first volume of the report, which established that private interests played a major role in decision making during Zuma’s tenure.

“We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the findings and recommendations of the commission not only mark a decisive break with the corrupt practices of the past, but that they provide the foundation for greater transparency, accountability and ethical conduct within all state institutions and across society,” Ramaphosa said as he received the report.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/south-african-corruption-inquiry-releases-state-capture-report-covering-zuma-era/2465497

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British Council confirms probe into racism allegations in its Kenya office

Andrew Wasike  

04.01.2022

NAIROBI, Kenya

The British Council in Kenya said on Tuesday that it is aware of allegations of racism and discrimination in its office in Nairobi, Kenya.

In a statement, the council said that it takes these allegations “very seriously.”

“We operate in over 100 countries across the world and our values of equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do,” the statement said.

The British Council noted that it had received a letter from an anonymous author in July 2021 and the British Council responded by initiating an investigation.

“On receiving the anonymous letter, we immediately initiated an investigation. This investigation is ongoing, and we are keeping avenues of engagement open with the author of the letter,” the statement said.

In the letter, the anonymous source indicated: “The head of communications and digital in the Kenya office who claimed they were forced out of their job and replaced by a white person who did not go through a competitive process despite having an exemplary record.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/british-council-confirms-probe-into-racism-allegations-in-its-kenya-office/2465300

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Sudan’s security forces fire tear gas to disperse latest round of protests

04 January ,2022

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse large crowds demonstrating against military rule and recent protester deaths across the Sudanese capital Khartoum and neighboring cities on Tuesday, eyewitnesses told Reuters.

The demonstrations, the 13th round of protests since a military coup on Oct. 25, were called by a local “resistance committee” in Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman in response to the killing of several protesters there on Thursday and Sunday.

They come two days after the resignation of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, who had served from 2019 until the coup and was reinstated on Nov. 21 in an agreement with the military widely rejected by protesters.

Some 57 people have been killed in protests against military rule since October, according to medics.

In recent weeks, protesters have aimed for the presidential palace in Khartoum, with crowds from Omdurman and Bahri, across the Nile from Khartoum, attempting to cross bridges.

In response, the military on Tuesday blocked several bridges and main roads. Resistance committees organizing the protests directed them away from bridges.

In Khartoum, a Reuters witness saw security forces, some armed with sticks and guns, fighting running battles with scattered protesters in an area of open ground as they approached the palace. They fired rounds of tear gas and stun grenades, some of which protesters tried to throw back.

Protesters in Omdurman said they faced heavy tear gas at two focal points for the rallies, and that security forces chased protesters on vehicles and on foot past sunset. One protester, who asked to remain anonymous due to ongoing arrests, said he saw a home set on fire after a tear gas canister landed on it.

Images shared on social media also showed protests in the cities of Port Sudan, El Obeid and Nyala. Internet and phone connections were not cut, as they have been on other protest days. Another protest is set for Thursday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/04/Sudan-s-security-forces-fire-tear-gas-to-disperse-latest-round-of-protests

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Somalia's international partners urge leaders to ensure credible elections

Mohammed Dhaysane 

05.01.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

Somalia’s international partners called on the country's National Consultative Council (NCC) Tuesday to ensure that elections are credible and completed soon.  

The move came hours after diplomats met with Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and regional leaders in the capital Mogadishu.

"International partners urge the NCC to ensure that elections are credible and completed soon so Somalia can focus on other priority issues like security and development," UN envoy to Somalia James Swan said on Twitter.

The partners said they encouraged improvements in the execution of the electoral process, including correcting deficiencies in procedural rules and ensuring clear timelines for the rapid completion of credible elections.

A conference between Somalia's leaders including Roble and regional leaders was held in Mogadishu for a second day to find ways out of the current political and election deadlock.

Roble announced earlier Tuesday that his government is committed to concluding parliamentary elections "as soon as possible."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/somalias-international-partners-urge-leaders-to-ensure-credible-elections/2465510

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Thousands protest in Sudan after prime minister’s resignation

Mohammed Amin  

04.01.2022

KHARTOUM, Sudan

Thousands took to the streets in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, and other cities on Tuesday to demand full civilian rule.

Protesters waved banners condemning the military and carried photos of demonstrators killed in protests against the Oct. 25 military takeover, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.

Police used tear gas canisters to disperse protesters, who attempted to reach the presidential palace in Khartoum, according to eyewitnesses.

“Police and security forces used intensive tear gas against us, but we will continue protesting,” Sanaa Ali, a protester in Khartoum, said. “They will not succeed in intimidating us.”

Tuesday’s demonstrations came two days after the resignation of transitional Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after two years in power.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/thousands-protest-in-sudan-after-prime-minister-s-resignation/2465205

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Libyan actors propose ‘sequenced’ elections

Mohammad Erteima

04.01.2022

TRIPOLI, Libya

Representatives of a Libyan group on Tuesday proposed holding the country's elections on a sequenced basis, starting with the parliamentary polls.

The proposal was made during a meeting between Stephanie Williams, the UN secretary-general’s special adviser on Libya, Raisedon Zenenga, the coordinator for the UN Special Mission in Libyan (UNSMIL), and representatives of the National Forces for Change.

Williams tweeted that representatives of the National Forces for Change "presented their proposal for a sequenced approach to the electoral process with the holding of parliamentary elections first."

"We reiterated the need to keep the electoral process moving forward and realize the aspirations of the 2.8m Libyan citizens who registered to vote,” she added.

Libya’s presidential elections were scheduled to take place on December 24 under a UN roadmap, but the country’s elections commission proposed a 1-month delay, citing inadequacies in electoral legislation and appeals related to candidates’ eligibility.

The House of Representatives (parliament), for its part, proposed a six-month postponement of the vote.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libyan-actors-propose-sequenced-elections/2465053

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