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Islamic World News ( 12 Oct 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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AIMPLB Working Committee Reiterated That No Muslim Can Surrender or Transfer or Trespass Waqf Land







Muslim Personal Law Board To Challenge Triple Talaq Law Which Criminalises It

Hong Kong Protesters Paint "Allah Is Greatest" On Roads, Alarming Muslim Community

Iran Says Ready for Talks with Saudi, With or Without Mediation

Religious Walking Tour Maps Out the History of Muslims in New York City

France, Germany To Halt Arms Exports To Turkey Over Military Offensive In Syria

Turkish Attack In Syria Condemned As ‘Invasion Of An Arab State’s Land’

Testing Time For Pakistan As FATF Meets To Scrutinise Compliance Report

 

India

AIMPLB Working Committee Reiterated That No Muslim Can Surrender or Transfer or Trespass Waqf Land

Muslim Personal Law Board To Challenge Triple Talaq Law Which Criminalises It

Muslim Groups: Tickets Expose Real Face of BJP in Maharashtra Assembly Polls

Muslim bodies' surprise support to the Modi government's action on Article 370

Xi doesn't raise Kashmir with Modi as they seek to reset ties

Seers to light diyas at Ram temple on Diwali: VHP; Ayodhya admin says no activity beyond SC mandate

Civil rights activists demand restoration of Articles 370, 35A in J&K

Hizb-ut-Tahrir bigger menace than ISIS

All in the mind: 41% of Kashmiris show signs of depression

Uttar Pradesh minister terms AIMPLB as ‘unconstitutional NGO’

J-K: Militants lob grenade in popular Srinagar market, 6 civilians injured

CBI probe recommended into sale of UP Waqf Boards properties

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Southeast Asia

Hong Kong Protesters Paint "Allah Is Greatest" On Roads, Alarming Muslim Community

Penang DAPSY wants action against Zakir Naik

Pompeo urges NBA to stand up to China

40 Malaysians held in Syria seeking to return home

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Mideast

Iran Says Ready for Talks with Saudi, With or Without Mediation

Turkey says Turkish-backed Syrian forces seize Ras al-Ain center

14 Villages Seized by Turkey, Ankara-Backed Militants in Northeast Syria

SDF Denies Turkey's Claim about Advancing to Center of Strategic City

SDF says Turkey-backed fighters killed Kurdish politician

Graves desecrated at Commonwealth war cemetery in Israel

Pro-Turkey forces ‘execute’ nine civilians in Syria: Monitor

International apathy to Palestinian sufferings encourages Israeli aggression: Foreign ministry

Turkish shelling kills 10 Syrian civilians: Monitor

Almost 200,000 people have been displaced by Turkish offensive in Syria

Turkish authorities arrest Al Arabiya reporter for covering Turkey's offensive

Iran economy to bounce back in next two years: World Bank

Al-Houthi calls on US to ‘learn from Vietnam’ as US announces deployment in Saudi Arabia

More than two million Iranian pilgrims enter Iraq for Arba’een pilgrimage

Yemeni minister hails Saudi backing against Houthis

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North America

Religious Walking Tour Maps Out the History of Muslims in New York City

Muslim MTA Subway Worker Forced To Shave Beard: Lawsuit

Trump releases $50 million in stabilisation assistance for Syria

Trump says he is an ‘island of one’ on Syria

Democrats discussing detentions amid impeachment inquiry: Tlaib

US troops come under Turkish artillery fire in northeast Syria

US benefiting from Saudi royals’ 'profligacy' by selling arms

Trump says he hopes YPG/PKK abandon fighting Turkey

Turkey to respond tit-for-tat to possible US sanctions

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Europe

France, Germany To Halt Arms Exports To Turkey Over Military Offensive In Syria

UK’s Johnson urges Erdogan to end conflict and enter dialogue

Putin says neighbors should respect Iran’s interests as an established power

PKK supporters attack Turkish group in Germany

Turks on Greece's Dodecanese islands struggle to exist

Putin: I have very good relations with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince

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Arab World

Turkish Attack In Syria Condemned As ‘Invasion Of An Arab State’s Land’

Arab League urges Turkey to immediately withdraw troops from Syria

Saudi Arabia affirms support to promote respect for international humanitarian law

Pro-Turkey rebels 'execute' 9 civilians in Syria

Egyptian officials say nine killed in explosion in north Sinai

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approves US military deployment: Statement

Arab foreign ministers condemn Turkish offensive in Syria

As new Syrian exodus unfolds, some fear they will never go home

Syrian army set to take control of Manbij from SDF under Russia-US deal: Sputnik

Over 60 children born to Daesh terrorists repatriated to Uzbekistan from Iraq

Egypt court hands out 6 death sentences on terror charges

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Pakistan

Testing Time For Pakistan As FATF Meets To Scrutinise Compliance Report

Pakistan's PM leaves for Iran, Saudi Arabia to ease tensions

Pakistan's Khan uses special ordinance to push China's Belt and Road

Pak Media Criticises PM Imran Khan for Praising Chinese President Xi's Model of Anti-corruption Crusade

‘Protest to continue till ouster of PTI govt’

Fazl’s march meant for freedom of some families, says Firdous

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Africa

Polls Open In Decisive Tunisian Presidential Election Round

At least 10 Kenyan police killed by bomb near Somali border

16 killed in Burkina Faso mosque attack: Security sources

Takfiri terrorists kill 7 people in Nigeria’s northeast

Turkish construction fair successful in Ethiopia

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South Asia

Want To Get Bangladesh Ready To Face Any Calamity: PM

Attempts being made to commit systematic fraud in presidential elections: Saadati

34 Taliban militants killed, detained in Special Forces raids in Kabul and other provinces

Separate gun attacks target Afghan government officials

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/aimplb-working-committee-reiterated-that-no-muslim-can-surrender-or-transfer-or-trespass-waqf-land/d/119982


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AIMPLB Working Committee Reiterated That No Muslim Can Surrender or Transfer or Trespass Waqf Land

October 13, 2019

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has said that under the Sharia law, the status of any land dedicated to a mosque cannot be altered, changed or transferred in any manner.

The AIMPLB Working Committee meeting held at the Darul Uloom Naadwatul Ulema under the chairmanship of its President Maulana Syed Mohammad Rabey Hasan Nadvi on Saturday reiterated what it described as the "basic stand of the Muslim Community that no Muslim can surrender or transfer or trespass such Waqf land".

The meeting was in response to the October 10 meeting of eminent Muslims under the banner of Indian Muslims for Peace where they had expressed the desire to hand over the 2.77 acre land with the Sunni Central Waqf Board to apex to the Centre as a solution to the Ayodhya Ram Janambhoomi issue.

The AIMPLB in a statement said that handing over the Ayodhya land was not possible as it was "based on historical facts and evidence that the Babri Masjid was constructed without demolishing any temple or any other place of worship".

The statement maintained that the Board had fully participated in several earlier proposals for mediation with the hope that a solution based on justice could be found.

"But after several efforts, it is now clear that there is no possibility of mediation/reconciliation and the legal proceedings are in the final stages," it said.

Expressing satisfaction at the Supreme Court proceedings, the AIMPLB were optimistic of a favourable judgment "in favour of the Muslim cause which will based on right, fair play and justice".

Then AIMPLB further said that the Babri Masjid issue was being watched not just nationally but internationally.

"The AIMPLB stated that it was a test case for the basic value of secularism enshrined in the Indian Constitution and hoped that the judgement would be in consonance of the rule of law," the statement added.

The AIMPLB has also decided to challenge the constitutionality of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 on grounds that far from protecting the rights of Muslim women and children in marriage, it will completely destroy the marriage and leave Muslim women as destitute.

The Board also opposed any attempt to enact the Uniform Civil Code in a multi-cultural, multi-religious society like India.

"It will not only affect the Muslims but will also adversely affect the cultural and social rights of tribals and other religious minorities. Therefore the Board demands that the Courts of the day whether central or provincial should abstain from this anti national activity," the statement said.

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/india/india-muslim-board-reiterates-babri-stand-1.1570940311264

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Muslim Personal Law Board To Challenge Triple Talaq Law Which Criminalises It

Oct 13, 2019

LUCKNOW: The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on Saturday decided to challenge the constitutionality of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriages) Act 2019, which criminalises instant triple talaq .

Members of the board passed a resolution stating that "far from protecting rights of Muslim women and children in marriage, the law will destroy marriages and render the Muslim women destitute".

The working committee also called the concept of Uniform Civil Code a "threat to diversity". "The board will oppose any attempt to destroy the nation's fabric through court or legislative measures," the AIMPLB said.

On the Ayodhya case, the board was hopeful the SC will pronounce a "judgment in favour of the Muslim cause, which will be based on right, fair play and justice". It reiterated its stand that the land dedicated to a mosque cannot be transferred in any manner as it's prohibited under Sharia .

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/muslim-board-to-challenge-triple-talaq-law/articleshow/71561464.cms

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Hong Kong protesters paint "Allah is Greatest" on roads, alarming Muslim community

October 13, 2019

HONG KONG’S equal opportunities watchdog has called for more sensitivity towards ethnic minority cultures after the use of an Islamic expression by anti-government protesters caused offence in the local Muslim community.

Ricky Chu Man-kin, chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said on Saturday that Muslims had looked him up in person to share their concerns about the phrase “Allah is the Greatest” being painted in Arabic on some roads.

“You cannot just write these words on facilities and roads as vehicles will run over them when passing or they may even be trampled on,” he said.

Chu said those who contacted him had felt emotional about their culture not being respected.

He said he was told the words were found in Sham Shui Po and Tai Kok Tsui one night. Why they were used was not clear.

On Friday, the commission issued a statement calling for the public to respect one another’s cultures and refrain from insulting acts.

“The commission calls on all parties to show empathy to others when expressing their views and opinions,” the statement read.

Chu said besides ethnic minority groups, many people with disabilities had also reflected their worries over the damage being caused to facilities during the increasingly violent anti-government protests which have rocked Hong Kong for more than four months.

“Our society is made up of different people with many who are underprivileged,” he said. “I hope we can have more empathy to safeguard the rights of the underprivileged.”

For example, he noted that because of damaged MTR stations and traffic lights, commuting had become difficult for the disabled while those with more serious conditions did not want or were not able to go out.

Jason Ho Ka-leung, vice-president of the Hong Kong Blind Union, said that while he understood some people were using different means to express their dissatisfaction, the damage to facilities made it inconvenient for the visually impaired.

“For example, without traffic lights that have audio signals, it is difficult for the blind to cross roads with heavy traffic as there might not be underpasses or bridges,” he said.

Chu also said the commission had received more than 100 queries, but no formal complaints, on whether protesters had been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted by police during enforcement actions.

The commission said it also received queries about protesters directing obscene comments or verbal abuse of a sexual nature at female police officers.

It said that since such allegations could be of a wide range, it had to obtain detailed information on the cases before deciding how to follow up. Chu added the commission was willing to meet those affected but no one had come forward and it was difficult to just look at photos and videos. – SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

https://www.nst.com.my/world/2019/10/529452/hong-kong-protesters-paint-allah-greatest-roads-alarming-muslim-community

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Iran says ready for talks with Saudi, with or without mediation

12 October 2019

Iran is prepared to hold talks with Saudi Arabia, with or without the help of a mediator, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, ahead of a visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Asked about reports that Khan, due to arrive in Iran at the weekend, may try to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said: “I am not aware of any mediation,” according to state broadcaster IRIB.

“Iran has announced that, with or without a mediator, it is always ready to hold talk with its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, to get rid of any misunderstandings,” Mousavi added.

Iran’s foreign minister signaled this week that his country would be willing to discuss regional issues with Saudi Arabia.

Last Monday, France, Britain and Germany said it is clear Iran was responsible for an attack on Saudi oil facilities on September 14 and called on Tehran to agree to negotiations on its nuclear and missile programs as well as regional security issues.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/12/Iran-says-ready-for-talks-with-Saudi-with-or-without-mediation.html

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Religious Walking Tour Maps Out The History Of Muslims In New York City

October 12, 2019

Visitors often get to know Harlem, N.Y., through its many walking tours – from gospel music to architecture to food. But on a recent Sunday morning, two dozen people join their guide to learn about something else in the neighborhood: the history of Muslims.

Since 2014, Katie Merriman has held free walking tours about once a month to remember centuries of Muslim history in New York City. She grew up in the city and is now finishing her doctorate in religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And over the years, whenever she would come across the history of Muslims in New York City, Merriman would write it down.

"So I took all of those little scribbles in the margins, I put them together, and lo and behold a map appeared before my eyes in Harlem," she says.

The history goes back almost 400 years when North African slaves were brought there by Dutch settlers. Stops on the tour don't follow chronological order nor focus on a single Muslim community. Rather, it is more geographic and goes to some surprising neighborhood landmarks – like the Apollo Theater.

"We're here to talk at the Apollo, because there's a large connection between music – especially jazz and Islam," Merriman says, during the tour.

She speaks about American jazz musicians who performed at the theater and converted to Islam in the 1950s after touring abroad. She also plays a clip from John Coltrane's A Love Supreme and explains how some interpret it as a dhikr, or Sufi Muslim remembrance prayer.

"John Coltrane never claimed this as saying 'Allah Supreme,' but many people are sure that he wanted you to not be sure," Merriman says.

Many sites on the tour are more obscure, and are either unmarked or no longer present.

"Another part of what I'm trying to do is show you what's gone, what's missing, what's been erased," Merriman says.

She takes the group to an empty lot that was once the site of Aqsa Mosque. It had served as a community center for the wave of West African immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s. Merriman also tells the story of Alianza Islámica, the Latino Muslim community that was among the first to wash the bodies of those who died from AIDS.

People who join these tours often have no particular connection to Islam. They're just curious – like Patty Rout. She recently retired and has lived in Manhattan for the past forty years.

"I'm a big walking tour person, because I find it's a good way to learn and I like things about New York. And it's something that I really don't know much about," says Rout.

But the tour has a more personal meaning for others – like Amir Ahmed, a 26-year-old graduate student living in Harlem.

"This is a good way for me to learn about my identity as a Muslim – and as a black Muslim in the United States, but also as a neighborhood member in this community," he says. "There are just a lot of things that you walk by all the time and never really quite know the historical significance."

The final stop on the tour takes the group to what is likely the most prominent Muslim site in Harlem: the Malcolm Shabazz Mosque. It's there that Merriman shares a story of her Irish Catholic father who grew up nearby.

"The day that Malcolm X was assassinated, he was a teenager up there riding around on his bike," she says.

Her father had told her stories of seeing crowds standing outside the hospital in Harlem. She says stories like this emphasize a shared history.

"My dad had no connection to these communities, but there he was on that historical day riding his bike as a teenager in Washington Heights," says Merriman.

This reminds her, and she hopes the people taking the tour, that the history of Muslims is part of the history of New York. And, while not Muslim herself, she says that overlooking this gives an incomplete picture of the American story.

"When we talk about who has made this country and who has made this world, we can't leave people out and claim that we're the only ones who have done it," she says.

https://www.npr.org/2019/10/12/769046586/religious-walking-tour-maps-out-the-history-of-muslims-in-new-york-city

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France, Germany to halt arms exports to Turkey over military offensive in Syria

October 13, 2019

France and Germany have announced that arm exports to Turkey, which has launched a military offensive into northeastern Syria against Syrian Kurdish fighters, will be halted.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday told weekly Bild am Sonntag that, "against the background of the Turkish military offensive in northeastern Syria, the government will not issue any new permissions for any weapons that can be used by Turkey in Syria".

Maas' remarks came as thousands of Kurdish immigrants rallied against the Turkish military offensive in cities across Germany.

Germany is home to one of the biggest Kurdish communities in Europe.

France is also halting exports of any arms to Turkey that could be used in its offensive against Kurds in Syria, and wants an immediate meeting of the United States-led coalition against extremists that are part of the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

France's defence and foreign ministries made the announcement in a statement on Saturday reiterating opposition to the Turkish military operation, which is facing growing international condemnation.

The statement said that France will push for a “Europe-wide approach” toward suspended arms sales at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Monday.

The French government argues that the offensive is causing growing humanitarian problems and threatens the international fight against IS, "and therefore threatens European security". IS-linked extremists have staged deadly attacks in European countries.

France wants a meeting of the anti-IS coalition to discuss its next steps in the context of the Turkish actions.

Austria, Switzerland and Greece also saw Kurdish demonstrations against Turkey's offensive in Syria.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1510623/france-germany-to-halt-arms-exports-to-turkey-over-military-offensive-in-syria

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Turkish attack in Syria condemned as ‘invasion of an Arab state’s land’

October 12, 2019

CAIRO: Turkey’s military offensive against Kurds in northeast Syria is an “invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty,” Arab League foreign ministers said on Saturday after an emergency meeting in Cairo.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Saturday led Arab foreign ministers in lambasting Turkey's military operation in northeast Syria as an "invasion of an Arab state's land and an aggression on its sovereignty".

Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, condemned the Turkish invasion, and urged the international community to act immediately to end it.

He was backed by Anwar Gargash, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, who said: “We call for the exit of Turkey and its forces, as well as all foreign forces that have violated this Arab country — and to push for a successful political solution.”

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim, president of the current Arab League session, also condemned Turkey's offensive into Syria during an emergency meeting of the body, called by Egypt.

The Turkish invasion “will exacerbate humanitarian crises, increase the suffering of the Syrian people, and strengthen the ability of terrorists to reorganize their remnants,” Alhakim said. He and Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s foreign minister, called on the League to reinstate Syria’s membership, which was suspended in 2011.

Reading from the meeting's final communique, Aboul Gheit said that the Arab League will consider taking measures against Turkey in the economic, investment and cultural sectors, and include tourism and military cooperation.

He also called on the UN Security Council to "take the necessary measures to stop the Turkish aggression and (for) the withdrawal from Syrian territory immediately".

Turkey dismissed the Arab League statement, saying it misrepresented its military operations.

Qatar, which is considered a Turkish ally, did not block the communique, but voiced reservations.

"Qatar and Somalia have reservations about the Arab League's decision today," Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki told Reuters.

"The Qatari reservation puts Qatar in one trench with the aggressor, and I have no further comment," Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Reuters TV.

There was also mounting international condemnation of the Turkish invasion, which began last Wednesday after President Donald Trump withdrew US troops from their posts supporting Kurdish fighters on the Turkey-Syria border.

Tens of thousands of people took part in protest marches in Paris and other European cities on Saturday, some shouting “Erdogan terrorist,” and Germany banned arms exports to Turkey. In the first four months of 2019, Turkey received weapons from Germany worth about $200 million.

In northeast Syria, Turkish troops and their Syrian opposition allies entered the battleground town of Ras Al-Ain, but Kurdish fighters denied that the town had been captured. Ras Al-Ain and Tal Abyad further west have been primary goals of the Turkish invasion, and have come under heavy bombardment

Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish-held towns and intense artillery exchanges caused mounting casualties on both sides of the border. In Syria, 74 Kurdish fighters, 49 Syrian opposition fighters backed by Turkey, four Turkish soldiers and 28 civilians have been killed. In Turkey, at least 17 civilians have died.

The UN said at least 100,000 civilians had fled their homes, most heading east toward the city of Hasakeh, which has not been targeted by the attack. Aid groups warned of another humanitarian disaster if the offensive is not stopped.

“Turkey’s aim is to prevent further fleeing Syrian civilians from entering Turkey rather than genuinely providing protection,” Human Rights Watch said.

Turkey’s official news agency earlier said that Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces have reached a strategic highway in northeastern Syria as Turkey’s offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters enters its fourth day.

Anadolu news agency said Saturday the forces have arrived at the M-4 highway that connects the Syrian towns of Manbij and Qamishli. The road is about 30 kilometers south of the Turkish border.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1567876/middle-east

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Testing time for Pakistan as FATF meets to scrutinise compliance report

Oct 13, 2019

BRUSSELS: It's a testing time for Pakistan to prove the measures taken against outfits and persons involved in offences of money-laundering and terror financing as Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Plenary and Working Group meetings begin in Paris from Monday.

The FATF placed Pakistan on Grey List in June 2018 and came up with 27-point Action Plan for graduating it within one year period.

It includes safeguards against money-laundering and terror-financing by banned outfits and non-government entities through banking and non-banking jurisdictions, capital markets, corporate and non-corporate sectors like chartered accountancy, financial advisory services, cost and management accountancy firm, jewellery and similar related services.

Sources reveal that a compliance report prepared by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan will be scrutinised in the presence of Pakistan's Minister for Economic Affairs Division, Hammad Azhar.

According to FATF, if Pakistan fails to meet the implementation of the 27-point plan, the country could be blacklisted.

In August 2019, Asia Pacific Joint Group (APJG) placed Pakistan in the Enhanced Follow up list for failure to meet its standards.

Several media reports emanating from Pakistan indicate the confidence of a high order at evading the Black List at FATF Plenary. Pakistani sources, quoted liberally, in most news reports, claim that it has done very well in its review at the Asia Pacific Joint Group, which met at Bangkok last month.

Reports from India indicate that Pakistan is in dire straits, especially with regard to the Bangkok meeting, where it is reported to have satisfied the Group on only 6 of 27 items in its Action Plan, most of which is oriented towards resolving Pakistan's issues regarding effectiveness.

Pakistan was placed on an enhanced and expedited follow up process announced by the Asia Pacific Group in Canberra in August. This was based on its technical compliance being rated as satisfactory on only 10 points out of 40.

Of the 40 technical compliance parameters, Pakistan was 'non-compliant' on 30 parameters. And, of the 11 effectiveness parameters, Pakistan was adjudged as 'Low' on 10.

Diplomatic sources, other than those in India and Pakistan, are abuzz on what to do with Pakistan at the FATF. Pakistan has reached out to all member nations stating that it was progressing in completing its Action Plan and placing it on the Black List would push it into an economic quagmire, slowing down its transactions and trade, which would impact its ability to repay IMF loans.

Some diplomats, especially the USA and from Europe are of the view that Blacklisting, if unaccompanied by countermeasures, would not, significantly impact the Pakistani economy, while it would surely push the country to complete the Action Plan must faster.

Pakistan has been on the Grey List since 2008. Therefore, giving it more time would make a mockery of FATF procedures, especially when Iran is on the verge of being moved to countermeasures.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/testing-time-for-pakistan-as-fatf-meets-to-scrutinise-compliance-report/articleshow/71562077.cms

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India

 

Muslim groups: Tickets expose real face of BJP in Maharashtra assembly polls

Oct 13, 2019

MUMBAI: The absence of a Muslim candidate in the BJP list for the assembly polls has given ammunition to a section of the community leadership to attack the party.

In 2014, the BJP had nominated Pasha Patel from Ausa. Now that not even the Muslim face of the state BJP, Haider Azam, has been nominated from Malad West, some are reiterating the allegation that PM Narendra Modi's slogan 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas' is hollow.

"The BJP doesn't want Muslims in the assembly and Parliament. It is against political empowerment of the community and denial of seat to a Muslim is part of the same agenda," said F M Thakur, who heads Maharashtra Muslim Sangh, an umbrella outfit of several Muslim NGOs.

The sangh had supported the BJP in 2014 but broken away from it a year ago.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/muslim-groups-tickets-expose-real-face-of-bjp-in-maharashtra-assembly-polls/articleshow/71563012.cms

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Muslim bodies' surprise support to the Modi government's action on Article 370

ZIYA US SALAM

October 25, 2019

Muslim bodies and community leaders back the Modi government on its actions in Kashmir, but this support is being seen as an overture stemming from fear.

A few days befor the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) asked India to rescind its decision to revoke the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution of India, the Narendra Modi government received support from unexpected quarters back home in the country. First, a delegation of senior Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind leaders met Home Minister Amit Shah to extend support on the Kashmir issue, followed by the Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadees, which too came out in support of the government’s actions in the State.

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind’s overtures were not exactly a surprise, considering the fact that just before the delegation’s meeting with Amit Shah, its president, Arshad Madani, had met Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat in New Delhi to remove “misgivings between communities” to bring about “an atmosphere of communal harmony”.

Madani’s meeting with Bhagwat upset a section of the community. In an article for Muslim Mirror, Aslam Abdullah, a United States-based Islamic scholar of Indian origin, accused Madani of selling one of the “most precious human commodity [sic] known as conscience for some visible and invisible gains”.

However, for all the fulminations of Abdullah, it was the Markazi body’s action that took many by surprise, as the Ahl-e-Hadith sect has been largely non-political in its approach, preferring to concentrate on following the precepts and practices of Prophet Muhammad.

The body’s general secretary, Maulana Asghar Ali Imam Mahdi Salafi, offered support to the government on the repeal of Article 370 in Kashmir and extending the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across the country.

In a meeting with Muslim leaders, comprising largely those from the Jamiat, Amit Shah was assured of support from Muslim bodies, with Madani stating: “There might be differences of opinion over some issues with the government, but if the matter comes to that of national interest, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind would stand with the government. We deplore every separatist movement, and always stand for a united India.”

The meeting followed an in-house brainstorming session at the Jamiat headquarters in Delhi, which saw the participation of delegates from across the country.

If the government needed any help to paper over the cracks emerging in international fora with respect to Kashmir, it came from India First, a group of Muslim intellectuals. Piloted by Khwaja Iftikhar Ahmed, the body pledged support to the government, reiterating that its actions in Kashmir could not be questioned.

Signed by 39 eminent Muslims, the statement read: “It is time to honour the established Indian values of harmony and integration. It is a moment to converge and not confront. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a ‘new Kashmir’, to embrace all Kashmiris in order to make a naya Kashmir—a new Kashmir—is a statement of substance.”

The Modi government was quick to capitalise on the support. Speaking to newspersons, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, while refusing to make a direct comment on the OIC’s stance, pointed out that major Muslim bodies such as the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and the Markazi Ahl-e-Hadees had backed the government’s actions in Kashmir. Jaishankar’s statement came in the wake of Saudi Arabia joining Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Niger to issue a statement condemning the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir. Ajai Gudavarthy, a political scientist from Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: “It [support] could be because of fear and insecurity. It cannot be ruled out given the current climate. However, it could also be to present a new picture of the community. Things are larger than merely doing so out of fear. If you see, NRC, Kashmir, etc., are attacks on the exclusive Muslim identity. Such a meeting could be a part of the mainstreaming of the community. It should not be seen as a stand-alone exercise.”

Full report at:

However, Aeijaz said it could also be a case of political opportunism.

https://frontline.thehindu.com/the-nation/article29665076.ece

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Xi doesn't raise Kashmir with Modi as they seek to reset ties

Oct 13, 2019

MAMALLAPURAM: The developments in Kashmir related to New Delhi's decision to do away with J&K's special status was "neither raised nor discussed" during the Modi-Xi summit here as both leaders looked to effect a major reset in relations between the world's two most populous nations.

Briefing journalists after the summit, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had covered a wide range of topics in the six hours of direct discussions but there was no mention of Kashmir. "The issue was not raised and not discussed. Our position is anyways very clear that this is an internal matter of India," he said.

Asked about China's references to Pakistan ahead of the summit, Gokhale said Xi briefed Modi about Pakistan PM Imran Khan's October 8 visit to Beijing and the Indian PM heard him out.

Gokhale said there was convergence on the challenges of terrorism and radicalisation for large countries with diverse populations. In his post-summit remarks, Modi said the leaders decided to prudently manage their differences and remain attuned to each other's concerns. During official discussions, Xi said he and Modi had candid and "heart-to-heart" conversations like friends.

A detailed statement issued by the Chinese foreign ministry later on Saturday evening was completely silent on Kashmir. In his conversation, Xi gave Modi an unvarnished version of the Pakistan PM's visit, relaying Imran's complaint that India had refused to talk to him. Modi chose not to respond, sources said.

In the run-up to the summit, the Indian side was clear that Modi would not raise the Kashmir issue during the summit, but would be prepared to explain India's August 5 decision in detail if asked by Xi. The Indian government has made it clear to the world that its decision to abrogate Article 370 and reorganise J&K is an internal decision and a sovereign act.

China had reacted sharply to the reorganisation of Ladakh as a Union territory alleging implications for border management. India has asserted, including at the level of the foreign minister, that India would not be raising any additional territorial claims and that China would not be impacted.

Xi’s decision to brief Modi about Imran’s visit could be part of a confidence-building exercise with India. Khan’s Beijing visit sparked off a series of apparently contradictory statements by the Chinese foreign ministry, where China was first seen to be favouring a bilateral resolution to Pakistan and, within 24 hours, reversing it to include UN resolutions.

Whether they are part of an evolution in the Chinese position or a tussle between different factions of the Chinese system is not clear. Regardless, the Indian foreign ministry was compelled to respond sharply, to push back against these positions, just hours before Xi was due to land in India.

It created some avoidable dissonance in the pre-summit scene setting, which is always seen as important in the India-China context.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/xi-doesnt-raise-kashmir-with-modi-as-they-seek-to-reset-ties/articleshow/71560484.cms

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Seers to light diyas at Ram temple on Diwali: VHP; Ayodhya admin says no activity beyond SC mandate

Oct 12, 2019

AYODHYA: The VHP on Saturday said that seers will light 5,100 earthen lamps at the disputed Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid site on Diwali but the district administration asserted no religious activity beyond the Supreme Court's mandate on the issue will be allowed.

VHP spokesperson Sharad Sharma said the seers of Ayodhya will go inside the Ram Mandir and light up diyas before the deity.

He also said a delegation of seers will meet Faizabad Divisional Commissioner Manoj Mishra, who is the authorised person in-charge of the disputed land by the Supreme Court.

When asked about the matter, Mishra said, "Any type of new tradition will not be allowed at the disputed site. Only those religious activities will be allowed which are permitted by the apex court."

According to the apex court's order of January 7, 1993, any type of religious activity is prohibited inside the disputed site except the chief priest performing only routine prayers of the deity including offering of food.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/seers-to-light-diyas-at-ram-temple-on-diwali-vhp-ayodhya-admin-says-no-activity-beyond-sc-mandate/articleshow/71556332.cms

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Civil rights activists demand restoration of Articles 370, 35A in J&K

Oct 12, 2019

NEW DELHI: Civil rights activists urged the government on Saturday to restore Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution and take steps to bring back normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Social activist Shabana Hashmi said the abrogation of Article 370, which gave a special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was a mindless exercise carried out by the BJP-led government.

"The government first did demonetisation and said this will end terrorism. Then they did surgical strikes and said terror had ended. On February 26, after the Balakot airstrike, they claimed that we had killed around 600 terrorists.

"Now, they have published an advertisement in newspapers, saying shops and schools are shut in the valley due to the fear of militants. If the government has killed all the militants, then whom are they talking about now," Hashmi told reporters at the Press Club here.

Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul said removing Article 370 was the main cause of trauma for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"People in Jammu have lost business because it was dependent on Kashmir and they are being force-fed this narrative that you have to say you like it. In Jammu, more people refused to talk to us as compared to Kashmir," she said.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/civil-rights-activists-demand-restoration-of-articles-370-35a-in-jk/articleshow/71558163.cms

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Hizb-ut-Tahrir bigger menace than ISIS

13 October 2019

Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s presence in more than 50 countries is a matter of grave concern. Although Hizb-ut-Tahrir has not yet set up its office in India, its underground activities in our neighbouring countries are set to pose challenge to safety and security of Indians

Following India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, there were protests by anti-India elements outside the India House in London during the Independence Day celebrations. One such protest was organised by Hizb-ut-Tahrir or “the Party of the Liberation”, a radical Islamist group which calls for the establishment of the caliphate in the Muslim world with a view to uniting the Muslim ummah.

Founded in 1953 by Muhammad Sheikh Taqiuddin-al-Nabhani, a radical activist from Haifa (Jordan), this group aims at establishing an Islamic state where all aspects of human life would be guided by Sharia. Hizb-ut-Tahrir is of the opinion that restoration of the caliphate, with all Muslims living in accordance with Sharia, is the solution to the problems in the West Asia (Middle East). The establishment of an Islamic state, according to Hizb-ut-Tahrir, would be in three stages. In the first stage, the organisation would educate and indoctrinate its ideology to the common people; in the second stage, it would focus on spreading its ideas among those who hold power in the government, military and the civil services; and in the third stage, it would proceed to establish the Islamic state. The Islamic state, according to Hizb-ut-Tahrir, would be ruled by a caliph or khalifah. The caliph would appoint the amir and the military head who would lead the jehad activities against non-Muslims.

Although Hizb-ut-Tahrir advocates a strict interpretation of Islam, it does not oppose modern technology, and rather makes extensive use of the internet and social network sites to spread its message. It advocates indoctrination in public places, hoping to change paradigms and emotions so that “people (will) behave in ways that will not anger Allah”. While Hizb-ut-Tahrir promotes the concept of caliphate, it does not recognise the so-called caliphate created by the ISIS, which has been on the run after its defeat in Iraq and Syria.

Distribution of CDs containing jehad and radical Islam literature is one of the methods Hizb-ut-Tahrir follows to target people. To attract the youth into joining it, Hizb-ut-Tahrir has a well-maintained website, containing message, literature and other information. In countries where the group is not banned, Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists freely distribute literature such as The Institutions of State in the Khalifah, both online and in public places. They also organise seminars and public discussions utilising various open fora. According to US online Journal CTX, Hizb-ut-Tahrir is slowly increasing its social capital by keeping away from overt acts of terrorism while luring the educated youth. The structure of Hizb-ut-Tahrir makes it really difficult to arrive at the real number of its members. It is estimated that Hizb-ut-Tahrir has a wide base of one million members in 50 countries, including the UK, Central Asia, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Jordan. Due to its involvement in coup attempts and anti-government acts, the outfit has been banned in about 20 countries, which include Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Russia. In addition, the outfit has a strong social media network. In the USA alone, it has more than 28,000 followers on the Facebook.

In South Asia, Hizb-ut-Tahrir has a significant presence in Pakistan. It was banned in the country in November 2003 on charges of its links with several terror plots, including that to kill former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf. According to available reports, Hizb-ut-Tahrir has made three attempts to penetrate the Pakistan Army in the last decade. This information came to light when Brigadier Ali Khan and four other Army officers were arrested for their links with the outfit. Despite this, Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists were reportedly seen in the garrison areas of Pakistan, openly speaking to military personnel. Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s objective is to bring military personnel, intellectuals and the elite under one umbrella with the aim of replacing the government with a caliphate. Although the party claims to be working for the entire ummah, it started operating in Pakistan by declaring the nation as “Wilayah” or place suitable for assumption of power. Hizb-ut-Tahrir is convinced that as a seat of Khilafat, Pakistan has the potential to unite the Muslim ummah and extend the message of Islam to the whole world, as per its manifesto. In Bangladesh, though it was banned in 2009, Hizb-ut-Tahrir has been carrying out anti-state, anti-government, anti-India and anti-US activities there. It is significant to note that Hizb-ut-Tahrir has not only been able to penetrate the state-run Dhaka University, Rajshahi University and Chittagong University but also some prominent private universities that are affiliated to Western universities. Hizb-ut-Tahrir has also been involved in mobilising sections against the Sheikh Hasina regime and is also suspected to have been linked to the Bangladesh Rifles mutiny in 2009.

Many Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists were seen distributing leaflets calling upon the people of Bangladesh to rise against India. The leaflets are aimed at provoking the Bangladeshi people: “You have been the victims of Indian aggression for decades. The enemy state killed your officers in Pilkhana. She built the Farakka Dam; she deprives you all your rightful share of water from the common rivers and kills your brothers and sisters in the border. And your current rulers have failed to stand up to the Indian aggression against you. There exists only one way of resisting the enemy — establishing the Khalifah state… And we have the action plan ready to regain India as a Muslim land under the Islamic rule which is the only true assured way of stopping Indian aggression permanently.”

There are several means to collect funds for activities of Hizb-ut-Tahrir. These include private donations, through public campaigns and even government subsidies. Donations are primarily raised in London, Europe, the West Asia and Pakistan. Following allegations that the Pakistan envoy to Bangladesh, Mohammad Mazhar Khan, had laundered money for Hizb-ut-Tahrir and other Islamist groups in Bangladesh, the envoy was recalled, according to a report in the Counter-Extremism Project. Besides, the Hizb-ut-Tahrir is funded by wealthy sheikhs from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Interestingly it received the British Government’s aid to run British Foundation till its nefarious activities came to London’s notice.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir has since turned out to be one of the most organised and dangerous radical groups. In the UK, Hizb-ut-Tahrir operated on the university campuses without any restriction by the authorities. Reportedly, the campus of the University of Westminster became a major radicalising area for the youth, some of whom later joined ISIS. Prominent among them was Mohammad Emwazi, aka late “Jihadi John”.

Its presence in more than 50 countries makes itself a matter of grave concern for them. According to its website, Hizb-ut-Tahrir organised a demonstration at Batla House in Delhi on June 6, 2010, to protest Israel’s alleged atrocities against Palestinians. One important target of Hizb-ut-Tahrir in West Asia is Israel. Its current global leader Ata Abu Rishta justifies killing of Israeli Jews because he says they are occupying Islamic lands. An article in Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s magazine Al-Waie June, 2001, justified suicide bombing against Israel. In another magazine of Hizb-ut-Tahrir called Al-Fajr in 1988 said hijacking of Israeli planes and killing of Israelis citizens on board was permissible.

According to the CTX journal, Hizb-ut-Tahrir has an armed wing called Harkat al  Muhajirin fi Britaniya that is training its cadres in chemical, bacteriological and biological warfare.

Full report at:

https://www.dailypioneer.com/2019/sunday-edition/hizb-ut-tahrir-bigger-menace-than-isis.html

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All in the mind: 41% of Kashmiris show signs of depression

October 13, 2019

Sir — Yesterday marked the end of this year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week. It was also the 69th day of the communication blockade in Kashmir. Even before the lockdown, a survey found that 41 per cent of the population in Kashmir showed possible signs of depression, 26 per cent those of anxiety and 19 per cent showed probable symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Elsewhere, people are running from pillar to post trying to prove that they are citizens of a country they have resided in since the time of their birth. Surely this cannot be conducive to their mental health?

Paromita Sarkar

Calcutta

Old ties

Sir — It was heartening to learn that in Rampurhat a promoter, Mohammed Sirajuddin, constructed a permanent structure at his own expense for local people to organize Durga Puja upon learning that the land he had purchased was where the festival used to be held previously. This news was refreshing, especially given the communally charged times we live in. Last year, in Murshidabad, a Muslim contractor had shelled out some 11 lakh rupees to complete the construction of a Durga temple.

This is the Bengal we know and love. The rich humanitarian and secular legacy has not been wiped out completely yet. It is high time that the new divisive ideology being spread in the state is rejected by people with an overwhelming majority. It is hoped that Bengal would succeed in keeping the poison of communal polarization at bay and remain a role model of secularism by recalling the teachings of Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Lalan Fakir and the likes of Mohammed Sirajuddin.

In spite of the blatant commercialization of the festival these days, the real spirit of Durga Puja, which is to embrace people from all backgrounds in a gesture of brotherhood, is still alive.

Kajal Chatterjee

Calcutta

Sir — Religious differences should not come in the way of social amity. The residents of Rampurhat have shown this. But one wishes that the promoter had instead constructed a structure that would be dedicated to an educational or a health initiative. Durga Puja can be held anywhere; does god live only in a temple? He is omnipresent. Mohammed Sirajuddin’s altruism would have reaped richer dividends had he built a school, which is like a temple to students. A statue of Durga could have been put up in the school as a token of brotherhood.

Rabindranath Sarkar

Calcutta

Ironical image

Sir — A strange thing occurred to me on M.K. Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. During the freedom movement, Gandhi symbolized the struggle of the common man against the mighty State — its police, its army, its draconian laws. He was the champion of the ordinary Indian masses struggling to free themselves from the mighty British State. But since Independence, Gandhi seems to have been transformed into a symbol of the State itself — only this time it is the Indian and not the British State.

He is seen beaming at us from our currency notes, which are among the first means of a State asserting its sovereignty. His pictures and sketches — showing him either working on the charkha or leading his followers — occupy calendars and notepads meant for use in government offices. Even his glasses have become the official symbol in State-sponsored schemes like the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

There are other instances that illustrate how Gandhi has been appropriated by the Indian State. Yet, from the time he returned from South Africa to the time he fell to Godse’s bullets, Gandhi had steadfastly avoided occupying ‘high office’, with many defining him as “power without authority”. But, ironically, it is unlikely that there exists a single government office in India where a ‘high place’ is not reserved for an image of a smiling Gandhi.

Bappa Ditya Banerjee

Calcutta

Full report at:

https://www.telegraphindia.com/opinion/all-in-the-mind-41-of-kashmiris-show-signs-of-depression/cid/1711245

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Uttar Pradesh minister terms AIMPLB as ‘unconstitutional NGO’

October 12, 2019

An Uttar Pradesh minister on Saturday termed the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) an “unconstitutional NGO” and questioned its ongoing executive meeting here over the Ayodhya land dispute.

UP’s Minister of State for Minority Welfare Muslim Waqf and Haj Mohsin Raza also raised doubts over the AIMPLB’s source of funding.

“At a time, when the judgement in the Ayodhya dispute case is about to come, an unconstitutional NGO has been speaking against the country, supporting terrorism and raising its voice against the NRC and triple talaq,” he said.

“The question is who is financing the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. They must answer it. The ‘Nadwatul Ulama’ should also answer as why in a span of six months it is holding a meeting in Lucknow after holding a meeting in Hyderabad. What is the aim of this meeting, and what is the agenda of the people attending the meeting,” Raza said.

Reacting to Raza’s remarks, senior AIMPLB member Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali said the Ayodhya land dispute is being fought in the Supreme Court, and not against a person or any organisation.

“Those raising such questions should know that there is a Constitution and law in the country, and they should be aware about it. The AIMPLB has been formed under the Societies Registration Act, and is a registered organisation,” he said.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/uttar-pradesh-minister-terms-aimplb-as-unconstitutional-ngo-6066244/

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J-K: Militants lob grenade in popular Srinagar market, 6 civilians injured

October 12, 2019 9

Five civilians were injured after suspected militants hurled a grenade in a popular market area in Srinagar on Saturday, the Jammu and Kashmir police said.

While the condition of those injured is said to be stable, the police have cordoned off the area and a search operation is underway.

Kashmir Zone Police

@KashmirPolice

#Terrorists lobbed a #grenade at #HSH #Street #Srinagar. 05 #civilians injured. All are stated to be #stable. Area under #cordon. #Search in the #area is in progress. @JmuKmrPolice

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3:29 PM - Oct 12, 2019

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The suspected militants hurled the grenade in Hari Singh High Street Market, which is a few hundred metres away from the city centre Lal Chowk, a police official said.

The shops in the market were shut but a few vendors had set up stalls in the area, he said.

The grenade attack comes at a time when the Centre is easing off restriction in the Valley, which has been in a state of lockdown since August 5, when the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was diluted to strip the special status provided to J&K.

Earlier in the day, J&K government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said all postpaid mobile services will stand restored and functional from Monday noon. The services were slated to resume on Saturday but a last-minute technical glitch led to postponing of the resumption of services, the state government spokesperson claimed.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/j-k-militants-lob-grenade-in-popular-srinagar-market-5-civilians-injured-6065875/

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CBI probe recommended into sale of UP Waqf Boards properties

October 13, 2019

Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government has recommended a CBI inquiry into the alleged anomalies in the sale, purchase and transfer of properties of the Uttar Pradesh Shia and Sunni Central Waqf Boards.

A senior Home Department official confirmed that a letter recommending the Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry has already been forwarded to the Secretary, Ministry of Personnel, Training and Public Grievances of the Central government and also the probe agency’s Director.

The official said: “Two separate FIRs related to the alleged anomalies in the properties of Shia and Sunni Waqf Boards have already been registered in Kotwali police station in Prayagraj and Hazratganj police station in Lucknow.”

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/cbi-probe-recommended-sale-waqf-boards-properties-1690806/

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Southeast Asia

 

Penang DAPSY wants action against Zakir Naik

By Mohamed Basyir

October 11, 2019

GEORGE TOWN: Penang DAP Youth (DAPSY) has urged the police to take action against controversial Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

In a joint statement by nine committee members, it said there were numerous terrorist incidents including the 2016 bombing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and attack at churches in Sri Lanka earlier this year, which were alledgely linked with Zakir.

It said followers were guided through the teachings of Zakir using his own Peace TV channel.

"Many countries have labelled Zakir as extremist and banned him. In India, he was also accused of supplying monies to terrorist organisations.

"Will Malaysian police allow Zakir to use Malaysia as a base to continue his action to supply illicit funds to terrorist organisations in other countries? What is the action by the police in this case?" it said in a statement today.

The state DAPSY wants the police to act professionally to free Malaysia from extremists such as Zakir who could potentially threaten the harmony of the country.

Zakir has been banned from speaking in Melaka, Johor, Selangor, Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Sarawak.

Zakir was previously called in by the police to give his statement following remarks that he made at a talk in Kelantan which were allegedly insensitive to certain races in Malaysia.

Yesterday, Federal police Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) nabbed seven men, including two DAP assemblymen for allegedly supporting, promoting, recruiting, funding and being in possession of items related to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/528924/penang-dapsy-wants-action-against-zakir-naik

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Pompeo urges NBA to stand up to China

October 12, 2019

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday urged the NBA to stand up to China, wading into a row as Beijing pressures the basketball league after a team official expressed support for pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

The top US diplomat was applauded for the comments in a speech to a Christian group in Nashville as he denounced China’s treatment of its mostly Muslim Uighur population.

“The Chinese Communist Party is detaining and abusing more than one million Uighur Muslims in internment camps in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said.

“The pages of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ are coming to life there. I wish the NBA would acknowledge that,” he added.

In an interview with a Nashville television network, Pompeo said Chinese companies in the United Sates were “entitled to speak their piece” if they wanted to criticise US policies.

“American businesses and American companies should demand that those same rights are extended to them,” he told WKRN-TV.

“This all started with a singular tweet. The Chinese Communist Party can withstand a singular tweet. I hope that they’ll begin to get this right,” he said.

The row began when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey wrote a since-deleted tweet in support of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, whose semi-autonomous status under Beijing is seen as threatened.

That prompted the Chinese government to end sponsorships for the team and league and drop planned NBA telecasts in China, with huge NBA logos and banners stripped off buildings.

The NBA on Friday dropped all media events on a tour of China, which has become a huge market for professional basketball.

Lawmakers across the political spectrum have attacked what they saw as an accommodating stance by the NBA, calling on the league to unite in opposing punishment against the Rockets.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/sports/2019/10/12/pompeo-urges-nba-to-stand-up-to-china/

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40 Malaysians held in Syria seeking to return home

October 13, 2019

The police are making efforts to bring home 40 Malaysians in Syria who are seeking to return home after being detained for suspected involvement in terrorism activities there.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division ( E8 ) chief Deputy Comm Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said 11 of them were men while the rest comprised women and children.

"A total of 40 from 65 Malaysians detained in Syria had contacted us and told us they want to come home.

"We expect the number of those who want to return to rise from time to time.

"We have obtained information that the camps in Syria are in critical situation, especially due to food shortage," he said.

He told reporters this after sitting as a panelist at the Forum Perdana organised by the Malaysian Muslim Welfare Fund Foundation (YDKMM) in conjunction with Warriors Day at the Sultan Idris Shah II mosque here Saturday (Oct 12) night.

Perak State Mosque Grand Imam Abd Farid Salleh and YDKMM founder and main advisor Dr. Mohd Hizul Azri Md Noor were also part of the panel line up while YDKMM chairman Ahmad Umair Zulkefli acted as moderator.

Ayob Khan said police could only be involved in the early stages of efforts to bring the Malaysians home but the final say would lie with the government and the communication process with foreign agencies.

"The men are now being held at Al-Hasakah prison while the women and children are placed at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camp," he said.

In October last year, the police successfully brought home a Malaysian woman and two of her children, a Malaysian man and another Malaysian woman whose husband, a Daesh group member, was killed during warfare.

Ayob Khan said the Malaysian men brought home will be charged in court while for the women, it will depend on the level of influence they were under.

The children, meanwhile will undergo rehabilitation programmes, he said.

He said there were still many more Malaysians being arrested for having intentions to sneak into Syria while latest development showed that South Philippines was fast turning into the newest region to conduct terror activities on the basis that it was geographically nearer and easier to enter and exit.

"Many of them interact through social media," he said.

Earlier, Ayob Khan pointed out that not following the true teachings of Islam was among the reasons why some Muslims were involved in terrorism, with many of the suspects influenced by deviant ideology and sects.

Full report at:

https://www.thejakartapost.com/seasia/2019/10/13/40-malaysians-held-in-syria-seeking-to-return-home.html

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Mideast

 

Turkey says Turkish-backed Syrian forces seize Ras al-Ain center

12 October 2019

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition seized control of Ras al-Ain’s town center in northeast Syria on Saturday, a senior Turkish security official said as Turkey’s offensive against a Kurdish militia in the region entered its fourth day.

“The [Syrian opposition] national army took control of the town center this morning. Inspections are being conducted in residential areas,” the official said.

Syrian Kurdish-led forced denied on Saturday that Turkey has seized Ras al-Ain.

Violent clashes broke out on Saturday between unidentified gunmen and Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria’s Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/12/Turkey-says-Turkish-backed-Syrian-forces-seize-Ras-al-Ain-center.html

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14 Villages Seized by Turkey, Ankara-Backed Militants in Northeast Syria

Oct 12, 2019

The Ankara-backed militants also took over the strategic M4 highway in Northern Syria following heavy clashes between fighters and Kurdish forces.

SANA also reported that following the escape of Kurdish militias, the Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants cut off Hasaka-Aleppo international highway.

It comes hours after a spokesman for the Ankara-backed militants claimed that Turkish forces and allied militias have laid siege on two border towns in Northeast Syria held by the Kurdish fighters after seizing several villages in the vicinity of the towns.

Youssef Hamoud stated on Thursday that Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad were now surrounded after the Turkish Army aided by Ankara-backed fighters seized several villages around the the two towns. The two towns are among the prime objectives of the Turkish military campaign against Kurdish fighters.

Turkey's Defense ministry also announced that the number of Kurdish fighters killed since the start of the military operation in Northern Syria has risen to 399.

"The overall number of PKK/PYD-YPG terrorists that have been neutralized during successfully ongoing Operation Peace Spring to the East of the Euphrates is 399," the defense ministry said in statement.

But, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday the death toll among Kurdish fighters battling the Turkish offensive has risen to 74, most of whom have been killed in the Tel Abyad area.

Turkey intensified its air and artillery strikes in Northeast Syria on Friday in an offensive against Kurdish militia that has raised the prospect of a humanitarian disaster.

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from the area due to the bombardment, acording to local and international organizations, while tens of civilians killed and wounded in recent days.

On Friday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in a statement claimed they killed 262 Ankara-backed militants in the past three days, including Turkish soldiers.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed on Friday that Turkey will not halt its operation in Northern Syria, despite threats from the international community, including the United States.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, called on Ankara to halt its military operation in Syria, saying the offensive threatens progress in combating ISIL (also known as ISIS or Daesh) and risks harm to American troops.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also stated that President Donald Trump had authorised US officials to draft "very significant new sanctions" to target Turkey after the launch of the offensive but added that they were not "activating" the measures at this time.

"These are very powerful sanctions. We hope we don't have to use them, but we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to," Mnuchin told reporters at the White House on Friday.

The European Union has also called on Turkey to end its military operation in Syria's North as individual member states have vocally condemned the offensive, and intends to address the situation, as well as the possible introduction of sanctions on Ankara next week.

Also, the Council of the League of Arab States on Saturday will hold an emergency meeting at the level of foreign ministers to discuss the situation around the Turkish military operation in Northern Syria.

Turkish army forces began ground operations in Northeastern Syria, and crossed into the country's territories on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River, hours after kicking off a major military operation against Kurdish militias in the war-torn country on Wednesday.

Turkey had launched two operations in Northern Syria. The first offensive dubbed "Euphrates Shield" began in August 2016 to stop the advance of Kurdish militants. Then in January 2018, Turkish military forces launched another cross-border military operation inside Syria, code-named “Operation Olive Branch”, with the declared aim of eliminating militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG) from Northern Syria, particularly the Afrin region.

Ankara views the YPG as the Syria branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980720000298

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SDF Denies Turkey's Claim about Advancing to Center of Strategic City

Oct 12, 2019

Ankara-backed militants claimed to have seized control of Ras al Ain’s city center in Northeast Syria on Saturday, as Turkey's offensive on Kurdish militia positions entered its fourth day.

The Turkish Defense Ministry also confirmed militants' claim that "Ras al-Ain's residential center has been brought under control through the successful operation in the East of the Euphrates".

But, the SDF denied the reports, stating that Turkish-backed fighters had entered one neighborhood of Ras al Ain, the industrial district, following hours of heavy Turkish shelling that had forced a “tactical retreat” from the area.

“Now the SDF’s attack has started and very fierce clashes are underway now,” Marvan Qamishlo, an SDF military media official, told Reuters, noting, “The clashes continue in the industrial district."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed that Turkish troops have entered the town, but reported that fighting is still ongoing.

Turkey's media, meanwhile, reported that the Turkish military and allied militants have been advancing in villages around Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain, under the cover of Turkish artillery and airstrikes.

Youssef Hamoud, the spokesman for the Ankara-backed militants, said fighters had cut off the road that links Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

He said in a statement to Reuters that "this advance was on a new and surprise front ... between Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain. On this front, they were able to cut the roads linking together Suluk, Tel Abyad, Ras al-Ain with the villages in the area".

Hamoud stated on Thursday that Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad were now surrounded after the Turkish Army aided by Ankara-backed militants seized several villages around the the two towns. The two towns are among the prime objectives of the Turkish military campaign against Kurdish fighters.

Turkey's military had earlier claimed that 14 Syrian villages had been seized from Kurdish militias as part of its military operation in Northeast Syria. The Turkey's Defense Ministry also announced that the number of Kurdish militants killed since the start of the military operation in Northern Syria has risen to 399.

On Saturday, the Syrian Kurdish-led administration in Northeastern Syria said 191,069 people have been displaced as a result of the Turkish military operation.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980720000628

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SDF says Turkey-backed fighters killed Kurdish politician

13 October 2019

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces accused Turkey-backed fighters of killing a Kurdish politician in an ambush on a road in northern Syria on Saturday, drawing a denial from a Turkey-backed force which said it had not advanced that far.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization which reports on the war, said Turkey-backed groups had killed a total of nine civilians on the road, including Hervin Khalaf, secretary general of the Future Syria Party.

Khalaf had been returning from a meeting in Hasakah at the time of the attack in which her driver and an aide were also killed, said Hussein Omar, the Future Syria Party’s coordinator in Europe. Party officials including Khalaf have had contacts with U.S. officials since it was founded in 2018, he said.

Asked about the accusation that Turkey-backed groups had killed Khalaf, the spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Army, which groups Syrian rebel factions, said they had not made it as far as the highway known as the M4.

“I confirm to you that our forces have not reached the M4,” Youssef Hammoud said in a voice message to Reuters, saying that they had instead reached a road closer to the border.

Asked about the Observatory report that rebels had killed a total of nine civilians on the road, he gave the same answer.

Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies launched an offensive into SDF-held parts of northeastern Syria on Wednesday.

The SDF, in a statement, said Khalaf’s killing on the highway between Aleppo and Hasaka showed “the Turkish invasion does not differentiate between a soldier, a civilian or a politician.” The SDF statement identified her as party co-chair.

A map sent by an SDF official showed the location of the incident on the M4 highway southeast of Tel Abyad.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/13/SDF-says-Turkey-backed-fighters-killed-Kurdish-politician.html

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Graves desecrated at Commonwealth war cemetery in Israel

13 October 2019

Dozens of gravestones at a Commonwealth military cemetery in Israel were desecrated in what the Israeli foreign ministry said on Saturday was a suspected hate crime.

The Haifa War Cemetery is the burial site of about 340 Commonwealth soldiers, most of them killed in World War One and some in World War Two.

Photographs showed at least 30 tombstones sprayed with red paint. Some, including a Christian memorial topped with a stone cross, were daubed with swastikas.

The vandalism was discovered on Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that the graves’ desecration was “an abhorrent crime” and that Israel would do everything possible to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Britain captured Palestine from the crumbling Ottoman Empire during World War One in 1917, and later governed it under an international mandate.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/13/Graves-desecrated-at-Commonwealth-war-cemetery-in-Israel.html

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Pro-Turkey forces ‘execute’ nine civilians in Syria: Monitor

12 October 2019

Pro-Ankara fighters taking part in a Turkish offensive on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria “executed” at least nine civilians on Saturday, a monitor said.

“The nine civilians were executed at different moments south of the town of Tal Abyad,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Kurds said a female Kurdish party official and her driver were among those killed.

Hevrin Khalaf was “taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions,” the political arm of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement.

“This is a clear evidence that the Turkish state is continuing its criminal policy towards unarmed civilians,” it added.

Turkey and its allied fighters began the offensive on Wednesday to push back the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the SDF, from its border.

The allied fighters are Syrian former militants who once fought against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

As the conflict morphed since erupting in 2011, these factions now receive training and funding from Ankara.

Kurdish activists circulated two videos on social media of the killings.

The first, posted on the Twitter account of the Ahrar al-Sharqiya rebel group, shows two people in civilian clothes kneeling on the ground as a fighter next to them announces they have been captured by the faction.

In the second, an unidentified fighter opens fire at a man on the ground wearing civilian attire.

The Observatory confirmed the authenticity of the videos but AFP could not independently verify them.

The deaths brought to at least 38 the number of civilians killed on the Syrian side since start of the assault, according to the Observatory.

It says 81 Kurdish fighters have been killed in the clashes.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/12/Pro-Turkey-forces-execute-nine-civilians-in-syria-monitor-.html

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International apathy to Palestinian sufferings encourages Israeli aggression: Foreign ministry

Oct 12, 2019

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has censured international apathy towards the sufferings of Palestinian people, arguing that such a practice has encouraged Israeli occupation forces and settlers to “carry out more attacks against defenseless Palestinians.”

The ministry, in a statement released on Saturday, called on the international community, the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to employ international protection mechanism for the Palestinian nation “before it is too late.”

It held Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully responsible for the recent uptick in settlers’ attacks against Palestinian communities across the occupied West Bank.

Earlier in the day, a group of Israeli settlers attacked local residents in the northern West Bank village of Burin, located 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) southwest of Nablus, as they were picking olives, forcing them to leave their land.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official in charge of monitoring Israel's settlement expansion activities, told the Palestinian Arabic-language Safa news agency that people from Yitzhar settlement, which lies south of Nablus, attacked a Palestinian family as they were harvesting the produce.

Daghlas added that the Palestinians had to leave the area in the face of the large number of settlers.

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

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

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

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

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608530/International-apathy-to-Palestinian-suffering-encourages-Israeli-aggression-Foreign-Ministry

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Turkish authorities arrest Al Arabiya reporter for covering Turkey's offensive

12 October 2019

Turkish authorities arrested on Saturday an Al Arabiya correspondent for covering Turkey's offensive in northeastern Syria.

Zidan Zanklo was picked up in an armored vehicle by Turkish authorities in an area on the Syrian-Turkish border. Zanklo, who is Syrian, was told he has until Monday to leave to Istanbul.

His visa was also cancelled, and his work permit has been confiscated.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/12/Turkish-authorities-arrest-Al-Arabiya-correspondent-for-covering-Turkey-s-offensive.html

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Iran economy to bounce back in next two years: World Bank

Oct 12, 2019

The World Bank has updated its economic forecast for Iran, saying the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would slightly increase in the next two years.

The update published on Friday showed that sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran’s oil and gas sector would continue to have an impact on the country’s economy in 2019/20, saying it would shrink by 8.7 percent in the period.

The report said, however, that the Iranian economy would bounce back in the next two financial years, adding that the GDP would grow at 0.5 percent annually.

It said inflation would remain controlled, above 20 percent, in the next two years while the American bans on the country’s oil income would mean widened budget deficit as the government would remain committed to spending for social welfare purposes.

The report said Iran would benefit from the economic situation by maintaining a competitive market for its goods and services in the region as they have become more popular due to better price and quality, adding that increased exports would help the government gradually close its account deficit in the next two years.

Iran’s economy shrank last year when the US government withdrew from an international deal on the country’s nuclear program and imposed a series of unilateral but inclusive sanctions on Tehran.

However, analysts say the country has successfully weathered the impacts of some of the harshest possible measures ever imposed by Washington on an economy.

Iranians are no longer worried about rounds of large exchange rate depreciation which specifically affected household savings last summer when national currency rial traded at historic lows of 190,000 against the US dollar.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608529/Iran-economy-growth-forecast-World-Bank

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Al-Houthi calls on US to ‘learn from Vietnam’ as US announces deployment in Saudi Arabia

Oct 12, 2019

Head of Yemen's Supreme Revolutionary Committee has called on the US to "learn from Vietnam" after Washington announced plans to deploy about 2,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia.

An “increase in numbers does not mean victory,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi warned in a series of tweets, adding the US should also learn from its “useless wars” in countries such as Yemen and Iraq.

The official vowed that the Yemeni nation would continue its resistance against Saudi Arabia and other countries which are supported by the US in their war on the impoverished nation.

“Your previous forces, weapons and military commanders, which proved that the US is killing the Yemeni people, did not frighten us,” he said.

“An increase in your numbers will surely not be a concern for us,” al-Houthi added.

The remarks came a few hours after Washington announced the deployment of 1,800 additional troops, two fighter squadrons, two Patriot batteries, and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD) in the oil-rich kingdom.

The deployment follows a successful Yemeni drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Khurais and Abqaiq oil facilities last month in retaliation for the kingdom’s US-backed aggression against the country.

'Surprise the world'

On Friday, al-Houthi called on the United States to “surprise the world” and demonstrate the “little bit of humanity that they claim to have” by turning away from its “hostile policy” despite its role in “creating the worst humanitarian crisis in the world”.

“Such a policy has led to nothing but frustration and harm for you,” he added, referring to recent statements made by US President Donald Trump highlighting the high costs of America’s wars in the Middle East.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

• Oct 9, 2019

The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE.....

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

....IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY! We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. There were NONE! Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home. Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE! THE USA IS GREATER THAN EVER BEFORE!

78.3K

5:44 PM - Oct 9, 2019

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The US has been a major backer of a Saudi Arabia ever since it launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi movement.

Resistance by Yemen’s armed forces, led by the Houthi Ansarullah movement, has pushed the Saudi war to a stalemate, with Yemeni forces deploying increasingly sophisticated retaliatory attacks against the Saudis.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 91,000  lives over the past four and a half years.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608496/Learn-from-Vietnam

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More than two million Iranian pilgrims enter Iraq for Arba’een pilgrimage

 Oct 12, 2019

More than two million Iranian pilgrims have entered Iraq a week before annual Arba’een processions are held in the holy city of Karbala.

Speaking with Iran’s ISNA news agency, deputy chief of operations for Iran’s police force Hossein Sajedi-Nia said the pilgrims have entered Iraq during the past two weeks.

About three million Iranians have registered for the rally on Iran’s SAMAH automation system, a legal process which does away with the need to get an Iraqi visa, Iran’s Central Arbae’een Committee said.

Iranian authorities have predicted that more than three million mourners will take part in this year's rally, topping numbers in previous years.

Thousands of non-Iranian pilgrims have also entered Iran, joining the trek for Karbala.

The foreign pilgrims come mostly from Iran’s neighboring countries, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Earlier this week, Sistan and Baluchistan provincial police chief Brigadier General Mohammad Qanbari said that more than 40,000 pilgrims had entered the country from Pakistan alone.

The reports come as millions from Iraq and around the world travel to the holy Iraqi cities of Najaf and Karbala to attend Arba'een.

The gathering is known to attract about 20 million participants every year. This year’s Arba’een falls on October 19.

The event marks the 40th day after the anniversary of the martyrdom of the third Shia Imam, Hussein ibn Ali (AS).

Imam Hussein (AS) was martyred along with dozens of his companions during a laststand battle against the tyrant of the time, Yazid I, more than thirteen centuries ago.

The martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) has turned into a symbol of righteous revolt and social and political reform.

Imam Reza Shrine

@ImamRezaEN

“He managed to accomplish his mission even after his death. He is a symbol for us, for #justice, for #fairness and for #love, he is bringing all of us #together..”

Watch the #Archbishop of Tbilisi, Malkhaz Songulashvili speak about #ImamHusayn (ع) during the #Arbaeen walk.

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Imam Hussein (AS) is consequently a highly-venerated figure not only among Shia Muslims but also among Sunnis and people of other faiths.

Enemies seeking to sow discord will fail’

This year’s Arba’een pilgrimage takes place as Iraq is recovering from several days of protests against mismanagement and corruption last week.

Some of the demonstrations descended into violence and bloody clashes. Violent protests have receded in the past days, however.

Last week, some Arab media outlets reported a US-backed plan seeking to influence the protests in a bid to create instability and push certain political agendas in the country.

Observers have pointed out that the timing of the provocations signals foreign-backed elements seek to undermine Arba’een processions, specifically through fueling antagonism towards Iran.

On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei tweeted that "Iran and Iraq are two nations whose hearts & souls are tied together through faith in God”.

The Leader said that an enemy plot seeking to “sow discord” between the two nations will fail.

Iraqis take pride in hosting pilgrims participating in Arba'een, many of whom are from Iran.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608482/Two-million-Iranians-enter-Iraq

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Yemeni minister hails Saudi backing against Houthis

October 12, 2019

MARIB: Yemeni Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammad Ali Al-Maqdashi hailed Saudi Arabia’s support in the fight to restore security and stability to his country.

He said the Kingdom’s stance was helping toward rebuilding Yemen following the coup by Iran-backed Houthi militias, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al-Maqdashi highlighted the sacrifices made by Saudi and Yemeni armed forces to combat threats to the security and stability of Yemen and the region.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1567631/middle-east

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North America

 

Muslim MTA subway worker forced to shave beard: lawsuit

October 12, 2019

A Muslim MTA construction worker who complained about a boss ordering him to shave his beard says he was given a hair-pulling work assignment as punishment — working with the public.

Longtime Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker Bernard Wilkerson of the Bronx said supervisors had always given him a pass on his facial hair, until 2018, when the construction flagger went for annual respirator training. Respirators are breathing apparatuses used on construction sites to prevent workers from breathing in harmful dust and debris.

When Wilkerson began receiving the training in 2013, he was given a full face mask to accommodate his whiskers instead of a mask that only covered his nose and mouth, according to his Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit.

But last year when he showed up for respirator training, Wilkerson, who started at the MTA in 2001 as a conductor before moving to construction work in 2004, was handed shaving cream and a razor and told to go shear his face in the bathroom, he charges in court papers.

When Wilkerson called supervisor Ricardo John to ask why he wasn’t allowed to use the full face mask, John allegedly told him, “I can’t tell you what religion to practice, but you can’t practice it here in construction flagging.”

After that call, Wilkerson claims he was transferred out of construction and “ordered to instead work on the platform performing customer service work with passengers.”

The change was “clear retaliation,” according to Wilkerson’s discrimination lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

Full report at:

https://nypost.com/2019/10/12/muslim-mta-subway-worker-forced-to-shave-beard-lawsuit/

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Trump releases $50 million in stabilisation assistance for Syria

Oct 13, 2019

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Saturday released $50 million in stabilisation assistance for Syria to protect persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and advance human rights, the White House said.

This funding will provide emergency financial assistance to Syrian human rights defenders, civil society organisations and reconciliation efforts directly supporting ethnic and religious minority victims of the conflict, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

It will also go towards increasing accountability, removal of explosive remnants of war, community security, documenting human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations and support for survivors of gender-based violence and torture, she said.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/trump-releases-50-million-in-stabilisation-assistance-for-syria/articleshow/71562339.cms

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Trump says he is an ‘island of one’ on Syria

13 October 2019

US President Donald Trump says he is an “island of one” for removing American forces from northeastern Syria.

Trump’s decision drew swift bipartisan criticism in the US and abroad that he was endangering regional stability and risking the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who helped the US bring down ISIS in Syria. But Turkey views those Kurdish fighters as terrorists and a threat to its security and has launched a military operation against them.

Trump defended his actions during a speech Saturday to social conservative activists, saying “it’s time” to bring US troops home from fighting “endless wars.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/10/13/Trump-says-he-is-an-island-of-one-on-Syria.html

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Democrats discussing detentions amid impeachment inquiry: Tlaib

Oct 13, 2019

The Democratic lawmakers engaged in impeachment inquiry are having "serious discussions" about jailing those who do not comply with congressional subpoenas, says Muslim American House Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

“There have been actual serious conversations about what the logistics would look like... if we did have to force someone through a court order to come before the Congressional committee," she revealed in a new interview with Deadline Detroit in a report published Wednesday. "This is pretty uncharted territory for many of us and even for Congress.”

Putting allies of President Donald Trump in jail was brought up by Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) earlier in the day.

"I think it's time to call in the sergeant-at-arms and march them off to our little jail, which we do happen to have," Garamendi said.

Trump is under pressure for tying US military aid to Ukraine to an investigation into Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter.

Trump's ambassador to the European Union (EU), Gordon Sondland, meanwhile, was apparently preparing to finally appear before US House despite formerly refusing to do so.

He would also tell the lawmakers that a text he sent denying understanding of quid pro quo between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a July phone call was dictated by Trump himself.

Sondland did not “want a quid pro quo … didn’t want anything from Ukraine" in exchange for military aid, a source was quoted as saying by the Washington Post.

Sondland is defying an order from the State Department not to comply with Democrats' impeachment inquiry and is scheduled to testify before three House committees on Thursday,.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/13/608545/Dems-discussing-detention-of-Trump-allies

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US troops come under Turkish artillery fire in northeast Syria

Oct 12, 2019

A US military position in northern Syria has come under Turkish artillery fire, almost hitting the outpost where American troops were based in.

Turkish military forces launched an incursion firing artillery and air strikes into northeast Syria in a declared attempt to eliminate US-backed YPG militants.

"US troops in the vicinity of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions at approximately 9 p.m. local Oct. 11," Navy Captain Navy Brook DeWalt, a Pentagon spokesperson, said in a statement on Friday.

DeWalt said explosions took place within a few hundred meters of a location where the Turkish forces knew US troops were present.

"All US troops are accounted for with no injuries," DeWalt added.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley had warned the Turks of such incidents.

In a call with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar yesterday, Esper “reiterated his strong concern that, despite U.S. force protection measures, Turkey's actions could harm U.S. personnel in Syria,” Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement earlier Friday.

Esper warned Turkey, which knows where the American troops are based, not to attack US military personnel in the incursion.

Earlier Friday, Milley described the measures that the Pentagon had taken as preventative measures to stop Turkey from accidentally firing on US troops.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608505/US-Military-Troops-Turkey-Syria

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US benefiting from Saudi royals’ 'profligacy' by selling arms

Oct 12, 2019

The Western countries - notably the United States and the UK - have tried to take advantage of Saudi Arabia’s “wealth and corruption” by selling arms to the kingdom.

They have long benefited from the “boundless profligacy” of the Saudi royal family, selling large amounts of arms and weapons systems to the kingdom, Press TV’s “Underreported” program reported on Saturday.

At another level, Western businesses, key personalities and even actors have been keen to benefit from the largesse of Saudi royals, notably the princes who vacation in Western Europe and North America.

“Decades of uncontrolled behavior at home … has installed a deep sensed of indulgence and self-entitlement into the minds of the Saudi princes. The result is reckless, lawless and even dangerous behavior”, the program reported.

Washington has formally approved weapons sales to the kingdom totaling more than $1 billion despite growing pressure from rights groups to halt arms deals with Riyadh which is waging a brutal war in Yemen.

The United States has also announced to deploy a large number of additional forces and equipment to Saudi Arabia, including air defenses and fighter aircraft, a move that officials say will help the kingdom protect itself against the kind of attacks that last month destroyed its oil facilities.

Last month, Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement conducted retaliatory drone and missile strikes on two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. The attacks led to a halt in about 50 percent of the Arab kingdom’s crude and gas production, causing a surge in oil prices.

On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement that US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has authorized the deployment of additional forces, including two fighter squadrons, two Patriot batteries, and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD).

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said Friday that Washington was sending more troops to Saudi Arabia to help them, but added Riyadh had agreed to "pay us for everything we’re doing."

The US has been supporting a 2015-present Saudi war against Yemen that seeks to bring back the impoverished country’s former Riyadh-backed officials. The American patronage has featured aerial refueling, which the US only stopped earlier in the year after the Saudi-led coalition grew independent of it, as well as logistical and commando support.

Tens of thousands have died since the onset of the war, and the entire Yemen has been pushed close to the edge of outright famine.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608486/Saudi-Arabia-US-weapons-sale-corruption-troop-deployment-Yemen-Saudi-royal-family

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Trump says he hopes YPG/PKK abandon fighting Turkey

Servet Günerigök  

13.10.2019

WASHINGTON

U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday he hoped the PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of PKK terror group, would "back up" fighting Turkish military in northeastern Syria.

"I hope they do, because it is very hard to beat a force with that planes they don’t, where they have weapons that Kurds don’t have," said Trump at the Values Voter Summit.

Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring to purge terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PYD/YPG/PKK.

As well, Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30-km (19-mile) wide proposed safe zone in Syria stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij.

"Kurds are tending to leave" the planned zone and "that's good. Let them have their borders," said the U.S. president.

In defending his decision to pull U.S. forces from the operation area in the northern Syria, Trump said: "I don't think our soldiers should be there for the next 50 years."

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/trump-says-he-hopes-ypg-pkk-abandon-fighting-turkey-/1611775

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Turkey to respond tit-for-tat to possible US sanctions

Faruk Zorlu

12.10.2019

Turkey will respond to any U.S. sanctions within the framework of full reciprocity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"No one should doubt that Turkey will respond tit-for-tat to possible U.S. sanctions," said spokesman Hami Aksoy, responding to a statement by the U.S. Treasury Department on possible sanctions against Turkey in relation to its anti-terror operation in northern Syria.

When Operation Peace Spring began, the U.S. government was informed at all levels, Aksoy said, adding Turkey is fighting against terrorist organizations posing a threat to its national security and will press ahead with this fight.

The ministry also shared the target and scope of the operation with the public in full clarity during a press release Friday, he said.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that President Donald Trump had granted new authority to impose crippling sanctions on Turkey’s economy and its leaders for Ankara's ongoing Operation Peace Spring.

Mnuchin said Trump has authorized an executive order that will allow the Treasury in consultation with the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "very significant new sanctions authority that can be targeted at any person associated with the government of Turkey, any portion of the government."

"The president is concerned about the ongoing military offensive and potential targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure, ethnic or religious minorities, and also the president wants to make very clear it is imperative that Turkey not allow even a single ISIS fighter to escape,” Mnuchin said, using another name for Daesh.

Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorists there and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear the region east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/turkey-to-respond-tit-for-tat-to-possible-us-sanctions/1611014

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Europe

 

UK’s Johnson urges Erdogan to end conflict and enter dialogue

13 October 2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday that Britain had “grave concerns” about Turkey’s military action in northern Syria and urged the president to end the conflict and enter into dialogue.

“He expressed the UK’s grave concern about Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria which he said could further worsen the humanitarian situation there and undermine the progress made against Daesh,” a spokesman said after the telephone call between the two leaders on Saturday evening, referring to ISIS.

“The Prime Minister was clear that the UK cannot support Turkey’s military action. He urged the President to end the operation and enter into dialogue, and said the UK and international partners stand ready to support negotiations towards a ceasefire.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/10/13/UK-s-Johnson-urges-Erdogan-to-end-conflict-and-enter-dialogue.html

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Putin says neighbors should respect Iran’s interests as an established power

Oct 12, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Arab countries and others in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf to begin to recognize Iran’s rights as a traditional regional power.

In an interview with three major Arabic-language TV channels published on Saturday, Putin urged Iran’s neighbors to respect the country’s interests in the region.

He called Iran a country that has “existed on its territory for thousands of years,” according to an English translation of remarks published on the website of Russia’s RT news channel.

He reiterated that Russia wants to maintain close cooperation with both Tehran and other countries in the region despite the tensions that have grown over the past years.

In his interview, Putin also made an indirect reference to a Friday attack on an Iranian oil tanker sailing near Saudi Arabia’s western coast in the Red Sea.

He said all attacks on oil tankers in the regional waters should be condemned as they pose a major threat to the global security of energy.

Syria must be freed

Elsewhere in his remarks, Putin touched upon an ongoing military operation by Turkey into Syria’s Kurdish-dominated regions, saying Syria should be ultimately freed from the presence of all foreign military forces.

“Everyone who is illegitimately on the territory of any state, in this case Syria, must leave this territory. This applies to all states,” said Putin, whose country has been engaged in an anti-terror operation in Syria since late 2015, when the Syrian government demanded Moscow’s intervention.

Putin said Russian forces would leave Syria as soon as the Syrian government tells them to do so.

“Syria must be free from other states’ military presence. And the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be completely restored,” he said.

The remarks came days after the United States withdrew bulk of its forces from northeastern Syria after several years of illegal presence in the Arab country.

Washington’s pullout, however, allowed Turkey to launch its offensive into positions in Syria where it believes Kurdish militants linked to terrorist in Turkey have been hiding.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608536/Russia-Putin-Iran-neighbors-tensions

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PKK supporters attack Turkish group in Germany

Cuneyt Karadag 

13.10.2019

BERLIN

Supporters of the PKK/YPG terror group Saturday attacked a Turkish association and market in Germany.

In the town of Villingen-Schwenningen, southwestern Germany, the terror supporters attacked two Turkish citizen when they reacted against PKK supporters’ march against Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria.

“We have not been daunted by these attacks and we will not,” Ziya Karakuscu, the president of Villingen Turkish Workers Association, told Anadolu Agency.

Separately, a Turkish market in the city of Nuremberg was attacked by PKK/YPG supporters.

Turkey’s Consul General in Nuremberg Serdar Deniz visited the market and offered his sympathies.

Deniz also contacted with German police and demanded an explanation.

Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring to purge terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/pkk-supporters-attack-turkish-group-in-germany/1611742

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Turks on Greece's Dodecanese islands struggle to exist

Fatih Hafız Mehmet  

12.10.2019

IZMIR, Turkey

Only a small number of Turks remain on Greece’s Dodecanese islands and they are struggling to survive, an expert said Friday.

The islands are home to a Turkish-Muslim minority of around 6,000 people.

Speaking at a symposium on their problems, journalist Bahadir Selim Dilek said the Dodecanese islands have an “enormous” and “very valuable” historical heritage left by the Ottomans.

Dilek said the Muslim pious endowments, or vakifs, on the islands serve as a “glue” to keep the Turkish community together and protect their existence, culture and beliefs.

“However, the vakifs were plundered, destroyed and melted like a candle,” he said.

Dilek said Greece is “very consciously” destroying the vakifs, giving the administration of vakifs to people close to the Greek government who sell the vakif properties.

He said some of the Ottoman architectural heritage on the islands was restored by the Greek state, but the restoration changed the “original identity” of these buildings, which was done by Greece consciously.

There were around 400 vakif properties on the Dodecanese islands and now there are only 40, as 90% of the vakifs were either sold or disappeared.

“After one or two generations, we will face the risk of not being able to talk about a Turkish existence,” Dilek stressed.

Also speaking, Professor Nazif Mandaci from Yasar University’s Department of International Relations said the vakifs are symbols that help people remember who they are.

“The vakifs, actually, are part of their identity,” Mandaci said.

He added that awareness of the importance of vakifs is declining among the islands’ younger generations of Turks.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turks-on-greeces-dodecanese-islands-struggle-to-exist/1611030

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Putin: I have very good relations with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince

12 October 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he has “very good relations” with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and that Moscow condemns the recent attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities, regardless of who perpetrated them.

“I have very good relations with both the King and the Crown Prince,” Putin told Al Arabiya in a translated interview which will be broadcast tomorrow, Sunday, October 13, at 09:00 GMT.

“We have been making good headway practically in all fields,” he added, referring to progress in Saudi-Russian ties and joint projects.

When asked if he condemned the September 14 attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities in the Kingdom regardless of who perpetrated them, Putin said: “Regardless of who stood behind the incident, we condemn any actions.”

Putin was also asked how Russia could not be aware of who was behind the Saudi Aramco attacks, considering its high level of intelligence capabilities.

Putin’s interview came ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia on Monday.

He will be meeting Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kremlin’s top foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov told journalists on Thursday.

Russia and Saudi Arabia will sign more than $2 billion of deals and discuss the OPEC+ oil output agreement, according to a senior official. The two countries are both major oil producers, and Moscow recently stated that it remained committed to working with Saudi Arabia to support oil prices by curbing output.

The talks come during a period of heightened regional tensions, after Iran has been widely blamed for carrying out the attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities, which temporarily knocked out about five percent of the world’s oil supply, and continuing to support proxy and terrorist organizations across the region.

The planned visit to the Kingdom is Putin’s first since 2007. King Salman visited Russia in 2017, the first time a reigning Saudi Arabian monarch had visited Russia in an official capacity.

“I am convinced that the Russia-Saudi summit will give further strong impetus to our multifaceted partnership, contribute to its qualitative growth and strengthen mutual understanding between the two peoples,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said to Russia’s RIA news agency on the eve of the visit.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/media/television-and-radio/2019/10/12/Putin-I-have-very-good-relations-with-Saudi-Arabia-s-King-Salman-Crown-Prince-.html

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Arab World

 

Arab League urges Turkey to immediately withdraw troops from Syria

Oct 12, 2019

The secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, has called on Turkey to immediately put an end to its military operation in northeastern Syria and pull of its troops out of the war-torn Arab country.

“We condemn this aggression. We call upon Turkey to immediately and completely stop all military action and withdraw troops, which have entered the Syrian territory,” Aboul Gheit said during the opening address to an emergency meeting of the 22-member regional organization in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo on Saturday.

He then warned that Ankara would bear full responsibility for the “possible humanitarian consequences of the aggression.”

The Arab League chief also expressed serious concerns over “real genocide of Kurds” in northern Syria, stating that approximately 300,000 people run the risk of displacement within the next few days because of Turkey's military action.

Lebanon FM wants Syria back in Arab League

Meanwhile, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has called on the Arab League to restore Syria’s membership amid Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria.

Speaking at the Arab League meeting, the top Lebanese diplomat said readmitting Syria into the pan-Arab organization should be “the first response from the League to the Turkish aggression.”

“We can no longer allow any Israeli or Turkish aggression or (aggression) from any party against an Arab state or an Arab people,” Bassil commented.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011, citing alleged crackdown by Damascus on opposition protests. Syria denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said on February 3 that his country will eventually return to the Arab League, stressing that the Damascus government will never surrender to blackmail or accept conditions for the restoration of its membership to the organization.

“Those who are trying to ignore Syria or to impose conditions for its return to the Arab League will not succeed, since Syria will not surrender to blackmail and is not primarily concerned with anything other than its domestic problems,” Mekdad said.

He added that certain anti-Syria decisions are being made by some Arab states on the orders of extra-regional powers.

Some Arab countries have moved to normalize ties with Syria. The United Arab Emirates announced the re-opening its embassy in Damascus in December 2018, and Bahrain said shortly after that its embassy there and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama had been operating “without interruption.”

Syrian Kurds deny Turkey has taken Ra's al-Ayn border town

Separately, Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria have denied the assertion by Turkey’s Defense Ministry that Turkish troops and allied militants from the so-called Free Syrian Army had wrested control over the battleground border town of Ra's al-Ayn in Syria’s northeastern province of al-Hasakah.

“Ras al-Ayn is still resisting and clashes are ongoing,” an unnamed official of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, which is an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants, said on Saturday.

“Ra's al-Ayn is still resisting and clashes are ongoing,” an unnamed official of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, which is an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants, said on Saturday.

An AFP correspondent in the area said Turkish troops and their allies had entered the town, but had yet to capture it.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that Ra's al-Ayn had yet to be overrun.

Earlier in the day, a senior Turkish security official said that Turkish-backed FSA militants had seized control of R’as al-Ayn's center in northeast Syria on Saturday as Turkey's offensive against a Kurdish militia in the region entered its fourth day.

The official said FSA militants “took control of the town center this morning. Inspections are being conducted in residential areas.”

Turkey neutralizes 415 terrorists in northern Syria

Furthermore, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Saturday that the number of Kurdish militants from the so-called People's Protection Units (YPG) neutralized in Turkey's operation in northern Syria has risen to 415.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

On Wednesday, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed FSA militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeast Syria in a declared attempt to push YPG militants away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the SDF.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608509/Arab-League-urges-Turkey-to-immediately-withdraw-troops-from-Syria

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Saudi Arabia affirms support to promote respect for international humanitarian law

October 12, 2019

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia stressed its support for the rule of law, which promotes respect for international humanitarian law in order to achieve what is best for humanity, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During a meeting of the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, the Kingdom highlighted that “achieving the rule of law comes through effective multilateral engagement.”

Addressing the committee, Nida Abu Ali, first secretary and member of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN, said: “The principles and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations, signed by the Kingdom in 1945, are based on achieving peace and security, both of which are important pillars to ensure the protection of human rights for the rule of law, justice and equality in a changing world full of challenges in the light of constant changes.

“The UN Charter also comes from the shared responsibility of states to face internal and international challenges.”

Abu Ali said that, since its inception, the Kingdom has adopted a clear foreign policy characterized by moderation, diplomacy and transparency in political moves. She explained that in its foreign policy, the Kingdom commits to international conventions and treaties, international law, and continuous and constructive interaction with the international community via international or regional organizations.

She said that the Kingdom’s continued active engagement in that can be seen in its proactiveness in establishing regional organizations, such as the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), while adhering to the principle of state sovereignty and local laws.

“The Kingdom welcomes the efforts of this system for the rule of law and to achieve sustainable development under the principles of its international Charter,” Abu Ali continued, “The Kingdom also pledges to fulfill all its obligations to the UN and its specialized agencies through providing moral, political and financial support to their activities as it believes in their ability to achieve the desired goals.”

She said: “The Kingdom agrees with member states on the importance of concerted action by the international community, the need for international cooperation based on shared responsibility, and the necessity of demonstrating a stronger commitment to a global system operating in accordance with international law to meet the challenges that have arisen and negatively impacted national and international rule of law structures, such as climate change, the rise of hate speech, and incitement to violence, in particular.”

“We commend in this regard the role of the UN secretary-general in addressing this through preparing an integrated action plan to address hate speech, and we appreciate the efforts led by the high representative for the alliance of civilizations to help protect religious sanctities,” she added.

Abu Ali emphasized the need to beware of the repercussions of the current situation, which has led to a rise in Islamophobia, as well as the need to adopt legal strategies that discourage hate speech and racism against minorities as a result of their religious beliefs.

She added: “The Kingdom is keen to protect human rights with principles emanating from the values of the Islamic Shariah, ensuring the protection of everyone’s rights based on justice, consultation (shoura) and equality, in addition to establishing a strong law through the principle of governance, combating corruption, and establishing accountability for all persons, institutions and entities.”

“Through Vision 2030, which is based on a sustainable and peaceful approach, we look forward to establishing a vibrant and effective society capable of facing current threats at national and international levels.”

The first secretary and member of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN said: “We appreciate the efforts of the Legal Committee with regard to the rule of law, and we underscore the importance of everyone’s commitment to the rule of law and its application both nationally and internationally.”

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1568041/saudi-arabia

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Pro-Turkey rebels 'execute' 9 civilians in Syria

October 12, 2019

DUBAI: Pro-Ankara fighters taking part in a Turkish offensive on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria "executed" at least nine civilians on Saturday, a monitor said.

"The nine civilians were executed at different moments south of the town of Tal Abyad," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Kurds said a female Kurdish party official and her driver were among those killed.

Hevrin Khalaf was "taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions", the political arm of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement.

"This is a clear evidence that the Turkish state is continuing its criminal policy towards unarmed civilians," it added.

Turkey and its allied fighters began the offensive on Wednesday to push back the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the SDF, from its border.

The allied fighters are Syrian former rebels who once fought against President Bashar Al-Assad's regime.

As the conflict morphed since erupting in 2011, these factions now receive training and funding from Ankara.

Kurdish activists circulated two videos on social media of the killings.

The first, posted on the Twitter account of the Ahrar Al-Sharqiya rebel group, shows two people in civilian clothes kneeling on the ground as a fighter next to them announces they have been captured by the faction.

In the second, an unidentified fighter opens fire at a man on the ground wearing civilian attire.

The Observatory confirmed the authenticity of the videos but AFP could not independently verify them.

The deaths brought to at least 38 the number of civilians killed on the Syrian side since start of the assault, according to the Observatory.

It says 81 Kurdish fighters have been killed in the clashes.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1567871/middle-east

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Egyptian officials say nine killed in explosion in north Sinai

12 October 2019

Egyptian security and medical officials say an explosion in a town in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula has killed at least nine people of the same family.

The officials said the explosion in Bir al-Abd on Saturday also wounded six.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the shelling and there were no additional details.

Separately, officials say seven security forces were wounded in two militant attacks in Bir al-Abd and the border town of Rafah.

The officials demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to brief reporters.

Egypt is battling an ISIS-led insurgency in the Sinai.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/12/Egyptian-officials-say-nine-killed-in-explosion-in-north-Sinai.html

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approves US military deployment: Statement

12 October 2019

Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have approved the deployment of additional US troops and equipment, after an attack last month on the Kingdom's oil facilities, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday.

Saudi Arabia said the additional reinforcements in US troops and equipment was part of joint efforts between Washington and Riyadh to maintain regional security, SPA reported citing a defense ministry source.

“An official source at the Ministry of Defense stated that, in accordance with the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Supreme Commander of all military forces and His Highness the Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, based on the historical relations and the established partnership between Saudi Arabia and the United States, it was decided to receive additional reinforcements of troops and equipment,” the statement read.

“This defense comes in the framework of joint work between the Kingdom and the United States to safeguard regional security and face any attempts to threaten stability in the region, and the global economy,” the statement added.

The United States announced the deployment of additional American military forces to Saudi Arabia on Friday to bolster the kingdom's defenses after the September 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/10/12/Saudi-Arabia-to-receive-additional-reinforcements-in-US-troops-equipment-Statement.html

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Arab foreign ministers condemn Turkish offensive in Syria

12 October 2019

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Saturday led Arab foreign ministers, during an emergency meeting, in condemning Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria as an “invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty.”

Aboul Gheit added, during the meeting in Cairo, that the Arab League is considering taking diplomatic, economic, investment and tourism measures against Turkey.

Following Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil's statement that it was time for Syria to rejoin the Arab League, Aboul Gheit said that Syria's return to the league is subject to required measures that the authorities in Damascus will have to take.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamad Ali al-Hakim said that Baghdad will soon submit a formal request for Syria's return to the Arab League.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Saturday that the Kingdom condemns the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria.

Saudi Arabia demands an immediate halt to the military operations, he added, saying that the Turkish attack is causing the Syrian people further suffering.

Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia calls for finding a political solution in Syria, and demands that all foreign forces withdraw from the country.

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also condemned on Saturday the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria, and called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to stop the Turkish attacks on Syria.

“We call for the exit of Turkey and its forces, as well as all foreign forces that have violated this Arab country - and to push for a successful political solution,” Gargash said.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said on Saturday that the country rejects any aggression by any party against Arab countries. Al Khalifa called on the countries’ to maintain and confront any threats to Arab national security.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who was also among the officials attending the meeting, said that Lebanon rejects the attacks on Syria.

The foreign minister added that it was in the Arab nations’ best interest to protect the region.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui on Saturday said that the Turkish offensive in Syria will make reaching a political solution in Syria more complicated. He called for an end to the offensive, adding that it could lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Arab League’s final communique

The Arab League’s communique called for the United Nations Security Council to take measures to force Turkey to halt its military offensive in Syria and “immediately” withdraw its forces from the Arab country.

The communique also urged the Security Council to suspend military and intelligence support that could help Turkey’s offensive, rejecting also Turkey’s attempts to impose “demographic changes” in Syria by a so-called “safe zone.”

It said Arab countries should consider taking “diplomatic, economic, investment, cultural measures ... to confront the Turkish aggression.”

Meanwhile, Qatar, which is considered a Turkish ally, did not block the communique, but voiced reservations.

“Qatar and Somalia have reservations about the Arab League’s decision today,” Arab League Assistant Secretary General Hossam Zaki told Reuters.

“The Qatari reservation puts Qatar in one trench with the aggressor, and I have no further comment,” Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Reuters TV.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt previously condemned the Turkish military operation on Wednesday.

The US and European countries have also condemned the Turkish move.

The Turkish offensive

Turkey launched its offensive into northeastern Syria on Tuesday. Ankara claims it wants to establish a “safe zone” in the border region.

The Turkish military and its Syrian opposition allies have attacked positions held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which was a key US ally in the fight against ISIS.

The SDF’s death toll rose on Saturday to 74, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Most of the fighters have been killed in the Tel Abyad area, on the Syrian-Turkish border.

More than 200,000 people have fled their homes due to the fighting, said the war monitor.

Fears have also been raised over the Turkish incursion leading to ISIS fighters escaping from prisons controlled by the SDF, which has been forced to concentrate its efforts on defending against Turkish forces.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/10/12/Al-Jubair-Saudi-Arabia-condemns-Turkish-offensive-in-Syria.html

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As new Syrian exodus unfolds, some fear they will never go home

13 October 2019

Kurdish doctor Farid Mustafa was one of the last to flee Ras al-Ain as Turkish bombs rained down on the Syrian border town.

He fears he may never return home.

He escaped on Thursday night with his wife and two small children as warplanes flew in the sky above a line of cars trying to get away from the border. A few people stayed behind to defend their homes.

“We were scared of the plane, not anything else,” he told Reuters. “Also my kids, I swear we’re not even worried about ourselves, but the kids. They were crying.”

Some 100,000 people have fled their homes since Turkey mounted its offensive in northeast Syria on Wednesday, moving away from the border and deeper into the region - which the Kurdish YPG militia and its allies control.

The exodus is the latest in Syria’s war that has already uprooted more than half of the population - some 11 million people - through years of multi-sided warfare which shattered the country.

Mustafa, with some 30 family members, is now staying at a relative’s house in the city of Hasaka, where many residents have opened up their homes.

He fears his Kurdish ethnicity would make him a target if his town of Ras al-Ain falls to Turkish forces and their Syrian allies, enemies of the YPG.

“I’m not worried about my house, let it be destroyed,” he said. “But what if my town is gone, what will I do?” he said.

Ankara brands the YPG a security threat because of links to the Kurdish PKK which has waged a long insurgency inside Turkey.

Turkey’s offensive, its third into northern Syria, kicked off after a withdrawal from part of the border of US forces, whose presence had until then deterred such an attack.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the YPG spearheads, decried the US move as betrayal after they fought alongside each other to crush ISIS across much of Syria.

Still, US forces have not all gone. Dozens of Syrians fled towards one of the US bases outside the mainly Kurdish town of Kobani after it was shelled, some taking their cattle with them, a witness and a local official said.

Kobani was the birthplace of the US-YPG military alliance some five years ago, when Washington intervened with air strikes to help Kurdish fighters turn the tide against ISIS.

Kurdish leaders see their region as a relatively stable part of Syria that has enjoyed autonomy for years, shielded from Turkey and the Damascus government by the presence of US forces.

Having lost fighters in the war against ISIS and played a critical role in helping to defeat the extremists, long-persecuted Syrian Kurds had hoped to shore up their autonomy within a reformed Syrian state.

That now looks in jeopardy. The Turkish offensive deals yet another blow to an ethnic group left stateless when the Ottoman Empire collapsed a century ago and the Kurds were scattered between Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he wants to settle up to two million Syrian refugees, many of them Sunni Arabs, into the region targeted in the operation dubbed “Peace Spring.”

Sleeping in the streets

The road to Hasaka was choked by traffic earlier this week as people fled Ras al-Ain.

The city is now crammed with people, and authorities do not have enough water tankers, food, or shelter for the influx, said Khaled Ibrahim, a Kurdish official who oversees aid efforts in the northeast.

“I saw people who could not make it to Hasaka, sleeping in the streets, on the pavement, in the public gardens,” Ibrahim said.

The ethnically mixed northeast region is home to some 1.5-2 million people, many of them uprooted from other parts of Syria.

Semira Haj Ali, the head of the education board in the region, said teaching had stopped so that schools could provide shelter.

“We opened schools in Hasaka, and even wedding halls, anywhere there’s room, to shelter the displaced families. We are expecting more to come,” she said.

Most of the people fleeing so far have come from the border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain, the current focal point of the Turkish assault.

But people have been on the move elsewhere too.

Hemrin Mahmoud and her sister, both pregnant, fled their homes right on the border in Qamishli to safer parts of the city, along with their six children.

“Naturally, our husbands stayed in their homes to take up arms. What else are we going to do?”

“There was the sound of bullets, my children were afraid, crying, I got them out of the house,” said Mahmoud, 35.

They are sheltering at the home of another sister.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/10/13/As-new-Syrian-exodus-unfolds-some-fear-they-will-never-go-home.html

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Syrian army set to take control of Manbij from SDF under Russia-US deal: Sputnik

Oct 13, 2019

The Syrian military is reportedly poised to take over Manbij from Kurdish militants in an attempt to prevent the northern city's fall to the Turkish army.

A source told Russia's Sputnik news agency on Saturday that Syrian government forces will enter Manbij in Aleppo Province under an agreement reached between Russia and Syria on the one side and Russia, the US and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the other.

The deal includes the deployment of Syrian army units with heavy and medium weapons in Manbij, where they would raise the national flag over government buildings as well as entrances to the city, he added.

The Syrian army build-up in Manbij is meant to prevent the invasion of the city by Turkish forces and their allied militants, who have been attacking Syria's northeast over the past few days.

Earlier on Saturday, the US reportedly withdrew its last military equipment from Manbij.

Manbij was liberated from the Daesh terrorist group in 2016. Since then, it has been controlled by the US-sponsored SDF, led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey launched its military campaign, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, in northeast Syria on Wednesday, just days after the US out pulled its forces and abandoned its Kurdish allies there.

Ankara says the operation is meant to purge the Syrian region of YPG militants, which Turkey views as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The offensive is Turkey's third such military operation inside Syria against the Kurds since 2016. It has sparked widespread condemnations as well as concerns about the humanitarian situation of the civilian population and a possible resurgence of the Daesh terrorist group.

On Saturday, the SDF said the Turkish invasion has revived Daesh and called on the US and its allies to close off the airspace to Turkish warplanes.

"The Turkish invasion is no longer threatening the revival of Daesh, rather it has revived it and activated its cells in Qamishli and Hasaka and all the other areas," senior SDF official Redur Xelil said in a televised statement, citing car bomb attacks in each of the two cities.

The SDF also urged US allies to assume their "moral obligations" to protect the Kurdish militants from the cross-border Turkish offensive, now in its fifth day.

"Our allies had guaranteed us protection ... but suddenly and without warning they abandoned us in an unjust decisions to withdraw their troops from the Turkish border," it said in a statement.

"We call on our allies to fulfill their duties and assume their moral obligations," to protect us by "closing the airspace to Turkish warplanes."

On Saturday, Turkish forces took the city of Ras al-Ayn, in Syria's Hasakah Province, as part of the military campaign.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/13/608548/Syria-Manbij-Kurd-Turkey

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Over 60 children born to Daesh terrorists repatriated to Uzbekistan from Iraq

Oct 12, 2019

Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry says more than 60 children have arrived in the Central Asian country from Iraq, where their parents are being held over membership in the terrorist group of Daesh and other militant outfits.

The ministry announced in a statement released on Friday that 64 children were brought home by plane on Thursday night thanks to a joint effort involving the authorities of both countries and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

It added that the children – fourteen of them under the age of three – had suffered “moral, psychological and physical problems” after their parents chose “a wrong path” by joining militant groups in Iraq.

The children will be housed in special accommodations where they will receive “medical, psychological and social assistance by specialists,” the ministry said, adding that the parents had given permission for the repatriation.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said in September it planned to bring 235 citizens, including 65 children, to the country from Iraq after it repatriated 156 citizens from there in May.

Back on May 29, Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria handed over 148 Uzbek women and children linked to Daesh to diplomats from the Central Asian country for repatriation.

Uzbekistan has provided some 1,500 soldiers to Daesh in Iraq and Syria, according to the Soufan Group, a New York intelligence consultancy.

Daesh has claimed that Uzbeks were responsible for some of its most high-profile bombings in Iraq.

Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the country on December 9, 2017.

On July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.

In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608517/Over-60-kids-born-to-Daesh-terrorists-repatriated-from-Iraq-to-Uzbekistan

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Egypt court hands out 6 death sentences on terror charges

October 12, 2019

CAIRO: An Egyptian court has sentenced six people to death on terror-related charges for carrying out a militant attack outside a hotel near the famed Giza Pyramids.

The Giza criminal court on Saturday also sentenced eight defendants to life in prison on similar charges that include attacking security forces, and possession of weapons and explosives.

Another 12 defendants received 10 years in prison. The verdict can be appealed. The charges stem from an attack in Jan. 2016 on an Egyptian security post outside the Three Pyramids Hotel.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1567921/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan's PM leaves for Iran, Saudi Arabia to ease tensions

Oct 13, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's prime minister is headed to the Iranian capital as part of his country's ongoing efforts to ease tensions between archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

A foreign ministry statement says Imran Khan's trip Sunday to Tehran will focus on ``peace and security in the region.''

Khan will meet Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. This is Khan's second visit to Tehran this year. He also had a bilateral meeting with Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN summit in New York last month.

Khan will later travel to Riyadh after his talks with Iranian leaders.

Pakistan is closely allied with Saudi Arabia but has tried to maintain a diplomatic balancing act between Riyadh and Tehran.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistans-pm-leaves-for-iran-saudi-arabia-to-ease-tensions/articleshow/71563054.cms

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Pakistan's Khan uses special ordinance to push China's Belt and Road

ADNAN AAMIR

OCTOBER 13, 2019

QUETTA, Pakistan -- Pakistan's government, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, has bypassed the legislature and used presidential ordinances to establish a powerful new authority to accelerate the major Belt and Road project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The government has also provided a 23-year tax exemption to the Chinese company operating Gwadar port, one of the key facilities in the project.

These decisions by the government are likely to make CPEC more controversial because Pakistan's opposition parties have rejected them.

The CPEC Authority would be empowered to make decisions about CPEC projects all over the country, overriding the authority of the provincial governments. In the past Chinese officials have repeatedly complained about bureaucratic red tape in Pakistan stalling progress of CPEC projects. The creation of the CPEC authority will act as a one-window operation to avoid red tape.

The 23-year tax holiday for Chinese Overseas Port Holding Company and other Chinese companies is meant to provide an incentive to continue working in Gwadar. In the agreement, COPHC will get 91% and the government of Pakistan will get 9% of profits from the operations of Gwadar port. The decision to grant a 23-year tax holiday means the federal government of Pakistan has given up tax revenue from operations at Gwadar port.

Pakistan's leading opposition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People's Party, rejected outright the government's decision, calling the moves illegal, and in violation of parliament.

Ahsan Iqbal, a former federal minister, told the media that the CPEC authority was set up using backdoor legislation and that is why his party would not accept it. He alleged that side-stepping parliament and implementing its authority through an ordinance was an intentional effort to make CPEC controversial.

Iqbal was the man behind CPEC in the last government and the biggest defender of the project. He was called a "Hero of CPEC" by a Chinese ambassador. But now, after the formation of the CPEC authority through a presidential ordinance, he has become a critic of the government's approach to CPEC. This hints that the government's two CPEC related moves have backfired.

Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi is a member of the Senate special committee on CPEC. He told the Nikkei Asian Review that forming the CPEC authority was discussed in a Senate special committee on CPEC and the members opposed the idea. Later the government formed the authority using an ordinance bypassing the Senate.

Senator Kabir, from Balochistan, alleged that the formation of the CPEC authority is an attempt by Islamabad to snatch power and control over resources from the provinces. "CPEC was already controversial and this move has made it more controversial," he said.

Malik Siraj Akbar, a Balochistan analyst based in Washington, D.C., believes the moves are an attempt by the government to discredit the former ruling party PML-N, which signed the CPEC agreement with China. "The PTI government's move to act unilaterally without taking other stakeholders onboard would exactly [discredit PML-N government]," he told Nikkei.

The sudden decision to issue two presidential ordinances was announced on the eve of Prime Minister Khan's visit to Beijing. The analysts see these moves as desperate attempts by the government of Pakistan to compensate for slowing down CPEC projects during the last year.

Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director of Asia Programs at the Wilson Center, believes that at the moment CPEC has lost some momentum, owing to mounting concerns in Pakistan about the debt risks of the project. "Islamabad has a very strong incentive to signal Beijing that it's still committed to CPEC and what better can be to announce two new measures on CPEC that benefit CPEC in a very big way," he told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Akbar believes the initial idea was that the bulk of challenges to CPEC would come on the security front, but now it seems that a lack of experience, ineffective project management and an inefficient approach within the PTI government is slowing down the work on CPEC.

He believes the creation of the CPEC authority is meant to compensate for the PTI government's ineffective approach toward CPEC so far. "These decisions will serve the purposes of the Chinese as well, because they find the democratic process too slow and frustrating in the way of getting things done in Pakistan," he said.

In the past, CPEC has been subject to criticism largely due to a lack of transparency surrounding the content of its agreements. The complete text of the CPEC agreements has still not been made public despite demands by the media, citizens and politicians.

Full report at:

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Belt-and-Road/Pakistan-s-Khan-uses-special-ordinance-to-push-China-s-Belt-and-Road

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Pak Media Criticises PM Imran Khan for Praising Chinese President Xi's Model of Anti-corruption Crusade

October 11, 2019

Islamabad: Prominent Pakistani newspapers have criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for his controversial statement that he wished he could send 500 corrupt individuals to jail by emulating Chinese President Xi Jinping's "crusade" against corruption, saying it revealed a "disturbing mentality".

Khan, who was in Beijing this week for talks with the Chinese leadership, including Xi, identified corruption as one of the biggest impediments to investment in Pakistan and said one thing he had learned from China was how the country's leadership tackled corruption.

"I wish I could follow President Xi's example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail," said Khan on Wednesday while addressing Chinese businessmen.

"One of President Xi Jinping's biggest crusade has been against corruption," Khan said.

Imran was referring to Xi's massive anti-corruption drive launched in 2012 that reportedly netted more than 1.3 million officials at various levels, from the elite to the ordinary.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the ruling Communist Party and commander-in-chief of the military, has launched a high-profile campaign targeting party, government, military and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption.

But the Pakistani media cautioned Khan against aping the Chinese model anti-corruption drive.

"Of course, China has long been admired by Pakistani leaders for its transformation from a backward, isolated state into a modern economic powerhouse.

"But though there are many things we in Pakistan can learn from China's impressive rise since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, there are also lessons on what to avoid, especially if the ruling establishment wants to stick to the confines of the democratic system," Dawn newspaper said in an editorial.

Khan's statement seems to be a milder version of what his Cabinet colleague Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda said not too long ago, that 5,000 people should be hanged to secure the future of 220 million people of the country, it noted.

"While corruption is indeed a bane that has been eating away at Pakistan's vitals for decades, the aforementioned comments reveal a disturbing mentality," the editorial commented.

Instead of filling the jails with the corrupt, or worse, hanging people in the streets, the leadership of the country should be talking about creating a viable system that punishes unscrupulous individuals in a transparent manner, and eliminates the scourge at the grass roots, it said.

"There are many things in the Chinese model that are worthy of emulation. But frequent executions and purges the horrors of the Cultural Revolution should not be forgotten should not be among them," it said.

At the same time, the Dawn editorial noted that there can be little argument with the fact that over the past seven decades, China has made huge strides in many fields, including lifting over 850 million people out of poverty.

"While the more violent episodes of modern Chinese history should not be replicated, the relationship between Islamabad and Beijing can mature and improve in a variety of sectors," the editorial added.

The Express Tribune, in its editorial, noted that despite the potential economic positives of Khan's visit to Beijing, there were a few stumbles for the premier, most notably his remark on wanting to jail 500 people for corruption, where he also stated his disappointment with the Pakistani justice system.

"It does not good look for a prime minister to publicly criticise his own political and legal system on foreign soil," the paper commented, referring to Khan's statement that unfortunately processing [cases] in Pakistan was "very cumbersome".

Already several key Opposition leaders in Pakistan are in jail for alleged corruption and money laundering, charges they have dismissed as politically motivated.

Full report at:

https://www.news18.com/news/world/pak-media-criticises-pm-imran-khan-for-praising-chinese-president-xis-model-of-anti-corruption-crusade-2342403.html

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‘Protest to continue till ouster of PTI govt’

October 13, 2019

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) provincial spokesman Ikhtiar Wali on Saturday said that his party would participate in the Azadi March and continue protest till the removal of what he called 'selected' and inefficient government.

Speaking at a news conference, he termed October 12 as black day and recalled that a military dictator had attacked democracy, snatched people's rights and established his government with force on this day in 1999 and once again the selected rulers were sending elected leaders behind bars on the basis of fabricated cases.

Full report at:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/540521-protest-to-continue-till-ouster-of-pti-govt

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Fazl’s march meant for freedom of some families, says Firdous

Mansoor Malik

October 13, 2019

LAHORE: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan says JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is actually planning to organise a march for “freedom of some families” and not for the people of occupied Kashmir.

“Maulana Fazl is lending his shoulder to those languishing in jails or under NAB [National Accountability Bureau] custody,” Dr Awan said at a meeting with a group of senior journalists at the Governor House on Saturday.

Although Prime Minister Imran Khan instructed his political aides to keep a channel of dialogue with the JUI-F chief open, she said the government would not enter into any negotiations for “anyone’s vested interest or getting relief in court and NAB cases”.

“The government will discourage such a dialogue,” she said and added that the cases in courts and NAB would take their course.

Stating that the government would not stop him from exercising his democratic right of holding a march, staging a sit-in or criticising the sitting government, Dr Awan asked Maulana Fazl to “at least make the agenda for his protest plan transparent”.

“The government will take 10 steps forward if the opposition will look for a dialogue on issues pertaining to national interest or welfare of the people,” she said.

Referring to criticism in media of the PTI government for opposing the planned sit-in, Dr Awan said Mr Khan had staged a sit-in when the then government did not listen to his legitimate demands of opening four constituencies to verify whether rigging had been committed in the elections or not. She said Mr Khan had exhausted all options including courts before going for the protest.

When asked whether or not the government planned to stop the JUI-F’s “Azadi March” by force, she said the provincial governments had the legal and constitutional mandate to ensure law and order and protect public life and property.

Explaining the PTI-led government’s measures aimed to revive the economy, ranging from seeking help from friendly countries to going to the IMF and reviving business relations with China, Dr Awan said the government had established the long-awaited CPEC Authority to show that Pakistan was serious in implementing the projects.

“This is not only in the interest of China but also Pakistan,” she added.

The prime minister’s special assistant said that during its first year the PTI government faced severe criticism for not going to the IMF, preferring instead to go to some friendly countries to enhance foreign exchange reserves. “In the initial days of the government, it was not able to negotiate with the IMF as every economic indicator in the country was negative,” she said.

Dr Awan said the government let the rupee stabilise itself instead of throwing foreign reserves at it to maintain its “artificial position”.

She said the prime minister himself was holding meetings with his economic team on a weekly basis and bridging the inter-ministerial gaps to get things going. “The PTI government had to go for surgery to ensure economic stability and it remains painful for many,” she said.

Admitting that joblessness was still a big challenge, she claimed the government had revived the textile industry and 103 companies had recently shown profits.

In response to a question about the media industry crisis that had led to the layoff of 9,000 journalists and media workers, massive cuts in salaries and delayed payment of salaries, Dr Awan said some elements had urged the prime minister not to pay advertisement bills of the previous government.

Still, Mr Khan gave orders that the pending bills be paid and they were paid in three phases. She admitted that the bills had yet to be paid completely.

She said the payment of pending and fresh advertisement bills would be linked to timely payment of salaries.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1510553/fazls-march-meant-for-freedom-of-some-families-says-firdous

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Africa

 

Polls open in decisive Tunisian presidential election round

13 October 2019

Polls opened in Tunisia on Sunday for the decisive second-round of the presidential election between media mogul Nabil Karoui and independent retired law professor Kais Saied.

The two beat 24 other candidates including some of Tunisia’s most powerful politicians in the first round poll on September 15 to advance to the run-off, with Saied taking 18.4 percent of votes and Karoui 15.6 percent.

Polling stations opened at 8:00 am (0700 GMT) for the second round of a vote that saw the two political newcomers sweep aside the country’s post-Arab Spring establishment last month.

The election comes just four days after media mogul candidate Nabil Karoui was released from jail. He’s facing money laundering and tax evasion charges that he calls politically driven.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/10/13/Polls-open-in-decisive-Tunisian-presidential-election-round.html

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At least 10 Kenyan police killed by bomb near Somali border

13 October 2019

At least ten Kenyan police were killed when their vehicle struck a homemade bomb near the border with Somalia on Saturday, according to a police report seen by Reuters.

Police believe the device, for which no one immediately claimed responsibility, was planted by Islamist group al-Shabaab, the report said.

Police said in a separate statement that several officers had died, without specifying how many.

A similar explosion in June killed around a dozen police.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/10/13/At-least-10-Kenyan-police-killed-by-bomb-near-Somali-border-.html

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16 killed in Burkina Faso mosque attack: Security sources

12 October 2019

Sixteen people died and two were seriously injured in an attack on a mosque in Burkina Faso’s volatile north, security sources said Saturday.

Armed men attacked the Grand Mosque in Salmossi on Friday evening, a source told AFP, adding that 13 died on the spot and three succumbed to their injuries later.

Two of the wounded are in critical condition, the source added.

A resident from the nearby town of Gorom-Gorom confirmed the attack, saying Salmossi residents had fled their homes afterwards.

Until 2015, landlocked Burkina Faso was largely spared violence that hit Mali and then Niger, its neighbors to the north.

But extremists - some linked to al-Qaeda, others to the so-called ISIS - started infiltrating the north, then the east, and then endangered its southern and western borders.

Combining guerrilla hit-and-run tactics with road mines and suicide bombings, the insurgents have killed nearly 600 people, according to a toll compiled by AFP.

Civil society groups put the tally at more than 1,000.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/10/12/16-killed-in-Burkina-Faso-mosque-attack-Security-sources-.html

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Takfiri terrorists kill 7 people in Nigeria’s northeast

Oct 12, 2019

Seven people have been killed in attacks by Takfiri terrorists in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno.

Late on Friday, terrorists raided a military post in the town of Gajiganna, triggering a fierce gunfight, local residents and pro-government militias said on Saturday.

“The gunmen killed two soldiers and a civilian during the fight and took away one military vehicle,” said Babakura Kolo, a member of a militia fighting terrorists in Borno.

The gunmen are suspected of belonging to the West Africa Province (ISWAP) terror group.

ISWAP, which calls itself a branch of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, made an alliance with Boko Haram terrorists in 2015 before separating in 2016.

Earlier on Friday, terrorists attacked troops in the nearby town of Tungushe, killing a soldier and three civilians, Kolo added.

Gajiganna and Tungushe have been repeatedly attacked by ISWAP terrorists.

On Thursday, two Chadian troops were killed in clashes between terrorists and members of a regional force in northeastern Nigeria.

Earlier this month, suspected ISWAP terrorists killed 11 government troopers after they ambushed a military convoy near Mauro village in Benisheikh district in the volatile state.

Boko Haram terrorists also opened fire on a vehicle in Frigi village, killing one person. Two others were killed in Gubio, some 80 kilometers from Maiduguri, the provincial capital.

ISWAP has been involved in frequent attacks in the African country in recent months in the wake of Daesh losing all its urban strongholds in Iraq and Syria following crushing defeats it received from government troops and their allied fighters in both Arab countries.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/10/12/608510/Nigeria-ISWAP-terrorists-Gajiganna-Borno-Boko-Haram-Daesh

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Turkish construction fair successful in Ethiopia

Addis Getachew, Ibrahim Tigli  

12.10.2019

Forty-five Turkish and 49 international companies have participated in the 10th edition of the Construction Exhibition in the Ethiopian capital.

The four-day exhibition from Oct. 9-12 was organized by Ladin Fair and Congress Organization, a Turkish events’ organizer, in collaboration wih Ethel Advertising and Communication, an Ethiopian firm.

Mert Gui, general manager of Ladin Fair and Congress, described the exhibition in which a wide range of construction machinery and materials were displayed as "very well organized and successful".

“Our visitors’ number was really good with the list hitting approximately 5,000 in four days,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The next exhibition has already been booked at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa and it would be held in October next year

“Turkish ambassador and commercial attache are supporting us a lot, and Construction Minister Aysha Abdullahi and her team were great supporters of our endeavor,” he said.

There is a huge demand in Ethiopia for Turkish brands, he said. “Ethiopians know our quality. And we have an advantage because we supply the same quality as European brands but at a lesser price.”

Aysel Abali is marketing and business development manager with EKOS Group, a Turkish company that supplies sub-stations.

“We see a demand because of expanding energy sector in Ethiopia and we are here to stay in addition to our presence in Tunisia, Algeria and Senegal,” she said.

“We will have a business for a long term here,” she said, adding her company that comes to Ethiopia for the first time this year is exploring more opportunities to do business.

Akansu Group, Turkish suppliers of water and telecommunications pipes, is also one of the companies at the exhibition.

Foreign Trade Specialist Ahmet Azgun said: “This is the first time that we participated in this exhibition and we have already received requests from a lot of potential customers.”

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkish-construction-fair-successful-in-ethiopia/1611413

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South Asia

 

Want to get Bangladesh ready to face any calamity: PM

October 13, 2019

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said she wants to prepare Bangladesh in such a way so that it can face any sort of disaster whether it is a manmade or natural one.

"Whether a manmade or natural disaster strikes, Bangladesh will always remain prepared to tackle it. That's what we need," she said.

The Prime Minister was addressing an event at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

Disaster Management and Relief Ministry organised the programme with the theme 'Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services'.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh now enjoys the honour as a role model of tackling natural disaster alongside the tag for development.

"We want to build the country as a developed and prosperous one. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamt of building Golden Bengal. We've been working tirelessly to fulfill that dream," she said.

State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Disaster Management and Relief Ministry AB Tajul Islam and Senior Secretary Md Shah Kamal also spoke at the programme.

Shefali Rani Shil and Mohammad Shahidul Islam who got disaster resilient houses, constructed by the government, expressed their feelings at the programme.

The Prime Minister distributed Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) awards to three volunteers from Chattogram, Barishal and Khulna divisions. This year, 82 volunteers got the awards.

She also inaugurated 100 multipurpose cyclone shelters in 14 districts and 11,604 disaster resilient houses in 64 districts.

Later, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Exhibition on Disaster Risk Reduction.

https://www.thedailystar.net/politics/want-get-bangladesh-ready-face-any-calamity-1813099

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Attempts being made to commit systematic fraud in presidential elections: Saadati

12 Oct 2019

Asadullah Saadati, the running mate of Abdullah Abdullah has said that attempts are being to commit systematic fraud in presidential elections.

Speaking during a press a press conference earlier today, Saadati said they did not have good news from the Independent Election Commission as the process is being taken forward in a ‘devious’ manner.

Saadati further added that the Stability and Partnership team has been emphasizing that the non-biometric votes are not fundamental as per the procedures of the election commission.

However, he said the commission started scanning the ballots and entry of its results into the system under the pretext of protecting the documents.

Insisting that the approach is an attempt to commit a systematic fraud, Saadat said the Stability and Partnership team has a stance which is principled and legal and is in line with the national and international agreements as the election commission is not authorized to enter the invalid votes into the system.

In other parts of his speech, Saadati claimed that the Stability and Partnership team has plenty of documents which prove the level of systematic fraud.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/attempts-being-made-to-commit-systematic-fraud-in-presidential-elections-saadati-04211/

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34 Taliban militants killed, detained in Special Forces raids in Kabul and other provinces

12 Oct 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed 4 Taliban militants and detained 30 others during the operations in capital Kabul and 4 other provinces.

The military officials said Saturday the Special Forces killed 4 Taliban militants and destroyed a small cache of weapons in Ala Say district of Kapisa.

The officials further added that the Special Forces arrested 12 Taliban militants and destroyed a cache of weapons during an operation in Chahar Bolak district of Balkh province.

Furthermore, the Special Forces arrested 8 Taliban militants and destroyed a cache of weapons during a similar raid in Anar Darah district of Farah, the officials added.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/34-taliban-militants-killed-detained-in-special-forces-raids-in-kabul-and-other-provinces-04210/

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Separate gun attacks target Afghan government officials

October 13, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says Taliban insurgents have shot and killed a government official in the capital Kabul.

Mohibullah Sharifzai, the governor’s spokesman, says Sunday gunmen killed Raz Mohammad, Jaghatu district chief of eastern Maidan Wardak province.

He said Mohammad was targeted Saturday in Kabul.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile in northern Parwan province, police chief Mohfoz Walizada says a provincial appeal court’s prosecutor was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Charakar, the capital of the province.

He added that an investigation is ongoing into Saturday’s attack.

In northern Balkh province, a police spokesman, Adil Shah Adil, says a local pro-government cleric was also killed by unidentified gunmen.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1568201/world

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