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Islamic World News ( 28 Dec 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Al-Qaida Targets India Over Remark Made By Nupur Sharma Against Prophet Muhammad, Asks To Expel Hindus Working In Arab Countries

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 December 2022 

Al Qaeda urged Muslim countries to expel Hindus working there. (Image for Representation/ Reuters)

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• "Islamophobia Is Not An Opinion, But A Crime" European Court of Human Rights

• At Least 100 Protesters Face Execution Risk In Iran, Oslo-based Rights Group Warns

• Abuse Of Domestic Workers Continues In Saudi Arabia; Despite Recent Labour Reforms In The Kingdom: The Times Report

• Muslims Seek UN Intervention To Build Mosque In South Korea

 

India

• Press Council Of India Censures Star Of Mysore For Targeting Minority Community

• Jammu: Encounter breaks out between terrorists and security forces, three terrorists killed

• Major terror attack averted in J&K's Udhampur, 15-kg IED defused: Police

• India, Kazakhstan Start Joint Military Drill in Meghalaya: Report

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Europe

• Street Preachers Spark Outrage As 'Cousins Called Gay And Muslim Man Seeks Shelter'

• 12 new arrests over Leicester clashes after India-Pak match

• Türkiye rescues over 380 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushbacks

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Mideast

• Israeli soldiers fire teargas at Palestinian school children, several suffer suffocation

• New Phase Of Military Confrontation With Riyadh Will Be Totally Different: Ansarullah

• Islamic-Christian Authority Warns Of Escalation Of Enemy's Plans To Judaize Jerusalem

• Israel says Palestinian suspect held for twin bombings in Jerusalem

• Israeli president says ‘looking forward to’ receiving credentials of Turkish ambassador

• Israel much prepared to attack Iran's nuclear sites: Army chief

• Anger in West Bank over Israel’s ‘disrespect’ of dead prisoners

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Arab World

• Awqaf (Ministry of Islamic Affairs) Stresses On Importance Of Developing Skills Of Imams

• Saudi Arabia Approves Next Phase Of Project To Combat Human Trafficking

• Syrian Kurdish Forces ‘On Alert’ For Islamic State Attacks: Official

• Iran holds funerals for troops killed in 1980s Iraq war

• Fireworks, Light Shows And Views Of Burj Khalifa: Dubai’s Spectacular New Year Plan

• King Abdulaziz Festival boosts Saudi Arabia’s camel-related heritage, says UK envoy

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Southeast Asia

• 16 mosques participate in pilot investment programme

• UN urges countries to help Rohingya at sea as hundreds land in Indonesia

• ‘She thought she would die’: Rohingya refugees reach Indonesia after weeks at sea

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Pakistan

• Strict Security Measures Introduced Amid Terror Attack in Islamabad

• Audience interrupt Pakistan PM's speech, Shehbaz Sharif says 'food will be served soon'

• JUI-F struggles for interest free banking bear fruit

• Return to assembly to avoid ‘being victimised’, PTI told

• Trigger-happy policemen shoot ‘innocent’ youth to death in Karachi

• Siraj blames establishment, PDM-PPP-PTI troika for political, economic turmoil

• Maulana Tariq Jamil hospitalized after cardiac arrest in Canada

• ‘2023 Happy Chinese New Year Press Conference’ organized by Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan

• Sharif remembers Bhutto’s vibrancy on killing anniversary — ‘crusader for rights’

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South Asia

• Afghanistan Towards Becoming Leading Exporters of Dried Fruits Globally

• Afghanistan: IS claims to have killed Taliban police chief

• Pakistan faces disappointment on bilateral deals with the new regime in Afghanistan

• Afghan Refugee Boy Dies in U.S. After Falling Into the Frozen Water

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Africa

• Alaran Organises Special Muslim Prayer For Ariwoola, Raji, Alege, Others

• Over 50 people killed in new communal violence in South Sudan

• Nigerian cyclist’s two-year journey to Saudi Arabia for Umrah

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North America

• How The G77 Group Of Developing Nations Helped Advance The Cause Of Climate Justice Under Pakistan’s Presidency

• UN Security Council denounces Taliban bans on women in Afghanistan

• Syria: Expelling US occupation forces not out of reach

• US occupation convoy confronted by Syrian troops, forced back in oil-rich Hasakah

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/qaida-india-nupur-prophet-hindus-arab/d/128735

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Al-Qaida Targets India Over Remark Made By Nupur Sharma Against Prophet Muhammad, Asks To Expel Hindus Working In Arab Countries 

Al Qaeda urged Muslim countries to expel Hindus working there. (Image for Representation/ Reuters)

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Subodh Kumar

Dec 27, 2022

Terror outfit Al-Qaida has once again targeted India over remark made by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma against Prophet Muhammad. Al-Qaida called on Muslim countries to boycott India, Indian products, and to expel Hindus working in Arab countries.

The terror group Al-Qaida Media, As-Sahab, published fifth issue of a periodical magazine One Ummah. One of the articles in the magazine targeted India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and referred to the controversy over Nupur Sharma’s remark. Al-Qaida also called on Muslims and Islamic nations to unite against India.

"The Hindu government of India was encouraged by the silence in the Muslim world to cross the limits this time and go on to insult the Prophet," the Al-Qaida’s article reads.

Al-Qaida has also sought the help of Muslims in terrorist activities in Kashmir Valley.

“We invite our noble Ummah to unite against this Hindu government and help their brothers and sisters in India so that the enemies of Allah dare not repeat such an outrageous offense against our Prophet,” the article published by AlQaeda further reads.

“We also invite all Muslims, specifically businessmen, to boycott Indian products, fire Hindu employees and expel them from Muslim countries. It is a disgrace to let millions of supporters of Modi reside in Peninsula of the Prophet, the Al-Qaida’s magazine seen by India Today further reads.

The magazine also features images of 9/11 hijackers and calls them "heroes".

One Ummah magazine also highlights Al-Qaida presence in Somalia. The article on Somalia features Ahmed Abdi Godane aka Mukhtar Abu Zubair, former Emir of Al-Shabaab. Godane was killed in a US drone strike in September, 2014, in Somalia.

The magazine also announced forthcoming as-Sahab publication on slain AQIS leaders, narrated by Ayman al-Zawahiri. Notably, the magazine makes no indication whether Zawahiri is alive or dead.

Last week SITE intelligence group reported that Al-Qaida had released a 35-minute recording. The terror group claimed that the recording was narrated by its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is believed to have been killed in a US raid in August 2022.

The magazine also features the biography of the former Emir of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) Abdelmalek Droukdel aka Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud. Originally from Algeria, he was killed in northern Mali in a French special operation during the Battle of Talahandak in June 2020.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/al-qaida-targets-india-over-prophet-remark-calls-on-muslims-to-boycott-indian-products-2314274-2022-12-27

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"Islamophobia Is Not An Opinion, But A Crime" European Court of Human Rights 

Giulio Meotti/ Israel National News

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Dec 27, 2022

"Islamophobia is not an opinion, but a crime," exulted left-wing senator Danièle Obono at the news that the European Court of Human Rights - whose decisions are legally binding on the 28 member countries of the European Union - condemned right-wing journalist Eric Zemmour for "discrimination and religious hatred against the Muslim community".

"The Court considers that the interference in the applicant's exercise of his right to freedom of expression was necessary in a democratic society in order to protect the rights of others," the judges explained.

The independent journalist candidate for the French presidential election had made the remarks on television on September 16, 2016. Zemmour said Muslims should be given "the choice between Islam and France", assimilate or return to their own countries, that France she lived "for thirty years under an invasion", that "in countless suburbs where many girls are veiled there is a struggle to Islamize a territory" and "a jihad" was taking place.

Convicted for telling the truth?

The European Court, which is the judicial arm of the Council of Europe, ruled that "such remarks given the context of terrorist attacks include a discriminatory intention towards the Muslim community". In the same hour as the sentence was given down, in France, a thirteen-year-old student was arrested after having praised "killing all unbelievers".

Zemmour is France's most loved and hated polemicist. Islamic organizations and those of the anti-racist left have been dragging him to court for years, while Islamic fundamentalists are forcing him to go around with an impressive security escort. Now the European judges are also removing the word from the "most threatened man in France."

But I am confused. Is it the European Court of Rights or the Pakistani court that sentenced Asia Bibi to death for “blasphemy” or was it one of the hundred Sharia Courts that legally exist in England?

But no scandal: the sentence of the European Court of Rights against Zemmour is in line with the others of the Strasbourg Solons on Islam.

This is now open submission to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the large bloc of 57 Muslim countries that has long been calling for the EU to punish "freedom of expression' (read: criticism of Islam). And the Organization for Islamic Cooperation is in fact rejoicing over the sentences of the European Court.

I don't believe in coincidences: Strasbourg is the city where Erdogan incites the Turkish community.

In September, the European Court condemned France for repatriating the families of ISIS terrorists. The European Court has condemned the Italian government by ordering it to pay thousands of euros to a group of immigrants pushed back to the Libyan coast. The court has again convicted the Italian government of pushing back migrants. The Court also condemned Spain for having decided to proceed with the expulsion of a group of migrants from the enclave of Melilla, a European territory. The Court has always condemned France for having violated the freedom of expression of pro-Palestinian militants who in supermarkets invited customers to boycott Israeli products.

Freedom, but not for you!

We come to the case of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, the Austrian activist who was found guilty of "denigrating Islam" after giving a series of lectures on the dangers of fundamentalist Islam. She had no right to freedom of expression, she ruled the European Court of Human Rights. Her statements represent "an attack on the Prophet of Islam which could arouse prejudice and threaten religious peace," the European court said. In a seminar, not inside a mosque, Sabaditsch-Wolff had called Muhammad a paedophile because of his marriage to 6-year-old Aisha. An Austrian court had convicted her of "denigrating" Islam.

The European Court ruled that European states must limit the right to freedom of expression enshrined in Article 10 of the Convention if what is expressed "risks disturbing religious peace" (a similar sentence has never been issued in defense of Judaism or Christianity). Instead, a sentence that the lawyer Thibault de Montbrial describes, in his book “Osons l'auteur”, as "the recognition on a European scale of the crime of criticizing Islam". "A shovel of dirt on the grave" of Charlie Hebdo journalists, according to public law professor Roseline Letteron.

A shovel of earth on our freedoms. Hamlet, there is something rotten in Brussels and Strasbourg. Dear Emir of Qatar, Europe is ready for you!

Giulio Meotti is an Italian journalist with Il Foglio and writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author, in English, of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books, in addition to books in Italian. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Gatestone, Frontpage and Commentary.

Source: Israel National News

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

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/365048

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At Least 100 Protesters Face Execution Risk In Iran, Oslo-based Rights Group Warns 

People protest against executions and detentions in Iran, in front of the Iranian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York City on December 17, 2022. (AFP)

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27 December ,2022

A human rights group monitoring violations in Iran published on Tuesday the names of 100 Iranians it said were at risk of being executed for participating in anti-regime protests.

Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) said the 100 people have either already been sentenced to death or risk being sentenced to death due to their charges.

The group said the 100 figure is “a minimum as most families are under pressure to stay quiet, the real number is believed to be much higher.”

IHR called on the international community to “increase the political cost” of executions for the Iranian regime.

The defendants “have been deprived of the right to access their own lawyer, due process and fair trials,” it said.

“In cases where they have had managed to make contact or details of their cases reported by cellmates and human rights defenders, all have been subjected to physical and mental torture to force false self-incriminating confessions.”

Iran has already executed two protesters. Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard, both 23, were hanged earlier this month.

On Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence of Mohammad Ghobadlou, a 22-year-old who was sentenced to death over the protests.

Activists have since warned that Ghobadlou’s life is in imminent danger.

Protests – described by the regime as “riots” – have swept across Iran since September 16 when 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.

Since Amini’s death, demonstrators have been calling for the downfall of the regime in a movement that has become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

At least 476 people, including 64 children and 34 women, have been killed by security forces in the protests, according to IHR.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/27/At-least-100-protesters-face-execution-risk-in-Iran-rights-group-warns

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Abuse Of Domestic Workers Continues In Saudi Arabia; Despite Recent Labour Reforms In The Kingdom: The Times Report 

The file photo shows a migrant worker in Saudi Arabia. (Photo by AP)

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27 December 2022

A new report has revealed that domestic workers in Saudi Arabia continue to suffer from abuse at the hands of their employers, despite recent labour reforms in the kingdom.

According to a report by The Times on Monday, migrant housekeepers are being subjected to physical, mental, and sexual abuse by their employers in the country.

The report went on to say that the major reforms announced by Saudi Arabia for its migrants workers in 2021 do not apply to all the workers, arguing that the "new freedoms" have only been given to "those working in private sectors," such as oil and gas.

Saudi Arabia has a terrible reputation when it comes to the rights of migrant workers, who are forced to work long hours and invariably subjected to abuse.

In October 2020, the Saudi authorities announced that they were working on the notorious Kafala or sponsorship system, described by critics as "modern day slavery."

Under the Kafala system, the legal status of migrant workers is controlled by their employers, leaving them prone to abuse and exploitation.

Saudi Arabia promised to roll out the Kafala reforms in March 2021. However, those reforms don’t apply to 3.7 million domestic workers as they are excluded from the kingdom's labor laws.

The latest report further noted that four million women and men who work as domestic helpers, farmers, and drivers "are still restricted,” adding that their employers have admitted that they had been denying laborers' passports, among other things.

It also said several human traffickers have admitted to employing “physical punishment” to punish their victims if they "talked back," and they demanded that the maids work nonstop for as little as $6 per day.

Despite being among the most wealthiest of countries, Saudi Arabia has a horrible human rights record. The kingdom has been accused of detaining thousands of African migrants and treating them in extremely inhumane and dreadful manner.

Western powers have a long history of ignoring heinous crimes and human rights violations in Saudi Arabia due to high dependence on oil and billions of dollars’ worth of arm sales to the kingdom.

The administration of US President Joe Biden recently granted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman legal immunity in Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder case, which angered many even within the ruling establishment in Washington.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/27/695252/Saudi-Arabia-migrant-workers-suffer-abuse-reforms-human-rights-violations-modern-slavery

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Muslims Seek UN Intervention To Build Mosque In South Korea 

(Jong-Hyun Kim - Anadolu Agency)

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27/12/2022

Miffed by inaction by local authorities to implement court orders, a human rights group in South Korea has appealed to the UN to help construct a mosque for the Muslim community.

The appeal comes after local residents in the south-eastern city of Daegu blocked the construction of the mosque near Kyungpook National University. The permission to build the two-story mosque was granted in 2020 and the site was earlier used as a prayer centre.

A local human rights group on Monday appealed to the UN special rapporteur on religious freedom to urge South Korea’s central and local governments to “intervene to stop the residents’ obstruction of the construction work and remove the pig heads immediately.”

The task force for peaceful resolution of the mosque issued the appeal as authorities did not pay any heed to the demand of the Muslim community to remove the pig heads from the alley which is used by those visiting the mosque construction site for routine prayers.

The petition to the UN official urges the South Korean government and local authorities to “publicly condemn all forms of discrimination based on a particular religion or race, conduct education on the duty of religious neutrality and anti-racism for all public officials of Daegu City, and remedy all damage.”

Those opposing the construction have “physically” blocked access to the site, put up banners, threw pork barbecue parties, and displayed pig heads near the construction site.

Despite court orders to go ahead with the construction, the local Muslim community has been unable to complete the construction as some non-Muslim locals have hindered the process.

“We’ll fight against the mosque construction till our last breath,” read one banner displayed next to the site.

Condemning the act as Islamophobic, Mian Muaz Razaq, a Muslim students’ representative at the university, told the daily South China Morning Post: “They held rallies against Islam, they called us terrorists, they hung banners against our religion, they distributed hate pamphlets against Muslims in our area, what can these acts be called? This is pure Islamophobia.”

According to the report, the local officials have shown helplessness, saying: “They had no power to clear the pig heads without approval from residents as they were useful items bought by private citizens.”

South Korea has no state religion.

Among around 52 million people, 28% of South Koreans said they are Christian in a census conducted in 2015. Other 15.5% said they are Buddhist.

According to Korea Muslim Federation, Muslims in the country constitute a meager 0.4% or around 200,000.

Source: Yeni Safak

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

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/muslims-seek-un-intervention-to-build-mosque-in-south-korea-3657904

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India

 

Press Council of India censures Star of Mysore for targeting minority community

December 28, 2022

In an order dated December 16, the Press Council of India (PCI) censured the ‘Star of Mysore’ (SOM) for its April 2020 editorial, ‘Bad Apples in the Basket’. In the piece, the Mysore-based news publication purportedly called the Muslim community in India “bad apples”. A censure by the PCI means that the state government concerned must not advertise in the paper for three consecutive months.

Following the publication of the article, The Campaign Against Hate Speech – a collective that works towards promoting media accountability – filed a complaint with the PCI against SOM editor M Govinda Gowda and the then editor-in-chief KB Ganapathy. The complaint claimed that “the news agency is promoting and inciting hatred towards the community (Muslims) on the grounds of religion… thereby violating a basic principle of journalism of not to attribute individual actions to a whole community to spread hatred and violence against it.”

Thereafter, an inquiry committee was constituted by the PCI and it recommended censure after hearing both parties involved in the matter. In its report, the inquiry committee stated that “it is of the opinion that this editorial may have been written in the context of Corona pandemic but the conclusion is inevitable that it is targeting one community, i.e. the Muslims, even though the community had not been explicitly named in the editorial.”

The committee also refused to accept the apology that had been tendered by the newspaper on April 10, 2020, soon after the publication of the editorial, stating that the “apology is not genuine” and had been tendered only because a mob had surrounded the offices of the newspaper.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/press-council-of-india-censures-star-of-mysore-targeting-minority-community-8347356/

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Jammu: Encounter breaks out between terrorists and security forces, three terrorists killed

28.12.22

An encounter broke out between terrorists and security forces in the Sidhra area here early Wednesday morning. At least three terrorists, travelling in a truck to Kashmir, were killed in a "chance encounter", police said.

Additional Director General of Police, Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh said the encounter with the terrorists took place around 7.30 am amid intense fog near Tawi Bridge in the Sidhra bypass area along the Jammu-Srinagar National highway.

Reinforcements were rushed to the area and the terrorists were neutralised, police said.

The terrorists were intercepted near Tawi Bridge when they were travelling in a truck to Kashmir, they said.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/encounter-breaks-out-between-terrorists-and-security-forces-in-jammu/cid/1906321

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Major terror attack averted in J&K's Udhampur, 15-kg IED defused: Police

Dec 27, 2022

UDHAMPUR/JAMMU: Police on Tuesday defused an improvised explosive device (IED) weighing 15 kilograms which was recovered in Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur district, officials said.

A major terror plan was averted when the cylindrical shaped IED, 300-400 grams of RDX, seven 7.62 mm cartridges and five detonators were recovered in Basantgarh area on Monday, they said.

The IED was safely defused on Tuesday, the officials said.

One coded sheet and one letter pad page of banned terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were also recovered, they said, adding that a suspect has been detained.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/major-terror-attack-averted-in-jks-udhampur-15-kg-ied-defused-police/articleshow/96544714.cms

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India, Kazakhstan Start Joint Military Drill in Meghalaya: Report

By Arif Ahmadi

December 27, 2022

NEW DELHI, India –  India and Kazakhstan conduct joint military exercise in Umroi, Meghalaya of India, according to sources, marking the sixth edition of Kzalnd 2022.

In the sixth edition of Kazlnd, Kazakhstan Army soldiers ­– comprising troops from the Regional Command, South and Indian Army soldiers from the 11 Grokha Rifles – took part.

The exercise aimed at building positive military relations, imbibe each other’s best practices and promote the ability to operate together while undertaking counter-terrorist operations in semi-urban/jungle scenario, according to ANI.

The program is under a United Nation peace enforcement mandate, enabling the two armies to train, plan and execute a series of combined tactical drills for neutralizing of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peacekeeping operations.

During the exercise, participants engaged in a variety of missions ranging from joint planning, joint tactical drills, basics of special arms skills, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and raiding a hostile target, as ANI reported.

Meanwhile, senior officials said “Exercise Kazlnd” will enhance the level of defense cooperation between Indian Army and Kazakhstan Army, which will foster the bilateral relations between the two nations.

The final validation exercise named as Ex Jenis (Ex Victory) displayed the various skills inculcated in patrolling, jungle shooting, reflex shooting, combat tracking, use of Mine Protection Vehicles and the conduct of raid on Monday, according to ANI.

The exercise showed the intra-operationability between both countries according to the UN  Mandate.

The 14-day-long joint military exercise started on December 15 this year, which was an initiative of the Kazakhstan Army in 2016 as Exercise Prabal Dostyk.

Prabal Dostyk Joint Military Exercise

Prabal Dostyk is a 14 day joint military exercise between India and Kazakhstan, where the two or more countries are participating in the war game.

This exercise was first held in 2016 by the Indian Army with units of the Kazakhstan Army on Counter-terrorism operations at a high altitude. The second edition of this exercise was held in 2017 in Madhya Pradesh, India.

According to India’s Ministry of Defence, the exercise is a unique tri-service training that focuses on counter-terrorism operations in mountainous terrain, in a short duration and at a high altitude (up to 4000 m), with special emphasis on promoting interoperability between the armies of India and Kazakhstan.

Objectives of the Exercise:

To strengthen the mutual trust and cooperation between the armies of both countries.

To share experience in counter-insurgency operations under extreme weather conditions.

To train effectively, to operate in high-altitude regions.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/india-kazakhstan-start-joint-military-drill-in-meghalaya-report/

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Europe

 

Street preachers spark outrage as 'cousins called gay and Muslim man seeks shelter'

By Richard PriceLocal

28 DEC 2022

Street preachers have been accused of causing 'outrage' in a town centre. It follows reports of two cousins holding hands being called out as 'gay', a Muslim man seeking shelter, and a shopworker being reduced to tears.

Now Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) has agreed to work with police to "challenge and prevent such behaviour". The complaints centre around street preachers on Derby Street, Leek, on Tuesdays.

The motion states: "The council notes the widespread dismay caused to residents of Leek by the activities of the street preachers. It agrees that there is no place for the utterance in public spaces of homophobic or misogynistic comments which residents have been subject to for some time.

"The motion believes that residents are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Hateful comments have no place in our community.

"SMDC will work with the police and other community safety partners, Staffordshire County Council, and town and parish councils to challenge and prevent such behaviour. SMDC wishes to assure all its residents and visitors that they are valued members of the community."

The motion was put forward by Leek councillor Bill Cawley.

He told councillors: “I can think of very, very few issues in Leek over recent years that have galvanised public opinion such as this. I guess some people will say this is a classic stand off between freedom of speech and worship.

“But there can’t be freedom of speech to outrage, there can’t be freedom of speech to spread hatred and loathing - which I think the activities of four or five men over the course of many months have led.”

Source: Stoke Sentinel

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

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/street-preachers-spark-outrage-cousins-7959618

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12 new arrests over Leicester clashes after India-Pak match

Dec 28, 2022

LONDON: British police investigating clashes between groups of men on the streets of the eastern England city of Leicester following an India-Pakistan cricket match earlier this year have made 12 more arrests over the course of December. Police said this week that its investigating team is working through the evidence and has identified a number of suspects and carried out inquiries to work up to making over 47 arrests.

A further 12 men were arrested in the last few weeks and one was voluntarily interviewed, with three of them being charged with offences relating to disorder offences. “We’ve been re viewing the CCTV footage making IDs of those who may be involved,” police said. The people have been arrested on suspicion of v iolent disorder in the clashes that took place in September. Three of the m — Jadved Patel, 46, Zakir Umarji, 26, and Hassan Chunara, 28 — will appear before magistrates’ court next month. The arrests are part of an ongoing probe into what police termed as “serious

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/12-new-arrests-over-leicester-clashes-after-india-pak-match/articleshow/96557170.cms

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Türkiye rescues over 380 irregular migrants after illegal Greek pushbacks

Merve Gül Aydoğan Ağlarcı  

27.12.2022

Türkiye rescued a total of 384 irregular migrants on Monday, including many who were illegally pushed back into Turkish territorial waters by Greek authorities, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.

In the first incident, teams were dispatched off the coast of Ayvacik in the northwestern Canakkale province after the coast guard learned that there were irregular migrants in an inflatable boat. A total of 61 people from various countries who were pushed back by Greek authorities were rescued, it said.

At least 39 migrants were rescued in another incident in the southwestern Aydin province's Didim and Kusadasi districts, said a Turkish Coast Guard statement.

Meanwhile, in Türkiye’s Aegean province of Balikesir, 73 irregular migrants who were pushed back by Greek forces were rescued.

According to a statement, Turkish Coast Guard teams were dispatched off the coast of Ayvalik, Balikesir following reports of irregular migrants on life rafts and inflatable boats, the agency said.

Separately, the Turkish Coast Guard held 147 irregular migrants while rescuing another 29 in Bodrum in the southwestern Mugla province.

Meanwhile, 182 irregular migrants in an inflatable boat pushed into Turkish territorial waters by Greek authorities were also rescued off the coast of Izmir.

Another 21 irregular migrants trying to cross into Greece by illegal means were held by Turkish authorities.

All of the migrants were taken to provincial migration offices.

Following a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that a total of 256,000 irregular migrants were prevented from crossing into Türkiye in the past year.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants wanting to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported on illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkiye-rescues-over-380-irregular-migrants-after-illegal-greek-pushbacks/2773332

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Mideast

 

Israeli soldiers fire teargas at Palestinian school children, several suffer suffocation

28 December 2022

Several Palestinian children have suffered suffocation from teargas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers in the city of al-Khalil, as Israeli occupation forces continue systematic aggression against Palestinians.

The Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters at students as they were leaving their schools in the southern parts of al-Khalil on Tuesday. A few students who suffered suffocation were treated on the spot.

According to the Palestinian Quds news network, the children panicked as gas filled the air and did not know where to go to avoid breathing in the toxic gases, while local residents tried helping them run away to a safe place.

The network posted a video via twitter filmed by a resident showing the gas spreading in the air, as he addresses a small girl and helps her run away from the area.

This is not the first time Israeli occupation forces target schools across the Palestinian occupied territories, especially in the city of al-Khalil.

Earlier in October, the Quds news reported that a Palestinian infant died after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli occupation forces in Kafr Aqab in occupied al-Quds.

Also in December, the Palestinian Wafa news agency said a group of armed soldiers fired tear gas and concussion bombs around the area and inside the Akka Elementary Co-ed School, causing suffocation cases among dozens of students and staff.

The al-Khalil area falls under Israeli control and remains vulnerable to daily harassment by the regime's settlers and military forces.

According to Defense for Children Palestine (DCIP), investigations and evidence collected suggest that Israeli forces carry out different crimes against Palestinian children, including the use intentional lethal force against them in circumstances that may amount to extrajudicial or willful killings.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/28/695269/Israeli-soldiers-fire-teargas-at-Palestinian-students-several-suffer-suffocation-

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New phase of military confrontation with Riyadh will be totally different: Ansarullah

28 December 2022

A member of Yemen's Ansarullah political bureau has warned Saudi Arabia that things will be different in any future military confrontation, underscoring that Sana'a has developed its missile and air capabilities.

Mohammad al-Bukhaiti on Sunday assured that the Yemeni armed forces have developed the capability to strike deep inside the countries of aggression in case of the outbreak of a military confrontation.

“The new phase of military confrontation with Saudi Arabia will be completely different compared to previous bouts, as Yemeni armed forces will employ all tools of power in their possession to exercise power against any threat,” the official said in an interview with the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV network.

He also said the Saudi-led coalition has failed to put forward any initiatives that would satisfy Yemen’s demands, warning that if Sanaa's just demands are not met, it will not stand idly by without responding to the siege, reported al-Mayadeen.

Elsewhere in his comments, al-Bukhaiti slammed the Saudi-led coalition attempts to sow strife among the Yemeni people by paying salaries of a fraction of the employees only. Salaries have been suspended since 2016 as a result of the Saudi war on Yemen.

In October, UN announced the end of a truce in Yemen reached between the Ansarullah Movement and the Saudi-led coalition.

The Yemeni Army blames Riyadh and its allies for failing to observe the UN-brokered armistice.

Yemeni government officials involved in the peace talks said in order for political negotiations to commence, the Saudi coalition must end its blockade and allow the resumption of salary payments to all civil servants. Saudi Arabia has so far rejected those demands.

Enjoying arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states, Saudi Arabia led its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates, into a catastrophic war on Yemen beginning in March 2015. The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire country into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/28/695275/New-phase-of-military-confrontation-with-Riyadh-will-be-totally-different-Ansarullah-

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Islamic-Christian Authority warns of escalation of enemy's plans to Judaize Jerusalem

27/December/2022

Al-Quds December 27. 2022 (Saba) - The Islamic Christian Authority for Patronizing al-Quds and Holy Sites on Tuesday warned of the escalation of the plans of the Zionist enemy to Judaize the occupied city of al-Quds, especially during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

In a statement reported by the Palestinian News Agency (Wafa) the Authority called on the international community to assume its responsibilities and take practical and serious steps to stop the plans of the Zionist enemy.

It affirmed that the enemy authorities are trying to obliterate the Arab, Palestinian, Islamic, Christian identity of al-Quds, leading to its Judaization, by removing religious and archaeological monuments and sites, trying to change the features of the Arab-Palestinian face and undermining the Palestinian demographic presence and seizing Islamic and Christian property, including the property of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Hebron Gate.

The Authority said “The insistence of the Council of Churches in al-Quds to light the Christmas tree in the Imperial Hotel constitutes a message emphasizing the rejection of the plans of the Zionist enemy, emphasizing the Palestinian Christian national identity and rejecting any attempt to change the historical and legal status quo in the Holy City.”

Source: Saba

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

https://www.saba.ye/en/news3216887.htm

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Israel says Palestinian suspect held for twin bombings in Jerusalem

27 December ,2022

A Palestinian man suspected of carrying out the deadly twin bombings in Jerusalem’s outskirts a month ago has been arrested, Israel’s police and domestic security service said on Tuesday.

The suspect was arrested six days after the November 23 blasts which killed two people, police and Shin Bet said. They identified him as Islam Farouh, 26, and described him as a lone attacker driven by ideology akin to that of ISIS.

A lawyer for Farouh could not immediately be reached.

The first explosive device went off at a busy bus stop at Jerusalem’s main exit during rush hour and the second, 30 minutes later, hit a bus stop near an outlying settlement.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/27/Israel-says-Palestinian-suspect-held-for-twin-bombings-in-Jerusalem

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Israeli president says ‘looking forward to’ receiving credentials of Turkish ambassador

Busra Nur Cakmak  

27.12.2022

As Tel Aviv’s ambassador assumed her duties in Ankara on Tuesday, the Israeli president said he is “looking forward to” receiving the credentials of Turkish ambassador soon.

“So moving to hear HaTikvah at the Presidential Complex in Ankara again, as Ambassador Irit Lillian presented her credentials to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today,” Isaac Herzog said on Twitter.

“Looking forward to receiving the Turkish ambassador’s credentials soon. A big step forward for Israel-Türkiye relations,” he added.

Herzog wrote his message in Hebrew and Turkish.

Irit Lillian, a senior diplomat whose appointment was announced on Sept. 19, had served as Israel’s charge d’affaires in Ankara for the past two years.

In August, Türkiye and Israel agreed to restore diplomatic ties and reappoint ambassadors and consuls general after a four-year hiatus.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israeli-president-says-looking-forward-to-receiving-credentials-of-turkish-ambassador/2774037

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Israel much prepared to attack Iran's nuclear sites: Army chief

Abdelraouf Arnaout  

27.12.2022

JERUSALEM

Israel’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said Tuesday that the army’s preparedness to launch strikes against Iranian nuclear sites has improved.

"The level of preparedness for an operation in Iran has dramatically improved," Kochavi said in a speech for the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies cited by The Jerusalem Post newspaper.

If the army is ordered to act against the Iranian nuclear program, he said, "it will fulfill the mission that is given."

Kochavi said Iran seeks to deploy hundreds of missiles in Syria along with deploying "thousands of Shia militiamen."

The army chief said Israel managed to disrupt the Iranian vision in Syria "to establish a second Hezbollah in Syria."

Israel frequently accuses Tehran of exploiting the ongoing conflict in Syria -- where Iran supports the ruling Assad regime -- to establish a permanent military presence near Israel’s border.

From time to time, Israel launches airstrikes on positions of the Syrian regime and Iranian forces in various Syrian provinces.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-much-prepared-to-attack-irans-nuclear-sites-army-chief/2774010

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Anger in West Bank over Israel’s ‘disrespect’ of dead prisoners

MOHAMMED NAJIB

December 27, 2022

RAMALLAH: At least 11 people were injured on Tuesday in Jerusalem as Israeli forces clashed in the north of the city with protesters demanding the release of the bodies of Palestinians who died in custody at Qalandia checkpoint.

Soldiers fired bullets and used tear gas to disperse the crowd as dozens of Palestinians marched from Al-Amari refugee camp, south of Ramallah, toward the checkpoint.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said its medics treated a young man who appeared to have been shot in the leg with explosive bullets. Eight people were treated for tear gas inhalation, and two suffered burns as a result of being hit by gas canisters.

The participants in the protest march included families of people who died during detention in Israeli prisons, and representatives of civil society. It followed a similar event this week at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers are reportedly holding the bodies of 17 Palestinians from the city who died in detention.

According to a campaign that lobbies for the return of bodies and for information about the fates of people who are missing, Israeli authorities have held the bodies of 256 Palestinians in so-called “graves of numbers” and 117 in refrigerators since Israel resumed the policy of kidnapping bodies in October 2015.

In addition, Palestinians say about 68 people have gone missing since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, their fates unknown. Israeli authorities claim that they do not have any information about them.

Protesters called on the international community to hold Israel to account, describing the refusal to return bodies as a form of collective punishment and a violation of international human rights laws. They said that Israeli authorities are holding the bodies of dozens of former detainees in an attempt to put pressure on Hamas to release four Israeli soldiers who went missing in Gaza.

The withheld bodies in Jerusalem include those of five women and 11 prisoners who died in custody. The most recent death was that of Abu Hamid, a member of the Fatah movement who died of lung cancer in the Israeli Asaf Harofeh Hospital on Dec. 20.

Ahmed Ghuneim, a Fatah leader in Jerusalem, told Arab News that Israel would not voluntarily release the bodies and so the protests will continue. He said the Palestinian Authority should make intensive efforts to force Israeli authorities to hand them over, including taking action in international courts.

“Detaining the bodies of the occupied people after their death is something that no country in the world has done, and the silence about it has made Israel believe that its behavior and conduct is normal and acceptable,” he said.

Israeli authorities refuse to issue death certificates to the families of prisoners who died in Israeli prisons or provide lists of those who are being held.

Dana Ben Shimon, a senior reporter for Israel Hayom newspaper, told Arab News that Israeli authorities are withholding bodies to provide leverage in potential negotiations for future prisoner exchanges.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2223021/middle-east

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Arab World

 

Awqaf (Ministry of Islamic Affairs) Stresses On Importance Of Developing Skills Of Imams

December 28, 2022

The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) has emphasised the importance of developing the skills of imams, preachers, teachers of the Holy Qur'an and legal muftis including citizens and residents of Qatar. In this context, the ministry stressed the importance of qualification courses of the Dawa and Islamic Science Institute, which is affiliated to the Department of Dawa and Guidance in developing their knowledge. It conducted 55 specialised courses during the year 2022.

This came during the closing ceremony, in the presence of HE the Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Ghanem bin Shaheen bin Ghanem al-Ghanem, to recognise the outstanding participants who graduated from the Shariah and specialised training sessions at the Institute of Islamic Science in 2022.

The head of the Institute of Islamic Da'wa and Science, Omar Akle al-Ruwaili, said in a statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), this year the institute organised 55 courses including Shariah, skills building courses and specialised seminars totaling up 988 training hours that were focused on the development of the cognitive, Shariah knowledge and the managerial directions of the 1,675 trainees participants within the framework of the 'Paths and Beacons' training program.

He noted that the courses were conducted with the help of internal and external experienced professional trainers and teachers from the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs. He thanked and appreciated all those who had contributed to the success of those programs and events.

In a related context, the participants expressed their profound thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs for holding these courses aimed at developing their skills and knowledge, and commended the Dawa and Islamic Science Institute for its effort to emphasise the status of Shariah science. One of the institute's graduates Imam Abdullah bin Mohamed al-Thani, said there were many courses, events and programs held in one year that benefited all participants, crediting the ministry with the successful implementation of these scientific projects.

Source: Gulf Times

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

https://www.gulf-times.com/article/652266/qatar/awqaf-stresses-on-importance-of-developing-skills-of-imams

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Saudi Arabia approves next phase of project to combat human trafficking

28 December ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Commission and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have approved the second phase of a project aimed at improving the Kingdom’s efforts to protect human trafficking victims, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

President of the Human Rights Commission and President of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking Dr. Hala al-Tuwaijri and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed the agreement in a bid to unify Saudi Arabia’s efforts to respond to these crimes through a comprehensive government and societal approach.

The agreement includes a joint mechanism to support victims in their rehabilitation and integration into society after being rescued, according to the SPA report.

The agreement is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to crack down on human trafficking through national and international cooperation, al-Tuwaijri said, adding that these efforts reflect Saudi Arabia’s commitment to protecting victims.

For his part, the head of IOM Mission in Bahrain Mohammed al-Zarqani said that human trafficking is a globally criminalized offense and requires cooperative efforts to combat it.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2022/12/28/Saudi-Arabia-approves-next-phase-of-project-to-combat-human-trafficking

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Syrian Kurdish forces ‘on alert’ for Islamic State attacks: official

December 27, 2022

QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan,— Syrian Kurdish-led forces boosted security Tuesday a day after foiling a deadly Islamic State group assault on a prison fearing that the extremists will strike again, a spokesman said.

Authorities on Monday declared a state of emergency in Raqqa, the jihadists’ former de facto capital in northern Syria, after gunmen launched an attack on a security complex near a prison holding fellow militants.

Six members of the Kurdish-led security forces and one jihadist were killed.

Farhad Shami, spokesman for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),  the de facto army of the autonomous Kurdish administration in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), said they had “declared a state of alert” and security forces sweeping the area.

“We have information about potential IS attacks during end-of-year holidays”, he said, listing the northern Syrian cities of Raqqa, Hasaka and Qamishlo.

Shami said that a new IS leader — who took over after his predecessor was killed in October — wanted to assert the group’s presence.

Following the attack, SDF commander Mazloum Abdi (Kobani) had warned that “terrorist cells” were “preparing dangerous plots”.

The failed assault on Monday targeted a Kurdish security complex, which includes a military intelligence prison housing hundreds of jihadists, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said.

IS claimed responsibility for the attack, saying two of its fighters had carried it out to avenge “Muslim prisoners” and female relatives of jihadists living in the Kurdish-administered Al-Hol camp.

Al-Hol, home to more than 50,000 people, is the largest camp for displaced people who fled after the SDF led the battle that dislodged IS group fighters from the last scraps of their Syrian territory in 2019.

It was the most significant jihadist attack on a prison since IS fighters launched their biggest assault in years in January, when they attacked the Gweran prison in the Kurdish city of Hasaka.

Residents of Raqqa, still fearful after years of war, worried that IS wanted to stage comeback.

Osama Al-Khalaf, an activist from Raqqa, said residents “live in a state of fear” of an IS comeback because the jihadists managed to breach the well-guarded complex.

“IS never let us forget they are here, they want to bring back fear and panic,” said Abdallah, 35, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“We’re tired of war, we can’t live in fear of the bombings and killings anymore, we want peace.”

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD and its powerful military wing YPG/YPJ, considered the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and U.S. has provided them with arms. The YPG, which is the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces SDF forces, the de facto army of the autonomous Kurdish administration in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), has seized swathes of Syria from Islamic State.

The Kurdish forces expelled the Islamic State from its last patch of territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz in March 2019. An estimated 12,000 suspected IS members are still held in Kurdish prisons since 2019.

Over 11,000 Kurdish male and female fighters had been killed in five years of war to eliminate the Islamic State “caliphate” that once covered an area the size of Great Britain in Syria and Iraq.

The worldwide-respected PYD-led Autonomous Administration in Syrian Kurdistan has a secular decentralized self-rule, where equality between men and women, direct democracy, and environmental responsibility are emphasized.

In 2013, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party PYD — the political branch of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) — has established three autonomous Cantons of Jazeera, Kobani and Afrin and a Kurdish government across Syrian Kurdistan in 2013. On March 17, 2016, Kurdish and Arab authorities announced the creation of a “federal region” made up of those semi-autonomous regions in Syrian Kurdistan. Turkey on January 20, 2018 launched an operation against the YPG in the Kurdish canton of Afrin and on March 18, the Turkish troops supporting Syrian Islamic mercenary fighters drove the YPG out of Afrin city.

Source: E Kurd

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

https://ekurd.net/syrian-kurdish-forces-alert-2022-12-27

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Iran holds funerals for troops killed in 1980s Iraq war

27 December ,2022

Thousands of Iranians on Tuesday attended state-organized funerals for 400 soldiers killed in the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. Iran’s president, meanwhile, lashed out at the United States and its allies, accusing them of fomenting anti-government protests that have been underway in Iran for over three months.

Caskets with the remains of “unidentified martyrs" were draped in Iranian flags and carried in mass processions. For many Iranian families, the conflict’s painful legacy drags on in a continuous waiting for news of loved ones still “missing.”

In January, 250 Iranian soldiers killed in the 1980-1988 war were buried in similar ceremonies.

Iran has been shaken by mass protests since mid-September over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman who died after being detained by the country’s morality police.

The protests rapidly escalated into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s theocracy, established after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, marking one of the biggest challenges to the Iranian clerical rule in over four decades.

At least 507 protesters have been killed and more than 18,500 people have been arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that has closely monitored the unrest. Iranian authorities have not released figures for those killed or arrested.

In the capital, Tehran, the last farewell on Tuesday honored 200 soldiers whose remains were recently recovered from the former battlefields along the Iraq-Iran border. Funerals were held for another 200 soldiers in other cities and towns across Iran.

None of the soldiers have been identified and their remains were to be buried as “unknown martyrs” in mass funerals.

From outside of Tehran University, trucks piled high with the caskets made their way through the streets. Men and women in black thronged the coffins, many weeping for those lost in the bloody, stalemated war started by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party in 1980.

Iran and Iraq sporadically exchange remains of soldiers recovered from borderland territory that witnessed major combat in the war, which left more than a million casualties on both sides.

Iranian state TV said the remains buried Tuesday were of troops killed in four battlefields, including in two locations inside Iraq. Along with the Iranian flag, many people also carried photographs of a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone strike in January 2020 in Baghdad.

President Ebrahim Raisi and other top officials attended the ceremonies and praised “the martyrs,” saying they help improve the nation’s sprit, according to media reports.

Speaking at the ceremony, Raisi said efforts by the enemies of the nation — a reference to the US and its allies — have sought to “pressure Iran during the recent protests" but have met with failure. Iranian authorities have blamed the unrest on their foreign adversaries, including the US and Israel.

“In recent riots, the arrogance (of the US and its allies) was displayed in all its strength,” said Raisi, but “all pressures against the Islamic Republic were doomed to fail.”

Earlier in December, Iran executed two prisoners, both 23 years old and charged in connection with the mass protests.

The first was Mohsen Shekari, accused by an Iranian court of blocking a street in Tehran and attacking a member of the country’s security forces with a machete.

The second was Majidreza Rahnavard, whose body was left hanging from a construction crane as a gruesome warning to others. Authorities alleged Rahnavard had stabbed two members of its paramilitary force.

The executions prompted international outcry. Reportedly, dozens of others remain on the list for executions.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/12/27/Iran-holds-funerals-for-troops-killed-in-1980s-Iraq-war

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Fireworks, Light Shows And Views Of Burj Khalifa: Dubai’s Spectacular New Year Plan

28 December ,2022

Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs are gearing up for New Year celebrations in Dubai, with residents and tourists set to benefit from celebrity DJs, Australian singing sensation Kylie Minogue and a whole host of other events.

Minogue – the highest-selling female Australian singer of all time – is set to headline a show-stopping concert at Atlantis hotel on The Palm in the final hours of 2022.

The Spinning Around singer will make a welcome return to the resort, after performing at its grand opening party back in 2008. The theme for this year’s gala is A Night with the Stars. In addition to the performance from Minogue, guests will also have front-row seats to one of Dubai’s biggest fireworks displays as the clock strikes midnight.

The Grammy Award winning star will bring an added sprinkling of stardust to proceedings at the Asateer Tent when she will perform at the special Gala Dinner to see in the New Year.

Other celebrations

Minogue isn’t the only person to bring some sparkle to New Year celebrations in the country with plenty of events available.

Siddhartha, General Manager of Raddison Damac Hills, told Al Arabiya English they have opened a new rooftop bar and restaurant in time for the New Year celebrations.

“We are excited to be able to offer an outdoor rooftop venue in ISSEI, our recently opened Peruvian-Japanese fusion concept,” he said.

“The unique flavors, combined with the amazing views across the city of Dubai promise to make for a memorable evening. We also hope that being on the 27th floor will give us the opportunity to view the firework displays at Global Village, Town Square and the EXPO City site.”

Republic Adda Bar & Lounge in downtown Dubai is also gearing up for celebrations and will host a “celebrity DJ,” with “special acts” and dancing.

“We have an incredible view of the Burj Khalifa, which is one of our biggest selling points,” Bhim Gupta, restaurant and bar manager of the party-hub told Al Arabiya English.

The venue is expecting around 130 to 150 people and is expected to be at full capacity at the evening.

Compared to the previous year the party venue has seen a “positive hike” in numbers and has stocked up on an extra 30 percent of food and alcohol to cope with the added demand.

The Premier Inn Ibn Battuta Mall is hosting a festive barbecue-inspired buffet with unlimited free-flow beverages for their New Year’s Eve Bash, with live music and an electric atmosphere until 2:00 a.m.

Other events happening in the emirate include a brunch followed by an after party – set to last until 4:00 a.m. – at Paros in Jumeriah Lake Towers (JLT) with music from DJ Cameo, fire performers, a drummer and dancers.

People looking for something flashier can also watch a show and have dinner at the Dubai Opera, go on a luxury dinner cruise through Dubai Creek, Dubai Marina or the Dubai Water Canal.

For those who feel like celebrating the occasion in a quieter fashion, staying in and opting for food takeaways is an option. Food delivery services are expected to be used more than usual.

Deliverect – a service that helps restaurants manage food deliveries – said it usually sees an increase of about 14 percent in online ordering in the US in the last two weeks of December.

“Overall, there seems to be an increase in the number of online orders placed this year, with a surge happening during the festive season,” Naji Haddad, MENA General Manager at Deliverect told Al Arabiya English.

NYE fireworks in Dubai

Dubai is also famed for its eclectic firework displays to ring in the new year, with a host of pyrotechnic displays, dazzling fireworks and drone shows, to entertain residents ringing in 2023.

Burj Khalifa - the tallest building on the planet – will be at the center of celebrations with onlookers to experience a cutting-edge laser light and fireworks show to illuminate the famed facade, with the Dubai Fountain at the building’s base earmarked to dance in sync with the show.

Residents can also be dazzled by night with the sparkles and glitters of a huge, organized display at The Beach, opposite JBR and Bluewaters, where visitors and residents can await the DSF Drones Light Show.

Global Village on December 31 will mark the New Year aligned with different time zones of the countries that have a presence at the fair.

At The Pointe, visitors will be able to catch the fireworks at Atlantis, the Palm; Palm West Beach and Club Vista Mare, plus be treated to a cool fountain show, live entertainment and plenty of dining options.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/12/28/Fireworks-light-shows-and-views-of-Burj-Khalifa-Dubai-s-spectacular-New-Year-plan-

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King Abdulaziz Festival boosts Saudi Arabia’s camel-related heritage, says UK envoy

December 28, 2022

RIYADH: The seventh King Abdulaziz Camel Festival enhances the camel-related cultural heritage of the Kingdom, according to British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton.

His comments came as he visited the festival’s headquarters in Sayahid, about 100 kilometers west of Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

“I read a lot about the significance of camels in the Arab culture, whether in terms of culture or economy, and I was amazed at what I saw of the wonderful organization in the festival and this remarkable presence of fans of camel competitions,” he said.

“I invite all tourists in general, and the British in particular, to visit the Kingdom and to attend the festival to learn more about this wonderful cultural heritage.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2223106/saudi-arabia

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Southeast Asia

 

16 mosques participate in pilot investment programme

Aqil Hamzah

DEC 27, 2022

SINGAPORE – Sixteen mosques in the western part of Singapore have signed up to participate in a pilot programme to invest their reserves in order for them to be financially resilient.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said the mosques will invest their surplus funds in syariah-compliant investment products through the Mosque-Wakaf Investment Plan.

The returns will be used to ensure that the mosques can remain financially self-sustainable in the long run, with Muis acting as the administrator for the investments.

For example, the mosques will be able to use the income generated to pay for lease renewals, which are not covered under the Mosque Building and Mendaki Fund – a community fund all working Muslims in Singapore contribute to – Muis said.

It added that the initiative will be introduced to the 54 other mosques in Singapore in 2023.

A portion of the returns will also be channelled into the Wakaf Masyarakat Singapura, which is an endowment fund that caters to the Muslim community’s long-term needs.

Source: Straits Times

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

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/16-mosques-participate-in-pilot-investment-programme

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UN urges countries to help Rohingya at sea as hundreds land in Indonesia

December 28, 2022

PIDIE: The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) urged countries on Tuesday to help Rohingya Muslims stranded at sea as at least 20 reportedly died and hundreds more landed in Indonesia after weeks adrift in the Indian Ocean.

Nearly 500 Rohingya have reached Indonesia in the past six weeks while “many others did not act despite numerous pleas and appeals for help”, the UNHCR said in a statement.

It said on Monday said 2022 could be one of the deadliest years at sea in almost a decade for the Rohingya with a growing number of them fleeing desperate conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh. One boat carrying 180 people is believed to have sunk in early December, with all on board presumed dead, according to rights groups.

The Rohingya have long been persecuted in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which borders Bangladesh. For years many have fled to neighbouring states like Thailand and Bangladesh, and to Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia between November and April when seas are calmer.

Nearly 1 million live in crowded conditions in Bangladesh, including many of the hundreds of thousands who fled a deadly crackdown in 2017 by Myanmar’s military, which denies committing crimes against humanity.

Rights groups have recorded a significant increase in the number leaving the camps, from about 500 last year to an estimated 2,400 this year. It is not clear what is driving the larger exodus. Some activists believe the lifting of Covid restrictions around Southeast Asia, a favoured destination for the Rohingya, could be a factor.

’Dangerous voyages’

A boat washed ashore in Aceh province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Monday carrying 174 Rohingya, most of them dehydrated, fatigued and in need of urgent medical care after weeks at sea, local disaster agency officials said. Some survivors recounted stories of hunger and desperation, saying more than 20 of the passengers died on the way.

“We came here from the largest Bangladesh refugee camp with the hope that the Indonesian people would give us the opportunity of education,” said Umar Farukh, who spoke in a shelter crowded with Rohingya men, women and children receiving care from Indonesian medics.

Thai authorities said after rescuing six people found clinging to a water tank floating in the Andaman Sea that the survivors reported their boat being denied access to Malaysia and turning back towards Bangladesh. Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Monday’s landing in Indonesia was the latest in a series of Rohingya boat landings and rescues around the region in recent weeks, prompting Bangladesh authorities to try and stop people from risking their lives on boats to Southeast Asia.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1728677/un-urges-countries-to-help-rohingya-at-sea-as-hundreds-land-in-indonesia

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‘She thought she would die’: Rohingya refugees reach Indonesia after weeks at sea

SHEANY YASUKO LAI

December 27, 2022

JAKARTA: More than 200 rescued Rohingya refugees were receiving emergency health assistance in Indonesia, a UN agency said on Tuesday, after they were saved by fishermen when calls on the regional countries to assist them fell on deaf ears for weeks.

The International Organization for Migration has confirmed that at least 174 Rohingya on a rickety wooden boat reached the coastal village of Muara Tiga in Pidie district of northern Aceh province on Monday.

The group of 36 men, 31 women and 107 children arrived about a day after 57 Rohingya refugees landed in the province’s Aceh Besar district.

“The group is in very poor health condition, with many suffering severe dehydration and malnutrition,” the International Organization for Migration said in a written response to Arab News.

“IOM’s medical team is currently conducting basic health assessments.”

Eros Shidqy Putra, a member of Indonesia's National Refugee Task Force, told Arab News that the refugees would be placed under the care of the local government for the time being.

“After that, we will move them to a province which is already housing refugees,” he said. “Aceh is not a province that shelters refugees.”

At least five boats carrying hundreds of refugees had left the coast of Cox’s Bazar, the largest Rohingya settlement in Bangladesh, in late November, in an attempt to cross the Andaman Sea to another host country.

One boat carrying 154 refugees was rescued by a Vietnamese offshore company and handed over to the Myanmar Navy, while a vessel carrying 104 people was rescued by the Sri Lanka Navy on Dec. 18.

The UN Refugee Agency previously said it had received unconfirmed reports that a boat carrying 180 people had sunk.

International organizations and activists have urged countries in the region for weeks to rescue the refugees stranded at sea, but despite multiple appeals for help, no official assistance was dispatched.

Mohammed Rezuwan Khan, the brother of Hatamonesa, a 27-year-old woman who was with her five-year-old daughter onboard the boat that arrived in Indonesia on Monday, spoke to his sister on Tuesday after more than a month with no communication.

“We feel like we got a new world today,” Khan said. “We could see their faces again. It’s really a moment of joy for all of us.”

During the call, Khan learned that his niece had received treatment for dehydration because she had drunk salt water during the journey. They did not eat for 13 days.

According to Hatamonesa, 20 people had died on the boat and were thrown overboard.

“She thought that she would die in the voyage at sea,” Khan said.

“She hoped that if she could leave to Malaysia, there would be a better future for her daughters and for her.”

More than 730,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh in 2017 following a brutal crackdown by the Myanmar military that the UN said amounted to genocide.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2223011/world

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Pakistan

 

Strict Security Measures Introduced Amid Terror Attack in Islamabad

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

December 27, 2022

Following the suicide bomb blast in the I-10 neighborhood in Islamabad last week, the police in the capital city has increased security measures.

According to the media reports police in Islamabad has introduced new plans to strengthen security measures in the capital after the fatal suicide attack which took place a few days ago, causing the death of one officer and injuring several others.

As per the new security plan, police authorities will record through surveillance cameras entry points of the Red Zone housing government and diplomatic facilities as well as conduct monitoring of Metrobus passengers.

Furthermore, in order to minimize the risk of further terrorist attacks on civilians and government organizations, Islamabad police has installed 25 extra checkpoints in different locations across the capital.

Over the past couple of weeks, Pakistan has experienced violent attacks, forcing the government to come up with a comprehensive strategy to counter the threat to internal security and ensure that insurgent groups shall not operate under their watch.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) are the two main insurgent groups posing threats to the national security of Pakistan – (TTP) being the most notable threat which called off a ceasefire with the security forces of Pakistan on November 28.

Meanwhile, the cross-border shelling which took place between Pakistan and Afghan Taliban border security forces in the Chaman-Spin Boldak area on December 11 and 15, leaving to the death and injuries of several military and civilians from both sides indicates the worsening security situation in both countries.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/strict-security-measures-introduced-amid-terror-attack-in-islamabad/

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Audience interrupt Pakistan PM's speech, Shehbaz Sharif says 'food will be served soon'

Dec 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's said that the food will be served soon after being interrupted by an audience, according to a video circulated by PTV news, the Urdu News channel.

While addressing the ceremony organized with regard to the development projects for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday, an audience stood up and shouted during Sharif's speech, after which the PM said, "Please sit down, the food will be served soon."

After a brief smile, Pakistan's PM resumed his speech, according to the video.

Notably, PM Sharif was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to lay the foundation stones of different uplift communication, road, hydel, and power infrastructure projects, Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

In the ceremony, the prime minister said, "These challenges might be manifold but 220 million people of the country should not get worried, the coalition government with the support of its partners will steer the country out of the challenges."

He said for the achievement of progress and prosperity, they would have to work hard with devotion. "Nations always faced difficulties and the coalition government will put Pakistan on the path of development only through hard work," he added.

The prime minister said that he had laid down the foundations for the commencement of mega-development projects in the backward areas of the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as per the Associated Press of Pakistan report.

He mentioned that during his previous visits, these areas were inundated with flood water and the people of the areas had faced immense destruction, from Nowshera to Swat, Kalam, Kohistan, DIkhan and Tank districts were badly affected by floods.

Talking about the Swat situation, PM said that the destruction was mainly caused by the man-made structures erected in the middle of the course of the river.

Sharif also criticized the provincial government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for its flawed policies.

The prime minister sarcastically referred that the PTI provincial government always talked about the introduction of an efficient system, but the people had witnessed the crumbling of that system whereas the government's blunders in this regard could not be neglected, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/audience-interrupt-pakistan-pms-speech-shehbaz-sharif-says-food-will-be-served-soon/articleshow/96536964.cms

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JUI-F struggles for interest free banking bear fruit

December 28, 2022

Central Leader Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F), Maulana, Fazal- ur-Rehman (JUI-F) on Thursday said that the long struggle of JUI-F leadership had resulted in interest free banking in the country for which the government had withdrawn all the cases from the courts.

He expressed these views in the condolence conference of the late Qazi Abdul Salam at the Technical College of Talash. He said that Pakistan was constitutionally an Islamic Republic and and there was no interest in Islam, adding that Islamic system provided life safety, wealth, security and prosperity to each individual. Maulana said that the worst rigging in history of elections took place in 2018 general elections as a result of which an immature government sank the economic system of the country.—APP

Source: Pak Observer

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https://pakobserver.net/jui-f-struggles-for-interest-free-banking-bear-fruit/

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Return to assembly to avoid ‘being victimised’, PTI told

M.B. Kalhoro | Syed Irfan Raza

December 28, 2022

GARHI KHUDA BUKHSH / ISLAMABAD: The leaders of two major political parties on Tuesday urged Imran Khan to return to parliament, saying that his and his party’s salvation lay in representing the citizens who had elected them.

But in the same breath, both Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Chaudhry Shujaat Huss­ain warned Mr Khan that if he persisted on his current course, they would neither be able to save him, nor would it benefit the country.

In separate statements on Tuesday, both leaders stressed the need for all parties to work together to rescue Pakistan from the economic and political dire straits that the country finds itself in.

“You are a stranger to the house. Come back and play your role in the parliament. Let’s talk about reforms, whether it is the National Accountability Bureau or elections,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said during an address at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh, adding that otherwise, the government would not be able to stop those who wanted to “victimise you”.

“If he calls himself a politician and a democrat, he has to sit in parliament and do his job.”

Meanwhile, speaking at an event in Islamabad, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said that the constituents who had elected Mr Khan and his party were observing the actions of their representatives, adding that not coming to the assembly and collecting salaries and perks would not accomplish anything.

Verification attempts

The remarks from both leaders came as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers attempted to gain an audience with the National Assembly speaker for the personal verification of their resignations from the lower house of parliament.

However, since Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was in Garhi Khuda Buksh to participate in the event held to mark the 15th death anniversary of slain PPP leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, it was resolved that a delegation of senior PTI leaders would call on the speaker soon after his return.

A spokesperson for the NA Secretariat confirmed that former PTI chief whip Malik Amir Dogar contacted the speaker via telephone on Tuesday, a move that was hailed by the speaker, who welcomed the gesture and said that “the dialogue process should continue”.

The spokesperson said Mr Dogar requested a formal meeting to deliberate upon the issue of confirmation of resignations of 124 PTI members of the National Assembly.

Mr Dogar told the NA speaker that a delegation of PTI leaders consisting of Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pervez Khattak and others wanted to meet him.

But PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry told journalists in Lahore that when party leaders called on Mr Ashraf today, he was “nowhere to be found”.

“[We were] told that the speaker has gone to Larkana,” Fawad claimed. “We’re getting information that he’s going to Australia afterwards.”

“I want to tell the speaker that tendering resignations is our constitutional right,” the PTI leader said, adding that Mr Ashraf should “accept the resignations and hold countrywide elections”.

‘PPP, not US, ousted Imran’

In a wide ranging speech delivered at an event held to mark his mother’s death anniversary, Mr Bhutto-Zardari touched on a host of political issues.

He refuted Mr Khan’s ‘foreign conspiracy’ mantra, saying that it was his party, not Washington, that had engineered his ouster through democratic means.

“We sent Imran home through the Constitution […] and this was the first time the parliament ousted a prime minister. The ‘conspiracy against the selected’ was not hatched behind closed doors, rather it happened on the streets and in the parliament in plain sight.”

He went on to say that the military had made its position clear, i.e. they were staying out of politics clear. “It is now time to ensure that they fulfil their promise,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said, adding that this was the reason why “we are hearing screams from Bani Gala”.

Saying that his party had played its part in the legislature for four years, the PPP leader said this was the PTI chief’s “last warning” to play his role. “We will negotiate with you on electoral and NAB reforms,” he said, adding that they did not want Mr Khan to go jail or face the accountability body.

He also pointed towards the arrest of Mayam Nawaz and Faryal Talpur during Mr Khan’s time in power, saying: “If you tamper with the Constitution, something will happen”.

Separately, in his remarks at a dinner in Islamabad, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain extolled the need to work “not for the interests of parties, rather the interests of Pakistan”.

He said that political and economic stability are crucial for the country and the general elections should be held on time.

“Only if we all come together for the sake of Pakistan can we save it. In case we cannot set aside our differences, all will be lost,” he said.

Chaudhry Shujaat also pointed to the economic crisis plaguing the country, saying that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would only extend its support if political parties could set aside their differences.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1728629/return-to-assembly-to-avoid-being-victimised-pti-told

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Trigger-happy policemen shoot ‘innocent’ youth to death in Karachi

Imtiaz Ali

December 28, 2022

KARACHI: A young man was shot dead by police after a chase as he allegedly refused to stop his motorbike during snap-checking and tried to speed away in Gulistan-i-Jauhar on Tuesday, officials and hospital sources said.

The manner with which two policemen of Shaheen Force shot the man twice not on any road but inside an apartment complex cast doubts over their side of story and put a big question mark over their training.

The incident sparked a public outcry on social media that prompted Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to take notice of it.

DIG-East Muquddus Haider told Dawn that an inquiry conducted by senior police officers proved that the “policemen killed an innocent person”.

He added that three policemen were arrested on charges of killing the citizen. An FIR under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code was being registered against them.

Earlier, SSP-East Syed Abdul Rahim Shirazi told Dawn that three policemen of Shaheen Force, which was recently formed to counter street criminals in the city, were arrested for shooting to death 26-year-old Amir Hussain.

In their initial statement, the held policemen said they signalled the motorcyclist to stop during snap-checking. He did not stop upon which they chased him, started firing that led to his death, the SSP said.

The victim is said to be a son of an official of the Sindh excise department.

His relatives told the media that the policemen chased Amir and shot him on the stairs of Noman Avenue, a multi-storey apartment complex, in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Block-20. He suffered critical bullet wounds and was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

Police Surgeon Summaiya Syed said that the man suffered two firearm injuries in the chest and foot.

She said both bullets stuck in the body and were retrieved by doctors during a post-mortem examination. The same had been handed over to police for further investigation, she said.

Meanwhile, Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah took notice of the incident and directed the Karachi police chief to submit a detailed report about the incident.

Robbers shoot man over resistance

A citizen was shot and wounded by two armed robbers when he put up resistance in North Karachi, police said on Tuesday.

The Sir Syed police said Shakir Aziz, 45, was intercepted by the robbers near Mohammed Shah Graveyard, held him at gunpoint and demanded cell phone and cash. As he offered resistance, they shot him and tried to escape.

However, area people gathered there and managed to overpower one of the robbers and gave him severe beating. However, police managed to save him from the wrath of the people.

He was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment.

Meanwhile, a suspected robber was shot and wounded in an alleged encounter in Sohrab Goth on Tuesday evening.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1728587/trigger-happy-policemen-shoot-innocent-youth-to-death-in-karachi

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Siraj blames establishment, PDM-PPP-PTI troika for political, economic turmoil

December 27, 2022

LAHORE: Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Pakistan, Sirajul Haq held the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI0 troika and the establishment equally responsible for the prevailing political and economic crises.

While addressing the Islamic Lawyers Movement at Mansoorah on Tuesday, he said, “All sides are using each other to protect self-interests and stay in power, unconcerned about the plight of the public.”

There are two Pakistanis now, one for the ruling elite and the other for the poor, Sirajul Haq said, adding that poverty, inequality and injustice became permanent perils, and they were due to bad governance and ill-devised policies of the perpetual governments.

He said that the dictators had destroyed 35 years of the country, and the rest were damaged by the so-called hybrid regimes. The country, he said, was moving ahead directionless and most important institutions like judiciary and bureaucracy failed to deliver. How could Pakistan go forwards without the rule of law and justice, he questioned, saying the poor could not get justice all their life while the powerful made a mockery of the law.

Land grabbers, mafias and corrupt have ruled the country for decades, the JI chief said.

He said Pakistan was deprived of the Islamic system under a conspiracy. The country’s rulers, he said, were the agents of Washington. He said the time had reached to get rid of the status quo forces and establish a truely democratic and Islamic system. For this, he said, people had to reject the tested parties and vote for the JI.

Siraj condemned the police crackdown on the Gwadar sit-in, termed it a cruel, unconstitutional and undemocratic act of the provincial government and announced protest demonstrations at provincial headquarters against violence on peaceful protestors Wednesday. He said the countrywide rallies would be taken out in solidarity with the people of Gwadar on Friday.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/12/27/siraj-blames-establishment-pdm-ppp-pti-troika-for-political-economic-turmoil/

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Maulana Tariq Jamil hospitalized after cardiac arrest in Canada

December 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Renowned religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jamil was hospitalized in Canada on Tuesday after he suffered heart stroke.

According to details, Yousaf Jamil s/o Maulana Tariq Jamil confirmed that his father present in Canada suffered heart attack was shifted to hospital.

Yousaf Jamil in a tweet appealed to pray for health of his father.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/12/27/maulana-tariq-jamil-hospitalized-after-cardiac-arrest-in-canada/

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‘2023 Happy Chinese New Year Press Conference’ organized by Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan

December 27, 2022

Islamabad: Cultural Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and China Cultural Center in Pakistan organized a live 2023 Happy Chinese New Year Press Conference which was attended by the senior journalists from renowned Pakistani media groups, newspapers and TV Channels at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Islamabad.

The 2023 Happy Chinese New Year Press Conference was held in Beijing. Gao Zheng, Director General, the International Exchange and Cooperation Bureau, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, vice-president and secretary-general of the China International Culture Association; Zhao Cong, head of China National Traditional Orchestra, and well-known pianist Lang Lang, cultural ambassador of the 2023 Happy Chinese New Year, attended the conference, introducing the 2023 Happy Chinese New Year activities.

Gao said the Happy Chinese New Year, an annual brand activity held to celebrate Spring Festival, has taken off in recent years and is increasingly becoming an important platform for China to share Chinese culture with people from all over the world. The 2023 Happy Chinese New Year will be guided by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and hosted by China International Culture Association. Various online and offline activities, including music concerts, temple fairs and parades, will cover the globe.

The press conference also released the mascot of 2023 Happy Chinese New Year. As the coming Chinese New Year is the Year of the Rabbit, the mascot, designed by Central Academy of Fine Arts, is a cute rabbit with long ears based on the shape of a lucky bag.

China will be celebrating 2023 traditional Chinese New Year, generally known as “Chinese Spring Festival” on Sunday, January 22nd, 2023 and lasting until February 9th, 2023. It is one of the most important and biggest festivals in traditional Chinese culture, and one of the longest holidays, lasting up to 7 days.

Chinese New year is celebrating in China as well as neighboring countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, and all around the world where there are Chinese communities. In Pakistan, there are thousands of Chinese who have lived there for various periods of time. They will also be celebrating the festival in its full cultural and traditional spirit. Many similarities exist between Chinese New Year and Pakistan’s traditional “Eid” Festival. Both are based on the lunar calendar and are one of the most important and biggest festivals in their societies and both are family-centric festivals.

Mr. Xing Lijun, the Second Secretary, the Cultural Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan briefed to the Pakistani media about 2023 Happy Chinese New Year and upcoming events in connection with celebration of Chinese Spring Festival. He also highlighted the Pak China Cultural exchange programs with Pakistani journalists community.He informed that the year 2023 is a year of Rabbit as per Chinese Lunar calendar. Further more, Xing said The cultural bonds existing between the two nations is strong enough to support our everlasting friendship. This relationship will expand into all domains of Pakistani life and grow further with the passing of each day. The media interaction were ended by the question answer session.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/12/27/2023-happy-chinese-new-year-press-conference-organized-by-embassy-of-the-peoples-republic-of-china-in-pakistan/

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Sharif remembers Bhutto’s vibrancy on killing anniversary — ‘crusader for rights’

December 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The prime minister on Tuesday paid tribute to slain Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson Benazir Bhutto on the 15th anniversary of her assassination, saying the former prime minister was a “crusader for human rights and democracy”.

Shehbaz Sharif said Bhutto left an indelible mark on Pakistan’s politics and the void left by her tragic death has widened over the years.

Bhutto, a charismatic and controversial politician who served twice as prime minister between 1988 and 1997, was killed in a shooting and bomb attack as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi in December 2007, two months after she returned from exile to contest the national elections.

The PPP government of Sindh has declared December 27 as a public holiday to mark the event, according to a notification issued by the province earlier this month.

In his statement, the prime minister said the “black day [of her death] is unforgettable”.

“Benazir Bhutto is a shining example of democratic and political struggle who sacrificed her life while fighting for the rights of people,” he said.

As the first woman prime minister of the Islamic world, hers was a fascinating story of the lifelong struggle, Sharif said. “We pay tribute to the historical services of Benazir Bhutto for the country, people, and democracy.”

The prime minister also recalled that the supreme leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Nawaz Sharif, and Bhutto gave the nation the “historical gift” of the so-called charter of democracy that he claimed started a new era in the country’s politics.

The two agreed to the document in 2006 which set out constitutional amendments and other reforms aimed at enshrining democracy to rid politics of the old military-bureaucratic establishment.

Bhutto and Sharif were bitter rivals in the 1990s when they alternated as prime ministers. Both were accused of corruption and served two terms over a tumultuous period that ended when then-army chief Pervez Musharraf ousted Sharif in a bloodless 1999 coup.

It was the first time in Pakistan’s history that the two main parties had come together.

Sharif termed the document a landmark achievement of the political vision of Pakistan’s leaders which ushered in a new political culture and tradition in Pakistan.

He said Bhutto took a bold and clear stand against militancy and her assassination showed the nation’s determination against the menace.

She also rendered immense services for the strengthening of national defence, constitutional institutions and for social welfare, he added.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/12/27/sharif-remembers-bhuttos-vibrancy-on-killing-anniversary-crusader-for-rights/

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South Asia

 

Afghanistan Towards Becoming Leading Exporters of Dried Fruits Globally

By Arif Ahmadi

December 27, 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – Over the course of nine months under the Taliban leadership, Afghanistan exported dried fruits worth of $270 million, said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC).

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said the country witnessed increase in exports and imports of Afghan products through air corridors more recently.

The ministry of commerce vows to provide better facilities for Afghan traders in order to increase export of dried fruits to foreign countries.

The dry fruits that have been sent to various countries include pine nuts, pistachio and raisins – product Afghanistan is known for among the regional countries.

“We have had several shipments of export,” said Akhundzada Abdul Salam, a spokesman for the MoIC, as TOLOnews quoted. “We had exports to Europe, Canada and Australia which showed a sharp rise compared to the previous year.”

While the country continues to stabilize its dwindling economy since the takeover last August, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment (ACCI) said the local products are still being exported at high costs, but efforts are underway to decrease the costs.

ccording to ACCI, Afghan dried fruits have been exported to the US and Europe.

“We want to provide further facilities and ways of exporting our fruits through the air corridor and other options,” said Mohammad Yunus Mohmand, the acting head of the ACCI.

Meanwhile, Afghan investors and local traders urged the Taliban leadership to resume air corridors so they could export more products outside the country.

“Unfortunately, today, our export with many countries has been facing a lot of problems including lack of business relations, banking system, and even challenges within air corridor,” said Zalmay Azimi, an investor, as local media quoted.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said the country witnessed increase in exports and imports of Afghan products through air corridors more recently.

Ahmad Wali Haqmal, a spokesman for the MoF, said that Afghanistan imported commodities worth 7.8 billion Afs over the past 15 months, as TOLOnews reported.

According to Haqmal, more than 4.3 billion Afghani worth of commodities has been imported into Afghanistan in over a year, making around 950 million Afghanis in revenue.

“Within the past 15 months, commodities worth 7.8 billion Afs have been imported to Afghanistan via air corridor,” he said, as local media quoted. “The Finance Ministry made 950 million in revenue from it.”

Highlighting on the types of goods exported via the air corridors, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) said that the commodities included carpets, pine nuts, and handmade crafts – products Afghanistan is known for.

A spokesman for the MoIC, Ahundzada Abdul Salam Jawad, said the exports have been made to China and India.

“Over the past eight months, our exports have been to China and India via air corridor,” he said, as local media quoted.

“We have had around 600 tons of exports via air corridor to China. We had around 200 tons of exports to India via a private airline company and also to other countries via Dubai, UAE,” he elaborated.

Meanwhile, Afghan traders expressed hope for the future of Afghan products in the international markets, saying exporting local product to Asian and European countries will help grow Afghanistan economy.

“The air corridor is one of the main parts of business. More exports via air corridor to India, China and the Gulf countries, as well as the EU and US, will benefit us,” said Zalmai Azimi, a trader.

Based on the statistics of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, more than 5,000 tons of pine nuts have been exported via air corridor in the year 1400. 

In Afghanistan, exports account for around 20 percent of GDP. Afghanistan main exports are carpets and rugs (45 percent of total exports); dried fruits (31 percent) and medicinal plants (12 percent).

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-towards-becoming-leading-exporters-of-dried-fruits-globally/

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Afghanistan: IS claims to have killed Taliban police chief

27.12.22

The so-called "Islamic State" (IS) on Monday claimed to have assassinated a top Taliban police official.

According to the militant group's propaganda mouthpiece Amaq, the Taliban's senior police official in the province of Badakhshan, Abdul Haq Abu Omar, was killed in a car bomb.

Taliban say two others also killed

A video showing the moment of the purported bombing near the provincial police chief's headquarters was released.

IS issued a brief statement claiming to have parked a car laden with explosives on a road used by the police chief to get to work.

The Taliban's Interior Ministry spokesman, Abdul Nafi Takor, said that another two people were killed and two others were wounded in the blast.

Four suspects were arrested in connection with the incident, according to the spokesman for the Taliban.

'Islamic State' ramps up attacks

There have been numerous attacks on the Taliban since the group took power in Afghanistan in August 2021. The Islamic State – Khorasan Province, a local affiliate of IS, has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks.

The attacks often target religious and ethnic minorities, and Taliban leaders.

Earlier in December, the group claimed responsibility for an attack on a Chinese-owned hotel in Kabul. Three of the militant group's fighters were killed.

The group also claimed responsibility for targeting the Pakistani Embassy in the capital. A guard was injured and some damage was done to the building. The group had been targeting the ambassador, who escaped unhurt.

Source: Telegraph India

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https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/afghanistan-is-claims-to-have-killed-taliban-police-chief/cid/1906250

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Pakistan faces disappointment on bilateral deals with the new regime in Afghanistan

December 28, 2022

Recent events on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border make it clear that Pakistan’s decades old Afghanistan policy has failed. On 11 December 2022, Taliban forces in Afghanistan shelled a town just across the border in Pakistan, killing seven Pakistani civilians. Pakistan retaliated, killing one Taliban fighter and injuring ten Afghans. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the “unprovoked shelling” by Afghan forces. On 15 December, the two sides exchanged artillery fire across the border, killing at least one Pakistani civilian and wounding 15 others. Both countries are today on the verge of war! These developments signal a turn in ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan and signals Pakistan’s loss of control over the Afghan Taliban, which is today a government in power.

While the world’s attention is on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, violence in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan has gone unnoticed, even though the potential for a serious catastrophe persists and grows by the day. Pakistan summoned an Afghan diplomat over “unprovoked” artillery fire at their border. “Afghan Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad was called to the foreign ministry and Pakistan’s strong condemnation was conveyed over recent incidents of unprovoked cross-border shelling resulting in a loss of life, injuries and damage to property,” the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, as Aljazeera quoted. The deadly clash is believed to have erupted over the construction of a border checkpoint by Pakistan, which has been trying to fence its porous border with Afghanistan, as Aljazeera wrote. Pakistan said it remained committed to “maintaining fraternal relations with Afghanistan” and described quiet borders as “intrinsic” to that objective.

The conflict has episodically occurred ever since the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15 August last year. The deep state in Pakistan, once believed the Taliban would help them build “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. Yet the same Afghan Taliban, once hailed as a “strategic asset” has today turned into a foe. Developments since last year, when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, in violation of the Doha pact with the US, Imran Khan, then PM of Pakistan, declared triumphantly that the Taliban had broken “the shackles of slavery.”Many other Pakistanis also celebrated. Today, they are rueing their statements!

Within just a few days of their victory, the new rulers of Kabul released members of the Pakistani Taliban (known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP) who had been imprisoned in Afghan jails — the same people who have spent years waging war on the government in Islamabad. The new government in Kabul has also pointedly refused to accept the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, known as the Durand Line, drawn by the British over a century ago. Pakistan was well aware that the Taliban planned to gradually take over Afghanistan, but chose not to tell the US, which at the end of the day had to beat a hasty retreat as it had done in Vietnam. Even after the fall of Kabul, Pakistan tried to maintain its support for the Afghan Taliban while simultaneously keeping the US happy, an ambiguous policy that left no one happy at the end of the day.

In fact, Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, then DG ISI went above his then Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa and flew to Kabul in mid-2021 to support Taliban’s efforts against the Panjshir fighters in Northern Afghanistan. Pak Army SSG fought alongside the Taliban at this time. This was also the time when many TTP leaders were released by Pakistan. Lt. Gen. Hameed visited Kabul again this year to persuade the Afghan Taliban to broker a peace deal with the TTP. He failed in this mission also. The consequences of this flawed policy are there for all to see; the TTP is back in Pakistan (KPK and northern Balochistan) in full force. Terrorist attacks in Pakistan have increased by 51 percent since the Afghan Taliban seized power.

The killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul in July 2022 by a US drone sent already tense relations between the Afghans and the Pakistanis to a new low. The Taliban blamed Islamabad for al-Zawahiri’s death, which in a way was not incorrect as Pakistan allowed the US to use its airspace to launch the strike. Pakistan’s incumbent Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has visited many countries; but he is yet to visit Kabul! He sent his Deputy, Hina Rabbani Khar to Kabul. She was the first female minister to attempt to hold talks with the Taliban. But the Taliban Defence Minister (the oldest son of Afghan Taliban leader Mohammad Omar) refused to meet her.

The current situation on the border arose subsequent to General Asim Munir taking over as the new Chief of the Pakistani army. The next day, four civilians were killed in a suicide bombing in Pakistan; the TTP claimed responsibility. General Asim Munir presided over a meeting of senior generals at General Headquarters (GHQs) in Rawalpindi soon after taking over. It was decided to launch military operations against the TTP in KPK and northern Balochistan. The decision to launch the military operation followed the attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul earlier in December 2022 and the Afghan Border Forces attack on the Chaman Border that resulted in the deaths of six Pakistani civilians.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/pakistan-faces-disappointment-on-bilateral-deals-with-the-new-regime-in-afghanistan-98796/

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Afghan Refugee Boy Dies in U.S. After Falling Into the Frozen Water

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

December 28, 2022

Police have reported that a 19-year-old boy was found dead in Falls Church after falling through the ice at a Haymarket pond.

An Afghan national named, Shahzada Zadran and his friend were on the ice at the Piedmont Club golf course off Erinblair Loop when the ice broke and they fell into the frozen body of water.

The other man was able to get himself out of the water and tried to locate Zadran, but he could find him, Prince William County Police Master Officer Renee Carr said.

After the police was contacted, the 20-year-old boy was taken to the hospital and he had no serious injuries.

However, Zadran was found dead when the fire crew pulled him out of the icy water and took him to the hospital. According to officials the neighborhood barely produces thick enough ice necessary for outdoor recreation.

“Ice that forms where water levels change frequently, or where the water is moving, such as stormwater ponds, rivers, and streams is especially dangerous because its thickness will vary with the conditions and may contain cracks,” Prince William County Fire and Rescue said in a news release.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-refugee-boy-dies-in-u-s-after-falling-into-the-frozen-water/

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Africa

 

Alaran Organises Special Muslim Prayer For Ariwoola, Raji, Alege, Others

By Kazeem Awojoodu

Dec 28, 2022

IBADAN – The former Chairman Of Iseyin local government and deputy governorship candi­date on the platform of Afri­can Democratic Congress in the 2019 election, Alhaji Saheed Alaran, on Tuesday, organized a special Muslim prayer for the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Kayode Ariwoola in Iseyin.

The focus of the prayer which had the Chief Imam of Iseyin local government, Alha­ji Akeem Babatunde Olajori, and members of the Iseyin League of Imam and Alfas in attendance, was for God’s guidance and protection over the CJN in his national duties.

The prayer point was also centered on prominent sons and daughters of Iseyin com­munity like Raji Ahmed SAN, who Alaran described as a strong pillar for the develop­ment of Oyo State, Oke-Ogun and Iseyin community.

Others that were prayed for on the occasion were the Nigerian envoy to Ukraine, Ambassador Shina Alege, Je­lili Owonikoko SAN, Bimbo Atilola, among many others.

In his words, Alaran said the prayer was important as the CJN has a national calling to rebuild the judicial system in Nigeria, so as to make jus­tice available to all without segregation, adding that the distraction that followed his el­evation was from elements that forgot that Nigeria remained a country that could only sur­vive its current challenges by working on the unity of its tribal sections.

“The prayer is important because our brother who has assumed a national position upon which our country’s ju­dicial system is anchored for survival and rebirth, he has gotten all that is needed to achieve the height and he has gotten there, what remains is for God Almighty to guide, protect and support him in all his doings.

“Also, we are here to pray for our brother who is the face of Oke-Ogun and Iseyin, a re­spected legal practitioner and philanthropist per excellence, Alhaji Ahmed Raji SAN, Oke- Ogun and Iseyin need him more now that development has started coming our way, may he never misstep, may all God continue to replenish him with wisdom and capabilities to do more for the people.

“So did we pray for others like Ambassador Shina Alege, Barrister Jelili Owonikoko and other sons and daughters of this community at home and abroad that are making us proud in their different en­deavours.”

Source: Independent Nigeria

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

https://independent.ng/alaran-organises-special-muslim-prayer-for-ariwoola-raji-alege-others/

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Over 50 people killed in new communal violence in South Sudan

Benjamin Takpiny 

27.12.2022

JUBA, South Sudan

A fresh communal violence has killed 56 civilians in South Sudan, a local official said on Tuesday.

The conflict erupted in the Greater Pibor administrative area between groups of armed youth from Greater Pibor and the neighboring Jonglei state.

“The conflict started yesterday (on Monday) in the Gumuruk and Kongor towns of Pibor. It ended in the evening time,” Abraham Kelang Jiji, Greater Pibor’s information minister, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.

He also said 17 people were injured in the fighting, which restarted in early Tuesday morning.

The government has deployed soldiers to protect civilians, Jiji said, though situation is still worse.

“The attackers are still continuing fighting youth, but civilians, mostly women and children, are under the protection of the government,” he said.

Jiji added that the attackers stole several cattle herds.

“They also attacked government facilities. Yesterday, they attacked military barracks and killed one soldier and injured 17 others,” he said.

The government of Jonglei state condemned the attack on civilians by suspected youth from Jonglei.

“We are saddened and shocked by the report of a barbaric attack on the Gumuruk town of Greater Pibor administrative area by armed criminals suspected to be from our state” John Samuel Manyuon, information and communication minister of Jonglei state, said in a statement on Tuesday.

He urged suspected attackers to immediately withdraw from the territories of Greater Pibor, calling such acts unacceptable and intolerable, and said those who will be found to have carried it out will be dealt with accordingly.

“We are calling on the National Government to intervene and be part of the solution into ending this cycle of inter-communal violence of killing …,” the official said.

The attack came a few days after the UN mission in South Sudan warned of violence following mobilization and preparation for an attack by armed youth and militia groups from the two areas.

Cattle raids, child abduction and revenge attacks have been the main sources of conflict between the rival armed youth in South Sudan for years.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/over-50-people-killed-in-new-communal-violence-in-south-sudan/2773920

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Nigerian cyclist’s two-year journey to Saudi Arabia for Umrah

RASHID HASSAN

December 27, 2022

RIYADH: A young Nigerian cyclist has reached Saudi Arabia after two years to perform Umrah in Makkah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Aliyu Abdullahi Bala, who arrived in Jeddah on Dec. 8, was warmly welcomed by officials from the Consulate General in Jeddah on behalf of Nigerian Ambassador Yahaya Lawal.

Lawal told Arab News: “He was given all possible consular assistance, guidance and encouragement. The consulate facilitated his onward journey on his bicycle to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.”

The Nigerian Embassy also said in a statement: “Nigerian Mission warmly welcomes the bicycle man from Nigeria into the Kingdom, who left Jos, Plateau State in February 2021, for Umrah in Makkah and a visit to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and arrived in the Kingdom safely in the fulfillment of his vow and mission.”

Later, the ambassador met the Nigerian cyclist when he returned to Jeddah after visiting the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah.

Talking to Arab News by phone, arranged by the ambassador, an emotional Bala said: “This was like my journey of a lifetime, it was my dream coming true, all thanks to the Almighty Allah for giving me the courage to perform the important religious rituals, no matter how difficult it was to drive through the holy cities from the western African coast. I am also thankful to the Nigerian Embassy and the Consulate for all the support and moral encouragement.”

Bala, who is the first person to undertake such a journey from Nigeria in modern times, has been in high spirits since he arrived in the Kingdom.

The cycling enthusiast survived numerous obstacles and dangers on his arduous journey that began in Nigeria on the western coast of Africa and passed through Niger, Chad and Sudan before arriving at his destination.

He encountered threats from insurgents, bandits who took his mobile phone, and wild animals.

However, Bala was gifted a new mobile phone by the generous people from a small town in Sudan after he shared his horrifying experience about the bandits.

Bala, who often slept in bushes, also pushed his bicycle for kilometers when he had a flat tire.

He was treated as a role model by many on his way. Bala said: “I was given a hero’s welcome in all the cities and towns I passed through,” receiving donations and support from people.

After completing his rituals, Bala took a flight home.

Earlier this year, British pilgrim Adam Mohammed walked from Wolverhampton, England to Makkah to perform Hajj.

He walked through the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkiye, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan to reach Saudi Arabia.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2223001/saudi-arabia

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North America

 

How the G77 group of developing nations helped advance the cause of climate justice under Pakistan’s presidency

EPHREM KOSSAIFY

December 27, 2022

NEW YORK CITY: Developing countries made history at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh in November when they secured a new “loss and damage” fund to support victims of climate disasters.

This key breakthrough, which encourages wealthy nations to provide financial assistance to developing countries grappling with the climate crisis, was hailed as a historic victory, crowning a decades-long struggle.

“This is a significant achievement,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan’s foreign minister, told Arab News in an exclusive interview in New York City, having just concluded his country’s G77 presidency and passed the torch to Cuba.

“This is something that climate activists have been struggling for for 30 years and I am proud of the fact that it was under Pakistan’s chairmanship of the G77 that we managed to achieve that aim.”

Pakistan, as the 2022 chair of the G77 group of 134 developing nations, has led the charge in the global fight for climate assistance to the developing world.

Many of these countries contribute relatively little to global greenhouse gas emissions, yet are themselves often the most vulnerable to climate catastrophes, such as rising sea levels, prolonged heat waves, desertification, ocean acidification, extreme weather, bush fires, loss of biodiversity, and crop failures.

Prior to COP27, Islamabad had succeeded in putting the issue of “loss and damage” on the summit agenda. This was no easy feat.

For decades, wealthy, industrialized countries, which produce the most greenhouse gas emissions, resisted the idea of such a fund, citing fears of continuous demands for compensation on the part of the low-income countries.

Their change of heart was likely influenced by Pakistan’s own unprecedented climate disaster.

Between June and October, intense monsoon rains resulted in catastrophic flooding, which many scientists and Pakistani officials believe was the result of man-made climate change.

Flood waters submerged one-third of the country, covering an area equivalent to the size of the UK. More than 1,400 people were killed and thousands more injured. Around 33 million people were directly impacted, including 6 million left destitute.

The floods destroyed 1.7 million homes, 12,000 km of road, 375 bridges, and 5 million acres of crops, costing Pakistan an estimated $40 billion in damages, while amply demonstrating why a loss and damage fund was so urgently needed.

Indeed, Pakistan is responsible for less than 1 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and yet, like many vulnerable nations, predominantly in the global south, appears to be carrying the burden of man-made climate change.

“Success is always the result of compromise,” Bhutto Zardari told Arab News.

“And I feel that we’ve managed to achieve some common ground through the language incorporated in loss and damage.

“We need to look at this, not just as the developed world needing to give compensation or reparations to the developing world, but as a more practical approach, a more realistic approach, that we have to work together.

“The global south and the global north have to work together. The developing world and the developed world have to work together.

“Climate justice, climate catastrophe, knows no boundaries, does not care whether you’re rich or poor, whether you contributed to climate change much or you didn’t.

“It is devastating lives in Pakistan. It is devastating lives here in the US, where recently you had Hurricane Ian. In China, the heat wave. Drought and forest fires in South Africa. In Europe, floods.

“Wherever we look we see climate catastrophes catching up to us and we have to work together to address this issue.

“Obviously, there are different perspectives. The developing world feels that their carbon footprint is smaller, they haven’t contributed as much as the developed world has to the crisis.

“They haven’t benefited in the same way the developed world has from industrialization. And therefore we have to find the middle ground between the two to address this issue.”

Pakistan is a founding member of the G77, which was established in 1964 and is the largest intergovernmental grouping of developing countries in the UN system. It provides a platform for developing nations to advocate their common economic interests within the international body.

Islamabad had assumed the presidency of the group — its third tenure since the group was founded — armed with a list of priorities it intended to address.

The UN has repeatedly stressed that global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of climate change, and a lack of progress on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals are disproportionately falling on the shoulders of the world’s poorest.

The discrepancy in vaccination rates around the world alone was a shocking illustration of the widening gap between low-income and rich nations.

According to Our World in Data figures, as of July 2022, just 15.8 percent of people in low-income countries were fully vaccinated, compared with 55 percent in lower-middle income countries, 73.5 percent in high-income countries, and 78.7 percent in upper-middle income countries.

Closing these chronic gaps between rich and poor and recalibrating the strategic power dynamic has been the raison d’etre of the G77 since its creation.

“The agenda, or the aspiration of the G77, is exactly that. We represent the aspirations of the developing world,” said Bhutto Zardari. “It is one of the largest forums at the UN.

“To say at the end of our one-year term that we managed to fundamentally alter the dynamics between the developing world, the global south and the global north, would not be correct. There is a lot of work to be done.

“But I do believe we’ve managed to highlight some of these discrepancies, some of these predictions and particularly within the context of COP27, the success of G77 to get loss and damage onto its agenda goes a long way to address this discrepancy.”

Beyond the climate crisis, the pandemic, and regional conflicts, developing nations have also borne the brunt of inflationary pressures resulting from the war in Ukraine, which have caused food and fuel prices to skyrocket over the course of the past year.

Combined, these challenges have hampered the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals — a collection of 17 interlinked objectives formulated in 2015 to serve as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet to be achieved by 2030.

“I believe as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a whole host of other factors, including the Ukraine war, we have not been able to make the necessary progress on SDGs,” said Bhutto Zardari.

“If we do want to achieve that goal then it requires quite an ambitious reform agenda that would endorse many of the suggestions of Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, who also calls for reforms of international financial institutions in order for us to be able to deliver on SDGs.”

To overcome these concurrent crises, restore economies, achieve the SDGs, and address the “unequal and unjust” international economic system, Bhutto Zardari used his G77 presidency handover speech on Dec. 15 to call for emergency measures and structural changes.

These include mobilizing urgent humanitarian support for more than 50 countries in economic distress, providing emergency food supplies through the UN to the 250 million people who are food insecure, boosting food production and supplies to moderate prices, and facilitating farmers’ access to seeds, fertilizers and finance.

Bhutto Zardari also urged the international community to ensure developing countries had sufficient access to energy, to mobilize $1 trillion per year to invest in sustainable infrastructure, and for “systemic and structural reforms” to address the inequalities of the international financial system.

Loss and damage was a rare point of policy convergence in South Asia and a demonstration of developing nations wielding collective strength when they have common cause. “I think we were very successful in creating that consensus,” Bhutto Zardari told Arab News.

“Time and time again, the G77 has come together to take unanimous decisions, consensus decisions. Every meeting that we chaired here has had an outcome document.

“I don’t think it would have been possible to insist on loss and damage being part of the agenda or ultimately agreeing to get the loss and damage fund in financial arrangements… without consensus and unity across the board at G77.

“In the past year, we managed to sustain that consensus and it’s incredibly encouraging.”

He added: “The art of diplomacy, of politics, is being able to find mutual ground. I am a strong believer. I think the politics domestically in my country and internationally tend to be politics of division.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2222936/world

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UN Security Council denounces Taliban bans on women in Afghanistan

December 27, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Tuesday called for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan, denouncing a ban by the Taliban-led administration on women attending universities or working for humanitarian aid groups.

In the latest blow to women’s rights in Afghanistan since the Taliban reclaimed power last year, on Saturday the hard-line Islamist rulers banned women from working in non-governmental organizations, sparking international outcry.

The Taliban have already suspended university education for women and secondary schooling for girls.

The 15-member UN Security Council said in a statement agreed by consensus it was “deeply alarmed” by the increasing restrictions on women’s education, calling for “the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women and girls in Afghanistan.”

It urged the Taliban “to reopen schools and swiftly reverse these policies and practices, which represents an increasing erosion for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

In its statement, the Council also condemned the ban on women working for NGOs, adding to warnings of the detrimental impact on aid operations in a country where millions rely on them.

“These restrictions contradict the commitments made by the Taliban to the Afghan people as well as the expectations of the international community,” it said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Twitter on Tuesday that the restrictions were “unjustifiable human rights violations and must be revoked.” He added: “Actions to exclude and silence women and girls continue to cause immense suffering and major setbacks to the potential of the Afghan people.”

The university ban on women was announced as the Security Council in New York met on Afghanistan last week. Girls have been banned from high school since March.

The council said a ban on female humanitarian workers, announced on Saturday, “would have a significant and immediate impact for humanitarian operations in country,” including those of the UN.

“These restrictions contradict the commitments made by the Taliban to the Afghan people as well as the expectations of the international community,” said the Security Council, which also expressed its full support for the UN political mission in Afghanistan, known as UNAMA.

Four major global aid groups, whose humanitarian efforts have reached millions of Afghans, said on Sunday that they were suspending operations because they were unable to run their programs without female staff.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths told the Security Council last week that 97 percent of Afghans live in poverty, two-thirds of the population need aid to survive, 20 million people face acute hunger and 1.1 million teenage girls were banned from school.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2222976/world

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Syria: Expelling US occupation forces not out of reach

28 December 2022

Syria's foreign ministry says expelling the US occupation forces from the country's soil is not out of reach, especially given the Syrian popular forces' ongoing successful resistance operations.

"Syrian people in the northeast of the country are writing their story of heroism and struggle against the US occupation forces and their tools," the ministry tweeted on Tuesday.

"The expulsion of foreign occupation from Syrian territories never seem to be too far," it added.

The ministry considered the resistance forces' "rejection of the occupation forces [to be] guarantor of the liberation of the land and restoration of [the Syrian people's] rights," saying the prospect of the country's ridding itself of the foreign forces was "approaching fast."

The United States and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. The terrorist outfit had emerged as Washington was running out of excuses to extend its regional meddling or enlarge it in scale.

The US retains the presence, although, Syria and its allies defeated Daesh in late 2017.

Throughout the past several years, the US military has stationed its forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, maintains that the deployment is meant to plunder the Arab country’s natural resources.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/28/695266/Syria-occupation-forces-expulsion

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US occupation convoy confronted by Syrian troops, forced back in oil-rich Hasakah

27 December 2022

Syrian government troops have confronted a US military convoy in northeastern province of Hasakah as the occupation forces were attempting to pass through a community in the energy-rich region.

Amid an increasing public anger over the presence of American occupation forces, Syrian army troops stationed at a checkpoint at the entrance to the village of Tell Dahab, which lies south of the city of Qamishli, blocked and expelled the convoy of several armored vehicles, according to Syria’s official SANA news agency.

The convoy was forced to turn around and return in the direction it had come from.

The development came days after US occupation forces in northeastern Syria sent 95 tankers of stolen Syrian oil to Iraq in two separate convoys.

The batches of stolen oil were sent from the Jazira and Eastern regions in Syria’s Hasakah province to northern Iraq through the illegal Mahmoudiya and al-Waleed border crossings late on December 22.

The US military has for long stationed its forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/12/27/695217/Syrian-forces-expel-US-military-convoy-village-oil-rich-Hasakah

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