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Islamic World News ( 23 Nov 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Allahabad High Court Verdict in the Middle Of A Fiery Debate Over ‘Love Jihad’: ‘We Don't See Priyanka, Salamat As Hindu-Muslim’


New Age Islam News Bureau

24 November 2020

 

Representational Photo/We do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat Ansari as Hindu and Muslim

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• UAE Relaxes A Range Of Limits On Foreign Ownership Of Companies

• Israel Sends First Delegation To Sudan Since Normalization Of Relations

• Millions Mourn Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan Chief Khadim Rizvi, Who Led Asia Bibi Protests

• Catholic Charities Support Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh

• DAP MP Calls For Hate Speech Law After Report Of Rohingya Abuse On Social Media

• Israel Claims It's Ready For Talks With Hamas To 'Improve Conditions In Gaza'

• 'Breath Of Fresh Air' As Biden Picks Officials, Signals Seriousness On Climate Change

 India

• Allahabad High Court Verdict in the Middle Of A Fiery Debate Over ‘Love Jihad’: ‘We Don't See Priyanka, Salamat As Hindu-Muslim’

• Muslim MLA In Bihar Takes Oath In Sanskrit, Calls It Message To BJP And AIMIM

• SIT Probe Into ‘Love Jihad’ Rules Out Conspiracy Angle, Outside Funding

• Take Action Against BJP Leaders First: Urdu Poet Munawwar Rana On ‘Love Jihad’ Law

• Muslim MLA In Bihar Takes Oath In Sanskrit, Calls It Message To BJP And AIMIM

• Let Bihar enact law on ‘love jihad’, then Maharashtra will think about it: Shiv Sena

• AIMIM MLA Uses Bharat In Place Of ‘Hindustan’ In Oath

• NIA questions PDP youth chief in connection with former DSP Devinder Singh case

• India to release 23 Pak prisoners after a gap of 8 months

• Pakistan running terror campaign, India tells foreign envoys

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Arab World

• UAE Relaxes A Range Of Limits On Foreign Ownership Of Companies

• Hamas Blasts Netanyahu’s Visit To Saudi Arabia As 'Insult' To Palestinian Cause

• As the world battles COVID-19, Middle East wins war on its virus predecessor: MERS

• Arab Coalition: Fire at Jeddah petroleum products station caused by Houthi projectile

• Riyadh admits Yemenis targeted ‘core of global economy’

• Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service arrests Daesh ‘administrative chief’ at Baghdad airport

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Africa

• Israel Sends First Delegation To Sudan Since Normalization Of Relations

• Ethiopian rebel leader dismisses surrender deadline, says forces ‘ready to die’ for homeland

• Boko Haram attacks Nigerian governor’s convoy, kills 9

• Nigeria: Gunmen kill 5, kidnap 40 in attack on mosque

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Pakistan

• Millions Mourn Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan Chief Khadim Rizvi, Who Led Asia Bibi Protests

• Khadim Rizvi Is Dead, But Extremism In Pakistan Is Getting Stronger

• Two ‘militant’ leaders killed, several captured in Bajaur

• 1,200 teachers to be appointed in Balochistan

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South Asia

• Catholic Charities Support Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh

• Islamabad Hails Presidential Decree on Pardoned Pakistani Prisoners

• Saleh Accuses Parliament Members of Corruption: 2020 Afghanistan Conference

• Taliban deploying drones to drop bombs, says Afghan intelligence chief

• World abandoning Afghanistan will have disastrous outcome: UN

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Southeast Asia

• DAP MP Calls For Hate Speech Law After Report Of Rohingya Abuse On Social Media

• Sabah Umno vows to back Zahid ahead of Budget 2021 vote

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Mideast

• Israel Claims It's Ready For Talks With Hamas To 'Improve Conditions In Gaza'

• Iran’s Judiciary Chief Asks UN to Issue Human Rights Resolution against Canada

• Turkey Will Deploy Troops To Nagorno-Karabakh To Supervise Ceasefire Alongside Russia

• World has moral responsibility to end Yemen tragedy, hold invaders to account: Zarif

• IRGC Seizes Cargo of Smuggled Weapons in Northwestern Iran

• French companies train Saudi troops to kill Yemeni civilians: Report

• Israel’s Gantz sets up panel to probe Netanyahu submarine scandal

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North America

• 'Breath Of Fresh Air' As Biden Picks Officials, Signals Seriousness On Climate Change

• Trump administration more up front in its devotion to Israel

• US formally pulls out of Open Skies Treaty

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Europe

• Turkey Summons EU, Italy, Germany Envoys Over Weapons Search Of Its Ship To Libya

• World must not turn away from Afghanistan, urges UNHCR

• Greek-led EU mission illegally searches Turkish ship

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/allahabad-high-court-verdict-middle/d/123563

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 Allahabad High Court Verdict in the Middle Of A Fiery Debate Over ‘Love Jihad’: ‘We Don't See Priyanka, Salamat As Hindu-Muslim’

November 24, 2020

 

Representational Photo/We do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat Ansari as Hindu and Muslim

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Lucknow: A case filed against a Muslim man by the parents of his wife, who converted to Islam last year to marry him, has been cancelled by the Allahabad High Court. "Interference in a personal relationship would constitute a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals," the court observed in a verdict that is significant in the middle of a fiery debate over "love jihad".

"We do not see Priyanka Kharwar and Salamat Ansari as Hindu and Muslim, rather as two grown-up individuals who - out of their own free will and choice - are living together peacefully and happily over a year. The Courts and the Constitutional Courts in particular are enjoined to uphold the life and liberty of an individual guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India," said a two-judge bench.

Salamat Ansari, a resident of east UP's Kushinagar, and Priyanka Kharwar married against her parents' wishes in August last year. Priyanka converted to Islam and changed her name to "Alia" just before their wedding.

The same month, Priyanka's parents filed an FIR or First Information Report against Salamat, accusing him of crimes like "kidnapping" and "abduction to compel a marriage". They included the stringent POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act), claiming that their daughter was a minor when she married.

On November 11, the Allahabad High Court ruled on Salamat's petition requesting that the FIR be cancelled.

"The right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to right to life and personal liberty," the High Court said in the 14-page order, rejecting arguments by the UP government as well as the woman's parents.

The judgement comes at a time BJP-ruled states like UP, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana have talked about bringing laws to stop "Love jihad", a pejorative used by right-wing groups to target relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women, which, they say, is a ruse to forcibly convert the women.

Judges Vivek Agarwal and Pankaj Naqvi also made strong observations on the two previous orders by different judges in the same court in similar cases.

One of them was a writ petition in 2014 filed by five couples, seeking protection after interfaith marriages; the petition was dismissed. In another case, a single-judge bench in September refused to interfere in a petition by a couple as they sought protection three months after their marriage. The judge cited a Supreme Court order to say - "Religious conversion - just for the purpose of marriage - is not acceptable".

"None of these judgments dealt with the issue of life and liberty of two mature individuals in choosing a partner or their right to freedom of choice as to with whom they would like to live. We hold the judgments in Noor Jahan (2014) and Priyanshi (September 2020) as not laying good law," the High Court judges said.

Challenging the FIR, Salamat and Priyanka had alleged that it was "prompted by malice and mischief only with a view to bring an end to marital ties, and that no offences are made out."

In response, the lawyers for the UP government and the woman's parents argued that religious conversion to marry is banned and that "the marriage has no sanctity in law, so this court should not exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction in favour of such a couple."

After establishing that the woman was an adult at the time of marriage, the two-judge bench made a host of observations to uphold "life and liberty".

Allahabad High Court made several serious observations about similar cases in past.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/allahabad-high-court-cancels-2019-fir-against-uttar-pradesh-man-we-dont-see-couple-as-hindu-muslim-2329352

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UAE Relaxes A Range Of Limits On Foreign Ownership Of Companies

24 Nov 2020

 

FILE – In this Nov. 18, 2020 file photo, people walk past the U.S.A Pavilion at the site of Dubai Expo 2020, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The UAE has relaxed and removed a range of limits on foreign ownership of companied

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DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates has relaxed and removed a range of limits on foreign ownership of companies, state-run media reported on Monday, in the country’s latest bid to boost its global status and attract foreign investors.

The overhaul signals yet another startling change for the federation of seven desert sheikhdoms as it grapples with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Earlier this month, the UAE announced a series of reforms to its Islamic legal code, allowing unmarried couples to cohabitate, improving protections for women and loosening restrictions on alcohol consumption.

The dramatic changes come as the UAE has spent billions of dollars preparing to host some 25 million visitors for the World Expo, which was pushed to 2021 due to the pandemic.

The emirates are also expecting Israelis will join the legions of foreigners who have opened businesses and bought apartments in the coastal cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi following a breakthrough US-brokered normalisation deal between the countries.

The presidential decree changing the corporate law helps the UAE strengthen its leading position regionally and globally as an attractive destination for projects and companies, state-run WAM news agency reported.

State-linked newspaper The National reported the decree in further detail, saying the foreign ownership amendments would take effect within six months. Companies could take an entire year to start complying with the changes, it added.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1592034/uae-relaxes-limits-on-foreign-ownership

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Israel Sends First Delegation To Sudan Since Normalization Of Relations

23 November 2020

 

 Benjamin Netanyahu and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

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Israel on Monday sent a delegation to Sudan, its first since last month’s announcement of normalization of relations between the two countries, a senior Israeli official said.

For days there have been rumors in Jerusalem that a delegation would visit Khartoum in the wake of the accord announced by US President Donald Trump on October 23.

Israeli army radio reported Monday that the trip was under way.

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

The Israeli official confirmed the report to AFP but declined to say who was in the delegation.

Sudan was the third Arab country this year to announce a deal with Israel, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in February in Uganda with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council.

In August, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled on the first official direct flight from Tel Aviv to Khartoum.

The normalization agreement came a year after the fall of president Omar al-Bashir’s regime and as the transitional authorities in Khartoum drew closer to the United States.

It followed on the heels of Sudan depositing $335 million in a special account to compensate survivors and relatives of victims of the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by al-Qaeda.

The attacks, which al-Bashir had welcomed, had killed more than 200 people.

After the money was deposited Trump formally moved to delist Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/23/Israel-sends-first-delegation-to-Sudan-since-normalization-of-relations

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Millions Mourn Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan Chief Khadim Rizvi, Who Led Asia Bibi Protests

Kamran Chaudhry

November 22, 2020

Millions of people took to the roads for the final journey of a hardline Pakistani cleric in what was described as the biggest funeral procession in the history of Lahore.

Traffic choked all entry points to the city and roads leading to the mosque of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who led protests against the 2018 acquittal of Catholic woman Asia Bibi after she spent eight years on death row on a blasphemy charge.

Pedestrians carrying bags of rose petals awaited the ambulance carrying the deceased cleric to national monument Minar-e-Pakistan for funeral prayers on Nov. 21.

“Here I am, O Prophet of Allah” and “Beheading for the blasphemers” they chanted in tears.

Saad Rizvi, the cleric’s son and the new chief of TLP, which adheres to the Barelvi sect of Islam, took a pledge from mourners.

“I will forever remain sincere with the movement, Islam and Pakistan. I will sacrifice my life, money, children and everything, May Allah grants us steadfastness to follow all his laws. May we all take decisions of our life and authority according to the thought provided by our leader and pastor,” he said.

Khadim Rizvi, who sought Sharia law in Pakistan and believed all those found guilty of blasphemy should be put to death, died of a high fever and difficulty in breathing on Nov. 19, just days after leading a violent protest march to capital Islamabad against the publication in France of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

Many believe the 54-year-old cleric contracted Covid-19 during the demonstration.

He was buried in the courtyard of a madrasa associated with the mosque where he was a prayer leader.

His critics denounced him in death.

“This #Rizvi was an Islamic terrorist who wanted to bomb Holland and put a fatwa on my head because of my #muhammad cartoon contest. He will be welcomed in hell today,” tweeted anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party is the second biggest in the Dutch parliament.

Professor Taimur Rehman, a political activist and member of liberal rock band Laal, compared the photos of Rizvi’s funeral with the state funeral of Abdul Sattar Edhi, a Muslim humanitarian.

“Some people worried about SOPs [standard operating procedures]. I'm worried about religious extremism destroying our society,” he stated in a Facebook post.

According to Farooq Tariq, a labor activist, the funeral procession proved the power of religious extremists.

“Everybody knows that TLP has been supported by the establishment. The disease which caused his sudden death has been made a secret. State officials never stopped millions gathering from around the country amid the corona spread, whereas the government wants to stop the opposition’s upcoming Peshawar rally,” he said.

“This funeral depicts state hypocrisy. It is clear that society has further declined towards religious extremism. This is a serious challenge. Whoever promotes extremism is affected by it.”

Rizvi was often condemned in Catholic seminars for terrorizing religious minorities, stirring sectarian resentments and inciting riots. He called for the nuclear destruction of some European countries for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

History of extremism

In 2018, Rizvi was charged with sedition and terrorism for staging violent protests after Asia Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy after spending eight years on death row.

Blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad carries a mandatory death sentence in Pakistan. The state has not carried out any execution for this, but several people accused of blasphemy have been killed, some in prison or before trials ended. Blasphemy against the Quran is punishable with life imprisonment.

Church leaders have long claimed that blasphemy laws are abused for personal gain and that religious extremists are furthering their agenda by abusing the laws.

In July 2018, an anti-terrorism court indicted the prime suspects in the shooting of former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal., who survived after being shot twice in the arm during a meeting of the party in Narowal district. Police said in an interrogation report that the arrested gunman was a TLP youth leader.

In 2017, Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid voluntarily resigned from his post after a failed operation by security agencies to clear a key intersection in Islamabad occupied by TLP supporters. At least six people were killed and scores were injured after Islamist protesters clashed with law enforcement agencies in Islamabad, Karachi and other cities.

Hamid had been blamed for a constitutional amendment, later withdrawn, that would have allowed members of the Ahmadiyya sect to vote as Muslims. The sect has been accused by mainstream Muslims of not recognizing Muhammad as the final prophet.

In 2016, Rizvi opposed the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, a police commando who assassinated liberal Punjab governor Salman Taseer for his stance on Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

During an election campaign, Rizvi vowed to launch a so-called Amma (mother) Aisha Movement.

"All girls will be married at the age of six in line with the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad [known as hadith] and Islamic jurisprudence [fiqh]," Rizvi said at a recent rally held in the port city of Karachi.

Using a derogatory word for Christian sanitation workers, he said: "Churha will also be made to recite the Islamic proclamation of faith [kalma]."

https://www.ucanews.com/news/millions-mourn-pakistani-cleric-who-led-asia-bibi-protests/90399#

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Catholic charities support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Stephan Uttom

November 19, 2020

Three leading Catholic charities have launched a joint venture to assist thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh who fled deadly bouts of persecution in Rakhine state of Myanmar.

Caritas Bangladesh, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and Catholic Relief Service (CRS) have joined hands to support the beleaguered community in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh.

A project workshop held in Cox’s Bazar on Nov. 15 kicked off the new project called Multipurpose Adolescent Center that aims for psychological development of children, counseling, skill development for adolescents, care for expectant mothers, child care and care for children with special needs.

The project, due to run until April 2021, will cover children aged 12-18 with possibilities of an extension, officials said.

Staff from Caritas emergency response program (ERP), representatives from JRS and CRS and officials from the state-run Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission participated in evaluation of work in 2020 and formulated a strategic plan for 2021.

Caritas has been active in refugee camps since 2017, when the mass exodus of Rohingya started following a genocidal military crackdown that led to more than 700,000 fleeing to Bangladesh.

With funding from Catholic agencies across the globe, Caritas has reached out to 146,819 refugees as well as 8,641 host community members with aid including food, non-food items, water and sanitation in the past years.  

Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, head of operations of Caritas ERP, said that JRS funding for the project was mainly for protection sectors, whereas CRS provides support for disaster risk reduction, shelter and protection. In addition, CRS also provides for technical and advisory support.

In the protection sector, JRS and CRS provide funding and support for mental health and skill development, he noted.

“Caritas Bangladesh is very proud to work with two donor agencies together. They are providing vital support to the Rohingya community through Caritas. They are not only donors but also technical supporters and advisers for Caritas,” Biswas told UCA News.

JRS, which celebrated its 40th founding anniversary on Nov. 14, started working among Rohingya refugees in April 2018.

Bangladeshi Jesuit priest Jerry Gomes, JRS representative in the country, told UCA News that JRS funds 11 child-friendly spaces that already reached about 4,000 beneficiaries with basic education. In the past three years, JRS provided funds worth US$ 2.5 million.

“We are only donors but the specialty of JRS is we always work in the field to observe work. In Bangladesh, JRS has been working through Caritas by maintaining the government’s rules and regulations. Governments have many restrictions, especially in the education sector. If Bangladesh allows formal education for refugee children, we will be happy to help,” Father Gomes told UCA News.

Bangladesh hosts more than one million Rohingya Muslims who fled the crackdown in their homeland in Myanmar, where they have faced systematic persecution and denial of basic rights including citizenship for decades despite their presence in the Buddhist-majority country for centuries.

https://www.ucanews.com/news/catholic-charities-support-rohingya-refugees-in-bangladesh/90375

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DAP MP calls for hate speech law after report of Rohingya abuse on social media

24 Nov 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — An Opposition lawmaker called on Tuesday for Malaysia to outlaw online hate speech, accusing authorities of downplaying the gravity of an issue highlighted by a Reuters investigation into abuse on Facebook of Rohingya refugees and undocumented migrants.

Citing the Reuters report on rising xenophobia online in Malaysia in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, lawmaker Chan Foong Hin asked the Communications and Multimedia Ministry last week to state its plans to combat such hate speech.

In a written parliamentary reply on Thursday, the ministry said hate speech on social media platforms such as Facebook was assessed according to the companies’ terms and would be removed if it violated community standards.

The ministry did not refer directly to the Reuters’ report in its response. But it said it had instructed state broadcaster RTM and state news agency Bernama to produce reports that would help correct “misconceptions”, and curb “external elements that try to make Malaysia look bad.”

Chan said authorities appeared to be deflecting responsibility to Facebook or downplaying hate speech as “misconceptions” or “fake news”.

“The Ministry seems to be in denial and thinks that the hate speech as reported by Reuters is under control, and there is no need for any further control by law,” he said.

“It is time we enact laws that punish makers of hate speech,” Chan said, adding that current laws were not adequate to control “those who create and spread hate speech” among different communities.

Malaysia has broad laws against offensive and seditious comments that cover some aspects of hate speech. But some have called for a specific law on hate speech, citing sensitivities over ethnicity and religion in the multi-ethnic Southeast Asian country.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has been long been supportive of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority fleeing persecution in largely Buddhist Myanmar, but sentiment turned in April amid accusations that refugees and undocumented migrants were bringing in the coronavirus.

Rights groups have accused the Malaysian government of failing to counter the rising anti-migrant sentiment. — Bernama

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/11/24/dap-mp-calls-for-hate-speech-law-after-report-of-rohingya-abuse-on-social-m/1925636

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Israel claims it's ready for talks with Hamas to 'improve conditions in Gaza'

24 November 2020

Israel's minister of military affairs claims the Zionist regime is prepared for talks with the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Benny Gantz said on Monday that Tel Aviv is ready to engage in talks with Palestinian group with the aim of “improving conditions in the blockaded Gaza Strip.”

He made the remarks in a meeting with the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

Later in the day, Gantz tweeted that Israel is prepared “to arrive at a solution and contribute to improved conditions for the residents of Gaza” provided an understanding is reached that includes the release of Israeli soldiers detained by Hamas.

Hamas is said to be holding four Israeli prisoners, including two soldiers captured during the Israeli war on Gaza in the summer of 2014. The group has demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Tel Aviv in exchange for the Israelis.

The Israeli minister's comments came just two days after the regime's jet fighters launched air raids against eastern Beit Hanoun in the north of the besieged Gaza Strip.

An observation post belonging to the Gaza-based resistance movement of Hamas, located in Beit Hanoun’s An-Nayema street, was apparently targeted in the Israeli attacks on Saturday night.

The Israeli military has bombed Gaza almost daily since August 6 in what it says is a response to the airborne incendiary devices and rockets launched from the blockaded coastal sliver into the occupied lands.

The fire balloons are widely seen as an attempt by Hamas to improve the terms of an informal truce, under which Israel committed to easing its 13-year-old crippling siege of the Gaza Strip.

So far, however, Israel has tightened the blockade, banned Palestinian fishermen from going to sea, and closed a key crossing with the territory, prompting the closure of Gaza’s sole power plant for want of fuel.

The Gaza Strip suffers from an acute shortage of food and medical supplies plus extreme unemployment compounded by a severe electricity crisis as a result of the Israeli blockade imposed on it since 2007.

Israel and Hamas had earlier reached a ceasefire deal, brokered by Qatar, in late August.

While the Israeli minister talks of a deal with Hamas, the Palestinian group has repeatedly condemned ongoing efforts -- in the Arab world -- to normalize relations with the Israeli regime.

On Monday, the group denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secret flight to Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling the move an “insult” to the Palestinian cause.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the Israeli premier's meeting, which was reportedly held in Neom on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, as “dangerous” and urged Saudi authorities to “clarify what happened because this represents an insult to the nation and the squandering of Palestinian rights.”

Israel has launched three major wars against the enclave since 2008, killing thousands of Gazans each time and shattering the impoverished territory’s already poor infrastructure.

The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty in the Gaza Strip.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/24/639244/Benny-gantz-israel-palestine-hamas

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'Breath of fresh air' as Biden picks officials, signals seriousness on climate change

Joseph Haboush

24 November 2020

President-elect Joe Biden’s announcements on Monday to fill top White House and cabinet posts were welcomed by analysts and diplomats alike, while the former VP moved to show that he was serious about climate change.

After making Ron Klain his first hire as chief of staff earlier this month, Biden announced Monday his picks for secretary of state, national security adviser, US ambassador to the UN and a special presidential envoy for climate.

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

Avril Haines, the first woman to serve as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was also announced as Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence.

Alejandro Mayorkas, another former official in the Obama administration, has been picked to lead Homeland Security. If confirmed, Biden’s team said he would be the first immigrant and first Latino to lead the department.

“They’re all good people, very professional and have been doing this for a long time,” one senior diplomat at the UN told Al Arabiya English.

“It’s a breath of fresh air having these types of individuals in such positions,” the diplomat added.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry will be Biden’s special envoy for climate, signaling the seriousness of climate change on Biden’s list of priorities.

The move was also welcomed among UN diplomats and officials. “Climate is a very important issue for us to work on,” the UN diplomat said, adding: “A new era of American diplomacy will be reinstated, and they will lead on so many issues.”

Biden has vowed to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, which President Donald Trump quickly withdrew from during his early days in office. Biden has proposed a $1.7 trillion plan to take the US, the world's second biggest carbon emitter, to net zero by 2050.

Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said Monday’s announcements signal that Biden will take a pragmatic, more moderate approach to US foreign policy. But he also noted that climate change would impact foreign policy as well.

“Climate change will truly be on the national security agenda for America,” Katulis told Al Arabiya English, signaling Kerry’s appointment as a special envoy.

As for US foreign policy in the Middle East, Katulis said it was too early to tell what the appointments could mean.

“Most of the Middle East policy questions do not rise to the level other urgent priorities, such as the pandemic response and global response to the economic constraints and China,” he said.

Katulis said that climate change would affect Washington’s relationship with key Middle East countries, which are also profoundly impacted by climate change. “There will be interest in [climate change] from Middle Eastern countries as well.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/24/-Breath-of-fresh-air-as-Biden-picks-officials-signals-seriousness-on-climate-change

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India

 

Muslim MLA in Bihar takes oath in Sanskrit, calls it message to BJP and AIMIM

Arun Kumar |Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Nov 23, 2020

India’s unity in diversity was in full display on the first day of the inaugural five day session of the 17th Bihar Vidhan Sabha, as members elected from different regions cutting across party lines took oath in different languages.

However, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Congress MLA from Kasba, surprised everyone by taking oath in Sanskrit, while others brought the regional flavours by taking oaths in Maithili, Urdu, Hindi apart from English and Sankrit.

Later, Khan, an alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said that he took the oath in Sanskrit to do something different to underline the unity in diversity that India represents.

“I tried to give a message to both the BJP and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Our culture is so beautiful and Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. I felt I should take the oath in Sanskrit and I did it,” he said.

Akhtarul Imam, Bihar MLA from Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, referred to the word ‘Hindustan’, instead of ‘Bharat’, while reading out the Urdu translation of the oath. Imam is the head of AIMIM’s Bihar unit and was often described as the face of the party in Bihar after he joined the party after quitting the RJD.

AIMIM had won its first ever assembly seat in Bihar in Kishanganj by-polls in 2019 when its candidate Qamrul Hoda defeated BJP’s Sweety Singh. While Hooda gave the Hyderabad-based party its first success, Imam is credited with deepening its roots in the Seemanchal area.

Pro-tem Speaker Jitan Ram Manjhi immediately said that it should be ‘Bharat’ as has been the practice as well as provision in the Constitution. Imam immediately made amends and read out the oath. He later said that the word in old Urdu translation needed to be changed.

“I have no problem even if it is Hindustan, but the Constitution clearly says Bharat,” he added.

The first person to take oath was Dhirendra Pratap Singh alias Rinku singh, MLA from Valmiki Nagar constituency, as per the list of elected members notified by the election commission.

There was an apparent regional flavour in the way many of the members dressed themselves and took oath.

If those from the Mithilanchal, cutting across party lines, took oath in Maithili, there were others from Seemanchal who took oath in Urdu. There were others like Ratnesh Sada from Sonbarsa and Mithilesh Kumar from Sitamarhi, who took oath in Sanskrit. The 17th VIdhan Sabha has over 100 new members and the excitement on their faces was clearly visible.

The inaugural session of the 17th Vidhan Sabha will continue till November 27. The remaining members will take oath on Tuesday. All the 243 newly elected members of the Bihar Assembly will be administered oath by the pro-tem Speaker in the central hall, where seating arrangement has been made with proper distancing in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The election of Speaker will take place on November 25, while on November 26, governor Phagu CHouhan will address the joint sitting of the State legislature.

In the new Assembly, RJD is the largest party with 75 members, while the Grand Alliance has 110 seats. The NDA, the largest coalition has 125 seats, including 74 members of the BJP. An independent candidate has also extended its support to it.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/bihar-election/muslim-mla-in-bihar-takes-oath-in-sanskrit-calls-it-message-to-bjp-and-aimim/story-3jQjjnlRiSU8seNuSeb7ZO.html

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SIT probe into ‘love jihad’ rules out conspiracy angle, outside funding

by Manish Sahu

November 24, 2020

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up in September to probe alleged cases of ‘love jihad’ has ruled out any conspiracy angle in the 14 such cases it investigated and also found no evidence that the Muslim youths involved got any funding from abroad. The SIT, which submitted its report on Monday, also dismissed charges that the youths had the backing of any organisation.

The SIT’s findings come two days after the Uttar Pradesh government announced that it would bring an ordinance to check unlawful conversions in the state, primarily aimed at alleged cases of ‘love jihad’.

The SIT was formed by Inspector General (Kanpur Range) Mohit Agarwal after members of right-wing Hindu organisations, including the VHP, met him and alleged a conspiracy in which Muslim youths were luring Hindu girls into marriage in a bid to convert them. They also claimed that the youths, who are being funded from abroad, had hid their identities from the girls.

The SIT, headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police Vikas Pandey, submitted its report to Agarwal on Monday after probing 14 cases lodged in police stations across Kanpur district over the last two years involving Hindu girls and Muslim men.

Read | ‘Love jihad’ coined by BJP to divide nation, disturb communal harmony: Ashok Gehlot

Confirming that the SIT submitted its report to him on Monday, Agarwal told The Indian Express that of the 14 cases, the SIT found that police had taken action against the accused in 11 cases under Sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) and other charges. In eight cases, it was established that the victims (the girls) were minors.

In three of the 14 cases, the SIT found that police had filed closure reports after the Hindu women, all above 18 years, had given statements in favour of the accused, stating either that they had married Muslim men or been with them of their own free will, said Agarwal.

Of the 11 cases in which action was taken against the accused men, the SIT found that in three cases, the youths had allegedly used false identities, including preparing fake documents, to impress the girls. In these three cases, police have added charges of fraud against the accused, said the IG.

Also Read | Madhya Pradesh plans law to check ‘rising love jihad’ with five-year prison term

While probing the ‘conspiracy’ angle in these 11 cases, the SIT found that only four of the Muslim youths, against whom cases were lodged, were known to each other. But that, the SIT found, was because they lived in the same locality — Juhi colony in Kanpur.

“The conspiracy part could not be established. The inquiry team also did not find any organisation to be behind the youths (accused). Also, they were not being funded from abroad,” said Agarwal.

“In three of these 11 cases, the victims claimed they were forced into religion conversion. In three other cases, the girls said they were forced into marriage,” he added.

Police said chargesheets have been filed in eight of these cases, while the process is on in the remaining ones.

DSP Pandey, who headed the probe, told The Indian Express that in the 11 cases, “we found that established procedure was not followed while changing the names of the girls before their marriage. Also, their marriages were not registered under the Special Marriages Act.”

In September, Hindutva groups had raised the issue of alleged ‘love jihad’ after reports emerged of a Kanpur girl, Shalini Yadav, marrying a Muslim youth. A few days after she left home, the girl put up a video saying she had converted and seeking police protection from her parents, who, she alleged, had lodged a false FIR of kidnapping.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sit-probe-into-love-jihad-rules-out-conspiracy-angle-outside-funding-7063046/

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Take Action Against BJP Leaders First: Urdu Poet Munawwar Rana On ‘Love Jihad’ Law

November 23, 2020

Lucknow: With the Uttar Pradesh government planning to bring a law against religious conversion due to marriage or "love jihad", Urdu poet Munawwar Rana said the new law should first be used against the leaders of the BJP and their family members who have married outside the community.

In a tweet in Hindi, Mr Rana said: "We can extend support to a law being enacted against love jihad only on the condition that its beginning should be made from the two big love jihadis sitting in the central government so that two Muslim girls can then marry them and action should also be taken against all BJP leaders and their family members who have married outside their religion."

In another tweet, he said: "Although love jihad is just a jumla used to spread hatred in the society, Muslim girls suffer the most from this because boys get married elsewhere."

The Uttar Pradesh government has sent a proposal to the state's law ministry for a stringent law to deal with the alleged religious conversion of women in the name of marriage, which BJP leaders refer to as "love jihad".

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also stated at recent election rallies that his government would come out with a strong law to deal with "love jihad".

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/urdu-poet-munawwar-rana-on-proposed-love-jihad-law-in-uttar-pradesh-take-action-against-bjp-leaders-first-2329175

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Muslim MLA in Bihar takes oath in Sanskrit, calls it message to BJP and AIMIM

Arun Kumar |Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Nov 24, 2020

India’s unity in diversity was in full display on the first day of the inaugural five day session of the 17th Bihar Vidhan Sabha, as members elected from different regions cutting across party lines took oath in different languages.

However, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Congress MLA from Kasba, surprised everyone by taking oath in Sanskrit, while others brought the regional flavours by taking oaths in Maithili, Urdu, Hindi apart from English and Sankrit.

Later, Khan, an alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said that he took the oath in Sanskrit to do something different to underline the unity in diversity that India represents.

“I tried to give a message to both the BJP and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Our culture is so beautiful and Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. I felt I should take the oath in Sanskrit and I did it,” he said.

Akhtarul Imam, Bihar MLA from Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, referred to the word ‘Hindustan’, instead of ‘Bharat’, while reading out the Urdu translation of the oath. Imam is the head of AIMIM’s Bihar unit and was often described as the face of the party in Bihar after he joined the party after quitting the RJD.

AIMIM had won its first ever assembly seat in Bihar in Kishanganj by-polls in 2019 when its candidate Qamrul Hoda defeated BJP’s Sweety Singh. While Hooda gave the Hyderabad-based party its first success, Imam is credited with deepening its roots in the Seemanchal area.

Pro-tem Speaker Jitan Ram Manjhi immediately said that it should be ‘Bharat’ as has been the practice as well as provision in the Constitution. Imam immediately made amends and read out the oath. He later said that the word in old Urdu translation needed to be changed.

“I have no problem even if it is Hindustan, but the Constitution clearly says Bharat,” he added.

The first person to take oath was Dhirendra Pratap Singh alias Rinku singh, MLA from Valmiki Nagar constituency, as per the list of elected members notified by the election commission.

There was an apparent regional flavour in the way many of the members dressed themselves and took oath.

If those from the Mithilanchal, cutting across party lines, took oath in Maithili, there were others from Seemanchal who took oath in Urdu. There were others like Ratnesh Sada from Sonbarsa and Mithilesh Kumar from Sitamarhi, who took oath in Sanskrit. The 17th VIdhan Sabha has over 100 new members and the excitement on their faces was clearly visible.

The inaugural session of the 17th Vidhan Sabha will continue till November 27. The remaining members will take oath on Tuesday. All the 243 newly elected members of the Bihar Assembly will be administered oath by the pro-tem Speaker in the central hall, where seating arrangement has been made with proper distancing in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The election of Speaker will take place on November 25, while on November 26, governor Phagu CHouhan will address the joint sitting of the State legislature.

In the new Assembly, RJD is the largest party with 75 members, while the Grand Alliance has 110 seats. The NDA, the largest coalition has 125 seats, including 74 members of the BJP. An independent candidate has also extended its support to it.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/bihar-election/muslim-mla-in-bihar-takes-oath-in-sanskrit-calls-it-message-to-bjp-and-aimim/story-3jQjjnlRiSU8seNuSeb7ZO.html

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Let Bihar enact law on ‘love jihad’, then Maharashtra will think about it: Shiv Sena

Swapnil Rawal

Nov 23, 2020

Days after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders sought the enactment of a legislation against “love jihad”, a term coined by Hindutva groups for Hindu girls being allegedly forced to convert to Islam in the guise of marriage, the Shiv Sena said that it will study the law that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s government brings into effect, if he does so.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that BJP leaders in Maharashtra are attempting to “distract” the Uddhav Thackeray-led government from the course of development by using such tactics.

Last week, BJP leader Ram Kadam targeted the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and asked why it was silent on the atrocities committed against women under the pretext of “love”.

The Shiv Sena said it will think about a legislation against “love jihad” if the Bihar government brings in such a legislation. BJP union minister Giriraj Singh has backed an enactment of the law in Bihar, but Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) is reportedly against it.

Raut, the Shiv Sena’s chief spokesperson, said, “I spoke to the chief minister about the demand for a ‘love jihad’ law by BJP leaders. We will study the law against ‘love jihad’ in other states, especially in Bihar, and then think about it. Nitish Kumar has become the chief minister with the help of the BJP, but the BJP is running the government. We will study what law Nitish Kumar’s government brings in. The BJP should bring in an ideal law on ‘love jihad’ in Bihar and then ask questions [to others] about it.”

The Shiv Sena parliamentarian also slammed the BJP over the lack of a development plan for the country. He said that the politics of religion and communalism is being practised due to the upcoming assembly election in West Bengal. “The politics over ‘love jihad’ will end after the West Bengal elections,” Raut said.

He added, “The BJP doesn’t have any issue related to development. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is guiding Maharashtra towards development, and therefore, they are attempting to disturb and distract us from the course. However, despite all this, Maharashtra will become the top state in the country in the next three years.”

An editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana also hit out at the BJP leadership in Maharashtra and said that they shouldn’t play with the people’s lives during the Covid-19 pandemic for the sake of politics.

“On one hand, they criticise the government for not controlling Covid-19 numbers, and on the other, they create chaos and crowding, which leads to the spread of Covid-19. The second wave of Covid-19 is coming, but the BJP thinks this wave is of their political ideology. They want to use the wave as the ladder to uninstall the saffron flag on the Mumbai civic body. That is fine; you play your politics, but why are you pushing innocent people into an abyss,” the editorial read.

Radical Hindu groups have popularised the term “love jihad”, which they use to describe what they believe is an organised conspiracy of Muslim men to trick Hindu women into marriages. In February, junior home minister G Kishan Reddy told Parliament the term “love jihad” is not defined under the laws and no such case has been reported by any central agency. Despite the political mobilisation, experts say that the charges of love jihad are bogus and that adult men and women are free to convert under the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/let-bihar-enact-law-on-love-jihad-then-maharashtra-will-think-about-it-shiv-sena/story-zAC8HHulEmJodnIvmbTQeM.html

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AIMIM MLA uses Bharat in place of ‘Hindustan’ in oath

Nov 24, 2020

PATNA: The newly elected AIMIM member of the Bihar legislative assembly, Akhtarul Iman, asked pro tem Speaker Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday whether the word “Hindustan” in the text for taking the oath in Urdu could be replaced by “Bharat”, which is otherwise mentioned in the Preamble to the country’s Constitution. Iman is also AIMIM state president.

The query surprised Manjhi, who said the text had become a part of convention. After consulting with the assembly secretariat secretary in whispers, Manjhi allowed Iman to take the oath in Urdu and to replace the word “Hindustan” with “Bharat”.

“Whatever query I made was before I took the oath. It was merely a suggestion from my side, not an objection,” Iman said, adding: “I had only made a point that the Preamble of the Constitution did not mention the word Hindustan. Instead, it is ‘Bharat’ that has been mentioned there. Accordingly, I thought that since we were taking oath in the name of the Constitution, it would be proper to use the word Bharat, instead of Hindustan.”

However, the Kochadhaman MLA’s intervention stirred a small controversy. “Those who have any problem with the use of the word ‘Hindustan’ should better go to Pakistan, or any other country,” BJP MLA Neeraj Kumar Singh Babloo said. Ex-minister and JD(U) MLA Madan Sahani sounded more circumspect. “Hindustan is a very common word that is used by people. Some people like to look different or try to get instant limelight. What he said was really unnecessary,” Sahani said.

Several legislators drew attention on the first day of the 17th Vidhan Sabha as they entered the House, some for the first time, showcasing their unique individual styles or the region they were representing.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/aimim-mla-uses-bharat-in-place-of-hindustan-in-oath/articleshow/79379911.cms

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NIA questions PDP youth chief in connection with former DSP Devinder Singh case

Nov 24, 2020

SRINAGAR: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday questioned PDP’s youth wing president, Waheed ur Rehman Para, in New Delhi in a case related to the arrest of former DSP, Devinder Singh, and Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Naveed Babu.

Para is to be questioned on Tuesday as well, a top NIA officer said.

On January 19 this year, DSP Devinder Singh, Hizbul Mujahideen commander Naveed, besides a lawyer were arrested while travelling in a vehicle from Srinagar to Jammu.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nia-questions-pdp-youth-chief-in-connection-with-former-dsp-devinder-singh-case/articleshow/79377778.cms

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India to release 23 Pak prisoners after a gap of 8 months

Nov 23, 2020

AMRITSAR: India will repatriate 23 Pakistani prisoners on completion of their jail sentence via Attari land border on Tuesday.

According to sources the Pakistani prisoners being repatriated include 3 civil prisoners and 20 fishermen.

The repatriation is being done after a gap of nearly 8 months.

Earlier India had released and sent back 8 Pakistani prisoners on March 14 2020.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-to-release-23-pak-prisoners-after-a-gap-of-8-months/articleshow/79375848.cms

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Pakistan running terror campaign, India tells foreign envoys

Nov 23, 2020

NEW DELHI: India intensified its diplomatic offensive Monday to expose Pakistan on the issue of cross-border terrorism with foreign secretary Harsh Shringla briefing a select group of foreign envoys, including from P5 countries, about the role of Pakistan based forces in the Nagrota terror attack.

Shringla told the envoys that the foiled terror attack was a part of Pakistan’s ongoing terror campaign in J&K where, in 2020 alone, India had seen 200 incidents of terrorist violence and neutralization of 199 terrorists.

The briefing focused on how a well-planned terrorist attack was launched from across the border and also, as official sources said, the implications of the incident on security, diplomacy and the battle against terrorism, given that this was the biggest terror attack planned in India since the February 2019 Pulwama terror strike.

The briefing also saw Shringla providing the heads of missions with an information docket carrying details of the incident as it transpired as well as list of items and munition that were recovered from Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists "clearly indicating their Pakistani origins". They were also briefed on how the terrorists got into India which, a source said, is now clear through the discovery of an underground tunnel in the Samba sector.

Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong was not among those briefed even though other P5 envoys were present. For India, as a source said, the idea was to share information as widely as possible with the international community about Pakistan's support to cross-border terrorism. India believes Pakistan, instead of checking the activities of groups like LeT and JeM, has been looking to divert attention from its internal political and economic failures by claiming that it was India which was supporting terrorist activities in Pakistan. Islamabad also recently shared with the international community a dossier on India's alleged activities, described by Indian authorities as a figment of imagination.

Shringla also briefed them envoys about how preliminary investigations by the police and intelligence authorities, markings on the recovered AK47 rifles and other items showed that the terrorists belonged to Pakistan based JeM.

According to sources, this was the first of several briefings on the Nagrota attack to be conducted by MEA in small groups in view of Covid-19 situation and that other secretaries will also be briefing more heads of missions from their areas of jurisdiction.

Details of JeM’s involvement in previous such incidents were also shared. As PM Narendra Modi had said earlier, Shringla told the envoys that this was a part of ongoing efforts to sabotage the local body polls in JnK. He said the foiled terror attack was also aimed to coincide with the anniversary of 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.

"In terms of the bigger picture, it was clear that the terrorists were planning the biggest terror attack in India since Pulwama in February 2019 and the implications can be guessed," said a source, adding that the envoys were sensitized about India's concerns regarding Pakistan’s sustained efforts to destabilize the situation in J&K and to subvert local elections and democracy.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-running-terror-campaign-india-tells-foreign-envoys/articleshow/79375702.cms

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Arab World

 

Hamas blasts Netanyahu’s visit to Saudi Arabia as 'insult' to Palestinian cause

23 November 2020

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secret flight to Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling the move an “insult” to the Palestinian cause.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described the Israeli premier's meeting, which was reportedly held in Neom on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, as “dangerous” and urged Saudi authorities to “clarify what happened because this represents an insult to the nation and the squandering of Palestinian rights.”

A member of Netanyahu’s cabinet and Likud party on Monday confirmed reports that Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with the kingdom’s de facto ruler and the US secretary of state.

Earlier in the day, Israel’s Kan public radio and Army Radio said Mossad chief Yossi Cohen also attended the meeting.

Sunday’s meeting marked the first known encounter between senior Israeli and Saudi officials, amid attempts by Pompeo to coax the Riyadh regime to follow its neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in establishing formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

Islamic jihad: Netanyahu’s visit prelude to more aggression against Palestinians

The Islamic Jihad movement also condemned Saudi Arabia for hosting the Israeli prime minister, warning that the development could be a prelude to more extensive aggression against the Palestinian nation, the Islamic Ummah and Islam’s sacred sites.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Islamic Jihad noted that Netanyahu’s Saudi visit amounted to treason against the cause of Palestine as well as betrayal of Jerusalem al-Quds and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

“Such a visit to a country, which claims to be custodian of the sacred sites of the Islamic Ummah will encourage the Zionist regime to continue its vicious aggressive policy toward the sacred land of Palestine,” the Palestinian movement said.

‘Saudi-led coalition states openly engaged in normalization with Israel’

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has condemned Netanyahu’s visit to Saudi Arabia, saying members of the Saudi-led military coalition waging a devastating war on Yemen are explicitly involved in normalization of ties with the Israeli regime.

“Netanyahu visited Saudi Arabia as part of preparations for full normalization [with the kingdom], after Saudi officials welcomed such steps by other regional states. The countries that attack Yemen and besiege its people, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, tend to become fully, formally and publicly involved in the Zionist project,”  Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

He added, “The Saudi-led coalition’s member states are making use of their military capabilities and all available means in an open war against Yemeni people. As a result, the exact nature of the ongoing aggression on Yemen as a US-Zionist plot has been revealed.”

“The House of Saud had paved the way for its own normalization, before some countries officially took the measure, in a bid to make the move acceptable. But, they failed to convince regional peoples that they are the advocates of the sanctities of the Muslim world,” the Ansarullah spokesman pointed out.

Abdul-Salam further argued that Saudi Arabia, which is supposed to act as the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is expected to guard the Grand Mosque, also called Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, but it has turned into an entity that conspires against Islam and Muslims.

Following the September 15 signing of US-brokered agreements on normalization between Israel and the UAE and also Bahrain, President Donald Trump announced on October 23 at the White House that Sudan and Israel had also agreed to normalize relations.

Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan, senior US officials said.

Sudan’s acting Foreign Minister Omar Gamareldin, however, later said the accord will depend on approval from its yet-to-be formed legislative council.

It is unclear when the assembly will be formed under a power-sharing deal between the country’s military officers and civilians.

The normalization deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. They say the deals ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639204/Hamas-blasts-Netanyahu-visit-to-Saudi-Arabia-calls-it-insult-to-Palestinian-cause

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As the world battles COVID-19, Middle East wins war on its virus predecessor: MERS

Jennifer Bell

24 Nov 2020

While the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Middle East is winning the war on the previous deadly outbreak to threaten the world - MERS.

Seven years before COVID-19 began making global headlines, the first outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) - known to cause acute respiratory disease, gastrointestinal problems, kidney failure and death - was reported in Saudi Arabia.

The disease, also referred to as MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), led to 2519 worldwide cases since the April 2012, including 866 deaths - a mortality rate of about 35 percent. Most of these cases (83 percent) were reported from Saudi Arabia. The height of the MERS-CoV epidemic was in April 2015 when 395 cases were recorded, most in Saudi Arabia (342 cases).

But according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the last reported cases of the virus were in January this year, when 17 new laboratory-confirmed cases were reported - two in the UAE, and 15 more in Saudi Arabia.

The deaths occurred among patients aged 45 to 85 years with underlying health conditions.

Dr. Ulrich Wernery, scientific director of Dubai’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, which plays an important role in efforts to combat the virus, believes the disease is no longer a serious threat to public safety.

“The last major viruses - severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), MERS and COVID-19 - were all coronaviruses,” he said. “SARS was essentially eradicated because of the killing of every civet cat - the source of the virus.”

“With MERS - a virus linked to camels - the same could not be done because you cannot kill more than 20 million camels.”

“But what has been done is acting on the knowledge we had; and limiting interaction with the species and limiting human-to-human transmission - especially in hospital settings. That has led to human numbers of MERS now being minimal. Although we should not forget it, MERS has subsided, and we can control it.”

“With COVID - which is the worst of the three viruses - we can learn lesson from these previous coronaviruses; we need to act on the knowledge we have and that is how to limit the spread.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/23/Coronavirus-As-the-world-battles-COVID-19-Middle-East-wins-war-on-its-virus-predecessor-MERS

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Arab Coalition: Fire at Jeddah petroleum products station caused by Houthi projectile

Tuqa Khalid

23 November 2020

A projectile launched by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen caused a fire at a petroleum products distribution station in Jedda, the Arab Coalition's spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said on Monday.

An official at the Saudi Ministry of Energy had said earlier in the day that an explosion led to fire breaking out in a fuel tank at a petroleum products distribution station in Northern Jeddah.

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“This was the result of a terrorist attack using a projectile,” the official said, according to state news agency SPA.

The fire was extinguished and there were no injuries or casualties due to the attack.

“Saudi Aramco's fuel supplies to its customers have not been affected,” the official said.

Arab Coalition spokesman said: “The Iran-backed terrorist Houthi militia has been implicated in this cowardly terrorist attack, which does not target the Kingdom's national capabilities, but rather targets the global economy, its supplies and global energy security,” SPA reported.

He added that the Coalition is taking the necessary operational measures to protect civilians and civilian objects, and those who planned and executed these attacks will be held accountable.

Al-Maliki said the attack was a continuation of last year’s attacks on two Aramco facilities in the Kingdom, Abqaiq and Khurais.

Saudi Arabia has been targeted with dozens of ballistic missile and drone attacks since the start of last year, including a devastating strike on Aramco's facilities in the country's east which temporarily knocked out half the kingdom's crude output.

The strike was claimed by the Houthis, but the United States said it involved cruise missiles from Iran.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/11/23/Arab-Coalition-Fire-at-Jeddah-petroleum-products-station-caused-by-Houthi-projectile

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Riyadh admits Yemenis targeted ‘core of global economy’

23 November 2020

Saudi Arabia confirms that a distribution station belonging to its Aramco oil company has been hit by a Yemeni missile attack, claiming that the Houthis have targeted “the core of global economy and its supply routes.”

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), spokesman for the Saudi-led military coalition fighting against Yemen Turki Al-Malki said the early Monday missile attack did not just “target the Kingdom’s National Assets, but the core of global economy and its supply routes, as well as the security of global energy.”

His comments came after the Saudi energy ministry confirmed the Yemeni missile attack against the Aramco oil facility in Jeddah.

Earlier, the spokesman for Yemen's Armed Forces, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said in a statement that the distribution station was targeted by the Quds-2 winged missile with high precision.

According to Saree, the Quds-2, a new generation of locally-made winged missiles, recently entered service after successful tests in the depths of Saudi Arabia which have not been disclosed yet.

The Yemeni spokesman stressed that the attack came in response to the ongoing Saudi military aggression and siege.

In his Monday remarks, Turki Al-Malki said the Yemeni missile attack was “a continuation” to earlier retaliatory attacks against oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.

In September 2019, Yemeni armed forces targeted vital Saudi oil facilities located east of the country. 

The attacks "resulted in a temporary suspension of production at Abqaiq and Khurais plants.” It led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of crude, or about 50 percent of total production.

The Houthis say the attacks are a firm response to Saudi Arabia’s relentless bombardment of Yemen, where tens of thousands of civilians have been killed since Riyadh launched its illegal military campaign five years ago.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639242/Yemen-attack-saudi-aramco-oil

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Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service arrests Daesh ‘administrative chief’ at Baghdad airport

23 November 2020

Members of Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) have captured a high-ranking figure of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group after he arrived at Baghdad International Airport.

CTS spokesman Sabah al-Noaman told AFP that the man, identified by his nom de guerre as Abu Naba, was detained in October as he was “getting into a taxi, just after landing in Baghdad.”

Noaman described Abu Naba as a “major target,” noting that he had been steering financial support to Daesh, organizing meetings and relaying messages between members of the terror group.

“He began his Takfiri path in 2003 with al-Qaeda, before joining various groups that eventually led to Daesh,” he said.

Noaman, however, refused to reveal Abu Naba's real identity, where he had been flying in from and how he managed to cross through airport security before he was apprehended.

The “administrative chief” of Daesh has remained in police custody and is being interrogated since his arrest.

“Abu Naba had been in contact with remaining members of Daesh in Iraq, and we were monitoring their conversations for a long time,” the senior Iraqi security official said.

Noaman said Abu Naba would be tried under Iraq's counter-terror law, which carries death penalty for “membership in a terrorist organization.”

Also on Monday, the spokesman for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Major General Yahya Rasoul, announced the arrest of a senior Daesh leader in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Rasoul said the man, identified by the initials W.F, was captured by Kurdish Asayish security forces in Sulaymaniyah following “constant follow-up and field work.”

Daesh emerged in Iraq in 2014 amid the chaos and ruin that had resulted from the United States invasion of the Arab country.

A bloated US-led coalition began supposedly targeting the terror outfit in Iraq in the same year, but was found to be functioning surprisingly slow in confronting the terrorists.

Daesh soon swept up large swathes of Iraqi territory, prompting Baghdad to solicit military advisory assistance from Iran. The joint anti-terror push, in which counter-terrorism fighters from Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, played a crucial role, defeated Daesh in late 2017.

The group’s remnants, however, keep staging sporadic attacks throughout Iraq.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639230/Iraqi-CTS-forces-arrest-Daesh-administrative-chief-at-Baghdad-airport

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Africa

 

Ethiopian rebel leader dismisses surrender deadline, says forces ‘ready to die’ for homeland

23 November 2020

The leader of rebels in Ethiopia’s volatile Tigray region has dismissed Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s deadline for their surrender within three days, saying his forces are “ready to die” defending their homeland.

Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), made the statement on Monday.

Ahmed called on the rebels on Sunday to surrender peacefully within 72 hours.

“He doesn’t understand who we are. We are people of principle and ready to die in defense of our right to administer our region,” Gebremichael said, adding that the Ethiopian premier was trying to cover for setbacks his army had suffered against the TPLF, and was issuing threats to buy time.

The Ethiopian government said federal forces were encircling Mekele, Tigray’s capital, after giving the TPLF the surrender ultimatum.

“The beginning of the end is within reach,” said government spokesman Redwan Hussein.

Brigadier General Tesfaye Ayalew also announced that that federal troops were “marching into Mekele” after they captured key towns to the north and south.

The army has threatened a ‘no mercy’ tank assault on the TPLF leadership in Mekele, warning civilians to leave while they still can.

Tigray has been engulfed in bloody fighting since November 4, when Ahmed announced the launch of military operations against the regional government there.

The announcement led to a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud between the federal government and the TPLF, the Tigray’s ruling party, which dominated Ethiopian politics for almost three decades before Ahmed assumed power in 2018.

Ahmed, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2019, has accused the rebel forces loyal to the TPLF of launching deadly attacks on a pair of federal military camps in the region. He has also accused the party of defying his government and seeking to destabilize it.

The premier has so far spurned all calls by the United Nations, the African Union, and various countries for talks with the armed rebels in Tigray.

The fighting has reportedly claimed the lives of hundreds of people and displaced thousands who have fled across Ethiopia’s northern border into neighboring Sudan.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639222/Ethiopia-Tigray

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Boko Haram attacks Nigerian governor’s convoy, kills 9

Adam Abu-bashal 

23.11.2020

ABUJA, Nigeria

At least nine people were reportedly killed in northeastern Nigeria on Sunday when Boko Haram terrorists targeted a convoy belonging to Borno state’s governor.

According to local reports, members of the terrorist group attacked the convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum on Gajiram-Monguno road, killing seven soldiers and two civilians.

Zulum escaped uninjured, but it was the third time he had been attacked by Boko Haram terrorists in the last three months.

More than 30,000 people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced in a decade of Boko Haram’s violence in Nigeria, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, violence by Boko Haram has affected 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/boko-haram-attacks-nigerian-governor-s-convoy-kills-9/2052551

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Nigeria: Gunmen kill 5, kidnap 40 in attack on mosque

Adam Abu-bashal  

23.11.2020

At least five worshippers were killed and 40 others kidnapped when armed gunmen attacked a mosque in northwestern Nigeria, local media reported Sunday.

The attack by armed gangs occurred at a mosque in Zamfara state. The imam was among those reportedly abducted.

Muhammed Shehu, a spokesperson for the Zamfara State Police, said security forces were dispatched to the region, and an investigation was launched.

The country’s northwest sees occasional clashes between the herder Fulani people, one of the largest ethnic groups widely dispersed across West Africa, and neighboring sedentary tribes.

The Fulani, who migrated to the south to graze their cattle, claim farmers have tried to steal their animals and attack their people.

Armed groups sometimes take advantage of conflicts and organize attacks.

Nearly 2,000 people have lost their lives in the region while thousands have been displaced.

Following the signing of “cessation of hostilities” agreements by different groups in August 2019, more than 2,000 members laid down their weapons.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/nigeria-gunmen-kill-5-kidnap-40-in-attack-on-mosque/2052547

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Pakistan

 

Khadim Rizvi Is Dead, But Extremism In Pakistan Is Getting Stronger

Nov 24, 2020

Khadim Hussain Rizvi might be dead, but deep-rooted extremism in Pakistan is far from getting any weak.

The hardliners may have failed to make a dent in the last election, but they do have the power to influence the outcome.

Rizvi, was one of the most controversial clerics in Pakistan, and his massive support base helped him become a national figure in a year of launching its own political party.

His Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) lost all 566 contested seats in the 2018 election but still managed to win 2.2 million votes, thereby becoming the fifth-largest party by votes.

On 13 seats, the hardliners got enough votes to ensure a loss for one of the main opposition parties: Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N)

It was able to win three seats in the provisional assembly of Sindh in 2018 to project itself as the guardian of Prophet Muhammad's honour.

TLP is not the only extremist party that has come into the mainstream in Pakistan.

Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, also launched his political party Milli Muslim League, and when its registration got rejected, the authorities bent the rules.

Saeed was allowed to field candidates through a dormant political entity, the Allah-u-Akbar Tehreek.

More than 260 candidates contested under this banner, all of them lost but a door was opened for Saeed to enter mainstream politics.

The same loopholes were used to field more hardliners like the members of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, a banned anti-Shia sectarian organisation.

Its head Ahmed Ludhianvi was allowed to contest with his assets being unfrozen and travel restrictions removed.

In the 2018 election, religious parties fielded more than 1,500 candidates in Pakistan, a major spike from just a few hundred in 2013.

It is believed that the hardliners were pushed by Pakistan's military to allow radicals to gain political space.

They are yet to find any seat in Pakistan's National Assembly, but they are coming out in streets to influence decisions made in Islamabad.

https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/khadim-rizvi-is-dead-but-extremism-in-pakistan-is-getting-stronger-344982

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Two ‘militant’ leaders killed, several captured in Bajaur

Anwarullah Khan

24 Nov 2020

BAJAUR: Security forces on Monday claimed to have killed two senior ‘militant commanders’ and arrested several others during an intelligence-based operation in Salarzai tehsil in Bajaur tribal district, official sources said.

The sources said the intelligence-based operation was carried out on an information in the Tangi area on Sunday night. They said they had information that some militants were present in their ‘secret hideouts’ and trying to carry out sabotage activities in the region.

The sources said that a contingent of security forces moved there and an encounter took place.

They said that two key militants commanders identified as Zubair and Azizur Rahman alias Fida who, according to the officials, belonged to the militant Islamic State group were killed in the action. Several other militants were arres­ted, they added. The sources said a security official was wounded in the operation.

They said Zubair was wanted for his involvement in several terrorist activities, while Fida was the Karachi chief of IS group.

The sources said that a large quantity of weapons was recovered from the hideouts during the action.

They recalled that security forces had killed ‘terrorist’ Khalil alias Yaseen during a search operation in Bajaur a few days ago.

According an Inter-Services Public Relations release, a major terrorist network was neutralised near village Tangi. It said Zubair and Fida were involved in terrorist activities in Bajaur and Karachi. They were also involved in terrorist incidents against law enforcement agencies, government officials and civilians.

The ISPR said that the network was coordinating terrorist activities in various areas of Pakistan and receiving direct orders from their RAW-sponsored leadership from across the border.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1592033/two-militant-leaders-killed-several-captured-in-bajaur

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1,200 teachers to be appointed in Balochistan

23 Nov 2020

QUETTA: The Balochis­tan government has given approval for appointment of 1,200 male and female teachers to cope with the shortage of teaching staff in government schools in different areas of the province.

Provincial Education Minister Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind told reporters here on Sunday that the provincial government was paying full attention to education and trying to provide best education facilities to students in the province.

Rind says govt paying full attention to education sector

He said the shortage of teachers in public sector schools was badly affecting the standard of education. With the approval of the provincial government, the provincial education depart­ment would soon start appointing 1,200 teachers. He said all appointments would be made on the basis of merit and only qualified candidates would be appointed on vacant positions.

While talking about the political situation in the country, he alleged that resources of Balochistan were not utilised properly in the past. Resources of the province should be utilised properly and the government was working in this regard, he added.

The present government was committed to serve the people, he said, adding that the government was following a policy of zero tolerance for corruption and would ensure across-the-board accountability in the country.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1591902/1200-teachers-to-be-appointed-in-balochistan

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South Asia

 

Islamabad Hails Presidential Decree on Pardoned Pakistani Prisoners

By Mohammad Haroon Alim

24 Nov 2020

Pakistan Special Envoy for Afghanistan welcomed Ashraf Ghani’s Orders to release Pakistanis imprisoned in Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds, Pakistan is grateful for the “goodwill Gesture”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has pardoned several Pakistani prisoners and ordered their release on Tuesday, according to a presidential decree.

The presidential decree does not mention, how many Pakistanis will be freed, but Ghani stated, “In line with the order, Section 18 Article Sixty-four of the Constitution, keeping in view of good faith, to strengthen friendly relations with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, I issue this order to pardon the imprisonment of convicts of the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan who has been sentenced with the final decision of the courts.”

The decree was released just a day before Imran khan’s visit but was kept confidential.

Pakistanis whose imprisonment is left one month will be pardoned by the given decree; those incarcerated due to non-payment of fines are also among those pardoned.

Earlier, peace envoy Khalilzad said, “We welcome and are encouraged by the positive development in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. If implemented, it provides an opportunity to move forward on peace and development in the region.”

https://www.khaama.com/pakistan-welcomes-prisoners-pardoned-decree-987987/

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Saleh Accuses Parliament Members of Corruption: 2020 Afghanistan Conference

By Mohammad Haroon Alim

24 Nov 2020

Amrullah Saleh, First Vice President, addressed an event on anti-corruption in Geneva conference, accusing certain Afghan lawmakers of being involved in huge corruption cases while none has been investigated.

He said this is a forgotten corner, and to this date, ministers, generals, directors and even politicians of high stature have been charged but no member of the parliament has paid any price for their involvement in corruption.

According to Saleh corruption by certain members of the parliament is big, political consensus for fighting corruption is not seen in governmental offices.

“There is need for political consensus – We don’t have it. Each time we want to act decisively, we are warned by the international community to opt for political accommodation than cleansing corruption,” Saleh said.

“Some of the most corrupt are imposed on us in the name of political accommodation. Some of the known drug dealers were released in the name of peacemaking,” he exclaimed.

This comes at a time the 2020 Afghanistan Conference, a ministerial pledging conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Afghanistan and Finland with the United Nations, was launched on the 23rd of November.

The quadrennial pledging conference is an important opportunity for Afghanistan and the international community to commit to common objectives for promoting sustainable development, prosperity, and peace in the country.

https://www.khaama.com/saleh-indicted-parliament-members-for-corruption-987987/

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Taliban deploying drones to drop bombs, says Afghan intelligence chief

23 November 2020

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) says the Taliban militant group has used small drones to drop bombs on government forces in some regions over the past few months.

Ahmad Zia Shiraj, the head of the NDS, said in an address to parliament on Monday that the militants were deploying hobby drones and rigging them with explosives.

“The drones they are using are sold in the market. They are basically camera drones.”

The Taliban, he said, had used drones in Kunduz and Paktia provinces. 

In late October, the Taliban reportedly used a drone to bomb the compound of the governor of Kunduz.

The report illustrated a new fighting method used by the militants. While the technique is new to the Taliban, the Daesh Takfiri terrorists operating in Iraq and Syria started using toy planes in 2016 to carry explosives.

Daesh maintains a limited but deadly presence in Afghanistan.

“We have destroyed their leadership circle but their second layer are young … still active,” Shiraj said.

Violence continues in Afghanistan even as Kabul negotiators and the Taliban have been meeting in Qatar to reach a peace deal. There has been little progress in those meetings since September.

Both sides have routinely accused each other of stepping up hostilities and killing civilians.

Scattered calls to boycott the ongoing peace talks have risen following recent back-to-back attacks on education centers in Kabul claimed by Daesh. Some in the government insist they were carried out by the Taliban. The militants deny involvement.

In an agreement reached between the United States and the Taliban in February, the administration of President Donald Trump promised to pull out all the US troops by mid-2021 in return for the Taliban to stop attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The agreement was also supposed to lay the groundwork for a peace process between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The recent uptick in violence has only made that prospect unlikely.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639208/Taliban-drones-Afghanistan

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World abandoning Afghanistan will have disastrous outcome: UN

23 November 2020

The United Nations has warned the international community of “disastrous consequences,” if it halts assisting millions of Afghan people, amid a growing violence and flagging peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said on Monday that the future of millions of Afghans depends on the outcome of peace negotiations and on the international community’s commitment to develop the country.

He made the remarks ahead of a donors' conference starting Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Failure on either account would see Afghanistan slide backwards with disastrous consequences, including further displacement possibly on a large scale,” Grandi said.

He said the nearly 300,000 Afghans who have been displaced inside the country remain in “acute need” of humanitarian support.

Grandi said the same goes for the nearly three million previously displaced and the nine million people who have lost their livelihoods due to the coronavirus pandemic across the country.

The UN refugee chief also called for the conclusion of peace negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban.

The Taliban militant group is engaged in talks with the Afghan government in Qatar in an effort to end nearly two decades of war in the country.

The intra-Afghan talks began in the wake of a deal reached between the United States and the Taliban in Doha, back in February, but progress has so far been slow.

Under the Taliban-US deal, Washington promised to pull out all its troops by mid-2021 in return for the Taliban to stop their attacks on US-led occupation foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The deal was intended to result in the reduction of violence in the country. But according to recent official data, the Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group reached the deal with Washington.

Taliban militants have continued to stage deadly attacks against Afghan security forces and civilians despite ongoing talks with US and government officials. Clashes have also erupted between Afghan troops and Taliban militants in the southern province of Helmand where Taliban operations have forced thousands of local residents from their homes.

Afghan and US forces have bombed Taliban positions in the province.

Violence has also been reported in other provinces including Takhar and Wardak.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held separate meetings with negotiators from the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha on Saturday.

“I would be most interested in getting your thoughts on how we can increase the probability of a successful outcome,” Pompeo said as he met the Afghan government side.

Citing unnamed sources, several reports said on Friday that the two sides appeared to have resolved some of the issues.

According to the sources, the warring sides have found common ground on which to move the stalled talks forward.

In the meeting with Pompeo, the Afghan negotiators insisted on an end to violence and called for preserving Afghanistan’s achievements.

“Concerns of members of the peace delegation about the increase in violence and the US support to the Afghan peace negotiations, which is a common goal, were discussed,” said Afghan negotiator Habiba Sarabi.

The Taliban also insisted, in their meeting with the US diplomat, on the implementation of the Doha agreement, the removal of names of Taliban members from a UN blacklist and the release of their prisoners, according to a Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem.

In the meantime, Afghan chief negotiator Mohammad Massoom Stanikzai and presidential peace advisor Salam Rahimi were seeking President Ashraf Ghani’s approval for the agreed formulation, during a three-day visit to Kabul.

Sources did not provide further information on the reported progress, though.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639188/Afghanistan-UN-consequneces-violence-peace-talks-Taliban

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Southeast Asia

 

Sabah Umno vows to back Zahid ahead of Budget 2021 vote

23 Nov 2020

BY JULIA CHAN

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 23 — As a split emerges in Umno on whether or not to support Budget 2021, Sabah Umno has pledged today its full support to its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Sabah Umno communications director Ghazalie Ansing said that the chapter has full confidence in Ahmad Zahid’s leadership and would support him in any decision he makes.

“Umno’s strength all this while is in its slogan of ‘Bersatu, Bersetia, Berkhidmat’ (United, Loyalty, Service), so in our struggle, we must always support the president to lead.

“In challenging times like the ones we are facing now, harsh criticism like those of our president’s need to be supported to ensure the people’s burdens are lightened,” he said in a statement here.

“Sabah Umno urges all other states to stand behind its president after we had been through hard times like the 2018 GE loss,” he said, referring to the 14th general election.

Sabah Umno has two MPs, chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin, who is Kinabatangan MP, and Kimanis MP Datuk Mohamad Alamin.

In the recent Budget 2021 debate in Parliament, Ahmad Zahid had said there could be improvements made to the budget and said there was still time to make adjustments.

Despite previously saying all 43 BN MPs will pledge their support for Budget 2021, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin said that MPs should be allowed to break ranks and support, reject or abstain on the vote on the budget based on their conscience.

Umno veteran Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah had also called on MPs to think about their constituents’ interests and not merely adhere to party orders when deciding which way to vote, which has led to BN secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa criticising the former’s remarks as a “personal view”, going on to issue a warning to Umno MPs that those thinking of voting against the party line risked electoral consequences.

The Perikatan Nasional coalition under Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has a thin majority in Parliament and there has been speculation that Umno MPs might vote against the budget on Thursday, indirectly meaning a vote against the prime minister.

A vote against the budget may eventually result in snap polls for the country.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/11/23/sabah-umno-vows-to-back-zahid-ahead-of-budget-2021-vote/1925307

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Mideast

 

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Asks UN to Issue Human Rights Resolution against Canada

2020-November-23

“Countries have understood that human rights has been seriously politically-tainted and has turned into an instrument to pressure the independent countries,” Rayeesi said, addressing the judiciary officials in Tehran on Monday.

He added that most countries opposed the UN so-called human rights resolution against Iran, sponsored by Canada and supported by the US and Israel, and said, “Canada, itself, is a violator of human rights and a safe haven for the corrupters and criminals and a resolution should be issued against it.”

Elsewhere, Rayeesi referred to Iran’s efforts and sacrifices to block the transit of illicit drugs to Europe and the US, voicing surprise at the UN and the western states’ move to issue resolution against Tehran instead of appreciating the country.

An anti-Iran resolution was passed with 79 ‘yes’ votes at the third committee of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, even though 32 countries had voted against it and 64 others abstained from voting.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh blasted Canada for sponsoring the anti-Iran human rights resolution, calling on Ottawa to stop compliance with the US in sanctions and pressures if it really cares for the Iranian people.

Khatibzadeh deplored the UN resolution, drafted and proposed by Canada, as a rehash of “groundless” claims about the Islamic Republic’s human rights situation, saying it instead proves the “hypocrisy” of the “notorious” group of countries that voted for it.

He described the resolution as “unacceptable”, saying it “lacks any legal grounds and effect”.

Khatibzadeh noted that the move made by the Ottawa government and other sympathizers of the resolution is a clear example of “abusing lofty human rights concepts and values in order to achieve short-sighted political objectives.”

He expressed regret that the Canadian government is using human rights and its international mechanisms as a means for achieving its goals and political ambitions.

“Such unconstructive actions will not only fail to help promote the status of human rights and respect for human rights at the international level, but will only trigger moves to form negative clichés against, and attach political stigmas to independent countries,” the spokesman added.

In his statement, Khatibzadeh said the majority of UN member states either voted ‘no’ or abstained from voting in a bid to show their discontent with the hypocritical approach adopted by the supporters of the resolution.

The resolution was adopted with the votes of less than half the UN member states, including the Israeli regime, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Albania, Britain and Canada, he said.

Khatibzadeh stressed it is a shame that Canada has brought together a bunch of governments with “notorious records in the domain of human rights”, including the American, Israeli and Bahraini regimes, to teach human rights to Iranian people.

He also urged Canada to stop hosting economic offenders and looters of Iranian people’s wealth, “who have found Canada a safe haven for the transfer and investment of the assets they have looted.”

In relevant remarks last Monday, the head of the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights had also slammed the countries trying to pass the anti-Iran rights resolution at the United Nations General Assembly’s Third Committee, highlighting bleak rights records of the sponsors of the draft resolution.

“Canada, which is the main driving force behind rights resolution against Iran has a record of systematic violation of human rights,” including against the country’s native population while being among top countries in terms of violence against women and girls, Ali Baqeri Kani said.

“Those who are behind this resolution are the same countries, which have given refuge to terrorist groups that have killed thousands of Iranians ... or have been following suit with the United States’ “maximum pressure” campaign by implementing Washington’s unjust and illegal sanctions against the Iranian nation,” Iran’s rights chief added.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990903000546/Iran%E2%80%99s-Jdiciary-Chief-Asks-UN-Isse-Hman-Righs-Reslin-agains-Canada

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Turkey will deploy troops to Nagorno-Karabakh to supervise ceasefire alongside Russia

Emily Judd

23 November 2020

Turkey will deploy soldiers to Nagorno-Karabakh to supervise the recent ceasefire in the disputed territory, the Turkish defense ministry announced on Sunday.

The Turkish army will operate for one year in a joint center to be established by Russia that will oversee the implementation of the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, who both claim the territory, according to the statement.

The ministry did not clarify when or how many soldiers would be sent.

Last week, Turkey’s parliament granted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan permission to send troops to Azerbaijan, a close ally of Ankara, to monitor the truce.

Russian peacekeeping troops have already deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh and are set to remain there for at least five years.

Moscow brokered the recent truce between Armenia and Azerbaijan on November 10, putting an end to months of heavy fighting that killed hundreds over the disputed region.

France, currently at odds with NATO ally Turkey, has advocated for international supervision of the ceasefire that would go beyond Moscow and Ankara.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has accused Turkey of sending Syrian extremist fighters to fight against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, and condemned Turkey’s “reckless and dangerous statements” backing Azerbaijan.

Conflict over contested land

The decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over control of the ethnic Armenian province flared up in late September.

Turkey has backed Azerbaijan’s claims to the region, with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accusing Armenia of illegally occupying the territory, which is considered Azerbaijani under international law.

Armenian leadership has argued the area is part of “historic Armenia,” and that Nagorno-Karabakh’s link to Azerbaijan is only due to Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin.

Stalin placed the province under the control of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan in 1921.

In July 1988, the local government declared the area’s transfer to Armenian jurisdiction, which the Azerbaijani government annulled and declared illegal.

War in the province broke out following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and though a ceasefire was reached in 1994, fighting renewed in April 2016 and again in 2020.

Azerbaijan gained significant territory in the latest ceasefire, which was celebrated in Baku. Armenia’s prime minister called the truce “extremely painful” for him and the Armenian people.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/23/Turkey-will-deploy-soldiers-to-Nagorno-Karabakh-to-supervise-ceasefire-alongside-Russ

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World has moral responsibility to end Yemen tragedy, hold invaders to account: Zarif

24 November 2020

Iran’s foreign minister has stressed the need for an end to Saudi-led attacks against Yemen and a political process to resolve the conflict there, saying the world community has a “moral responsibility” to help bring an end to the tragedy unfolding in the war-torn country and hold the aggressors accountable.

Mohammad Javad Zarif was replying on Monday to an earlier tweet by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which said Yemen was “in imminent danger of the worst famine” the world has seen in decades and called for “immediate action.”

The UN chief had also said, “I urge all those with influence to act urgently on these issues to stave off catastrophe, and I also request that everyone avoids taking any action that could make the already dire situation even worse.”

In response, the Iranian foreign minister highlighted the global community’s responsibility to help facilitate an end to the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

“Enough is enough! It is a moral responsibility, long overdue, for int’l community to end #Yemen tragedy. And hold invaders—and their masters trading Yemeni lives for $—to account,” Zarif wrote in response to the UN chief’s remarks.

“Only viable path is ceasefire+end to bombardments; urgent humanitarian aid; and political talks,” the chief Iranian diplomat pointed out.

Enough is enough!

It is a moral responsibility, long overdue, for int'l community to end #Yemen tragedy. And hold invaders—and their masters trading Yemeni lives for $—to account.

Only viable path is ceasefire+end to bombardments; urgent humanitarian aid; and political talks.

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 23, 2020

UNICEF: Millions of Yemeni children’s lives at high risk

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also warned that the lives of millions of Yemeni children are at great risk as a result of the continuing conflict there.

“As Yemen slowly inches towards what the UN Secretary-General has described as potentially ‘the worst famine in decades,’ the risk to children’s lives is higher than ever. The warning signs have been clear for far too long,” UNICEF said in a statement on Monday.

It added, “More than 12 million children need humanitarian assistance. Acute child malnutrition rates have reached record levels in some parts of the country, marking a 10 percent increase just this year.”

“Nearly 325,000 children under the age of five suffer from severe acute malnutrition and are fighting to survive. More than five million children face a heightened threat of cholera and acute watery diarrhea,” UNICEF said.

“Chronic poverty, decades of underdevelopment, and over five years of unrelenting conflict have exposed children and their families to a deadly combination of violence and disease,” it added.

UNICEF then called on Yemen’s warring parties to “keep children out of harm’s way and allow unhindered access to communities in need – as is their duty under international humanitarian law.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a military onslaught against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives for over the past five years.

The Ansarullah movement, backed by armed forces, has been defending Yemen against the Saudi-led alliance, preventing the aggressors from fulfilling the objectives of the atrocious war.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/24/639255/Ceasefire,-end-to-Saudi-led-attacks-only-viable-path-to-end-Yemen-tragedy-Zarif

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IRGC Seizes Cargo of Smuggled Weapons in Northwestern Iran

2020-November-23

Commander of the Operational Division of the IRGC’s Seyed al-Shohada Headquarters in Northwestern Iran Brigadier General Abroshan announced on Monday that a big cargo of weapons and ammunition has been discovered and seized by his forces while being smuggled into Iran.

He added that the anti-revolutionary forces received a heavy blow in the operations.

“These weapons included 271 guns and hunting weapons and the hostile elements wanted to foment insecurity by transferring them to the cities inside Iran,” General Abroshan said, warning of a crushing response to any sabotage acts by the enemies.

In a relevant development in October, the IRGC discovered and seized a large number of smuggled guns in Fereidounkenar city in the Northern province of Mazandaran.

Commander of the Basij (volunteer) forces of Fereidounkenar city in Northern Iran Mohammad Barmar made the announcement, saying that the weapons were seized during special operations in cooperation between the Judiciary and the IRGC security forces.

“A Peugeot taxi car and a truck were seized and 64 guns were discovered and confiscated,” he added.

Barmar said that two non-local suspects were also detained during the operations.

Also last month, a senior advisor to Iranian intelligence minister warned of enemies’ plots to arm people in the country with smuggled weapons to foment insecurity.

“The enemy is attempting to bring people to the streets to spark two incidents,” said the senior advisor who is also the director-general of the intelligence ministry’s office in Khorassan Razavi province in Northeastern Iran.

“The enemy wants to make the internal equations in Iran violent, specially in the streets of the big cities, by supplying smuggled weapons among people,” he added.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990903000733/IRGC-Seizes-Carg-f-Smggled-Weapns-in-Nrhwesern-Iran

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French companies train Saudi troops to kill Yemeni civilians: Report

23 November 2020

Certain French companies “continue to train” Saudi soldiers in mission-critical skills used to kill Yemeni civilians despite the all-out bloody war the Arab kingdom has imposed on Yemen, a report says.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television network on Monday announced the news, citing a joint report by EUobserver, Lighthouse Reports, Arte, and Mediapart.

According to the report, the French majority state-owned DCI Groupe is carrying out artillery training for members of the Saudi Arabian National Guard at a military school in Draguignan, a commune in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, in southeastern France.

It also revealed that Thales Group, a French multinational company, and a French branch of the Swiss-based RUAG are engaged in training the Saudi troops, offering the simulation equipment needed to operate the CAESAR self-propelled howitzers that could potentially target almost half a million people in Yemen.

Al-Masirah further cited a report by Disclose, a media outlet, which revealed that a cargo ship was expected to load munitions for CAESAR howitzers, adding that Paris is set to ship well over 100 CAESARs to Saudi Arabia until 2023.

Manufactured by Nexter Systems, a French government-owned weapons manufacturer, CAESAR is a self-propelled 155 mm/52-calibre gun-howitzer that is installed on a 6x6 truck chassis. Some 48 CAESARs were stationed at the border with Yemen by the Saudi Arabian army in late 2018.

The report also cited a leaked internal document from the DRM, France's military intelligence agency, which warned of the risks against civilians in Yemen posed by the CAESARs.

“The population concerned by potential artillery fire: 436,370 people,” noted the document, dated September 25, 2018.

The same document further said that the CAESARs also play a role in supporting “loyalist troops and Saudi armed forces in their progression into Yemeni territory.”

The war has killed tens of thousands of innocent Yemenis and destroyed the impoverished country’s infrastructure since March 2015.

Last year, the Saudi-led coalition involved in the campaign against Yemen fired artillery shells on a Yemeni market near the Saudi border, killing 89 civilians.

Back in September, a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council on Yemen warned that such transfers of weapons only help to perpetuate the conflict.

“But for the arms trade and the arms transfers, the war would not be persisting the way it is, the war would not continue ravaging the people of Yemen in the way it has,” said Ardi Imseis, one of the authors of the report.

British media had previously revealed similar details about the wide participation of companies of the United Kingdom in managing Saudi airstrikes and preparing aircraft, weapons, and ammunition for the invading coalition.

The same is the case for the United States, whose participation has become public and documented.

Al-Masirah added that the new report confirms that the aggressive Saudi-led coalition, which is heavily relying on Western-supplied arms, was from the outset nothing but a cover for Western powers that directly manage the various military operations against Yemen.

The campaign has largely targeted ordinary people and Yemen’s civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, drawing calls from leading human rights groups for a halt to weapons sales to the aggressors, but all to no avail yet.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639226/Yemen-France-Saudi-troops

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Israel’s Gantz sets up panel to probe Netanyahu submarine scandal

23 November 2020

Israel's minister of military affairs Benny Gantz has announced the formation of a commission to investigate the purchase of submarines and missile boats from Germany that has embroiled several close associates of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The probe, which is expected to last about four months, “can shed light on part of the processes that led to the procurement of the submarines and vessels,” Gantz said on Sunday.

The commission lacks legal authority and cannot force any witness to testify before it.

Netanyahu was questioned but not named as a suspect in the submarine scandal.

The latest development comes as Israeli protesters have demanded Netanyahu to be probed during their weekly protests that occur outside the prime minister’s official residence.

Netanyahu, who is on trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three other cases, was sworn in for a fifth term this summer after striking a unity deal with his principal election rival, former military chief Gantz.

Gantz’s move is seen as an attempt to pressure Netanyahu into fulfilling their coalition agreements, but reports have said it could further destabilize the already shaky unity regime.

Netanyahu’s Likud party slammed Gantz’s decision as an empty political maneuver intended to revitalize his flagging support.

“Gantz has not succeeded in emerging from the depths of the polls,” the party said in a statement, “so he is recycling the submarines to garner votes while his party is busy with internal quarrels.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639197/Israel-Gantz-panel-probe-Netanyahu-submarine-scandal

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North America

 

Trump administration more up front in its devotion to Israel

23 November 2020

By Walt Peretto

As the days of the Trump administration are more than likely winding down, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Israel this week to spew the globalist party line to his masters.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Secretary stated that "All options are still on the table to counter Iran." But what is it that he wants to counter? Is it Iran's desire to remain an independent nation and not submit to joining a one world government? No, Israel and its US colony will say they desire to counter Iran's aggressiveness in the Middle East and thwart its nuclear program. It's the same old rhetoric and lies month after month, administration after administration.

To add insult to injury, Pompeo visited the West Bank and Golan Heights where he declared that wine produced in Judea and Samaria in the occupied West Bank will be labeled as "Made in Israel."

Over a year ago Trump declared that the occupied Golan Heights in Syria will be recognized by the US as part of Israel. 

The Trump administration has been more up front than previous administrations in their openly deep devotion to Israel and their desire to antagonize Iran. The likely incoming president Joe Biden has publicly described himself as a proud Zionist and during his first four years as vice president his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was belligently hostile to both Syria and Iran.

I expect a similar foreign policy from Biden and Harris. With extreme political division in the US and the increasing pressure on the economy due to the Covid-19 operation --- tensions may boil over in the next few months as the new president is sworn in. The vaccine will likely be released around this time as lockdown measures are tightened and further techno-surveillance strategies are introduced. This turbulent climate may also feature increased antagonistic behavior against Iran and Syria and there may be events unleashed to create an excuse for strategic strikes or all-out conflict with either or both.

Meanwhile, the major media outlets are busy spewing propaganda to those Americans who still feel the mainstream media has any credibility left. Here in America the two major political parties decide the two candidates for president. But that doesn't seem enough. Even with a duopoly on choosing the candidates there is still deeply ingrained election fraud which is being leaked by election workers and the right wing faction of the corporate media.

To get away with this amount of fraud --- it is likely that the globalist forces who heavily influence the US government, must desire a Biden/Harris administration after four years of Trump and the tremendous bitterness and anger the political left has spewed toward the Republicans. It very well could be that Biden/Hariis were chosen to unleash all the pent up anger of the left that has been building up for the last four years to facilitate the transition into a lockdown police state with a broken economy complete with cash payments in exchange for vaccine compliance and docility.

Of course, the controlled mainstream media paints a whole different picture. This mosaic features an accidental virus, the threat of terrorism against the US, Israel, and their allies, the generous philanthropy  of people like Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, and an endless stream of lies and disinformation that some can see right through while too many fall for it and submit to the whims of the State.

Walt Peretto is a writer and researcher in Washington, DC. He recorded this article for Press TV website.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/23/639223/Trump-administration-more-up-front-in-its-devotion-to-Israel

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US formally pulls out of Open Skies Treaty

Servet Gunerigok  

22.11.2020

WASHINGTON

The US has formally pulled out of the Open Skies Treaty, the State Department said Sunday, six months after President Donald Trump announced his decision.

"On May 22, 2020, the United States exercised its right pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article XV of the Treaty on Open Skies by providing notice to the Treaty Depositaries and to all States Parties of its decision to withdraw from the Treaty, effective six months from the notification date," said Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown in a statement.

"Six months having elapsed, the US withdrawal took effect on November 22, 2020, and the United States is no longer a State Party to the Treaty on Open Skies."

The treaty allows nations to fly above each other's territory on military reconnaissance flights as a measure to help bolster confidence neither country is imminently preparing for war.

Thirty-four nations are party to the treaty, including Russia, Turkey, many European countries and Canada.

The US has repeatedly said Russia is in violation of the treaty since 2017, citing in particular Russia's decision to limit flight distances to 311 miles (500 kilometers) above a Russian exclave sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, denying flights near the Georgian-Russian border, and rejecting a previously-approved flight over a military exercise in 2019.

Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the treaty in May, saying: "Russia didn't adhere to the treaty, so until they adhere, we will pull out."

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-formally-pulls-out-of-open-skies-treaty/2052338

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Europe

 

Turkey summons EU, Italy, Germany envoys over weapons search of its ship to Libya

Tuqa Khalid

24 November 2020

Turkey summoned the envoys to Ankara of the European Union, Italy and Germany on Monday to protest over a German attempt to search a Turkish cargo ship for a suspected arms shipment to Libya, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“The German warship “Hamburg”, as part of this operation, hailed and interrogated in detail the Turkish-flagged commercial vessel “M/V Roseline A”, which was transporting paint, paint-related material and humanitarian aid from the Port of Ambarlı to Misrata,” the ministry said in its statement.

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

“We deeply regret that our vessel, which as became apparent has not violated the arms embargo, was withheld from her route for hours under severe weather conditions and that during the inspection the crew were treated as if they were criminals. We protest this unauthorized and forceful act,” the ministry added.

“Rights to compensation of the relevant natural and legal persons for the damages and losses that may arise from this act naturally remain reserved.”

“It is essential to obtain flag state consent before interfering with commercial ships in international waters. UN Security Council resolutions on the Libyan arms embargo do not overrule this obligation.”

Earlier, Germany accused Turkey of preventing German forces belonging to an EU military mission from fully searching the ship.

Soldiers from the frigate Hamburg, part of an EU mission enforcing a UN arms embargo, boarded the Roseline A overnight but withdrew after Turkey raised objections with the EU mission, which had ordered the search, the German Defense Ministry said.

Turkey released footage showing armed men in military uniform marshalling sailors with their hands on their heads on the bridge of what it said was the Roseline A, at sea southwest of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula.

The incident comes at a time of friction between Turkey and the European Union. The EU's foreign policy chief has said ties are reaching a "watershed moment" over Turkish oil prospecting in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus, and that sanctions could be imposed next month.

Germany said that, after four hours had passed with no reply to a request to board, it was standard practice to consider this as implicit permission. "All procedures were followed correctly," a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

The German Defense Ministry said the soldiers had not found anything suspicious by the time they were ordered off the ship.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/24/Turkey-summons-EU-Italy-Germany-envoys-over-weapons-search-of-its-ship-to-Libya

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World must not turn away from Afghanistan, urges UNHCR

23 November 2020

The international community must continue aiding Afghanistan or risk “disastrous consequences,” UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi urged Monday as a donors conference kicked off in Geneva.

Grandi’s appeal comes after his visit to the war-torn nation that remains beset by violence and corruption, and is grappling with the imminent withdrawal of thousands of US troops.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Grandi said the future of millions of Afghans depends on the outcome of peace talks taking place in Qatar and on international commitment to develop the country, including at the two-day donors conference in Geneva.

“Failure on either account would see Afghanistan slide backwards with disastrous consequences, including further displacement possibly on a large scale,” Grandi warned in a statement.

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

Donor nations meet every four years to pledge aid for impoverished Afghanistan, which remains almost entirely reliant on foreign assistance despite 19 years of promised reforms and attempts to grow the economy.

Grandi said the nearly 300,000 Afghans who have been displaced inside Afghanistan because of conflict this year remain in “acute need” of humanitarian support.

The same goes for the nearly three million previously displaced and the nine million people who have lost their livelihoods due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Grandi also said it was urgent to conclude peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, pushing to retake power in Afghanistan after their ouster during the US-led invasion in 2001.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani meanwhile urged the global community to draw up a framework to help Afghanistan achieve peace.

This could help “guarantee peace and political stability and contain and eliminate the interrelated threats of terrorist networks” to Afghanistan and the region, he said in a video call from Kabul.

Ghani is due to deliver a keynote address at the conference on Tuesday.

Ross Wilson, the US charge d’affaires in Kabul, said on Twitter that Washington was ready to continue its financial support.

“We join the donor community in supporting Afghanistan as it moves towards self-reliance, building on the achievements and investments of the last nineteen years,” Wilson said on Twitter.

The Qatar peace talks, meanwhile, have made scant progress and the US plans to slash its troop presence in Afghanistan in the coming weeks, ahead of a full withdrawal of all foreign forces by next May.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/23/World-must-not-turn-away-from-Afghanistan-urges-UNHCR

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Greek-led EU mission illegally searches Turkish ship

Sarp Ozer  

23.11.2020

A German frigate serving under a Greek-commanded EU naval mission conducted an hours-long and illegal search early on Monday on a Turkish cargo ship carrying humanitarian supplies in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to war-torn Libya.

In what security sources have described as "unlawful conduct," the ROSELINA-A cargo vessel was intercepted by the German ship southwest of the Peloponnese islands to search its contents until the early-morning hours, uncovering only humanitarian materials, food and paint.

The frigate was involved in Operation Irini, a European mission launched earlier this year to enforce the UN arms embargo on the war-torn North African country, though it has been accused of bias in favor of warlord Khalifa Haftar and his allies.

The search reportedly violated international law, which requires a party to obtain the consent of a ship's flag state before searching a vessel, according to the law of the sea.

Apparently flouting this principle, personnel from the German ship, the Hamburg, landed on the ROSELINA-A in a helicopter, even as the cargo ship's crew captured the scene on footage.

After blocking the ROSELINA-A's course towards Misrate port for hours, the troops departed the vessel when they realized it only carried humanitarian supplies, food and paint.

During the search, they opened all the containers on the ship, ignoring warnings that their actions did not have permission from Turkey and were thus illegal.

Turkey reportedly plans to take action before international organizations concerning the incident which also reportedly violated the principle of "freedom of the high seas."

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/greek-led-eu-mission-illegally-searches-turkish-ship/2053121

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URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/allahabad-high-court-verdict-middle/d/123563


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