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Islamic World News ( 9 Feb 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Banned Group PFI Wanted To Turn India into Islamic State by 2047: Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in the Chargesheet

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 February 2023

• Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Threatened To Launch Terrorist Attacks against Embassies of India, China, and Iran in Afghanistan: UN Report

• Peshawar Mosque Blast Conspiracy Was Hatched In Afghanistan: Pakistan's Law Enforcement Officials

• 'No Details Found to Prove Ayman al-Zawahiri, Former Leader of al-Qaeda, Was Killed in Kabul': Islamic Emirate

• Turkiye-Syria Quake Toll Tops 16,000, Cold Compounds Misery



• Anjuman-I-Islam Prepares To Celebrate Progressive Thought and the Spirit of Giving With Alumni

• BSF spots Pakistan drone in Punjab's Gurdaspur; search operation underway

• India will never abandon Afghanistan people: Doval at Russia meet

• J&K terror attack: Locals warned against helping hiding terrorists

• MP: Muslim cleric among two injured in Khandwa; 3 minors detained



• Sweden a target for Islamic extremists, say security cops

• Former UK medical student-turned-Daesh fighter wants to ‘face justice’ in Britain

• Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol would be devastated if Türkiye quakes hit British Isles: Seismologist

• Greece says it 'fully' shares sorrow of Turkish neighbours over earthquakes

• Main goal is to deny Iran nuclear weapons, says Germany

• German chancellor pledges solidarity with Türkiye after devastating earthquakes

• French parliament holds minute of silence after deadly Türkiye earthquakes



• Malala Calls Religious and Political Leadership for Unity to Defeat Extremism in Pakistan

• 12 TTP Militants Killed InPakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province

• TTP refutes Imran’s assassination bid claim

• Only Way Forward In Relations with India Is PM Modi First Restores Kashmir's Special Status: Imran Khan

• CTD arrests ‘man linked to IS’ in Karachi

• JI warns of protest if poll date for remaining UCs not announced


South Asia

• Motorbike bombing shakes Afghanistan’s Maimana city

• Bangladesh Sending Skilled Workers to Saudi Arabia under New Employment Scheme

• Pakistanis living in Afghanistan to get travel passes

• Taliban Whip 6 People in Ghor Accused of ‘Wine Production’

• Moscow Hosts ‘Security Meeting’ on Afghanistan without IEA Representative


Arab World

• Saudi Arabia Holds World’s First Islamic Arts Biennale

• First aid convoy en route to Turkish border to enter northwest Syria

• Turkey earthquake: Saudi rescue, medic teams arrive to help in recovery efforts

• UAE rescue crew saves Syrian family trapped under earthquake rubble in Turkish home

• Syria requests assistance from EU after massive earthquake

• Syria, Turkey earthquake: Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief officially launches aid program

• Souq from life of Prophet Muhammad located in Makkah



• Turkey’s Erdogan Faces Crescendo of Criticism over Quake Response

• Earthquake in Turkey, Syria: Baby Born Beneath Rubble

• Deadly quake puts Erdogan under pressure in May polls

• President Assures Turkey, Syria of Iran’s Support Following Horrifying Quake

• Military Chief: Iran's Defence Systems Favoured by Several Countries

• President Rayeesi Raps Europe's Miscalculation on Iran's Domestic Affairs

• After fleeing war in Gaza, entire Palestinian family dies in Turkey’s earthquake

• Turkey’s President Erdogan arrives to earthquake-hit region

• Turkish President Erdogan vows to re-build earthquake hit areas in one year

• Iranian prosecutors covered up rapes by Revolutionary Guards, official document shows

• Israeli forces have killed nine Palestinian children this year: Palestine


Southeast Asia

• Indonesian Muslims Asked To Pray For Turkiye, Syria Quake Victims

• Jakim: Mosques urged to work on own initiative in helping Turkey, Syria quake victims

• Cops probe mother’s claim that teacher coaxed her son into Islam

• Perak PAS chief apologises to Anwar over ‘LGBT’ remarks

• Earthquake of magnitude 5.5 strikes north coast of Indonesia’s Papua


North America

• Calls Mounting For US to Lift Sanctions Hampering Aid Efforts in Quake-Stricken Syria

• American Islamic State Emir, Ruslan MaratovichAsainov, Convicted on All Counts

• Elon Musk says Twitter to be’re-enabled' in Turkey soon

• Balkan Muslims raise funds to help earthquake victims in Türkiye

• Muslim-American Group Urges Public, Biden To Increase Support For Those Aiding Quake Victims

• Candlelight vigil in US honors earthquake victims in Türkiye, Syria

• Biden calls earthquake that struck Türkiye, Syria 'one of the worst’ in that region

• Washington supports War in Yemen despite promise to end it



• Intl. Rights Organizations Call On Morocco Not To Extradite Shia Muslim Man to Saudi Arabia

• Death toll spikes to almost 70 as Somaliland fighting enters 3rd day

• South African rescue, medical teams arrive in Türkiye to help earthquake victims

• UN appeal $2.6B to assist 7.6M people in drought-hit Somalia

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Banned Group PFI Wanted To Turn India into Islamic State by 2047: Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad in the Chargesheet

February 09, 2023

Mumbai: Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has claimed the Popular Front of India (PFI), banned by the Centre last year, aimed to establish the "rule of Islam" in India by 2047, and also had plans to obtain weapons and ammunition with the help of foreign countries or other organisations to achieve their targets.

The ATS stated this in its chargesheet filed in a local court last week against five PFI members who were arrested last year for allegedly indulging in unlawful activities and waging a war against the country.

The state ATS arrested the five PFI members - Mazhar Khan, Sadiq Shaikh, Mohammad Iqbal Khan, Momin Mistry and Aasif Hussain Khan - following raids my multiple agencies across various states in September last year.

The accused have been charged under Indian Penal Code sections for promoting enmity between different groups and conspiring to commit certain offences against the state, as well as provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

In the chargesheet filed on February 2, the ATS claimed to have seized a document called “India 2047- towards rule of Islam in India”.

The seized document, as per the ATS, provides a roadmap for members of the group (PFI) to "overturn the government".

"We dream a 2047, where the political power has returned to the Muslim community from whom it was unjustly taken away by the British Raj. The roadmap towards this first starts with the socio-economic development of Muslim community for which a separate roadmap was already provided in the name of Empower India Foundation," the document said, as per the chargesheet.

“For this one needs to repeatedly remind the Muslim community of its grievances and establish grievances where there is none. All our frontal organisations including the party should be focused on expanding and recruiting new members," the document stated.

The chargesheet said the PFI wanted to create a split among several communities by projecting the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as an organisation interested only in the welfare of upper caste Hindus.

The accused had held several training courses in order to achieve their targets, the ATS said.

The chargesheet also claimed another document was found from the devices of the accused, Iqbal, which gave details of their plans for expansion in Maharashtra.

In the said document, names of all the five accused were mentioned as members who were scheduled to take "final class", the chargesheet stated.

The organisation (PFI) had plans to obtain weapons and ammunition with the help of foreign countries or other organisations to achieve their targets, the ATS claimed.

The Centre in September 2022 banned the PFI and several of its associates for five years under a stringent anti-terror law, accusing them of having “links” with global terror groups like ISIS and trying to spread communal hatred in the country.

Before the ban, the National Investigating Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate(ED) and various state police forces had carried out raids in a massive pan-India crackdown on the PFI and arrested several of its leaders and activists from various states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.


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Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Threatened To Launch Terrorist Attacks against Embassies of India, China, and Iran in Afghanistan: UN Report

Feb 9, 2023

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres (AFP photo)


UNITED NATIONS: The ISIL-K have threatened to launch terrorist attacks against the embassies of India, Iran and China in Afghanistan and by targeting them, the terror group sought to undermine the relationship between the Taliban and the UN member states in the Central and South Asia region, according to a UN report.

The revelations were made in a report by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres on the threat posed by ISIL.

“The activities of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan (ISIL-K) remained a significant terrorist threat in Central and South Asia, and the group retained ambitions to conduct external operations,” the 16th report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da'esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of member states in countering the threat said here.

The Security Council will on Thursday hold a meeting on 'Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts' during which under-secretary-general of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism Vladimir Voronkov will present the report issued last week.

The report said that ISIL-K had positioned itself as the “primary rival” to the Taliban and was reportedly set to portray the Taliban as incapable of providing security in the country.

“By targeting diplomatic missions, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan also sought to undermine the relationship between the Taliban and member states in the region,” it said.

“The group also threatened to launch terrorist attacks against the embassies of China, India and the Islamic Republic of Iran in Afghanistan,” the report said.

In June last year, India resumed its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a technical team in its embassy in the Afghan capital, over 10 months after it pulled out its officials from the mission following the Taliban's capture of power.

The reopening of the embassy took place after an Indian team led by senior ministry of external affairs official JP Singh had visited Kabul and met acting foreign minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi and some other members of the Taliban dispensation.

The report of the secretary-general further added that an attack in September last year on the Russian Embassy in Kabul was the first against a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan since the takeover by the Taliban.

In December, ISIL-K claimed attacks against the Embassy of Pakistan and a hotel frequented by Chinese nationals.

“Apart from high-profile attacks, ISIL-K conducted near-daily attacks targeting Shia minorities, which also served to undermine the Taliban's authority and challenge their nascent security agencies,” the report said.

It said that UN member states in the Central and South Asian region estimate the current strength of ISIL-K at between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters, of whom approximately 200 are of Central Asian origin.

Other member states believe that these numbers may be as high as 6,000, it said. The group was concentrated primarily in eastern Kunar, Nangarhar and Nuristan Provinces, but a large cell remained active in Kabul and its environs. Balkh, one of the most economically developed provinces in the north, is of primary interest to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan in terms of revenue generation.

“One member state reported that the group had started to smuggle narcotics, which would represent a new development,” the report said.

ISIL-K media organisation Voice of Khorasan released propaganda in Pashto, Persian, Tajik, Uzbek and Russian with the goal of recruiting from ethnic groups in the region to strengthen the group's capabilities, the report said.

It added that one UN member state noted the cooperation between the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement and ISIL-K, even though historically the former had aligned itself with al-Qaida.

According to the member state, such cooperation included jointly published Uighur-language propaganda posters, the exchange of personnel, and military advice and planned joint operations, such as the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement sending members to join the operational unit of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan responsible for tracking and carrying out attacks against Chinese nationals.

In July last year, the two groups reportedly plotted to purchase weapons and conduct terrorist attacks against Chinese targets in Afghanistan. The Syrian branch of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement had actively recruited Chinese nationals from Da'esh in the Syrian Arab Republic, a UN member state said in the report.

Source: Times Of India

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Peshawar Mosque Blast Conspiracy Was Hatched In Afghanistan: Pakistan's Law Enforcement Officials

Feb 08, 2023

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Police Chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said the suicide bomber has been identified through his DNA samples. Photograph:(Reuters)


Pakistan's law enforcement officials said Tuesday that the plot to target a highly secure mosque in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was hatched in Afghanistan. They added that the suicide operation, that killed over 100 people, most of them policemen, was funded by an intelligence agency.

The suicide attack happened on January 30, when a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during the afternoon prayers in a Peshawar mosque. Officials had earlier said that the bomber escaped scrutiny by dressing up in a police uniform and entered on a motorcycle with a helmet and mask on.

The motorcycle the attacker drove was sold twice in Sarki Gate, a busy marker in Peshawar, officials said. Those who sold the motorcycle have been arrested.

A total of 17 suspects involved in the devastating blast have been held till now. The Counter Terrorism Department Peshawar has announced a bounty of 10 million Pakistan rupees for the facilitators of the suicide bomber.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Police Chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said the suicide bomber has been identified through his DNA samples. CCTV footage shows the bomber leaving his helmet at the gate before entering the mosque.

"The facilitators behind this heinous attack will be arrested soon," he said.

Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks, mostly in the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but also in Balochistan and Punjab.

Meanwhile, President ArifAlvi inquired about the health of the injured at the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan was also present with him.

The President discussed in detail the arrangements and medicare facilities being provided to the injured.

Source: WIONews

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'No Details Found to Prove Ayman al-Zawahiri, Former Leader of al-Qaeda, Was Killed in Kabul': Islamic Emirate

By Mohammad Farshad Daryosh

The Islamic Emirate said that they have not found any details to prove that Ayman al-Zawahiri, former leader of al-Qaeda, was killed in Afghanistan.

In August, US President Joe Biden in a live address announced the death of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

“We have not reached a result yet. There has been no clear and decisive reason to prove that such an incident happened. It is still at a level of allegation. We have not received a satisfactory reason by the US,” said Zabiullah Mujahid, Islamic Emirate’s spokesman.

However, the Islamic Emirate then condemned the drone attack that took place in August, in which the US said Zawahiri was killed.

“If Zawahiri was alive, he might defend himself and prove somehow the US claim wrong,” said Mohammad Hassan Haqyar, a political analyst.

Some political analysts called the death of Zawahiri a controversial issue and urged an international investigation into it.

“To be clearer to the public mind, it is better that the sides agree on an investigation by an international and professional team in this regard,” said Asadullah Nadim, a political analyst.

“This is a plan of the ISI and CIA to stress their claim that Afghanistan is a sanctuary of terrorists,” said Bilal Fatimi, a political analyst.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, who led the al-Qaeda network after the death of founder Osama bin Laden, was born to an Egyptian family in 1951 in Cairo.

His father Mohammed, who died in 1995, was a pharmacology professor at Cairo University, where Zawahiri obtained a master’s degree in surgery.


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Turkiye-Syria quake toll tops 16,000, cold compounds misery

February 9, 2023

Earthquake survivors rest at a temporary shelter in Idlib, Syria. — Reuters


Freezing temperatures deepened the misery Thursday for survivors of a massive earthquake in Turkiye and Syria that killed at least 16,000 people, as rescuers raced to save countless people still trapped under rubble.

The death toll from Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake is expected to rise sharply as rescue efforts near the 72-hour mark that disaster experts consider the most likely period to save lives.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday conceded “shortcomings” after criticism of his government’s response to the massive earthquake, which is one of the deadliest this century.

Survivors have been left to scramble for food and shelter — and in some cases watch helplessly as their relatives called for rescue, and eventually went silent under the debris.

“My nephew, my sister-in-law and my sister-in-law’s sister are in the ruins. They are trapped under the ruins and there is no sign of life,” said Semire Coban, a kindergarten teacher, in Turkey’s Hatay.

“We can’t reach them. We are trying to talk to them, but they are not responding… We are waiting for help. It has been 48 hours now,” she said.

Still, rescuers kept pulling survivors from the debris, even as the death toll continued to rise.

As criticism mounted online, Erdogan visited one of the hardest-hit spots, quake epicentre Kahramanmaras, and acknowledged problems in the response.

“Of course, there are shortcomings. The conditions are clear to see. It’s not possible to be ready for a disaster like this,” he said.

Twitter was not working on Turkish mobile networks, according to AFP journalists and NetBlocks web monitoring group.

Turkish police have also detained 18 people over “provocative” social media posts that criticised the government’s response.

Children saved

Temperatures plunged to minus-five degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) in Gaziantep early Thursday. But the cold did not stop thousands of families from spending the night in cars and makeshift tents, too scared or banned from returning to their homes.

Parents walked the streets of the southeastern Turkish city — close to the epicentre of the earthquake — carrying their children in blankets because it was warmer than sitting in a tent.

“When we sit down, it is painful, and I fear for anyone who is trapped under the rubble in this,” said MelekHalici, who wrapped her two-year-old daughter in a blanket as they watched rescuers working late into Wednesday night.

Officials and medics said 12,391 people had died in Turkiye and at least 2,992 in neighbouring Syria from Monday’s quake, bringing the total to 15,383. Experts fear the number will continue to rise sharply.

In Brussels, the EU is planning a donor conference in March to mobilise international aid for Syria and Turkiye.

“We are now racing against the clock to save lives together,” said EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter.

“No one should be left alone when a tragedy like this hits a people,” von der Leyen said.

‘People dying every second’

Due to the scale of the damage and the lack of help coming to certain areas, survivors said they felt alone in responding to the disaster.

“Even the buildings that haven’t collapsed were severely damaged. There are now more people under the rubble than those above it,” a resident named Hassan, who did not provide his full name, said in the rebel-held Syrian town of Jindayris.

“There are around 400-500 people trapped under each collapsed building, with only 10 people trying to pull them out. And there is no machinery,” he added.

The White Helmets, leading efforts to rescue people buried under rubble in rebel-held areas of Syria, have appealed for international help in their “race against time”.

They have been toiling since the quake to pull survivors out from under the debris of dozens of flattened buildings in northwestern areas of war-torn Syria that remain outside the government’s control.

A leading UN official called for the facilitation of aid access to rebel-held areas in the northwest, warning that relief stocks will soon be depleted.

“Put politics aside and let us do our humanitarian work,” the UN’s resident Syria coordinator El-Mostafa Benlamlih told AFP in an interview.

Syria appeals for EU help

The issue of aid to Syria is a delicate one, and the sanctioned government in Damascus made an official plea to the EU for help, the bloc’s commissioner for crisis management JanezLenarcic said.

A decade of civil war and Syrian-Russian aerial bombardment had already destroyed hospitals, collapsed the economy and prompted electricity, fuel and water shortages.

The European Commission is “encouraging” EU member countries to respond to Syria’s request for medical supplies and food, while monitoring to ensure that any aid “is not diverted” by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Lenarcic noted.

Dozens of nations, including the United States, China and the Gulf States have pledged to help, and search teams as well as relief supplies have already arrived.

The European Union was swift to dispatch rescue teams to Turkiye after the massive earthquake struck the country on Monday close to the border with Syria.

But it initially offered only minimal assistance to Syria because of EU sanctions imposed since 2011 on Assad’s government over its brutal crackdown on protesters that spiralled into a civil war.

The Turkiye-Syria border is one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. Monday’s quake was the largest Turkey has seen since 1939, when 33,000 people died in eastern Erzincan province.

In 1999, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake killed more than 17,000.

Source: Dawn

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Anjuman-I-Islam prepares to celebrate progressive thought and the spirit of giving with alumni

Feb 09, 2023

By Faisal Malik

MUMBAI Over 149 years ago, a few progressive Muslim intellectuals in Mumbai decided to establish the first Urdu medium school for boys -- Anjuman-I-Islam -- on February 21, 1874, a year before Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was set up, with the view that it was time to impart modern education in Muslim society. The high school was started in a small structure at Babula Tank, near Umerkhadi, in the then Bombay province. At the time 120 students were enrolled to be educated under three teachers.

Now, as it prepares to step into its 150th year on February 21, grand celebrations have been planned -- apart from the mandatory inaugural and valedictory ceremonies, over one lakh alumni are expected to arrive from across the world for separate get-togethers. “We are hoping to book a stadium -- either Wankhede or Brabourne – to hold this get together,” said Dr ZahirKazi, president, Anjuman-I-Islam and a senior radiologist. Plans are also afoot to invite prime minister Narendra Modi to grace the inaugural ceremony, while president DroupadiMurmu will be requested to preside over the valedictory ceremony, he said.

With the exception of marking a landmark year, equally noteworthy is acknowledging the institution’s growth and contribution to the community.

A little over two decades since it was instituted the school was shifted to the iconic structure built opposite Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, previously known as Victoria Terminus, as the first full-fledged school of Anjuman-I-Islam in 1893. Today, it is a conglomerate of 97 institutions imparting education in all streams, from kindergarten to PhD to 1.10 lakh students every year at various campuses.

How it began

Badrudding Tyabji, the first Indian barrister in the Bombay high court, also the third president of Indian National Congress, along with Qamruddin Tyabji, his elder brother and first Indian solicitor, Nakhuda Mohammad Ali Rogay, businessman and a philanthropist, and Ghulam Mohammad Munshi, a social worker, decided to start the high school, said Dr Kazi. He has been at the helm of affairs for the past 14 years and played a significant role in its exponential growth.

A hostel was constructed for scholars who came here to read from afar. A first in the country, in the 1890s midday meal was started -- boiled eggs, bread and bananas were served to impoverished students who could not afford a breakfast before coming to school. Next, in an effort to propagate equality among genders, a dedicated girl’s school, Saif Tyabji Girls High School at Bellasis Road, opened in 1936.

“There are no degree or courses in the country that we are not teaching. Most importantly, 70% students in elementary education are first generation learners,” said Dr Kazi.

The place where the institution grew holds the central administrative office today. In the rest of the three-acre campus five colleges — two catering colleges, a college of business management, college of home science and a law college – were set up. Additionally, there is a polytechnic for women, a junior college and two schools both in English and Urdu mediums. It also has a library and a research centre, jointly boasting a collection of 50,000 books.

Setting fresh milestones

Looking forward, its goal now is to add new campuses that will increase the intake by over 10,000-12,000 students.

“We will lay the foundation stone for a state of art building at SabooSiddik college campus, in Byculla, which will have postgraduate and PhD courses along with an incubation centre. Also on the anvil is an integrated health education campus either in the Kalyan-Bhiwandi belt or Panchgani, that will impart MBBS courses, a dental college, nursing, physiotherapy and a homeopathic college,” Dr Kazi, who has been instrumental in the expansion and consolidation of the institution, said.

A new campus in Solapur will house a college of pharmacy, law, a degree college for girls and a high school. The management is also in the final stages of acquiring space in Panaji, Goa, with an intent to start a college of catering, pharmacy and a high school.

Anjuman-I-Islam has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for an exchange plan with MIT University, Cambridge and five of their faculties from streams such as engineering, Master of Business Administration (MBA), pharmacy and elementary education are going to Boston in March to train.

It is in discussions with University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, at Baltimore, Washington DC for a collaboration with Anjuman-I-Islam’s Kalsekar School of Pharmacy, Panvel. Temple University, Philadelphia (United States) has approached Anjuman-I-Islam’s Barrister A R Antulay College of Law for a collaboration.

Social service

Anjuman-I-Islam also functions as a charitable trust, managing two orphanages for girls – one at Versova, Mumbai, and another at Bund Garden, Pune. Orphans are looked after here, educated and married when they come of age.

A unit for rehabilitation and counselling – Sahara – provides free and subsidised education to needy students, by collecting donations. It has two branches, in Mahim and Mumbra.

Source: Hindustan Times

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BSF spots Pakistan drone in Punjab's Gurdaspur; search operation underway

Feb 9, 2023

GURDASPUR (Punjab): Yet another incident of infringement of Indian airspace by a suspected Pakistani drone has come to light in Punjab's border area. Border Security Force spotted the drone in Punjab's Gurdaspur near the Adia post late Wednesday, officials said.

BSF DIG Prabhakar Joshi at Gurdaspur Sector said, "A Pakistani drone was spotted near the Adia post of BSF last night. BSF troops fired towards the drone. Search operation underway by police and BSF."

According to BSF, this is the fourth instance of a Pakistani drone being spotted on the Indian side in the last three days and of the BSF jawans on duty firing at it and forcing it back to Pakistan.

In 2022, a total of 22 drones were captured by the jawans, said BSF in a statement. In addition, last year, according to BSF, a total of 316 Kg of drugs were seized by the BSF and the BSF along the Punjab border killed two Pakistani intruders.

The BSF earlier this year said, "The troops of the Punjab Frontier have maintained an extremely high level of alertness and vigil. Resultantly, BSF has successfully detected and captured 22 drones and seized 316.988 kgs of heroin, 67 weapons, 850 rounds and killed two Pakistan intruders and apprehended 23 Pakistan nationals in different incidents."

BSF, Punjab Frontier is responsible for safeguarding the 553-km long tough and challenging India-Pakistan International Border on Punjab.

Data collected by various security agencies have revealed that there has been a threefold increase in drone sighting incidents along the India-Pakistan border in the last year.

The Unidentified Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have emerged as a major source of smuggling arms and ammunition, as well as drugs into India. Drones have been sighted in different areas in Punjab and were within a range of 2km 10 km of the International Border.

Source: Times Of India

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India will never abandon Afghanistan people: Doval at Russia meet

Feb 9, 2023

NEW DELHI: Participating in the 5th Regional Dialogue on Afghanistan in Moscow, NSA Ajit Doval asserted India will never abandon the Afghan people in their time of need while also reiterating New Delhi’s position that no country should be allowed to use Afghan territory to export terrorism and radicalisation.

Doval said terrorism had become a major threat in the region and that dealing with Daesh and terror outfits likLeT and JeM required intensified intelligence and security cooperation.

Doval reaffirmed the importance of UNSCR 2593 (2021), which was passed under India’s presidency of UNSC and calls for terror outfits including those designated by UNSCR 1267 to be denied sanctuary in the region.

Apart from the Russia and India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the meeting. The third round of this dialogue was held in New Delhi under Doval in November, 2021. Doval also said an inclusive and representative dispensation is in the larger interest of the Afghan society and that natural resources of the country should be utilised first for welfare of its people.

India has so far delivered 40,000 MT of wheat, 60 tonne of medicines, 5,00,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses, winter clothing and 28 tonne of disaster relief. India’s “technical team” in Kabul is overseeing the humanitarian assistance programme.

India has also granted fresh scholarships to 2,260 Afghan students including 300 Afghan girls in the past two years.

Doval said that India has historical and special relationship with Afghanistan and that well being and humanitarian needs of the people of Afghanistan is India’s foremost priority. This will continue to guide our approach, he said.

Source: Times Of India

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J&K terror attack: Locals warned against helping hiding terrorists

Feb 9, 2023

JAMMU: Pursuing terrorists involved in the Dhangri terror attack in which seven people were killed on January 1 and 2, Jammu & Kashmir Police have warned of stern action against those facilitating them in any way. Believing that the terrorists were still hiding in the higher reaches of Rajouri and Poonch districts, the police issued an advisory late Tuesday, asking people to help trace the terrorists.

The search for terrorists involved in the attack has been going on since January 1 in the two districts. Appealing to the people of Rajouri and Poonch to remain alert, the police have been using loudspeakers in remote areas to warn people about the presence of these terrorists.

“The J&K Police urges the people of Rajouri and Poonch that the terrorists who engineered the attack in Dhangri village on January 1 are still hiding in the hills. They can plan another terror attack. Some people in the region are helping them by providing them with food and shelter, besides informing them about the movement of police and other security forces. A close watch is being kept on such ‘terror facilitators’ and stern legal action will be taken against them very soon,” the police advisory stated.

Police had earlier announced a Rs 10-lakh reward for anyone sharing information about these terrorists. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) teams probing the Dhangri attack also visited the spot on Tuesday and recorded the statements of the locals. The case was handed over to the NIA on January 12.

Source: Times Of India

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MP: Muslim cleric among two injured in Khandwa; 3 minors detained

8th February 2023

Khandwa: A Muslim cleric and one more person were stabbed and injured on their way to the mosque in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh allegedly by three minor boys, all of whom have been detained, a police official said on Monday.

The incident took place late Sunday night and ‘alim’ (scholar) Sheikh Uzefa and one Mohammad Talha, in his mid-20s, have been hospitalized in nearby Indore, the official said.

“Three minors were detained during the day for the incident. Uzefa is in stable condition while Talha is out of danger. Both were injured near the chest,” Khandwa Superintendent of Police Vivek Singh told PTI over the phone.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Sweden a target for Islamic extremists, say security cops

February 8, 2023

STOCKHOLM: Sweden has moved into the spotlight for violent Islamic extremists globally after a number of incidents including the recent public burning of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, the security services said today.

“Recent developments with threats targeted at Sweden and Swedish interests are serious and affect Sweden’s security,” the Swedish security service Sapo said in a statement.

“The developments mean that Sweden is deemed to be in greater focus than previously for violent Islamic extremists globally.”

Sweden and neighbour Finland last year launched bids to join Nato, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The membership process has been held up by Turkey, which says the two Nordic countries, primarily Sweden, are not doing enough to fight terrorism.

The burning of the Quran by a far-right politician outside the Turkish embassy last month has ratcheted up tensions.

Thousands of Afghans took to the streets to protest after Rasmus Palundan’s actions, which also provoked anger in other parts of the Muslim world.

Turkey has also strongly condemned a stunt in which an effigy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hanged in Stockholm by protesters.

Sweden has warned its citizens in Turkey to avoid crowds and demonstrations.

Sapo said it had not raised its formal assessment of the threat level against the country, which is at three on a scale up to five, equivalent to “elevated”.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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Former UK medical student-turned-Daesh fighter wants to ‘face justice’ in Britain

February 08, 2023

LONDON: An imprisoned former medical student from the UK who traveled to Syria to join Daesh has said that he hopes to return to Britain to “face justice,” the Daily Mail reported.

Ibrahim Ageed, 29, joined the terror group in 2015 aged 21, together with his brother, Mohammed, who was 23.

The pair left their final-year studies at the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in Leicester to travel to Turkiye and then Syria.

Ageed was captured and imprisoned after the collapse of Daesh in Syria and Iraq, and has spent the past four years in northeast Syria’s Al-Sina prison.

His story is similar to that of Shamima Begum, 23, who left London aged 15 with two school friends to join the terror group.

In an interview, Ageed claimed that it was his “right” to return to Britain, warning that Daesh “could make a comeback.”

He said: “I believe I’ll be subjected to the justice system, but I’m ready to face the music and I believe it’s my right, basically, to go back home.”

Ageed described being “completely isolated” while imprisoned, saying that people initially joined Daesh from around the world because they had “lost hope.”


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Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol would be devastated if Türkiye quakes hit British Isles: Seismologist

Busra Nur Cakmak


Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, and Bristol would be devastated if the quakes which hit Türkiye took the British Isles under its grip, said an expert.

“To give you an idea of the sheer scale of the Turkey earthquake, if we overlay the USGS ShakeMap onto the British Isles, the fault (red colours) would have ruptured from the Severn Estuary to the Humber Estuary. Much of England would have seen at least Intensity Level 7 shaking,” said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at University College London (UCL), on Twitter.

Hicks said that buildings on the British Isles would not stand up to such strong shaking and “England would have essentially been sliced into two by the unzipping rupture.”

“Of course this is academic because the UK doesn’t have faults this big to generate such large earthquakes,” said Hicks.

The map showed gaps from Wales and southwest England but Hicks suggested that those places “would have not got away as lightly as the map suggests … these apparent gaps are just due to the coastline of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.”

He also shared the Turkish Red Crescent’s relief fund for those who want to donate.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Greece says it 'fully' shares sorrow of Turkish neighbours over earthquakes



The Greek Embassy said Wednesday that Greece "fully" shares the sorrow of its Turkish neighbors after two strong earthquakes jolted southern Türkiye, killing over 9,000 people.

"We deeply feel for the innocent victims of this monstrous event and fully share the sorrow of our Turkish neighbors and friends," the Ankara-based embassy said on Twitter.

"GeçmişolsunKomşu!" it added, meaning "Get well soon, neighbor!"

It also noted that a liaison team was dispatched Wednesday by the embassy to Hatay to reach the Greek rescue team in the field and to assist the second rescue team due to land at Incirlik Air Base.

At least 9,057 people were killed and 52,979 others injured when two powerful earthquakes shook Pazarcık and Elbistan districts Monday in Kahramanmaras province.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Main goal is to deny Iran nuclear weapons, says Germany

Oliver Towfigh Nia 



Germany on Wednesday reiterated that the main objective is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons as talks over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal remain stalled.

“Our goal in the entire game ... is and remains to prevent Iran from being nuclear-armed, and we do not want a nuclear weapons race in the Near and Middle East,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse told reporters in Berlin.

“It’s a very serious question. It is very concretely about Iran not being nuclear-armed and being able to develop nuclear weapons,” she added.

Berlin has previously urged Tehran to show “political will” to resolve a lingering standoff over a nuclear probe.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency has been calling on Iran to explain the presence of undeclared man-made uranium found at three sites, requesting “access to locations and material” as well as the collection of samples.

In the absence of progress, the UN nuclear watchdog said it could not guarantee the authenticity and integrity of Iran’s nuclear program.

Tehran has repeatedly said that traces of enriched uranium found in Iran were brought into the country from abroad.

The US and its Western allies argue that the nuclear talks were stalled because Tehran was “making demands that have nothing to do” with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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German chancellor pledges solidarity with Türkiye after devastating earthquakes




Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reaffirmed Germany’s solidarity with Türkiye in the wake of devastating earthquakes that killed more than 8,500 people.

“We are shocked in the face of so much suffering and destruction,” Scholz told lawmakers, during his address at the parliament on Wednesday.

“The German government has immediately promised support to the Turkish government. I have reaffirmed this yesterday during my telephone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” he stressed.

Scholz said German search and rescue teams, and technical experts have already started working in the earthquake region, and noted that additional teams were on the way.

The German chancellor also praised recent telephone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

“In the face of a catastrophe like this, we have to get closer, we have to support each other,” he said.

The German parliament held a minute of silence for earthquake victims earlier on Wednesday, and authorities in Berlin announced that flags were lowered to half-staff at public buildings to mourn the victims.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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French parliament holds minute of silence after deadly Türkiye earthquakes

Nur AsenaErturk


France's National Assembly (Parliament) held a minute of silence for the victims of the deadly earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria on Tuesday, the French Embassy in Türkiye said on Twitter.

President of the National Assembly Yael Braun-Pivet described it as a "terrible tragedy."

"France with its partners, mobilized itself to provide emergency support to the affected populations," she said, and added: "French rescue teams have been sent to the area to attend the rescue and assistance operations."

Yael Braun-Pivet then invited the MPs to hold a minute of silence in order to "commemorate the victims and express support to their loved ones."

At least 8,574 people were killed and 49,133 others injured in Türkiye after two strong earthquakes on Monday jolted the southern part of the country, according to the country’s disaster agency.

The 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes, centered in the Kahramanmaras province, struck 10 provinces.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Malala Calls Religious and Political Leadership for Unity to Defeat Extremism in Pakistan

February 09, 2023

Malala Yousafzai has urged the religious and political leadership of Pakistan to reject terrorism, militancy and Taliban and put on a united front against the menace of extremism.

Speaking to Geo News at the screening of her Oscar-shortlisted documentary film "Stranger at the Gate", the education activist called on the Pakistani leadership to unite for the sake of peace.

"We will have to unite against Taliban and tell them that their is no justification for extremism in Islam," said the Nobel laureate.

Malala said the Taliban should not be allowed to use "Islam, our traditions and values."

She said she decided to become executive producer of the film to spread the message of harmony and forgiveness

Source: TheNews

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12 TTP militants killed in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

Feb 8, 2023

PESHAWAR: Pakistan's security forces gunned down 12 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants on Wednesday in the country's restive northwest, police said, as the government stepped up its offensive against outlawed groups following a spike in terror attacks.

The terrorists' vehicle was targeted during the operation conducted in the LakkiMarwat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering South Waziristan, officials from the Counter Terrorism Department said.

The militants of the Azahruddin group of the TTP were intercepted by the CTD when they were fleeing towards the adjoining Tank district, and in the ensuing gun battle, 12 of them were gunned down.Weapons, ammunition, and Afghan currency were recovered from the possession of those killed, they said.

The operation, based on prior intelligence, comes amidst the government's recent decision to step up operations against terror groups like the TTP.

Pakistan has been hit by a wave of terrorism, mostly in the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, but also in Balochistan and the Punjab town of Mianwali, which borders the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

On January 30, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up during the afternoon prayers at a well-guarded mosque in Peshawar, killing 101 people and injuring more than 200 others.

The Azahruddin group of the TTP has been active in the area against the police and has conducted numerous attacks against law enforcers. In December 2022, it killed six police officials in the district.

The TTP, set up as an umbrella group of several militant outfits in 2007, called off a ceasefire with the federal government and ordered its militants to stage terrorist attacks across the country.

The group, which is believed to be close to Al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases, and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

Source: Times Of India

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TTP refutes Imran’s assassination bid claim

February 9, 2023

PESHAWAR: The outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has refuted the claim made by former prime minister Imran Khan that people from South Waziristan had been tasked with killing him.

TTP said its war was against the security forces and intelligence agencies, not against any political personality.

“We have received information that the head of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in a meeting with the party’s provincial spokespersons claimed an assassination attempt was being planned by the TTP and South Waziristan residents have been tasked with executing the task,” a TTP statement said.

It added that a similar baseless claim was made by some party members 10 days ago.

Source: Dawn

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Only way forward in relations with India is PM Modi first restores Kashmir's special status: Imran Khan

Feb 8, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan has said that the only way forward in relations with India is that Prime Minister Narendra Modi restores the special status of Kashmir.

In 2019, Modi government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

"India had revoked the special status for Kashmir. Now the only way forward in holding talks with India is first the Modi administration restores it," Khan told PTI on Tuesday evening while interacting with foreign media at his Lahore's Zaman Park residence.

To another question about rule of law, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader said, "There will be no future for Pakistan if there is no rule of law. Take India for example. It progressed because of rule of law."

Khan is looking up to the judiciary to "protect the Constitution" and "foil" the ruling PML(N)-led coalition's design to delay elections in Pakistan's Punjab and KyberPakhtaunkhawa provinces where polls are due in 90 days following the dissolution of assemblies last month.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, who was ousted as prime minister through a vote of no confidence by PMLN and its allies in April last year, alleged that the ruling coalition with the backing of their handlers in the military establishment has planned to oust him from politics.

"They have made a plan to disqualify me. All efforts are being made at all powerful quarters in the country to keep me out of politics," he claimed.

Asked if army chief gen Syed Asim Munir was also behind such efforts, Khan said, "He has been in office for two months and I give him a benefit of doubt."

Khan also alleged that his political rival and three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, wants him disqualified. "Nawaz has set a condition (to the establishment) for his return from the United Kingdom and that is my disqualification," he claimed.

The PML(N) recently declared that its supreme leader Nawaz Sharif will return ahead of the general elections.

Imran Khan also claimed that the PML(N) and its allies have also planned to target his party's leaders and rig the elections.

Khan also accused Nawaz Sharif of striking a deal with former army chief Qamar JavedBajwa during his extension vote in the parliament.

"Giving an extension to Gen Bajwa was my biggest mistake. It was a huge blunder. After a deal with Nawaz, Bajwa ensured that Nawaz, his family members and partymen get relief in multi-billion corruption cases," he alleged.

Imran Khan said he fails to understand how the military establishment can "side with the corrupt criminals like Sharifs and Zardaris".

"There is a visible gulf between the Pakistan Army and the people. They are angry over the Army's support to those who looted this country. And let me tell you this is very dangerous for the country," Khan said.

Source: Times Of India

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CTD arrests ‘man linked to IS’ in Karachi

February 9, 2023

KARACHI: The Counter-Terrorism Department on Wednesday claimed to have arrested a man linked with militant Islamic State group.

“Acting on a tip-off, the CTD conducted a raid in Korangi Industrial Area and arrested Abdul Malik,” a police spokesperson said, adding that he was an Afghan national who had been living in Karachi since long.

He used to collect ‘donations for IS’ in Ramazan and sent the money to Afghanistan.

Source: Dawn

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JI warns of protest if poll date for remaining UCs not announced

February 9, 2023

KARACHI: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Wednesday warned of staging a sit-in outside the Election Commission of Pakistan building in Karachi if the constitutional body failed to announce schedule for the local government elections in the remaining 11 union committees (UCs) in the city within next two days.

Addressing a press conference at Idara Noor-i-Haq, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman said that the local government elections were held on January 15 in the city, but the ECP could not announce till now the schedule for the polls in 11 union councils where the elections were postponed because of demise of candidates.

He said that the ECP announced date for useless by-elections on the seats which recently became vacant after the government accepted resignations by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmakers. He also demanded of the ECP to decide the cases of six union councils, declaring them open-and-shut cases on the basis of form 11 and 12.

He said: “The JI accepts the mandate of the Pakistan Peoples Party on its seats,” and asked PPP to accept his party’s mandate as well.

The JI leader also asked the ECP to arrange oath taking for the elected chairmen, vice-chairmen and councillors in union councils.

Source: Dawn

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South Asia


Motorbike bombing shakes Afghanistan’s Maimana city

By Fidel Rahmati

February 9, 2023

A motorbike bomb exploded near a mosque in Maimana city, Faryab provinces of Afghanistan, according to local people. 

The explosion took place on Wednesday close to the Imam Abu Hanifa Mosque in Miamana capital city of Faryab in northern Afghanistan that at least six people, including three Taliban members, were injured in the explosion, said local people.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the explosion. However, the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated over the past couple of months, causing further challenges for the interim government in Kabul.

Since August 2021, armed groups linked to the Islamic State of Khorasan Province-Afghan branch gained power and carried out bombings, targeting civilian citizens, Taliban officials, ethnic minorities, and foreign nations.

Source: Khaama Press

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Bangladesh sending skilled workers to Saudi Arabia under new employment scheme


February 08, 2023

DHAKA: Bangladesh is preparing to send skilled workers to Saudi Arabia for the first time under the newly launched Skill Verification Program, authorities said on Wednesday.

Under the Workers’ Recruitment and Skill Verification Program, which aims to improve the professional competence of employees in the Saudi labor market, the Kingdom will recruit skilled workers from the South Asian country.

In its initial phase, the program will focus on five professions: Plumbers, electricians, welders, automotive electricians and air conditioning technicians.

The SVP deal between Saudi and Bangladeshi authorities came into effect this week.

“Saudi authorities will hire the first batch of skilled workers as a pilot program. One thousand migrant workers will be hired ... the number will be increased gradually. We are going to begin this recruitment process very soon,” Mohammad Salah Uddin, training director at the Bangladeshi Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, told Arab News.

“We are very well prepared. Initially, the Saudi authorities want to conduct the testing process of migrant workers in the capital. Later on, we will expand the testing process outside of Dhaka, in accordance with our capacity and demand.”

The bureau has 95 training centers and will soon launch another 15, Uddin said.

“We have sufficient infrastructure and capability to prepare skilled workers as per demand from the Saudi authorities.”

BRAC, the largest development organization based in Bangladesh, sees the employment of skilled workers as a new trend in the country’s work migration.

“I think the migration process in the coming days will follow this system. All the migrant-receiving countries will ask for skilled workers. All of our training centers run by the government and private organizations need to strengthen their efforts in this regard,” Shariful Hasan, head of BRAC’s migration program, told Arab News.

“Most of our migrant workers are currently unskilled, and they don’t have any kind of certificate to be considered skilled workers. They don’t receive training from any training center and get employed as unskilled workers. The new initiative opens a horizon of prospects,” Hasan told Arab News.

With about 2 million people joining the Bangladeshi workforce every year, having at least a fourth of that number trained should not be a problem for the South Asian nation.

“If the government takes the initiative to prepare at least half a million people as skilled workers, I don’t see any problems with it. We have technical training centers at the grassroots level also. There is no point in providing conventional university degrees to all the youth. Rather, if we equip many of them with technical knowledge, it will bring good results in the long run,” Hasan said.

“It’s an opportunity since the workers will get a higher salary as skilled workers and their migration costs will be reduced significantly.”

About 2.8 million Bangladeshi nationals live in Saudi Arabia, with most employed in low-profile jobs at construction sites or as household staff. They play a significant role in the Bangladeshi economy by sending large amounts of remittances home, contributing more than 5 percent to the country’s gross domestic product.

Riyadh’s Ambassador to Dhaka, Essa Al-Duhailan, told reporters in the Bangladeshi capital on Tuesday evening that the new employment program would guarantee higher salaries for Bangladeshis — at least double those of average workers.

“If he is an ordinary worker, he might get SR800 ($213) to 1,000, but a skilled worker will get SR1,500 to 1,800, or even more,” Al-Duhailan said.

Source: Arab News

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Pakistanis living in Afghanistan to get travel passes

February 9, 2023

NORTH WAZIRISTAN: Authorities here have decided to issue special cards to Pakistani nationality holders living in the border areas inside Afghanistan to facilitate their hassle-free cross-border movement.

Officials said that all those, who were interested in receiving the special cards for movement from Afghanistan into Pakistan, would be issued a form, which would be filled and submitted to the office of the tehsilsdar concerned. The forms, according to the officials, would be attested and thoroughly checked before being submitted.

Meanwhile, Utmanzai elders said that Pakistani nationals living across the border in Khost, Paktia and Paktika provinces were facing immense problems while travelling across the border to meet their family members.

On request of the area residents, the armed forces decided to issue special passes to Pakistani nationals having a valid national identity card.

Source: Dawn

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Taliban Whip 6 People in Ghor Accused of ‘Wine Production’

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

February 8, 2023

Taliban officials on Tuesday flogged six people allegedly accused of ‘wine production and immortality‘ in western Ghor province.

The Islamic Emirate high court confirmed in a statement that the accused individuals were lashed on Tuesday in Firuzkoh, the provincial capital of Ghor province.

Prior to the international community had opposed ‘public execution, flogging, and amputation’.  The United Nations, Human Rights Watch, and other advocacy groups have described lashing Afghan men and women as a “cruel act”, and called on Islamic Emirate authorities to respect human rights and values under all circumstances.

The Taliban authorities have increasingly flogged people in public accused of different crimes across the country in recent months. For the first, they publicly executed an alleged person in Farah province on December 7, where high-ranking Taliban leadership had participated to witness the event.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and several rights groups have described the act as “cruel, inhuman and humiliating”, and repeatedly urged the Taliban authorities to stop public punishment.

Source: Khaama Press

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Moscow Hosts ‘Security Meeting’ on Afghanistan Without IEA Representative

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

February 8, 2023

Russia hosted the fifth round of meetings of National Security Advisors of regional countries on Afghanistan starting on Wednesday in Moscow.

National Security Advisors of Iran, India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan were among the participants.

The Moscow security meeting was held in the absence of the representative of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, although Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid had asked the member countries to allow the IEA envoy to the meeting.

The fifth round of meetings of National Security Advisors comes as the security situation in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating and has already led to the closure of several foreign embassies in Kabul.

Earlier in the week, Saudi Arabia evacuated its diplomats to Islamabad, mainly due to several security threats in the Afghan capital Kabul. Following Saudi Arabia’s move, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey have on Wednesday decided to minimize their diplomatic activities and move out their diplomats from Kabul.

The fourth round of the meeting of the Heads of Security Councils of regional states was held nine months ago in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 27, 2022. In that meeting, they asked the Taliban to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan, which has not yet been fulfilled by the Taliban regime.

Amid the many challenges, the Taliban-run administration is plagued with political isolation. This is a wake-up call for Afghanistan’s de facto authorities as foreign embassies have already started closing their diplomatic missions in Kabul.

Source: Khaama Press

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Arab World


Saudi Arabia holds world’s first Islamic arts biennale

Satyen Mohapatra

9th February 2023

The world’s first Islamic Arts Biennale providing a survey of Islamic arts and culture in the religion’s birthplace, modern-day Saudi Arabia, is being held at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, gathering over 44 Islamic artists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and a large number of rare Islamic artefacts from different parts of the world.

The Diriyah Biennale Foundation is holding this at the Hajji Terminal or Canopy Terminal in Jeddah. The world’s largest cable-stayed fabric-roofed construction, inspired by the tent structures.

The open locale with desert and sky would almost transport the viewers to the ancient Islamic world.

The Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, was held in Dec.2021in which over 60 acclaimed international artists had participated. It was held in the outskirts of Riyadh.

The present venue is that of Western Hajj Canopy Terminal at King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah. The Terminal designed by Skidmore, Owings &Merrill  was awarded the 1983 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

The building was used by pilgrims from all over the world  to rest onway to Mecca.

The 118,000-square-meter space is housing five galleries, two pavilions and one grand canopy, 280 artifacts, as well as more than 50 new commissioned artworks from around the Muslim world.

Besides exhibition spaces it has a theatre, a mosque, workshops, classrooms, retail shops, and dining outlets.

The theme for the event is Awwal Bayt, which means ‘first house’ in Arabic. Awwal Bayt is a Quranic term that is used to signify the importance of the most sacred site, the Ka’bah in Mecca, and the direction, the Qiblah, which Muslims all around the world face for their daily obligatory prayers.

It thus connects devout Muslims all over the world.

The exhibition is showcasing Islamic contemporary and historical artefacts including some  authentic artifacts from the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and Masjid-al-Haram.

The curatorial team has scholars connected with Victoria and Albert Museum, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

The Foundation plans to host a biennale every year, alternating between the Contemporary Art Biennale and the Islamic Arts Biennale.

The event aims to showcase the art and creativity of Islamic culture, from both the past and present.

It is showcasing 280 rare and priceless artifacts and more than 50 new commissioned artworks from around the Muslim world.

This place is the confluence of millions of  Muslims from all over the world going for Haj and as such is an ideal place to hold the exhibition.

The Biennale is organized around two main themes: Qiblah and Hijrah.

The Qiblah is the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca, which every Muslim faces in their daily prayers. It unites Muslims in prayer all over the world.

There are also specially commissioned artworks that reflect on the theme of migration and how pilgrimage has coloured the cultural life of the Muslim world.

The exhibition also showcases rarely seen historical artifacts from the cities of Mecca and Medina and the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as its custodian.

The artefacts come from different parts of the world like Mali, Egypt, Tunisia, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Oman, and Qatar.

The Islamic Arts Biennale will have number of programs featuring a number activities like  excursions, workshops, meet-the-artist sessions, panel discussions, talks, seminars, performances and film screenings, highlighting the integral role of arts and culture.

Source: Siasat Daily

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First aid convoy en route to Turkish border to enter northwest Syria

09 February ,2023

The first convoy of humanitarian assistance for northwest Syrians hit by the earthquake is en route to the southern Turkish border with the hope of crossing on Thursday, two aid sources told Reuters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey earthquake: Saudi rescue, medic teams arrive to help in recovery efforts

09 February ,2023

Saudi rescue and medic teams arrived in Turkey’s Adana on Thursday after King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed operating an air bridge to provide aid to the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, Al Arabiya reported.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) officially launched its aid program on Wednesday to aid people who have been affected by the deadly earthquake in Syria and Turkey.

The Kingdom is also accepting donations through its “Sahem” program which had received $16.5 million (62 million Saudi riyals) by Wednesday.

The death toll from the massive earthquake that struck both countries has climbed above 16,000.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE rescue crew saves Syrian family trapped under earthquake rubble in Turkish home

09 February ,2023

Emirati rescue teams from the United Arab Emirates have pulled a Syrian family of four trapped under rubble in Turkey after the devastating earthquake that has killed more than 15,000 people across the region.

As part of the UAE’s ‘Gallant Knight/2’ operation, the mother, son, and two daughters of a Syrian family were rescued from the ruins of their home after a five-hour search and rescue operation in the Kahramanmaraş province.

Emirati medical professionals gave the family immediate support before they were taken to hospital.

The Emirati search and rescue teams were thanked and praised by the family’s friends and relatives who were present at the scene of the collapsed house, state news agency WAM reported.

They also praised the support of the Turkish authorities for relief efforts.

The death toll from the catastrophic earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria rose to more than 15,000 as more bodies were pulled from the rubble of collapsed homes in the stricken zone, Turkey’s disaster management agency said Thursday.

The agency said 12,391 people had been confirmed killed in Turkey after Monday’s early morning earthquake and series of aftershocks, which brought down thousands of buildings in southeastern Turkey.

On the other side of the border in Syria, another 2,902 people have been reported to have been killed.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syria requests assistance from EU after massive earthquake

08 February ,2023

Syria has requested assistance from the European Union, two days after a massive earthquake hit it and neighboring Turkey, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

“Earlier today, this morning, we have received a request from the government of Syria for assistance through the civil protection mechanism,” European Commissioner for crisis management JanezLenarcic told reporters.

Lenarcic said member states were being encouraged to contribute with assistance as requested.

A country can request assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism when the scale of an emergency or disaster overwhelms its response capabilities.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syria, Turkey earthquake: Saudi Arabia’s KSRelief officially launches aid program

08 February ,2023

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has officially launched its aid program to provide on the ground support and aid to people in Syria and Turkey who have been affected by the major earthquake that hit the two countries, Supervisor General Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah announced on Wednesday.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had on Tuesday directed KSrelief to operate an air bridge to provide aid to the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

The supervisor general confirmed that its volunteer teams would be traveling to provide on the ground support, and KSrelief will focus on providing medical and food relief to those affected.

The Kingdom will be accepting donations through its “Sahem” program, which had already received more than $3.4 million in the days following the earthquake before the King and Crown Prince had made their announcement yesterday.

Over 9,500 have died in both Syria and Turkey as a result of the earthquake, official data showed on Wednesday, with the number expected to keep rising as rescue workers continue to dig through the rubble of destroyed buildings.

One UN official said thousands of children may have died.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Souq from life of Prophet Muhammad located in Makkah

February 08, 2023

JEDDAH: A Saudi scientific team has located the site of an ancient souq in the Makkah region that served as one of the most important Arab markets during the pre-Islamic and early Islamic eras.

Dubbed Souq Habasha, the site was discovered in cooperation between the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives, the Ministry of Culture and its Heritage Commission.

Souq Habasha was an ancient seasonal Arab market and one of the largest in the Tihamah region west of the Arabian Peninsula. The souq was held every year for eight days starting on the first day of Rajab in the Islamic calendar, and was annually held until the Islamic year 197 (813 A.D.).

Fahd Al-Samari, secretary-general of the foundation and head of the scientific committee of Souq Habasha, delivered a statement in a video that was published on Darah’s official Twitter account.

He said: “Documenting historical information must be within a specific methodology. Therefore, the department has entered a number of experiences in documentation, such as documenting the Okaz market, and some sites from the Prophet Muhammad’s biography in the Kingdom. The Habasha market will be an ancient historical and cultural asset for the Kingdom.”

Abdullah Al-Zahrani, a member of the Souq Habasha scientific committee, said: “This collaboration project was made to locate the souq and it is a good example of joint cooperation between many parties as well as researchers, historians, geographers and prophet’s biography experts who will add a lot to verify this site.”

Studies and research projects have attempted to trace the location of the market for more than 40 years, with field sites proposed by the committee finally being inspected last year.

Abdullah Al-Welaie, another member of the Souq Habasha scientific committee, said: “We worked on drawing complete caravan routes, including the coastal road, the Tihama road, peaks of the Sarawat Mountains, as well as the Elephant road. Four tracks were drawn on accurate maps that really helped determine the location of the market and were then handed over to historians.”

Historians said that the market was mentioned in the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, who had taken part in the souq to trade before his mission.

The team conducted studies, verified sources and carried out an archaeological survey, following up discussions with qualified sources to determine the location of Souq Habasha.

Historical markets in the region were typically located in areas with an abundance of water, rainfall and grazing land. Accordingly, Souq Habasha was located on the southern bank of Wadi Qanuna in Ardiyat, a coastal city in the Makkah region.

It is positioned in the middle of a vast floodplain, bound by the Al-Durbat mountains to the east, Al-‘Irm mountains to the west stretching for five km, and Umm Al-Rimth mountains to the south, in a vast area where water sources and plant cover are prominent.

The market also passes through Al-Janad street, which served as one of the most important landmarks in determining the location of the souq.

Source: Arab News

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Turkey’s Erdogan faces crescendo of criticism over quake response

08 February ,2023

Criticism of Turkey’s earthquake response mounted on Wednesday, with the political opposition and people in the disaster zone accusing the government of a tardy and inadequate relief effort.

The anger grew louder as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, facing a tight election in three months’ time, visited the afflicted area for the first time and acknowledged some problems with the initial response.

Monday’s quakes have killed more than 11,000 people across southern Turkey and northwest Syria. They cracked infrastructure and flattened thousands of buildings, causing hardship for millions and leaving many homeless in bitterly cold weather.

“Where is the state? Where have they been for two days? We are begging them. Let us do it, we can get them out,” said SabihaAlinak, near a snow covered collapsed building where her young relatives were trapped in the city of Malatya.

From the outset, Turks have complained of a lack of equipment and support as they waited helplessly next to rubble, lacking the necessary expertise or tools to rescue those trapped - sometimes even as they could hear cries for help.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition party, had earlier in the week said the disaster was a time for unity, not criticism. But on Wednesday he accused the government of failing to cooperate with local authorities and weakening non-governmental organizations that could help.

“I refuse to look at what is happening as above politics and align with the ruling party. This collapse is exactly the result of systematic profiteering politics,” he said. “If there is anyone responsible for this process, it is Erdogan. It is this ruling party that has not prepared the country for an earthquake for 20 years.”

Rescue workers have struggled to reach some of the worst-hit areas, held back by destroyed roads, poor weather and lack of resources and heavy equipment, while some areas are without fuel or electricity.

Military response

NasuhMahruki, founder of a search and rescue group active in response to the 1999 earthquake that killed 17,000, said the army did not act soon enough because Erdogan’s government annulled a protocol enabling it to respond without instruction.

“When this was cancelled (their) duties and responsibilities in combating disasters were taken away,” he told Reuters.

“In the first seconds (after the 1999 quake), the Turkish Armed Forces started to work and were on the scene with the people within hours,” he said, contrasting this with the current situation where the military had to wait for instructions.

“Now it seems the responsibility is with AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority), but it is not prepared for such a colossal problem,” Mahruki added.

Speaking in Kahramanmaras, near the epicenter of the earthquake, Erdogan said: “We had some problems in airports and roads but we are better today.”

“I would like to ask you not to give a chance to provocateurs, other than the statements especially from AFAD... Because today is the time for unity,” he said.

He did not appear to have had a direct confrontation with any local people.

A government official, who requested anonymity, said the efforts were hampered by damaged roads, bad weather and being unable to use airports due to damage.

“It seems that we should have been more prepared,” the person said.

In the southern city of Antakya, one of the hardest hit, Melek, 64, said she had not seen rescue teams as of late Tuesday. “We haven’t seen any food distribution here unlike previous disasters in our country. We survived the earthquake, but we will die here due to hunger or cold.”

Selim Temurci, spokesman for the opposition Future Party, said AFAD’s efforts were insufficient due to personnel shortages and the vast expanse of destruction.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Earthquake in Turkey, Syria: Baby born beneath rubble


A baby girl rescued after being born under the rubble of her home has provided a small symbol of hope after the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria.

The dust-covered newborn was pulled from the wreckage of a four-storey apartment building more than 10 hours after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in rebel-held northern Syria.

“Had the girl been left for an hour more, she would have died,” said Dr HanuMaarouf, who is caring for the baby.

Her relations in the small Syrian town of Jindayris found her still attached to her mother by the umbilical cord.

“We heard a voice while we were digging,” Khalil al-Suwadi said yesterday. “We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord. So we cut it and my cousin took her to hospital.”

The crying infant was the sole survivor among her immediate family of Monday’s pre-dawn earthquake, which flattened the her family home and killed her mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya, father, Abdullah, four siblings and an aunt.

Unicef said that “thousands of children” may have been killed after the most powerful earthquake in Syria and Turkey for almost a century. Three British citizens were reported missing after at least 6,200 people were killed in Turkey and Syria, where thousands are still waiting for rescue workers to arrive.

The rescued baby, who suffered cuts and bruises, was taken to a children’s hospital in the nearby town of Afrin and placed in an incubator.

It is understood she is getting better by the hour and her relatives are at her side. Her condition was last night said to be stable. The girl’s forehead and fingers were still blue from the cold and she remains on a drip.

Video footage of her escape was widely shared on social media on Monday. It showed a man sprinting from the rubble clutching the baby. A second man brings a blanket to protect the child from the sub-zero temperatures, while a third yells for a car to take her to hospital.

Rescue efforts have been further hampered by aftershocks. One on Monday was almost as powerful as the first earthquake, while tremors with a magnitude of 7.6 and 5.5 were reported on Tuesday.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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Deadly quake puts Erdogan under pressure in May polls

Feb 9, 2023

ISTANBUL: The stakes could hardly be higher for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Just three months before the biggest test of his political career, a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Turkey and Syria, killing more than 15,000 people.

On May 14, Turkey will vote in presidential and parliamentary elections that polls conducted before the disaster showed would turn into a tight race for Erdogan, who has led the country since 2003.

And even before disaster struck in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, Erdogan was trying to put out a series of crises at the same time.

His unconventional approach to economics has set off an inflationary spiral that saw consumer prices soar by 85 percent in annual terms last year.

At the same time, his government has been swatting away accusations of cronyism, corruption and bungling the response to environmental disasters, including wildfires in 2021.

Appearing to understand the challenge, Erdogan is fighting back.

Hours after the earthquake, he took centre stage at a press conference in Ankara -- one of many that followed in the next three days.

On Wednesday, he hugged a weeping woman affected by the quake near its epicentre in the province of Kahramanmaras before paying a visit to Hatay, where the death toll is even higher.

He even acknowledged his government's "shortcomings" during the Hatay visit, but insisted it was "not possible to be ready for a disaster like this".

Erdogan no doubt remembers it was Turkey's last major earthquake, in 1999, that catapulted his party to victory in 2002 after promises of better governance.

The then-prime minister Bulent Ecevit came under heavy criticism for bungling the 1999 relief effort.

After Monday's quake hit, Turkey swiftly declared a level four emergency that calls for international assistance. Support from dozens of countries -- including regional rivals -- has swiftly poured in.

Experts say Erdogan could strengthen his position if he manages the crisis well. But failure could see him suffer the fate of Ecevit.

"An effective emergency response may even strengthen the AKP leader and its party by triggering a sense of national solidarity under Erdogan's leadership," WolfangoPiccoli of the London-based political risk consultancy Teneo said.

"However, the large scale of the earthquake -- ten southern provinces were hit -- will pose a significant challenge to the government," he added in a note.

"If the post-earthquake response is not successful, Erdogan could lose the elections in May," said Emre Caliskan, a research fellow at the UK-based Foreign Policy Centre.

Frustration is building in southern Turkey. Many destitute families lashed out at the government for failing to reach them and save their loved ones from the rubble.

Others waited for more than 24 hours for state relief workers to provide food and shelter.

Analyst Gonul Tol, who was in Turkey at the time of the quake and lost relatives in the tragedy, said the anger was palpable in Hatay, one of the most affected provinces.

"I cannot imagine him (Erdogan) not being impacted by this because of the level of frustration, I saw that anger firsthand. I am sure it will have an impact," said Tol, who is the Turkey programme director at the US-based Middle East Institute.

Tol also said that in 1999, civil society organisations worked tirelessly to help victims.

This time, there are fewer because Erdogan has cracked down on many in the wake of a failed 2016 coup.

"Twenty years later, we are in no better place," she told AFP. "Erdogan has not only weakened state institutions but he also weakened Turkish civil society."

Erdogan, however, faces no criticism from most mainstream media, experts pointed out, giving the president an obvious advantage over the opposition.

News channels have reported very little on the impact of poor construction after homes crumbled, including those built only six months or a year ago.

Yet after the 1999 disaster, the government had introduced construction regulations to ensure new buildings would survive big tremors.

"The opposition says that the number of earthquake-related deaths were not just due to natural disaster, but the result of poorly regulated and bad quality construction," Caliskan said, adding that opponents put the blame squarely on the government.

Within days of the 1999 quake, newspapers slammed the government over the response. Not so this time.

Source: Times Of India

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President Assures Turkey, Syria of Iran’s Support Following Horrifying Quake


Speaking in a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, Rayeesi sympathized with the Turkish government and nation over the powerful earthquake in the country.

Iran's president voiced Tehran’s readiness to provide immediate help to the neighboring state, expressing hope that the Turkish government would take the necessary measures to alleviate the sufferings of the people.

Noting that apart from neighborliness, Iran and Turkey are friendly and brotherly countries, he stated that the Iranian government and nation are standing by Turkiye in these tough times.

President Erdogan, for his part, hailed the offer of sympathy and good-will of President Rayessi.

He said that the recent quake was Turkey’s biggest earthquake of the past 50 years, expressing hope that his country will be able to accomplish preliminary rescue measures at the earliest.

In another phone call on Tuesday, the Iranian president talked to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad.

Rayeesi offered his condolences to the “Syrian brothers and sisters” over the earthquake, saying, “The Islamic Republic has always stood by the Syrian nation and government at difficult times and it is now ready to provide immediate relief to the Syrian victims of the earthquake.”

Assad, for his part, thanked the Iranian president for his call and sympathy with Syria.

Damascus, he added, wants to benefit from the Islamic Republic’s experiences and capabilities in order to improve relief efforts in Syria, which was hit by its first earthquake in the past 250 years.

Rayeesi agreed to Assad’s request to use Iran’s experiences in dealing with natural disasters, including earthquakes, and to send a technical team to Syria.

A 7.8 magnitude tremor, one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years, struck Southeastern Turkey and Northwestern Syria early Monday, killing at least 9,000 people, injuring tens of thousands more and reducing hundreds of buildings to rubble.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Military Chief: Iran's Defense Systems Favored by Several Countries


Maj. Gen. Baqeri made the remarks on Tuesday during a ceremony at Imam Khomeini’s holy shrine, where military commanders and officials renewed their allegiance to the ideals of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.

He highlighted Iran’s self-reliance in manufacturing defense products, saying the homegrown Iranian military products have found many clients in the world.

“Today, the Islamic Republic’s defense power and deterrence capability are so fertile that we produce more than 90 percent of our needed products, and that our defense equipment has found many requesters,” the military official noted.

The top general also hailed the Iranian Armed Forces’ readiness to counter threats posed by the enemy.

“Our defense deterrence does not allow the emergence of threats. But if there is a one percent chance of threat, our armed forces … stand fully vigilant with all their facilities,” he continued.

“In the hybrid war with the enemy, the armed forces will stand by the officials and people with all their strength and will not allow the enemy to succeed,” Major General Baqeri added.

He also referred to the rising power of the Resistance Front against Israel, saying the occupying regime only makes verbal threats.

“Today, the Zionist regime only makes verbal threats, but it knows that it does not have the power to carry them out as it is surrounded by the member countries of the Resistance Axis,” the top commander added.

Military officials say the military power of Iran is strong, extraordinary and deterrent despite enemy sanctions and pressures, and hail the country's defense sector for its remarkable developments in the recent decades. They stress the Iranian Armed Forces’ deterrent power dissuades the United States and Israel from implementing its threats against the country.

The Islamic Republic’s military doctrine holds that the country’s armed capability solely serves defensive purposes.

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made substantial headway in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the weaponry sphere.

Source: Fars News Agency

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President Rayeesi Raps Europe's Miscalculation on Iran's Domestic Affairs


Receiving credentials of the new ambassador of France to Tehran Nicolas Roche on Tuesday, Rayeesi warned about the dominance of extremism and support for Islamophobia in France.

Iran's president advised the new French envoy to put the correct transmission of the facts on his agenda.

Criticizing some European countries for their miscalculations about Iran's domestic affairs, he considered such miscalculations as a result of having no knowledge about the greatness of the Iranian nation.

Roche, for his part, expressed hope for the improvement and expansion of cooperation between the two countries.

"On behalf of the French President, he is instructed to work towards resolving the existing misunderstandings in relations and expanding cooperation between the two states," he added.

READ MORE: Iran to Close French Cultural Institute in Response to Charlie Hebdo's Insulting Cartoons

Tehran and Paris have been engaged in a diplomatic row over French meddlesome stance on recent unrest Iran.

President Emmanuel Macron also held a meeting with a number of anti-Tehran figures, including Masih Alinejad, at the Elysée last year. In the meeting, the French president described the recent unrest in Iran as a "revolution".

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kana'ani condemned Macron for meeting several anti-Tehran individuals at the Elysee Palace, and cautioned that the move will surely remain in the memory of the Iranian nation.

“It is surprising that the president of a country claiming to support freedom, lowers his level and meets with a hated pawn who, in the recent months, has clearly tried to spread hatred, violence and terrorist acts in the Islamic Republic of Iran and also against its diplomatic missions as well as diplomats of the Islamic Republic abroad,” Kana'ani said.

The diplomat called the statements quoted from Macron that he supports the so-called revolution, led by these people, as "regretful" and "a cause for shame".

The spokesperson added the meeting is a flagrant violation of France’s international responsibilities in fighting terrorism and violence, and is regarded as a promotion of these vicious phenomena.

He emphasized that such anti-Tehran measures will undoubtedly be kept in the memory of the great Iranian nation, who are well aware of the selective approaches of some European leaders, going against human rights.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of MahsaAmini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

Source: Fars News Agency

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After fleeing war in Gaza, entire Palestinian family dies in Turkey’s earthquake

08 February ,2023

Twelve years ago, Abdel-Karim Abu Jalhoum fled war and poverty in the Palestinian territory of Gaza for safety in Turkey.

On Monday, the massive earthquake that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria killed him and his entire family.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said Abu Jalhoum, his wife Fatima, and their four children, were among 70 Palestinians who had been found dead. The overall death toll in the quake has shot beyond 11,000.

“My brother went to Turkey to seek a better life away from wars and blockades here in Gaza,” Abu Jalhoum’s brother, Ramzy, 43, told Reuters as relatives and neighbors trickled into the family’s house in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday to pay respects.

“We lost the family. An entire family was wiped off the civil registration record,” he said.

Abu Jalhoum had worked as a taxi driver in Gaza but struggled to support a growing family and left in 2010 for Turkey. There, he worked in a wood factory in Antakya, and Fatima and their children joined him once he was established.

In Antakya, life was promising for the 50-year-old father, 33-year-old Fatima and their children, Noura, 16, Bara, 11, Kenzi, 9 and Mohammad, their 3-year-old who was born in Turkey. Six months ago, they had moved to a new apartment, according to the family.

In the hours after the tremors, the extended family desperately tried to make contact, calling everyone who could offer any information. On Tuesday, they recognized the family in a photo showing them buried under the rubble, lifeless.

In the picture, Abu Jalhoum is seen embracing his children, seemingly trying to protect them with his own body as their home collapsed on them.

There are no exact figures as to how many Palestinians live in Turkey, but many, especially from Gaza, have in recent years moved to Turkey, fleeing a densely populated territory that has witnessed frequent wars that have left the economy in ruins.

The United Nations relief agency UNRWA estimates around 438,000 Palestinian refugees live in Syria.

The Palestinian Authority, which has a limited rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said it had sent a rescue mission to the impacted areas.

At the family house in Beit Lahiya, Abu Jalhoum’s mother, Wedad, prayed their bodies could be returned home for burial.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey’s President Erdogan arrives to earthquake-hit region

08 February ,2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave an update on the casualty figures during a visit to Kahramanmaras, a southern Turkish city at the epicenter of the initial quake, saying the death toll from a massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria rose above 11,200.

Officials and medics said 8,574 people had died in Turkey and 2,662 in Syria from Monday's 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the total to 11,236.

Television images showed him hugging a weeping, elderly woman and walking through a large crowd towards a Red Crescent humanitarian relief tent.

Facing a tough May 14 re-election, Erdogan pledged to rebuild the damaged regions within a year.

He also appeared to push back against criticism that the government's response to Turkey's worst disaster in decades has been slow.

“Initially there were issues at airports and on the roads, but today things are getting easier and tomorrow it will be easier still,” he said in televised remarks.

“We have mobilised all our resources,” he added. “The state is doing its job.”

Thinly stretched rescue teams worked through the night in Turkey and Syria, pulling more bodies from the rubble of thousands of buildings toppled by a catastrophic earthquake. The death toll rose Wednesday to more than 9,500, making the quake the deadliest in more than a decade.

As the scale of the disaster became ever more apparent, the death toll looked likely to rise considerably. One UN official said thousands of children may have died.

Erdogan on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 southeastern provinces hit by a major earthquake that has claimed thousands of lives.

Rescue and recovery work in the isolated region near Syria has been hamstrung by a fierce winter storm that has made some roads impassable and slowed the delivery of food and aid.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkish President Erdogan vows to re-build earthquake hit areas in one year

08 February ,2023

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to rebuild areas hit by two deadly earthquakes within a year as he toured one of the worst-stricken towns on Wednesday.

Speaking on a visit to a tented community of displaced people in Kahramanmaras, Erdogan said his government had mobilized all available means to deal with the fallout from the quakes that hit the country on Monday, which have killed almost 10,000 people across Turkey and Syria to date.

Obstacles including harsh weather conditions and damage to infrastructure have been overcome, he said, and basic supplies such as gas cannisters used for heating are on their way.

“We aim to rebuild homes in Kahramanmaras and nine other provinces within one year,” Erdogan said, before heading to another quake zone in Hatay province. “If anyone prefers not to stay in tents, we can transfer them to hotels in Alanya, Mersin and Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast,” he said.

A handout of 10,000 lira ($531) will be given to each family affected by the quakes, the president said.

The scale of the disaster remains unknown but Bloomberg Economics estimates that quake-related public spending, including rebuilding efforts, can make up 5.5 percent of the gross domestic product.

Erdogan is working on the assumption that general elections will be held as planned in Turkey in May, according to people familiar with the matter, despite the logistical challenges. He declared a three-month state-of-emergency on Tuesday for the provinces hit by the quake, which will allow him to take swift security and financial measures in response to the disaster.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iranian prosecutors covered up rapes by Revolutionary Guards, official document shows

February 09, 2023

DUBAI: Iranian state prosecutors stand accused of covering up rapes by two members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

According to an internal judicial document, the IRGC members allegedly raped two women, ages 18 and 23, in a van in Tehran last September, The Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday. They had been detained during the protests that began that month following the death of MahsaAmini after she was arrested by Iran’s “morality police.” The women were accused of acting suspiciously and their phones were examined for any evidence that they had taken part in the protests.

The judicial document was reportedly initially leaked to news channel Iran International by hacktivist group Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice). It is the first internal document to surface and expose a specific case of this kind, although activists have long suspected that some female detainees were sexually abused by security officials during the protests.

Dated Oct. 13, 2022, the document was written by Mohammad Shahriari, the deputy prosecutor and head of the prosecutor’s office in Tehran, and addressed to Ali Salehi, the general and revolution prosecutor. A report on a collection of witness statements, it states that two named women were assaulted by two named male security officials.

The case came to the attention of prosecutors after one of the IRGC officers called one of the victims after the assault. She recorded the conversation and filed a complaint. The officer initially denied the charges but later changed his story to claim the women had consented to sex. He reportedly was detained, with his father, at their home in Tehran. The other accused officer was arrested separately and taken to a police intelligence unit prison.

The report details how the two men eventually admitted having intercourse with the women, which the document describes as rape. The first officer said they had detained the two women near a gas station while deployed on Sattarkhan Street in western Tehran. The officers initially took them to the Revolutionary Guard’s headquarters but left when they were told it was not possible to process the accused women there.

The document continues: “Considering the problematic nature of the case, the possibility of the leaking of this information into social media and its misrepresentation by enemy groups, it is recommended that the necessary order (is) issued for it to be filed top secret.

Source: Arab News

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Israeli forces have killed nine Palestinian children this year: Palestine

09 February 2023 

Israeli forces have shot and killed forty-two Palestinians, including nine children, since the beginning of the year, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The ministry said in a report on Wednesday that the number of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2023 has risen to 42, including an elderly woman and nine children, eight of them during January alone, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.

It said the Israeli regime has committed more crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories in 2023 than any other time in recent years, adding that the new year has so far been particularly hurtful to children.

The ministry explained that last year, 224 Palestinians, including 53 children and 17 women, were killed at the hands of Israeli troops and settlers across the occupied territories, marking 2022 the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2005.

It also said eight of the slain Palestinians were younger than ten years of age, 45 were aged between 11-17 years, 108 between 18-29 years of age, 27 between 30-39 years of age, 19 between 40- 49 years of age, 11 between 50-59, and five aged over 60.

Israeli forces launch raids on various cities of the occupied West Bank almost on a daily basis under the pretext of detaining what the regime calls “wanted” Palestinians. The raids usually lead to violent confrontations with residents.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Commission of Detainees’ and Ex-Detainees’ Affairs says Israel has arrested more than 50,000 children since 1967.

The commission also stated that about 160 children are still being held behind bars in Israeli detention centers to date. Among the detainees are three girls, of whom two are 16 years old and the third is 17, who are held in the Damon prison.

Moreover, it said, more than 600 Palestinian children were kept by Israeli courts under house arrest in 2022, noting that Israeli authorities resort to house arrest as a form of punishment mainly for children under the age of 14 due to the fact that the law does not permit their imprisonment.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates, including women and minors, have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of the so-called administrative detention. Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Source: Press TV

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Southeast Asia


Indonesian Muslims asked to pray for Turkiye, Syria quake victims

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry has appealed to all Muslims in Indonesia to hold the Salat al-Gha'ib, or absentee funeral prayer, for victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkiye and Syria earlier this week.

"To show condolence for the victims who passed away due to the earthquake in Turkiye and Syria, Muslims throughout Indonesia are encouraged to carry out the Salat al-Gha'ib," Director of Islamic Affairs and Sharia Guidance at the ministry Adib  said here on Wednesday.

He suggested that the absentee funeral prayer be held after the Friday prayer. In Jakarta, the Salat al-Gha'ib is scheduled to be held at Istiqlal Mosque.

The quake rattled Turkiye and Syria at 4:17 a.m. local time on Monday (February 6, 2023).

General Secretary of the central board (PP) of the Islamic organization Muhammadiyah Abdul Mu’ti also invited Muslims in Indonesia to pray that the earthquake victims would stay strong and patient.

"As a spiritual support, PP Muhammadiyah asks Muslims, especially Muhammadiyah members, to send prayers and carry out the Salat al-Gha'ib for those who have died," he said.

Earlier, the Indonesian Government said that it will send humanitarian aid to Turkiye.

"The assistance is being prepared by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Defense Ministry, and Social Affairs Ministry. It is currently being prepared and will be sent as soon as possible," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) informed on Tuesday (February 7, 2023).

As of Wednesday, the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Ankara, Turkiye, had managed to evacuate 123 people from a number of areas affected by the disaster, consisting of 120 Indonesian citizens, two Malaysian nationals, and one Myanmar national.

Indonesian Ambassador to Turkiye Lalu Muhammad Iqbal informed that an Indonesian citizen was among those who died in the quake.

The body of the victim, identified as Nia Marlinda, was found among the rubble in Kahramanmara along with her Turkish husband and one-year-old child.

The ambassador said that Marlinda will be buried in Turkey.

Currently, the embassy is working on finding 2 Indonesian workers in Diyarbakir whom it has still not been able to contact.

Source: AntaraNews

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Jakim: Mosques urged to work on own initiative in helping Turkey, Syria quake victims

08 Feb 2023

KOTA BARU, Feb 8 — Mosques throughout the country have been urged to take their own initiatives to help the victims of Monday’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) deputy director-general (Operations) Ruslan Said said the initiatives include holding solathajat (prayer of need) and launching a fundraising effort for the victims.

“The natural disaster has resulted in the loss of many lives and property damage.

“In addition to extending our sympathy, we Malaysians will always help those affected by natural disasters whether in the country or abroad,” he told reporters at the Kelantan Islamic Foundation, Tunjong, here today.

Ruslan said Jakim had coordinated an aid programme involving three mosques, namely the National Mosque, the Putra Mosque and the TuankuMizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, Putrajaya.

“This programme will be announced by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Na’im Mokhtar soon,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ruslan said the national-level MahrajanMemanahSekolahMenengah Agama Malaysia 2023 programme, which is now in its fourth year, will be held from Aug 6 to 9 at the Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Kubang Kerian campus.


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Cops probe mother’s claim that teacher coaxed her son into Islam

February 9, 2023

PETALING JAYA: A mother has lodged a report that her 15-year-old son’s teacher had coaxed the boy into converting to Islam. Police said an investigation is under way.

Cheras police chief Zam Halim Jamaluddin said the report was lodged on Tuesday morning and several witnesses have had their statements taken.

He added that the secondary school teacher is in his 40s.

Investigations are being conducted under the Penal Code for causing disharmony on grounds of religion and making statements that lead to public alarm and distress.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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Perak PAS chief apologises to Anwar over ‘LGBT’ remarks

K. Parkaran

February 9, 2023

TAIPING: Perak PAS chief Razman Zakaria has apologised in court to Anwar Ibrahim for claiming in an election campaign speech last year that the latter had condoned LGBT practices.

His apology was made at the High Court here as part of a consent judgment to settle a defamation suit brought against him by Anwar.

Anwar’s lawyer, SN Nair, said his client had agreed to the settlement as a goodwill gesture and to let the matter rest “in the interest of all parties”.

“When a man repents and seeks forgiveness in good faith, it takes a gracious leader to rise to the occasion and accept the apology and withdraw the suit,” said Nair, who said the settlement had vindicated Anwar.

The suit was filed on Dec 5 over Razman’s claim that Anwar would promote an LGBT agenda, allow same-sex marriage and support the communist agenda if he became prime minister.

Razman Zakaria at the High Court, flanked by his lawyer Naran Singh (left) and Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer SN Nair.

Anwar, who is chairman of Pakatan Harapan and president of PKR, was standing for election as MP for Tambun at the general election in November last year.

He won by a majority of 3,736 votes against Ahmad Faizal Azumu of Bersatu and two others and became prime minister on Nov 24.

Razman is the Perak state assemblyman for GunungSemanggol and current leader of the state opposition.

The suit was filed on Dec 5 at the High Court here. Anwar had demanded RM5 million in damages and an injunction to prevent Razman from making further defamatory statements against him.

The statement of claim said Razman’s allegations had implied that Anwar had abused his powers as an MP, was deceitful, a traitor, a hypocrite and not a good Muslim.

Reading out the unconditional apology before judicial commissioner Noor RuwenaNurdin, Razman said his slanderous statement made during the 15th general election campaign had caused immeasurable damage to Anwar’s reputation.

“I hereby withdraw all allegations I made against Anwar Ibrahim and wish to tender my unreserved apology. I also promise not to repeat the allegations in any form in future.”

He appealed to Anwar to withdraw his suit against him and said he would also withdraw his statement of defence.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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Earthquake of magnitude 5.5 strikes north coast of Indonesia’s Papua

09 February ,2023

An earthquake of magnitude 5.5 struck the north coast of Papua, Indonesia, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) said on Thursday.

The quake was at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.21 miles), EMSC said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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North America


Calls mounting for US to lift sanctions hampering aid efforts in quake-stricken Syria

08 February 2023

As rescue efforts continue in the war-torn Syria following massive earthquakes there, calls are growing for the US and its allies to remove their sanctions, which are said to be hampering international aid efforts in the country.

China has now added its voice to an international outcry over the sanctions, with foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning urging the US to remove its unilateral sanctions on Syria and provide convenience for humanitarian assistance to the quake-hit regions in the Arab country.

Mao said the US has been involved in the Syrian crisis for a long time with frequent military intervention and harsh economic sanctions, which have caused a large number of civilian casualties and made it difficult for people to obtain basic living guarantees.

"Up to now, the US military is still occupying the main oil producing areas of Syria, plundering more than 80 percent of the oil production, smuggling and burning Syrian food stocks, which are making the humanitarian crisis there worse," Mao said.

She stressed that in the face of the earthquake, the US should put aside its geopolitical obsession, and lift unilateral sanctions on Syria immediately, opening the door to international humanitarian assistance.

Syria has been a target of US sanctions since 1979, when it was blacklisted as a state sponsor of terrorism by Washington. Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, the US and its Western allies have dramatically tightened their economic sanctions and restrictions on the Arab country.

The US sanctions intensified with the passing of the Caesar Act in 2019, which targeted any individual and business that participated either directly or indirectly in Syria reconstruction efforts.

Earlier, the Syrian foreign ministry said the US sanctions are blocking humanitarian work in Syria.

In a statement, the ministry said that the Syrians, while dealing with the earthquake catastrophe, are digging among the rubble with their own hands or using the simplest tools as  equipment for removing the rubble is banned by the US sanctions.

It said that the Syrians are also denied access to medicines and medical equipment that would help them face dangers and diseases.

On Tuesday, Syrian Arab Red Crescent President Khaled Hboubati also called for the lifting of the US and Western sanctions as the country is in dire need of rescue equipment.

Speaking at a press conference in Damascus, Hboubati stressed that the country needs heavy machinery and ambulances and firetrucks to continue its search and rescue operations and clear rubble.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has also called on the world to pressure the US to lift the sanctions on Syria.

The ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani has urged the international community to force the US to lift the siege of the Arab state so that international humanitarian aid can be delivered to the quake-stricken people without any obstacle and at the shortest time.

And on Monday, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a US-based advocacy group, called for the "immediate" lifting of the US sanctions to facilitate the delivery of aid to Syria.

So far, the US and its allies have resisted calls for creating a political opening, and ruled out the possibility of dealing directly with the Syrian government in quake relief efforts.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday the US will send aid to Syria through non-governmental organizations without engaging with the Syrian government, which it opposes.

Meantime, the World Health Organization has urged the global community to lend a helping hand to Syria as the country’s humanitarian needs are particularly high.

The United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have also called for emergency aid to help prevent the humanitarian situation in Syria from worsening.

Source: Press TV

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American Islamic State Emir, Ruslan MaratovichAsainov, Convicted on All Counts

Jeff Seldin

February 08, 2023


A naturalized U.S. citizen who became so enamoured with Islamic State that he abandoned his wife and child to join the terror group in Syria, eventually rising to the rank of emir, faces life behind bars after being convicted of all charges against him.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday that a jury has found the now 46-year-old Ruslan MaratovichAsainov guilty on five counts, including conspiracy to provide material support, receiving and providing training, obstruction of justice and support to a terror group that led to the death of one or more persons.

Asainov “was so committed to the terrorist organization’s evil cause that he abandoned his young family here in Brooklyn, New York, to make an extraordinary journey to the battlefield in Syria,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

“Even after being captured [Asainov] still pledged his allegiance to ISIS’ murderous path,” Peace added. “There is no place in a civilized world for the defendant’s bloody campaign of death and destruction.”

Asainov was captured by U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces following the fall of Baghuz, the Islamic State’s last shred of territory in Syria, in March 2019.

He was extradited to the U.S. in July 2019 and was immediately charged with providing support to the terror group.

Training camps

According to court documents, Asainov, a naturalized citizen who came to the U.S. from Kazakhstan, traveled to Syria in late 2013, where he began fighting with IS as a sniper.

Eventually, he became one of the terror group's emirs, responsible for establishing training camps for IS recruits and for teaching them how to use weapons.

He also began communicating with a confidential informant for the FBI, asking for money while periodically sending the informant photos of himself and other IS fighters in combat gear.

"We [IS] are the worst terrorist organization in the world that has ever existed," he wrote in one communication, adding he wished to die on the battlefield.

In other messages, officials say Asainov talked about fighting in places like Kobani, Deir el-Zour and Tabka.

In addition to the messages, U.S. officials said some of the evidence against Asainov was based on interviews with "at least one other individual who provided material support and resources to ISIS during part of the same time period as the defendant."

More American IS

Since 2016, the U.S. has repatriated at least 39 citizens from Syria and Iraq, including 15 adults and 24 children.

Of the adults, at least 11 have been charged with crimes. U.S. officials told VOA that some of the adults were not charged because they were minors when they were brought by their families to join IS.

Source: VOANews

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Elon Musk says Twitter to be’re-enabled' in Turkey soon

Feb 9, 2023

WASHINGTON: Twitter CEO Elon Musk has said that the Turkey government has informed the company that access to the microblogging site will be "re-enabled shortly."

"Twitter has been informed by the Turkish government that access will be re-enabled shortly," Musk tweeted on Wednesday (local time).

As the country continues to battle the aftermath of the powerful February 6 earthquakes, aid workers and locals have been relying on Twitter and other social media networks to post information on rescue efforts and coordination of aid.

The Washington Post reported that in the wake of the quakes, a number of users said their access to Twitter was largely blocked or limited without using a VPN. Many condemned what they suspected was a decision by the government to do so, saying it could have not come at a worse time.

According to the US-based paper, Turkey has a long history of restricting social media platforms during national emergencies, terrorist attacks or political incidents, arguing that the government is safeguarding national security or preventing the spread of disinformation.

The disruption in access to social media services has left emergency responders with fewer mediums to coordinate ongoing rescue operations and facilitate aid delivery.

Turkey also seemed to be also affected by the outage reported by Twitter users globally on Wednesday.

Omer FatihSayan, Turkey's deputy minister of transportation and infrastructure, met with Twitter officials over video conference on Wednesday, according to the Anadolu Agency as cited in the Washington Post. "Sayan reminded Twitter that the social media company is legally responsible for preventing the spread of disinformation that could lead to panic and chaos," the US daily reported.

Also, as per media TikTok in a statement said that some of its users in Turkey were having problems using the social media site.

Outage tracker DownDetector revealed that more than 9,000 Twitter issued reports as of 5 am on Thursday, as per CNN.

Reports started to witness a decline within half an hour as some of the users were able to tweet again.

Source: Times Of India

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Balkan Muslims raise funds to help earthquake victims in Türkiye

ErenBeksac, Furkan Abdula 



People in the Western Balkan countries of Kosovo and North Macedonia have mobilized to help earthquake victims in Türkiye after the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes, the epicenter of which were Pazarcik and Elbistan districts of Kahramanmaras province.

In the Seydi Bey mosque in the city of Prizren, which lies in the south of Kosovo, the community raised funds to support their Turkish brethren, in the wake of the disaster caused by the earthquakes that affected 10 provinces.

Prizren Provincial Mufti Besim Berisha announced that more than €2,000 ($2,144) had been collected in a short time, with women also donating their earrings and rings.

Berisha said €2,221 euros, 100 Turkish liras, two pairs of gold earrings, a gold ring, and a gold coin were collected in one go.

The collected aid is expected to be delivered to the earthquake victims in coordination with Türkiye's institutions and organizations in Kosovo as soon as possible.

Flowers left in front of Turkish consulate

Various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Kosovo's municipalities such as Prizren, Pristina, and Mamusha are also organizing charity campaigns.

"The people of Kosovo are mobilized to help Türkiye, both in terms of clothing and financial aid. We collected over 50,000 pieces of clothing and were able to collect a large amount of financial aid,” Onur Kovac, president of the Empathy Association, the NGO that collected the aid, told Anadolu.

Flowers were also left in front of the Consulate General of Türkiye in commemoration of the victims killed in the earthquakes.

In the morning sessions of the Kosovo assembly, a minute's silence was observed in memory of those who lost their lives in Türkiye and Syria.

President of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani also declared a one-day national mourning in the wake of the deadly quakes.

North Macedonia

Turkish students in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, also launched a humanitarian aid collection campaign for earthquake victims in Türkiye.

Students set up tents in Macedonia Square as people brought basic necessities such as canned food, blankets, clothes, diapers, and soft drinks.

Besides fundraising campaigns by non-profits, aid was also collected in the Old Turkish Bazaar in the capital.

In the historical Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, the Quran was recited and prayers were held for those affected by the disaster.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Muslim-American group urges public, Biden to increase support for those aiding quake victims

Rabia İclalTuran



The US's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization urged the American public and the Biden administration Wednesday to increase support for those aiding the victims of Monday’s powerful earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

"We urge all American Muslims and the broader public to increase their support for the heroes working to assist those affected by the earthquake through donations, volunteering, or any other means they can," NihadAwad executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement.

CAIR also encouraged imams, or Muslim religious leaders, across the country to "devote their Friday sermons to urging the community to stand with quake victims in Türkiye and Syria."

Earlier on Wednesday, representatives of CAIR met with Turkish ambassador to the US Hasan Murat Mercan and expressed their condolences for the victims of the deadly earthquakes that hit southern provinces of the country.

At least 9,057 people were killed and 52,979 injured after 7.7 and 7.6-magnitude earthquakes shook Pazarcık and Elbistan districts Monday in Kahramanmaras province.

Nine other provinces have been affected by the deadly quakes including Malatya, Adiyaman, Hatay and Osmaniye.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Candlelight vigil in US honors earthquake victims in Türkiye, Syria

Rabia IclalTuran



A candlelight vigil was held in Washington, D.C., to honor the victims of the deadly earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria.

Nearly 50 people gathered at Dupont Circle to show solidarity with the people who are affected by the earthquakes and the search and rescue workers saving lives.

The vigil was organized by Syrian-Americans living in Washington, D.C., and was also attended by Turkish-Americans, US citizens and many other people.

A minute of silence was observed to honor the victims of the tragedy as well as for those who are searching for loved ones.

Those attending the vigil urged people to support the victims of the earthquake by sending help or donating through online campaigns.

Hazem Rihawi of the American Relief Coalition for Syria told Anadolu that the event would help the community in Washington, D.C., to understand the impact of the earthquake on both countries.

"It's showing more solidarity, hoping that the community contribute and help and assist in any way possible," he said.

"I hope the message will reach them to understand the impact of this," he added. "It's a crisis beyond comprehension, and it must be shown to the world and especially in such a capital like Washington, D.C.," he added.

He said that the aim also is to encourage the US administration "to put more resources to support both people regarding this crisis."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Biden calls earthquake that struck Türkiye, Syria 'one of the worst’ in that region




US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the devastating earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria this week was "one of the worst" in the region.

"On behalf of the American people, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Türkiye and Syria," Biden said during an event in the state of Wisconsin.

"The death toll is rising. It's one of the worst earthquakes in that region in over 100 years. And we mourn the loss of so many lives, and we offer our deepest condolences," he added.

The president also hailed the efforts of rescue teams in pulling out people from under the rubble.

"The earthquake was incredibly powerful, significant aftershocks, and a second quake. But you see dads and moms pulling little babies out from underneath the rubble. So many people dying. And our thoughts are also with the survivors who've been torn apart by this tragedy," he said.

Biden also recalled that he called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately after the quakes and that the US offered its full support to Türkiye.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Washington supports War in Yemen despite promise to end it

08 February 2023

One of Joe Biden's promises during his presidential campaign was to immediately move to end all support for the Saudi led coalition's war in Yemen.

In February 2021 Biden stood at a podium at the State Department and proclaimed that the war in Yemen must end.

Biden underlined the humanitarian crisis as the key reason the United States withdrew support.

This war has to end and to underscore our commitment; we're ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales.

US President, Joe Biden

An investigation by the Government Accountability Office found that the United States is training the Saudi led coalition with US troops on the ground in Yemen. Biden confirmed that the United States has troops in Yemen in a letter to Congress in June last year. Simply put, he lied to the world when, in 2021, he claimed that the United States was withdrawing US troops from the war in Yemen.

On the contrary, the United States is making billions of dollars from the war in Yemen, while close to 200,000 have been killed from direct violence.

According to data acquired from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, between 2015 and 2021, the United States sent $54.2 billion in weapons and services to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In addition, the Department of Defense provided $644 million for military training to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, almost entirely through the foreign military sales program.

The DOD uses acquisition and cross servicing agreements to build nations for logistical support and items ranging from flying hours, fuel and bombs.

Saudi Arabia has paid the United States $157 million in flying hours, with the UAE having paid $104 million for flying hours since the Saudi led intervention began in Yemen in 2015.

The United States billed Saudi Arabia and the UAE for $319 million in acquisition and cross servicing agreements for logistical support. Also, the United States sent $18.6 billion in missiles, $6.2 billion in aircraft, $3.3 billion in ships, and, $2.8 billion in military training, to attack one of the poorest nations in the world.

The United States is well aware that the coalition is not fighting an advanced military in Yemen. Billions of dollars have been spent destroying the country, killing hundreds of thousands of people.

The UN Security Council approved a resolution to blockade Yemen, which has been in effect since 2015, the object being to prevent arms from flooding the conflict zone, however, the embargo has only succeeded in starving the Yemenis and inducing famine.

During a February 9 phone call in 2022 with the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, President Joe Biden assured King Salman that the United States would continue to support the war in Yemen.

The phone call came just one year after Biden lied to the world and announced that the US was withdrawing its support for the war in Yemen.

The Defense Security Cooperation agency's defense Institute of International Legal Studies, conducted training at the Saudi War College which focused on the law of armed conflict, including laws related to air to ground targeting in May 2017, April 2018, June 2019 and May 2020.

The DOD claims they are not responsible for civilian deaths because they provided the Saudis with training to avoid civilian casualties.

According to the Yemen data project over 23,000 Saudi led coalition airstrikes have been logged since March 2015 which have led to thousands of civilian casualties.

A Yemeni human rights organization has warned that the Saudi led war in Yemen, as well as the crippling siege in the impoverished Arab country, could result in the death of thousands of children suffering from cancer.

The Entesaf Organization for Women's and Children's Rights, in a statement on the occasion of World Cancer Day, declared that more than 3000 Yemeni children, who have developed cancer as a result of Saudi aggression and the tight sea, land, and, air, blockade imposed upon the country, are now at significant risk of death.

Entesaf criticized international organizations and other relevant bodies for neglecting Yemeni cancer patients over the past years revealing that the incidence of Leukemia is increasing among Yemeni children.

The number of children suffering from blood cancer has soared from 300 to 700 in the capital Sanaa due to the use of internationally banned weapons, supplied by the United States and the United Kingdom, used by Saudi led coalition in Yemen.

Approximately one thousand children are also believed to have contracted leukemia in other Yemeni regions for the same reasons. The rights organization pointed to the dire shortage of medicine needed for the treatment of patients. diagnosed with cancer because of the Saudi led military onslaught and siege, stating that many children lose their lives as a result.

The Human Rights Organization noted that the economic hardship caused by the ongoing military aggression and the blockade have prevented child cancer patients from seeking treatment abroad and called for the opening of Sanaa International Airport for humanitarian purposes.

It holds Saudi Arabia and its allies fully responsible for all the crimes and violations being perpetrated against the Yemeni nation, especially children, urging the international community to bear the legal and humanitarian responsibility for the violations against innocent civilians.

Saudi Arabia in collaboration with its Arab allies, and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western States, launched a devastating war in Yemen in March 2015.

The objective was to crush the popular Ansarullah Resistance Movement, which has been running the state in the absence of a functional government in Yemen, and to reinstall the Riyadh friendly regime of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Source: Press TV

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Intl. rights organizations call on Morocco not to extradite Shia Muslim man to Saudi Arabia

08 February 2023

Several international human rights organizations have called upon Morocco to cancel  plans to hand over a man from Saudi Arabia’s Shia-populated Qatif region to the kingdom, amid a heavy-handed crackdown against members of the religious community and opponents of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The right groups, including ALQST for Human Rights and the European Saudi Organization for Human Rights (ESOHR), in a letter addressed to Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch urged authorities in the North African country to abandon extradition of Hassan al-Rabea, 26, as he will likely be subjected to “enforced disappearance, torture, and arbitrary sentences that may lead to his death” in Saudi Arabia.

According to the letter, a Moroccan court ruled last week that Rabea could be extradited, despite concerns about ill-treatment in his home country.

He was detained on January 14 at Marrakesh Airport on an arrest warrant issued at the request of Saudi authorities, who are seeking to try him for leaving the kingdom “irregularly” with the help of “terrorists.”

His brother, Ahmed al-Rabea – who is based in Canada – has deplored the court ruling as a “disappointing decision.”

“This shows that Moroccan law is just a cheap commodity for Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Rights groups have said Hassan is just the latest member of his family to be punished for anti-regime protests in Qatif that his relatives participated in years ago. His eldest brother, Ali, is in prison facing the death sentence for trumped-up terrorism charges.

ESOHR has called Moroccan authorities “partners in the crime” and labeled the extradition a “flagrant violation of international law.”

The Switzerland-based MENA Rights Group also said it has submitted an urgent request to the United Nations Committee against Torture to stop Rabea's extradition.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution, and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners, in particular in Eastern Province.

The province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the region.

The protests have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown, with regime forces increasing security measures across the province.

Ever since bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested dozens of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

As a result, Islamic scholars have been executed, women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured, and freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Source: Press TV

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Death toll spikes to almost 70 as Somaliland fighting enters 3rd day

Mohammed Dhaysane



Nearly 70 people have been killed and dozens wounded as clashes between Somaliland forces and local clans continued for a third consecutive day on Wednesday.

At least 69 people, including children, have been killed over the past three days in Lasanod, a hospital medic told Anadolu over the phone.

“The first day of fighting was deadly as at least 40 people were killed. Yesterday there were at least 24 more deaths, including soldiers on both sides,” he said, requesting anonymity.

Fartun Ismail Ahmed, a Lasanod resident, told Anadolu that there has been heavy mortar shelling in the city, with residential areas, hospitals, and places of worship also damaged.

Fighting started in Lasanod, the administrative capital of Sool in Somalia’s breakaway region, after a group of local leaders, civil society groups, and religious leaders announced on Monday that they will no longer recognize the Somaliland government.

In a statement, they said the territory will now be ruled from Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital.

The Somaliland administration has labelled the local forces “terrorists” and blamed them for the violence.

Somalia’s government, facing immense public pressure to intervene, on Tuesday called for “immediate cessation of hostilities.”

Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, issued a statement the same day, urging authorities to conduct a “credible and impartial investigation” to determine who is responsible for the violence and hold them to account in fair trials, including for reported damage to homes.

Early last month, at least 20 people, mostly civilians, were killed and 30 more wounded in clashes between protesters and security forces in Somaliland.

The casualties occurred during more than a week of unrest in Lasanod.

The town is disputed between Somaliland and the semiautonomous state of Puntland, with the neighbors having fought several times over the territory.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South African rescue, medical teams arrive in Türkiye to help earthquake victims

Hassan Isilow



South African search and rescue experts, as well as medical teams arrived in Türkiye on Wednesday to help victims of Monday’s deadly quakes in which over 9,000 people have so far died, a humanitarian organization said.

“Gift of the Givers teams landed this morning in Turkiye ... the Turkish government and their agency AFAD, Turkish Airlines, police and people at the airport received us with open arms,’’ Dr. Imtiaz Sooliman, head of the South Africa-based humanitarian organization, told Anadolu via telephone.

Sooliman said Turkish officials set up a dedicated flight for them and their equipment to fly to Adana, where they will land and later travel to the earthquake zone.

The South African team includes 27 search and rescue team members, and 20 medical personnel to treat trauma.

“Tonight, we are busy running against time to send six other search and rescue personnel to Turkiye,’’ Sooliman said.

He added that the South African Police Service has also agreed to send five sniffer dogs and their handlers to Turkiye. “Dogs make a huge impact in search and rescue, and help in finding where people are buried,’’ he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UN appeal $2.6B to assist 7.6M people in drought-hit Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane



The United Nations humanitarian partners in Somalia and its government on Wednesday sought $2.6 billion to assist millions of people in the drought-hit Horn of Africa country.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimated that 8.25 million people -- nearly half of Somalia’s population need “immediate” lifesaving humanitarian and protection assistance.

With five consecutive poor rainy seasons -- the longest and most severe drought in Somalia's recent history has devastated the country.

“Famine is a strong possibility from April to June and beyond if humanitarian assistance is not sustained and if the next rains underperform, as current forecasts indicate,” the UN said.

The drought has displaced more than 1.4 million people.

The UN said the prolonged drought in Somalia also killed at least 3.5 million livestock, destroying livelihoods and reducing children's access to milk.

“Even though technical famine thresholds have not been reached, the situation is extremely alarming: prolonged and extreme conditions have resulted in higher-than-normal deaths and excess mortality will continue to accumulate unless assistance is further scaled up and sustained in crucial sectors,” the UN said in a statement on Wednesday.

Amid an anticipated reduction in funding for humanitarian assistance in Somalia, the UN said 8.3 million people will likely experience high levels of acute food insecurity between April and June.

The figures include more than 727,000 who are likely to face “catastrophic conditions.”

About 8 million people lack access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services, the UN said.

The statement added that the conflict and insecurity in the country continues to hinder humanitarian access.

“The people of Somalia are paying the price for climate emergency they did very little to create," said Salah Jama, Somalia's deputy prime minister.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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