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

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Boycott Entry Of Muslims: 50 Panchayats Across 3 Districts Of Haryana Pen Letters To Police

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 August 20123

 

Representational Image PTI

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India

Mumbai Train Firing: Railway Cop Chetan Singh Is Of 'Sound Mind', 'Hates Muslims', Says Report

Chennai Police Inspector Suspended For Hate Speech Against Christians, Muslims

Nuh Violence: Hindu-Muslim riots rattled even social media, hashtags spiked to 3 billion

1980 Moradabad Riots: Report Presented In UP Assembly Gives Clean Chit To BJP, RSS; Holds Muslim League Leader Accountable

Gyanvapi case: ASI team surveys northern wall, dome, basement of mosque

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North America

US National Security Adviser In UAE After Recent Saudi Visit Amid Military Build-Up In Region

Ex-US Coast Guard Head Covered Up Sexual Abuse At Academy: Report Former Top US Lawmaker Predicts America's Demise If Trump Re-elected

Trump Says Trials Would Hamstring Presidential Campaign

Carcinogen found at US nuclear sites amid rise in cancer cases

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Arab World

Saudi Entertainment Industry Scheme Targets 100k Graduates

Saudi Commission Initiative Aims To Make Literature ‘More Accessible

Saudi Cabinet establishes new independent body for affairs of two holy mosques

The ‘Forgotten’ Camps Where Syria War Displaced Languish

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan over deadly train derailment

King Salman sends message to Rwanda president

AlUla Desert Blaze offers thrilling endurance race

West must keep ‘promises’ on Ukraine grain deal: Erdogan

Holy Qur’an International Museum project launched by MWL chief

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Africa

Genocide in Rwanda: Survivors disappointed by UN verdict

S.Leone Says 14 Soldiers, 3 Police Under Investigation For 'Subversion'

Local Businesses In Northern Nigeria Feel The Sting Of Regional Sanctions Against Neighbouring Niger

South Africa: At least three dead in minibus strike paralysing Cape Town

Mali, Burkina Faso, sends delegation to Niger in solidarity

Central African Republic: Faustin Archange Touadéra, "man of peace" or "President Wagner"?

Ethiopia: cancellation of flights to Amhara, plagued by fighting

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Mideast

132 Israeli Settlers Invade Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem

President al-Sisi opens Al Sayyida Nafisa Mosque after its renovation

Angora Cat Takes Up New Home At Ayasofya Mosque On International Cat Day

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Pakistan

Caretaker Punjab CM Naqvi Highlights Legacy Of Imam Bukhari, Other Sufis From Uzbekistan

CDNS sets target of Rs75b in Islamic finance for fiscal year 2023-24

PM Shehbaz to send summary for NA dissolution to President Alvi todayAugust 9, 2023

IHC seeks response from federal, Punjab govts on plea seeking PTI chief’s transfer to Adiala Jail

Govt gives employees ‘parting gift’ with 50pc allowance hike

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Southeast Asia

Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Dept To Be Intervener In Constitutional Challenge To State’s Shariah Law

DAP lawmaker Hannah Yeoh: Non-Muslims Fear PAS Because Of Hadi, Not 'Green Wave'

Indonesian Jamboree Contingent in South Korea Safely Relocated to Temporary Shelter

Islamist party PAS aiming for clean sweep in Terengganu state polls

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South Asia

Refugee Minister Calls for Solving Problems of Afghan Refugees

Islamic State Group In Mozambique, DRC Increasing Links

Islamic State Group Claims 16 Soldiers Dead in Mali Attack

200 Licenses Awarded to Mine Emeralds in Panjshir: Officials

Pakistan Claim Afghans Involved in Terrorist Incidents

Islamic State Group In Mozambique, DRC Increasing Links

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Europe

GCC Islamic Insurers Face Challenges With IFRS 17 Adoption: S&P

UK ‘at risk of recession next year’ due to soaring interest rates, economists warn

Lottery player wins $1.58bn jackpot in third-largest ever in US history

Most Germans against sending long-range missiles to Kiev – poll

Police Bust Global Paedophile Ring After Fatal FBI Shooting

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:  https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/boycott-muslims-panchayats-haryana/d/130417

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Boycott Entry Of Muslims: 50 Panchayats Across 3 Districts Of Haryana Pen Letters To Police

Representational Image PTI

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Outlook Web Deskdown

09 AUG 2023

In their letters, the Hindu communities of the villages have also strongly voiced their decision to not rent out houses and shops to people from the Muslim community after the communal clashes in Haryana.

In light of the recent communal clashes in Haryana's Nuh, panchayats of as many as fifty Haryana villages have approached the police and administration, informing them about their decision to boycott members of the Muslim community.

The similarly worded letters came after the communal violence that started on July 31 in the BJP-ruled state.

As per media reports, the villages from districts including Mahendragarh, Jhajjar and Rewari unitedly wrote to the police and district administrations.

These villages were primarily hit by the communal clashes that erupted on July 31 after a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) religious procession was attacked and led to loss of six lives accompanied by significant damage to property.

In their letters, the Hindu communities of the villages have also strongly voiced their decision to not rent out houses and shops to people from the Muslim community after the communal clashes.

Moreover, the villagers are also scrutinizing the identification proof of street vendors before allowing them entry into the villages.

According to Brahm Yadav, the outgoing councillor of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), Aadhar Cards and other valid identity proofs of the tenants should be thoroughly checked letting out properties. Yadav further said that "Valmiki people" should operate meat shops in the district and called for a boycott of shops run by Muslims.

“The violence that broke out in Nuh on July 31 was due to the Muslim community. They should not be given any house or room for rent in the area. In fact, our Valmiki people should be allowed to run meat shops in the district and we should all boycott the shops run by Muslims,” he said.

Source: outlookindia.com

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https://www.outlookindia.com/national/boycott-entry-of-muslims-50-panchayats-across-3-districts-of-haryana-pen-letters-to-police-news-309206

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'Doesn't Bother Us': Hindu-Muslim Friends, Pandit Ram Murthy Shastri, a Hindu, and Zubair, a Muslim, In Nuh On Communal Violence

 

Ram Murthy Shastri and Zubair. (Source: India Today)

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Aug 8, 2023

Anmol Nath Bali

Communal violence rocked Haryana's Nuh on July 31, which later spread to Gurugram as well. At least six people were killed, shops were vandalised and clashes were witnessed for days after.

Amid violence in parts of Haryana, there is a duo from different communities in Nuh, that remains unaffected and their friendship of 13 years is still going strong.

Pandit Ram Murthy Shastri, a Hindu, and Zubair, a Muslim, have been friends for over a decade, and continue to hang out. They go shopping daily on a bike, unbothered by tensions between the two communities as a result of violence in Nuh.

"It does not bother us. It is all political," says Zubair, who is a farmer. On the other hand, Ram Murthy is a priest in a temple in the Malab village.

"I have a lot of Muslim friends. The violence is all political. Zubair and I usually visit the village temple," says Ram Murthy. He also said that communalism was not going to end their friendship.

The duo also said that they have never witnessed such violence in Nuh.

Six people, including two home guards and a cleric, died in the communal clashes that erupted in Nuh when a Vishva Hindu Parishad procession was attacked by mobs.

Source: indiatoday.in

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https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/hindu-muslim-friends-nuh-haryana-violence-2418121-2023-08-08

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US Forces Supplied Chemical Arms To Anti-Syria Terrorists In Bid To Implicate Damascus: Syria’s Deputy Envoy

 

Photo: Fars News

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Wednesday, 09 August 2023

US forces have supplied Takfiri terrorists in the strategic al-Tanf area in southern Syria with chemical arms and trained them on how to use the mass-destructive weapons in deliberate efforts to incriminate Damascus, Syria’s deputy UN envoy has declared.

Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on “The situation in the Middle East” in New York on Tuesday, al-Hakam Dandi argued that the UN body’s insistence on convening monthly meetings on the so-called Syrian chemical file while no incident has actually taken place, points to a deliberate effort to invent pretexts for certain Western states to repeat their anti-Syria accusations.

He underscored that “Syria condemns any use of chemical weapons anywhere, anytime and by any party.”

Dandi also stressed the need to rectify the behavior of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and keep it clear of misinformation, politicization and polarization.

The Western media and governments have repeatedly accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own citizens in the war against terrorists.

Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons.

On April 14, 2018, the United States, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.

That alleged attack was reported by the White Helmets group, which published videos showing them purportedly treating survivors.

Leaked OPCW documents later showed that the investigators of the Douma incident had found “no evidence” of a chemical weapons attack.

However, the organization censored the findings under pressure from the US and its allies to conceal evidence undermining the pretext of the US-led bombing of Syria days after the alleged attack.

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/08/09/708613/US-forces-supplied-terrorists-chemical-weapons-implicate-Syria

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Islamic State Rearing its Head in Syria Again? Terror Group Kills 10 Syrian Troops

 

Islamic State terrorists killed 10 Syrian troops and pro-government fighters in Raqa province and injured six others. (Image: Reuters)

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 AUGUST 08, 2023

Shankhyaneel Sarkar

The Islamic State or ISIS has been territorially defeated but even after resigning to hideouts in the vast Syrian desert they remain capable of carrying out attacks.

Islamic State group militants killed 10 Syrian troops and pro-government fighters in the former jihadist stronghold of Raqa province, a war monitor said Tuesday, displaying their ability to keep mounting deadly attacks.

Despite losing their last piece of territory in Syria in 2019, IS has maintained hideouts in the vast Syrian desert from which it has carried out ambushes and hit-and-run attacks.

“IS attacked positions and checkpoints belonging to the regime… setting fire to military vehicles and prefabricated houses," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Six soldiers were also wounded in the Monday evening attack, with some in critical condition, said the British-based monitor, which relies on a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Government troops control rural areas in the south and east of Raqa province, while Kurdish fighters control the rest.

The city of Raqa was the centre of the IS group’s brutal “caliphate" until Kurdish-led forces backed by the United States ousted them in 2017.

In March 2019, IS lost the last territory it held in Syria to a Kurdish-led counteroffensive backed by a US-led coalition, but jihadist remnants continue to carry out deadly attacks.

Targets have included civilians and Kurdish-led fighters as well as government troops and allied pro-Iranian fighters.

Last week, the jihadists attacked a convoy of oil tankers guarded by the army in the Syrian desert, killing seven people including two civilians.

Last month, IS claimed responsibility for a rare bombing in Damascus that killed at least six people near the capital’s Sayyida Zeinab mausoleum, Syria’s most visited Shiite pilgrimage site.

IS has had five leaders since it lost the last remnant of the once sprawling “caliphate" it proclaimed across large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014.

Four of them were killed, including the group’s first “caliph", Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who died in a US raid in October 2019.

Civil war first broke out in Syria after President Bashar al-Assad’s government crushed peaceful protests in 2011. It has since drawn in foreign powers and global jihadists.

The conflict has killed nearly half a million people and driven half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes, with many seeking refuge in neighbouring Turkey.

Source: news18.com

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https://www.news18.com/world/islamic-state-rearing-its-head-in-syria-again-terror-group-kills-10-syrian-troops-8528328.html

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Burkina: At Least 20 Dead In An Attack By Suspected Jihadists

 

A photo taken on October 30, 2018 shows Burkinabe gendarmes

Copyright © africanews

ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP or licensors

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August 9, 2023

Twenty people were killed in Burkina Faso on Sunday in an attack by suspected jihadists in Nohao, near the town of Bittou, in the Centre-East region bordering Togo, AFP learned on Monday.

"The attack killed around twenty people, mainly shopkeepers," a security source told AFP. A trader reports for his part a balance sheet of "25 people killed" and "more than fifteen transport trucks looted and then set on fire by the terrorists".

Another merchant reported "ten wounded", evacuated to Bittou, where traders were returning after going to the market in Cinkansé, a trading town on the Togo border.

"We deplore the loss of life whose bodies were deposited" at "the morgue of the CHR (Regional Hospital Center) of Tenkodogo", capital of the Centre-East region, said in a press release a local official, Sami Beranger Pooda, who does not specify any figures.

Another attack occurred "Thursday around 6 p.m.", according to the same security source, and "targeted a convoy of several dozen vehicles carrying goods".

Since 2015, Burkina has been caught in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups affiliated with the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. action (Acled), including more than 5,000 since the start of 2023.

This violence has also led to the displacement of more than two million people inside the country.

In mid-July, President and Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who came to power in September 2022 by a coup d'etat, deplored "increasingly recurrent attacks against civilians", believing that the jihadists were showing "cowardice".

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/08/08/burkina-at-least-20-dead-in-an-attack-by-suspected-jihadists/

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India

Mumbai train firing: Railway cop Chetan Singh is of 'sound mind', 'hates Muslims', says report

08 Aug 2023

Accused of killing four people aboard a train last week, RPF constable Chetan Kumar Singh has now been booked for promoting enmity too, reported Mid-Day quoting sources.

The report added the GRP telling the Borivli court on 8 August that Chetan Kumar Singh is of sound mental health and hence got custody of him until 11 August.

Earlier on Monday, Singh was produced before the Borivli magistrate court, where he was court remanded in Government Railway Police (GRP) custody.

On 31 July, Singh shot dead his senior officer and three passengers aboard Jaipur-Mumbai Central Superfast Express. Following the incident, someone pulled the emergency chain and he fled from the train. However, he was later caught outside by the GRP officers.

While seeking his custody, the GRP officers told the court they are yet to obtain the CCTV footage of the entire train journey. Apart from this, GRP officers told the court that they wanted to find out if Singh was instigated by someone to commit the crime.

New charges:

Apart from the previous charges, the Borivli GRP has added IPC Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) to the FIR against Singh.

Also, Sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), and 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) of the IPC based on the statement of Jaffar Khan, a witness in the case have been added.

Khan in his statement told the GRP that Singh took one of the deceased passengers Sayed Saifuddin at gunpoint from the B2 coach and shot him at point-blank range near the pantry, added the report.

Hatred against Muslims:

According to the Mid-Day report, Singh does not have any regrets for killing four innocent people. “Singh told the GRP and the RPF personnel that if the train had not stopped, then he would have killed eight-10 more people. He has said that his final wish is to go to Pakistan and kill everyone there," the daily quoted a GRP source as saying.

“This is the reason why he refused to undergo a medical check-up by a bearded doctor (an intern) when he was taken to Cooper Hospital following his arrest. He thought he was a Muslim. When other young doctors without a beard were called, he did not protest," the source added.

On the other side, the secretary of the Borivli Bar Association -- Singh’s lawyer Surendra Landage -- claimed the RPF constable is mentally unwell. “Singh was not in his senses at the time of the crime," he said.

Source: livemint.com

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https://www.livemint.com/news/india/mumbai-train-firing-railway-cop-chetan-singh-is-of-sound-mind-hates-muslims-says-report-11691492063586.html

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Chennai police inspector suspended for hate speech against Christians, Muslims

August 8, 2023

Greater Chennai Police Commissioner Sandeep Rai Rathore Monday suspended a police inspector after he was found making hate speech against other communities in a purported audio he recorded and sent to a WhatsApp group, said official sources.

According to the police, the officer identified as P Rajendran, who was serving as an Inspector, Traffic Investigation Wing, Pulinathope, can be heard saying in the viral audio message people should not post communally divisive statements before he made pro-right wing statements.

The Greater Chennai Police Monday tweeted that Rajendran has been placed under suspension for sharing objectionable religious opinion on social media.

He had allegedly issued the audio message in reply to one Christopher, who reportedly posted a spiritual song.

The officials who conducted the inquiry placed Rajendran under suspension pending departmental inquiry.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Kapil Kumar Saratkar told indianexpress.com while undergoing training, police personnel are given guidance on how to conduct themselves while dealing with sensitive issues.

“Even during their training period, they are told to be tolerant and ensure their personal beliefs do not reflect on their duty. If any such things occur, we take stringent action as we have initiated in this case,” Saratkar said.

“Moreover, periodically, during the sensitisation programmes, we have been advising our officers how to deal with issues related to gender sensitivity, minority, etc. We will keep monitoring their attitude towards the weaker sections and take appropriate measures,” he added.

Source: indianexpress.com

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https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/chennai-police-officer-suspended-hate-speech-christians-muslims-8882249/

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Nuh Violence: Hindu-Muslim riots rattled even social media, hashtags spiked to 3 billion

 08, 2023

Chandan Prakash

The communal violence that recently broke out in Haryana’s Nuh on July 31 during a religious procession has drawn a massive impact on social media and online platforms.

According to media reports, the comprehensive analysis was conducted by the government in the initial 72 hours following the outbreak of violence. As the unrest extended to areas like Mewat, Badshahpur, and Gurugram, numerous Twitter hashtags such as #NuhViolence, #MewatTerrorAttack, and #Haryanaviolence gained prominence.

These hashtags collectively reached a potential audience exceeding 3 billion (300 crore) within the digital realm, often carrying negative sentiments amounting to over 67 per cent.

The report further divulged those individuals within the age bracket of 25-34 exhibited the highest level of activity on Twitter, actively disseminating content related to the incident.

Interestingly, the analysis also identified the involvement of certain anti-national elements leveraging audio/video messages on Twitter and other social media platforms to incite the public.

Intriguingly, while most impactful content originated from within India, the highest-engagement tweet within the initial 72 hours hailed from Canada.

Notably, countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and Pakistan registered substantial tweet volumes. Despite this, India contributed to approximately 86% of the impact and origin of these hashtags, while other countries shared content ranging from 8 to 3 per cent.

The reports also said that a detailed report will be prepared in the coming days to understand the impact and conspiracy, if any, in the Nuh incident.

The government on the basis of findings of the analysis, has initiated measures to counter the proliferation of misleading and instigating content on a particular social media platform, citing inaccuracies and potential for violence incitement.

The analysis prompted official intervention to address this concerning trend, as the government sought the removal of select tweets that were either factually incorrect, misleading, or provocatively inciting violence. Notably, among these flagged tweets were one by a sitting Member of Parliament, a global news media outlet, and a cluster of social media influencers who were found to be propagating content against the two conflicting groups.

In tandem with this action, the government also directed specific social media applications and platforms to block certain user accounts that exhibited a consistent pattern of disseminating content that fueled violence.

Furthermore, a separate report compiled by a central agency shed light on the underlying causes of the violence in Nuh.

According to this report, the clash was triggered by the posting of videos on social media by two distinct groups. These videos, laden with contentious content, reportedly involved members from both groups instigating and threatening each other.

Source: firstpost.com

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https://www.firstpost.com/india/nuh-violence-hindu-muslim-riots-rattled-even-social-media-hashtags-spiked-to-3-billion-12973842.html

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1980 Moradabad Riots: Report Presented In UP Assembly Gives Clean Chit To BJP, RSS; Holds Muslim League Leader Accountable

The judicial commission report on 1980 Moradabad Riots took names of  Muslim League Leader Dr Shamim Ahmed Khan and his supporters after careful analysis of the facts. It also stated that most of the 83 deaths in Idkhana, Bhura Chauraha and Barfkhana (localities) were due to the stampede, for which police officials cannot be held responsible.

A judicial commission report in connection with the 1980 Moradabad riots which was presented after 40 years in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Tuesday has completely vindicated the BJP and RSS.

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar Khanna tabled the 496-page report in the state assembly in the presence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and gave reasons for the delay.

In May, the state cabinet had decided to table the Justice M P Saxena Commission's report in the assembly.

All about the report

Clearing the BJP and RSS of all allegations, the judicial commission report has held a Muslim League leader and his supporters accountable for the 1980 riots which killed  83 people while several others were injured.

The report took names of  Muslim League Leader Dr Shamim Ahmed Khan and his supporters after careful analysis of the facts.

According to the report, on the day of Eid, police officers took utmost care and fired at the Eidgah only when there was a threat to the lives of the people living there.

The bullet was fired only in self-defence. Despite this, the rioters spread excitement, it said.

The report also explicitly stated that neither any secret meetings were held by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or any other Hindu outfit nor Harijans (Dalits) were incited to take revenge on the Muslims. In fact, the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party had no hand whatsoever in this, it said.

However, the commission has also clarified that not all Muslims had a hand in organizing the riots.

The report stated that most of the deaths in Idkhana, Bhura Chauraha and Barfkhana (localities) were due to the stampede, for which police officials cannot be held responsible.

A dispute during Eid prayers at Moradabad Eidgah had taken the form of communal riots.

In its report, the commission has also suggested measures to control the riots and said that when there is a riot, correct facts should be informed through loudspeakers dispelling the rumours.

When the 1980 riots took place, there was a Congress government in UP under the leadership of Chief Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh. At the time, Indira Gandhi was the prime minister.

Source: outlookindia.com

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/national/1980-moradabad-riots-report-presented-in-up-assembly-gives-clean-chit-to-bjp-rss-holds-muslim-league-leader-accountable-news-309210

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Gyanvapi case: ASI team surveys northern wall, dome, basement of mosque

The ASI team carried out the work of measurement, mapping and photography of the Gyanvapi complex, government counsel Rajesh Mishra said.

 Aug 08, 2023

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team surveyed the northern wall, the dome and basements of the Gyanvapi complex here on Tuesday, the fourth day of the court-mandated exercise to determine if the mosque was built over a temple.

Members of the Muslim side were also present during the survey.

The ASI team carried out the work of measurement, mapping and photography of the Gyanvapi complex, government counsel Rajesh Mishra said.

The team divided itself into three groups and surveyed the northern wall, the dome and basements of the complex, he said.

Vishnu Shankar Jain, the Hindu side's lawyer, said a detailed scientific study is being done inside the premises according to the court order.

Subhash Chaturvedi, another lawyer of the Hindu side, said the ASI team is collecting evidence and besides the dome and pavilion of the complex, the basements were surveyed. The survey will continue on Wednesday.

On August 3, the Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition by the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, which manages Gyanvapi, against a lower court order directing the ASI to survey the mosque.

The High Court order was upheld by the Supreme Court the next day.

On Friday, the first day of the ASI survey, the Muslim side boycotted the exercise.

The mosque 'wazu khana', where a structure claimed by Hindu litigants to be a 'shivling' exists, will not be part of the survey -- following an earlier Supreme Court order protecting that spot in the complex.

Hindu activists claim that a temple existed earlier at the site and was demolished in the 17th century on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

Source: dnaindia.com

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https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-gyanvapi-case-asi-team-surveys-northern-wall-dome-basement-of-mosque-uttar-pradesh-varanasi-3055080

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North America

 

US National Security Adviser In UAE After Recent Saudi Visit Amid Military Build-Up In Region

Wednesday, 09 August 2023

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan has traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a recent visit to Saudi Arabia to push for Riyadh's normalization with the Israeli regime, amid a renewed American military buildup in the West Asia.

Sullivan and Emirati President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met on Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, where they discussed “close, strategic” US-Emirati relations, as well as regional and international developments, the official WAM news agency reported.

They also “stressed the importance of joint action to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” the report added.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security Ali bin Hammad al-Shamsi were also present at the meeting.

Over the weekend, Sullivan had held talks with Saudi leaders in Jeddah on the sidelines of a meeting on the Ukraine war.

The meetings come as the US dispatched more than 3,000 sailors and Marines to the Red Sea aboard the assault ship USS Bataan and the dock landing ship USS Carter Hall in response to Iran’s alleged “harassment and seizures of merchant vessels.”

The deployment brought additional aircraft and helicopters to join a dozen US F-35s, as well as F-16 and A-10 aircraft and Navy guided-missile destroyers that had already arrived in the Persian Gulf under the pretext of protecting vessels crossing the main waterways in the strategic region.

It followed an announcement by the US military about plans to put armed personnel on commercial ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz.

Separately on Tuesday, US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Michael Kurilla traveled to the UAE and Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, aboard an American Navy destroyer.

Kurilla met with UAE military Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Issa Saif Mohammed al-Mazrouei as well as Bahraini King Hamid bin Isa Al Khalifah.

The provocative US military presence in the Persian Gulf drew a fresh warning from Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Monday.

“Iran has reached such a high degree of power and capability that can respond in kind to any US action and mischief [in the region], including the seizure of ships,” said the IRGC’s spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif.

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/08/09/708615/US-national-security-adviser-UAE-afte-Saudi-visit

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Ex-US Coast Guard Head Covered Up Sexual Abuse At Academy: Report Former Top US Lawmaker Predicts America's Demise If Trump Re-elected

Wednesday, 09 August 2023

Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned that the United States will cease to exist if ex-president Donald Trump -- who is way ahead of his rival in polls -- is reelected to the top executive office in the 2024 presidential election.

The US will cease to exist if former President Donald Trump returns to the White House, Democratic Pelosi said of the Republican former president in an interview with the New York Magazine on Monday.

“If he were to be president, it would be a criminal enterprise in the White House,” the ex-speaker warned. She particularly rebuked Trump for inciting his followers to carry out the deadly January 6, 2021 attack on Capitol Hill.

The ex-speaker implored the reporter not to contemplate the idea of Trump as the US president for a second term, describing the former businessman-turned-president back in office as setting the world on fire and the end of the US. 

“Don’t even think of that,” Pelosi insisted.

“Don’t think of the world being on fire. It cannot happen, or we will not be the United States of America,” she emphasized.

She described Trump as a kingpin, leader of a criminal outfit, who would be running the White House gang, if elected.

She gave herself credit for suggesting the idea of creating the January 6 Commission to investigate the extent of the ex-president’s criminal activities leading to the deadly riot. “I know he committed a crime that day,” she insisted.

Trump, who is facing nearly 80 criminal charges with the possibility of more to be added amid high probability of being convicted, was described by Pelosi as a “scared puppy” waiting as the worst is yet to come.

On Pelosi’s end of the US political spectrum, Trump's opponents see him as a "security risk", the personification of a clear and present danger to the American nation, calling for his imprisonment in “solitary confinement” if he is convicted in court.

"There's this issue...about whether or not you can put a former president with a Secret Service detail in a prison, I offered a solution the other day: put him in solitary confinement," MSNBC host Kaite Phang suggested during her show on Sunday. "Then he won't have exposure to general population, and then he won't be a safety risk, a security risk."

"I think it's absurd to think that you cannot put somebody who ends up going through the process, who's convicted and sentenced, I think it's absurd that you'd put him in anything but a federal penitentiary where he deserves to be,” the Asian-American host further emphasized while insisting on equal treatment of all convicted individuals.

Trump was arraigned in a Washington, DC court on Thursday pleading not guilty to the latest charges brought against him in his third legal indictment as he awaits his fourth one, possibly next week.

Trump, who says the charges leveled against him are politically-motivated, blasted the multiple prosecutions threatening his reelection bid, insisting that the rivaling Democrats want to keep him off the campaign trail for much of 2024.

The 77-year-old billionaire, who is currently the likely GOP candidate for 2024 presidential election, called the officials who were investigating the charges lodged against him as being "deranged".

He accused Democratic US President Joe Biden of ordering the investigations, which he said were brought against him due to his immense popularity.

"How can my corrupt political opponent crooked Joe Biden put me on trial during an election campaign that I'm winning by a lot but forcing me nevertheless to spend time and money away from the campaign trail in order to fight bogus made-up accusations and charges?" he asked the crowd last week at a campaign rally of his supporters in Windham, one of the most Republican towns in New Hampshire.

Trump told the Windham crowd that his popularity among the Republicans had increased since the criminal charged were filed against him.

"I should have four (indictments) by sometime next week," he proudly predicted.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted last week by Reuters/Ipsos found that 52 percent of likely Republican voters would not vote for Trump in 2024 if he was convicted and imprisoned by the next Election Day, while only 28 percent said that they would still vote for him.

Source: presstv.ir

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Trump Says Trials Would Hamstring Presidential Campaign

Tuesday, 08 August 2023

Former US president Donald Trump blasted the multiple prosecutions threatening his re-election bid on Tuesday, complaining that court appearances would keep him off the campaign trail for much of 2024.

Speaking in New Hampshire days after being indicted for a third time in four months, Trump railed against "deranged" officials probing allegations that he illegally hoarded national security secrets, falsified business records and corruptly tried to overthrow an election.

The 77-year-old billionaire, the comfortable frontrunner in the Republican presidential primary, baselessly accused President Joe Biden of ordering the investigations, which he said were brought because of his stellar polling numbers.

"How can my corrupt political opponent crooked Joe Biden put me on trial during an election campaign that I'm winning by a lot but forcing me nevertheless to spend time and money away from the campaign trail in order to fight bogus made-up accusations and charges?" he asked the rally crowd in Windham, one of the most Republican towns in the Granite State.

"That's what they're doing: 'I'm sorry, I won't be able to go to Iowa today, I won't be able to go to New Hampshire today, because I'm sitting in a courtroom on bullshit because his attorney general charged me with something.' Terrible."

While the numbers are close, Trump has actually only beaten Biden in two of the 14 major opinion polls collated in the influential RealClearPolitics average since June. Biden has won eight and four were ties.

The twice-impeached Trump was indicted on Tuesday last week over his efforts to overturn the election that culminated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol, which was linked to deaths of four of his supporters.

The case is the most serious of four criminal probes that have yielded dozens of felony charges, including allegations that Trump covered up hush money payments to a porn star and that he endangered national security by storing classified documents at his beach club in Florida.

So far he has criminal trials starting in March and May next year -- the height of the election campaign.

A trial date will be set within days in his election interference case, and Trump is expecting further charges next week over the same alleged conspiracy but focused on the state of Georgia.

"I should have four (indictments) by some time next week," he told the Windham crowd, pointing out that his popularity among Republicans has increased since the criminal cases began pouring in.

Trump is fighting a lawsuit launched by a writer who won a sex abuse case against him. He is also being sued for $250 million by New York State for alleged business fraud, with a trial starting in October.

Source: presstv.ir

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Carcinogen Found At US Nuclear Sites Amid Rise In Cancer Cases

Tuesday, 08 August 2023

The US Air Force has found unsafe levels of a likely carcinogen at a military base where a large number of men and women have reported cancer diagnoses.

The discovery of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) in an underground launch control center at a Montana nuclear missile base “is the first from an extensive sampling of active US intercontinental ballistic missile bases to address specific cancer concerns raised by missile community members,” Air Force Global Strike Command said in a press release on Monday.

The two launch facilities at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana showed PCB levels higher than the thresholds recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency, it said.

The EPA classifies PCBs, which are oily or waxy substances, as proven animal carcinogens and probable human carcinogens with the potential to cause rare blood cancers among other types.

In the meantime, US Gen. Thomas Bussiere, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, directed his subordinates to note and address the issue and take “immediate measures to begin the cleanup process for the affected facilities and mitigate exposure by our Airmen and Guardians to potentially hazardous conditions,” according to the Monday press release.

After a military briefing was obtained by The Associated Press in January showing that at least nine current or former missileers at Malmstrom were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare blood cancer, the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine launched a study to look at cancers among the entire missile community.

And, based on new data from a grassroots group of former missile launch officers and their surviving family members, there could be hundreds more cancers of all types.

The Torchlight Initiative found that at least 268 troops who served at nuclear missile sites, or their surviving family members, have self-reported being diagnosed with cancer, blood diseases, or other illnesses over the past several decades.

It is noteworthy that the missileer community is very small. Only a few hundred airmen serve as missileers at the country's three silo-launched Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile bases at Malmstrom, FE Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Since the Minuteman operations began in the early 1960s, there have been only about 21,000 missileers, in total.

Minuteman missileers serve in underground launch control centres where they are responsible for monitoring, and if needed, launching fields of silo-based nuclear weapons.

Missileers spend their duty time on watch in underground bunkers, ready to turn the key and fire Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles if ordered to do so by the US President.

The infrastructure and equipment at the sites are decades old and missileers have raised health concerns multiple times over ventilation, water quality and potential toxins they cannot avoid as they spend 24 to 48-hour shifts on duty underground.

The US Air Force’s carcinogens report comes as the risk of nuclear weapons is higher than at any time since the Cold War era, according to the United Nations.

Max Blumenthal, founder and editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, rebuked the United States, followed by its Western lackeys, for knowingly “escalating a proxy war against the world’s largest nuclear Power”.

Blumenthal recalled that US President Joe Biden in March 2022 characterized the West's provision of weapons and munitions to Ukraine to fight Russia as “World War III”.

He noted that “Biden changed his tune” just over a year later, asking, “Why are we tempting nuclear annihilation by flooding Ukraine with advanced weapons and sabotaging negotiations at every turn?”

Source: presstv.ir

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/08/08/708575/Carcinogens-found-at-US-nuclear-missile-sites-as-reports-of-hundreds-of-cancers-surface-Minuteman--III-intercontinental-ballistic-missile-bases-at-Malmstrom,-FE-Warren-Air-Force-Base-in-Wyoming-and-Minot-Air-Force-Base-in-North-Dakota

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Arab World

 

Saudi entertainment industry scheme targets 100k graduates

08 August 2023

Riyadh: Training programs launched by the General Entertainment Authority are offering courses for 100,000 people in the Kingdom as part of efforts to promote the Saudi entertainment sector.

Part of the Happiness Creators initiative, the programs were launched in October 2021, and include 29 courses that meet international training and performance standards.

Course graduates are awarded accredited attendance certificates, according to the GEA.

Training courses cover five areas: Organizing conferences and events, marketing and promoting events, customer care, welcoming and sales in stores, and welcoming and organizational procedures for events.

The courses were selected in line with the demands of the Saudi entertainment industry as part of the GEA’s strategy to develop and qualify local talent.

The GEA launched the electronic training platform in October 2021 in collaboration with the Paris World Academy, and through the Saudi Entertainment Academy.

The platform aims to qualify more than 100,000 Saudi male and female graduates in specializations that meet global standards, through courses that promote theoretical, practical and personal skills.

The GEA aims to launch an updated version of the electronic training platform at the end of 2023.

Established in line with Vision 2030, the GEA looks to develop the entertainment sector in the Kingdom and provide opportunities for all segments of Saudi society.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi commission initiative aims to make literature ‘more accessible

08 August 2023

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission recently launched a “Books for Everyone” initiative to promote reading in society.

The initiative aims to make literature, particularly of the literary type, accessible in several ways, including through vending machines.

The first book-vending machine was activated at Riyadh North Railway Station recently in the presence of senior officials.

Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of the commission, told Arab News that the initiative aims to make literary content more accessible, to offset media accessed online.

“We are trying to make knowledge products available through book-vending machines, to change the traditional view toward reading, especially for the new generation,” said Alwan.

The commission aims to expand the “Books for Everyone” initiative across the Kingdom.

He said the commission also plans to promote reading through book fairs and various forums, including the Tarjem initiative to support Arabic content.

Other initiatives include the Riyadh International Philosophy Conference, the Literary Partner Initiative, Digital Publishing Program, and the “Literature Everywhere” project.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi Cabinet establishes new independent body for affairs of two holy mosques

08 August 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved the establishment of an independent body called “The Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque” that is linked to King Salman.

The body will be responsible for supervising the affairs of  imams and muezzins of the two holy mosques and all matters related to their religious affairs including seminars and Islamic lessons, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques will be transformed into a public body called the “General Authority for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.”

The body will be financially independent, linked to the king, and will undertake tasks, services, operations, maintenance, and development related to the two holy mosques.

The General Authority for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque will have a board of directors whose chairman and members will be appointed by royal decree.

Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais was appointed head of religious affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque by royal order.

Tawfiq Al-Rabiah was appointed, by royal decree, chairman of the board of directors of the General Authority for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.

The Cabinet also discussed talks on the Ukraine crisis that were held in Jeddah last week. More than 40 countries, including China, India, the United States and European countries took part in the talks.

The talks were part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s efforts to reach lasting peace and mitigate the effects of the crisis.

The Cabinet also reaffirmed its support for precautionary measures by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, to stabilise the oil market.

Source: arabnews.com

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The ‘forgotten’ camps where Syria war displaced languish

August 09, 2023

RAQQA: Thousands of people displaced by 12 years of war are stuck in squalid, unofficial camps in Syria’s Kurdish-held northeast, languishing in extreme poverty and largely cut off from international assistance.

“We’ve been completely forgotten,” said Rahma Al-Hammud, 33, standing at her tent — a shoddy patchwork of worn-out fabric, tarp and old fertilizer bags crudely sewn together.

“Our children get sick over and over again. They get fever, diarrhea and vomiting,” said the widowed mother of four.

She lives in the Al-Yunani camp in the northern province of Raqqa, where the Daesh group had set up its de facto capital before its defeat in 2017 by US-backed Kurdish-led fighters.

Located near the Euphrates River, it is one of many informal camps inside Syria for people displaced by the conflict.

Women can be seen carrying heavy buckets of water from communal tanks in heat that can exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), while children in filthy clothes and bare feet play in the dirt.

Sheikhmous Ahmed, an official in the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration, said tens of thousands of people live in dozens of informal camps in north and northeast Syria.

Only 16 camps, housing around 150,000 people, are formally recognized and have access to international aid, including Al-Hol and Roj, which host suspected relatives of IS fighters, he said.

While living and hygiene conditions can be dire even in official displacement camps, the situation in informal settlements is sometimes worse, with no semblance of organization and little or no humanitarian assistance.

Tanya Evans of the International Rescue Committee said such informal camps “can be considered the ‘forgotten camps’ of Syria.”

“Increased attention, funding, and sustained efforts by the international community are crucial” to ensuring such camps “receive the assistance they desperately need,” she told AFP in a statement.

Hammud, who is displaced from elsewhere in Raqqa province, said aid was “scarce” and that international organizations “do not recognize” the Al-Yunani camp.

“Even if they helped us every two or three months, people would have” better lives, said Hammud, a day laborer in the agriculture sector.

Three of her children also work in an industrial area nearby to help make ends meet.

Syria’s war has killed more than half a million people and displaced millions since it broke out in 2011 with the regime’s repression of peaceful protests.

It spiralled into a deadly conflict that pulled in foreign powers and global jihadists.

According to Sheikhmous Ahmed, Kurdish authorities are working “on a plan to transfer residents from informal to formal camps” in a bid to improve their living conditions.

If this were to come true it could improve the life of residents of Sahlat Al-Banat, a makeshift camp which sits next to a landfill on the outskirts of Raqqa city.

Residents spend their days scavenging the rubbish tip for anything of value, such as scrap metal and bits of plastic, which they hope to sell. It is their main source of income.

“The situation in the camp is tragic,” said 30-year-old mother Shakura Mohammed, who was displaced from nearby Deir Ezzor province.

“People search through the rubbish for things they can sell in order to buy bread and earn a living,” she said.

“No aid comes to the camp,” she added.

According to a report by the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA, 79 percent of settlements in Raqqa province are informal.

A UN cross-border mechanism allowing aid to enter northeast Syria from neighboring Iraq was halted in early 2020 after pressure from regime ally Russia at the UN Security Council, worsening conditions for those in need.

Umm Rakan, who lives at Sahlat Al-Banat, said she had given up on the idea that things would improve.

“We no longer count on anyone’s help. We lost hope years ago,” said the woman in her 40s, who was also displaced from Deir Ezzor.

Source: arabnews.com

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Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan over deadly train derailment

 08 August

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Pakistan’s president Arif Alvi after a train derailed in southern Pakistan on Sunday, killing at least 30 people, the Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday.

“We send to your excellency, the families of the deceased and the Pakistani people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to president Alvi.

More than 1,000 passengers were aboard the Hazara Express when it came off the tracks in a flat, rural part of Sindh province near Nawabshah, around 250 kilometres (160 miles) by rail from the southern port city of Karachi.

The incident injured at least 90 passengers.

Images posted to local media show dozens of people at the site, with some smashing windows to help passengers clamber out of the twisted carriages and at least one coach overturned.

Accidents and derailments occur frequently on Pakistan’s antiquated railway system.

In June 2021 two trains collided near Daharki in Sindh killing at least 65 people and injuring about 150 others.

Source: arabnews.com

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King Salman sends message to Rwanda president

 08 August 2023

RIYADH: King Salman sent a verbal message to the president of Rwanda relating to bilateral relations and ways to enhance joint cooperation on Tuesday.

The message was conveyed by adviser at the Saudi Royal Court Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Kattan during a reception hosted by Paul Kagame in Kigali.

During a meeting, Kattan and Kagame discussed cooperation relations between their countries and ways to enhance them in various fields. They also discussed regional and international developments.

Kagame also expressed his support for the first Saudi-African summit and the fifth Arab-African summit which will both be held in the Kingdom later this year.

Kattan later met with Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta, and the two officials discussed bilateral relations and issues of common interest.

Source: arabnews.com

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AlUla Desert Blaze offers thrilling endurance race

08 August 2023

JEDDAH: AlUla Desert Blaze, a new running event added to AlUla’s sports offerings, will commence on Aug. 26.

Athletes from the region and around the world will take part in the high-intensity endurance race, taking place in sizzling summer temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius.

The race is the latest addition to an exciting lineup of sports competitions that take advantage of the city’s mesmerizing terrain. With its sandstone cliffs, lush oases and productive farmlands, the local environment offers a unique backdrop for the event.

Men and women of all fitness levels will compete in distances of 5, 10, 21 and 42 km, aiming to become one of the first global conquerors of the challenging race by pushing their physical capacities to the limit.

Chief Tourism Officer at the Royal Commission for AlUla Phillip Jones said: “AlUla Desert Blaze is not just a race; it’s a unique and transformative experience. Not only does this represent a new performance milestone for athletes, but it will also give everyone taking part a unique perspective on AlUla and its various visitor offerings, with a route that winds past ancient monuments, through undiscovered landscapes and in the shadow of monumental cliff faces edging vast sandstone canyons.”

He added: “We continue to diversify our offerings for visitors from all around the world, and the AlUla Desert Blaze is an addition to what the destination can offer adventurers and sports enthusiasts who are looking to indulge in a truly unforgettable experience.”

For participants in the 5 km, 10 km, and 21 km races, the starting point of the race is Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO Heritage Site. For those taking on the marathon, the race will commence at Maraya, the record-breaking multi-purpose entertainment venue located in the heart of the Ashar Valley.

Enrollment for the race — which offers a total prize pool of SR110,000 ($30,000) — is open until Aug. 22.

Runners will receive comprehensive medical support to ensure their well-being, including access to ambulances, mobile and stationed paramedics, as well as nurses and physiotherapists.

Aid stations will be positioned every 5 km along the race route. These stations will be stocked with essential supplies such as water, ice containers, hydration beverages, energy gels, fresh fruits and nutritious snacks.

AlUla has been at the forefront of sustainable development in the Kingdom through its sports and adventure offerings, hosting prestigious events such as the AlUla Camel Cup, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Cup and the Saudi Tour.

Jones encouraged those interested in taking part in the race to register for a chance to win cash prizes. Fans who wish to attend can purchase race tickets at experiencealula.com.

Source: arabnews.com

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West must keep ‘promises’ on Ukraine grain deal: Erdogan

August 09, 2023

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the revival of a deal with Russia to allow Ukrainian grain exports, brokered by Ankara and the UN, “depends on Western countries which must keep their promises.”

“I think a solution can be found,” Erdogan added, referring to a recent telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who refused to extend the accord.

Turkiye was a key player in the now collapsed deal that allowed for safe passage of Ukrainian grain shipments via the Black Sea.

The accord, brokered by Ankara and the United Nations in July 2022, ended last month after Moscow refused to renew it.

Last month, during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Erdogan announced that Putin would visit Turkiye in August.

But Moscow was annoyed when Zelensky returned from Istanbul with five top commanders from the Azov regiment of Ukraine, who were supposed to have remained in Turkiye until the end of the conflict under a prisoner exchange deal with Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the time that it was “a direct violation” of the agreement with Turkiye.

Turkiye, a NATO member, has managed to maintain friendly ties with both Russia and Ukraine throughout the war.

Ankara has shied away from Western sanctions imposed on Russia, but has supplied arms to Ukraine.

Source: arabnews.com

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Holy Qur’an International Museum project launched by MWL chief

08 August 2023

RIYADH: A Holy Qur’an International Museum project has been launched in Makkah by the Muslim World League’s Secretary-General Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

Al-Issa, who is also the chairman of the Organization of Muslim Scholars, said the initiative is aimed at disseminating the message of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

He added that the museum will highlight miracles of the holy Qur’an, supported by scientific facts.

Al-Issa said the museum project was set up by the MWL’s international council of scholars overseeing the proper recitation of the Qur’an. It would have an advisory board consisting of several senior scholars from across the Muslim world.

The museum’s staff will be tasked with organizing conferences, forums and lectures worldwide.

Source: arabnews.com

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Africa

 

Genocide in Rwanda: Survivors disappointed by UN verdict

August 9, 2023

Survivors of Rwanda's 1994 genocide criticized Tuesday a call by appeals judges at a United Nations court to indefinitely halt the trial of an alleged financer and supporter of the massacre due to the suspect's ill health.

The ruling Monday sends the matter back to the court's trial chamber with instructions to impose a stay on proceedings. That likely means that Félicien Kabuga, who is nearly 90, will never be prosecuted. His trial, which started last year at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, was halted in June because his dementia left him unable to participate in proceedings.

Appeals judges at the court also rejected a proposal to set up an alternative procedure that would have allowed evidence to be heard but without the possibility of a verdict.

The U.N. court´s chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, said the ruling "must be respected, even if the outcome is dissatisfying."

Kabuga, who was arrested in France in 2020 after years as a fugitive from justice, is accused of encouraging and bankrolling the mass killing of Rwanda´s Tutsi minority. His trial came nearly three decades after the 100-day massacre left 800,000 dead.

Kabuga has pleaded not guilty to charges including genocide and persecution. He remains in custody at a U.N. detention unit in The Hague, but could be released as a result of Monday's ruling.

"I think the world does not mean good for us. What mattered to us survivors following Kabuga´s arrest was at least justice," said Francine Uwamariya, a genocide survivor, who says she lost her entire family at the hands of Kabuga´s henchmen.

"Look, the trial should have continued even without Kabuga. He was the planner and financer of the genocide. The court appears to be on the side of the killer, when it should be neutral," Uwamariya said.

Uwamariya´s sentiment was echoed by Naphatal Ahishakiye, another genocide survivor and executive secretary of Ibuka, a Rwanda survivors´ organization, who said there was enough evidence to convict Kabuga.

"It´s extremely disturbing on the side of survivors, who will see Kabuga walking free. Justice should be felt by those wronged," Ahishakiye said.

Ibuka has filed a case against Kabuga in Kigali, seeking court permission to sell off all of Kabuga´s properties to fund reparations and help survivors.

Brammertz expressed solidarity with victims and survivors of the genocide.

"They have maintained their faith in the justice process over the last three decades. I know that this outcome will be distressing and disheartening to them," he said. "Having visited Rwanda recently, I heard very clearly how important it was that this trial be concluded."

Brammertz said that his team of prosecutors would continue to help Rwanda and other countries seek accountability for genocide crimes and pointed to the arrest in May of another fugitive, Fulgence Kayishema, as an example that suspects can still face justice.

Kayishema was indicted by a U.N. court for allegedly organizing the slaughter of more than 2,000 ethnic Tutsi refugees - men, women and children - at a Catholic church on April 15, 1994, during the first days of the genocide. He is expected to be tried in Rwanda.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/08/09/genocide-in-rwanda-survivors-disappointed-by-un-verdict/

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S.Leone Says 14 Soldiers, 3 Police Under Investigation For 'Subversion'

August 9, 2023

Fourteen Sierra Leonean soldiers, three current and former police officers and two civilians have been arrested and are under investigation for "subversion", while a manhunt is underway for eight others, the inspector general said Tuesday.

Last week police said they had arrested several people who were planning violent attacks on the anniversary of fatal riots in August 2022 that left more than 30 dead.

They said they were "working to undermine the peace and tranquillity of the state" and planning to use peaceful protests scheduled for this week "as a guise to unleash violent attacks against state institutions and peaceful citizens."

Of the 14 arrested members of the armed forces, eight are ranked between lieutenant and major, while six are non-commissioned officers ranking between private and sergeant, inspector general William Fayia Sellu said in a press conference on Tuesday.

He said a manhunt was underway for five more military personnel and three police officers.

"We are in full control and security has been beefed up," Fayia Sellu said.

"The police has stepped up security and intelligence across the country".

The inspector general added that Sierra Leone had appealed to Interpol to help extradite any of the suspects found abroad.

On Monday, Liberia's information minister Ledgerhood Rennie told AFP that Mohammed Yaetey Turay, a former chief superintendent of police dismissed in 2020, had been arrested in that country at the request of Sierra Leonean authorities.

Sierra Leone's information minister Chernor Bah confirmed to AFP that Turay's arrest was in connection "with plans the state security had unearthed by some individuals to undermine the peace of the state and unleash violence on our citizens".

"He's among those helping with the investigations", the minister said.

On August 10 last year, economic and political protests in the capital Freetown and other cities spiralled into deadly clashes.

Twenty-seven civilians and six police officers died, according to official figures.

Source: africanews.com

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Local Businesses In Northern Nigeria Feel The Sting Of Regional Sanctions Against Neighbouring Niger

August 9, 2023

A decision by a bloc of West African nations to shut down their borders with Niger as a way of sanctioning its coup plotters is harming local businesses in northern Nigeria, where a cross-border economy has boomed for years.

The bloc known as ECOWAS restricted financial transactions and shut the borders between Niger and its member nations as part of measures to force the coup plotters to reinstate Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum who was overthrown last month by soldiers in his Presidential Guard.

But the sting of the sanctions against the junta is being felt on the other side of the 1,600 kilometres (995 miles) -long border, in Nigeria.

Niger accounts for 75% of the total value of exports from Nigeria´s cross-border informal trade, according to a study by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The bank´s latest report in 2016 valued goods traded across the border with Niger at 828 billion naira ($934 million) a year.

In Nigeria's northwestern Katsina state, the border's closure and restricted traffic on nearby roads left dozens of trucks stranded for days, most of them loaded with food items and other perishable goods. Prices of livestock, animal products and some commodities usually supplied from the city of Maradi in Niger have increased, local residents said.

Nigeria's authorities are enforcing the restriction of movement across the border but the measure has also impacted traffic in the surrounding area, including truck drivers not heading to Niger but other border towns in Nigeria.

Stranded trucks with goods are seen at the border between Nigeria and Niger in Jibia, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. The West Africa regional bloc's decision to shut borders with Niger in sanctioning the country's coup plotters is affecting businesses and locals in Nigerian towns where economic activities with Nigeriens had boomed for years.

Truck driver Usman Kaura said he was ferrying bags of garri, a type of cassava flour, worth about 15 million naira ($17,000) from Nigeria´s Benue state to another part of Katsina, when he got stranded for five days in the heat in the border district of Jibia, alongside other drivers.

"The garri can spoil at any moment," he said. "We are still inside Nigeria but yet we are stopped."

The sanctions by the West African group ECOWAS - with a history of their own coups - have failed to force the coup plotters next door to reinstate Bazoum.

Since the July 26 coup, the mutinous soldiers have installed Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani as head of state and have also threatened to retaliate against any military intervention by ECOWAS member states. The junta has also rejected a proposed visit by representatives of ECOWAS, the African Union and United Nations.

Four coups in West Africa since 2020 do not bode well for the current ECOWAS chairman and Nigeria's President Bola Tinubu, at least as far as the bloc's next steps are concerned.

Tinubu is seeking to make a good impression on the international scene, said Oluwole Ojewale of the Africa-focused Institute of Security Studies. Niger's "coup is the first test of Tinubu´s leadership," he said.

In the border region, local residents say business owners have taken advantage of the border closure to hike the prices of other goods.

A sack of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of corn now costs around $56, a 24% increase from last week, said Muawiya Ibrahim, a Katsina resident.

He lamented the divisions created by the border closure for the people on either side of the boundary. "We shared so much, we even married amongst each other," he said.

Source: africanews.com

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South Africa: At least three dead in minibus strike paralysing Cape Town

August 9, 2023

Cape Town's public transport system has been paralysed by a minibus taxi strike that in a violent turn has seen three people killed, police said Monday.

Drivers of minibus taxis, the main mode of transport for millions of working-class South Africans, blocked multiple roads in a strike that began last Thursday as a result of clashes with city authorities.

The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) called for the action over a new municipal by-law that gives the city the power to impound vehicles over offences such as driving without a licence, not displaying registration plates or overloading.

Tensions boiled over after 15 minibuses were impounded on Tuesday.

Thousands of stranded commuters piled up at bus and taxi stations across the city on Thursday, with hundreds opting to walk home late into the night while others slept at the stations as incidents of violence erupted.

On Friday night, a police officer was shot and killed in a vehicle in a township 20 kilometres southeast of Cape Town while on patrol.

Police said they could not rule out the killing was linked to the strike, as it came while officers were "performing crime prevention patrols to quell taxi related incidents".

In an update on Monday, police said another person was "shot dead and three others injured after a motorist was pelted with stones" on the road leading to the city's airport.

Authorities later added that a third body -- that of a 28-year-old man who sustained multiple gunshot wounds in an attack "believed to be taxi related" -- was found nearby.

The airport road was eventually cleared in the afternoon. Its blockage had prompted the British High Commission to advise travellers to avoid driving to the airport fearing some might run into trouble.

SANTACO, who claim that 6,000 vehicles have been impounded since the beginning of the year, said they have been "left with no other option" due to "the frivolous impoundment operations run by government".

"It is clear that there has been a level of premeditation in the actions we've witnessed over the past few days," the local government said in a statement on Monday.

"There have also been clear attempts to target City staff and infrastructure" it said.

Numerous public buses and city vehicles have been set alight, city and transport authorities said.

Private cars have also been stoned, torched or shot at and some medical clinics have been forced to close or operate at reduced capacity.

Some shops have been looted with protestors making away with household appliances, clothing and liquor, police said adding five people were arrested for possession of suspected stolen property.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/08/08/south-africa-at-least-three-dead-in-minibus-strike-paralysing-cape-town/

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Mali, Burkina Faso, sends delegation to Niger in solidarity

August 9, 2023

Mali and Burkina Faso's ruling juntas sent delegations to Niamey on Monday to show unity with the leaders of the coup in Niger amid regional threats to intervene against them.

The talks came after the passing of a deadline set by the regional bloc known as ECOWAS for the Nigerien military to return ousted president Mohamed Bazoum to power.

Both Mali and Burkina Faso had previously warned that any foreign intervention in Niger would be considered as a “declaration of war” against them.

Regional tensions have mounted since the coup nearly two weeks ago, when mutinous soldiers detained Bazoum and installed Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, former head of the presidential guard, as head of state.

This gesture of solidarity comes amidst mounting pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which issued a deadline for the coup leaders to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum. Failure to comply with this ultimatum could result in potential military action from the regional bloc.

The political crisis in Niger took a sharp turn on July 26, when the presidential guard detained President Bazoum, leading to the subsequent declaration of interim leadership by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, who also assumed the presidency of the caretaker National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/08/08/mali-burkina-faso-sends-delegation-to-niger-in-solidarity/

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Central African Republic: Faustin Archange Touadéra, "man of peace" or "President Wagner"?

August 9, 2023

Under the very close guard of Russian mercenaries and Rwandan peacekeepers, the president of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archange Touadéra, is clearly enjoying waving to the crowds in Bangui.

Elected by surprise in the midst of civil war in 2016, this professor of pure mathematics, a graduate of the University of Lille in France, has transformed himself in seven years from a somewhat timid technocrat promising to restore peace into a confident head of state.

At the age of 66, the man who was Prime Minister under President François Bozizé from 2008 to 2013 is clinging on to power. His detractors call him "President Wagner", after the private Russian company that supports his regime.

Following Monday's announcement that a new constitution had been approved in a referendum - by an overwhelming majority - Mr Touadéra now has the opportunity to run for a third term at the head of the country in 2025, something he was not allowed to do under the old fundamental law, and despite sharp criticism from his opponents who accuse him of wanting to remain "president for life".

If he is re-elected in two years' time, he could reach 16 years in power in the Central African Republic, one of the poorest countries in the world.

"FAT", as he is nicknamed, appears isolated on the international stage, accused by the UN, international NGOs and Western chancelleries of having traded the survival of his regime and a relative "peace" for his country's meagre wealth, particularly in gold and diamonds, exploited by Russian companies linked to Wagner, while the Central African Republic is on a drip-feed of international aid.

His fragile regime, threatened by a rebellion and saved from chaos by the massive intervention of Russian mercenaries in 2020, makes him appear at best a "prisoner" of foreigners, at worst a "hostage" of Wagner's "predatory Russian mercenaries".It was in the latter terms that French President Emmanuel Macron denounced him in May 2021. The former colonial power has lost most of the military and economic influence it wielded in the Central African Republic since independence in 1960, to Moscow.

Since 2020, guerrilla warfare in the countryside has continued, and the UN and NGOs regularly accuse Russian rebels, soldiers and mercenaries of committing crimes against civilians, a scourge that the UN peacekeeping force on the ground (Minusca) has been unable to curb.

For his supporters, Mr Touadéra is nonetheless regarded as the "man of peace". They are grateful to him for having restored security over a large part of the country, and for having concluded an agreement in 2019 in Khartoum with 14 armed groups, integrating their leaders and cadres into the government or administration, in return for their support and the disarmament of their militias.

However, from the start of his first term in office, FAT had to deal with the various clans and movements of all those who rallied behind him in the second round in order to form a majority in the National Assembly.It was only in 2018 that he managed to unite them by creating his Mouvement Coeurs Unis (MCU).

For others, he has brought many wolves into the fold and now finds himself the prisoner of certain warlords who are very close to the Russians or "in business" with them in certain provinces. All of which adds to the feeling of predation as the state coffers empty.

His regime argues that the international community left it no choice. The UN had imposed a strict arms embargo on the country, despite the fact that the rebels are easily supplied in the region, before relaxing it on 27 July by excluding arms intended for government forces. This decision was seen as an "affront" by Bangui, which was calling for the embargo to be lifted completely, with the support of China and Russia.

Before Wagner acted as if he were on conquered ground in the capital or in the mineral-rich regions, Mr Touadéra, a native of Damara, 60 km north of Bangui, enjoyed a certain popularity in the international community, having courageously taken the helm of a failed state and a country ravaged by war.

But feeling "abandoned", he eventually turned to Moscow and became a political animal, according to some experts in the region. For them, alternately impassive and smiling, Mr Touadéra wields duality as his main political weapon.

"His brand of governance is to say yes to everyone without making any public decisions", says Charles Bouessel, senior consultant for the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank.

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/08/08/central-african-republic-faustin-archange-touadera-man-of-peace-or-president-wagner/

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Ethiopia: cancellation of flights to Amhara, plagued by fighting

August 9, 2023

Ethiopian Airlines on Tuesday cancelled its scheduled flights from Wednesday to Friday to the capital of Amhara, Bahir Dar, the last airport served in this region of northern Ethiopia shaken by fighting between the federal army and local militias.

The national company had stopped since last week its connections to the three other regional airports of Gondar, Lalibela and Dessie.

" Ethiopian Airlines wishes to inform its customers that the flights scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to Dessie, Gondar, Lalibela and Bahir Dar have been cancelled", announced in a press release Ethiopian Airlines, the only company to provide domestic connections to the general public.

The federal government on Friday declared a state of emergency in Amhara, Ethiopia's second most populous region plagued by heavy fighting, just nine months after the end of a devastating conflict in neighboring Tigray region.

Amhara forces, including the nationalist Fano militia, were key allies of the government during this war waged against the dissident authorities in Tigray between November 2020 and November 2022.

But tensions have emerged since April after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that he wanted to dismantle the "special forces", paramilitary units created by many regional states over the past fifteen years. Amhara nationalists believe that the government wants to weaken their region.

Clashes between the army and Fano fighters have intensified since mid-July, leading several foreign countries to recommend avoiding the region.

In Bahir Dar, artillery fire was heard Monday evening and in the night, "non-stop around the roads of the airport", according to a resident.

Tuesday morning, "there were gunshots around Lideta 14", a neighbourhood located on the airport road, he added, stressing that "people are not moving, there is no of movement".

In Gondar, a resident expressed his concern. "Things are really bad here. In addition to the gunfire, the artillery is in the city," said the tuktuk driver, also giving only his first name, Simachew.

"It's really scary even to stay inside because the heavy sounds are just awful. This morning (Tuesday) feels like yesterday, more fighting. I don't know how it's going to end", he added.

In Lalibela, a tourist site renowned for its rock-hewn churches listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the situation was "calmer" on Tuesday than the day before, according to a resident. Fano's forces have been controlling the airport and the city for several days.

The United States said it was "concerned" by the violence in Africa's second most populous country.

The World Health Organization has called for maintaining "uninterrupted access to and protection of the health system in Amhara" so that it and its partners "can continue to work there".

Source: africanews.com

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https://www.africanews.com/2023/08/08/ethiopia-cancellation-of-flights-to-amhara-plagued-by-fighting/

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Mideast

 

132 Israeli Settlers Invade Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem

 August 8, 2023

132 Israeli settlers invaded on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, the courtyards of the revered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The incursion was carried out with strong backing from Israeli occupation forces.

According to sources from Jerusalem, a total of 77 settlers and 55 Israeli soldiers infiltrated the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Moroccan Gate during the morning hours, in successive groups.

These sources emphasized that the settlers approached the Al-Aqsa Mosque in organized groups, under tight security protection. They roamed through its courtyards, receiving explanations about the alleged Temple, before leaving through the Chain Gate area.

The settlers conducted public Talmudic rituals and prayers in the eastern part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

6,558 Israeli settlers have breached the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during July 2023. Al-Aqsa Mosque witnesses daily violations and incursions by settlers, backed by Israeli occupation forces, excluding Fridays and Saturdays. These actions are part of an ongoing effort to exert complete control over the mosque, both temporally and spatially.

Source: daysofpalestine.ps

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https://daysofpalestine.ps/132-israeli-settlers-invade-al-aqsa-mosque-compound-in-jerusalem/

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President al-Sisi opens Al Sayyida Nafisa Mosque after its renovation

August 8, 2023

MENA MENA

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi opened on Tuesday August 8, 2023, Al Sayyida Nafisa Mosque after its renovation.

President Sisi toured the mosque to stand on the development work there.

He also prayed at the mosque that has Sayyida Nafisa’s mausoleum inside. Along with the necropolis around it, it is listed as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historic Cairo.

Source: egyptindependent.com

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Angora cat takes up new home at Ayasofya Mosque on International Cat Day

August 9, 2023

In a heart-warming tradition, Seymen, a special longhair Angora cat, is set to follow in his forebear's pawsteps by taking up residence at Istanbul's historic Ayasofya Grand Mosque.

A special Angora cat is being sent to Istanbul’s historic Ayasofya Grand Mosque to follow in the pawsteps of his forebear.

Seymen, a longhair kitty, is being sent to the famed mosque on the occasion of August 8, International Cat Day.

At one time the mosque had two felines-in-residence, explained Aysegul Korkmaz, a veterinary technician at the Angora Cat Protection, Sustenance and Promotion Centre in Ankara, Türkiye’s capital.

In 2020 the centre sent a cat named Kilic to the mosque, which was built some 1,500 years ago, to join Gli, the kitty who already called the mosque home.

"Gli passed away after a while due to old age,” Korkmaz explained, adding that the free-ranging Kilic also went missing. “Now we’re planning to send Kilic's grandson Seymen to Ayasofya.”

Korkmaz said that under a new law to protect pets, Seymen has a microchip implanted under his skin to help keep track of him.

Native species: Angora cats

Stressing that there is a demand for Angora cats from abroad, Korkmaz said: "It is forbidden for many of our domestic species, including the Angora cat, to be taken out of the country".

“But we recently sent cats to the Turkish cities of Kars, Aydin, Izmir, Istanbul, Adana, and Hatay. There are probably Angora cats in all 81 provinces of Türkiye,” she underlined.

“Our goal is to ensure that Angora cats, which are classified as a native species, are kept as pets in every province,” she added.

The historical Ayasofya Grand Mosque in Istanbul marked the third anniversary of its reopening as a mosque in July.

The venerable building was inherited from Fatih Sultan Mehmed, an Ottoman sultan, and is the most important symbol of the conquest of Istanbul.

Mehmed the Conqueror, as he is also known, performed his first Friday prayers after conquering Istanbul in 1453.

Source: trtworld.com

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Pakistan

 

Caretaker PunjabCM Naqvi Highlights Legacy Of Imam Bukhari, Other Sufis From Uzbekistan

AUGUST 9, 2023

Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi embarked on a visit to the mausoleum of Imam Bukhari in the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. During the visit, he paid his respects at the mausoleum and offered a special prayer.

Upon reaching the mausoleum of Imam Bukhari, the caretaker warmly welcomed Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi and his delegation. CM Mohsin Naqvi, along with his entourage, offered fateha and prayed for the country. The delegation further explored the Imam Bukhari Memorial Complex, taking note of its architectural brilliance and intricate details.

Mohsin Naqvi highlighted the collaborative legacy of Imam Bukhari and other Sufis and scholars from Uzbekistan. The artistry exhibited in the Imam Bukhari Memorial Complex was met with admiration by the chief minister who praised the Uzbek architectural style and the intricate tilework.

During the visit to hospitals in Bukhara, CM assessed the healthcare facilities available for patients and emphasized his dedication to providing exemplary medical services in Punjab. The delegation also inspected the reception desk, referral system, and other departments in Uzbek hospitals, including child emergency, diagnostics, medical wards, and ICU.

The CM engaged in discussions with doctors and medical professionals, acknowledging their dedication to serving humanity. A briefing was provided about the hospital complex, and CM expressed his appreciation for the high-quality healthcare services offered to patients in Uzbek hospitals.

The chief minister also inspected the modern equipment in different departments, including the Cardiac & ICU, and observed the treatment procedures. He showed keen interest in advanced medical technology, training seminars for doctors, and the library system for medical practitioners.

CM and his delegation were briefed about the tourist police station in Bukhara. The delegation inspected different sections and reviewed the system established to facilitate tourists. The chief minister also inspected the digital monitoring system and commended its effectiveness. Furthermore, Mohsin Naqvi and his team inspected the arrangements for tourist assistance and the reception desk. They were provided with information about tourist attractions and the services available to visitors through a map. Senior officials of the Uzbek tourist police briefed Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi and the members of his delegation about the procedure of helping tourists and the Silk Route.

Provincial Ministers SM Tanvir, Amir Mir, Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman, secretary agriculture, APTMA’s Gohar Ejaz, Fawad Mukhtar, Shahid Sattar, and other members of the delegation were also present.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk

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CDNS sets target of Rs75b in Islamic finance for fiscal year 2023-24

 August 09, 2023

ISLAMABAD-The Central Directorate of National Saving (CDNS) has set a target of Rs75 billion in fiscal year 2023-24 to promote the Islamic financial sector in the country.

The aim was to introduce new dimensions in the Islamic finance sector, a senior official of CDNS told media here on Tuesday. The official informed that CDNS had reviewed and set a target of Rs60 billion in the fiscal year (2022-23) for Islamic investment to introduce the new products in the market. “Islamic finance has a very important role in the global financial sector at this time, and a large part of the economy of many major countries currently includes Islamic finance,” The senior official said, adding that work on Islamic finance is still needed in Pakistan.

He said that at present, work was being done on institutional reforms in CDNS and new reforms and innovations were being introduced. He said, “At this time Automated Teller Machine (ATM) has also been introduced in CDNS which will provide enough facilities to the users.”

The official said, “CDNS will now provide facilities to its customers as a complete bank.” Replying to a question, he said, “The CDNS has digitised National Savings Certificates (NSCs) for the convenience of consumers and to modernise the institutional process.” He said the CDNS and Central Depository Company of Pakistan Limited (CDCP) signed an agreement to start a pilot project to digitise and dematerialise the NSCs last week.

The official said that this would increase investment in National Savings and increase consumers’ confidence, adding that the agreement between National Savings and CDCP was a part of the automation and digitisation of the institution. He said the CDNS has digitised National Savings Certificates (NSCs) for the convenience of consumers and to modernise the institutional process. Replying to another question, the official said that the Central Directorate of National Saving (CDNS) has set a target of Rs1,743 billion for the current Fiscal Year 2023-24, to promote the saving culture in the country.

This is Rs443 billion additional than the target of Rs1,300 billion for the previous financial year 2022-23, he said. The official said, “The Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) attained the target of issuing Rs1.48 trillion in fresh bonds in the fiscal year 2022-23.”

Source: nation.com.pk

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https://www.nation.com.pk/09-Aug-2023/cdns-sets-target-of-rs75b-in-islamic-finance-for-fiscal-year-2023-24

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PM Shehbaz to send summary for NA dissolution to President Alvi todayAugust 9, 2023

August 9, 2023Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will send a summary to President Dr Arif Alvi later today for the dissolution of the National Assembly (NA).

The government had announced that assemblies would be dissolved on August 9 (today), three days ahead of its mandated period, following which elections are to be held within 90 days.

Speaking at a ceremony at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, PM Shehbaz had confirmed that he would write to the president today to bring an end to the incumbent government’s tenure.

In a separate meeting with media bodies, the premier said after the dissolution of the assembly, the chief election commissioner was mandated to decide the future course of action regarding the elections.

However, he added, all the parties were unanimous in their view that elections should be held as soon as possible.

Today, the prime minister chaired the final meeting of the federal cabinet, which is currently under way in Islamabad, according to Radio Pakistan.

During the meeting, PM Shehbaz is expected to take cabinet members into confidence over the composition of the caretaker government, which is likely to have representation from all allied parties.

It is expected that the prime minister will hold a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz to fulfil his constitutional obligation i.e. consultations regarding the appointment of an interim premier.

The prime minister and the opposition leader can consult on the matter for three days, even after the dissolution of the assembly. In case a consensus is not reached, then the matter is referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

A day earlier, PM Shehbaz denied the finalisation of any candidates for the post. “No. None till now … no name has been shortlisted,” he said during an interview on Dawn News show ‘Live with Adil Shahzeb’ when asked about the nominees.

The premier added consultations with the government’s allies and his own party members on the matter were a “continuous process” that would be completed within a day or two.

To a question about a PML-N member being appointed as the interim premier, he said parties in the ruling coalition should make a decision to ensure that the status of the interim prime minister was “generally acceptable” to the people.

eanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz told reporters a day earlier that he hoped his meeting with the PM would take place today where these matters would be discussed. He was of the view that consultations would take place at “the right time”.

According to the opposition leader, he had completed the consultation process with his allies and three names for the interim prime minister were almost finalised.

Later, Riaz told Aaj News that the names for the caretaker PM were finalised after he held three meetings with lawmakers from the opposition. “They do not include any politicians, but an economist has been shortlisted,” he revealed.

The opposition leader said he could even consider a politician for the interim PM slot if suggested by the government. Some political observers believed that Raja Riaz is a “friendly opposition leader” so he will not oppose the name chosen by PM Shehbaz for the slot of caretaker prime minister.

Regarding potential delays in elections, Riaz said polls should ideally be held within three months but the approval of the latest census has complicated the matters. “I think the election will be delayed by six months,” he said.

It may be noted that Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has already said that general elections could be delayed due to the delimitations of constituencies after the notification of the 2023 census. He expected polls could be delayed till March next year.

Source: dawn.com

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1769231/pm-shehbaz-to-send-summary-for-na-dissolution-to-president-alvi-today

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IHC seeks response from federal, Punjab govts on plea seeking PTI chief’s transfer to Adiala Jail

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday sought responses from the federal and Punjab governments to a plea filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan seeking a transfer from Attock Jail to Adiala Jail.

On Aug 5, an Islamabad trial court had declared Imran guilty of “corrupt practices” in a case pertaining to concealing details of state gifts and sentenced him to three years in prison. Soon after the verdict, he was arrested by the Punjab police from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

The trial court had ordered the Islamabad police chief to arrest the PTI chairman but he was instead arrested by the Lahore police. Moreover, the court had ordered the Adiala Jail superintendent to receive Imran but he was taken to the Attock Jail.

The PTI chief was given B-Class facilities by the Punjab prisons department. However, his lawyers had claimed that he was being kept in “distressing conditions” and was provided “C-Class jail facilities”.

On Monday, Imran had moved the IHC seeking transfer from Attock Jail to a better class in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi. The former prime minister also sought permission for regular visits by his legal team, family members, physician Faisal Sultan and political aides to the jail.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq presided over today’s hearing while Sher Afzal Marwat appeared as the PTI chairman’s counsel. The judge said he will issue an order today regarding granting Imran’s legal team permission to meet the ex-premier.

The hearing was adjourned till August 11 (Friday), with the court seeking responses sought from the federal and Punjab governments.

At the outset of the hearing, Imran’s lawyer recalled that a day ago, the IHC had granted the legal team permission to meet the PTI chief while hearing the same plea.

He informed the court: “When we went to the [Attock] jail yesterday, we were not allowed [to meet Imran] despite having the court order. We were told that it was late.”

At this, the IHC chief justice said, “It is my mistake. The order was issued late.”

Marwat reiterated that he went to the jail as per the verdict but was not allowed to meet his client.

Justice Farooq then asked if there were specific timings for meeting prisoners. Marwat answered that the meetings were allowed till 6pm.

The lawyer also raised the issue of Naeem Haider Panjotha, Imran’s spokesman on legal affairs, being summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency. Panjotha was summoned in connection with an inquiry related to fake Facebook posts of the trial court judge who convicted the PTI chief in the Toshakhana case.

“Yesterday, another incident took place,” Marwat said.

Justice Farooq then said the matter had come to his knowledge, adding, “Investigations do not mean harassing someone.”

Imran’s counsel further informed the IHC that Panjotha was summoned yesterday and today, Khawaja Haris, Imran’s lead counsel in the Toshakhana trial, has been summoned.

The IHC chief justice responded, “I will look into it on the administrator side.” He then asked, “Who is to decide that a person is not to be sent to Adiala Jail but to another jail?

“Mian Nawaz Sharif had requested and he went to Kot Lakhpat Jail,” Justice Farooq noted.

Here, Marwat asserted that the courts have to “ascertain whether there is any ill-intention behind their (authorities’) acts”.

To this, Justice Farooq observed, “Take care of one thing — that the law is not violated.”

The lawyer assured the judge that “all people will not go at once” to Attock Jail to meet Imran, to which Justice Farooq said, “The purpose of saying this is simply that 50 people do not form a political gathering.”

He stated that he will issue an order regarding permission for the legal team to meet Imran. The hearing of the case was put off till Aug 11 (Friday) as the IHC sought responses from the federal and Punjab governments.

Two of Imran’s lawyers booked for ‘attacking’ jail staff

Meanwhile, two of Imran’s lawyers, Marwat and Advocate Umair Khan Niazi, were booked by the Rawalpindi police late last night for threatening and attacking the Attock Jail staff.

Filed by Attock District Jail Deputy Superintendent Afzaal Ahmed Waraich, the first information report (FIR) invokes sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

In the complaint, Waraich said that at around 8:40pm last night, the in-charge of a police picket near the civil judges’ residence informed the jail control room that Niazi had arrived there to have the jail officials receive the IHC’s order from yesterday.

While two jail officials went to receive the court orders, Marwat had also reached the police picket, the FIR said. It added that both lawyers then demanded the jail officials allow them to meet Imran immediately so they can receive his signatures for legal requirements.

The complaint further said that the jail officials informed the lawyers that the jail had been locked, after which no one could be allowed to meet any imprisoned person.

It went on to allege that subsequently, both lawyers got “extremely enraged” and “misbehaved with and attacked” the complainant. The lawyers also tore the clothes of Abrar Khan, a jail head warder, and threatened with “serious consequences”, the FIR stated.

Adding that the police officials present at the picket were eyewitnesses to the incident, the complainant asked for strict legal action to be taken against both lawyers.

Source: dawn.com

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Govt gives employees ‘parting gift’ with 50pc allowance hike

August 9, 2023

Khaleeq kiani

ISLAMABAD: The current government, whose term is supposed to end today, has notified a flat 50 per cent increase in the daily travelling and mileage allowances of all government employees on official duty.

According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday, the allowances within the country would now be allowed at a maximum special rate of Rs7,200 per day for employees in Grade 22, followed by Rs6,000 to Grade 21 and Rs4,920 to those in Grade 19 and 20.

Likewise, the maximum special daily rate for employees in grades 17 and 18 has been fixed at Rs3,840, followed by Rs2,160 for those in Grades 12 to 16, Rs1,320 for Grades 5 to 11, and Rs1,200 per day for Grades 1 to 4.

The increase in allowances is effective July 1.

The transportation cost has also been increased by 50pc to Rs7.5 per kilometre for cars and Rs3.75 for motorcycles. The per-kilometre mileage allowance has been jacked up by 50pc to Rs15 for personal cars or taxis, Rs6 for motorcycles, Rs3 for bicycles, and Rs3.75 for public transport.

Air travel is allowed at actual for employees in Grades 17 and above while the carriage of personal effects on retirement or transfer has also been increased to Rs0.03 per kg per km.

The above daily allowance rates apply to specified stations for special rates as notified from time to time, including Hydera­bad, Karachi, Sukkur, Bahawal­pur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Quetta, Sargodha, Sialkot, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Pesha­war, Gwadar, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Muzaffarabad and Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Likewise, the ordinary daily allowance rates for other outstations have been increased by 50pc to Rs4,200 for Grade 21 and 22 employees, Rs3,720 for Grade 19 and 20, Rs3,000 for Grade 17 and 18, up to Rs1,680 for Grade 12 and 16, Rs936 for Grade 5 to 11, and Rs744 for Grade 1 to 4 employees.

Daily allowance will be admissible only for the actual nights at the outstation for which the allowance is claimed. Where night stop is not involved and if the absence from headquarters exceeds four hours, half daily allowance will be allowed.

These rates will not apply where 20 fixed daily allowances for operational duties are being paid with salary, which will be admissible on existing rates, i.e. the rates on which daily allowances were being drawn at the level on June 30 this year.

Government employees of up to BPS 1-19 may stay in government guest houses, public sector corporations, rest houses, motels and hotels (except for five-star ones). They can claim actual room rent charges on the production of receipts subject to a maximum of three daily allowances in specified stations and one and a half daily allowances at non-specified stations.

Where no hotel accommodation receipt is produced, the rate of accommodation charges will be admissible, equivalent to two daily allowances in specified stations and one allowance at non-specified stations.

Government servants in Grades 20 and above may stay in hotels and claim room rent charges on the production of receipts, subject to a maximum of three daily allowances for specified stations and one and a half daily allowances on non-specified stations. Where no hotel accommodation receipt is produced, the rate of accommodation charges will be admissible, equivalent to two daily allowances in specified stations and one daily allowance at non-specified stations.

For Grades 20 and above, however, if the room rent charges exceed the maximum ceiling, the government will pay 50pc of the additional amount.

Meanwhile, similar increases have also been notified for government servants posted abroad in diplomatic missions on account of foreign and entertainment allowances payable in US dollars based on the United Nations non-housing consumer price index. A separate rate list for these allowances has been notified for each diplomatic mission, depending on various regions and countries.

Source: dawn.com

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Southeast Asia

 

Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Dept to be intervener in constitutional challenge to state’s Shariah law

07 Aug 2023

KOTA BARU, Aug 7 — The Kelantan government takes seriously the constitutional challenge filed by a lawyer and her daughter over the state Shariah law and has instructed the Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAHEIK) to act as an intervener in the proceedings of the case in the Federal Court.

Caretaker Kelantan menteri besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said the case involved questioning the power of the state legislative assembly to formulate the Shariah criminal law under the State List, Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

“The state government on Thursday (August 3) has acted and instructed the Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department, as an interested party in safeguarding the implementation of Islamic law in Kelantan, particularly in relation to the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019, to act as an intervener in the case.

“This is because the case will have a very big impact on the interests of Islam, the Shariah Law and the Kelantan government as a whole,” he said in a statement here today.

Ahmad also called on Muslims and Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the state to play their respective roles in protecting the state’s Shariah law.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar, in a statement, called on state religious authorities, statutory bodies relating to Islam and religion-related NGOs to involve themselves in the proceedings of the court case filed by lawyer Nik Elin Zurina Nik Abdul Rashid against the Kelantan government either as an intervener, watching brief or amicus curiae (friend of the court).

Nik Elin Zurina and her daughter, Tengku Yasmin Nastasha Tengku Abdul Rahman filed a constitutional challenge regarding the 20 provisions contained in the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (I) Enactment 2019 which they claimed are invalid as there are federal laws covering the same offences.

The duo contends that the power to legislate on criminal matters belongs exclusively to Parliament, with state assemblies only given the right to enact laws concerning the Islamic faith.

They went directly to the Federal Court as it has exclusive jurisdiction to decide such questions, based on Article 128(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

For such constitutional challenges under the Article 4(4) route, it can only start if a Federal Court judge grants leave or permission.

On September 30 last year, Federal Court judge Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat heard arguments by lawyers for the two women and the Kelantan government, before deciding on the same day to allow the two women to commence their court challenge. — Bernama

Source: malaysiakini.com

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/08/07/kelantan-islamic-religious-affairs-dept-to-be-intervener-in-constitutional-challenge-to-states-shariah-law/84061

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DAP lawmaker Hannah Yeoh: Non-Muslims Fear PAS Because Of Hadi, Not 'Green Wave'

Yasmin Ramlan

Aug 8, 2023

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s caustic statements and not the “Green Wave” have struck fear in the hearts of non-Muslims, according to DAP lawmaker Hannah Yeoh.

She said this in response to PAS Youth committee member Nazrul Hakim Nazari, who blamed the Islamist party’s political rivals for sowing this perception amongst non-Muslims.

Source: malaysiakini.com

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https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/675024

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Indonesian Jamboree Contingent in South Korea Safely Relocated to Temporary Shelter

Najla Nur Fauziyah

Petir Garda Bhwana

9 August 2023

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian contingent to the World Scouts Jamboree in Saemangeum, South Korea, has arrived at the temporary shelter in Wonkwang University dorm, Jeollabuk Province, on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. The participants of the event were relocated by the South Korean Government following extreme weather and Typhoon Khanun warning.

The evacuation process began at 08:00 a.m. to relocate the participants aged 14 to 17 years old first. The last bus containing the Indonesian contingent left the camping venue at 18:25 p.m. KST. The South Korean government prepared more than 1,000 buses to relocate 36,000 scouts from 150 states.

The Wonkwang University dorm is located in North Jeolla Province, 55 kilometers away from Saemangeum. The government prepared 1,600 bedrooms in the dorm, which accommodate the 1,569 Indonesian contingents.

Previously, the problem-ridden jamboree was criticized after hundreds of participants fell sick due to a heatwave in South Korea. The US and UK contingents have pulled out of the event.

South Korean government prepared eight cities and provinces, including Seoul and Gyeonggi province to host the jamboree contingents as their temporary shelter. Around 4,000 participants will stay in North Jeolla Province where the camp is located, according to Yonhap.

Officially, the jamboree was set to run for ten days, ending on August 12, 2023. The World Scout Jamboree closing ceremony will still be on schedule for August 11, 2023, in Sang-am World Cup Stadium, Seoul. The closing ceremony will be enlivened with a K-pop concert.

The Indonesian contingent is set to head back subsequently on August 12-14, 2023.

Source: en.tempo.co

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https://en.tempo.co/read/1757585/indonesian-jamboree-contingent-in-south-korea-safely-relocated-to-temporary-shelter?tracking_page_direct

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Islamist party PAS aiming for clean sweep in Terengganu state polls

Hazlin Hassan

KUALA TERENGGANU – The federal opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition led by the fundamentalist Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is eyeing a clean sweep of all 32 seats in the conservative east coast state of Terengganu at the Aug 12 state elections.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government – comprising Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) – is fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds. In the November 2022 General Election, Datuk Seri Anwar’s coalition did not win a single federal parliamentary seat in Terengganu.

PAS is Terengganu’s incumbent ruling party.

“PAS is strong here. If you look at the last election, PAS took all the seats. Everyone says Umno has no chance,” said a 49-year-old food trucker who wanted to be known only as Pak Lan. Umno is BN’s lynchpin party.

Pak Lan’s food truck is located at a park near the massive Terengganu drawbridge, built at a cost of nearly RM250 million (S$73.6 million) and an iconic symbol of the state that is one of the poorest in Malaysia, yet rich with oil.

Terengganu PAS election director Ariffin Deraman told The Straits Times: “Our target is 32 seats. It is not just rhetoric, we have the data (to support this).”

“If you break down the (November) results by state constituencies, we lost in only one state seat, and by a very thin margin,” said Mr Ariffin, adding that the party hopes to win the seat this time.

“The PN wave is still strong. We don’t see any major changes so far,” he noted, referring to a surge of support for PAS in November, making it the biggest bloc of MPs in Parliament.

He is confident, despite the lack of any major rallies by PAS here. It is opting instead to hold smaller-scale events in villages and live-streams on social media.

Campaigning has also been muted while the state observed a five-day mourning period for Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin’s mother, who died on Aug 3.

“We are focusing on campaigning in the state seat areas. We have nightly events in every seat, but on a small scale,” said Mr Ariffin.

For both sides of the political divide, campaigning has been quiet and low-key in Terengganu, a swing state that has switched several times between PAS and BN in the past few years.

In the 2018 election, PAS won 22 state assembly seats in Terengganu, while BN won 10.

It could prove to be a challenge for Umno to win seats in Malay-majority areas because it has aligned itself with Mr Anwar’s PH coalition, which counts the Chinese-led Democratic Action Party (DAP) as an ally. DAP is often used as a bogeyman to whip up Malay support.

A voter from Besut district, who wanted to be known only as Syaza, told ST: “I want a leader who prioritises Islam because we are Muslims.”

One of the issues plaguing the state government is the legacy of white elephant projects left behind by previous Umno administrations. Terengganu is one of four Malaysian states with oil and gas deposits offshore.

The federal government channels back to Terengganu so-called “oil royalty” funds that were used by the previous state administrations to build “mega” projects.

Along with each new Umno chief minister came a new “mega” project. But every time a new project was announced, the last one would end up becoming a white elephant.

Before the current PAS chief minister, Terengganu saw a change of chief minister three times between 2004 and 2018 due to Umno infighting, which also caused it to lose control of the state in 2018.

PAS has been working on reviving some of the abandoned projects, including building a bridge at Poh island near Kenyir Lake, which was officially opened in June. A hotel is expected to be completed there in September.

Terengganu receives royalty funds amounting to RM1.5 billion annually, which is a huge boost to its state coffers.

Mr Ariffin said the federal government under Mr Anwar has been paying the state the oil royalty in monthly instalments. He did not disclose the amount paid each month.

“We hope that starting from September, the government will give the state the money in full,” he said.

He said the PAS state government had fulfilled all of its promises under the 2018 election manifesto, and hence there should be no reason for voters to switch. These include providing free water for the poor, building more religious schools, and increasing Malay reserve land.

As part of its manifesto for the upcoming state elections, PAS has promised to provide interest-free motorcycle loans for those earning less than RM4,000, grants for youth entrepreneurs, and cash aid for farmers and fishermen.

“We have a good Menteri Besar who runs an excellent administration. He is educated and takes measures to help the people, not for personal gain. So we don’t have any problems with the state government. I am satisfied with it,” said 44-year-old financial officer Sumayyah Ibrahim.

Source: straitstimes.com

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https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/islamist-party-aiming-for-clean-sweep-in-terengganu-state-polls

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South Asia

 

Refugee Minister Calls for Solving Problems of Afghan Refugees

 Nazir Shinwari

August 9, 2023

Khalil Rahman Haqqani, acting minister of Refugees and Repatriation, in a meeting with Daniel Peter Endres, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Afghanistan, criticized the challenges ahead of the Afghan refugees in neighboring and European countries and called for legal aid for Afghan refugees, the ministry reported.

Haqqani also criticized the process of distributing humanitarian aid.

“In this meeting the situation of the refugees in many countries, the situation of the internally displaced people in the country and also about the aid distribution mechanism were discussed,” said Abdul Mutalib Haqqani, a spokesman for the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation.

This comes as Afghan refugees abroad said that they are facing severe problems in Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.

“On the borders, the Afghans who enter Turkey’s soil are being shot by the border police and they are being treated with bad behavior,” said Wahidullah Amini, an Afghan refugee.

“The Islamic Emirate should discuss solving the problems of refugees through diplomatic methods,” said Ahmad Faisal Nizami, an Afghan refugee.

The refugee rights activists said that the issue of the Afghan refugees should be addressed through diplomatic paths.

“Here, the Afghans are being disturbed by the police and when they are being detained they are facing improper treatment in the prisons,” said Mohammad Khan Talibi, a refugee rights activist.

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-184550

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Islamic State Group In Mozambique, DRC Increasing Links

 Aug 8, 2023

Two reports shed light on the growing connection between Islamic State group affiliates in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

For the first time, the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC highlighted organizational links between the insurgents in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province and the Allied Democratic Forces terror group based in the eastern DRC.

“Since late 2021, [the Allied Democratic Forces] has held several meetings with representatives of [the Islamic State group] and/or Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a (ASWJ) in Mozambique, in South Kivu, to discuss operational strategy and tactics,” the experts stated in their June 13 report.

“One such encounter occurred in Shabunda territory in June 2022 following a similar meeting in Kigoma, Tanzania, in August 2021. Sources reported that in early 2023, Ibn Omar and Sheikh Abu Yassir Hassan, the military and spiritual leaders of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a in Mozambique, respectively, travelled to South Kivu, where they met with senior members of the leadership of [the Allied Democratic Forces].”

ASWJ also is known as IS-Mozambique, and the Allied Democratic Forces also is known as the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

“The Allied Democratic Forces’ objective is to carry out acts of terror that make big publicity,” DRC government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya said at a briefing after the militants killed 41 people, including 38 students, at a Ugandan school 2 kilometers from the DRC border on June 17.

Publicity is one of the Islamic State group’s goals, as the international organization operates on multiple media platforms and regularly highlights attacks by its affiliates.

The recent U.N. report showed deep connections between the Islamic State group’s parent organization and its affiliates that previously had not been documented.

The Islamic State group has “provided financial support to [the Allied Democratic Forces] since at least 2019 through a complex financial scheme involving individuals in several countries on the continent.”

Another comprehensive report, published on June 1 by the Bridgeway Foundation, went into greater detail on how IS manages its finance networks in Africa, with cells in Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

IS has used “a regionally pooled approach in which regional ‘offices’ oversee revenue generation and distribution to help finance Islamic State affiliates in their area of responsibility,” the Bridgeway report stated.

The Bridgeway Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to preventing genocide with a specific focus on Central and East Africa.

Evidence from Bridgeway and the U.N. Group of Experts leads up to 2021, but the IS financing networks have since taken hits.

In January of this year, security forces killed Bilal al-Sudani, who coordinated IS financial flows through Somalia.

Also in Somalia, Abdirizak Mohamed Abdi Jimale, who reported to al-Sudani and managed transactions, was convicted and jailed, according to the Group of Experts report.

The recent attack in Uganda was typical of the Allied Democratic Forces, which often uses machetes and hatchets instead of guns. Joint military efforts by the DRC and Uganda have focused on flushing the group from its South Kivu region hideouts.

Maj. Gen. Dick Olum, commander of Ugandan troops in the DRC, called the school attack “a typical signature” of the group.

“They are under huge pressure,” he told reporters. “That’s what they have to do to show the world that they are still there, and to show the world that they can still do havoc.”

Of the many armed groups operating in the eastern DRC, the Allied Democratic Forces are among the deadliest, accused of killing thousands of civilians.

Originally a rebel group that formed in Uganda, it has been present in the eastern DRC since the 1990s and pledged allegiance in April 2019 to the Islamic State group, which began referring to the group as ISCAP.

Four months later in August 2019, the caliphate acknowledged ASWJ as an affiliate and referred to it as a branch of ISCAP.

ASWJ began making international headlines in 2020 with a spate of larger, better coordinated and deadlier attacks. In May 2022 analysts noted that the caliphate had begun referring to the group as IS-Mozambique.

Beyond the IS international and regional financial networks, there is evidence of contact between the ASWJ and the Allied Democratic Forces, including reports that some ASWJ leaders were trained in the DRC several years ago.

In 2018, Mozambican security forces arrested six Ugandans affiliated with the Allied Democratic Forces in Mocimboa da Praia, a center of ASWJ activity in Cabo Delgado.

“The group’s leaders have links with religious circles, commercial and military activities of radical Islamist groups in Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya and the Great Lakes Region, mostly through training there,” according to reporting by Peter Fabricius of the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

“The members are trained both locally — sometimes by disaffected police officers and security guards — and externally in Tanzania and the Great Lakes Region by militia chiefs hired by ASWJ in Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia.”

Source: adf-magazine.com

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https://adf-magazine.com/2023/08/islamic-state-group-in-mozambique-drc-increasing-links/

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Islamic State Group Claims 16 Soldiers Dead in Mali Attack

AUGUST 8, 2023

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack in the Menaka region of northeastern Mali last week, which it said killed 16 soldiers.

Mali’s ruling junta has not spoken about the incident since reports of it began to emerge on August 3.

In its Amaq propaganda platform, the Islamic State group said fighters affiliated with it ambushed a Malian army convoy traveling towards Niger.Dozens of soldiers were injured and the fighting lasted about an hour, the group said.

Mali has since 2012 been battling a jihadist insurgency that began in the north and spread to the center of the country and to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The Menaka region has for months been at the forefront of a push by Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). recent Human Rights Watch report accused the group of being behind “hundreds” of deaths and forcing thousands from their homes since the start of the year.

Source: thedefensepost.com

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https://www.thedefensepost.com/2023/08/08/islamic-state-mali-soldiers-attack/?expand_article=1

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200 Licenses Awarded to Mine Emeralds in Panjshir: Officials

Rohullah Sangar

August 9, 2023

Local officials in Panjshir said that they have issued licenses to 200 people to work on the extraction of emerald mines and that the licenses for 300 other people will be issued soon.

Panjshir's department of Mines and Petroleum said there are a total of 750 emerald mines, and 20 new mines have been newly discovered.

“In Panjshir 750 emerald mines have been surveyed and registered. Around 200 people received their license,” said Mohammad Qassim Amiri, head of the Panjshir department of Mines and Petroleum.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the issuance of the licensed for extraction of the emerald mines, the provincial governor, Mohammad Agha Hakim, said that several mines have been discovered by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

“Several mines have been discovered by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and we hope to inaugurate those mines as well in the near future,” he said.

Some of the participants urged the government officials to not interfere in the extraction of mines.

“The individuals who are involved in the guidelines of the mines, let them (mine extractors) work and don’t interfere in their work,’ said Qiamuddin Hanif, head of the Panjshir Ulema.

Some residents of Panjshir said working in the mines is their only means of income in the current situation.

“Because we do not have any other business and we were working only on the mines, many mine workers have become jobless,” said Sayedullah, a mine extractor.

“The mines have their problems including landslides and avalanches,” said Mohammad Aman, a mine extractor.

According to the Panjshir department of Mines and Petroleum, work on iron mines will begin soon in the province.

Source: tolonews.com

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https://tolonews.com/business-184552

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Pakistan Claim Afghans Involved in Terrorist Incidents

By Mitra Majeedy

August 9, 2023

General Syed Asim Munir, Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff, once again accused Afghan citizens of being involved in terrorist incidents in Pakistan.

Munir said that insecurity in Pakistan is not benefitting the region, and added that he will spare no efforts to destroy terrorists and protect citizens.

“The involvement of Afghan nationals in terrorist incidents in Pakistan is detrimental to regional peace, stability and deviation from the Doha Peace Agreement by the interim Afghan government,” said Munir as quoted in an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement reported by Dawn.

"The claims of the Pakistani authorities, especially the Pakistani military, that Afghan citizens are involved in the explosions in Pakistan, without providing documents, are related to the policy of Western countries, which is carried out by Pakistan," said Aziz Marij, a political analyst.

The Islamic Emirate's spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied the Pakistani official’s claims and said that Afghanistan’s soil will not be a threat to any other country.

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not allow anyone to use Afghanistan's soil against another country. If there is any concern in this regard, it should be directly shared with the Islamic Emirate,” Mujahid said.

According to political analysts, Pakistan wants to make the current Afghan government responsible to cover up their security problems.

"Pakistan's security sector, whether it be its army, intelligence, or police, wants to blame others for their incompetence and they always blame Afghanistan or India," Wahid Faqiri, a political analyst said.

"Pakistan is trying to manage Afghanistan's foreign politics as they did Afghanistan's foreign policy in the previous four and a half decades,” Janat Fahim Chakari, another political analyst said.

Previously, Pakistan's foreign ministry warned that if the current Afghan government does not take steps against terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Islamabad will use a military option.

The Foreign Ministry of Pakistan also claimed that three Afghan citizens from Kandahar province were involved in a deadly attack on a military base in the country.

Source: tolonews.com

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

https://tolonews.com/afghanistan-184554

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Islamic State Group In Mozambique, DRC Increasing Links

Aug 8, 2023

Two reports shed light on the growing connection between Islamic State group affiliates in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

For the first time, the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC highlighted organizational links between the insurgents in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province and the Allied Democratic Forces terror group based in the eastern DRC.

“Since late 2021, [the Allied Democratic Forces] has held several meetings with representatives of [the Islamic State group] and/or Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a (ASWJ) in Mozambique, in South Kivu, to discuss operational strategy and tactics,” the experts stated in their June 13 report.

“One such encounter occurred in Shabunda territory in June 2022 following a similar meeting in Kigoma, Tanzania, in August 2021. Sources reported that in early 2023, Ibn Omar and Sheikh Abu Yassir Hassan, the military and spiritual leaders of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a in Mozambique, respectively, travelled to South Kivu, where they met with senior members of the leadership of [the Allied Democratic Forces].”

ASWJ also is known as IS-Mozambique, and the Allied Democratic Forces also is known as the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

“The Allied Democratic Forces’ objective is to carry out acts of terror that make big publicity,” DRC government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya said at a briefing after the militants killed 41 people, including 38 students, at a Ugandan school 2 kilometers from the DRC border on June 17.

Publicity is one of the Islamic State group’s goals, as the international organization operates on multiple media platforms and regularly highlights attacks by its affiliates.

The recent U.N. report showed deep connections between the Islamic State group’s parent organization and its affiliates that previously had not been documented.

The Islamic State group has “provided financial support to [the Allied Democratic Forces] since at least 2019 through a complex financial scheme involving individuals in several countries on the continent.”

Another comprehensive report, published on June 1 by the Bridgeway Foundation, went into greater detail on how IS manages its finance networks in Africa, with cells in Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

IS has used “a regionally pooled approach in which regional ‘offices’ oversee revenue generation and distribution to help finance Islamic State affiliates in their area of responsibility,” the Bridgeway report stated.

The Bridgeway Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to preventing genocide with a specific focus on Central and East Africa.

Evidence from Bridgeway and the U.N. Group of Experts leads up to 2021, but the IS financing networks have since taken hits.

In January of this year, security forces killed Bilal al-Sudani, who coordinated IS financial flows through Somalia.

Also in Somalia, Abdirizak Mohamed Abdi Jimale, who reported to al-Sudani and managed transactions, was convicted and jailed, according to the Group of Experts report.

The recent attack in Uganda was typical of the Allied Democratic Forces, which often uses machetes and hatchets instead of guns. Joint military efforts by the DRC and Uganda have focused on flushing the group from its South Kivu region hideouts.

Maj. Gen. Dick Olum, commander of Ugandan troops in the DRC, called the school attack “a typical signature” of the group.

“They are under huge pressure,” he told reporters. “That’s what they have to do to show the world that they are still there, and to show the world that they can still do havoc.”

Of the many armed groups operating in the eastern DRC, the Allied Democratic Forces are among the deadliest, accused of killing thousands of civilians.

Originally a rebel group that formed in Uganda, it has been present in the eastern DRC since the 1990s and pledged allegiance in April 2019 to the Islamic State group, which began referring to the group as ISCAP.

Four months later in August 2019, the caliphate acknowledged ASWJ as an affiliate and referred to it as a branch of ISCAP.

ASWJ began making international headlines in 2020 with a spate of larger, better coordinated and deadlier attacks. In May 2022 analysts noted that the caliphate had begun referring to the group as IS-Mozambique.

Beyond the IS international and regional financial networks, there is evidence of contact between the ASWJ and the Allied Democratic Forces, including reports that some ASWJ leaders were trained in the DRC several years ago.

In 2018, Mozambican security forces arrested six Ugandans affiliated with the Allied Democratic Forces in Mocimboa da Praia, a center of ASWJ activity in Cabo Delgado.

“The group’s leaders have links with religious circles, commercial and military activities of radical Islamist groups in Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya and the Great Lakes Region, mostly through training there,” according to reporting by Peter Fabricius of the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

“The members are trained both locally — sometimes by disaffected police officers and security guards — and externally in Tanzania and the Great Lakes Region by militia chiefs hired by ASWJ in Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia.”

Source: adf-magazine.com

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

https://adf-magazine.com/2023/08/islamic-state-group-in-mozambique-drc-increasing-links/

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Europe

 

GCC Islamic Insurers Face Challenges With IFRS 17 Adoption: S&P

9th August 202

Islamic insurers operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are poised for continued growth in 2023, but the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standard 17 (IFRS 17) is presenting significant challenges, according to S&P Global Ratings.

While the implementation is expected to usher in enhanced transparency and comparability, smaller and under-resourced players may struggle to update their internal processes and IT systems to meet the new standards.

S&P Global Ratings has highlighted that the transition to IFRS 17 will likely result in additional costs, time constraints, and operational hurdles for Islamic insurers in the GCC.

Despite this, the ratings agency anticipates that the overall credit ratings of these insurers will remain largely stable.

However, any major delays or inconsistencies in financial reporting could trigger negative rating actions in isolated cases, according to Emir Mujkic, a credit analyst at S&P Global Ratings.

Tremor - The modern way to place reinsurance

“While the implementation presents new challenges for all insurers in the region, including Islamic insurers, we expect our ratings on them to remain broadly stable,” Mujkic stated.

He added, “However, any significant implementation delays or inconsistencies in financial reporting standards could lead to negative rating actions in isolated cases.”

The adoption of IFRS 17 is aimed at bolstering transparency within the insurance industry, enabling easier identification and comparison of insurers’ profit generation and risk management strategies.

The new reporting standard is expected to bring about greater clarity and consistency in financial statements across the industry.

Despite the potential benefits, there are notable discrepancies in the level of preparedness among insurers across the GCC region.

Smaller and midsize Islamic insurers, in particular, face significant challenges due to their limited resources and capacity to implement IFRS 17 effectively, the report noted.

Source: reinsurancene.ws

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https://www.reinsurancene.ws/gcc-islamic-insurers-face-challenges-with-ifrs-17-adoption-sp/

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UK ‘at risk of recession next year’ due to soaring interest rates, economists warn

Henry Saker-Clark

The UK economy is at risk of entering a recession next year amid pressure from higher interest rates and increased unemployment, a think tank has warned.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) said in its main forecast that the economy will avoid a recession – defined by two or more quarters of falling gross domestic product (GDP) in a row – this year but there is still a “60 per cent risk” of a recession at the end of 2024.

It predicted that UK GDP will increase by 0.4 per cent in 2023, representing a marginal improvement on its previous forecast in May.

But Niesr also downgraded previous predictions of 0.6 per cent growth next year down to 0.3 per cent after pressure from higher-than-expected borrowing costs.

As a result, the think tank has predicted it will be another year until UK GDP recovers to where it was before the coronavirus pandemic struck in early 2020.

Source: independent.co.uk

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https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/uk-recession-economy-interest-rates-b2390029.html

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Lottery player wins $1.58bn jackpot in third-largest ever in US history

9 August 2023

Someone in Florida has won a $1.58 billion Mega Millions jackpot - the third-largest ever in US history.

The winning numbers drawn were 13, 19, 20, 32, 33 and the yellow ball - 14.

Freedom to choose, freedom to save. Croma Independence Sale is Live!

It ended a stretch of lottery futility that had stretched for nearly four months.

Before the big win on Tuesday night, there had been 31 straight drawings since the last time somebody scooped the game's jackpot on 18 April.

Mega Millions jackpot winners are usually rare, with winning odds of one in 302.6 million.

The $1.58 billion pay-out would go to the winner if they opt for an annuity, doled out over 30 years. But people usually prefer a lump sum option, which for Tuesday's jackpot is an estimated $783.3 million.

The prize money is subject to federal taxes and many states also tax lottery winnings.

Tickets for the $2 game are sold in 45 states, Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands.

Source: news.sky.com

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https://news.sky.com/story/lucky-player-wins-1-58bn-jackpot-in-third-largest-ever-in-us-history-12936450

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Most Germans against sending long-range missiles to Kiev – poll

9 Aug, 2023

66% of respondents do not want Berlin to support Ukraine with Taurus missiles capable of reaching Moscow, according to a survey by RTL and n-tv

Most Germans against sending long-range missiles to Kiev – poll

An Eurofighter jet of the German Air Force is pictured at the Tactical Air Force Squadron 31 "Boelcke" in Noervenich on September 27, 2019. ©  Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Most Germans are opposed to providing Kiev with long-range missiles that could potentially be used to hit targets deep in Russian territory, according to a new RTL and n-tv poll released on Tuesday.

A survey conducted by the Forsa research institute on behalf of the two German channels found that only 28% of German citizens want their government to supply Ukraine with Taurus missiles, which carry a 500kg warhead and have a range of about 500km, making them potentially capable of reaching Moscow. Meanwhile, a clear majority of 66% reject the idea.

Ukraine has been asking for the Taurus since at least late May. However, at the time, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper claimed that some in the German government were skeptical of the request, doubting that Kiev would use the weapons sensibly, potentially allowing the conflict to “escalate uncontrollably.”

Similar concerns were also voiced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said last month that he agreed with US President Joe Biden that Western-supplied weapons should not be used to attack Russian territory. Last week, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius ruled out such deliveries, saying they are “not our top priority right now” and pointing out that the US had so far refrained from a similar move.

But according to Ukrainian lawmaker Egor Chernev, that stance is not shared by many German MPs. Earlier this week, he claimed that the key parties in parliament had “reached consensus” on the delivery of Taurus missiles. “Finally, the ice has broken. We await an official decision,” he stated.

While Germany and the US have so far dragged their feet on the delivery of long-range missiles to Ukraine, Kiev has already received Storm Shadow missiles with a range of over 250km from the UK. Last month, France also pledged to support the country with long-range SCALP rockets.

After receiving Western-supplied long-range munitions, Ukraine reportedly used them to target civilian facilities and infrastructure in the Russian city of Lugansk and on the Crimean peninsula.

Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against “pumping” Ukraine with weapons, arguing that military assistance would prolong hostilities but fail to change the ultimate outcome of the conflict.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/news/581029-germans-oppose-long-range-missiles-ukraine/

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Police Bust Global Paedophile Ring After Fatal FBI Shooting

9 Aug, 2023

August 8, 2023. ©  Australian Federal Police / Facebook

At least 98 people have been arrested in the US and Australia as part of a sweeping child sex abuse probe, according to officials in both countries. The investigation was launched after two US federal agents were shot dead while pursuing a suspect in 2021.

The FBI and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) announced the arrests during a joint press conference on Tuesday, noting that 19 people in Australia and another 79 in the US are now in custody, all facing charges linked to an alleged child abuse ring spanning multiple countries.

AFP Commander Helen Schneider said the suspects operated a “technologically sophisticated online child abuse network” on the dark web and “used software to anonymously share files,” with some believed to have committed offenses for more than a decade. She added that most of the Australian suspects worked in occupations that require a “high degree” of knowledge about online networks, helping them to evade detection.

Two of the Australian men have already been convicted, according to Schneider, while FBI legal attache Nitiana Mann said there were another 43 convictions in the US. At least 13 children were removed from harm’s way as a result of the probe.

“This operation was highly complex. The complexity and anonymity of these platforms means that no agency or country can fight these threats alone,” Mann said, adding that the FBI had alerted the authorities in other countries about suspects within their jurisdictions, though did not mention any by name.

The sex abuse ring was first uncovered by the FBI in 2021, after special agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger were fatally shot while serving a search warrant for suspect David Lee Huber in Florida. Three other agents were wounded in the firefight, after which Huber took his own life.

Evidence gathered following the deadly shootout would later tip off the bureau to a wider pedophile network beyond US borders, with the FBI passing intelligence about potential Australian members to the AFP last year. Dubbed ‘Operation Bakis’, the resulting joint probe is ongoing, and Schneider noted that future arrests should not be ruled out.

According to Mann, more than 200 international leads were sent to third countries throughout the operation, while over 300 separate child sex abuse investigations have been launched as a result.

Source: rt.com

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https://www.rt.com/news/581023-pedophile-ring-fbi-shooting/

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