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Islamic World News ( 24 Feb 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Burqa Not Essential in Islam, But Hijab Is; Kerala and Madras HCs Have Arrived At This Conclusion: Counsel Told the Karnataka High Court

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 February 2022

 

Protest in Mumbai against the 'Hijab ban' in Karnataka schools and colleges. Photo: Getty Images

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• Muslims in France Struggle with Islamophobic Leaders, Struggling To Decide Who to Vote For

• Pakistan-Turkey Religious Cohesion to Help Counter Islamophobia Globally

• Ex-Afghan Legislator Mariam Solaimankhil Calls Taliban ‘Proxy of Pakistan’

• Palestinian Journalists Sue Facebook Over Censorship of Palestine-Related Content

 

India

• Karnataka: Sikh Student's Father Backs Hijab Right after ‘Turban Bar’

• Bar association moves high court to implead Muslim personal law boards

• Maulana Azad message must be propagated among youth: Seminar

• NIA Arrests Key Conspirator of Hizb-ut-Tahrir Terror Group for Radicalising Muslim Youths

• UP: In 'Madad Palace' Of BJP Leader, Temple, Mosque Exist In Harmony

• Vellore Sees Tension as Hindu Munnai Group Opposes Construction of Mosque

• 2 terrorists killed in encounter in J&K's Shopian

• Drone-dropped arms, ammo recovered in J&K

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Europe

• UK lawyers file complaint against Facebook over anti-Palestinian bias

• Caught between wars: Russian invasion of Ukraine puts Crimean Tatar Muslims at risk again

• NATO leaders’ summit to discuss latest developments in Ukraine on Friday

• UN group condemns France for failure to repatriate children from Syria camps

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Pakistan

• Amid Attack on Ukraine, Imran-Putin Discuss Bilateral Ties, Jammu and Kashmir

• Ukraine crisis: ‘So much excitement’, says Pakistan PM Imran Khan after landing in Russia

• "Nuclear Nation, Begging For Decades": Anger In Pakistan Over Loans

• Zardari calls on Siraj to get support for no-trust move

• US has not learned from Vietnam, says President Alvi

• Eight terrorists killed in two operations, says ISPR

• Pakistan, Uzbekistan reiterated desire to further efforts for regional peace, security

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South Asia

• Eight polio vaccinators killed in series of Afghan attacks: UN

• Fight between Taliban, Pakistani forces over Durand Line leaves 20 injured, 3 killed

• Taliban protesting against Islamabad over firing by Pak Army

• Caritas chief lauds Bangladesh for supporting Rohingya refugees

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Mideast

• UN Special Envoy Expresses Concern over Persisting Violence against Palestinians in Occupied Territories

• Iranian FM Urges West to Show "Serious Will" in Vienna Talks

• Iranian Speaker Felicitates Counterparts of 7 States on National Day

• Russian invasion puts endgame of Iran nuclear talks in jeopardy

• Iran blames NATO’s ‘provocative actions’ for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

• Turkey in tough spot over Russia-Ukraine crisis

• Houthis abduct two more Yemeni employees of US embassy in Sanaa

• New clashes in al-Quds’ Sheikh Jarrah as racist Israeli lawmaker returns

• Israeli forces demolish more Palestinian structures in al-Quds

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Southeast Asia

• Malaysia: Disgruntled Shah Alam Club Members Ready to Quit If Liquor Ban Stays

• Islamic affairs minister to hold roundtable on unilateral conversion issue on March 2

• The heavy price for making Malaysia a basket case

• Hadi laments interpretation of Federal Constitution in English

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Arab World

• Lebanese Security Forces Detain 'Veteran, Dangerous' Israeli Spy, Report Says

• Iraq unveils restoration work at ancient city ravaged by IS

• IMF’s tough terms deepen doubts over quick Lebanon bailout: Sources

• Lebanon to get Spanish funds for railway revival plan: Minister

• Syria humanitarian needs reach record high: UN

• Israeli airstrikes kill three soldiers near Syria’s Damascus: SANA

• Saudi Arabia urges its citizens in Ukraine to contact embassy as soon as possible

• Qatar’s Emir receives call from Ukraine’s Zelensky

• Baghdad asks Ukrainian universities to grant Iraqi students leave

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Africa

• Franklinton Man Charged In Homicide of Local Imam, Muslim and Somali Leader

• Sudan releases over 100 anti-coup protesters after weeks-long detention

• Pan African body calls immediate ceasefire between Russia, Ukraine

• Libya condemns Russian military operation in Ukraine

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North America

• UAE foreign minister, US secretary of state discuss Russian invasion: State dept

• US imposes sanctions on ‘intl. network financing’ Yemen’s Ansarullah

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/burqa-hijab-kerala-madras-karnataka-high-court/d/126451

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Burqa Not Essential in Islam, But Hijab Is; Kerala and Madras HCs Have Arrived At This Conclusion: Counsel Told the Karnataka High Court

 

Protest in Mumbai against the 'Hijab ban' in Karnataka schools and colleges. Photo: Getty Images

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25th February 2022

BENGALURU: Purdah or Burqa may not be an essential practice but a headscarf or hijab is an essential part of Islam, and two judgments of the Kerala High Court and the Madras High Court, which has gone through Islamic verses and scriptures, have arrived at this conclusion, senior counsel Devadatt Kamat told the Karnataka High Court.

Besides this, none of the counsels appearing for the government have disputed these judgments, said Kamat, who is representing the Muslim girl students from Udupi. He was responding to arguments made on behalf of the State government, Government PU College for Girls at Udupi, College Development Council and other authorities of the college.

He also argued that counsels representing the respondents have not cited a single judgment of any court in the country, saying that headscarf is not an essential practice of Islam, but he has submitted several judgments to support the claim.

Contending that the government order banning the wearing of hijab is illegal, he argued that there is no legal restriction on exercising this right under Article 25(1). The court asked how he can insist on wearing a hijab in an institution where a uniform is prescribed, which right has been infringed, and the same has to be established. In reply, Kamat argued that “my rights flow from the Quran”.

Senior counsel AM Dar, representing students, including one from a private college, argued that “wearing of the hijab is a commandment from Allah and hence it is a religious practice”. Allowing students to wear hijab doesn’t affect anybody’s right," he added, pointing out that students are now barred from attending classes for wearing hijab.

A counsel representing a teacher of the college argued that prescribing uniform is to bring about equality, and the impugned order is not intended to interfere with religious practice. 

Meanwhile, Advocate-General Prabhuling K Navadagi submitted the status of the investigation into the complaint filed over a threat to a teacher of Government PU College in Udupi by an organisation, and events leading to the controversy, in a sealed cover.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2022/feb/25/burqa-not-essential-in-islam-but-hijab-is-counsel--2423447.html

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Muslims in France Struggle with Islamophobic Leaders, Struggling To Decide Who to Vote For

 

French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN) presidential candidate Marine Le Pen arrives for a meeting in Reims, France on February 5, 2022. [Albert Cara - Anadolu Agency]

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February 24, 2022

Tasnim Nazeer

The 2022 French elections are due to be held on the 10th April this year, with over 40 candidates from across France contesting to lead the country. However, the main front-runners prove no reassurance to over 5 million of France's Muslim population which has seen Islamophobia rise within the country over the years.

Muslims in France are struggling to decide on who to vote for, and even whether it is worth voting in the upcoming elections. This has been mainly due to French political candidates expressing varying degrees of Islamophobia and openly racist views which they continue to reiterate time and time again.

The current French President, Emmanuel Macron, came to power in 2017, representing the La Republique En Marche party. Macron once vowed to be a President 'for all the people in France' but, throughout his tenure, he ostracised Muslims by being the first ever European country to ban the full face veil in 2011. He went on to pass legislation forbidding the wearing of hijab in certain public settings, all under the guise of secularism.

Macron's anti-Muslim policies did not stop there as, in 2020, he made a speech announcing that he would crack down on what he calls "Islamist separatism" and would be banning foreign imams from teaching Islamic classes in the country. "Political Islam has no place in France," stated Macron, who went on to mention how he felt that "Islam is facing a crisis".

There is no doubt that the anti-Muslim rhetoric made by Macron was said in an attempt to appeal to far-right voters and appease the President of the National Rally, Marine Le Pen. But, frustratingly, Muslims in France are having to bear the brunt of such rhetoric, which only serves to heighten fears and divisions in the country. But is that not what many of France's main political candidates want to achieve?

If we take a look at the other main candidates up for election, most of them hold extreme far right stances.  Take Marine La Pen (National Rally), who is notorious for holding both Islamophobia and anti-Semitic viewpoints. Le Pen proposed to ban the hijab in all public settings. More shockingly, she even went on to state that the hijab was a piece of clothing with "Islamist ideologies" and branded them with unacceptable remarks stating that hijab was "totalitarian and murderous". A remark which is far from the truth, and deeply damaging and offensive to the Muslim population of France who Le Pen, in no way, could ever represent.

Worst still, the other main candidate, Eric Zeymour (Raconquete Party), is far more ludicrous and spews both racist and anti-Muslim sentiments openly and unapologetically. Zeymour targets Muslims, calling for their 'assimilation' and demands that French Muslims 'renounce their faith'.  There is a real fear that if these more sinister far-right politicians come into power, Muslims could face more hardships than they already have to face.

Having interviewed many French Muslims in my capacity as a journalist, Muslims in the country feel they have no real representative who cares for their needs and that whoever they choose will carry on the ongoing Islamophobic narrative that has been prevalent in the country for years.

The seeds of hatred and division against Muslims in France have been sowed, year after year, and have essentially become an Islamophobic arena, whereby politicians are using Muslim bashing as an electoral strategy to win votes. It is no wonder that Muslims in the country do not know which is the lesser of two evils when deciding on who will next lead the country, but with the current candidates Muslims are bracing for another tough year ahead.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220224-french-elections-muslims-in-france-struggle-with-islamophobic-leaders/

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Pakistan-Turkey Religious Cohesion to Help Counter Islamophobia Globally

 

Two-day conference in Istanbul aims to identify practical ways to protect and promote the rights of Muslim people and other minorities, organisers say. (AA)

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Mohammad Ali

February 24, 2022

ISLAMABAD, (Urdu Point / Pakistan Point News - 24th Feb, 2022): Turkish Religious Affairs Minister Dr Ali Arbash's recent visit to Pakistan will open new vistas of religious cohesion and help devise a 'counter strategy' to cope with Islamophobia globally.

During his five-day stay in Pakistan, he met his Pakistani counterpart Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri and many other high-profile figures in the government, besides religious scholars and academia, and discussed confidence-building measures to get the Muslim world out of prevailing social and religious crisis.

Dr Arbash, addressing a seminar, organized by the International Islamic University Islamabad, said the world powers' social engineering had brought the planet at the brink of destruction.

This social engineering mostly affected the Muslim world and forced the Muslim Ummah to live below the poverty line through wars, occupations and violence, he added.

He said the world powers with strategic planning manipulated the Islamic world by cultural and economic distortions.

He said the recent efforts to malign islam a religion of peace - had drawn the attention towards the word Islamophobia.

Dr Arbash said Islamophobia, a conspiracy hatched against Islam, was a sensitive issue of human rights carrying hidden agendas of self-interests of enemies.

He said Islam was being projected a religion of extremism on the globe according to a pre-planned strategy.

He said there were certain media houses in Europe and West trying to interlink terrorism with Islam in order to hide its enlightened aspects of life from the world.

He said Islamophobia was not limited to the Europe or West now adding whatsoever was happening in India and Myanmar, it was also a part and parcel of it.

Terming Islamophobia anti-Islamism, he urged the Muslim world to launch a worldwide drive to counter the negative propaganda being associated with the Muslims and Islam.

He also urged the Ulema and Mashaikh world over to devise a 'counter strategy' to foil the nefarious designs of anti-Islam elements with collective efforts.

In a meeting with Senate Deputy Chairman Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Turkish religious affairs minister said there was a dire need of unity among all the ranks of Muslim world.

He said spread of disinformation was one of the main causes of disintegration in the Muslim Ummah.

The issue of Islamophobia could easily be handled by practicing the actual teachings of Islam, he maintained.

In a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Pir Noor ul Haq Qadri, Dr Arbash said the real happiness and peace were in following the Islamic principles of life as there would be a complete chaos if Islamic code of conduct ignored intentionally or unintentionally.

In an event held at Eidgah Sharif, he said Pakistan and Turkey would play a significant role in the propagation of Islam as per divine commands.

He said both the countries would continue its coordination and cooperation in a bid to provide true Islamic information and teachings to the new generation.

He stressed the need to produce more Ulema and Mashaikh as they were the great source of spreading Islam across the world.

Being second to the Prophet, it was our responsibility to preach the message of Islam of love, peace and interfaith harmony through Tassawaf, he added.

Dr Arbash said if any Turkish citizen was asked about his favorite country and people, he would confidently take the name of Pakistan and its people.

He said although the boundaries of Pakistan and Turkey were not joined but we were connected by heart and would remain so forever.

He said Turkey kept an eye on Pakistan's issues and it was always ready to provide all possible help in a bid to resolve them.

Turkish Religious Affairs Minister Dr Ali Arbash arrived in Lahore on Thursday. He was accompanied with Turkish religious affairs deputy minister, Mufti-e-Azam and Majid Aya Sophia's prayer leader.

Source: Urdu Point

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

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/pak-turk-religious-cohesion-to-help-counter-i-1475801.html

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Ex-Afghan Legislator Mariam Solaimankhil Calls Taliban ‘Proxy of Pakistan’

 

Representative Image

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25 February, 2022

London [UK], February 25 (ANI): Former woman Afghan MP, Mariam Solaimankhil, representing Kuchis and Nomads said that the Taliban is a “proxy of Pakistan” and they do not represent any particular ethnicity or locality in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a webinar on Monday by The Open Forum webinar in London discussing the “Prospect and possibility of engaging with the Taliban on Afghan women rights,” she said, “Taliban is proxy of Pakistan,” and The Taliban don’t represent any particular ethnicity or locality in Afghanistan, they are more of an ideology. They represent an extremist violent ideology that was grown out of madrasas in Pakistan.”

Crystal Bayat, an author and Afghan human rights activist who was marching through the streets of Kabul, post 15th August take-over, wrapped up in the flag of Afghanistan, raising her voice against the Taliban, representing millions of women and men who dared not come out, will be etched in the minds of people for decades to come.

Speaking at the event, she recalled how her father asked her to “come back” from the protest as the Taliban might kill her. Bayat faced violence, but she continued to protest.

This event was moderated by Mina Sharif, a media consultant who has worked at the grass-root level in Afghanistan.

“Although Afghan women are such a hot topic everyone likes to talk about us – no one likes to talk with us and that’s what I enjoyed most today,” said Mina, who lives in Canada now.

Mina ended the event in the hope that one day, all the women on the forum including her would be able to have conversations like these from within Afghanistan.

At the moment all agreed Afghanistan remains unsafe for women. (ANI)

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/ex-afghan-legislator-mariam-solaimankhil-calls-taliban-proxy-of-pakistan/846779/

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Palestinian Journalists Sue Facebook Over Censorship Of Palestine-Related Content

 

Representative Image

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24 February 2022

Palestinian journalists have filed a lawsuit against Facebook to voice their objection to the social media platform for arbitrarily censoring and suspending accounts affiliated with Palestine’s news agencies as well as political and media activists.

Sada Social, a Palestinian social media monitoring center, along with a number of Palestinian journalists, writers and news agencies lodged the complaint about the arbitrary censorship measures being exercised by Facebook against Palestinian content on Thursday.

“The lawsuit calls on Facebook to review its procedures for suspending and closing Palestinian accounts, and to see whether an algorithm was used or left discretion to employees to make decisions about closing Palestinian accounts,” Sada Social said in a post on its twitter account.

Palestine's official Wafa news agency said the London-based law firm Bindmans LLP, mandated by the International Center for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP), had filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Palestinian journalists against the platform, which was rebranded as Meta last October, and called for an urgent review of its actions and an explanation as to why Palestinian accounts were censored.

Sada Social Center said the lawsuit comes in the wake of the intransigence of Facebook in dealing with the complaints it receives from the center and other Palestinian parties interested in digital rights, account users, media organizations and press institutions.

The social media monitoring center confirmed that Facebook escalated its measures against Palestinian content in 2021 and complaints of violations during the past year alone amounted to more than 1,593 violations, with the violations of Meta Company representing more than 64.4% of them.

Sada Social underlined that Facebook's censorship of Palestinian-related content represents a broader problem that is “far-reaching and systemic in nature.”

The ICJP said in a press release earlier, “The complaint reinstates the request that Meta/Facebook discloses and reviews its decision-making process, and explains why the accounts were closed, suspended or posts taken down, and whether in doing so an algorithm or human discretion was used.”

The ICPJ also said the legal lawsuit has coincided with the Israeli Knesset’s preliminary approval of a bill that would reportedly grant Israeli courts the power to demand the "removal of user-generated content on social media content platforms that can be perceived as inflammatory or as harming the security of Israel or the security of the public."

The complaint has been sent by the Bindmans LLP on behalf of Sada Social to the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression.

Anti-Palestinian racism and incitement by Israelis on social media have increased over the past years.

Palestinian activists say there is a double standard regarding the enforcement of social media platforms' policies.

Sada Social was launched by three Palestinian journalists in September 2017 to document “violations against Palestinian content” on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, and to communicate with its executives to restore some of the pages and accounts that have been shut down.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/24/677471/Palestinian-journalists-Sada-Social-legal-complaint-Facebook-

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India

 

Karnataka: Sikh student's father backs hijab right after ‘turban bar’

K.M. Rakesh  

25.02.22

The father of an Amritdhari Sikh student who was allegedly told to remove her turban by her college here has stood by the struggle of Muslim girls fighting for their right to wear the hijab.

Gurcharan Singh, the father of the 17-year-old student who “politely refused” to remove her turban and was allowed to attend classes subsequently, has written to the authorities of Mount Carmel Pre-University College and the Sri Guru Sahib Sabha, underlining the importance of the religious headgear to the sect.

The student was on February 16 allegedly told to remove her turban while attending classes, in view of the high court’s interim order restraining students from wearing religious attire on campuses.

Singh, an IT professional, emailed the college the same day, explaining that the turban was part of the mandatory religious attire of an Amritdhari Sikh. The college allowed the girl to attend classes wearing the turban.

The matter cropped up again on Wednesday when officials from the state education department visited the college to ensure the high court order was being enforced. After the girl was again allegedly told to remove her turban and she refused, Singh wrote to the administrator of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha in the city.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/karnataka-sikh-students-father-backs-hijab-right-after-turban-bar-at-mount-carmel-pre-university-college/cid/1853386

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Bar association moves high court to implead Muslim personal law boards

Feb 25, 2022

An application for impleading of Muslim Personal Law Boards has been moved by All India Bar Association (AIBA) in Karnataka high court, which is presently hearing several pleas into the hijab row.

The application moved by Adish C Aggarwala, senior advocate and chairman of the All India Bar Association, stated that the court is looking into the aspect that whether hijab is an essential religious practice for Muslim women.

“There is no representation from any Personal Law Board, be it the All India Personal Law Board or the Shia Personal Law Board, who majorly contribute and represent that they work towards the proper applicability of the personal laws of Muslims and also form the opinion of Muslims in India (sic),” the applicant said.

“The entire exercise of the constitutional validity of the essential religious practice of wearing hijab will be incomplete without the representation of the Personal Law Boards in this matter,” said Aggarwala in his petition.

Both Personal Law Boards of Muslims in India are necessary parties in these proceedings for adjudication of the instant petition and hence these Boards be impleaded and heard in the interest of justice, added Aggarwala in his petition.

A bench of the three judges, comprising chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, Justice Krishna S Dixit, and Justice JM Khazi, was hearing various petitions challenging the ban on hijab in educational institutes in the state.

The hijab protests in Karnataka began in January this year when some students of Government Girls PU college in the Udupi district of the state alleged that they had been barred from attending classes. During the protests, some students claimed they were denied entry into the college for wearing hijab.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/bar-body-moves-high-court-to-implead-muslim-personal-law-boards-101645729077027.html

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Maulana Azad message must be propagated among youth: Seminar

25th February 2022

Hyderabad: “Maulna Abul Kalam Azad was a genius who played an important role in changing the destiny of the country.  If his views and ideas are adopted, even today, the country could once again be an abode of peace.  But regretfully the current breed of leaders in the country have forgotten his teachings due to which peace is lacking in the country.” These were the views expressed by the scholars and intellectuals participating in a 2-days seminar titled “Maulana Abul Kalam Azad – the architect of Modern India” is being held under the Department of Arabic, Osmania University College for Women (OUCW), Koti, headed by its Principal Prof M V Lata.

“Maulana Azad struggled against the Britishers in an extremely difficult time to get independence to the country,” said Prof Hussain Akhtar from Delhi University in his keynote.  “Maulana enthused the nation for liberation through his speeches and writings.”

As Guest of Honor, the Managing Editor of Siasat Daily, Zaheeruddin Ali Khan said, “It is our collective responsibility to propagate Maulana Azad’s message among the new generation.  His ideas are universal and will be relevant in every era.” 

“Maulana Azad was a torchbearer of Hindu-Muslim unity.  He was against the division of the country and tried his best to prevent the partition,” Khan said.  

A guest from Kuwait Syed Ali Adnan Mustafa Al Rafaie delivered his speech in Arabic. Paying homage to Maulana Azad he said, “Genius persons like Maulana are rare and born once in centuries.”

“Maulana Azad was not only a politician but he was an interpreter of Holy Quran, an author of high caliber.  Through his writings in “Al Balaag” and “Al Hilal”, he created a sense of nationalism among the Indian masses which culminated in the liberation of India from British Rule,”  said Dr. (Prof) Syed Jahangir, a renowned Arabic scholar, writer, poet and translator, Associate Professor of Arabic at English and Foreign Languages University (ERLU).

Prof Jahangir advised the girl students to study the history of the Muslim freedom fighters and their pivotal role in the independence of the country.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/maulana-azad-message-must-be-propagated-among-youth-seminar-2281640/

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NIA Arrests Key Conspirator of Hizb-ut-Tahrir Terror Group for Radicalising Muslim Youths

FEBRUARY 24, 2022

The NIA on Thursday arrested the main recruiter of Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT) terrorist group for allegedly radicalising vulnerable Muslim youths to establish an Islamic state and enforce a constitution written by a radical preacher, an official said. Ziyavudeen Baqavi of Tamil Nadu was arrested by the premier investigation agency.

The case pertains to the conduct of secret 'bayaan' classes by members of HuT, an offshoot of ISIS, a proscribed terror organisation, for radicalising youths to establish an Islamic state or caliphate and enforce the constitution written by radical Islamic preacher Taqi al-Din al-Nabhani, the NIA official said. Al-Nabhani is the founder of HuT.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/nia-arrests-key-conspirator-of-hizb-ut-tahrir-terror-group-for-radicalising-muslim-youths-4807445.html

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UP: In 'Madad Palace' of BJP leader, temple, mosque exist in harmony

24th February 2022

BAHRAICH: In 'Madad Palace' of a BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh, almost all religions have found a place.

Every morning, Arunveer Singh offers prayers at a temple, mosque, gurdwara and church at his home in Hariharpur Raikwari village in Bahraich district.

The practice has been going on in his house, popularly called Madad Palace, for the past about five decades.

Arunveer Singh (59), who is fighting the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections from the Muslim-dominant Matera seat, believes that the age-old communal harmony being practiced at the palace will help him in the polls.

His father Yashveer Singh had built the places of worship in Madad Palace in 1967.

The purpose was that the palace could represent the mixed culture of the village and surrounding areas, and where people of all faiths could worship.

"Respect for mixed culture is in our blood. Our grandfather Late Yashveer Singh had built a temple, mosque, gurdwara, church as well as Lord Buddha's temple in this palace so that people of all religions could worship here," Arunveer's son Karanvir told PTI.

"The doors of the palace were always open for the needy. Maybe that's why the palace was named Madad," he said.

"Our village has a mixed population. When we have a havan in the palace, people from the Muslim community also sit together. We also attend their events in the same way," Karanvir said.

Arunveer Singh said that he is proud that he truly represents Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of equal development of all.

"I claim with pride in all election speeches that I have fully imbibed PM Modi's slogan 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas'. We rise above caste and religion and work for all including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists," he said.

Arunveer Singh had joined the BJP in 2016 from the Samajwadi Party (SP).

He has been a member of the Legislative Council once from local bodies' constituency and twice the member of the Legislative Assembly from the Fakharpur seat during the old delimitation when he was in the SP.

Arunveer's younger brother Atulveer's wife Manju Singh is the chairman of zila panchayat.

Arunveer said that though Matera is a Muslim majority area, given the image of his family and also his own, he expects to get the votes of Muslims as well in the election.

Former cabinet minister and SP leader Yasar Shah is the current MLA from the seat.

In the 2017 elections, Yasar Shah had defeated Arunveer by about 1,500 votes.

This time the SP has fielded Yasar Shah's wife Maria Shah from Matera.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/feb/24/up-in-madad-palace-of-bjp-leader-temple-mosque-exist-in-harmony-2423240.html

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Vellore Sees Tension as Hindu Munnai Group Opposes Construction of Mosque

FEBRUARY 24, 2022

Tension continued to grip Sarkar Mandi street in Gandhi Road and a heavy police posse has been deployed after a group belonging to the Hindu Munnai opposed the construction of a mosque at the area.

The Hindu Munnani workers alleged that the mosque was built without proper permission and that a house was converted into a mosque overnight. They claimed that the construction of mosque would lead to friction in future as there are three temples within a distance of 100m and temple processions would be taken out through the area.

Police said that the building belonged to a trader and was recently renovated and a board reading ‘Mosque’ put up. This infuriated the Hindu Munnani who petitioned the district collector of future rumblings and communal tensions in the area and added that they would not allow the mosque to function.

Vellore Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kannan, while speaking to IANS, said: “The place was used as a personal worship centre. Now they have put a board transforming it into a public worship centre. The Hindu Munnani is alleging that they do not have any proper papers for this and the revenue department is verifying the documents. Police are on vigil and will maintain law and order at any cost."

Meanwhile, the Muslim groups met the district collector and submitted a memorandum stating that the mosque was functioning at the place since 1896 and that the Hindu Munnani was unnecessarily raking up the issue.

Dravida Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (DMMK) leader G.S. Iqbal said: “We have petitioned the district collector stating that the mosque was in place since 1896 and that the Hindu outfit is unnecessarily creating an issue. The District collector and the RDO have gone through our petition and we expect a verdict in our favour before Friday. "

Reportedly, certain Muslim groups would resort to protest marches after the Friday Namaz if the issue is not resolved till then.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/vellore-sees-tension-as-hindu-munnai-group-opposes-construction-of-mosque-4805243.html

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2 terrorists killed in encounter in J&K's Shopian

Feb 25, 2022

NEW DELHI: Two unidentified terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, police said.

"Encounter has started at Amshipora area of Shopian. Police and security forces are on the job. Further details shall follow," informed Kashmir Zone Police.

Acting on specific input about the presence of terrorists in Amshipora area of Shopian in south Kashmir, security forces launched a cordon and search operation there, a police official said.

The search operation turned into an encounter after the hiding terrorists fired upon the forces who retaliated, he said.

In the ensuing encounter, two terrorists were killed, the official said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-terrorists-killed-in-encounter-in-jks-shopian/articleshow/89819891.cms

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Drone-dropped arms, ammo recovered in J&K

Feb 25, 2022

Jammu: Police on Thursday claimed to have foiled a major terror plot by recovering three 'drone-dropped' boxes containing remote controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs), grenades and a pistol during a search operation in R S Pura sector of Jammu & Kashmir.

Police said the recovery was made during a search operation after Border Security Force (BSF) spotted a drone hovering inside the Indian territory in the early morning hours. BSF personnel had spotted the flying object between Jabowal and Bikram post in R S Pura and fired 10-12 rounds, following which it returned towards the Pakistan side.

SSP Chandan Kohli said, "On the basis of input regarding drone activity and dropping of arms and ammunition by Pak-based militant outfits in a forward village in R S Pura sector, a special search operation was launched by police. During the search operation three boxes of arms and ammunition which were dropped through a drone during night hours were recovered by the search party from Treva village of Arnia in R S Pura."

The SSP said the recovery included three remote-controlled IEDs, three detonators, explosive bottles, one bundle of Cordtex wire, two timers of IEDs, one pistol, two magazines, six grenades and 70 rounds. He said a case was registered at Arniaq police station under relevant sections of the law and further investigations were underway.

Earlier, security forces had launched a massive search operation after drone activity was spotted in the Dhab area of Kanachak sector near the international border on January 12 this year. On June 27, 2021, in a first-of-its-kind incident, two bombs were dropped at the Jammu Air Force Station, leaving two IAF personnel injured. The National Investigation Agency is investigating the case. Jammu police later successfully shot down an unmanned aerial object carrying an IED weighing 5kgs in the border town of Kanachak of Jammu on July 23 last year.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jammu/drone-dropped-arms-ammo-recovered-in-jk/articleshow/89812813.cms

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Europe

 

UK lawyers file complaint against Facebook over anti-Palestinian bias

February 24, 2022

A legal and justice center in London has filed a formal complaint against Facebook, accusing the social media platform of arbitrarily censoring and suspending accounts associated with Palestinian news agencies, advocates, and journalists.

The complaint, filed by London law firm Bindmans LLP on behalf of the International Centre for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) and digital rights group Sada Social, requests that the platform, which rebranded itself as Meta last October, conduct an urgent review of its actions and explain why those accounts were censored.

The ICJP said in a press release on Tuesday that "the complaint reinstates the request that Meta/Facebook discloses and reviews its decision-making process, and explains why the accounts were closed, suspended or posts taken down, and whether in doing so an algorithm or human discretion was used.”

The complaint was also forwarded to the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of expression.

For years, Meta has been accused of censoring Palestinians' experiences and narratives on both its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Silencing the truth

According to the Palestinian social media monitoring center, Sada Social, 600 Palestinian accounts or pro-Palestinian Facebook posts were restricted or deleted in 2021, which is a record. The center helped launch a social media campaign called "Facebook Censors Jerusalem."

Rama Youssef, an Al-Quds-based journalist who volunteered for the campaign, said Facebook hews to an Israeli point of view and has "double standards".

The Arab Center Washington DC think-tank assured that the Israeli occupation authorities also push to censor "tens of thousands of posts and accounts" that support the struggle of Palestinians.

Meta refused to answer questions about requests from the Israeli occupation authorities to do so.

Facebook has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including human rights abuse incidents committed by "Israel" against Palestinians during the Seif Al-Quds Battle (the battle of the Sword of Jerusalem), a Human Rights Watch report said.

Source: ABNA24

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https://en.abna24.com/news//uk-lawyers-file-complaint-against-facebook-over-anti-palestinian-bias_1232860.html

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Caught between wars: Russian invasion of Ukraine puts Crimean Tatar Muslims at risk again

February 24, 2022

Russia declared war against Ukraine on Thursday. Making the announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their weapons and return to their homes. The commencement of war has raised concerns over civilians who are living in Ukraine, especially the minority Crimean Tatar Muslim community.

The Crimean Tatars are a Turkic Muslim people, who have been forced from their homes in 1944 and 2014. The minority group now fears the effect of Russia-Ukraine war.

Erfan Kudusov, 53, was in his twenties when the Crimean Tatars returned to their homeland after more than 45 years in forced exile.

“Older people, when they first stepped off the plane, they kissed the land. People were crying with happiness; they were back in their homeland,” he told Al Jazeera.

But in 2014, thousands of Crimean Tatars were forced to leave their homeland again following Russia’s annexation of their homeland.

The Crimean Tatars are a Muslim ethnic minority indigenous to the Crimean Peninsula, on the northern coast of the Black Sea. In 1944, under the orders of Joseph Stalin, all 180,000 Crimean Tatars living in Crimea were forced onto cattle trains and exiled to Uzbekistan.

According to an estimate, about half them died either during the journey to Uzbekistan or from subsequent disease and starvation during their first two years in exile. This deportation was recognised as genocide by several countries, including Ukraine.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the peninsula became part of Ukraine, and the Crimean Tatars were able to return to their homeland.

However, it wasn’t an easy return to the land they once knew. The community faced several challenges, such as being blocked from buying or renting homes.

Apart from forced exiles, the Crimean Tatars also faced stigma and discrimination after decades of Soviet propaganda had labelled them as Nazi collaborators. The stigma was propagated despite tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars having served in the Red Army.

RUSSIA’S ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA

In March 2014, Russia officially annexed Crimea after a disputed and internationally rejected referendum. Following the annexation, the occupying forces immediately began to crack down on Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists.

The Russian authorities also banned the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar representative body, labelling it an extremist outfit.

About 10 per cent of Crimean Tatars have moved from the peninsula since the annexation, often to Kherson, a city in southern Ukraine, or Kyiv.

CRIMEAN TATARS IN UKRAINE

Several establishments around Kyiv now display the Crimean Tatar flag. Kamila Yurchenko, who works at the Religious Administration of Ukrainian Muslims, described the minority as an integral part of Ukraine’s “multinational” Muslim community.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/russia-ukraine-war/story/russian-invasion-of-ukraine-puts-crimean-tatar-muslims-at-risk-again-1917480-2022-02-24

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NATO leaders’ summit to discuss latest developments in Ukraine on Friday

Sefa Mutlu  

24.02.2022

A NATO leaders’ summit will discuss Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine on Friday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the extraordinary summit that will be held online, a Communications Directorate statement said.

The February 2014 “Maidan revolution” in Ukraine led to former President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and a pro-Western government coming to power.

That was followed by Russia illegally annexing the Crimea region and separatists declaring independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, both of which have large ethnic Russian populations.

As clashes erupted between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian army, the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements were signed in Moscow after the intervention of Western powers.

The conflict, however, simmered for years with persistent cease-fire violations. As of February 2022, some 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US and its allies accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine.

They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, allegations that were consistently rejected by Moscow.

Defying threats of sanctions by the West, Moscow officially recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states earlier this week, followed by the start of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/nato-leaders-summit-to-discuss-latest-developments-in-ukraine-on-friday/2513793

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UN group condemns France for failure to repatriate children from Syria camps

February 24, 2022

NEW YORK: The failure of authorities in France to repatriate from Syria the children of French nationals violates their rights to life and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child said on Thursday.

Many children have been held in life-threatening conditions in Syrian camps for years. The CRC statement came at the conclusion of three cases filed by a group of French nationals relating to 49 of their grandchildren, nieces and nephews in the Kurdish-administered Rawj, Ayn Isa and Al-Hol camps in northeastern Syria’s Al-Hasakeh governorate.

“The children are living in inhuman sanitary conditions, lacking basic necessities including water, food and healthcare, and facing an imminent risk of death,” said committee member Ann Skelton.

“At least 62 children have reportedly died in the camps as a result of these conditions since the beginning of 2021. The situation is therefore extremely urgent.”

The sprawling, fenced off Al-Hol camp is home to more than 50,000 wives, widows and children of Daesh members. Often, several families live together in cramped conditions in tents, with minimal amenities and limited access to water and sanitation.

Some of the children were born in Syria, others were taken to the war-ravaged country by their French parents at a young age. The occupants of the camps come from more than 50 countries and the UN has repeatedly called on the authorities in home nations to repatriate their nationals, in line with international law and international human rights law. So far, the calls mostly have fallen on deaf ears.

Since the relatives of French youngsters took their cases to the CRC three years ago, the government in France has repatriated 11 children but 38, some as young as 5 years old, are still detained in the camps.

“The committee found that France has the responsibility and power to protect the French children in the Syrian camps against an imminent risk to their lives by taking action to repatriate them,” the CRC said.

The prolonged detention of child victims of the conflict in life-threatening conditions amounts to “inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment,” it added.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2031271/world

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Pakistan

 

Amid attack on Ukraine, Imran-Putin discuss bilateral ties, Jammu and Kashmir

Feb 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: As the world watched with concern Russia raining missiles on Ukraine on Thursday, Pakistan PM Imran Khan sat down to discuss bilateral ties and global issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, including alleged human rights violations in J&K.

Imran's Moscow visit, observers say, has put Islamabad in a tricky situation when it comes to balancing its important economic and strategic relationship with the West vis-à-vis Russia.

Members of the PM's team in Moscow said he and Putin reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including economic and energy cooperation, particularly the Pakistan Stream gas pipeline. "The Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of the gas pipeline as a flagship economic project between Pakistan and Russia, and also discussed cooperation on prospective energy-related projects," read an official statement issued after the meeting.

In the regional context, according to the handout, Khan underlined the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis and preventing potential economic meltdown in Afghanistan. "The Prime Minister reiterated that Pakistan would continue to work with the international community for a stable, peaceful and connected Afghanistan. In this regard, he underscored the ongoing cooperation and coordination between Pakistan and Russia at various international and regional fora, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)."

On the situation in South Asia, the statement said Imran highlighted the alleged human rights abuse in J&K and underscored the imperative of peaceful resolution of the dispute. He also focused on the developments "detrimental to regional peace and stability" and stressed the need for measures that would help keep the regional balance.

Imran, according to the statement, rued the latest situation involving Russia and Ukraine and said Pakistan had hoped diplomacy could avert a military conflict. "The PM stressed that conflict was not in anyone’s interest, and that the developing countries were always hit the hardest economically in case of conflict."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/amid-attack-on-ukraine-imran-putin-discuss-bilateral-ties-jammu-and-kashmir/articleshow/89810439.cms

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Ukraine crisis: ‘So much excitement’, says Pakistan PM Imran Khan after landing in Russia

Feb 24, 2022

NEW DELHI: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who arrived in Russia on Wednesday, seemingly described the visit to the country as 'exciting'. “What a time I have come so much excitement,” he was heard telling a Russian official in a video shared by Pakistan's Geo News reporter.

Khan had arrived in Moscow yesterday on a two-day visit, first by a Pakistani premier in over two decades. He will hold talks with President Putin to reset the bilateral ties and expand cooperation in the energy sector.

“What a time I have come, so much excitement", PM Imran Khan says after landing in Moscow, Russia… https://t.co/YKEdXH2sXK

— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) 1645684915000

Meanwhile, in Washington, Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price said that the US has communicated its position to Islamabad on Russia's "renewed invasion" of Ukraine and it was the "responsibility" of every country to voice objection to Putin's actions.

"Well, we're certainly aware of the trip," Price said. "We've communicated to Pakistan our position regarding Russia's further renewed invasion of Ukraine, and we have briefed them on our efforts to pursue diplomacy over war.”

"We believe it's the responsibility of every responsible country around the world to voice concern, to voice objection to what Putin appears to have in mind for Ukraine," he said in response to a question on Wednesday.

In an interview to Russia's state-run RT television network ahead of his trip, Khan, had voiced concern about the situation in Ukraine and the possibility of new sanctions and their impact on Islamabad's growing cooperation with Moscow.

Khan, a cricketer-turned-politician, is the first Pakistani premier to visit Russia in 23 years after former premier Nawaz Sharif travelled to Moscow in 1999.

Pakistan's ties with Russia have moved past the bitter Cold War hostilities in recent years and the chill in the relations between Pakistan and the US has further pushed the country towards Russia and China.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/ukraine-crisis-so-much-excitement-says-pakistan-pm-imran-khan-after-landing-in-russia/articleshow/89801355.cms

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"Nuclear Nation, Begging For Decades": Anger In Pakistan Over Loans

February 25, 2022

Islamabad: Amid the release of a fresh tranche of loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Pakistani government is facing backlash from civil society, over the unending series of loans, a report said on Thursday.

Public confidence in the government is at a new low due to financial mismanagement and over-dependence on foreign funds to run the country, 'Islam Khabar' claimed.

Angry reactions followed a tweet by Pakistan's Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin announcing the approval of the 6th tranche of IMF loans.

"I am pleased to announce that IMF Board has approved 6th tranche of their programme for Pakistan," Tarin tweeted.

"It is not only surprising but also regrettable that the Finance Minister, by enslaving the nation, expressed happiness over the receipt of a new installment from the IMF," the report noted.

A media editorial in Pakistan underlined that Pakistan is "probably the only nuclear country whose daily affairs require loans, begging for aid and this has continued for decades."

The backlash followed IMF's release of USD 1 billion to Pakistan, subject to fulfilling certain conditions. Fuel prices and power tariffs in Pakistan are at historic highs as a result.

The fresh funds constitute an installment of a USD 6 billion bailout package. IMF's Executive Board had cleared the bailout package for Pakistan on July 3, 2019.

Source: ND TV

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

https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/anger-in-pakistan-over-loans-nuclear-nation-begging-for-decades-2788488

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Zardari calls on Siraj to get support for no-trust move

24 February,2022

LAHORE (Dunya News) - Former President and Pakistan People Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday called on Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Chief Siraj-ul-Haq in a bid to get support for a no-trust move against the incumbent government.

Zardari visited JI head office in Mansoora. Both the leaders discussed a decisive movement against the government, current political situation, and the joint opposition no-trust mover against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Sources privy to the meeting said that Zardari sought JI’s support for the success of the no-trust move. JI has a single vote of Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali in the National Assembly.

The opposition leadership on Wednesday agreed to nominate Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly as the next prime minister after the success of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and leadership of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) was held in Lahore.

During the meeting, the strategy for the success of the no-confidence motion as well as the overall political situation of the country came under discussion. One vote of Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, Member National Assembly of Jamaat-e-Islami in Parliament became important and Zardari went on to ask for the help of Siraj’s party on no-trust motion.

Meanwhile, the joint opposition on Wednesday asked its national assembly members to sign a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The opposition has been preparing a no-trust motion signed by its national assembly members. Sources said that the opposition parties are claiming the support of 24 government members.

The PML-N has claimed the support of 16 government members and Pakistan Peoples’ Party claimed the support of six lawmakers and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) claimed the support of two government members.

Source: Dunya News

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https://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/642833-Zardari-calls-on-Siraj-to-get-support-for-no-trust-move

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US has not learned from Vietnam, says President Alvi

Syed Irfan Raza

February 25, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Against the backdrop of an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday expressed surprise that the United States had not learnt from the past and “fell into another trap”.

“I mistakenly believed that the US would have learned a lesson from the Vietnam War and would not fall into another trap,” the president said while addressing the concluding session of a two-day international conference on ‘South Asia: Emerging Opportunities and Challenges’.

The president’s remarks came at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan, currently on a two-day official visit to Russia, met Russian President Vladimir Putin amid reports that Russia has started the invasion of Ukraine.

He, however, expressed his desire to have enhanced relations with the US in different fields, especially the information technology sector.

Amid Russia-Ukraine conflict, president says Pakistan wants win-win cooperation with nations

President Alvi said Europe had decided against any more wars in their own lands but continued to destroy other countries in Africa and the Middle East.

“Instead of supporting any polarisation, Pakistan desired win-win cooperation in the fields of information technology and trade with the nations for peace and development in the region,” he added.

The president said Pakistan did not want to be part of any polarisation, and the country’s forefathers had also advocated co-existence before demanding a separate homeland.

He told the gathering, consisting of former ambassadors and researchers and academics, that the vested interests dominated morality in international affairs.

President Alvi said the world was looking for leadership based on morality and highlighted Pakistan’s humanitarian gestures of hosting millions of refugees contrary to Europe which he said let them drown in the Mediterranean, besides reports of rapes and murders.

Referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s biased approach targeting minorities, President Alvi said the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) government was adding fuel to fire through its Hindutva ideology. “Despite repeated commitments by the United Nations, the Kashmir issue is still unresolved owing to the vested interests of the countries,” he added.

The president said information technology was the biggest opening for Pakistan and the region. However, he emphasised bridging the gap between the decision-makers and the fast-developing technologies.

President Alvi said the fake news phenomenon was getting stronger which could even destroy the countries. He said people would see an avalanche of fake news in the 2023 general elections in Pakistan, as around 60 to 70 per cent of messages circulating on the social media during the last elections in India were found to be fake.

The president said the morality protecting humanity and human rights, such as women’s emancipation, should be the ideals for society, instead of vested interests.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1676933/us-has-not-learned-from-vietnam-says-president-alvi

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Eight terrorists killed in two operations, says ISPR

February 25, 2022

PESHAWAR: Eight terrorists were killed during operations conducted by security forces in North Waziristan and Dera Ismail Khan on Thursday, the military’s media affairs wing said.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that security forces carried out the operation in the “general area” of Hamzoni in North Waziristan tribal district in wake of reports about the presence of terrorists.

An intense exchange of fire took place between the security forces and terrorists during which six miscreants were killed.

The deceased were identified as Mohammad Ali, Mateeullah, Mohammad Umar, Akhtar Hussain, Sher and Waseem, the ISPR statement said.

Weapons, ammunition and equipment were recovered from the terrorists’ possession, including submachine guns, hand-grenades, mines, handcuffs and a large quantity of multiple calibre rounds.

Separately, an intelligence-based operation was conducted by security forces in Kulachi tehsil of Dera Ismail Khan.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1676931/eight-terrorists-killed-in-two-operations-says-ispr

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Pakistan, Uzbekistan reiterated desire to further efforts for regional peace, security

February 24, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan and Uzbekistan on Thursday reiterated the desire to further enhance bilateral relations including efforts for peace and security in the region.

Mr Aybek Arif Usmanov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) here at the GHQ.

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest, regional security situation and bilateral cooperation between the two countries were discussed.

COAS said that Pakistan values its relations with Uzbekistan particularly defence cooperation.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/02/24/pakistan-uzbekistan-reiterated-desire-to-desire-to-further-effort-for-regional-peace-security/

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South Asia

 

Eight polio vaccinators killed in series of Afghan attacks: UN

February 25, 2022

KABUL: Eight members of polio vaccination teams working to eradicate the crippling virus in Afghanistan were killed on Thursday in four separate attacks, the United Nations said.

Polio teams were frequently targeted by insurgent groups in Afghanistan until the Taliban’s takeover of the country last year, when the hardline group said it wanted to work with the UN to stamp out the disease.

In the past polio campaigns in Afghanistan — and neighbouring Pakistan — were accused of being fronts for spying, while some clerics said the vaccine was a conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.

“We are appalled by the brutality of these killings, across four separate locations,” the UN said in a statement.

“This senseless violence must stop immediately, and those responsible must be investigated and brought to justice. These attacks are a violation of international humanitarian law.” The Taliban said they had “received the news” of the incidents and were trying to get more information.

“Our policy is clear, we want to vaccinate and protect all the children in Afghanistan under the age of five,” Javid Hajir, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told AFP.

The UN said one person was killed in Takhar province in the far north, and seven in neighbouring Kunduz province — including four in the provincial capital Kunduz city.

They were engaged in house-to-house visits or on their way to begin campaigns, the UN said.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1676949/eight-polio-vaccinators-killed-in-series-of-afghan-attacks-un

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Fight between Taliban, Pakistani forces over Durand Line leaves 20 injured, 3 killed

25 February, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 25 (ANI): Fight between Talibani and Pakistani forces erupted over the Durand Line in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar leaving 20 injured and 3 killed during the scuffle.

So far, 20 civilians have been injured and three killed in the incident.

Taking to Asvaka News said, “Fighting has been raging in the Spin Boldak district of #Kandahar between #Taliban & #Paki forces on the #Durand Line since this afternoon. 20 civilians injured & three killed so far. Civilians have fled their homes near the Durand Line.”

According to the sources in Kandahar, Pakistani border guards beat an Afghan child at the Spin Boldak Gate and Afghan security forces opened fire on Pakistani border guards in the area. The incident took place afternoon on Thursday, after which the gate was closed to traffic.

It added that after the incident, the army forces from the Al-Badr corps arrived at the scene and are preparing to respond to the Pakistani border guards.

So far, the details of this incident have not been given by the border gate officials of Sepineh Boldak.

Differences between the Taliban and Pakistan continue to persist over the issue of the Durand Line.

In this context, Pakistan Consulate in Jalalabad (Nangarhar Province), while highlighting the situation at Ghulam Khan border crossing in Khost-North Waziristan area over the past few days, conveyed to the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday that the Taliban had removed the Pakistani flag from a border post and deployed humvees and armed personnel on the zero line in contravention of the border conventions, as part of its “pressure tactics”, reported local media.

In response, Pakistan issued warnings to the Taliban of possible counter-action and trade was suspended for a few days.

The issue was later resolved with the intervention of traders and tribal elders from both sides, said the local media.

However, bilateral relations between Pakistan and the Taliban are turning hostile over the issue of Durand Line and cross-border “terror activities” of groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against Islamabad.

Pakistan intends to bring the tribal areas near the Durand Line under its control and complete its Durand barbed wire fencing.

Following deadly attacks on Pakistani troops, the Pakistani military has launched an operation along the Durand Line near Afghanistan.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/fight-between-taliban-pakistani-forces-over-durand-line-leaves-20-injured-3-killed/846825/

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Taliban protesting against Islamabad over firing by Pak Army

25 February, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], February 25 (ANI): The Taliban have lodged a protest against Islamabad over the incident of heavy & light weapons firing by the Pakistani Army in Afghanistan’s Dand Aw Patan district of Paktia province.

Directorate General of Security Cooperation & Border Affairs of Taliban MoFA lodged a protest on February 16 against Islamabad over the incident of heavy & light weapons firing on January 20 by the Pak Army.

Earlier, citing violations of Afghan airspace by Pak aircraft in Asmar on January 28-29 and Dur Baba on January 30 districts of Nangarhar Province, Taliban MoFA had registered its protest with Islamabad on February 13.

Furthermore, differences between the Taliban and Pakistan continue to persist over the issue of the Durand Line.

In this context, Pakistan Consulate in Jalalabad (Nangarhar Province), while highlighting the situation at Ghulam Khan border crossing in Khost-North Waziristan area over the past few days, conveyed to the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday that the Taliban had removed the Pakistani flag from a border post and deployed humvees and armed personnel on the zero line in contravention of the border conventions, as part of its “pressure tactics”, reported local media.

In response, Pakistan issued warnings to the Taliban of possible counter-action and trade was suspended for a few days.

The issue was later resolved with the intervention of traders and tribal elders from both sides, said the local media.

However, bilateral relations between Pakistan and the Taliban are turning hostile over the issue of Durand Line and cross-border “terror activities” of groups like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against Islamabad.

Pakistan intends to bring the tribal areas near the Durand Line under its control and complete its Durand barbed wire fencing.

Following deadly attacks on Pakistani troops, the Pakistani military has launched an operation along the Durand Line near Afghanistan.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/world/taliban-protesting-against-islamabad-over-firing-by-pak-army/846816/

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Caritas chief lauds Bangladesh for supporting Rohingya refugees

Rock Ronald Rozario

February 25, 2022

Caritas Internationalis secretary general Aloysius John has lauded the people of Bangladesh for their generosity in supporting Rohingya refugees.

“My visit to Bangladesh was first of all to witness the solidarity of the confederation in Caritas Bangladesh and to the people of Bangladesh for their generosity in receiving the displaced people from Myanmar — the Rohingya,” he said during a press briefing at Dhaka Reporters Unity auditorium on Feb. 24 during his five-day visit to the South Asian nation.

He lamented that “our world is undergoing a major disaster today.”

“Millions of people are being put on the wrong road with no point of return because of selfishness, because of wrong decisions and because of violence. So, they are put on the wrong road, in exile. I met some of them,” he said.

John noted that his intention for the visit was “to come and express to these people that people in other parts of the world are also thinking about them” and “to express to Bangladesh our gratitude on behalf of Caritas Internationalis.”

He said another purpose of his visit was to be with Caritas Bangladesh on its 50th anniversary celebrations.

“I have known Caritas Bangladesh since 1992. What I see that since its inception Caritas Bangladesh has been on the front line supporting, presenting and receiving the poor and giving them the best of the international solidarity,” he said.

John also hailed Caritas Bangladesh as “the instrument of dialogue” in the country.

“Yesterday I met with the director of the NGO Affairs Bureau, Mr. Tariqul Islam. I will tell you that I was really surprised with his openness, his appreciation of Caritas and the good collaboration of Caritas with the NGO Affairs Bureau.”

Caritas has been in Bangladesh for 50 years, working in the struggle against poverty and to help the people live in dignity, he added.

John was accompanied by Caritas Asia president Benedict Alo D’Rozario, Caritas Bangladesh executive director Sebastian Rozario and Caritas Bangladesh director (programs) James Gomes.

D’Rozario said the Church has been involved in support and advocacy for Rohingya migrants and displaced people worldwide.

“During his visit to Bangladesh in 2017, Holy Father Pope Francis made a special call and expressed special sympathy for Rohingya refugees. He urged the international community to come forward to help them and to solve the problem,” he said.

“Caritas Internationalis, as an observer of the United Nations, has been working with the UNHCR, IOM and other organizations and assisting people who are migrants and forcibly displaced. We have this advocacy program worldwide, so the voice of the voiceless can be raised and public opinions can be mobilized to solve these problems,” he added.

Aloysius John, 63, is an Indian by birth and now a French citizen.

He has served Caritas in various capacities since 1983. He was elected secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, the global confederation of Catholic charities, in 2019 with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as the president on a four-year mandate.

He arrived in Bangladesh on Feb. 21 and visited the Central Language Martyrs’ Monument in capital Dhaka to pay homage to the Bangla language martyrs of 1952 on International Mother Language Day.

On Feb. 22, he visited two Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district. He spoke with refugees and inspected a range of Caritas initiatives such as the Multipurpose Children and Adolescent Centre, shelter construction and water and sanitation hygiene (WaSH) in the camps.

Source: UCA News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/caritas-chief-lauds-bangladesh-for-supporting-rohingya-refugees/96260

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Mideast

 

UN special envoy expresses concern over persisting violence against Palestinians in occupied territories

24 February 2022

The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process has expressed concern over the persisting violence against Palestinians in the occupied territories, saying the destabilizing deterioration of the situation in the absence of political solutions would “reset the trajectory.”

“Across the West Bank, daily violence continues; tensions in East Jerusalem (al-Quds) and the refugee camps are mounting and settler violence remains a serious concern. Illegal settlements and planning processes are steadily advancing, alongside demolitions and evictions, including in and around Jerusalem (al-Quds),” Tor Wennesland  told the Security Council.

He highlighted that the ongoing worrying trends are increasing the territorial fragmentation of the West Bank, undermining the Palestinian Authority (PA), and further eroding prospects for peace.

Wennesland also called for urgent action to avert the fiscal collapse of the Ramallah-based PA, which continues to face a prolonged financial crisis that is affecting service delivery and crippling the economy.

Also in his remarks, the senior UN official noted that “a fragile calm” currently prevails in the besieged Gaza Strip.

He emphasized that “Palestinian divisions and the Israeli closure regime are creating a generation who have experienced multiple wars and humanitarian crises and who have few prospects for a better life” in the coastal sliver.

Wennesland then outlined the violence that has occurred throughout the occupied Palestinian territories since his last briefing in January.

“Six Palestinians, including two children, were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank during this period. These deaths occurred during demonstrations, clashes, search-and-arrest operations, attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis, as well as other incidents,” he said.

The UN official said some 205 Palestinians, including 25 children, were injured during the mentioned period.

Wennesland then underscored the need for a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, urging the Tel Aviv regime, Palestinians, regional states, and the international community to take firm action to get the parties back on the path to negotiations.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East al-Quds after the 1967 Middle East war.

Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/24/677465/UN-special-envoy-expresses-concern-over-continuing-violence-against-Palestinians-in-occupied-territories

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Iranian FM Urges West to Show "Serious Will" in Vienna Talks

2022-February-24

“Accelerating the conclusion of an agreement [in Vienna] requires serious will on the part of the West to make a courageous and realistic political decision to ensure Iran’s interests, especially the objective removal of sanctions, in order to reach a durable agreement,” Amir Abdollahian said in the conversation.

He expressed the hope that the European parties to the landmark 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would pursue a realistic approach and play a constructive and appropriate role to help reach an agreement.

Referring to his meetings with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, on the sidelines of the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) last week, the Iranian foreign minister emphasized that the sides managed to make good progress to settle the outstanding issues in the Vienna talks.

In turn, the British foreign secretary, whose country is a party to the Vienna negotiations, said Iran and the P4+1 group of countries have so far made positive achievements, but they should complete the process of negotiations and conclude a deal agreed by all the sides as soon as possible.

Elsewhere in the phone talks, Amir Abdollahian and Truss said the repayment of Britain’s overdue debts to Iran is among the main issues between Tehran and London, stressing the importance of finding an appropriate way to solve it as soon as possible.

The British foreign secretary expressed the hope that the two countries would settle consular issues related to prisoners and the payment of London’s debt to Tehran in the near future through continued cooperation.

Britain owes as much as £400m to Iran arising from the non-delivery of Chieftain tanks ordered by Iran's former monarchical regime. An international arbitration in 2008 ruled the UK owed the debt.

Truss said growing relations between the two countries would serve common interests.

Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA -- Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- started talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna last April on the assumption that the US, under the Joe Biden administration, is willing to repeal the so-called maximum pressure policy.

Tehran says it will not settle for anything less than the removal of all US sanctions in a verifiable manner. It also wants guarantees that Washington would not abandon the agreement again.

As the eighth round of talks between Tehran and the G4+1 group of countries continues in Vienna on the JCPOA revival, Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani and European Union deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora, who also coordinates the negotiations, met on Tuesday.

Also, experts of Iran and the five remaining parties to the JCPOA held intensive talks and consultations over the past two days.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001205000266/Iranian-FM-Urges-Wes-Shw-Seris-Will-in-Vienna-Talks

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Iranian Speaker Felicitates Counterparts of 7 States on National Day

2022-February-24

Qalibaf sent the messages to the parliament speakers of Kuwait, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Serbia, Lithuania, Estonia and Brunei.

In his messages, the Iranian speaker underlined the expansion of comprehensive cooperation and boosting parliamentary relations as a good way for faster expansion of comprehensive ties.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi in separate messages had also felicitated Japan and Brunei on the two countries’ national day.

Rayeesi congratulated Japan's National Day in messages to the Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, and called for the expansion and strengthening of Iran-Japan relations in all areas of mutual interest.

"The friendly and historical relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Japan are based on trust and mutual respect," he said in his message.

In his message to the Prime Minister of Japan, the President expressed the hope that "in light of the policies of His Excellency's government, we will see continued cooperation and increased consultation of high-ranking officials of the two countries and further expansion and strengthening of relations in all areas of mutual interest".

Addressing the Emperor of Japan, Rayeesi said, "I hope that the historical and friendly relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Japan will expand even more with the help and efforts of both sides."

Also, the Iranian president in a message to Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah congratulated him on the the National Day of Brunei.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001205000392/Iranian-Speaker-Feliciaes-Cnerpars-f-Saes-n-Nainal-Day

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Russian invasion puts endgame of Iran nuclear talks in jeopardy

24 February ,2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine risks jeopardizing diplomacy to restore Iran’s nuclear deal at the final hurdle, as world powers at the negotiating table find themselves on opposite sides of Europe’s biggest security crisis since World War II.

Envoys have suggested a successful conclusion to the talks could be just days away after 10 months of stop-start progress in Vienna. But Iran and the US still have to bridge remaining key differences at a time when mediators in Europe and Russia have been plunged into conflict.

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

Diplomats warned Tehran’s government publicly over the weekend that Iran needed to reach a swift decision on resurrecting the 2015 accord, which gave the Islamic Republic sanctions relief in exchange for reining in its nuclear activities.

“There are moments in time when a deal is possible and sometimes if you allow those moments to pass, the deal starts to drift away, often for reasons outside the control of the negotiators,” Irish Foreign and Defense Minister Simon Coveney told Iran’s top diplomat, Hossein Amirabdollahian, on Saturday at a security conference in Munich.

Speaking on behalf of the United Nations Security Council, where Ireland has been appointed facilitator of the Iran deal, Coveney said deteriorating relations between Russia -- a critical Iranian ally at the talks -- and the US risked imperiling the outcome.

“You could see a potential development that could all of a sudden make, what has been genuine progress in recent weeks in Vienna, become a much more difficult negotiation to conclude,” he said.

A deal returning Iran to energy markets could help tether oil prices which surged past $105 a barrel as fighting in Ukraine flared Thursday. Yet the conflict might give Iranian leaders reason to reconsider whether they need to compromise. They’ve already entered a security pact with Russia and China and committed toward turning the country’s economy east.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, flew back to his capital for consultations late Wednesday. Iran needs to decide on whether it will relent on its demand for guarantees that the deal won’t again be undercut. The US says it can’t promise that a future administration won’t scupper any agreement, as happened under the Trump administration four years ago.

Retaliating for reimposed US sanctions, Iran dramatically escalated its nuclear enrichment activities and how to roll back those advances has been another major hurdle for negotiators.

Amirabdollahian appeared to walk a diplomatic tightrope on Twitter as the scale of Russia’s attack became apparent, hitting out at NATO for provoking Moscow while rejecting war as a solution and calling for a ceasefire.

Both Russia and the US say they’ve worked together at the Iran nuclear talks and have been able to compartmentalize their other differences at the negotiating table. Moscow’s top negotiator, Mikhail Ulyanov, has frequently posted images of his meetings with his US counterpart, Rob Malley, on social media.

Restoring the nuclear accord could provide relief to oil markets, where the surge in crude has also been fueled by a recovery in demand as the pandemic recedes.

Iran was one of OPEC’s biggest crude producers before the US withdrawal, and many traders expect that if sanctions are lifted, it will be able to boost daily exports by about 1 million barrels within just a matter of months. Iran has the world’s No. 2 natural gas and No. 4 oil reserves.

An agreement in Vienna would also help calm the Gulf, where US sanctions and Iran’s expanding nuclear work have heightened tensions and fueled proxy wars in recent months. Now it’s war in Europe that looms over efforts to achieve a deal.

In Tehran, a top foreign-policy expert who’s been a vocal critic of the nuclear deal, predicted diplomats would be able to protect the talks from the deepening hostility between the US and Russia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/24/Russian-invasion-puts-endgame-of-Iran-nuclear-talks-in-jeopardy

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Iran blames NATO’s ‘provocative actions’ for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

24 February ,2022

NATO’s “provocative actions” are to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday, adding that Tehran does not see war as a solution.

“The Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO’s provocative actions. We do not see resorting to war as a solution,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, whose country has close ties with Russia, wrote on Twitter.

“Establishing a ceasefire and focusing on a political and democratic solution is a necessity,” Amir-Abdollahian added. He made no mention of Russia in his tweet.

Russian forces invaded Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has unleashed a war with Ukraine and the entire democratic world.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/24/Iran-blames-NATO-s-provocative-actions-for-Russia-s-invasion-of-Ukraine

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Turkey in tough spot over Russia-Ukraine crisis

February 24, 2022

ANKARA: As Russia launched air and ground assaults on Ukraine, NATO member Turkey finds itself in a delicate position for maintaining its good relations with both countries.

Its control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, key routes during such a crisis, made Turkey an indispensable partner for the West.

On Thursday, Ukraine asked Turkey to close the straits to Russian vessels.

Turkey, which has maritime borders with Ukraine and Russia, has the legal authority to control the straits under the 1936 Montreux Convention, that gives Ankara exclusive rights to restrict the passage of warships not belonging to countries bordering the Black Sea.

During wartime or under threat of aggression, Turkey can close the straits to the transit of all foreign warships, while non-Black Sea countries and littoral states should notify Ankara 15 days and 8 days in advance, respectively, for sending vessels.

For Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish program at the Washington Institute, if Ankara denied naval access to Russia into the Black Sea, it would open a can of worms, with the area a maritime condominium shared by Turkey and Russia.

“In that case, Moscow would ask to renegotiate the Montreux Convention and Turkey would never get a deal as good as (the) Montreux regime again. It is the reason why Ankara will not violate the existing convention,” he told Arab News.

Turkey’s gatekeeping over the straits will now test the limits of its neutral stance vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine.

In a press statement on Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would not abandon either Russia or Ukraine.

“Turkey is currently not in a position to sacrifice its relations with Ukraine or Russia as it has developed significant strategic links with both countries in the last few years,” Prof. Emre Ersen, an expert on Russia-Turkey relations from Marmara University in Istanbul, told Arab News.

“Therefore, it will most likely continue to call for an immediate diplomatic resolution of the conflict.”

At the same time, Ersen thinks Ankara will try to implement the clauses of the Montreux Convention strictly, since this document gives Turkey the opportunity to stay neutral without having to choose a side in the current crisis.

Turkey, which finds itself in a tough spot, has close ties with Ukraine in the defense industry as it sells its drones and has an active defense deal of co-production, while it is also heavily dependent on Russian gas and defense procurement.

Turkey receives about 33 percent of its natural gas and 66 percent of wheat from Russia.

With tourism season approaching, Ukrainian and Russian tourists traditionally make up almost one fifth of Turkey’s total visitors.

But Ankara, which officially described Russian moves against Ukraine as unacceptable, still stands against applying any sanctions on Russia — which presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin recently described as “useless” — and prefers de-escalation through diplomatic means and dialogue.

Aydin Sezer, an Ankara-based Russia analyst, thinks that Turkey has so far opted for a moderate stance on the Ukrainian crisis by urging the parties to follow common sense.

“However, for a year Turkey has followed a strictly pro-Ukrainian stance, which will push Russia to take a more cautious and skeptical stance against any diplomatic move by the country,” he told Arab News.

According to Sezer, if Turkey opens its Black Sea waterways to the fleets of the Western powers or if it shares any intelligence with the West about any aerial threat against Ukraine, Russia will take it as a casus belli, a justification for war.

With a statement on Thursday, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Russia to immediately end the “unjust and unlawful action” and underlined Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Under Montreux, aircraft carriers should also seek permission from the Turkish government when crossing over the straits.

However, for Ersen, compared with the Russian-Georgian war of 2008, it will be much more difficult for Ankara to follow a middle-way policy between Russia and the West.

In 2008, Turkey denied permissions to large US military ships to enter the Black Sea based on Montreux upon Russia’s military intervention in Georgia.

“Turkey’s NATO allies will definitely increase their pressure on Ankara to reconsider its special relationship with Moscow which could also cause significant repercussions for Turkish-Russian relations, especially with regard to thorny issues like the Syrian civil war and the Russian-made S-400 missiles,” Ersen said.

Despite its strained ties with NATO upon the purchase of the Russian defense system, Turkey regained its importance within the alliance in supporting Ukraine.

Samuel Ramani, associate fellow at the Royal United Service Institute, thinks that Turkey is trying to show its solidarity with NATO consensus by supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“Turkey has also viewed Ukraine as a key partner since 2010, as it burnishes its Black Sea power status and provides it with useful commercial deals, especially in the munitions and drone spheres,” he told Arab News.

He added:  “In this crisis, Turkey has tried to show its value to NATO by offering itself as a venue for talks that would complement what France is doing. The talks have not taken place and the US views Turkey’s role skeptically.”

According to Ramani, Turkey will still be a voice of support for diplomacy and oppose sanctions on Russia, as it needs to work with Moscow in several other theaters like Syria, Libya and the South Caucasus.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2031336/middle-east

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Houthis abduct two more Yemeni employees of US embassy in Sanaa

SAEED AL-BATATI

February 24, 2022

AL-MUKALLA: The Iran-backed Houthis have abducted two more Yemeni employees of the US embassy in Sanaa, according to a lawyer in the city. Meanwhile the militia has ordered the seizure of more properties belonging to its opponents.

Abdul Majeed Sabra, a Yemeni lawyer who defends abductees held in Houthi prisons, told Arab News on Thursday that two press officers at the shuttered US embassy in Sanaa have been detained. They were identified as Abdul Rahman Al-Sharabi and Nabiel Sultan.

The latest detentions come almost four months after the Houthis stormed the embassy compound, seized the property and detained about two dozen local workers.

When Arab News contacted the US Department of State, a spokesperson refused to confirm or deny the latest reports of abductions, citing concerns about the safety of embassy staff, but said that efforts are being made to secure the release of all detained workers.

“We condemn the Houthis’ continued detention of US and UN local Yemeni staff in Sanaa in the strongest possible terms,” he said. “This action sends worrying signals about the Houthi commitment to peace and intentions toward the international community.”

The US closed its embassy in the Yemeni capital in 2015 and American staff left the country as the Houthis tightened their grip on power after overthrowing the internationally recognized administration of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Armed Houthis occupied the US embassy compound in November and detained at least two dozen Yemeni staff. Nearly half were released but the militia has refused to free the rest despite mounting local and international pressure and condemnations.

In December, two UN organizations accused the Houthis of abducting two members of their staff a month earlier and called on the militia to release them immediately.

Meanwhile, a former spokesperson for the Houthis said on Wednesday that the militia’s authorities had seized his house and other property in Dhamar province.

Ali Al-Bukhaiti defected from the movement and fled the country, first to Jordan and then the UK. He said that a group of Houthi officials led by his brother, Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti, who governs Dhamar, had taken his house in their home province as part of new seizure orders targeting opponents of the militia. He added that the Houthis previously stole furniture from his law office in Sanaa, but vowed that he would continue to oppose the movement and its leader, Abdul Malik Al-Houthi.

“What happened confirms what we had said earlier, that Abdul Malik Al-Houthi is just a thief and a gang leader,” Al-Bukhaiti said on Twitter.“By the way, I say: Just as the confiscation of the law firm and the furniture of the villa in Sanaa did not affect me, the confiscation of my house in Dhamar will not change my position.”

Since seizing power militarily in Yemen in late 2014, the Houthis have used judicial authorities in the areas they control to issue seizure orders and justify looting the properties of hundreds of Yemeni military officials, politicians, lawyers, human rights activists and journalists who fled rebel-held territories.

Also on Wednesday, a court run by the Houthis in Sanaa sentenced three people, including the principal of a private school in the city, to death. They were charged with forming armed groups and colluding with the Yemeni government and the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen.

Elsewhere, warplanes from the coalition reportedly have destroyed a large amount Houthi military equipment in the northern province of Hajjah, where the militia is attempting to seize strategic areas controlled by the government in the districts of Haradh and Abes.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2031336/middle-east

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New clashes in al-Quds’ Sheikh Jarrah as racist Israeli lawmaker returns

24 February 2022

Fierce clashes have broken out between Palestinians and Israeli forces who were escorting a controversial far-right Jewish lawmaker and his extremist supporters in the flashpoint neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah of the occupied East al-Quds.

Palestinian residents took to the streets to protest the provocative return of Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionism alliance and his right-wing supporters who sneaked into the area, set up a makeshift office and hoisted an Israeli flag there, the Wafa news agency reported on Thursday.

The scuffles broke out as the Israeli forces attacked the Palestinian residents and activists and attempted to forcibly disperse them from the scene.

Israeli forces have blocked off the western part of the flash neighborhood for the 12th consecutive day.

Last week, Ben Gvir opened a parliamentary office in the neighborhood in what was described as an effort to exacerbate the situation in the district.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates then condemned Ben Gvir’s step as a “provocative and escalating move that threatens to ignite violence.”

The ministry said the failure of the international community and the UN Security Council to take necessary measures to compel Israel to stop its occupation of al-Quds encourages the occupying regime to forge ahead with its colonial Judaization projects in the Holy City.

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has already issued a strongly-worded message of warning to the Israeli regime and settlers after the latter renewed assaults on Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has censured the recent attacks by Israeli military forces and settlers against the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah. In a statement released on Feb. 14, the 57-member body said Israel’s policy of Judaization of East al-Quds, its settlement expansion, and the forced displacement of Palestinian families stand in flagrant violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.

The European Union has also demanded an end to violent clashes between Israeli military forces and Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

Sheikh Jarrah has been the scene of frequent crackdowns by Israeli forces on the Palestinians protesting against the threatened expulsion of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in favor of Israeli settler groups.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/24/677481/Palestine-East-al-Quds-Sheikh-Jarrah--Itamar-Ben-Gvir--Israel-

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Israeli forces demolish more Palestinian structures in al-Quds

24 February 2022

Israel has demolished at least two Palestinian houses and a commercial unit in the occupied East al-Quds, as Tel Aviv continues to press ahead with its land grab policies despite international outcry.

Palestinian media, citing local sources, reported on Thursday that Israeli bulldozers flattened the residential and commercial buildings in the Baqa'an neighborhood.

The report said the staff of the Israeli municipality, under tight protection by police, first cordoned off the area around the building and then called in bulldozers for the demolition.

A two-story house was among the demolished buildings, it noted.

Israel routinely demolishes Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own houses or pay the costs of the demolition if they do not.

The Tel Aviv regime plans to force out Palestinian families from different neighborhoods in East al-Quds in an attempt to replace them with settlers.

Nearly 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The UN Security Council has in several resolutions condemned Tel Aviv’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands.

The theft of land across the occupied territories has pushed residents into a crowded enclave surrounded by walls, settlements, and military installations.

In May last year, Israel's land grab in the occupied West Bank sparked a war between the military and Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip that lasted 11 days.

During the war, Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza killed over 250 Palestinians, including 66 children.

Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner hospitalized

A Palestinian prisoners’ advocacy group said Muhammad Nawara, on hunger strike for several consecutive days at an Israeli jail, has now been transferred to hospital due to the deterioration of his health condition.

Nawara was recently sent to solitary confinement at Israel's notorious Gilboa prison for six months.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS) affirmed that  he was on hunger strike in protest at his renewed isolation for the third time.

The health condition of Nawara, who has been in jail since 2001, has deteriorated in recent days.

Palestinian activists say Israel “is practicing slow killing” of Palestinian prisoners through “medical negligence”.

Israeli jail authorities keep Palestinian prisoners under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards.

Palestinian inmates have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment, and repression.

More than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of them have apparently been incarcerated under the administrative detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli detention centers without trial or charge.

Some Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.

Administrative detention is illegal under international law. However, the Israeli regime uses it to repress the Palestinian people.

Palestinian inmates regularly stage hunger strike in protest at the administrative detention policy and harsh conditions in Israeli jails.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/24/677472/Palestine-al-Quds-Israeli-Nawara-PPS-

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia: Disgruntled Shah Alam Club Members Ready to Quit If Liquor Ban Stays

'Ainin Wan Salleh

February 25, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Some of Shah Alam Club’s most senior members are willing to give up their membership should the club’s ban on alcohol remain.

Stressing that he was disappointed with the ban, one member noted that the club has always been multiracial, with members from all walks of life playing sports and socialising with each other.

“I plan to give up my membership, partly because of this alcohol ban. I have another club in Bukit Kiara that I can go to,” said the member, who joined the club over 35 years ago.

“I believe the state government’s move to ban alcohol in the club is wrong as it deprives non-Muslim members of an amenity … an ice-cold beer after sports or having a round of drinks with friends and family.”

He said the ban also deprived the club of much needed revenue, especially after Covid-19 lockdowns severely affected the coffers.

Another senior member, who has been with the club for 26 years, told FMT he was also looking to relinquish his membership because of the club’s alcohol ban.

“I will only remain a member so long as there’s no restrictions on alcohol. The new rules are unfair and I do not support them,” he said.

“They should just follow the rules set earlier and not just change them as they wish.”

A new rule by the club’s general committee to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol at the premises came into force on Feb 12. Members and guests are also not allowed to bring alcohol into the premises.

A member of the club’s administration told FMT the alcohol ban was in line with instructions from Selangor state secretary Haris Kasim.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/02/25/disgruntled-club-members-ready-to-quit-if-liquor-ban-stays/

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Islamic affairs minister to hold roundtable on unilateral conversion issue on March 2

Friday, 25 Feb 2022

BUKIT GANTANG, Feb 25 ― Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Senator Datuk Idris Ahmad will hold a roundtable discussion on Wednesday regarding the issue of unilateral conversion of single mother Loh Siew Hong’s three children.

He said the discussion would be participated by legal experts, lecturers and muftis.

“I will hold a roundtable on Wednesday night with legal experts, lecturers and muftis to find a solution to to the case,” he said.

Idris spoke to reporters after handing over aid to Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) 2021 candidates here today.

On Monday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered for the immediate release of the three children from the care Social Welfare Department (JKM) to their mother after allowing the habeas corpus application filed by Loh.

Meanwhile, Idris said the case of a mother and six Diwiyana Mohammed whose request for help for her sick mother went viral on social media should serve as a lesson to all Muslims.

“We should always be the ones who search for poor people and not the other way around.

“We have to look for information from the imam, the Village Development and Security Committee and so on,” he said.

Yesterday, the Social Welfare Department (JKM) said it had approved a monthly aid of RM500 starting next month for Diwiyana.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/02/25/islamic-affairs-minister-to-hold-roundtable-on-unilateral-conversion-issue/2043909

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The heavy price for making Malaysia a basket case

February 25, 2022

We hound out the ones who are different and welcome others who use trickery. Is this a true representation of the Malaysia we live in today?

I remember the fledgling years of my school life, when textbooks proudly proclaimed Malaysia the “melting pot” of races and religions. Malaysia is unique in that respect, we were taught.

I had no reason to disagree. The four people who surrounded me in my classrooms almost always looked and spoke differently and professed different faiths. We respected each other’s boundaries.

As years passed, I realised that reality was somewhat different.

The “melting pot” tag was something the Americans branded themselves. It was just another catchphrase we copied, only to apply superficially. Well, that doesn’t matter so much. These days, even Americans struggle to live up to that proud label.

What my friends and I have been more concerned about in the last 40 years has been creeping Islamisation in our country. Except that these days Islamisation can no longer be described as “creeping”. It is flagrant and unabashed.

The overall goal has been clear to all of us, and in the privacy and anonymity of mamak stall conversations, my non-Muslim friends, still trusting in my confidence, will call it for what it is: the political goal of creating a dominant Malay/Muslim majority.

But it is not enough just to create a dominant majority. For it to be a political success, it must also be a compliant majority. No deviations can be entertained.

Enter Nur Sajat. Someone who feels differently about her body than her gender status will reveal. We harassed her so much that we eventually succeeded in hounding her out of her own beloved tanahair. Exit Nur Sajat.

Now in Australia, Nur Sajat revealed earlier this week that she has successfully obtained legal recognition as a woman.

But not as far as Keluarga Malaysia is concerned, though! Here she remains a man, who else but our deputy religious affairs minister, Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, insisted on Tuesday. Stop ruining the masterplan!

Meanwhile, another very different drama with religious overtones is being played out.

A disgruntled abusive convict father, seeking to get revenge on his Hindu ex-wife, unilaterally converts his three minor children to Islam and leaves them in the care of religious authorities.

In the name of Islam, these authorities are prepared to claim ignorance of the law, even a clear Federal Court ruling on the very subject, and keep them away from their own mother.

Keluarga Malaysia must steadfastly implement the masterplan – at any cost to any individual and any family.

Those of my generation seem to think that Malaysia has become a basket case – that we are well on the path to be the next Afghanistan.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2022/02/25/the-heavy-price-for-making-malaysia-a-basket-case/

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Hadi laments interpretation of Federal Constitution in English

February 24, 2022

PETALING JAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has lamented the interpretation of the Federal Constitution in English, saying it affects Muslims in the country.

This comes in the wake of the unilateral conversion of single mother Loh Siew Hong’s three children without her permission. The conversion by the Perlis religious department is seen to contradict the 2018 Federal Court ruling on unilateral conversions.

“Now it is clear that Islam, which comes under the purview of the rulers through the various religious councils cannot override man-made laws. Islamic laws can even be nullified by courts and judges,” he said in a HarakahDaily report.

He said it was unfortunate that Muslims were affected by the courts and judges who interpreted the constitution in English, which merely referred to Islam as “a religion” rather than “Al-Deen”, or a “way of life”.

Hadi did not make any direct reference to Loh’s case, in which she is seeking to nullify the conversions of her 14-year-old twin daughters and 10-year-old son.

Previously, Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin defended the conversions of the children, saying it was in line with the state’s shariah law that allows for unilateral conversions.

Hadi said even though the constitution states that Islam is the religion of the federation, it was still being interpreted in English, even in matters pertaining to Muslims.

“Even though the original text of the constitution is in English, when we achieved independence, it should be up to us to interpret it in our own language in accordance with the religion we adhere to.”

Hadi added that Islam’s position in the country must be above that of other religions or ideologies.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/02/24/hadi-laments-interpretation-of-federal-constitution-in-english/

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Arab World

 

Lebanese security forces detain 'veteran, dangerous' Israeli spy, report says

24 February 2022

Lebanon's security forces have arrested a Lebanese man on charges of spying for Israel’s Mossad spy agency and collaboration with the regime’s authorities through gathering intelligence and involvement in targeted killing operations.

According to a report published by the Arabic-language al-Akhbar daily newspaper on Thursday, the man, whose identity was not immediately known and is said to be a resident of the southern city of Sidon, was detained by members of the General Security Directorate.

The man reportedly has no connection to the 17 Israeli spy networks recently busted in Lebanon in one of the largest nationwide crackdowns in recent years, and is apparently more formidable than those captured.

His activities went beyond collecting data and information and taking photographs of sensitive sites to being involved in a network of assassinations and dangerously undercover operations.

The man reportedly facilitated the entry of Israeli officers into Lebanon, their tours and exits at the end of their missions.

Informed sources highlighted that investigators from the General Security Directorate have come up with compelling evidence that the unnamed man was heavily involved in espionage activities in favor of the Israeli intelligence service.

Moreover, there is unequivocal evidence that the man was involved in the assassination of brothers Mahmoud and Nidal al-Majzoub, the two senior officials from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement who were killed in a car bomb explosion on May 26, 2006.

The development came less than a week after al-Akhbar newspaper, citing judicial sources, reported that Lebanese security forces had arrested a journalist on charges of spying for Israel's Mossad spy agency and collaboration with Israeli authorities through writing defamatory articles about the Hezbollah resistance movement and turning the public opinion against the group.

The newspaper added that the Lebanese journalist wrote “dozens” of anti-Hezbollah pieces at the request of the Tel Aviv regime, receiving between $300 and $700 per article.

The journalist was also told to draw connections between Hezbollah and the massive August 4, 2020 explosion at the port of Beirut, which killed more than 200 people and wounded 6,500 others.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/24/677474/Lebanese-security-forces-detain-%E2%80%9Cveteran,-dangerous%E2%80%9D-Israeli-spy,-report-says

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Iraq unveils restoration work at ancient city ravaged by IS

February 25, 2022

HATRA: Iraq unveiled three monumental sculptures in the ancient city of Hatra on Thursday, newly restored after being vandalised by militants of the militant Islamic State (IS) group during their brief, but the brutal rule.

The jihadists released video footage in 2015 of their orgy of destruction at Hatra in which they took guns and pickaxes to the once extensive remains of what was one of the leading trade entrepots between the Roman and Parthian empires in the first and second centuries AD.

A Roman-style sculpture of a life-size figure and a series of reliefs of faces on the side of the great temple were among the restored pieces shown off to journalists.

“IS destroyed everything that was important in this city,” senior antiquities official Ali Obeid Sholgham told AFP.

Provincial antiquities chief Khair al-Din Ahmed Nasser said works of art were “ripped out and shattered — we found fragments all over the site”.

“We recovered some pieces, Others which were missing we replaced with the same type of stone.” The restoration work at Hatra is being carried out by Iraqi experts in collaboration with Italy’s International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies with funding from the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas.

IS filmed similar acts of destruction by its militants in Mosul Museum, 100 kilometres northeast of Hatra, and in Palmyra in neighbouring Syria.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1676950/iraq-unveils-restoration-work-at-ancient-city-ravaged-by-is

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IMF’s tough terms deepen doubts over quick Lebanon bailout: Sources

24 February ,2022

The IMF has asked Lebanon to fulfil a string of pre-conditions before negotiating a bailout, four sources briefed on recent talks said, pressing for steps Beirut has long failed to deliver and compounding doubts over whether a rescue plan can be agreed.

An IMF deal is seen as the only way for Lebanon to recover from a financial meltdown that has plunged the country into its most destabilizing crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

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

The sources told Reuters IMF terms for initiating talks on a bailout included a framework for fiscal reform, revamping the insolvent banking sector and audits of the central bank and the loss-making state power company.

“They are saying before we have further discussions, come up with actions,” one of the sources said.

These also include implementing capital controls - something ruling parties have failed to agree since 2019 - and amending or lifting banking secrecy, the sources said. Several of the measures require parliamentary approval.

The IMF did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did the premier’s office or the finance ministry.

The IMF said at the end of the talks in February that Lebanon’s economic recovery program must include fiscal reforms that ensure debt sustainability, financial sector restructuring, electricity sector reform, anti-corruption work and “a credible monetary and exchange rate system.”

Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government aims to agree an IMF staff-level agreement before a parliamentary election set for May - a goal that seems increasingly difficult to achieve.

“I fear you will have political parties and parliamentary blocs reluctant to take any decision on these sensitive matters, especially before elections,” said Alain Aoun, a lawmaker with the Free Patriotic Movement founded by President Michel Aoun.

‘No money’, ‘No hope’

The World Bank has accused Lebanon’s ruling class of orchestrating a “deliberate depression” amounting to one of the worst financial crashes since the 1850s. The collapse was caused by decades of state corruption, waste and mismanagement.

Many analysts doubt whether the same ruling elite will ever enact reforms that could threaten their vested interests.

“How do you want them to enhance accountability and lift banking secrecy when it will lead to them being held accountable? It’s impossible,” said Karim Daher, lawyer and lectures on public finance and taxes at Saint Joseph University.

Lebanon’s first attempt to negotiate with the IMF fell apart in 2020 over disagreements by politicians and banks over the scale of losses in the financial sector and how to share them.

While officials have now agreed a figure of some $70 billion, there is no approved plan on how to distribute the losses - one of the conditions for IMF negotiations. A major haircut on depositors will be highly sensitive.

In an apparent bid to meet IMF demands, the government approved an austerity budget this month that included tax hikes, but parliament has yet to start discussing it. Two political sources said deputies are hesitant to start debating politically explosive issues ahead of the May vote.

Among the prior IMF requirements is for the government to prepare a five-year budget to show how deficits would be reined in and economic growth ensured, three of the sources said.

It also wants Lebanon to chart a path to restructuring debt, including Eurobonds, on which it defaulted in 2020, and take steps to unify the current multiple exchange rate system.

Attempts to audit the central bank have stalled due to the central bank withholding information demanded by auditor Alvarez and Marsal. A central bank spokesperson told Reuters this month that the bank had approved handing over outstanding information.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/24/IMF-s-tough-terms-deepen-doubts-over-quick-Lebanon-bailout-Sources

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Lebanon to get Spanish funds for railway revival plan: Minister

24 February ,2022

Lebanon’s transport minister has said that Spain will finance a plan to revive the railway network that has been out of service since the start of the 1975-1990 civil war.

A deal for a “comprehensive master plan for the 407 kilometer-long (252 miles) railway” is expected next month, Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamie told AFP during an interview on Wednesday.

“We should sign a deal with the Spanish government within three weeks,” Hamie said, adding that the plan should be completed six months after an agreement is clinched.

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

Lebanon had a railway network since the end of the 19th century which connected Beirut to the Syrian capital Damascus.

It was built during Ottoman rule and inaugurated in 1895, operating until the devastating civil war begun 47 years ago.

Several proposals to revamp the network - and public transport in general - were made after the end of the war in 1975 but were shelved.

The network, like most of Lebanon’s post-war infrastructure, fell into disrepair, and illegal construction sprouted along the railway.

With public transport effectively non-existent, there are more than two million cars for six million people in Lebanon.

In 2018, the World Bank approved a $295 million package to jumpstart the country’s first modern public transport system.

But that too was put on hold as Lebanon has been struggling since 2019 with a major financial crisis dubbed by the World Bank as one of the planet’s worst in modern times.

Spain’s government will pay a Spanish firm to draft a feasibility study, a survey of current infrastructure and proposals to settle infringements on the rail network, Hamie said.

The master plan, he said, could serve as a way to attract potential investors for the rehabilitation of the railway.

Lebanon’s cash-strapped public works ministry is trying to attract funds in foreign currency by launching tenders for top facilities.

They include the Beirut International Airport and the Beirut port, where an explosion caused by a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in August 2020 killed more than 200 people and destroyed swathes of the capital.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/24/Lebanon-to-get-Spanish-funds-for-railway-revival-plan-Minister-

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Syria humanitarian needs reach record high: UN

24 February ,2022

A record number of people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance more than a decade into a devastating civil war, the United Nations said.

At least 14.6 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian aid, up from 13.4 million last year, the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA said in a report published late Wednesday.

“Suffering in Syria is at its highest level since the crisis began,” said the UN deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria conflict, Mark Cutts.

“The UN and its partners are reaching seven million people every month, but more support is required,” he said in a post on Twitter.

The war in Syria is estimated to have killed nearly half a million people and displaced millions more since it began with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests in 2011.

The country is also grappling with an economic crisis compounded by Western sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic and a sharp fall in the value of the Syrian pound.

Over three quarters of households, 76 percent, are unable to meet their most basic needs, an increase of 10 percent from last year, OCHA said.

Syria’s internally displaced population makes up 37 percent of the people requiring humanitarian assistance, the report said.

People who have never been displaced or who returned to their place of origin before January 2021, are also increasingly unable to meet basic needs, OCHA said, calling it an “indication” of the growing scale of the crisis.

In 2021, 9.2 million vulnerable residents were estimated to be in need, according to OCHA.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/24/Syria-humanitarian-needs-reach-record-high-UN

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Israeli airstrikes kill three soldiers near Syria’s Damascus: SANA

24 February ,2022

Three Syrian soldiers were killed on Thursday morning in an Israeli air strike near the capital Damascus, according to Syria’s state media.

It was the fourth reported time this month Israel has launched strikes inside Syria, keeping up a campaign against pro-Iranian forces supporting the Damascus government in the more than decade-old civil war.

“The Israeli enemy carried out an air assault with several missiles,” state media SANA reported, adding three soldiers were killed.

It said the Syrian air defense ministry intercepted most of the missiles in the attack, which occurred about 1:10 am (23:10 GMT).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), which has an extensive network of sources in across the country, reported that explosions were heard in Damascus and its suburbs “after the interception of Israeli missiles by the Syrian regime’s anti-aircraft defense.”

It follows strikes in recent days on a town near the Golan Heights, a Syrian military post on February 17 and an assault against anti-aircraft batteries at the strat of the month.

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on Syria’s territory, targeting government positions as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters of the Shia militant movement Hezbollah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/24/Israeli-airstrikes-kill-three-soldiers-near-Syria-s-Damascus-SANA-

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Saudi Arabia urges its citizens in Ukraine to contact embassy as soon as possible

24 February ,2022

Saudi Arabia urged its citizens in Ukraine to reach out to the embassy in Kyiv as soon as possible, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday, as tensions escalated following the Russian invasion.

“Considering the developments in Ukraine, the Kingdom’s embassy in Ukraine calls on all citizens who are present in Ukraine and who have not gotten in touch with the embassy during the past evacuation phase to communicate with the embassy as soon as possible,” the ministry said.

Russian forces on Thursday fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast after President Vladimir Putin authorized what he called a special military operation in the east.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/24/Saudi-Arabia-urges-its-citizens-in-Ukraine-to-reach-out-to-embassy-as-soon-as-possibl

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Qatar’s Emir receives call from Ukraine’s Zelensky

24 February ,2022

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani received a phone call on Thursday from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who briefed him on the latest developments in Ukraine, Qatar’s state news agency said.

Al-Thani called on all parties to exercise restraint and resolve the crisis through diplomatic means, the statement added.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ground forces crossed into Ukraine from several directions, Ukraine’s border guard service said, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a major offensive.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/24/Qatar-s-Emir-receives-call-from-Ukraine-s-Zelenskiy

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Baghdad asks Ukrainian universities to grant Iraqi students leave

Ibrahim Saleh 

24.02.2022

BAGHDAD

The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday said that it has approached Ukrainian universities and educational institutes to grant Iraqi students "emergency study leaves in case the security situation worsened."

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation early Thursday in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.

Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Al-Sahaf said in a statement that his country's embassy in Ukraine "approached 27 Ukrainian universities and institutes where Iraqi students are studying, and requested them to show more care and attention to them and to facilitate granting them emergency study leave in case the security situation deteriorates."

He noted that the embassy also requested those Ukrainian universities and institutes to provide it with detailed information about the conditions and numbers of Iraqi students studying there.

The embassy also urged Iraqi nationals to "exercise caution and not visit dangerous areas in eastern Ukraine," according to the statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/baghdad-asks-ukrainian-universities-to-grant-iraqi-students-leave/2512522

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Africa

 

Franklinton man charged in homicide of local imam, Muslim and Somali leader

Bethany Bruner

February 25, 2022

Columbus police have arrested a man they say is responsible for the December killing of a local Muslim imam and pillar of the Somali community.

John Wooden Jr., 46, of Franklinton, has been charged with murder in connection with the Dec. 24 death of 48-year-old Mohamed Hassan Adam, according to Franklin County court records.

Adam was found dead inside a van behind a chain link fence on the 1400 block of Windsor Avenue on the city's North Side. An autopsy revealed he had been shot multiple times.

Adam, who was an imam at Masjid Abu Hurairah mosque on the city's Northeast Side, had last been seen on Dec. 22 when he left home to pick up his child from a day care center on Oakland Park Avenue. He was a prominent member of the local Muslim and Somali communities.

Wooden has been in the Franklin County jail on a federal charge of weapons possession by a convicted felon since his arrest Feb. 18 outside the North Guilford Avenue home where he had been living.

Federal court records show Wooden had been released from federal prison in March 2021 after serving more than 10 years for a federal robbery conviction.

After Columbus police identified Wooden as a suspect in the homicide of Adam, a search warrant was executed at the home where he was living by a Columbus police SWAT team.

During that search, a shotgun was found in the basement area where Wooden was living, and a loaded handgun was found underneath a pair of women's underwear in a basket that was in the kitchen area, records state.

Wooden, who arrived at the home while the search warrant was being executed, was taken into custody without incident and has been held in the county jail on the federal charge since his arrest last week.

Columbus police are expected to release additional details Friday about the investigation that led to Wooden's arrest.

Adam was remembered by hundreds who gathered at his funeral. The case has drawn international attention and a $20,000 reward had been offered by the Ohio chapter Council on American-Islamic Relations for information leading to an arrest.

Several people within the Muslim and Somalian communities had reached out to The Dispatch expressing concerns over how Columbus police initially had handled the investigation into Adam's missing persons report.  

Prior coverage:Columbus police seek tips as they investigate homicide of imam Mohamed Hassan Adam

Police released a 15-second video clip in January of someone — not Adam — driving the van he was last seen in. At the time the video was released, Shukri Hassan, Adam's daughter, said her family couldn't begin to heal until someone was held accountable for her father's death.

"We need answers quickly," she said. "Every day that passes is another day that my father's murderer remains at large."

Source: Dispatch

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

https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/crime/2022/02/24/franklinton-man-charged-homicide-local-muslim-somali-leader/6929488001/

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Sudan releases over 100 anti-coup protesters after weeks-long detention

24 February ,2022

Sudan has released 115 of some 135 anti-coup protesters who had been held for weeks, a UN official said on Thursday, following pressure from lawyers, families and the international community.

The detainees are part of a protest movement against an October 25 coup that has persisted despite security crackdowns killing 82 and wound more than 2,000, according to medics.

Their detention came following the reinstatement of powers to the country’s powerful intelligence service in late December, which had been a key tool under former President Omar al-Bashir.

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

“There’s no investigations or anything, they just take people and throw them into jail for no cause,” said Shahinaz Jamal, an activist at a protest in front of a UN building, this week.

Adama Dieng, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ designated expert for Sudan, called for the immediate release of all the other protesters.

“I raised concern at the extension of law enforcement powers to the general security forces during the state of emergency and the temporary immunity from prosecution granted to these forces," he said.

Lawyers say the detainees include protesters, members of neighborhood resistance committees, union members and politicians, some arrested during protests and others taken from their homes and other locations.

Still imprisoned are top former officials under the civilian-military power-sharing arrangement prior to the coup, held on corruption charges, as well as protesters accused of killing a police brigadier-general.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/02/24/Sudan-releases-over-100-anti-coup-protesters-after-weeks-long-detention

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Pan African body calls immediate ceasefire between Russia, Ukraine

Addis Getachew  

25.02.2022

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The African Union on Thursday urged an immediate ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.

The pan Africa's call came hours after Russia declared an all-out military operation in Ukraine, a move that sent shockwaves throughout the globe while the price of oil surged $100 more per barrel.

"The current Chair of the African Union and President of Senegal, President Macky Sall, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, express their extreme concern at the very serious and dangerous situation created in Ukraine," a press release just issued by the African Union Commission reads.

"They call on the Russian Federation and any other regional or international actor to imperatively respect international law, the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Ukraine," the release said.

It said, "The Chair of the African Union and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission urge the two Parties to establish an immediate ceasefire and to open political negotiations without delay, under the auspices of the United Nations, in order to preserve the world from the consequences of planetary conflict, and in the interests of peace and stability in international relations in service of all the peoples of the world."

Donbas crisis and Russia's military intervention

The February 2014 “Maidan revolution” in Ukraine led to former President Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and a pro-Western government coming to power.

That was followed by Russia illegally annexing the Crimea region and separatists declaring independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Donbas in eastern Ukraine, both of which have large ethnic Russian populations.

As clashes erupted between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian army, the 2014 and 2015 Minsk agreements were signed in Moscow after the intervention of Western powers.

The conflict, however, simmered for years with persistent cease-fire violations.

As of February 2022, some 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Tensions started escalating late last year when Ukraine, the US and its allies accused Russia of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine.

They claimed Russia was preparing to invade its western neighbor, allegations that were consistently rejected by Moscow.

Defying threats of sanctions by the West, Moscow officially recognized Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states earlier this week, followed by the start of a military operation in Ukraine on Thursday.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/pan-african-body-calls-immediate-ceasefire-between-russia-ukraine/2513954

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Libya condemns Russian military operation in Ukraine

Walid Abdullah 

24.02.2022

TRIPOLI, Libya

Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Elmangoush on Thursday condemned Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine as a violation of international law.

"We strongly condemn the military attack in Ukraine by Russia, which is a violation of international law," Elmangoush tweeted.

The Libyan minister went on to call on Moscow “to calm and retreat.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin early Thursday announced a military intervention in Ukraine, just days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine. The recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk drew international condemnations and announcements of tougher sanctions on Moscow.

There were reports of explosions in several Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, and several military vehicles reportedly crossed the border from Belarus into Ukraine.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/libya-condemns-russian-military-operation-in-ukraine/2513252

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North America

 

UAE foreign minister, US secretary of state discuss Russian invasion: State dept

25 February ,2022

UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the Russian attack on Ukraine via telephone, the US State Department announced in a statement Friday.

It said that the duo discussed Russia’s “premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified attack” against Ukraine and “the importance of building a strong international response to support Ukrainian sovereignty through the UN Security Council.

On Wednesday, Sheikh Abdullah stressed the “strength” of ties to Russia in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in a phone call.

The minister discussed with Lavrov the friendship relations and strategic partnership between the two countries, according to reports.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/02/25/UAE-foreign-minister-US-secretary-of-state-discuss-Russian-invasion-State-dept

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US imposes sanctions on ‘intl. network financing’ Yemen’s Ansarullah

24 February 2022

The United States has imposed sanctions on what it called members of an international network funding Ansarullah, citing the popular Yemeni movement’s retaliatory attacks on the coalition of countries waging war on the country.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) claimed that the network, led by financier Sa’id al-Jamal, had “transferred tens of millions of dollars to Yemen via a complex international network of intermediaries in support of the Houthis’ attacks.”

It also said the action was taken “in close coordination and collaboration” with Washington’s regional Persian Gulf partners.

Those targeted include a UAE- and Sweden-based commodities trader and his company as well as money exchange houses in Turkey and Yemen, according to the Treasury statement.

They are accused of shipping fuel, other petroleum products and commodities throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia with the proceeds financing Ansarullah.

The new measure freezes any assets of the designated entities and individuals that are subject to US jurisdiction and generally bars Americans from doing business with them.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the sanctions were coordinated with Washington’s Persian Gulf allies as a response to recent Yemeni counterattacks against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“The United States remains firmly committed to helping Saudi Arabia and the UAE defend themselves and the tens of thousands of US citizens living in the [Persian] Gulf against these Houthi attacks,” he said.

The new sanctions come as Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and some American lawmakers are pressing the White House to return Ansarullah to the US list of foreign “terrorist” organizations.

However, rights and aid groups have cautioned against blacklisting Ansarullah, saying such a move would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

On Wednesday, 11 Democratic senators wrote to Blinken urging him not to re-list the Yemeni movement as the measure “would precipitate an economic collapse, dramatically deepen the country’s severe humanitarian crisis, and could undermine the prospects for peace in Yemen.”

Former US president Donald Trump's administration placed Ansarullah on the list 10 days before leaving office, but his successor, Joe Biden, reversed the decision.

In January, Biden said he was considering re-designating Ansarullah as a “terrorist” organization.

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military aggression against its southern neighbor in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states and with arms and logistics support from the US and several Western countries.

The aim was to return to power the former Riyadh-backed regime and crush the popular Ansarullah movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/02/24/677454/US-sanctions-Yemen-Ansarullah-

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