New Age Islam
Wed Nov 25 2020, 12:19 AM

Islamic World News ( 4 Oct 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Canada to Dispatch Team to Iraq for Yazidi Fact-Finding Mission
















A man smokes shisha near Taksim square in Istanbul, Turkey. | Photo: AFP

 

French Mayors Ban Shisha, Middle Eastern Hookah Pipe, In Public for 'Spreading Fear'

Saudi-Affiliated Groups Impeding Peace Talks in Syria

Karzai Reluctant To Endorse Pakistan as ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’

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North America

Canada to Dispatch Team to Iraq for Yazidi Fact-Finding Mission

The Muslim refugee who saved an American soldier

Hillary Clinton also failed Muslim Americans

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Europe

French Mayors Ban Shisha, Middle Eastern Hookah Pipe, In Public for 'Spreading Fear'

Top UN court rejects Marshalls nuclear case against Pakistan, India

Czech President Supports Deporting Migrants, Serbia May Close Borders and Hungary to Amend Constitution

Enlightenment Movement organize demo in Brussels amid ongoing major conference

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Arab World

Saudi-Affiliated Groups Impeding Peace Talks in Syria

US Airstrike Kills 20 Iraqi Sunni Popular Forces, Injures 5 Others near Mosul

Scores of Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army's Ambush in Quneitra

Syrian Army Advances 10km in Depth of Terrorist-Held Regions in Western Damascus

Terrorist's Large-Scale Attack to Capture Deir Al-Khabiyeh Repulsed by Syrian Army

Iran Renews Call for Political Solution to Regional Crises

Instrumental Use of Terrorism to Backfire on Sponsors in Long Run

US Not Serious about War on Terrorism: Iranian Parliament Speaker

IRGC Cracks Down on Terror Cell in Western Iran

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South Asia

Karzai Reluctant To Endorse Pakistan as ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’

Afghanistan’s Powerful Jamiat-e-Islami Reacts Towards Hanif Atmar Remarks

‘We never get ahead of sanctions decisions’ on Hekmatyar: US

Bangladesh court clears student of restaurant attack charges

Taliban can not and will not win the conflict on the battlefield: Kerry

Top Taliban leader in charge of Baghlan war killed by Afghan forces

US loses another soldier in fight against ISIS group in Afghanistan

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Mideast

We Will Bury Further Coup Attempters: Turkish Nationalist Party Leader

Salafi-Jihadist Group Claims Gaza Rocket Fire Landing in Israel

AKP proposes parliament commission to discuss decree laws

Soldier killed in Euphrates Shield operation

Turkish Foreign Ministry summons Iraqi ambassador over Bashiqa row

AKP government is stupid: HDP co-chair Demirtaş

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India

Cuttack’s Muslim Artisans Enjoy Making Tableaux of Goddess Durga

We Want Sharia Law in Kashmir, Says Stone-Pelter

In Kerala, RSS bosses, HC judges were on IS hit-list

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Pakistan

Ending Militancy Top Priority: Sharif

Pakistan Concerned At Overturning Of US Presidential Veto on 9/11 Lawsuits Bill

Banning Indian films in Pakistan will only bolster piracy, say local cinema owners

TV channels airing Indian content to be suspended by PEMRA sans notice

I stand by decision to boycott joint session of parliament: Imran Khan

DG ISI unable to attend senate committee meeting

0.2m Afghans return voluntarily this year

PA asks centre to honour promise on CPEC

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Africa

5 Killed In Fresh Violence In Central African Republic

Central African Republic’s head of armed forces shot dead

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Southeast Asia

Former Minister Raps Don Over Non Sequitur Claims about Shariah Bill

Religious, global leaders to attend World Peace Forum

Is Singapore ready to join the fight against Isis?

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/canada-to-dispatch-team-to-iraq-for-yazidi-fact-finding-mission/d/108767

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Canada to Dispatch Team to Iraq for Yazidi Fact-Finding Mission

Oct 04, 2016

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar Mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate.

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate. (Youssef Boudlal/Reuters)

The government is sending a team of officials to Iraq on a fact-finding mission to consider best ways to help Yazidi refugees fleeing genocide.

"We recognize the exceptionally serious nature of this issue, and also the difficulties," he said. "So my department is sending an expedition — a group — over to investigate the situation in Iraq. They will be going themselves to gather facts and determine possible courses of action."

An official in the minister's office said the initiative has been under consideration since the summer, but few details will be released to protect the employees.

Operational security

"For operational security reasons we can't disclose much of this information, other than to say that IRCC officials will be travelling to the region in the coming weeks to understand and assess the situation," the official said.

McCallum announced the trip in response to a question from Conservative MP Rachel Harder, who accused the government of turning a "blind eye" to the rape culture of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other Islamic fundamentalists around the globe. "When will the prime minister take real action instead of lip service?" she asked.

The House of Commons immigration committee held three days of special hearings over the summer, listening to horrific accounts of torture, rape, murder and enslavement as witnesses offered emotional testimony about atrocities carried out by ISIS. The Yazidis are a Kurdish minority group that practices an ancient faith.

Dion declares 'genocide'

Advocates urged MPs to do more to help desperate Yazidi survivors, including bringing in more refugees and providing more humanitarian and medical assistance for those in camps. Some said Canada can't rely on the "flawed" refugee identification system led by the United Nations.

In June, a United Nations report said ISIS militants had been systematically rounding up Yazidis since August 2014, seeking to "erase their identity," a finding that meets the definition of genocide under the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion subsequently declared that genocide was underway, after refusing to do so under pressure from the Conservatives.

Source: cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-iraq-yazidi-genocide-1.3791268

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French Mayors Ban Shisha, Middle Eastern Hookah Pipe, In Public for 'Spreading Fear'

4 October 2016

At least four French cities in the country’s south have banned the traditional Middle Eastern hookah pipe after locals complained that smokers scare them.

After huge controversy over the Burkini ban in France, five mayors in the south-east of the country have banned the public smoking of shisha pipes to maintain “public order” in what critics say is the latest assault on Arab and Muslim immigrants in the country amid major Islamophobia across Europe due to the refugee crisis and a series of terror attacks.

The bans come after members of the public complained about shisha and said it was unsafe, claim officials, who deny the decision has anything to do with race or religion.

Charles Scibetta, the mayor of Carros near Nice, said he has introduced the ban because shisha was spreading fear among locals, adding the pipes were a “social and sanitary plague”.

Shisha is flavored tobacco used in hookah pipes and is traditionally used in the Middle East where it is popular in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey as well as the countries of North Africa, where many of the immigrants in France come from.

In recent years shisha has become popular in other parts of the world, notably in Europe due to Arab and Muslim immigrants.

Hamdi Chebli, a 22-year-old French man of north African descent, told the British newspaper The Times that the ban is “stupid and unjust”. He said he had sent a letter to the mayor asking him to lift the ban but had not heard anything back.

Over the past few months more than 30 mayors issued bans on wearing the Muslim "burkini" swimwear on beaches. However, in late August France’s top court ruled the bans were illegal as they infringe on “freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”

Europe has seen a surge in Islamophobia and xenophobia amid a major refugee crisis across the continent as millions have arrived at its shores over the past few years triggered mainly by the Syrian conflict.

Several far-right parties in France, Germany, the U.K. and other countries in Europe have also been gaining support using anti-immigration rhetoric following several terror attacks in Europe by the Islamic State group.

Source: telesurtv.net/english/news/French-Mayors-Ban-Shisha-in-Public-for-Spreading-Fear-20161004-0019.html

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Saudi-Affiliated Groups Impeding Peace Talks in Syria

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the opposition National Coordination Committee Hassan Abdel Azim said that the extremist and dissident groups which are affiliated to Saudi Arabia are imposing hurdles on the path of national reconciliation talks in Syria.

"Certain extremist groups in Syria have still pinned hope on the military solution and are rocking the boat in the Syrian-Syrian talks and have allied with the groups that the international community has placed on the list of terrorist groups," Abdel Azim told FNA on Wednesday.

Noting that the obstacles created by the extremist groups in the peace talks are displacing more civilians from their homes, he said, "These extremist dissidents are affiliated to Saudi Arabia, while the dissidents who are close to Moscow and Cairo want resumption of negotiations to find a political solution to the crisis in their country."

In relevant remarks in June, a senior Syrian legislator underlined that the opposition leaders attending the Geneva peace talks have turned into an instrument in Saudi Arabia's hands to increase attacks against Syria.

"The Syrian government is determined to settle the crisis in the country based on the Syrian-Syrian talks framework in a way that the aliens don’t interfere in it as we witnessed the Riyadh-sponsored delegation left the recent negotiations at the request of Saudi Arabia and the US," Jamal al-Rabe'a told FNA.

"The pro-Riyadh opposition delegation formed for Geneva negotiations is merely a political tool to intensify military and hostile attacks against the Syrian government and nation," he added.

Rabe'a also said that the US, western and Saudi officials' harsh remarks against Syria are also meant to serve as a leverage to reach political gains given the Syrian army's victories against the terrorist groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000382

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Karzai reluctant to endorse Pakistan as ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’

Wed Oct 05 2016

karzai-on-pakistan-state-supporter-of-terrorismThe former Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared reluctant to endorse the move to label Pakistan as ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ as he considered the goodwill of Pakistani people towards the Afghan people.

In an exclusive with Times Now TV, Karzai emphasized on the role of the Pakistani people for hosting millions of Afghan refugees as he was asked if he would support to label Pakistan as ‘State Sponsors of Pakistan’.

The former Afghan President said ‘Well, see Pakistan is not only the Pakistani government or the Pakistan military establishment.

Pakistan is also the people of Pakistan and nearly 200 million people of Pakistan who are victims of terrorism as much as Afghanistan is India is. So, I wish the people of Pakistan will and I would never want to use a word or an action that would in any manner that would reduce the peace prosperity and the dignity of people of Pakistan.”

Karzai further added “But in regard to the establishment of Pakistan and as regard to the military we should do all we can and to bring them to recognizing that there is a different way in behaving with neigbors and that way is a civilized and peaceful relation.”

This comes as two powerful American lawmakers introduced an act in the US House of Representatives late last month to designate Pakistan a State Sponsor of terrorism.

Congressman Ted Poe, who is Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, said “It is time we stopped paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The act, Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation’ (HR 6069) has been introduced by Republican Poe along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of the Democratic Party, who is Ranking member of this influential Congressional Committee on terrorism.

Poe further added “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years.”

“From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s,” he alleged.

According to Poe, the bill will require the Obama Administration to formally answer this question.

The President must issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism, he said.

Source: khaama.com/karzai-reluctant-to-endorse-pakistan-as-state-sponsor-of-terrorism-02015

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North America

Canada to Dispatch Team to Iraq for Yazidi Fact-Finding Mission

Oct 04, 2016

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar Mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate.

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk toward the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate. (Youssef Boudlal/Reuters)

The government is sending a team of officials to Iraq on a fact-finding mission to consider best ways to help Yazidi refugees fleeing genocide.

"We recognize the exceptionally serious nature of this issue, and also the difficulties," he said. "So my department is sending an expedition — a group — over to investigate the situation in Iraq. They will be going themselves to gather facts and determine possible courses of action."

An official in the minister's office said the initiative has been under consideration since the summer, but few details will be released to protect the employees.

Operational security

"For operational security reasons we can't disclose much of this information, other than to say that IRCC officials will be travelling to the region in the coming weeks to understand and assess the situation," the official said.

McCallum announced the trip in response to a question from Conservative MP Rachel Harder, who accused the government of turning a "blind eye" to the rape culture of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other Islamic fundamentalists around the globe. "When will the prime minister take real action instead of lip service?" she asked.

The House of Commons immigration committee held three days of special hearings over the summer, listening to horrific accounts of torture, rape, murder and enslavement as witnesses offered emotional testimony about atrocities carried out by ISIS. The Yazidis are a Kurdish minority group that practices an ancient faith.

Dion declares 'genocide'

Advocates urged MPs to do more to help desperate Yazidi survivors, including bringing in more refugees and providing more humanitarian and medical assistance for those in camps. Some said Canada can't rely on the "flawed" refugee identification system led by the United Nations.

In June, a United Nations report said ISIS militants had been systematically rounding up Yazidis since August 2014, seeking to "erase their identity," a finding that meets the definition of genocide under the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion subsequently declared that genocide was underway, after refusing to do so under pressure from the Conservatives.

Source: cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-iraq-yazidi-genocide-1.3791268

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The Muslim refugee who saved an American soldier

10/04/2016

FAIRFAX, VA. — Knocked out by enemy mortar rounds, 1st Lt. Matt Zeller had just regained consciousness when the fire drew closer. As he got his bearings, he realized he was literally in an empty grave, dozens of Taliban militants firing down on him and his fellow soldiers from a ridgeline above.

“I thought, ‘I’m never going to get married, or have kids, and my parents are about to get the worst phone call of their lives,’ ” recalls Zeller, an intelligence officer with the US Army National Guard who had only been in Afghanistan for 10 days. “I freely admit to being terrified.”

And he didn’t even know that two enemy fighters were sneaking up behind him.

Recommended:IN PICTURES Voices from the Republican National Convention: What does a "great America" look like?

Suddenly, AK-47 gunfire rang out, hitting the two fighters.

An Afghan interpreter for US forces, Janis Shinwari, had just saved Zeller's life.

It was a moment that instantly bonded them together, and left the American feeling indebted forever.

“In times of tragedy you look for the helpers, and these are the people who actually run into the fire,” he says. “That’s what Janis and others like him did…. He is the embodiment of these selfless traits in service to our country.”

Matt Zeller and Janis Shinwari became like brothers during Capt. Zeller's tour of duty in Afghanistan.

After Zeller and his unit returned to the US in 2009, Mr. Shinwari thought he would be safe simply relocating from the small outpost in Ghazni where they’d fought together to a larger base in Kabul.

He was wrong. The Taliban hit squad that began tracking him in 2009 caught up with him in Kabul in 2011.

Late one night, someone left a note on Shinwari’s door vowing that the Taliban was going to get him.

It’s a moment that no doubt echoes in the stories of more than 65 million refugees who, forced out by war and persecution, form the greatest wave of displaced people since World War II. Their stories resonate with many Americans, who – moved by compassion – want to open their country’s doors to war-wearied souls from the Middle East and beyond.

Others, though, grapple with fear that doing so could unwittingly usher in a fifth column that could launch attacks in the US, as did a Pakistani woman in the December 2015 San Bernadino shooting and the American-born son of an Afghan immigrant in Orlando, Fla., in June. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has fanned these fears on the campaign trail, asserting that the vetting system is not strong enough to keep out potential terrorists.

For Trump and many voters who support him, the calculus is simple: Foreign Muslims are a threat to US security.

Shinwari’s story challenges that equation. Far from being a threat, he was willing to lay down his own life to protect an American soldier.

“I guarantee you that if Trump had been to Afghanistan, to any Muslim country, had had a cup of tea – or even been to Muslim restaurants in the US – he wouldn’t say something bad,” says Shinwari. “I put my life in danger to save a non-Muslim guy,” he adds. “It shows we’re not bad people – we are not terrorists.”

Full report at:csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2016/1005/The-Muslim-refugee-who-saved-an-American-soldier

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Hillary Clinton also failed Muslim Americans

10/04/2016

I shrugged my textbook-laden backpack into the back seat of my mom's beat-up Toyota Avalon and opened the front passenger door. It was early December. I had just gotten out of a school Senate meeting, and I was already anticipating my mother's questions: How was it? Are you still doing the Chick-fil-A fundraiser? Do you have another meeting tomorrow?

Instead, the second I stepped foot in the car, my mom looked at me, eyes crinkled in concern, and asked immediately in Urdu, "Are you OK? Did anyone say anything?"

I blinked.

"There was a Muslim shooter in California," she said.

Immediately, I understood. "No one said anything." I sat down and buckled my seat belt. "I'm fine, promise."

I hadn't been lying. I have a close-knit circle in high school and had been taking classes with the same people for three years: They knew me; I knew them. No one criticized my religion or my beliefs — at least not in front of me.

Yet I still understood my mom's concern. As Muslims, we both carry the same fear that one day, we might run into someone who isn't as kind. One day, we might face the same fate as the other Muslims in this country, like the three people — a husband, wife and her sister — fatally shot in Chapel Hill, N.C., last year, or the two Muslim women and their young children assaulted in New York City last month by a woman screaming anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Recent statistics only confirm our fears. According to a study recently released by Georgetown University's Center for Muslim-Christian understanding, anti-Islamic hate crimes have increased dramatically, with nearly 200 of them occurring last year — a dozen of them resulting in death.

California State University echoed these findings in another study, finding that hate crimes against Muslims have increased by 78 percent in the United States in the last year alone.

And although the FBI won't release their official statistics on hate crimes until November, there is little doubt that their findings will be similar to those of Georgetown and California State University.

In times like these, Muslim Americans need politicians to speak up. To be a voice for us. To protect us.

At last week's debate, I was not surprised that presidential candidate Donald Trump did not do this; he is, after all, the man who called for a ban on Muslims and the shut-down of mosques in the United States. Rather, it was the Democratic presidential candidate who disappointed me.

Although, arguably, Hillary Clinton is more of a champion of Muslim Americans than Donald Trump, she did not offer any overly friendly sentiments in the most recent presidential debate. Other than stating the need to "cooperate" with the Muslim American community, she did not attack Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslims or his calls for surveilling mosques.

In fact, neither candidate even mentioned the recent rise in hate crimes against Muslims. Neither candidate said that Islam was a religion of peace or echoed sentiments about the unity of the country.

Some will shrug this off. They'll say there wasn't enough time — even though the debate was 90 minutes long — or that it's a minor, nitpicky detail that neither candidates mentioned the rising hate crime waves.

For that, I can only say this: Donald Trump's anti-Islamic remarks and rhetoric appear to coincide with the continued rise in anti-Islamic hate crimes. Therefore, if politicians like Hillary Clinton actively fight back against anti-Islamic bigotry, if they focus on Muslim American voices, and reiterate that Islam is not America's enemy, the levels of hate can, and most likely will, fall. The storm brewing on the horizon can fade.

So, I beseech presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as well as legislators and political pundits across the country to mention Muslim Americans often going forward. To remind the country that Muslim Americans are still Americans first and foremost. That Islam is a religion of peace, and that in the United States, freedom of religion is a constitutionally mandated right.

Will this stop all of the hate? No, perhaps not.

But at the very least, it will lessen my mother's worry about my safety in the school.

Maha Sarfraz is a high school student in Baltimore County.

Source: baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-muslim-americans-20161004-story.html

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Europe

French Mayors Ban Shisha, Middle Eastern Hookah Pipe, In Public for 'Spreading Fear'

4 October 2016

At least four French cities in the country’s south have banned the traditional Middle Eastern hookah pipe after locals complained that smokers scare them.

After huge controversy over the Burkini ban in France, five mayors in the south-east of the country have banned the public smoking of shisha pipes to maintain “public order” in what critics say is the latest assault on Arab and Muslim immigrants in the country amid major Islamophobia across Europe due to the refugee crisis and a series of terror attacks.

The bans come after members of the public complained about shisha and said it was unsafe, claim officials, who deny the decision has anything to do with race or religion.

Charles Scibetta, the mayor of Carros near Nice, said he has introduced the ban because shisha was spreading fear among locals, adding the pipes were a “social and sanitary plague”.

Shisha is flavored tobacco used in hookah pipes and is traditionally used in the Middle East where it is popular in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey as well as the countries of North Africa, where many of the immigrants in France come from.

In recent years shisha has become popular in other parts of the world, notably in Europe due to Arab and Muslim immigrants.

Hamdi Chebli, a 22-year-old French man of north African descent, told the British newspaper The Times that the ban is “stupid and unjust”. He said he had sent a letter to the mayor asking him to lift the ban but had not heard anything back.

Over the past few months more than 30 mayors issued bans on wearing the Muslim "burkini" swimwear on beaches. However, in late August France’s top court ruled the bans were illegal as they infringe on “freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”

Europe has seen a surge in Islamophobia and xenophobia amid a major refugee crisis across the continent as millions have arrived at its shores over the past few years triggered mainly by the Syrian conflict.

Several far-right parties in France, Germany, the U.K. and other countries in Europe have also been gaining support using anti-immigration rhetoric following several terror attacks in Europe by the Islamic State group.

Source: telesurtv.net/english/news/French-Mayors-Ban-Shisha-in-Public-for-Spreading-Fear-20161004-0019.html

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Top UN court rejects Marshalls nuclear case against Pakistan, India

10/05/16

THE HAGUE: The United Nation's (UN) highest court Wednesday threw out a bid by tiny Marshall Islands to sue Pakistan for “failing to halt the nuclear arms race”, moments after rejecting a similar case against India.

“The court upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by Pakistan based on the absence of a dispute between the two parties,” judge Ronny Abraham told the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and “cannot proceed to the merits of the case".

The 16-judge bench at the ICJ however was also to rule later in the day in a separate decision on whether the Pacific island nation's David-versus-Goliath battle could continue against Britain.

The archipelago is seeking to shine a fresh spotlight on the global threat of nuclear weapons.

But in a majority verdict by nine votes to seven “the court upholds the objection to jurisdiction raised by India”, presiding judge Ronny Abraham said, and therefore the tribunal “cannot proceed to the merits of the case.”

The tribunal, set up to resolve rows between nations, found it lacked the jurisdiction in the case as there had been no prior recorded dispute or negotiations over the nuclear issue between the Marshall Islands and India.

The tiny Pacific island nation was ground zero for a string of nuclear tests on its pristine atolls between 1946-58, carried out by the United States as the Cold War arms race gathered momentum.

Initially in 2014, Majuro accused nine countries of failing to comply with the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which seeks to inhibit the spread of atomic bombs.

But the ICJ already failed to take up cases against the other countries China, France, Israel, North Korea, Russia and the United States as they have not recognised the court's jurisdiction. Israel has also never formally admitted to having nuclear weapons.

The Marshall Islands has maintained that by not stopping the nuclear arms race Britain, India and Pakistan continued to breach their obligations under the treaty — even if New Delhi and Islamabad have not signed the pact.

The treaty commits all nuclear weapon states “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”.

Majuro is calling for nuclear powers to take “all necessary measures” to carry out what it considers to be their obligations under the treaty.

'Islands vaporised'

At a March hearing, Majuro's lawyers painted a vivid picture of the horrors seen after 67 nuclear tests were carried out on Bikini and Enewetak atolls.

“Several islands in my country were vaporised and others are estimated to remain uninhabitable for thousands of years,” Tony deBrum, a former Marshall Islands foreign minister, told the court.

The so-called “Operation Castle” tests in March and April 1954 were particularly devastating and resulted in massive contamination because of the nuclear fall-out.

“The entire sky turned blood-red,” said deBrum, who witnessed the explosion of the largest-ever US-built nuclear device called “Castle Bravo” as a nine-year-old boy.

Critics have argued however that the ICJ action is a distraction and that the islanders' real fight is with Washington, which carried out the tests in their backyard.

They contend that the case has no relation to the victims' claims for increased compensation, better health care and clean-ups to render the sites habitable again.

Experts however say the islands hoped the three cases before the ICJ will thrust nuclear disarmament talks, which have stalled over the past two decades, back into the spotlight.

Even if the case has no direct impact, the Marshall Islands' residents “perhaps feel that the more the difficulties with nuclear weapons are brought to the public consciousness, the better,” said Jens Iverson, assistant professor of Public International Law at Leiden University.

“They may hope that the world may become a safer place,” Iverson told AFP.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288174/top-un-court-rejects-marshalls-nuclear-case-against-pakistan-india

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Czech President Supports Deporting Migrants, Serbia May Close Borders And Hungary To Amend Constitution

10/04/2016

Days after a Hungarian referendum smacked down European Union (EU) migrant quotas, the rebellion against open borders and economic migration grows stronger in Europe.

Though the referendum is not technically valid due to insufficient voter participation, it passed with 98 percent approval, prompting Hungarian PM Viktor Orban to propose a constitutional amendment to stop refugee resettlement unless the National Assembly — Hungary’s parliament — approves.

And in the Czech Republic, President Milos Zeman is calling for the expulsion of all economic migrants, a number likely in the hundreds of thousands.

Zeman carefully emphasizes a difference between economic migrants and refugees of war, saying, “…I respect the cruelty of civil war in Syria, Iraq, and so on. But we do not speak about those people, we speak about economic migrants,” the Financial Times reports.

The Czech President also commented on conflicts between Europe and the Muslim world, saying, “I am only against Islamic migration, because I think there is full incompatibility of culture.”

Zeman is no stranger to this type of rhetoric. In August, he encouraged Czech citizens to arm themselves to defend against terrorism and spoke out against Islamic migration, saying it would “create fertile ground for barbaric attacks” and on another occasion calling Muslim migration an “organized invasion.” A German commissioner blasted Zeman for his views, saying that his hardline stance “weakens Europe.”

Not to be outdone by his peers, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic is developing his own plan to deal with Muslim migration.

Nikolic warned that if EU member states close their borders, then Serbia will likely close its borders as well.

Serbia is not usually an end destination, but a middle country for the passage of migrants and refugees traveling from the Middle East to wealthier European Union countries, and yet, if many EU countries refuse migrants, many would become stranded in Serbia. Nikolic hopes to address this issue.

In 2015, Hungary constructed a fence at its border with Serbia to keep migrants out. This summer, it was reported that 1,300 migrants were stuck at the Serbia-Hungary border.

Many European leaders, like Orban, Zeman, and Nikolic, are likely to continue to advocate against Islamic migration, as a surge of Eurosceptic populism and anti-open borders politicians are gaining popularity in Europe.

Source: dailycaller.com/2016/10/04/europe-revolts-czech-president-supports-deporting-migrants-serbia-may-close-borders-and-hungary-to-amend-constitution/

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Enlightenment Movement organize demo in Brussels amid ongoing major conference

Wed Oct 05 2016

The Enlightenment Movement organized a major demonstration in Brussels as a major conference hosted by the Afghan government and the European Union is underway in the city.

The supporters of the movement organized the the demonstration nearly two months after a deadly explosion ripped through a peaceful demonstration organized by the movement in Kabul.

At least 85 people were killed and scores of others were wounded in the attack which the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group claimed credit for.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) shared the mission’s findings regarding a deadly attack on protesters late last month.

The report was shared during a meeting with the representatives of the Hazara community, a statement by UNAMA said, adding that “As part of its good offices mandate, UNAMA invited participants for an open discussion, chaired by Pernille Kardel, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan.”

The statement further added ” A broad range of issues were discussed, including the tragic 23 July suicide attack in Kabul claimed by Daesh against peaceful demonstrators, which resulted in the deaths of at least 85 civilians and injured more than 400 others.”

UNAMA said it has produced a report on the attack as part of its mandated, and internationally respected, work on human rights in Afghanistan and the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The report will be released shortly.

Participants included Members of Parliament, representatives of civil society groups, including the Enlightening Movement, as well as Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

“UNAMA is encouraged by the Government’s readiness to invite members of the Hazara community, including the Enlightening Movement, for talks. The Mission welcomes the willingness of all sides to engage in dialogue, urges them to seize this opportunity, and stands ready to support such a process. While reaffirming the right of all Afghans to peaceful assembly, UNAMA calls for the postponement of planned demonstrations,” the statement added.

Source: khaama.com/enlightenment-movement-organize-demo-in-brussels-amid-ongoing-major-conference-02016

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Arab World

Saudi-Affiliated Groups Impeding Peace Talks in Syria

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the opposition National Coordination Committee Hassan Abdel Azim said that the extremist and dissident groups which are affiliated to Saudi Arabia are imposing hurdles on the path of national reconciliation talks in Syria.

"Certain extremist groups in Syria have still pinned hope on the military solution and are rocking the boat in the Syrian-Syrian talks and have allied with the groups that the international community has placed on the list of terrorist groups," Abdel Azim told FNA on Wednesday.

Noting that the obstacles created by the extremist groups in the peace talks are displacing more civilians from their homes, he said, "These extremist dissidents are affiliated to Saudi Arabia, while the dissidents who are close to Moscow and Cairo want resumption of negotiations to find a political solution to the crisis in their country."

In relevant remarks in June, a senior Syrian legislator underlined that the opposition leaders attending the Geneva peace talks have turned into an instrument in Saudi Arabia's hands to increase attacks against Syria.

"The Syrian government is determined to settle the crisis in the country based on the Syrian-Syrian talks framework in a way that the aliens don’t interfere in it as we witnessed the Riyadh-sponsored delegation left the recent negotiations at the request of Saudi Arabia and the US," Jamal al-Rabe'a told FNA.

"The pro-Riyadh opposition delegation formed for Geneva negotiations is merely a political tool to intensify military and hostile attacks against the Syrian government and nation," he added.

Rabe'a also said that the US, western and Saudi officials' harsh remarks against Syria are also meant to serve as a leverage to reach political gains given the Syrian army's victories against the terrorist groups.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000382

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US Airstrike Kills 20 Iraqi Sunni Popular Forces, Injures 5 Others Near Mosul

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The US fighter jets pounded the military positions of Iraqi volunteer forces near the city of Mosul in Nineveh province on Wednesday, killing and injuring the anti-ISIL popular forces.

"A sum of 20 Iraqi Sunni tribal forces were killed and 5 others were wounded when the US warplanes hit their position in the village of Kharaeb in al-Qayyara region," a battlefield source said.

Al-Qayyara is located approximately 300 kilometers to the North of Baghdad.

The Iraqi volunteer forces had reportedly gathered at the site when the aerial attack took place.

The US airstrikes came as the Iraqi volunteer forces warned against the US plan to increase the number of its troops in Iraq, and vowed harsh reaction to any such troops deployment.

"Increasing the number of US military men is a source of concern and the Hashd al-Shaabi will not tolerate the US redeployment," Sayyed al-Shohada Battalions affiliated to Hashd al-Shaabi said.

On July 11, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that Washington would send 560 troops to Iraq to back up Mosul liberation operations.

On August 6, the US media reported that Washington will send another 400 soldiers to Iraq.

The US Department of Defense claims that there are less than 4,000 US troops in Iraq while a research by Washington Post newspaper shows that the number of US soldiers in Iraq exceeds 5,000.

On September 28, the US defense officials announced that Pentagon will dispatch another 600 ground troops to Iraq to help the country with Mosul liberation operation.

The US troops are now stationed in al-Qayyara military base located 65 kilometers to the South of Mosul.

The Iraqi volunteer forces are against the US deployment in Iraq.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000790

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Scores of Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army's Ambush in Quneitra

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army soldiers ambushed a group of terrorists affiliated to Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in Northern Quneitra, killing and wounding most of the group members.

Syrian army men ambushed a Fatah al-Sham-affiliated group, who wanted to attack army sites near al-Amal farms in Zahrat al-Kasari, Northeast of Toranjeh village, and killed or wounded most of them.

The Syrian army also seized the terrorist group's weapons and equipment.

Fatah al-Sham's strongholds in Tal al-Hamriyeh in Northern Quneitra also came under heavy attack by the Syrian military forces.   

Reports said in late September that Syrian Army troops drove back terrorist groups from the surrounding areas of a key hilltop in Northern Quneitra, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists.

The army soldiers stormed the terrorist groups' defense lines near al-Hamriyeh hilltop and pushed the militants back from part of the battlefield.

Terrorists, in a retaliatory move, shelled residential areas in the village of al-Hader, destroying the villagers' houses.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000786

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Syrian Army Advances 10km in Depth of Terrorist-Held Regions in Western Damascus

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops prevailed over Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) terrorists in their strongholds in Western Ghouta and advanced towards Khan al-Sheih for over 10 kilometers.

Syrian military forces broke through Fatah al-Sham's positons in Khan al-Sheih farms and forced them to retreat from more positions after hours of bloody clashes.

Fatah al-Sham has gathered a large number forces to defend Khan al-Shieh due to its strategic importance in Western Ghouta.

Heavy fighting is also underway between the Syrian army and Fatah al-Sham near Deir al-Khabiyeh and al-Moqeibileh near al-Zakiyeh.

Local sources have reported that Fatah al-Sham executed a civilian and set fire to his house in Khan al-Sheih on charges of cooperating with the government forces.

Reports said on Tuesday that clashes between Fatah al-Sham and government force in the Southwestern parts of Damascus entered a new stage.

The Fatah al-Sham terrorist group announced on its twitter page in the early hours of Tuesday that they started operations in Southwestern Damascus to reoccupy the areas lost on Monday.

On Monday, the Syrian army and its allies captured strategic areas near Deir al-Khabiyeh and Khan Sheih Southwest of Damascus and on Tuesday the Fatah al-Sham announced that it launched operations to reoccupy the areas near the Brigade 75 and Deir al-Khabiyeh.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000758

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Terrorist's Large-Scale Attack to Capture Deir Al-Khabiyeh Repulsed by Syrian Army

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian military forces warded off heavy attacks of Fatah al-Sham Front (the newly-formed al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) near Deir al-Khabiyeh in Western Damascus, inflicting a heavy death toll on the militants.

Fatah al-Sham left scores of dead or wounded members and destroyed tanks and vehicles behind and retreated from the battlefield after its attacks on government positions in Deir al-Khabiyeh were fended off by the Syrian army men.

Syrian fighter jets and army's artillery units also played a major role in hitting Fatah al-Sham terrorists back from Deir al-Khabiyeh region.

Military sources said on Tuesday that the Syrian Army troops took back most of Deir al-Khabiyeh territories, and were getting ready to beat the remaining pockets of Fatah al-Sham Front terrorists from the region in Eastern Ghouta.

"The countdown has started for the final phase of the government forces' operation to free the remailing part of Deir al-Khabiyeh in Southwestern Damascus from Fatah al-Sham's occupation," the sources said.

"Syrian government forces have repelled Fatah al-Sham's offensives on Monday night, inflicting major losses on them," the sources added.

"Scores of Fatah al-Sham terrorists were killed or wounded in the army soldiers' heavy raid on a road connecting Deir al-Khabiyeh to Damascus's Western countryside," they went on to say.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000608

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Iran Renews Call for Political Solution to Regional Crises

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi in a meeting with UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag renewed Tehran's support for political solutions to the regional crises.

"The political means are the only way for the settlement of the regional disputes," Araqchi said.

He underlined that Iran's principled policy is supporting stability and peace in Lebanon, and said, "The regional crises are interlinked."

The UN special coordinator for Lebanon arrived in Tehran on Sunday afternoon.

She has consulted the ways for coming out of the current Lebanese problems with senior Iranian officials.

"The political parties must have consensus to elect the Lebanese president," Kaag said.

In relevant remarks in late September, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif once again voiced his country's support for resolving the ongoing crises in Syria and Yemen through peaceful and political means.

"Talk is cheap. Only way out for Syria and Yemen is ceasefire, aid and inclusive political settlement; Iran is ready to help. Are others too?," Zarif wrote on his Twitter page.

The Iranian foreign minister's emphasis on the need for finding a political solution to the Yemeni crisis also came as the Yemeni people are witnessing the Saudi-led air raids everyday.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000754

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Instrumental Use of Terrorism to Backfire on Sponsors in Long Run

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari warned the sponsors of terrorist groups, which use them as a tool to attain their goals, that their policy will backfire in future.

"Using the extremist and terrorist groups as an instrument may meet the interests of these actors tactically and in the short run, but it is a big strategic mistake which will harm these countries in the mid and long run," Jaberi Ansari said in a meeting with United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) Sigrid Kaag in Tehran on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, he underlined Iran's support for stability in Lebanon, and stressed the necessity for influential foreign actors to render support for internal agreement in the Arab country to settle the presidency problem.

Many regional and international analysts blame Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington for the turmoil in the region.

In relevant remarks last month, Jaberi Ansari expressed regret over the grave mistakes made by Saudi Arabia in the region, warning of increased tensions in light of Riyadh's policies.

"Saudi Arabia has moved towards clashes in the region and normalization of ties with the Zionist regime through its wrong policies," Jaberi Ansari said.

He said that Riyadh is attempting to play a blame-game by exporting its problems to foreign actors, and stressed, "Saudi Arabia's policies will sooner or later fail."

Also in September, Iranian Supreme Leader's top adviser for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati blasted Saudi Arabia for its crimes against the regional Muslims, and said Riyadh is working only in the interests of the US and Israel.

"The Al-Saud is serving the enemies of Islam, that is the US and the Zionist regime," Velayati said.

Stressing that the Saudi regime is acting as the US stick to pressure the West Asian states, he said, "The Saudis are directly and indirectly collaborating with those who have shed the blood of innocent and Muslim people in the region in the past few years."

Velayati said that Riyadh has always supported extremism and Wahhabism which are no way related to Islam, and added the Saudi regime's life has come to an end.

Also, in April, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan warned the world states of the threat imposed by terrorist groups which are supported by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

"We believe that today the entire world is threatened by insecurity, instability and spread of horror resulted from acts of the Takfiri-Zionist terrorist groups which are supported by the US, Israel and certain regional countries, headed by Saudi Arabia," General Dehqan said, addressing the 2016 Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS).

He also downplayed the effectiveness of the so-called anti-terrorism coalitions by the terrorists' supporters, saying they are not interested in serious and decisive battle against the terrorists and actually reinvigorate and recruit the terrorist groups under the disguise of humanitarian aid, truce, negotiations and deceptive slogans.

Dehqan underlined Iran's assistance to the terrorism-hit countries, and said the country has paid the most costs to this end.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000650

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US Not Serious about War on Terrorism: Iranian Parliament Speaker

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani underlined that the US is not serious about campaign against terrorism and pursues other goals in the region.

"One of the prominent US figures has recently said in a conference in Herzliya that Israel is today in its best security conditions since all other countries are entangled with terrorist and security issues but the worst situation is when the terrorists are suppressed and Iran and Hezbollah come out of the battleground victorious," Larijani said, addressing an open session of the parliament in Tehran on Wednesday.

"These evil thoughts show that despite their fake slogans, the Americans and the Israelis are not at atll resolved or have any determination to fight against terrorism and a bigger goal is concealed behind this pervasive regional adventurism," he added.

In similar remarks on Monday, Larijani had blasted the US for merely chanting slogans about fighting terrorism, saying that the US-led anti-terrorism coalition has done nothing to meet the goals it claims.

"The Americans are playing with terrorism" and the US-led coalition of 60 countries has not adopted any tangible action in war against the terrorist groups, Larijani said, addressing a meeting in the Central city of Qom.

He also referred to the collaboration between the terrorists in the region and Israel, and said, "Given the fact that the terrorists have not made any aggression against the Zionist regime and the latter has not attacked the terrorists either, it can be concluded that they have ignited the fire of terrorism in the region and make no efforts to put it out."

Larijani said that the Israeli officials have even said in a recent Herzliya conference that if the ISIL is due to be annihilated then the al-Nusra (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham) Front should be kept alive and strengthened.

Also, in May, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan lashed out at Washington and Tel Aviv for supporting the terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

“What is happening in Syria and Iraq today is a deep-rooted US-Zionist conspiracy that has triggered war in the Muslim territories,” Brigadier General Dehqan told reporters.

The Iranian defense minister reiterated that the Takfiri terrorists have tainted the image of Islam, and said, “Takfiri terrorists are not affiliated to Islam in terms of faith and conduct and their approach is reprehensible.”

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000568

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IRGC Cracks Down on Terror Cell in Western Iran

October 5, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps forces disbanded a terrorist group in the Western province of Kermanshah, killing all the cell members and seizing massive amount of weapons, IRGC Ground Force Commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour announced.

"The IRGC with the help of the country's intelligence and security forces tracked down the 12-member terrorist group and killed all of them in fierce clashes," General Pakpour said.

He noted that the terrorists were arrested in the border areas of Kermanshah province on Tuesday as they were trying to infiltrate into the country to spread insecurity and carry out sabotage activities across the country.

General Pakpour stated that the IRGC forces also confiscated a large amount of weapons and ammunition from the terrorists.

Iranian forces have recently engaged in clashes with terror groups, thwarting their terrorist activities on the border and within the country, arresting several of them and confiscating large amounts of explosives and bomb-making materials.

In late August, a senior commander announced that the IRGC had disbanded a terrorist group in the Southeastern province of Sistan and Balouchestan, seizing 150kg of explosives.

Noting that 4 terrorist groups have been traced and busted in Sistan and Balouchestan province since the start of the current Iranian year (March 20), Commander of the IRGC Ground Forces’ Quds Base Brigadier General Mohammad Marani said, "One of these groups, led by Amanollah Rayeesi, was dismantled in the final days of (the holy month of) Ramadan and 150kg of explosives was seized from them."

"During the clashes with members of the grouplet which was affiliated to Forqan (terrorist group), four of them were killed on the scene and 9 others, including Amanollah Rayeesi, were arrested," General Marani told reporters.

Earlier in August, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced that the country's security forces have defused the terrorists' plots to blow up a military base used both by the Law Enforcement Police and the IRGC in Eastern Iran.

"As I said before, the terrorists sought to blow up one of the bases which was both used by the Law Enforcement Police and the IRGC," Rahmani Fazli said.

"The terrorists had dug a tunnel to this end, but were stopped before taking any action," he added.

Rahmani Fazli had announced late July that the country's security forces discovered a secret tunnel in Eastern Iran that the terrorists sought to use for sabotage operations.

"Two nights before, we discovered a 40-meter tunnel in the 20-meter depth of the earth in the Eastern parts of the country and they (the terrorists) intended to use it secretly in ripe conditions for conducting explosion and other operations," Rahmani Fazli said, addressing a forum in Tehran last month.

"40 people were arrested in this regard," he added, but declined to provide any further details.

In relevant remarks in July, an informed source also said that the Iranian security forces dismantled a terrorist cell in Sistan and Balouchestan.

Source: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950714000612

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South Asia

Karzai reluctant to endorse Pakistan as ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’

Wed Oct 05 2016

karzai-on-pakistan-state-supporter-of-terrorismThe former Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared reluctant to endorse the move to label Pakistan as ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ as he considered the goodwill of Pakistani people towards the Afghan people.

In an exclusive with Times Now TV, Karzai emphasized on the role of the Pakistani people for hosting millions of Afghan refugees as he was asked if he would support to label Pakistan as ‘State Sponsors of Pakistan’.

The former Afghan President said ‘Well, see Pakistan is not only the Pakistani government or the Pakistan military establishment.

Pakistan is also the people of Pakistan and nearly 200 million people of Pakistan who are victims of terrorism as much as Afghanistan is India is. So, I wish the people of Pakistan will and I would never want to use a word or an action that would in any manner that would reduce the peace prosperity and the dignity of people of Pakistan.”

Karzai further added “But in regard to the establishment of Pakistan and as regard to the military we should do all we can and to bring them to recognizing that there is a different way in behaving with neigbors and that way is a civilized and peaceful relation.”

This comes as two powerful American lawmakers introduced an act in the US House of Representatives late last month to designate Pakistan a State Sponsor of terrorism.

Congressman Ted Poe, who is Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, said “It is time we stopped paying Pakistan for its betrayal and designate it for what it is: a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The act, Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation’ (HR 6069) has been introduced by Republican Poe along with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of the Democratic Party, who is Ranking member of this influential Congressional Committee on terrorism.

Poe further added “Not only is Pakistan an untrustworthy ally, Islamabad has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years.”

“From harboring Osama bin Laden to its cozy relationship with the Haqqani network, there is more than enough evidence to determine whose side Pakistan is on in the War on Terror. And it’s not America’s,” he alleged.

According to Poe, the bill will require the Obama Administration to formally answer this question.

The President must issue a report within 90 days of passage detailing whether or not Pakistan has provided support for international terrorism, he said.

Source: khaama.com/karzai-reluctant-to-endorse-pakistan-as-state-sponsor-of-terrorism-02015

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Afghanistan’s powerful Jamiat-e-Islami reacts towards Hanif Atmar remarks

Wed Oct 05 2016

The powerful Jamiat-e-Islami party has shown a strong reaction towards the remarks of National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar and sought clarification for his remarks after he alleged that certain circles with regional and broader intelligence support were involved behind the insulting of former President Hamid Karzai.

The Chief Executive of Jamiat-e-Islami Salahuddin Rabbani released a statement a day after Atmar released a statement to condemn the insulting of Karzai during the death anniversary of Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Expressing his strong condemnations towards the move to insult the former Afghan President, Atmar warned that such moves against the former or current president or other national figures would have negative consequences.

However Jamiat-e-Islami said the statement by Atmar was released three days after the incident and amid deteriorating security situation which resulted into the fall of Nawa district and Kunduz city being on the brink of collapse.

The party further added that the publishers of the statement surely knows those involved behind the incident during Burhanuddin Rabbani’s death anniversary, emphasizing that Jamiat-e-Islam has long been striving and fighting against the stooges of the regional and international spy agencies.

Jamiat-e-Islami also stated that the National Security Adviser must immediately disclose those involved behind the incident, warning that failure to do would mean that the statement by Atmar was unnecessary and was reflecting racism from a national institution.

This comes as the prominent security official General Abdul Razaq earlier reacted towards the move against Karzai with angry remarks.

Gen. Raziq took some further steps not only to react towards the insulting steps against Karzai but to denounce the so called allocation of privileges of jihad to some specific groups.

Expressing his strong opposition for the event and offering privilege to certain Mujahideen leaders, Gen. Raziq warned that the people of Kandahar will not remain silent, insisting that supremacy of jihad is not limited to a particular ethnic group.

He went on to say that ‘no one is allowed to labe a thief to her’ emphasizing that the real Mujahideen like Mullah Omar and the group’s slain military commander Mullah Dadullah have no properties or businesses left behind them.

Source: khaama.com/afghanistans-powerful-jamiat-e-islami-reacts-towards-hanif-atmar-remarks-02012

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‘We never get ahead of sanctions decisions’ on Hekmatyar: US

Tue Oct 04 2016

hekmatyarThe United States has said ‘they never get ahead of sanctions decisions’ on Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as a landmark peace agreement was signed between the party the Afghan government last week.

In response to a question whether the US will pull out Hekmatyar’s name from global terrorist list, the State Department Press Office Director, Elizaabeth Trudeau, said “Well, as you know, we never get ahead of sanctions decisions. I won’t do that now. I think we spoke about that agreement when it was first announced out of Kabul and we welcome that. But in terms of individual actions on sanctions, I will not get ahead of that.”

The draft peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami was formally signed during a special ceremony organized in ARG Presidential Palace last Thursday.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ratified the draft peace agreement signed by the delegation of Hezb-e-Islami and Afghanistan High Peace Council over two weeks ago.

Ahead of the formal signing of the peace agreement by President Ghai, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s son, Habib-ur-Rehman, said the international community has agreed to lift restrictions and sanctions on Hezb-e-Islami and meetings have been organized with the key embassies in Kabul in this regard.

Hekmatyar himself was designated by the U.S. as a “global terrorist” in 2003. He was blacklisted at Washington’s request by the U.N. the same year, and has similar status with the British government.

Source: khaama.com/we-never-get-ahead-of-sanctions-decisions-on-hekmatyar-us-02010

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Bangladesh court clears student of restaurant attack charges

Oct 5, 2016

NEW DELHI: A Bangladesh court has cleared a university student of all allegations related to the restaurant siege three months ago in which 20 hostages were killed.

Metropolitan Magistrate Nur Nabi passed the order Wednesday after an investigator appealed for clearing Tahmid Hasib Khan, an undergraduate at the University of Toronto who has Canadian residency.

Prosecutor Abdullah Abu said Khan was cleared of suspicion that he was involved in the attack July 1 on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.

He had walked free Sunday after a court grant him bail.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack but the government has blamed local militant groups. Five of the attackers were killed.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Bangladesh-court-clears-student-of-restaurant-attack-charges/articleshow/54694607.cms

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Taliban can not and will not win the conflict on the battlefield: Kerry

Wed Oct 05 2016

John Kerry in AfghanistanThe US Secretary State of John Kerry has said the Taliban militants group in Afghanistan can not and will not be able to win the conflict on the battlefield.

Kerry delivered the message during his speech at an international conference on Afghanistan and the following the conclusion of a peace deal between Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Afghan government.

He said the peace deal with Hekmatyar could be a model for reconciliation with the Taliban, insisting that the commanders of Hekmatyar must cease violence, cut ties with terrorist groups and accept the Afghan constitutions’s rights for women and minorities.

“The message from every person here today to the Taliban would be: Take note,” Kerry said, adding that the Taliban is still “trying to test the Afghan government’s resolve.”

Kerry further added that “There is a path toward an honorable end to the conflict that the Taliban have waged.” However, he insisted that “It is a conflict they cannot and will not be won on the battlefield. A political settlement negotiated with the Afghan government is the only way to end the fighting, ensure lasting stability and achieve a full drawdown ultimately of international military forces, which is their goal.”

The draft peace agreement between the Afghan government and Hezb-e-Islami was formally signed during a special ceremony organized in ARG Presidential Palace late last month.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ratified the draft peace agreement signed by the delegation of Hezb-e-Islami and Afghanistan High Peace Council over two weeks ago.

Ahead of the formal signing of the peace agreement by President Ghai, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s son, Habib-ur-Rehman, said the international community has agreed to lift restrictions and sanctions on Hezb-e-Islami and meetings have been organized with the key embassies in Kabul in this regard.

Hekmatyar himself was designated by the U.S. as a “global terrorist” in 2003. He was blacklisted at Washington’s request by the U.N. the same year, and has similar status with the British government.

Source: khaama.com/taliban-can-not-and-will-not-win-the-conflict-on-the-battlefield-kerry-02014

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Top Taliban leader in charge of Baghlan war killed by Afghan forces

Wed Oct 05 2016

A top Taliban leader who was actively in charge of leading the group’s insurgency in northern Baghlan province was killed during clashes with the Afghan security forces.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the slain Taliban commander was identified as Salam Uzbek who was killed along with 15 of fighters.

MoI further added that Uzbek was killed after launching a coordinated attack on security posts in the village of Niazullah in Baglan-e-Markazi district.

At least 25 insurgents were also wounded during the clashes, MoI said, adding that commander Uzbek was one of the prominent leaders of the Taliban group who was leading the war in Baghlan since a long time.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Baghlan is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgents and militants belonging to other insurgent groups are actively operating in a number of its remote districts.

The death of commander Uzbek comes as the group has been launching major attacks on Afghan security forces during the recent months.

Taliban launched a coordianted attack on the strategic Kunduz city earlier this year with an aim to recapture the control of the city but the attack was repulsed by the Afghan forces.

Source: khaama.com/top-taliban-leader-in-charge-of-baghlan-war-killed-by-afghan-forces-02013

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US loses another soldier in fight against ISIS group in Afghanistan

Wed Oct 05 2016

us-forces-in-afghanistanThe US forces in Afghanistan lost another soldier in fight against the loyalists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group

One U.S. service member died as a result of wounds sustained during operations in Achin district, Nangarhar Province today, the US forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A said in a statement.

“On behalf of all of U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, we are heartbroken by this loss and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the service member,” said General John W. Nicholson, commander of USFOR-A. “Despite this tragic event, we remain committed to defeating the terrorists of the Islamic State, Khorasan Province and helping our Afghan partners defend their nation.”

The statement further added that the service member was killed conducting operations with Afghan forces when the patrol triggered an Improvised Explosive Device.

“The mission was conducted as part of a larger United States-Afghan counter terrorism mission targeting the Islamic State, Khorasan. An investigation is being conducted to determine the exact circumstances of the event,” USFOR-A added.

No further details were given regarding the identity of the deceased soldier, saying “U.S. Department of Defense Policy is to withhold the identity of the service member pending next-of-kin notification. We will release additional information as appropriate.”

Source: khaama.com/us-loses-another-soldier-in-fight-against-isis-group-in-afghanistan-02011

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Mideast

We will bury further coup attempters: Turkish nationalist party leader

October 4, 2016

The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has commented on rumors of a second coup attempt after the July 15 putsch, believed to have been masterminded by followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, vowing to “bury further coup plotters.”

“If the coup plotters are coming back, they should be ready to be buried,” MHP head Devlet Bahçeli said in his party’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara on Oct. 4, adding that “the coup plotters would go like they come.”

“There are rumors that FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] didn’t give up and its sleeping cells are going to be armed one again. The ones who allege these things and who bring about crisis, chaos and fear have malicious intentions. What does it mean that a second coup attempt will take place? Are we going to hide when the traitors are revolting?” he asked, criticizing the rumors of a second government seizure.

Saying those planning a putsch “should be ready to pay the price,” Bahçeli said “those who didn’t take a lesson from July 15 must be insane.”

“If there are some who didn’t take a lesson from the epic July 15 resistance of the Turkish people, then they are either insane or want to die,” he said.

During his speech, the MHP head said “no mortal will be able to threaten Turkey or take revenge on it.”

“There should be an end to the monstrous comments that spread fear on TV. They say that the traitors will come again and the coup plotters are making preparations. In that case, we’ll be waiting for them,” he added.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/we-will-bury-further-coup-attempters-turkish-nationalist-party-leader.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104590&NewsCatID=338

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Salafi-Jihadist Group Claims Gaza Rocket Fire Landing In Israel

10/05/2016

October 5, 2016

Rocket alert sirens sounded in Israel's Gaza border communities Wednesday with reports of at least one projectile falling inside the Israeli city of Sderot.

The rocket landed next to an elementary school, according to the Ynet news site.

The Magen David Adom spokesperson said that there were no physical injuries after the rocket fell on a residential street; however medics were treating two people on the scene for shock, would be evacuated to health care facilities for additional treatment.

There was no damage reported but photos of the impact point showed scorch marks on the street and melted fragments of the rocket.

The Salafi-jihadist Ahfad Sahaba Ankaf Beit al-Maqdis group in the Gaza Strip said that it had fired the rocket. The group claims to be Islamic State supporters, however the Islamic State currently only recognizes its branch in Egypt's Sinai as an official affiliate.

It is the fourth rocket fired by the group into Israel this year.

Both Hamas and other splinter Islamic organizations have launched rocket attacks into Israeli territory in the past. Israel says that it hold Hamas responsible for all projectile fire coming from its territory.

"A picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot shows rockets being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel, on July 15, 2014"

Sderot, located in southern Israel, lies less than a mile, about 840 meters from the Gaza border.

About an hour after the launch there were reports of the Israel Defense Forces firing mortars into Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip in retaliation for the rocket. The reports have not been officially confirmed.

The rocket fire comes as women's flotilla of two ships is set to try to breach the Israeli blockade of the coastal enclave Wednesday.

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2006 but it was tightened in 2007 after the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas seized control in the tiny enclave.

'We can never get used to this'

"Sderot residents can never get used to this," Dar Cohen, a 24-year-old student in Sderot told i24news.

"Around 10:20 the siren went off," he said. "I didn't hear it because I was in a deep sleep then all of a sudden the other students in the apartment started screaming that a rocket was being launched to the city."

"Dar Cohen, a 24-year-old student in Sderot"

"I looked to my side and my girlfriend wasn't there and it took a couple of seconds to work out what was going, I panicked for her safety. I just got down the stairwell, I didn't have time to get to the shelter – then I heard the loud explosion," Cohen continued.

"The noise is so loud it can shatter windows and it can knock you – like a sonic boom In your chest. I can not describe it but it's terrifying," he adds.

Even after experiencing several rocket alerts in the city, Cohen says each one has the same impact.

"There was a lot of hysteria, as not a lot of us are well adjusted to this, it's happened to me about seven times. I can never get used to it," he told i24news..

Cohen explains that there are no military bases in the vicinity, so the rocket fire "is deliberate to hit civilians".

"Thanks goodness I am a healthy 24 year old, there is no way a child or old person could have run that fast. Sderot we have less than 15 seconds to get to the shelter because it is next door to Gaza," he says.

"It is a miracle no one was killed".

Source: i24news.tv/en/news/israel/diplomacy-defense/127056-161005-rocket-alert-sounds-in-gaza-border-region-reports-of-explosion-heard

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AKP proposes parliament commission to discuss decree laws

October 4, 2016

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has proposed the establishment of a parliamentary commission that will include representatives of all four parties in the legislature in an effort to receive the opposition’s views on the decree laws issued during the state of emergency.

“Authorization to issue decree laws belongs to the government. What we want to do is to conduct the process cooperatively,” Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 3 speaking after the cabinet meeting. 

This is not a delegation of authority, he stressed, adding that they would only receive the opinions of the other parties about the issue.

The “technical commission” proposal came after the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) appealed to the Constitutional Court for an annulment of the decree laws, except the first one agreed with the AKP.

On Oct. 3, the AKP’s Naci Bostancı discussed the issue of establishing a parliament commission with the opposition parties’ group deputy chairpersons.

The AKP’s group deputy chairman, Mustafa Elitaş, said decree laws that the CHP has demanded be annulled, could be discussed at the commission. 

Meanwhile, the Turkish government has extended the state of emergency, first implemented in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt, for an additional three-month period.

“One of the decisions taken by the cabinet is an extension of the 90-day state of emergency and its renewal from 1 a.m. on Oct. 19,” Kurtulmuş told reporters.

The Turkish constitution gives parliament the right to extend the duration of a state of emergency by a maximum period of four months, each time at the request of the cabinet.

The extension of the state of emergency comes four days after the National Security Council (MGK), convened under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, recommended its prolongation.

A number of political figures had already voiced their support for an extension of the state of emergency.

Addressing neighborhood heads in Ankara on Sept. 29, Erdoğan said Turkey’s fight with terror needed more time as it is so “deep” that it could not be solved in just three months.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also expressed its support for the extension, saying the fight against those behind the July 15 coup attempt was continuing at all levels and that this was “natural and right.”

However, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu objected to the extension period, voicing concerns over the growing number of complaints of “reckless measures” resulting from decree laws under the state of emergency.

After the failed coup attempt, which killed more than 240 people and injured nearly 2,200, the government declared the state of emergency for three months on July 21 in a bid to target the Gülenist network and its undercover members within the state.

According to the Turkish Constitution, a state of emergency can be declared for a maximum period of six months.       

To enact the state of emergency, the government must see serious indications of widespread violence that could interfere with Turkey’s democratic environment or its citizens’ basic rights and freedoms as established by the constitution.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-proposes-parliament-commission-to-discuss-decree-laws.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104574&NewsCatID=338

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Soldier killed in Euphrates Shield operation

October 5, 2016

A Turkish soldier was killed on the morning of Oct. 5 during the ongoing Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria, Doğan News Agency has reported.

Clashes occurred in the Ziyara area which was seized by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), after the Islamic State Iraq and Levant (ISIL) attempted to infiltrate the area during the ongoing Euphrates Shield operation.

One soldier was killed, while three soldiers were wounded in the clashes.

Meanwhile, 18 ISIL militants also were killed.

The Turkish Army also issued a statement saying Turkish warplanes targeted ISIL elements in the area.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/soldier-killed-in-euphrates-shield-operation-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104613&NewsCatID=352

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Turkish Foreign Ministry summons Iraqi ambassador over Bashiqa row

October 5, 2016

The Foreign Ministry summoned Iraqi Ambassador to Ankara Husham al-Alawi on Oct. 5 over the Iraqi parliament’s demand for Turkish troops to leave the Bashiqa region of Iraq, diplomatic sources have told the Hürriyet Daily News.

On Oct. 4, Iraq’s parliament asked the government to send a diplomatic note to Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad, to describe Turkish troops in the country as “hostile occupying forces,” and to reconsider trade and economic ties with Turkey. The Iraqi parliament also rejected Turkish lawmakers’ recent decision to extend the mandate on authorization of the government for cross-border military operations into Iraq.       

In a written statement on Oct. 4, the Turkish Foreign ministry condemned the Iraqi Parliament’s characterization of Turkish troops in Bashiqa, assigned for the training of Sunni forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as “occupiers.”       

“We strongly condemn the Iraqi parliament’s unacceptable decision, including dirty accusations against the Turkish President,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the decision did not reflect the opinion of the Iraqi people who Turkey has stood by and supported for years.       

It also highlighted that Turkey had been fighting ISIL, which is a threat to its national security, and that Ankara is a member of the international coalition fighting the terror group.       

“Turkey has lost thousands of citizens due to the terror threat from Iraq and has defended Iraq’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, stability and security taking huge political and economic risks, despite being affected directly by the instability caused by the sectarian approach of Iraq,” the statement added.       

A mandate that allows military action against terror organizations in neighboring Syria and Iraq for one more year was first approved by Turkey’s parliament in 2007 and extended after ISIL appeared, according to the statement.       

“Turkey will maintain its determination in fighting against terrorist organizations that threaten national security as a right to self-defense, as well as in protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq, with which it shares a common future,” according to the statement.       

It urged the Iraqi authorities to “take the friendly hand that Turkey offers” to the benefit of Iraq and the region “in a period that is very critical in terms of fighting against Daesh.”

An unspecified number of Turkish troops in the Bashiqa camp outside ISIL-controlled Mosul in northern Iraq are involved in training Iraqi fighters who plan to recapture the city.    

Baghdad has demanded the immediate withdrawal of forces that it said Turkey “illegally” sent into Iraq.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-foreign-ministry-summons-iraqi-ambassador-over-bashiqa-row-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104615&NewsCatID=510

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AKP government is stupid: HDP co-chair Demirtaş

October 5, 2016

The co-chair of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has called the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “stupid,” while commenting on the failed July 15 coup attempt.

“No offence, but this government is the most stupid government in the world … The AKP’s weakest spot is always being fooled,” HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said in the parliamentary group meeting of his party in Ankara on Oct. 4.

“There is no TV station left that will broadcast this speech. [The AKP] thinks people will support it if they don’t hear the truth. But yet again someone has fooled them again. We are the only ones who haven’t fooled them,” Demirtaş added.

He also criticized the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), accusing them of “kneeling down in front of the Presidential Palace.”

“There is nobody other than us resisting, no hope other than us. They are all as timid as mice in front of the Presidential Palace,” Demirtaş said, adding that there are now “only two parties in parliament.”

“But this is not the time to be afraid. If we have to pay a price for freedom, then we will pay that price. We won’t surrender … Resistance against cruelty is a legitimate right,” he vowed.

The HDP co-chair also harshly slammed the recent shutting down of radio stations and TV channels in state of emergency decrees made after the coup attempt.

“If the outlets that were closed down had sold their honor, it would be ministers visiting them rather than the police,” Demirtaş said.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/akp-government-is-stupid-hdp-co-chair-demirtas.aspx?pageID=238&nID=104604&NewsCatID=338

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India

Cuttack’s Muslim artisans enjoy making tableaux of Goddess Durga

October 5, 2016

Cuttack (Odisha) [India], Oct. 5 : In a unique example of communal harmony, Muslim artisans are making beautiful tableaux of Goddess Durga ahead of the ‘Durga Puja’ festival in Odisha.   Other than the tableaux of Goddess Durga, Muslim artisans for years have been making adornments for the goddess like head gear and earrings etc., made of golden threads called ‘zari’.   Muslim artisans residing in the Banka Bazar of Cuttack city have been designing tableaux for generations and their works are in demand in the neighbouring states as well.   A Muslim artisan, Zahir Khan, said this tradition has been going on for several decades.

“Relations between us remain good and we are happy to make the gears for the idols. They happily take it. There is no question that they think that we are Muslims and they won’t take things from us. Everything goes well here,” said Khan.   Another local artisan said customers are often overwhelmed by the intricate designs created by Muslims.   “Both Hindus and Muslims pray together during festivals. We head to their procession and they head to ours. Also Read: Mamata Banerjee releases Durga Puja edition of Jago Bangla

When they celebrate Durga Puja, we celebrate it too. Now, we will have the Muharram festival and then they will have Dussehra. We will celebrate it together,” said a resident.   Durga Puja, also referred to as ‘Durgotsava’ or ‘Sharadotsav’, is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga. It marks the victory of the Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo-demon Mahishasura. The festival epitomises victory of good over evil.

Source: india.com/news/india/cuttacks-muslim-artisans-enjoy-making-tableaux-of-goddess-durga-1535415/

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We want Sharia Law in Kashmir, says stone-pelter

October 5, 2016

Srinagar: While we’ve often seen stone-pelters in pictures, barely anyone has talked to them to understand their demands. Recently, WION correspondent Anchal Vohra caught up with some stone-pelters who dot the highways in the Kashmir. When Vohra asked one of the stone-pelters why he was pelting stones instead of being in school, one young man said: “In order to get something, we need to lose something.” Another one added, that he wanted Kashmir to be part of Pakistan because: “I want Pakistani democracy because it is the best democracy in the world.”

When Vohra asks, where he got that information, the youth was at a loss for words. Another stone pelter reiterated a demand for an Islamic state that followed Sharia law which would include bans on several things like alcohol shops.

Watch the video on WION by clicking here.

Normal life remained affected in Kashmir for the 88th consecutive day due to the separatist-sponsored strike, but the signs of fatigue from the nearly three-month long unrest were visible as more people are resuming their day-to-day activities.

Many street vendors and hand cart vendors have set up their stalls along the TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis in the city, selling fruits, vegetables, fresh juice, tea and snacks at many places and continue with their business activities throughout the day, officials said.

They said some shopkeepers have also opened their shops partially in the civil lines areas of the summer capital Srinagar and at few areas in the outskirts of the city.

There has been a significant increase in the movement of private and public transport, except buses, in uptown city including in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, the officials said.

They said the authorities have not put curbs on the movement of people anywhere in the Valley.

The officials, however, said security forces have been deployed at some places, including market places, to instil a sense of security among the people so that they can carry out their day-to-day activities without fear.

The situation in Kashmir is improving with each day, they said.

However, life in downtown city and other parts of the Valley, including district headquarters and towns, remained affected for the 88th straight day due to the shutdown call of the separatists,

Most of the shops and business establishments in these areas were shut.

While students across the Valley were not attending schools due to the strike, the government educational institutions at most places were open and teachers were attending their duties, the officials said.

The attendance in other government offices and banks has also considerably improved, they said.

As many as 83 persons, including two cops, have been killed and thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces since unrest began a day after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.

Source: siasat.com/news/wion-exclusive-want-sharia-law-kashmir-says-stone-pelter-1035192/

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In Kerala, RSS bosses, HC judges were on IS hit-list

Oct 5, 2016

NEW DELHI: In a stunning revelation, members of an Islamic State (IS) module arrested in Kerala two days ago have told their interrogators that they were planning to kill senior RSS functionaries and high court judges in the state for which they had even prepared a list of targets. According to sources, this is the first such admission by IS operatives arrested in the country.

Local police and intelligence agencies have beefed up security of the persons whose names were found on the hitlist of the IS module led by Majeed alias Omar Al Hindi, who recently came back from Qatar where he was in touch with some senior leaders of the so-called caliphate.

The IS members, sources said, had prepared a list of at least eight RSS office-bearers and Kerala HC judges. The NIA had arrested six members of the module from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Apart from Omar Al Hindi, the others are Abu Basheer alias Rashid from Coimbatore, Swalih Mohammed T alias Yousuf from Thrissur, Safwan P from Mallapuram, Jasim N K and Ramshad Nageelan Kandiyil alias Aaamu from Kozhikode. Meanwhile, the agency detained another IS suspect who is not associated with the module but is said to be an important IS operative.

The officials, however, clarified that none of these IS operatives had any connection with the 21 missing persons from Kerala who joined the IS in Afghanistan earlier this year.

When asked about the motive to target RSS leaders in Kerala and HC judges, a source said, "We are still interrogating them but it appears that they wanted to show the presence of IS in south India by targeting political leaders and judges as such attacks would have increased their visibility."

Omar Al Hindi named the new outfit Ansar-ul Khilafah Kerala after owing allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. The NIA suspects that more members of the module are absconding while some facilitators and financiers are based abroad.

As first reported by TOI, Omar Al Hindi was associated with Kerala-based organisation Popular Front of India, which has been earlier chargesheeted by the NIA in the professor T J Joseph palm chopping case. Intel agencies have arrested 60 IS Indian operatives till now from different states while many youths are under surveillance for promoting its ideolody.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/In-Kerala-RSS-bosses-HC-judges-were-on-IS-hit-list/articleshow/54687038.cms

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Pakistan      

Ending militancy top priority: Sharif

October 5, 2016

Islamabad:Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said his government’s top policy priority was to end violent extremism and terrorism in the country.

He was speaking at a meeting convened to review the progress of National Action Plan (NAP) devised after the 2014 Peshawar school attack to eliminate militancy.

National Security Adviser Nasir Janjua briefed the meeting which was also attended by cabinet ministers, four chief ministers of provinces, army chief, and other civilian and military officials.

“War against terrorism and violent extremism is a main component of our national policy aimed at bringing peace and security in the country,” Sharif said.

The prime minister also said the nation pins hope to steer the society out from these evils once and for all and government is committed to overcome this menace.

He said consensus on National Action Plan was formed after discussion among all the stakeholders.

The meeting urged the need for coordinating efforts between federal and provincial governments for achieving desired results

It was agreed that further improvement in intelligence input is required to defeat “designs of enemies”.

The meeting agreed on the future course of National Action Plan to achieve the desired results.

Janjua briefed the meeting on the implementation status of NAP and the challenges faced at this stage of implementation, an official statement said.

“It was agreed that collective efforts at the national level and specific efforts at provincial level are required to consolidate the gains made so far and move further in certain areas where progress has been unsatisfactory,” it said.

“It was stressed by NSA that role of provincial governments in implementation of NAP is crucial and it is imperative for all to work with missionary zeal,” it said.

The meeting agreed on the future course of action in terms of milestones and timelines for different components of NAP.

It was also agreed to further improve the collection, collation, analysis and use of intelligence input for defeating the designs of “enemies”.

“We are fighting the war on terrorism and our fight against violent extremism is a national policy imperative,” the statement said, underlining that “the nation expects us to rid the society of these evils for all times and we will not fail them under any circumstances”.

Source: siasat.com/news/ending-militancy-top-priority-sharif-1034784/

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Pakistan concerned at overturning of US presidential veto on 9/11 lawsuits bill

10/05/16

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday expressed concern at the overturning of the Unites States Presidential veto on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

The legislation allows the families of Sept 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for alleged backing of the attackers.

“Many countries across Europe and in the Middle East have expressed similar concerns over JASTA,” the Foreign Office said.

Pakistan had earlier also expressed anguish over the adoption of domestic legislation with extra-territorial application, recalled the FO statement.

"In his address to the 71st United Nations General Assembly Session, the prime minister had underscored that terrorism is a global phenomenon, which must be addressed comprehensively in all its forms, and that the international community must coordinate its efforts to accomplish this," the FO said.

The prime minister had emphasised that these efforts should be taken collectively and not unilaterally through the passage of any laws with extra-territorial application targeting certain countries, it added.

The US Senate had passed legislation in May this year that allowed victims of the Sept 11 attacks to file lawsuits seeking damages from Saudi Arabia.

The legislation was made months after the US Congress released 28 declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 that revived speculation that some of the hijackers had ties to Saudi government officials. However, Saudi officials had rejected the report and denied any such links.

In a backlash to the legislation, the Saudi government threatened to sell up to $750 billion in US securities and other American assets.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also strictly criticised the legislation. Terming the law against the principles of international law, the UAE had viewed that the legislation implicates dangerous precedent for foreign relations.

Subsequently, citing the provision will hurt its ties with the Arab kingdom, President Obama took a pre-announced measure to veto the bill. In retaliation, in the end of September, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to override the veto.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288161/pakistan-concerned-at-overturning-of-us-presidential-veto-on-911-lawsuits-bill

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Banning Indian films in Pakistan will only bolster piracy, say local cinema owners

10/05/16

Last week, Pakistani cinemas declared an indefinite ban on the screening of Indian films following the Indian film association's ban on Pakistani talent, but how will it affect local cinemas? We find out.

Speaking to Images, Khorem Gultasab General Manager of SuperCinema, Lahore, explains that the suspension was provoked due to the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association's (IMMP) ban on local talent. "Naturally, we were bound to take action on two accounts: 1) to show solidarity with our army; and 2) to show solidarity with our Pakistani actors," he says.

"The nation's dignity and pride supersedes any business or monetary value," Gultasab adds, citing that although 50-60% of the revenue generation came from Bollywood films alone, the decision to suspend Indian films was an "instant agreement" from local stakeholders.

He believes "it's time to show India that its trade bodies cannot ban our actors and not expect retaliation. They must not forget that Pakistan is the third largest market for Indian films."

Now that re-runs of old Pakistani films are hitting cinemas along with current films, the GM emphasises that Pakistani cinemas cannot survive on Pakistani films alone.

He gives us the breakdown: "There are 52 weeks in a year, the lifespan of any film is 1 week, a blockbuster, 2 weeks. There were a total of 15 Pakistani films released last year, this year so far there have been 6, of which only 3 worked, the others flopped. Even if you double the amount of each film's run-time with the few films released, you're still left with 40-42 weeks of empty screens. What will cinemas do for those weeks?"

"The nation's dignity and pride supersedes any business or monetary value," says a cinema manager in Lahore, citing that although 50-60% of the revenue generation came from Bollywood films alone, the decision to suspend Indian films was an "instant agreement" from local stakeholders.

Like many, Gultasab too hopes the ban is lifted soon. "Pakistan and India are neighbours, and they will be, they are not going away anywhere. If they cannot be friends, they need to learn to co-exist."

Sharing similar sentiments, Nadeem Mandviwalla, owner of Atrium cinema, Karachi and Centaurus cinema, calls the resolution passed by the IMMP "very immature and unethical".

"We did this because of IMPPA's resolution," he says of the suspension. "We (stake holders) had to respond quickly. There was no time to call a meeting to discuss." Hours after the ban was announced, the necessary stake holders reached the conclusion to suspend screening of Indian films effective immediately.

"The trade association is supposed to improve relations, not destroy them," Mandviwalla argued, stating that the current Pak-India relations are very delicate, and should not be inflamed at such a time, especially by trade associations.

Speaking of the suspension in the long-run, he says, "It will hurt them, it will hurt us. It will hurt legitimate business stake holders. The winner is the pirate."

Although he reveals there has been no decrease in footfall in cinemas yet, however, if the suspension is prolonged, it'll result in "hurting cinemas here", due to which he urges that "sanity should prevail".

Mohsin Yaseen of Cinepax (Karachi) management echoed the same sentiments with regards to footfall. Customers are still breezing in through the doors to watch local and Hollywood films.

Until the ban on Indian films is lifted, local cinemas are playing longer runs of recent releases as well as re-runs of last year's films for example, Ho Mann Jahaan and Bin Roye, so if you missed those the last time, you can watch them now!

Bollywood flicks PINK, Baar Baar Dekho and Mohenjo Daro were playing at Cinepax last, before they were removed. All other Hindi films like Mirzya (October 7) and Shivaay (October 28), which will be released subsequently, will not be screened at Cinepax, says Yaseen.

"It (the suspension) was a decision made by the management itself," he explains. "We haven't received any complaints regarding the removal of Indian films from our consumers, and we've started playing old films from last year with a mix of the new ones."

Although it's too early to judge footfall in less than a week of the suspension, however the long run might take a toll.

The temporary ban, which will go on for an indefinite period, is in accordance to IMPPA's resolution, state the managements of the aforementioned cinemas. Till their ban on Pakistani talent is lifted, the suspension will continue.

Until then, local cinemas are playing longer runs of recent releases as well as re-runs of last year's films for example, Ho Mann Jahaan and Bin Roye, so if you missed those the last time, you can watch them now!

Source: images.dawn.com/news/1176359/banning-indian-films-in-pakistan-will-only-bolster-piracy-say-local-cinema-owners

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TV channels airing Indian content to be suspended by PEMRA sans notice

October 5, 2016

Islamabad [Pakistan]:Taking a strict stand over the airing of Indian content in the country, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Tuesday granted power to its chairman, Absar Alam, to cancel or suspend the licenses of companies airing Indian content without providing prior notice.

An order was issued by PEMRA on Monday limiting the amount of airtime allowed for Indian content in Pakistan, imitating the format which India has adopted for the airing of Pakistani content, reports the Dawn.

The announcement had declared that the licenses of companies will be revoked or suspended without a show cause notice or a hearing if Indian content is aired in violation of the order.

The authority further said that it would take a strict action against the airing of all unauthorised content and TV channels in the country starting October 15 in accordance with section 30(3).

Last month, PEMRA had said that it would launch a crackdown on the illegal Indian DTH and airing of excessive foreign content by TV channels and cable operators.

Source: siasat.com/news/tv-channels-airing-indian-content-suspended-pemra-sans-notice-1034846/

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I stand by decision to boycott joint session of parliament: Imran Khan

10/05/16

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he stands by his earlier announcement to boycott today's joint session of parliament.

"I stand by decision to boycott the joint session as nothing new will be achieved that was not achieved with PTI's active participation in APC (All Parties Conference)," Imran claimed in a tweet.

"But I want to ask how any politician with a moral compass can accept a prime minister who has been caught money laundering in Panama Papers," he said.

Imran, who has been stepping up his rhetoric against the prime minister in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks, told a press conference on Tuesday that his party members would not attend any sessions of parliament until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigned or presented himself for accountability as per the opposition's proposed terms of reference (ToR) for investigation into Panamagate.

Party insiders told Dawn that while most PTI parliamentarians wanted to stay put in Parliament House to fight their case, the party chairman — supported by a group of unelected party leaders — decided otherwise.

"After the Panama Papers revelations the prime minister has lost the moral authority to hold office... I don't accept him as the prime minister anymore," the PTI chief roared from outside his Bani Gala residence following a three-hour huddle with his party leaders.

In the meeting, a PTI lawmaker told Dawn, both sides argued intensely. Those supporting continued presence in parliament were of the view that the move would only invite a hostile reaction, both from the media and the general public.

However, Imran and his supporters argued that the iron was hot in terms of the probe into the Panama Papers leaks and wanted to exert maximum pressure without any concern for media perception or other factors.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288178/i-stand-by-decision-to-boycott-joint-session-of-parliament-imran-khan

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DG ISI unable to attend senate committee meeting

10/05/16

ISLAMABAD: The Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt. General Rizwan AKhtar on Monday was unable to attend a Senate Committee meeting owing to prior engagements.

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani said that the DG ISI will attend subsequent sessions of the senate committee and has informed the Senate why he was unable to attend the meeting today.

The Senate Committee presented a report urging the government to adopt an offensive strategy in response to India's unprovoked aggression in Kashmir.

The report also urged the government to discuss foreign and internal policies in Parliament and to forge policies in line with the foreign policy interest and national security requirements of the country.

The committee recommended the government to take the political leadership of the country into confidence regarding the current situation with India.

Senate members asserted the the country must abandon its apologetic attitude as far as the situation with India is concerned and formulate a policy to make the international community aware of India's aggression in the valley.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been simmering since the Indian crackdown on dissent in India-held Kashmir after the killing of Burhan Wani by Indian occupation forces.

Last week, two Pakistani soldiers were killed in an incident of cross-border firing along the LoC.

In a drive to isolate Pakistan, India also pulled out of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit scheduled to be held in November in Islamabad. Several other Saarc members followed suit, leading to the postponement of the summit.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288169/dg-isi-unable-to-attend-senate-committee-meeting

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0.2m Afghans return voluntarily this year

10/05/16

PESHAWAR: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Wednesday said around 200,000 Afghan refugees have returned to their country this year under the voluntary repatriation programme.

Spokesperson for the UN refugee agency Dunya Aslam Khan said the number of Afghan returnees from Pakistan had crossed the 200,000 mark on Tuesday bringing the tally of registered refugees in the country down from 1.6 million to 1.4 million.

This is the highest such number in the last one and a half decades.

“The number of refugees returned to their country by last Monday was 197,000 and that on average, more than 5,000 individuals are heading for Afghanistan on daily basis,” she told Dawn.

She said 97,800 refugees had gone back in September alone, while the number of returnees under the UN sponsored voluntary programme would continue at the current speed.

Officials attribute exodus to strict border management, higher cash assistance and harassment by police

The officials estimate that over one million undocumented Afghan nationals were also residing in Pakistan and thousands of others had been deported under the National Action Plan.

The number of registered refugees in Pakistan was 1.6 million until last June and the return of Afghans during the last three months has brought the number of refugees down to 1.4 million.

The Amnesty International on Monday ranked Pakistan the third largest refugees hosting country after Jordan and Turkey, which host 2.7 million and over 2.5 million such people respectively.

After the return of 200,000 refugees, Pakistan has become the fourth largest refugee hosting country in the world. It is replaced by Lebanon, which currently shelters 1.5 million refugees.

The federal government has set March 2017 as the last deadline for the return of registered Afghan refugees.

Officials said the surge in the return of Afghan refugees was beyond their expectations.

The UNHCR opened its second voluntary repatriation centre in Azakhel area of Nowshera last week to cope with the growing influx of departing Afghans. The third VRC is operating in Balochistan.

Around 1,000 refugee families are approaching VRCs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on daily basis for verification of their documents before proceeding to home country.

The UN and government departments were expecting the repatriation of 220,000 registered refugees by the end of December.

The UN agency is paying $400 to every registered refugee after verification of his/her documents at VRCs.

Officials said the return of refugees from Balochistan was going slow and only 11,800 registered Afghans had gone back via Chaman border since January last, while 20,000 refugees had been repatriated from Punjab province.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa hosts the largest number of registered refugees and undocumented Afghan nationals followed by Balochistan.

The officials said the Pakistani government’s tight border management plan was apparently a major factor behind the return of refugees.

They said the police’s harassment and increase in cash assistance from $200 to $400 had also contributed to the massive return of refugees.

“Unlike Torkham crossing point, the border management plan has not been introduced at Chaman (Balochistan), where the people are still traveling without visa,” said an official.

He said the reason for tge large-scale return of refugees from KP and its adjacent areas was the implementation of border management plan at Torkham.

Pakistan had introduced a proper border management plan at Torkham crossing point in last June and plugged the unfrequented routes along the Afghan border in KP and adjacent tribal areas and thus drastically reducing illegal cross border movement between the two countries.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288077/02m-afghans-return-voluntarily-this-year

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PA asks centre to honour promise on CPEC

10/05/16

PESHAWAR: The members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday lashed out at federal government for not honouring its commitment made in the all-party conference about initiating work on western route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The members of the treasury and opposition benches were united in asking the federal government to immediately launch work on western route of CPEC otherwise they could go to any extent for it.

The lawmakers were angry as ambassador of China to Pakistan conveyed to Chief Minister Pervez Khattak a few days ago that there was no western route in CPEC. Senior Minister Inayatullah Khan was the first to draw the attention of the house towards the statement of Chinese ambassador that also appeared in a few newspapers.

“It is injustice with people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to exclude the western route from CPEC,” he said while speaking on a point of order. On his request, Speaker Asad Qaiser, who was chairing the session, put off the agenda fixed for the day and allowed the house to debate the new development regarding CPEC.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal had assured political leaderships in the APC that western route would be part of CPEC but the fresh revelation was shocking, said the senior minister.

Lawmakers threaten to go to any extent for start of work on western route

He said that although federal government was assuring the provincial government repeatedly that western route was part of CPEC but the statement of Chinese ambassador was an eye opener for everyone in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The senior minister said that such tactics of federal government would weak federating units. “We cannot remain silent anymore on this issue,” he added. He said when people showed concerns over the CPEC, the federal government dubbed them as lobby of India.

PPP parliamentary leader Mohammad Ali Shah said that it was astonishing to know that western route was not part of CPEC despite passage of several unanimous resolutions by that august house.

“PTI has staged sit-in and rallies in various parts of the country for political gains. If it also launches such a movement to have share in CPEC, PPP would fully support the provincial government,” he added.

Bakht Baidar Khan of Qaumi Watan Party said that Punjab was pushing Pakhtuns against the wall. “Pakhtuns have never raised anti-Pakistan slogans and neither degraded its flag but despite that Punjab is deliberately depriving them of their rights,” he added. The QWP leader said that federal government should wisely handle the issue and avoid creating such a situation that could cause division of the nation.

Mufti Syed Janan of JUI-F said that Pakhtuns rendered sacrifices for Pakistan. Recently when tension between Pakistan and India escalated, Pakhtuns were ready to fight alongside army, he said. “But unfortunately Pakhtuns have never been awarded their due rights,” he added. He also criticised provincial government for ‘wasting’ time in staging rallies against the prime minister instead of fighting for the rights of the province.

Shaukat Yousafzai of PTI said that sense of deprivation among small provinces was increasing owing to discriminatory attitude of the federal government. “This is a clear message of Punjab for other provinces that things only it wants would take place,” he said.

Mr Yousafzai said that chief minister was thinking to have a consultation with parliamentary leaders of other political parties to decide whether they should remain on roads or in the assembly.

PML-N lawmaker Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha said that most of the lawmakers from the treasury benches were absent from the house when such an important issue was being discussed. “It shows seriousness of PTI in CPEC,” he said. He assured the house that PML-N members would support the provincial government in the struggle for its share in CPEC.

Fazl Ilahi, Malik Qasim Khattak and Qalandar Lodhi of PTI; Raja Faisal Zaman of PML-N and JUI-F lawmaker Zareen Gul also spoke on the issue. The chair adjourned the session until Wednesday.

Source: dawn.com/news/1288081/pa-asks-centre-to-honour-promise-on-cpec

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Africa

5 killed in fresh violence in Central African Republic

Wednesday October 5, 2016

Four Muslim cattle traders were killed on Tuesday by unidentified assailants in the capital Bangui, security sources said.

The four lost their lives on the premises of the State Slaughterhouse Management Company, SEGA, added the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking with the media.

Another young Muslim shopkeeper was killed en route to picking up his wife from a maternity hospital by unidentified men.

The five bodies were deposited at the Ali Babolo Mosque in the Km5 neighborhood, according to Gen. Mohamed Moussa Dhaffane, leader of the splinter group Renewed Seleka for Peace and Justice.

The crimes follow the assassination yesterday of the commander of the nation's armed forces in the Bea-Rex district in Km5, according to the same source.

Commander Marcel Mombeka was shot by a sniper while he was passing through a Muslim enclave in the same neighborhood.

Mombeka later died from his wounds and his seriously injured teenage son was transported to the hospital.

Violence has returned to the CAR in recent weeks after a several months of stability and calm that followed the March 2016 presidential elections.

On Tuesday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced that gunmen stormed into Gbaya Dombia hospital in the third arrondissement and attacked a patient in the facility.

Reacting to the attacks, MSF has announced the suspension of its activities in the arrondissement.

Since 2013 thousands of people have been killed in sectarian conflict in the country, and thousands have fled their homes to seek refuge in neighboring countries, including Cameroon and Chad.

In a report, Amnesty International has estimated that more than 5,000 people, most of them civilians, have died in sectarian violence in the Central African Republic despite the presence of international forces.

Violence erupted in the Central African state in 2013, when Muslim Seleka rebels ousted then-President Francois Bozize, a Christian who had come to power in a 2003 coup.

Fierce fighting continued between Seleka and Christian anti-Balaka rebels before ending last year.

Source: worldbulletin.net/world/178230/14-al-shabaab-fighters-killed-in-somalia

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Central African Republic’s head of armed forces shot dead

Wednesday October 5, 2016

BANGUI, Central African Republic — The head of Central African Republic’s armed forces was shot dead Tuesday and his teenage son was injured in an attack in the capital, Bangui, a family member said.

Marcel Mombeka was shot twice in his car in the PK5 neighborhood, said his sister Kevine Mombeka. The mostly Muslim enclave was visited by Pope Francis last year in an effort to urge calm in a country shaken by deadly violence between Christians and Muslims.

“Shots rang out, creating panic among the population. I fled like everyone else,” Kevine Mombeka said. “A young man then stopped me to say my older brother had been killed by Muslims.”

Marcel Mombaka’s 14-year-old son, who was in the car, was shot and was being treated at a hospital, she said. She had been in the car as well but got out before the attack.

Minister of Public Security Jean Serge Bokassa denounced what he called acts to destabilize the nation, warning “they will not go unpunished.” The United Nations peacekeeping mission condemned the attack, saying it will assist with investigations.

Central African Republic has been rocked by violence since March 2013, when a largely Muslim alliance of rebel groups overthrew President Francois Bozize. The rebel leader left power in 2014, and a deadly backlash by the Christian anti-Balaka militia group followed against Muslim civilians. Thousands were killed.

Also Tuesday, three Peul men who were grazing their flocks in Bangui were killed, as well as a young Muslim man who left PK5 to find his wife, said the director of a livestock society, Patrick Ningata Ndjita. Peuls are mostly Muslim. It was not clear whether the killings occurred after the attack on Mombeka.

While this year’s elections to replace the country’s transitional government were peaceful, concerns remain that widespread violence could explode again.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: washingtonpost.com/world/africa/central-african-republics-head-of-armed-forces-shot-dead/2016/10/04/cd0d0c74-8a5a-11e6-8cdc-4fbb1973b506_story.html

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Southeast Asia

Former minister raps don over non sequitur claims about Shariah Bill

Wednesday October 5, 2016

Rejecting the assertion by Datuk Prof Mahamad Naser Disa, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic) says there is nothing in PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's Bill that is related to the issue of illegitimate children. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Rejecting the assertion by Datuk Prof Mahamad Naser Disa, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic) says there is nothing in PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's Bill that is related to the issue of illegitimate children. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Claims by the head of an Islamic think-tank that PAS's Shariah Bill will resolve the issue of illegitimate children belies the “Taliban” mentality that is the root of the problem, said a critical Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

Rejecting the assertion by Institute of Islamic Strategic Research Malaysia (Iksim) chief executive Datuk Prof Mahamad Naser Disa, the former de facto law minister said there was nothing in PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's Bill that was related to the illegitimate children.

“What is the connection between the high number of illegitimate children and the powers of the Shariah Court? What is Hadi’s new law going to do about the problem? Send the mothers to jail for 10 years?

“Which provision is he referring to exactly? And is sending the parents to jail for a long period going to solve this problem?” Zaid wrote on his blog today.

The former lawmaker also pointed out the fallacy in claiming causality or correlation when none was proven, noting that even a mandatory death sentence did not eradicate crimes such as drug trafficking.

Zaid then challenged Mahamad Naser to explain why granting the Shariah courts the power to hand down punishments short of the death sentence would reduce cases of premarital sex and children born out of wedlock when even death by hanging could not stop some crimes.

On the specific issue of illegitimate children, the former lawyer noted that Singapore has made notable strides in addressing the matter by educating its citizens on sexual health and reproduction, whereas such subjects were taboo here.

He also took aim at the gender segregation that is practised in Kelantan, which is governed by PAS.

“That’s why in this Taliban country, when young men and women have an opportunity to be together, they do it straightaway — without a condom, without even knowing what a condom looks like. They go after each other without thinking. It’s pure instinct,” he wrote.

“That’s why we have so many illegitimate children. Now do the good professor and PAS understand where the problem lies?”

Zaid further questioned the sincerity of Mahamad Naser's concern over the issue, and asked what the academic has done to help the reported 150,000 children born out of wedlock.

Mahamad Naser told a forum last week that he had proposed to elevate the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 ― also known as Act 355 ― in 2004 when he was a senior officer in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, but was rejected by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government then, mindful of the feelings of non-Muslims.

He expressed gratitude that his proposal has since been taken up by Hadi in Parliament, adding that late PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Haron Din had managed to win over support from key government figures.

Hadi had last month reportedly said he will retable his Private Member’s Bill on Act 355 at the Dewan Rakyat sitting that will start October 17.

The proposed amendment seeks to empower Shariah courts to enforce punishments provided in Shariah laws for Islamic offences listed under the states’ jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution.

Aside from specifying that Shariah courts cannot impose the death penalty, Hadi’s Bill does not elaborate on the nature of or set any limits for the punishments that the Shariah courts will be empowered to impose.

Source: themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/former-minister-raps-don-over-non-sequitur-claims-about-shariah-bill

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Religious, global leaders to attend World Peace Forum

Wed, October 5 2016

New York’s Islamic Center head Shamsi Ali, representatives of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, scholars from Iran, Egypt, Russia and Japan will be among participants and speakers at the World Peace Forum scheduled next month in Jakarta.

The Forum’s sixth conference is co-hosted by the Center for Dialogue and Cooperation among Civilizations (CDCC) of Indonesia’s second-largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah, and the Cheng Ho Multicultural Education Trust based in Malaysia.

Themed “Countering violent extremism: Human dignity, global injustice and collective responsibility”, the conference planned for Nov. 1 to 4 seeks to address violent extremism at the national and global level, organizers said.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is slated to open the conference that is to be closed by Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

CDCC chairman Din Syamsuddin said on Tuesday that despite many parties allocating much attention to fighting extremism “in the name of religion, ethnocentrism and political interests”, results seemed far from hopeful.

“Violent extremism and global in justice should become a collective responsibility among governments, stakeholders and civil society,” he said.

Din, the former chairman of Muhmmadiyah, said injustice was a major contributor to violent extremism, which takes the form of “physical and verbal violence, state violence and capital violence”.

The planned conference takes place amid continued attacks blamed on violent Islamists.

Last Monday, New York unveiled a major public campaign to fight Islamophobia in the wake of a Manhattan bomb attack blamed on a radicalized Afghan-American.

In August, more than 200 Sunni Muslim scholars from around the world convened in Grozny, Chechnya.

The concluding statement, which defined Sunni Islam, also the majority school of Islam in Indonesia, excluded the Wahhabi, the main Islamic strand of Saudi Arabia.

The statements of its clerics, whom consider other Muslims and even other Sunni as unbelievers, have been blamed as justifications of violence, among others by the Islamic State (IS) movement.

Muhammadiyah secretary-general Abdul Mu’ti said violence rooted in extremism was related not only to religion but also political, cultural and economic factors.

“It’s a big challenge to create peace in the world. The word ‘peace’ seems far from an ideal peace as violence is escalating, especially in the Middle East,” he said.

Speakers and participants who have confirmed their attendance include former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, Bishop Gunnar Stalsett of Norway, the co-chair of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims, and Jews Jeremy Jones, Moro Islamic Liberation Front representative Mohagher Iqbal, Mohammad Mahdi Taskhiri, the director general of the Center for Interreligious Dialog from Iran, Xhabir Hamiti from the Islamic Community of Kosovo and the emeritus professor Mitsuo Nakamura of Chiba University, Japan.

Source: thejakartapost.com/news/2016/10/05/religious-global-leaders-attend-world-peace-forum.html

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Is Singapore ready to join the fight against Isis?

October 5, 2016

The Singapore government has decided that it needs to participate in the coalition military efforts against the Islamic State (Isis). Officially, its reasons are that radical Jihadi terrorism is an ongoing problem, both globally as well as locally, and Singapore had to do its part in helping the global community eradicate it. Admittedly, its contribution to the war against Isis is relatively small: it commits no ground forces, but rather, a number of senior military planners working in the coalition’s operations centre.

The Singapore government recently altered its analysis of the threat of terrorism against Singapore, now arguing that a terrorist attack on the city-state is no longer a question of ‘if’, rather of ‘when’. In August, a plot to launch rocket attacks against Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands from the Indonesian island of Batam was uncovered, and authorities in Indonesia have since arrested a number of Indonesians who were allegedly involved in this plot. But with Singapore deciding to actively support the anti-Isis military efforts, many might question whether the city-state has just made itself a terrorist target.

Confusingly, the answer is both yes and no. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong admitted as much in August, when he said at the White House: “We are a target of Isis anyway. The JI [Jemaah Islamiyah] were looking for us before we did anything and before we knew they existed… If they see Indonesia and Malaysia as legitimate targets, all the more Singapore is a rational, open, cosmopolitan country, and not what they think countries should be, and therefore should be attacked. So do not think that by lying low, we are not going to be a target.”

As a country with a predominantly non-Muslim population located within a much larger, essentially Muslim region – even if the Muslim community was never monolithic – Singapore always stood out like a sore thumb. When the JI, a regional terrorist organisation based principally in Indonesia, proposed the establishment of a pan-Islamic caliphate in Southeast Asia, running as an arc from southern Thailand through the Indonesian archipelago and into the southern Philippines, Singapore would have been like a cancer to this geopolitical vision. That alone always made Singapore a potentially tempting target for terrorists operating in the Southeast Asia region.

It was probably no accident that the terrorists in Batam were planning to attack Marina Bay Sands. Not only is it one of the most prominent buildings in Singapore, it also represents to radical jihadists everything that is non-Islamic, indeed sinful, about Singapore. If their Southeast Asian affiliates had been able to successfully attack it, this could have been a significant morale boost for Isis.

Isis has been on the receiving end for some time now. The United States-led coalition and Russia have been launching air strikes against Isis facilities and key personnel. On the ground, it is being pushed back by a ragtag group of Kurdish peshmerga and indigenous Syrian resistance fighters, along with Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi military forces. Since Isis’ initial successes in carving out a piece of territory within Syria and Iraq, it has enjoyed almost no subsequent military successes.

In war, morale is as important, if not more so, as the physical ability to conduct military operations. In World War II, Jimmy Doolittle’s raid against Japan on 18 April 1942 did little actual damage to Japan, but it was a significant morale booster for the US. The morale boost that a successful attack against Marina Bay Sands would have engendered could have been strategically important. It does not necessarily result in victory for Isis in terms of its war objectives, but it could have rejuvenated its fighters to the cause.

Furthermore, Singapore is, even without a formal treaty of alliance, recognised as one of the United States’ most important strategic partners in the Asia-Pacific region. The US military often visits Singapore, and the city-state hosts a small but important US navy facility whose personnel were in 2002 allegedly the target of a planned JI attack, which was thwarted by the Singapore authorities.

However, Singapore’s participation in the war against Isis raises its profile. The size and nature of its contingent in the anti-Isis coalition is not the issue; its mere participation in the coalition, however, is. By joining the war against Isis, Singapore is effectively nailing its colours to the mast of the states currently engaged in fighting against the terror group. For the radical jihadists, therefore, Singapore can now be identified as an anti-Islamic state, and one that is worthy of a terrorist attack.

Source: sea-globe.com/analysis-singapore-islamic-state/

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