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Islamic World News ( 29 Nov 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Close Connection Between Capitalism And Wahhabism In Saudi Arabia: Rome’s Imam Mahdi Islamic Centre Conference


New Age Islam News Bureau

30 November 2020

  

• Muslims In Nepal Hold Protest Demanding Justice For China’s Uyghur

• Islamic State-Inspired Beheading Shocks Indonesian Village

• Syria Says Assassination Of Iranian Nuclear Scientist A ‘Terrorist’ Act

• Communal Harmony In West Burdwan:  Muslim Village Conducts Last Rites Of Hindu Neighbour

• Pakistan PM To Skip India-Hosted Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Meet

• 110 Civilians Killed In 'Boko Haram Attack' In Northeast Nigeria: UN

• Iranian Parliament Shifting Nuclear Roadmap Policy, Determined to Respond to N. Scientists’ Assassination

 

Europe

• Close Connection Between Capitalism And Wahhabism In Saudi Arabia: Rome’s Imam Mahdi Islamic Centre Conference

• UK Concerned Over Iran Situation, Awaiting Full Facts On Scientist Killing

• Award-winning Syrian photojournalist injured during Paris protest

• Iranian diplomat refuses to attend 'political trial' in Belgium

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South Asia

• Muslims In Nepal Hold Protest Demanding Justice For China’s Uyghur

• Protesters Demand Arrest Of Islamist Leaders Mamunul, Faizul For Opposing Bangabandhu Sculpture

• Bangladesh faces opposition on Rohingya relocation

• Afghanistan Faces ‘Restricted Conditions’ on Aids by Int’l Donors

• Peace Council Acts after Criticized on Dull Performance

• Two Afghanistan suicide bombings kill at least 34 people: Officials

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Southeast Asia

• Islamic State-Inspired Beheading Shocks Indonesian Village

• Suspected militants kill four Christians in remote Indonesian village

• In Bersatu Address, Muhyiddin Cites ‘God’s Will’ For Alliance With Umno And PAS, Vows Fight Against Secularism, Liberalism

• No one must dominate in coalition of Malay parties, says Saifuddin

• Divorces up by 12%, marriages down by 1.2% in 2019

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Arab world

• Syria Says Assassination Of Iranian Nuclear Scientist A ‘Terrorist’ Act

• Rocket attack hits oil refinery in northern Iraq

• UAE, Jordan condemn assassination of Iranian scientist

• Bahraini opposition parties, Hamas condemn assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist

• Iran able to confront Israeli-led terror crimes, desperate attempts to undermine its progress: Syria

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India

• Communal Harmony In West Burdwan:  Muslim Village Conducts Last Rites Of Hindu Neighbour

• 'Muslims Labelled As Pakistani, Sikhs As Khalistanis, And Activists As Urban Naxals: Mehbooba Mufti Attacks Modi Govt

• Late Music Composer Wajid Khan's Wife, Kamalrukh Accuses In-Laws Of Forcing Her To Convert To Islam

• 26/11: Extradition hearing for Tahawwur Rana to be held on February 12

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Pakistan

• Pakistan PM To Skip India-Hosted Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Meet

• Pakistan Always Upholds Sanctity Of OIC As Collective Voice Of Muslim Ummah: FM

• PM Imran Briefed On National, Regional Security Situation On Visit To ISI Headquarters

• Pakistan police launch crackdown against opposition ahead of PDM rally in Multan

• Pakistan PM Imran Khan's Kashmir campaign bombs at Islamic meet

• Shehbaz calls for national dialogue to end ‘crisis’

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Africa

• 110 Civilians Killed In 'Boko Haram Attack' In Northeast Nigeria: UN

• Boko Haram Terrorists Slaughter 43 Farm Workers In Nigeria’s Volatile Northeast

• Ethiopia's PM says Tigray operation 'completed' as army seizes Mekelle

• Sudan needs $150 million in aid to cope with Ethiopian refugees: UN

• UNHCR says it hopes humanitarian access to Ethiopia’s Tigray region will be granted

• Ethiopian PM: military has completed operations in the Tigray region

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Mideast

• Iranian Parliament Shifting Nuclear Roadmap Policy, Determined to Respond to N. Scientists’ Assassination

• Iranian President Issues Order for Start of Special Security Protocols after N. Scientist’s Assassination

• Iran Asks for UN Cooperation in Identification of Culprits behind Assassination of N. Scientist

• Iranian media says Israeli arms were used to assassinate Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

• Iranian newspaper: Iran should attack Haifa if Israel killed scientist Fakhrizadeh

• Eight Saudis killed in Yemeni ballistic missile attack against coalition's positions

• UN chief urges world to make ‘urgent contributions’ to cash-strapped UNRWA to help Palestinians

• Gaza marks International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians

• Scores of sick Palestinians facing death in Israeli prisons: Rights group warns

• Yemen: Deployment of UK troops to Saudi Arabia won't change situation

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North America

• Trump Adviser Kushner And US Team Heading To Saudi Arabia And Qatar For Talks

• Terrorism, climate change top list of challenges facing US military

• Sanders slams 'reckless, illegal' killing of Iranian scientist

• Ex-CIA chief slams Cruz over Iran assassination remarks

• US deploys Nimitz aircraft carrier back to Persian Gulf as tensions rise with Iran

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/close-connection-between-capitalism-wahhabism/d/123615

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 Close Connection Between Capitalism And Wahhabism In Saudi Arabia: Rome’s Imam Mahdi Islamic Centre Conference

29 November 2020

 Max Civili


On Saturday, Rome’s Imam Mahdi Islamic centre held a conference on the close connection between capitalism and Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia.

The initiative took place in the form of a virtual meeting and was attended by Shaykh Abbas Di Palma and PhD in Sociology of cultural processes Emiliano Laurenzi, author of the book Capitalistic Islam, Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia.

After a historical overview on the autocratic regime, the pair touched upon the role the Wahhabi doctrine plays in nowadays Saudi Arabia. Because of its ultraconservative understanding of Islam and literalist reading of Islamic scripture and Islamic Law, Wahhabism lays the foundation for Saudi Arabia to fully embrace capitalism and its values.

Conference speakers are of the idea that, now more than ever, the Saudi Crown appears engaged in a project of developing a unique brand of capitalism with Wahhabi characteristics. An even more ruthless form of capitalism in which resources are concentrated solely in the hands of a family and workers' rights are practically non-existent.

Saudi Arabia has become notorious for the systematic abuse and exploitation of the migrant workers who contribute so much to its economy. Unpaid wages, forced labour, dangerous working conditions and unsanitary accommodation facilities are increasingly common in the Kingdom these days.

Both speakers agreed on the fact that throughout the years Wahhabism has become an effective tool in US foreign policy in combating anti-Western secular and nationalistic ideologies in the Middle East and the Muslim world at large.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639620/Rome-conference

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Muslims In Nepal Hold Protest Demanding Justice For China’s Uyghur

Posted by Mallika Soni

Nov 29, 2020

 

Muslims in Nepal organised a protest against atrocities on Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province of China.(ANI)

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Muslims in Nepal on Sunday organised a protest against atrocities on Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province of China.

The protesters raised voice against the demolition of thousands of mosques in Xinjiang and the treatment being meted out to them by the Chinese government.

Muslims in Pokhara also joined the international community in expressing their views on the gruesome human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims.

The Muslim Kalyankari Samaj held a protest in Pokhara highlighting the severe anxiety and anger among local Muslims against Uyghur in China.

The community leaders said that they would keep raising their concern against atrocities on Uyghurs in the future as well.

Similar protests were held in Nepal a few days ago.

For the last six years, millions of East Turkistan people, mostly of Muslim faith, have been held in concentration camps, prisons, and slave labour camps.

According to survivors’ accounts, they are being tortured, killed for their organs, raped, sterilised and executed.

Classified documents known as the China Cables, accessed last year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, threw light on how the Chinese government uses technology to control Uyghur Muslims worldwide.

However, China regularly denies such mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training. People in the internment camps have described being subjected to forced political indoctrination, torture, beatings, and denial of food and medicine, and say they have been prohibited from practising their religion or speaking their language.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/muslims-in-nepal-hold-protest-demanding-justice-for-china-s-uyghur/story-1Z21TegnpZYES8KK4DHpSL.html

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Islamic State-Inspired Beheading Shocks Indonesian Village

By James Massola and Karuni Rompies

November 30, 2020

 

Sidney Jones is a global expert on Islamic terrorism in South-east Asia.CREDIT:CHRIS LANE

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The brutal murder of four Christians in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi was inspired by the Islamic State, but not ordered by it, according to one of the world's foremost experts on the terror group.

One of the victims was beheaded in the attack on Friday, while the other three had their throats slit. Seven houses in Lemban Tongoa, in Sigi District, were burnt down.

Police and the military are still hunting for 10 members of the militant group East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), which has pledged loyalty to IS in the past.

The director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, Sidney Jones, said the Islamic State's official propaganda channel had claimed the murders as an act in support of the terrorist group.

"ISIS media claimed credit and yes, it was inspired but not directed by ISIS," she said, using an abbreviation for the group.

"This was a sub-group of MIT led by a man named Qatar, who has been involved in attacks with machetes in March and then August this year. This is the first time in a while we have seen the Christian community targeted, usually they go after informants who have been assisting the police, or the police themselves."

Jones said it was not yet clear why Christians had been targeted but the area where it took place, and in the nearby Poso region, has been a terrorist hotspot for some time, and a site of high tensions between the local Christian and Muslim communities.

She said MIT had probably no more than 14 active members and just a handful of guns, which is "one of the reasons they have used machetes" in the latest attack.

"They [MIT] have made a point of moving around the jungle [in the region] in a way that has enabled them to elude pursuers," Jones said.

That and a lack of training in jungle combat for Indonesian city police have held back attempts to bring the group to justice. While the military units had had the relevant training, they did not know the jungle in the area well, which had also slowed down attempts to apprehend the group.

The chairman of the Indonesian Council of Churches, Gomar Gultom, condemned the "barbaric and savage attack" and urged the government to use security agencies to swiftly investigate the murders.

"I had a conversation with the head of Salvation Army this morning and he said the conditions out there are still a little shocking. People still need psychological support," he said. The victims belonged to a church run by the Salvation Army.

"For some time the people out there have been living under the shadow of fear. Therefore, the state must immediately settle this problem and provide security guarantees for the people so that people like farmers can have a normal life again."

However, Gomar argued that — based on currently available information — the attack "did not target Christians. Previous incidents have non-Christians as victims".

Yahya Cholil Staquf, the secretary-general of Nahdlatul Ulama, the world's largest Muslim organisation said the murders followed a horrifying pattern of attacks around the world in Paris, Nice, Aleppo, Mosul, Libya and Nigeria.

"Statements such as 'such savagery does not represent Islam' are not enough. Clearly, there is a problem within Islam and there is a problem of relations between groups — be it religious, ethnic, secular ideologies or other identities — amidst the pluralism of the civilised world."

Human Rights Watch Indonesia researcher Andreas Harsono said the attack was "another serious escalation against the Christian minority in Indonesia".

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/islamic-state-inspired-beheading-shocks-indonesian-village-20201130-p56j7c.html

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Syria says assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist a ‘terrorist’ act

28 November 2020

Syria's Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad accused Israel and “those who supported it” on Saturday of being behind the killing of Iran's top nuclear scientist, an act he said would only fuel more tensions in the region.

Mekdad was quoted by state media as telling the Iranian envoy in Damascus that Syria was confident Iran would confront what he called the “terrorist act” behind the killing on Friday of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the country's top nuclear scientist.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/28/Syria-says-assassination-of-Iranian-nuclear-scientist-a-terrorist-act

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Communal Harmony In West Burdwan:  Muslim Village Conducts Last Rites Of Hindu Neighbour

Nov 30, 2020

Burdwan: In an exemplary instance of communal harmony, Muslim neighbours of a 70-year-old Hindu man at Jamuria village in west Burdwan conducted his funeral along with his family on Sunday.

Ramdhani Rajak’s family happened to be the only Hindu household among 230 Muslim families in Desher Mahan village, around 200 km from the city. Rajak lived with his wife and a mentally challenged son while his elder son lives in Kolkata.

The 70-year-old had died of head injuries almost 10 hours after falling from a tree, after being refused treatment at five private hospitals in West Burdwan, Durgapur and Jamuria as he had not undergone a Covid test. The neighbours took him from one hospital to another and after his death, gathered wood and carried the body to the banks of the Ajoy river where his elder son performed rituals.

“I am thoroughly indebted to the neighbours. Had they not been beside us, it would have been impossible to manage everything on our own. They not only tried their best to give proper treatment to my father but after his death, they arranged everything and even paid for the funeral,” said Ramvilas, who was able to reach Jamuria from his Salt Lake home only on Saturday evening.

Locals said Rajak was well-known among villagers as he used to wash and iron clothes and deliver them back to the households for a living. “When we heard he had met with an accident, we immediately took him to a hospital. We visited five hospitals in Ranigunj and Durgapur, but none admitted him. Some said ICCU was not available while others said he couldn’t be admitted without a Covid test. By the time one hospital admitted him, he died,” said Sheikh Firdaus, a neighbour.

Firdaus said they took the body back to the village and set up a tent outside his house. “Early on Sunday, we set off for the last rites along with his family and cremated him following all Hindu rituals. We don’t think we have done something exemplary. We had never differentiated between his family and us in our village. He was one of our own,” said Firdaus.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/muslim-village-conducts-last-rites-of-hindu-neighbour/articleshow/79481591.cms

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Pakistan PM To Skip India-Hosted Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Meet

Nov 30, 2020

NEW DELHI: India will for the first time host a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government on Monday that will see the participation of prime ministers of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Another member-state, Pakistan, will be represented by its parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs.

As first reported by TOI on Tuesday, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, instead of PM Narendra Modi, will chair the meeting. While Modi was expected to chair the meeting, given that India is the host nation, the PM will be travelling to his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi on Monday where he is expected to inaugurate an expressway.

Ahead of the meeting, official sources said India will continue to play a proactive and constructive role in the regional organisation seen as vital for promoting peace, security and trade. Participating in the recent SCO summit hosted by Russia, Modi had said that the Eurasian forum was being used to raise the Kashmir issue even though the SCO charter didn’t permit it.

Pakistani PM Imran Khan will for the second time this year avoid attending a meeting hosted by India apparently to show solidarity with the Kashmiris after India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu & Kashmir. He had earlier skipped the meeting of Saarc leaders held by Modi for cooperation on Covid-19.

The SCO CHG deals primarily with the trade and economic agenda of the organisation and approves its annual budget.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-pm-to-skip-india-hosted-sco-meet/articleshow/79482685.cms

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110 civilians killed in 'Boko Haram attack' in northeast Nigeria: UN

29 November 2020

The United Nations (UN) says at least 110 people have been killed in a weekend attack in northeast Nigeria by the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group.

Initial tolls indicated that at least 43 people were killed in Saturday’s attack which took place as Nigerian farmers were working in rice fields in the village of Kwashebe, near Maiduguri, the capital of volatile Borno state.

The assailants tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats.

Edward Kallon, UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said in a statement on Sunday that "At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack”.

"The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year," he said, adding, "I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice”.

Kallon further called for the immediate release and return to safety of several women, which reports said may have been kidnapped in the attack.

Militia leader Babakura Kolo said, "We recovered 43 dead bodies, all of them slaughtered, along with six others with serious injuries."

"It is no doubt the handiwork of Boko Haram, who operate in the area and frequently attack farmers," he said.

Meanwhile, Borno state Governor Babagana Umara Zulum who attended the burial ceremony for the 43 recovered bodies in the nearby Zabarmari village on Sunday said the death toll could increase after search operations resumed.

The victims were laborers from Sokoto state in northwest Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometers away, who had traveled to the northeast to find work, Ibrahim Liman, a local militia fighting armed groups in the region said.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari extended his condolences to the victims’ families and condemned the attack, saying, "The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings."

The brutal massacre on Saturday occurred as Nigerian voters went to the polls in local elections in Borno State after the vote had been repeatedly postponed due to an increase in attacks by Boko Haram and the West Africa Province (ISWAP) branch of the Daesh terrorist group.

Northeastern Nigeria has been wracked by years of violence involving clashes between rival communities over land, attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs, and reprisal killings by vigilante groups.

Boko Haram and the West Africa Province (ISWAP) branch of the Daesh terrorist group have increasingly targeted loggers, herders and fishermen in their violent campaign, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them.

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

Boko Haram’s violence has spilled over into the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, which have created a joint military force to fight the terrorists.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639621/Nigeria-attack-UN-Edward-Kallon-farmers-death-toll-Borno

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Iranian Parliament Shifting Nuclear Roadmap Policy, Determined to Respond to N. Scientists’ Assassination

2020-November-29

The Iranian lawmakers reviewed on Sunday an urgent countermeasure plan that includes halt to the implementation of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

According to Abolfazl Aboutorabi, a senior member of the Parliament, lawmakers agreed to turn an urgent strategic motion, which aims to counteract unilateral sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by Western countries, topped by the United States, to a double-urgency motion.

Out of 246 lawmakers present at today's session, 232 voted in favor of the new move.

“It was decided to finalize and put into force the strategic action plan, which includes stopping the implementation of the Additional Protocol (to NPT),” he added.

Resumption of 20% uranium enrichment, boosting use of IR6 and IR8 centrifuge machines, limiting IAEA inspections by halting the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the NPT, and making another Arak Heavy Water reactor identical with its original design which went under redesigning under the nuclear deal are among the new contents put into an original version of the bill.

Aboutorabi noted that the Parliament is also addressing the details of the martyrdom of top Iranian physicist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated in Absard, Damavand County, Tehran province, on Friday.

Earlier this month, the Iranian parliamentarians approved the single-urgency bill to adopt strategic measures to remove sanctions against the country.

The lawmakers had given green light to the urgent strategic motion in early November, but the plan has turned into a double-urgency after the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist.

Under the bill, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) is required to start in two months after the approval of the present bill to produce at least 120 kg of 20%-enriched uranium annually at Fordow nuclear site and store it inside the country, increase the enrichment capacity and production of enriched uranium to at least 500 kg per month, start the installation of centrifuges, gas injection, enrichment, and storage of materials up to proper purity levels within 3 months, via at least 1000 IR-2m centrifuges in the underground part of Shahid Ahmadi Roshan facility in Natanz, transfer any enrichment, research, and development operations of IR-6 centrifuges to the nuclear site of Shahid Ali Mohammadi in Fordow, and start enrichment operation via at least 164 centrifuges and expand it to 1000 by the end of 20 March 2021 (end of the Iranian calendar year) and return the 40 megawatts Arak heavy water reactor to its pre-JCPOA condition by reviving the heart (calandria) of the reactor within 4 months from the date of the adoption of this law.

Also, the government is required to suspend the nuclear deal-based regulatory access beyond the Additional Protocol within 2 months after the adoption of this law based on the articles 36 and 37 of the nuclear deal.

Also, after 3 months from the adoption of this law, if Iran's banking relations in Europe and the amount of oil purchases by them from Iran is not back to normal and to satisfactory conditions, the government is required to stop the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol.

Meantime, if after 3 months from the adoption of this law, the nuclear deal parties return to fulfill their undertakings, the government is required to submit a proposal to the parliament for Iran's reciprocal action to return to the nuclear deal undertakings, the bill said.

Addressing the parliament on Sunday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said that the enemies are scared of empowerment of the country, reiterating that they will not regret criminal acts except through strong response from Iran.

"The enemies of the Iranian people, once again by resorting to terror, proved that they are scared of the increase of Iran's power and chose to remove our scientists to confront the nation," Qalibaf said, adding that the enemies will not regret such criminal moves except when receive Iran’s firm response.

"The people of Iran have been facing such losses for more than four decades and experience has proven that they have continued the path of their martyrs stronger than before," he went on to say.

"But the criminal enemies will not regret, except with a strong response that both deters them from possible future mistakes and takes revenge from them for these crimes," the speaker stressed.

"In this regard, in addition to revenge from the perpetrators and commanders of the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh, all relevant forces and organizations ae duty-bound to turn the threat of this tragic loss into an opportunity to strengthen various economic, security, defence and nuclear fields," he noted.

US President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the historic deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade, but to no avail since its "so-called maximum pressure policy" has failed to push Tehran to the negotiating table.

In response to the US’ unilateral move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

Tehran has particularly been disappointed with failure of the three European signatories to the JCPOA -- Britain, France and Germany -- to protect its business interests under the deal after the United States' withdrawal.

On January 5, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990909000669/Iranian-Parliamen-Shifing-Nclear-Radmap-Plicy-Deermined-Respnd-N

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Europe

 

UK concerned over Iran situation, awaiting full facts on scientist killing

29 November 2020

British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday he was concerned about the situation in Iran and wider region after the killing of a top Iranian nuclear scientist.

“We are concerned about the situation in Iran and the wider region we do want to see de-escalation of tensions,” Raab told Sky News, after Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near Tehran on Friday.

“We’re still waiting to see the full facts to address the full facts of what’s happened in Iran but I would say that we stick to the rule of international humanitarian law which is very clear against targeting civilians.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/29/UK-concerned-over-Iran-situation-awaiting-full-facts-on-scientist-killing

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Award-winning Syrian photojournalist injured during Paris protest

29 November 2020

A press freedom group has denounced the “unacceptable” injury of an award-winning Syrian photojournalist during a Paris protest against police brutality.

Ameer Alhalbi, a freelance photographer who worked for Polka Magazine and AFP, was covering the weekend demonstrations opposing police violence and the French government’s new law restricting sharing images of officers.

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

In AFP photos Alhalbi’s face appears bruised with much of his head covered in bandages.

Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, tweeted that the 24-year-old had been wounded at Place de la Bastille by “a police baton” and condemned the violence.

“Ameer came from #Syria to #France to take refuge, like several other Syrian journalists. The land of human rights should not threaten them, but protect them,” he said in a second tweet.

Deloire also noted Alhalbi had been clearly identified as a journalist.

Dimitri Beck, director of photography for Polka, said that Alhalbi had suffered a broken nose and injured forehead, and had been taken to hospital.

Alhalbi has won several international awards, including second prize in the “Spot News” category for the World Press Photo in 2017, mainly for his coverage of the Syrian conflict in his home city Aleppo for AFP.

Police said Sunday that two demonstrators had complained of being hurt by officers in protests outside Paris, while no count had yet been made in the capital itself.

Some 62 police officers were injured during the Saturday demonstrations, the interior ministry said, while 81 people were arrested.

A number of videos shared online showed marchers beating police officers.

The interior ministry added that 133,000 people had taken part in the demonstrations, 46,000 of them in Paris, while organizers said the figure was 500,000 nationwide and 200,000 in Paris.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/29/Award-winning-Syrian-photojournalist-injured-during-Paris-protest

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Iranian diplomat refuses to attend 'political trial' in Belgium

28 November 2020

An Iranian diplomat, who was arrested back in 2018 on the false charges of being linked to a bomb attack plot in the French capital of Paris, has refused to turn up for trial in Belgium.

In June 2018, Belgian authorities said that Iranian diplomat Assadollah Assadi had been arrested in Germany over suspicions of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) in Paris attended by US President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and several former European and Arab ministers.

The authorities added that Belgian police had intercepted the suspect, along with a 38-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, in Belgium with 500 grams of the homemade explosive TATP and a detonation device found in their car.

Germany extradited to Belgium the 46-year-old diplomat in defiance of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.

Dimitri de Beco, the Iranian diplomat’s defense lawyer, said he would be representing his client and that Assadi did not attend the court on Friday as he was seeking diplomatic immunity.

De Beco also added that the plaintiffs were turning the case into a political trial on behalf of the MKO.

The next session of the trial is scheduled to take place on Thursday and the court is then expected to adjourn its verdict before ruling early next year.

Following Assadi’s apprehension in Berlin, the director general for Europe affairs at Iran's Foreign Ministry met German ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold to convey the Islamic Republic’s strong opposition to the arrest, detention and extradition of the Iranian diplomat and said the move was part of a manufactured plot by those opposing Iran-Europe relations and was planned by the MKO itself.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also said that the claims about Assadi constituted a "sinister false flag ploy."

The MKO has conducted many assassinations and bombings against Iranian officials and civilians since the 1979 victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution. It notoriously sided with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during his 1980-88 war on Iran.

Out of the nearly 17,000 Iranians killed in terrorist assaults since the Revolution, about 12,000 fell victim to the MKO’s acts of terror.

The terrorist outfit was on the US list of terrorist organizations until 2012. Major European countries, including France, have also removed it from their blacklists. The anti-Iran terrorists enjoy freedom of activity in the US and Europe, and even hold meetings with American and EU officials.       

Western and European countries have also kept silent about the latest targeted killing of Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by terrorists in his vehicle in a small city east of the capital Tehran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry roundly condemned the terror attack, saying there were “serious indications” of the Israeli regime’s role in the assassination.

Fakhrizadeh’s name was mentioned multiple times in a presentation in 2018 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he repeated baseless claims about the Iranian nuclear program.

Netanyahu described the scientist as the director of Iran’s nuclear program and threatened, “Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

The Tel Aviv regime has made several attempts over the past years to throw a wrench in Tehran’s peaceful nuclear work.

The regime has been behind the assassination of several Iranian nuclear scientists. It has also conduced cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639531/Belgian-court-Iranian-diplomat-Assadollah-Assadi-Mujahedin-Khalq-Organization

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South Asia

 

Protesters demand arrest of Islamist leaders Mamunul, Faizul for opposing Bangabandhu sculpture

Nawaz Farhin Antara

November 28th, 2020

Muktijuddho Mancha blocks Dhaka for an hour, announces countrywide protest for Dec 1

Leaders and activists of Muktijuddho Mancha on Saturday demanded the arrest of leaders of the Islamist platforms Mamunul Haque and Faizul Karim for opposing the construction of the sculpture of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Several hundreds of protesters under the platform blocked the Shahbagh intersection in the capital at about 4pm and gave the authorities a 24-hour ultimatum to arrest joint secretary general of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh Mawlana Mamunul Haque and senior Nayeb-e-Ameer of Islami Andolan Bangladesh Faizul Karim.

They demanded exemplary punishment for the two men for insulting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and opposing the construction of Bangabandhu’s sculpture.

The protesters placed a seven-point demand that includes setting up sculptures of Bangabandhu at all educational institutions across the country and in all districts and upazilas.

The protesters demanded ensuring the highest punishment for those involved in rape.

They also demanded a ban on religion-based politics, and any politics in mosques and madrasahs in order to uphold communal harmony in the country.

The Mancha leaders also demanded that those who engaged in provocative speeches or spread rumours at religious gatherings and on social media be identified and prosecuted.

They called for reforms of the madrasa education system and increasing monitoring in the madrasahs through forming monitoring cells to prevent incidents of sexual harassment in madrasahs.

The protesters commenced their rally at 3:30pm on Saturday, and arranged a procession from the Raju sculpture in Dhaka University area to Shahbagh intersection. Later, they blocked the Shahbagh intersection for an hour to publicise their demands.

The platform also announced holding a human chain and protest rally across Bangladesh on December 1.

“All the units of Muktijuddha Mancha will hold the programme at 3pm on December 1 across Bangladesh. If the demand is not met, a strict programme will be announced,” Al Mamun, general secretary of Muktijuddha Mancha, made the announcement.

The event was organized a day after Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh chief Junaid Babunagari threatened to tear down all statues in the country.

"All statues will be pulled down no matter who they represent. We will tear them down," he said on Friday while addressing an event at Chittagong’s Hathazari.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would be run on the lines of the Medina Charter. There can be no statues if the country is governed in line with that charter,” he said.

However, the Hefazat chief also said: "Honorable prime minister, we respect you and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We are not your enemies."

Although Babunagari held an event on Friday, Hefazat-e-Islam leader Maulana Mamunul Haque, however, had to cancel his scheduled program on the same day at Hathazari Madrasa in Chittagong in the face of agitation programs led by Bangladesh Chhatra League in the area to resist his arrival.

Mamunul has recently achieved notoriety for insulting Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by opposing the construction of his sculptures across the country.

After this, leaders and activists of the Chhatra League announced that they would resist Mamunul from attending the religious program in Hathazari upazila of Chittagong, which was why Mamunul had to skip the event.

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2020/11/28/protestors-block-shahbagh-seeking-action-against-people-opposing-sculpture

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Bangladesh faces opposition on Rohingya relocation

SM Najmus Sakib  

29.11.2020

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh remains determined to transfer 100,000 Rohingya refugees in the temporary shelter to a remote island despite widespread opposition from rights groups and UN agencies.

The South Asian nation said it is set to initiate the relocation to the remote islet, 50 kilometers (31 miles) from its southwestern coast in December, citing “rising pressure” on the tourist hub of Cox’s Bazar, where 1.2 million Rohingya refugees are currently housed in camps.

A new list of food and non-food items for initiating the relocation process of Rohingya to Bhasan Char Island has been proceeded by the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner's (RRRC).

“Our target is to relocate some 100,000 refugees in phases. We want to shift some of them [Rohingya] as early as possible, and we want to avail advantage of the approaching winter season to this effect,” said Md. Delwar Hossain, head of the Myanmar wing of Bangladesh's Foreign Ministry.

“We don’t rule out the possibility of beginning the relocation to the islet in December, considering the friendly weather in winter for such a voyage,” he told Anadolu Agency. He did not mention a date or number but confirmed the figure must be “small in number” in the initial phases.

But the Dhaka Tribune newspaper quoted official sources saying that more than 1,200 Rohingyas from 500 families living in camps in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox's Bazar will be relocated to Bhasan Char in the first week of December.

Bangladesh has developed 120 cluster villages in Bhasan Char, spending 23 billion Bangladeshi takas ($272 million) to accommodate 100,000 Rohingya in the first phase.

The island is accessible only by boat and remains isolated during rough weather.

Call for reconsideration

CR Abrar from the international relations department at Dhaka University suggested Bangladesh conduct more assessment and reconsider relocation before initiating a sensitive issue because, he said, it could hamper Bangladesh’s image on global platforms.

“The move comes at a time when pressure on Myanmar accelerated. Western countries move for imposing sanctions on Myanmar, and justice and accountability mechanisms at international justice courts get momentum, so international attention could be derived and Bangladesh could get a negative mark,” he said.

And, if Bangladesh is determined, then it must be done voluntarily having ensured there will be no pressure for relocation, he said. “Shifting Rohingya could delay the ultimate target of repatriation.”

Ansar Ali, a Rohingya leader at the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, who visited the island under arrangements by the Bangladesh government, told Anadolu Agency that “If the Bangladesh government take us to anywhere we would go, but it’s our ultimate destiny to back to our home country, Myanmar. We face all these as Myanmar starts procrastination over the repatriation.”

“Bhasan Char is a beautiful Island I found when I visited, but Cox’s Bazar is what we prefer to the Islet whereas some of our people believe that relocation could hamper the repatriation,” he said.

Rights groups, including UN agencies and Amnesty International, also repeatedly urged Bangladesh to abandon plans to relocate refugees to the remote island in the Bay of Bengal, characterizing it not “safe” for human habitation and places “serious questions over this relocation procedure.”

“Although Bhasan Char is well equipped and good for living, Rohingya in Cox's Bazar camps do not want to be relocated. They are afraid they will be isolated once relocated to the Bhasan Char,” Ro Nay San Lwin, co-founder of Free Rohingya Coalition based in the UK told Anadolu Agency.

“Traumatized refugees should not be forced to relocate. We understand the situation of the Cox's Bazar camps but the appeals of refugees should be honored,” he said. “Pressuring Myanmar to accept them back with full citizenship and protection is the only solution.”

Voluntary relocation

“Bangladesh officials did not force us to move, and some of the Rohingya refugees already showed their interest to be relocated and some 120,000 Rohingya have already shown interest by enlisting their names towards voluntary relocation,” said Ali, the Rohingya refugee in Cox’s Bazar.

Hossain said the number relocated will be determined based on how many [Rohingya] show interest “voluntarily and we won’t force anyone.”

Cox’s Bazar has been facing tremendous problems.

“Huge forest areas got banished, local biodiversity got hampered, water lair contained to go down, and the infrastructure of areas can hardly don half a million population whereas over one million Rohingya are there,” said Hossain,

"Our first priority is to send them [Rohingya] to their own land, Myanmar. However, there is no recent progress on the repatriation process, so we have to take some temporary measures like shifting them,” he said.

“We have assessed and constructed the big facility in Bhasan Char having consulted with international experts, and the facility showed its strength in face of three recent cyclones, so why some agencies raise questions that the island would be vulnerable for residents,” he said as he questioned the motive of those who criticize possible relocation.

The Foreign Ministry official urged rights agencies to concentrate on available repatriation rather than talking about temporary and small issues.

Abrar, however, on the issue of “no progress” on repatriation said Bangladesh should concentrate on new a diplomatic focus. “Bangladesh will have to shift its focus on the global platforms from India and China as the two countries seem to bring no good for Bangladesh and causing delay to much-awaited repatriation.”

He reproached India and China for their roles in supporting Myanmar in the global platform which he claimed was the mother of all problems with Rohingya.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/bangladesh-faces-opposition-on-rohingya-relocation/2059544

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Afghanistan Faces ‘Restricted Conditions’ on Aids by Int’l Donors

By Mohammad Arif Sheva

30 Nov 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan – The international community imposes tougher conditions on financial aid it provides to Afghanistan through 2024, said the Ministry of Finance on Sunday, following a widespread criticism against high-profile government officials accused of money laundering and corruption.  

The country is expected to provide annual report, based on which donors will push through their financial aids to Afghanistan.

“Without any doubt, this time, the aid by the international community to Afghanistan will be given with more restricted conditions, but we are confident to work in a good way as part our mutual accountability with the world,” said Shamroz Khan Masjidi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance, as TOLOnews quoted.

Meanwhile, Nazir Kabiri, the Chief Executive of Biruni Institute, said Afghan government will need to brief the international community about programs that it had undertaken in the past years, including the years to come, in order to maintain aids from donors.

“This time the donors will conduct their assessments from the achievements on an annual basis, therefore, with the reduction in aid, the issues must be tackled in an appropriate way,” said Kabiri of the Biruni Institute that is a research organization in Kabul.

During the 2020 Geneva Conference on Afghanistan last week, the international community renewed their financial and political commitment to Afghanistan for another four years. 

Although, an exact amount of the money pledged by the donors is not immediately announced, the government says it expected $4 billion in aid to Afghanistan per year, which will be “invested in money-generating institutions and projects.”

https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-faces-restricted-conditions-on-aids-by-intl-donors-345345/

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Peace Council Acts after Criticized on Dull Performance

By Mohammad Arif Sheva

30 Nov 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan – High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) has finalized members of its leadership committee Sunday, said a spokesman for the council, after critique suggested the body is too slow to enact constructive rule in peace process.

On Friday, the EU Delegation and EU Heads of Mission based in Kabul urged for a “swift establishment and operationalization of the High Council of National Reconciliation, saying the body designated to provide “guidance” to the ongoing peace negotiations.

The committee is expected to hold its first meeting in coming days.

“The finalization of the list of the High Council of National Reconciliation moves at full pace, the council will soon conduct its meeting,” said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, as TOLOnews quoted.

Authorities did not further elaborate on members of the newly set committee, and whether or not women are included, but said the board is composed of at least 46 members.

“There are 45 to 46 people as members of the leadership council of the High Council of National Reconciliation,” said Mujiburrahmna Rahimi, a spokesman for the HCNR. 

Meanwhile, Chairman of the HCNR Abdullah Abdullah confirming an upcoming meeting of the committee said Monday that he has talked with the president about progresses the body made towards contributing a constructive role on Afghan peace.

“Today I had a constructive meeting with excellencies President @ashrafghani, the former president @KarzaiH, & the Jihadi leader Prof. Abdurrab Rasul Sayaf,” he said in a tweet. “We exchanged views on the #AfghanPeaceProcess, the talks in Doha, & the first meeting of the leadership committee of HCNR.”

In August, President Ashraf Ghani in a formal decree announced the appointment of members of the leadership board of the High Council of National Reconciliation, where former president Hamid Karzai and other prominent politicians were on his list.

But Abdullah’s office at the time said the appointment of the council’s members was the duty of the council itself. 

https://www.khaama.com/peace-council-acts-after-criticized-on-dull-performance-34534/

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Two Afghanistan suicide bombings kill at least 34 people: Officials

29 November 2020

Afghan officials said Sunday at least 34 people were killed in two separate suicide bombings that targeted a military base and a provincial chief.

In eastern Ghazni province, 31 soldiers were killed and 24 others wounded when the attacker drove a military humvee full of explosives onto an army commando base before detonating the car bomb, according to an official in Afghanistan’s national security council, who spoke anonymously because he was not permitted to speak directly to the media.

The attack was also confirmed by Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian, though he did not provide details on casualties.

In southern Afghanistan, a suicide car bomber targeted the convoy of a provincial council chief in Zubal, killing at least three people and wounding 12 others, including children.

The provincial council chief, Attajan Haqbayat, survived the Sunday attack with minor injuries, though one of his bodyguards was among those killed, said provincial police spokesman Hikmatullah Kochai.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks.

The bombings come as Afghan government representatives and the Taliban hold face-to-face talks in Qatar for the first time to end the country’s decades-long war.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/29/Afghanistan-car-bomb-kills-at-least-26-security-personnel-Officials

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Southeast Asia

 

Suspected militants kill four Christians in remote Indonesian village

29 Nov 2020

Police in Indonesia were on Saturday hunting suspected militants accused of killing four people said by rights groups to be Christians, beheading one and burning down their homes.

Ten militants linked to a “terrorist” group beheaded one victim and slit the throats of the others on the island of Sulawesi on Friday, national police spokesman Awi Setiyono quoted a witness as saying.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, has grappled with intermittent militant attacks recently.

“This attack is another serious escalation against the Christian minority in Indonesia,” Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told Reuters.

Gomar Gultom, the head of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, said the victims were Christian and urged the authorities to resolve the case.

International Christian Concern, a Washington-based advocacy group, said “an alleged terrorist” killed four Christians in the Sulawesi village, burning down a Salvation Army post and Christian homes.

According to witness reports, the perpetrators had asked for food from the victims, who were killed when they refused, Awi told Reuters. He denied the attacks were religiously motivated.

“We’re on the ground now, there’s about 100 people who will start chasing,” he told the news channel Metro TV.

The investigation, led by the Indonesian police and the military, may run into hurdles as the incident took place in a hilly, remote village near the region of Sigi in Central Sulawesi province, he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/29/suspected-militants-kill-four-christians-in-remote-indonesian-village

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In Bersatu Address, Muhyiddin Cites ‘God’s Will’ For Alliance With Umno And PAS, Vows Fight Against Secularism, Liberalism

28 Nov 2020

BY RADZI RAZAK

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has claimed today that it is “God’s will” that his party has now allied itself with two other Malay-dominant parties, Umno and PAS — both previously its political enemies.

In his policy speech for the third Bersatu Annual General Meeting peppered with verses of Quran and Arabic phrases, Muhyiddin who is also Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, said divine will has caused the three parties to band together for the sake of the Malay-Muslim community’s unity.

“This is a test from Allah to us. I believe that there is underlying wisdom in this test that brings together Umno, Bersatu and PAS in one ‘saf’,” he said, using the Arabic term that refers to line or alignment, but usually to describe rows of Muslims united in congregational prayers.

“This cooperation will unite the Malay Muslim in our country who has been divided politically for so long.

“We need to see the bigger ‘maslahah’, the larger good. Wouldn’t it be good that all Malay-Muslim leaders can come together in a larger, stronger ‘jamaah’ than divided into weaker ‘kabilah’?” he asked.

“Maslahah” is an Arabic term referring to “benefits”, “jamaah” is “congregation”, and “kabilah” is “tribe”.

“If we did not, then the Malay unity will remain an elusive dream that would never materialise in our lifetime,” he said in his speech at the AGM, which was held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Muhyiddin also promised that PN will fight to return “moderate” Sunni Muslim teachings, which form the basis of the brand of Islam solely recognised by Putrajaya, and to “fight secularism and liberalism”.

He said that today, the government faces new challenges against the Shariah code governing Islam, which he claimed included secularism and liberalism.

“The thoughts came in the guise of scholarly discourse somewhat deviant in the true teachings of Islam.

“We must hold fast to the faith of Muslims using the approach based on knowledge and wisdom,” he said.

Muhyiddin also revealed that he had held a meeting with Umno president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and agreed that there are discrepancies within their partnership that need to be fixed, following open criticisms against PN from several Umno MPs.

“We spoke from heart to heart. We spoke frankly. We realised the relationship between Umno and Bersatu has to be mended. There needs to be efforts. There needs to be a push from the top leaders to the grassroots.

“It is not easy, but this is the best way forward,” he said, insisting that Bersatu must not stand alone and join a three-way fight with Umno and PAS in the next general election.

In line with that, Muhyiddin also suggested that a Presidential Council be established consisting of party leaders in the PN, BN, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah.

“This is important because not all party leaders are in the Cabinet, therefore through this meeting, party leaders can channel their views to be considered in the implementation of policies,” he said.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/11/28/in-bersatu-address-muhyiddin-cites-gods-will-for-alliance-with-umno-and-pas/1926994

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No one must dominate in coalition of Malay parties, says Saifuddin

November 29, 2020

KUANTAN: There should be no issue of which party will be more dominant if PPBM, PAS and Umno form a coalition to face the 15th general election, said Pahang PPBM secretary Saifuddin Abdullah.

He said that in the current situation, all parties should be willing to work together and prioritise the people’s interests and welfare.

“Present-day politics should be viewed from the current situation. Let’s not be influenced by the old political framework which will make it difficult for us to work, as what is important is to place the people first.

“We should adopt an open attitude and the issue of who is riding (on someone) and dominating should not arise in forming a coalition of Malay parties.

“This coalition should be given a chance to serve,” he told reporters after attending the Indera Mahkota Prihatin programme here today.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, in his policy address at the PPBM annual general assembly, said it would be good for all Malay-Muslim leaders to be grouped under a major alliance to create stability in Malaysia, instead of being split into small factions.

Saifuddin, the Indera Mahkota MP, said the amendment to the PPBM constitution to enable non-Malays and non-Muslims to become associate members shows the party’s openness.

“We welcome them to join our party because we still respect and recognise other religions in line with Article 3 of the Federal Constitution which stipulates that Islam is the federal religion while followers of other religions are free to practise their own faiths,” he said.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/11/29/no-one-must-dominate-in-coalition-of-malay-parties-says-saifuddin/

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Divorces up by 12%, marriages down by 1.2% in 2019

November 30, 2020

PETALING JAYA: The number of divorces in the country increased by 12% last year while the number of marriages dropped by 1.2%, the Statistics Department said today.

Chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin said there were 56,975 divorces last year compared with 50,862 in 2018, while marriages decreased to 203,821 in 2019 compared with 206,352 the year before.

“The general divorce rate for males increased from 6.5% to 7.2% per thousand population of married males aged above 18.

“A similar trend was also reported for females, increasing from 7.0% to 7.7% per thousand population of married females aged above 16,” he said in a statement.

Muslim divorces increased by 13% from 40,269 to 45,502, while non-Muslim divorces went up by 8.3% from 10,593 to 11,473.

Meanwhile, there was a 1.5% decline in Muslim marriages and 0.5% for non-Muslims, with the Petaling district in Selangor recording the highest number of weddings.

Uzir said 11% of marriages last year were between couples of different ethnic groups, an increase from 9% in the year before.

“On the other hand, 0.3% were grooms aged above 65 who married younger brides aged below 24. Meanwhile, 0.2% were brides aged over 65 who married grooms aged 24 or below.”

He said the median age of grooms remained at 28 while for brides it increased from 26 to 27, adding that the tendency for late marriages was more prevalent among the educated group and those seeking to strengthen their individual economic stability, particularly those living in urban areas.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/11/30/divorces-up-by-12-marriages-down-by-1-2-in-2019/

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Arab world

 

Rocket attack hits oil refinery in northern Iraq

29 November 2020

A rocket hit a small oil refinery in northern Iraq on Sunday, causing a fire at a fuel storage tank and forcing a complete shutdown of operations after the blaze spread to a nearby pipeline network, two refinery officials said.

The ISIS extremist group claimed responsibility for attacking the Siniya refinery, in a statement posted on the group’s official channel.

It said two Katyusha rockets were used in the attack. It gave no further details on any casualties.

A spokesman for the state-run Northern Refineries Co, which manages a number of Iraqi refineries, earlier told Iraq’s state news agency that two rockets had hit the Siniya refinery, causing a fire that it said had been controlled.

Officials said halting operations at the Siniya refinery, which has refining capacity of 30,000 barrels per day, was a safety measure to prevent further damage.

“We completely shut down production units to avoid extensive damage that could result,” a chief engineer at the refinery said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

An oil ministry statement said firefighters managed to put out the fire at a fuel tank and cited Deputy Oil Minister Hamid Younis as saying that operations are expected to be resumed in “the next few hours after assessing the damage”

Sunday’s attack signals that ISIS militants are still capable of launching attacks against security forces and vital energy sites, despite being defeated during a 2014-2017 US-backed military campaign.

There were no reports of casualties at the facility, which is near Iraq’s largest oil refinery of Baiji in the Northern Salahuddin province.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/29/Rocket-attack-hits-oil-refinery-in-northern-Iraq

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UAE, Jordan condemn assassination of Iranian scientist

29 November 2020

The United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Jordan have joined the long list of countries and international bodies that condemn the Friday assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

In a statement on Sunday, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said “it condemns the heinous assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, which could further fuel conflict in the region.”

The condemnation emanates from the UAE’s “deep conviction on the need to pursue all means for stability in the region.”

"Given the current situation in the region, the UAE calls upon all parties to exercise maximum degrees of self-restraint to avoid dragging the region into new levels of instability and threat to peace," said the statement carried by the Emirates News Agency.

It also stressed that “the state of instability the region is currently going through, and the security challenges it faces, drive us all to work towards averting acts that could lead to escalation and eventually threaten the stability of the entire region.”

Separately, Jordan condemned the killing of top Iranian scientist, and called for collective efforts to avoid an escalation in tensions in the Middle East region.

Fakhrizadeh, who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its acronym SPND), was targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the assassination bears the clear hallmark of atrocities committed by the Israeli regime, which has already murdered a number of Iran's scientific elites.

Tweeting in German on Sunday, Zarif cited “serious indications of Israel’s role” in the Friday assassination.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the country’s nuclear agency, has likewise suspected Israeli involvement in both the assassination and a July incident at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. “It looks like the Zionist regime [of Israel] has a role in these issues,” AEOI Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Saturday.

No party has yet claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

However, the United States and Israel have, throughout the entire lifespan of Iran’s nuclear energy program, been changelessly trying to demonize it. The duo that are each other’s strongest allies, have worked tirelessly to try and restrict Iran’s nuclear work through international bodies or coercive and unlawful measures.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639635/UAE-Jordan-condemn-assassination-fakhrizadeh

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Bahraini opposition parties, Hamas condemn assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist

29 November 2020

Bahraini opposition political parties have condemned the assassination of prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, emphasizing that the targeted killing will not stop Iran’s progress and will not push the Islamic Republic to forfeit its rights.

“This sinful attack constitutes a major crime, and a blatant violation of world states’ right of self-determination and the right to defend themselves against external threats,” Arabic-language Manama Post online newspaper cited a statement released by the Islamic Action Society, sometimes shortened to Amal, on Sunday.

“This cowardly terrorist act will neither stop the scientific and technical progress in Iran, nor will it force the Islamic Republic into abandoning its legitimate rights. Rather, it will contribute to the instability of the region and will embolden countries that always seek to escalate international conflicts.”

Amal then called on the international community and responsible states to condemn such a dangerous escalation and provocative actions, and not be silent on them.

It later extended its condolences and sympathy to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the Iranian nation over the assassination.

Al-Wafa'a Islamic Party - Bahrain also said in a statement that the Iranian physicist was “assassinated by a terrorist group sponsored by the US, Zionist and Saudi intelligence services, after having spent years on the path of scientific struggle to elevate the Islamic Republic of Iran and the axis of resistance.”

The party also voiced its support for Tehran’s decisive response to all those responsible for the brutal terrorist act.

Hamas chief slams assassination of Iran's nuclear scientist

Separately, the head of the political bureau of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement condemned the sinful crime, expressing solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran over Fakhrizadeh’s murder.

“The assassination reflects a criminal mentality that promotes targeted killing in broad daylight,” Ismail Haniyeh said in a message of condolences addressed to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“The policy of assassination did not succeed with the resistance front in Palestine, and will fail with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the axis of resistance and the entire Muslim world as well. Such an approach only reflects the mentality of its followers, who tend to violate humanitarian law and all international principles,” Haniyeh stated.

Yemen's scholars condemn Iranian scientist's assassination

Moreover, Yemen Scholars Association said in a statement that the colonial US administration and the Tel Aviv regime show bitter hostility towards Islam, Muslims and the intelligentsia.

“The treacherous and sinful assassination of Fakhrizadeh was specifically meant to target a scientist, who used to haunt the Israeli regime, and deal a blow to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was directed at all Muslim experts in general,” the association noted.

It highlighted that the assassination of the eminent Iranian physicist requires all Muslims as well as their scientific and political elites to stand with Iran in the face of conspiracies it is facing.

Additionally, the leader of the Iraqi National Wisdom Movement, Ammar al-Hakim, denounced the assassination of the top Iranian scientist, stating that he sacrificed his life for his people so they would access clean energy in everyday life.

Fakhrizadeh, who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its acronym SPND), was targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639619/Bahraini-opposition-Iran-nuclear-scientist

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Iran able to confront Israeli-led terror crimes, desperate attempts to undermine its progress: Syria

28 November 2020

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad has condemned the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, saying the Islamic Republic is capable of confronting such terrorist crimes led by the Israeli regime.

In a Saturday meeting with Iran's Ambassador to Damascus Javad Torkabadi, the Syrian minister warned that such crimes would have impacts on the entire world because they are not just an act of assassination but rather a terrorist move that the international community must condemn, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

He urged the United Nations to fulfill its responsibilities vis-à-vis the fight against terrorism and adherence to the rules of international law, otherwise there will be more tension in the region.

Mekdad said Syria would stand by Iran in the face of desperate attempts to undermine its progress and scientific and national capabilities.

Fakhrizadeh, who headed the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND), was targeted on Friday in a multi-pronged attack involving at least one explosion and small fire by a number of assailants in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

In a tweet on Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the international community should condemn state terrorism and build a consensus to counter tension and adventurism in the region.

In his tweet, the top Iranian diplomat said terrorists have assassinated another prominent scientist of the country and added that such a cowardly act of terror is a clear violation of international rules and moral and humanitarian principles.

For his part, Torkabadi said Iran will not stand idly by in the face of heinous terrorist crimes.

The Iranian diplomat also expressed his country’s determination to strengthen relations and strategic cooperation with Syria in various fields in order to prepare the ground for both Tehran and Damascus to face common challenges.

During the meeting, the Syrian minister and the Iranian diplomat discussed ways to promote mutual relations and the latest developments in the regional and international arenas.

Both sides agreed to continue coordination and consultation between Syria and Iran on various developments and events.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639552/Mekdad-Javad-Torkabadi-Iran-Syria-Israel-Fakhrizadh-terrorist-crimes-ambassador-assassination

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India

 

'Muslims labelled as Pakistani, Sikhs as Khalistanis, and activists as urban naxals: Mehbooba Mufti attacks Modi govt

BY Syed Khalid Hussain

Nov 29, 2020

While addressing a press conference on Sunday, People's Democratic Party (PDP) president alleged that the government is not allowing 'secular voices' to come up.

She said Pakistan is a Muslim country and that’s the reason why India is not talking to them.

“When they can talk with China despite them grabbing our land in Ladakh, there should also be a dialogue between India and Pakistan or Is it that Pakistan is a Muslim country that is why they don't talk to them.“

"They call Muslims as Pakistani, Sardars as Khalistani, And activists as urban Naxals, then my question is who are Hindustanis, Only BJP?" She added.

Mehbooba further said, “I am saddened by the statement from Election Commission after my detention. The day we announced participation in DDC election the harassment of our members increased from the administration."

Mufti further expressing her anger towards the election commission, saying that their party was targetted by the institutions like ED, adding that their candidate did not have the required security. 

"Disappointingly all our institutions are working for them, whom we can't complain to anymore. The opposition in the whole country has been oppressed as when they criticise, they get targeted by all institutions like ED etc," Mufti said.

Targeting government action towards Roshni Scam she said, “ What is Roshni? It was actually a scheme and it was made out to be a scam...The biggest scam is their electoral scam. They are sending notices to poor people having only 5 Marla's under roshni.

She alleged that the media had become biased, adding that it has become the lapdog of the government. 

"UAPA became frequent for anyone who they wanted to book without any proof,” she said.

She asked the Indian government that if the abrogation of article 370 was the solution, then why are the security forces still in Kashmir. "If all problems ended after the abrogation of 370 why is the army sent to borders? Mehbooba asked

“ Until and unless they aren't restoring article 370, they will not get success by pressurising people by different means,” she said.

“DDC election voter turnout is not solution of Kashmir issue/situation on ground. What are 9 lakh troops doing here," she added.

https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-muslims-labelled-as-pakistanis-sikhs-as-khalistanis-and-activists-as-urban-nexals-mehbooba-mufti-attacks-modi-govt-2859117

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Late Music Composer Wajid Khan's Wife, Kamalrukh Accuses In-Laws Of Forcing Her To Convert To Islam

29 November 2020

Late music composer Wajid Khan's wife, Kamalrukh Khan, has claimed she was subjected to "scare tactics" and was made an "outcast" by her in-laws after she refused to convert to Islam.

Wajid Khan of composer duo Sajid-Wajid passed away in June.

Opening up about her experience through an unverified Instagram handle, Kamalrukh said she is a Parsi who got married to the "Dabangg" composer under the Special Marriages Act.

As per her profile, Kamalrukh is a clinical psychotherapist and in the lengthy post shared on Friday said, she grew up in an environment where education, independence of thought and "democratic" value system was encouraged, but it clashed with her husband's family.

"An educated, thinking, independent woman with an opinion was just not acceptable. And resisting the pressures of conversion was sacrilege. I have always respected, participated and celebrated all faiths.

"But my resistance to convert to Islam drastically widened the divide between me and my husband, making it toxic enough to destroy our relationship as husband and wife, and his ability to be a present father to our kids," she claimed.

Kamalrukh said it was her dignity and self respect which did not permit her to "bend backwards for him and his family" by converting to Islam.

"I fought this terrible way of thinking tooth and nail throughout my marriage. The result - being outcast from my husband's family, scare tactics to make me convert included taking me to court seeking divorce. I was devastated, felt betrayed and was emotionally drained, but my children and I held on," she said of children 16-year-old daughter Arshi and nine-year-old son Hrehaan she shares with Wajid.

Kamalrukh also alleged she is "fighting for the rights and inheritance of her children which have been usurped" by Wajid's family.

She further said though her husband was a gifted musician, she wished he dedicated more time to the family, "devoid of religious prejudices, the way he did while creating his melodies".

"We never got to be a family due to his and his family's religious fanaticism," she claimed.

Despite multiple attempts to reach out for a comment on these allegations, there was no response from composer Sajid Khan, Kamalrukh's brother-in-law.

On Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel gave assent to an ordinance against forcible or fraudulent religious conversions that provides for imprisonment up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 under different categories.

The promulgation of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, came four days after the Yogi Adityanath government approved the draft of the legislation which also curbs religious conversions only for the sake of marriage.

The onus to prove that the conversion has not been done forcibly will lie on the person accused of the act and the convert, it said.

Kamalrukh said the current debate surrounding the anti-conversion bill was the trigger for her to open up about her "experiences and ordeal" in an inter-caste marriage.

"The debate regarding the anti conversion bill should also delve deeper into the patriarchal mindset - it is mostly always the women who are made to forcibly convert.

"The conversion campaign has to be recognised for what it is - spreading hatred against different religious ideologies, separating wives from husbands and children from their fathers," she added.

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/entertainment-news-wajid-khans-wife-kamalrukh-accuses-in-laws-of-forcing-her-to-convert-to-islam/365722

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26/11: Extradition hearing for Tahawwur Rana to be held on February 12

Nov 30, 2020

WASHINGTON: A US court has set February 12 as the date of hearing for extradition of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana, who has been declared a fugitive by India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case.

Rana, 59, a childhood friend of David Coleman Headley, was re-arrested on June 10 in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed.

Rana was earlier arrested in October 2009 by US police soon after Headley's arrest at Chicago O'Hare airport.

US District Court Judge in Los Angeles Jacqueline Chelonian said in her order on November 13 that the extradition hearing in this case is scheduled for February 12, 2021, at 10:00 am.

Rana has time till December 21 to file his opposition to the request for extradition. The United States government will have another months' time to file its reply.

In its motion on September 28, the US government supported Rana's extradition to India where he has been charged with the offenses of conspiracy to wage war, commit a terrorist act, the commission of murder, and a terrorist act.

Rana, in his defense, has argued that the US' decision not to extradite his co-conspirator, David Headley, to India is inconsistent and bars his extradition.

However, the US government argued differently “because Headley fulfilled the required terms, the plea agreement established that Headley would not be extradited to India,” said US attorney Nicola T Hanna.

“Rana's situation is different because he neither pleaded guilty nor cooperated with the United States. As a result, cannot avail himself of the benefits afforded to Headley through his negotiated plea. Such a position is neither inconsistent nor a bar to extradition,” he said.

Unlike Rana, Headley immediately accepted responsibility for his conduct and pleaded guilty to all of the charges in the Superseding Indictment, Hanna said. As per the plea agreement, the United States agreed that it would not extradite Headley to India “for the foregoing offenses, including conduct within the scope of those offenses for which he has been convicted in accordance with this plea so long as he fully discloses all material facts concerning his role with respect to these offenses and abides by all other aspects of this agreement.”

Pakistan-born Rana completed Army Medical College there, and served in the Pakistani Army as a doctor for more than a decade, but eventually deserted.

He is currently a Canadian citizen, but was a resident of Chicago where he had a business. According to the court papers, he has also resided in and traveled to Canada, Pakistan, Germany and England and speaks seven languages.

According to the federal prosecutors, between 2006 and November 2008, Rana conspired with Headley, also known as 'Daood Gilani”, and others in Pakistan to assist Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harakat ul-Jihad-e-Islami, both US-designated terrorist organisations, to plan and carry out the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Pakistani-American LeT terrorist Headley was involved in plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. He was made an approver in the case, and is currently serving a 35-year prison term in the US for his role in the attack.

India seeks his arrest on a number of offences, including the conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit forgery for the purpose of cheating, and murder under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The 2008 Mumbai attack was one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in India in which 166 people were killed and over 300 injured as 10 heavily-armed terrorists from Pakistan created mayhem in the country's financial capital.

Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive, was hanged to death on November 21, 2012.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/26/11-extradition-hearing-for-tahawwur-rana-to-be-held-on-february-12/articleshow/79484578.cms

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan always upholds sanctity of OIC as collective voice of Muslim Ummah: FM

November 29, 2020

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says Pakistan as a founding member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation always upheld the sanctity of the organization as a collective voice of Muslim Ummah.

In a tweet on Sunday, he said we look forward to hosting the 48th session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad next year.

The Foreign Minister said Pakistan has also become a member of the 6-member OIC Executive Committee.

Foreign Office says inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir dispute in Niamey Declaration of the 47th session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers is yet another manifestation of the OIC's consistent support to the Kashmir Cause.

The Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhry in a statement today said the Declaration explicitly reiterates the OIC's principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute for a peaceful settlement in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions

https://nation.com.pk/29-Nov-2020/pakistan-always-upholds-sanctity-of-oic-as-collective-voice-of-muslim-ummah-fm

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PM Imran briefed on national, regional security situation on visit to ISI headquarters

29 Nov 2020

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday visited the headquarters of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), where he was briefed on the regional and national security situation, a statement by the Prime Minister Office said.

The prime minister was received by ISI Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hamid at the headquarters.

The premier was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Nadeem Raza, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi and Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza.

The prime minister, ministers and military leadership was given a "comprehensive briefing" on the regional and national security situation.

PM Imran also lauded the "tireless efforts of the ISI for national security and expressed his satisfaction over professional preparedness", the statement concluded.

The visit comes days after the prime minister approved the setting up of the National Intelligence Coordination Committee (NICC), which would be chaired by the ISI chief.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1593085/pm-imran-briefed-on-national-regional-security-situation-on-visit-to-isi-headquarters

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Pakistan police launch crackdown against opposition ahead of PDM rally in Multan

Nov 29, 2020

MULTAN: Ahead of the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) rally in Multan, the police have launched a crackdown against opposition political workers.

According to a report by ARY News, police arrested local leaders of Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N) Chaudhry Shahbaz Jutt, Sohail Butt, Jamiat Ulema-e Islam's (F) (JUI) Qari Khalilur Rehman and Maulana Muneer Ahmed Abbasi from Tiranda Mohammad Panah in the vicinity of Liaquatpur.

The police have also conducted raids at the residences of political workers in Liaquatpur and arrested PDM local leaders Jam Javed Laar, Allahwasaya Khan, Usman Chandia, Imran Ashfaq Bagga and Ali Mansoor besides former PML-N chairman municipal committee Hafiz Jameel Ahmed from Layyah.

Meanwhile, JUI-F local leader Mian Ajmal Abbas and two PML-N workers were arrested from Khanewal, another local party leader Ghulam Shabbir Saqi from Mohsinwal and 10 PML-N workers.

ARY News reported that 23 political workers including three leaders of People's Party have been detained in Multan.

Meanwhile, The Express Tribune has reported that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government asked the police to register a case against the local leadership of the PDM for holding the November 22 rally despite the Peshawar administration's refusal to grant them permission for it due to an exponential rise in coronavirus cases.

Earlier today, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Ali Qasim Gilani along with 30 opposition members were arrested.

According to a report by Geo News, police in Multan filed a case against PPP workers after they broke through security barriers and stormed into Multan's Qila Qasim Bagh on Saturday ahead of the PDM rally scheduled to take place there on Monday.

Their workers have taken control of the administration of the stadium and have also set up a welcoming camp outside, the party media cell said. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz workers led a rally in Multan and also entered the stadium after it was broken into, the media outlet reported.

"The rally will be held in Qila Qasim Bagh (at every cost). Today all the barriers of the police and administration have been broken down. After storming the gates, we have taken control of the stadium," PPP leader Musa Gilani said.

Geo News further reported that the police have registered a case against 70 named and more than 300 unnamed party workers for breaking off locks and forcing their way into the stadium at the Multan's Lohari Gate police station.

The police also filed a case against caterers who had agreed to provide services to the organisers of the November 30 rally.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-police-launch-crackdown-against-opposition-ahead-of-pdm-rally-in-multan/articleshow/79478976.cms

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Pakistan PM Imran Khan's Kashmir campaign bombs at Islamic meet

Nov 29, 2020

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khans shrill campaign to internationalise Kashmir has bombed after the 57-member Islamic bloc brushed aside Islamabads frenzied attempt to haul up India for abrogating Article 370 more than a year ago.

In the latest attempt to slam India for its decision to fully mainstream Kashmir with the rest of India, it was once again Pakistan`s light-headed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who had an egg on his face. Qureshi was left red-faced after the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), holding its 47th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Niger`s Niamey, snubbed Pakistan by making no mention of Kashmir in its agenda.

Despite the embarrassment, Qureshi, took the `Islamophobia` route to mention Kashmir in his speech, another wasted exercise, as the participating ministers remained focused on session`s theme "United against Terrorism for Peace and Development".

The OIC, through its Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen, had made it aptly clear that the agenda of this year`s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) session would include a list of topics and "issues of concern" to the Muslim world.

"In addition to the Palestinian cause, the fight against violence, extremism and terrorism, Islamophobia and defamation of religious, the Council will discuss the situation of Muslim minorities and communities in non-member states, fundraising for the Rohingya case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), as well as the promotion of dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions, and other emerging matters," the OIC, with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents, said in a statement released prior to the meeting.

The much-expected agenda though came as a huge shocker for Pakistan which had for long been demanding a special OIC meeting on Kashmir.

"The meeting has not been convened so far because the Saudis, who wield a virtual veto in the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries, has not supported Islamabad`s move. The latest omission of Kashmir from the agenda of the regular foreign ministers` meeting comes at a time when ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia/UAE remain strained over what Pakistani diplomats say are `unfulfilled expectations`," Pakistan`s leading daily Dawn said in a report.

Qureshi was to face more embarrassment after landing in Niger along with Sardar Masood Khan, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the UN, who is now president of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The duo referred Niger as a "brotherly Islamic country" and urged the founding member of the OIC to raise the Kashmir issue at the forum of African Union (AU) and various other international platforms.

But, as the two-day session kicked off on Friday, neither Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger, nor any other participating country diverted from the pre-decided agenda.

OIC Secretary General Al-Othaimeen said that the choice of the theme for the session, "United against Terrorism for Peace and Development", is a strong reminder that "terrorism is the single most serious threat to the region and the world, given its negative impact on growth rates and cooperation ties, in addition to worsening Human Development Indices (HDI) ranking".

He also valued the role assigned to the OIC Sawt al-Hikma (Voice of Wisdom) Center, which acts in coordination with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy to bring reason to bear and promote moderation and tolerance.

https://www.wionews.com/south-asia/pakistan-pm-imran-khans-kashmir-campaign-bombs-at-islamic-meet-346206

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Shehbaz calls for national dialogue to end ‘crisis’

Amjad Mahmood

30 Nov 2020

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif has called for a national dialogue among political forces to steer “the country out of the present crisis”.

“Socio-economic conditions in the country have worsened too much and can only be improved through collective efforts. There is a dire need for a national dialogue,” he said while talking to reporters who visited him here on Sunday to condole with him over the death of his mother.

“The government has destroyed the country and damaged its economy. Every sector of the economy is on the verge of collapse,” Mr Shehbaz Sharif said.

The PML-N president was released on Friday from Kot Lakhpat jail on a five-day parole to attend the funeral of his mother and receive the people coming to offer their condolences.

Begum Shamim Akhtar was buried at Jati Umra residence of the Sharif family on Saturday. She died last Sunday in London, where she had gone to meet her son Mr Nawaz Sharif.

Unlike his elder brother and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, who has been advocating a national dialogue among political and non-political forces (the establishment and judiciary), Mr Shehbaz Sharif wants national dialogue among only political forces to steer the country out of the present crisis.

Says socio-economic conditions have worsened too much

“If we are to improve conditions of the country then all political forces will have to engage themselves in a national dialogue,” the former Punjab chief minister and opposition leader in the National Assembly said.

Holding the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government responsible for what he said poisoning national politics, he lamented that now political exchange began and ended with mud-slinging against political rivals.

When asked what solution he suggested to improve national affairs, he said he would talk about it only after he was released from prison as at present he had been bailed out on parole for a few days.

Shehbaz Sharif also shared feelings he had when he received the news of his mother’s death while in jail. “It was a state of extreme helplessness. What could be done while in prison? I was allowed to talk to Nawaz Sharif after the death of our mother.”

The PML-N leader has been in prison for the last two months facing corruption charges in multiple National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases. An accountability court had indicted him, his son Hamza Shehbaz and eight other suspects two weeks ago in the Rs7 billion money laundering and assets beyond means case.

Denying the charges as false and fabricated, Mr Shehbaz said he had been victimised on political grounds. He said all the cases pending against him had been engineered by his political opponents.

The PML-N leader has been complaining about his victimisation while in jail, alleging that even though he suffered from chronic backache, he was not provided the required bedding and was made to sleep on the floor of the jail cell.

He also complained that he was offered meals on the floor, instead of being offered on a table, keeping in view his spine issues.

On his complaint, an accountability court earlier barred jail authorities from using armoured vehicles for his shifting from prison to courts and directed instead to use bullet-proof cars for the purpose if authorities feared for his safety during his movement to and from court.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari telephoned Mr Sharif and condoled with the latter on the death of his mother. The PPP leaders also offered dua for late Begum Shamim Akhtar.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1593159/shehbaz-calls-for-national-dialogue-to-end-crisis

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Africa

 

Boko Haram terrorists slaughter 43 farm workers in Nigeria’s volatile northeast

29 November 2020

Members of the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group have killed at least 43 Nigerian farm workers and injured several others in the country’s volatile northeastern state of Borno.

Local sources said the massacre took place on Saturday as the farmers were working in rice fields in the village of Kwashebe, near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

The assailants tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats. 

"We have recovered 43 dead bodies, all of them slaughtered, along with six others with serious injuries," said Babakura Kolo, the leader of a local militia fighting armed groups in the region.

"It is no doubt the handiwork of Boko Haram who operate in the area and frequently attack farmers."

Ibrahim Liman, another militiaman, gave the same toll and said the victims were laborers from Sokoto state in northwest Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometers away, who had traveled to the northeast to find work.

"There were 60 farmers who were contracted to harvest paddy in the rice fields. Forty-three were slaughtered, with six injured," Liman said, adding that eight others were missing, who are presumed to have been kidnapped by the Takfiri terrorist group.

Local residents said the bodies were taken to the nearby Zabarmari village, where they would be kept ahead of burial on Sunday.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari extended his condolences to the victims’ families and condemned the attack, saying, "The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings."

Last month, Boko Haram terrorists took the lives of at least 22 farmers working on their irrigation fields near Maiduguri in two separate incidents.

Northeastern Nigeria has been wracked by years of violence involving clashes between rival communities over land, attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs, and reprisal killings by vigilante groups.

Boko Haram and the West Africa Province (ISWAP) branch of the Daesh terrorist group have increasingly targeted loggers, herders and fishermen in their violent campaign, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them.

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

Boko Haram’s violence has spilled over into the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, which have created a joint military force to fight the terrorists.

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

The brutal massacre on Saturday occurred as Nigerian voters went to the polls in local elections in Borno State after the vote had been repeatedly postponed due to an increase in attacks by Boko Haram and ISWAP.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639584/Boko-Haram-Nigerian-farm-workers-Maiduguri-Borno-state

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Ethiopia's PM says Tigray operation 'completed' as army seizes Mekelle

29 November 2020

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced victory against heavily armed rebels in the northern Tigray region.

The premier said in a statement on his Twitter account on Saturday that government forces had captured and gained control of the regional capital, Mekelle.

“The federal government is now fully in control of the city of Mekelle,” the PM announced.

Abiy said government troops had freed thousands of federal forces from the army’s Northern Command, who had been taken hostage by the rebels.

Federal troops had also taken control of the airport, the regional administration office and other key facilities, he added.

Since November 3, the Ethiopian army has been engaged in fierce fighting against the Tigrayan forces in a war that has shaken the Horn of Africa. The offensive started in response to rebel attacks on federal forces in Mekelle and Dansha.

There were no new reports on casualty count from Saturday's clashes. However, the United Nations has said hundreds of people have died in the fighting.

In addition, about one million people have been forced from their homes, including about 40,000 refugees who have crossed the border into neighboring Sudan.

Human rights groups have warned of the plight of the refugees fleeing the conflict.

Abiy, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said he had ordered the military operation to stop. “I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the Tigray region.”

The premier said he had ordered the federal police to arrest leaders of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). “Our focus now will be on rebuilding the region and providing humanitarian assistance while Federal Police apprehend the TPLF clique.”

Billene Seyoum, the prime minister's spokeswoman, said, “The safety of Ethiopians in Mekelle and Tigray region continues as priority for the federal government.”

The TPLF had dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly three decades; however, the group's clout has declined since Abiy came to power in 2018.

Since then, the government has introduced a number of reforms. Many senior Tigrayan officials have been detained, fired, or sidelined, in what the federal government calls a clampdown on corruption.

The once-powerful TPLF, however, complains of being unfairly singled out in corruption prosecutions.

With communication down in the Tigray region, it is unclear whether the rebels have ceased their operations against federal forces.

Hours after Abiy’s announcement, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael said the Tigrayan forces would keep fighting the government.

“Their brutality can only add (to) our resolve to fight these invaders to the last,” he told the Reuters news agency in a text message. “This is about defending our right to self-determination.”

The conflict has sporadically spilled over into neighboring Eritrea. On Friday night, at least one rocket fired from the Tigray region landed south of the Eritrean capital of Asmara.

Asmara was also rocked by at least six explosions on Saturday night.

The Tigrayan forces stand accused of launching rockets at Asmara with the intent to drag neighboring countries into the conflict.

Abiy was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in brokering peace with long-time enemy Eritrea.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639575/Africa-Ethiopia-Abiy-Ahmed-Tigray-Mekelle--

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Sudan needs $150 million in aid to cope with Ethiopian refugees: UN

28 November 2020

The United Nations (UN) says Sudan needs $150 million in aid to cope with rushing streams of Ethiopian refugees fleeing the conflict in their country’s Tigray region.

“Sudan needs $150 million for six months to provide these refugees water, shelter, and health services,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi at Um Raquba camp, some 80 kilometers from the Ethiopian border, on Saturday.

He urged “donors to provide Sudan with these resources as soon as they can.”

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

The announcement led to a dramatic escalation of a long-running feud between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s ruling party, which dominated Ethiopian politics for almost three decades before the incumbent prime minister assumed power in 2018.

Abiy ordered the offensive on Tigray after rebel forces loyal to the TPLF launched deadly attacks on a pair of federal military camps in the region. He has also accused the party of defying his government and seeking to undermine it.

The fighting has forced more than 43,000 Ethiopian refugees so far to take refuge in one of the most impoverished regions of neighboring Sudan. Reports say that on a daily basis, between 500 and 600 refugees are pouring into the country.

Sudan is struggling with a deep economic crisis and has been going through a fragile transition since April 2019, when a military coup ended the 30-year dictatorship of president Omar al-Bashir.

Sudan’s official figures show that some 65 percent of the country’s nearly 42 million people live below the poverty line.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Grandi also expressed concern about the fate of tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees living in Ethiopia for decades.

“We don’t have access to them,” he said, calling on the Ethiopian government to authorize visits by the UN.

The Ethiopian military launched the final phase of its offensive to capture Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray, on Saturday.

Debretsion Gebremichael, the head of the TPLF, has said the city, home to 500,000 people, is under “heavy bombardment.”

The UN says the conflict has so far displaced at least 20,000 Ethiopians.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639562/Sudan-needs--150-million-in-aid-to-cope-with-Ethiopian-refugees-UN

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UNHCR says it hopes humanitarian access to Ethiopia’s Tigray region will be granted

29 November 2020

The head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Sunday he hoped promises of humanitarian access to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region by the Ethiopian authorities would be granted as soon as possible.

“It is not possible yet, so I hope it will develop in the next few days,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told an online news conference from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

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

Earlier on Sunday, the Ethiopian government said it launched a manhunt for leaders of a rebellious faction in the northern region of Tigray after announcing federal troops had taken over the regional capital and military operations were complete.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed government has been trying to quell a rebellion by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a powerful ethnically-based party that dominated the central government from 1991 until Abiy came to power in 2018.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/11/29/UNHCR-says-it-hopes-humanitarian-access-to-Ethiopia-s-Tigray-region-will-be-granted

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Ethiopian PM: military has completed operations in the Tigray region

28 November 2020

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that military operations in the northern Tigray region have been completed, shortly after he announced federal troops had seized full control of the regional capital of Tigray on Saturday evening.

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

“I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the Tigray region,” Abiy tweeted.

Ethiopian federal forces have taken “full control” of the Tigray region’s capital Mekelle, the prime minister and the military’s chief of staff said on Saturday evening.

Authorities had said earlier that government forces were in the final stages of an offensive in the region and would take care to protect civilians in Mekelle, a city of 500,000 people.

There was no immediate comment from the Tigrayan forces in the northern region, who have been fighting government troops for the past three weeks.

“The federal government is now fully in control of the city of Mekelle,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement posted on his Twitter page.

That followed a statement saying the same from the army chief of staff, Birhanu Jula, on the military’s official Facebook page.

Claims from all sides are difficult to verify since phone and internet links to the region have been down and access has been tightly controlled since fighting began on Nov. 4.

Earlier on Saturday, a diplomat in direct contact with residents, and the leader of Tigrayan forces said federal forces had begun an offensive to capture Mekelle.

The government had given the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) an ultimatum that expired on Wednesday to lay down arms or face an assault on the city.

Thousands of people are believed to have died and around 43,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Sudan during the conflict. The northern region of Tigray also borders the nation of Eritrea.

Abiy accuses Tigrayan leaders of starting the war by attacking federal troops at a base in Tigray. The TPLF says the attack was a pre-emptive strike.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2020/11/28/Ethiopian-PM-military-has-completed-operations-in-the-Tigray-region-

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Mideast

 

Iranian President Issues Order for Start of Special Security Protocols after N. Scientist’s Assassination

2020-November-29

President Rouhani’s new order was issued in an extraordinary meeting of the cabinet in Tehran in the aftermath of the Friday terrorist attack against the Iranian nuclear scientist.

Fakhrizadeh's car was targeted by an explosion and machinegun fire in Damavand's Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran on Friday.

The nuclear scientist and one of his companions were immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he could not be saved.

Eyewitness accounts confirmed that Fakhrizadeh's car came under attack first by a blast and then by terrorists who sprayed bullets at his car.

Early in 2018, the Israeli sources had acknowledged that Mossad had tried to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but its operation failed.

According to Fars News Agency, Mossad had gained access to Fakhrizadeh's name via a UN list which referred to him as a senior scientist of Iran's Defense Ministry's Physics Research Center.

After the terrorist attack on Friday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami underlined that assassination of Fakhrizadeh may not undermine Iranians' resolve, and said revenge for the terror attack is already on the country's agenda.

General Salami extended condolences to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, martyr Fakhrizadeh's family, and the Iranian nation over the martyrdom of Head of the Research and Innovation Organization of Iran's Defense Ministry, Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated in an organized and pre-planned terrorist attack by the child-killing Israeli regime.

"The enemies of the Iranian nation, specially the masterminds, perpetrators and supporters of this crime, should also know that such crimes will not undermine the resolve of the Iranians to continue this glorious and power-generating path, and harsh revenge and punishment is on agenda for them," the IRGC chief commander stressed.

Also, Ayatollah Khamenei in a message condemned assassination of Fakhrizadeh, ordering officials to take action to punish the masterminds and perpetrators of the terror attack.

“Mr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent nuclear and defense scientist of the country, was martyred by criminal and cruel mercenaries. The unique scientific figure gave his dear and precious soul in the way of God for his great and lasting scientific efforts, and the high position of martyrdom is his divine reward,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in his message on Saturday.

“Two important issues should be seriously put on the agenda by all relevant officials; first, probing the crime and the definite punishment of those who perpetrated and ordered it; and second, pursuing and continuing the martyr's scientific and technical efforts in all the sectors in which he was engaged,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei also extended his condolences to martyr Fakhrizadeh’s family, students and the scientific society of the country, wishing him the highest position before God.

President Rouhani had on Saturday condemned assassination of Fakhrizadeh, vowing retaliation for the criminal act.

“All think-tanks and enemies of Iran should know well that the Iranian nation and officials are too brave and too couragous to leave this criminal act unanswered,” Rouhani said, addressing a meeting of the national coronavirus campaign headquarters in Tehran.

“The relevant officials will give a response to their crime in due time, and in addition, the Iranian nation is too wise and too smart to fall into the trap of the Zionists’ plot,” he added.

President Rouhani said that it seems some parties are after stirring chaos but “they should know that we are aware of their plots and they will not succeed in attaining their malicious goals”.

“The Zionist regime and those standing against Iran should know that the path of the country’s development and research will be paved rapidly” and a large number of other Iranian scientists like Fakhrizadeh will emerge to help, he added.

Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of the western and Israeli spy agencies' assassination attempts in recent years.

In June 2012, Iran announced that its intelligence forces had identified and arrested all terrorist elements behind the assassination of the country's nuclear scientists.

"All the elements involved in the assassinations of the country's nuclear scientists have been identified and arrested," Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement.

"A number of countries, whose territories and facilities had been misused by the Mossad-backed terrorist teams, have provided the Iranian officials with relevant information," the statement added.

"Over the course of the investigations, all other elements behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan as well as Reza Qashqaei (Roshan's driver) have been apprehended," the statement read.

"Some of the perpetrators of the assassination of Dr. Fereidoun Abbasi, the current head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, are among those arrested," the ministry added.

According to the statement, Iran's Intelligence Ministry had detected some of Mossad's bases within the territories of one of Iran's Western neighbors, which provided training and logistical support to the terrorist networks.

In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.

The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – who became the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization - and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred.

Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.

In a relevant development in January, 2015, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it had thwarted an attempt by the Israeli intelligence forces to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist.

“In the last two years, the Zionist enemy (Israel) was trying hard to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the IRGC security forces thwarted the terrorist operation,” Deputy Chief Liaison Officer of Flight Guards Corps Colonel Ya’qoub Baqeri told FNA in 2015.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990909000767/Iranian-Presiden-Isses-Order-fr-Sar-f-Special-Secriy-Prcls-afer-N

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Iran Asks for UN Cooperation in Identification of Culprits behind Assassination of N. Scientist

2020-November-29

“The Human Rights Headquarters calls on the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the Human Rights Council, as well as the western governments, to expeditiously and explicitly condemn the assassination of martyred scientist Fakhrizadeh without any reservation,” the statement said on Sunday.

It also asked them to “use all mechanisms for cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Judiciary to identify, sue and punish those who have ordered and committed the crime”.

The statement warned that ineffective positions and silence of the international figures and the western governments, which claim to fight against terrorism, on the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist practically means legitimization of terrorism.

Fakhrizadeh's car was targeted by an explosion and machinegun fire in Damavand's Absard 40 kilometers to the East of Tehran on Friday.

The nuclear scientist and one of his companions were immediately taken to a nearby hospital but he could not be saved.

Eyewitness accounts confirmed that Fakhrizadeh's car came under attack first by a blast and then by terrorists who sprayed bullets at his car.

Early in 2018, the Israeli sources had acknowledged that Mossad had tried to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but its operation failed.

According to Fars News Agency, Mossad had gained access to Fakhrizadeh's name via a UN list which referred to him as a senior scientist of Iran's Defense Ministry's Physics Research Center.

After the terrorist attack on Friday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami underlined that assassination of Fakhrizadeh may not undermine Iranians' resolve, and said revenge for the terror attack is already on the country's agenda.

General Salami extended condolences to Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, martyr Fakhrizadeh's family, and the Iranian nation over the martyrdom of Head of the Research and Innovation Organization of Iran's Defense Ministry, Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated in an organized and pre-planned terrorist attack by the child-killing Israeli regime.

"The enemies of the Iranian nation, specially the masterminds, perpetrators and supporters of this crime, should also know that such crimes will not undermine the resolve of the Iranians to continue this glorious and power-generating path, and harsh revenge and punishment is on agenda for them," the IRGC chief commander stressed.

Also, Ayatollah Khamenei in a message condemned assassination of Fakhrizadeh, ordering officials to take action to punish the masterminds and perpetrators of the terror attack.

“Mr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent nuclear and defense scientist of the country, was martyred by criminal and cruel mercenaries. The unique scientific figure gave his dear and precious soul in the way of God for his great and lasting scientific efforts, and the high position of martyrdom is his divine reward,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in his message on Saturday.

“Two important issues should be seriously put on the agenda by all relevant officials; first, probing the crime and the definite punishment of those who perpetrated and ordered it; and second, pursuing and continuing the martyr's scientific and technical efforts in all the sectors in which he was engaged,” he added.

Ayatollah Khamenei also extended his condolences to martyr Fakhrizadeh’s family, students and the scientific society of the country, wishing him the highest position before God.

Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of the western and Israeli spy agencies' assassination attempts in recent years.

In June 2012, Iran announced that its intelligence forces had identified and arrested all terrorist elements behind the assassination of the country's nuclear scientists.

"All the elements involved in the assassinations of the country's nuclear scientists have been identified and arrested," Iran's Intelligence Ministry announced in a statement.

"A number of countries, whose territories and facilities had been misused by the Mossad-backed terrorist teams, have provided the Iranian officials with relevant information," the statement added.

"Over the course of the investigations, all other elements behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, Majid Shahriari and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan as well as Reza Qashqaei (Roshan's driver) have been apprehended," the statement read.

"Some of the perpetrators of the assassination of Dr. Fereidoun Abbasi, the current head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, are among those arrested," the ministry added.

According to the statement, Iran's Intelligence Ministry had detected some of Mossad's bases within the territories of one of Iran's Western neighbors, which provided training and logistical support to the terrorist networks.

In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, terrorists killed a 32-year-old Iranian scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, and his driver on January 11, 2012.

The blast took place on the second anniversary of the martyrdom of Iranian university professor and nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was also assassinated in a terrorist bomb attack in Tehran in January 2010.

The assassination method used in the bombing was similar to the 2010 terrorist bomb attacks against the then university professor, Fereidoun Abbassi Davani – who became the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization - and his colleague Majid Shahriari. While Abbasi Davani survived the attack, Shahriari was martyred.

Another Iranian scientist, Dariush Rezaeinejad, was also assassinated through the same method on 23 July 2011.

In a relevant development in January, 2015, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that it had thwarted an attempt by the Israeli intelligence forces to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist.

“In the last two years, the Zionist enemy (Israel) was trying hard to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist, but the timely presence of the IRGC security forces thwarted the terrorist operation,” Deputy Chief Liaison Officer of Flight Guards Corps Colonel Ya’qoub Baqeri told FNA in 2015.

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/13990909000334/Iran-Asks-fr-UN-Cperain-in-Idenificain-f-Clpris-behind-Assassinain-f-N

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Iranian media says Israeli arms were used to assassinate Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

30 November 2020

The remnants of the scene where Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed suggest that Israeli arms were used to assassinate him, reported Iran’s state-owned Press TV citing “informed sources” on Monday.

Several Iranian officials have blamed Israel for the attack. Israel has declined to comment.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/30/Iranian-media-says-Israeli-arms-were-used-to-assassinate-Mohsen-Fakhrizadeh

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Iranian newspaper: Iran should attack Haifa if Israel killed scientist Fakhrizadeh

29 November 2020

An opinion piece published by a hard-line Iranian newspaper on Sunday suggested Iran should attack the Israeli port city of Haifa if Israel carried out the killing of a scientist linked to its disbanded military nuclear program.

Though the hard-line Kayhan newspaper has long argued for aggressive retaliation for operations targeting Iran, Sunday’s opinion piece went further, suggesting any assault be carried out in a way that destroys facilities and “also causes heavy human casualties.”

Israel, suspected of killing Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade, has not commented on Friday’s slaying of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Iranian officials roundly have blamed Israel for the attack, raising the specter of renewed tensions that could engulf the region, including US troops stationed in the Persian Gulf and beyond.

Kayhan published the piece written by Iranian analyst Sadollah Zarei, who argued Iran’s previous reactions to suspected Israeli airstrikes that killed Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria didn’t go far enough to deter Israel.

Striking Haifa and killing a large number of people “will definitely lead to deterrence, because the US and the Israeli regime and its agents are by no means ready to take part in a war and a military confrontation,” Zarei wrote. He said an assault on Haifa needed to be greater than Iran’s ballistic missile attack against American troops in Iraq following the US drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in January.

Haifa, on the Mediterranean Sea, has been threatened in the past by both Iran and one of its proxies, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah recently suggested striking Haifa’s stores of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive fertilizer that fueled the deadly Beirut port blast in August that killed 193 people and wounded 6,500 others.

While Kayhan is a small circulation newspaper in Iran, its editor-in-chief Hossein Shariatmadari was appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and has been described as an adviser to him in the past.

A “strong reaction”

The Iranian parliament on Sunday held a closed-door hearing about Fakhrizadeh’s killing. Afterward, parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf said Iran’s enemies must be made to regret killing him.

“The criminal enemy does not regret it except with a strong reaction,” he said in a broadcast on Iranian state radio.

State television broadcast images of Fakhrizadeh’s casket being flown to Mashhad, a holy Shia city in Iran’s east home to the shrine of Imam Reza.

Father of nuclear bomb

Analysts have compared Fakhrizadeh to being on par with Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who led America’s Manhattan Project in World War II that created the atom bomb.

Fakhrizadeh headed Iran’s so-called AMAD program that Israel and the West have alleged was a military operation looking at the feasibility of building a nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency says that “structured program” ended in 2003. Iran long has maintained its nuclear program is peaceful.

His killing likely complicates the plans of President-elect Joe Biden, who has said his administration will consider reentering Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. It also raises the risk of an open conflict in the remaining weeks in office for President Donald Trump, who unilaterally withdrew the US from the atomic accord in 2018, beginning a series of escalating incidents between Tehran and Washington.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/11/29/Iranian-newspaper-Iran-should-attack-Haifa-if-Israel-killed-scientist-Fakhrizadeh

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Eight Saudis killed in Yemeni ballistic missile attack against coalition's positions

30 November 2020

The Yemeni army, backed by popular forces, have launched a missile attack against the Saudi-led coalition’s Camp Tadawain in Yemen’s Ma’rib, killing at least eight Saudi forces.

Spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree announced on Sunday that the missile attack targeted the Joint Operations Room of the coalition camp in Ma’rib, central Yemen.

According to Saree, the Badr-P ballistic missile used in this operation killed eight and wounded at least seven other coalition troops.

The Yemeni spokesman warned that such operations against the coalition positions will continue as long as the Saudi aggression and the siege of Yemen continues.

He also noted that Yemeni forces are observing and controlling the enemy’s movements, and will target them wherever they are.

Supported militarily by the US, the UK, and several other Western countries, Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 to crush a popular uprising that had overthrown a regime friendly to Riyadh.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives in Yemen.

Nearly 3,500 children have been killed in Yemen since 2015, Yemen’s Human Rights Center says.

It says that some 5,500,000 Yemeni children are also at the risk of catching diseases due to malnutrition and shortage of health services.

Late last year, Yemen’s health ministry warned that around three million children under the age of five were suffering from malnutrition, 400,000 of whom were suffering from severe malnutrition and were at risk of death every ten minutes if they did not receive appropriate medical care.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war at a time when Yemenis are in desperate need of medical supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

At least 80 percent of the 28-million-strong population is also reliant on aid to survive in what the United Nations (UN) has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The conflict has also resulted in what the world body has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/30/639641/Yemen-army-ballistic-marib-saudi

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UN chief urges world to make ‘urgent contributions’ to cash-strapped UNRWA to help Palestinians

29 November 2020

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has voiced concern about the financial situation of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), calling on member states to make “urgent contributions” to enable the agency to provide relief to Palestinians.

The UN chief made the remarks on Sunday, in a message marking the International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine, which is celebrated annually on November 29.

The occasion is a UN-organized observance to remind the world of the Palestinian people’s just cause and legitimate rights. It is commemorated worldwide, with officials expressing their support for the Palestinian cause and denouncing the Israeli conduct in the occupied lands.

In 1977, the UN General Assembly called for the annual observance. It marks the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Palestine partition resolution 181.

“I appeal to all Member States to urgently contribute to enable UNRWA to meet the critical humanitarian and development needs of Palestine refugees during the pandemic,” Guterres urged.

UNRWA was originally founded in 1949 to protect hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by the 1948 Arab-Israeli war mainly through providing them with humanitarian aid. It was initially established as a temporary agency, but it has continued to support the Palestinian refugees for the better part of six decades.

The agency currently supports an estimated 5.7 million Palestinians with refugee status across the besieged Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, providing them with health care, education, and social services. Most are descendants of the roughly 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled the 1948 war, which led to the creation of Israel.

UNRWA’s finances have been ravaged since 2018, when the administration of US President Donald Trump decided to cancel all the US funding to the agency, as part of a policy to impose maximum pressure on the Palestinians to satisfy Israeli interests and Zionist constituencies in the United States.

Before Trump's cuts, Washington had been providing UNRWA $300 million a year, roughly a third of its core annual budget.

On November 15, UNRWA warned that the “worst financial crisis” it has ever experienced could spell “disaster” in the besieged Gaza Strip and cause insecurity in Lebanon. It has received the lowest level of contributions since 2012, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is increasingly exacerbating the needs of refugees.

On Thursday, Philip Lazzarini, UNRWA commissioner-general, warned at a press conference in the besieged Gaza Strip Gaza that the agency was on the “edge of a cliff.”

“But I still believe we can avoid falling. We can avoid falling if the solidarity of the international community is expressed now,” he added.

Earlier this month, Lazzarini had warned that it had to raise $70 million by the end of the month to be able to pay full salaries for the months of November and December. Some 28,000 staffers of the agency across the West Bank, East Jerusalem al-Quds, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and Jordan will be affected by the shortfall. Most of the staffers are refugees themselves.

With some 13,000 people on staff, UNRWA is the main employer, after local authorities, in the Gaza Strip, which is home to about two million people. The situation is particularly critical in the blockaded enclave where the unemployment rate is over 50 percent.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639625/Palestine-Guterres-UNRWA-Gaza-US-Trump-Israel

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Gaza marks International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Ashraf Shannon

Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have marked the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

On this day, protests and special events are held around the globe to voice solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The annual event was first called for by the UN General Assembly on the November 29, 1977.

During a press conference in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council premises in Gaza, senior Palestinian officials vowed to continue resistance against Israel.

For more than seven decades, the Israeli regime has caused pain and suffering for Palestinians.

It has waged three wars on Gaza since 2008 and has the tiny enclave under its crippling blockade. Tel Aviv has also expanded illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds.

During the event, Palestinian officials also condemned the normalization of relations between some Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region and Israel.

UN General Assembly Resolution 181 in 1947 called for the partition of Palestine into two states. The UN’s move paved the way for the displacement of Palestinians upon the creation of the Israeli entity.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639631/Gaza-Solidarity

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Scores of sick Palestinians facing death in Israeli prisons: Rights group warns

29 November 2020

A Palestinian human rights group has expressed serious concern over the condition of sick Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails, saying many of them are facing death due to their exposure to deliberate medical neglect.

Riyad al-Ashqar, director of the Palestinian Center for Prisoners Studies (PCPS) warned in a statement on Sunday that scores of Palestinian prisoners with serious health conditions are likely to die in Israeli jails because prison services deny them medical aid.

He called on relevant authorities to provide adequate health care services to the sick Palestinian prisoners languishing in Israeli jails, whom he described as “living martyrs”.

Ashqar said there are more than 700 prisoners suffering from health problems, 150 of whom suffer from serious issues such as cancer, kidney failure, heart problems and muscle atrophy.

Many Palestinian prisoners who suffered serious illnesses have lost their lives either in Israeli jails or shortly after their release.

In September, 45-year-old Daoud Talaat Khatib died of heart attack at Ofer Prison and Detention Center near Ramallah. The deceased Palestinian suffered from bad health condition during his detention and in 2017 had a heart attack, but medical negligence by the Israel prison authorities contributed to the deterioration of his health until his death.

Also in July, 75-year-old Sa’adi al-Gharably – a resident of the Shuja'iyya neighborhood of Gaza City – died in the infamous Ramla prison hospital. He was suffering from a number of health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure as well as poor hearing and eyesight, and had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Back in October 2019, the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission reported that sick Palestinian prisoners in Ramla prison hospital are facing a slow death on a daily basis because of their exposure to deliberate medical neglect.

According to the commission, nearly a dozen of the Palestinian prisoners are in very serious health conditions and most of them cannot move without wheelchairs.

They rely on other prisoners when taking shower, changing clothes, eating and drinking.

The commission then appealed to international human rights, legal and humanitarian organizations to urgently intervene to save the lives of sick prisoners in Israeli jails, and put an end to the Israeli officials’ policy of medical negligence against Palestinian prisoners.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently being held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.

Over 500 detainees are under the so-called administrative detention in various Israeli prisons. Some prisoners have been held in that condition for up to 11 years without any charges.

The co-called Israeli administrative detention is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows the Israeli authorities to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months, which could be extended for an infinite number of times.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detentions.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639604/Palestine-prisoners-Israeli-jails-medical-neglect-health-problems-death

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Yemen: Deployment of UK troops to Saudi Arabia won't change situation

29 November 2020

A member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council has reacted to reports on the secret deployment of British troops to Saudi Arabia, saying the move will not change the situation on the ground.

On Saturday, British daily The Independent revealed that UK troops had been sent to defend oil fields in Saudi Arabia without the knowledge of parliament or the public.

Speaking to the Doha-based Al Jazeera broadcaster on Saturday, Mohammad al-Bakhiti said Britain and the United States are basically members of the Saudi-led coalition of aggressors against Yemen.

“The deployment of UK forces in Saudi Arabia does not change anything,” he added.

According to The Independent, gunners from Britain's 16th Regiment Royal Artillery have been sent to Saudi Arabia to man Giraffe radars.

Opposition parties, the paper said, accused the UK government of lacking a “moral compass” and dodging scrutiny. Campaigners said the episode was “symptomatic of the toxic relationship” between the government and the oil-rich autocracy, it added.

The UK Ministry of Defense claimed that the mission was to protect Saudi oil fields in the wake of the September 2019 attacks on Saudi Aramco oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, east of the kingdom.

“Following the attacks on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities on 14 September 2019, we have worked with the Saudi Ministry of Defense and wider international partners to consider how to strengthen the defense of its critical economic infrastructure from aerial threats,” a ministry spokesperson told The Independent, noting that the deployment included an advanced military radar system to help detect drone strikes.

British Defense Minister James Heappey also confirmed in separate written correspondence that the “personnel have accompanied the deployment of Giraffe radars to Riyadh.”

The deployment, he added, was still “ongoing as of late November and had so far cost UK taxpayers £840,360.

The UK military operation, launched in February, overlapped with a ban on exporting military hardware to Saudi Arabia because of concerns that the regime forces were committing war crimes in the military aggression against Yemen.

Andrew Smith, from Campaign Against the Arms Trade, said, “This secretive and opaque operation is symptomatic of the toxic relationship between the UK government and the Saudi Arabian authorities.

“There are big questions about this operation and why UK forces were deployed, but the entire relationship needs to be scrutinized. Despite the decades of abuses that have been inflicted on Saudi people, and the war crimes and atrocities committed against Yemen, the Saudi regime has always been able to rely on the uncritical political and military support of Downing Street,” he added.

“The bombing of Yemen has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. It would not have been possible without the complicity of arms-dealing governments like the UK. With the UK aid budget being cut, and COVID-19 making the humanitarian situation even worse, it is more vital than ever that those arms sales are stopped.”

Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrats’ foreign affairs spokesperson, described the reports on the deployment of British soldiers to Saudi Arabia as “shocking.”

“Not only is this government selling the Saudi government arms to use against civilians in Yemen, but deploying troops to defend Saudi oil fields, reveals just how absent this government’s moral compass truly is,” she said.

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states, and with arms support from several Western countries.

The aim was to return to power a Riyadh-backed former regime and defeat the Houthi Ansarullah movement that has taken control of state matters.

The war has failed to achieve its goals, but killed tens of thousands of innocent Yemenis and destroyed the impoverished country’s infrastructure. The UN refers to the situation in Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

On Sunday morning, Saudi warplanes bombarded Sana’a International Airport, al-Masirah TV reported without elaborating on possible casualties or damage.

Since the begging of the bloody war, the UK has licensed at least £5.4 billion worth of arms to the Riyadh regime, including bombs and aircraft.

British armed forces have also provided at least 42 training modules for Saudi soldiers over the past two years, including in air warfare, officer training, and electronic warfare.

An investigation by the Declassified UK website shows British troops are stationed across 15 sites inside Saudi Arabia.

‘All Saudi facilities legitimate target for Yemenis’

In his remarks, Bakhiti warned foreign oil companies against remaining in Saudi Arabia as well as ships against passing through the kingdom’s ports, saying that all Saudi facilities are a legitimate target for the Yemeni army and allied Popular Committees.

On Monday, Yemeni forces conducted a missile attack on an Aramco petroleum products distribution plant in Saudi Arabia’s port city of Jeddah in response to the Riyadh-led war and siege of their homeland.

Saudi Arabia acknowledged that the Yemeni raid targeted the “core of the global economy and its supply routes,” causing major damage to the Aramco distribution facility.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639591/Yemen-UK-troops-Saudi-Arabia

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North America

 

Trump adviser Kushner and US team heading to Saudi Arabia and Qatar for talks

30 November 2020

Trump senior adviser Kushner and US team are heading to Saudi Arabia and Qatar for talks, reported Reuters on Saturday.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/11/30/Trump-adviser-Kushner-and-US-team-is-heading-to-Saudi-Arabia-and-Qatar-for-talks

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Terrorism, climate change top list of challenges facing US military

29 November 2020

The US Defense Department Inspector General's annual list of challenges for the military in the next year has highlighted the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, terrorism as well as the long-term threat to military installations and operations due to climate change.

Pointing to the potential problems of Trump administration’s push to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, the 101-page IG report expresses concern that the move would lead to the resurgence of terrorist groups in the country despite the persisting rise of terror attacks across the country ever since it was subjected to a US-led military invasion in 2001.

"In Afghanistan, two decades of US military operations have weakened alQaeda and ISIS affiliates operating in the country, but there remains a potential for their resurgence following the planned withdrawal of US troops," the report claims. "Meanwhile, violent extremist organizations continue to expand their influence in Africa and Asia."

"Maintaining the US military's advantage while balancing great power competition and countering global terrorism requires the DoD to focus on enhancing interagency collaboration and rebuilding military capabilities that may have atrophied the past 20 years," the IG report states.

"The challenge for the DoD is to rebuild capabilities to effectively compete with nearpeer rivals and other adversaries, while continuing to combat terrorists and insurgents," it further claimed, voicing concerns that the ongoing terrorist threat would be downplayed if DoD commits most of its attention on containing China and Russia.

"As the DoD shifts its attention and resources to great power competition, it will need to retain the agility and capability to combat persistent and evolving threats from violent extremist organizations," the document states, claiming that Daesh (ISIL) terrorists – which the US has protected against efforts by Iraqi and Syrian security forces to reign them in – are regrouping following the 2019 death of their leader Abu Bakr alBaghdadi.

The report further repeated US claims that Iran remains a state supporter of terrorism around the world in face of growing evidence that Washington continues to be engaged in terror assassinations and sponsoring mercenaries worldwide to conduct coups and terrorism against governments and groups that resist US interference.

Moreover, under the heading "Strengthening Resiliency to NonTraditional Threats," the report also underlines the impact on the US military of "pandemics [and] extreme weather events, and the national security implications of a changing environment."

"Rising sea levels, extreme weather such as flooding, wildfires, or hurricanes, and a melting Arctic will require the DoD to consider the security, readiness, and financial implications of these nontraditional threats," according to the report, which was originally released on November 19.

Additionally, "droughts, water scarcity, and other natural resource limitations" brought on by climate change "offer opportunities for adversaries, competitors, and violent extremist organizations to exert their influence in pursuit of their goals."

The report’s list of top ten challenges for the US military in fiscal year 2021 includes: ‘maintaining the advantage while balancing great power competition and countering global terrorism’, ‘building and sustaining DOD’s technological dominance’, ‘assuring space dominance, nuclear deterrence, and ballistic missile defense’ and ‘enhancing cyberspace operations and capabilities and securing the DOD's information systems, network, and data.’

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639572/US-military-inspector-general-report-terrorism-climate-change-

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Sanders slams 'reckless, illegal' killing of Iranian scientist

29 November 2020

Senior US Senator Bernie Sanders says the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was an "illegal" move aimed at undermining possible talks between Iran and the incoming US administration.

“The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was reckless, provocative, and illegal,” Sanders said in a tweet on Saturday.

“As a new administration takes power, it was clearly intended to undermine US-Iran diplomacy,” the top Senator added.

“We must not allow that to happen. Diplomacy, not murder, is the best path forward.”

However, US President Donald Trump’s former hawkish national security advisor John Bolton defended the assassination, and claimed that the “threat” of Iran developing a nuclear weapon fully justifies the “pre-emptive attack”.

Earlier in the day, a senior US official told the Washington Post that the United States had nothing to do with the scientist’s killing and believes Iran has been told that.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter, said there was little doubt Israel was behind the attack.

Former CIA head John Brennan had earlier described the state-sponsored killing of a scientist as a "criminal" act.

The former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency described the assassination as a crime that risked to inflame regional conflict in the Middle East.

“This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits,” tweeted Brennan, who ran the CIA under President Barack Obama from 2013-2017.

Brennan said he didn’t know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, but said, “Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/29/639571/Sanders-Bolton-Fakhrizadeh-assassination

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Ex-CIA chief slams Cruz over Iran assassination remarks

28 November 2020

Former CIA head John Brennan has blasted Texas Sen. Ted Cruz over the assassination of a prominent Iranian scientist, describing the state-sponsored killing of a scientist as a "criminal" act.

Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated outside the Iranian capital Tehran on Friday.

The former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency described the assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist on Friday as a crime that risked to inflame regional conflict in the Middle East.

“This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits,” tweeted Brennan, who ran the CIA under President Barack Obama from 2013-2017.

Israel has been blamed as the culprit behind the terrorist attack.

Brennan said he didn’t know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the assassination of Fakhrizadeh, but said, “Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials.”

The former head of the CIA also went on to slam Cruz for claiming Brennan was close to Democrats and had consistently sided with Iranians who chanted "Death to America.”

Brennan said the Texan senator was unruly and naive.

“It is typical for you to mischaracterize my comment,” Brennan responded to Cruz.

Brennan added that the Texan senator had a “lawless attitude & simple-minded approach to serious national security matters.”

The former head of the CIA said his 33-year public service, during both Republican and Democratic governments, proved that he had consistently pursued Washington's anti-Iran, pro-Israel foreign policy.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639548/US-CIA-Chief-Brennan-Cruz-Iran-Assassination

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US deploys Nimitz aircraft carrier back to Persian Gulf as tensions rise with Iran

28 November 2020

The US military is moving the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier back into the Persian Gulf along with other warships as tensions mount in the region following the assassination of a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist.

A defense official told the CNN on Friday that the deployment was meant to provide “combat support and air cover” for American troops withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan by January 15 before President Donald Trump leaves office.

The official added that the decision was made before news came Friday of the assassination of Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of the Defense Ministry's Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND).

“The movement would serve as message of increased deterrence to Tehran,” the CNN said, citing the official.

Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a small city east of the capital Tehran in an ambush attack on his vehicle involving an explosion and machine gun fire.

Fakhrizadeh’s death came two years after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during an erroneous presentation about Iran's nuclear activities, warned the world to “remember that name.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday there were “serious indications” that the Israeli regime was responsible for the assassination.

One American official and two other intelligence officials confirmed to the New York Times that Israel was behind the attack.

Last week, Israel’s Channel 13 TV reported that Tel Aviv and Washington were planning to increase pressure on Iran with “covert operations” and economic sanctions during Trump’s final weeks in office.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri Baqeri said “harsh revenge” awaited those responsible.

The decision to deploy the Nimitz back to the region marks a rapid return of the aircraft carrier which only left the Persian Gulf for India early this month.

The movement also comes as the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), is approaching early in January.

“We have the force posture right today. We're going to keep it right. We'll get our troops home when we can, and we'll do the things we need to do. If Qasem Soleimani is a problem, we'll go crush them,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News on Thursday.

The act of terror was carried out under the direction of President Trump, with the Pentagon taking responsibility for the strike.

In response, the IRGC launched a wave of missile strikes days later, targeting a major US base in neighboring Iraq. The Islamic Republic has vowed to fully avenge the general’s blood.

The IRGC's chief commander, Major General Hossein Salami, said Saturday that “a severe revenge and punishment” was also put on Iran’s agenda in response to the killing of Fakhrizadeh the day before.

There have been reports that Trump has recently requested options for a military strike on Iran during the remaining days of his term. The Israeli regime has also reportedly been preparing for such an attack for weeks.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/11/28/639519/US-deploys-Nimitz-aircraft-carrier-Persian-Gulf

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