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Islamic World News ( 10 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Co-Education Leading To ‘Apostasy’ In Muslim Girls: Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind President Maulana Arshad Madani

New Age Islam News Bureau

10 January 2023

Arshad Madani

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• Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary Urges Attacks on British Soldiers after Prince Harry’s Taliban Comments

• Islamic Scholars From 14 Countries, Including The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain And Tunisia, Visit Xinjiang Region, Praise Efforts On Countering Terrorism, Extremism

• Head of an Islamic Country Alone Can Declare Jihad In Light Of the Principles of Islam: Fatwa of 16 Religious Scholars of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

• United Arab Emirates Says It Will Teach Holocaust in Schools

 

India

• Muslim League Wants Veg Delicacies for Kerala School Youth Festival

• Supreme Court Upheld the Powers of Gujarat and Uttarakhand to Set Up Their Own Committees to Examine the Subject of Introducing a Uniform Civil Code within Their Borders

• Belagavi Corporation Issues Notice to Mosque in Residential Area after Warning from Ram Sene Chief

• Hijab Ban in Karnataka against Rights of Students, Says PUCL Report

• Bihar: Pasmanda Muslims cautious as parties firm up plans to woo them in 2024 LS polls

• J&K village defence guards get arms training after Rajouri terror strikes

• Muslim groups in Dhanbad ban DJs, dance, fireworks in marriages

• Muslim man arrested under UAPA for links to PFI granted bail

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Europe

• International community pledges $8.57bn to Pakistan on flood damage at UN conference in Geneva

• Calling Muslims Not French Is Intolerable, Says French Justice Minister

• UK summons top Iranian diplomat following latest executions

• Denmark summons Iranian envoy over latest executions

• Germany summons Iran's ambassador over latest executions

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Southeast Asia

• President invites Muslims to conserve national cultural wealth

• Islamic Development Bank pledges US$4.2b for Pakistan’s climate rebuilding efforts

• Why Indonesia and Malaysia are calling out EU 'discrimination'

• AG moots BM text to replace English as the authoritative version of Federal Constitution

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Pakistan

• Imran Khan Asks Military To Refrain From 'Political Engineering' In Next Elections

• TTP sets conditions for ceasefire with Pakistan, seeks direction from Islamic clerics

• Saudi Arabia mulls increasing deposit in SBP to $5bn

• ECP Issues Arrest Warrants ForImran, Other PTI Leaders in Contempt Cases

• PTI blasts Shehbaz for ‘massive’ spending on Geneva visit

• Militants attack KP’s Dera police station

• Bannu police kill two terrorists in exchange of fire

• Fearing violence, PTI, JI want army deployed at polling stations

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Arab World

• UN Security Council unanimously extends approval of aid to Syria from Turkey

• Saudi Arabia to host pre-pandemic numbers for 2023 Hajj pilgrimage season

• Pope urges Zayed Award judging committee to act on human fraternity, women’s rights

• Shoura Council speaker takes part in meetings at Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Turkiye

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Mideast

• Israeli Spy Tech Sold to Bangladesh, World’s Third-largest Muslim Country, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record

• Iran: France Not Entitled to Insult Other Religions on Lame Excuse of Free Speech

• Israeli sanctions amount to ‘new war’ against Palestinians: PM Shtayyeh

• Yemeni security forces dismantle two terror teams tied to Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency

• ‘We're Palestinian Jews:’ Neturei Karta meet with Islamic Jihad leaders in Jenin

• Leader: Foreign-Backed Rioters Sought to Destroy Iran's Strengths

• Iranians Protest against Charlie Hebdo's Insulting Move

• President Rayeesi Calls for Broadening of Iran-Russia Economic Cooperation

• Israel’s PM Netanyahu races ahead to implement hard-line agenda

• White House condemns latest Iran death sentences, demands ‘immediate cessation’

• Meta’s Oversight Board tells company to allow posts using ‘death to Khamenei’ slogan

• Gazans protest Israeli bans on medical imports in ambulance march

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North America

• Carter Ordered CIA To Topple Islamic Republic 10 Months After The Revolution: Document

• US Supreme Court turns away Israeli spyware maker in WhatsApp suit

• Pope Francis praises Türkiye's mediation efforts between Russia, Ukraine

• US announces USD 100 million of recovery, reconstruction funding for Pakistan

• US: Muslim community demands justice over police killing of Bangladeshi man

• Man behind deadly NY truck attack sought martyrdom

• US national security adviser Sullivan says will discuss Iran on Israel trip

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Africa

• Muslim Muslim Ticket: God Has No Business With Nigerian Thieving Politicians – Adeyanju

• Fresh operation in Somalia kills at least 61 al-Shabaab terrorists

• Türkiye strives to boost ties with all African countries, says foreign minister

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South Asia

• Undoing 20 Years of Progress in Afghanistan: SIGAR

• United Nations provide clarification on the cash shipments to Afghanistan

• Myanmar jails 112 Rohingya for travelling 'without documents'

• Afghan Athletes Showing Off Strength in Frozen Harirud River in Ghor

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/education-muslim-girls-jamiat-ulema-i-hind/d/128845

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Co-Education Leading To ‘Apostasy’ In Muslim Girls: Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind President Maulana Arshad Madani

9th January 2023

Arshad Madani

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Delhi: Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind President Maulana Arshad Madani in the national executive has said that co-education was leading to ‘apostasy’ in Muslim girls and to curb this more educational institutions should be opened.

Describing the temptation of apostasy spreading rapidly in the country as a danger, Maulana Madani said on Sunday, “It has been started against Muslims in a planned way, under which our girls are being targeted.”

“If immediate and effective measures are not taken to prevent this temptation, the situation may become explosive in the coming days and this temptation is being strengthened due to co-education system, and that is why we opposed it, and then the media presented our point in a negative way and advertised that Maulana Madani is against the education of girls, while we are against co-education, we are not against girls’ education.”

Madani said, “Whatever we can do, we have to do now for the welfare of the nation and their educational development and after the independence of the country, we as a nation are at a very critical point in history.

“On the one hand, we are being entangled in various problems, on the other hand, the ways of economic, social, political and educational development are being blocked for us,” he alleged.

“If we have to defeat this silent conspiracy and achieve zenith of success, then we have to establish separate educational institutions for our boys and girls,” he added.

“In the end,” he said, “The history of nations is a witness that education has been the key to progress in every age.

“So we have to attract our children not only towards the higher education, rather, we have to encourage them for competitive exams by taking out the feeling of inferiority from them, and in this way we can give a resounding answer to every conspiracy against us,” he said.

In the meeting, the progress of the cases being fought by the Legal Cell of Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind was also reviewed. Among these are important cases to uphold the Citizenship Act in Assam and the Protection of Places of Worship Act in the country.

The Jamiat body has filed a petition requesting the court to protect the Protection of Places of Worship Act, 1991.

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/co-education-leading-to-apostasy-in-muslim-girls-madani-2498748/

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Hate Preacher Anjem Choudary Urges Attacks on British Soldiers after Prince Harry’s Taliban Comments

January 09, 2023

Prince Harry sitting in his position on a Spartan armoured vehicle, in the desert in Helmand province in Southern Afghanistan in 2008.(AFP)

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LONDON: UK hate preacher Anjem Choudary has urged extremists to stage attacks on British soldiers in the wake of Prince Harry’s comments about killing Taliban fighters, The Metro reported.

Choudary, who was convicted on terrorism charges in 2016 and has been accused of inciting a series of attacks, was featured in the Arab News series “Preachers of Hate.”

Prince Harry, in his newly released memoir “Spare,” revealed that he had killed 25 Taliban fighters while serving as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan, describing them as “chess pieces.”

In response, Choudary, 55, urged extremists to target British forces in Syria, Iraq and North Africa.

“The world now knows of the wickedness that the US, UK and others engaged in, including repeatedly murdering innocent unarmed Muslims,” he said.

“Nevertheless, Harry still saw fit to plunge his knife further into the hearts of Muslims with his callous boastful comments.”

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan-Smith described Choudhary’s comments as a “direct and indirect threat to our constitutional head of state, our monarchy, and for that matter our government and all public servants.” Duncan-Smith urged authorities to “move on this man.”

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said: “I would encourage Prince Harry to follow up with a statement of humility to clarify it was unwise to make such comments and out of step to what the rest of the Armed Forces do.

“I believe he needs to recognize it was ill-construed and will be interpreted the wrong way to ratchet up hate. Otherwise there will be others in addition to Choudary who will try to stir up hatred.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2229216/world

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Islamic Scholars From 14 Countries, Including The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain And Tunisia, Visit Xinjiang Region, Praise Efforts On Countering Terrorism, Extremism

By Liu Xin and Fan Lingzhi in Urumqi

Jan 09, 2023

A delegation consisting of more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Tunisia and Bosnia and Herzegovina begin their Xinjiang visit on Sunday. Photos: Fan Lingzhi/GT

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Visiting the exhibition on the fight against terrorism and extremism, talking with religion groups, and interacting with local residents at the bazaar… a group of Islamic figures and scholars are paying a Visit to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to get a clear and better understanding of the region in contrast to the US-led smear campaign.

Led by Ali Rashid Abudula Ali Alnuaimi, chairman of the World Muslim Communities Council, the delegation consists of more than 30 Islamic figures and scholars from 14 countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Tunisia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, who began their Xinjiang visit on Sunday.

Ma Xingrui, Party chief of the Xinjiang region, welcomed the delegation - the first foreign delegation to the region in 2023 - at a meeting in Urumqi on Monday, acknowledging their support for China's stance on Xinjiang-related issues, as the US and some Western countries continuously spread rumors, throwing mud at China and attempting to sow discord between China and Islamic countries.

However, righteous people in the Islamic world have never bent to the pressure from some Western countries, nor have they been fooled by lies about the Xinjiang region, Ma said. Instead of following a few Western countries in using Xinjiang-related issues to interfere with China's internal affairs, these people have affirmed the development of the Xinjiang region, exposed the political practices of the US and some Western countries, and defended international fairness and justice, he said.

During the Monday meeting, Ali spoke highly of the region's measures on countering terrorism and extremism, and also of the people who have contributed to the stability and development in the region.

The scholar also noted that some anti-China forces have attacked China, mainly on topics related to the Xinjiang and Xizang regions and the island of Taiwan, which are related to China's national security. In Chinese culture, there is no concept of targeting Muslims or the Islamic civilization, Ali said, adding that it is their responsibility to tell the world about China's prosperity and development.

Ali also noted that the whole world needs China, and its stability and prosperity are also important to the world.

In addition to meeting with the Xinjiang Party chief, the delegation also visited an exhibition on the fight against terrorism and extremism on Sunday to learn more about how the region previously suffered from terrorism.

The exhibition introduces the history of the Xinjiang region, which is an inseparable part of China. It also showed how the three forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism plagued the region from 1990 to 2016, resulting in thousands of terror attacks and leaving miserable memories for local residents. Brief introductions on 52 terror attacks with photos of scenes from the attacks and victims from different ethnic groups and religious groups, were displayed.

The violence and brutality shocked the delegation. Fahad Ahmed, a reporter from the UAE, told the Global Times that the pictures and videos of the terror attacks were like "horror movies" and it is hard to imagine people could do such brutal things to others. Such acts of violence have nothing to do with religion, he said.

Saudi Arabia's former Minister of Education Abdullah Saleh Al Obaid said they felt grieved to see the terrorist attacks in Xinjiang region

Osama Elsayed Mahmoud Mohamed Saad, the Egyptian president's advisor for religious affairs, said that the exhibition exposed the crimes of terrorists and also showed the efforts made by the Chinese government and Chinese people to counter terrorism.

Terrorists violate human dignity and cause a pandemic among the people, said the Egyptian religious figure, calling on the international community to understand the nature of terrorism and jointly resist such atrocities.

"I think that what we saw today reflected what actually happened on the ground… anyone coming to visit the region should come and see this because this is part of its history. It's not only China - the whole world has suffered from terrorism and extremism," said Ali.

He noted that all the terrorist attacks that happened in the region should be documented and the new generation should learn about it.

However, for a long time, the US and some Western countries have applied double standards on terror attacks that took place in China's Xinjiang region and described the Chinese government's counterterrorism measures as "oppressing ethnic minorities."

We shouldn't play political games when countering terrorism and extremism… This is why we think it's the responsibility of wise people everywhere to understand that the threat of terrorism and extremism is not a threat to one single nation or a single region. It's a threat to the world. All of us should come together and fight terrorism and extremism," said Ali.

To learn more about the development of Islam in the region, the delegation also went to the regional Islamic Association, the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, and some mosques in Urumqi on Sunday.

Bai Shengfu, vice chairman of China's Islamic Association, noted that the institute's new compound covers an area of 50,000 square meters with an investment of 279 million yuan ($41.1 million). It includes teaching buildings, a library, a gym, playgrounds, canteens and dormitories, and also has a hall for praying. 

The delegation took a tour to different parts of the institute and prayed with local students.

Mestaoui Mohamed Slaheddine, advisor to the Tunisian Prime Minister, and also secretary general of the Supreme Islamic Council, said he was impressed when he saw the institute's new and unique compound and was amazed by the elegant design of the prayer hall. "I believe that Muslims can feel peace the moment they step in here."

During a symposium of the delegation with teaching staff and students in the Islamic Institute, AbdureqipTomurniyaz, president of the institute, outlined the education of Islamic clergies in the region and said that Muslims' freedom of religion has been fully protected, and no one in the region has been treated unfairly due to their beliefs.

Source: GlobalTimes

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

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202301/1283507.shtml

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Head of an Islamic Country Alone Can Declare Jihad In Light Of the Principles of Islam: Fatwa of 16 Religious Scholars of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Umer Farooq

January 10, 2023

PESHAWAR: Only the head of an Islamic country is entitled to declare jihad, and anyone involved in revolt against the state is required to be “crushed” in light of the principles of Islam.

Amid a surge in terrorist attacks, the significant announcement came in form of an edict which was issued on Monday with signatures of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 16 religious scholars on it.

The clerics said that the head of the Islamic country will announce jihad since this is one of the basic components of the Islamic country.

“According to the teaching[s] of Islam, all the citizens of the Islamic country have to respect the law, and refusing to follow the Constitution [of the Islamic country] is prohibited according to the Shari’ah,” read the decree, a copy of which is available with Dawn.

Security personnel falling in fight against enemies of Muslim state are ‘martyrs’; obeying head of state termed compulsory

Protection of an Islamic country is the responsibility of all its citizens. “Since Pakistan is an Islamic State, there is no doubt that all, including the military and police deployed to defend the country, when killed in the battle against enemies, are martyrs,” the decree read.

The decree noted that a so-called religious scholar in Islamabad as well as some enemies and some anti-state elements have been issuing provocative and controversial statements.

“Obeying [the directions issued by the] head of the State is compulsory under the Islamic principles and those refusing to follow, is [rising in] revolt,” the decree read, adding “it is compulsory for all the citizens to follow the head of the state and the Constitution”.

Anyone who took up arms against the state or the [Pakistani] armed forces would be considered an insurgent, it said, adding that such an act had been forbidden and anyone involved in revolt is required to be crushed in light of the principles of Islam.

According to the scholars, there is no doubt that the Western democracy is against the teachings of Islam. However, they added, ‘if someone declares the parliament’s decision submissive to the Holy Quran, he should not be called as misled’.

The decree read that shaving the beard was forbidden in Islam but “it does not mean if somebody shaves the beard is a non-Muslim”, adding that once there was a time when wearing a tie and pants was considered dress of the Westerners but it had now become common among Muslims.

“No religious scholar has termed wearing a tie and pants against Islam and this is the reason why religious scholars have justified wearing pants at offices,” the 14-page edict read.

The decree has been signed by Shaikhul Hadis Maulana Qari Ehsanul Haq of Darul Uloom Sarhad, Mufti Subhanullah Jan from MadressahDarweshImdadul Uloom, Dr Maulana Ataur Rehman from Tafheemul Quran Mardan, Maulana Hussain Ahmad from WifaqulMadaris Arabia, Maulana Dr Abdul Nasir from TanzeemulMadaris Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mufti Mukhtarullah Haqqani and Maulana SalmanulHaq Haqqani from Jamia Daraul Uloom Akora Khattak, Chief Khateeb KP Maulana Tayyab Qureshi, provincial nazim of TanzeemulMadaris Maulana Rehmatullah Qadri, Maulana Umar Bin Abdul Aziz from WifaqulMadarisAslafia, Allama Abid Hussain Shakiri from Jamia Arif-Al-Hussaini Peshawar, Mufti MairajuddinSarkani from Jamia Amania Peshawar, Mufti Raza Muhammad Haqqani from Jamia Taleemul Quran Peshawar, Mufti Khalid Usmani from Jamia Islamia Kohat, Mufti Shaikh Aizaj from Jamia Masjid Ahl-e-Hadis Fawara Chowk Peshawar and Maulana Abdul Karim from KP Ulema Council.

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730851/head-of-an-islamic-country-alone-can-declare-jihad-edict

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United Arab Emirates says it will teach Holocaust in schools

09 January ,2023

UAE Israel Flags. (Reuters)

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The United Arab Emirates will begin teaching about the Holocaust in history classes in primary and secondary schools across the country, the country’s embassy in the US said.

The embassy provided no details on the curriculum and education authorities in the Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms, on Monday did not acknowledge the announcement.

However, the announcement comes after the UAE normalized relations with Israel in 2020 as part of a deal brokered by the administration of President Donald Trump.

“In the wake of the historic Abraham Accords, (the UAE) will now include the Holocaust in the curriculum for primary and secondary schools,” the embassy said in a tweet, referring to the normalization deal that also saw Bahrain and ultimately Morocco also recognize Israel.

Ambassador Deborah E. Lipstadt, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, praised the announcement in her own tweet.

“Holocaust education is an imperative for humanity and too many countries, for too long, continue to downplay the Shoah for political reasons,” Lipstadt wrote, using a Hebrew word for the Holocaust. “I commend the UAE for this step and expect others to follow suit soon.”

The announcement comes as a meeting of the Negev Forum Working Groups, which grew out of the normalization, began in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the UAE and the US are to attend. Egypt has diplomatically recognized Israel for decades.

In the Holocaust, Nazi Germany systematically killed 6 million European Jews during World War II. Israel, founded in 1948 as a haven for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, grants automatic citizenship to anyone of Jewish descent.

Other Arab nations have refused to diplomatically recognize Israel over its decades-long occupation of land Palestinians want for their future state.

The announcement by the UAE also comes after the federation and other Arab nations condemned an ultranationalist Israeli Cabinet minister for visiting a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site last week, for the first time since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far-right government took office.

The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, is the holiest site in Judaism, home to the ancient biblical Temples. Today, it houses the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Since Israel captured the site in 1967, Jews have been allowed to visit but not pray there.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/01/09/United-Arab-Emirates-says-it-will-teach-Holocaust-in-schools

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India

 

Muslim League wants veg delicacies for Kerala school youth festival

9th January 2023

Kozhikode: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Monday termed as unfortunate the controversy over not serving non-vegetarian dishes during the recently concluded Kerala State School Youth Festival and urged the government to continue to serve vegetarian delicacies.

IUML leader K P A Majeed alleged that the demand for the the non-vegetarian dish came from the Left circles.

IUML, a key ally in the Congress-led UDF, accused the LDF government of attempting to create rift in the society over the issue.

Majeed in a Facebook post attacked the Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty, who had earlier assured that from next year onwards non-vegetarian dishes will also be served, and said the Left leader made such an announcement without discussing with anyone.

On Sunday, eminent culinary expert PazhayidamMohanan Namboothiri, who has been preparing and serving dishes to thousands of people every day at the food pavilions of the Kerala State School Youth Festival, had said that he will not be taking part in the gala in the coming years.

The controversy erupted after a section of netizens questioned the authorities for not serving non-vegetarian dishes for the youth festival and alleged that there was ‘Brahminical hegemony’ in the kitchen. The issue died down after Sivankutty assured that the government will try to serve both types of food from the next youth festival.

“It’s unfortunate that such a controversy came up with regard to the food served for the state school youth festival. The whole responsibility lies with the State government and the Education Minister. The food has been served for the youth festival for many years and there was never a controversy like this,” Majeed said.

“Vegetarian food can be consumed by everyone but some people may not be able to eat non-vegetarian dishes and this is why the youth festival has only one kitchen serving vegetarian dishes. There is no need to divide the kitchen and it’s impractical. The Minister, without discussing with anyone, declared that non-vegetarian dishes will be served and it’s not right,” the IUML leader said.

He said this will only encourage discussions creating rift in the name of caste and religion in the society.

“The government wanted to create a division in the society and encouraged such a discussion,” Majeed said.

However, Congress leaders V T Balram and others had on January 4 strongly criticised the serving of vegetarian dishes by a “Brahmin cook” and demanded the inclusion of non-vegetarian dishes for the festival.

Later, a few social media handles claiming to be “liberals” and some former journalists also raked up the issue triggering a major debate in the State.

Sivankutty, to put an end to the controversy assured that the government will consider including non-vegetarian dishes from next year.

Namboothiri had told reporters on Sunday that the “unnecessary controversy” of not serving non-vegetarian dishes hurt him a lot.

However, government sources and Namboothiri himself had earlier clarified that there were some practical difficulties in preparing non-vegetarian dishes in such huge quantities for events where the number of attendees cannot be ascertained in advance.

The youth festival is known for its huge participation ranging from 30,000 to 40,000 every day.

For decades, lip-smacking vegetarian delicacies have been served among participating children, their teachers and parents at the food pavilions of the annual gala, known for its massive participation of children.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/muslim-league-wants-veg-delicacies-for-kerala-school-youth-festival-2498871/

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Supreme Court Upheld the Powers of Gujarat and Uttarakhand to Set Up Their Own Committees to Examine the Subject of Introducing a Uniform Civil Code within Their Borders

R. Balaji   |   New Delhi  

10.01.23

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the powers of the states of Gujarat and Uttarakhand to set up their own committees to examine the subject of introducing a uniform civil code within their borders.

The country now has different personal laws for different religious communities — such as Hindus, Muslims and Christians — that govern matters such as marriage, divorce, maintenance and guardianship.

Having a uniform civil code across the country has been one of the core ideological positions of the BJP and the larger Sangh parivar.  

Now Gujarat and Uttarakhand, ruled by the BJP, have set up their own committees to examine the matter of evolving a state-level uniform civil code. Article 44 of the Constitution, relating to the Directive Principles of State Policy, envisages a uniform civil code for the country sometime in the future. However, unlike the fundamental rights, a citizen cannot seek enforcement of the ideal envisaged in the Directive Principles, which have only a persuasive value.

Petitioner Anoop Baranwal, who appeared in person before the top court, had challenged the two states’ decision to set up the committees. Citing Article 44, he had argued that Parliament alone had the legislative competence to enact such a code.

The bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice P.S. Narasimha dismissed the public interest plea. “Article 162 of the Constitution indicates that the executive power of a state extends to matters with respect to which the legislature of the state has power to make laws,” the court order said.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/supreme-court-nod-for-uniform-code-panels/cid/1908908

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Belagavi Corporation Issues Notice to Mosque in Residential Area after Warning from Ram Sene Chief

Sagay Raj

Jan 10, 2023

Belagavi Corporation has issued a notice to owners of a property in Sarathi Nagar seeking an explanation for the construction of a mosque in a residential property. This came after Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik gave a one-week deadline to demolish it.

Pramod Muthalik warned Belagavi Municipal Corporation to demolish a mosque which was allegedly illegally constructed at Sarathi Nagar.

He further gave the corporation a one-week deadline to demolish the mosque and said that he would ill go with his team to demolish the mosque.

The Ram Sene chief said, “I'm telling this to the Belagavi Municipal Corporation. If you don't demolish the mosque within one week, we from Sri Rama Sene will raise the slogan ‘Sarathi colony chalo’ to demolish the mosque. Let us see which force will stop us.”

Source:IndiaToday

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/belagavi-sri-ram-sene-pramod-muthalik-warning-mosque-notice-sarathi-nagar-mununicipal-corp-2319526-2023-01-10

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Hijab Ban in Karnataka against Rights of Students, Says PUCL Report

Jan 09, 2023

Almost a year after Karnataka high court ruled that hijab is not essential in the religious practices of Islam and thereby upheld the state government order barring all religious clothing in educational institutes, a report by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) suggested on Monday the ban violated various constitutional and fundamental rights of the Muslim students.

The report also revealed how these students have not only been denied their right to education but have also borne the brunt of a climate of hate, hostility, and misinformation.

The study analysed the impact of the judgement in three different parts of the state: south Karnataka, coastal Karnataka, and north Karnataka. It focused on five districts: Hassan, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Shivamogga and Raichur.

The report pointed out that there was an arbitrary and sudden restriction when six Muslim students were prevented from sitting in classrooms at the Government Girls PU College in Udupi on December 31, 2021.

“This act of discrimination was met with no legal or disciplinary action against college authorities by the Education Department or the Department of Public Instruction,” it said.

After the education department issued the government order, more colleges in Udupi instituted a ban on the hijab. On February 10, 2022, the high court passed an interim order restricting the wearing of hijab until the final judgement would be delivered.

“The arbitrary and sudden implementation of a ban of the hijab before the end of the academic year, especially during examinations of students, came as a shock to Muslim students across the state, and a violation of their right to protect against arbitrary state action,” the report pointed out.

Since January 2022, the rights of Muslim students to education without discrimination have been gravely violated across Karnataka, the PUCL report said, adding that young students in the five districts of the study opened up about their experiences and expressed their grief at the calculated indifference towards their plight is shown by their classmates, the college administration, and the government.

“Our main fear was that our attendance records would get affected. The Principal told us that those who wore the hijab should sit at home and

give up on their studies,” a student in Hassan district told PUCL.

Many students were denied the right to write their examinations, which in effect, cost the students’ families an entire year of college fees, thwarted the students’ learning opportunities, and adversely affected the students’ mental health, the report said.

In other cases, students endured emotional turmoil because of the imposed ban. In Udupi, a student shared, “There are very limited options for some of us. We cannot afford a transfer to another college. So, I was forced to remove my hijab. I felt naked without my hijab.”

In Dakshina Kannada, a student said that the classroom became an extremely divided space. “Our classmates will not even share their notes with us to help us. Even college clerks and staff refused to provide any support to enable us to at least continue our learning,” she said.

The report pointed out that the compulsion to remove the hijab was an assault on the Right to Dignity in many instances. For most Muslim students, the act of forcing them to remove the hijab was insensitive and violent, especially when perpetuated by teachers, principals and examination centre officials.

Along with the misbehaviour of the college administration, social media provided an offensive portrayal of Muslim students. Hijab-wearing Muslim girls had overnight become the focus of everyone’s attention, it said.

The report said the right to privacy of the students was violated in attempts to control the dress which Muslim women wear. “On the day after the High Court delivered its judgement, a camera person from TV9 climbed over the college boundary, which was a bamboo fence and pointed his camera at me, ‘Why are you here? Where is your ID card?” a student studying for her Bachelor of Science in Hassan said.

The report also mentioned that the restriction on wearing the hijab was a violation of their freedom of expression, as many students shared with the PUCL team that their choice of wearing the hijab was their way of expressing themselves. Students reported several instances when they were shamed in public spaces for expressing themselves with their hijab. Several students felt compelled to choose between their right to freedom of expression and their right to education.

The student’s right not to be discriminated against was violated by both the state and citizens, the report said.

“By denying them any process or mechanism to appeal to protect their fundamental rights, and by excluding them from educational institutions through the sweeping ban, the state and all its governance mechanisms discriminated against Muslim women students.”

“As is evident from the testimonies of the students, the violations of their fundamental rights had serious impacts on their academic lives, aspirations, economic losses, reduced self-confidence and their social relations with students and people of other communities,” PUCL said in its report.

“All students have expressed that they feel betrayed by the state government, who emboldened the series of assaults on their constitutional rights. It, therefore, becomes crucial to retain their voices, while investigating the role of state authorities and the media, who failed to recognise the rights of Muslim women students,” it added.

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Ganesh Karnik said he strongly condemned the PUCL report, adding that it was irresponsible in giving such statements.

“Whether in the name of so-called freedom, as far as the faith is concerned, do we refuse to accept the rule of law of this country? They may say that we have been given the right to practice what we believe, but is comes with a certain amount of reasonable restrictions. The Court, which is a competent authority, has interpreted the law. It has said that as far as the rule of the institution is concerned, that is paramount,” Karnik said.

“Why do we have uniforms in armed forces, police and certain professions? Many a time, the exemptions sought were turned down by the Supreme Court. So, the question is not about getting into somebody’s faith and practices. So, it is about the rule of law. As a responsible citizen, you are supposed to respect the provisions of the Constitution,” Karnik added.

Karnik also questioned the alleged role played by Campus Front of India (CFI) – the student wing of the banned Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) in instigating the controversy over hijab. The report by PUCL, however, does not mention the role of these two organisations in its report.

BJP National general secretary CT Ravi said, “These liberals are propagating a false narrative. PUCL is not a constitutional authority. The HC and SC both have given a verdict. They are not above it.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/bengaluru-news/hijab-ban-against-rights-of-students-says-report-101673288708105.html

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Bihar: Pasmanda Muslims cautious as parties firm up plans to woo them in 2024 LS polls

Jan 09, 2023

By Vijay Swaroop

With Lok Sabha elections a year away, political parties in Bihar have started preparing their strategies to woo the Muslim community, which forms 17 per cent of the state’s population, and particularly Pasmanda Muslims, who constitute 80% of the Muslim population of the state.

Aware of their importance, All-India Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz (AIPMM) has warned more than 50 sub-castes of Muslims to beware of political parties, including BJP, for their sudden love. They have demanded that Dalit Muslims and Christians be included in the scheduled caste (SC) category and reservation for SC category be increased.

Pasmandas demand

Ali Anwar, former Rajya Sabha member from JD-U and founder president of AIPMM, said BJP and other parties have started showing special love for Pasmanda Muslims. “Instead of misleading Pasmanda Muslims, the Narendra Modi government should take necessary action to include Dalit Muslims and Christians in SC category and increase reservations for SCs in jobs and education,” he said.

The AIPMM, which held a meeting recently in Patna, has warned the weaker Muslim sections about the vote bank politics. “Pasmanda Muslims do not support any party blindly. No party should take them for granted,” said Anwar, who had written a letter to the Prime Minister in July last suggesting that BJP’s “sneh yatras” for Pasmanda Muslims “will prove effective only when communal harmony is maintained in the society”.

“Even if the BJP is extending a friendly hand towards Pasmandas for their votes, could you at least take these few steps immediately: There are about a dozen castes within the Pasmanda Muslims such as Halalkhor (scavenger, Bhangi), Muslim washer man, cobbler, Bhatiyara, Gadhedietc for whom the Sachar Committee and the Ranganath Mishra Commission have recommended SC status. Has your government, in response to a query of the Supreme Court last year, replied it will not accept this recommendation? Will you end this religion-based discrimination by increasing the quota for scheduled castes?” Anwar has said in his letter.

The Social Justice Andolan (Bihar) and AIPMM has decided to hold a state level conference in Patna in the last week of February to decide their stand.

BJP’s plan

The BJP’s plan to reach out Pasmanda community started after PM Modi, while addressing his party’s national executive meeting in Hyderabad in July last year, suggested that party leaders extend their support to deprived and downtrodden sections of all communities. He also advised BJP to take out a “sneh yatra” (affection rally).

“The BJP’s hope of winning the support of at least a section of Pasmandas stems from the belief that they are economically, socially, and politically weak and impatient with the hegemony of upper-caste Muslims,” said Tufail Khan Qadri, president of Bihar BJP’s minority cell.

“We have been organising meetings with them and they have benefitted from different central schemes like Ayushman Bharat, LPG subsidy and free ration. This has helped us win the faith of Pasmandas,” said Qadri.

“The sabkasaathsabkabiswas is the motto of the BJP and we are pursuing this to win their support,” said senior BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain.

Recently, in Patna, BJP MLC and former Union Minister Sanjay Paswan held an event where RSS leader Ram Madhav and prominent Muslim leaders were present. They discussed the issues affecting Pasmandas at length while the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, an RSS affiliate, is also likely to reach out to people to dispel “phobia” among the minority community created by “opposition parties.”

JD-U’s plan

BJP’s former ally JD-U is not far behind. Chief minister Nitish Kumar recently held a meeting of Muslim leaders and warned them of Owaisi factor — a reference to the presence of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi in Bihar, which had won five seats in the 2020 assembly polls.

The alarm comes from the fact that in the two recent assembly bypolls at Gopalganj and Kurhani, AIMIM played a spoilsport to the ruling Grand Alliance’s plan and succeeded in taking away a large pie of their Muslim votes.

In Gopalganj bypoll, its candidate Abdus Salam polled 12,214 votes, cornering seven per cent of the total votes. RJD lost the bypoll by a mere 1,700 votes.

CM Kumar’s JD-U also enjoys a good support base among Pasmandas since he has launched schemes for the weaver (Julaha) and other backward castes in the Muslim community. Kumar has also given special focus to erecting boundary walls around graveyards (kabristans) and pay parity for madrasa teachers, making him acceptable within the Muslim community despite his long association with BJP.

Former director of AN Sinha Institute for Social Studies D M Diwakar believes that BJP’s drive will only make a nominal impact. “BJP does not give tickets to Muslims. But it may ask its allies like Chirag Paswan to accommodate them. Grand alliance constituents like RJD will have to give their representation to nullify BJP’s drive,” he said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/patna-news/bihar-pasmanda-muslims-cautious-as-parties-firm-up-plans-to-woo-them-in-2024-lspolls-101673281920017.html

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J&K village defence guards get arms training after Rajouri terror strikes

Jan 10, 2023

NEW DELHI: As part of a plan to re-energise the village defence committees (VDCs) — often the first responders to terrorist attacks in the interior areas — in the aftermath of twin attacks on civilians in Jammu division’s Rajouri, the J&K administration has started holding camps in the district’s villages to assess the condition of weapons given to VDC members and replace or upgrade them where required. Also, the VDC members and volunteers who are not familiar with handling the weapons are being trained afresh by the J&K police, Army and CRPF in their use and upkeep.

Meanwhile, the 1,800 additional CRPF personnel sent to Rajouri in the wake of two attacks at the start of this year, in which seven people died, have been told to set up nakas and pickets at vantage points so as to detect and intercept the movement of suspicious vehicles and terrorists. The CRPF — which played a key role in neutralising 135 terrorists and apprehending 209 others in J&K in 2022 — will also assist the J&K police in intelligence-based cordon and search operations across Rajouri and Poonch districts.

Listing the steps to make the VDCs better equipped and prepared to counter possible terrorist activity, a senior J&K government officer said camps were planned in every panchayat to evaluate the working condition of arms, as part of a special campaign led by Rajouri divisional commissioner Vikas Kundal. The first such camp was organised in the Baljralan area of Rajouri a couple of days ago. The weapons of the VDC volunteers, mostly .303 rifles, were examined and ones not found to be functioning properly, were or are being replaced with those in good working condition. New cartridges were issued for the ‘good’ weapons,” a source in J&K government told TOI.

VDC members are asked at these camps if they are familiar with handling these weapons. The names of those who are not were taken down and they will be imparted training by the J&K police, Army or the CRPF soon, said a source.

A training camp was held only last week by the Army, which has a good presence in Rajouri district, for the VDC volunteers in Lam village of Nowshera tehsil.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jk-village-defence-guards-get-arms-training-after-rajouri-terror-strikes/articleshow/96865826.cms

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Muslim groups in Dhanbad ban DJs, dance, fireworks in marriages

10th January 2023

Ranchi: A total of 55 Muslim organisations in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad have announced a strict ban on DJs, fireworks, and dancing in the marriage’s Baraat procession, warning if this was violated, then no Qazi would officiate at the Niqah.

The decision was taken by consensus in a joint meeting held on the initiative of Tanzeem Ulema AhleSunnat at Wasseypur and has been imposed on the entire city.

Maulana Ghulam Sarwar Qadri said that a campaign, ‘Nikah Aasaan Karo’ has been started and will be carried out in the entire state after Dhanbad.

All the representatives of the Muslim community who attended the meeting agreed that the financial condition of the people was deteriorating due to “unnecessary” show off during weddings.

They added that fireworks and DJs violated Islamic beliefs and traditions and led to an increase in extravagance, which is why it was decided to collectively boycott such marriages.

Mufti Mohammad Rizwan Ahmed said that spending the money on children’s education and betterment would benefit them and would be a concrete step towards social upliftment.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/muslim-groups-in-dhanbad-ban-djs-dance-fireworks-in-marriages-2499042/

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Muslim man arrested under UAPA for links to PFI granted bail

9th January 2023

A 28-year-old Muslim man who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for his alleged links with the Popular Front of India (PFI) was granted bail.

Abdullah Saood Ansari from Varanasi, got bail in a UAPA case for his alleged affiliation with banned Muslim outfit Popular Front of India, his lawyer was quoted as saying by Maktoob Media.

On January 7, a mere four days ago, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a chargesheet against four members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) in a case related to “unlawful and anti-national” activities by the banned group in Bihar, an official said.

They were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/muslim-man-arrested-under-uapa-for-links-to-pfi-granted-bail-2498953/

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Europe

 

International community pledges $8.57bn to Pakistan on flood damage at UN conference in Geneva

Jan 9, 2023

ISLAMABAD/GENEVA: Pakistan said on Monday that the international community generously responded to its call for support by pledging more than $8 billion to help the cash-strapped country rebuild in a climate-resilient manner after last year's ravaging floods that killed 1,739 people and affected 33 million people.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had sought $8 billion assistance over the next three years in his remarks earlier in the day at the opening session of the ‘International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan' in Geneva, which he co-hosted with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

"The first part of the plan reflects the recovery and reconstruction, bearing in mind that the minimum funding of $16.3 billion is required, half of which will be met with domestic resources, half from foreign resources," Sharif said.

Pakistan estimated that about $30 billion were needed to come out of the deadly impact of the floods which was the worst in the last three decades.

Information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the first plenary of the conference had culminated in a “generous outpouring” from the international community.

"The European Union pledged $93 million, Germany $88m, China $100m, Islamic Development Bank $4.2 billion, World Bank $2bn, Japan $77m, Asian Development Bank $1.5bn, USAID $100m, France $345m,” she said on Twitter.

She added that a total of $8.75 billion had been pledged so far.

Apparently, the amount was more than Pakistan initially needed as it was looking to get half of $16.3 required for the first three years or the first phase of reconstruction.

The purpose of the day-long conference — attended by heads of state and government and other stakeholders — is to raise funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-hit Pakistan in a climate-resilient manner.

Earlier, special assistant to the Prime Minister on public policy and strategic communication Fahd Husain quoted the UN chief as saying that approximately $7.2 billion had been raised at the Geneva conference.

In his remarks, Sharif said Pakistan witnessed a "monsoon on steroids this year" that affected 30 million people, displaced more than eight million and washed away roads spread over 8,000 kilometres but the government responded quickly and the help of the world community restored the communication system while delivering cash and food to affected families.

"One can go on and on but to truly say, we are racing against time. We are thankful for the support extended to us by the Asian Development Bank, UN, International Monetary Fund and several other international organisations," he said.

He said that the government had prepared a comprehensive plan for recovery, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and resilience — the 4RF plan.

"This conference today is not just about helping to rebuild lives, but in fact, it is about the solidarity and vision needed to ensure a future not just on paper but in schools and homes," he said.

On his part, Guterres urged the international community for “massive investments” to help Pakistan recover from the devastating floods.

"No country deserves to endure what happened to Pakistan,” the secretary general said, revealing that 9 million people had been pushed to the brink of poverty.

He also praised the people of Pakistan for coming out and helping the people hit by the floods while stressing that rebuilding the country in a resilient way would need $16 billion. However, he added that “far more” would be required in the long run.

He pledged to stand by the people of Pakistan who in his words were “doubly victimised” by climate disasters and “morally bankrupt” global financial systems that “routinely denies middle-income countries of debt relief and concessional relief needed to invest in resilience against natural disasters."

He called for adopting creative ways for developing countries to access debt relief and concessional financing.

"We need to be honest about the brutal injustice suffered by developing countries due to climate change,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in his address through a video link, promised to provide USD 10 million in aid support to Pakistan, as he announced that his country would continue to provide expertise and some financial support to Islamabad.

More pledges are expected to be made but the real test would be to translate them into action and hard cash which may take months if not years.

German Ambassador in Islamabad Alfred Grannas said that his country had pledged an additional 89 million euros to its climate and energy initiative in Pakistan.

"This support comes on top of the 99m euros already promised. I'm grateful we can continue our partnership with the people the government of Pakistan to build a #ResilientPakistan!" he tweeted.

Citing a senior official from the development agency USAID, the Dawn reported that Washington would provide an additional USD 100 million in funding.

"I am delighted to announce that the United States is making an additional $100 million commitment to Pakistan to help it recover from the devastating 2022 monster monsoon floods,” USAID deputy administrator Isobel Coleman told reporters on the sidelines of the conference in Geneva.

Foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, finance minister Ishaq Dar, planning minister Ahsan Iqbal, minister for climate change Sherry Rehman, and minister for economic affairs Ayaz Sadiq also addressed the conference.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/international-community-pledges-8-57bn-to-pakistan-on-flood-damage-at-un-conference-in-geneva/articleshow/96861543.cms

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Calling Muslims not French is intolerable, says French justice minister

9/01/2023

Marginalizing Muslims as being somehow not French serves to stoke hatred and is “intolerable,” according to France’s justice minister.

"Saying that Muslims are not as French as others is intolerable," Eric Dupond-Moretti told broadcaster BFMTV on Sunday, criticizing remarks by controversial French writer Michel Houellebecq.

"Saying that they are robbers ... This stokes hatred and is against all of my values," Dupond-Moretti added.

The justice minister also lamented that such remarks have become "banal.”

"Fifteen years ago, we would have been on the front line denouncing them," he said. "We got used to this. This is what (philosopher) Hannah Arendt called the banality of evil."

In a magazine conversation last November, Houellebecq said: "People are arming themselves … I think acts of resistance will occur when entire territories fall under Islamic control. Attacks and shootings will be perpetrated in mosques, coffee shops popular with Muslims.”

Source: Yenisafak

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

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/calling-muslims-not-french-is-intolerable-says-french-justice-minister-3658577

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UK summons top Iranian diplomat following latest executions

09 January ,2023

Britain’s foreign minister James Cleverly summoned Iran’s most senior diplomat on Monday after Iranian authorities executed protestors Mohammad Mahdi Karami and Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini.

“Today I have summoned the Iranian Chargé d’Affaires to condemn in the strongest possible terms the abhorrent executions we witnessed over the weekend,” Cleverly said in a statement.

Since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman MahsaAmini last September, Britain said it had imposed more than 40 sanctions on leading officials in Iran “for their role in serious human rights violations.”

The two men were hanged on Saturday for allegedly killing a member of the security forces during protests that followed the death of Amini.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/09/UK-summons-top-Iranian-diplomat-following-latest-executions

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Denmark summons Iranian envoy over latest executions

Ebad Ahmed  

09.01.2023

COPENHAGEN, Denmark

Denmark on Monday said it summoned Iran’s ambassador over the latest execution of protesters, as well as the country’s human rights situation and violent crackdown on protesters.

Denmark condemns “in the strongest possible terms this weekend’s execution of two young Iranian demonstrators,” Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said in a statement.

Iran hanged two men on Saturday for killing a paramilitary soldier in late November during nationwide protests over the custodial death of 22-year-old MahsaAmini, who was arrested by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating the dress code for women.

The executions have been condemned by several countries and global rights groups, with questions raised over the legitimacy of what the UN has said were “unfair trials based on forced confessions.”

“This is completely unacceptable, and we have now said that in very clear terms to the Iranian regime,” Rasmussen said in a Foreign Ministry statement, calling out Tehran for its descent down a “destructive path.”

He said Denmark wants to see the EU impose more sanctions on Iran, adding that he will take this up with colleagues in Paris and Brussels.

The EU has already imposed a raft of sanctions on Iran over its forceful crackdown on protesters.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/denmark-summons-iranian-envoy-over-latest-executions/2783581

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Germany summons Iran's ambassador over latest executions

09.01.2023

BERLIN

Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador once again to condemn Tehran’s latest execution of protesters, Foreign Minister AnnalenaBaerbock said on Monday.

“Today I ordered the Iranian ambassador to be summoned to the Foreign Office again to make it absolutely clear that the brutal repression, the oppression and the terrorization of the country’s own people, as well as the recent executions, will not go unnoticed,” Baerbock said at a news conference in Berlin.

“A regime that murders its own youth to intimidate its population has no future,” she asserted.

She vowed to increase pressure on Iran through EU human rights sanctions against individual high-ranking members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Nationwide protests erupted in mid-September after the custodial death of 22-year-old MahsaAmini, who was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the strict dress code for women.

The US and EU have imposed additional sanctions on Iran for its crackdown on protesters, as well as its decision to supply hundreds of drones to Russia for the war in Ukraine.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-summons-irans-ambassador-over-latest-executions/2783471

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Southeast Asia

 

President invites Muslims to conserve national cultural wealth

Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) encouraged Indonesian Muslims, especially members of Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), to actively partake in protecting and preserving the diverse cultural wealth of the country.

The president made the statement while attending the Nusantara Islamic Traditions Festival in Banyuwangi District, East Java Province, on Monday, which was broadcast on the official channel of the Presidential Secretariat.

Furthermore, he urged Muslims to always use local cultures and arts as one of their da'wah media to build better civilization in a bid to continue community development and be able to adapt to various changes in future.

It is because culture and arts are not only for entertainment but also contain teachings and morals, he emphasized.

"(It includes) the lessons in life to always remember the majesty of Allah SWT; to invite (others to) amarma'rufnahimunkar (do what is right and forbid what is wrong); refine empathy; (as well as) strengthen tolerance and moderation,” the president remarked.

Jokowi stated that local culture and arts also teach about maintaining harmony in diversity and bolstering the social system in the community.

Hence, the president lauded the implementation of the Nusantara Islamic Tradition Festival -- which is part of the Centenary of NU that will be commemorated on February 7, 2023.

The festival showcased and reintroduced the wealth of the Indonesian Islamic tradition as well as encouraged the love for the nation's cultural diversity, he noted.

Furthermore, Jokowi expressed gratitude to the NU community in maintaining people’s tolerance and harmony as well as protecting the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

"Thank you to the big family of Nahdlatul Ulama that have consistently shown tolerance, harmony, and serenity; as well as always prioritizing ukhuwah Islamiyah (brotherhood among Muslims); ukhuwahwathaniyah (brotherhood of nation); (and) ukhuwahbasyariyah (mankind brotherhood)," he stated.

Source: AntaraNews

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/268959/president-invites-muslims-to-conserve-national-cultural-wealth

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Islamic Development Bank pledges US$4.2b for Pakistan’s climate rebuilding efforts

09 Jan 2023

GENEVA, Jan 9 — The Islamic Development Bank has pledged US$4.2 billion over the next three years to Pakistan as aid for its climate rebuilding effort, the bank’s president said today.

Source:MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/money/2023/01/09/islamic-development-bank-pledges-us42b-for-pakistans-climate-rebuilding-efforts/49281

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Why Indonesia and Malaysia are calling out EU 'discrimination'

A European proposal to tackle deforestation can end up hurting a key source of revenue for these Southeast Asian countries.

Indonesia and Malaysia have decided to work together to defend their lifeline – the exports of palm oil– that has become a new target of the European Union.

On December 6, the European Union signed an agreement to fight global deforestation, naming palm oil production as one of the causes of large-scale deforestation. 

The two Muslim countries meet more than 85 percent of global palm oil demand. Millions of farmers – most of them small landholders – depend on palm oil plantations to provide for their families. 

The Southeast Asian neighbours and close allies will work to promote the commodity through the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries,  Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Monday.

Widodo’s comments came after a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is in Indonesia on his first foreign trip since taking office in November.

What are the EU measures about?

When the regulation is adopted into law, it will oblige the EU’s 27 member states to cut imports of commodities which they believe are responsible for the destruction of forested areas, especially rainforests.

The plan is to stop suppliers from selling palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber, rubber and products made from these commodities, such as chocolate, leather and furniture, in the EU markets.

It is part of a broader EU effort to scale down the bloc’s carbon footprint. The argument goes that these commodities are increasingly being planted on farms, which have encroached onto forested regions.

Does it ban all imports? 

No, it does not. As per the regulations, the companies involved in the trade of these commodities and related products must ensure that they haven’t been grown or produced on land that was deforested after December 2020.

This means a Malaysian farmer who has been harvesting palm oil in a deforested region before the cut-off date wouldn’t need to worry about the sale of his produce.

But then there’s the technicality of proving that these commodities are not violating the regulation. This part is tricky and will likely pile up a cost burden on small landholders, says the Malaysian Palm Oil Board.

Companies importing the commodities would have to undertake strict monitoring of the source of their products.

For instance, the suppliers have to collect the precise geographic coordinates of places where the commodities are produced.

The plan will go into effect 18 months after the law is adopted sometime this year.

Malaysian and Indonesian authorities say they already have strict rules and regulations to protect their forests.

Why are palm oil producers particularly angry?

For a few years now, EU leaders have set their eyes on curbing the import of palm oil, which is mostly used as a biofuel.

When the proposal first surfaced in 2018, Malaysia criticised it severely, calling it “crop apartheid”. Kuala Lumpur’s angst was not without reason.

Rapeseed oil, which is produced in Europe, has the highest share in the production of biofuels. But rapeseed oil has been exempted from the strict regulations, which target palm oil, raising concerns about the EU's discrimination.

On its part, the EU says it has based its decision on the impact of these commodities on deforestation.

“EU has classified palm oil feedstock as having a high risk to indirect land-use change (ILUC), compared to other vegetable oils like rapeseed and sunflower which are considered as a low-risk feedstock,” says a recent study on the impact of the EU import ban.

The EU plans to gradually phase out palm oil consumption as a biofuel and completely ban it by 2030.

Source:TRTWorld

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

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/why-indonesia-and-malaysia-are-calling-out-eu-discrimination-64314

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AG moots BM text to replace English as the authoritative version of Federal Constitution

By Ida Lim

09 Jan 2023

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 9 — Six decades after Malaysia was formed, Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun has proposed making the Malay translation replace the original English text of the Federal Constitution as the authoritative version.

Even so, he said the proposal requires the Yang di-PertuanAgong's approval.

“The Federal Constitution acts as our cornerstone in implementing the separation of powers. Therefore, for the year 2023, pursuant to Article 160A of the Federal Constitution, the AGC plans to reprint the Federal Constitution to incorporate the latest historic constitutional amendments.

“The AGC also plans to propose to the government that the prescription of the Federal Constitution in the national language to be the authoritative text in line with Article 160B of the Federal Constitution. These two plans are subject to the approval of the Yang di-PertuanAgong,” he said in his speech at the Opening of the Legal Year 2023 here today.

Article 160B states that: “Where this Constitution has been translated into the national language, the Yang di-PertuanAgong may prescribe such national language text to be authoritative, and thereafter if there is any conflict or discrepancy between such national language text and the English language text of this Constitution, the national language text shall prevail over the English language text.”

Currently, the English text for the Federal Constitution is the authoritative text in Malaysia.

Based on Malay Mail’s check of the AGC’s Federal Legislation portal where official text of laws in Malaysia including the Federal Constitution can be accessed, both the English version and Malay translation of the Federal Constitution are displayed.

The Federal Constitution displayed were from the latest reprint dated October 15, 2020, with the Malay translation of the Federal Constitution as of October 2020 having this note on its very first page: “Teks ini HANYALAH TERJEMAHAN oleh JabatanPeguam Negara bagi Federal Constitution. Melainkanjika dan sehinggaditetapkan sahih di bawahPerkara 160B Perlembagaan Persekutuan, teksinibukanperundangan”.

The note would mean that the Malay translation of the Federal Constitution was stated to be “only a translation” by the AGC, and that it is not law unless and until it has been prescribed by the Yang di-PertuanAgong as authoritative.

Based on local daily The Star's September 30, 2003 report, the then Yang di-PertuanAgong launched the Malay translation of the Federal Constitution on September 29, 2003.

The Star report had cited then attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul GaniPatail's speech --- which was read out at the event by then solicitor-general Puan Sri Zaitun Zawiyah Puteh --- who said the Federal Constitution was not drafted in Malay as it was based on the Reid Commission's reports, and that a Malay translation was produced in 1972 but with the Attorney-General's Chambers' review of the translated text only completed in 2002.

Both Article 160A and Article 160B are relatively new provisions, as they were inserted into the Federal Constitution and only came into force from September 28, 2001.

While Article 160B was inserted to enable the Yang di-PertuanAgong to prescribe the Malay translation of the Federal Constitution to be the authoritative text, Article 160A enables the reprinting of the Federal Constitution --- with the Yang di-PertuanAgong's consent — to include all amendments to the Federal Constitution and with the reprinted version will be treated as a true and correct copy or the authentic text.

The issue of which is the authoritative text of the Federal Constitution has been raised in cases involving the unilateral conversion of children — born in non-Muslim marriages — to be Muslims by their Muslim convert parent, with the Federal Court in 2018 unanimously confirming in M. Indira Gandhi's case that the English text of the Federal Constitution is authoritative since it has not been shown that the Yang di-PertuanAgong has prescribed the Malay translation to be authoritative.

A lawyer for the Selangor Islamic Religious Council had in the Court of Appeal in January 2022 attempted to argue that the Malay translation of the Federal Constitution should be seen as the official version. The Court of Appeal did not decide on this matter as hearing was postponed with the raising of that new argument and to determine whether there is such a Malay translation.

Among guests attending the event today were deputy minister from the Prime Minister's Department in charge of law and institutional reforms, Ramkarpal Singh.

Among other things, Idrus also said the AGC had constantly made amendments to laws in Malaysia and had successfully reprinted about 100 laws --- especially those related to election ---- in 2022 alone, with the updated and revised versions of these laws made publicly available online on the Federal Legislation Portal Malaysia.

Legal aid

Idrus, who chairs the National Legal Aid Foundation (YBGK), said the foundation was established in 2011 and had relied much on the government's RM5 million grant that year with additional support from the Malaysian Bar in the form of RM200,000 as well as expertise, location and staff.

Idrus said YBGK has continued to rely on government grants which it receives annually since 2011, but said government funds alone cannot sustain the foundation's current operation especially in remunerating YBGK lawyers who tirelessly contributed their services to provide access to justice to those in need.

"As a way forward, it is hoped that our counterpart, the Bar will provide arduous support in finding additional financial resources and sponsorship in order to sustain the operation of YBGK in years to come. I, therefore, wish to record YBGK’s appreciation in advance for the support to be extended by the Bar in the near future," he said.

He said that YBGK had a 13 per cent increase in the number of cases it represented, up from 197,621 cases in 2021 to 222,361 cases as of November 30, 2022, after the YBGK's website was updated to give easy access to the public.

Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah said YBGK lawyers, composed of Malaysian Bar members, have handled approximately 1.7 million cases ranging from arrests, remands, mitigation, bail, trials and appeals since YBGK's operations began in 2012.

Cheah said the Malaysian Bar hopes that the YBGK programme would be further expanded to enable the extension of access to justice to non-Malaysians.

Cheah, who had delivered her speech before Idrus, called for the Malaysian government to ensure the YBGK is given enough resources.

"It is the duty and responsibility of the government as the governing machinery to ensure that access to justice remains strong and present, and while the Bar is an important stakeholder in facilitating this process for the nation, we urge sufficient resources are made available for this programme to continue to be a success," she said.

Source:MalayMail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/01/09/ag-moots-bm-text-to-replace-english-as-the-authoritative-version-of-federal-constitution/49183

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Pakistan

 

Imran Khan Asks Military To Refrain From 'Political Engineering' In Next Elections

09 JAN 2023

Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan has asked the powerful establishment to refrain from "political engineering" in the general elections later this year as he asserted that his party is the only party that can pull the cash-strapped country out of the current economic quagmire.

Addressing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s women convention in Karachi via video link from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on Sunday, the cricketer-turned-politician once again blamed former Army chief Gen (retd) Qamar JavedBajwa for his ouster as well as the current political and economic crisis facing Pakistan.

Khan expressed fear that political engineering would be carried out in the next general elections to weaken his party and urged the powerful establishment to refrain from making such a mistake. "The military establishment has not learned anything from its past mistakes as political engineering is being carried out to hurt my party for the future elections," he claimed.

He alleged that the military establishment was involved in efforts to unite different factions of the MuttahidaQaumi Move­ment (MQM) in Karachi and sending the BalochistanAwami Party (BAP) leaders from south Punjab into the Pak­istan Peoples Party (PPP) because it feared the political strength of his party. The 70-year-old politician also accused the establishment of making efforts to bring the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to power in Punjab province.

Our establishment has already done so much damage to the country... but still it is not ready to learn anything from the past," said Khan, who had so far observed caution regarding new army chief Gen Asim Munir and his policies. He had rather hoped that the military under Gen Munir would remain neutral. Continuing his tirade against Gen (retd.) Bajwa, Khan said the former military chief was "responsible for the crisis in the country".

"This man pushed Pakistan into crisis. I had told him (before the ouster of my government in April last) that weakening the PTI government would not be in the interest of the country. Bajwa ruined Pakistan’s political and economic gains," Khan said, adding that only free and fair elections could steer the country out of the crisis. Khan had been at loggerheads with Bajwa ever since his ouster from power in April by a no-confidence motion.

Last month, Khan accused Bajwa of playing a "double game" against his government and said that he committed a "big mistake" by extending the tenure of then military chief in 2019. Gen Bajwa, 61, retired on November 29 after getting a three-year extension in 2019 by the then Prime Minister Khan, who turned out to be the biggest critic of the Pakistan Army.

Source:OutlookIndia

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/international/imran-khan-asks-military-to-refrain-from-political-engineering-in-next-elections-news-252150

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TTP sets conditions for ceasefire with Pakistan, seeks direction from Islamic clerics

January 09, 2023

Peshawar: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has laid down conditions for a fresh ceasefire with the Pakistan Army. The TTP, which is fighting for the rights of the Pashtun people in Pakistan, has carried out near-daily attacks against the security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan over tha past couple of months.

In a video message, TTP chief Mufti Noor WaliMehsood said the Taliban fighters will maintain the ceasefire if Pakistan Army halts its operations.

“We held talks with Pakistan mediated by Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. We are still open to the ceasefire agreement,” the Dawn newspaper quoted TTP chief Mufti Noor WaliMehsood as saying in the video.

Mehsood’s change in stance comes amid reports that he has sought guidance from religious scholars in Pakistan.

In the video message, Mehsood said his outfit is “open to guidance” from Pakistan’s religious scholars if they believe “the direction of our jihad” is wrong, according to the Express Tribune newspaper.

“If you find any problem in the jihad that we waged, if you believe we have changed our direction, that we have gone astray, then you’re requested to guide us. We’re always ready to listen to your arguments happily,” the TTP chief said.

In November last year, the TTP called off an indefinite ceasefire agreed with the government in June 2022 and ordered its militants to carry out attacks on the security forces.

The TTP, which is believed to have close links to al-Qaida, has threatened to target top leaders of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s PML-N and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s PPP if the ruling coalition continued to implement strict measures against the militants.

The TTP, also known as the Pakistan Taliban, was set up as an umbrella group of several militant outfits in 2007. Its main aim is to impose its strict brand of Islam across Pakistan.

Pakistan had hoped that the Afghan Taliban after coming to power would stop the use of their soil against Pakistan by expelling the TTP operatives but they have apparently refused to do so at the cost of straining ties with Islamabad.

The TTP has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

Source:Firstpost

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

https://www.firstpost.com/world/ttp-sets-conditions-for-ceasefire-with-pakistan-seeks-direction-from-islamic-clerics-11953042.html

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Saudi Arabia mulls increasing deposit in SBP to $5bn

January 10, 2023

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has directed the Saudi Development Fund (SDF) to study increasing the deposit amount in the State of Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to $5 billion, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.

“His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, has directed to study augmenting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s investments in the sisterly Islamic Republic of Pakistan which have previously been announced on August 25, 2022, to reach $10 billion,” it said.

“The crown prince also directed the Saudi Development Fund to study increasing the amount of the deposit provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in favour of the Central Bank of Pakistan which have previously been extended on December 2, 2022 to hit a $5 billion ceiling,” the report said.

The move, SPA stated, confirmed Saudi Arabia’s position on supporting the economy of Pakistan and its “sisterly people”.

The development was reached within the framework of the existing communication between Prince Salman and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, it added.

Today’s announcement comes a day after Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir — who was on a week-long official visit to Saudi Arabia and UAE — held a meeting with Prince Salman in Madina and discussed ways to improve bilateral ties between the two countries.

In 2021, the SBP had signed an agreement with the SFD to receive $3bn, which would be placed in the central bank’s account with an aim to improve its foreign exchange reserves.

Subsequently, in September last year, the SFD had confirmed the rollover of a $3bn deposit for one more year. The deposit was set to mature on Dec 5, however, on Dec 2 Saudi Arabia had extended its term.

In the last week of October 2021, Saudi Arabia had agreed to revive its financial support to Pakistan, including about $3bn in safe deposits and $1.2bn worth of oil supplies on deferred payments.

The agreement was reached during the visit of former prime minister Imran Khan to the kingdom the same month.

The Saudi king had in August last year directed his government to invest $1bn in Pakistan “in confirmation of the kingdom’s support of the Pakistani economy” and its people.

The directive from King Salman bin Abdulaziz had come a day after the Qatari government said it would invest $3bn in Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE had earlier indicated to provide $1bn each in oil purchase financing.

Later in October, Prime Minister She­h­­baz Sharif said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdu­laziz Al-Saud would soon be visiting Pakistan during which he would anno­unce a $10bn investment for est­a­blishing an oil refinery in the country. However, the planned visit was later postponed for unexplained reasons.

Cash crunch

The country is currently in the midst of a severe cash crunch, with foreign exchange reserves in the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) depleting to an eight-year low of $5.576 billion during the week ended on Dec 30, 2022.

This decline left no space for the government to pay back its foreign debts without borrowing more from friendly countries.

During the week the SBP foreign exchange reserves saw an outflow of $245 million for external debt repayments.

Foreign debt servicing is the most troubling question for the PMLN-led coalition government facing a serious threat of default. Several attempts to restart talks with the IMF for the release of the next tranche have so far remained unfruitful.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730914/saudi-arabia-mulls-increasing-deposit-in-sbp-to-5bn

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ECP issues arrest warrants for Imran, other PTI leaders in contempt cases

Irfan Sadozai

January 10, 2023

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued bailable arrest warrants for PTI chairman Imran Khan and party leaders Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar in cases related to the contempt of the electoral body.

The order was passed by a four-member ECP bench headed by member Nisar Durrani.

The ECP had in August and September last year issued notices, in exercise of its powers of contempt, to Imran, Umar, Chaudhry, Mian Shabbir Ismail and Danial Khalid Khokhar for allegedly using “intemperate” language against Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja and the electoral watchdog.

Party leaders have repeatedly bashed the commission and Raja over what they claim is their partisanship and frequently pillory the electoral body as a “subsidiary of the PML-N”.

At the previous hearing, the ECP had given the PTI leaders a last chance to appear before the commission, warning that their absence before the commission at the next hearing on January 17 would result in the issuance of arrest warrants.

During the hearing today, the ECP rejected the pleas of PTI leaders seeking an exemption from appearing before the commission and issued arrest warrants for them against surety bonds worth Rs50,000 each.

The bench, subsequently, adjourned the hearing till Jan 17.

Reacting to the development, Umar tweeted that the ECP, instead of fulfilling its responsibilities, had indulged in such actions. “They themselves are guilty of contempt of court by not holding Islamabad elections,” he said.

Chaudhry said he would file contempt of court proceedings against the electoral watchdog.

“The case was supposed to be heard on Jan 17 but it was fixed today in violation of the rules. This is another biased verdict issued by the ECP members,” he added.

Meanwhile, PTI lawyer Babar Awan claimed that the ECP was being used to run a campaign against Imran.

“They are just trying to somehow disqualify him. But let me tell you, this minus-one formula won’t work on Imran Khan,” he told reporters outside a court in Islamabad.

Contempt cases

When the ECP had issued contempt notices to PTI leaders last year, it had instructed them to appear in person or through their counsels before the commission to explain their position.

However, instead of appearing before the ECP, the PTI leaders challenged in various high courts the ECP notices and contempt proceedings on the grounds that Section 10 of the Elections Act 2017, which is the statutory provision regarding the commission’s power to punish for contempt, was against the Constitution.

According to the Election Act 2017, Section 10 titled “Power to punish for contempt” states that the “election commission may exercise the same power as the high court to punish any person for contempt of court and the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 (V of 2003), or any other law pertaining to contempt of court shall have effect accordingly[…]”

The PTI leaders had also sought from the high courts a declaratory relief from the charges.

Later, a petition was filed in the Supreme Court through Advocate SajeelSheryar Swati on behalf of the ECP with a request to order consolidation of all six petitions before one high court instead of defending the commission’s stance over the issuance of contempt notices against PTI leaders in different high courts.

Last week, the apex court had held that since the objections to ECP authority were raised by the respondents in the pending proceedings under Section 10, the same was required to be considered and decided by ECP before passing a final order on the matter.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730916/ecp-issues-arrest-warrants-for-imran-other-pti-leaders-in-contempt-cases

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PTI blasts Shehbaz for ‘massive’ spending on Geneva visit

January 10, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Pakis­tan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday fired a broadside at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his cabinet members for allegedly spending a huge amount on their “flopped” trip to Geneva to attend the donor conference since the moot was held via video link, as no important leader had turned up at the event.

The party’s senior vice president Fawad Chaudhry said France, the host, gave $10 million, but not a single important leader participated in the conference.

He questioned that if the entire conference was to be held through video link, why was there a need to travel to Geneva, according to a statement issued by the party’s central media department.

“The money did not come, but several lakhs of dollars were spent on the visits of the prime minister and his cabinet [members],” he lamented.

Another senior PTI leader, Shireen Mazari, also criticised the government. In a tweet, the former minister said: “Pathetic attendance and it is in one of the small mtg [meeting] rooms of the UN in Geneva because this is where side mtgs are normally held not main sessions of major conferences”.

She said even “in this small venue attendance only seems to be of Pak officials & only some mbrs [members] of cabal of crooks”.

Lashing out at PML-N, Fawad Chaudhry alleged that lying was integral part of the life of the leadership of the PML-N.
Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730869/pti-blasts-shehbaz-for-massive-spending-on-geneva-visit

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Militants attack KP’s Dera police station

January 10, 2023

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Unknown militants attacked the Yarik police station here on Sunday night with gunfire and ‘missiles’. However, no loss of life was reported.

A police spokesman, Syed Yaqoob Shah, told Dawn on Monday that militants surrounded the Yarik police station at around 1am and fired missiles at the building.

He said the police retaliated to the attack and an exchanged fire with the attackers took place, which lasted for about 45 to 50 minutes. He said the militants were forced to flee.

The spokesman said the police station building was partially damaged.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730802/militants-attack-kps-dera-police-station

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Bannu police kill two terrorists in exchange of fire

January 10, 2023

LAKKI MARWAT: The police claimed to have killed two terrorists in a fierce gun battle in Landi Jalandhar area of Bannu district along the Indus Highway on Sunday night.

A police official told Dawn that the two terrorists were wanted for killing Domel police station’s head constable Pasham Khan and injuring constable Shah Wali Khan in an armed attack on Saturday.

He said district police officer Dr Mohammad Iqbal formed police teams to hunt down gunmen.

The official said on a tip-off about the presence of two terrorists, a police contingent went to the Master Koroona village in Landi Jalandhar area, where they came under a gun attack.

He said there followed an exchange of fire, which led to the killing of the wanted men and seizure of arms and ammunition.

The official said the police shifted the bodies to a local hospital. He said the two were also named in other cases of terrorism.

Meanwhile, LakkiMarwat district police officer Ziauddin Ahmad on Monday visited the house of a martyred police constable, Samiullah, in Wargarey area of Bittanni area and offered condolences to his family.

Gunmen killed Mr Samiullah and injured additional SHO Habibullah in an attack in Bittani subdivision of LakkiMarwat district on Friday night.

The policemen were attacked on the way to the Wargarey police station, whose personnel were targeted by a group of terrorists.

DPO Ziauddin said the constable’s sacrifice won’t go to waste and the department would ensure his family’s welfare.

He also went to the Wargarey police station along with tribal elders and praised the personnel for fighting attackers.

PEACE JIRGA: The police and elders on Monday agreed to launch joint efforts against militancy in Bannu district.

The agreement came during a peace jirga at the police lines in Bannu city, where police officials, elders, and political and social leaders were in attendance.

DPO Dr Iqbal told participants that the police and other law-enforcement agencies were fighting terrorism gallantly but required the people’s support and cooperation for its eradication.

“A joint strategy is required to eliminate terrorism from our region,” he said.

The DPO warned if the people didn’t challenge terrorists, they would be the main sufferers.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730800/bannu-police-kill-two-terrorists-in-exchange-of-fire

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Fearing violence, PTI, JI want army deployed at polling stations

Imran Ayub

January 10, 2023

KARACHI: Hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected the plea of MuttahidaQaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and ruled that the local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions will be held on Jan 15, key opposition parties on Monday demanded deployment of troops of army and Rangers fearing that the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) use government machinery on the day of polling.

They also cited the deadly violence during the first phase of the local government elections in the province when the ruling party got its over 1,000 candidates elected unopposed “exploiting its powers”.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Jamaat-i-Islami held separate press conferences but made a similar demand while expressing fears of rigging by the ruling party.

PPP, other parties may resort to violence, says PTI

Senior PTI leader Ali Zaidi told a press conference that his “reliable sources” disclosed that the ruling PPP and some other political parties could resort to violence and chaos to harass voters to keep them away from the electoral process.

MQM-P terms ECP decision to hold LG polls on old voter list, delimitation ‘sheer injustice

“This all is being so that they [PPP] can rig the results, as they cannot defeat PTI in a free and fair election,” he said.

“We have already approached the ECP requesting it to declare all polling stations in Karachi and Hyderabad as sensitive so that the deployment of the army and Rangers inside and outside each polling station can be assured,” he said.

JI concerns over PPP’s ‘ill intentions’

JI’s city chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman while referring to the results of the first phase of the local government elections in the Sukkur, Larkana, Shaheed Benazirabad and Mirpurkhas divisions said that the ruling PPP had managed to get elected unopposed its over 1,000 candidates with the help of government machinery.

“The biased attitude of returning officers and district returning officers depict the ill intentions of the PPP for the January 15 elections,” he said, adding: “The deployment of the Pakistan army and Rangers personnel at polling stations is very crucial to maintain smooth flow of affairs and transparency on the polling day.”

He said that the JI had written to the chief election commissioner asking him to ensure deployment of the army and Rangers at polling stations on the same grounds.

On the other hand, the MQM-P strongly reacted against the ECP ruling and called it a “sheer injustice” with the people of urban Sindh.

The party vowed to consider all legal and possible options to challenge the ECP ruling.

“With this ruling, the ECP has failed to ensure free and fair local government elections for people of Karachi and Hyderabad,” the party said in a statement.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730838/fearing-violence-pti-ji-want-army-deployed-at-polling-stations

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Arab World

 

UN Security Council unanimously extends approval of aid to Syria from Turkey

09 January ,2023

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Monday to keep a key border crossing from Turkey to Syria’s rebel-held northwest open for critical aid deliveries for another six months.

In a surprise, Syria’s close ally Russia, whose support had been in doubt, joined in the 15-0 vote.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had warned that the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening, and said if aid deliveries from Turkey to northwest Idlib aren’t renewed millions of Syrians might not survive the winter.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/09/UN-Security-Council-unanimously-extends-approval-of-aid-to-Syria-from-Turkey

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Saudi Arabia to host pre-pandemic numbers for 2023 Hajj pilgrimage season

09 January ,2023

Saudi Arabia will remove COVID-19 restrictions for the 2023 Hajj season and host pre-pandemic numbers of pilgrims, the Kingdom's ministry of Hajj and umrah said on Monday.

In 2019, the last year before the pandemic struck, some 2.6 million people performed the Hajj. The Kingdom allowed only limited numbers from its residents in 2020 and 2021 before it welcomed back one million foreign pilgrims in 2022.

The ministry of Hajj said in a Tweet that the Kingdom, home to Islam's holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, will impose no restrictions, including age limits, for this season.

Access was restricted in 2022 to pilgrims aged 18 to 65 who have been fully vaccinated or immunized against the coronavirus and did not suffer from chronic diseases.

Hajj season is expected to begin on June 26 in 2023.

Over the years, the Kingdom has spent billions of dollars on making one of the world's biggest religious gatherings more secure.

Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it.

An economic reform plan of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to increase umrah and Hajj capacity to 30 million pilgrims annually.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/saudi-arabia/2023/01/09/Saudi-Arabia-to-host-pre-pandemic-numbers-for-2023-Hajj-pilgrimage-season

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Pope urges Zayed Award judging committee to act on human fraternity, women’s rights

09 January ,2023

Pope Francis urged the Judging Committee of the 2023 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity to act to advance women’s rights, during their visit to the Vatican.

“Your work is important in advancing the message of human fraternity,” the head of the Catholic Church, who is a 2019 honorary recipient of the award, told the judging committee members at the Vatican.

“It is important in your work to uphold the dignity of women as women’s rights are often outlined on paper, but not practiced in reality,” he added, highlighting the ongoing crisis in Haiti, urging the international community to support the country.

The judging committee members, comprised of six people, expressed appreciation for the signing of the historic ‘Document on Human Fraternity’ in 2019 alongside the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Professor Ahmed al-Tayeb in Abu Dhabi.

The members of the independent judging committee are United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Miguel ÁngelMoratinos; former Vice President of Costa Rica Dr. Epsy Campbell Barr; Pro-Prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization at the Holy See Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle; 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi; 2015 Nobel Peace Laureate and entrepreneur Dr. OuidedBouchamaoui; and Zayed Award for Human Fraternity Secretary-General and Muslim Council of Elders Secretary-General Judge Mohamed Abdelsalam.

“We are extremely grateful to His Holiness Pope Francis for his continued support of the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. His Holiness presents a real and unique example of a man of peace and continues to bring people together from different walks of life, with the feeling that we are all members of the same human family,” Judge Abdelsalam said in a statement on Monday.

The Zayed Award for Human Fraternity is an annual international prize that recognizes people and organizations from any background who work to improve human connection and promote peaceful coexistence. This award was established in 2019 to commemorate the meeting between Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during which they signed the Document on Human Fraternity.

The award is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE, who was known for his humanitarianism and commitment to helping people regardless of their background.

Some previous recipients of the award include Pope Francis and Professor Ahmed Al-Tayeb (honorary recipients) in 2019, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Moroccan-French activist Latifa Ibn Ziaten in 2021, and Their Majesties King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania al-Abdullah of Jordan, and the Haitian humanitarian organization FOKAL in 2022.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2023/01/09/Pope-urges-Zayed-Award-judging-committee-to-act-on-human-fraternity-women-s-rights

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Shoura Council speaker takes part in meetings at Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Turkiye

January 09, 2023

ANTALYA, Turkiye: The speaker of the Shoura Council, Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh was in attendance on Monday at the 13th meeting of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, which was held in Antalya, Turkiye.

Al-Asheikh took part in the meeting of the Executive Council in the presence of the heads of Asian parliaments and parliamentary delegations.

The delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by Al-Asheikh, includes a number of council's members and officials.

Earlier this month, Al-Asheikh highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia’s participation in regional and international parliamentary meetings, in support of cooperation and joint action in all fields and at various levels.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2229361/saudi-arabia

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Mideast

 

Israeli Spy Tech Sold to Bangladesh, World’s Third-largest Muslim Country, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record

Oded YaronZulkarnainSaer Khan

Jan 10, 2023

Advanced surveillance equipment, developed by a company controlled by the former commander of Israeli intelligence’s technology unit, was sold last year to the government of Bangladesh, official government documents and international export records show, despite Bangladesh not being on Israel's list of countries that such technology may be sold to - and despite its consistently poor human rights record.

The equipment, which is used to intercept mobile and internet traffic, was sold to the National Telecommunication Monitoring Center, or NTMC, an arm of the Bangladeshi Interior Ministry responsible for tracking internet and social media use inside the country, as well as for online censorship and eavesdropping on citizens.

Bangladesh is the third-largest Muslim country in the world, and does not recognize Israel. The two countries have no diplomatic relations, and until 2021, all Bangladeshi passports had “This passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel” written on them.

Passitora, a firm registered in Cyprus, is controlled by Tal Dilian, an Israeli businessman and former intel commander. Under its previous name WiSpear, it was involved in a scandal that began with a boastful interview Dilian gave to Forbes, in which he revealed the existence of the company’s SpearHead system, which includes a van equipped with surveillance equipment and tracking software, that gathers data from mobile phones via cellular and Wi-Fi networks, including encrypted WhatsApp messages, Facebook chats, contact lists, calls and text messages within a radius of about half a kilometer. A presentation on WiSpear claims the system can be used to inject spyware on computers and mobile phones within its range.

The Forbes report embarrassed the government in Cyprus, creating political turmoil and leading to an investigation into violations of European Union privacy laws. In the end, all the allegations against Dilian and top company executives were dropped, but WiSpear was fined one million euros (about $1.1 million) for “extracting data unlawfully” from the devices of passersby at the Larnaca Airport.

Export records show that in June 2022, a SpearHead system was delivered from Switzerland to the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. The supplier was Passitora, and the buyer was NTMC. The shipment, weighing 991 kilograms, included the interception system, operating software and hardware components (servers, drives, monitors, etc.) at a total cost of $5.7 million.

Passitora is part of the Intellexa Alliance, a network of companies run by Dilian that acquired an array of sophisticated surveillance technologies, including mobile phone hacking spyware, that it sells to government agencies around the world. A Haaretz investigation revealed the network and a plane linked to Dilian, which delivered advanced spying equipment to a notorious militia in Sudan in May 2022.

Sources in Israel’s cyberarms industry say the company’s operations are not overseen by the Israeli government. Amir Eshel, the outgoing Defense Ministry director general, spoke to The New York Times in December about his inability to rein in Dilian and others who set companies abroad. “It certainly disturbs me that a veteran of our intelligence and cyber units, who employs other former senior officials, operates around the world without any oversight,” Eshel said.

The Israeli Defense Ministry did not specifically address Haaretz questions on whether it oversees Passitora and the other firms mentioned in this report, and whether it approved the spyware sales to Bangladesh, and said this in response: “The Defense Ministry acts, and will act, to enforce unapproved defense exports, including services and knowhow - according to its legal authority. As a rule, the ministry does not divulge information on the defense export policy, for security, diplomatic and strategic considerations”.

The government's preferred weapon

Over the last decade, intelligence bodies, the police and armed forces in Bangladesh have developed a huge appetite for advanced monitoring and spy technology, according to the organization Privacy International. Official government documents prohibit accepting bids from Israel, but it appears that in the area of cyberweapons, Bangladesh is ready to make an exception to the rule. Likewise, Israeli companies are formally banned from doing business with Bangladesh, but the exceptions seem to prove there is no longer much substance behind that rule.

In 2021, Haaretz reported that the Israeli company Cellebrite had sold mobile phone hacking tools to a notorious Bangladeshi police unit, the Rapid Action Battalion, whose leaders are subject to U.S. sanctions due to its alleged role in the disappearance of thousands of people, horrific torture and human rights violations. Al-Jazeera revealed that another Israeli company, Picsix, sold Bangladesh’s military intelligence a mobile phone surveillance and hacking system for intercepting phone transmissions.

But official documents cited in this report reveal for the first time four other transactions for the purchase of Israeli spy technology by Bangladeshi government agencies involved in human rights violations. The technology enables them to surveil Bangladeshi citizens through their phone and to hack wireless networks and monitor internet traffic.

The companies are either Israeli or foreign with a clear link to Israel, and some of the exports are by firms registered in the Virgin Islands, Cyprus and Singapore who seemingly act solely as middlemen.

NTMC, the Interior Ministry arm that bought the SpearHead system, was formed in 2013 and deals, according to reports, with eavesdropping on opposition officials, protestors and ordinary citizens. It is the “Bangladeshi government's largest legal interception system … that is connected with about 250 communications providers in the country,” admitted one of its former senior officials. Every provider is required to give NTMC full access to traffic on their networks.

NTMC’s Director General is Maj. Gen. Ziaul Ahsan, who previously held a series of operational and intelligence posts in the Rapid Action Battalion. A former Bangladesh army chief, Aziz Ahmed, claims that Ahsan is personally responsible for many of the disappearances that have occurred in the country.

“Today, there’s no significant political opposition in Bangladesh – the government has the will and the means to suppress its political opponents," says ZulkarnainSaer Khan. A Bangladeshi journalist who now lives in exile, Saer Khan has exposed political oppression in his country and took part in this investigation.

“Bangladesh isn’t capable of providing its citizens with basic infrastructure, but government agencies enjoy the best modern spy technology money can buy. Draconian laws have turned it into the government’s preferred weapon for silencing and intimidating journalists, critics and political activists. Negative propaganda against the father of the nation – the father of the current prime minister – can end in 14 years in prison,” he says.

Two of Khan’s colleagues were persecuted by the authorities after they criticized the government: cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore was detained for 10 months during which he was severely tortured; and the writer-journalist Mushtaq Ahmed who was arrested, tortured and died while in custody. Photographer Shahidul Alam was arrested in a similar manner after he criticized the government on an Al-Jazeera interview. He was also tortured while in detention and released after 100 days.

Training trips to Greece

In June 2021, the Bangladeshi cabinet decided to buy a “Vehicle Mounted Mobile Interceptor” spy vehicle, which is equipped with, among other things, technology to intercept mobile phone calls and text messages, locate the user and hack into wireless networks. According to an official cabinet document, two companies bid to supply the technology, and the one that was chosen was a Swiss company, Toru Group Limited.

There is no company that goes by that name in the Swiss companies registry, but a company that does have that name is registered in the British Virgin Islands. It has a Geneva address that is used by a firm that provides foreign registration services for companies.

According to a very general description on Toru’s website and LinkedIn page, the company is a “world-leading provider of Cyber Security and Defense solutions… your One-Stop-Shop which caters to all your Security & Defense needs.” But there is no indication of what sort of “solutions” the company offers, and a search of patents connected with it revealed nothing.

The company's CEO is Assaf Elias, an Israeli citizen, according to profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook. Until recently, Elias was a minority shareholder in another company registered in Britain, together with several prominent figures in the Israeli cyberoffensive industry.

Toru’s website makes no reference to the sort of spy vehicle that Bangladesh purchased from the company. As far as it is known, none of Elias’ partners in the British company make such a vehicle. The one who does make one is Dilian, owner of Passitora. Sales pitches by another Dilian firm showcased the spy van alongside the SpearHead Wi-Fi interception system, the type which according to export records was shipped to Bangladesh last June. According to three sources, Toru Group, headed by Elias, acted as a middleman for various deals with Dilian’s firms.

Official documents from Bangladesh’s Interior Ministry reveal that the commander of the NTMC and other senior officials flew to Greece in 2021 and 2022 to train on the spy vehicle they had bought. According to the documents, the trips “were fully funded by Toru.”

By that time, Dilian had already moved his headquarters to Athens after his entanglements in Cyprus. According to past reports, the office had set aside an area with prayer mats for teams coming for training from Muslim countries like Bangladesh.

NTMC’s budget shows that the system was expected to arrive in Bangladesh in mid-2022. Shipping documents show that the system was delivered at the end of June. Two sources in Bangladesh say that a new, advanced spy van is already in service, with its surveillance tools leading to the firing of seven police officers who allegedly criticized the government on a secret WhatsApp group and communicated with figures in the BNP opposition party.

Passitora and Dilian did not respond to requests for comment. When reached for a response, Elias hung up and declined to comment.

Not just Big Brother on wheels

The cyber shopping spree didn’t end here. An official document from the prime minister's office dating from 2019 shows that Bangladesh’s internal intelligence agency, or NSI, also bought a system for intercepting Wi-Fi communications from a company called Prelysis.

That year, four senior NSI officials went to Cyprus to inspect the system before it was shipped to Bangladesh. Cypriot export records show a July 2019 Wi-Fi interception system shipped from Prelysis to Bangladesh at a total cost of about $3 million.

Prelysis is registered in Israel and Cyprus under slightly different names. The Cypriot firm is “dormant”, while the official document from Bangladesh has the Israeli firm’s name. Its website says it is “a consultancy and integration company in the intelligence and homeland security domain.” It boasts a platform that integrates various intelligence sources, including wireless and cellular communication sensors and device location. The founder of the company and its current director, Israeli citizen Kobi Naveh, worked until 2014 at Verint.

In reply to an “Haaretz” inquiry, into whether Prelysis is overseen by Israel’s Defense Ministry and whether it OK’d the deal, Naveh said he “cannot respond”.

Israel-Singapore-Cyprus-Bangladesh

Sources in Israel’s cyber industry say Bangladesh isn’t on the list of countries that the Israeli defense establishment approves for exports of classified technology, due to concerns that it will fall into the hands of Pakistan. They say that in the past year, the list of countries approved for cyberoffensive exports has been whittled down to just 37, most of them Western democracies. The Defense Ministry consistently refuses to respond or divulge any information on the list of approved countries.

Cyprus' export records from July 2019 show another shipment for the Bangladeshi military – this time for equipment used for the “active monitoring of mobile phones” – at a cost of $1.6 million. The supplier is Coralco Tech, of Singapore. A tender by the Bangladesh Army from 2018 shows that the military was indeed interested in systems for active and passive tracking and locating of mobile phones.

On its now-inactive website and LinkedIn page, the company describes itself as “a global cutting-edge espionage & telecommunications technologies company for private government sectors. Delivering the highest level of professionalism and service in covert operations.” It offers "tactical and strategic" interception of cellular and Wi-Fi communications and tracking of mobile phones.

On Singapore’s companies registrar, Israeli EyalAlmog is listed as Coralco Tech’s owner. In Israel, the company is registered under the same name and address, and with the same owner. Almog's LinkedIn page carries endorsements from his friends in the cybersecurity, defense, intelligence and homeland security communities. Some of them worked with him. One of them, a Bangladeshi national, says that as a local expert he installed various systems to intercept cellular communications and helped connect telecom providers to the NTMC's surveillance system.

In response to this report, Coralco Tech said that “due to the nature of its deals, the company does not comment on the identity of its clients and the products that they buy. In general, all deals involving the company are fully reported while attaining the proper licenses from the regulatory bodies, including Israel’s Defense Ministry. The company sells its products after an internal vetting process that takes into account human rights violations”.

Cyprus export records reveal that another company, U-TX Technologies, provided surveillance equipment to Bangladesh. This includes a “Web Intelligence” system, valued at $2 million and delivered to NTMC in 2019; and a cellular tracking system for military intelligence, valued at $500,000, in 2021.

U-TX was set up in Cyprus by Israelis – it is registered and operates from the island. It is helmed by CEO David Heled and at least two other Israelis are managers in the company. In 2014, U-TX was purchased by Verint, which is traded on the Nasdaq and offers artificial intelligence and data-analysis technologies. Verint has also sold advanced cyberespionage tools to oppressive regimes like those in South Sudan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, investigations over the past decade revealed.

In 2021, Verint spun off its security operations into a new company called Cognyte, which shares an address with Verint in Herzliya, Israel and supplies the same cybersecurity services Verint once did. U-TX operates today under the name Cognyte.

Source: Haaretz

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

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/security-aviation/2023-01-10/ty-article/.premium/israeli-spy-tech-sold-to-worlds-third-largest-muslim-country/00000185-9692-d16a-a987-f6b75dd00000

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Iran: France Not Entitled to Insult Other Religions on Lame Excuse of Free Speech

2023-January-9

"Given its dismal historical record of colonialism, violation of human rights, and freedom of expression both at home and abroad, France has no right to justify its brazen insult to the sanctities of other countries, nations, and followers of divine religions under the pretext of freedom of speech," Kana'ani tweeted.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman pointed out that the incumbent French statesmen must abide by is the observation of the basic and fundamental principles in international relations, namely mutual respect, non-interference in others' internal affairs, and respect for the national and religious values and sanctities of others.

On Thursday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry decided to shut down a Tehran-based French archaeological and historical institute in protest against the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo’s move to insult the top religious authority of the Islamic Republic.

The InstitutFrançais de Recherche, which is part of the cultural wing of the French embassy, used to study ancient Persian antiquities.

The move comes after the Iranian ministry decried Charlie Hebdo’s profane move as an indication that Zionism has utilized media to act against Islam and promote hatred and division among human beings.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry condemned, in the strongest terms, the French magazine’s decision to publish several insulting cartoons in a special issue later this week. The controversial right-wing magazine had in early December announced a competition for producing the cartoons.

It said such an offensive move by the notorious magazine amounts to the violation of the recognized moral norms, barbaric desecration of religious sanctities, a sacrilegious move against the political and religious authorities, and an offense against the administrative symbols and national values of Iranians.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011019000573/Iran-France-N-Eniled-Insl-Oher-Religins-n-Lame-Excse-f-Free-Speech

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Israeli sanctions amount to ‘new war’ against Palestinians: PM Shtayyeh

09 January 2023

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh says a raft of measures recently announced by Israeli authorities amount to a “new war” against the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israel's new right-wing cabinet led by Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday it will withhold millions of dollars in tax revenues from the PA.

Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting held in Ramallah on Sunday, the Palestinian prime minister said the measures amounted to "a new war against the Palestinian people, their capabilities and their funds, and a war against the national authority (PA) and its survival."

Such sanctions, he said, were "aimed at undermining the authority and pushing it to the brink -- financially and institutionally."

Shtayyeh said “acts of piracy, looting and vengeance practiced by the occupying power will not discourage our people and our leadership from continuing in their political, diplomatic and legal struggle. We do not barter our right to self-determination and our freedom for money or privileges.”

Israel has repeatedly withheld tax and customs revenues it collects on behalf of the PA over the past years.

Since the beginning of 2019 and until the end of 2022, Israel has deducted virtually $570 million from the Palestinian tax funds. Israel deducts around $100 million annually as a commission for the collection of taxes on goods and services for the PA before transferring the funds to the PA treasury.

Shtayyeh said the deductions decided by the Israeli courts, the most recent of which was the deduction of $40 million in compensation for Israelis killed by Palestinians, “are illegal and illegitimate and we do not recognize them.”

“These cuts are illegitimate and illegal, are a unilateral measure that is not subject to scrutiny by any Palestinian or international body, and are in violation of the signed agreements.”

Tel Aviv has already invoked a law to deduce tax revenues relative to the amounts the PA pays to the Palestinians languishing in Israeli jails or the families of those killed by the Israeli military.

Several senior Palestinian officials condemned the decision, which they described as “piracy and an illegal economic aggression.”

The stipends benefit roughly 35,000 families of the Palestinians killed and wounded by Israel. The PA says the payments are a form of welfare stipend to the families who have lost their main breadwinner.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has time and again defended such payments as an important function of his administration.

The latest developments followed the Palestinian Authority's successful lobbying for a UN General Assembly vote referring Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/09/696031/Palestinian-tax-Israel

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Yemeni security forces dismantle two terror teams tied to Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency

09 January 2023

Yemeni security forces have identified and dismantled two terrorist teams affiliated to Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, which were involved in the assassination of the Arab country’s minister of youth and sports affairs, Hassan Zaid, in the capital Sana’a in late October 2020.

Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported that members of the terror team were in close contact with the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency. They were plotting to carry out targeted killings of some officials and provoke chaos in Sana’a as well as the southwestern provinces of Ibb and Dhamar.

Yemeni security forces are going to broadcast a documentary, entitled “In the Grip of the Security Apparatus” on Tuesday afternoon, which details the Riyadh regime’s involvement in a massive intelligence campaign against its crisis-stricken southern neighbor, and its frantic attempts to undermine Yemen’s national security through assassination attempts.

The film reveals that the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency is directly engaged in formation of terror cells.

It goes on to expose the identities and pictures of some Yemeni nationals, who used to contribute to the Riyadh regime’s sinister plots and were captured recently.

The documentary also discloses that Yemeni citizens Mohammad Ali al-Maqdishi and Fadl Hussein al-Maqri were assigned by Saudi intelligence officials to set up two cells.

The first cell, led by Tariq Mohammad Ahmad al-Ghazali, was tasked with disturbing security and wreaking havoc across Ba'dan district in Ibb province. Its members, however, failed to accomplish their mission.

The other one was plotting to carry out assassination attempts against a number of public and official figures in Sana’a, Ibb and Dhamar.

The film further shows the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Abdullah Al-Salami, and botched targeted killing of university professor Abdulkarim al-Habsi in Dhamar. Habsi survived the assassination bid, but was seriously injured in the assault.

It also reveals a failed assassination attempt that targeted the deputy governor of Ibb province, Abdulwahed al-Marouei.

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

The objective was to crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen, and reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/09/696028/Yemeni-security-forces-dismantle-two-terror-teams-tied-to-Saudi-Arabia%E2%80%99s-intelligence-agency
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‘We're Palestinian Jews:’ Neturei Karta meet with Islamic Jihad leaders in Jenin

By SHACHAR BERDISHEVSKY/MAARIV

JANUARY 10, 2023

A group of Jews who belong to the ultra-Orthodox and anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group arrived in Jenin on Monday to visit the refugee camp. They stayed at the home of the senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Judea and Samaria, Bassam al-Saadi. The members of the delegation met with senior PIJ officials and declared their support for the Palestinians.

In addition, the delegation from Neturei Karta met with the secretary general of the Fatah party, Ata Abu Ramila, and the head of the PIJ, Maher al-Akhras. The delegation met with al-Saadi's wife as well, and discussed "his steadfastness despite the occupation operations." They said that the visit to the camp is a symbol of rejection of the Israeli occupation.

Statements from both sides

One of the members of the group stated that "we are Palestinian Jews, we want to live under the Palestinian flag and not the Israeli flag, in one country which is the Palestinian state. Hundreds of years ago and before the occupation began, we lived together in the Old City of Jerusalem and there was no difference between Jews and Muslims. We all came From one father, Abraham, and we lived happily together.

"Later, the Zionists came and created pressure to separate us, but we [have rejected] it. We want peace and not the racist Israeli law, which is a threat to the lives of Jews and Muslims. No matter how much time passes, we will continue to stick to our dreams and common goals. We want Palestine with its capital Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority so that we can live happily."

Source: JPost

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

https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/article-728082

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Leader: Foreign-Backed Rioters Sought to Destroy Iran's Strengths

2023-January-9

"The rioters did not actually take to the streets to protest against the economic hardships that the Iranian nation is going through as a result of Western sanctions," Ayatollah Khamenei said on Monday addressing to a group of people from Qom on the anniversary of the popular uprising in the holy city against the former US-backed Pahlavi regime in 1978. 

Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that foreign enemies were overtly involved in the nationwide riots in the country while the United States and European countries openly fueled the unrest in one way or another.

"There is no doubt that we are beset with economic and livelihood problems now. But, can these problems be solved by setting trash cans on fire, taking to the streets, and instigating riots? They did not want to remedy the shortcomings, but rather, sought to obliterate the Iranian nation’s strengths," the Supreme Leader pointed out.

Ayatollah Khamenei added that the media hype against the Islamic Republic was aimed at creating the impression that rioters were discontent with economic problems and shortcomings in economic and other sectors of the country.

“They, however, did not want weaknesses to go away. The objective was rather to wipe out the country’s strengths,” he pointed out.

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to attempts aimed at undermining Iran’s national security, stopping the country’s scientific progress through closure of educational and scientific centers, impeding the growth of domestic production, and harming booming sectors such as tourism as clear examples that back up his argument.

The Supreme Leader pointed out that the enemies pushed their involvement in recent riots through cyber-based propaganda and via Western and certain regional media outlets.

Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that what the rioters did amounted to treason, calling on relevant institutions and state officials to seriously deal with any act of betrayal.

Foreign-backed riots have hit various Iranian provinces since 22-year-old woman MahsaAmini died at the hospital on September 16, three days after she collapsed at a police station in Tehran. An investigation has attributed Amini’s death to her medical condition, rather than alleged beatings by the police.

The violent riots have claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing terrorist attacks across the country.

Over the last three months, the terrorists have set fire to public property and tortured several Basij members and security forces to death.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011019000756/Leader-Freign-Backed-Riers-Sgh-Desry-Iran's-Srenghs

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Iranians Protest against Charlie Hebdo's Insulting Move

2023-January-9

On Sunday, the protesters most of them religious seminary students, gathered in front of the French Embassy in the center of the capital Tehran on Sunday while holding placards to condemn the move by the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The protesters set fire to France’s national flag and chanted slogans against France, the US, Britain and the Israeli regime.

They waved Iranian flags, held pictures of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and signs reading, “I will sacrifice my life for the Leader.”

The participants also called on Iranian Foreign Ministry officials to take necessary measures in response.

Similar protests were also held in Iran’s holy city of Qom.

In a statement, the religious seminary students said the French government must stop its support for such irrational sacrilegious moves under the pretense of advocating freedom of expression.

They urged the French government and President Emmanuel Macron to apologize to the Iranian people.

The French magazine has published several insulting cartoons of Ayatollah Khamenei after the controversial right-wing magazine had in early December announced a competition for such cartoons.

In a statement on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Tehran holds the French government responsible for the uncultured, inhumane move by the notorious French weekly.

The ministry also said it would review France’s cultural activities in Iran, and that it was “ending the activities of the French Institute for Research in Iran as a first step.”

A day earlier, the Iranian Foreign Ministry had summoned the French Ambassador in Tehran, Nicolas Roche, to protest the act of anti-Muslim bigotry.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011019000304/Iranians-Pres-agains-Charlie-Hebd's-Insling-Mve

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President Rayeesi Calls for Broadening of Iran-Russia Economic Cooperation

2023-January-9

"Iran and Russia have good grounds for cooperation in bilateral, regional and international fields," he said while stressing the need for the expansion of Iran-Russia ties in a meeting with the new Russian Ambassador to Tehran Alexey Dedov.

The Russian ambassador, who submitted a copy of his credentials to President Raeisi, said the continuous development of all-out economic cooperation with Iran is among his country’s priorities.

Dedov added that Western countries have lost hope in their sanctions policy due to the expansion of strategic economic cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.

Tehran and Moscow both have been targeted with US-led sanctions in recent years, but the sanctions have failed to secure Western countries’ interests.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011019000341/Presiden-Rayeesi-Calls-fr-Bradening-f-Iran-Rssia-Ecnmic-Cperain

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Israel’s PM Netanyahu races ahead to implement hard-line agenda

10 January ,2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government has wasted no time implementing its ultra-nationalist agenda

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government has wasted no time implementing its ultra-nationalist agenda, including adopting a seemingly petty ban on displaying the Palestinian flag and shaking the foundations of Israel’s democracy with a proposed legal assault on the Supreme Court.

After barely two weeks in power, the most hard-line and religious government in Israel’s history already is fomenting divisions at home and barreling toward conflict with the Palestinians and Israel’s allies abroad.

“We are not waiting, and I think the citizens of Israel already feel this,” Netanyahu told lawmakers in his Likud Party on Monday. “We formed a different government, with different policies, and we run things differently.”

Just days after taking office, his national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site — a hilltop compound revered by Jews and Muslims. While Ben-Gvir respected existing norms that bar Jewish prayer at the site, the visit was seen by many as a provocation given his past calls for giving Jewish worshippers greater access. It drew Palestinian condemnations and angry statements from the United States and Israel’s own Arab allies.

Netanyahu has also taken aim at the internationally recognized Palestinian leadership in the occupied West Bank. Palestinians successfully lobbied the UN General Assembly to seek a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel’s policies in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, and the Israeli government responded with a series of punitive measures.

Some of the steps have hit the Palestinians hard, such as withholding some $40 million in tax revenues and instead using the money to compensate Israeli victims of Palestinian violence. There are also plans to halt development in Palestinian villages in Israeli-controlled parts of the West Bank.

Other moves have been more symbolic, such as revoking the VIP privileges of top Palestinian officials and banning displays of Palestinian flags inside Israel. Israeli authorities over the weekend even broke up a meeting of Palestinian parents discussing their children’s school conditions in east Jerusalem. Israel claimed the meeting was funded by the Palestinian Authority but provided no supporting evidence.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday accused Israel of trying to “topple the authority and pushing it to the brink, financially and institutionally.”

At home, Netanyahu and his allies have unveiled a sweeping plan to overhaul the country’s justice system. The centerpiece proposal would give parliament the authority to overturn Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority. Critics say that would destroy Israel’s democratic system of check and balances.

Thousands of Israelis joined a demonstration over the weekend against the proposed legal overhaul, and former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak warned that the plan would turn Israel into a “hollow democracy.” Benny Gantz, a former defense minister who now sits in the opposition, warned Monday that Netanyahu was pushing the country toward “civil war.”

The Netanyahu policies are no surprise. After four inconclusive elections in just three years, Netanyahu was able to eke out a victory in a fifth round of voting by joining forces with a collection of far-right and ultra-Orthodox partners.

“We received a clear mandate from the public, to carry out what we promised in the elections. That’s what we will do,” Netanyahu said at Monday’s faction meeting.

The coalition is dominated by hard-liners who detest the Palestinians, oppose the idea of peace talks and reject the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Ben-Gvir, for instance, is a follower of a deceased radical rabbi who advocated mass expulsions of Palestinians from the country.

Convicted over a decade ago on incitement and domestic terrorism charges, Ben-Gvir is now a senior Cabinet minister overseeing the national police force. His partner, the hard-liner Bezalel Smotrich, is a settler leader who has been placed in charge of West Bank settlement construction. Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges, was willing to turn over authority to his partners because they share his animosity toward a legal system they believe is elitist and hostile. It is widely believed that the legal overhaul, spearheaded by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, a close confidant of Netanyahu, will eventually lead to dismissal of the charges against the prime minister.

“This is the most extreme government that Israel has ever had,” said Nadav Eyal, an Israeli commentator and author of “Revolt,” a book about the rise of populism and nationalism worldwide. “What we’re seeing right now is a manifestation of their views, and they are basically doing what they promised.”

“To a large extent, the international community and many Israelis did not understand that they intend to actually implement much of their portfolio, and they don’t have anything to counter them politically,” he added.

ahum Barnea, a veteran columnist at the Yediot Ahronot daily newspaper, said Netanyahu appears to be “testing the waters” by allowing his partners to promote their hard-line policies while he tries to deflect international criticism.

But he said Netanyahu will face problems reining in his coalition partners “because he doesn’t have partners for a more moderate policy.”

He said Netanyahu has no interest in picking a fight with the Biden administration. “But Netanyahu is no dictator. He has to take into consideration these very strong voices.”

Levin said last week that his plans to weaken the Supreme Court are just a first stage of action. The government’s published guidelines call for more West Bank settlement construction, the legalization of dozens of illegally built outposts and eventually the full annexation of the territory.

Such proposals will almost guarantee a showdown with the US, the Palestinians and the broader international community. The West Bank already is in the midst of its deadliest burst of violence in nearly two decades.

So far, the Biden administration has issued a series of cautious statements stressing the deep ties with Israel while reiterating the US commitment to a two-state solution.

The tone could sharpen when top officials — including national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken — visit in the coming weeks.

Israel’s new Arab allies in the Arabian Gulf, particularly the United Arab Emirates, could also play a key role. The 2020 Abraham Accords between Israel and four Arab countries are among Netanyahu’s proudest accomplishments, and he has said he hopes to add Saudi Arabia to the list.

The UAE criticized Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Jerusalem holy site, and according to Israeli media reports, delayed Netanyahu’s plan to visit.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/10/Israel-s-PM-Netanyahu-races-ahead-to-implement-hard-line-agenda

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White House condemns latest Iran death sentences, demands ‘immediate cessation’

10 January ,2023

The White House on Monday condemned the latest executions of protesters announced by Iran and said the United States stands with other countries demanding “immediate cessation” of the death sentences.

“We condemn the executions of Mohammad Mehdi Karami& Mohammad Hosseini and the additional executions announced today,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan tweeted, referring to two people executed Saturday, and three more death sentences announced Monday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/10/White-House-condemns-latest-Iran-death-sentences-demands-immediate-cessation-

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Meta’s Oversight Board tells company to allow posts using ‘death to Khamenei’ slogan

09 January, 2023

Meta’s Oversight Board on Monday overturned the company’s decision to remove a Facebook post that used the slogan “death to Khamenei” to criticize the Iranian leader, saying it did not violate a rule barring violent threats.

The board, which is funded by Meta but operates independently, said in a ruling that the phrase is often used to mean “down with Khamenei” in referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been leading a violent crackdown on nationwide protests in recent months.

It also urged the company to develop better ways of factoring such context into its content policies and outline clearly when rhetorical threats against heads of state were permitted.

“In the context of the post, and the broader social, political and linguistic situation in Iran, ‘marg bar Khamenei’ should be understood as ‘down with.’ It is a rhetorical, political slogan, not a credible threat,” the board wrote.

Iran has been gripped by demonstrations since mid-September, following the death in detention of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for wearing “inappropriate attire” under the country’s strict dress code for women.

The protests, in which demonstrators from all walks of life have called for the fall of Iran’s ruling theocracy, have posed one of the biggest challenges to the government of the Shiite Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution.

The unrest created a now-familiar conundrum for Meta, which has wavered repeatedly in its treatment of violent political rhetoric on its platforms.

The company bans language that incites “serious violence” but aims to avoid overreach by limiting enforcement to credible threats, leaving ambiguity around when and how the rule applies.

After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, for example, Meta introduced a temporary exemption to allow calls for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin, aiming to give users in the region space to express their anger over the war.

However, days later it reversed the exemption after Reuters reported its existence.

Meta also has faced scrutiny over how its platforms were used to organize in the run-up to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Phrases like “kill them all” appeared in thousands of US-based Facebook Groups before the attack, including calls for violence against specific US political leaders.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/09/Meta-s-Oversight-Board-tells-company-to-allow-posts-using-death-to-Khamenei-slogan

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Gazans protest Israeli bans on medical imports in ambulance march

09 January 2023

Health workers in the besieged Gaza Strip have staged a protest against Israeli restrictions on the import of medical equipment despite repeated warnings that the lives of hundreds of patients are in danger amid a years-long blockade against the coastal enclave.

In the protest on Monday, Gazans drove a convoy of some 25 ambulances to voice their strong objection to the Israeli occupying regime’s ban on the import of medical and diagnostic devices for patients in hospitals in the besieged Gaza Strip for 16 years.

"Preventing the entry of medical devices means the slow death of Gaza patients," read a banner spread across one of the ambulances used in the rally.

"Medical equipment is crumbling,” said another poster, in Arabic, Hebrew and English.

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency cited the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza as expressing concern about the lives of thousands of patients facing risk as a result of the ban on the entry of medical equipment and spare parts.

"There is severe crowding in the reception departments, and there is suffering for the medical staff inside the operating rooms. Some of these devices are used in diagnosing complex fracture cases, and some are used in removing clots from patients who have a stroke in the brain or heart, and the other parts are used in x-ray work,” said Medhat Abbas, the ministry’s director.

"Thousands of patients need these devices, and thus delaying their entry means an increase in the suffering of these patients and overcrowding in hospitals, which are already suffering from severe overcrowding due to the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip," he added.

Ashraf al-Qudra, a spokesman for the ministry, also said the protest came after the Israeli prevention of four mobile X-ray machines from entering Gaza, in addition to equipment used to treat stroke patients and those in intensive care.

The restrictions "expose patients of oncology, heart, strokes, complex fractures and intensive care to health risks," Qudra said, adding that importing spare parts for old machines was also an issue.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health has previously warned that the Israeli blockade imposed for more than 15 years on the Gaza Strip deprived about 50 percent of Gazan patients of their treatment rights guaranteed by international humanitarian law inside and outside the Strip.

The Israeli regime’s crippling siege of the Gaza Strip for democratically electing the popular resistance movement Hamas has turned the enclave into the world's largest open-air prison and left many of its people destitute.

The occupying regime brought the entire enclave under land, aerial, and naval blockade in June 2007.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/09/696039/Gazans-protest-Israeli-bans-medical-imports-ambulance-march

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North America

 

Carter ordered CIA to topple Islamic Republic 10 months after the revolution: document

January 9, 2023

The Leader said the report is based on declassified documents which are released after 30 or 40 years.

The document that the Leader referred to is related to a series of 359 documents between 1979-1980. The document related to Iran is the one numbered 110.

Carter’s order was declared to the Special Coordination Committee that included Turner, national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Defense secretary Harold Brown, and secretary of state Cyrus Vance.

It was based on this order that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was provoked to launch attack on Iran on September 22, 1980.

In his order, Carter had said he considered operation against a “foreign country” important for the American national security.

For that purpose, Carter tasked Turner or his representative to brief congressional committees on the operation and if necessary, hold briefing sessions to justify the operation.

Carter ordered propagandistic, political and economic operation against the Islamic Republic in order to establish what he called a “democratic and responsible” regime in Iran.

Source: Tehran Times

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

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/480657/Carter-ordered-CIA-to-topple-Islamic-Republic-10-months-after

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US Supreme Court turns away Israeli spyware maker in WhatsApp suit

09 January ,2023

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an Israeli spyware maker’s bid to derail a high-profile lawsuit filed by the WhatsApp messaging service.

The justices left in place lower court rulings against the Israeli firm, NSO Group. WhatsApp claims that NSO targeted some 1,400 users of the encrypted messaging service with highly sophisticated spyware.

WhatsApp parent Facebook, now called Meta Platforms Inc, is trying to block NSO from Facebook platforms and servers and recover unspecified damages.

NSO argued that it should be recognized as a foreign government agent and therefore be entitled to immunity under US law limiting lawsuits against foreign countries. The request appeals a pair of earlier federal court rulings that rejected similar arguments by the Israeli company.

The Biden administration recommended that the court turn away the appeal. The Justice Department wrote that “NSO plainly is not entitled to immunity here.”

NSO’s flagship product, Pegasus, allows operators to covertly infiltrate a target’s mobile phone, gaining access to messages and contacts, the camera and microphone and location history. Only government law enforcement agencies can purchase the product and all sales are approved by Israel’s Defense Ministry, NSO said. It does not identify its clients.

WhatsApp says at least 100 of the users connected to its lawsuit were journalists, rights activists and civil society members.

NSO said it has safeguards in place to prevent abuses, although the company also said it has no control over how its clients use the product.

The WhatsApp case is among a series of legal battles plaguing NSO. In a separate lawsuit, Apple says it aims to prevent NSO from breaking into products. It claimed Pegasus had affected a small number of iPhone users worldwide, calling NSO’s employees “amoral 21st century mercenaries.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/technology/2023/01/09/US-Supreme-Court-turns-away-Israeli-spyware-maker-in-WhatsApp-suit

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Pope Francis praises Türkiye's mediation efforts between Russia, Ukraine

DeryaGülnazÖzcan

10.01.2023

Pope Francis on Monday praised Türkiye's mediation efforts between Ukraine and Russia, calling on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to "continue his efforts for peace."

The Pope's comments came during his meeting with ambassadors in the Vatican, including Türkiye's ambassador Lutfullah Goktas.

The Pope told Goktas during the reception that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should continue his efforts to achieve peace, the Turkish ambassador said on Twitter.

"Türkiye's efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine are also appreciated by the Vatican," Goktas wrote on Twitter.

Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.

In July, Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine war began last February. A Joint Coordination Center with officials from the three countries and the UN was set up in Istanbul to oversee the shipments.

The first ship carrying grain departed on Aug. 1 from the Ukrainian port of Odesa under the historic deal.

Addressing the ambassadors in the annual New Year's meeting, the Pope said it was time to call for "a peace in a world that is witnessing heightened divisions and wars."

He addressed the key challenges facing the world today, including the war in Ukraine, Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Today, I feel bound to renew my appeal for an immediate end to this senseless conflict, whose effects are felt in entire regions, also outside of Europe, due to its repercussions in the areas of energy and food production, above all in Africa and in the Middle East," the Pope said, referring to the Ukraine war.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/pope-francis-praises-turkiyes-mediation-efforts-between-russia-ukraine/2783619

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US announces USD 100 million of recovery, reconstruction funding for Pakistan

Jan 10, 2023

WASHINGTON: The United States has announced an additional USD 100 million to Pakistan for its recovery and reconstruction efforts after the devastating floods last year that killed 1,739 and affected 33 million people.

The funding also includes humanitarian assistance to support flood relief and recovery efforts in refugee hosting areas, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a news conference here on Monday.

"I am pleased to share that today the United States announced an additional USD 100 million of recovery and reconstruction funding, bringing our total contribution to over USD200 million," he said.

The new USD 100 million in funding will be for flood protection and governance, disease surveillance, economic growth, and clean energy, climate smart agriculture, food security, and infrastructure reconstruction, Price said.

The United States' flood-related assistance complements its broader efforts to form a US-Pakistan green alliance that looks at the range of climate and resilience issues central to Pakistan's reconstruction, the spokesperson said.

"Pakistan's recovery and reconstruction will be a continuing process in the months and years ahead and we will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to build a more climate resilient future for its people," Price said.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/us-announces-usd-100-million-of-recovery-reconstruction-funding-for-pakistan/articleshow/96867817.cms

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US: Muslim community demands justice over police killing of Bangladeshi man

9 January 2023

Local rights groups and the family and friends of a young Bangladeshi man killed last week in a police shooting in Cambridge, Massachusetts, demanded justice, transparency and accountability during a protest on Monday.

The protest was the second to take place in a week over the killing, which has led to calls for an end to the Cambridge police's involvement in mental health-related emergencies.

An attorney for the local district said that on Wednesday 4 January police officers responded to a call from a resident who reported seeing a person jump out of the window of a neighbouring apartment. The resident said he saw a man cutting himself with broken window glass and a knife.

The district attorney said the preliminary investigation suggested that 20-year-old Arif Sayed Faisal reportedly ran away with a machete-like knife after seeing police. Police then say after attempting to verbally engage with him, Faisal moved towards the officers while still in possession of the knife.

One police officer shot Faisal with a "less-than-lethal" sponge round to stop his advance, then after he continued moving towards the police, an officer fired their gun and shot Faisal. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he died from his wounds.

A GoFundMe page set up for Faisal, an only child, stated that an eyewitness told local news that they did not see Faisal attacking police at the moment he was shot.

According to local activists, Faisal was suffering from a mental health crisis at the time. The district attorney's office is conducting an investigation into the incident.

"Our only son, Sayed Arif Faisal, who we lovingly called Prince, is no longer with us nor in this world," his parents said in a statement published by the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Massachusetts chapter.

"Prince was a normal law-abiding citizen who had no record of any kind with law enforcement. He was never violent towards anyone. We want to know what happened and how this tragic event unfolded."

The student's death was the first time that Cambridge police killed someone and it was the first time since 2015 that the police had shot a person, according to local newspapers.

"Arif was one of my closest friends. He was a guy who no one could hate. He was always helping others," a friend of Faisal's said during the protest on Monday, before he was overcome with grief and unable to continue his remarks.

Difficulty finding justice

During the protest, organised by the Bangladeshi Association of New England (Bane), scores of community members gathered in front of city hall to both mourn for Faisal and also call on the city for answers as to why he was killed.

Fatema Ahmad, executive director of the Boston-based Muslim Justice League, said during the protest that the killing of Faisal will not go unforgotten, and called on community members to demand an answer from the police, as well as from city authorities.

"The community demands justice and real change so this never happens again. Everyone in crisis deserves to be met with support and care, not violence and criminalisation," Ahmad told Middle East Eye in a separate statement.

"But it is so difficult to define justice when someone has been taken from us. He was a local student, active in the community, and the only child of his parents so this has left a huge hole in the community."

Local rights groups are also calling for an end to the use of police for emergency services related to mental health.

Cambridge police spokesperson Jeremy Warnick stated last week that police have a team of specially trained officers to deal with people in a psychological crisis, including two social workers, but they do not respond to situations involving violence.

One group, The Black Response, said that the killing of Faisal highlighted the need for a completely alternative approach to dealing with mental health crises, saying that the police should not be involved in these cases at all.

"No one, especially not a person in crisis, should have to fear for their lives in this time of need when they are most vulnerable. There is no justification for the murder of Arif Sayed Faisal," The Black Response, a grassroots organisation in Cambridge, said in a statement.

Source: MiddleEastEye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-muslim-community-demands-justice-over-police-killing-bangladeshi-man

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Man behind deadly NY truck attack sought martyrdom

January 10, 2023

NEW YORK: A man charged with using a truck to kill eight people on a Manhattan bike path in 2017 believes his attack was justified and sought to die a martyr for Islam, his defence counsel told the jury at his terrorism trial yesterday.

At the first federal death-penalty trial since US president Joe Biden took office in January 2021, defendant Sayfullo Saipov, 34, acknowledged through his lawyers that he intended to murder and maim his victims and still believes he had a religious duty to do so.

The only point of contention with prosecutors was whether he carried out the attack in order to join the Islamic State militant group, also known as IS, which the US brands a terrorist organisation.

“That is not why he did this,” David Patton, a public defender representing Saipov, said in an opening statement at the US district court in Manhattan, saying Saipov was only inspired by IS, and not planning to survive his attack and join as a member.

“He expected to die. He expected to become a martyr.”

Most of the charges in the 28-count indictment include as an element that Saipov committed murder and attempted murder in order to join IS.

Saipov has pleaded not guilty.

He sat by his lawyers in court wearing a green pullover and gray pants, a bushy black beard curling beneath his face mask.

An Uzbek national who moved to the US in 2010 and last worked as an Uber driver in Paterson, New Jersey, Saipov was provided a headset to listen to an interpreter.

In the public gallery behind him sat some of the wounded, including a woman who lost both her legs, and relatives of the dead.

Five Argentinian tourists, one Belgian tourist and two Americans were killed.

In the prosecution’s opening statement, assistant US attorney Alexander Li said Saipov left behind “a scene of devastation and horror” when he mowed down his victims using a rental truck on Oct 31, 2017, before leaving a “truck-sized hole” after crashing into the side of a school bus, leaving one child with brain damage.

Saipov expected the city to be busy with people celebrating Halloween and had planned to also attack people on the Brooklyn Bridge that day, Li said.

He carried serrated knives and fake guns that looked real.

“Right after the attack, he proudly declared why he did it,” Li said.

“He did it for IS, the brutal terrorist organisation.”

Saipov was taken to the hospital after a police officer shot him near his crashed truck, and later that night told an FBI agent that he wanted an IS flag to display in his room.

His lawyers confirmed this, saying Saipov still believed what Patton called a “twisted and awful version of Islam”.

He told the jury that Saipov had become isolated from his extended Muslim family in Uzbekistan, and became convinced by sophisticated IS propaganda he had consumed online for years that there was a western conspiracy to eradicate Islam.

The US department of justice told judge Vernon Broderick in September that it intends to seek the death penalty for Saipov, although there has been a moratorium on federal executions since July 2021 while the department reviews its use of the punishment.

If convicted, Saipov could also be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

He has been jailed since his arrest.

The jury will not consider punishment during the first phase of the trial, which could last three months.
Source:Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2023/01/10/man-behind-deadly-ny-truck-attack-sought-martyrdom/

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US national security adviser Sullivan says will discuss Iran on Israel trip

09 January ,2023

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday said he would be discussing threats posed by Iran when he makes a trip to Israel to meet with the country's new government.

Sullivan, speaking to reporters during a trip by President Joe Biden to Mexico, said the US government has made clear that a nuclear agreement with Iran is not a priority at the moment and that it continues to believe that diplomacy is the right away to ensure that the country does not obtain a nuclear weapon.

Sullivan said the Biden administration would have an opportunity to engage with the new Israeli government about the issue.

“We will work through any differences we have on tactics,” he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/01/09/US-national-security-adviser-Sullivan-says-will-discuss-Iran-on-Israel-trip

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Africa

 

Muslim Muslim Ticket: God has no business with Nigerian thieving politicians – Adeyanju

January 9, 2023

By Seun Opejobi

With less than two months to the presidential election, Nigerians have been cautioned against voting for people along religious lines, saying God has no business with Nigerian thieving politicians.

DejiAdeyanju, a socio-political activist, gave the admonition while noting that God has no plans with Nigeria’s thieving politicians.

Adeyanju was condemning an Islamic preacher, Abdulmutallab Mohammed Auwal, for urging Muslims to consider the All Progressives Congress, APC, and its Muslim/Muslim ticket as a call to Jihad.

At a special prayer session organised by Muslim clerics in Kano for the success of Bola Tinubu’s candidacy, Auwal said the Tinubu/Shettima’s Muslim/Muslim ticket had defined the supremacy of Islam.

Reacting, Adeyanju said the cleric’s remark was not different from pastors endorsing a particular candidate as God’s will.

In a chat with DAILY POST, Adeyanju wrote: “Nigerians must reject the urge to vote for people along religious and ethnic lines.

“I condemn the remarks of the Islamic cleric in Kano calling on Muslims to vote for Tinubu/Shettima by referring to their ticket as a jihad.

Source: DailyPost Nigeria

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

https://dailypost.ng/2023/01/09/muslim-muslim-ticket-god-has-no-business-with-nigerian-thieving-politicians-adeyanju/

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Fresh operation in Somalia kills at least 61 al-Shabaab terrorists

Mohammed Dhaysane

09.01.2023

MOGADISHU, Somalia

At least 61 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed and dozens others wounded in Somalia after an operation by the country’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Information Ministry said on Monday.

The operation against al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group was backed by Somalia’s international partners in the country’s south-central province of Middle Shabelle.

The ministry said in a statement that the operation targeted Khawarij militias, and estimated 150 who were planning to attack the national army and the local forces in Hawadlay.

The government said the terrorists were also hit while they were preparing to plant explosives in the area.

Somalia’s deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Yusuf al-Adalla, who spoke to journalists in the capital Mogadishu, said the group were inflicted heavy defeat and “the conspiracies they have been working on to destroy the national army camp on the outskirts of Hawadley” were foiled.

It is the first such operation conducted by the army backed by the international partners against the terrorist fighters in the Horn of Africa nation since the beginning of the year.

The Middle Shabelle region has seen an increased military operations since Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a “total war” on the group after his re-election last year.

The military, last month said it had liberated the strategic town of Runirgod that the army said was the last remaining al-Shabaab stronghold in the region.

Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab being one of the main threats.

It has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces since at least 2007, claiming thousands of lives.

The UN has warned of growing instability in the country, with periodic reports last year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and pro-Daesh/ISIS terror groups.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/fresh-operation-in-somalia-kills-at-least-61-al-shabaab-terrorists/2783414

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Türkiye strives to boost ties with all African countries, says foreign minister

MerveAydogan

09.01.2023

The Turkish foreign minister on Monday said Türkiye "works hard" to strengthen its ties with all African countries, stressing, in particular, South Africa, his first stop on a five-nation African tour.

"Today, we maintain strong ties with the descendants of Abu Bakr Effendi, who laid the foundation of our friendship with South Africa," said Mevlut Cavusoglu at the inauguration of a new chancellery building at the Turkish Consulate in Cape Town, South Africa.

Effendi was a prominent Turkish scholar sent to South Africa in the 19th century by Sultan Abdul-Aziz Khan to spread the message of Islam. The legacy of Effendi and other Ottomans who came to reside at the Cape can still be felt after more than 150 years through their writings.

Some Ottoman descendants are now well-known in South Africa, among them judges, doctors, and even politicians.

Saying that Türkiye reaches out to its citizens across the globe via its 257 missions, Cavusoglu said the number of Turkish foreign missions put it among the top five worldwide.

"Our representations enable us at the same time to expand our economic and cultural relations," he added.

With Turkish Airlines' Istanbul-Cape Town charter flights, connections between the peoples of the two nations grew, said Cavusoglu, urging further interaction to promote the "beauties, potential, and opportunities" of both countries.

On bilateral trade, Cavusoglu said it develops each day, pointing to last year’s 50% rise to $3 billion.

He expressed hopes to increase the bilateral trade volume to $10 billion.

After South Africa, Cavusoglu is due to proceed to Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Cavusoglu also announced the Turkish Maarif Foundation's plans to open another school in Cape Town in 2024.

The Turkish Maarif Foundation, established in 2016, is undertaking an important role in the fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in the education sector. The terror group has a network of private schools abroad as a revenue stream to support its illegal activities.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye which left 251 people dead and 2,734 injured.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkiye-strives-to-boost-ties-with-all-african-countries-says-foreign-minister/2783409

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South Asia

 

Undoing 20 Years of Progress in Afghanistan: SIGAR

By Fidel Rahmati

January 10, 2023

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has released a statement indicating the US government’s expenditure on several programs and activities in Afghanistan during the past 20 years.

Between 2002 and June 30, 2022, the US government spent approximately $14.08 billion on reconstruction and related initiatives in five key areas in Afghanistan: advancing the rights of Afghan women and girls, fostering a free press, educating Afghans, enhancing healthcare, and assisting Afghan non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The statement read that the US government has spent $ 787.4 million on programs supporting Afghan women and girls and at least $ 1 billion on 66 different programs to develop the rule of law and protect, inform and advance women’s rights in Afghanistan.

With the return of the de facto authorities, Afghan women and girls again face significant risks, including limited access to education and health, loss of empowerment, ban on females working with national and international organizations.

Similar reverse has also been experienced in significant areas, including quality education, access to free Media, health care system, civil society, and NGOs.

In addition, recently, new policies introduced by the caretaker government further banned female Afghan girls from going to universities and working with national and international organizations.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/undoing-20-years-of-progress-in-afghanistan-sigar/

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United Nations provide clarification on the cash shipments to Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

January 9, 2023

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan has distributed a press release providing clarification on the cash shipments to Afghanistan.

The statement read that The United Nations transported cash to Afghanistan for use by UN agencies. The UN uses the money to carry out its missions in Afghanistan, mainly to provide life-saving humanitarian aid to the many millions of Afghans in need.

The press release emphasized that “all cash transferred to Afghanistan is placed in designated UN accounts in a private bank for use by the United Nations, which will directly distribute to the United Nations entities including UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, UN-Women, OCHA, UN-Habitat, WHO, FAO, IOM and other small numbers of approved humanitarian partners in the country.”

The statement further clarified that “none of the cash brought into Afghanistan is deposited in the Central Bank of Afghanistan nor provided to the Taliban de facto authorities by the UN.”

Since December 2021, the UN has brought to Afghanistan approximately US$ 1.8 billion in funds for the United Nations and partners to conduct their work, and the amount of cash brought into Afghanistan is proportional to the UN’s program of Humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.

UNAMA official has not mentioned the amount of cash transformed to Afghanistan while being notified that the amount brought to the country is proportional to the humanitarian assistance program.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/cash-shipment-to-the-united-nations-in-afghanistan/

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Myanmar jails 112 Rohingya for travelling 'without documents'

10th January 2023

YANGON: Myanmar authorities have sentenced 112 Rohingya, including a dozen children, to between two and five years in prison for attempting to travel to Malaysia "without legal documents", state media reported Tuesday.

The group were arrested last month in the southern Ayeyarwady region and sentenced on January 6, according to a report by the Global New Light of Myanmar, which cited local police.

The children were transferred to a "youth training school" near commercial hub Yangon on January 8, the newspaper reported, without giving further details.

The report referred to the group as "Bengalis," using a pejorative word for the Muslim minority, who are denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and often require permission to travel.

A military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017 sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh with harrowing stories of murder, rape and arson.

Myanmar is facing genocide accusations at the United Nation's top court following the mass exodus.

Thousands of Rohingya risk their lives each year making perilous journeys from camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar to reach Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia.

On Sunday a wooden boat carrying nearly 200 Rohingya refugees, a majority of them women and children, landed on Indonesia's western coast, the fifth to arrive since November, according to authorities.

Source: New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2023/jan/10/myanmar-jails-112-rohingya-for-travelling-without-documents-2536437.html

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Afghan Athletes Showing Off Strenght in Frozen Harirud River in Ghor

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

January 10, 2023

The sports authorities in central Ghor province say that eight athletes from different disciplines have completed heavy training in the frozen Harirud river in Firuzkoh, the provincial capital of Ghor.

HamidullahHemaq, head of physical education and sports of Ghor province told the media on Monday, that these heavyweight sportsmen conducted an exercise in the icy cold weather, a symbolic gesture, to show strength, unity, and empathy of the Afghan people.

Mr. Hemaq asked sports institutions and the people of Afghanistan to support athletes so that they would become great remodels among the young generation. 

Raqeeb Farooqi, known as the ‘Ice Man’ of Afghanistan is from Ghor province. He became popular after one of his videos went viral on social media, exercising heavy weight training in minus 22 degrees in the frozen Harirud river a few years ago.

“Today, athletes have gathered and displayed their physical strength in Harirud river. Our goal is to display the physical strength of the athletes – the unity and empathy of the people of Afghanistan,” Farooqi said.

This freestyle athlete added that every year Ghori sportsmen do heavy training in order to boost their physical strength in the cold and icy weather of Firouzkuh.

Jan Mohammad Heydari and Mohammad Qasim Ferdowsi are two other athletes, known as the snowmen of Afghanistan. They want the government and sports-related organizations to support the athletes so that they can carry out their exercises and make Afghanistan proud.

The lack of facilities and proper training venues are some of the key challenges the athletes are faced in Ghor province, which needs the immediate attention of sports institutions and the central government of Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-athletes-showing-off-strenght-in-frozen-harirud-river-in-ghor/

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