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Islamic World News ( 3 Aug 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Delhi High Court Observes: Nobody Can Have a Copyright on the Teachings Given In the Holy Books Quran and Hadees and Other Religious Text; These Are Bound To Be Same

New Age Islam News Bureau

04 August 2022

 

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• Aligarh Muslim University to Include 'Sanatan Dharma', Along With Other Religions, In New Course

• Taliban Say Investigating US Claim of Killing Al-Qaida Leader Zawahiri in A US Drone Strike in Kabul

• Religious Scholars of All Schools Of Thought Vow To Forge National Unity, Harmony and Peace

• European Governments Accused Of Giving Almost €80m to Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Groups

 

India

• Plea, Filed By Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha Treasurer, Seeking ‘Jalabhishek’ Of Laddoo Gopal at Shahi Eidgah Mosque Dismissed

• Rehan, a Youth Arrested From UP For Allegedly Posting an "Objectionable" Tweet, Asking India to Be Made an Islamic Country

• HC Stays Proceedings In Case Seeking Removal of Shahi Eidgah Mosque

• UP MLA's Father Sits on Dharna over Mosque-Shaped Gate in Pratapgarh

• 30 Afghan Sikhs arrive in India, 110 still stuck

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South Asia

• Second Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate Calls U.S. Drone Strike Violation of Doha Agreement

• Doha Peace Pact in Tatters As US & Taliban Accuse Each Other Of Violations after Zawahiri Killing

• Clash in Afghan Capital; Taliban Besieges House in Karta-e-Sakhi Area

• Taliban Settles Multi-Million Dollar Unpaid Debt to Uzbekistan for Electricity

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Pakistan

• Valmikis Converge On Lahore Temple ‘After 20 Years’

• Peace talk between Pak tribal council leaders and TTP reaches deadlock: Report

• PTI files reference with Supreme Judicial Council, seeks removal of CEC

• ANP protests Imran’s ‘indecent’ remarks against Pakhtuns

• Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan will have 'serious implications' for regional peace: Pakistan

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Europe

• British PM candidate Rishi Sunak pledges crackdown on Islamist extremism

• Turkish coast guards save 194 irregular migrants pushed back by Greece

• UK leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak criticized over anti-terror propositions

• Sydney realtor says deaths of Saudi sisters not random incident as crime scene apartment put back on market

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Southeast Asia

• Malaysia and Turkiye Finalising Discussions on Currency Swap Deal, Says Saifuddin

• Dr Mahathir: New concept on Malay and Islamic agenda to be initiated

• Japan welcomes the extension of Yemen truce, hails Saudi role

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Arab World

• UAE, Egypt Discuss Cooperation on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

• Bahraini Regime Tightens Crackdown on Shias Ahead Of Ashura Commemorations

• Iraq's Sadr Says Parliament Sit-In Will Continue Until Demands Met

• Iraq’s Sadr calls for dissolving Parliament, holding early elections

• Kuwait, Oman, and UAE welcome truce extension agreement in Yemen

• Northern Iraq's Ezidis say PKK terrorists, international neglect keeps them stranded in camps

• Daesh/ISIS terrorists kill 5 soldiers in eastern Iraq

• Saudi Arabia announces bid to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

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Mideast

• Iran: No Discrimination in Islamic Human Rights

• Iran's Human Rights Chief Blasts EU's Inaction on Cruel US Sanctions

• Jenin fighters vow to 'scatter bodies of Israeli troops on mountains'

• Turkish warplanes continue to bombard northern Iraq despite global outcry

• Turkey Says Greek Move against Muslims' Local Leaders 'Unacceptable'

• Iran Preparing Three Remote-Sensing Satellites for Launch into Orbit

• Iran Calls on IAEA Chief to Stop Politicized Approach

• Spokesman: Iran's Support for 'One China' Policy Indubitable

• Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator to travel to Vienna to resume 2015 nuclear deal talks

• Israel’s road closures along border with Gaza Strip amount to ‘crime against humanity’: Hamas

• Iran supports ceasefire renewal, lasting peace in Yemen: Envoy

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Africa

• Ennahda Party Says Leader Faces Politically Motivated Police Investigation

• Somalia should shape Horn of Africa’s geopolitics

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North America

• Iran, US, EU to Send Envoys to Vienna For Nuclear Talks

• Sullivan expresses concern over Iranian-American journalist’s safety

• US approves billions of dollars’ worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/holy-books-quran-and-hadees-religious-text/d/127646

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Delhi High Court Observes: Nobody Can Have a Copyright on the Teachings Given In the Holy Books Quran and Hadees and Other Religious Text; These Are Bound To Be Same

 

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By: Express News Service | New Delhi |

August 3, 2022

A Delhi court dismissed a copyright infringement suit filed over the publication of a book titled ‘Islamic Studies’ and imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on the plaintiff, observing that nobody can have a copyright on the teachings in the Quran and other Islamic books.

District Judge (Commercial) Sanjeev Kumar Aggarwal in his order dated July 25 observed, “Some contents are bound to be similar as teaching given in the Holy Books Quran and Hadees and other religious text related to Islam religion are bound to be same in all books which are about teaching on Islam. In my view, nobody can have copyright on these teachings which are written in the Holy Books Quran and Hadees or other Islamic books.”

The suit was filed by Islamic Book Service (P) Ltd, a publisher and exporter of Islamic books situated in Delhi’s Daryaganj, claiming that Maulvi Abdul Aziz, as the owner and author of the literary work titled ‘Islami Taleemat’ series of books, Part I to VIII, had assigned its copyright to the company unconditionally and also handed over the manuscript of the work against consideration.

The company alleged that in May 2018, it came to know that the defendant, one Abdur Rauf Najeeb Bakali, started publishing the literary work of Maulvi Aziz in the name and style of ‘Islamic Studies Grade I to Grade 5’.

The company said that it had been publishing the book series ‘Studies in Islam’ (Grade I to Grade VIII) exclusively and continuously since 1992 and the same is sold on an extensive scale in Delhi as well as abroad. The company alleged that the defendant infringed its copyrights in ‘Studies in Islam’ by publishing the book ‘Islamic Studies’.

While examining whether the defendant had copied content from ‘Studies in Islam Grade I’ in its book ‘Islamic Studies’, the court observed, “No comparison of the books of plaintiff and defendant was given to show either in the plaint or in the evidence of PW1 (prosecution witness) so that it could be said that the defendant has copied the plaintiff book and thus infringed the copyright work of book ‘Studies in Islam’.”

Rejecting the company’s argument that the names of both the books ‘Islamic Studies’ and ‘Studies in Islam’ were almost similar as it contained the words ‘Islam’ and ‘studies’, the court said, “In my view there cannot be any copyrights on word ‘Islam’ or ‘studies’. The name of the plaintiff’s book is ‘Studies in Islam’ whereas the name of the defendant’s book is ‘Islamic Studies’. The colour printing of the cover page of both the books is also quite different.”

The court thus held that the company “miserably failed” to prove that it had any copyright over the book ‘Islamic Studies’ or that the defendant had committed any infringement of copyright of its book by publishing ‘Islamic Studies’.

The court said that the plaintiff is not entitled to any relief and dismissed the company’s suit with a cost of Rs 50,000, which the company has to pay to the defendant for the fees and expenses incurred by him.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/delhi-high-court-quran-holy-books-copyright-infringement-suit-dismissed-8067712/

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Aligarh Muslim University to Include 'Sanatan Dharma', Along With Other Religions, In New Course

 

Aligarh Muslim University (File Photo | PTI)

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Aug 4, 2022

AGRA: Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has decided to include Sanatan Dharma, along with other religions, in its course curriculum from the next academic session. For this, the varsity is going to start a post-graduate course in comparative religion. So far, it has been offering courses only in Islamic studies.

AMU spokesperson M Shafey Kidwai said, "Chairperson of the Islamic Studies department has moved a proposal to start a course on comparative studies will be offered from the next session. Religious texts of Sanatan Dharma and other faiths will be taught along with Islamic studies."

Chairman, department of Islamic Studies, Mohammad Ismail, said, "Like Islamic studies, we aspire to offer quality education concerning Sanatan Dharma and other religions. In the new course, there will be lessons on the Vedas, Purans, Upanishads, Ramayana, Gita and other scriptures related to Sanatan Dharma. Teachings of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other religions will also be there in the curriculum."

Professor Ismail said that the department has been functioning since 1948. Over 1,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes. At least 10 students from Iran, Thailand, Bangladesh and other central Asian countries are pursuing research there. The department has a library with over 70,000 books.

This comes even as the the department of Islamic Studies has decided to remove books by two authors from the syllabus. These authors are Maulana Abul Ala Maududi of Pakistan and Syed Qutb of Egypt.

The decision came after more than 20 educationists wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that these books be banned as the content of these books supported the Islamic State.

"The board of studies will formally endorse the decision in its meeting to be held within a fortnight. There have been objections against the inclusion of books by these authors. Therefore, we have decided to remove them from the course curriculum to avoid unnecessary controversy," said professor Ismail.

Source: Times Of India 

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/aligarh-muslim-university-to-include-sanatan-dharma-in-new-course/articleshow/93334168.cms

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Taliban Say Investigating US Claim of Killing Al-Qaida Leader Zawahiri in A US Drone Strike in Kabul

 

Al-Qaida Leader Zawahiri

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Aug 4, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Taliban are investigating a US "claim" that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul, a Taliban official said on Thursday, indicating the group's leadership were not aware of his presence there.

The United States killed Zawahiri with a missile fired from a drone while he stood on a balcony at his Kabul hideout on Sunday, US officials said, in the biggest blow to the militants since Osama bin Laden was shot dead more than a decade ago.

"The government and the leadership wasn’t aware of what is being claimed, nor any trace there," Suhail Shaheen, the designated Taliban representative to the United Nations, who is based in Doha, told journalists in a message.

"Investigation is underway now to find out about the veracity of the claim," he said, adding that the results of the investigation would be shared publicly.

Taliban leaders have remained largely tight-lipped about the Sunday drone strike and have not confirmed the presence or death of Zawahiri in Kabul.

Top Taliban leaders have been holding lengthy discussions about how to respond to the US drone strike, three sources in the group said.

How the Taliban react could have significant repercussions as the group seeks international legitimacy and access to billions of dollars in frozen funds, following their defeat of a US-backed government a year ago.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian doctor, was closely involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and was one of the world's most wanted men.

His death in Kabul raises questions about whether he received sanctuary from the Taliban, who had assured the United States as part of a 2020 agreement on the withdrawal of US-led forces that they would not harbour other militant groups.

Shaheen said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan - the name the Taliban use for the country and their government - was committed to the agreement, signed in the Qatari capital, Doha.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the Taliban had "grossly violated" the agreement by hosting and sheltering Zawahiri.

Source: Times Of India 

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-say-investigating-us-claim-of-killing-al-qaida-leader-zawahiri/articleshow/93338890.cms

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Religious Scholars Of All Schools Of Thought Vow To Forge National Unity, Harmony And Peace

 

8 Most Influential Islamic Scholars in Pakistan

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August 04, 2022

LAHORE:

Religious scholars of all schools of thought pledged on Wednesday to continue playing their key role for national unity, stability, harmony and peace.

This was asserted in a joint declaration issued after Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi presided over a meeting of the Punjab Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen Committee.

Ulema, Khatteebs and Zakirs will adopt a moderate and positive attitude in their sermons, it declared and added that Islam teaches showing tolerance towards ‘Ahl-e-kitab’ and non-Muslims; so the ulema will emphasise tolerance and unity of Muslims in their sermons and will completely reject differences, especially during Muharram to help establish peace and harmony.

“The ulema of all schools of thought also agree that no Muslim should be hurt and we will all adhere strictly to this policy. Terrorism and killings in the name of religion are anti-Islam and we strongly condemn them,” the declaration read.

“We will avoid such writings and speeches that could hurt any school of thought,” the clerics declared.

It was stated that the country was going through a critical period in its history and “we are determined to strengthen and stabilise the country by making it a cradle of peace and stability by showing patience, courage and prudence. We pray to Almighty Allah to protect our beloved homeland and make our efforts of promoting unity among Muslims fruitful.”

Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi vowed to take action against the publication and sale of hate literature.

He announced that indiscriminate action will be taken against those who spread hateful content on social media.

Religious scholars attending the meeting appreciated the initiative of the chief minister for making an affidavit about the Finality of Prophethood (PBUH) mandatory in the marriage certificate.

The CM said ulema and mashaikh had always guided the nation and he appreciated their role in maintaining brotherhood, tolerance and unity in the society.

He said special committees including administrative and police officials and ulema have been formed in districts for religious tolerance and peace during Muharram.

In order to maintain peace at the grassroots, decisions will be made in consultation, he said.

He asserted that the publication and sale of any literature containing hateful content cannot be allowed under any circumstances.

The chief minister also ordered the formation of a committee headed by former minister Basharat Raja and having representation of administration and police officials along with religious scholars to resolve issues of the ulema.

Australian cooperation

Australian High Commissioner Neil Hawkings also met Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi and discussed promotion of bilateral relations and increasing cooperation in the fields of health, education, agriculture, livestock, sports and culture.

Both sides agreed to start an exchange programme for training officers of police and other departments.

The CM said Australia had great expertise in agriculture, dairy development and livestock and Punjab wanted to utilise the Australian model in the areas.

There are significant investment opportunities available for Australia in the information technology and tourism sectors and the exchange of cultural delegations between Pakistan and Australia will also increase friendly relations, he concluded.

The Australian high commissioner said every possible cooperation would be extended to the Punjab government to enhance partnership in various fields.

MNA Moonis Elahi, the chief secretary and other senior officials were also present.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

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

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2369297/ulema-vow-to-forge-harmony

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European Governments Accused Of Giving Almost €80m To Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Groups

 

The latest Global Influence Operations Report documented €79,551,732 in donations given to groups with reported links to the Muslim Brotherhood. AP

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Nicky Harley

London

Aug 03, 2022

Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups have received almost €80 million in funding from European governments over the past decade, a report has revealed.

The latest Global Influence Operations Report documented €79,551,732 in donations given to groups with reported links to the Muslim Brotherhood by the European Union, the Council of Europe and various national governments since 2004.

“The threats to European civil society posed by the Global Muslim Brotherhood include hindering the integration of minorities, inciting conflict between ethnic groups, fostering hatred and incubating terrorism,” the report said.

“Tracing and identifying funding sources for the Global Muslim Brotherhood is one of the most challenging tasks for analysts. Nevertheless, Gior research into the Muslim Brotherhood has identified a variety of funding streams, one of which is European governments.”

In one incident mentioned in the report, the EU Commission awarded more than €53,000 to a Belgium partner organisation of France's Collective Against Islamophobia in France.

The charity was forced to close before the French government moved to dissolve it in 2020 after it was accused of taking part in a social media campaign against a French history teacher who was murdered for showing his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The report showed that the charity was linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and its founder’s grandsons, Tariq and Hani Ramadan, and had been described as an “Islamist pharmacy” and an “enemy of the Republic” by France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

Islamic Relief was given more than €33.7m by the EU between 2007 to 2020, the EU Financial Transparency database used in the study showed.

The German government has previously stated that there are “significant personnel connections” between Islamic Relief Germany and the Muslim Brotherhood and it has halted its funding.

Last year, Vice President of the European Parliament Nicola Beer wrote to the European Commission and said it was unacceptable for Islamic Relief to receive funding if it has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“European funds must not fall into the hands of organisations that are responsible for anti-Semitism or other hatred,” she said.

The US and the Netherlands have also stopped funding the charity.

Islamic Relief denies it has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

MEP Tomas Zdechovsky has described the funding given to groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood as “ridiculous”.

“The threats of non-violent Islamism posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and associated organisations are, in an almost punishable manner, overlooked and underestimated in Europe,” he told the Brussels Morning Newspaper.

“The goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is nothing less than to undermine and destroy western democracy. That said, Muslim Brotherhood and associated organisations still receive substantial financial support from public resources and are facilitating a platform to influence public opinion in Europe.

“Islamist study and cultural associations are aided at all levels of governance in Europe. Member states send multimillion[-euro] donations to organisations such as Islamic Relief, which, although involved in charity work, still holds an Islamist agenda and anti-Semitism views.

He added that organisations looking to “destroy our freedom” should not be supported.

“Providing financial support and facilitating the public exposure at the EU and all lower levels of governance to organisations influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood is an absurd but sure quest of Europe to self-destruction,” Mr Zdechovsky said.

“Assigning EU funds to people who want to destroy our freedom is ridiculous. We cannot ignore this danger anymore because the future of liberty in entire Europe is at stake.”

Last October, the report “Network of Networks: The Muslim Brotherhood in Europe” described the EU funding of organisations linked to the group and said that the level of education among legislators and bureaucrats about the Muslim Brotherhood needed to the raised.

MEP Charlie Weimers said the report's findings were “concerning” and he has asked the European Commission to cease funding the groups.

Source: The National News

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

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2022/08/03/european-governments-accused-of-giving-almost-80m-to-muslim-brotherhood-linked-groups/

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India

 

Plea, Filed By Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha Treasurer, Seeking ‘Jalabhishek’ Of Laddoo Gopal at Shahi Eidgah Mosque Dismissed

Aug 04, 2022

AGRA A revision plea seeking ‘Jalabhishek’ of ‘Laddoo Gopal’ at Shahi Eidgah Mosque in Mathura was dismissed by the court of additional district judge (court no. 7) in Mathura on Wednesday. The application was filed by Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) treasurer Dinesh Sharma.

“On May13, 2022, we had moved an application in our case no. 174 of 2021 (Thakur Keshav Dev ji Maharaj Vs Management Committee, Shahi Eidgah Mosque and others) in the court of civil judge (senior division), Mathura seeking permission to conduct ‘jalabhishek’ (offering water) on ‘Laddoo Gopal’ within the premises of the mosque where Lord Krishna was born. But the court fixed July 1, 2022 for hearing in the case,” stated Sharma.

“Thereafter, no orders were passed by the court in July. With Janmashtami approaching on August 18, I had filed a revision plea last month, seeking permission to perform the ritual. The court fixed August 3 as the next date for hearing my application,” he stated.

“The said revision was taken up today in court of additional district judge, Mathura, who was of the view that with a civil case already on with similar applications, there was no logic for the revision to continue,” he stated after the hearing.

“The court of additional district judge (Mathura), Sanjay Chaudhary, heard the matter and found the revision not maintainable and thus dismissed it at stage of admission only. The order passed by ADJ (court no. 07) is legally valid and we welcome the order,” stated Tanveer Ahmed, secretary and counsel for the management committee of Shahi Eidgah Mosque.

Lawyers including Neeraj Sharma, Abrar Hussain, Saurabh Srivastava along with Tanveer Ahmed appeared for the mosque management committee in the case.

Dinesh Sharma had filed case no. 174 of 2021 in the court of civil judge (senior division), Mathura, and moved various applications in the case in May. Sharma had also filed an application seeking survey of the Shahi Eidgah Mosque by an advocate commissioner in this case. Finding no order from court over that application, he (Sharma) preferred another revision, which too was dismissed by the same court on July 28, 2022.

Since September 2020, a dozen such cases related to Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi and Shahi Eidgah Mosque had been filed in Mathura court.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/plea-seeking-jalabhishek-of-laddoo-gopal-at-shahi-eidgah-mosque-dismissed-101659554481460.html

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Rehan, A Youth Arrested From UP For Allegedly Posting An "Objectionable" Tweet, Asking India To Be Made An Islamic Country

August 04, 2022

Ballia: A youth was arrested from Uttar Pradesh's Ballia district for allegedly posting an "objectionable" tweet, asking India to be made an Islamic country, police said on Thursday.

Rehan, a resident of Chachaiyan village in Nagra area, on Wednesday posted maps of India and Pakistan on Twitter and wrote India should be made an Islamic state, said Nagra Station House Officer Devendra Nath Dubey.

Source: Firstpost

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

https://www.firstpost.com/india/up-youth-held-for-social-media-post-asking-to-make-india-islamic-country-11007931.html

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HC stays proceedings in case seeking removal of Shahi Eidgah mosque

Aug 04, 2022

PRAYAGRAJ The Allahabad high court on Wednesday stayed proceedings pending before the Mathura court in a suit filed by the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi Trust and others seeking to remove the Shahi Eidgah Masjid, allegedly built on the land of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura.

The order was passed by Justice Salil Kumar Rai while hearing a petition challenging the judgment and order dated May 19, 2022, passed by the district judge, Mathura, wherein the court had held that the suit to remove the Shahi Eidgah Masjid, allegedly built on the land of Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi is maintainable.

The court also directed respondents to file counter-affidavits by the next date of hearing in the case, which will be fixed by the registrar later.

The district judge, in the May 19 order, directed the trial court to hear the case again and pass appropriate order on it.

The petitioner’s (U.P. Sunni Central Waqf Board) plea was that the order was without jurisdiction in as much as the valuation of the revision was more than Rs.25,00,000 and, therefore, the district judge did not have the pecuniary jurisdiction to hear the revision.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/hc-stays-proceedings-in-case-seeking-removal-of-shahi-eidgah-mosque-101659553874473.html

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UP MLA's father sits on dharna over mosque-shaped gate in Pratapgarh

Abhishek Mishra

Pratapgarh

August 3, 2022

Kunda MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh's father, Raja Uday Pratap Singh, on Wednesday protested over a mosque-shaped gateway in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh district. The gate was themed around the pillars of a mosque as part of Muharram celebrations.

Uday Pratap Singh told India Today that a mosque-like gate was built across the road in Sheikhpur village and alleged that Hindus are being forced to pass through it. He had also asked residents to tweet to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath regarding the same.

The temporary gateway installed on the Lucknow-Prayagraj highway in Sheikhpur region has writings in Urdu and the Kunda MLA's father objected to this.

"I do not know what has been written in Urdu on that gate. We are being forced to pass through it. If the administration does not remove it, the dharna will continue," he said.

Similarly, several Hindu outfits have also opposed the idea of a mosque-shaped gateway.

On the other hand, the administration has taken cognisance of the matter. Satish Chandra Tripathi, SDM Kunda, told India Today that the gate has been there for the past 4-5 years and is a part of the local custom.

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/uttar-pradesh-mla-father-protest-mosque-shaped-gate-pratapgarh-1983478-2022-08-03

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30 Afghan Sikhs arrive in India, 110 still stuck

Aug 4, 2022

AMRITSAR/AMBALA: A group of 30 Sikhs, including two minor children, arrived in Delhi from Kabul on Wednesday as evacuation of Afghan minorities to India continues in the wake of religious persecution in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

These Afghan nationals arrived on board Kam Air Flight and left for Gurdwara Sri Guru Arjan Dev, Tilak Nagar, New Delhi. "They are likely to be rehabilitated by the World Punjabi Organisation (of AAP Rajya Sabha MP Vikramjit Singh Sahney), Sobti Foundation, and other social organisations," said Puneet Singh Chandok, president of Indian World Forum. He said 110 Sikhs were still in Afghanistan while 61 were waiting for the Indian government to clear their e-visa applications.

There was a terror attack on June 18, 2022 on the gurdwara at Karte Parwan in Kabul and Afghan Sikhs have been repeatedly targeted since then. A blast took place at a Sikh man's shop near the Gurdwara Karte Parwan on July 27.

SGPC's Delhi Sikh Mission in-charge Surinder Pal Singh said, "Thirty Afghan Sikhs who arrived from Kabul were transported to Gurdwara Guru Arjan Dev Ji at Tilak Nagar in a bus arranged by SGPC. Some of them will stay in the Gurdwara while others will go to their relatives and families."

Source: Times Of India 

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/30-afghan-sikhs-arrive-in-india-110-still-stuck/articleshow/93338029.cms

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South Asia

 

Second Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate Calls U.S. Drone Strike Violation of Doha Agreement

By Arif Ahmadi

04 Aug 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – Abdul Salam Hanafi, the second Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate, said the United States drone strike in Kabul violates both national sovereignty and the Doha Agreement, according to sources.

On Monday night, President Biden administration announced an American drone strike killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri at an urban safe house in Afghanistan.

“These issues are still unclear to us, the only thing we know for sure is that a drone attack has taken place, which is against international law and the Doha Agreement,” Hanafi said, as TOLOnews quoted.

American intelligence agencies tracked down al-Zawahri in Kabul earlier this year and then spent months determining if it really was him hiding out in a crowded neighborhood of the Afghan capital, which drew questions whether the Taliban provides sanctuary to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

But the Islamic Emirate defied the criticism, saying Afghanistan soil is not used for any thread against other countries, including the United States.

“The Islamic Emirate’s policy, which has been repeatedly stated to the people, is that our soil is not used against our neighbors,” Hanafi said.

Meanwhile, political analysts believe the recent drone attack affected the relationship between Washington and Kabul, saying now formal recognition of the Taliban is completely out of the topic.

“This (drone strike) means the non-recognition of the Islamic Emirate, now it is 1000% clear that no one will recognize it, and the US, which has shown some flexibility to give Afghanistan’s money, now will definitely not give it,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, leader of the Afghanistan Solidarity Movement.

“After this, every claim the Taliban foreign minister has made or will make at international meetings will be considered false,” said Aziz Marij, former diplomat.

Earlier this week, President Biden announced an American drone strike killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri at an urban safe house in Afghanistan – a key plotter of the 9/11 terrorist attacks who took over as the leader of Al Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death.

“Now justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in a seven-minute nationally televised address from the White House, as the New York Times quoted.

“We make it clear again tonight,” he added, “that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.”

The Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of “international principles.”

“The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones,” the statement read.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/hanafi-calls-u-s-drone-strike-violation-of-doha-agreement/

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Doha peace pact in tatters as US & Taliban accuse each other of violations after Zawahiri killing

NAYANIMA BASU

3 August, 2022

New Delhi: More than two years after the US and the Taliban signed the Doha Agreement and almost a year after the radical Islamist group took over Afghanistan, both sides seem to have once again signalled that the peace deal is over even as US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri had been killed in a drone attack in Kabul by the CIA.

Washington and Kabul have blamed each other for violating the commitments made under the so-called peace deal, which was signed between Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump and the Taliban in Doha in February 2020.

“By hosting and sheltering the leader of al-Qa’ida in Kabul, the Taliban grossly violated the Doha Agreement and repeated assurances to the world that they would not allow Afghan territory to be used by terrorists to threaten the security of other countries,” US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said Tuesday, while announcing Zawahiri’s death.

“They (the Taliban) also betrayed the Afghan people and their own stated desire for recognition from and normalisation with the international community,” he added.

Blinken further said that in the face of the Taliban’s “unwillingness or inability to abide by their commitments”, the US will “continue to support the Afghan people with robust humanitarian assistance and advocate for the protection of their human rights, especially of women and girls”, effectively ruling out any kind of recognition to the interim Taliban regime in Kabul.

The Taliban, on the other hand, said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) condemns the attack and stressed that it was a “clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement”.

IEA spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement said that they are investigating the matter, and warned that such actions will work “against the interests of the USA, Afghanistan and the region”.

Zawahiri was killed Sunday by an American drone that hit his residence, located in the Shirpur area of main Kabul city, as he came out on the balcony of his house. This has given rise to questions on the Taliban’s claims that it will not allow Afghan soil to be used for terrorism.

Tenets of the Doha Agreement

The Doha Agreement, also called the peace deal, was inked in February 2020 after nine rounds of negotiations between the US and the Taliban.

It was signed by former US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, with former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo as a witness.

Under the agreement, the Taliban had given guarantees to the US that it will not allow terrorism to be nurtured on their soil.

Part 1 of the agreement states, “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States recognise that al-Qa’ida, ISIS-K and other international terrorist groups or individuals continue to use Afghan soil to recruit members, raise funds, train adherents and plan and attempt to conduct attacks that threaten the security of the United States, its allies, and Afghanistan.”

As a result, both parties had agreed to follow certain “steps to defeat the al-Qa’ida, its affiliates” by way of not allowing these terror outfits to “recruit, train, raise funds (including through the production or distribution of narcotics), transit Afghanistan or misuse its internationally recognised travel documents, or conduct other support activities in Afghanistan, and will not host them.”

‘An exercise in self-delusion’

Rakesh Sood, veteran diplomat and former Indian envoy to Kabul, said, “The Doha Agreement was an exercise in self-delusion on the part of the West, especially the US, whose only interest was to get out of Afghanistan.”

“The only commitment that mattered under the agreement was withdrawal of US troops from that country…The Taliban always has links with the al Qaeda. Over half dozen UNSC reports reiterated that ties between them are intact and stronger than before,” he added.

The four broad areas of the Doha Agreement were — counterterrorism actions by the Taliban, a conditional timeline for US troops’ withdrawal, commencing intra-Afghan talks, and discussion of conditions that would lead to a permanent ceasefire.

Michael Kugelman, deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Wilson Center in Washington, said, “The Doha deal was always fragile and open to contradictory interpretations. But the fact of the matter is that Zawahiri was living in Kabul and the Taliban regime did nothing about it. That appears to be a clear violation of the Doha deal stipulation that the Taliban not allow those that threaten the US to be on Afghan soil.”

“The location and length of Zawahari’s stay in Afghanistan shatters once and for all the Taliban-propagated myth that it no longer has ties to al Qaeda. The Taliban had to have known and helped him have that accommodation,” he added.

While the agreement was signed at a time when the US was desperate to close “endless wars”, it lacked teeth by way of an enforcement mechanism under which any of the parties can file a legal dispute in case of a “violation”.

Source: The Print

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

https://theprint.in/diplomacy/doha-peace-pact-in-tatters-as-us-taliban-accuse-each-other-of-violations-after-zawahiri-killing/1066619/

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Clash in Afghan Capital; Taliban Besieges House in Karta-e-Sakhi Area

By Saqalain Eqbal

03 Aug 2022

According to the Taliban’s security officials, they were conducting a clearing operation in the Karta-e-Sakhi area in Kabul, the Afghan capital, when they were shot from a high-rise structure above them.

The Taliban’s spokesman for the Kabul Police, Khalid Zadran, said that the group’s forces had besieged a residence while the special operation was currently underway.

The Taliban spokesman for Kabul Police made no particular mention of the operation’s potential casualties, and the special operation’s purpose is also still unknown.

This morning at about 11:30, locals reported hearing gunfire in the Karta-e-Sakhi area in Kabul’s third district.

The sound of gunfire can be heard in the Karta-e-Sakhi area on the video footage that has been making the rounds on social media today, Wednesday, August 3.

The operation comes as a US drone attack killed the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the Sherpur area of Kabul, a diplomatic enclave where Taliban leaders and commanders reside.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/clash-in-afghan-capital-taliban-besieges-house-in-karta-e-sakhi-area-37484/

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Taliban Settles Multi-Million Dollar Unpaid Debt to Uzbekistan for Electricity

By Saqalain Eqbal

03 Aug 2022

The Energy Ministry of Uzbekistan announced on Monday that Afghanistan has paid off its debt to Uzbekistan for the supply of electricity for the year 2021.

Afghanistan has fully paid for the supply of energy in 2021 and is now making payments for the supply of electricity in 2022, according to the Uzbek Energy Ministry.

The actual figure of the outstanding debt was not disclosed by the Energy Ministry. The Taliban government, however, stated in May that it owed Uzbekistan and Tajikistan $100 million for energy, $70 million to Uzbekistan precisely.

It had been unable to pay due to difficulties in moving funds through the international banking system caused by the country’s sanctioned Taliban.

“The calculations were made based on the demand of Afghanistan for electricity in January-June. To date, 770.2 million kWh have been delivered,” the ministry’s statement stated.

While the government of the Taliban has been able to settle its debts with the Uzbek government for electricity, Tajikistan on the other hand says Afghanistan stands a considerable debt.

According to Mohammad Omar Asuzada, the head of Tajikistan’s national power company, Barqi Tojik, Afghanistan’s Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) owes Tajikistan $28 million for electricity.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-settles-multi-million-dollar-unpaid-debt-to-uzbekistan-for-electricity-47383/

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Pakistan

 

Valmikis converge on Lahore temple ‘after 20 years’

Sheharyar Rizwan

August 4, 2022

LAHORE: The recently re-acquired historic Valmiki temple in the Neela Gumbad area here was formally inaugurated on Wednesday at an event organised under the auspices of the Pakistan Hindu Mandir Management Committee (PHMMC) and the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB).

The event was attended by over 100 Valmiki Hindus from across the country, as well as various Sikh, Christian and Muslim leaders. The Hindu participants held apuja, distributed langar among the participants and presented specialsaropay (a scarf presented in Sikhism to felicitate and honour someone) and gifts to the guests.

The temple is said to be around 1,200 years old and possessed by a converted Hindu family that, claiming to be the property owner, filed a case in the civil court in 2010-2011. In the first week of July, the court admitted the ETPB was the sole owner of the property after which the board retrieved its possession.

The PHMMC members surveyed the renovation and construction work and appreciated the ETPB’s efforts for the purpose, said Mr Amir Hashmi, the ETPB spokesman.

Additional Secretary (Shrines) Rana Shahid was the chief guest at the event, which was also attended by ETPB Deputy Secretary Faraz Abbas and other officials as well as PHMMC President Krishan Sharma, General Secretary Diwan Chand Chawla and committee member Amarnath Randhawa and others from across the country. Christian community leader Jacqueline Tressler and Minhajul Quran’s Sohail Rana were also present on the occasion.

Earlier, a meeting of the temple management committee was held under the chairmanship of ETPB Chairman Habibur Rehman Gilani at the board’s office, where all the members through a unanimous resolution lauded the ETPB chairman and the shrines administration, courts and judges for retrieving possession of the historic Valmiki temple and initiating renovation and other administrative measures. They said they had got the opportunity to come here and pray after 20 years.

Mr Gilani assured the committee members of protecting Hindu temples and taking appropriate measures for the welfare of the Hindu community. In light of the directions of the federal government, the ETPB is making utmost efforts to protect, rehabilitate and renovate religious sites of Hindus and Sikhs.

Talking to Dawn, PHMMC President Sharma said it was a goodwill gesture and also a step towards mainstreaming the community and should be applauded. “As a Pakistani Hindu, two things that Hindus and the insulated community fear here: freedom of faith or belief regarding which there were questions socially, politically, administratively, and secondly social protection. In India mosques are getting deserted, people are being harassed, whether they are Dalits or Hindus. While in a country created in the name of Islam, temples are reopening every other day.”

The Valmiki sect of Hindus are a poor segment of society who have no say or access, Mr Sharma explained, adding they had regained access to this temple now. “The role of Valmikis is very significant in Hindu mythology; had they not written the Ramayan, no one would know Ram. Earlier, this temple was not being used for worshipping, those possessing it didn’t allow anyone to enter. But now, every Hindu can come in and pray,” he added.

Source: Dawn 

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1703136/valmikis-converge-on-lahore-temple-after-20-years

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Peace talk between Pak tribal council leaders and TTP reaches deadlock: Report

01.08.22

The talks between Pakistan's tribal council leaders and the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) being held in Afghanistan have reached a deadlock, further complicating Pakistan's government's efforts to end nearly two decades of militancy in the restive border region.

The latest impasse comes after the militant group refused to back down from its demand for the reversal of the merger of erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the Express Tribune newspaper reported on Monday.

The outfit has also refused to lay down the arms in case a peace deal materialises, the report said.

The 12-member delegation, which is led by Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, special assistant to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, reached Kabul on Saturday for the second round of negotiations with the TTP leadership.

The visit comes a day after the return of the delegation of Pakistani clerics, headed by Mufti Taqi Usmani, who visited Afghanistan from July 25 to 29.

The first meeting was very brief in which the two sides introduced themselves and then concluded soon after Mufti Usmani offered prayers for the success of the peace process.

Mullah Hasan and interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani organised the second meeting in which the two sides openly discussed issues pertaining to the peace process. Now tribal elders are in Afghanistan to hold the second round of talks.

"There is a deadlock. And the prospects of a peace deal are not bright, a source connected to the peace efforts was quoted as saying by the paper.

The second round of talks comes as the Pakistan government and the TTP last month agreed to extend a ceasefire indefinitely while continuing negotiations to find an end to the nearly two decades of militancy.

The purpose of the delegation's visit was to use the goodwill of these religious clerics to persuade the TTP to withdraw their demands.

Pakistan began talks with the TTP in October last year at the request of the Afghan Taliban to seek a political solution to this festering issue.

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.

The group, which is believed to be close to al-Qaeda, 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: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/peace-talk-between-pakistan-tribal-council-leaders-and-tehreek-e-taliban-pakistan-reaches-deadlock-report/cid/1877699

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PTI files reference with Supreme Judicial Council, seeks removal of CEC

Nasir Iqbal

August 4, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A day after the announcement of the verdict by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the prohibited funding case, the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf moved a reference before the Supreme Judicial Council against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on Wednesday.

Moved through Babar Awan, the reference pleaded with the SJC to order removal of the CEC on account of the “commission of continuous and deliberate misconduct”.

The reference alleged that on July 29, a delegation of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) met the CEC and four other members of the ECP in his office to “pressure” him into announcing the verdict in the prohibited funding case.

It was a consequence of that meeting that the Election Commission decided to deliver the verdict on Aug 2.

Imran reaffirms party decision to hold protest outside ECP offices today

Thus the CEC allegedly violated his oath, the reference argued.

The reference contended that the ECP decision was illegal, unlawful and coram non judice. The PTI will challenge the order in court, it added.

The reference further argued the CEC had violated the ECP’s code of conduct and failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations.

The code of conduct for judges of the superior judiciary applies to the chief election commissioner as well, the PTI said, adding that a high court judge never discusses pending cases with any person or institution.

“The CEC must be removed from one of the most respectable and sacred constitutional posts,” the reference said.

Joint hearing

Sikandar Sultan Raja, the CEC, had dismissed many PTI applications in the prohibited funding case, including a request to conduct a joint hearing in funding cases of PTI and other parties, the reference said.

The Islamabad High Court provided relief to PTI, asking the ECP to extend an equal treatment to all political parties and to hear their cases with due diligence and to concluded these within a reasonable time, the reference said.

Instead, the reference complained, the ECP announced a verdict in the PTI case only and kept the cases of other parties in abeyance. “This is absolute discrimination.”

It is a routine matter that judges of the Supreme Court meet members of the Pakistan Bar Council, the Supreme Court Bar Association and other lawyer forums, but it has been observed recently that the apex court refused to meet a delegation of the Supreme Court Bar Association during hearing of the suo motu petition under article 184(3) of the Constitution in the “Parvez Elahi versus Deputy Speaker, Punjab Assembly” case since it was one of the parties in the proceedings.

The same rule applied to the CEC, the reference said, but he not only met the PDM delegation but also admitted that a discussion did take place on the timing of the judgement in PTI prohibited funding case.

The reference recalled that the Lahore High Court had asked the Election Commission in 2018 to dispose of a funding case related to the Peoples Party within one month. But the ECP did not comply with the directive “only to benefit (PPP chief) Bilawal Bhutto in the run-up to the general election”, the PTI alleged.

“The discriminatory attitude of the respondent has been noticeable time and again since 125 members of the National Assembly resigned their seats on April 9, which was accepted by former deputy speaker (acting as Speaker) Qasim Suri.

“Their resignations were published in the gazette on April 13 and sent to the ECP, but they were not denotified, whereas the current National Assembly Speaker, by doing an illegal and unconstitutional act, accepted the resignation of 11 members out of 125 and sent the reference to the CEC. He took no time to denotify them,” the PTI said.

In the disqualification case of Mohammad Kashif Chaudhry, a PML-N member of the Punjab Assembly, the CEC delayed the process of his denotification, the PTI said. But when Faisal Niazi, a former member of the Punjab Assembly belonging to PML-N, resigned his seat to dissociate himself from his party, the CEC delayed the denotification process, the reference alleged.

Electronic voting machine

The CEC has been opposing the introduction of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) so that the PTI’s opponents “are able to use unfair means during elections”, the reference further alleged.

The PTI-led government in the centre was toppled through a “conspiracy initiated upon the cypher issued by Donald Lu, a US Deputy Undersecretary of State”, on March 8, the reference alleged.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said he would thank the coalition government if they included his name in the exit control list (ECL), adding he did not want to fly abroad as he didn’t own any flats there.

Khan, in an interview with a private news channel, said PTI will approach the Supreme Judicial Commission against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.

Source: Dawn 

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1703179/pti-files-reference-with-supreme-judicial-council-seeks-removal-of-cec

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ANP protests Imran’s ‘indecent’ remarks against Pakhtuns

August 4, 2022

PESHAWAR: Awami National Party leaders and workers on Wednesday demonstrated against PTI chairman Imran Khan for allegedly using indecent remarks against Pakhtuns.

ANP spokesperson MPA Samar Haroon Bilour, former MPA Yasin Khalil, Sana Gulzar Advocate, Sher Rehman, trade leader Mujabur Rehman and large number of workers gathered in front of the Peshawar Press Club to register their protest.

They said the verdict of the Election Commission of Pakistan in the foreign funding case against the PTI had proved that Imran Khan received prohibited funding from foreign nationals.

On the occasion, ANP leaders said Pakhtuns had respect for PTI and Imran Khan, but he totally disregarded their sympathies.

Source: Dawn 

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1703118/anp-protests-imrans-indecent-remarks-against-pakhtuns

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Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan will have 'serious implications' for regional peace: Pakistan

Aug 3, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Lending its support to its all-weather ally China, Pakistan on Wednesday said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan will have "serious implications" for regional peace and stability.

Pelosi landed in Taipei on Tuesday night disregarding China's stern warnings. She is the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. After Pelosi's arrival in Taiwan, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strong statement, saying that her visit is a "serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques".

China claims Taiwan as part of the mainland and vows to integrate what it calls the rebel province even by force.

The Foreign Office said Pakistan "is deeply concerned over the evolving situation in the Taiwan Strait, which has serious implications for regional peace and stability”.

Pakistan also reaffirmed its “strong commitment to the ‘One-China' Policy” and firmly supported China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The statement said the world is already reeling through a critical security situation due to the Ukraine conflict, with destabilising implications for international food and energy security. The world cannot afford another crisis that has negative consequences for global peace, security and economy.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/nancy-pelosis-visit-to-taiwan-will-have-serious-implications-for-regional-peace-pakistan/articleshow/93320189.cms

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Europe

 

British PM candidate Rishi Sunak pledges crackdown on Islamist extremism

August 3, 2022

British-Indian prime ministerial candidate Rishi Sunak on Wednesday pledged a crackdown on Islamist extremism, the UK’s most “significant terror threat”, with a widened government definition of extremism and strengthening existing terrorism legislation.

The 42-year-old former Chancellor, who is seen closing the gap with opponent Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in the race to 10 Downing Street, also vowed to weed out organisations that promote extremism in the UK and refocus the “failing” Prevent programme, a government tool intended to tackle Islamist extremism.

“There is no more important duty for a Prime Minister than keeping our country and our people safe,” said Sunak, on the campaign trail to win Conservative Party members’ votes.

“Whether redoubling our efforts to tackle Islamist extremism or rooting out those who are vocal in their hatred of our country, I will do whatever it takes to fulfil that duty. Britain is a beacon of freedom, tolerance and diversity. We must never let those who seek to undermine and destroy our way of life to succeed,” he said.

The Ready4Rishi campaign team released details of what has been dubbed as “ambitious plans” to tackle Islamist extremism and protect the UK from terrorism.

“Rishi will refocus the failing Prevent programme onto the UK’s most significant terror threat Islamist extremism and widen the government’s definition of extremism to encompass those who vilify our country,” the statement said.

“By far and away, the single largest terror threat to the UK’s national security is Islamist extremism, but the organisation tasked with preventing terrorism in the UK is failing on this front. Islamist extremists make up roughly 80 per cent of live counter-terrorism investigations and 68 per cent of all extremists in prison, but only 22 per cent of Prevent referrals and Channel cases," the statement noted.

"Rishi would reform the Prevent programme so that the profile of cases in the programme broadly reflects the terror threat posed to the UK.”

Sunak also plans to review how the Prevent programme can be linked more effectively with mental health services to improve Prevent’s ability to differentiate between those with mental health problems and those with extreme world views.

Extremism is defined in the 2011 Prevent strategy as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs", and "calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas”.

Sunak in his campaign pledge notes that extremists do not just want to attack our values, but our very existence.

Therefore, he intends to add "vilification of the United Kingdom" to the definition of extremism, making sure that those with an extreme hatred of the country that leads them to pose a risk to national security can be "identified and diverted away from a destructive path".

This expanded definition is intended to help guide the public sector in its work to keep the UK safe.

The UK-born Indian-origin candidate in the race to succeed outgoing Tory leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson also believes there have been too many examples of publicly funded charities and organisations accused of promoting extremist ideology in the UK.

“Rishi will conduct an audit of publicly funded third-party organisations starting with those linked to the government’s anti-radicalisation work to make sure no extremist organisation receives taxpayer money,” his campaign team said.

Additionally, Sunak's plan to amend the Terrorism Act is intended to make the support of a proscribed organisation and the encouragement of terrorism in a prison cell an offence, even if it involves only two prisoners.

If elected Prime Minister, he intends to pass a Bill of Rights to make it easier to separate terrorists from the general prison population, making sure they can no longer abuse our human rights framework to spread their "poisonous ideology".

Source: India Today

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

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/rishi-sunak-pledges-crackdown-on-islamist-extremism-1983314-2022-08-03

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Turkish coast guards save 194 irregular migrants pushed back by Greece

Zehra Nur Düz  

03.08.2022

Türkiye's coast guards saved the lives of 194 irregular migrants in the Aegean Sea who were illegally pushed to the Turkish side by Greek forces, the National Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

A Turkish navy drone recorded footage of Greek forces pushing a boat carrying the migrants to the coast of Cesme in Izmir province, the ministry said on Twitter. It added that the situation was immediately reported to the Turkish Coast Guard Command and the migrants were rescued.

Meanwhile, the coast guards saved the lives of 188 others off Urla and Cesme districts between Monday and Tuesday, the service said.

The migrants were moved to the provincial migration office.

Human rights groups and media outlets have frequently reported on illegal pushbacks and other human rights breaches by Greek authorities.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-coast-guards-save-194-irregular-migrants-pushed-back-by-greece/2652622

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UK leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak criticized over anti-terror propositions

Muhammad Mussa 

03.08.2022

LONDON

Rishi Sunak, one of the main contenders to become the British prime minister and the Conservative Party leader, has been criticized over his proposals to strengthen the government’s anti-terror strategy.

Sunak’s plans, which include expanding the definition of extremism and vilifying individuals who are critical of the UK foreign policy, has been described by a former senior police chief as damaging to the country’s national security as well as its democratic and liberal credentials.

“The widening of Prevent could damage its credibility and reputation. It makes it more about people’s thoughts and opinions. It is straying into thought crimes and political opinions,” Peter Fahy, Britain’s former police chief, said in a statement.

“Political opposition is not where police should be, it is those who pose a serious threat and risk of violence, not those opposed to political systems,” Fahy added.

During a Tuesday night hustings event, Sunak vowed to refocus Prevent, the government’s anti-terrorism strategy, to tackle radical Muslim extremism, describing the latter as the UK’s most significant terror threat.

The leadership hopeful also promised to broaden this definition to include the vilification of the UK, arguing that “those with an extreme hatred of our country that leads them to pose a risk to national security can be identified and diverted away from a destructive path.”

The government’s Prevent program is highly controversial and has come under repeated criticism by rights groups over suppression of free speech and thought, often imprisoning innocent people on false accusations of extremism.

It relies on information given to authorities by the public sector. Teachers, doctors and work place managers have a duty under the program to report any instances of radicalism to the authorities.

Fahy argued that the danger in this strategy as well as in the new proposals put forward by Sunak are the perceptions it creates of the public sector as a government tool to spy on the public and who would define extremism and vilification.

“The danger is the perception it creates that teachers and health workers are involved in state surveillance,” Fahy said.

“What does vilification mean? Vilification would have to be carefully defined,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/uk-leadership-hopeful-rishi-sunak-criticized-over-anti-terror-propositions/2652345

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Sydney realtor says deaths of Saudi sisters not random incident as crime scene apartment put back on market

August 04, 2022

CANBERRA, Australia: The Sydney apartment where the bodies of two Saudi sisters were found in June is back on the rental market with a real estate ad advising their deaths were “not a random crime and will not be a potential risk for the community.”

Asra Abdullah Alsehli, 24, and her 23-year-old sister Amaal Abdullah Alsehli, were found dead June 7 in separate bedrooms of the apartment in the southwest suburb of Canterbury.

Police believe they died in early May. The decomposed state of their remains complicated the task of determining the causes of death.

The first-floor Canterbury Road apartment was open for inspection on Monday with rent set at 520 Australian dollars ($362) a week. That is AU$40 ($28) more than the sisters were charged.

An online ad said the apartment had been designated a crime scene and the mysterious deaths remained under police investigation.

“According to the police, this is not a random crime and will not be a potential risk for the community,” the ad said.

But police would not confirm or deny the realtor’s advice.

“As the investigation is ongoing, police continue to appeal for information in relation to the deaths of the two women,” a police statement said. “No further information is available at this stage.”

Police released the sisters’ names and photographs last week in an appeal for more public information about how they died, but investigators have remained tight-lipped about many details, including how the sisters came to Australia as teenagers in 2017, their visa status and how they earned money.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the case said the sisters had been seeking asylum in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. They had worked for a time as traffic controllers, a common job for backpackers and new immigrants. They drove a luxury BMW 5 Series coupe, the newspaper reported.

Police Detective Inspector Claudia Allcroft said their family in Saudi Arabia was cooperating with police and there was “nothing to suggest” that they were suspects.

She described the decomposition of the bodies as “problematic.” Police last week had yet to see the results of toxicology tests.

There was no evidence of forced entry to the apartment, where the sisters kept to themselves, Allcroft said.

“The deaths are suspicious in nature as we don’t know the cause of death,” Allcroft said.

“The girls were 23 and 24 years old and they have died together in their home. We don’t know the cause of death, it’s unusual because of their age and the nature of the matter,” Allcroft added.

The sisters seemed fearful and suspicious that food delivered to their apartment had been tampered with, unidentified associates told Sydney media.

An unidentified senior police source told Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph: “It really does appear to be a tragic suicide.”

The sisters were able to show “significant savings” in a bank account when they applied to lease their apartment, property manager Jay Hu told the newspaper, but they had stopped paying rent early this year.

“They had always paid on time before then. ... They were good tenants,” Hu told the newspaper.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2135876/world

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia and Turkiye Finalising Discussions on Currency Swap Deal, Says Saifuddin

04 Aug 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: The central banks of both Malaysia and Turkiye are currently finalising talks on a potential currency swap, said Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

“On the currency swap, we are working to expedite the signing of the Malaysia-Turkiye Free Trade Agreement (MTFTA) and also for both central banks to expedite the conclusion of the discussion on the currency swap within the parameters of the financial sphere,” said Saifuddin.

A currency swap is an agreement whereby two countries agree to exchange a given amount of currency at an agreed upon interest rate and a common maturity date for the exchange.

Turkey has currency swap deals with China, Qatar and South Korea worth about US$23bil and Turkiye inked an almost US$5bil swap deal with the United Arab Emirates in January.

Saifuddin also said Malaysia and Turkiye had enjoyed positive economic growth since both countries signed the MTFTA in Aug 2015 and talks are being finalised to expand the free trade agreement.

“The expansion of the MTFTA will cover new areas such as investment, services and e-commerce,” said Saifuddin, who was speaking alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu during a press conference in Parliament on Thursday (Aug 4) afternoon.

Saifuddin also said both Malaysia and Turkiye has agreed that new potential ares of investments should be explored, particularly digital economy, as well as the military and defence industry.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said he and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob spoke about the Malaysian Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) further participation in the Istanbul International Airport, as well as food security, due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict

Saifuddin also said there is talk of more cooperation between Malaysian and Turkiye Muslim scholars, particularly those specialising in social sciences.

“We are really looking forward to working much closer, between the two of us foreign ministers and other ministers, so relations between the two brotherly countries can be enhanced in the coming years,” added Saifuddin.

Saifuddin’s counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu then added at the press conference that Malaysia is a key actor in the Asean region, saying that Turkiye was looking forward to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa’s official visit in mid-August.

He said Malaysia is Turkiye’s biggest trading partner in Asean and added said that the trade volume has grown by approximately 50% or US$2.42bil in the first half of this year.

Cavusoglu said there was a target of achieving a US$5bil growth between Malaysia and Turkiye by the end of the year.

“It appears that this target is achievable this year and obviously, we need to work for a more balanced trade and we will do our best,” said Cavusoglu

“We hope to expand and deepen our cooperation in the coming period based on the comprehensive strategic partnership (CSP),” he added.

Source: The Star

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

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2022/08/04/msia-and-turkiye-finalising-discussions-on-currency-swap-deal-says-saifuddin

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Dr Mahathir: New concept on Malay and Islamic agenda to be initiated

03 Aug 202

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 3 — A new concept based on the Malay and Islamic agenda led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be established.

At a “solat hajat and doa selamat” prayer ceremony here tonight, Dr Mahathir who is also Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) chairman hinted at the establishment of the idea in an effort to reunite the Malays in the struggle to defend Malaysia.

“This is a Muslim Malay group. The move is necessary if we want to save our country, our nation, our religion,” he said.

The prayer ceremony was attended by leaders and members of the National Indian Muslim Alliance Party (IMAN), Pejuang, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) and Parti Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se Malaysia (Berjasa).

Meanwhile, Putra president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said Dr Mahathir is expected to announce the establishment of the idea at Yayasan Al-Bukhary, Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/08/03/dr-mahathir-new-concept-on-malay-and-islamic-agenda-to-be-initiated/20910

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Japan welcomes the extension of Yemen truce, hails Saudi role

August 03, 2022

TOKYO: The Government of Japan welcomed the extension of the truce in the republic of Yemen announced by the United Nations on August 2, 2022 (local time) and hailed Saudi Arabia’s role in achieving it.

The foreign ministry in Tokyo said in a statement that Japan highly appreciates the efforts made by all parties in Yemen and the important roles that regional countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman, have been playing in realizing the extension of the truce.

Japan reiterates its support for the efforts of Mr. Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen, to realize peace and stability in Yemen, it said.

The statement emphasized there is no military solution to the Yemeni conflict but a political solution through dialogue among the Yemeni people.

“From this perspective, the Government of Japan strongly hopes that this truce agreement will continue to be observed by all parties, roads in Taiz and other governorates will be opened, and the parties will progress in the dialogue toward realizing a permanent peace in Yemen, according to the statement.

Japan has been actively providing humanitarian assistance for Yemen, including the emergency food assistance announced on May 10, 2022, to support the truce.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2135496/world
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Arab World

 

UAE, Egypt discuss cooperation on money laundering and terrorist financing

August 04, 2022

DUBAI: Officials from the UAE and Egypt have met to discuss the two countries’ efforts and coordination to counter money laundering and financing terrorism, the Emirates News Agency reported on Thursday.

Hamid Al-Zaabi, director-general of the executive office for anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing, met Ahmed Khalil, chairman of the board of trustees of the Egyptian money laundering and terrorist financing unit, and Judge Hatem Aly, regional representative of the UN office on drugs and crime for the Gulf region.

The meeting highlighted the key steps the UAE is taking to develop an effective system to combat financial crime and its partnership with the private sector.

The Egyptian unit also highlights ways to advance the national system and significant steps taken by Egypt.

“Continuous communication with our partners is one of the priorities of our national agenda in the executive office. International cooperation and knowledge exchange are at the core of the UAE’s efforts to fight financial crime,” Al-Zaabi said.

“We are also strong partners with Egypt on counter terrorism financing, and we value effective coordination with our partners there,” he said.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2135881/middle-east

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Bahraini regime tightens crackdown on Shias ahead of Ashura commemorations

03 August 2022

Bahraini forces have tightened their ruthless crackdown against Shia Muslims ahead of the occasion of Ashura, as the Al Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy-handed measures against members of the majority religious community.

Social media activists have posted videos and pictures of Bahraini regime forces roaming through the streets of the northern town of A'ali to pull down any banner or flag related to Ashura commemorations, which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam.

Bahrain’s Shia community has long complained about discrimination and marginalization at the hands of the West-backed regime.

According to human rights organizations, Bahraini authorities have imposed heavy curbs on the religious freedom of the majority community since the outbreak of the popular uprising and nationwide protests in 2011.

Bahraini prison officials prevent inmates from taking part in Shia mourning rituals

Officials at Bahrain's notorious Jau prison have prevented inmates from commemorating the rituals of Muharram under the pretext of potential irregularities.

Imprisoned political dissident Hussein Hilal Ahmed said prison guards have informed detainees at Building 7 of the detention facility about the restrictive measures, and stated that they do not allow the inmates to hold mourning rituals during the lunar calendar month of Muharram.

He said the ban was introduced "after a number of officers reported what seemed to be violations and compliance breaches.”

The detainee further noted that officials at Jau Prison, which is the Arab country's main detention facility, have enforced restrictions against inmates at Building 7 over the past several months.

The prisoners, in protest, organized a peaceful sit-in inside the prison and refused to go back to their rooms. Prison guards threatened to use brutal force if the sit-in was not suspended.

Another detainee, Osama al-Saghir, also complained about the ban on religious rites, stressing that “political prisoners are targeted systematically, and that official media outlets are complicit in their persecution. The outlets impose a news blackout on the violations being committed against them.”

Top Bahraini Shia cleric blasts ban on Ashura mourning rituals

Sheikh Hussain al-Daihi, the deputy secretary general of Bahrain's dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, also condemned Bahraini authorities' stringent restrictions on Shia citizens and prevented them from taking part in Ashura mourning rituals.

He said the practice falls within the framework of a “racist policy that has been nurtured in recent years.”

Sheikh Daihi pointed to the “deep rift between the Bahraini nation and the Manama regime,” arguing that Bahraini authorities are misappropriating state institutions in order to target Shias, their religious halls and preachers, and whoever disobeys the orders will be punished harshly.

“Shias in Bahrain do not seek to overthrow the ruling regime and establish their own rule. At the same time, they do not accept the ongoing imposition of tailored principles and certain religious orientations on them. Educational curricula, media reports as well as judiciary and security bodies are all being misused for the sake of suppressing Shias. This is the most contemptible level of tyranny,” he pointed out.

Demonstrations have been held in Bahrain on a regular basis ever since the popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/03/686734/Bahraini-regime-steps-up-clampdown-on-Shia-mourners-ahead-of-Ashura

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Iraq's Sadr says parliament sit-in will continue until demands met

03 August, 2022

raqi populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Wednesday told his supporters to continue their sit-in occupation of the Baghdad parliament until his demands, which include early elections and unspecified constitutional changes, are met.

The remarks, delivered by the Shia Muslim leader in a televised address, are likely to prolong a political deadlock that has kept Iraq without an elected government for nearly 10 months.

Thousands of Sadr's followers stormed Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign missions, last weekend and took over the empty parliament building staging a sit-in that is ongoing.

The moves were a response to attempts by his Shia Muslim rivals, many of whom are close to Iran, to form a government with prime ministerial candidates that Sadr disapproves of.

Sadr won the largest number of seats in parliament in an October election but failed to form a government that would exclude his Iran-backed rivals.

He withdrew his lawmakers from parliament and has instead applied pressure through protests and the parliament sit-in, drawing on his popular base of millions of working-class Shias.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/03/Iraq-s-Sadr-says-parliament-sit-in-will-continue-until-demands-met

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Iraq’s Sadr calls for dissolving Parliament, holding early elections

Haydar Karaalp 

03.08.2022

BAGHDAD

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called Wednesday for dissolving Iraq’s Parliament and holding early elections.

“There will be no place for old faces anymore through a peaceful, revolutionary and democratic process and [holding] early democratic polls after dissolving the current Parliament,” al-Sadr said in a televised speech.

The influential leader ruled out dialogue with the Coordination Framework, a coalition of groups close to Iran.

“There is no use in holding dialogue with them,” he said.

The Shia cleric called on his supporters to continue their sit-in in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone, which houses government offices and a number of foreign embassies, until their demands are met.

Tension escalated across Iraq since last week following the nomination of Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as a new prime minister by the Coordination Framework, a move that triggered protests from al-Sadr’s supporters.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iraq-s-sadr-calls-for-dissolving-parliament-holding-early-elections/2652835

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Kuwait, Oman, and UAE welcome truce extension agreement in Yemen

04 August, 2022

Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates have welcomed the United Nations announcement of a truce extension in Yemen for another two months.

The UN special envoy for Yemen announced another extension of the fragile ceasefire between warring parties on Tuesday, pledging to ramp up talks for an expanded truce agreement.

“I am pleased to announce that the parties have agreed to extend the truce, under the same terms, for an additional two months, from 2 August 2022 until 2 October 2022,” Hans Grundberg said in a statement.

“This truce extension includes a commitment from the parties to intensify negotiations to reach an expanded truce agreement as soon as possible.”

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday that the three GCC countries had welcomed the truce extension agreement.

It said that the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the State of Kuwait's hope that the truce extension would pave the way for an expanded truce agreement and the resumption of the political process, in order to reach a just and sustainable peace in Yemen.

In Muscat, the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the hope that this agreement would establish expanded discussions under the auspices of the United Nations to ensure a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, and to address humanitarian, economic and political issues, leading to a sustainable peace in Yemen.

The Sultanate of Oman also commended the existing cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the international community in efforts to resolve the Yemeni crisis.

In Abu Dhabi, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation stated that the UAE praises the efforts being made by the United Nations and the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Yemen, Hans Grundberg to reach a permanent ceasefire and then a political solution to the Yemeni crisis in a way that enhances peace and stability in Yemen and the region.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/08/04/Kuwait-Oman-and-UAE-welcome-truce-extension-agreement-in-Yemen

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Northern Iraq's Ezidis say PKK terrorists, international neglect keeps them stranded in camps

03.08.2022

DUHOK, Iraq (AA) – The Ezidi community, living in harsh conditions in camps for eight years and unable to return to their homes due to PKK terrorists in northern Iraq's Sinjar region, say the international community has abandoned them.

"We can’t go back to our homes due to some forces (PKK) in Sinjar and the problems people are experiencing there," Saud Seydo, a resident of the Sharya Refugee Camp, told Anadolu Agency.

"International organizations give us no help going back to our homes," he added.

Seydo, another camp resident, said: "We have no income, our financial situation is not good, and we cannot return to Sinjar."

The Ezidis, are unable to return to their homes because of the terrorist group PKK, according to Suleyman Hidir, another refugee from the camp, who said that everyone wants to live in their homes if they are safe, but they cannot in the current situation.

They are afraid of returning to their houses, refugee Ali Hudada said, adding that if the Iraqi government officially declares Sinjar safe, then they can return.

In an Aug. 3, 2014 attack on the Sinjar district, where Ezidis live, Daesh/ISIS kidnapped and killed thousands of people, including women and children, or detained them in areas they hold.

Some 300,000 people lived in Sinjar before the attacks, two-thirds of them Ezidi and the rest Sunni Kurds and Arabs.

Daesh/ISIS has been active in the Iraqi provinces of Salahuddin, Anbar, Kirkuk, and Diyala, at a time when the federal government is struggling to contain attacks by the terrorist group by launching security and military operations in the country’s northern, western, and eastern regions.

In 2017, Iraq declared victory over Daesh/ISIS by reclaiming all territories the terrorist group controlled since the summer of 2014, estimated to be about one-third of the country’s territory. But the PKK terror group remains active in the region.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/northern-iraqs-ezidis-say-pkk-terrorists-international-neglect-keeps-them-stranded-in-camps/2652725

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Daesh/ISIS terrorists kill 5 soldiers in eastern Iraq

Mahmoud Mohamed Barakat 

03.08.2022

DIYALA, Iraq

Five soldiers were killed and three others injured when Daesh/ISIS terrorists attacked a military checkpoint in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, the Iraqi government said on Wednesday. 

The attack took place in the town of Qara Tapa, the government’s Security Media Network in a statement. 

Iraqi soldiers at the checkpoint engaged in clashes with the attackers for about half an hour, the statement said. 

No injuries were reported among the Daesh/ISIS terrorists. 

The Iraqi military launched a manhunt for the attackers. 

Daesh/ISIS overran Iraq's Mosul, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces in 2014, as well as parts of Diyala and Kirkuk provinces, before these regions were gradually freed from the terror group. 

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/daesh-isis-terrorists-kill-5-soldiers-in-eastern-iraq/2652547

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Saudi Arabia announces bid to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

04 August, 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Olympic committee has announced a bid to host the 2029 Asian Winter Games in the planned megacity of NEOM, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.

Officials are bidding for the games to be held at the TROJENA project in NEOM - an ambitious vision for a mountain resort in the northwest of the country.

More than 32 Asian countries are expected to attend the games, competing in events such as alpine skiing, ice hockey, biathlon, cross-country skiing, and figure skating.

The plans for TROJENA include an outdoor ski slope, created by blasting artificial snow at the mountains.

Saudi Arabia predicts a $798 million (three billion riyal) boost to the Saudi GDP by 2030 from the TROJENA project.

Around 7,000 people are expected to live permanently at TROJENA, and 700,000 tourists are predicted to visit each year once the project is completed, according to SPA.

The mountain resort is expected to form one part of the wider NEOM megacity – a $500 billion project currently under construction in a remote location on the Red Sea coast.

The mountainous Tabuk region, where Saudi Arabia is building NEOM, is one of the few areas in the country that sees some snowfall during the winter months.

Winter sports are not often associated with the desert kingdom, but Saudi Arabia did send its first winter Olympics team to the Beijing games in February.

Fayik Abdi competed in the men’s giant slalom, placing 44th.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/08/04/Saudi-Arabia-announces-bid-to-host-2029-Asian-Winter-Games

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Mideast

 

Iran: No Discrimination in Islamic Human Rights

2022-August-3

Amirabdollahian made the remarks on his Instagram page  following participation in the 7th Islamic Human Rights Awards in the capital Tehran.

This year’s awards were granted to the prominent theorist of Islamic human rights Ayatollah Javadi Amoli, Palestinian-American journalist who worked for Al Jazeera network Martyr Shireen Abu Akleh, Member of the National Assembly of South Africa Mandla Mandela, and Iranian commander who fought terrorism and was killed in a terrorist attack Hassan Sayyad Khodaei.

"The combination of those who were granted the Islamic human rights award has a glorious message that in terms of Islamic human rights, there is no discrimination in gender, religion, nationality, and race," he noted.

Also in a meeting with Nelson Mandela's grandson, the Iranian Foreign Minister hailed his efforts aimed at strengthening Iran-South Africa cooperation and his unlimited support for the oppressed Palestinian nation.

Mandla Mandela who is visiting Iran to receive here Islamic Human Rights Award in a ceremony met Amir Abdollahian on Tuesday evening.

The top Iranian diplomat welcomed the South African leader’s grandson and expressed delight over that personality’s visit to Tehran, which he said reminds Iranians of his dear grandfather.

Amir Abdollahian also appreciated Mandla Mandela for his efforts aimed at strengthening Iran-South Africa cooperation and his unlimited support for the oppressed Palestinian nation.

The top Iranian top diplomat said that for Iran, the late Nelson Mandela’s stands, and the South African Congress Party's approach to the Palestinians’ ideal are noteworthy.

He also said that the establishment of a parliamentary friendship group between the two countries’ parliaments is very important.

The grandson of the champion of the campaign against apartheid, Mandla Mandela, too, in the meeting appreciated the warm and intimate hospitality of the Iranian officials.

He said that the Islamic Revolution of Iran was quite inspiring for the South African nation, and filled the heart of the late Nelson Mandela who was at the time in jail of the South African apartheid regime of the time.

He said that at the 52nd General Assembly of the African National Congress (ANC) party, the representatives unanimously asked for lowering South Africa’s relations with Israel, and along with Algeria, and a number of other African countries, the ANC also opposed Israel’s membership in the African Union.

In a relevant development, Amir Abdollahian emphasized continuation of Iran’s support for the cause of liberation of Palestine in a meeting with the Islamic Jihad leader on Tuesday.

Amir Abdollahian also expressed hope that strengthening integration among Muslim countries would despair enemies’ hopes to undermine the cause of Palestine and Quds.

He noted that the Islamic Resistance in the region and Palestine would firmly defend the rights of the nations in the region and the rights of Palestine.

Leader of Palestine's Islamic Jihad Ziyad al-Nakhalah praised Iran’s strong, effective and constructive role in regional issues and described Tehran’s active diplomacy with different countries in the region and the Islamic world as an indicator of Iran’s power.

Al-Nakhalah highlighted the Zionist regime’s record of violating commitments and agreements regarding the peace process and said that the only option for the Palestinian nations to protect their rights and expel the occupiers was resistance.

He also underscored the necessity of unity among Palestinian groups and the role of Iran, Syria, and the Lebanese resistance in supporting the Islamic resistance front.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010512000344/Iran-N-Discriminain-in-Islamic-Hman-Righs

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Iran's Human Rights Chief Blasts EU's Inaction on Cruel US Sanctions

2022-August-3

Qaribabadi said that 25,000 Iranians had so far fallen victim to acts of terror, while the ‘most cruel sanctions’ had been placed on the nation by Washington.

"The role of Europe [in this situation] should not be ignored. The Europeans did not take even a single step toward a removal of the sanctions over the past years," he added.

Qaribabadi pointed to a report published in May by UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights Alena Douhan, following her visit to Iran.

In a relevant development in mid-May, Douhan said that the US sanctions and maximum pressure policy have left negative impacts on ordinary people in Iran and they should stop.

Addressing a press conference in Tehran, Douhan blasted Washington for its brutal sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic of Iran, saying that harsh economic sanctions have had a damaging impact on human rights in the country.

She noted that decades of sanctions have wholly affected Iranian people’s lives and have particularly hit the low-income section of the society.

While presenting her assessment of the unilateral coercive measures (UCM) against Iran, the UN official who works under a mandate from the UN Human Rights Council, called on Washington to abandon its hard-nosed policy of maximum pressure against Iran and other countries.

Douhan, who arrived in Tehran in May, said she had met with many civil society members, representatives of financial centers, diplomatic community during her visit.

The UN official said she will address her concerns about the legality of US sanctions in her final report, which will be released at a later date.

Douhan’s mission from May 7 to 18 is the first to Iran by a UN special rapporteur.

Before embarking on the trip, the UN official said she hoped to "gather first-hand information on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the full realization of all human rights" in Iran.

"My visit will aim at covering all walks of life and sectors affected by such measures," she noted, dismissing speculation in the Western media that she was heading to Iran with a specific agenda.

She told reporters on Wednesday that the US has since the 1970s imposed crippling economic and trade sanctions on Iran and significantly expanded them since the early 2000s.

“I call on the sanctioning states, particularly the US, to abandon the unilateral sanctions,” she stated.

Douhan also referred to stalled negotiations in Vienna to bring the US back to the JCPOA, urging the JCPOA signatories and the US to resume the negotiations.

Decrying the US decision to abandon the nuclear deal and continue with its sanctions regime, she said the deal was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Applying extraterritorial sanctions on Iranian companies or companies working with Iran … is illegal under international law,” she asserted.

Commenting on Iran's frozen assets abroad, the UN official said the assets estimated to be around $120 billion need to be unblocked.

“I urge the states that have frozen the assets of Iranian Central Bank to immediately unfreeze Iran’s funds based on international law.”

Douhan also welcomed Iran’s efforts to support Afghan refugees, displaced by the 20-year US war, despite reeling under sanctions.

In May 2018, the former US President Donald Trump, after unilaterally withdrawing his country from the 2015 nuclear deal, reinstated harsh economic sanctions on Iran and slapped new ones in an unprecedented move that was widely decried.

Under the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), international sanctions on the Islamic Republic were eased in exchange for Tehran putting limitations on certain aspects of its nuclear activities.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010512000728/Iran's-Hman-Righs-Chief-Blass-EU's-Inacin-n-Crel-US-Sancins

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Jenin fighters vow to 'scatter bodies of Israeli troops on mountains'

04 August 2022

The armed wing of the Islamic Jihad has threatened to scatter the bodies of Israeli troops on Jenin mountains in the occupied West Bank if Israel harms one of its most senior commanders arrested in a late Monday raid.

Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian teenager during the raid on the Jenin refugee camp where they also arrested Bassam al-Saadi. They also captured his son-in-law, Ashraf al-Jada, who was visiting al-Saadi’s home in the camp.

In a statement issued early Thursday, the Jenin branch of the al-Quds Brigades warned that Palestinian fighters will not sit idly by after the Israeli raid.

"We will not ignore this event. We consider the occupiers fully responsible for the life of Commander al-Saadi," it said. "We will scatter the bodies of the occupying soldiers over the mountains in Jenin" if any harm is done to al-Saadi.

On Monday night, the al-Quds Brigades announced “a state of alertness and readiness among its fighters and active combat units” which it said comes “in response to its duty towards the treacherous aggression that the great leader, the sheikh Bassam al-Saadi and his family were exposed to in Jenin”.

Videos and images shared on social media showed traces of blood on the floor of al-Saadi’s home following the arrest. His family and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said the Israeli troops had assaulted al-Saadi and his wife, Nawal, who was hospitalized due to the injuries she sustained during the raid.

The al-Quds Brigades branch in Jenin said it was awaiting order from the resistance movement's Secretary General in the besieged Gaza Strip, Ziad al-Nakhala, to respond to the raid.

"You hurt our Sheikh al-Saadi … it will not continue like this. We are waiting for the fighters of Gaza to tell us what to do.

"We are waiting for the order of our brother Ziyad Nakhala. When he starts a war, we will also enter it," the group added.

Islamic Jihad official Khader Adnan told Lebanon's Al Mayadeen television channel that harming al-Saadi would draw greater Palestinian reaction. 

A former prisoner, al-Saadi spent many years in and out of Israeli jails. He was last arrested in 2018 following a five-year hunt by the Israeli military and released in 2020. Two of his sons were killed during a large-scale Israeli invasion of the Jenin refugee camp in 2002. 

The Israeli raid on Jenin comes in the wake of months-long brutal campaign to quash rising resistance in the city’s refugee camp.

At least 60 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since the start of the year, about a third of them from Jenin.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/04/686749/Jenin-fighters-vow-to--scatter-bodies-of-Israeli-troops-on-mountains-

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Turkish warplanes continue to bombard northern Iraq despite global outcry

03 August 2022

Turkish warplanes again launched an aerial attack on an area in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, a fortnight after artillery bombardment against a tourist resort in the same district caused multiple casualties.

Kurdish-language media outlets reported that Turkish fighter jets targeted the Amadiya district in the northern Iraqi province of Dohuk on Wednesday.

There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused after the bombardment.

The aerial attack came a day after Shafaq News reported that Turkish jets had repeatedly struck the outskirts of Sekiri village in the Amadiya district.

On July 20, at least four missiles hit the resort area of Barakh in the Zakho district of the Kurdistan region, killing at least nine tourists and wounding more than 20, local officials and the Iraqi army said at the time. All the victims were Iraqi citizens.

The victims reportedly included Iraqi tourists who had come to the area to escape sweltering temperatures in southern parts of the country.

The aerial aggression sparked global outcry with many countries calling on Ankara to respect Iraq's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The members of the UN Security Council also condemned the attack in “strongest terms”, said the UN statement. 

“The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” the statement added.

Following the attack that sent shock waves across the region, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi dispatched the country’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and top security officials to the site, and ordered an investigation into the incident.

“Turkish forces have perpetrated once more a flagrant violation of Iraqi sovereignty,” Kadhimi wrote on his Twitter page, condemning the harm caused to “the life and security” of Iraqi citizens.

“Iraq reserves the right to retaliate against this aggression and take all necessary measures to protect our people,” he added.

Turkey launched a new cross-border incursion into Iraq, dubbed Operation Claw-Lock, in April.

The air-and-ground military attacks target suspected strongholds of the members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group in Zab, Basiyan, Avasheen, and Korajiwar districts in the Kurdistan region.

The Iraqi government summoned Turkish ambassador Ali Riza Guney shortly afterward and handed him a “strongly worded” protest note over the offensive, calling it a blatant violation of the Arab country’s sovereignty.

For its part, Ankara also summoned the Iraqi charge d'affaires and warned him that the military operations will continue if Baghdad doesn’t take action against PKK members.

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have surged ever since.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/03/686725/Turkish-warplanes-once-again-bombard-northern-Iraq-after-strike-kills-9-civilians

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Turkey says Greek move against Muslims' local leaders 'unacceptable'

AUG 04, 2022

Ankara slammed Greece's latest move denying recognition to the Turkish minority’s elected Muslim clerics (muftis).

In a statement on Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry termed the move as "unacceptable" and urged Greece to respect international law and fulfill its obligations under the longstanding Treaty of Lausanne Peace and other relevant agreements on the Turkish minority in the Western Thrace region.

The statement came in response to new legislation allowing the appointment of muftis by Greek authorities, a system the Turkish minority in Western Thrace rejects, as it ignores the Turkish minority’s right under treaty to elect their own muftis.

Greece's Western Thrace region - in the country’s northeast, near the Turkish border - is home to a substantial, long-established Muslim Turkish minority numbering around 150,000, or around a third of the population. The rights of the Turks of Western Thrace were guaranteed under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, but since then the situation has steadily deteriorated. After a Greek junta came to power in 1967, the Turks of Western Thrace started to face harsher persecution and rights abuses by the Greek state, often in blatant violation of European court rulings.

Source: Daily Sabah

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https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/turkey-says-greek-move-against-muslims-local-leaders-unacceptable/news

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Iran Preparing Three Remote-Sensing Satellites for Launch into Orbit

2022-August-3

Salarieh told IRIB that the Space Organization of Iran had been pursuing “very detailed and comprehensive plans, which have been constantly updated over the past years".

In the field of remote-sensing, communications and navigation satellites, “very precise and organized plans” have been drawn up, he added.

The remote-sensing applications of satellites include Earth observation, he explained, adding that this type of spacecraft can capture “highly up-to-date, accurate and real time images from the surface of the Earth".

“We have three remote-sensing satellites in line to be launched and hope that the launch will take place at the earliest,” he continued.

Generally, the official said, the space technology has various applications in different fields, including monitoring natural hazards, evaluating the lands under cultivation for agricultural purposes, keeping watch on borders, road traffic, seas and ports, and keeping water resources in check.

"Iran has been making efforts to develop its space industry on its own as it hardly gets to benefit from the relevant experiences of other countries due to the tough sanctions in place against the Islamic Republic," Salarieh noted.

In early June, the Iranian Space Agency announced that work has been underway to prepare seven more satellites for launch into the orbit.

In late June, Iran tested its domestically-developed hybrid-propellant satellite carrier rocket called Zuljanah for “predetermined research purposes” for the second time. The Iran’s Defense Ministry launched the Zuljanah satellite carrier into space for the first time in February 2021.

Last week, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh praised Iran's rapid advancement aerospace industries, and said the country has made great achievements in the field.

The aerospace commander added that "the space sector is extremely significant and a key ground for progress in other fields", stressing that "Iran is now advancing speedly in the field of aerospace industries".

Recently, head of Iran’s Space Organization Hassan Salarieh said that Tehran has plans for developing telecommunication satellites, adding that one of the spacecrafts under construction will be placed in high-altitude orbits in coming months.

It is the third military satellite Iran will put into orbit. The country launched its second satellite, dubbed Nour (Light)-2, into orbit in March 2022 and the first one in April 2020.

Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi has also stressed continued efforts to further advance space technology.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010512000306/Iran-Preparing-Three-Reme-Sensing-Saellies-fr-Lanch-in-Orbi

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Iran Calls on IAEA Chief to Stop Politicized Approach

2022-August-3

In response to the IAEA Director-General who has recently claimed that the Iran's nuclear program is progressing very, very rapidly, Eslami noted, "We expect Mr. Grossi to talk according to the rules of IAEA and to stop the political behavior that is affected by the Zionist pressures."

Commenting on the beyond-safeguards monitoring cameras installed by the United Nations nuclear agency at the country's nuclear sites, Eslami said, "The IAEA's cameras we collected were Beyond-Safeguards Cameras and were installed with Iran's agreement toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to measure the limits, capacity, and speed of Iran's nuclear activity."

"There is no reason for us to unilaterally act on a quasi-obsolete agreement when no parties are left in the JCPOA. No cameras will be installed if they do not drop the charges and return to their commitments," Eslami further explained.

The head of the AEOI added that gassing the centrifuges is within the framework of the parliament's strategic action law and is a response to the sanctions of the other side.

The official stressed that Iran has always emphasized that all its nuclear activities are in accordance with the standards of safeguards and NPT, and Tehran is committed to NPT and safeguards.

"Iran will not shy away from any action to safeguard its national rights against increasing pressures," the nuclear head stated after Tehran began to feed gas into cascades of new centrifuges as an immediate response to a fresh round of US sanctions.

On the fresh sanctions imposed by Washington against Tehran, Eslami said, "The Americans not only did not fulfill their obligations, but they are also committing new actions and repeating accusations against Iran."

"The United States has repeatedly admitted the failure of the policy of maximum pressure," he continued, adding, "However, we are witnessing the dual and multiple behaviors of the US and the false accusation that they attribute to the country for 20 years."

Eslami stressed that Iran has a strong will for lifting the anti-Tehran sanctions and does not hesitate to take any actions that are in the interests of the nation.

On Monday, US Treasury and State Department imposed sanctions on a total of six companies, four based in Hong Kong, one in Singapore, and one in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The US claimed the firms have helped Iran sell tens of millions of dollars in oil and petrochemical products to East Asian countries.

Later in the day, Iran announced it was beginning to feed gas into hundreds of advanced IR-1 and IR-6 machines.

Iran Blames US for Sanctions Addiction, Says No Difference Between Biden, Trumphttps://t.co/70LvcmFif5 pic.twitter.com/h0DJLXAEGx

— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) August 2, 2022

Iranian officials blast the US addiction to sanctions, and slammed President Joe Biden for continuing his predecessor Donald Trump's policy on Tehran. They say Iran will not give in to the US pressures in the nuclear talks.

Iranian officials say the ball is in the US' court, and the Biden administration should assure Tehran that it will not repeat Trump's past mistakes.

Iran and the five remaining parties to the nuclear deal have held several rounds of negotiations since April last year to restore the agreement, which was unilaterally abandoned by Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a mistake and a failure.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010512000566/Iran-Calls-n-IAEA-Chief-Sp-Pliicized-Apprach

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Spokesman: Iran's Support for 'One China' Policy Indubitable

2022-August-3

Kan’ani said on Tuesday that the recent “tension-creating behavior” of the US officials in interfering in China’s domestic affairs and violating its territorial integrity was an example of Washington's interventionist policies in different parts of the world.

"This behavior will have no outcome except the increasing of instability and the stirring of hostilities, and it is therefore condemned," he noted.

“Respect for the national sovereignty of countries is one of the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter,” the official continued, adding, “Article 2 of the Charter prevents members from any behavior that harms the territorial integrity and political independence of other states.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers respect for the territorial integrity of countries to be among the principles of its foreign policy, and support for the One-China policy is unquestionable in line with this tenet,” the spokesman stated.

The Iranian diplomat stressed that unilateralism and violations of international regulations and commitments had become an integral part of the US foreign policy.

Another Iranian diplomat also stated Pelosi’s incendiary visit to Taiwan is a “turning point” in the already tense ties between China and the United States and will have reverberations across the world.

In a tweet on Tuesday night, Reza Zabib, the Director general of the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Asia and Oceania Department, described the heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing as “Cold War II", which he said will bring about “major shocks” to international relations.

“Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a turning point in relations between China and America and it will affect international relations with the reverberations it creates,” Zabib added.

“Until Cold War II is consolidated, international relations will experience major shocks,” he warned.

Pelosi, the third most senior official in the US government, touched down in Taipei late on Tuesday despite repeated warnings from Beijing against attempting to visit territory that it regards as an integral part of China.

In response, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng has urgently summoned the US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on Tuesday night, to lodge “stern representations” over the House Speaker’s visit to Taiwan and warn Washington against going further down the “dangerous path” of antagonizing Beijing.

Beijing has also begun conducting military drills off Taiwan after promising to launch a series of “targeted military operations” in response to Pelosi’s visit to the island.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010512000151/Spkesman-Iran's-Sppr-fr-'One-China'-Plicy-Indbiable

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Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator to travel to Vienna to resume 2015 nuclear deal talks

03 August, 2022

Iran said its chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri-Kani will head to Vienna on Wednesday to resume talks with world powers aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

“Iran’s negotiating team, headed by Ali Bagheri-Kani, our country’s chief negotiator, will leave for Vienna in a few hours,” state media quoted Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Naser Kanani as saying on Wednesday.

“In this round of talks, there will be a discussion and exchange of views regarding the ideas presented by the different parties, including the ideas presented by Iran,” Kanani said.

Earlier on Wednesday, European Union envoy Enrique Mora, who’s in charge of coordinating the talks, said he was heading to Vienna for discussions related to the nuclear deal.

“On my way to Vienna to discuss #JCPOA back to full implementation on the basis of the coordinator’s text tabled on 20 July. #ViennaTalks. Extremely grateful to Austrian authorities,” Mora tweeted, using the acronym for the formal name of the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The latest round of indirect talks between the US and Iran took place in Doha last month, with the two sides negotiating indirectly through Mora as Tehran refuses to negotiate directly with Washington.

Prior to the talks in Doha, which lasted two days and ended without any progress, the US and Iran had engaged for over a year in indirect talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 deal.

Negotiations stalled in March, reportedly over an Iranian demand to have the IRGC removed from the US FTO list. The US had designated the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization under former President Donald Trump in 2019.

The 2015 deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Trump withdrew Washington from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, saying the deal failed to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional activities and did not block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/03/Iran-s-top-nuclear-negotiator-heads-to-Vienna-for-talks-to-save-2015-nuclear-deal-

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Israel’s road closures along border with Gaza Strip amount to ‘crime against humanity’: Hamas

04 August 2022

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced the latest Israeli decision to enforce road closures along the border with the Gaza Strip, stating that the regime’s ongoing measures against people living in the impoverished coastal sliver amount to “crimes against humanity.”

“These measures have made more than two million Palestinians hostage to the occupying regime [of Israel], especially women and children with medical conditions and cancer patients who need treatment in hospitals in the West Bank and al-Quds,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.

Barhoum also lambasted the international community’s failure to take an action aimed at ending Israeli violations against the besieged territory, emphasizing that “Gazans’ silence will not last forever.”

“It is no longer acceptable to allow such a dangerous situation to continue,” the Hamas spokesman argued

He then called for an urgent and effective Arab and Islamic action to lift the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, and demanded solid support for the Palestinian nation’s steadfastness in the face of “the Israeli war machine.”

Israeli authorities said on Wednesday night that road closures along the border with the Gaza Strip will remain in place on Thursday, for the third day in a row.

The closures came amid fears of an imminent attack by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement, after Israeli forces arrested its West Bank leader Bassem Saadi on Monday night.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli military said it was deploying 100 reservist troops and three conscript companies to assist in keeping settlers out of restricted areas under imminent threat of anti-tank guided missile fire or sniper attacks by Islamic Jihad.

Saadi was arrested in the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin along with his son-in-law and aide, Ashraf al-Jada. Another member of the Palestinian resistance movement was killed in a gun battle with Israeli troops.

In response to Saadi’s arrest, the Gaza-based group announced in a statement that it was declaring a state of “alertness” and raising its fighters’ “readiness.”

Over concern that Islamic Jihad might retaliate, the Israeli army closed off roads along the Gaza Strip shortly after Saadi’s arrest.

Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid held a situation assessment session on Tuesday morning with alternate prime minister Naftali Bennett and senior military officials.

Saadi, 62, was previously detained seven times by Israel for his role as the Islamic Jihad’s top leader in the West Bank. He has served 15 years in Israeli prisons.

Two of his sons were killed by the Israeli military during the Second Intifada.

The Israeli regime’s crippling siege of the Gaza Strip for electing the popular resistance movement Hamas has turned the enclave into an open-air prison. 

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

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/04/686760/Israel%E2%80%99s-road-closures-along-border-with-Gaza-Strip-amount-to-%E2%80%98crime-against-humanity%E2%80%99--Hamas

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Iran supports ceasefire renewal, lasting peace in Yemen: Envoy

04 August 2022

The Iranian foreign minister’s senior aide for special political affairs says the country supports the extension of a UN-brokered ceasefire as well as effective efforts aimed at establishing sustainable peace in war-torn Yemen.

Ali Asghar Khaji made the remarks in a meeting with Hans Grundberg, the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy for Yemen, in Tehran on Wednesday.

He expressed hope that during the renewed two-month ceasefire, efforts would continue toward achieving a comprehensive agreement on a lasting truce, complete lifting of the blockade and economic embargo imposed on Yemen, the payment of salaries in the country and freedom of transit in all routes.

The Iranian diplomat also hoped that military, economic and political committees would start their activities and all the necessary mechanisms for supervising commitment to the ceasefire would be fully implemented.

The UN special envoy, for his part, outlined the latest proposals presented to the Yemeni parties to solve the crisis in the country.

Grundberg said the two-month renewal of the ceasefire in the war-ravaged country would be an opportunity to achieve a regular mechanism for paying the salaries of the employees, opening routes among provinces, adding flight destinations at the Sana’a airport and guaranteeing fuel shipment to the port city of al-Hudaydah.

He added that the truce would prepare the ground for setting up military, economic and political committees with the aim of monitoring the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.

Grundberg said on Tuesday that a direly-needed truce between Yemen’s aggressors and the impoverished country’s popular resistance Houthi Ansarullah movement had been renewed for another two-month-long period.

The extension, running from August 2 to October 2, “includes a commitment from the parties to intensify negotiations to reach an expanded truce agreement as soon as possible,” the UN diplomat added.

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms, logistical, and political support from the United States and other Western states. Simultaneously with the invasion, the aggressors and their supporters also put the entire impoverished country under an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and crush Ansarullah, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to achieve any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations brokered the truce between the coalition and Ansarullah, which came into effect in April, and was extended for another two months on June 2.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/08/04/686755/Iran-Yemen-UN-Khaji-Hans-Grundberg-ceasefire-

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Africa

 

Ennahda party says leader faces politically motivated police investigation

03 August, 2022

Tunisia’s Islamist opposition party Ennahda on Wednesday accused the authorities of attempting to intimidate opponents, saying police had opened a new investigation into its leader Rached Ghannouchi.

The party said Ghannouchi was being investigated on suspicion of describing the security forces as tyrannical, and it denied that he had said this.

Tunisian politics has grown more acrimonious over the past year since President Kais Saied dismissed parliament and seized most powers last year, enshrining them in a new constitution that was passed in a referendum last week.

He said his moves were necessary to save Tunisia from years of political failure. Ennahda and other parties describe them as a coup and say Saied’s new constitution and the referendum, in which official figures say 30 percent of Tunisians voted, are illegal.

Last month, Ghannouchi was put before a judge to answer questions in a separate investigation into money laundering, which he and Ennahda also deny, calling the accusations bogus political targeting.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2022/08/03/Ennahda-party-says-leader-faces-politcally-motivated-police-investigation

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Somalia should shape Horn of Africa’s geopolitics

04.08.2022

By Anwar Abdifatah Bashir

The writer is a senior lecturer at Somali National University and a Horn of Africa affairs analyst

MOGADISHU, Somalia

The Horn of Africa region is full of untapped natural resources, including gas, oil, and minerals. But, regrettably, the region is also familiar with destitution, frequent droughts, famines, internecine communal violence, and political instability and insecurity. In addition, Horn of Africa countries are victims of Western economic hitmen and will be forever obligated to the endless Western debt.

The tottering political transitions in Sudan and Ethiopia contribute to the instability in the region. Both countries are facing intractable transitions. Ethiopia’s former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned in 2018 because of protracted civil unrest and demonstrations, mainly in the Oromo region, which later spread to the Amhara region. Sudan has more or less confronted its unstable transition after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military in 2019.  

Kenya and Somalia’s intermittent diplomatic clashes

The neighboring countries of Kenya and Somalia have a deep-rooted relationship. Somalis are among the most influential communities in Kenya. They have colossal businesses in the country. They have prominent politicians in Kenya’s North Eastern Province, formerly known as the Northern Frontier District (NFD). Kenya hosted the largest number of Somali refugees after the civil war erupted in Somalia in 1991. Kenya also exports khat, a mildly narcotic native shrub, to Somalia and receives a colossal amount of money from Somalia. When Somalia filed a maritime boundary case against Kenya with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2014, ties between the two nations deteriorated dramatically. In February 2017, when the former government of Somalia led by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, came to power and stopped importing khat from Kenya and opted to import it instead from Ethiopia, relations became strained.

As a result, the two countries summoned their ambassadors and finally cut ties.

On Oct. 12, 2021, the ICJ issued a long-awaited judgment demarcating the two countries' maritime boundary, ruling mostly in Somalia's favor.

Since then, the two countries' diplomatic relations have become inflamed. The Somali government has rebuked Kenya for meddling in its internal affairs by supporting the current leadership of Somalia’s Jubaland State to eviscerate the federal government.

On May 15, President Farmajo lost his re-election bid and was succeeded by Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president. Mohamud started mending fences with the neighboring countries under his slogan “Somalia at peace with itself and the world.” As part of this fetching mantra, the president has expedited his efforts to repair the lost diplomatic ties with the neighboring countries. Within his first two months in office, Mohamud visited the United Arab Emirates, Türkiye, Eritrea, and Kenya, where he reached agreements with his counterparts.

On July 15, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Mohamud signed an agreement for restoring ties and cordial relations between the two countries. According to the agreement, Kenya will resume exporting khat to Somalia, and in exchange, it will import fish from the country. But the trade agreement has faced plenty of criticism from Somali intellectuals and talking heads and has been labeled unfair. 

Somalia-Djibouti: Smoothening strained ties

Somalis consider Djibouti their second country. But the last five years under the government led by Farmajo created uncalled-for diplomatic tensions between the two brotherly nations. Djibouti was not part of the failed Tripartite Agreement between Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, and this led to them feeling politically ostracized.

The Trojan horse deal between Farmajo, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki was to extend their seats beyond their constitutional terms. That is why a plethora of Somalis had not supported the Tripartite Agreement as long as Djibouti was not part of it, and no one knows the nitty-gritty of it as it was veiled in secrecy. During a two-day official visit of President Mohamud to Djibouti, he promised a tight-knit relationship with Somalia and Djibouti. 

Eritrea: Pariah State!

Some argue that Eritrean President Afwerki is a modern-day robber baron to steal the nascent democracy in the region. Amid the Tripartite Agreement, Afwerki was the de facto leader and mover and shaker. He masterminded the vicious war against Ethiopia’s Tigray region by supporting Prime Minister Ahmed’s side, and many Eritrean troops participated in the Tigray war. Although in the beginning, the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) entered the capital of Tigray, Mekelle, they ended up withdrawing in a dramatic defeat by the restive forces. Also, Afwerki inspired Farmajo to imitate his dictatorial style. As such, Farmajo’s regime did everything possible to remain at the helm. He delayed parliamentary and presidential elections for too long, oppressed the dissenting voices, cut ties with neighboring countries, and surreptitiously sent Somali cadets to Eritrea. With all these unbecoming acts, Farmajo’s swashbuckling adventures ended up in vain. He lost touch with reality. Eritrea is spreading its cancerous tentacles across the region. Especially Afwerki’s uncanny ability to outmaneuver everyone is so dangerous. 

Türkiye and other international partners

Türkiye came to the aid of Somalia during the deadly drought and famine in 2011. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister, arrived in the capital Mogadishu and visited camps housing internally displaced persons (IDPs). That humanity and bold move by Erdogan mesmerized and captivated the attention of the world. Since then, Türkiye has been supporting Somalia, especially through infrastructure and institutional building projects, providing scholarships to Somali students, and other commendable works. Many Somali talking heads believe that Türkiye is a staunch partner of Somalia.

The other remarkable thing is that some analysts argue that Türkiye has never intervened politically in Somalia’s internal affairs, while other partners including Qatar and the UAE are doing the opposite. The incumbent government is repairing the lost ties with the international community and accommodating all the partners for the sake of Somalia’s interests. The former government cut ties with the UAE, while it considered Qatar as near and dear. As a result, Somalia was a victim of the Gulf diplomatic crisis that began in 2017. 

Somali regional diaspora

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/opinion-somalia-should-shape-horn-of-africa-s-geopolitics/2652979

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North America

 

Iran, US, EU to send envoys to Vienna for nuclear talks

03 August, 2022

Iran, the US and the European Union said Wednesday they would send representatives to Vienna amid what appears to be a last-ditch effort at reviving talks over Tehran's tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

It wasn't immediately clear if other parties to the landmark accord would attend the surprise summit, nor if there had been any progress after a monthslong stalemate and fruitless round of indirect talks between Iran and the US in Doha.

The European Union official who chairs the talks, Enrique Mora, said the negotiations would focus on the most recent draft to restore the agreement, while Tehran said it was dispatching nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani to the Austrian capital.

US Special Representative for Iran Rob Malley wrote on Twitter that he was also preparing to travel to Vienna for talks. He cautioned that American “expectations are in check" ahead of the negotiations.

“The United States welcomes EU efforts and is prepared for a good faith attempt to reach a deal. It will shortly be clear if Iran is prepared for the same," Malley added.

The prospects for the deal's restoration have darkened in the past few months with major sticking points remaining, including Tehran's demand that Washington provide guarantees that it won’t again quit the pact and that it lift terrorism sanctions on Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

The abruptly called meeting in Vienna comes after EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has repeatedly pushed to break the deadlock and salvage the deal in past weeks. He recently wrote in The Financial Times that “the space for additional significant compromises has been exhausted.”

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 deal, which lifted most international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for tight restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Since then, Iran has massively expanded its nuclear work and now has enough highly enriched uranium to fuel one nuclear weapon, according to nonproliferation experts.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/03/Iran-US-EU-to-send-envoys-to-Vienna-for-nuclear-talks

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Sullivan expresses concern over Iranian-American journalist’s safety

04 August, 2022

US National Security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke with Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad on Wednesday and expressed his concern over her safety following the arrest of a man with a rifle outside her home in New York last week, an NSC spokesperson said in a statement.

The man, Khalid Mehdiyev, spent two days last week outside the home of Alinejad, and at one point attempted to open the door, an FBI agent wrote in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court last week. Police stopped him after he ran a stop sign and found the gun in the back seat of the car, according to the complaint.

Alinejad, who saw the incident as an attempt on her life by Tehran, said: “what the Iranian regime did, first trying to kidnap me and now sending someone here trying to kill me, it’s a pattern. It’s a continuation of their way of oppressing dissidents inside and outside Iran.”

On Wednesday, Sullivan said US President Joe Biden will continue to receive updates on her situation, and added that the administration will continue to protect its citizens and dissidents from threats from the Gulf nation.

“...the US Government will use all tools at its disposal to disrupt and deter threats from Iran, including those which target US citizens and dissidents living in the United States,” the NSC statement said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/08/04/Sullivan-expresses-concern-over-Iranian-American-journalist-s-safety

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US approves billions of dollars’ worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Darren Lyn  

03.08.2022

HOUSTON, Texas

The US State Department announced Tuesday that it has approved the potential sale of arms to two of its key Middle East partners in separate deals with a total value of more than $5 billion.

Under the terms of the first agreement, Saudi Arabia would purchase $3.05 billion worth of Patriot missiles.

The United Arab Emirates would buy $2.25 billion worth of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system missiles.

According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the proposed deal with Saudi Arabia will help replenish its “dwindling” stocks of Patriot missiles, arming the Saudis with 300 new weapons.

“These missiles are used to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s borders against persistent Houthi cross-border unmanned aerial system and ballistic missile attacks on civilian sites and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia,” the DSCA said in a statement.

“These attacks threaten the well-being of Saudi, international and U.S. citizens (approximately 70,000) residing in the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces.”

The UAE would receive two THAAD launch control stations, two THAAD tactical operations stations and 96 missile rounds under the proposed deal.

The timing of these arms deals comes at a crucial juncture, however, as the US is currently in the process of returning to the table with Iran over its 2015 nuclear deal.

The US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 under former President Donald Trump, but current President Joe Biden's administration is in the process of possibly re-entering the agreement with Iran over nuclear regulations.

Biden himself made a four-day trip to Saudi Arabia in July to discuss the Iran nuclear deal, saying at the time that "the only thing worse than the Iran that exists now is an Iran with nuclear weapons."

The fact that any missile defense capabilities are heading to the region is notable, especially in the wake of a new agreement in June between Israel and a number of Arab nations to form a US-led joint air defense network known as the Middle East Air Defense Alliance (MEAD).

Under MEAD, Israel will tie in its air defense capabilities with other Middle East nations, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The countries' defense systems will be linked together to counter any tactical moves by Iran. This will allow the new alliance to jointly protect their nations from any attempt by Iran to attack the region using rockets, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The proposed US arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the UAE have not yet been finalized, although an announcement by the DSCA likely means they have already been approved by the executive branch.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-approves-billions-of-dollars-worth-of-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-uae/2652049

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