New Age Islam
Thu Oct 01 2020, 03:54 PM

Islamic World News ( 13 Jan 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk Renamed after Israeli City Haifa










Photo: The iconic Teen Murti Chowk and the Teen Murti Marg here will now be known after the Israeli city Haifa with the NDMC approving their renaming ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Jewish nation.

 

'Test Our Resolve': Pakistan's Challenge to India on Nuclear War

Iran: Missile Program, N. Deal Not Negotiable

Noor Warns Of Civil Movements If Jamiat Talks Fail With Government

UK School Wants Govt to Ban Hijab, Fasting For Children

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India

Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk Renamed after Israeli City Haifa

Once India Becomes 'Hindu Rashtra', Only Those Muslims Who Assimilate Into Hindu Culture Will Stay, Says BJP MLA

UP: Right-Wing Workers Thrash 3 Men in Court Premises, Cry 'Love Jihad'

Scope to ramp up heat on Pakistan to stop cross-border terror: Army chief

UP Shia Waqf Board Chairman Claims He Got Threat Call From Dawood Ibrahim Aide

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Pakistan

'Test Our Resolve': Pakistan's Challenge to India on Nuclear War

Peshawar High Court Cancels Allotment of Mosque Land to Clerics

4 militants linked with high-profile terror cases killed in Karachi police 'encounter'

Allama Jafari meets families of Shia martyrs in Dera Ismail Khan

Talk of army hand as Balochistan gets new CM

Pakistan: Imran Khan says meeting Trump would be "bitter pill'

Pak court issues notice to PM for making anti-judiciary speech

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Mideast

Iran: Missile Program, N. Deal Not Negotiable

Hope Turns To Despair Seven Years after Tunisian Revolt

US has failed to undermine nuclear deal: Hassan Rouhani

Qatar accuses UAE of violating its airspace for a second time

Israel says it destroys Hamas tunnel under key Gaza crossing

Spokesman: Foreign Access to Iran's Military Sites Impossible

Turkish Army Dispatches More Military Equipment to Border with Syria

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South Asia

Noor Warns Of Civil Movements If Jamiat Talks Fail With Government

ISIS and Taliban Suffer Casualties in Nangarhar Air and Ground Operations

Govt has not accepted Jamiat’s offer to keep Noor as Balkh governor

Active ISIS recruiter arrested by Afghan forces in Nangarhar

Haqqani network, not ISIS, behind recent deadly Kabul attacks: MoD

The Expanding Role and Size of the Afghan Special Operations Forces

Large-scale operation kicks off against militants in North of Afghanistan

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Europe

UK School Wants Govt to Ban Hijab, Fasting For Children

Trump Supporters Attempt to Arrest London’s Muslim Mayor

Austria's Muslims fear being cast as threat to security

Anti-Islamic State coalition: How countries other than US are fighting the rebel group in Iraq, Syria

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Arab World

Saudi Prince Alwaleed in Settlement Talks with Government: Sources

More Terrorist Commanders Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Eastern Damascus

Egypt warns against Muslim Brotherhood attempts to damage relations with Kuwait

Islamic Affairs Ministry to participate in Al-Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem

Iraqi PM Abadi to seek re-election in May vote

Al-Nusra Continues Retreating from More Regions in Southwestern Aleppo

Aleppo: Turkish Army, Militants Launch Heavy Attacks on Kurds in Afrin

Senior MP: No Need to US Presence in Iraq

Syria: Advanced Air Defence Systems Make Airspace Unsafe for Israeli Fighter Jets

Kurdish Source Discloses SDF's Plan to Capture Idlib in Northwestern Syria

Saudi Binladin Group denies govt takeover after chief detained

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar, Bangladesh Meet Amid Doubts About Rohingya Repatriation Plan

China says Iran nuclear deal not derailed, pledges constructive role

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Africa

Nigerian Shia Cleric Makes First Public Appearance since Detention in 2015

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Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/delhi’s-teen-murti-chowk-renamed-after-israeli-city-haifa/d/113926

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Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk Renamed after Israeli City Haifa

PTI | Jan 14, 2018

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday attended a ceremony at the Teen Murti Memorial here to mark the renaming of Teen Murti Chowk as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk.

The two leaders also laid a wreath and signed the visitor's book at the memorial.

Netanyahu, who arrived on a six-day visit today, was received by Modi.

The three bronze statues at Teen Murti represent the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers who were part of the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.

The brigade carried out the victorious assault on the fortified city of Haifa on September 23, 1918, during World War I.

There are various accounts of this battle - all narrate the valour with which the lancers undertook the assault on the garrisoned city protected by a joint force of Ottomans, Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The liberation of Haifa cleared a supply route for the Allies to the city through the sea.

Forty-four Indian soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice during the liberation of the city in World War I.

Till date, the 61 Cavalry celebrates September 23 as its Raising Day or "Haifa Day."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/teen-murti-chowk-renamed-after-israeli-city-haifa/articleshow/62495789.cms

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'Test our resolve': Pakistan's challenge to India on nuclear war

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jan 14, 2018

NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Saturday challenged India to "test our resolve" over a nuclear war, in response to Army chief General BipinRawat's remarks from Friday.

"Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief,not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter.If that is what they desire,they are welcome to test our resolve.The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah," tweeted Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Asif.

Khawaja M. Asif

@KhawajaMAsif

“Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief,not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter.If that is what they desire,they are welcome to test our resolve.The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah.”

10:26 PM - Jan 13, 2018

 658 658 Replies   1,467 1,467 Retweets   4,770 4,770 likes

The neighbouring country's foreign office, too, was at pains to clarify that "Pakistan is fully capable of defending itself," in a series of tweets from its spokesperson.

Dr Mohammad Faisal

@ForeignOfficePk

The threatening and irresponsible statement by the Indian Army Chief today is representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. Pakistan has demonstrated deterrence capability.1/2

10:35 PM - Jan 13, 2018

 33 33 Replies   142 142 Retweets   247 247 likes

Dr Mohammad Faisal

@ForeignOfficePk

These are not issues to be taken lightly. There must not be any misadventure based on miscalculation. Pakistan is fully capable of defending itself. 2/2

10:36 PM - Jan 13, 2018

 18 18 Replies   85 85 Retweets   136 136 likes

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the official spokesperson for Pakistan's armed forces, claimed that his country has "credible nuclear deterrence" against threats from India.

"Pakistan has credible nuclear deterrence against any threat from India. We are a professional army, responsible nuclear state and resilient nation and India must not remain in illusion," he said.

Govt of Pakistan

@pid_gov

#Pakistan has credible nuclear deterrence against any threat from #India. We are a professional army, responsible nuclear state and resilient nation and India must not remain in illusion.

~DG ISPR,  while responding to the Indian army chief’s statement about Pakistan

10:49 AM - Jan 14, 2018

While addressing the press in the run-up to Army Day, Gen Rawat had called out "Pakistan's nuclear bogey," saying it will be thoroughly exposed if the situation escalates to a war.

Pakistan often brandishes its short-range Nasr (Hatf-IX) nuclear missiles as a battlefield counter to India's 'Cold Start' strategy which focusses on 'limited' and 'calibrated' strikes to make swift and hard inroads into enemy territory.

"We will call their bluff. If given the task, we will not say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons," he had said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/test-our-resolve-pakistans-challenge-to-india-on-nuclear-war/articleshow/62493055.cms

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Iran: Missile Program, N. Deal Not Negotiable

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi blasted US President Donald Trump's conditions for keeping the 2015 nuclear deal, stressing that the internationally-accepted agreement and his country's missile program are not negotiable.

"Our missile issue which is related to our defense capabilities and national security is neither for negotiation nor for compromise. The Americans intended to bring the missile program to the negotiations since the start of nuclear talks but they failed," Araqchi said in an interview with the state TV on Saturday night.

He underlined that Iran's defense capabilities are not open to negotiation at all, and said, "We will not allow the nuclear deal to be linked to other issues."

Araqchi also referred to Trump's conditions for Washington's commitment to the nuclear deal, including certain changes in the agreement, and said, "In our view, the nuclear deal is not renegotiable at all neither now nor in future. We will not renegotiate the provisions of the nuclear deal at all."

Trump on Friday avoided upending the nuclear deal with Iran that he has repeatedly disparaged, agreeing to waive key sanctions the US lifted as part of the deal but he, meantime, set a number of conditions.

Trump laid out four conditions that must be met for him to not abrogate the deal, which included increased inspections, insuring “Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon” and that there be no expiration dates to the nuclear deal. The current one expires after a decade.

His last condition required Capitol Hill lawmakers to pass a bill unilaterally incorporating Iran’s missile program into the nuclear deal.

“The legislation must explicitly state in United States law — for the first time — that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions,” the president’s written statement said.

"I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran,” he said. “No one should doubt my word.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024000423

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Noor warns of civil movements if Jamiat talks fail with government

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

The chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami Ata Mohammad Noor has once again warned that he and his supporters will launch widespread civil movements if the ongoing talks between Jamiat-e-Islami and the government fail.

Noor made the latest remarks during a gathering attended by scores of his supporters in Mazar-e-Sharif city in North of Afghanistan.

According to the ex-governor of Balkh province, no major breakthrough has been achieved during the ongoing talks so far and only little progress has been made.

He called on his supporters that they will be summoned for the civil movements if the talks end without any outcome and in case the two sides did not reach to any agreement.

This comes as the Afghan government announced nearly a month ago that the resignation of Ata Mohammad Noor from the Balkh government has been approved by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

Noor admitted that he submitted his resignation but he had several demands before stepping down and none of them has been met by the government while his resignation has been approved.

The ex-governor of Balkh had earlier also warned the government that a widespread movement will be launched if the government did not retract its decision regarding the Balkh government leadership.

khaama.com/noor-warns-of-civil-movements-if-jamiat-talks-fail-with-government-04259

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UK School Wants Govt to Ban Hijab, Fasting For Children

PTI | Jan 14, 2018

LONDON: One of the UK's leading state-funded schools has called on the government to take a firm stand on children wearing hijab and fasting during Ramzan.

St Stephen's School in Newham, east London, became one of the first schools in the country to ban the hijab for girls under eight in 2016 and intends to ban it for girls under 11 from September 2018.

It also imposed strict rules on Ramzan fasting, a ritual that lasts around 18 hours a day in the summer, on school premises.

The school, with a majority of pupils from Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds and headed by Indian- origin principal NeenaLall wants the UK government to issue clear guidelines on the issue to prevent a backlash from parents.

"The department should step up and take it out of our hands and tell every school this is how it (fasting) should be. The same for the hijab, it should not be our decision. It is unfair to teachers and very unfair to governors. We are unpaid. Why should we get the backlash," ArifQawi, chairman of governors at St Stephen's School, told The Sunday Times'.

He said that despite criticism from a few families, some parents were happy with the school's stance on fasting.

"We did not ban fasting altogether but we encouraged them (children) to fast on holidays, at weekends and not on the school campus. Here we are responsible for their health and safety if they pass out on campus. It is not fair to us," said Qawi, who consulted with Muslim clerics to confirm that fasting should begin from the age of puberty.

Under the UK's Department for Education guidelines, uniform policy is a matter for individual head-teachers and their governing bodies.

"It is a matter for individual schools to decide how to accommodate children observing Ramzan, and to set uniform policies. We issue clear guidance on uniform and to help schools understand their legal duties under the Equality Act," a Department for Education statement said.

In November 2017, St Stephen's School had topped a prestigious primary schools league table published by 'The Sunday Times' annually.

It was listed as the best school in England in the 'Schools Guide 2018' for a strong teaching record.

"Everything we do here comes from our vision that every St Stephen's child blossoms into a confident, respectful, modern British citizen prepared to be an aspirational contributor in the global community," Lall had said at the time.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/uk-school-wants-govt-to-ban-hijab-fasting-for-children/articleshow/62495951.cms

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India

Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk Renamed after Israeli City Haifa

PTI | Jan 14, 2018

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday attended a ceremony at the Teen Murti Memorial here to mark the renaming of Teen Murti Chowk as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk.

The two leaders also laid a wreath and signed the visitor's book at the memorial.

Netanyahu, who arrived on a six-day visit today, was received by Modi.

The three bronze statues at Teen Murti represent the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers who were part of the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.

The brigade carried out the victorious assault on the fortified city of Haifa on September 23, 1918, during World War I.

There are various accounts of this battle - all narrate the valour with which the lancers undertook the assault on the garrisoned city protected by a joint force of Ottomans, Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The liberation of Haifa cleared a supply route for the Allies to the city through the sea.

Forty-four Indian soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice during the liberation of the city in World War I.

Till date, the 61 Cavalry celebrates September 23 as its Raising Day or "Haifa Day."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/teen-murti-chowk-renamed-after-israeli-city-haifa/articleshow/62495789.cms

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Once India Becomes 'Hindu Rashtra', Only Those Muslims Who Assimilate Into Hindu Culture Will Stay, Says BJP MLA

 

In a controversial remark, a BJP MLA from Ballia district, Uttar Pradesh, has said that once India becomes a "Hindu rashtra", only those Muslims will stay in the country who assimilate into the Hindu culture.

"There are a very few Muslims who are patriotic. Once India becomes a Hindu rashtra (Hindu nation), Muslims who assimilate into our culture will stay in India. Those who will not are free to take asylum in any other country," Bairia MLA Surendra Singh told reporters last night.

He also claimed that by 2024, India would become a Hindu nation.

Describing Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an "avatar purush" (reincarnation of a deity), Singh said, "As the RSS completes 100 years in 2025, by 2024, India will become a Hindu rashtra. By the grace of god, India is going to be a global superpower thanks to the leadership of Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Not only will India become a 'vishwa guru', it will also become a Hindu rashtra by 2024."

Taking a jibe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, the BJP MLA said, "There are two sets of values in Rahul Gandhi -- one is Italian, while the other one is Indian...He can never become the torchbearer of the Indian thought."

He said the Gandhi scion could coin any slogan to become the prime minister of the country, but he lacked the strength and values to make India strong.

"His (Rahul Gandhi's) is a mix of Indian and Italian culture," Singh said and claimed that the Congress chief was not aware of what India and Indianness were all about.

outlookindia.com/website/story/once-india-becomes-hindu-rashtra-only-those-muslims-who-assimilate-into-hindu-cu/306852

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UP: Right-wing workers thrash 3 men in court premises, cry 'love jihad'

Published Jan 14, 2018, 5:12 pm ISTUpdated Jan 14, 2018

Baghpat (Uttar Pradesh): Hindu YuvaVahini workers on Sunday thrashed three men in Baghpat court premises alleging 'love jihad'.

The trio, accompanied by a woman, had come from Punjab for a court marriage between the woman and one of the three men.

On knowing that, the men belonged from a different community, the Hindu YuvaVahini caught them at the lawyer's chamber itself and beat them up.

The District minister of Hindu YuvaVahini, Roopak Kumar alleged 'love jihad' and said they are going to file an FIR against the men, while the district vice president, Kuldeep Thakur added on to the allegation saying that the case had links in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the District head of DurgaVahini alleged that the woman was brought to be sold as her religion conversion was to take place.

Police soon reached the spot and after rescuing the trio from the angry workers took them in the jeep.

The four people had allegedly run away from Punjab and a case is registered against them in Barnala. However, Baghpat Police refrained from tagging the label of 'love jihad' to the case.

"It is too early to comment on what exactly happened, we are probing the whole incident, everything should not be linked to 'love jihad'," Jayprakash Singh, SP Baghpat said.

Baghpat Police has conveyed the information to Punjab police, and a police team is to reach the city soon.

deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/140118/up-right-wing-workers-thrash-3-men-in-court-premises-cry-love-jihad.html

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UP: Right-wing workers thrash 3 men in court premises, cry 'love jihad'

Published Jan 14, 2018, 5:12 pm ISTUpdated Jan 14, 2018

Baghpat (Uttar Pradesh): Hindu YuvaVahini workers on Sunday thrashed three men in Baghpat court premises alleging 'love jihad'.

The trio, accompanied by a woman, had come from Punjab for a court marriage between the woman and one of the three men.

On knowing that, the men belonged from a different community, the Hindu YuvaVahini caught them at the lawyer's chamber itself and beat them up.

The District minister of Hindu YuvaVahini, Roopak Kumar alleged 'love jihad' and said they are going to file an FIR against the men, while the district vice president, Kuldeep Thakur added on to the allegation saying that the case had links in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the District head of DurgaVahini alleged that the woman was brought to be sold as her religion conversion was to take place.

Police soon reached the spot and after rescuing the trio from the angry workers took them in the jeep.

The four people had allegedly run away from Punjab and a case is registered against them in Barnala. However, Baghpat Police refrained from tagging the label of 'love jihad' to the case.

"It is too early to comment on what exactly happened, we are probing the whole incident, everything should not be linked to 'love jihad'," Jayprakash Singh, SP Baghpat said.

Baghpat Police has conveyed the information to Punjab police, and a police team is to reach the city soon.

deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/140118/up-right-wing-workers-thrash-3-men-in-court-premises-cry-love-jihad.html

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UP Shia Waqf Board chairman claims he got threat call from Dawood Ibrahim aide

Yusra Husain | TNN | Updated: Jan 14

LUCKNOW: UP Shia Waqf Board chairperson, Waseem Rizvi, on Sunday claimed that he had received a threat call allegedly on behalf of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim on his recent anti-madrasa statements.

Rizvi who lodged an FIR in the matter under section 507 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that pertains to criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, said that an unknown person calling himself an aide of Ibrahim with a Nepal based cellular number had called him late Saturday night.

In his FIR with the Saadatganj police station in Lucknow, Rizvi mentioned that the unknown man on the other side of the phone said that it was because Rizvi is getting Muslims killed because of his statements, that both his and his family's life is under Ibrahim's radar. Rizvi claimed that he had recorded the entire conversation on his mobile phone and was ready to produce it if needed.

"I got a call at around 10:30 pm on Saturday from a Nepal based number and the man said he was carrying some 'bhai's' message for me. When I asked whom that meant, he clearly said Dawood Ibrahim. He threatened me to apologise to clerics immediately and that I was getting Muslims killed. If I failed to take back my words in the Babri Masjid case and my statements for madrasas, they would end both my life and my family's," said Rizvi.

Rizvi had recently sent a letter to the Prime Minister (PM) and UP chief minister (CM) asking for madrasas and the madrasa boards to be shut down. This he said was needed because according to him madrasas radicalised Indian Muslims into terrorists rather than producing civil servants, doctors or engineers. He had also claimed that funds for madrasas is received from terrorist organisations in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.

While Rizvi has got no reply from any of the government officials yet, Muslim clerics, both Shia and Sunni as well as the community had unanimously condemned his statements. Maharashtra unit of JamiatUlama-e-Hind has also sent a legal notice to Rizvi recently seeking written apology for his statements along with a damages claim of Rs 20 crore.

But with the alleged call that he got on Saturday night, Rizvi said, "It is now clear after the call that these radical clerics have a long drawn connect with terror organisations and have their wires connected directly to even Dawood Ibrahim." He claimed, "My life is under threat."

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/lucknow/up-shia-waqf-board-chairman-claims-he-got-threat-call-from-dawood-ibrahim/articleshow/62497111.cms

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Pakistan

'Test our resolve': Pakistan's challenge to India on nuclear war

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jan 14, 2018

NEW DELHI: Pakistan on Saturday challenged India to "test our resolve" over a nuclear war, in response to Army chief General BipinRawat's remarks from Friday.

"Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief,not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter.If that is what they desire,they are welcome to test our resolve.The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah," tweeted Pakistan's foreign minister Khawaja Asif.

Khawaja M. Asif

@KhawajaMAsif

“Very irresponsible statement by Indian Army Chief,not befitting his office. Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter.If that is what they desire,they are welcome to test our resolve.The general's doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah.”

10:26 PM - Jan 13, 2018

 658 658 Replies   1,467 1,467 Retweets   4,770 4,770 likes

The neighbouring country's foreign office, too, was at pains to clarify that "Pakistan is fully capable of defending itself," in a series of tweets from its spokesperson.

Dr Mohammad Faisal

@ForeignOfficePk

The threatening and irresponsible statement by the Indian Army Chief today is representative of a sinister mindset that has taken hold of India. Pakistan has demonstrated deterrence capability.1/2

10:35 PM - Jan 13, 2018

 33 33 Replies   142 142 Retweets   247 247 likes

Dr Mohammad Faisal

@ForeignOfficePk

These are not issues to be taken lightly. There must not be any misadventure based on miscalculation. Pakistan is fully capable of defending itself. 2/2

10:36 PM - Jan 13, 2018

 18 18 Replies   85 85 Retweets   136 136 likes

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the official spokesperson for Pakistan's armed forces, claimed that his country has "credible nuclear deterrence" against threats from India.

"Pakistan has credible nuclear deterrence against any threat from India. We are a professional army, responsible nuclear state and resilient nation and India must not remain in illusion," he said.

Govt of Pakistan

@pid_gov

#Pakistan has credible nuclear deterrence against any threat from #India. We are a professional army, responsible nuclear state and resilient nation and India must not remain in illusion.

~DG ISPR,  while responding to the Indian army chief’s statement about Pakistan

10:49 AM - Jan 14, 2018

While addressing the press in the run-up to Army Day, Gen Rawat had called out "Pakistan's nuclear bogey," saying it will be thoroughly exposed if the situation escalates to a war.

Pakistan often brandishes its short-range Nasr (Hatf-IX) nuclear missiles as a battlefield counter to India's 'Cold Start' strategy which focusses on 'limited' and 'calibrated' strikes to make swift and hard inroads into enemy territory.

"We will call their bluff. If given the task, we will not say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons," he had said.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/test-our-resolve-pakistans-challenge-to-india-on-nuclear-war/articleshow/62493055.cms

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Peshawar High Court cancels allotment of mosque land to clerics

January 14, 2018

MANSEHRA: The Abbottabad Circuit Bench of the Peshawar High Court has cancelled the allotment of land owned by over 700 mosques to prayer leaders in Tanawal area of Mansehra district.

The land allotment notification was issued by the senior member of the provincial board of revenue in Oct 2007 on the orders of then chief minister Akram Khan Durrani.

The bench consisting of Justice Attique Shah and Justice Arshad Ali gave the ruling on a petition filed by former naib nazim of Mansehra tehsil BashiruddinTanoli against the notification.

The former nazim told reporters here on Saturday that he had requested the SMBR for the review of the land allotment but as the request was rejected, he moved the court for relief. He said the mosques had got back the over 16,000 kanals land, which was allotted to prayer leaders in 2007. Mr Tanoli however said prayer leaders could use the land until they’re associated with mosques. He said the land was originally earmarked by the Amb and Pulrah states for mosques before their merger with Pakistan.

MARKET PRICE TO BE PAID: The district administration has decided it will pay the market price to the people, whose land is to be acquired for various China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

The administration has already banned the sale and purchase of land in 34 patwar circles, where the CPEC initiatives’ execution have been planned.

“I have written a letter to the revenue department requesting a four times increase in the price offered for the land being acquired for CPEC projects in line with the market rate,” deputy commissioner Ayaz Khan told reporters here on Saturday.

The DC said currently, the landowners were being made low payments in line with a ‘settlement formula’ finalised in 1946-47.

He said he was hopeful that the department would approve reasonable payments for landowners and thus, ensuring smooth execution of the CPEC initiatives.

DRUG PUSHER HELD: The Balakot police on Saturday arrested a drug peddler and seized over three kilogrammes of charas in Garlat area.

A police party led by Balakot police station SHO Javed Khan raided a house in Garlat area and arrested Wazir Mohammad after seizure of charas.

Also in the day, the police arrested Sajjad after recovery of dozens of liquor bottles.

dawn.com/news/1382826/peshawar-high-court-cancels-allotment-of-mosque-land-to-clerics

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4 militants linked with high-profile terror cases killed in Karachi police 'encounter'

ImtiazAliUpdated January 13, 2018

Karachi police on Saturday claimed to have killed four suspected militants who were involved in several high-profile terror cases and had ties with terrorist outfits Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ) and the militant Islamic State (IS) during an 'encounter'.

Acting on a tip-off by intelligence agencies regarding the presence of some militant hideouts in Usman Khaskheli Goth on the outskirts of the metropolis, contingents of Malir police conducted a targeted raid.

Having sniffed the raid, the suspects resorted to firing and hurled a hand grenade, but could not hurt the police, whose retaliatory firing killed four suspects — according to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Malir Rao Anwar.

The officer said the slain militants were affiliated with the banned LJ and IS.

Identifying one of the deceased as MolviIshaq, SSP Anwar said: “He was an important commander of LJ.”

Among the dead quartet was also a certain NazarGhuman, a former commander of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group led by slain HakeemullahMehsud.

“They were involved in the deadly attack on Karachi airport, PNS Mehran base and Imambargah Ali Raza at M.A. Jinnah Road," the SSP revealed. "They were also involved in several killings of police, Rangers and army personnel."

The police claimed to have recovered three TT pistols, one rifle and one motorbike from the militants' custody.

“Further investigation is underway,” said SSP Anwar.

The ‘encounter specialist’

Rao Anwar, called the ‘encounter specialist’ by some, is known for carrying out 'encounters' of controversial nature against outlaws and has claimed in the past to have killed militants belonging to various terrorist organisations and the then-MohajirQaumi Movement activists during his raids.

The majority of such cases remained unquestioned, apart from the few where the families of those shot dead moved the court.

dawn.com/news/1382684/4-militants-linked-with-high-profile-terror-cases-killed-in-karachi-police-encounter

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Allama Jafari meets families of Shia martyrs in Dera Ismail Khan

January 14, 2018

Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jafari, the secretary-general of Pakistan’s MajlisWahdat-e-Muslimeen said in a press conference, “Pakistan was known as one of the safest countries in the world before the United States intervention and thousands of tourists from all over the world used to come to Pakistan each year and introduce our traditions and culture to the whole world.”

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (Shia political-religious party) secretary general Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jafari has paid a one-day visit to Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to discuss the issue of those innocent Shia Muslims who were subjected to enforced disappearances without any charge. He also met the families of those Shia Muslims who were assassinated by takfiri terrorists.

After meeting and discussing said issues, he addressed a press conference in which he excoriated the KP police saying that as a matter of fact Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police is in no case an ideal police because the policemen are not serving people nor they enforce law. He said that counter terrorism department (CTD) in police was created against terrorists but unfortunately the CTD has tarnished its image itself by witch-hunt against innocent and law-abiding Shia Muslims who were not being produced in any court of law.

He lamented that now the CTD is implicating those innocent Shia Muslims in their custody in new cases also despite the fact that they have been under their illegal and undeclared custody hence how they could commit any crime while in CTD’s captivity?

He said that Shia Muslims were martyred in Parwa and other parts of Dera Ismail Khan but their killers have not yet been arrested. He lambasted the KP government of the Imran Khan-led PTI saying that he was not satisfied with the performance of that government.

He condemned the plots aimed at fanning sectarianism against Shia Muslims in Dera Ismail Khan. He said people of DI Khan love each other.

Meanwhile, he offered condolences to the bereaved families of Shia martyrs. He assured that he would leave no stone unturned for recovery of the missing Shia Muslims.

en.abna24.com/news/central-asia-subcontinent/allama-jafari-meets-families-of-shia-martyrs-in-dera-ismail-khan_877323.html

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Talk of army hand as Balochistan gets new CM

Omer Farooq Khan | TNN & Agencies | Jan 14, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Following the ouster of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif from office in a corruption scam last year, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) suffered another major blow on Saturday when Abdul QuddusBizenjo, a candidate of its rival party, was elected CM of the restive southwestern Balochistan province.

The political crisis has been intensified by speculation, widely circulated in media, that elements of Pakistan's powerful military were behind efforts to destabilise the region and possibly dissolve the assembly ahead of the senate polls due around March, and the general elections in mid-2018.

Bizenjo belongs to Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), a party that has just five members in a house of 65. He was the former deputy speaker of the assembly and had played a key role in the ouster of SanaullahZehri, a former PML-N CM, who had to step down last week after opposition benches filed a motion of no-confidence against him.

The PML-N has 25 elected MPs in the house but Bizenjo secured 41 votes against his rival Syed Agha Liaquat Ali of PakhtoonkhwaMilliAwami Party who bagged just 13 votes. This signifies that PML-N MPs also voted for the new CM.

"I will use the short time given to me to find solutions to problems of citizens," he said, adding that he wanted to complete the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/talk-of-army-hand-as-balochistan-gets-new-cm/articleshow/62492708.cms

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Pak court issues notice to PM for making anti-judiciary speech

PTI | Jan 13, 2018

LAHORE: A Pakistani court has issued a notice to Prime Minister ShahidKhaqanAbbasi for allegedly making an anti-judiciary speech in which he termed the Panama papers verdict a "piece of trash", according to a media report.

Advocate Azhar Siddiqi filed the petition in the Lahore High Court, stating that Abbasi's comments on the judgement amounts to committing contempt of court, Dawn News reported.

Presenting his case in the court of Justice Shahid Kareem, the petitioner said that by making such an inflammatory statement, Abbasi was trying to make the judiciary controversial.

He said that earlier ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam had openly criticised the apex court and its judges in their speeches, and tried to whip up public sentiment against the judiciary.

He said that now Abbasi had also started talking against the apex court, in violation of the oath he took when he assumed the office of prime minister.

He requested the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Abbasi and said that Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) should be directed to stop news channels from airing the prime minister's speeches targeting the judiciary.

The court issued notices to Abbasi, the federal government and Pemra and sought their replies by the next hearing scheduled for January 15.

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of over 11 million files from the database of the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, reportedly showing how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered the National Accountability Bureau to file three corruption cases against Sharif.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-court-issues-notice-to-pm-for-making-anti-judiciary-speech/articleshow/62486171.cms

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Mideast

Iran: Missile Program, N. Deal Not Negotiable

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi blasted US President Donald Trump's conditions for keeping the 2015 nuclear deal, stressing that the internationally-accepted agreement and his country's missile program are not negotiable.

"Our missile issue which is related to our defense capabilities and national security is neither for negotiation nor for compromise. The Americans intended to bring the missile program to the negotiations since the start of nuclear talks but they failed," Araqchi said in an interview with the state TV on Saturday night.

He underlined that Iran's defense capabilities are not open to negotiation at all, and said, "We will not allow the nuclear deal to be linked to other issues."

Araqchi also referred to Trump's conditions for Washington's commitment to the nuclear deal, including certain changes in the agreement, and said, "In our view, the nuclear deal is not renegotiable at all neither now nor in future. We will not renegotiate the provisions of the nuclear deal at all."

Trump on Friday avoided upending the nuclear deal with Iran that he has repeatedly disparaged, agreeing to waive key sanctions the US lifted as part of the deal but he, meantime, set a number of conditions.

Trump laid out four conditions that must be met for him to not abrogate the deal, which included increased inspections, insuring “Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon” and that there be no expiration dates to the nuclear deal. The current one expires after a decade.

His last condition required Capitol Hill lawmakers to pass a bill unilaterally incorporating Iran’s missile program into the nuclear deal.

“The legislation must explicitly state in United States law — for the first time — that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions,” the president’s written statement said.

"I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran,” he said. “No one should doubt my word.”

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024000423

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Hope Turns To Despair Seven Years After Tunisian Revolt

Caroline Nelly PerrotUpdated January 14, 2018

TUNIS: Seven years since the Tunisian revolution that ignited the Arab Spring uprisings, 38-year-old Walid has no job and says people are even more hungry than they were under dictatorship.

Anger over poverty and unemployment erupted into protests and clashes this week that have led to hundreds of arrests ahead of Sunday’s anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

“It’s been seven years and we’ve seen nothing happen. We’ve had freedom, it’s true, but we’re more hungry than before,” Walid said in Tebourba near the capital Tunis.

Desperation over police harassment and unemployment drove a Tunisian street vendor to set himself on fire on Dec 17, 2010 in a town in the country’s neglected interior.

Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old university graduate who eked out a living selling fruit, died weeks later, fuelling social unrest that spread across much of the Arab world.

Following a wave of protests, Ben Ali resigned on Jan 14, 2011 after 23 years in power. He fled to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first leader to stand down in the Arab Spring.

Compared to other countries rocked by uprisings such as Libya and Yemen which are still deep in turmoil, Tunisia has been praised for its steps towards democracy.

A new constitution was adopted and legislative and presidential polls held in 2014.

But disillusion remains rife.

The country has “the same economic model, with the same problems” as before, said MessaoudRomdhani, the president of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights. “So the situation keeps getting worse.”

In a report released last month, the group warned that despite democratic advances, “unemployment, misery and social and regional inequalities have worsened”.

Tunisia has been convulsed by sometimes-violent demonstrations since Monday in which youths throwing stones and Molotov cocktails have clashed with security forces who responded with tear gas.

Dozens of people have been injured and more than 800 arrested on charges including theft, looting and arson.

One protester died on Monday night in Tebourba though police have insisted they did not kill him.

‘Potential for resistance’

In the latest protest, hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets of Tunis and the coastal city of Sfax on Friday, waving yellow cards and demanding that the government reverse austerity measures.

The demonstrations “reveal an anger carried by the same people who mobilised in 2011 and obtained nothing in terms of economic and social rights”, said political scientist OlfaLamloum.

The trigger of the new protests was a finance law imposing tax hikes after a year of rising prices.

The Tunisian economy has never recovered from the instability that followed the revolution.

The key tourism sector was dealt another crushing blow by jihadist attacks that shook the country in 2015 including the beachside massacre of 38 foreign holidaymakers.

The government was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund which lent Tunisia $2.9 billion in 2016 on condition that it reduced its budget and trade deficits.

Youth unemployment remains above 35 per cent, according to the International Labour Organisation.

Every year since 2011, 10,000 children have dropped out of primary school and 100,000 young people have left college or high school without diplomas, says the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights.

In a sign of growing disenchantment, illegal emigration reached the highest level since 2011 in the autumn.

Municipal polls seen as the final stage in Tunisia’s transition to democracy have been delayed until May, while fresh legislative and presidential elections are planned for 2019.

But the democratic steps have not extinguished the revolutionary fervour altogether.

“The potential for resistance is still there,” Lamloum said. “Young people still have the same dream for Tunisia even if it will take time.”

dawn.com/news/1382693/hope-turns-to-despair-seven-years-after-tunisian-revolt

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US has failed to undermine nuclear deal: Hassan Rouhani

Reuters | Jan 14, 2018

ANKARA: Iran's president said on Sunday the United States had failed to undermine a nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers, and hailed the accord as a "long-lasting victory" for Iran, state television reported.

US President Donald Trump on Friday delivered an ultimatum to European signatories of the deal to fix the "terrible flaws" of the agreement with Iran, or the United States would pull out.

"The American administration has failed to undermine the nuclear deal ... Trump, despite his repeated efforts, has failed to undermine the accord ... The deal is a long-lasting victory for Iran," President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech, broadcast live on state TV.

On Friday, Trump agreed to waive sanctions against Iran for the last time to give the United States and European allies a final chance to amend the pact.

Iran says the nuclear deal is not renegotiable and it will stick to the accord as long as the other signatories respect it but will "shred" the deal if Washington pulls out.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme, in exchange for lifting of most sanctions.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/us-has-failed-to-undermine-nuclear-deal-hassan-rouhani/articleshow/62495301.cms

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Qatar accuses UAE of violating its airspace for a second time

AFPJanuary 13, 2018

Qatar said on Saturday that a second United Arab Emirates military jet had violated its airspace, prompting a new complaint to the United Nations.

The plane was travelling from the UAE to Bahrain on January 3 when it flew over Qatar's special economic zone “without prior authorisation”, the foreign ministry said.

On Friday, Doha said it had lodged a protest at the United Nations about a UAE fighter jet violating its airspace on December 21.

In its new complaint, Qatar said the “repetition of this terrible incident” was evidence of the UAE violating international law.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash on Friday denied the accusation relating to the first incident and said Abu Dhabi would send an official response.

Tensions have escalated in the Gulf since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Qatar in June, accusing Doha of supporting Islamist extremists and being too close to Riyadh's arch-rival, Iran.

They have banned all flights to and from Doha and cut off most trade links.

Qatar denies the allegations, arguing the bloc aims to incite regime change in Doha.

dawn.com/news/1382689/qatar-accuses-uae-of-violating-its-airspace-for-a-second-time

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Israel says it destroys Hamas tunnel under key Gaza crossing

AP | Updated: Jan 14, 2018

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said Sunday it destroyed an attack tunnel built by the Hamas militant group that stretched from the Gaza Strip, though Israel and into Egypt, and that ran past Israeli military posts as well as gas and fuel pipelines.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the 1.5-kilometer (1-mile) long tunnel ran underneath the Kerem Shalom border crossing, Gaza's main point of entry for humanitarian aid.

He said Israeli jets struck part of the tunnel and a new set of sophisticated "tools" destroyed the rest. Conricus said forces had been monitoring its construction for some time and an imminent attack on Israelis was possible. The crossing has been closed till further notice.

Israel has made neutralizing the tunnel threat a top priority since its 2014 war, when Hamas militants on several occasions made their way into Israel. Although they did not manage to reach civilian areas, the infiltrations caught Israel off guard, killing five soldiers in one attack, and terrified the local population.

Sunday's operation marked the third such tunnel Israel has destroyed over the past two months. But Conricus said this did not mark "more of the same" since it involved the most advanced technological means Israel has deployed.

"(We) now hold a method, an organized system to destroy terror tunnels dug into Israel," he said in an early morning briefing to reporters. "This is a key mission for us and our intention is to allow quiet and to deter Hamas so we can continue to build the obstacle."

Hamas initially said a typical smuggling tunnel was destroyed, but had no immediate response to the Israeli announcement. There were no casualties in the Israeli airstrike.

Upon departing to India on a diplomatic mission, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the significance of the operation. "We are responding to aggression against the state of Israel and are taking vigorous and systematic action against hostile infrastructures," he said.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the tunnel's construction was a clear violation of Israeli sovereignty and destroying it delivered a stinging blow to one of Hamas' most significant assets. "The message to Gaza's leadership and residents is clear invest in the sanctity of life and not these burial tunnels," he said.

Conricus, the military spokesman, noted that the tunnel's route stretched underneath the Kerem Shalom crossing, where 15 million tons of food, clothing, construction material and other essential goods had been transferred into Gaza since the 2014 war. Israel and Egypt have maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power in 2007.

Conricus said the crossing itself was a potential target, as well as the gas and fuel pipelines. The tunnel could have also been used to transfer militants and arms for attacks in Israel or Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, he said.

"It was a terror tunnel designed to strike strategic Israel assets," he said.

He didn't specify which tools were used, but in the past Israel has said its new system involves combat units, military intelligence, logistics and research to destroy the tunnels. The military released photos and video of a wide tunnel with concrete paneled walls.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/israel-says-it-destroys-hamas-tunnel-under-key-gaza-crossing/articleshow/62495043.cms

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Spokesman: Foreign Access to Iran's Military Sites Impossible

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi categorically rejected US President Donald Trump's emphasis on the UN nuclear watchdog's access to Iran's military centers, as one of his four conditions for maintaining the nuclear deal with Iran.

"No figure (official) in the Islamic Republic of Iran would issue permission for access to the military sites and basically, there is no such thing in the Safeguards Agreement, the Additional Protocol (to the NPT) and the (2015) nuclear deal," Kamalvandi said on Sunday.

He underlined that the case has been closed with the inspection of Iran's military sites like Parchin, and said there has remained no other military-related issue under discussion between Tehran and International Atomic Energy Agency to be a reason for the IAEA to request visit to Iran's military facilities.

"We are not running any nuclear activity at any military site as we are not a state in pursuit of the acquisition of nuclear bombs and weapons," Kamalvandi said.

Trump on Friday avoided upending the nuclear deal with Iran that he has repeatedly disparaged, agreeing to waive key sanctions the US lifted as part of the deal but he, meantime, set a number of conditions.

Trump laid out four conditions that must be met for him to not abrogate the deal, which included increased inspections, insuring “Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon” and that there be no expiration dates to the nuclear deal. The current one expires after a decade.

His last condition required Capitol Hill lawmakers to pass a bill unilaterally incorporating Iran’s missile program into the nuclear deal.

“The legislation must explicitly state in United States law — for the first time — that long-range missile and nuclear weapons programs are inseparable, and that Iran’s development and testing of missiles should be subject to severe sanctions,” the president’s written statement said.

“I hereby call on key European countries to join with the United States in fixing significant flaws in the deal, countering Iranian aggression, and supporting the Iranian people. If other nations fail to act during this time, I will terminate our deal with Iran,” he said. “No one should doubt my word.”

Trump has also said that he wants the IAEA's access to Iranian military sites.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024001136

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Turkish Army Dispatches More Military Equipment to Border with Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish Army forwarded a large volume of military hardware to the border with Syrian amid intensifying attacks on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) by the Ankara forces and their militant allies in the town of Afrin in Aleppo province, field sources reported on Sunday.

The sources said that the Turkish army has sent a military column, including fiver tanks, to the town of Reihanli in Hatay province at the border with Syria under strict security measures.

In the meantime, Kurdish sources pointed to the heavy fighting between the Kurdish fighters and the Turkish army and said that the Turkish units targeted Qara Baba and JisrHashrakiyeh regions and the village of Ferferkeh in Rajo region in Afrin. 

The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, Sputnik, quoted a security source as saying last week that the Turkish Army set up a field hospital in Qomlo region in Hatay province at the border with Syria.

Sputnik further said that the army was preparing for an imminent operation in a region between Idlib province and the town of Afrin, adding that security officials in Qomlo region adopted severe security measures, deploying a large number of policemen in the region.

A military source, meantime, said that more than 15,000 Turkish soldiers deployed in Kilis at border with Afrin, adding that the army dispatched a large volume of military hardware, including heavy cannon and personnel carriers to border checkpoints in Kilis region.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024000601

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South Asia

Noor warns of civil movements if Jamiat talks fail with government

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

The chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami Ata Mohammad Noor has once again warned that he and his supporters will launch widespread civil movements if the ongoing talks between Jamiat-e-Islami and the government fail.

Noor made the latest remarks during a gathering attended by scores of his supporters in Mazar-e-Sharif city in North of Afghanistan.

According to the ex-governor of Balkh province, no major breakthrough has been achieved during the ongoing talks so far and only little progress has been made.

He called on his supporters that they will be summoned for the civil movements if the talks end without any outcome and in case the two sides did not reach to any agreement.

This comes as the Afghan government announced nearly a month ago that the resignation of Ata Mohammad Noor from the Balkh government has been approved by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

Noor admitted that he submitted his resignation but he had several demands before stepping down and none of them has been met by the government while his resignation has been approved.

The ex-governor of Balkh had earlier also warned the government that a widespread movement will be launched if the government did not retract its decision regarding the Balkh government leadership.

khaama.com/noor-warns-of-civil-movements-if-jamiat-talks-fail-with-government-04259

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ISIS and Taliban suffer casualties in Nangarhar air and ground operations

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

At least six militants belonging to the Taliban group and ISIS were killed during separate operations conducted in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Saturday a least three Taliban insurgents were killed during the Afghan army operations in Ghani Khel and Mohmand Dara districts.

A statement by MoD said at least one insurgent was also detained and one of their vehicles, a motorcycle, and some weapons and ammunition were also destroyed.

In another statement, the Ministry of Defense said at least three ISIS militants were killed after their hideout was targeted in an airstrike in Achin district.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the ISIS and Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in East of Afghanistan where fewer incidents have been reported since the fall of the Taliban regime.

However, since the year 2014, reports continue to emerge regarding the growing insurgency activities of the ISIS terrorist groups in some remote parts of the province, including Achin.

The Taliban group militants are also active in some districts of Nangarhar and often carry out insurgency activities despite operations underway to suppress their activities.

khaama.com/isis-and-taliban-suffer-casualties-in-nangarhar-air-and-ground-operations-04258

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Govt has not accepted Jamiat’s offer to keep Noor as Balkh governor

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

The Government of National Unity has not accepted the offer by Jamiat-e-Islami to keep Ata Mohammad Noor as the governor of Balkh province, it has been reported.

According to the sources privy of the development, keeping Noor as Balkh governor and implementation of the National Unity Government treaty were among the key demands of the Jamiat-e-Islami party in the proposal of the party in a bid to end the ongoing political deadlock.

A member of the leadership council of Jamiat-e-Islami Mohammad Ismail Khan has told RFE’s Afghanistan service that the demands of Jamiat-e-Islami have not been accepted by the government.

He said the proposal included seven demands in total but the government has not accepted the offers and therefore talks have halted between the two sides.

This comes as the chief executive of Jamiat-e-Islami and the ousted Balkh governor Ata Mohammad Noor on Saturday once again warned that he and his supporters will launch widespread civil movements if the ongoing talks between Jamiat-e-Islami and the government fail.

According to the ex-governor of Balkh province, no major breakthrough has been achieved during the ongoing talks so far and only little progress has been made.

He called on his supporters that they will be summoned for the civil movements if the talks end without any outcome and in case the two sides did not reach to any agreement.

The Afghan government announced nearly a month ago that the resignation of Ata Mohammad Noor from the Balkh government has been approved by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.

Noor admitted that he submitted his resignation but he had several demands before stepping down and none of them has been met by the government while his resignation has been approved.

khaama.com/govt-has-not-accepted-jamiats-offer-to-keep-noor-as-balkh-governor-04264

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Active ISIS recruiter arrested by Afghan forces in Nangarhar

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have arrested a suspect who was actively involved in recruiting militants for the ISIS terrorist in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The provincial police commandment officials said Sunday that the suspect was arrested during an operation from the vicinity of Haska Mina district.

The officials further added that the detained individual has been identified as Mohammad Gul and was arrested from Ahmad Khel area of the district.

According to the Nangarhar police officials, the detained individual was also involved in recruiting militants for the terror group in Rodat district.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the ISIS insurgents have not commented regarding the report so far.

This comes as operations are underway in some restive parts of Nangarhar province to suppress the ISIS militants as well as insurgent belonging to the militant groups.

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in East of Afghanistan where fewer incidents have been reported since the fall of the Taliban regime.

However, since the year 2014, reports continue to emerge regarding the growing insurgency activities of the ISIS terrorist groups in some remote parts of the province, including Achin.

khaama.com/active-isis-recruiter-arrested-by-afghan-forces-in-nangarhar-04263

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Haqqani network, not ISIS, behind recent deadly Kabul attacks: MoD

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

Officials in the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan (MoD) have said that the recent attacks causing massive casualties in capital Kabul have been carried out the Haqqani terrorist network.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense General Mohammad Radmanish has told VOA that the intelligence findings reveal Haqqani Network’s hands behind the attacks and not the ISIS terrorist group.

“Based on our intelligence, they [IS] do not have the ability to carry out such attacks in the capital or its suburbs,” he said.

Gen. Radmanish further added “Unfortunately, regional intelligence agencies are trying to portray them as a powerful group. And it is very clear that Haqqani terrorist group is carrying out these activities [attacks] under the name of IS.”

He also ruled out that the ISIS terrorist group has such capabilities to carry out large-scale atacks in capital Kabul and its suburbs, insisting that the group has been hardly suppressed during the ongoing counter-terrorism operations.

This comes as the ISIS terrorist group has long been claiming responsibility for the attacks in capital Kabul which have left scores of people dead or wounded.

The ex-Afghan intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil had also said earlier that the Afghan government is well aware that the Haqqani terrorist network is behind the string of deadly attacks that rocked Kabul city during the recent months.

khaama.com/haqqani-network-not-isis-behind-recent-deadly-kabul-attacks-mod-04262

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The Expanding Role and Size of the Afghan Special Operations Forces

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

Around 90 new graduates from the National Mission Brigade’s advanced special operations training course are expected to immediately employ their skills alongside the Afghan Special Operations Forces as efforts are underway to further expand the role of the Special Operations Forces and their number to 23,300. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt.Rasheen A. Douglas)

According to a new report Maj. Tony Mayne of the NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan,  Special Operations soldiers graduated from the National Mission Brigade’s advanced special operations training course during a ceremony at the Kabul Military Training Center, Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 9, 2018. Lt. Gen. Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, Chief of General Staff for the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces, and Maj. Gen. Bishmillah Waziri, Commander of the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command officiated the ceremony.

The report further adds that 90 graduates will employ their skills immediately, joining their assigned Special Operation Kandaks (Battalions). The NMB Kandaks are capable of deploying anywhere in Afghanistan in response to a crisis or Afghan security priorities.

“It is a proud day for the Afghan,” Waziri said during his remarks to the graduates.

Waziri is responsible for the supervision of the growth of ANASOC. With the announcement of the Afghan Road Map in 2017, the Afghan government decided to invest resources in the force that conducts approximately 70% of all ANA ground offensive operations. The Afghan government directed ANASOC’s move from a division to corps headquarters and authorized the doubling of the Commando force from nearly 11,700 personnel to approximately 23,300.

ANASOC established the NMB in July 2017. The NMB consists of a brigade-level headquarters with a deployable mission command package, including the 6th Special Operations Kandak, KtahKhas, and two Special Forces Kandaks. Liaison personnel from the Ministry of Interior and National Directorate of Security serve in the NMB headquarters to ensure ANA-Afghan National Police coordination.

khaama.com/the-expanding-role-and-size-of-the-afghan-special-operations-forces-04260

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Large-scale operation kicks off against militants in North of Afghanistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Jan 14 2018

The Afghan armed forces launched a large-scale operation against the militant groups in northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan to suppress the militants who are attempting to expand their activities in this province.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan military in the North said the operations, Alburz-22,  were launched earlier today in Dand-e-Shahabuddin area.

A statement by the Shaheen Corps said the Afghan forces are currenly conducting clearance and search operations in Baba Nazar and Khalazayi villages.

In the meantime, the Shaheen Corps said the anti-government armed militants have suffered heavy casualties during the operations in Kohistan district of Faryab.

According to the Shaheen Corps, several militants were killed or wounded during the airstrikes and efforts are underway to obtain further information regarding the casualties of the militants.

The anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban insurgents have not commented regarding the reports so far.

This comes as the Shaheen Corps said Saturday that at least two Taliban insurgents were killed and three others were wounded in the airstrikes in Qaisar district.

Faryab is among the relatively volatile provinces in northern parts of the country where the anti-government armed militants are actively operating in a number of its districts.

Several militants including key members and commanders of the anti-government armed militants were killed in similar operations in this province earlier this month.

khaama.com/large-scale-operation-kicks-off-against-militants-in-north-of-afghanistan-04257

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Europe

UK School Wants Govt to Ban Hijab, Fasting For Children

PTI | Jan 14, 2018

LONDON: One of the UK's leading state-funded schools has called on the government to take a firm stand on children wearing hijab and fasting during Ramzan.

St Stephen's School in Newham, east London, became one of the first schools in the country to ban the hijab for girls under eight in 2016 and intends to ban it for girls under 11 from September 2018.

It also imposed strict rules on Ramzan fasting, a ritual that lasts around 18 hours a day in the summer, on school premises.

The school, with a majority of pupils from Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds and headed by Indian- origin principal NeenaLall wants the UK government to issue clear guidelines on the issue to prevent a backlash from parents.

"The department should step up and take it out of our hands and tell every school this is how it (fasting) should be. The same for the hijab, it should not be our decision. It is unfair to teachers and very unfair to governors. We are unpaid. Why should we get the backlash," ArifQawi, chairman of governors at St Stephen's School, told The Sunday Times'.

He said that despite criticism from a few families, some parents were happy with the school's stance on fasting.

"We did not ban fasting altogether but we encouraged them (children) to fast on holidays, at weekends and not on the school campus. Here we are responsible for their health and safety if they pass out on campus. It is not fair to us," said Qawi, who consulted with Muslim clerics to confirm that fasting should begin from the age of puberty.

Under the UK's Department for Education guidelines, uniform policy is a matter for individual head-teachers and their governing bodies.

"It is a matter for individual schools to decide how to accommodate children observing Ramzan, and to set uniform policies. We issue clear guidance on uniform and to help schools understand their legal duties under the Equality Act," a Department for Education statement said.

In November 2017, St Stephen's School had topped a prestigious primary schools league table published by 'The Sunday Times' annually.

It was listed as the best school in England in the 'Schools Guide 2018' for a strong teaching record.

"Everything we do here comes from our vision that every St Stephen's child blossoms into a confident, respectful, modern British citizen prepared to be an aspirational contributor in the global community," Lall had said at the time.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/uk/uk-school-wants-govt-to-ban-hijab-fasting-for-children/articleshow/62495951.cms

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Trump Supporters Attempt to Arrest London’s Muslim Mayor

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Far-right supporters holding aloft American flags and shouting pro-Donald Trump slogans have attempted to perform a “citizen’s arrest” of London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan.

Khan was delivering a speech at a Fabian Society conference in London on Saturday when protesters disrupted his talk, presstv reported.

The protesters were from a group called the White Pendragons. They were hiding in the audience and started holding up American flags when the mayor started speaking. They called for Khan to be arrested, reportedly referencing his religion, Islam.

Khan’s address had to be suspended briefly as a result of the incident.

On Friday, Khan stressed that US President Donald Trump had “got the message” that he was “not welcome in London” after the President canceled a planned state visit to the UK.

"President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and action the polar opposite of our city's values," Khan stressed in a statement issued on Twitter.

The mayor said the US leader’s visit would "without doubt have been met with mass peaceful protests." He added that British Prime Minister Theresa May made a mistake by inviting him on a state visit.

Trump was expected to make his first trip to the UK since entering the White House and had originally been scheduled for a full State Visit including a Royal banquet at Buckingham Palace but this was later downgraded to a “stripped-down” trip that did not involve getting the full “red-carpet” treatment from the Queen Elizabeth II.

One senior source suggested to the Daily Mail that Trump had cancelled the trip because he was unhappy about the arrangements and the scale of the visit.

Trump had previously expressed concern about the likelihood of mass protests in a potential trip. Last year he told May that he did not want to go ahead with a visit until the British public supported it.

The intention was to repeat the success of Barack Obama’s visit to Britain in 2011, but critics pointed out the convention was to wait for a President’s second term in office before being granted the honor.

The prospect of mass protests were raised last month after the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn urged his followers to turn out in force if Trump visited the UK to send him a “clear message.”

More than a million people signed a petition last year calling for the state visit to be cancelled.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024001151

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Austria's Muslims fear being cast as threat to security

byMersihaGadzo

28 minutes ago

Islam was mentioned a total of 21 times in the Austrian coalition's new governmental programme, titled "Together. For our Austria".

In terms of domestic security, the programme focused on "political Islam" and "Islamist extremism".

Yet, despite a dramatic increase in the number of right-wing attacks in recent years in Austria, there was no mention of right-wing extremism or fascism in the document published in late December by chancellor-elect Sebastian Kurz's centre-right People's Party (OVP) and the far-right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPO).

According to Austria's domestic intelligence service (BVT), authorities pressed charges in about 1,690 cases related to right-wing extremism in 2015 - the highest number in a single year and an increase from 1,200 in 2014.

Austria is the only country in western Europe with a far-right government since Kurz won Austria's national elections last October. The OVP will govern the country for the next five years in coalition with the FPO, a party founded by former Nazis, currently led by Heinz-Christian Strache.

The coalition government's rhetoric has alarmed some Austrian Muslims who fear they have been cast as a threat to society.

Professor Farid Hafez, a fellow at Georgetown University's Bridge Initiative, said the government's focus on Islam in their programme was unprecedented "in the history of the second republic of Austria".

"In itself, it's something very new," Hafez told Al Jazeera. "I think what we'll see in the next five years is something that we have never seen before in Austria."

'Combating political Islam'

Many Austrians were concerned that while "political Islam" was often mentioned, it was not clearly defined and in reality, it was common Austrian Muslims that were being targeted in the government's programme.

Under the heading of "Combating political Islam", the coalition government called for "closer monitoring" of Islamic preschools and Islamic private schools and for their closure "where legal requirements are not met".

One of their aims was to prevent "foreign influence, particularly in the field of education" and to implement a "ban on overseas funding". However, the prohibition applied only to Muslims; no other religious community was mentioned in the report.

The government's rhetoric has alarmed some Austrian Muslims  [File: Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images]

"When you bring [political Islam] into the discussion you can mean anything or nothing by it; that's exactly the danger of it. Possibly - and that's my greatest fear - any political opposition and NGOs might be targeted in the future by something called political Islam," Hafez said.

"If you look at the programme in detail, the way they were framing political Islam was very much in a way where you could potentially target many different groups."

Prevention and de-radicalisation measures in the report also focused solely on Muslims; dangers posed by other groups were ignored.

Islam is a religion that propagates peace and is in no way a danger for any state or society. Unfortunately, when we look at the government programme, Islam is being put into that very corner.

IBRAHIM OLGUN, PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC COMMUNITY IN AUSTRIA

Their manifesto also called for an authorised German translation of the Quran to be used and for Muslims to distance themselves from certain passages of the Quran.

"[Kruz's Freedom Party] has shifted their focus completely and they don't see Muslims anymore as partners in Austrian society, but rather as a threat to Austrian society," Hafez explained.

Ibrahim Olgun, president of the Islamic Community in Austria, agreed that Islam was wrongly linked with "political Islam".

"We absolutely disagree with this, since the religion of Islam is not a political tool and should be treated equally with the dominant religions in Austria," Olgun said. "Islam is a religion that propagates peace and is in no way a danger for any state or society."

"Unfortunately, when we look at the government programme, Islam is being put into that very corner."

The Austrian government did not respond to Al Jazeera for comment.

Growing religious intolerance

Verbal and physical abuse of Muslims in Austria has risen, according to Dokustelle, an organisation that documents cases of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism. Between 2015 and 2016 - the most recent year that statistics are available - Islamophobic attacks increased by 62 percent to 253 incidents.

In a recent example marking the start of the new year, AselTamga, "the first Viennese baby" born in 2018, made international headlines after she was subject to a wave of Islamophobic and racist comments.

Who is Sebastian Kurz?

The baby was featured on the newspaper Heute's Facebook page, photographed in the arms of her headscarf-wearing mother. The post was quickly bombarded with comments such as: "Deport the scum immediately" and "I'm hoping for a crib death".

The comments escalated to such an extent that Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen intervened, writing on Facebook: "Confidence and cohesion are greater than hatred and incitement. Welcome, dear Asel!"

Protection of religious minorities are mentioned in the government programme, but only in regards to battling the "persecution of religious minorities - especially Christian minorities" who should be protected against "extremist religious ideologies (e.g. political Islam)".

Meanwhile, educated Austrian Muslim women fear that a ban on the veil, or hijab, might ensue after Austria's newly-appointed Education Minister Heinz Fassman recently told a local paper that "teachers should not wear a headscarf".

"This will also affect other sectors and have a negative impact on the employment situation which is precarious for visible Muslim women already," said Dudu Kucukgol, a PhD student and researcher on sexism, racism and Islamophobia.

"Kurz was welcomed by the Muslim community when he started as state secretary in 2011. He made positive statements and really seemed to bring a shift in paradigm.

"He was against headscarf debates, he strongly insisted that Muslims are a positive part of the Austrian society. However, after a few years his language and politics changed."

HuseinVeladzic, an imam of a mosque in the Austrian city of Linz, however, believes that the Islamophobic discourse may produce an opposite effect in some aspects.

He has noticed that as the far right becomes more prevalent, more non-Muslim Austrians have been visiting his mosque to learn about Islam.

"The attacks [against Islam and Muslims] are heavy, of course. But it also spurs an interest for Islam. People start asking themselves, 'What is [Islam]? Is it really like this?' People are informing themselves," Veladzic said.

aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/austria-muslims-fear-cast-threat-security-180114064057435.html

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Anti-Islamic State coalition: How countries other than US are fighting the rebel group in Iraq, Syria

 

The international coalition fighting the Islamic State group was formed in late 2014 and has since conducted thousands of bombing missions while also helping train local forces on the ground.

Though it is made up of 74 nations and organisations, the coalition is a US-led and dominated enterprise.

The United States is by far the largest contributor to the coalition, and has conducted the bulk of the more than 25,000 strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Here is a look at what some of the other larger countries in the alliance are doing as the coalition focuses on stabilisation efforts to prevent a return of Islamic State.

France

The French military has just pulled two of the 12 Rafale fighters it had operating in the region, but for now is keeping the rest in theater.

Officials say they will be used for intelligence gathering and surveillance.

The French are also training Iraqi special forces and working to assist internally displaced people and refugees.

Britain

Royal Air Force aircraft have flown more than 10,400 missions and carried out over 1,700 strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

Over 600 British soldiers are on the ground in Iraq helping to train security forces.

Canada

A group of 20 Canadian army engineers has started training the Iraqi security forces in dealing with booby traps and mines, and the Canadians have a special operations contingent working in Iraq.

The Royal Canadian Air Force also has two CC-130J Hercules transport aircraft to Iraq and has an air tanker in the region.

Canada is sending a contingent of Royal Canadian Mounted Police to help train local cops in Iraq.

Australia

In December, the Royal Australian Air Force announced it was bringing home six hornet jets after a three-year mission.

While the hornets are returning, a Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft and a refueling plane will continue to support coalition operations and around 380 personnel will stay to train Iraqi forces.

Italy

Italy has sent 1,400 soldiers to Iraq, 500 of them deployed to protect the Mosul dam.

With work at the dam wrapping up, these troops are likely to be replaced by trainers to help local police forces.

Italy's carabinieri military police force has already rotated scores of trainers into Iraq and has instructed about 30,000 Iraqi police officers.

shafaaq.com/en/En_NewsReader/eaf231ca-8e5b-4b88-9eff-d865e4409c25

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Arab World

Saudi Prince Alwaleed in settlement talks with government: Sources

Reuters | Updated: Jan 14, 2018

DUBAI/JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, detained for over two months in an anti-corruption crackdown, is negotiating a possible settlement with authorities but so far has not agreed on terms, a senior Saudi official said.

Prince Alwaleed, whose net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at $17 billion, is chairman and owner of international investment firm Kingdom Holding, and one of the country's most prominent businessmen.

"He offered a certain figure but it doesn't meet the figure required from him, and until today the attorney-general hasn't approved it," the official said on condition of anonymity under government briefing rules.

A second source familiar with Prince Alwaleed's case told Reuters on Saturday that he had offered to make a "donation" to the Saudi government, which would avoid any admission of wrongdoing, and to do so from assets of his own choosing. But the government refused those terms, the source said.

Since early November Prince Alwaleed has been held, with dozens of other members of Saudi Arabia's political and business elite detained in the crackdown, in Riyadh's opulent Ritz Carlton hotel as authorities seek to reach settlements with the detainees.

Saudi officials say they aim to claw back some $100 billion of funds that rightfully belong to the state. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who launched the crackdown, has indicated he wants to close existing cases quickly and expects most suspects to cut a deal.

The allegations against Prince Alwaleed include money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, a Saudi official told Reuters soon after his detention. Neither he nor his company has commented publicly on the charges.

Kingdom Holding, which has said it is continuing to operate normally, did not respond to requests for comment when asked about any settlement talks.

Construction giant Saudi Binladin Group said on Saturday that some of its shareholders might transfer part of their holdings to the state in a settlement with authorities. Chairman Bakr Bin Laden and several family members were detained in the crackdown.

In late November, senior Saudi Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, was freed after reaching a settlement with authorities that involved paying more than $1 billion, according to a Saudi official.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/saudi-prince-alwaleed-in-settlement-talks-with-government-sources/articleshow/62495643.cms

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More Terrorist Commanders Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Eastern Damascus

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Two notorious commanders of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorist group were killed in the Syrian Army attacks in Eastern Ghouta, field sources confirmed on Sunday.

The sources said that the army soldiers, backed by artillery and missile units, stormed the strongholds of the terrorists in Harasta region in Eastern Damascus and managed to kill a number of militants, including two field commanders.

The sources said that Abu Nader al-As, a field commander of the terrorists, was killed in a tough battle with the army men in the Vehicles Management Center near the Police Hospital.

Abu Ala'aHendeseh, a notorious commander of Faylaq al-Rahman who was in charge of arming suicide vehicles and armoring the group's military vehicles, was also killed in the army attacks in Eastern Ghouta, the sources added.

They further said that the army units repelled terrorists' offensive to recapture lost lands near Hefz al-Nezam Battalion Base. 

Relevant reports said on Sunday that the army men, backed up by artillery units and Air Force, battled with terrorists near the Vehicles Management Center in the town of Harasta in Eastern Ghouta and captured al-Hajaz garages.

Also, the army's missile units pounded the supply lines and positions of terrorists in Harasta, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024000462

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Egypt warns against Muslim Brotherhood attempts to damage relations with Kuwait

January 14, 2018

In response to Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated media reports that have tried to undermine the relationship between Egypt and Kuwait, Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Egypt deeply appreciates its strong relations with the state and people of Kuwait in the face of various challenges the countries are facing.

Earlier this month, the MB-affiliated satellite channel Mekameleen TV aired an audio recording allegedly of a telephone call between an intelligence officer and TV host AzmiMegahed, during which the latter receives instructions to attack Kuwait. The call also included insults against people from the Gulf.

Abu Zeid warned against the danger of paying attention to attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to alienate and damage Egypt’s relations with its Arab brothers.

He added that the policy of the Foreign Ministry is to not comment on reports like these which only reflect the desperation of those who issue them.

However, the Foreign Ministry said it would like to reiterate its position on the State of Kuwait and its brothers from the Gulf countries known for its support to Egypt and respect for the will of its people.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

egyptindependent.com/egypt-warns-muslim-brotherhood-attempts-damage-relations-kuwait/

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Islamic Affairs Ministry to participate in Al-Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem

 

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance will participate in Al-Azhar International Conference in Support of Jerusalem (Al-Quds) to be organized by Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt on January 17-18, 2018.

The two-day conference will discuss three themes including the Arab identity of Al-Quds and its mission, restoring awareness to the issue of A-Quds and the international responsibility towards Al-Quds.

alriyadhdaily.com/article/576db9b9c11e4959b7af0d00d7c8b3d6

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Iraqi PM Abadi to seek re-election in May vote

Reuters | Jan 14, 2018

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Sunday his candidacy for the May 12 parliamentary elections to choose a prime minister.

Abadi, a Shi'ite Muslim who led the country in the four-year war against Islamic State, said he will seek to form a cross-sectarian block called ''the victory alliance'' to contest the parliamentary elections, with candidates from other communities.

Abadi took over the premiership in 2014 from Nuri al-Maliki, a close ally of Iran widely criticised by Iraqi politicians for the army's collapse as Islamic State militants swept through a third of Iraq.

Maliki, who heads the Shi'ite Dawa party, announced on Saturday he will be running in the elections.

Abadi is a Dawa member but he didn't secure Maliki's endorsement for his candidacy. Maliki said on Saturday Dawa supporters will be free to choose between his alliance, called ''state of law'', and Abadi's ''victory alliance.''

Abadi is credited for quickly rebuilding the army and defeating Islamic State in its main Iraqi stronghold, Mosul, last July, with strong assistance from a U.S.-led coalition.

Maliki holds the ceremonial title of vice-president. He remains a powerful political figure as head of the Dawa and the largest political block in the current parliament.

The prime minister's office is reserved for Iraq's majority Shi'ite Arab community under a power-sharing system set up after the 2003 U.S-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Arab.

The largely ceremonial office of president is reserved for a Kurdish member of parliament. The speaker of parliament is drawn from Sunni Arab MPs.

The parliament is yet to approve the May 12 date for the elections.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/iraqi-pm-abadi-to-seek-re-election-in-may-vote/articleshow/62493923.cms

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Al-Nusra Continues Retreating from More Regions in Southwestern Aleppo

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) continued to pull forces back from five more regions under the heavy attacks of the Syrian Army troops on Sunday.

The army men clashed with Al-Nusra in Southwestern Aleppo and captured al-Zera'a, Borj al-Raman, Hafrah al-Hass, Abu Qata and JubbJasim regions.

A military source said that the terrorists will be besieged in a region as large as 1,200 sq-km among the provinces of Hama, Aleppo and Idlib as soon as the army men, operating in Southwestern Aleppo, manage to reach their comrades South of Abu al-Dhohour airbase in Idlib province.

Field sources confirmed on Saturday that the army men in the last round of clashes with Al-Nusra captured the villages of al-Atshanah, al-Salehiyeh, Beit al-Hamadat, al-Jufrah, Wadi al-Hob and Tal al-Sabiyeh near the town of al-Safireh.

The sources said that the army has thus far imposed control over 60 villages and towns following its advances in Southwestern Aleppo in the last four days.

The sources said that the army has started fresh operations South of al-Safireh to access the key Abu al-Dhohour airbase, capturing 26 villages.

The sources further said that the terrorist groups have launched more attacks on the army to slow down their rapid advances and prevent them from laying siege on the militants trapped in a large region expanded from Southern and Southwestern Aleppo up to SoutheasternIdlib.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024000331

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Aleppo: Turkish Army, Militants Launch Heavy Attacks on Kurds in Afrin

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish army forces and affiliated militants launched a massive offensive against the Kurds in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo.

The Kurdish-language Hawar News reported on Saturday that forces affiliated to the Turkish army targeted the hills near the two villages of Jalameh in Jandariseh region and Iska in Shirawa region with artillery and missile fire.

Meantime, the Turkish army conducted a fierce attack on Shieh region and the village of DeirBaloit in Jandariseh region of Afrin from a checkpoint in Hatay province.

Turkish President RecepTayyip said on Saturday that Turkey’s military would crush Kurdish forces that control the neighboring region of Afrin.

“If the terrorists in Afrin don’t surrender we will tear them down,” Erdogan told a congress of his ruling AK Party.

“In Manbij, if they break the promises, we will take the matter in our own hands until there are no terrorists left. They will see what we’ll do in about a week,” Erdogan added.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961023001575

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Senior MP: No Need to US Presence in Iraq

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior Iraqi legislator underlined opposition to the presence of the US military men in his country to fight against the terrorist groups.

"The (US-led) international coalition against the ISIL has not sustained any loss in Iraq despite what it claims," member of the Iraqi parliament's National Security and Defense Commission Nayef al-Shamri said on Saturday.

He noted victory against the ISIL was the result of the Iraqi nation's sacrifices, adding that there is no need for the US military troops in Iraq.

His remarks came after Iraq's Kata'ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Battalions) group warned the US military forces last month to leave the Arab country voluntarily or wait for dire consequences.

Kata'ib Hezbollah was quoted by al-Aba news channel as saying in a statement that Washington is attempting to deploy its military forces in Iraq again under false pretexts.

It cautioned the Americans not to think of returning to Iraq or they will be forced to leave the country.

The statement also called on the Iraqi parliament to adopt a firm position against the presence of US forces in Iraq.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961023001554

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Syria: Advanced Air Defense Systems Make Airspace Unsafe for Israeli Fighter Jets

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Air Defense units have been equipped with Buk-M2A radar-guided surface-to-air missile (SAM) anti-aircraft system, securing the country's airspace against Israeli airstrikes, a Russian media outlet reported on Saturday.

According to the Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, Sputnik, the Buk-M2A system is capable of tracking different missile and planes, targeting fighter jets flying at 25 km altitude and 45 km in distance.

In the meantime, military experts said that the Israeli Air Force's repeated violations of Syria's airspace are aimed at forcing the Syrian air defense units to fire all the stockpile of Buk-M2A missiles, but the Damascus is using the system only for emergency cases.

The experts said the modern air defense unit has made Israeli pilots fee unsafe and insecure, so they can only use the Lebanese airspace to target Syria.

Well-informed sources said in early Decembers that the Syrian army's air defense units fired at least four missiles at an Israeli fighter jet after the Tel Aviv forces' missiles hit a region in Western Damascus, adding that the Damascus air defense could intercept some of the incoming missiles.

The sources said that the Syrian military's anti-aircraft missiles were fired from the Mezzeh Airbase in rural Damascus in the early hours of Saturday.

The sources added that an Israeli fighter jet was flying at a low altitude over Lebanon’s Baalbek region near Syria's border when the Syrian missiles were launched.

They added that a number of Israeli missiles were fired toward the 1st Division ammo depot in the Western countryside of Damascus, adding that the Syrian Air Defense managed to intercept some of the missiles before hitting their designated targets.

However, some of the missiles hit their intended target, causing loud explosions near the towns of Kesweh and Sahnaya, the sources further added.    

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961023001291

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Kurdish Source Discloses SDF's Plan to Capture Idlib in Northwestern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are planning to storm militant groups in Northwestern Syria to capture Idlib province, a Kurdish official disclosed on Sunday.

Head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Democratic Society Movement Saleh Moslem pointed to a plan of the US-led Coalition Forces and their local allies to move Idlib province, and said that the SDF has started strenuous efforts to advance towards Idlib.

The SDF announced in October that it was planning to have a strong presence in Idlib province amid the Turkish Army troops' preparedness to cross the border into the Northwestern province.

Democratic Brigade of the North affiliated to the SDF announced in a statement on facebook that it was planning to form the Idlib Military Council.

The statement further said that it would announce formally the establishment of the Idlib Military Council after affiliation of several battalions to the Democratic Brigade of the North in Idlib province.

The SDF had announced in May that they will move towards Idlib after taking control over Raqqa city.

In the meantime, the SDF used to form military council, including Manbij Military Council or DeirEzzur Military Council, before resumption of any operations out of the regions under their control.  

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024001194

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Saudi Binladin Group denies govt takeover after chief detained

AFPJanuary 13, 2018

Saudi construction giant Binladin Group denied on Saturday any state takeover after its chairman was detained, but said some shares may have been transferred to the government.

The firm, which has been forced to lay off tens of thousands of workers due to financial problems, said it remained a private shareholding company and was undergoing restructuring.

International media this week reported Saudi Arabia's government had taken over the firm after chairman Bakr bin Laden was detained. The Saudi Binladin Group “would like to confirm that it remains a private sector company owned by its shareholders”, it said in a statement.

But some company shares may have been transferred to the government in a settlement of “outstanding dues”, it added, without providing any details on the size of any such shares.

“Based on information available to the management, some of the shareholders may have agreed (to) a settlement that involves transferring some SBG shares to the government of Saudi Arabia against outstanding dues,” it said.

The group's chairman was among dozens of high-profile political and business figures arrested two months ago in a crackdown on corruption ordered by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Saudi authorities said they were negotiating financial settlements with those detained that could earn state coffers about $100 billion.

Some of those jailed at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh have been released after agreeing to a settlement with the government. But the chairman is among several other suspects who are still in detention. These also include Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

Established in 1931, the Binladin Group is one of the most powerful companies in the oil-rich kingdom. It belongs to the family of the late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed in 2011. The firm has encountered serious difficulties in the past few years. It laid off around 77,000 foreign workers in 2016, after the government delayed payments due to a slump in oil revenues.

It also faced unprecedented scrutiny after one of its cranes working on a major expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam's holiest site, collapsed in 2015, killing at least 107 people.

The firm had been working for years on the multi-billion-dollar project to accommodate the increasing numbers of Muslim pilgrims to the site. A Saudi court in October cleared the company of responsibility for the accident.

On Saturday, the group said that its contracted work with the government would continue, especially at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and another mosque in the holy city of Madina.

It also said it had formed a committee to oversee its restructuring towards the firm “being profitable again”.

Saudi Arabia has posted large budget deficits in the past four fiscal years and is projected to remain in the red until 2023 due to low oil prices. The drop in oil revenues also led to the demise of Saudi Oger, a once-mighty construction firm linked to Lebanon's prime ministerSaad Hariri.

dawn.com/news/1382733/saudi-binladin-group-denies-govt-takeover-after-chief-detained

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Southeast Asia

Myanmar, Bangladesh meet amid doubts about Rohingya repatriation plan

Reuters | Jan 14, 2018

DHAKA/YANGON: Hamid Hussain, a 71-year-old Rohingya Muslim farmer, first fled Myanmar for Bangladesh in 1992. He went home the next year under a repatriation deal between the two neighbours, only to repeat the journey last September when violence flared once more.

Officials from Myanmar and Bangladesh meet on Monday to discuss how to implement another deal, signed on Nov. 23, on the return of more than 650,000 Rohingya who have escaped an army crackdown since late August. Hussain is one of many who say they fear this settlement may be no more permanent than the last.

"Bangladesh authorities had assured us that Myanmar would give us back our rights, that we would be able to live peacefully," said Hussain, who now lives in a makeshift refugee camp in southeast Bangladesh.

"We went back but nothing changed. I will go back again only if our rights and safety are guaranteed - forever."

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has for years denied Rohingya citizenship, freedom of movement and access to many basic services such as healthcare and education. They are considered illegal immigrants from mainly Muslim Bangladesh.

The authorities have said returnees could apply for citizenship if they can show their forebears have lived in Myanmar. But the latest deal - like the one in 1992 - does not guarantee citizenship and it is unclear how many would qualify.

Monday's meeting in Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw will be the first for a joint working group set up to hammer out the details of the November repatriation agreement. The group is made up of civil servants from both countries.

Two senior Bangladesh officials who are involved in the talks acknowledged that much was left to be resolved and it was unclear when the first refugees could actually return. One of the key issues to be worked out was how the process for jointly verifying the identities of returnees would work, they said.

"Any return is chaotic and complex," said ShahidulHaque, Bangladesh's top foreign ministry official who will lead Dhaka's 14-member team in the talks. "The challenge is to create an environment conducive for their return."

Myanmar government spokesman ZawHtay said returnees would be able to apply for citizenship "after they pass the verification process".

ZawHtay added that Myanmar had proposed that a group of 500 Hindus who fled to Bangladesh and have already agreed to be repatriated, alongside 500 Muslims, could form the first batch of returnees.

"The first repatriation is important - we can learn from the experiences, good or bad," he said.

MYANMAR SETS UP CAMPS

Bangladesh officials said they would begin the process this month by sharing with Myanmar authorities a list of 100,000 Rohingya, picked at random from among registered refugees.

Haque said Myanmar officials would vet the names against their records of residents before the August exodus, and those approved would then be asked if they wanted to go back.

Refugees without documents would be asked to identify streets, villages and other landmarks near their former homes as proof of their right to return, said Haque.

A Myanmar agency set up to oversee repatriation said in a statement on Thursday that two temporary "repatriation and assessment camps" and one other site to accommodate returnees had been set up. MyintKyaing, permanent secretary at Myanmar's Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, told Reuters earlier this month Myanmar would be ready to begin processing least 150 people a day through each of the two camps by Jan. 23.

As well as checking their credentials as residents of Myanmar, he said, authorities would check returnees against lists of suspected "terrorists".

MyintKyaing declined to comment on how long the repatriation would take but conceded the process after the 1992 agreement had taken more than 10 years.

United Nations agencies working in the camps clustered around Cox's Bazar, in southeastern Bangladesh, have voiced scepticism about the resettlement plans.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration said their offers to help with the process have not been taken up by the two countries.

"Further measures are needed to ensure safe, voluntary and sustainable repatriation of refugees to their places of origin and to address the underlying root causes of the crisis," said Caroline Gluck, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR in Cox's Bazar.

The UNHCR says refugees it has surveyed want guarantees that international agencies will be involved in overseeing the process and more information about the security situation in their home areas.

WHO WILL GO? WHO WILL PAY?

While many Rohingya say they want to go back to Myanmar, most of the more than a dozen who spoke to Reuters said they were scared to do so now.

"I am not going back. No one's going back," said Hafizulla, a 37-year-old Rohingya man. "We are scared to go back without any U.N. intervention. They can accuse us later, they can arrest us. They may accuse us of helping the militants."

The military offensive the refugees fled, which was prompted by Rohingya insurgent attacks on police and army posts, has been described by the United States and UN as ethnic cleansing. Myanmar rejects that, saying troops did not target civilians.

"You can have all the agreements in the world, and set up all the reception centres and everything, but it won't make a difference unless the conditions in Myanmar are such that people feel confident that they can go back and live in peace, and have equal rights," said a Western diplomat in Dhaka.

The second Bangladesh official, Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner Mohammed AbulKalam, said the "Rohingyas' reluctance to go back" was an issue that needed to be addressed.

He said the repatriation process would cost "millions of dollars" but funding details had not yet been agreed and were not expected to be discussed at Monday's meeting.

Japan, one of Myanmar's biggest aid donors, said on Friday it was giving an emergency grant of around $3 million to help with the return of the Rohingya.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/myanmar-bangladesh-meet-amid-doubts-about-rohingya-repatriation-plan/articleshow/62496040.cms

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China says Iran nuclear deal not derailed, pledges constructive role

Reuters | Jan 13, 2018

SHANGHAI: China on Saturday pledged to continue playing a constructive role in maintaining and implementing the Iran nuclear deal, after U.S. President Donald Trump set an ultimatum to fix "disastrous flaws" in a deal.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif by phone that implementation of the deal had not been "derailed" but would face "some new complicating factors", the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Continuing to implement the nuclear deal was the responsibility of all parties concerned and the common wish of the international community, Wang was quoted as saying during the call, which took place on a visit to Rwanda.

The deal would help uphold the international non-proliferation regime, maintain regional peace and stability and solve "other hot issues" around the world, he said.

He urged Iran to remain calm and continue to fulfill its obligations under the deal.

On Friday, Trump agreed to waive sanctions against Iran that were lifted as part of the international deal but said it would be the last time unless conditions were met to fix what he called "significant flaws" in the deal.

His ultimatum puts pressure on Europeans - key backers and parties to the 2015 international agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program - to satisfy Trump, who wants the pact strengthened with a separate agreement within 120 days.

Zarif responded on Twitter that the deal was not renegotiable and that Trump's stance "amounts to desperate attempts to undermine a solid multilateral agreement".

While Trump approved the sanctions waiver, the Treasury Department announced new, targeted sanctions against 14 entities and people, including the head of Iran's judiciary, SadeqAmoliLarijani, a close ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran said on Saturday it would retaliate against the new sanctions, although it did not specify how.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-says-iran-nuclear-deal-not-derailed-pledges-constructive-role/articleshow/62491056.cms

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Africa

Nigerian Shia Cleric Makes First Public Appearance since Detention in 2015

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, rumored to have died in detention, made his first public appearance since he was illegally detained by security forces in 2015.

Zakzaky, who is in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), told reporters in the capital Abuja on Saturday that he was alive and well, presstv reported.

He also thanked Nigerians for their prayers as well as the DSS for allowing him access to his doctors.

“For the first time at least the security (officers) have allowed me to see my own doctors,” he said, according to footage of the exchange, adding that “I am getting better.”

“So it was my own doctors who examined me. Before I used to be examined by security doctors, this time I did not agree, and my own doctors came to examine me,” he stressed.

It was unclear under what circumstances Zakzaky gave the interview.

The Nigerian army attacked two religious centers of the country's Shiite community in December 2015, killing hundreds of defenseless civilians there, while a few hours later, the military arrested Sheikh Zakzaky after raiding his house and killing three of his sons, assistants and followers.

Sheikh Zakzaky lost his left eye sight in a raid, while, during the raid, Zakzaky’s wife sustained serious wounds too. Zakzaky, his wife, and a large number of the cleric’s followers have since been in custody.

Political activists said later the Nigerian army forces buried and set fire on the corpses of those Shiite Muslims who had been killed during the recent raids in Zaria region.

Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have also demanded setting up of a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the killings of their colleagues in Zaria, while, according to a report, the Army discriminately shot dead as many as 347 Muslims while swooping on the followers of the country’s leading Shiite cleric.

Despite the ruling of a Federal High Court, which ordered his unconditional release in 2016, the Nigerian government has refused to set him free.

In early January, a UK-based NGO known as the Islamic Human Rights Commission, voiced concern over the health condition of the detained Muslim cleric.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13961024000496

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/delhi’s-teen-murti-chowk-renamed-after-israeli-city-haifa/d/113926


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