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Islamic World News ( 28 Dec 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Don’t Talk about Islam; You’re Not an Authority, Perkasa Tells G25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Outspoken Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has slammed ministers, who instead of proposing viable suggestions to enhance the quality of people’s lives, do the opposite and “make it harder for the rakyat” instead.

 

 

Southeast Asia

Don’t Talk about Islam; You’re Not an Authority, Perkasa Tells G25

Perlis Mufti Slams Ministers Who ‘Make It Harder’ For Rakyat

Muslim consumer group in bid to wash hands of Kota Raya fracas

Muslims should be wary of prejudiced views

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Africa

Boko Haram Terrorist Attacks in Northeast Nigeria Kill 80

More suicide attacks rock NE Nigeria

Algeria army kills 109 'terrorists' in 2015

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Europe

Taliban Gain Putin’s Help at ‘Secret Meeting’

Germany Recruits 8,500 Teachers for Child Refugees

German govt urged to act against far-right extremists

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Arab World

ISIS Militants Are Israeli Soldiers: Saudi Grand Mufti

Syrian Planes Bomb, Drop "Surrender Now" Leaflets for Militants in Dara'a

Syrian َArmy Continues Capturing More Key Regions in Aleppo

Iraqi Forces Raise Flag above Govt Complex in Ramadi

Militants, civilians evacuated from three Syrian towns

Rare evacuation of Syria towns as blasts hit Homs

Syrian Army Wins Back Strategic Mountain near Maheen Town

Syria: New Army Gains Reported in Sheikh Maskeen

Evacuation of three Syrian towns begins

Strike that killed Syrian rebel chief ‘complicates peace talks push’

ISIL Military Convoy, Oil Tankers Destroyed in Syria's Sweida Province

ISIL's Notorious Abu Omar Al-Shishani Arrested in Iraq

450 evacuated from besieged Syrian areas

Egypt arrests 4 leaders of anti-Mubarak movement

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South Asia

Daesh, Lashkar-e-Islam Militants Bombed In Nangarhar, At Least 38 Killed

Two Dead in Bangladesh Militant Hideout Blast

RSF round-up shows 110 journalists killed in 2015

NPC would focus on infrastructure projects in next financial year

Hundreds protest at Gulshan against Khaleda

Terror suspects off the hook

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Pakistan

Scuffle Breaks Out Between Sherani, Ashrafi during Council for Islamic Ideology Meeting

Khyber Air Strikes: At Least Four Suspected Militants Killed

Three Suspected Militants Killed In Balochistan's Kech District

ISIS cell busted in Sialkot, claim officials

Govt committed to eliminating terror, outages

80% of NAP untouched: Tahirul Qadri

Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan rejects Bangladesh govt stance

Anti-talks Taliban to face joint action

After initial refusal, Pakistan allows entry to over 100 deported by Saudi Arabia

Prosthetic limbs put Pakistani terror survivors together again

Fear, retribution from terrorists reduced: COAS

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Mideast

Kuwait to Contribute Military Forces to Deadly War on Yemen to fight alongside Saudi Arabia

Turkey Training Daesh on Its Soil: Captured Militant

Most of Iran’s uranium shipped to Russia, says diplomat

Turkey sees no normalisation of Israel ties

Yemeni Forces Destroy 9th Saudi Warship

Iraqis must unite to combat extremism: Iran FM

Top Iran commander salutes Ramadi liberation

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India

Ahmadiyyas Find Solace, Shelter in Founder’s Gurdaspur Village

After Sangeet Som, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj Claims Islamic State Threat

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North America

10 Challenges Trudeau's Liberal Government Will Face In 2016

Islamic Militants Are the World’s Leading Killers of Journalists

Obama ignored warnings about Assad ouster

Aylan Kurdi’s relatives arrive in Canada to rebuild their lives

US hails recapture of Iraq's Ramadi

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Southeast Asia

 

Don’t Talk about Islam; You’re Not an Authority, Perkasa Tells G25

BY KAMLES KUMAR

December 29, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 ― The G25 pro-moderation group should not comment on Islamic issues when they are not well-versed on the subject, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said today.

He added that only those who have considerable religious knowledge and authority should have the right to speak on Islamic matters to prevent Muslims from being led astray.

“My view on G25 is that issues like Shariah Islam needs people with knowledge, have proper background and authority about Islam.

“If G25 people like Noor Farida speaks about this it will become an issue because she does not come from a religious education background,” Ibrahim said referring to G25 president Noor Farida Ariffin.

Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who was also present at the function said he was open to differing views on Islam brought by different groups.

“I am open, if other people bring differing views we will see how it goes,” he told reporters during the Perkasa function.

But Ibrahim jumped in and said Perkasa too was open towards differing views on Islam, but stressed it must be done with proper backing of knowledge and facts.

“We Muslims were thought to be careful in matters that can deviate us. We are open but we need the right people to speak about this. Because it can be interpreted differently. We have to refer these issues to the mufti or ask the National Fatwa Council as well as Islamic leaders,” he explained.

G25 has received backlash from some conservative Muslim groups and personalities over its call to review unconstitutional state Shariah enactments and legislation that violate personal privacy, such as Shariah laws that prohibit khalwat (close proximity), with Noor Farida even being investigated for sedition over the group’s statement.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/dont-talk-about-islam-youre-not-an-authority-perkasa-tells-g25

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Perlis Mufti slams ministers who ‘make it harder’ for rakyat

December 28, 2015

PETALING JAYA: Outspoken Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has slammed ministers, who instead of proposing viable suggestions to enhance the quality of people’s lives, do the opposite and “make it harder for the rakyat” instead.

In his latest Facebook posting, Dr Mohd Asri, better known as Dr Maza, said: “A minister is supposed to find solutions for the rakyat, not give suggestions which burden the people further. A minister should be sane, smart and sharp in solving the problems faced by the people and the country.”

He also questioned what other qualities a minister was required to have to deserve such a high salary if possessing a fair degree of intelligence was not one of them.

“If a sharp and brilliant mind is not necessary to be a minister, then what other qualities does the position require to be deserving of a high salary and perks?” he wrote.

Although Dr Mohd Asri did not name names, he could very well have been referring to Ahmad Maslan, the deputy minister of International Trade and Industry, who is currently taking a beating from all sides for his suggestion that Malaysians struggling to make ends meet in the face of escalating costs take on a second job to supplement their incomes.

Critics have come down hard on him, with lawyer and social activist Art Harun saying that maybe the people should just eat kangkung to save costs while the MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar, said that since he wasn’t feeling the pinch himself, it was easy to issue orders. MP for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua also mocked the government’s “People first” slogan and suggested the people sell nasi lemak over the weekends and drive Uber cars in the evenings in addition to their permanent jobs.

In defending his remark, Ahmad Maslan explained that his suggestion of taking on a second job was made in the context of an online business or e-commerce. He suggested conducting an online business at night as long as it did not affect the productivity of their day jobs.

In a series of Twitter postings, he explained that he himself held down three jobs – as member of parliament, a deputy minister and Umno information chief.

He also said many people were already working two jobs to supplement their income in a halal manner.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/28/perlis-mufti-slams-ministers-who-make-it-harder-for-rakyat/

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Muslim consumer group in bid to wash hands of Kota Raya fracas

BY MAYURI MEI LIN

December 29, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 — Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) today sought to deny any part in the Kota Raya brawl that stemmed from allegations of cheating, insisting it was only at the shopping mall to represent consumers defrauded by errant traders.

PPIM chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan stressed that his group did not spark the brawl that broke out along racial lines and left two people hurt, and denied that their visit to Kota Raya to extract refunds from a mobile phone store constituted a “raid”.

"We don't want this to become a race issue. This has nothing to do with race because we helped the Chinese, the Indians, the Bangladeshis; there were many being cheated at Kota Raya.

"So we've handled it the best we can and sincerely," he said during a press conference today, which was also attended by over 20 other non-governmental organisations in support of PPIM.

PPIM special action unit chief Muhammad Yusuf Azmi, who was arrested over the incident, today explained that his presence at Kota Raya on the day of the brawl was only to help secure a refund for a consumer who had obtained an order from Consumer Claims Tribunal.

He alleged that the consumer in question had been unlawfully detained during a previous attempt to obtain his money back.

"So I went with victim and he showed who cheated him. I spoke to the manager, Jack, and he helped me settle everything and paid the refund," Yusuf explained.

He added that after getting the refund for the man he accompanied, seven others approached him asking for help to get refunds for their purchases as well.

"Then others began shouting because seven others were also cheated and had gotten their passport confiscated.

"If they come and ask me to help them, how can I say no?" he said.

Yusuf was arrested four days after the incident and held overnight at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters under Section 506 of the Penal Code for criminal intimidation.

He insisted that he did not threaten any of the traders or conduct an unauthorised raid on his own, and that he legitimately negotiated the refunds for all 12 handphones amounting to RM11,900.

"I never did anything wrong. I was just standing up for the consumer. So I want to ask the IGP, what did I do wrong?" he queried.

Nadzim added that the fact that no Kota Raya traders have been arrested, despite claims they unlawfully withheld customers' ATM cards and passports as collateral of payments, indicated that there is a conspiracy.

"I really believe it. It's true. But at which level, I don't know," he said.

On December 20, a brawl broke out at the mall when some 20 men armed with sticks and helmets stormed the handphone shop to seek refunds over an alleged cheating case, and got into an argument that turned violent and left two people injured.

According to reports, the victim in the Kota Raya incident ― who was purportedly forced to pay RM5,000 for four mobile phones that he said was initially offered for RM800 but was later raised to RM10,000 ― lodged a report with the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry..

Despite reports that the Tribunal for Consumer Claims had ordered the shop in question to return the sum, the complainant still went to PPIM which allegedly took it upon itself to “raid” the outlet and take RM12,000 in “compensation”.

A 38-year-old parking attendant, Khairuddin Arbi, was found guilty by the Magistrate’s Court of criminally intimidating five salesmen by threatening to destroy their premises, New Straits Times reported last Thursday.

Former soldier Mohd Ali Baharom, also known as Ali Tinju, is under investigation for sedition over remarks he made outside Kota Raya following the PPIM visit.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/muslim-consumer-group-in-bid-to-wash-hands-of-kota-raya-fracas

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Muslims should be wary of prejudiced views

December 29, 2015

KOTA BELUD: Muslims need to screen views spread by certain quarters who harbour ill feelings towards others.

Communications and Multimedia Minister, Salleh Said Keruak said not all views disseminated, including through the Internet, newspapers and magazines were true.

“We live in a period where there is a lot of slander, lies, jealousy and craze for status.

“Vicious views not only damage people’s honour, but are also detrimental to Islamic teachings and its followers,” he told Bernama after attending a Maulidur Rasul celebration, here, today.

Also present were Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who is also Kota Belud MP, Sabah Agriculture and Food Industry Assistant Minister Musbah Jamli, who is also Tempasuk Assemblyman, and district officer Abdul Gari Itam.

Salleh, who is also Usukan assemblyman, said as people of the Islamic faith, Muslims should not be following bad gossip about others and listening to views that could poison the mind.

He said Islam clearly enjoined its followers to always think well and not to be prejudiced towards others.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/12/29/muslims-should-be-wary-of-prejudiced-views/

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Africa

 

Boko Haram Terrorist Attacks in Northeast Nigeria Kill 80

Dec 28, 2015

Boko Haram Takfiri militants have launched a series of attacks on the city of Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's north-eastern Borno State, for the first time in months killing tens of people.

The terrorists attacked the city “with rocket-propelled grenades and multiple suicide bombers,” witnesses said on Monday.

At least 50 people were killed and scores more wounded in overnight blasts and shootouts and a bombing outside a mosque at dawn.

The military said there were multiple attacks at four south-western entry points to the city.

A soldier said the militants had fired rocket-propelled grenades into four residential areas on the outskirts of the city.

Soldiers fired back, and many civilians were caught in the crossfire, according to the soldier, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

In another blast, two girls blew themselves up in Buraburin neighbourhood, killing several people, according to civil servant Yunusa Abdullahi.

"We are under siege," Abdullahi said. "We don't know how many of these bombs or these female suicide bombers were sneaked into Maiduguri last night."

Meanwhile, medics say the death toll could go higher.

A nurse at Maiduguri Specialist Hospital said dozens of critically wounded, mainly children and women, may not survive. The nurse, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the hospital was overflowing with patients. About 60 people had wounds from bullets and shrapnel from explosive devices, she said. Other wounded people had to be sent to other hospitals in the city.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/28/443583/Nigeria-Boko-Takfiri-Maiduguri-Madagali-Borno-Adamawa/

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More suicide attacks rock NE Nigeria

 29 December 2015

At least 17 people were killed in twin suicide attacks Monday at a motor park in Nigeria's northeastern town of Madagali, according to the Adamawa state emergency management agency,  which added that 41 others were injured and taken to hospital.

"At the moment, we have 17 people dead with 41 others injured. Some were treated and discharged while those with serious injuries are on admission across various hospitals," Haruna Furo, spokesman for the state relief agency, told Anadolu Agency by phone on Monday night.

Furo said the attacks were carried out by "two female suicide bombers", who detonated explosives at the bus station.

"Many of the victims were returning to Yola to resume work after the Maulid and Christmas holiday," he added.

Abdullahi Saba, a resident of Madagali working near the bus station, had earlier told Anadolu Agency that up to 18 persons had died in the incident including the bombers.

"Our counting indicated that 18 people died along with the bombers. I cannot say the number of those injured because we got there a few minutes after the blast," he added.

The incident occurred in the morning barely four hours after dozens were killed in early morning suicide blasts in the city of Maiduguri in the neighboring Borno state – which, during the night, had been fending off an attempt by Boko Haram militants to enter the city. The army said at least 14 suicide bombers had been intercepted as they sought to infiltrate the city.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167877/more-suicide-attacks-rock-ne-nigeria

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Algeria army kills 109 'terrorists' in 2015

28 December 2015

The Algerian army killed a total of 109 "terrorists," the term used by the government for armed extremist fighters, and arrested another 36 in 2015, a defence ministry toll published Monday said.

Troops also seized explosives, assault rifles, rocket launchers as well as "a large amount of all sorts of munitions, including 182 improvised bombs, 132 mines and five rockets," the ministry said in a statement.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167872/algeria-army-kills-109-terrorists-in-2015

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Europe

 

Taliban Gain Putin’s Help at ‘Secret Meeting’

29 December 2015

A senior Afghan militant commander has claimed that Vladimir Putin has held a 'secret' meeting with Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the current Taliban chief, to discuss possible Russian support for the insurgents who in recent weeks have been advancing through territory once held by British forces reports The Sunday Times.

Putin is known to be concerned that ISIL militants are gaining a foothold in Afghanistan, which borders the former Soviet satellite states of Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

A Taliban commander told The Sunday Times that his group had been promised Russian arms and financial support only weeks before a resurgence in violence that has seen key districts in the southern province of Helmand fall under Taliban control.

Putin reportedly met Mansour over dinner at a late-night meeting on a military base in Tajikistan in September. Press reports indicate that the Russian president was present in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital during that time.

International coalition ­com­mand­ers were forced to rush a taskforce of 300 US and British troops to Helmand in the past week to advise Afghan soldiers under siege in the strategic town of Sangin.

The fate of Sangin still hangs in the balance, with Taliban ­reinforcements flooding in.

Claims on Friday by Mohammad Omar Zowak, spokesman for the governor of Helmand, that the security situation was “under control” were disputed by local journalists.

At least 75 per cent of ­Helmand had been captured by the Taliban, said reporter ­Mohammad Shafi Aziz: “Only the district centre building is under the control of the government in a few districts of ­Helmand. Entire districts and villages are under the control of the Taliban.”

At his meeting with Mansour, Mr Putin is said to have offered financial support, military training and modern weapons in exchange­ for the Taliban’s co-operation with Russian aims.

The Taliban commander, who claims to have been present, said the Russian leader also ­insisted that the Taliban step up attacks on former mujaheddin leaders and the Hezb-e-Islami political party led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a sworn enemy of Soviet Russia.

“The Taliban must increase the number of their attacks on the Afghan government in big cities, provinces and big military bases to make the central government weaker,” the commander explained.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167879/brussels-arrests-two-over-new-year-plot-attack

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Germany recruits 8,500 teachers for child refugees

28 December 2015

Germany has recruited 8,500 people to teach child refugees German, as the country expects the number of new arrivals to soar past the million mark in 2015, Die Welt daily reported Sunday.

With some 196,000 children fleeing war and poverty entering the German school system this year, 8,264 “special classes” have been created to help the new arrivals catch up with their peers, Die Welt said, citing a survey carried out in 16 German federal states.

“Some 8,500 additional teachers have been recruited nationwide,” the daily said.

According to Germany’s education authority, 325,000 school-age children reached the EU country in 2015, amid Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II.

Germany expects over a millon asylum seekers this year, which is five times more than in 2014 and has put a strain on its ability to provide services to all the newcomers.

“Schools and education administrations have never been confronted with such a challenge,” Brunhild Kurth, who heads the education authority, told Die Welt.

“We must accept that this exceptional situation will become the norm for a long time to come.”

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/12/28/Germany-recruits-8-500-teachers-for-child-refugees-.html

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German govt urged to act against far-right extremists

29 December 2015

Human rights activists have criticized German authorities for ignoring the growing threat of violence from far-right extremists in the country.

Despite a more than 40 percent increase in "xenophobic hate crimes" in Germany in a year, the struggle against right-wing extremism is still not the main priority of the police, Timo Reinfrank, coordinator of the human rights organization Amadeu Antonio Foundation told Anadolu Agency. 

Some 3,155 "xenophobic hate crimes" were committed by right-wing extremists in Germany in the first nine months of 2015, showing a dramatic increase in a year. German police recorded 2,207 such crimes for the whole of 2014.

Up to November this year, police arrested 151 suspects, and nine detention orders were issued, according to the officials statistics released this month.  

Reinfrank said that the lack of effective and consequent investigation on far-right crimes was further encouraging right-wing extremists to protest violently.

“Today we are facing the danger of the emergence of new far-right terror structures like the National Socialist Underground,” he warned.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167884/brussels-arrests-two-over-new-year-plot-attack

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Arab World

 

ISIS Militants Are Israeli Soldiers: Saudi Grand Mufti

December 29, 2015

JEDDAH - Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz has claimed that the Islamic State (Daesh) militants are Israeli soldiers and the Saudi-led 34-nation military alliance of Islamic countries will defeat it.

The statement came after Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the secretive leader of the terror group, called for an uprising in Saudi Arabia and pledged to attack Israel, in an audio recording released Saturday and attributed to him, AFP reported.

Terming the extremist group’s threat to attack Israel a ‘lie’, Aziz alleged that IS is a part of the Israeli army.

“This threat against Israel is simply a lie.

Actually, Daesh is part of the Israeli soldiers,” said the grand mufti, who is also a chairman of Senior Scholars’ Commission and Ifta Council, during a telephonic interview with Saudi Gazette.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/29-Dec-2015/is-militants-are-israeli-soldiers-saudi-grand-mufti

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Syrian Planes Bomb, Drop "Surrender Now" Leaflets for Militants in Dara'a

Dec 28, 2015

The Syrian warplanes hit the militants' positions in Nawa region in Dara'a countryside and at the same time the air force's helicopters dropped leaflets for the terrorists reading "surrender now; you have nowhere to go".

This is the third time over the past two days that the Syrian army drops such leaflets over militants' positions.

The first two times these leaflets were dropped over militant-held regions in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside on Friday and Sunday.

The move comes as the Syrian army has gained momentum in its advances in the Southern province of Dara'a.

Earlier today, the army continued to advance in al-Sheikh Maskeen city in the Northern part of Dara'a, and regained control over several positions in the city and its vicinity.

Reports also said Syrian forces took full control over Brigade 82 Base and captured several buildings in the Eastern parts of al-Sheikh Maskeen.

Earlier reports said the Syrian army launched a large-scale offensive on Ibtta town in the South of al-Sheikh Maskeen city in Dara'a province.

The offensive aimed to cut militants' supply routes to the city of al-Sheikh Maskeen, according to military sources.

The attack was preceded by 20 airstrikes on terrorists' positions and artillery and rocket attacks, the sources added.

At 8 am, the army's assault began from several directions as militants' positions came under heavy bombardment by Syrian air force warplanes.

The military operation struck a heavy blow at the terrorists who continue to lose ground in the province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007001698

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Syrian َArmy Continues Capturing More Key Regions in Aleppo

Dec 28, 2015

The Syrian forces won full control over Manashir al-Hajr and a number of farms South of Rashidin 5 neighborhood in the West of Aleppo city, field sources said.

There were no immediate reports on possible casualties among the terrorists.

The Syrian government forces also took full control of a strategic village and its surrounding farms in the Eastern part of Aleppo on Sunday as the army troops continue to purge the Northern Province of terrorists.

The Syrian army regained full control over Sharba' village and its surrounding farms in the Eastern part of Aleppo on Sunday.

The army destroyed ISIL's gathering centers and military vehicles and weapons, killing and injuring scores of militants during the liberating operation.

The Syrian army's engineering units seized mortars, explosive devices and mines planted by the ISIL terrorists before flee their positions in the area.

On Saturday, the Syrian army managed to win key regions near the recently-captured Kuweires military airbase in Aleppo province as they try stretch their control over the terrorist-held lands Southeast of Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007001211

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Iraqi forces raise flag above govt complex in Ramadi

Dec 29, 2015

BAGHDAD: Iraq flew its flag above the main government complex in the western city of Ramadi on Monday, marking its military’s first major victory over the militant Islamic State (IS) group since the army collapsed in the face of the fighters’ shock advance 18 months ago.

Footage aired on state television showed a handful of soldiers approach a low-rise building and then emerge on its roof to hoist a small tri-colour banner above their heads.

“Yes, the city of Ramadi has been liberated. The Iraqi counter-terrorism forces have raised the Iraqi flag over the government complex,” joint operations spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said in an earlier televised statement.

If the government retains control of Ramadi, which was seized by IS fighters in May, it would become the first city recaptured by Iraq’s US-trained army since it fled from the hardline militants in June 2014.

In previous battles since then, the Iraqi armed forces operated mainly in a supporting role beside Iranian-backed Shia militias.

Soldiers were shown on state television on Monday publicly slaughtering a sheep in an act of celebration.

Gunshots and an explosion could be heard as a state TV reporter interviewed other soldiers celebrating the victory with their automatic weapons held in the air. A separate plume of smoke could be seen nearby.

US Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for a US-led coalition backing Iraqi forces, said in a statement: “The clearance of the government centre is a significant accomplishment and is the result of many months of hard work.”

He said the coalition had provided more than 630 air strikes in the area over the past six months as well as training, advice and equipment to the army, counter-terrorism forces and police.

The US-led coalition, which includes major European and Arab powers, has been waging an air campaign against IS positions in both Iraq and Syria since mid-2014, after the fighters swiftly seized a third of Iraq’s territory.

The Iraqi army was humiliated in that advance, abandoning city after city and leaving fleets of American armoured vehicles and other weapons in the militants’ hands.

One of the main challenges of the conflict since then has been rebuilding the Iraqi army into a force capable of capturing and holding territory.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229324/iraqi-forces-raise-flag-above-govt-complex-in-ramadi

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Militants, civilians evacuated from three Syrian towns

Dec 29, 2015

BEIRUT: A rare UN-backed deal between Syria’s warring sides saw hundreds of fighters and civilians evacuate three towns on Monday, as bomb explosions in the regime-held city of Homs killed at least 19 people.

President Bashar al Assad’s government has agreed to several ceasefires with rebel groups in the past but Monday’s evacuation plan was one of the most elaborate in the nearly five-year war.

The United Nations has been pushing for such local deals as global powers pursue wider efforts to resolve a conflict that has left more than 250,000 people dead and forced millions from their homes.

More than 450 fighters and civilians, including injured people, began leaving three flashpoint areas as part of a six-month truce reached in September.

At least 120 people, including rebels and some civilians, crossed from the last rebel bastion on the Syrian border into Lebanon.

The Zabadani residents were to fly from Beirut to Turkey, before travelling back into opposition-held areas in Syria, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Another 335 people, also including civilians, travelled from two government-controlled villages in northwest Syria into Turkey, he said.

Residents of Fuaa and Kafraya crossed through the Bab al Hawa border point and are to fly into Beirut to travel overland to Damascus.

According to a source, national flag carrier Turkish Airlines will fly both sets of evacuees.

“We appreciate the cooperation of all sides, of the Syrian, Turkish and Lebanese governments, and all the sides that have signed on to this humanitarian agreement,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator Yaacoub El Hillo told Al Mayadeen TV from the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon.

It is the first time the neighbouring countries are involved in such an evacuation deal.

The next part of the deal, according to the Britain-based observatory, will see humanitarian aid delivered into the towns.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229336/militants-civilians-evacuated-from-three-syrian-towns

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Rare evacuation of Syria towns as blasts hit Homs

December 29, 2015

BEIRUT - A rare UN-backed deal between Syria's warring sides saw hundreds of fighters and civilians evacuate three towns on Monday, as bomb blasts in the regime-held city of Homs killed at least 32 people and wounded 90 others.

Syria's state news agency SANA reported two car bomb blasts, but gave a lower initial toll of six dead and 37 wounded. It was the second major attack in the city since a ceasefire deal took effect earlier this month, paving the way for the government to take over the last rebel-controlled area of Homs.

President Bashar al-Assad's regime has agreed to several ceasefires with rebel groups in the past but Monday's evacuation plan was one of the most elaborate in the nearly five-year war.

The United Nations has been pushing for such local deals as global powers pursue wider efforts to resolve a conflict that left more than 250,000 dead and forced millions from their homes.

More than 450 fighters and civilians, including the wounded, began leaving three flashpoint areas in Syria as part of a six-month truce reached in September.

At least 120 people, including rebels and some civilians, crossed from the last rebel bastion on the Syrian border into Lebanese territory on Monday, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

The Zabadani residents were to fly from Beirut to Turkey, before travelling back into opposition-held areas in Syria, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Another 335 people, also including civilians, travelled from two regime-controlled villages in northwestern Syria into Turkey on Monday, Abdel Rahman said. Residents of the mainly Shiite villages of Fuaa and Kafraya crossed through the Bab al-Hawa border point and are to fly into Beirut to travel overland to Damascus.

According to a source close to the negotiations, national flag carrier Turkish Airlines will fly both sets of evacuees.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/29-Dec-2015/rare-evacuation-of-syria-towns-as-blasts-hit-homs

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Syrian Army Wins Back Strategic Mountain near Maheen Town

Dec 28, 2015

The Syrian forces established their full control over Jbal Kabeer (Kabeer Mountain) and are now engaging in heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorists near the town of Maheen.

The Syrian army launched a large-scale military operation to take back the key town of Maheen, and seized strategic regions in the initial phase of the operation.

The Syrian army and National Defense Forces on Sunday began a large-scale military operation from the Eastern side of al-Qalamoun Mountains which is adjacent to the town of Deir Atiyah in order to regain control of Maheen town.

The Syrian forces fired artillery shells at the terrorists and regained control of Rawabi al-Tahin hill and the mountain which overlooks al-Mahsa village after heavy clashes with the ISIL terrorists.

The Syrian Army announced on Monday that ISIL's rule over the strategic town of Maheen is on the verge of collapse, adding the Syrian government forces are preparing to capture the town.

"The Syrian army troop, National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah have continued their advance against the ISIL terrorists in the battlefields near Maheen and Hawareen," the army said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007001674

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Syria: New Army Gains Reported in Sheikh Maskeen

Dec 28, 2015

The Syrian army continued to advance in al-Sheikh Maskeen city in the Northern part of Dara'a, and regained control over several positions in the city and its vicinity.

Reports also said Syrian forces took full control over Brigade 82 Base and captured several buildings in the Eastern parts of al-Sheikh Maskeen.

Earlier reports said the Syrian army launched a large-scale offensive on Ibtta town in the South of al-Sheikh Maskeen city in Dara'a province.

The offensive aims to cut militants' supply routes to the city of al-Sheikh Maskeen, sources said Monday.

The attack was preceded by 20 airstrikes on terrorists' positions and artillery and rocket attacks, the sources added.

At 8 am, the army's assault began from several axes, the sources went on to say.

The Syrian warplanes also bombed the militants' positions.

The success of this military operation will struck heavy blow at the terrorists who continue to lose ground in the province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007001258

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Evacuation of three Syrian towns begins

28 December 2015

The evacuation of more than 450 fighters and civilians including wounded started Monday from three Syrian towns under a rare deal between the regime and rebels, a monitor said.

In September, both sides reached an agreement for a six-month truce in Zabadani, the last rebel bastion on Syria’s border with Lebanon, and in Fuaa and Kafraya, the last two government-held Shiite villages in northwestern Idlib province.

The U.N.-brokered deal provided for a ceasefire to allow in humanitarian aid and then for the evacuation of wounded civilians and fighters.

“More than 120 fighters and wounded have started to leave Zabadani” to other rebel-held areas in Syria via Lebanon and Turkey, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

About “335 people, including civilians” have started to leave Fuaa and Kafraya to return to regime-held areas, also via the two neighbouring countries, he said.

Those evacuated from Fuaa and Kafraya will travel to Turkey via the Syrian-Turkish border post of al-Hawa before flying to Beirut airport then travelling over land to Damascus, he said.

Those leaving from Zabadani will travel across the border to Lebanon and fly from Beirut to Turkey, before travelling back to opposition-held areas in Syria, he said.

A deal to evacuate thousands of jihadists and civilians from southern Damascus was apparently derailed on Saturday after the death of rebel chief Zahran Alloush.

President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has previously agreed to several ceasefires with rebel groups.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/28/Evacuation-of-three-Syrian-towns-begins-.html

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Strike that killed Syrian rebel chief ‘complicates peace talks push’

29 December 2015

Russian air strikes like the one that killed a top Syrian rebel leader last week send the wrong message to groups engaged in a political dialogue to end the conflict and complicate efforts to begin negotiations, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

Syrian rebel chief Zahran Alloush, the leader of Jaysh al Islam who commanded thousands of fighters in the Damascus suburbs, was killed on Friday in an air strike that rebel sources said was carried out by Russian warplanes.

Jaysh al Islam was a participant in the Riyadh conference where Syrian opposition groups agreed on common aims for proposed political negotiations to end the country's civil war and chose a former Syrian prime minister to represent them in the dialogue.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States did not provide support to Alloush's group and had concerns about its "behavior on the battlefield," but noted that Jaysh al Islam had fought Islamic State rebels and was participating in the political dialogue to end Syria's civil war.

"So the strike on Alloush and others in Jaysh al Islam and other opposition groups do in fact complicate efforts to bring about meaningful political negotiations and a nationwide ceasefire," Toner said in response to questions at a State Department briefing. "We need progress on both these efforts in the coming weeks."

"It doesn't send the most constructive message to carry out a strike like that," he added, noting that the United States hoped the attacks would not reverse progress toward negotiations.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/29/Strike-that-killed-Syrian-rebel-chief-complicates-peace-talks-push-.html

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ISIL Military Convoy, Oil Tankers Destroyed in Syria's Sweida Province

Dec 28, 2015

"The long convoy of the ISIL oil tankers was targeted by the Syrian government forces in the Northeastern part of Shath village," the sources said.

"Most of the tankers were set ablaze in the attack, and many of the convoy's guards were killed," the sources added.

"In the meantime, the army forces tracked and targeted a convoy of the Takfiri terrorists' military vehicles loaded with ammunition and weapons in Rajm al-Dawla village," the sources said.

"In addition to the destruction of the military vehicles, the militant group sustained a heavy death toll too," they added.

Military experts believe that one of the best ways of putting the militant groups under pressure is cutting their supplying lines through sporadic attacks on their convoys.

"The militant groups do not have discipline of an army with a chart of military duties. A unit of them might be used as a combat group and in the same time as a supplying or engineering unit. So, they are vulnerable. They are not expert in their job. One-two regular attacks on their supplying convoys can face them big problems," experts say.  

Last week, The Syrian army and popular forces intensified their military operations against ISIL terrorists in the province of Sweida.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000371

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ISIL's Notorious Abu Omar Al-Shishani Arrested in Iraq

Dec 28, 2015

Al-Shishani and two of his senior aides and commanders were captured in the city of Kirkuk earlier today.

Some Arabic-language media reported that Al-Shishani was arrested in a joint military operation with the US special force, but Pentagon rejected that its forces had any role in al-Shishani's capture.

The report on al-Shishian's capture comes as the Arab media outlets had reported his death several times before.

No Iraqi official has confirmed al-Shishani's capture yet.

Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili known by his nom de guerre Abu Omar al-Shishani or Omar al-Shishani, is a Georgian terrorist who was an ISIL commander in Syria. He was a former sergeant in the Georgian army.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007001070

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450 evacuated from besieged Syrian areas

29 December 2015

Around 450 Syrian fighters and their families were evacuated from two besieged areas on Monday under the kind of operation that the United Nations hopes can be a stepping stone towards a wider peace accord in the country's civil war.

U.N. and airport sources said two planes with 330 Syrian Shiite fighters and civilians evacuated from two pro-government towns in northwestern Syria arrived in Beirut airport. Hundreds of Hezbollah supporters there set off fireworks in celebration.

Another plane carrying 126 mostly Sunni Muslim rebel fighters trapped in Zabadani near the Lebanese border landed at Hatay airport in southern Turkey, the sources said.

The evacuations took place under a U.N.-sponsored agreement brokered by regional powers, part of efforts by the United Nations to set up local deals on ceasefires and safe passage.

In return for allowing the rebels to leave, the deal allows the government of President Bashar al-Assad to restore control over areas that had been in rebel hands for the past four years.

In Zabadani, a once popular resort city now in ruins, relief workers and rebel fighters who have been holed up for months helped carry wounded young men in wheelchairs onto ambulances.

Relatives and well-wishers who had waited for hours on the Lebanese border cheered buses carrying the fighters as they drove by towards Beirut airport, and some families wept as they strained for glimpses of their loved ones, a witness said.

Zabadani, northwest of the capital Damascus, was one of the rebels' last strongholds along the border. Much of the town was devastated in a major offensive launched in July against the insurgents by the Syrian army and its Lebanese Hezbollah allies. Only several hundred rebels remain in the town, where most civilians have fled to nearby Madaya.

Food and aid

The evacuation deal was the most significant of several localized truces to date, involving months of mediation among warring parties.

Under the next stage, trucks loaded with humanitarian goods and basic foodstuffs will be allowed through in the next few days to reach thousands of civilians still trapped, Yacoub El Hilo, U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, told reporters.

"As the United Nations and international community, these agreements and truces are the foundations for building something bigger that could cover all of Syria," El Hilo said.

"We support these accords as they have a positive impact on civilians and help bring aid and the return of normality."

However years of government siege of rebel held areas with large civilian populations to force insurgents to enter into truces has impeded the flow of food and humanitarian aid, starving many people to death in what rights group Amnesty International has described as a war crime.

The U.N.'s Syria mediator aims to convene peace talks in Geneva on Jan. 25 in the latest effort to end nearly five years of civil war in which more than 250,000 people have died.

Iran, which backs Assad's government, and Turkey, which backs the rebels, helped organize local ceasefires in Zabadani and the two villages in Idlib in September in the first phase of the deal, overseen by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/29/Hundreds-evacuated-from-besieged-Syrian-areas-.html

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Egypt arrests 4 leaders of anti-Mubarak movement

29 December 2015

Egyptian authorities Monday arrested four leaders of a youth movement that spearheaded the 2011 revolt against former president Hosni Mubarak, judicial officials said.

The arrests of the leaders of the April 6 movement come less than one month before the fifth anniversary of the January 25, 2011 revolt that ousted Mubarak.

Sherif Arubi, Mohamed Nabil, Ayman Abdel Megid and Mahmud Hesham were arrested at their homes on Monday morning, a judicial official said.

“The four are accused of inciting violence” and will be held for 15 days under preventative detention, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Since the army toppled Mubarak’s Islamist successor Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the authorities have cracked down on all forms of opposition.

They adopted a new law in November 2013 outlawing demonstrations that have not been given advance authorization by the police.

Hundreds of Islamist protesters -- as well as dozens of secular and leftwing demonstrators -- have been jailed under the legislation.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/29/Egypt-arrests-4-leaders-of-anti-Mubarak-movement.html

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South Asia

 

Daesh, Lashkar-e-Islam militants bombed in Nangarhar, at least 38 killed

Dec 29 2015

A joint gathering of the militants of Daesh and Lashkar-e-Islam led by Mangal Bagh has been bombed by Afghan Air Force in Achin District of eastern Nangarhar province.

According to the governor of Achin District the bombardment took place in Shadal Bazar area late Monday.

Haji Ghalib Mujahid immediately did not have information about casualties of the air strike.

Meanwhile, a statement released by the Ministry of Defense this morning states that Afghan Air Force has bombed a Daesh hideout in Sulaimankhil area of Chaparhar District in past 24 hours.

According to the statement, 38 militants were killed in the airstrikes and the hideout belonging to Habibzai and Mullah Naeem destroyed.

The 38 insurgents killed include two who were trying to escape the bombardment through a motorcycle.

Several different types of weapons were also destroyed in the  air strikes, the Ministry of Defense statement adds.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/joint-gathering-of-daesh-and-lashkar-e-islam-bombed-in-nangarhar-4438

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Two dead in Bangladesh militant hideout blast

December 29, 2015

DHAKA - Two suspected followers of a banned Bangladeshi Islamist outfit were killed Monday in an explosion outside the capital Dhaka as security forces raided a third extremist hideout in four days.

The Rapid Action Battalion launched the raid on an abandoned house at Gazipur, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Dhaka, just after midnight, said a spokesman for the elite police unit.

Suspected members of Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) hurled bombs towards the raiding party before an explosion in the building.

Two bodies were later recovered.

"We opened fire at them after a law enforcer was injured as the JMB militants hurled an IED (improvised explosive device) at our officers when we surrounded the house," said RAB spokesman Major Rumman Mahmud.

"After we shot several rounds of bullets we heard an explosion inside the den.

Later we found two bodies lying on the floor," he told AFP.

Unexploded IEDs, grenades, a pistol, bullets and JMB propaganda leaflets were found at the premises.

It was the third raid on a suspected militant hideout in four days as security forces intensify a hunt for extremists following a series of deadly attacks on foreigners as well as an attack at a mosque at a naval base.

The raid came hours after three alleged JMB militants were arrested in the port city of Chittagong.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/29-Dec-2015/two-dead-in-bangladesh-militant-hideout-blast

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RSF round-up shows 110 journalists killed in 2015

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL

Dec 29 2015

A round-up by the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released today shows 110 journalists have been killed in 2015.

“A total of 110 journalists were killed in connection with their work or for unclear reasons in 2015,” the report states.  “At least 67 killed while reporting or because of their work.”

It further states that the 67 deaths bring to 787 the total number of journalists killed in connection with their work since 2005.

According to the report, France was one of the deadliest countries for journalists in 2015. It ranked third, after Syria and Iraq.

The January attack on Charlie Hebdo contributed to a reversal of last year’s trend, when two thirds of the deaths occurred in war zones. This year, two thirds of the deaths were in countries “at peace.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/rsf-round-up-shows-110-journalists-killed-in-2015-4440

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NPC would focus on infrastructure projects in next financial year

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL

Dec 29 2015

The National Procurement Commission (NPC) would focus on infrastructure projects in next financial year.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has instructed ministries and other related institutions to be prepared and plan for the better and on time implementation of the process and projects which would also create job opportunities for people.

A statement released by the Presidential Palace on Monday states that the instructions were given during the recent NPC meeting which was also attended by second-Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah, ministers of finance, economy and justice.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/npc-would-focus-on-infrastructure-projects-in-next-financial-year-4438

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Hundreds protest at Gulshan against Khaleda

December 29, 2015

- Hundreds join in at protest in Gulshan-2

- Demand for Khaleda’s trial under sedition

- Tarana Halim speaks of law on liberation war denial

Protestors, hundreds in number, today demanded BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s trial in sedition charge for her statement questioning the number of 1971 martyrs of Liberation War.

Freedom fighters, political and cultural activists and people from all walks of life joined in the protest at Gulshan-2 intersection in a human chain that began at 10:00am.

Alongside Joy Bangla, they were chiming slogans: my motherland won’t be allowed to become Pakistan, no space for Pakistan lovers in Bangabandhu’s Bangla and others.

On December 21, the BNP chief, in her first public address in more than a year, said, “There are controversies over how many were martyred in the Liberation War. There are also many books and documents on the controversies.”

“Khaleda has insulted the Liberation War and its martyrs – it is tantamount to sedition. She should be tried under sedition charge,” said former Supreme Court judge Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, whose office is just a few minutes from Gulshan-2, has faced widespread flack after she questioned the number of martyrs of Liberation War.

Khaleda’s comments came hot on the heels of Pakistan’s denial last month of committing any war crimes or atrocities in the nine-month bloody war.

Ferdousi Priyabhashini urged the media to boycott Khaleda Zia and said: “It is nothing new for her. She is an agent of Pakistan. She should be ousted from the country… tried for sedition.”

Sammilita Sangskritik Jote President Nasiruddin Yousuf Bachhu echoed similar words and added that pro-liberation forces will not allow Khaleda to do politics in Bangladesh.

Tarana Halim, currently the state minister for post and telecommunications, said the government will soon formulate a liberation war denial law. “We have tolerated enough, no more.”

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/top-news/hundreds-protest-khaledas-statement-martyrs-193936

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Terror suspects off the hook

December 29, 2015

Two alleged Hizb-ut Tahrir operatives, Syed Imdadul Haque Shaikat and Shahidul Islam Hasan, were arrested in the capital's Motijheel area on July 29, 2011, while distributing leaflets of the outlawed militant outfit.

Seventeen days into filing a case under the Anti-Terrorism Act 2009, police pressed charges against them for working for a banned organisation, distributing its leaflet and inciting anti-government activities.

If found guilty, the accused could face up to 14 years in prison. But they were released seven months into their arrests.

A Dhaka court on April 4, 2012, ordered their release as the investigating officer (IO) of the case had not taken approval from the district magistrate and the government before beginning the investigation or submitting the charge sheets, a must for terror cases.

Twenty-eight other accused in four such cases were released on the same ground. Three of the cases, filed against 10 Tahrir men, have already been dismissed.

Another 151 accused, including suspected militants, in 44 cases are likely to be acquitted due to the same error committed by the investigators.

These 49 cases are among the 283 filed with different police stations in the capital under the anti-terror act between 2009 and May 17 this year.

Police have submitted charge sheets in 234 of them while 49 are still under investigation. And government approval has been taken in 190 cases so far, according to court documents.

Legal experts believe such a simple but important procedural step could be ignored in so many cases because of police's ignorance of the law or a lack of sincerity or underhand dealings with the accused.

Then again many policemen, who are witnesses in different militancy-related cases, do not appear before court for days, slowing the trial progress.

So much so that warrants were issued against 333 policemen, who were to testify in 62 such cases, as they had not appeared before the courts despite repeated summonses, according to court sources.

Prof Zia Rahman of criminology department at Dhaka University said, “Release of militants in this way is always a threat.”

He also said such release speaks of weakness in criminal justice system.

Analysing the 49 cases in which the IOs did not take necessary approvals, it has been found that some of those cases were filed against suspected leaders and operatives of Tahrir and Islamic State (IS). Middle East-based IS has appeared as a major concern for law enforcement agencies after it took credit for some recent deadly attacks in the country.

One such case was filed with Jatrabari Police Station on January 18 against four IS suspects -- Sakhawatul Kabir, Nazrul Islam, Anwar Hossain alias Baten and Rabiul Islam.

AKM Kamrul Ahsan, who was then an inspector of the Detective Branch (DB) of police, submitted the charge sheet against them on May 25.

A Dhaka court on November 24 indicted the four for conspiring to topple the government through subversive activities and establish a caliphate state in Bangladesh. Their trial is scheduled to begin on February 25.

Additional Public Prosecutor Saiful Islam Helal, assigned by the state to conduct the case, has recently admitted that the IO had not taken the government approval before submitting the charge sheet.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/terror-suspects-the-hook-193870

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Pakistan

 

Scuffle Breaks Out Between Sherani, Ashrafi during Council for Islamic Ideology Meeting

RAZA BANGASH

Dec 29, 2015

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Council for Islamic Ideology (CII) turned violent when a scuffle broke out between member Maulana Tahir Ashrafi and Chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani, DawnNews reported on Tuesday.

Sources at the meeting said participants were discussing the status of Ahmadis under the Constitution when Ashrafi, who is also chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council, and Sherani entered into an argument that later turned personal. Eye witnesses said Ashrafi stood from his seat and lunged at Maulana Sherani, grabbing him by the collar.

Participants in the meeting intervened to defuse the situation and broke up the physical altercation.

The CII is a constitutional body that advises the legislature whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam, in particular to the Quran and Sunna.

Read more: Sharia doesn’t ask women to cover face, hands or feet: CII

Maulana Sherani, who is also member of the National Assembly on a JUI-F ticket, had earlier this year said he intended to take up three “most controversial religious issues,” but lacked the necessary support from council members, according to an earlier report in Dawn. The first of these issues, he said, is the question of whether Ahmadis are to be classified as non-Muslims or murtads (those who renounce Islam).

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229401/scuffle-breaks-out-between-maulana-sherani-ashrafi-during-cii-meeting

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Khyber air strikes: At least four suspected militants killed

ALI AKBAR

Dec 29, 2015

PESHAWAR: At least four suspected militants were killed in military air strikes in the Rajgal areas of Khyber Agency's Tirah Valley close to the Pak-Afghan border on Tueday.

“Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets struck hideouts of the militants in Tirah valley,” said a security source.

Six other militants were injured in the air strikes, the source added.

Khyber Agency and North Waziristan are among Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts near the Afghan border, rife with homegrown insurgents and foreign militants.

Read: Zarb-i-Azb: Phenomenal success achieved, says ISPR

The tribal area is off limits to journalists, making it difficult to verify the identity and the number of dead.

These areas have also been considered home to religious extremist organisations including Al Qaeda and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Military operations Zarb-i-Azb and the National Action Plan were launched against insurgents following attacks on Karachi's Jinnah International Airport and Peshawar's Army Public School in 2014.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229395/khyber-air-strikes-at-least-four-suspected-militants-killed

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Three suspected militants killed in Balochistan's Kech district

SYED ALI SHAH

Dec 29, 2015

QUETTA: Security forces claim to have killed at least three suspected militants, including a militant commander in Balochistan's Kech district on Tuesday morning.

"Security forces launched a search operation against terrorists in Tump area of Kech district," said Khan Wasey, a spokesman for the Frontier Corps (FC).

"Three terrorists were killed during an exchanged of fire with security forces," Wasey stated.

The FC spokesperson added that the terrorists had recently targeted a school in the area with a hand grenade.

Weapons and ammunition were also seized by the security forces.

In another incident, one FC official was killed while two personnel were wounded from an improvised explosive device (IED) near a vehicle in Balochistan's Mastung district on Tuesday morning.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229394/three-suspected-militants-killed-in-balochistans-kech-district

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ISIS cell busted in Sialkot, claim officials

ASIF CHAUDHRY

Dec 29, 2015

LAHORE: The Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) claimed on Monday that it had busted a cell of the militant Islamic State group operating in Sialkot, arrested eight suspects and seized weapons, explosives and laptops, as well as a large number of compact discs containing publicity material.

Investigators claimed that the suspects had taken an oath to “overthrow democracy and introduce Khilafat in Pakistan through armed struggle”. The suspects arrested by CTD belong to different districts of Punjab, but Sialkot served as the base of their operations. They had already established infrastructure in the district to carry out operations across the country.

It was, however, not clear when did the CTD bust the cell. The FIR was lodged on Monday.

Three of the suspects have received “militant training”, according to documents detailing their interrogation.

The operation, the first of its kind in the country, enabled the CTD to break the network and infrastructure of the group anywhere in Pakistan. The CTD has already shifted the suspects to an unspecified “highly secure place”.

Suspects got militant training and vowed to overthrow democracy

Interrogations show that the suspects were trying to extend their network to other parts of Punjab through recruitment.

They have been identified as Jawad Ahmad aka Abu Hafs, Amir Sohail, Ijaz Ahmad, Adnan Babar aka Danu Kabarria, Saeed Ahmad aka Abuzar, Yasir Ali, Hamza Imtiaz, and Waqas Ahmad.

Originally the suspects belonged to Jamaatud Dawa, but later joined the IS.

The arrested members of the IS had been communicating with one another through social media and Skype to avoid arrests.

DISLIKE FOR DEMOC­RACY: Initial investigations into the case reveal that the suspects were also involved in recruitment and collection of funds for the group.

“The suspects dislike democracy in Pakistan while they hate police and Pakistan Army,” official documents said.

“In order to persuade other people to join their organisation, they would show them some video clips in which the Rangers were seen shooting a young man in Karachi. The prime objective of the IS men was to fan hatred against the country’s law enforcement agencies (LEAs).”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229341/is-cell-busted-in-sialkot-claim-officials

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Govt committed to eliminating terror, outages

December 29, 2015

HAFIZABAD

The incumbent government is taking practical measures to eliminate the menace of terrorism and extremism, MNA Mian Shahid Hussain Bhatti said while addressing a gathering at Sukheki Mandi the other day.

He said that the ruling PML-N has taken revolutionary steps to eradicate issues like poverty, unemployment and loadshedding from the country. He said that all promises made with the public in the run-up to general elections would be fulfilled. The MNA said that a number of projects are being executed on war footing to produce cheap electricity and power shortage would be overcome by the end of 2017.

Shahid Bhatti claimed that sagacious policies of the government has improve image of the country both inside and abroad, adding that confidence of foreign investors has been restored and now they are taking keen interest to invest in Pakistan. He informed that the federal and provincial governments are spending more than Rs3 billion on different development schemes in district Hafizabad to ensure provision of various facilities to the public at their doorsteps.

VTC providing free training in different skills: The Vocational Training Centre is providing free training courses in sewing, knitting, computer operating and beautician at Chak Chattha on Gujranwala Road.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/29-Dec-2015/govt-committed-to-eliminating-terror-outages

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80% of NAP untouched: Tahirul Qadri

December 28, 2015

LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek Dr. Tahirul Qadri has said that over 80 per cent of the National Action Plan (NAP) has not been touched and the nation is seriously thinking that will the fight against terrorism ever bear any fruits?.

“If the National Action Plan was implemented in all the four provinces evenly and with the same sincerity, then no questions about its being biased would have surfaced.”

According to press release he expressed these views, while talking to senior PAT leaders and different delegations which called on him on Monday. He said the nation is made a fool of by statements and announcements. The PAT chief said that those who are playing politics on the blood of the martyrs, can never be sincere with the country.

Dr. Tahirul Qadri said that the nation has suffered one injury after another, but the rulers would know only when they would understand what is right and what is wrong. But when terrorists are themselves in power how could things improve, the PAT chief stated.

He said that corruption and terrorism are interlinked and the country can never progress and the terrorists’ network will never be taken apart unless we eliminate economic terrorism. He said what has happened with the NAP is in front of the whole nation as well as it is before the security forces of the country. He said PAT had long ago indicated that the rulers will never implement the NAP as they are themselves strong supporters of terrorists.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/28-Dec-2015/80-of-nap-untouched-tahirul-qadri

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Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan rejects Bangladesh govt stance

December 29, 2015

LAHORE - Jamaat-e-Islami Director Foreign Affairs Department Abdul Ghaffar Aziz has contradicted a statement by Bangladeshi prosecutor Zead-al-Malum who alleged that Bangladeshi leader Abul Kalam Azad was moving around in Europe, sheltered by JI Pakistan. Aziz said that Bangladeshi prosecutor’s statement was unfounded and misleading and a proof that International Crimes Tribunal established by Hasina government may cross all limits of decency and fair deal in levelling false allegations.

“Why International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) didn’t initiate legal action with the help of International body to arrest Abul Kalam Azad who, in the words of Zead-al-Malum, was continuously travelling in some of European countries,” asked Abdul Ghaffar in a statement issued from party headquarters Mansoorah Lahore yesterday.

He said that Bangladeshi leader Abul Kalam Azad had no affiliation with Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami but is a scholar of repute. An official statement from Bangladesh has raised many serious questions, since Hasina govt has thrown thousands of political opponents into jail and hanged top Opposition leaders, and this activity is still going on, he added.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/29-Dec-2015/ji-rejects-bd-govt-stance

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Anti-talks Taliban to face joint action

December 28, 2015

Islamabad - Pakistan and Afghanistan yesterday agreed to push the Afghan reconciliation process forward with stern warning of punishment to those Taliban groups who would stick to violence.

The agreement was reached at a series of meetings between Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul on Sunday.

ISPR Director General Asim Bajwa in a statement said the two sides discussed security related issues, including information sharing, coordination in counterterrorism operations on respective sides and way forward for Afghan peace process.

“Both sides agreed that they would pursue peace and reconciliation with Taliban groups willing to join the process. Elements who would continue to pursue violence will be dealt under a mutually worked out framework,” he said.

The renewed Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace and reconciliation process will be carried forward under an already agreed quadrilateral framework agreed by Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China.

“With a shared responsibility all stakeholders would support and ensure success of an Afghan government-led intra Afghan dialogue and reconciliation,” General Bajwa added.

He said both sides reiterated not to allow use of their soil against each other and decided to take stern action against elements involved in violence, through active intelligence sharing and Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs).

The COAS reached in Kabul on a day-long visit for deliberations on resumption of the Afghan reconciliation process and instituting a border management mechanism. He was received by Afghan Chief of General Staff with a guard of honour.

“General Raheel Sharif stressed on (the need for) instituting an efficient mechanism for better coordination and preclude chances of any individual/ group crossing over to either side,” he added.

ISPR DG said Pakistan and Afghanistan have also agreed to establish a hotline contact between the Director Generals Military Operations (DGMOs) to improve bilateral relations and increase frequency of military to military visits for better coordination.

Later, Pakistan Army chief met General John Campbell, Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, and visited Bagram Air Base where he was briefed on the capabilities of Resolute Support Mission and special operations.

The visit of General Raheel Sharif came after the Afghan government agreed on resumption of peace and reconciliation with Taliban on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference hosted by Pakistan earlier this month. Leadership of the two countries agreed to bury their past misgivings and decided not to blame each other for any failure.

Earlier, the COAS had visited Kabul along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May when the prime minister called upon Taliban to shun violence.

Pakistan facilitated reconciliation between the Afghan government and Taliban and had hosted their meeting on July 7 in Murree but it fizzled out ahead of the second round of talks planned for July 31 with the news that Taliban chief Mullah Omar had died in April 2013 which gave major blow to the credibility of the talks and provided an opportunity to the Afghan government to accuse Pakistan for not taking on board about his death two years after.

The new Taliban chief Mullah Mansoor suspended the talks and his fighters stepped up violence across Afghanistan with taking over of northern Kunduz province which further frayed Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship.

However, with pressure from the international community Afghan government announced on December 9 to resume peace process with Taliban within the quadrilateral framework and four countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan the US and China will meet next month to work out modalities about how the Afghan peace process can be made meaningful.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/28-Dec-2015/anti-talks-taliban-to-face-joint-action

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After initial refusal, Pakistan allows entry to over 100 deported by Saudi Arabia

IMRAN GABOL | JAVED CHAUDHRY

Dec 29, 2015

LAHORE: Pakistan on Tuesday refused entry to 120 Pakistani citizens deported by Saudi Arabia for not having the requisite entry documents but later allowed entry to the deportees on orders of the interior ministry, airport sources said.

A flight from Jeddah carried the deportees to Lahore airport on Tuesday, however, immigration officials refused them entry as the deportees did not have the required documents needed for entry.

It was not clear why Saudi authorities deported the Pakistani citizens, at least 15 of whom were women.

Sources said immigration authorities wanted to send the deportees back to Jeddah after refusing to process their entry into Pakistan while Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials wanted to detain the deportees, as is the standard procedure.

However, the deportees were later allowed entry into the country by order of the interior ministry. FIA is now expected to take the deportees into custody.

Earlier on Dec 10, Pakistani authorities refused to accept six migrants after the FIA found that they had been illegally deported to Pakistan from the UK.

About 36 others, who possessed travel documents, were accepted by Pakistani authorities – 34 of whom were allowed to go home after brief questioning. Two others were sent to the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229392/after-initial-refusal-pakistan-allows-entry-to-over-100-deported-by-saudi-arabia

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Prosthetic limbs put Pakistani terror survivors together again

Dec 29, 2015

PESHAWAR: Teenager Ali Shah was on his way to school when he lost half of his right hand and his left leg after stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) — the Taliban's weapon of choice in its decade long insurgency.

Now the 13-year-old, along with hundreds of others maimed by such bombs every year, is learning to use a prosthetic in a society where the disabled have been shunned and forced to stay at home.

Nearly a year on, he is set to receive a new leg at the Pakistan Institute of Prosthetic and Orthotic Sciences in Peshawar (PIPOS) where thousands have been treated, a lifeline for many in a country with some of the highest IED death rates in the world.

Ali remembers the day he lost his limbs vividly.

"I thought something happened to my heart when the blast occurred, I lost my senses, someone took me to the doctor and there I returned to my senses," he said, speaking at the Doctors Without Borders hospital where he is being treated.

It's not clear who was behind the blast that tore into Ali at the school gate as he was coming back from lunch.

"I had been walking along with some classmates but I was walking faster and left them behind," he said.

He was rushed by his father to a field hospital, then taken on an arduous 12-hour journey to Peshawar — by car, van and bus, bleeding all the way — where medics saved his life.

But the road to recovery, which has taken months to allow his wounds to heal enough for him to be fitted with the prosthetic, has only just begun.

"There is stigma around disability and a fear of becoming a burden on one's family, especially for young men who are supposed to take responsibility to provide for their family," said Shaista Aziz, a spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders, which runs several trauma centres in the northwest.

While the use of landmines planted by armies has fallen globally since the 1990s, the number of civilians hit by improvised explosive devices has skyrocketed, according to Action on Armed Violence.

The British charity recorded a 70 percent global rise in civilians killed or maimed in such attacks between 2011 and 2013.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229390/prosthetic-limbs-put-pakistani-terror-survivors-together-again

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Fear, retribution from terrorists reduced: COAS

December 29, 2015

Islamabad - Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif has said that fear and retribution from the terrorists and criminals have largely been reduced.

Addressing the 49th convocation ceremony of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan in Islamabad yesterday, the Army Chief said an environment has been created where fear and retribution from the terrorists and criminals have largely been reduced.

He said relative security needs to be transformed into an enduring peace and stability for the nation.

“Whole of the nation’s approach is important to bring our endeavours to a logical end,” he added.

He congratulated the graduating students and stressed the need for investing in future generations to steer Pakistan towards success.

To this end, he said that every individual, especially the educated professional, has an enormous responsibility, adding it is believed that today’s fellows will rise and shine as the future of Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/29-Dec-2015/fear-retribution-from-terrorists-reduced-coas

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Mideast

 

Kuwait to Contribute Military Forces to Deadly War on Yemen to fight alongside Saudi Arabia

Dec 29, 2015

Kuwait has decided to deploy ground forces to Yemen to fight alongside Saudi Arabia and militiamen loyal to fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a Kuwaiti newspaper says.

An informed source said Kuwait’s cabinet has approved to send troops to Saudi Arabia as soon as early next week for their ultimate deployment to Yemen, Arabic-language Kuwaiti daily al-Qabas reported.

No details were provided about the size of the force, with the paper only saying "Kuwait decided on the participation of its ground forces, represented by an artillery battalion, in operations to strike" at Houthi positions.

Kuwait’s participation in the Saudi-led military aggression against Yemen has so far been limited to aerial assaults.

The deployment comes as the Saudi-led force looks increasingly stretched after scores of soldiers from neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have been killed.

This file photo shows Colombian soldiers.

Earlier this year, the United Arab Emirates secretly dispatched nearly some 300 Colombian mercenaries to Yemen.

The decision came after 30 Emirati soldiers were killed in Yemen in a missile attack carried out by Ansarullah fighters in early September.

According to Yemeni sources, the Colombians have been dispatched to Yemen based on an agreement between the UAE and a US security company, formerly known as Blackwater.

Last month, the New York Times said the UAE has “secretly” deployed 450 Latin American troops – most of them from Colombia but among them Panamanian, Salvadoran and Chilean soldiers – to fight in the war on Yemen.

Washington itself has helped the Saudis in their nearly nine months of bombardment of Yemen by providing logistics and intelligence to the Saudi air force.

Yemen has been under military attacks by Saudi Arabia since late March. The Saudi military strikes were launched to supposedly undermine the Ansarullah movement and bring Hadi back to power.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/29/443653/Kuwait-ground-forces-Yemen/

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Turkey Training Daesh on Its Soil: Captured Militant

Dec 29, 2015

A Daesh militant recently captured by Syrian Kurdish fighters says Turkey has been training members of the terror group in camps on its soil.

In an interview with the Russia-based Sputnik International, Abdurrahman Abdulhadi said he had received training in a camp in the Turkish city of Adana before carrying out his first terror mission as a Daesh member.

Abdulhadi, a Syrian national, said the area in Adana was disguised as a base for the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), a group of anti-Damascus extremists called by Turkey and its allies as “moderate” militants.

Ankara and Daesh “only appear to be enemies, however, they are friends,” said the 20-year-old Abdulhadi, who was captured by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighters in northern Syria in November.

“In August 2014, I was training in the Turkish town of Adana” with one of Daesh commanders, said Abdulhadi, adding his month-long training was completed with 60 other militants in a camp “not far from the airport.”

The prisoner stated that his military training was conducted by two officers and one of them only “spoke Turkish, so another one had to translate for him.”

The captured terrorist said Daesh leaders have set up training camps in Turkey because they believe the country is safer compared to Syria, where there is the risk of being spotted by warplanes.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/29/443642/Syria-Turkey-Daesh-Abdurrahman-Abdulhadi-Adana-FSA/

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Most of Iran’s uranium shipped to Russia, says diplomat

Dec 29, 2015

VIENNA: Iran has moved closer to next month’s expected implementation of a landmark nuclear deal with six world powers by allowing Moscow to transfer most of its enriched uranium to Russia, a senior Russian diplomat said on Monday.

As part of the July 14 deal, Iran must ship out all except 300 kilograms of the close to nine tons of low-enriched uranium it has stockpiled.

Low-enriched uranium is suited to power generation but can be further enriched to arm nuclear warheads. Its removal is a key obligation taken on by Iran under the deal, which aims to reduce its ability to make nuclear weapons — something Tehran says it has no interest in.

The July agreement also commits Iran to sharply reduce the number of centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium, as well as to re-engineer a reactor to cut its output of plutonium — another pathway to nuclear weapons.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which is monitoring the progress of the Iranian implementation, says both of those measures are well underway. The Russia-Iran agreement foresees that Moscow ship Iran around 140 tons of raw uranium in exchange for Tehran’s low-enriched uranium.

Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads Iran’s atomic energy organisation, recently said that his country already received the uranium ore. But the Russian diplomat was the first to confirm that Iran also had met the terms of the swap.

The exchange is only one part of the arrangements focused on Iran’s enriched uranium supply, however.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229333/most-of-irans-uranium-shipped-to-russia-says-diplomat

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Turkey sees no normalisation of Israel ties

December 29, 2015

ANKARA - Turkey sees no normalisation in ties with Israel unless its conditions for ending the Gaza blockade and compensation for the deaths of 10 Turkish activists are met, a presidential spokesman said on Monday.

The comments dampen hopes of a long-awaited rapprochement.

Relations have been in crisis since 2010, when 10 Turkish activists were killed in a raid by Israeli commandos on a Turkish boat - the Mavi Marmara - which was trying to breach the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

"Turkey - Israel relations will not normalise until Israel realises the three conditions.

We have not given up on these," Kalin said.

Aside from demanding an apology for the Mavi Marmara killings, and compensation for families, Turkey also insists Israel ends the blockade of Palestinians living in Gaza.

"Turkey will continue to play its role until a two-state solution is reached, and the Palestinian people have their own state.

There cannot be permanent peace in the region until the Palestinian problem is solved," Kalin told reporters in Ankara.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/29-Dec-2015/turkey-sees-no-normalisation-of-israel-ties

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Yemeni Forces Destroy 9th Saudi Warship

Dec 28, 2015

The Saudi warship was targeted with Yemeni missiles in the Al-Mukha coastal waters in the province of Ta'iz today.

The sunken ship had repeatedly fired rockets at the residential areas in Ta'iz province, inflicting casualties and destruction there.

This is the ninth time that a Saudi warship is sent deep into the waters of Bab al-Mandab Strait by the Yemeni forces.

Other Saudi battleships that were approaching Yemen's coasts retreated fast following the attack.

The coast of Al-Mukha is located in Bab al-Mandab strait and the Saudi-led forces have been trying hard for several months now to win control over the coastal regions near the waterway.

On December 11, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

On December 5, the Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi-led coalition warship al-Mukha coast.

On November 25, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait.

On November 15, Yemeni forces destroyed a Saudi-led coalition warship al-Mukha coast.

On November 7, Yemeni forces fired rockets at a Saudi-led coalition warship and destroyed it near al-Mukha coast.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941007000707

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Iraqis must unite to combat extremism: Iran FM

Dec 28, 2015

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says all tribes and ethnic groups in Iraq must maintain unity in the fight against extremism.

In a meeting with Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) Ammar Hakim in Tehran on Monday, Zarif stressed the importance of reinforcing unity among Iraqis with regard to recent victories achieved by the army and popular forces in operations against the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

He urged Iranian and Iraqi officials to hold regular consultation on all regional and international developments in a bid to help restore peace and stability to the region.

Hakim, for his part, said thousands of Sunni fighters are participating in the liberation of Iraqi cities from Daesh, which will help maintain unity and integrity in the country.

In a televised statement on Monday, Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool declared that the city of Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar, has been "fully liberated" from Daesh.

Seizing control over Ramadi would prepare the ground for the long-anticipated offensive into Mosul, the largest city that Daesh controls in the Arab country.

Iraqi army on Tuesday launched an all-out campaign to cleanse Anbar of Daesh militants.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/28/443585/Iran-foreign-minister-Zarif-Hakim-Iraq/

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Top Iran commander salutes Ramadi liberation

Dec 28, 2015

Iran's top military official has congratulated the Muslim Ummah on the full liberation of the Iraqi city of Ramadi from the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

“The great victory of the Iraqi military and popular forces, including Shia and Sunni Muslims, … heralds more successes in the future,” Iranian Armed Forces' Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi said on Monday.

In a televised statement on Monday, Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool declared that the city of Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar, has been "fully liberated" from Daesh.

"Ramadi has been liberated and the armed forces of the counter-terrorism service have raised the Iraqi flag above the government complex," he said.

Ramadi fell into the hands of Daesh in May, months after the terrorist group overran territories in northern Iraq. The Iraqi forces have managed to liberate some key towns and villages from the grips of the Takfiri group including Tikrit and Baiji in Salahuddin Province.

Seizing control over Ramadi would prepare the ground for the long-anticipated offensive into Mosul, the largest city Daesh controls in the Arab country.

Firouzabadi also said resistance of foreign-backed Daesh commanders in the western city of Fallujah in Anbar will lead to no result.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/28/443580/Iran-Iraq-Firouzabadi-Ramadi--Anbar/

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India

 

Ahmadiyyas find solace, shelter in founder’s Gurdaspur village

by Nirupama Subramanian

Dec 29, 2015

They are, perhaps, Pakistan’s most persecuted community. Forget claiming to be Muslim or describing their place of worship as a mosque, even the greeting “assalamu alaikum” (peace be upon you) could land Ahmadiyyas in jail for three years there.

So much so, renowned nuclear physicist, the late Abdus Salam, never got his due in Pakistan despite winning the Nobel — because of the Ahmadiyya tag.

And so, over the last three days, as 6,000 Ahmadiyyas from the estimated 20 lakh in Pakistan made a pilgrimage to Qadian in Gurdaspur, where the sect’s founder Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born and lies buried, the mood was summed up by a retired engineer from Lahore.

“When we come here, we forget the difficulties we face back home,” said Mubarak Ahmed.

Ahmed was part of the nearly 20,000 Ahmadiyyas from 44 countries, including Jordan, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US, who gathered here for the three-day Jalsa Salana, an annual conference. The community is estimated to have over 170 million followers worldwide, with at least 100,000 in India.

In 1889, Ghulam Ahmad had proclaimed himself to be the messiah that Prophet Mohammed had promised would arrive as a reformer. It’s mainly for this claim that mainstream Islam does not recognise Ahmadiyyas as Muslims. Yet, Pakistan is the only country that has criminalised Ahmadiyya links to Islam, referring to them only as the “Qadiani group”.

Since Saturday, though, Qadian has been a beehive of activity with community-run guest houses and community kitchens, fashioned on the gurdwara langar model and equipped with special roti-makers from Libya, working overtime for the conference.

On Monday, the visitors assembled for the address of the UK-based community leader of Pakistani origin, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, whose speech in Urdu was telecast live from London by MTA, the Ahmadiyya channel.

With simultaneous translations in several Indian languages, apart from English, Indonesian, Arabic and Russian, Masroor Ahmad spoke about how the community was gaining new followers, especially in West African countries such as Mali where jihadists have been gaining ground.

“Everywhere, despite strenuous efforts to keep people away from us, more and more people are realising the truth,” he said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/ahmadiyyas-find-solace-shelter-in-founders-gurdaspur-village/

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After Sangeet Som, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj claims Islamic State threat

Haidar Naqvi

Dec 29, 2015

Firebrand BJP MP from Unnao Sakshi Maharaj on Monday said he had received death threats from terror group Islamic State. He is the second BJP leader after party MLA and accused in Muzaffarnagar riots case Sangeet Som to have received the threat.

Both the leaders received calls made from Chile in South America from the same number.

The caller, speaking in Hindi, claimed to be a member of Islamic State (IS) and threatened to blow Maharaj up.

The caller also told the MP that he was on the hitlist and that the IS informed its targets in advance.

The MP said he had received not one but five such calls -- first one on December 26, same day when Som got the call in western Uttar Pradesh. The latest one was made on Monday noon when Maharaj was at a public meeting.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/after-sangeet-som-bjp-mp-sakshi-maharaj-claims-islamic-state-threat/story-cr5UXDQOwJghT0P2uvxKxM.html

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North America

 

10 Challenges Trudeau's Liberal Government Will Face In 2016

12/28/2015

OTTAWA — Bringing the Liberal party back from the dead was a monumental undertaking for Justin Trudeau: two and a half grinding years rebuilding the party apparatus from the ground up, filling its depleted war chest, recruiting impressive candidates and crafting a platform, capped by a gruelling 11-week marathon campaign that vaulted the Liberals from third to first with a solid majority victory on Oct. 19.

So much for the easy stuff. Now comes the hard part as the rookie prime minister and his team confront the reality of delivering on Trudeau's promises of "real change."

Here are 10 of the biggest challenges ahead in the year to come.

1. The budget.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to table his maiden budget in February or March. He's got the unenviable task of trying to deliver all the Liberals' pricey campaign promises without plunging the country deeply into deficit.

Trudeau promised during last fall's election campaign that a Liberal government would run "modest" deficits of less than $10 billion in each of the first three years before finishing up the final year of his mandate with a slim surplus of $1 billion.

But parliamentary budget officer Jean-Denis Frechette has estimated that over the medium term, the government could run up deficits $10.8 billion higher than Morneau has projected — and that's before factoring in all the new spending the Liberals have promised. Morneau acknowledges the books are in worse shape than anticipated, as commodity prices continue to plummet and economic growth remains stalled.

Little wonder Trudeau's promise to run modest deficits has already been downgraded to a "goal." Trudeau says he's still firmly committed to producing a balanced budget in the fourth year but the bigger the deficits amassed in the first three, the harder it will be to achieve balance.

2. Withdrawing Canadian fighter jets from the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq.

Trudeau has promised to end Canadian participation in the air war but says Canada will continue to contribute in some other way to the campaign against Islamic radicals. He's talked about using Canadian troops to help train local military and police but how many and how close to the front lines the trainers may be has yet to be determined. The government is also talking to NATO allies about other ways Canada could contribute.

Canada's commitment to the current air mission ends on March 31.

3. Resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015 and another 15,000 by the end of February — two months later than originally promised.

Fewer than 4,000 have arrived so far, but the Liberals insist the remainder will come by the government's self-imposed deadline. The logistics of processing and moving so many people has proved much more complicated and costly than anticipated.

4. Meeting with premiers and territorial leaders by mid-March to hammer out a detailed national climate change strategy.

Having agreed to an ambitious 195-country deal to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, Trudeau and the premiers now have to set a specific target for reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and figure out how to achieve it.

The strategy will involve putting a price on carbon and will require consensus among the premiers, which may be hard to come by. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has already signalled his concern that imposing a price on carbon will unfairly damage the economies of energy producing western provinces, already reeling from the plunge in oil prices.

The previous Conservative government set a target to cut emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Trudeau government has said that target is a "floor;" it hopes to set a more ambitious goal.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/12/28/ten-big-challenges-facing-trudeau-s-fledgling-government-in-new-year_n_8885196.html

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Islamic Militants Are The World’s Leading Killers Of Journalists

Dec 29, 2015

NEW YORK -- Islamic militants hailing from groups such as Al Qaeda and the self-described Islamic State killed 28 journalists in 2015, according to a report released Tuesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists. That tally represents 40 percent of the total 69 journalists killed worldwide this past year.

CPJ Editorial Director Elana Beiser, who authored the report, wrote that the press advocacy organization is still investigating at least 24 additional killings and acknowledged the difficulty of confirming reports from Libya, Yemen and Iraq. Earlier this year, CPJ visited Iraq to investigate reports of as many as 35 journalists who were "missing, dead or held captive" in Mosul, an Iraqi city controlled by militants from the Islamic State, or ISIS. 

"With the militant group’s stranglehold on information about the city, CPJ could confirm the deaths of only a handful," Beiser wrote. "Region-wide, CPJ has received reports of dozens more journalists killed, but is unable to independently confirm that the individuals have in fact died and, if so, whether journalistic work was the reason. Several of these journalists can be found on CPJ’s 'missing' list."

Though many major news organizations have stopped sending journalists to Syria, the war-ravaged country remained the deadliest for the fourth consecutive year, with 13 deaths.

Countries that are active war zones, like Syria, or led by regimes opposed to a free press typically top CPJ's annual list. However, France surprisingly ranked second in 2015 as a result of the November terrorist attacks in Paris and the January attack on the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hedbo. Eight journalists were killed in the January massacre, and one was killed in November while covering the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan Theater, where attackers went on a shooting rampage.

The Islamic State's savage treatment of journalists has been witnessed before, with militants beheading several last year and disseminating videos of the killings for propaganda purposes. But Sherif Mansour, CPJ's program coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview that militants in 2015 were also "crossing borders and ... delivering on their threats beyond their sphere of influence."

That happened not only in France, but also in Turkey. In October, Islamic State militants killed two Syrian journalists in Urfa, Turkey, one of whom was a member of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently," an anti-Islamic State citizen journalist collective that has bravely covered everything from air strikes to the brutality of daily life inside the terrorist group’s Syrian stronghold.

On Sunday, unknown assailants in Gaziantep, Turkey, killed Naji Jerf, an editor and documentary filmmaker who chronicled the Islamic State's atrocities. CPJ is still investigating the circumstances surrounding Jerf's death, and so his case was not included in the year-end report published Tuesday. In response to the recent killings, Mansour said he has been "getting a lot of frantic emails" from journalists in Turkey, some of whom he doesn't consider safe in that country.

Full report at:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/islamic-militants-journalists_568028f2e4b06fa688805b5c?section=india

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Obama ignored warnings about Assad ouster

December 29, 2015

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama ignored warnings from senior military and intelligence officials that the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would lead to “chaos” and extremist militants taking over the war-torn country, according to a Pulitzer prize-winning American investigative journalist.

"Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office - and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him - has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff," Journalist Seymour Hersh writes in the London Review of Books. "Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped."

Hersh writes that a highly classified 2013 Defence Intelligence Agency/Joint Chiefs of Staff report on Syria forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to "chaos" and possibly to Islamist extremists taking over Syria.

Hersh reports that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, told him that his agency sent a "constant stream" of warnings to the "civilian leadership" about the dire consequences of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The DIA's reporting "got enormous pushback" from the Obama administration, Hersh quotes Flynn as saying. "I felt that they did not want to hear the truth."

The report, published in the Jan. 7, 2016 edition of the London Review of Books, relies heavily on an anonymous former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Hersh writes that the adviser told him the DIA/Joint Chiefs report took a "dim view" of the Obama administration's insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups and found that the covert US programme to arm and support those "moderate" rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, which then morphed the programme into an "across-the-board technical, arms and logistical program for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State."

"The assessment was bleak: there was no viable 'moderate' opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists," Hersh wrote.

In October, the Pentagon announced that it was discontinuing its programme to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria, saying the programme cost $500 million and only succeeded in training a "handful" of recruits.

In November, however, the CIA increased its shipments of arms to rebels in Syria, joining with US allies in challenging Russia and Iran's involvement in Syria in support of the Assad regime.

US officials, according to a Nov. 4 article in The Wall Street Journal, said the Obama administration is pursuing a dual-track strategy in Syria, to keep military pressure on Assad while US diplomats "see if they can ease him from power through negotiations."

The White House has not responded directly to the allegations raised in the article in the London Review of Books.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/29-Dec-2015/obama-ignored-warnings-about-assad-ouster

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Aylan Kurdi’s relatives arrive in Canada to rebuild their lives

29 December 2015

Relatives of Aylan Kurdi -- the toddler whose limp body was photographed on a Turkish beach, becoming a heartbreaking symbol of the Syrian refugee crisis -- arrived Monday in Canada where they hope to rebuild their lives.

Canadian media showed the boy's aunt Tima Kurdi, who now lives in Vancouver after immigrating to Canada in 1992, in tears as she welcomed her brother Mohammed, his wife Ghousun and their three children, at the airport.

Tima Kurdi, from Canada, stands next to a painting of her late nephew, Aylan Kurdi, on a board outside of EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP)

"Thank you to the Canadian people," Kurdi said.

"Thank you to our Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau for opening the door and showing the world how everyone should welcome refugees and save lives. Thank you very much for doing this."

The refugee policy became a political issue some months back, when the Canadian government earlier was accused of refusing asylum to some members of the family who since drowned. Ottawa said it never received the applications.

Abdullah Kurdi, 40, father of Syrian boys Aylan, 3, and Galip, 5, who were washed up drowned on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum on Wednesday, cries as he waits for the delivery of their bodies outside a morgue in Mugla, Turkey. (AP)

Trudeau's Liberal government has pledged to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/29/Aylan-Kurdi-s-relatives-arrive-in-Canada-to-rebuild-lives-.html

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US hails recapture of Iraq's Ramadi

29 December 2015

The United States on Monday welcomed the Iraqi forces' victory over the ISIL group in the city of Ramadi.

"We commend the government of Iraq and the brave Iraqi forces that are displaying tremendous perseverance and courage in this fight," Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Iraq had earlier declared that it had liberated Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad, and was sweeping it for bombs and booby traps left behind by ISIL fighters.

A US-led military coalition is supporting Iraq's campaign to drive the ISIL group from the country and carried out 630 air strikes during the Iraqi operation in Ramadi.

A White House official said President Barack Obama, who is on vacation in Hawaii, had been briefed on the battle and had saluted the Iraqi forces' "courage and determination."

"We will continue to support our partners fighting against ISIL on the ground until it is defeated," the official said.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/167882/us-hails-recapture-of-iraqs-ramadi

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/don%E2%80%99t-talk-about-islam;-you%E2%80%99re-not-an-authority,-perkasa-tells-g25/d/105779

 

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