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Islamic World News ( 9 Jan 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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‘Ex-Muslims of Kerala’, an outfit for ‘Ex-Muslims’ Celebrates January 9 As ‘Ex-Muslims Day’

New Age Islam News Bureau

10 January 2022

 

On selecting January 9 as Ex-Muslims Day, Liyakkathali said on the same day last year there had been a debate between Islamic preacher M M Akbar and Malappuram-based rationalist E A Jabbar on Islam.

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• Saudi Leaks, The Rights Group Voices Concern Over ‘Enforced Disappearance’ Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman In Saudi Arabia

• Indonesia: New Nahdlatul Ulama Chief Vows Not to Mix Religion with Politics

• Detained Afghan Professor, Faizullah Jalal, Was Provoking People Against Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan: Zabiullah Mujahid

• Pakistani Nation Must Stand Against Extremism: SAPM Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi

 

India

• The Apps ‘Sulli Deals’ and Bulli Bai Made To Degrade And Humiliate Muslim Women, For Being Outspoken About The Rising Tide Of Hindu Nationalism

• MP: Retired DGP Removed From WhatsApp Group For Anti-Muslim Post

• Pakistan Fishing Boat With 10 Crew Members Seized Off Gujarat Coast

• 2 militants killed in encounter in J&K's Kulgam

• Iran ready to help India transport wheat to Afghanistan

• Sulli Deals app creator arrested by Delhi Police

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Arab World

• Iraq's Sadr says ‘no place for militias' in new government

• Syria hands over 50 Daesh/ISIS militants to Iraq

• Iraq's new parliament elects speaker in first step towards establishing a government

• Egypt frees Coptic rights activist Ramy Kamel

• UAE calls for immediate release of ship hijacked by Houthis

• Israel begins buying aluminium from Bahrain, says envoy in interview

• Saudi-led coalition ‘steals’ Iraq doc footage to accuse Yemen forces: Report

• Syrian army forces block US occupation troops in Hasakah, force them to turn back

• Saudi Arabia turns to Persian Gulf allies for resupply of depleted missiles

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Southeast Asia

• Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, Jakarta Archdiocese Declares 2022 As Year Of Human Dignity

• Penang Introduces Religious Exploration Campaign For Awareness, Tourism

• Hadi Hits Out At Media For Blindly Following ‘Western Values’ Over Cases Of Wrongdoing

• Indonesia seeks life sentence for suspected mastermind of 2002 Bali bombing

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South Asia

• Afghan Post, A Government Body Of Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Made 46 Million Afghanis From Posting Documents In Three Months

• Bangladesh Rohingya refugee camp fire leaves thousands homeless

• Taliban Has To Fulfil Promises If They Want Resources To Be Unfrozen: UN

• Taliban FM visits Iran for talks on trade, border and refugees

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Pakistan

• Afghanistan’s future hinges on Pakistan ties, western aid: reports

• Six Islamic State men killed in Quetta: CTD

• Opposition Senators seek debate on PTI funding disclosure

• Pakistan asks IMF to delay 6th country review meeting to January-end

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Europe

• Fight Against Terrorism ‘Greater Challenge’ Than Ever Before, Says UK Police Official

• 164 Dead, Nearly 6,000 Arrested In Week Of Protests In Kazakhstan

• Kazakhstan’s largest city back online after clashes, blackout: Report

• Pope Francis Calls For Dialogue, Justice To End Unrest In Kazakhstan

• Swiss daily reveals torture of local man by PKK terrorists

• EU foreign policy chief condemns violence in Kazakhstan

• UK tells Syrian asylum seeker ‘safe’ to return home

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Mideast

• Iranian Spokesman: Afghanistan Embassy Operating Based on 1961 Convention

• Israeli Extremists A Threat To Christian Presence In Jerusalem, Says Church Leader

• Iran’s Chief Negotiator: Talks on Outstanding Issues Continue in Vienna

• Mahmoud Abbas begins 17th year as Palestinian president

• Over 1,170 Yemeni civilians killed or wounded in 2021

• Hamas arrests suspect in academic’s killing in Malaysia

• Turkish forces 'neutralize' 3 PKK/YPG terrorists in Syria, Iraq

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Africa

• Ex-Tunisian President Calls For Civil Disobedience To Topple Saied

• Sudan protest group rejects UN offer for talks with military

• Somali military repulses al-Shabaab attack, kills 21 terrorists

• Second protester in Sudan dies after injury in anti-military rule protest: Medics

• Ethiopia's rebellious Tigray party accuses Eritrea of attacking its forces

• Tunisia prosecutor rejects request to arrest Ennahda deputy chief: Adviser

• Qatar welcomes launch of UN-facilitated dialogue in Sudan

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North America

• After Tehran Sanctions Americans, US Vows To Deter And Respond To Any Attack By Iran

• US Republican Rep. Jordan not to cooperate with Capitol attack probe

• US sets up refinery in Syria’s Hasakah to increase country's oil theft

• US military boosts forces at Syria oil fields in wake of rocket attacks

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:    https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/ex-muslims-kerala-liyakkathali-e-jabbar/d/126124

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‘Ex-Muslims of Kerala’, an outfit for ‘Ex-Muslims’ celebrates January 9 as ‘Ex-Muslims Day’

 

On selecting January 9 as Ex-Muslims Day, Liyakkathali said on the same day last year there had been a debate between Islamic preacher M M Akbar and Malappuram-based rationalist E A Jabbar on Islam.

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By Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram |

January 10, 2022

On selecting January 9 as Ex-Muslims Day, Liyakkathali said on the same day last year there had been a debate between Islamic preacher M M Akbar and Malappuram-based rationalist E A Jabbar on Islam.

A group of people “who abandoned their religion” have floated a new organisation called ‘Ex-Muslims of Kerala’, offering a platform and support to those who stopped practising Islam. The organization observed January 9 as ‘Ex-Muslims Day’.

The outfit’s president, Liyakkathali C M, said this is the first of its kind organisation in India. “We have formed a 10-member executive committee and membership campaign is on. Initially, we have identified 300 Muslims, who have abandoned their religion over the years, who openly come out in support of the organisation,” he said.

He said the organisation aims to provide moral support to those who quit Islam. “There are many Muslims who have abandoned their religion but are reluctant to declare it openly as they fear repercussions from society. Many are forced to live hiding their identity after abandoning religion. They fail to get support from even family and are targeted in their places of work. We want to give support and courage to people who are willing to come out of the religion. Those who abandon religion should be allowed to live fearlessly,” he said.

On selecting January 9 as Ex-Muslims Day, Liyakkathali said on the same day last year there had been a debate between Islamic preacher M M Akbar and Malappuram-based rationalist E A Jabbar on Islam. “This debate was widely viewed in social media platforms and paved way for an open criticism on Islam and prompted many to abandon the religion. Hence, we wanted January 9 to be marked as the ex-Muslims day,’’ he said.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/thiruvananthapuram/now-an-outfit-for-ex-muslims-in-kerala-7715500/

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Saudi Leaks, The Rights Group Voices Concern Over ‘Enforced Disappearance’ Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman In Saudi Arabia

 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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10 January 2022

A human rights group has voiced concern over the unknown fate of dozens of victims of enforced disappearance in Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom is in a dark era under the rule of the infamous Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The Saudi authority still ignores international condemnations and warnings and continues its repressive and arbitrary policy against the people of the country, in an effort to take away their freedom of opinion and expression,” Saudi Leaks cited the Sanad Rights Foundation as saying on Sunday.

The Sanad Rights Foundation noted that the enforced disappearance is one of the “brutal repressive” methods adopted by Riyadh against prisoners of conscience, describing it as a “black feature” of the era of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the de facto ruler of the kingdom.

According to the rights group, Turki al-Jasser, Saud bin Ghosn, Ahmed al-Muzaini, Jabir a-Amri, and Abdulrahman al-Sadhan are among the prominent victims of the enforced disappearance of persons launched by Saudi authorities.

It condemned Riyadh for hiding the prisoners of conscience in violation of legal provisions, urging the Saudi regime to “review its policies and reveal the fate of the innocent victims.”

Last September, the group noted that the Saudi authorities have detained hundreds of scholars, preachers, thinkers, researchers, writers, journalists, and activists since the first campaign of arrests that took place in September 2017. Sanad denounced the regime for turning a blind eye to the danger of the targeting of prominent people who could play a role in the kingdom’s progress.

Salman al-Ouda, Muhammad Musa al-Sharif, Awad al-Qarni, Hassan al-Maliki, Muhammad al-Munajjid, and Essam al-Zamel were among other prominent figures detained in September 2017.

The group also noted that the female activists have also become a target of the “brutal repression and enforced disappearance,” adding that there are more than ten women whose fate is unknown, including Halimah al-Hewety, Sara al-Jabri, and Mona al-Byali.

“The Saudi authorities refrain from revealing the situation of prisoners of conscience for fear of the exposure of the crimes of psychological and physical torture that are being carried out against them,” Sanad said in September, lamenting that the criminals enjoy impunity.

Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has ramped up arrests of activists, bloggers, intellectuals, and others perceived as political opponents, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnations of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedoms of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/10/674415/Rights-group-concern-enforced-disappearance-Saudi-Arabia

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Indonesia: New Nahdlatul Ulama Chief Vows Not to Mix Religion with Politics

 

Yahya Cholil Staquf, the new chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization

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2022-01-07

The new leader of Indonesia’s largest mass-Muslim organization says he doesn’t intend to enter the political fray or be dragged into communal politics that have divided people in the religiously diverse nation in recent years.

Yahya Cholil Staquf, nicknamed “Gus Yahya,” was elected chairman of the influential Nahdlatul Ulama group in late December, when he defeated two-term incumbent Said Aqil Siradj and three other candidates in a vote during NU’s 34th congress.

“I have stated since the beginning that I do not want to be a presidential or vice-presidential candidate, nor do I want someone from NU as a presidential or a vice-presidential candidate. That way, NU will no longer be involved in identity politics whatsoever,” Yahya told BenarNews in an interview last week.

By “identity politics,” he was referring to a divisive communal streak that has lately infiltrated politics in the Muslim-majority nation. Indonesia has long been known for its moderate brand of Islam and general tolerance toward religious minorities.

NU, which claims to have 90 million members, for most of its existence, has been reputed as a moderate and more progressive faith-based institution.

On several occasions before the NU congress, Yahya expressed his determination to restore to the group the idealism, spirit of inclusiveness and humanity embodied by the late Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, who – as the centennial of NU’s birth approaches – remains one of the most revered figures in its history.

Gus Dur, a longtime chairman of NU, went on to serve as president of Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s most populous nation, in 1999-2001, during the early years of its transition to democracy after decades of authoritarian rule. Yahya, 55, acted as the presidential spokesman under Gus Dur.

More recently, Yahya stayed close to the seat of power when he was appointed as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres) during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s first term.

In his view, NU should play a role in healing the scars and polarization in society that resulted from identity politics, which were on display in the run-up to the 2019 presidential election.

Ma’ruf Amin was Jokowi’s running mate in that election as is serving as vice president.

But in 2017, Ma’ruf was among those calling for the removal from office of Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, Jakarta’s governor who was a member of the Chinese-Christian minority, over alleged blasphemous comments that Ahok made on the campaign trail for reelection. Back in 2017, Ma’ruf was chairman of NU and he sat on the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the nation’s leading body of Islamic clerics and scholars.

A year before the Jakarta gubernatorial election, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a conservative Muslim group that the central government has since banned, led mass protests in the streets of the nation’s capital demanding the arrest and prosecution of “Ahok” for the alleged blasphemy.

In May 2017, a district court in Jakarta convicted Ahok of blasphemy and sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment. Ahok subsequently lost the 2017 gubernatorial election.

Some Indonesians viewed the verdict as politically motivated and suspected that the judges succumbed to pressure from conservative Islamic groups.

Yahya said that fundamentalist Islamic groups such as FPI and Hizbut Tahrir, a pan-Islamic political organization which was dissolved in 2018, were not entirely at fault for wanting Indonesia, as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, to abide by the caliphate concept.

“We know they have political reasons for their choices to be radical or to be fundamental. We have to engage them, we have to try to make them realize that their political choices are no longer realistic,” he told BenarNews during a 45-minute interview by phone on Dec. 31.

“We can no longer impose a universal caliphate in the context of today’s modern reality.”

He also expressed optimism that NU could serve as a mediator by seeking a common framework to curtail, if not withhold, radicalism and fundamentalism in the country.

“Obviously the way to do it is to persevere and campaign as hard as possible to prevent identity politics. We must encourage political stakeholders to build consensus that they would not capitalize on identity, especially religious identity, as a political weapon,” Yahya said.

Israel controversy

In 2018, Yahya stirred public controversy at home when he accepted an invitation from the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR) to give a speech in Jerusalem on the solution to religious conflicts.

At the time, Yahya was still a member of Wantimpres. The Indonesian public criticized him over the invitation because he was perceived as having put a dent in Indonesia’s support for the Palestinian people.

But Yahya said he went on the trip in a personal capacity and as a regular Muslim who longed for the Palestine-Israel conflict to end, and not as a representative of the government or NU.

In early 2020, during a meeting of leaders from different faiths at the Vatican, Yahya said the world’s religious leaders had agreed to come together to think about how religion functions and responds to conflict in the 21st century.

“Religion must also find its new function. This is the first and this requires a separate process,” he told BenarNews.

As he put it, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs to be resolved fundamentally, namely through clarifying territorial boundaries in accordance with international law. As long as boundaries are not made clear, it will be difficult for Israel to gain political recognition, including establishing diplomatic ties with Indonesia, he said.

“A lot of these territorial boundaries are just unilateral claims by both Israel and the surrounding Arab and Islamic countries. This must be resolved first. So if, for example, Indonesia says it is normalizing relations with Israel, which [Israel] is it? The boundaries must be clear so as not to cause new problems,” he said.

The interview with the new NU chairman took place days after news reports emerged saying that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during meetings with Indonesian officials in Jakarta last month, had discussed the prospect of Indonesia normalizing ties with the Jewish State.

Yahya also has a proven track record in the international community.

In 2014, he was listed as one of the founders of Bayt Ar-Rahmah, a California-based religious institute which promotes the primary message of Islam as a source of universal love and compassion.

He was entrusted to be a member in the panel of experts who formulate policies in the U.S.-Indonesia Interfaith Executive Council, which was set up after an agreement signed between President Barack Obama and Jokowi in October 2015.

Yahya was also appointed as the envoy of Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth movement and the National Awakening Party (PKB), NU’s political vehicle, to forge political networks in the international community and in Europe.

He said he believes that Indonesia must contribute to develop the world order in accordance with its 1945 constitutional mandate. He also voiced hope that his activities could project the image of a peaceful and moderate Islam in Indonesia.

“I think the Indonesian government should take a bolder action with a concrete agenda in solving existing problems, to penetrate the international politics,” he said.

“[T]o defend anyone who is treated unfairly, to seek a better future for everyone, including our brothers in Palestine or our brothers [the] Uyghurs in China. It even includes non-Muslim groups who also suffer from persecution in Muslim-majority societies.”

Yahya said even though he is now NU chairman, Bayt Ar-Rahmah will keep operating as usual, because he still needs to carry on with its Islamic humanitarian mission, which includes campaigning to eliminate the use of the term “kafir” (infidel) in modern Islamic doctrine.

“The non-Muslims or infidel status is a symbolic object for hostility, discrimination and persecution,” he said.

“We can no longer tolerate or allow such vulnerability because the world has become one, integrated neighborhood, and we have to live side by side with each other,” Yahya told BenarNews.

‘Needs to be supported’

Syafiq Hakim, a lecturer in Islamic studies at the Indonesian International Islamic University, welcomed Yahya’s stated intention to revive Gus Dur’s visions and missions, but said this would require support from all parties.

“If he doesn’t want to be involved in politics by being a presidential or a vice presidential candidate, it seems that he really wants to reinstate Gus Dur’s values. But of course, we don’t know if it would be applicable with NU. Because when it comes to NU, it has so many layers and not all scholars have an open perspective,” Syafiq told BenarNews on Thursday.

According to Syafiq, if Yahya succeeds in reviving NU’s old progressive values, other mass organizations with diverse perspectives and endeavors will likely follow suit, including Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organization in Indonesia.

“That is a working agenda that I think is challenging and needs support, though I have no idea how it will turn out. However, I strongly agree with Gus Yahya’s proposed agenda, and he must put it forward, as a leader of the largest mass organization that protects minority groups,” he said.

PKB, the political party associated with Nahdlatul Ulama, was established to voice the organization’s aspirations in responding to a political crisis during the reform era, which began in 1998 with the downfall of President Suharto, the longtime dictator.

Gus Dur initially refused the idea because he didn’t want NU to leave its “khittah” (original pledge) by mixing religious affairs with politics. However, Gus Dur finally relented because he saw this as the only way to fight Golkar, the party associated with Suharto, the authoritarian ruler and former military chief.

According to another observer, it is appropriate for Yahya to want to keep NU out of politics in Indonesia. Yon Machmudi, an Islamic politics expert at the University of Indonesia, said he hoped Yahya would not be steered into mobilizing NU’s large mass following in any political contest.

“If he remains on track with his agenda, it will be a major breakthrough … by returning to NU’s foundational mandate as a religious Islamic organization beyond the struggle for political power,” Yon told BenarNews.

If NU is forced to become involved in politics, this would diminish the organization’s core values and mission in helping to strengthen society, he said.

“I think his statement that he would steer NU away from politics is good and important, so that he can make decisions wisely on political choices without having to become a presidential or a vice presidential candidate, which could potentially cause friction at the grassroots level. I think this is an ideal situation,” Yon said.

Source: Benar News

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

https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/leader-speaks-01072022154105.html

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Detained Afghan Professor, Faizullah Jalal, Was Provoking People Against Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan: Zabiullah Mujahid

 

Faizullah Jalal, a professor at Kabul University and a known critic of the Taliban government

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09 Jan 2022

Deputy Minister of information and culture and spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Zabiullah Mujahid said that university lecturer Faizullah Jalal was provoking people against the political system thus, he was arrested.

Clarifying the arrest of Faizullah Jalal, Zabiullah Mujahid said that Jalal was a “bigot” person and he is arrested to clarify his recent remarks and pieces of writing on social media.

Mujahid said that Jalal’s recent posts on social media are sheer “bullshit”.

Faizullah Jalal in his last Twitter post said that Durand Line is an official border between Afghanistan and Pakistan and that Pashtoon leaders have signed the Line several times.

“Faizullah Jalal was arrested so that other people misusing names of university lecturer not disrespect people and do not post bullshit.” Reads a Twitter post of Mujahid.

Faizullah Jalal was arrested in Kabul on Saturday, January, 1, 2022.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/detained-faizullah-jalal-was-provoking-people-against-iea-mujahid-457457/

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Pakistani Nation Must Stand Against Extremism: SAPM Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi

 

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi

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January 10, 2022

MULTAN:

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Interfaith Harmony Allama Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi on Sunday said that the government believes in resolving issues through dialogue, and the nation must stand against extremism.

He said this while addressing a ceremony held for the promotion of interfaith harmony under the auspices of the South Punjab Multi-Stakeholder Working Group and Signify organisation.

During the ceremony, the SAPM also spoke about the Murree calamity, where stranded tourists passed away in their cars. He regretted the incident and appealed to the people to avoid sharing the pictures of the deceased on social media, hinting at punishment for those who express negligence in this regard.

Ashrafi also paid tribute to the Pakistan Army for rendering swift services to those stranded in extreme weather in the hill station.

The SAPM also lauded the gesture shown by different religious seminaries to serve the people. He added that seminaries would be linked to the Ministry of Education.

Ashrafi also hailed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers’ meeting in Islamabad, terming it as a huge success of the federal government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the whole Muslim Ummah stood united on the issue of Afghanistan.

Regarding forced marriages, he categorically stated that there is no concept of forced marriage in Islam, adding that the religion gives women right to contract marriage of their own choice.

Read More: Lawmakers urge end to child marriages

He further said that the main message of Paigham-e-Pakistan is peace and one should not interfere in others’ creed. He said that the recommendations of Paigham-e-Pakistan would be made part of the Constitution of Pakistan, and in this regard, Adviser to Prime Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan is working on converting them into a legal shape.

Responding to a question about government’s viewpoint about Madinah Masjid, the SAPM said that the government, through the attorney general, presented its viewpoint. He, however, hinted that mosques and graveyards could not be demolished with any “Sharie” reason.

During the ceremony, Federal Parliamentary Secretary on Finance Zain Qureshi praised the South Punjab Multi-Stakeholder Group for its efforts to promote peace in the region.

The ceremony was also addressed by Paigham-e-Pakistan Director General Dr Muhammad Ziaul Haq, Provincial Parliamentary Secretary on Information and Culture Nadeem Qureshi, Women University Vice Chancellor Uzma Qureshi, and others, who supported continuing struggle for interfaith harmony.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

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

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2337950/pakistani-nation-must-stand-against-extremism-sapm

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India

 

The Apps ‘Sulli Deals’ and Bulli Bai Made To Degrade And Humiliate Muslim Women, For Being Outspoken About The Rising Tide Of Hindu Nationalism

10th January 2022

Police in India have arrested a man suspected of creating an app that put up photos of more than 80 Muslim women for "sale" online last year.

The open source app - Sulli Deals - had been hosted on web platform GitHub in July 2021.

The 25-year-old was arrested days after a similar app - Bulli Bai - uploaded photos of more than 100 Muslim women.

Four students, including a 21-year-old student who allegedly created the second app, were arrested.

In both cases, there was no actual sale, but the purpose was to degrade and humiliate Muslim women, many of whom have been outspoken about the rising tide of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Sulli" is a derogatory Hindi slang term right-wing Hindu trolls use for Muslim women, and "bulli" is also pejorative.

After the Bulli Bai app generated outrage online, one of the women who had filed a police complaint in July alleged that police in national capital Delhi had not taken any action yet.

On Sunday, police arrested Aumkareshwar Thakur from Indore city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Police told BBC Marathi that Mr Thakur's name came up while Neeraj Bishnoi, the alleged creator of the Bulli Bai app, was being interrogated.

Mr Thakur's devices are being analysed, KPS Malhotra, the deputy commissioner of the Delhi Police's cyber crime team, told the BBC.

The "Sulli Deals" app had taken publicly available pictures of women and created profiles, describing the women as "deals of the day".

Those who featured on the app were all vocal Muslims, including journalists, activists, artists or researchers.

One of the women, a commercial pilot, told the BBC's Geeta Pandey in July 2021 that she felt "chills" go down her spine when she heard about the app.

The Bulli Bai app also generated similar reactions from the women whose photos were uploaded without their permission - this included several journalists, a Bollywood actor and the 65-year-old mother of a disappeared Indian student.

Source: BBC News

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

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-59933029

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MP: Retired DGP removed from WhatsApp group for anti-Muslim post

9th January 2022

Bhopal: A retired Director General of Police (DGP) was removed from a WhatsApp group of IPS officers after the current DGP of Madhya Pradesh Vivek Johri took issue with the Islamophobic content being posted by the former. The situation was made worse by the retired man’s unwillingness to delete the content.

According to an Indian Express report, Ex special DGP, Maithili Sharan Gupta, shared a youtube channel link in the group, along with a text.

The text read, “Those who voted for Muslim League, instead of going to Pakistan, they stayed back in India. Post-Independence, our black Britishers let them sit on the heads of Hindus. They were given more rights under the law and this is the root cause of all problems. They were made education ministers, subsequently, they changed your history.” He also asked all group members to subscribe to the YouTube channel.”

DGP Johri responded to him, “Such political/communal posts should have no place in this group. Please delete.” But when Gupta didn’t see the message, the current DGP contacted the group admin to call him and ask him to delete the post. But the call was an exercise in futility as Gupta refused to delete the post.

After which the DGP informed the admin that “If he (Gupta) is not prepared to delete the communal post, he need not be in his group.”

Gupta speaks to the Indian Express, said that he found nothing objectionable in the post and refused to delete it. “Later I don’t really know what happened, I haven’t checked the groups, but some reporters called me, seeking my comment, informing me that the DGP has removed me from the group.”

Gupta said he did not mind being removed from the group. “These things are smaller issues, but it is important to draw the attention of the public to the sufferings of Hindus,” he added.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/mp-retired-dgp-removed-from-whatsapp-group-for-anti-muslim-post-2255501/

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Pakistan fishing boat with 10 crew members seized off Gujarat coast

TNN / Jan 10, 2022

NEW DELHI: A Pakistani fishing boat, with 10 crew members, was seized in Indian territorial waters off the coast of Gujarat by the Coast Guard on Saturday night.

The Pakistani boat named ‘Yaseen’ was around six to seven miles inside Indian waters in the Arabian Sea when it was intercepted by Coast Guard patrol vessel Ankit, officials said on Sunday.

“The boat initially tried to flee on spotting the approaching Coast Guard vessel. The crew could not explain the boat’s presence in Indian waters. During the initial boarding of Yaseen, which is registered at Ketibandar, around 2,000 kg of fish and 600 litres of petrol was found,” an official said.

“The boat is being towed to Porbandar for further investigation and interrogation of the crew members. There has been a sharp increase in attempts to smuggle narcotics like heroin from Pakistan to the Indian coast in recent months,” he added.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-fishing-boat-with-10-crew-members-seized-off-gujarat-coast/articleshow/88798661.cms

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2 militants killed in encounter in J&K's Kulgam

Jan 10, 2022

SRINAGAR: Two unidentified militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, police said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Hassanpora village of Kulgam district following information about the presence of militants there, a police spokesperson said.

He said the search operation turned into an encounter after militants opened fire on the security forces.

Two ultras were killed in the exchange of fire with the security forces, the spokesperson said, adding the identity and group affiliation of the slain militants is being ascertained.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/2-militants-killed-in-encounter-in-jks-kulgam/articleshow/88797514.cms

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Iran ready to help India transport wheat to Afghanistan

Sachin Parashar

Jan 10, 2022

Even as India continues to discuss modalities for transporting 50,000 MT to Afghanistan through the land route, Iran Saturday offered to help India deliver humanitarian aid including wheat to the country under Taliban rule.

Government sources said though that delivery of wheat via the Attari-Wagah border was still being considered and that help will be sought from Iran only if this option falls through. India has already shared details of Afghan contractors and drivers who will ferry the wheat to Afghanistan and Pakistan media, quoting local sources, reported late last month that India and Pakistan were close to finalising an agreement for the supply of 50,000 MT of Indian wheat to Afghanistan.

The Iranian offer to India came in a conversation that foreign minister S Jaishankar had with his counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian Saturday in which the 2 leaders discussed key bilateral and regional issues.

"Regarding Afghanistan, @Amirabdolahian stressed the need to form an inclusive government in the country. He also referred to India's humanitarian aid to #Afghanistan, announcing measures and cooperation by Iran to transfer this aid in the form of wheat, medicine... to the country," tweeted the Iranian foreign ministry on Sunday.

Significantly, the Iranian offer also came on a day the Taliban foreign minister, Amir Muttaqi, arrived in Tehran for discussions on "economic, transit and refugee issues". India though always had the option of transporting the wheat through the Chabahar wheat it has helped develop in Iran. The government, in fact, had supplied 75,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan through the same port in 2020. However, India has so far not contemplated the Chabahar option apparently because it remains unsure about the security of the route in Afghanistan that will likely be used in that case.

While India has already sent 3 consignments of aid to Afghanistan, comprising mostly life-saving medicines, it's the promise of wheat that the Taliban dispensation in Kabul, crippled by an acute food shortage, has been looking forward to the most from India. The Taliban foreign minister had even raised the need for Pakistan to quickly approve India's proposal for delivery of wheat to Afghanistan during his meeting with Pakistan PM Imran Khan in Islamabad in November.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/iran-ready-to-help-india-transport-wheat-to-afghanistan/articleshow/88797003.cms

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Sulli Deals app creator arrested by Delhi Police

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui 

10.01.22

Delhi police on Sunday arrested a 25-year-old “IT expert” from Indore on the charge of creating the Sulli Deals app last July that tried to humiliate articulate Muslim women by uploading their pictures and putting them up for a mock auction.

Aumkareshwar Thakur is the first suspect to be arrested in the six-month-old case, which has returned to the spotlight after a copycat app, Bulli Bai, repeated the act against about 100 Muslim women on New Year's Day.

Officers said that Neeraj Bishnoi, a 21-year-old arrested from Jorhat in Assam last week in the Bulli Bai case, had provided the clue that led them to Thakur’s doorstep in Indore’s Newyork City township.

Both apps were hosted on GitHub, which offers anonymity to creators.

Delhi police’s cyber cell had registered a case about the Sulli Deals app on a complaint last July.

The complainant recently alleged that police inaction in the case had emboldened those who created Bulli Bai six months later.

Last week, Mumbai police made the first arrests in the Bulli Bai case. They picked up teenaged Shweta Singh and 21-year-old BSc student Mayank Rawat from Uttarakhand and engineering student Vishal Kumar Jha, 21, from Bangalore.

Delhi police had arrested Neeraj, a second-year BTech student at an institute in Bhopal and alleged mastermind behind the Bulli Bai app.

Thakur has admitted that “he was a member of a ‘trad’group on Twitter and the idea to defame and troll Muslim women was shared there”, deputy commissioner of police K.P.S. Malhotra (cyber cell) said in Delhi.

“He was the mastermind and developed the code on GitHub. All members of the group had access to GitHub. He had shared the app on his Twitter account. Group members uploaded the photos of the (about 80) Muslim women.”

Thakur's father Akhilesh told reporters in Indore that his son was an “IT expert” and was being “framed” on the basis of the claims of an arrested youth.

Investigations have revealed that Thakur joined the Twitter group, Tradmahasabha, in January 2020 using the handle @gangescion, the police said.

“During various group discussions, the members talked about trolling Muslim women…. After the uproar over the Sulli Deals app, he deleted all his social media footprints,” Malhotra said.

Source: Telegraph India

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/sulli-deals-app-creator-held/cid/1846881

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Arab World

 

Iraq's Sadr says ‘no place for militias' in new government

Ali Jawad  

08.01.2022

BAGHDAD

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr said Saturday said that there will be no place for militias in the country’s new government.

His statements came on the eve of the first session of Iraq’s new parliament following the Oct. 10 parliamentary elections, in which his bloc emerged winner.

"Today, there is no place for sectarianism or ethnicity, but a national majority government where the Shias will defend the rights of minorities, the Sunnis and Kurds," al-Sadr said on Twitter.

"There is no room for corruption, all [Iraq's] sects shall be supportive to reform," al-Sadr said, adding that "everyone will support the army, police and security forces."

Al-Sadr is known for his opposition to Shia armed groups operating outside the rule of law in Iraq.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iraqs-sadr-says-no-place-for-militias-in-new-government/2468857

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Syria hands over 50 Daesh/ISIS militants to Iraq

Ibrahim Saleh

08.01.2022

BAGHDAD

Fifty Iraqi members of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group were handed over to Baghdad from Syria on Saturday, according to Iraqi authorities.

In a statement, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said the Iraqi suspects were arrested inside Syrian territories and were handed over to Iraq through the Rabi’a border crossing with Syria.

In June 2014, the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group captured Mosul, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces and parts of Diyala and Kirkuk, which were recaptured from the group in late 2017 by the Iraqi forces with support from a US-led coalition.

Thousands of Daesh/ISIS members fled to neighboring Syria after the defeat of the terror group.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/syria-hands-over-50-daesh-isis-militants-to-iraq/2468854

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Iraq's new parliament elects speaker in first step towards establishing a government

10 January ,2022

Iraq's new parliament elected Sunni lawmaker Mohammed al-Halbousi as speaker on Sunday, marking an important step towards establishing a new government three months after a national election.

The first session of parliament since the Oct. 10 election, however, was disrupted earlier in the day as competing political Shia blocs each claimed to hold a parliamentary majority and as the acting speaker, Mahmoud al-Mashahadani, suddenly fell ill and was taken to hospital, forcing the session to be briefly adjourned.

When the session resumed Halbousi was elected for a second term as speaker, defeating Mashahadani, a former speaker of the first parliament set in 2006. Halbousi won with 200 votes, according to a statement from 329-seat parliament.

Mashahadani was in hospital under surveillance for fatigue but was discharged after a couple of hours, parliament's office said in a statement.

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

Parliament now has 30 days from the first session to elect the country's new president, who will then ask the largest bloc in parliament to form a government.

There were heated debates and shouting among lawmakers over which party had the most number of seats.

Iran-backed Shia political coalition Fatah and the State of Law coalition, which is led by former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, submitted a document to the acting speaker requesting that their coalition be the largest bloc in parliament.

Lawmakers from Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's party, which came first in the October election, strongly objected to the request, defending their position as the largest bloc.

“The debate between Shia parties over which bloc is the largest in parliament has disrupted the session and forced a brief delay,” said Jamal Kojar, a Kurdish lawmaker.

Sadr is a populist who has positioned himself as a staunch opponent of both Iran and the US. His bloc, already the biggest in parliament before the October election, will expand to 73 seats from 54. Its main rival for years, the Fatah bloc of factions linked to pro-Tehran militia, saw its parliamentary representation collapse in the election to just 17 seats from 48.

However, some lawmakers could yet switch factions and parliament's presidency will ultimately decide which is the biggest faction.

Hakim al-Zamili, who ran for Sadr’s party, was elected as Halbousi’s first deputy speaker. Shakhwan Abdulla from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was voted for as a second deputy.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/10/Iraq-s-new-parliament-elects-speaker-in-first-step-towards-establishing-a-government

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Egypt frees Coptic rights activist Ramy Kamel

09 January ,2022

Egyptian authorities have released Coptic rights activist Ramy Kamel after more than two years spent in pre-trial detention, his family said Saturday.

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

Kamel is a founding member of the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic human rights organization born in the wake of the January 2011 protests that toppled Egypt’s longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

“Rami is among his family... time to celebrate!” his sister Bossi Kamel wrote on Facebook.

Kamel was arrested in November 2019, accused of joining a terror group, receiving foreign funding and spreading false information.

His supporters said he had been sharing footage of sectarian violence in southern Egypt on social media, for which he had received a warning from authorities.

His arrest was condemned at the time by human rights organizations, which have repeatedly called for his release.

In a November 2021 report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said the charges against Kamel were “spurious” and that he had “neither been offered release on bail nor granted an actual trial -- only periodic sham hearings that perpetually extend his detention”.

Kamel’s arrest was likely a bid to prevent him speaking about the persecution of religious minorities at a United Nations conference, USCIRF said in the report.

USCIRF and others have raised concerns about the activist’s mental and physical health, saying he has been kept in solitary confinement and suffers from acute asthma which has worsened in detention.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/09/Egypt-frees-Coptic-rights-activist-Ramy-Kamel

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UAE calls for immediate release of ship hijacked by Houthis

10 January ,2022

The United Arab Emirates government on Monday called for the release of the ship Rwabee and its crew, which were hijacked by the Iran-backed Houthi militia on January 3.

A letter to the UN Security Council signed by Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, said the ship was carrying medical equipment for a field hospital on Socotra Island.

It added that 11 people of different nationalities are onboard Rwabee.

The letter stated that the Houthis had previously targeted at least 13 commercial ships with explosive-laden boats and mines and had hijacked at least three in the Red Sea.

The UAE delegate emphasized that Houthi piracy raises real concerns for the freedom and security of navigation and international trade in the Red Sea.

Rwabee was hijacked by the Houthis on the night of January 3, 25 nautical miles west of the Yemeni ports of Salif and Hodeidah.

The tracking system on board the ship was suspended at a distance of 18 nautical miles from Salif port several hours later.

The ship was on its way from Socotra Island in Yemen to the port of Jazan in Saudi Arabia, carrying equipment leased by a Saudi company used in a field hospital on the island, the letter said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/01/10/UAE-calls-for-immediate-release-of-ship-hijacked-by-Houthis

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Israel begins buying aluminium from Bahrain, says envoy in interview

09 January ,2022

Israel began importing aluminium from Bahrain, Manama-based newspaper al-Ayam reported on Sunday, citing an interview with Eitan Na’eh, the Israeli ambassador to the Gulf monarchy.

Na’eh was appointed as Israel's first ambassador to Bahrain in 2021, a year after the two states agreed to normalize relations. Aluminium Bahrain is one the largest smelters in the Middle East region.

The envoy did not specify the quantities or the value of Israel’s aluminium imports from Bahrain.

Israel’s airline El Al should start flights to Manama soon, Na’eh said, according to the newspaper. Bahrain’s Gulf Air in September announced the launch of direct flights to Tel Aviv.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/01/09/Israel-began-buying-aluminium-from-Bahrain-envoy-says-in-interview

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Saudi-led coalition ‘steals’ Iraq doc footage to accuse Yemen forces: Report

10 January 2022

The Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen since 2015 has “stolen” excerpts from a documentary about Iraq to try to accuse Yemeni defense forces of “militarizing” Yemen’s key port city, a report says.

The report by Yemen’s al-Masirah television network came on Sunday, a day after the coalition’s spokesman Turki al-Maliki displayed the footage during an event, alleging that the Yemeni forces were using the al-Hudaydah port to stockpile missiles.

“The scenes that al-Maliki claimed were missiles in the port of al-Hudaidah were extracted from a documentary film called ‘Severe Clear,’ filmed in 2003 at the beginning of the American invasion of Iraq,” the network wrote.

The documentary essentially “presented the memoirs of First Lieutenant Mike Scotty in addition to videos that he and his colleagues from the first battalion filmed for the Marines,” it added.

The network further found it “ironic” that the spokesman had alleged during the presentation that the exact location of the missiles “cannot be disclosed.”

Leading several of its allies, the Saudi kingdom launched a war against the Arab world’s already poorest nation in March 2015. The war has been seeking to restore power in Yemen to the country’s former Riyadh-allied officials.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/10/674408/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-coalition-al-Hudaydah

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Syrian army forces block US occupation troops in Hasakah, force them to turn back

09 January 2022

Syrian government troops have intercepted a US military convoy in the country’s northeastern province of Hasakah as the occupation forces were attempting to pass through a community in the energy-rich region.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that Syrian army soldiers blocked the convoy of four armored vehicles on Saturday evening as it was trying to enter the village of Qubur al-Gharajneh, which lies north of Tell Tamer toen, on Saturday evening.

The American troops were subsequently forced to turn around and go back in the direction they came from. There were no reports of clashes or injuries.

The development came two days after US forces brought in reinforcements from neighboring Iraq into areas in northeastern Syria.

The Arabic service of Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported that a convoy of nearly 30 military vehicles, carrying High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees), battles tanks, bulldozers as well as crates of ammunition and missiles, entered the Syrian territories through al-Waleed border crossing between Iraq and Syria on Thursday.

The report, citing local Syrian sources who preferred not to be named, reported that two US military helicopters flew overhead as American forces brought in the military hardware.

The sources added that vehicles belonging to the Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) escorted the US military convoy.

The convoy initially moved to al-Shaddadi town in the southern flank of Hasakah province, before being deployed to al-Omar oil field in the neighboring Dayr al-Zawr province where American occupation troops run a military base.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/09/674365/Syrian-army-forces-block-US-occupation-troops-in-Hasakah,-force-them-to-turn-back

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Saudi Arabia turns to Persian Gulf allies for resupply of depleted missiles

09 January 2022

Saudi Arabia had pleaded with Persian Gulf countries to help the kingdom get interceptor missiles for its US-made Patriot systems amid increasing rocket and drone strikes by Yemeni forces in retaliation for the Riyadh-led bombing campaign, a report says.

A senior US official said the administration of President Joe Biden supported Saudi Arabia’s moves to source missiles from regional states given concerns that the kingdom’s Patriot stocks could run out in “months” due to the current rate of attacks by the Yemeni army, The Financial Times reported.

“It’s an urgent situation,” the official said. “There are other places in the Persian Gulf they can get them from, and we are trying work on that. It may be the faster alternative [to US arms sales].”

Another official from the Biden administration said Washington was “working closely with the Saudis and other partner countries to ensure there is no gap in coverage.”

A third American official said the Yemenis stepped up their retaliatory attacks last year, launching 375 strikes, many of which targeted Saudi oil infrastructure, airports and cities.

“Responding to those attacks using those kind of interceptors means that they’re going to have a burn rate that is faster than they may have anticipated before,” he added. “That is something that we have to deal with and the answer to that is not only more interceptors, but the answer to that is ultimately a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Yemen.”

Meanwhile, two people briefed on talks between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors confirmed that Riyadh had pleaded for interceptors.

“There is an interceptor shortage. Saudi Arabia has asked its friends for loans, but there are not many to be had,” one of the informed people said.

A second person said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hinted at the issue during a Persian Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] summit in Riyadh in December and subsequently contacted regional countries directly.

In December 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that Riyadh had fallen drastically short in the face of Yemen’s determined retaliation campaign, beseeching the US for help.

The Saudi government requested to purchase 280 missiles and 596 missile-rail launchers to neutralize the counterstrikes, the daily wrote. Riyadh has also approached its European and regional allies to help it resupply its arsenal.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on its southern neighbor in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states.

The aim was to return to power the former Riyadh-backed regime and crush the popular Ansarullah movement which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.

The war has stopped well shy of all of its goals, despite killing tens of thousands of Yemenis and turning entire Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, Yemeni forces have in recent months gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in Yemen.

Throughout the course of the war, the United States has supported and armed Saudi Arabia. Despite his promise to end “all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales,” Biden last year approved the sale of 280 air-to-air missiles valued at up to $650 million to Saudi Arabia.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/09/674364/Saudi-Arabia-interceptor-missiles-Yemen

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Southeast Asia

 

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, Jakarta Archdiocese Declares 2022 As Year Of Human Dignity

Katharina Reny

January 10, 2022

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta has declared 2022 as the Year of Human Dignity and called on Indonesian Catholics to show the caring face of God throughout the next 12 months.

He announced the special year during a homily at a livestreamed evening concelebrated Mass on Jan. 8 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral Church in Jakarta.

The Year of Human Dignity kicked off Jakarta Archdiocese’s new five-year basic pastoral direction program. Under the slogan “Loving, Caring, Being A Witness,” the archdiocese with 67 parishes wants Catholics to enliven the call to love and to care.

“Together with all churches, today we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. And on this day, we, Catholics of the Archdiocese of Jakarta, will also start the journey of our faith for the next five years based on basic pastoral directions,” the prelate said.

“We want to explore Catholic social teaching and to find creative ways to materialize our faith in a more contextual way.”

He said Catholic social teaching could be divided in a simple way into five important points: respecting human dignity, striving for the common good, maintaining and promoting solidarity, paying attention to the less fortunate, and caring for God’s creation as the common home.

“These points relate to one another. To uphold human dignity, the common good must be materialized. To materialize the common good, the spirit of solidarity must be maintained,” he said.

“While we strive for the common good, there are always the less fortunate whom we need to pay more attention to. And we can do all this if we commit to preserving God’s creation as our common home.”

Source: UCA News

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/jakarta-archdiocese-declares-2022-as-year-of-human-dignity/95657

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Penang introduces religious exploration campaign for awareness, tourism

10 Jan 2022

BY OPALYN MOK

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 10 — Penang will be introducing a cultural religious campaign that kicks off in March to promote the cultural history of local communities and houses of worship.

Penang Harmony Corporation Sdn Bhd (Harmonico) will be leading the campaign to produce over 20 videos to showcase temples, churches, mosques and the communities living around it.

Harmonico manager Paul Au said the videos will tell the stories of the community in a chosen area and the various houses of worship in the area.

“The first video on the Streets of Harmony in George Town is expected to be released in March to kickstart this campaign,” he told reporters here today after visiting the 200-year-old Khye Sian Ong Temple with state executive councillors Chong Eng, Yeoh Soon Hin, Penang Global Tourism (PGT) chief executive officer Ooi Chok Yan and George Town World Heritage Incorporated general manager Ang Ming Chee.

Au said Harmonico is working with Think City to repackage the Streets of Harmony under the cultural religious campaign.

They are also working with other agencies such as PGT to promote the sites they showcased as a cultural heritage tourism site.

“We can create a niche market for visitors in future, similar to what Thailand is doing, in which they promote tours to their famous historical temples,” he said.

He said the campaign will focus on old temples, churches and some mosques and the stories of the local communities around it.

Using the Khye Sian Ong Temple in Jelutong as an example, Au said it has a history of over 200 years and there were other similarly interesting sites in Jelutong which includes a century-old Hindu temple.

He said the over 20 videos will capture different sites on both the island and the mainland.

Additionally, to encourage houses of worship to take part in this campaign, the state government will be allocating RM3,000 each to eligible houses of worship to participate in the campaign.

He said this will encourage them to document the history of their site and this could later be used to tell the story of the place.

According to Chong, who is also Social Development and Non-Islamic Religious Affair committee chairman, Penang has a lot of houses of worship that can be featured.

“Many people don’t know the history of the temples they go to so this campaign is important to record the history of these places,” she said.

She added that the campaign will also allow others to discover and learn about different religions and practices.

“This can create awareness and cultivate understanding and respect among people of different religions,” she said.

She said well documented places can become attractions to visitors.

Harmonico is government body incorporated under the Chief Minister’s Incorporated to implement and oversee matters pertaining to religions other than Islam.

The Khye Sian Ong Temple was built in 1820 on land that was gifted by a successful Malay businessman.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/01/10/penang-introduces-religious-exploration-campaign-for-awareness-tourism/2034130

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Hadi hits out at media for blindly following ‘western values’ over cases of wrongdoing

09 Jan 2022

PETALING JAYA: Reporting on wrongdoing involving public officials is a form of free speech practised by the West and Malaysians should not blindly follow western values, says PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang.

Without naming names, Abdul Hadi was believed to be referring to the share trading scandal involving MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki.

Abdul Hadi said the media freedom practised by western countries was akin to putting the people’s voice on a pedestal.

“Should all western creations be carelessly followed by the people? It could form conflicting perceptions and create a wrong narrative to confuse the already confused,” Abdul Hadi said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Jan 9).

“Therefore, the media’s role in dragging this matter (out in) public in order to punish an accused individual is very sinful,” he said.

Abdul Hadi, who spoke on Islam at length in his Facebook post, stressed that a person’s dignity must always be respected, as it is a sin to disrespect a guilty person.

“The sin is even bigger for those who are innocent,” said Abdul Hadi.

Abdul Hadi then trained his guns on the West, saying that secular societies do not understand the concept of dosa (sins) and pahala (blessings).

“Do we want to be corrupted in the world or thrown into hell when Judgment Day is here?" he wrote.

Abdul Hadi also said Islam stressed that an individual accused of a crime must not be presumed guilty until he faces the legal process.

“It is catastrophic for humans to (adopt) an approach that drags... people to do something wrong.

“In doing so, it disturbs leaders and civil servants who are genuinely carrying out tasks entrusted to them by Allah SWT,” he wrote.

On Thursday (Jan 6), Azam had told The Star that he would cooperate with the Securities Commission in the matter and the parties are expected to meet next week.

Azam also maintained that he did not commit any wrongdoing, adding that action will be taken against those who had tarnished his reputation and that of the MACC.

In explaining the issue last Wednesday (Jan 5), Azam said his brother had borrowed his trading account to buy shares in the open market and financed the purchases on his own.

It involved substantial amounts of shares bought from Gets Global Bhd and Excel Force MSC Bhd between 2015 and 2016 when Azam was the MACC director of investigations.

Azam had said he informed his superiors about the transactions back in 2015 and he did not have any interest in the acquired shares.

Source: The Star

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

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2022/01/09/hadi-hits-out-at-media-for-blindly-following-western-values-over-cases-of-wrongdoing

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Indonesia seeks life sentence for suspected mastermind of 2002 Bali bombing

January 5, 2022

Indonesian prosecutors on Wednesday demanded a life sentence for a top terror suspect who eluded capture for 18 years and accused him of masterminding a series of deadly attacks in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Aris Sumarsono, 58, whose real name is Arif Sunarso but is better known as Zulkarnaen, sat impassively as the prosecution announced the sentencing demand before a panel of three judges in East Jakarta District Court in a session that was held remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Police and prosecutors say Zulkarnaen is the former military commander of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian militant group with ties to al-Qaida. The group is widely blamed for attacks including the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, as well as attacks in the Philippines.

Zulkarnaen had eluded capture for 18 years after being named a suspect in the October 2002 suicide bombings of Paddy’s Pub and the Sari Club in Bali. He was arrested last year in Lampung, a province on the southern tip of Sumatra. Police were tipped off to his hideout after interrogating several suspected militants arrested in earlier raids.

Zulkarnaen argued that he was a leader of the network’s military wing but was not involved in the operation of the Bali bombings, as he was focused on organizing his squad for sectarian conflicts in Ambon and Poso and in the southern Philippines.

During his trial, which began in September, other convicted militants in the 2002 Bali bombings, including Umar Patek and Ali Imron, who were sentenced to 20 years and life in jail, respectively, supported Zulkarnaen’s claim, saying he knew about the plot but did not play a role in its operation.

The sentencing demand was initially scheduled for Nov. 24 but was postponed several times.

State prosecutor Agus Tri told the court that Zulkarnaen’s acts had resulted in deaths and injuries and that there was no reason for leniency.

“The defendant was involved in the Bali bombings plan,” he told the court. “He also instructed his group’s special forces led by him to save Jemaah Islamiyah’s assets, including weapons and explosives.”

Police previously said Zulkarnaen masterminded church attacks that occurred simultaneously in many Indonesian regions on Christmas and New Year’s Eve in 2000 that killed more than 20 people. He was also the mastermind of a bomb attack on the official residence of the Philippine ambassador in Jakarta in 2000 that killed two people, and the architect of sectarian conflict in Ambon and Poso from 1998 to 2000.

Conflicts between Christians and Muslims in Ambon, the provincial capital of the Molluca islands, left more than 5,000 people dead and half a million displaced. The Muslim-Christian conflict in Poso, known as a hotbed of Islamic militancy on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, killed at least 1,000 people from 1998 to 2002.

Zulkarnaen, a biologist who was among the first Indonesian militants to go to Afghanistan in the 1980s for training, was an instructor at a military academy there for seven years, Indonesian police said.

Since May 2005, Zulkarnaen has been listed on an al-Qaida sanctions list by the U.N. Security Council for being associated with Osama bin Laden or the Taliban.

The Security Council said that Zulkarnaen, who became an expert in sabotage, was one of al-Qaida’s representatives in Southeast Asia and one of the few people in Indonesia who had had direct contact with bin Laden’s network.

It said that Zulkarnaen led a squad of fighters known as the Laskar Khos, or Special Force, whose members were recruited from among some 300 Indonesians who trained in Afghanistan and the Philippines.

Source: Global News

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

https://globalnews.ca/news/8489223/bali-bombing-2002-court-zulkarnaen/

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South Asia

 

Afghan Post, A Government Body Of Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Made 46 Million Afghanis From Posting Documents In Three Months

09 Jan 2022

Ministry of Information and Technology of the interim government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said that Afghan Post- a government body of the ministry- has made up to 46 million, three hundred thousand, and 91 thousand Afghanis in the past three months.

The spokesperson of the ministry Enayatullah Alokozy said that the money has been made from posting E-IDs, passports, and other official and non-official documents to people and government ministries.

Statement of Afghan Post reads that the documents have been posted through post offices across Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-post-of-iea-made-46-million-afghanis-from-posting-documents-in-three-months-56878568/

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Bangladesh Rohingya refugee camp fire leaves thousands homeless

9 Jan 2022

Thousands of Rohingya have been left homeless after a fire gutted parts of their refugee camp in southeastern Bangladesh, police said.

About 850,000 of the persecuted mostly Muslim minority, many of whom escaped a 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar that the United Nations investigators concluded was executed with “genocidal intent”, live in a network of camps in Bangladesh’s border district of Cox’s Bazar.

“About 1,200 houses were burnt in the fire,” said Kamran Hossain, a spokesman for the Armed Police Battalion, which heads security in the camp, on Sunday.

The fire started at Camp 16 and raced through shelters made of bamboo and tarpaulin, leaving more than 5,000 people homeless, he said.

“The fire started at 4:40pm [10:40 GMT] and was brought under control at around 6:30 pm,” he told the AFP news agency.

Mohammed Shamsud Douza, a Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said emergency workers had brought the fire under control. The cause of the blaze has not been established, he added.

‘I lost my dream’

Abdur Rashid, 22, said the fire was so big that he ran for safety as his house and furniture were engulfed in flames.

“Everything in my house was burned. My baby and wife were out. There were a lot of things in the house,” he told AFP.

“I saved 30,000 taka [350 dollars] from working as a day labourer. The money was burned in the fire.”

“I am now under open sky. I lost my dream.”

In March last year, 15 people died and about 50,000 were left homeless in Bangladesh after a huge fire destroyed Rohingya homes in the world’s biggest refugee settlement.

Mohammad Yasin, 29, bemoaned the lack of fire safety equipment in the camps.

“Fire occurs here frequently. There was no way we could put out the fire. There was no water. My home is burned. Many documents, which I brought from Myanmar, are also burned. And it is cold here,” he said.

Another blaze tore through a COVID-19 treatment centre for refugees in another refugee camp in the district last Sunday, causing no casualties.

Bangladesh has been praised for taking in refugees who fled across the border from Myanmar, but has had little success finding them permanent homes.

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have for years sailed to countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to look for refuge.

Source: Al Jazeera

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

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/9/fire-at-bangladesh-rohingya-camp-leaves-thousands-homeless

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Taliban has to fulfil promises if they want resources to be unfrozen: UN

January 10, 2022

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) High Commissioner Filippo Grandi has said that the Taliban has to fulfil some promises if they want their financial resources to be unfrozen.

The UN commissioner for refugees further said that Afghan women and girls must be allowed to attend schools, and minorities must be represented, reported Tolo News.

Meanwhile, he also told the Washington Post that it is important to maintain dialogue with the Islamic Emirate, saying that this will ensure that Afghanistan is "viable", reported Tolo News.

"But in the end, in the end, it is important to maintain that dialogue with the Taliban, because all these systems will be temporary in nature, and how to ensure that Afghanistan is viable, is a viable country able to support its people, I think will only be achieved through dialogue between the international community and the Taliban themselves," said Grandi.

Grandi added that he delivered the same message to the Islamic Emirate when he was visiting Kabul that the "Taliban" has to fulfil some promises if they want their financial resources to be unfrozen, reported Tolo News.

"When I was in Kabul, and when my colleagues were there, we all told the Taliban the same message. If you want your resources to be unfrozen, if you want the country to enjoy again substantive development support by the international community, you also have to take steps in their direction. It's--it goes both ways, but it is a dialogue. It cannot be a wall-to-wall situation, said Grandi.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/taliban-has-to-fulfil-promises-if-they-want-resources-to-be-unfrozen-un-122011000158_1.html

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Taliban FM visits Iran for talks on trade, border and refugees

January 09, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A delegation led by the Taliban foreign minister is in Iran to discuss border, economic and refugee issues, a senior foreign ministry official in Kabul said on Sunday.

It is the first time that a high-profile delegation from Kabul is visiting the neighboring country after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August last year.

Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi is accompanied by the ministers of economy and commerce, as well as the governor of Afghanistan’s central bank.

The delegation arrived in Tehran on Saturday, on the invitation of the Iranian government.

“During this visit, very important issues, including the border and crossing points, refugees, the economy and strengthening political relations with Iran will be discussed,” Waliullah Shaheen, director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul, told Arab News.

“We at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan believe that Iran is an important neighbor for Afghanistan, especially at this time.”

Iran, like other nations, has so far not recognized the interim government of Afghanistan, formed by the Taliban in September last year.

Since the fall of Kabul’s Western-backed administration on Aug. 15, billions of dollars in foreign assistance to Afghanistan’s aid-dependent economy have been suspended and some $9.5 billion of Afghan Central Bank assets parked overseas have been frozen.

With aid suspended, its new rulers unrecognized, and the financial system paralyzed, Afghanistan is facing a looming humanitarian crisis.

Iran is a key trade partner to Afghanistan and host to millions of Afghan refugees.

Tensions on its 900-kilometer border with Afghanistan, an active smuggling and human trafficking route, have been a long-standing issue.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2001046/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Afghanistan’s future hinges on Pakistan ties, western aid: reports

Anwar IqbalP

January 10, 2022

WASHINGTON: Funding by the United States and other nations and the Taliban regime’s relations with Pakistan will shape Afghanistan’s future, say two recent reports by a US federal institution.

In these reports, the Washington-based US Institute of Peace (USIP) reminds the United States and its allies that humanitarian aid alone cannot prevent an economic collapse in Afghanistan.

USIP released the two reports this week as part of a larger report summarising the studies it conducted during 2021 on Afghanistan and other issues.

Positive relationship with Islamabad could help foster stability, development

Elizabeth Threlkeld, the author, believes that the aid given by the United States and partner nations to the Afghan government from now onwards would shape the country’s future.

According to her, the extent of support the Taliban receive from external sources, mainly Pakistan, would also be a deciding factor in determining Afghanistan’s future.

Based on interviews with Afghan and Pakistani experts, one of the reports identifies key drivers of conflict and connection between the two countries while explaining how the bilateral relationship could affect future outcomes in Afghanistan.

The report points out that under current circumstances, “a positive relationship with Pakistan could go a long way in fostering stability and development”. The report, however, warns that the “opposite is a much likelier outcome, given the deeply held grievances on both sides”.

By addressing one another’s security and sovereignty concerns through dialogue, “Afghanistan and Pakistan stand the best chance of building on their cross-border ties for the benefit of regional stability and the well-being of their citizens”, the author argues.

One of the key issues is the dispute over the Durand Line, which led to clashes between Pakistan and Taliban border guards this week. Pakistan wants Afghanistan to recognise the line as the international border while the Taliban, like previous Afghan governments, are not willing to do so.

The report claims that the relationship between the two countries will continue to be shaped by tensions that have characterised it for more than a century. Five recurring drivers of these tensions, according to the report, are: sovereignty concerns, security interests, geopolitical dynamics, cross-border ties, and connectivity and trade.

“Together, these dynamics will shape future prospects for stability in Afghanistan and the broader region,” the report adds.

In the other report — “How to Mitigate Afghanistan’s Economic and Humanitarian Crises — author Dr William Byrd writes that the primary economic shock to Afghanistan was the abrupt cut-off of aid — about $8 billion a year — and the freezing of Afghanistan’s $9bn of foreign exchange reserves. He also notes that recently both the United Nations and the United States took several measures to ease their sanctions on the Taliban.

But Dr Byrd warns that providing humanitarian aid alone cannot salvage the Afghan economy and suggests “expanding sanctions relief to encompass private business and commercial transactions”.

He argues that the risk this relief “will materially support the Taliban in a substantial way is acceptably low compared to the costs of a continued economic implosion”.

Dr Byrd also suggests paying the salaries of health workers, teachers and other essential-service providers, using a combination of Afghan revenues and aid funding.

He also suggests releasing $900 million of Afghanistan’s foreign exchange reserves to the country’s banks, arguing that “this would shore up the banking system and forestall its imminent collapse”.

Dr Byrd also suggests gradual release of additional foreign exchange reserves over time to cushion the economic shock and support the balance of payments, facilitating the Afghan economy’s adjustment.

He argues that reserves could also be used for specific purposes not directly involving the Taliban, such as paying bills for electricity imports from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and servicing sovereign debts owed to international financial institutions incurred by the previous government.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1668598/afghanistans-future-hinges-on-pakistan-ties-western-aid-reports

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Six Islamic State men killed in Quetta: CTD

Saleem Shahid

January 10, 2022

QUETTA: At least six suspected terrorists belonging to the militant Islamic State (IS) group were killed during an operation conducted by the counterterrorism department (CTD) in the Eastern Bypass area here on Saturday night.

In a statement issued on Sunday, a CTD spokesman said there was a heavy exchange of fire during the intelligence-based operation conducted on information about the presence in the area of the militants. The CTD also seized arms, ammunition and explosive material from a house being used by the members of the banned outfit as their hideout.

A “huge terrorism plan” of IS had been averted in Quetta, the spokesman said. The operation was conducted by Balochistan’s CTD in Quetta district in the jurisdiction of Manzoor Shaheed police station, he added.

The CTD said it acted on information provided by a source that an IS member named, Asghar Samalani, having head money of Rs2 million in the department’s Red Book, was present along with other militants in the general area of QDA graveyard on Quetta’s Eastern Bypass. “They were moving to attack a sensitive installation in Quetta. On receiving the information, a CTD team reached the place and intercepted the terrorists,” the spokesman said.

The militants were asked to surrender by the CTD personnel, but they started firing indiscriminately and lobbed grenades. A shootout ensued in which six IS men, including Sumalani, were killed while four to five others managed to escape taking the benefit of darkness.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1668601/six-islamic-state-men-killed-in-quetta-ctd

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Opposition Senators seek debate on PTI funding disclosure

Iftikhar A. Khan

January 9, 2022

ISLAMABAD: As many as 11 opposition Senators have submitted an adjournment motion seeking discussion on the disclosures made by the Election Commission of Pakistan’s scrutiny committee about foreign funding of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui of the Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N) told Dawn that a calling attention notice on the issue had also been moved.

The notice seeks to include the issue in the agenda for an immediate discussion by the Senate.

Hidayat Ullah (Awami National Party), Tahir Bizenjo (National Party), Irfan Siddiqui, Rana Maqbool and Dr Afnan Ullah Khan (PML-N), Rukhsana Zuberi and Palwasha Khan (Pakistan Peoples Party), Sajid Mir (Jamiat Ahle Hadith), Sardar Shafiq Tarin (Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party), Maulana Faiz Mohammad (Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl) and Mushtaq Ahmad (Jamaat-i-Islami) have signed the notice.

Report on Finance (Supplementary) Bill is also on the agenda though house committee is yet to conclude discussion

Irfan Siddiqui said the PTI’s claim about transparency in its funds stood exposed with the revelation that it not only concealed its bank accounts and under-reported its income but also received donations from prohibited sources, including foreign companies and nationals.

The issue has, however not been included in the Monday’s agenda, which is a private members’ day.

According to the agenda, Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Wasim will move a motion seeking to suspend the routine business for discussion on the mini-budget.

Surprisingly, the presentation of report on the finance (supplementary) bill by Senate Standing Committee on Finance chairman Talha Mehmood (JUI-F) is also on the agenda while the panel is yet to conclude discussion.

“The government is in a haste to impose more taxes through the money bill, but I fail to understand why the JUI-F is also in a hurry,” a PPP lawmaker said.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1668409/opposition-senators-seek-debate-on-pti-funding-disclosure

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Pakistan asks IMF to delay 6th country review meeting to January-end

Jan 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has requested the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to delay a board meeting meant to consider the country's sixth review to the end of January, the finance ministry said.

The meeting was meant to take place this week on Jan. 12 to review the recommendation to release $1 billion of Pakistan's $6 billion, three-year programme.

Pakistan is meant to pass a mid-year budget to complete IMF-recommended fiscal tightening.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-asks-imf-to-delay-6th-country-review-meeting-to-january-end/articleshow/88800802.cms

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Europe

 

Fight against terrorism ‘greater challenge’ than ever before, says UK police official

January 09, 2022

LONDON: Britain’s fight against terrorism has become more challenging than ever before, a senior police official has told The Independent newspaper.

Changing methods in planning, targeting and execution meant that authorities were struggling to detect potential attacks, said Dean Haydon, senior national coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing.

Lone attackers have carried out the majority of terror incidents in Britain since 2017.

And although the majority of incidents, including failed attacks, are carried out by Islamists, a growth in the number of far-right terrorists has concerned police.

“The main threat we currently see is from people within this country that are being self-radicalised,” he added. “The timelines have been shortened. You can go out and buy a kitchen knife in a supermarket and decide, ‘This afternoon I’m going to commit an attack’ in the name of whatever ideology, and it’s a terrorist attack.

“Would we see that coming? That’s really difficult to detect. Our collective challenge is far more difficult than it has ever been. The profile of a terrorist has completely changed, and that comes back to how the threat has changed.”

He said the radicalization leading up to an attack had altered significantly since the 1990s. Then, it was terrorists typically allied with a single group or individual. But now radicals “mix and match” content from a range of sources, Haydon said.

“You’ve got no command and control, mostly, so you’ve got people in their head who have decided, after looking at material, that ‘I’m going to go and commit an attack.’ They’re not waiting for some kind of direction or approval from above.

“People can access literally anything online. Where previously you had to go to a training camp in a desert somewhere, now you just have to look online to make an IED.”

These changes, as well as the reduced costs of carrying out attacks, had made it more difficult for authorities to detect potential attacks.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2001051/world

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164 dead, nearly 6,000 arrested in week of protests in Kazakhstan

Jan 10, 2022

MOSCOW: Kazakhstan’s health ministry said on Sunday that 164 people have been killed in protests that have rocked the country over the past week. The figures reported on the state news channel Khabar-24 are a significant rise from previous tallies.

It is not clear if the deaths refer only to civilians or if law-enforcement deaths are included. Most of the deaths — 103 — were in Almaty, the country’s largest city, according to the ministry.

The country’s ombudswoman for children’s rights said that three of those killed were minors, including a 4-year-old girl. The ministry earlier reported more than 2,200 people sought treatment for injuries, and the interior ministry said about 1,300 security officers were injured. The office of Kazakhstan’s president said that about 5,800 people were detained by police during the protests.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/164-dead-nearly-6000-arrested-in-week-of-protests-in-kazakhstan/articleshow/88799777.cms

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Kazakhstan’s largest city back online after clashes, blackout: Report

10 January ,2022

The internet returned to Kazakhstan’s largest city Monday after a five-day blackout as deadly clashes left dozens dead and the financial hub of 1.8 million people reeling, an AFP correspondent reported.

Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital, had been nearly completely offline since Wednesday, but local and foreign websites were accessible again Monday, which was declared a day of mourning following the worst unrest in the ex-Soviet republic’s independent history.

Kazakhstan has framed the violence in Almaty as an attack by “terrorist groups” and expressed displeasure at foreign media coverage of the events that began with protests over a fuel price hike in the west of the country on January 2.

But the authoritarian government has also struggled to firm up its own narrative of events.

On Sunday evening the information ministry retracted a statement that appeared in an officially run Telegram channel earlier in the day saying that more than 164 people had died across the country during the violence.

The information ministry told two private websites that reported the news that the statement was the result of a “technical mistake”, the websites reported.

In a statement sent to media on Monday, the foreign ministry said foreign media reports had created “the false impression that the Kazakhstan government has been targeting peaceful protestors. Our security forces have been engaging with violent mobs who were committing brazen acts of terror.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/01/10/Kazakhstan-s-largest-city-back-online-after-clashes-blackout-Report

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Pope Francis calls for dialogue, justice to end unrest in Kazakhstan

09 January ,2022

Pope Francis called on Sunday for dialogue and justice to put an end to violent unrest in Kazakhstan, adding he was saddened by news about deaths occurred in the country.

“I have learned with sorrow that there have been victims during the protests that have broken out in recent days in Kazakhstan,” the pope told hundreds of people in St. Peter’s Square for his noon blessing and address.

“I pray for them and for their families, and I hope that social harmony will be restored as soon as possible through the search for dialogue, justice and the common good,” the pope said.

Kazakhstan authorities said on Sunday they had stabilized the situation across the country after the deadliest outbreak of violence in 30 years of independence, and troops from a Russian-led military alliance were guarding “strategic facilities.”

Russia’s Sputnik news agency cited Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry as saying a total of 164 people, including two children, were killed in Kazakhstan over the last week.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/01/09/Pope-Francis-calls-for-dialogue-justice-to-end-unrest-in-Kazakhstan

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Swiss daily reveals torture of local man by PKK terrorists

Bayram Altug 

09.01.2022

GENEVA

Members of the PKK terror group in Switzerland have subjected a local man to "torture," and "cruel treatment" over suspicions that he was informing Turkish authorities of their connections, according to a local daily on Sunday.

The victim, who changed his name to Aydin K. and works in a pizzeria in the town of Biel just northwest of the capital Bern, was interrogated for more than six hours by six PKK members, who threatened to kill him, said the Berner Zeitung report by journalist Kurt Pelda.

An indictment prepared by the prosecution said the six PKK members committed crimes including "cruel treatment," "torture," "forced confession," and "beating" in the restaurant's cellar in May 2019, said the report which also touched on alleged complicity between Swiss authorities and the PKK.

The PKK members reportedly accused Aydin K. of providing Turkish authorities with the name of the pizzeria's owner, who was detained in Turkiye for alleged links to the PKK -- a claim the victim denies.

They allegedly locked a barefoot Aydin K. in the restaurant's freezer room twice for about 10 minutes each, the report said, citing the indictment. It added that they repeatedly threatened to "break all his bones, dismember him, and leave him in the freezer until the next morning."

According to the report, the PKK members also showed him photos of his children and threatened to harm his family.

2 of 6 suspects fled Switzerland

Deniz D., a so-called senior member of the terror group in Switzerland, threatened Aydin K. in a bid to manipulate him to confess to their accusations and cooperate.

Also the head of its so-called "torture unit," Deniz D. reportedly brandished a knife that he said he would use on the victim, who one of the suspects injured with a stab in the calf.

Four of the six suspects who took part in the torture were put on trial, while Deniz D. and one more unidentified person fled the country.

Describing the measures taken by Swiss authorities in the case as "questionable," the report blamed officials for the escape of Deniz D. and the other fugitive, who is also thought to be one of the terrorist organization's so-called top members.

Saying their escape was "not a coincidence," journalist Pelda said: "Outraged by the incident in the pizzeria, a federal authority contacted the Swiss PKK leadership and issued a warning. Then, Deniz D. quickly packed his bags and disappeared abroad."

"The responsible public prosecutor from Biel initially only ordered a nationwide manhunt, and so Deniz D. was able to escape. There are many signs that the authorities did not want to expose the PKK too openly," said the report.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/swiss-daily-reveals-torture-of-local-man-by-pkk-terrorists/2469590

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EU foreign policy chief condemns violence in Kazakhstan

Agnes Szucs

09.01.2022

BRUSSELS

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned the violence in Kazakhstan on Saturday and offered help in finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Borrell expressed concerns about the situation in Kazakhstan in a statement released on behalf of the European Union.

“We deeply regret the loss of life and strongly condemn the widespread acts of violence,” he said, stressing that further escalation, incitement to violence and exploitation of the unrest should be avoided.

Borrell said the bloc was ready to assist and called Kazakhstan and “important partner to the European Union.”

He urged Kazakh authorities to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and underlined that “outside military support should respect the sovereignty and independence of Kazakhstan.”

Protests against the increased prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) have grown into massive riots across Kazakhstan in the past week.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/eu-foreign-policy-chief-condemns-violence-in-kazakhstan/2469012

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UK tells Syrian asylum seeker ‘safe’ to return home

January 09, 2022

LONDON: A Syrian refugee seeking asylum in Britain has been told by the UK Home Office that he is safe to return to his war-torn country, The Guardian reported on Sunday.

The 25-year-old refugee sought sanctuary in the UK in May 2020 after fleeing mandatory enlistment into Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army in 2017. “He said that if he is forced back to Syria, he will be targeted as a draft evader, arrested, detained and killed,” the newspaper reported.

It would be the first time that the UK returns a refugee to Syria, which the UN Refugee Agency said in October was still “unsafe.”

The agency reiterated an appeal from Human Rights Watch that “all countries should protect Syrians from being returned to face violence and torture, and halt any forced returns to Syria.”

A refusal letter sent to the asylum seeker by the Home Office last month said: “I am not satisfied to a reasonable degree of likelihood that you have a well-founded fear of persecution.

“It is not accepted that you will face a risk of persecution or real risk of serious harm on return to the Syrian Arab Republic due to your imputed political opinion as a draft evader.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2001086/world

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Mideast

 

Iranian Spokesman: Afghanistan Embassy Operating Based on 1961 Convention

2022-January-9

"The diplomatic activities of the Afghan Embassy in Tehran, like all foreign embassies, are in accordance to the principles and rules stipulated by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and no change has been made beyond the convention," Khatibzadeh said.

His comments came after certain media reports claiming that the situation of Afghan embassy in Tehran has changed as the Taliban acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Mottaqi visits Iran.

The media claimed that the Iranian government was handing over the Afghan embassy in Tehran to the Taliban and that the former Afghan ambassador to Tehran had left Iran for a European country.

Heading a delegation of the Taliban government authorities, acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Saturday night.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that the country has always stressed the need to maintain economic and trade relations with Afghanistan.

In relevant remarks last month, Iranian President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi underlined the need for the formation of an all-inclusive government in Afghanistan with the partnership of all groups.

"All the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran are towards establishing a government in Afghanistan that embraces all ethnic groups," President Rayeesi said.

He reiterated that Afghanistan's security is Iran's security and insecurity in that country is equal to insecurity in Iran.

"All our efforts are for a government in Afghanistan that people feel belongs to all Afghan groups and ethnics and assures peace in the country," the Iranian president added.

Around 300,000 Afghan migrants have entered Iran following the collapse of the Kabul government and the Taliban’s takeover.

Afghanistan is facing what UN agencies have described as “one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters” since the collapse of Kabul in mid-August.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001019000625/Spkesman-Afghanisan-Embassy-Operaing-Based-n-96-Cnvenin

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Israeli extremists a threat to Christian presence in Jerusalem, says church leader

January 10, 2022

JERUSALEM: The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has accused radical Israeli groups of threatening the presence of Christians in the holy city, in remarks that Israeli officials rejected as baseless.

In a column in the Times of London on Saturday, Theophilos III said he believed the aim was to drive the Christian community from Jerusalem’s Old City. Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in a 1967 war. It annexed East Jerusalem after the war in a move that has not won international recognition.

“Our presence in Jerusalem is under threat,” the patriarch wrote in the article, published a day after the Greek Orthodox celebration of Christmas.

“Our churches are threatened by Israeli radical fringe groups. At the hands of these Zionist extremists the Christian community in Jerusalem is suffering greatly,” he said.

“Our brothers and sisters are the victims of hate crimes. Our churches are regularly desecrated and vandalised. Our clergy are subject to frequent intimidation.”

By singling out extremists as Israeli, Theophilos’s criticism was more personal and trenchant than that of a collective statement issued by the heads of other churches in Jerusalem before Christmas.

Their statement spoke of “frequent and sustained attacks by fringe radical groups”, but stopped short of identifying them as Israeli. A US State Department report published last year on religious freedom around the world said Christian clergy and pilgrims continued to report instances of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem harassing or spitting on them.

Church groups have for some time reported attacks of vandalism at religious sites in the city.

Theophilos did not accuse any radical groups by name or cite specific incidents. He did not provide evidence that they were Israeli, or that their goal was to drive Christians from the city.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1668603/israeli-extremists-a-threat-to-christian-presence-in-jerusalem-says-church-leader

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Iran’s Chief Negotiator: Talks on Outstanding Issues Continue in Vienna

2022-January-9

Iran and the five remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement are resolving the outstanding issues, Baqeri Kani told reporters in Vienna on Saturday after meetings with representatives of the G4+1 group of countries (Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China).

He added that the talks aimed at removing the US sanctions are advancing and moving forward.

Following talks with the Iranian lead negotiator, diplomats of the G4+1 countries reportedly held a meeting with the US representative and discussed the latest developments pertaining to the Vienna talks.

Tehran’s chief negotiator told reporters on Wednesday that the Vienna talks are “positive and forward-moving” and emphasized that efforts were underway to achieve results from the talks.

Also, last Monday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said during sanctions removal talks in Vienna, Tehran seeks guarantees that no further sanctions will be imposed on the country once they are removed.

“We seek removal of sanctions that were imposed on Iran by (former US President Donald) Trump, especially those sanctions that are at odds with the (2015) nuclear deal," Iran’s foreign minister said.

 “We also want guarantees that no new sanctions are imposed and that the existing sanctions would not be reimposed once they are removed,” he added.

Also, Russian chief negotiator to the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov said in a tweet that the talks between Iran and the five countries are moving forward not fast but incrementally.

In another tweet, the Russian diplomat said the working group on sanctions lifting also held talks earlier in the day to assess the current state of affairs in the Vienna talks.

Iran and the G4+1 group of countries resumed talks in Vienna on Monday after the parties took a three-day break for the New Year. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the landmark deal with Iran.

The eighth round of the Vienna talks began on December 27 with a focus on the removal of all US sanctions. The US is not allowed to directly attend the talks due to its pullout in 2018 from the landmark deal with Iran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001019000238/Iran%E2%80%99s-Chief-Negiar-Talks-n-Osanding-Isses-Cnine-in-Vienna

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Mahmoud Abbas begins 17th year as Palestinian president

Salam AbuSharar  

10.01.2022

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Palestine's veteran President Mahmoud Abbas is starting his 17th year in office amid political difficulties and waning prospects for Palestinian reconciliation.

In January 2005, Abbas was elected as president of the Palestinian Authority with a 62.52% majority to succeed the late Yasser Arafat.

Abbas was born in 1935 in Safad, a city about 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of Jerusalem, 13 years before he and his family, along with hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians, were forcefully evicted from their homes and lands in a tragedy Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba," or Catastrophe.

As a result of the 1948 exodus, Abbas and his family went to Syria, where he began his political activities in the 1960s, contacting the nascent Fatah movement.

He assumed several political positions through the 1970s until he became the leader of the secret negotiations delegation in 1989 that established a peace process with Israel and coordinated the negotiations during the 1991 Madrid Conference.

"Abbas was a critical player in the Oslo Project, which gave the occupation recognition and gave it a place and authority over Palestine, and he continued this policy until today. This reflects on the high settlers' activities and the security coordination," said Palestinian political analyst Mustafa Sawaf.

Through his career as president, Abbas has worked to quell armed resistance against Israel in the West Bank and expressed willingness for a two-state solution with Israel despite the opposition of other factions, particularly those that engage in armed resistance, like Hamas.

In 2003, Abbas became prime minister for four months before he resigned amid disputes with then-President Arafat due to differing ideas on peace with Israel, as well as the second Palestinian Intifada.

Mustafa Barghouti, one of Abbas's opponents in the last presidential elections in 2005, emphasized during his campaign that the Oslo Process had collapsed and that the Palestinians had to adopt another route with Israel basedon the national unity, popular resistance and stop believing in a political solution through Oslo accords with Israel.

Barghouti believes Oslo was a political trap and that it involved major errors, while not containing a clear view of final resolution and not recognizing a Palestinian state.

"The Palestinian politicians must announce that they are relinquishing those accords and stop security coordination with Israel," he said.

During Abbas' presidency, negotiations with Israel reached an impasse, rendering Palestinians unable to improve their condition.

"The Palestinian strategy must be based on an approach of struggle as an alternative to the negotiations that have proved unsuccessful," added Barghouti.

Some political experts argue that Abbas's years as president also produced complications related to the democratic process, public freedoms, and armed resistance, as well as internal conflicts within Fatah that lead to factionalism in the party.

"Since the latest elections in 2006, Abbas consolidated the political divisions both with Hamas and inside Fatah, and any speech about national unity has been a fantasy," Sawaf told Anadolu Agency.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/mahmoud-abbas-begins-17th-year-as-palestinian-president/2469645

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Over 1,170 Yemeni civilians killed or wounded in 2021

Hamdi Yıldız 

10.01.2022

ADEN, Yemen

A total of 1,171 civilians in Yemen were either killed or wounded last year, a commission said Sunday.

The National Commission of Inquiry said in a statement that there was a significant increase in direct and indirect attacks against civilians in 2021.

It said 403 civilians, including 30 women and 48 children, lost their lives in such attacks during the period and 768 civilians were wounded, including 85 women and 167 children.

While noting that 296 civilians died due to the explosion of mines and explosive materials, the statement did not include further information on who was responsible for the attacks.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/over-1-170-yemeni-civilians-killed-or-wounded-in-2021/2469641

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Hamas arrests suspect in academic’s killing in Malaysia

Nour Abu Eisha  

09.01.2022

GAZA CITY, Palestine

A suspect was arrested in connection with the 2018 killing of a Palestinian academic in Malaysia, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

In April 2018, Fadi al-Batsh, a research engineer thought to be linked to Hamas, was gunned down near his home in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, by two gunmen who fled the scene.

While his family has accused Israeli spy agency Mossad of having carried out the assassination, then-Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied Israel’s involvement in the killing.

Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Buzom told a press conference in Gaza City that the suspect had confessed that he was recruited by Mossad.

Israeli media had described al-Batsh as “a Hamas engineer and an expert in drone-making”, hinting at the possibility that the Mossad had played a role in his death.

Israel is widely believed to have killed numerous Palestinian activists in the past, many of them overseas.

In 1997, Mossad agents tried — and failed — to kill Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal in Jordan by spraying poison into his ear.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/hamas-arrests-suspect-in-academic-s-killing-in-malaysia/2469405

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Turkish forces 'neutralize' 3 PKK/YPG terrorists in Syria, Iraq

Beyza Binnur Dönmez  

09.01.2022

Turkish security forces "neutralized" three YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria and Iraq, the Turkish National Defense Ministry announced on Sunday.

“Our fight against terrorism continues effectively and decisively!” the ministry said on Twitter, adding two PKK terrorists in the Operation Pence-Simsek region in northern Iraq and one PKK/YPG terrorist who attempted to attack the Operation Peace Spring region were neutralized.

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralize” to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

The PKK terror group often uses bases in northern Iraq just across Turkiye's southern border to hide and plot terror attacks in Turkiye.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkish-forces-neutralize-3-pkk-ypg-terrorists-in-syria-iraq/2469239

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Africa

 

Ex-Tunisian president calls for civil disobedience to topple Saied

Yamena Salemi  

09.01.2022

TUNIS, Tunisia

Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has called for civil disobedience in the North African nation to topple incumbent President Kais Saied.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Marzouki accused Saied of pushing the country to "an unprecedented level of problems."

"In less than a year, Tunisia drifted to division, economic collapse, threats against judges and grave violations of human rights,” Marzouki said.

Saied ousted the government on July 25, 2021, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority. While he insists that his "exceptional measures" are meant to "save" the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.

Last month, Saied called a referendum on Tunisia’s ruling system on July 25, 2022 and early parliamentary polls on Dec. 17.

But Marzouki termed Saied’s call as a referendum on a “dictatorial constitution”, calling on Tunisians to participate in planned demonstrations in Tunisia on Jan. 14.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/ex-tunisian-president-calls-for-civil-disobedience-to-topple-saied/2469284

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Sudan protest group rejects UN offer for talks with military

09 January ,2022

A leading Sudanese protest group on Sunday rejected a United Nations initiative to hold talks with the military aimed at restoring the country’s democratic transition following an October coup.

The move suggests Sudan's political deadlock and relentless street protests are likely to continue, with at least 60 people killed since the military takeover.

The UN offer Saturday came a week after embattled Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned, citing a failure to reach compromise between the generals and the pro-democracy movement.

The Oct. 25 coup scuttled hopes of a peaceful transition, over two years after a popular uprising forced the military overthrow of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir and his Islamist government.

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In a statement, the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which led the upraising against al-Bashir, said the “only way” out of the ongoing crisis is through the removal of the generals from power. It seeks a fully civilian government to lead the transition, underlined by the motto “No negotiations, no compromise, no power-sharing” with the military.

The SPA has been the backbone of anti-coup protests, alongside youth groups known as the Resistance Committees.

Protesters continued their marches in Khartoum on Sunday, with security forces firing tear gas in at least one location to disperse demonstrators, according to activist Nazim Sirag. There were no immediate reports of causalities.

Volker Perthes, the UN envoy for Sudan, said that the talks would be inclusive to try to reach a “sustainable path forward towards democracy and peace” in the country.

“It is time to end the violence and enter into a constructive process. This process will be inclusive,” he said.

Though the envoy has yet to offer details of the U.N.-facilitated political process, the SPA's rejection deals a blow to his efforts to bring the generals and the pro-democracy movement to the negotiating table.

Perthes is planning to offer more details in a news conference in Khartoum on Monday.

The SPA said Perthes’ moves have been “controversial,” citing his efforts in supporting a deal Hamdok stuck with the military in November that reinstated him but sidelined the pro-democracy movement.

“He has to listen carefully to the aims of our proud people and their revolutionary forces in establishing a fully civilian, national rule,” it said.

World and regional powers welcomed the UN initiative.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates urged all Sudanese players to “seize this opportunity to restore the country’s transition to civilian democracy” in accordance with the 2019 constructional document that establishing the transitional government.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/09/Sudan-protest-group-rejects-UN-offer-for-talks-with-military

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Somali military repulses al-Shabaab attack, kills 21 terrorists

Mohammed Dhaysane  

10.01.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia

The Somali National Army and forces from the country’s Galmudug region repulsed an attack by the al-Shabaab terrorist group Sunday, killing at least 21 of its members, officials said.

An intense firefight broke out in the town of Adakibir in the country's Galgadud region after an attack by heavily armed al-Shabaab terrorists, according to a military official and residents who spoke to Anadolu Agency by phone.

"The fighting lasted over an hour and heavy weapons were used by both sides. Thank Allah there were no civilian casualties reported, but the bodies of al-Shabaab militants were everywhere," the military official said on condition of anonymity.

"Somali National Army and Galmudug regional forces have gallantly repulsed attack by #Alshabab on #Adakibir town in #Galgadud region, killing 21 terrorists. Four SNA heroes including the Commander of 13th Battalion of 21st Division, Ali Cagaweyn, martyred in the fighting,” Somali national television (SNTV) reported on its Twitter account.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/somali-military-repulses-al-shabaab-attack-kills-21-terrorists/2469627

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Second protester in Sudan dies after injury in anti-military rule protest: Medics

10 January ,2022

A second protester in Sudan has died after being hit in the head with a tear gas canister in anti-military rule protests, medics said on Monday.

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

This brings the death toll from Sunday’s protest to two, and from protests since an October military coup to 63.

The other protester died after being impacted by a tear gas canister in the neck, said the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors which is aligned with the protest movement.

Sudanese police said in a statement on Monday that they “dealt with security breaches with the appropriate amount of force” and that one death of a citizen had been recorded, and eight injuries.

They also said that 22 policemen had been injured and that 86 suspects had been arrested.

Security forces fired tear gas at protesters who were marching in solidarity with the city of Omdurman, which has seen the bulk of violence in recent days.

Protesters were able to march from Omdurman to the city of Bahri but were stopped with tear gas before they were able to cross a bridge to the capital Khartoum, where protesters also faced heavy tear gas.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/10/Second-protester-in-Sudan-dies-after-injury-in-anti-military-rule-protest-Medics

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Ethiopia's rebellious Tigray party accuses Eritrea of attacking its forces

10 January ,2022

The Tigray People's Liberation Front, the party that controls most of the northern Ethiopia region of Tigray, on Sunday accused Eritrea of attacking its troops.

In another development in the conflict, aid organizations suspended their operations in an area of northwest Tigray where 56 civilians were killed by an air strike over the weekend, the U.N. agency for humanitarian affairs (UNOCHA) said.

“The Eritrean military launched fresh attacks against our forces yesterday in Sigem Kofolo... located in Northwestern Tigray close to Sheraro town,” TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda wrote on Twitter.

Reuters could not verify the alleged attack as the communication network is down in the area.

Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ethiopia's military spokesman Colonel Getnet Adane and government spokesman Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's spokeswoman Billene Seyoum also did not respond to a request for comment.

A lack of medicines, fuel and other essential commodities was “disrupting the response to the injured,” UNOCHA said in a statement announcing suspension of operations following the air strike that hit a camp for internally displaced people late on Friday.

“Humanitarian partners suspended activities in the area due the ongoing threats of drone strikes,” the agency told Reuters, without giving further details.

War broke out in the mountainous region of 5 million people 14 months ago, pitting Tigrayan forces against federal troops backed by their Eritrean counterparts.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told the state-run Eri-TV on Saturday that his troops would strive to prevent Tigrayan forces from attacking his country, or threatening the stability of Ethiopia.

Eritrean forces have fought against Tigrayan forces since the start of the war in support of Abiy's troops, but both nations spent the first five months of the conflict denying the Eritrean presence.

The Eritrean troops withdrew from most of the region in June, the same month that Ethiopian federal troops also withdrew.

Last month, Tigrayan forces withdrew from neighboring regions they had invaded in July, in a step toward a potential ceasefire.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/01/10/Ethiopia-s-rebellious-Tigray-party-accuses-Eritrea-of-attacking-its-forces

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Tunisia prosecutor rejects request to arrest Ennahda deputy chief: Adviser

Yamena Salemi  

09.01.2022

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia’s public prosecutor has rejected a request by President Kais Saied to arrest Ennahda deputy leader Noureddine Bhairi, a Tunisian adviser said Sunday.

Bhairi has been placed under house arrest for his alleged involvement in terrorism-related activities.

In a Facebook post, Riadh Chaibi, an adviser to Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi, said the Tunisian president had asked the country’s public prosecutor to issue an arrest warrant for Bhairi.

“But the public prosecutor rejected the request due to lack of evidence,” he said.

There was no comment from Tunisian authorities on the claim.

On Monday, Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine placed Bhairi and a ministry official under house arrest over accusations of issuing false identity documents to a Syrian couple while he was serving as justice minister, with one of the individuals previously linked to terrorist cases committed outside Tunisian territory.

Ennahda party, the largest party in the now suspended Tunisian parliament, termed the accusations against Bhairi as "politicized" and called for his immediate release.

Bhairi, 63, was transferred to Habib Bougatfa Hospital in the northern city of Bizerte after his health deteriorated due to his hunger strike in protest of his detention.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/tunisia-prosecutor-rejects-request-to-arrest-ennahda-deputy-chief-adviser/2469411

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Qatar welcomes launch of UN-facilitated dialogue in Sudan

Said İbicioğlu 

09.01.2022

Qatar welcomed a UN-facilitated intra-Sudanese political process in Sudan on Saturday.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that consultations would pave the way for reaching a consensual formula that would represent all spectrums of the Sudanese people and achieve their aspirations for freedom, peace and justice.

The statement reiterated Qatar's full support for the unity, sovereignty and stability of Sudan.

The UN mission in Sudan launched the process Saturday to salvage the country’s transition to democracy.

The move came one day after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke with Sudanese army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and stressed the need to form a civilian government.

Sudan has been in turmoil since Oct. 25 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional government and declared a state of emergency.

Prior to the military takeover, Sudan was governed by a sovereign council of military and civilian officials tasked with overseeing the transition period until elections in 2023.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/qatar-welcomes-launch-of-un-facilitated-dialogue-in-sudan/2469027

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North America

 

After Tehran sanctions Americans, US vows to deter and respond to any attack by Iran

09 January ,2022

The US and its allies will defend itself and its citizens against any attacks carried out by Iran, the White House said on Sunday, a day after Tehran sanctioned 52 Americans over the 2020 killing of General Qassem Soleimani.

“Make no mistake: the US will protect and defend its citizens. This includes those serving the US now and those who formerly served. As Americans, we have our disagreements on politics. We have our disagreements on Iran policy. But we are united in our resolve against threats and provocations,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

He added: “We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran. Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences.”

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

The sanctioned list includes former and active US officials, both diplomatic and military, including US General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, former White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien, and former US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.

The Iranian regime’s sanctions are likely symbolic in nature as they simply allow the government to seize the assets of any of those sanctioned so long as those assets are in Iran.

And the Iranian regime’s announcement coincided with two-year anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian top general Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of the IRGC, who was killed in a drone strike in Iraq on January 3, 2020, along with Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/01/09/After-Tehran-sanctions-Americans-US-vows-to-deter-and-respond-to-any-attack-by-Iran

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US Republican Rep. Jordan not to cooperate with Capitol attack probe

10 January ,2022

US Republican Representative Jim Jordan, a close confidante of former President Donald Trump, said on Sunday he would not cooperate with a US House committee investigating last year’s attack on the Capitol.

The panel had asked Jordan to disclose conversations he had with Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the attack by Trump supporters aiming to stop Congress from formally certifying the presidential election victory of Democrat Joe Biden.

“This request is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms,” Jordan said in a letter to committee chairman, Democrat Bennie Thompson.

His rejoinder came after the panel requested an interview with Jordan last month.

Jordan was one of Trump’s main defenders during his two impeachment trials, the second on a charge of inciting the Capitol riot. Both times, Trump was acquitted by the Senate, then controlled by Republicans.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2022/01/10/U-S-Republican-Rep-Jordan-not-to-cooperate-with-Capitol-attack-probe

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US sets up refinery in Syria’s Hasakah to increase country's oil theft

09 January 2022

US occupation forces have set up an oil refinery in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakah, as US military trucks continue to smuggle crude oil from the energy-rich region to Iraqi territory.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources, reported on Sunday that US forces and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have installed the oil refinery in the oilfields of Rmelan town. 

The SDF, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish militants operating against Damascus, currently controls areas in northern and eastern Syria.

A source at Directorate of Rmelan fields told SANA that the oil refinery has a capacity to refine 3,000 barrels per day, adding that there will be a large increase in stealing and looting the Syrian oil from the area by American troops and the SDF militants following the installation of the oil refinery.

Meanwhile, local sources have said a US military convoy of 79 vehicles, including tankers carrying stolen Syrian oil, headed to northern Iraq through the illegal al-Waleed border crossing on Saturday evening. 

The sources added that four armored vehicles belonging to the US military escorted the convoy,

In recent months, US military convoys laden with stolen Syrian oil have entered the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq after crossing al-Waleed border crossing, as Washington continues to loot energy resources in the war-ravaged country.

However, several villages in Hasakah have in coordination with government forces prevented a number of US military convoys from passing through their communities and have forced them to turn around and head back in the direction they came from.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/09/674385/Syria-US-forces-install-oil-refinery-Hasakah-SDF-smuggle-oil

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US military boosts forces at Syria oil fields in wake of rocket attacks

09 January 2022

The US military has reportedly deployed reinforcements to the bases its has occupied near the oil fields in Eastern Syria, days after they again came under rocket attacks, local sources said.

"American forces based in Iraq sent military reinforcements consisting of 30 trucks carrying armored vehicles, tanks and bulldozers," the sources disclosed as quoted in a report by Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency on Friday.

According to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, further stated that two American helicopters escorted the military reinforcements overhead, along with US-backed Kurdish militants affiliated with the PKK and YPG terrorist groups, the report added.

They further noted that the reinforcements included boxes believed to hold various munitions and rockets.

The military reinforcements, the report added, came from US military bases in Iraq and entered Syria on Thursday, arriving in Al-Hasakah and then transported to Al-Omar oil field in Syria’s eastern Dayr al-Zawr province.

According to the report, nearly 10 rockets targeted US bases last week from the Syrian city of al-Mayadin, where local anti-terror resistance fighters are based.

It further added that US-led forces in the area targeted suspected rocket launch pads near al-Mayadin.

The development also came a day after a military facility housing US occupation forces in al-Omar oil fields in Dayr al-Zawr came under rocket attacks from nearby areas, according to a Sabereen News channel, associated with Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

The latest rocket attack also marked a sharp rise in targeting US-run bases in Syria’s oil-rich eastern regions in recent months.

Last December, local sources also reported that four successive explosions were heard after several rockets targeted the US military base at al-Omar oil field.

The US military has illegally stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oil fields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

The Syrian government, however, insists the unlawful deployment is intended to plunder the country’s resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/01/09/674346/US-military-new-reinforcements-Syria-oil-fields-

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