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Islamic World News ( 8 Feb 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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For the First Time In 54 Days at Shaheen Bagh, Protest Paused To ‘Save The Constitution’






For the First Time In 54 Days at Shaheen Bagh, Protest Paused To ‘Save The Constitution’

Loudspeakers at Mosques, Temples in Western Uttar Pradesh Will Now Make Announcements to Popularise State Government’s Latest Scheme

Revoke Citizenship Amendment Act Unconditionally: Goa Archbishop to Centre

Public Hanging Against Constitution, Sharia: Minister for Law and Justice

Mubarak al-Mahdi to Asharq Al-Awsat: Normalizing Ties with Israel Acquits Sudan of Terrorism

Saudi Press: Muslim World League Calls for Promoting Human Values

Muslim Brotherhood Should Be Proscribed as A Terrorist Organisation, UK Parliament Hears

‘US Pension Funds Help China Crack Down on Muslims, Put US Military at Risk,’ Warns Michael Pompeo

 

 

India

For the First Time In 54 Days at Shaheen Bagh, Protest Paused To ‘Save The Constitution’

Loudspeakers at Mosques, Temples in Western Uttar Pradesh Will Now Make Announcements to Popularise State Government’s Latest Scheme

Revoke Citizenship Amendment Act Unconditionally: Goa Archbishop to Centre

Three Muslim-dominated seats record highest voter turnout in Delhi assembly election

Survey to segregate Assamese Muslims from Bangladeshis

Civilian killed, others wounded in India fire on Kashmir: Pakistan

7 Bangladeshis held from hotel

Case against CAA protesters in Mumbai

Thousands Rally In AgartalaTo Protest Against The Citizenship (Amendment) Act

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Pakistan

Public Hanging Against Constitution, Sharia: Minister for Law and Justice

Iran, Pakistan Vow to Expand Cooperation In Communications, Technology Sector

Kashmir would continue to remain cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy: Shah Qureshi

'Come what may' govt will announce measures to reduce prices of basic food items, says PM Imran

Thai mall gunman shot dead after deadly rampage

Pakistan Army Aviation pilots rescue 2 foreign mountain climbers from Broad Peak, Baltoro Glacier

ATC delays verdict in two cases against Hafiz Saeed, others

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Africa

Mubarak al-Mahdi to Asharq Al-Awsat: Normalizing Ties with Israel Acquits Sudan of Terrorism

Enugu not building Islamic Centre – Archbishop Chukwuma

Preacher who inspired Streatham terror attack peddling jihad from behind bars

Why we’re against Amotekun ― Miyetti Allah

African Union: Leaders discuss Libya peace force

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Arab world

Saudi Press: Muslim World League Calls for Promoting Human Values

College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University holds conference on Islamic Finance

Saudi FM phones Qureshi to discuss Kashmir

Trump plan violates Palestinians’ legitimate rights: Top Arab MPs

Syrian army overruns Idlib crossroads town despite Turkish warnings

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Europe

Muslim Brotherhood Should Be Proscribed as A Terrorist Organisation, UK Parliament Hears

Shamima Begum is British and her citizenship should not be revoked

Hundreds of climate activists protest at British Museum over BP sponsorship

Human brotherhood is the key to world peace, Muslim World League chief tells global conference

Kurdistan Region subjects Mosques building to conditions

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North America

‘US Pension Funds Help China Crack Down on Muslims, Put US Military at Risk,’ Warns Michael Pompeo

US, Afghan forces come under ‘direct fire’ in Nangarhar

Assailant involved in deadly attack on Afghan-U.S. forces was ‘Uniformed’: USFOR-

US soldiers killed after man in Afghan army uniform opens fire

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Mideast

Iran To Launch Satellite Which US Says Is Cover For Missile Program

Khamenei Acknowledges Impact of US Sanctions on Iran

Unilateral Israeli annexations would endanger U.S. support – envoy

Israel strikes Gaza after Hamas fires projectile: Army

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Southeast Asia

Action Against Sajjad Takes into Account Muslims' Concern - Mujahid

African Union expresses solidarity with China in combating coronavirus

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South Asia

Thai commandos kill rogue soldier who shot dead 26 people

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/for-the-first-time-in-54-days-at-shaheen-bagh,-protest-paused-to-‘save-the-constitution’/d/121016

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For The First Time In 54 Days At Shaheen Bagh, Protest Paused To ‘Save The Constitution’

Feb 09, 2020

For the first time in 54 days, the protest site at road 13A in Shaheen Bagh looked deserted on Saturday morning. There were no programmes, music performances, or speeches scheduled during the day.

The men, mostly non-Delhi voters from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, passed time in one corner chatting or playing with their cellphones.

The organisers said they had made a conscious decision scale down the protests to ensure local residents stepped out to vote.

“It is time to take our fight to the polling booth,” KamruNisa, 78, a resident of Abu Fazal Enclave, said. “All women from here are voting today. We have been making announcements daily, urging people to vote. Our weeks of sitting in this cold will be useless if we do not vote.”

At Shaheen Bagh, the organisers had arranged e-rickshaws and autorickshaws for women voters to be driven to polling booths through the crowded lanes of Jamia Nagar. There were local auto-rickshaw drivers who claimed they were not charging any money from the women passengers.

The anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters of Shaheen Bagh has been a constant feature in the election rallies in the run-up to the polls. Since December 16, last year, the protesters led by women have started a sit-in protest blocking road 13A — an important arterial road that connects Delhi with Noida.

The Okhla constituency, of which Shaheen Bagh is a part, has many Muslim-dominated areas. Barring a few pockets such as Sarita Vihar, Madanpur Khadar, New Friends Colony and Sukhdev Vihar, a large section of the voters in Okhla are Muslims.

Voters in Okhla said election this time was centered around the new Citizenship Law and how it is biased against the Muslims.

The help desks outside polling booths in Okhla were mostly manned by AamAadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress workers. The sitting legislator from the area is AAP’s Amanatullah Khan.

With tricolours painted on their faces, most voters in queue on Saturday said they were casting their franchise to save the Constitution. There were some who wore T shirts with messages printed on the back. One such message was about a Citizenship Law survey that read ‘73.2% of the 3.28 million voters do not favour the CAA’. There was no mention of who conducted the survey.

“The Shaheen Bagh protests has disrupted lives of many residents in Okhla. But it is not the central issue, because people from marginalised background vote for development and local issues, like free water and electricity,” Archana Tiwari, 51, a Jasola resident.

Less than two kilometers away from Shaheen Bagh, at Sarita Vihar, the help desks set up by the BJP outnumbered other parties. The BJP workers manning the desks proudly said the Shaheen Bagh protesters would help them win the polls.

Rishi Pandey, a local resident, who was in charge of one such booth, said the road blockade affected lakhs of residents. “Voters are smart. They know who are funding the protests. The results will surprise them on Tuesday,” Pandey said.

In Sukhdev Vihar, one of the affluent neighbourhoods in Okhla, dominated by non-Muslim voters, 66-year-old resident Surender Singla said populist policies will ruin the country. “Roads, electricity, and water are minor issues. We should vote for national integrity and strong government that can take decisions and handle the chaos in the country (the CAA protests).”

But Sunny Singh, 30, a software professional, disagreed. “Development is the main criteria. People will vote for those who have worked towards development. The CAA protest will influence voters because there is an atmosphere of us versus them that has been created by branding one category of people as anti-nationals.”

For a population of around 3,309,15 voters, 58.83% voters from Okhla came out to vote on Saturday — slightly lower than 2015 assembly election’s 60.73%. The AamAadmi Party’s Amanatullah Khan is seeking re-election from the seat against Brahm Singh from the BJP and Congress veteran Parvez Hashmi.

On Saturday, as the voting process was coming to an end, the loud speakers inShaheen Bagh were switched on and the air filled with patriotic songs. The women were returning, while the sun set in the Yamuna across the border. They walked carefully towards the stage – mindful not to disturb the carpet that has been laid on the road. One of the organisers near the stage checked the loudspeaker. The lights were switched on.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/at-shaheen-bagh-protest-paused-to-save-the-constitution/story-gLU2899IMw3LmcLaU87foI.html

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Loudspeakers at Mosques, Temples in Western Uttar Pradesh Will Now Make Announcements to Popularise State Government’s Latest Scheme

Feb 9, 2020,

Meerut: Apart from religious chants, loudspeakers at mosques and temples in western Uttar Pradesh will now make announcements to popularise state government’s latest scheme — UP KisanAsanKisht Yojana, according to Pashchimanchal Vidyut Vitaran Nigam Limited (PVVNL) officials.

Notably, loudspeakers have always been a bone of contention in Uttar Pradesh, even resulting in communal clashes in the past.

PVVNL managing director Arvind MallapaBangari said that the move is aimed at facilitating maximum registrations for the state government’s UP KisanAsanKisht Yojana in all 14 districts under its jurisdiction. The scheme helps tube well owners to pay their bills in easy instalments without interest. He added that similar initiatives are in place across the state.

A senior power corporation official said, “It’s good that loudspeakers that have caused undue tensions in the past will be put to some good use now.”

The PVVNL MD said, “During my visit to a camp for promotion of the scheme in a Meerut village, I found that the advertisement of the scheme was not too penetrative to ensure maximum registration. Hence, I have directed the officials concerned to utilize each and every possible means to maximize the reach of the scheme, be it beating of drums, pasting posters or even making announcements on loudspeakers at religious places like mosques and temples. The message should reach even the last person.”

The 14 districts of west UP that fall under PVVNL jurisdiction are Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Moradabad, Sambhal, Amroha, Rampur and Bijnor.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/meerut/now-loudspeakers-at-mosques-temples-to-popularise-govt-scheme/articleshowprint/74034687.cms

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Revoke Citizenship Amendment Act unconditionally: Goa Archbishop to Centre

Feb 09, 2020

The Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Rev Filipe NeriFerrao, has urged the Central Government to “immediately and unconditionally revoke the Citizenship Amendment Act” and stop quashing the “right to dissent”.

He also appealed to the government not to implement the proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media, a wing of the Goa Church, in a statement on Saturday said, “The Archbishop and the Catholic community of Goa would like to appeal to the government to listen to the voice of millions in India, to stop quashing the right to dissent and, above all, to immediately and unconditionally revoke the CAA and desist from implementing the NRC and the NPR.”

The CAA, NRC and NPR are “divisive and discriminatory” and will certainly have a “negative and damaging effect” on a multi-cultural democracy like ours, the church said.

There is serious concern that NRC and NPR will result in “direct victimisation of the underprivileged classes, particularly Dalits, adivasis, migrant labourers, nomadic communities and the countless undocumented people who, after having been recognised as worthy citizens and voters for more than 70 years, will suddenly run the risk of becoming stateless and candidates for detention camps,” it said.

There have been widespread discontent and open protests throughout the country and even abroad against the CAA, NRC and NPR, which are “forecasting a systematic erosion of values, principles and rights” that have been guaranteed to all citizens in the Constitution, the release said.

Eminent citizens, including top intellectuals and legal luminaries, have taken a studied and unequivocal stand against the CAA, NRC and NPR, it noted.

Goa also witnessed several protests, which transcended the confines of religious and caste affiliation and brought people from all walks of life together on one united platform, said the statement.

It said Christians in India have always been a peace- loving community and deeply committed to the ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity, enshrined in the Constitution.

“We have always taken great pride that our beloved country is a secular, sovereign, socialist, pluralistic and democratic republic,” the church said.

The very fact that CAA uses religion goes against the secular fabric of the country, it said.

“It goes against the spirit and heritage of our land which, since times immemorial, has been a welcoming home to all, founded on the belief that the whole world is one big family,” the church said.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/revoke-citizenship-amendment-act-unconditionally-goa-archbishop-to-centre-38283

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Public Hanging Against Constitution, Sharia: Minister ForLaw And Justice

February 9, 2020

ISLAMABAD Federal Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Farogh Naseem on Saturday opposed the public hanging of offenders convicted for sexual abuse of children as “contravention to Islamic teachings and the Constitution.” The National Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution calling for public hanging of the child abuse convicts with a majority vote amid opposition from the Pakistan People’s Party and two government ministers. Talking to media persons, Farogh Naseem said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had declared public hanging of a culprit as unlawful in its ruling in 1994. “The apex court has declared the public hanging of a convict a violation of the Sharia and the Constitution,” Naseem said. “The Ministry of Law will not hammer out a law against the constitution and the teachings of Islamic Sharia,” the minister said in his comments. Apart of the PPP members, federal minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Human Rights Minister Dr. Shirin Mazari opposed the resolution seeking public hanging of the child abusers. The resolution was tabled in the lower house of the Parliament by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants hanging punishment for the child abuse convicts. “When we raised the issue of public hanging in the National Assembly’s standing committee on Human Rights headed by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, it was opposed,” the parliamentary minister said adding that the government desires a new law aimed at the hanging of the convicts. He further asked the opposition if it is ready to support the bill or not. Another PTI lawmaker Imran Khattak also seconded the resolution calling for public hanging of child rape convicts.

https://pakobserver.net/public-hanging-against-constitution-sharia-farogh/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=public-hanging-against-constitution-sharia-farogh

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Mubarak al-Mahdi to Asharq Al-Awsat: Normalizing Ties with Israel Acquits Sudan of Terrorism

9 February, 2020

In Sudan, more support normalizing ties with Israel than those who don’t. Among those supporters is Sudan’s former deputy Prime Minister Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi, who served in the regime of ousted president Omar al-Bashir.

Mahdi told Asharq Al-Awsat that opposing normalization with Israel is “irrational”, especially since Palestinians themselves had normalized their ties with Israel after the Oslo Accords. This, according to Mahdi, comes at a time Sudan is in a dire need for waiver for its terrorism-related sanctions, a matter which Israel could help with.

Mahdi, who heads the National Umma Party, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Palestinians deal with Israel in electricity and customs with a large population of their people working in Israel.

Normalization of ties with Israel dates back to the signing of the Camp David Accords, a move which had written off any military options.

In 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords.

“After Egypt regained its dignity in the 1973 war, it regained by signing (the Camp David Accords) its lands, normalized relations and raised the Israeli flag in Cairo, then many Arab countries (Jordan, Oman and Qatar) followed,” Mahdi said.

He added that continuing to boycott Israel has “become meaningless,” as the world and balances of power are changing. He noted that in Israel there are 13 Arab deputies in the Knesset, and the conflict has turned into a peaceful political, civilizational and cultural struggle.

Regarding Sudan’s normalization of its relations with Israel, he explains that the African country's economy, especially its agricultural sector, is severely underdeveloped.

“Although Sudan boasts 200 million acres of arable land, it cultivates about 45 million of them, with poor productivity and high cost due to underdevelopment,” he highlighted, pointing out that Israeli technologies could help improve Sudan’s situation.

“The yield of an acre of sesame crop, for example, does not exceed 100 kilograms, while acres in countries with advanced agricultural technology, such as Turkey, yield 1,700 kilograms,” he explained.

If relations should indeed thaw, there are quite a few things Sudan could get from Israel. Among them: technological and scientific aid, assistance in the field of intelligence (not mentioned publicly, but certainly discussed) and, above all, access to the White House.

“This is the first step, and if we go beyond it and remove the name of Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, we will have all opportunities in the process of normalization in relation to technical and economic cooperation,” he added.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2122551/mubarak-al-mahdi-asharq-al-awsat-normalizing-ties-israel-acquits-sudan

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Saudi Press: Muslim World League Calls for Promoting Human Values

2020/02/09

Al-Bilad newspaper said that the International Conference "Human Fraternity", organized by the Muslim World League (MWL) in the Croatian capital, represents a great importance for promoting values of global peace and social harmony. The paper said that the call of MWL's Secretary-General Dr. Muhammad Al-Issa to the people of the world came to eliminate negative barriers and gaps between them, and to build bridges and facilitate dialogue, understanding and cooperation on the base of humanity values.

Al-Riyadh newspaper said that the recent royal orders that approve creation of 11 new authorities aims to make a real and comprehensive diversity in the cultural aspirations of Saudi society.

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2032035

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Muslim Brotherhood should be proscribed as a terrorist organisation, UK parliament hears

Jamie Prentis

February 9, 2020

A British MP has called for the Muslim Brotherhood to be proscribed as a terrorist group as politicians criticised its intolerance towards other faiths during a parliamentary debate over the persecution of Christians.

Ian Paisley of Nothern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party said he would raise the matter with Britain’s interior minister in the coming days.

The Westminster session also questioned why the UK government publicly said it stood for freedom of religion yet rolled out “the red carpet” for leaders such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was accused of “being a problem for Christians”.

“The Government should also move… to proscribe the Muslim Brotherhood, an organisation which inspires hatred and attacks on Christians at home and abroad,” said Mr Paisley during the parliamentary session on Thursday.

“This is an organisation that uses and abuses the beliefs of a whole culture to attack Christians and others, which is frightening and wrong. It hides in and uses mosques illegitimately for its hatred against Christians, and it is right and proper that the full facts about the Muslim Brotherhood in this nation are brought out,” he added.

Mr Paisley also referred to the recent visit to London by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who reportedly told MPs the Brotherhood turned Muslim’s “sacred beliefs into a tool of hatred”. Prince Faisal expressed amazement, Mr Paisley said, that the UK government had not banned the Muslim Brotherhood from the country.

Bob Stewart, an MP from the ruling Conservative Party, drew attention to the Brotherhood’s duplicitous nature as he recalled a visit to Egypt in 2011 to meet with the group following the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak.

“They assured me that they had no political intentions in Egypt and that they did not want to govern the country. They are now the reason for the persecution of Christians in Egypt, and that persecution is pretty full-on,” he said.

Mr Paisley, the MP from Northern Ireland, also criticised a highly controversial mobile phone app released last year by a company chaired by Qatar-based Yusuf Al Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideologue.

The app, which could at one point be downloaded from Google Play and Apple’s App Store, was accused of propagating anti-Semitism.

Qaradawi has been named as a terrorist by a number of countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/muslim-brotherhood-should-be-proscribed-as-a-terrorist-organisation-uk-parliament-hears-1.975922

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‘US pension funds help China crack down on Muslims, put US military at risk,’ warns Michael Pompeo

Feb 09, 2020

Jeff Kearns

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo delivered a tough warning about China in a speech to US governors, urging caution in business dealings as Beijing looks for ways to exploit US vulnerabilities and expands repression at home.

He had a pointed message for certain US state pension funds that may be investing in ways that help China’s government crack down on its Muslim minority, or even put US military personnel at risk.

“As of its latest public filings, the Florida retirement system has invested in a company that in turn has invested in surveillance gear that the Chinese Communist Party uses to track more than 1 million Muslim minorities,” Pompeo said at the National Governors Association’s winter meeting in Washington.

California’s pension fund, the country’s largest, “is invested in companies that supply the People’s Liberation Army,” Pompeo said without providing specifics. “That puts our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines at risk.”

The world’s second-largest economy is further embracing repression under President Xi Jinping, Pompeo said in a continuation of the commentary about Beijing that was a feature of his recent trip to Europe and Central Asia.

“Competition with China is happening inside of your state and it affects our capacity to perform America’s vital national-security functions,” the top US diplomat said. “Competition with China is not just a federal issue.”

Pompeo said US engagement with China at the end of the Cold War was based on the assumption that it would turn toward becoming a liberal democracy.

“It didn’t happen,” Pompeo said. “Under Xi Jinping the country is moving exactly in the opposite direction: more repression, more unfair competition, more predatory economic practices, and indeed a more aggressive military posture as well.”

He added that those trends don’t mean the countries can’t do business, citing the recent “Phase One” trade deal between China and the US and prospects for a second round.

Chinese officials in the past have pushed back aggressively on US criticism -- including those by Pompeo -- as interference in the country’s domestic affairs. The Chinese embassy in Washington had no immediate comment on his latest comments.

Pompeo also said China’s government wants to exploit US freedoms to gain advantage at the federal, state and local levels.

“I’m asking you to adopt a cautious mindset,” Pompeo said. “In the words of President Reagan, when you are approached for introduction or a connection to a deal, ‘trust but verify.’”

As an example, Pompeo said there had been concerns that the District of Colombia had considered buying railcars from a Chinese state-owned company for its Metro transit system. The move, which was never finalized, was scuttled after Congress passed a law prohibiting such purchases on cybersecurity grounds.

A government-backed think tank in China has assessed governors of all US states as friendly, hard-line or ambiguous toward it, Pompeo said.

“I would be surprised if most of you in the audience have not been lobbied by the Chinese Communist Party directly,” he added.

In London on Jan. 30, Pompeo, a former US Central Intelligence Agency chief, said China’s Communist Party “presents the central threat of our times.” In Kazakhstan on Feb. 2, he denounced China’s human rights abuses.

Pompeo’s comments align him with Vice President Mike Pence but contrast with President Donald Trump’s recent conciliatory language toward China.

Trump on Friday tweeted that he’d had a “long and very good conversation by phone” with Xi about China’s response to the coronavirus. “President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation.”

Beyond posing a security risk, Pompeo said the lack of transparency was an issue for US investments in China.

“Their books are not wide open, so it’s difficult to know if the transaction that’s being engaged in is transparent and fair and follows the rule of law,” he said. “All of these things may well be legal, but the question is do they demonstrate good judgment and preserve America’s national security.”

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/us-pension-funds-help-china-crack-down-on-muslims-put-us-military-at-risk-warns-michael-pompeo/story-X1FhkU1FN53zbF9Kkfo4AM.html

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India

 

Three Muslim-dominated seats record highest voter turnout in Delhi assembly election

Feb 09, 2020

After a high-decibel and bitter poll campaign, 61.7% of Delhi’s electors turned out to vote by 9 pm on Saturday in the assembly elections that will decide who will govern the city-state for the next five years. The polling percentage was 5.42 percentage points lower than in the 2015 assembly polls, when 67.12% of voters trooped out to vote.

Three Muslim-dominated seats -- Seelampur, Mustafabad and Matia Mahal -- recorded the highest voter turnout in the elections in which the AamAadmi Party (AAP) is seeking to retain power in what is seen as a bipolar contest against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The highest turnout, until 9 pm, was recorded in Seelampur at 71.4% followed by Mustafabad at 70.56%; both seats are in northeast Delhi. Matia Mahal in old Delhi recorded a turnout of 70.33%.

All three constituencies have lately witnessed protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, which proposes to fast-track the grant of Indian citizenship to so-called persecuted minorities from the Muslim-majority nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis.

According to officials, the turnout in the first hour of polling was just 4.33%, which grew to 16.36% at 11 am, 26.36% at 1 pm, 45.54% at 3 pm and 57.87% at 5 pm. Till 5 pm, the Northeast district had recorded he highest voter turnout at 63.4% while New Delhi district was the lowest at 44.29%.

Poll officials said that the tentative lowest turnout till 9 pm was recorded at Delhi Cantonment, at 45.28%, followed by Chhatarpur at 46.51% and Ballimaran at 49.39%. Okhla witnessed a 58.83% voter turnout, which is lower than the 60.73% in the 2015 polls.

On constituencies recording top turnout and one of the lowest -- Ballimaran -- being Muslim-dominated constituencies, Praveen Rai, political analyst with the Centre for Study of Developing Societies, said: “Ballimaran and Okhla are constituencies in which the anti-CAA protests in Jama Masjid and Shaheen Bagh fall under. It is likely that many voters have boycotted the polls. In other Muslim constituencies, people voted in large numbers for betterment in civic conditions as well as in reaction to their anxieties concerning the citizenship law.”

In the 2015 assembly election, Gokalpur in northeast Delhi had recorded the highest turnout of 73.46% while Delhi Cantonment had polled the lowest votes at 58.49%. All assembly constituencies except Delhi Cantonment had polled above 60% votes in 2015 assembly elections.

In 2015, the ruling AAP received a landslide verdict, winning 67 out of the 70 seats. The BJP won the remaining three and the Congress ended up with none.

The AAP won 54% of the vote share in the polls which decreased in the civic body polls of 2017 and the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. The BJP polled 32% votes in the 2015 assembly polls which increased to 36% in the 2017 civic body elections. The saffron party won 56% votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In 2019, it had a lead in 65 of the 70 assembly constituencies. The Congress got just 10% of votes in 2015, 21% in 2017 and 23% in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Delhi’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh said that Saturday’s polling was smooth and peaceful, as the enforcement was better compared to the 2015 assembly polls. He said that there were nearly 14.79 million registered voters in Delhi across 70 assembly segments. Out of the total number of eligible voters, there were 8.1 million male voters and 6.6 million female voters. Besides this, there are 869 third-gender voters.

Singh said that the number of electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioning this time was just 0.29% as compared to 0.31% in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Voting began at 8 am in the city amid tight security on Saturday and continued past the scheduled close of 6 pm in some booths to accommodate voters who were still waiting in queues.

“Till 9 pm, polling was still on at least 146 booths. There were long queues till late evening; the overall turnout could be updated only once the voting concludes. All those who had entered the polling stations by 6 pm were allowed to cast their vote,” said Singh.

Election officials said that there were as many as 13,571 polling stations at 2,688 locations. Out of these, 3,141 were designated critical polling stations and 144 vulnerable polling stations. The highest number of voters was in the Matiala constituency with around 400,000 voters. Chandni Chowk is the constituency with the lowest number of voters at 100,000.

There were around 200,000 voters above the age of 80, while 137 registered voters were above the age of 100, of whom 60 turned up to vote.

Of the 2,429 people above the age of 80 years, who opted for postal ballots, 2,257 cast their votes. Besides, of the 488 persons with disabilities who opted for the facility, 429 exercised their franchise.

The postal ballot, a facility hitherto restricted to the armed forces, was extended for the first time in Delhi elections to those above 80 years of age and the specially abled.

Also, in the 11 constituencies with a total electorate of 1.8 million where QR code-enabled voter slips were issued for the first time in Delhi, more than 1.1 million exercised their franchise.

“The voter slips are scanned by mobile phones. This is the first time that a booth app was used by the polling parties in these constituencies. It helps in faster scanning of names in the voter list and hence expedites the voting process,” said Kushal Pathak, director of information, Election Commission of India.

To ensure peaceful and fair polling in all 70 constituencies, as many as 190 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) were deployed. Besides, 19,000 Home Guards and 42,000 Delhi Police personnel were also on duty.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/assembly-elections/three-muslim-dominated-seats-record-highest-voter-turnout-in-delhi-assembly-election/story-imYEL4vewQJMYykX76Yp5N.html

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Survey to segregate Assamese Muslims from Bangladeshis

Feb 9, 2020

GUWAHATI: Assam’s BJP-led government will start conducting a socio-economic census from March this year to identify indigenous Muslims in the state.

Assam minorities development board chairman MuminulAowal said the objective of the census was to segregate indigenous Muslims from migrants from erstwhile East Bengal, East Pakistan or Bangladesh.

The survey will mainly cover the Goria, Moria, Desi and the tea tribe Jolha communities, whom the government considers indigenous (like other ethnic tribes and communities of the state).

“The names of indigenous Muslims and Bangladeshi Muslims are the same. As a result, the government faces problems in identifying them du ring implementation of various welfare schemes. Since our government is committed towards the welfare of indigenous Muslims, they should have a separate identity,” he told TOI on Saturday.

Aowal said preparations for the census were at their final stages and hoped the exercise will commence “within this financial year”.

A meeting convened on February 11 by the state minorities development department with various stakeholders belonging to indigenous Muslim communities will set the ball rolling for the census, “which will be the first of its kind”, he added.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/survey-to-segregate-assamese-muslims-from-bangladeshis/articleshowprint/74037073.cms

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Civilian killed, others wounded in India fire on Kashmir: Pakistan

9 February 2020

Indian soldiers fired at civilian areas along the highly militarized frontier in divided Kashmir, killing one civilian and wounding five others, a Pakistani police official said Sunday.

Chaudhry Zulqarnain, a senior police officer in Kashmir, said Indian troops fired mortars and small arms the previous evening at the ChaffarKakuta village and surrounding areas in the Chirikot sector along the Line of Control, which divides the Himalayan region of Kashmir between Pakistan and India.

He said the overnight shelling destroyed a house and that the slain civilian’s young daughter was among the wounded.

A Pakistani military statement called the firing an “unprovoked” violation of a 2003 cease-fire accord between India and Pakistan. The statement said Pakistani soldiers responded to the shooting “effectively.”

India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over Kashmir since gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1947. Tensions in Kashmir have been high since last August, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government stripped the portion it controls of semi-autonomy and statehood.

Since then, soldiers from the two nuclear-armed rivals have regularly engaged in cross-border shelling and firing along their de facto frontier. Both sides claim the region in its entirety.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2020/02/09/Civilian-killed-others-wounded-in-India-fire-on-Kashmir-Pakistan-.html

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7 Bangladeshis held from hotel

Feb 9, 2020

Jhansi: Police arrested seven Bangladeshis from a hotel in Babina area of Jhansi district on Saturday. The seven, aged between 24-40 years, were caught from a hotel after someone tipped police about their presence.

Police officials said that the seven arrested men have been identified as Mamoon Sheikh, Milan Sheikh, Mukul Sheikh, MonuVed, Sijer Sheikh, Aslam Sheikh and Pallav Sheikh, all hailing from Dhakha, Bangladesh. None of them had passport or any other valid document in their possession.

An ATS team rushed for interrogation as Babina is a sensitive area due to Army presence. Later, a case was lodged against the the seven under Section 14 of Foreigner’s Act and they were sent to jail.

SO Babina police station, Ishwar Singh, said, “The preliminary investigations reveal that they had come illegally to trade fish oil and were living here for past 7-8 days. We interrogated them on suspicion of any spying but nothing has been revealed so far.”

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/7-bangladeshis-held-from-hotel/articleshowprint/74035570.cms

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Case against CAA protesters in Mumbai

9.02.20

case has been registered against the organisers and around 300 women protesters who are on a sit-in against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens in the Nagpada area here since January 26, police said.

An assistant commissioner of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) lodged a complaint at Nagpada police station in central Mumbai on Friday evening. It stated that the civic body could not carry out construction work on Morland Road as the protesters had set up a stage and put chairs on the road and also obstructed traffic, the police officer said.

Nagpada police registered a case under IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) as well as under relevant sections of the BMC Act, the officer added.

The women’s protest, on the lines of the ongoing sit-in at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, is underway on Morland Road since Republic Day. It is also attracting activists from other parts of the city as well as the country, celebrities and others.

After registering the offence, the police are noting down names and addresses of participants and have issued notices under Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code to 16 people, including women, warning them not to violate the law.

The police also took a “bond of tranquillity” from activist FerozMithiborwala who was at the protest, he said.

“We are doing all this for the safety and security of the people who are protesting and to maintain law and order,” the officer said, adding that the protesters should cooperate with the police.

“If any individual disobeys the orders, does not cooperate or argues with the police personnel doing their duty, we will register a case against him or her,” he added.

Two days ago, a photojournalist covering the protest was allegedly roughed up by two cops. The state government has ordered an inquiry.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/case-against-caa-protesters-in-mumbai/cid/1743514?ref=india_india-page

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Thousands Rally In Agartala To Protest Against The Citizenship (Amendment) Act

9.02.20

Over thousand supporters of the Tripura Rajya UpajatiGanamukti Parishad, a tribal wing of the Opposition CPM, took out a rally here on Saturday to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The rally started from Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhawan and ended at Swami Vivekananda Maidan.

It was organised over an 18-point charter of demands, including the demand to scrap the Act, provide more power to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) and inclusion of the state’s lingua franca, Kokborok, in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Speakers at the rally appealed to all tribal and non-tribal people to protest against the Act.

Addressing the gathering, Parishad president and former Lok Sabha MP Jitendra Chaudhury said, “The rate of farmers’ suicide is increasing. They are losing their farms and becoming labourers. The Scheduled Castes and minority people are losing their rights but the Centre is silent. They are not implementing any schemes for them. The BJP had promised several things before coming to power but nothing has happened so far.”

He blamed the Centre for not launching any policy for the poor, the farmers and the unemployed.

“They are destroying the dreams of the people in the country but their heart cries for minorities in neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. No one will accept the Act as it is unconstitutional,” he added.

Chaudhury termed the CAA “communal” and said the BJP “destroyed the Constitution by implementing the destructive Act”.

“Not only students but women and children are also protesting against the Act. Parliaments in various countries and NRIs are protesting against the Act too,” he added.

Pradyot rally: Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Deb Burman’s newly floated organisation, the Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance, on Saturday launched an anti-CAA protest at Khumulwng, the headquarters the TTAADC. Volunteers on motorcycles will travel across the state to sensitise people, especially tribals, about the Act’s “harmful effects”. “We are not against any community or religion. We want to preserve our identity and culture. We will travel across the state for 18 days and spread awareness about the Act. This is a revolution by the youth,” said Deb Burman.

https://www.telegraphindia.com/states/north-east/thousands-rally-in-agartala/cid/1743527?ref=northeast_north-east-page

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Pakistan

 

 

Iran, Pakistan vow to expand cooperation in communications, technology sector

Feb 9, 2020

An official statement said that the meeting was co-chaired by Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and Iranian Deputy Minister for Innovation and Technology Affairs of Ministry of Information and Communications Technology Sattar Hashemi.

The discussions revolved around exploring areas of cooperation in the field of ICT and the creation of an enabling environment for harnessing the benefits of 4th Industrial Revolution and resulting digital space for the greater benefit of people especially the youth.

The statement further said the consultative session further streamlined on the beneficial use of mutual expertise on either side in the field of Information and Communication Technologies leading to capacity building initiatives, improving the situation of internet in the region and exchange of best practices through efficient use of technology.

During the said session both sides shared about the developments of their local ICT sectors and emphasized on learning from each other’s experiences and to further improve the working relation relating to connectivity.

An official statement said that the meeting was co-chaired by Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and Iranian Deputy Minister for Innovation and Technology Affairs of Ministry of Information and Communications Technology Sattar Hashemi.

The discussions revolved around exploring areas of cooperation in the field of ICT and the creation of an enabling environment for harnessing the benefits of 4th Industrial Revolution and resulting digital space for the greater benefit of people especially the youth.

The statement further said the consultative session further streamlined on the beneficial use of mutual expertise on either side in the field of Information and Communication Technologies leading to capacity building initiatives, improving the situation of internet in the region and exchange of best practices through efficient use of technology.

During the said session both sides shared about the developments of their local ICT sectors and emphasized on learning from each other’s experiences and to further improve the working relation relating to connectivity.

https://en.irna.ir/news/83667121/Iran-Pakistan-vow-to-expand-cooperation-in-communications-technology

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Kashmir would continue to remain cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy: Shah Qureshi

09-02-2020

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said the Kashmir issue would continue to remain the “cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy”.

Chairing a meeting here with the leaders from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as a follow-up to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the PoK’s Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad on February 5, Qureshi said that a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute was essential for durable peace and stability in South Asia region.

“Kashmir would continue to remain the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” Qureshi was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry (FO).

During the meeting, which was also attended by PoK leader Raja Farooq Haider Khan, the participants called for the complete removal of lockdown on communication and media in the Kashmir valley.

Indian abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/kashmir-would-continue-to-remain-cornerstone-of-pakistans-foreign-policy-shah-qureshi-38281

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Kashmir would continue to remain cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy: Shah Qureshi

09-02-2020

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said the Kashmir issue would continue to remain the “cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy”.

Chairing a meeting here with the leaders from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as a follow-up to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the PoK’s Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad on February 5, Qureshi said that a lasting solution to the Kashmir dispute was essential for durable peace and stability in South Asia region.

“Kashmir would continue to remain the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” Qureshi was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry (FO).

During the meeting, which was also attended by PoK leader Raja Farooq Haider Khan, the participants called for the complete removal of lockdown on communication and media in the Kashmir valley.

Indian abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/kashmir-would-continue-to-remain-cornerstone-of-pakistans-foreign-policy-shah-qureshi-38281

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'Come what may' govt will announce measures to reduce prices of basic food items, says PM Imran

February 09, 2020

In a tweet, the premier said: "I understand the difficulties ordinary people [including] salaried class are confronting and have decided, come what may, my govt will be announcing various measures that will be taken to reduce prices of basic food items for the common man in cabinet on Tuesday."

In a subsequent tweet, the premier shared that all the relevant government agencies have begun an "in-depth probe" into the hike in flour and sugar prices.

"The nation should rest assured that all those responsible will be held accountable and penalised," he added.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics last week reported that the inflation rate had risen to 14.6 per cent in January from 12.6 per cent in the previous month, scaling the highest level in 12 years.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1533406/come-what-may-govt-will-announce-measures-to-reduce-prices-of-basic-food-items-says-pm-imran

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Thai mall gunman shot dead after deadly rampage

February 09, 2020

It was unclear how many people remained trapped inside the Terminal 21 mall in Nakhon Ratchasima — also known as Korat — as the gunman held out through the night, armed with assault weapons stolen from his barracks.

Volleys of gunfire rang out as the siege ran into dawn, hours after Thai security services stormed the ground floor and freed scores of stunned, terrified shoppers from a bloody rampage that the gunman — a junior army officer identified as Sergeant-Major JakrapanthThomma — had relayed via Facebook posts.

Commandos from elite Thai police units killed the gunman, officials said, after an operation involving hundreds of security personnel.

Purported video from the scene shared on social media showed snipers in webbing on elevated walkways, aiming their rifles downwards as heavy gunfire echoed across a concourse below.

The soldier who gunned down 26 people before being shot dead by commandos in northeastern Thailand did it over a “personal problem”, Thai premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said on Sunday.

“It is unprecedented in Thailand, and I want this to be the last time this crisis happens,” he said outside a hospital where victims were sent after they were evacuated from the shopping mall where the 17-hour rampage took place.

A fleet of ambulances left the front of the complex and forensic police poured into the grim crime scene, shortly before the gunman's death was confirmed.

The night was peppered with heavy exchanges of gunfire and desperate escape bids by frightened shoppers who had sent cascades of messages to friends and family on social media from cupboards, toilets and under tables as the gunman stalked the mall.

A police officer who took part in a raid to flush out the gunman was killed in clashes with the rogue solider, according to deputy prime minister AnutinCharnvirakul.

Shocked evacuees recounted how an ordinary Saturday shopping day at the busy mall descended into horror as the gunman entered.

Jakrapanth relayed his shooting spree through Facebook posts which charted the attack from an army barracks to the city mall. But his motive remained unclear.

A volunteer rescue worker recounted a bloody scene of horror after his team carried four corpses to the hospital. “I've never seen anything like this,” PeerapongChatadee told AFP.

The bloodshed began on Saturday afternoon when Jakrapanth shot three people — among them at least one soldier — at a senior officer's house and then at the nearby army barracks, before driving an army vehicle to the town centre.

There the gunman used weapons stolen from the military arsenal to unleash carnage in the town centre.

He “used a machine gun and shot innocent victims resulting in many injured and dead”, said police spokesman KrissanaPattanacharoen.

Throughout the day, Jakrapanth posted images of himself and wrote several posts on his Facebook page as the attack unfolded.

In one Facebook video — since deleted — the assailant, wearing an army helmet, filmed from an open-top jeep, saying, “I'm tired... I can't pull my finger anymore” as he made a trigger symbol with his hand. There were also photos of a man in a ski mask holding up a pistol.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “We have removed the gunman's accounts from our services and will work around the clock to remove any violating content related to this attack as soon as we become aware of it.”

The city is home to one of the largest barracks in Thailand, a country where the military is enmeshed in politics and society. The nation also has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, and several shootings at courthouses last year renewed concern about gun violence.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1533409/thai-mall-gunman-shot-dead-after-deadly-rampage

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Pakistan Army Aviation pilots rescue 2 foreign mountain climbers from Broad Peak, Baltoro Glacier

February 09, 2020

Naveed Siddiqui

In a statement, ISPR said the climbers — Donald Allen Bowie from the United States and Lotta HenriikkaNakyva from Finland — were part of an international winter expedition attempting to summit Broad Peak but were "stranded en route due to sickness".

Last week, the French military conferred medals on the Pakistan Army Aviation pilots who rescued a French mountaineer from the Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest peak, in a daring late-night rescue mission in 2018.

In January 2018, French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol was rescued from the Nanga Parbat, known as the 'killer mountain', in extreme weather.

According to the ISPR, Army Aviation pilots had rescued her on the request of the French Embassy.

Her Polish climbing partner Tomasz Mackiewicz was, however, not as lucky as the rescuers, who included volunteers from a Polish expedition, had to call off the search due to harsh weather conditions with the temperature at 60 degrees below freezing point.

Both climbers had gone missing at an altitude of 7,200 metres under the top dome of the mountain while trying to conquer the 8,126-metre-tall Nanga Parbat.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1533410/pakistan-army-aviation-pilots-rescue-2-foreign-mountain-climbers-from-broad-peak-baltoro-glacier

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ATC delays verdict in two cases against Hafiz Saeed, others

February 09, 2020

The court will now decide first a fresh application filed by the lawyers of the suspects demanding collective verdicts after completion of trials in all the cases pending against them.

A prosecutor opposed the application and argued that the court could announce its verdict in cases wherein arguments had been closed.

The court, however, deferred the decision and sought arguments on the application from both sides on Feb 11.

Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) had lodged 23 cases against the JuD leaders on charges of terror financing.

In these cases, the defence counsel had taken a stance denying allegations against the JuD leaders as baseless and a result of international pressure on Pakistan government. He said the accused had been charged in false cases by wrongly attributing as leaders of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). He claimed that the leaders had been arrested in light of the UN Security Council’s resolution No. 1267.

He said it was an admitted fact supported by superior courts’ decisions that the accused persons had already quit the LeT before the organisation was declared proscribed in 2002. The counsel alleged that the CTD registered the cases without any substantive evidence.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1533405/atc-delays-verdict-in-two-cases-against-hafiz-saeed-others

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Africa

 

Enugu not building Islamic Centre – Archbishop Chukwuma

February 9, 2020

The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, has described the allegation that the Enugu State government was building an Islamic Centre at Uwani, Enugu, as untrue and misleading.

Chukwuma, who spoke when the family of the Anglican Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Rt. Rev. Aloysius Agbo, held a Thanksgiving Service and dedication of their twins, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Nsukka, disclosed that what the state government is building is a Christian Chapel at the Government House, Enugu.

The cleric warned those peddling falsehood in the state to desist from such act capable of undermining the existing peace and good governance in the state, saying: “We don’t want rumours anymore in Enugu State.”

He urged the people of the state to continue to pray for successful trajectory of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration and for the governor to fully actualise all his people-oriented programmes in the state, which he is pursuing vigorously.

The state government and the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had earlier debunked the allegation of an Islamic Centre in the state, calling on the public to disregard it entirely.

In a statement by the State Secretary of CAN, Apostle Dr. Joseph Ajujungwa, the Christian body disclosed that the state government “recently approved to build a Chapel of Worship at the Government House, Enugu, not an Islamic Centre, as being mischievously peddled on social media.”

Ajujungwa stated that CAN is happy with Ugwuanyi, for being the first governor of the state to construct a Centre of Christian Worship inside the Government House, Enugu, stressing that the feat is proof he is a true and committed Christian who serves God faithfully.

In its reaction, the state government in a statement by the commissioner for information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, described the allegation as “unfortunate, malicious, wicked and false,” stating that “there is no truth in the said story.”

The information commissioner added that “the story is only aimed at distracting the state government from its widely acclaimed determination to deliver massive infrastructural development and good governance to the people of Enugu State.”

While calling on the public to disregard the false allegation, the commissioner maintained that “the state government will continue to do all within its powers to ensure positive development in the state and encourage harmonious co-existence of all residents.”

https://thenationonlineng.net/enugu-not-building-islamic-centre-archbishop-chukwuma/

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Preacher who inspired Streatham terror attack peddling jihad from behind bars

9 Feb 2020

Jamie Doward

Hundreds of sermons preached by the Islamist cleric who inspired the men who carried out the terrorist attacks in Streatham and on London Bridge in November are available on a website that allows his followers to communicate in private chatrooms, the Observer has established.

Abdullah al-Faisal, who was born into an evangelical Christian family in Jamaica and spent many years in Britain, has become one of the most successful propagandists for al-Qaida and Islamic State.

Sudesh Amman, 20, who was shot dead by police last week after coming out of prison for terrorism offences, had copies of Faisal’s speeches, the Times reported.

The newspaper also said that Usman Khan, 28, who fatally stabbed two Cambridge graduates near London Bridge last November, had the cleric’s number in his mobile phone when he was arrested over his links to a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange in December 2010.

Others influenced by Faisal include the shoe bomber Richard Reid; at least two of the 7/7 bombers – Mohammad Sidique Khan and Germaine Lindsay; Dhiren Barot, who was jailed for trying to blow up the New York Stock Exchange; the University College London student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an aircraft on Christmas Day 2009; and Mohammed Chowdhury, who was part of a cell that sought to assassinate Boris Johnson and two rabbis.

Although Faisal is under arrest in Jamaica, awaiting extradition to the US on terrorism charges, his influence endures. In December two sympathisers were convicted for spreading his speeches by publishing them on a website called Authentic Tauheed. Some of the speeches glorified terrorist organisations including al-Qaida and Isis and encouraged listeners to commit or prepare for acts of terrorism, the Old Bailey heard.

They also earned Faisal money. Last year a follower in Singapore was jailed for sending Faisal $1,145 after being inspired by his sermons, which he had accessed online.

The website carries more than 700 of Faisal’s sermons, something that experts trying to combat Islamist narratives say presents society with acute challenges.

“This is an ideological battle and he is offering views which need to be countered,” said Dr Paul Stott, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. “We can’t censor or hide this stuff away. Once it exists on PDF or video it’s never going to be completely erased.”

The Authentic Tauheed website supports a platform called Paltalk that allows users to communicate in private.

“This needs to be taken down; this is dangerous,” said Haras Rafiq, CEO of Quilliam, the counter-extremism thinktank, who said the site also hosted speeches from Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida recruiter who was killed in a US drone strike in 2011.

Faisal was not considered a threat when he started preaching in the UK about the turn of the millennium.

“Some of that goes back to the way in Britain we respond to things that we are not sure about,” Stott said. “Often we joke about it or almost dismiss it.”

“One, he was a convert; two, his colour – he was black and he could reach out to people who were unhappy with their status; three, he’d been to Saudi Arabia and studied there. He had that degree of legitimacy that perhaps somebody born and brought up in the UK didn’t have.”

Faisal, who was born Trevor William Forrest, was jailed in the UK in 2003 for three counts related to soliciting murder and for stirring up racial hatred. He was released in 2007 and deported to Jamaica but he has continued to inspire younger followers, including in Kenya where he has spent some time.

A dossier compiled by the Anti-Defamation League suggests that he has used the Syrian conflict to groom the next generation of western youth into supporting Isis. Before his most recent arrest he regularly took to Twitter to praise the terrorist organisation claiming “any Mujahid [fighter] who doesn’t give his bayah [allegiance] to Dawla [Islamic State]is a fake Jihadi and his death will be in vain”.

In 2014 Faisal gave a lecture describing Isis’s creation of the caliphate as the fulfilment of a prophecy.

“He’s offering a very polarised world view,” Stott said. “Removing Faisal from the country doesn’t seem to have stopped him having some influence. He gave people answers.”

In 2017 the ADL reported that Authentic Tauheed has published nearly 200 posts on topics that it considers are “antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-American and anti-gay, to blatant endorsements of the Islamic State”, most of them from Faisal.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/09/preacher-abdullah-faisal-streatham-london-bridge-peddling-jihad-behind-bars

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Why we’re against Amotekun ― Miyetti Allah

By Charly Agwam

Following reactions that greeted the formation of Southwest regional security organization, codenamed Amotekun, a Fulani socio-cultural organization, Miyetti Allah has alleged that the aim of security formation is ‘to cleanse the Fulani tribe from the Southwest’. Leader of Miyetti Allah KautalHore, in Bauchi state, Alhaji Sadiq Ahmed said the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) also known as Amotekun, lacks the legal framework to succeed. The elder statesman who admitted on Saturday that the nation was facing serious security threat called for the restructuring of the security architecture in the country. According to him, “I can tell you one thing, Amotekun will not last because it is indigenous, regionalized and lacks constitutional backing. The constitution has a readymade provision for regular security with the establishment of the Nigeria Police Force, a regional security outfit like Amotekun is a breach of the constitution that will only breed problems and conflicts. READ ALSO: Election: PDP, Akeredolu trade words over use of Amotekun operation in Owo ”Is there a doubt anywhere that the motive behind the establishment of Amotekun is to cleanse our tribe from the Southwest? It is the responsibility of the federal government to provide security, any parallel security outfit is illegal and unacceptable.” The Miyetti Allah leader, however, called for the removal of Service Chiefs, saying that they have performed below expectation, while also advocating for the reform of the Nigeria Police to enable it perform its duties effectively. ”I suggest that the President remove the Service Chiefs immediately because they have done nothing, despite trillions of Naira that they have received in recent years. He should also reform the Police, the Army and all other security forces in the country. “I hear people every time try to compare Amotekun to Hizba, and that irritates me. Hizba security outfit in the North is just an umbrella of an Islamic body only meant for Islamic affairs. It bears no resemblance of Amotekun or the motive behind its formation,” he added.

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/02/why-were-against-amotekun-%e2%80%95-miyetti-allah/

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African Union: Leaders discuss Libya peace force

by Mohammed Vall

2 hours ago

Ending the conflict in Libya is high on the agenda at an African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia.

In response to a question by Al Jazeera about the possibility of the creation of an African force for peace in Libya, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso said the idea is being discussed.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/african-union-leaders-discuss-libya-peace-force-200209070741471.html

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Arab world

 

 

College of Islamic Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University holds conference on Islamic Finance

09 Feb 2020

The Circular Economy and its implications for Qatar and the wider region provided the backdrop for a recent international conference organised by the Center of Islamic Economics and Finance (CIEF), College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).

Held on February 5 and 6, the International Conference on Islamic Finance explored the Circular Economy principles as an alternative economic paradigm. Participants from academia, policymaking and Islamic financial organizations also explored how the Circular Economy promotes the elimination of waste from local, regional and global economies. In doing so, the event considered how this emerging concept might hold the key to sustainable business practices, which are socially impactful and ecologically friendly.

The International Conference on Islamic Finance also provided the perfect opportunity to hear distinctly Islamic economic perspectives on the Circular Economy. These primarily came in the shape of papers and analyses deliberated by aspiring and established academics as well as practitioners engaged in a range of Islamic finance initiatives. Synergies between the Maqasid Al Shariah, multi-dimension development discourse, and the Circular Economy were among the issues discussed over the course of the event. A mix of country-specific case studies, business models and related activities also helped to frame debates in contemporary settings.

Speaking after the conference, Dr Syed Nazim Ali, Director of Research Division and CIEF, CIS, said: “I’d like to begin by acknowledging the support of the event’s main sponsor, the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). Their involvement reflects that while Islamic finance’s contribution to Qatar’s economy is well-understood, public knowledge regarding the Circular Economy remains a work-in-progress. This must change.”

Dr Nazim added: “The practices and principles that define the Circular Economy can help our institutions and people to better respond to climate change. They also offer the potential to develop a competitive and diversified economy based on long-term sustainable models. Finally, responsible business practices help to preserve the built and natural environment. That said, the benefits of the Circular Economy also apply to the entire Islamic world. We’re confident that our conference amply demonstrated this point.”

Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority, said: “We are honoured to be part of this distinguished event, and participate in exploring the untapped opportunities, latest trends, and the profound sustainable impact that the Circular Economy can bring to our economic diversification strategy. In fact, Qatar is poised to bolster its Islamic Finance industry in 2020 and the Circular Economy is likely to play an integral role as it introduces comprehensive business models and policies that would unlock the vast potential of the underpenetrated Islamic Finance industry.”

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/09/02/2020/College-of-Islamic-Studies-at-HBKU-holds-conference-on-Islamic-Finance

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Saudi FM phones Qureshi to discuss Kashmir

Baqir Sajjad SyedUpdated

February 09, 2020

“The Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HRH Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, made a telephone call to Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi today,” a statement from the Foreign Office said.

The Saudi minister made the call amid growing resentment in Islamabad over Riyadh’s reluctance to back a meeting of foreign ministers of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries for developing a joint stand on the annexation of India-held Jammu and Kashmir by India and its subsequent highhanded tactics, including a sweeping security lockdown and a communication blockade in the Valley, to prevent agitation against the move. The lockdown, which is now in its 188th day, has created a humanitarian crisis in India-held Kashmir.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s steadfast support for the Kashmir cause, including as a key member of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir. Views were exchanged on working together to advance the Kashmir cause, including from the OIC platform,” the FO said indicating that Kashmir was the main point of discussion.

Dawn had earlier reported Saudi Arabia’s unwillingness to support the Pakistani request for meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir. Pakistan has been pushing for the meeting since August 2019 when India had annexed the occupied region of Jammu and Kashmir.

Riyadh has been hesitant to give its nod for the proposed CFM and instead floated alternate proposals including the holding of a parliamentary/speakers’ conference or a joint meeting on Palestine and Kashmir. Support from the Kingdom that along with its other Arab allies dominates the OIC is considered crucial for any move at the body comprising 57 Muslim countries.

Islamabad, however, remained firm about convening the session on Kashmir and reiterated its demand in engagements with Riyadh at various levels.

A diplomatic source revealed that Pakistan government had at one stage cautioned Saudi leaders that lack of unequivocal support for Kashmir from Riyadh could affect public perceptions in Pakistan.

During his recent visit to Malaysia, Prime Minister Imran Khan had voiced his frustration over the OIC’s failure to support the Kashmir cause. PM Khan’s latest position on Kuala Lumpur Summit held last December also worried the Saudis.

The prime minister, who initially accepted the Malaysian invitation for the KL Summit, later reversed his decision over Saudi reservations. However, during his recent visit to Kuala Lumpur six weeks after the summit, Mr Khan regretted his earlier decision and showed a change of mind by promising to attend the next edition of the KL Summit. While speaking at a press conference alongside his host Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Mr Khan said: “I want to say how sad I was that I couldn’t attend the conference in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of December. Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan as well, felt that somehow the conference was going to divide the Ummah. It was clearly a misconception because that was not the purpose of the conference as was evident when the conference took place.”

FM Faisal’s call came ahead of the OIC senior officials’ meeting in Jeddah, starting from Sunday (Feb 9). The officials meeting will prepare the agenda for the next regular CFM being held in Niger in the first week of April. It is expected that the usual resolutions on Kashmir would be approved for adoption by the foreign ministers at the next CFM.

The two foreign ministers, according to the FO statement, during their telephonic conversation also exchanged views on regional developments and agreed to remain in close contact.

“The two Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relationship and reiterated the shared resolve to deepen bilateral cooperation in diverse fields,” the statement further said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1533279/saudi-fm-phones-qureshi-to-discuss-kashmir

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Trump plan violates Palestinians’ legitimate rights: Top Arab MPs

09 February 2020

Representatives of 20 Arab parliaments participated in an emergency AIU meeting titled “Supporting the Palestinians in their Just Cause” in the Jordanian capital, Amman on Saturday to discuss the implications of the controversial US plan.

In their final communiqué, the top Arab parliamentarians vehemently rejected any unfair or unilateral solution that does not fulfill the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among which is the right to establish an independent state, with Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

“This plan represents a new chapter of violations of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people after their decades-long suffering,” said the communiqué, calling for increased Arab support for the Palestinians in their struggle for self-determination and statehood.

An analyst says Trump's so-called deal of the century is “a colonial plan” to force Palestinians out of their homeland and it is a deal for “apartheid and occupation” rather than a peace plan.

“This requires unifying the Arab ranks and mobilizing the efforts to support the question which represents a top priority for the Arab joint action,” read the communiqué.

The chief Arab lawmakers described the US move to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli “capital” as “a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of the region and cuts the road to peace opportunities, paving the way for a religious war to which Israel will be a major party.”

The union called on the Arab countries to adopt legal measures that could put an end to Israel’s unilateral moves in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The communiqué called Trump’s plan a unilateral agreement which does not represent a step towards just and comprehensive peace.

“Peace will be unlikely without recognition of the Palestinians’ right to statehood, the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homes and receive compensations for their prolonged suffering and commitment to the UN resolutions as basic points of reference for a just, comprehensive and durable settlement to the conflict,” it said.

At one point during the AIU meeting, Kuwait's National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim demonstrated his anger at Trump's self-proclaimed 'Vision for Peace' by throwing a copy into the dustbin, arguing that was the place where it rightfully belonged, hence drawing an applause from those present at the summit.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 57 Muslim-majority countries, has already expressed its outright opposition to Trump's skewed initiative.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has rejected US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”.

On January 28, Trump unveiled his so-called deal of the century, negotiated with Israel but without the Palestinians.

Palestinian leaders, who severed all ties with Washington in late 2017 after Trump controversially recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of the Israeli regime, immediately rejected 'the deal of the century', with President Mahmoud Abbas saying it “belongs in the dustbin of history.”

Palestinian leaders say the deal is a colonial plan to unilaterally control Palestine in its entirety and remove Palestinians from their homeland, adding that it heavily favors Israel and denies them a viable independent state.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/02/09/618232/Arab-Inter-Parliamentary-Union-Trump's-'deal-of-century'-Israel-Palestine

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Syrian army overruns Idlib crossroads town despite Turkish warnings

February 09, 2020

The advance on Saraqeb came shortly after Turkey sent additional troops into the region and threatened to respond if any of its military observation posts in Idlib, set up under a 2018 truce, come under attack.

“Army units now exercise full control over the town of Saraqeb,” state television reported, over footage of the town’s streets, deserted after weeks of bombardment.

Since December, government forces have pressed a blistering assault against the Idlib region with Russian support, retaking town after town despite warnings from rebel ally Turkey to back off.

The violence has killed more than 300 civilians and sent some 586,000 fleeing civilians onto the roads, seeking relative safety nearer the Turkish border.

The United Nations and aid groups have appealed for an end to hostilities, warning that scale of the exodus risks creating one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of the nearly nine-year war.

Saraqeb is a strategic prize for the government as it seeks to take back control of the M4 and M5 highways that meet in the town.

The M5, Syria’s longest highway, connects second city Aleppo to Damascus and continues as far as the Jordanian border in the south.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that government forces were in control of the whole of the M5 in Idlib province.

Only a 15 kilometre (9 mile) section, just southwest of Aleppo city, now remains in rebel hands.

The regime on Saturday was poised to recapture larger swathes of the road after it overran the area of Al-Eis in the south of Aleppo province following battles with rebels and jihadists, according to the Observatory.

Al-Eis, which overlooks the M5, was on a front that saw fierce fighting between the regime and its opponents in 2016.

But weeks of deadly bombardment by the government and its ally Russia has levelled much of the town and sent its inhabitants fleeing northwards towards the Turkish border.

Some three million people, half of them already displaced by Syria’s devastating war, are huddling in what is left of rebel territory.

Some 50,000 fighters are holed up in the shrinking pocket, many of them jihadists but the majority allied rebels, according to Observatory estimates.

With Saraqeb recaptured, little more than half of Idlib province remains in rebel hands, along with slivers of neighbouring Aleppo and Latakia provinces.

Turkey, which already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian refugees and fears another influx, has called on Damascus to halt its campaign in Idlib.

Tensions between them rose on Monday after a rare flare-up between regime and Turkish forces in Idlib killed more than 20 people on both sides.

Turkey has since sent reinforcements into northwestern Syria, prompting Damascus to accuse Ankara of trying to hamper its advance.

According to Turkish state news agency Anadolu, Ankara has sent more than 350 vehicles with commandos and ammunition to bolster its observation posts in Idlib since Friday.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1533343/syrian-army-overruns-idlib-crossroads-town-despite-turkish-warnings

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Europe

 

 

Shamima Begum is British and her citizenship should not be revoked

9 Feb 2020

Kenan Malik

Moral principles are rarely verified by easy cases. It’s the difficult ones, the ones that cause most debate and hostility, which truly test the moral mettle.

Consider the question of citizenship. Most people would agree that members of the Windrush generation – Caribbean migrants who came to Britain as children or were born here – are British citizens, even if they don’t have a piece of paper to prove it.

The attempt to deport a group as “foreign criminals” provides a harder test. The government claims that as criminals the deportees have no right to stay. Had they not committed a crime, many would have been regarded as British even without documentation. The fact of their crime should not change that moral principle.

Or take the most difficult cases of all – those relating to British terrorists. Last week, jihadist bride Shamima Begum lost her first appeal against the revocation of her citizenship. A special immigration appeals commission accepted that revocation was legal as she could be “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent”.

Most will think it right that Begum be stripped of her citizenship because of her support for Islamic State. The real issue, however, is not about what Begum did or believed. It’s about Britain and its moral responsibilities. She is a British citizen. However terrible the acts she may have committed, she remains Britain’s responsibility, not the responsibility of the Kurdish forces who hold her, nor of Bangladesh, the country of her parents’ birth.

A year ago, I observed that politicians often claim that “what separates a nation such as Britain from the barbarism of Isis” is “its humane values” and that “it’s in these hard cases that we will discover how true that is”. That is still the case today.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/09/britain-has-moral-duty-to-bring-back-shamina-begum

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Hundreds of climate activists protest at British Museum over BP sponsorship

February 08 2020

Around 1,500 people have protested at the British Museum over energy company BP’s sponsorship of a Troy exhibition.

Climate activists BP Or Not BP? wheeled a 13ft-high Trojan horse into the grounds of the museum on Friday in response to the sponsorship deal.

The horse, which had space for 10 activists inside, had speakers that played sounds of drilling and horses neighing.

As part of Saturday’s mass protest, the British Museum allowed the pressure group to host talks and group singing activities inside some of its exhibition rooms.

In front of the main gates, activists dressed as Greek gods and Trojan soldiers handed leaflets to supporters and museum visitors.

Crowds of supporters could be heard cheering and clapping as the activists gave speeches about climate change.

At 3.45pm they staged a “sit-in” inside the Great Hall for 15 minutes, singing and chanting “BP must fall”.

The campaigners also organised speeches from people of different heritages who condemned colonialism.

Primary school teacher Lydia Somerville, 56, travelled to London from her Hertfordshire home with her daughter Scarlett, 14, to take part.

They told the PA news agency they had previously participated in a “die-in” protest at the National Portrait Gallery over its BP sponsorship deal.

Mrs Somerville said: “The protest is good fun. It’s really organised – we’ve joined in the singing. It’s really powerful and there’s a good mix of ages. The Trojan horse too is a great message.”

Scarlett said: “Accepting the sponsorship essentially accepts what they’re doing is right. They’re one of the biggest oil companies in the world.”

Former education professor Stephen Bolton, 72, and his wife Gillie, 68, a former senior medicine researcher, who are retired and live in London, said they championed BP Or Not BP’s cause as they are “respectful” and “pacifists”.

Mrs Bolton said: “We’ve resigned our friendship (with the museum) over the BP sponsorship because we think the world is hurtling towards disaster and BP isn’t helping at all – it’s hindering.

“BP is a danger to the world and to our children and grandchildren. We strongly object to the British Museum accepting sponsorship from BP and we want them to follow steps from other museums in giving up the sponsorship.”

Mr Bolton said: “We think the Trojan horse is brilliant, we helped crowdfund it because it’s an amazingly good cause.”

Jess Worth, co-founder of BP Or Not BP?, said: “We brought in the Trojan horse early in the morning through a side gate and took one of the wheels off so it couldn’t be moved.

“We negotiated with the British Museum and told them what we were planning to do. The negotiation went really well and they allowed two of us to stay overnight last night. There has been a lot of good-natured, mutual respect from the British Museum.

“It’s brilliant to have so much support. People really, really care when they see the British Museum partnering with organisations like BP. They feel personally upset and motivated to protest about it.”

A spokesman for BP said: “Our new CEO, Bernard Looney, will set out his low-carbon ambition for BP next week. He understands the frustration and anger and shares protesters’ deep concern about climate change.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/hundreds-of-climate-activists-protest-at-british-museum-over-bp-sponsorship-38938176.html

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Human brotherhood is the key to world peace, Muslim World League chief tells global conference

February 09, 2020

ZAGREB, Croatia: Promoting the values of human brotherhood is the most important pillar for achieving world peace, the international conference titled Human Fraternity for World Peace and Security heard.

Organized by the Muslim World League (MWL) in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, the conference was held under the patronage of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

The conference called for the enactment of legislation to criminalize all methods and practices of hatred, racism, marginalization and exclusion as a crime against humanity and the homeland.

It also called for the establishment of a global center for civilized communication based in Zagreb to be a bridge for dialogue, understanding and cooperation among humans and to be an incubator for initiatives related to promoting human and societal values and bridging the religious, cultural and ethnic gaps.

The Croatian president launched the activities of the international conference in cooperation with the Islamic sheikhdom in Croatia, the Catholic diocese of Croatia and an official representation from the Vatican State represented in the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The conference was attended by the Croatia’s prime minister, the speaker of parliament, a number of Croatian ministers and parliamentarians and a wide range of political, religious and intellectual leaders from all over the world.

“This initiative is an important opportunity for all of us to build a world of love based on brotherhood,” said Kitarovic, adding that “God created us diversified in our cultures, religions, races and others, so that we can cooperate in the service of humanity, and based on this human unity that the Creator wanted, the suffering of every human being is really the suffering of all humanity.”

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, the secretary general of the MWL, called for “a real adoption of the values of the human fraternity” that remove negative barriers and close their gaps, build bridges and facilitate dialogue, understanding and cooperation.

He stressed that humanity has enough common values for making peace and harmony in the world today.

He also noted that the shared love, coexistence and tolerance become closer, stronger and more responsible when they are common national values.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1625041/saudi-arabia

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Kurdistan Region subjects Mosques building to conditions

2020/02/09

The Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs of Kurdistan Regional Government, Peshtuan Sadiq stressed on Sunday the necessity of building mosques in the region according to the new instructions issued by the ministry.

Sadiq said in a speech today, "We encourage the construction of mosques but according to the new instructions, and the conditions issued by the Ministry of Endowment," indicating that the construction of the mosque must be appropriate in terms of Sharia and construction, and it is not permissible to build mosques in order to achieve personal benefits as some does.

Regarding the monitoring of some unwanted cases, the minister said, "There are things that are inconsistent with our customs, including films that were shown in some places. We have addressed the Ministry of Culture, and they have responded in this regard by subjecting the films to purification or banning from showing."

"There is a negative point that affects society, which is the practice of witchcraft and sorcery in the name of religion," adding that "those who practice these actions achieve a great material benefit, and they negatively affect society."

Sadiq added, "We are coordinating with the Ministry of Interior and through the judiciary in order to prevent these people from exploiting people."

The Minister of Endowment and Religious Affairs of Kurdistan Regional Government, Peshtuan Sadiq stressed on Sunday the necessity of building mosques in the region according to the new instructions issued by the ministry.

Sadiq said in a speech today, "We encourage the construction of mosques but according to the new instructions, and the conditions issued by the Ministry of Endowment," indicating that the construction of the mosque must be appropriate in terms of Sharia and construction, and it is not permissible to build mosques in order to achieve personal benefits as some does.

Regarding the monitoring of some unwanted cases, the minister said, "There are things that are inconsistent with our customs, including films that were shown in some places. We have addressed the Ministry of Culture, and they have responded in this regard by subjecting the films to purification or banning from showing."

"There is a negative point that affects society, which is the practice of witchcraft and sorcery in the name of religion," adding that "those who practice these actions achieve a great material benefit, and they negatively affect society."

shafaaq.com/en/kurdistan/kurdistan-region-subjects-mosques-building-to-conditions/

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North America

 

US, Afghan forces come under ‘direct fire’ in Nangarhar

February 09, 2020

“A combined US and Afghan force conducting an operation in Nangarhar province was engaged by direct fire on Feb 8”, US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett said in a statement.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the apparent “green-on-blue” attack — where Afghan security forces target international soldiers with whom they are working.

An Afghan official said the attack happened in the Shirzad district military headquarters, and that foreign forces had cordoned off the area.

“Several helicopters landed in and departed from the HQ compound taking out casualties. We don’t know how many killed or wounded,” the official said.

The latest incident comes even as US and Taliban negotiators are seeking reach a deal that would allow the United States to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan after more than 18 years of war.

Last year was the deadliest for US forces in Afghanistan since combat operations officially finished at the end of 2014, highlighting the challenging security situation that persists.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1533344/us-afghan-forces-come-under-direct-fire-in-nangarhar

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Assailant involved in deadly attack on Afghan-U.S. forces was ‘Uniformed’: USFOR-

09 Feb 2020

The U.S. Military in Afghanistan has confirmed that the assailant who carried out a deadly attack on Afghan and U.S. forces in eastern Nangarhar province was ‘Uniformed’.

“Two U.S. service members were killed and six others were wounded in a firefight on Feb. 8 in Sherzad district, Nangarhar province,” the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) said, in a statement. “The wounded service members are receiving medical treatment at a U.S. facility.”

The statement further added “Upon completing a key-leader engagement at the district center, current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined U.S. and Afghan force with a machine gun.”

“We are still collecting information and the cause or motive behind the attack is unknown at this time. The incident is under investigation,” USFOR-A added.

The U.S. Military did not disclose further information regarding the identities of the deceased service members, saying “In accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the names of the service members killed in action will be withheld until 24 hours after notification of next of kin is complete.”

The Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan has not commented regarding the incident and the possible casualties inflicted on Afghan forces during the attack.

https://www.khaama.com/assailant-involved-in-deadly-attack-on-afghan-u-s-forces-was-uniformed-usfor-a-04436/

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US soldiers killed after man in Afghan army uniform opens fire

09-02-2020

Two US soldiers have been killed and six others wounded when an individual in an Afghan army uniform opened fire on them with a machinegun in eastern Afghanistan, the US military said.

The incident, which took place in Nangarhar province, occurred after a combined US and Afghan force completed a "key-leader engagement" at a base in Sherzad district, Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement on Saturday.

"Current reports indicate an individual in an Afghan uniform opened fire on the combined US and Afghan force with a machine gun," Leggett said, adding that the cause or motive behind the attack were not immediately known.

In a tweet, the US Army's 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) said "several" of its soldiers had been killed or injured during combat operations in Afghanistan.

Provincial governor Shah Mahmood Meyakhil said in an audio message to reporters that three Afghan commandos were wounded.

He said it was not immediately clear if the incident was a deliberate act by an "infiltrator" or an accident. "It was not a clash between the forces. We are investigating," Meyakhil said.

Insider attacks, often known as "green-on-blue" attacks, have been a regular feature of the conflict in Afghanistan, although their frequency has diminished in recent years.

About 13,000 US troops are stationed in Afghanistan as part of the US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces and to carry out counterterrorism operations.

The incident came at a delicate time in the 18-year war, as US diplomats have been talking with the Taliban for months to agree on a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been negotiating with the Taliban for about 18 months for a deal that would see the Pentagon pull its troops from Afghanistan.

In return, the Taliban would guarantee the country is not used as a safe haven to launch attacks on other countries.

Many are sceptical of the proposed deal and US President Donald Trump himself declared talks "dead" in September amid continued Taliban violence. Negotiations have since resumed in Qatar.

Trump has expressed his eagerness to bring troops home and end the longest conflict in US history.

Last year was the deadliest for US forces in Afghanistan since combat operations officially ended at the end of 2014, highlighting the challenging security situation that persists.

Depending on how one qualifies combat deaths, some 20 American troops were killed in 2019. Since the US-led invasion in October 2001, nearly 2,400 US troops have been killed in combat in Afghanistan.

In December, Taliban infiltrators in the Afghan military killed nine Afghan soldiers in central Afghanistan.

In July, an Afghan soldier killed two US troops as they were visiting an Afghan army base in Kandahar.

That came two weeks after another Afghan soldier shot and killed an influential Afghan army colonel while he was conducting a security assessment in Ghazni province.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/soldiers-killed-man-afghan-army-uniform-opens-fire-200209052535741.html

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Mideast

 

Iran to launch satellite which US says is cover for missile program

9 February 2020

Iran will launch a satellite on Sunday, a government minister said, as part of a fledgling program the United States says is a cover for ballistic missile development.

“The Zafar satellite will be placed in orbit today from Semnan at a speed of 7,400 kilometers,” Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said, according to the official IRIB news agency.

Iran started counting down to the launch to the scheduled launch, which will take place within hours, the telecommunications minister said.

“Beginning countdown to launch Zafar Satellite in the next few hours... In the Name of God,” Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi wrote on Twitter.

Iran has insisted on its right to launch a space program, but the US says that the launch defies a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Iranian officials had previously announced the launch would be delayed until further notice, but it now appears to be going ahead. Tehran's previous attempts to launch satellites failed last year.

Ahead of this launch, Jahromi posted a picture of Iran’s space suit on his Twitter account on Tuesday with the caption “Astronaut costume #bright_future”. The photo provoked ridicule as Twitter users realized the space suit was in fact a $20 Halloween costume available for purchase on Amazon.com and other online retailers.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2020/02/09/Iran-to-launch-satellite-amid-missile-allegations.html

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Khamenei Acknowledges Impact of US Sanctions on Iran

9 February, 2020

Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei acknowledged on Saturday the impact of new US sanctions against the country, describing them as “literal crimes”.

"We should be strong to prevent any war against the county. Being weak will encourage our enemies to attack Iran," he said.

"These sanctions are criminal act... but we can turn it to an opportunity by distancing Iran's economy from being dependent on oil exports," he added.

"Iran poses no threat to any other country... Our only aim is to make sure our security is guaranteed," Khamenei added.

"Our Air Force, which had no right to and couldn't even repair parts of aircraft (before the revolution) now builds planes," Khamenei was quoted as saying on his English-language Twitter account.

Earlier statements by a number of Iranian officials denied the impact of sanctions on the economy.

"We have billions of dollars in various countries. But when we want to transfer one dollar from these funds for the purchase of medicines or food, the US does not allow it", Iranian First Vice President EshaqJahangiri said recently.

On Jan. 3, the US killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad, prompting Iran to fire a salvo of missiles against two Iraqi bases that house US troops the following week.

US-Iranian ties worsened since the US withdrawal in May 2018 from the nuclear deal. Washington then re-imposed a series of economic sanctions, which Iran responded to through violating key pledges it made within the 2015 deal.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/2122581/khamenei-acknowledges-impact-us-sanctions-iran

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Unilateral Israeli annexations would endanger U.S. support - envoy

09 Feb 2020

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Unilateral Israeli steps to annex West Bank land would endanger U.S. support for such plans, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday Israel had begun drawing up maps for annexing land in the West Bank, which Palestinians seek for a state, in accordance with U.S. President Donald Trump's proposed peace plan.

"President Trump's Vision for Peace is the product of more than three years of close consultations among the President, PM Netanyahu and their respective senior staff," Friedman said on Twitter.

"Israel is subject to the completion (of) a mapping process by a joint Israeli-American committee. Any unilateral action in advance of the completion of the committee process endangers the Plan & American recognition," Friedman said.

That process will probably not be completed before Israel's March 2 election, Friedman later told reporters in Jerusalem.

Although Trump's plan envisages a two-state solution with Israel and a future Palestinian state living alongside each other, it includes strict conditions that the Palestinians have rejected out of hand.

The blueprint gives Israel much of what it has long sought, including U.S. recognition of settlements and Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.

As the election nears, pressure has mounted on Netanyahu from settler leaders, and members of his right-wing cabinet with whom he is competing for votes, to move ahead with annexations before the ballot, despite White House calls to hold off.

Friedman's remarks appeared to provide Netanyahu with some defence against those pressures.

"The (U.S.) recognition is the main thing and we don't want to endanger that," Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday.

He said the annexed area would include all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley - territory Israel has kept under military occupation since its capture in the 1967 Middle East war but which Palestinians want in a future state.

Right after Trump presented the plan on Jan. 28, Netanyahu signalled his government would begin extending Israeli sovereignty to the settlements and the Jordan Valley within days. But on Saturday Netanyahu appeared to row back.

"We've been waiting since 1967 and some people are making a big deal out of a few weeks," Netanyahu said at the rally.

Most countries consider Israeli settlements on land captured in war to be a violation of international law. Trump has changed U.S. policy to withdraw such objections and the prospect of Israeli annexations have drawn widespread condemnation.

Palestinians say the settlements make a future state unviable. Israel cites security needs as well as biblical and historical ties to the land on which they are built.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2020/02/09/unilateral-israeli-land-annexations-would-endanger-us-support---envoy

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Israel strikes Gaza after Hamas fires projectile: Army

9 February 2020

The Israeli army said its tanks attacked military posts in the Gaza Strip Saturday, after militants in the Palestinian enclave fired a projectile across the border.

The army said tanks “targeted two Hamas military posts in the northern Gaza Strip” in response to the projectile, in the latest round of violence in the wake of the United States unveiling its controversial peace plan.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the Israeli attack.

The projectile from Gaza had activated an alert “for open areas only,” according to the army, while a spokeswoman for the regional council in ShaarHanegev, next to northeast Gaza, said it apparently hit an open field, causing no damage or casualties.

Palestinian attacks have increased since January 28 when US President Donald Trump released his vision for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a plan firmly rejected by the Palestinian leadership in both the West Bank and Gaza.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/02/09/Israel-strikes-Gaza-after-Hamas-fires-projectile-Army.html

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South Asia

 

Action against Sajjad takes into account Muslims' concern - Mujahid

09/02/2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 -- Any action to be taken against controversial businessman Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruz Zaman who wore women's attire while performing umrah recently will take into account several elements including Muslims' concern.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof said he would look into all the information obtained before deciding on action against the cosmetic entrepreneur who is popularly known as Nur Sajat.

“What's important is that we want to safeguard the interests of Islam and all Muslims must adhere to Shariah law.

“At the same time if a Muslim commits an offence, he should come back to the true teachings of Islam, do not apologise just for the sake of apologising,” he said after attending the JamuanMuhibahprogramme in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration here today.

The event which was organised by the  Malaysian Islamic Development Department and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister  Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Muhammad Sajjad sparked controversy after she posted videos of her wearing a telekung, the female prayer garments, while in Makkah.

https://www.bernama.com/en/general/news.php?id=1812650

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African Union expresses solidarity with China in combating coronavirus

09-Feb-2020

The African Union (AU) on Friday expressed solidarity with China in its fight to contain the novel coronavirus epidemic.

"In the spirit of the strong relationship existing between member states of the AU and China and cognizant of the fraternal historical ties and cooperation between them, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of AU member states express their solidarity with the government and people of China in their efforts to counter spread of the new novel coronavirus and to cope with its health ramifications," a statement is issued by the AU's Executive Council at the end of its 36th Ordinary Session in Addis Ababa on Friday.

A screenshot of the African Union's Executive Council's solidarity statement with China. /CGTN Photo

The statement affirmed AU member states' confidence in China's capability to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The AU member states have confidence that China can "take necessary measures in this regard in accordance with the internationally applied standards and procedures in coordination with the various national and international bodies concerned, particularly the World Health Organization and Africa CDC," the statement said.

"They are confident that the Chinese authorities will work in collaboration with all countries for their common interest in dealing with the various humanitarian, social and economic challenges containing this new virus."

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-02-09/African-Union-expresses-solidarity-with-China-in-combating-coronavirus-NWx3IM4aC4/index.html

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South Asia

 

Thai commandos kill rogue soldier who shot dead 26 people

09-02-2020

A soldier who went on a shooting rampage in northeastern Thailand, killing at least 26 people, has been shot dead by security services after he holed himself up in a shopping centre.

Police and military sources told Reuters they had killed 32-year-old JakrapanthThomma on Sunday morning, a few hours after a failed raid on the Terminal 21 mall in Nakhon Ratchasima left one member of the security forces dead and two injured.

"The police have killed the perpetrator and rescued eight hostages. Some were wounded," said a member of the security sources who declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

"Thank you police and army for ending the situation. Shooter shot dead!!!" Anutin said in a post on Facebook.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who visited the injured in hospital on Sunday, said the gunman killed 26 people and wounded 57.

"It is unprecedented in Thailand, and I want this to be the last time this crisis happens," Prayuth said outside the hospital.

The mass shooting began at approximately 3pm (08:00 GMT) on Saturday when Jakrapanth opened fire in a house before moving to an army camp and then to the mall, posting messages on Facebook as he went.

Police closed off streets around the mall and kept journalists behind a security cordon, fearing the gunman had taken hostages.

Dozens of terrified shoppers were evacuated from the centre as armed police said they had "taken control" of the ground floor of the complex.

Al Jazeera's Thailand producer KittiphumSringammuang said police were working to establish the motive for the mass shooting.

"The motive for the attack is still unclear," Kittiphum said. "The police will start collecting evidence at the crime scene and will begin investigations especially on what was the motive behind the attack. It seems like he had an issue with his commanding officer, but there's no indication of why he attacked civilians in broad daylight."  

The gunman wrote on his Facebook page earlier in the day that "Death is inevitable for everyone". The suspect also posted a picture of what appeared to be his hand holding a gun.

At one point after the shooting began, he wrote online: "Should I give up?" before his account became inaccessible.

Thai media said the suspected shooter had worked at an army base close to Nakhon Ratchasima, which is about 250km (155 miles) from the capital Bangkok.

Before the attack, Jakrapanth had posted on his Facebook account that he was out for vengeance - but he did not say for what.

The prime minister said the killings may have arisen out of a grudge over a land deal in which Jakrapanth felt he had been cheated.

Thailand security forces evacuated people from a shopping mall as they chase a shooter hidden in after a mass shooting in front of the Terminal 21, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

Dozens of terrified shoppers were evacuated from the shopping centre where Jakrapanth sheltered [AthitPerawongmetha/Reuters]

"We don't know why he did this. It appears he went mad," said Ministry of Defence spokesman KongcheepTantrawanit.

The prime minister expressed condolences to the families of those killed, a government spokeswoman said.

Local media earlier showed footage of the soldier getting out of a car in front of the shopping centre and firing a series of shots.

Footage circulating online showed panicked scenes, with people fleeing and what appeared to be the sound of automatic gunfire filling the air.

A woman interviewed by Thailand's Channel One television said she had heard gunshots when she was at the shopping centre and hid in a clothing store with other people before escaping.

Thailand has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world but mass shootings by soldiers targeting civilians are rare.

Several shootings at courthouses late last year also renewed concern about gun violence in the country.

In one high-profile case, two lawyers were shot dead by a clerk at a court in eastern Thailand during a hearing over a land dispute.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/killed-wounded-thailand-mass-shooting-200208122332771.html

-------

 

South Asia

 

Thai commandos kill rogue soldier who shot dead 26 people

09-02-2020

A soldier who went on a shooting rampage in northeastern Thailand, killing at least 26 people, has been shot dead by security services after he holed himself up in a shopping centre.

Police and military sources told Reuters they had killed 32-year-old Jakrapanth Thomma on Sunday morning, a few hours after a failed raid on the Terminal 21 mall in Nakhon Ratchasima left one member of the security forces dead and two injured.

"The police have killed the perpetrator and rescued eight hostages. Some were wounded," said a member of the security sources who declined to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

"Thank you police and army for ending the situation. Shooter shot dead!!!" Anutin said in a post on Facebook.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who visited the injured in hospital on Sunday, said the gunman killed 26 people and wounded 57.

"It is unprecedented in Thailand, and I want this to be the last time this crisis happens," Prayuth said outside the hospital.

The mass shooting began at approximately 3pm (08:00 GMT) on Saturday when Jakrapanth opened fire in a house before moving to an army camp and then to the mall, posting messages on Facebook as he went.

Police closed off streets around the mall and kept journalists behind a security cordon, fearing the gunman had taken hostages.

Dozens of terrified shoppers were evacuated from the centre as armed police said they had "taken control" of the ground floor of the complex.

Al Jazeera's Thailand producer Kittiphum Sringammuang said police were working to establish the motive for the mass shooting.

"The motive for the attack is still unclear," Kittiphum said. "The police will start collecting evidence at the crime scene and will begin investigations especially on what was the motive behind the attack. It seems like he had an issue with his commanding officer, but there's no indication of why he attacked civilians in broad daylight."  

The gunman wrote on his Facebook page earlier in the day that "Death is inevitable for everyone". The suspect also posted a picture of what appeared to be his hand holding a gun.

At one point after the shooting began, he wrote online: "Should I give up?" before his account became inaccessible.

Thai media said the suspected shooter had worked at an army base close to Nakhon Ratchasima, which is about 250km (155 miles) from the capital Bangkok.

Before the attack, Jakrapanth had posted on his Facebook account that he was out for vengeance - but he did not say for what.

The prime minister said the killings may have arisen out of a grudge over a land deal in which Jakrapanth felt he had been cheated.

The prime minister expressed condolences to the families of those killed, a government spokeswoman said.

Local media earlier showed footage of the soldier getting out of a car in front of the shopping centre and firing a series of shots.

Footage circulating online showed panicked scenes, with people fleeing and what appeared to be the sound of automatic gunfire filling the air.

A woman interviewed by Thailand's Channel One television said she had heard gunshots when she was at the shopping centre and hid in a clothing store with other people before escaping.

Thailand has a high rate of gun ownership but mass shootings by soldiers targeting civilians are rare.

Several shootings at courthouses late last year also renewed concern about gun violence in the country.

In one high-profile case, two lawyers were shot dead by a clerk at a court in eastern Thailand during a hearing over a land dispute.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/killed-wounded-thailand-mass-shooting-200208122332771.html

 

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