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India-Based Twitter Accounts Fanned Hindu-Muslim Unrest In Leicester UK, Say Researchers at Rutgers University

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 November 2022


A network of fake accounts originating outside of the UK stoked violence between Muslims and Hindus in Leicester, says report. (Screengrabs from a Twitter video)


• Sweden Banning Islamic Schools In A Bid To Push "Anti-Islamic Rhetoric"

• Saudi Arabia Sentences Pro-Democracy Activist Abdullah Gailan,  To 10 Years In Prison Over Tweets, Rights Groups Say

• Protest Against Hindu Students Reciting Muslim Prayer In Coastal Karnataka During An ‘Inter-Faith Prayer’

• Islam Is The Religion Of Tolerance, Peace, And Humanity: Chief Justice of Sharia Court


• Sweden approves 'anti-terrorism law'

• No deadline for Iran's answers but talks cannot go on forever: UN nuclear chief

• British spy chief: Iran has tried 10 times to kidnap or kill UK-based individuals


Arab World

• Türkiye nabs 2 PKK/YPG terrorists preparing suicide bombing in Syria

• Israel blames Iran for drone attack on oil tanker off Oman

• Angry villagers, troops block US military convoy from advancing in Syria's Hasakah

• US ambassador’s bids pose serious threats to our national security, Iraqi legislator says

• Iraq sets up top body to tackle ‘major’ corruption cases

• Saudi Arabia to donate $50 mln to global Pandemic Fund: FM

• Saudi Crown Prince holds talks with South Korean Prime Minister in Seoul

• Saudi Crown Prince congratulates Indonesia’s President on ‘successful’ G20 summit

• UAE President meets Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince on sidelines of G20 summit



• Won’t Betray You, Says Sena (Uddhav Bal Thackeray) to Marathi Speaking Muslims

• Shraddha Walkar Murder: Maha BJP MLA Urges Delhi Cops To Probe 'Love Jihad' Angle

• UP Orders Action Against Unrecognised Madrasas 'As Per Law'



• Imran’s Divisional Politics Impediment To National Unity: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl

• COAS should be selected on seniority: Fazl

• Pakistan seeks Constitutional amendment to rule on army chief appointment

• Minister ‘confirms’ plans to amend army act

• Default risk soars amid political turmoil, delay in IMF talks

• COAS pays farewell visits to PMA Kakul, Baloch Regimental Centre

• Two TTP militants jailed for life in Landhi blast case

• Pakistan stresses unfreezing of Afghanistan’s financial assets ‘pivotal’ for rehabilitation roadmap

• Taliban: Afghanistan regrets deadly border shooting incident

• Terrorism one of Pakistan's foremost problems, admits PM Shehbaz Sharif

• TTP kills six police officers during ambush in Pakistan's northwest



• Israeli Arab Teen Indicted For Affiliation With Islamic State, Plans To Make Bombs

• Israeli Military To Seize 320,000 Square Meters Of Palestinian Land For Settlement Expansion In West Bank

• Israeli Forces To Demolish Several Palestinian-Owned Houses In East Al-Quds

• President Rayeesi: Resistance Only Way to Confront West's Excessive Demands

• Nuclear Chief: IAEA’s Anti-Iran Resolution Lacks Credibility

• FM: Iran Not to Allow Foreign Elements Harm Nation's Interests, Security

• Iranian FM Cautions Baku over Irrational Positions

• At least five killed, 15 injured in ‘terrorist attack’ in southwest Iran: State media

• Iran sentences three protesters to death: Report

• Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrest person they say linked to Israel’s Mossad: Report

• Iran rejects western draft calling for cooperation with IAEA

• Several killed in separate incidents in Iran on day marred by violence


South Asia

• Opening Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Office In Kabul Strengthens Relations Between Islamic Emirate And Islamic Nations

• US Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction Assesses Factors Behind the Collapse of Afghan Gov’t

• Taliban visit fails to solve Chaman border issue

• Russia’s Multilateral Talks on Afghanistan Opens without Taliban


Southeast Asia

• Malaysia GE15: Will There Be A ‘Big Tent’ Approach By Opposition Parties This Time?

• Good seed will become island, Rashid Hasnon tells Anwar

• After nearly half a century under BN, Kepala Batas wonders if it’s time for change

• Named after vintage town, Bangi voters grapple with age-old issues of religion and roads

• Saudi Arabia to finance restoration of Islamic centre in G20 host Indonesia’s capital Jakarta

• Time running out as Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar fights for top job

• At 97, Malaysia’s Mahathir makes last election hurrah



• Sudan's Military Leader Burhan Again Warns Islamists Against Interfering In Politics

• Critical aid starts trickling into Ethiopia's Tigray after truce

• Kenyan president dismisses parliament bid to lift his term limit

• Sudan’s rivals reach framework deal to end political deadlock


North America

• US Sanctions Officials, 'Interrogator' Journalists With Iran's State Broadcaster

• There has never been any truth to Imran’s foreign conspiracy claims: US

• US ‘confident’ Iran used drone to attack tanker MV Pacific Zircon off Oman coast

• Canada sanctions Iran makers of drones used by Russia in Ukraine

• US sanctions senior employees of Iranian state-run media

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



India-Based Twitter Accounts Fanned Hindu-Muslim Unrest In Leicester UK, Say Researchers at Rutgers University


A network of fake accounts originating outside of the UK stoked violence between Muslims and Hindus in Leicester, says report. (Screengrabs from a Twitter video)


November 17, 2022

A network of fake accounts originating outside of the UK stoked violence between Muslims and Hindus in a British city earlier this year, according to research first provided to Bloomberg News.

An estimated 500 inauthentic accounts that called for violence and promoted memes, as well as incendiary videos, were created on Twitter Inc. during riots in Leicester between late August and early September this year, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute at Rutgers University.

Hundreds took to the streets in the days following a cricket match between long-held rivals India and Pakistan on Aug. 27, with some rioters carrying sticks and batons and throwing glass bottles as police were deployed to calm the masses. Homes, cars and religious artifacts were vandalised during the clashes, which went on for weeks and resulted in 47 arrests, according to Leicestershire police.

Social media was rife with videos claiming to show mosques being set alight and claims of kidnapping, forcing police to issue warnings that people should not believe misinformation online. Many of the Twitter accounts that amplified the unrest originated in India, researchers said.

Anti-Muslim sentiment has been rising in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leading to a narrative that Hindus outside the country, some of whom are not Indian, subscribe to Hindutva, a kind of Hindu nationalism. An initial video purporting to show Hindutva Hindus attacking Muslim men sparked uncorroborated claims that local, politically motivated activists amplified, researchers said. The video sparked the interest of a foreign influence network, the involvement of which contributed to real-world violence, according to the findings.

US technology companies played a key role in fanning the confrontations, according to Leicester Mayor Peter Soulsby, numerous media reports and participants including Adam Yusuf, a 21-year-old who told a judge that he brought a knife to a demonstration and was “influenced by social media.”

“Our research finds that both domestic networks of assailants and foreign actors now compete to use social media as a weapon in the midst of heightened ethnic tensions,” said Joel Finkelstein, founder of NCRI. “Our methods highlight a process and technology that democracies need to learn to take preventative measures and protect themselves and their communities.”

Using data collected from Google’s YouTube, Meta Platforms Inc.’s Instagram, Twitter and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok the NCRI report published Wednesday provides one of the most detailed views of how foreign influencers spread disinformation at a local level, transpiring into clashes in one of the most diverse cities in the UK.

Mentions of “Hindu” exceeded mentions of “Muslim” by nearly 40%, and Hindus were largely depicted as aggressors and conspirators in a global project for international dominance, NCRI’s linguistic analysis found. They found that 70% of violent tweets, using sentiment analysis from Google’s Jigsaw service, were made against Hindus during the Leicester riot timeframe.

One particularly effective meme, eventually banned by Twitter, circulated under the hashtag #HindusUnderAttackInUK, researchers said. The cartoon depicted the Muslim community as insects, alleging that different aspects of Islam were “combining together to destroy India.”

Researchers also found evidence of bot-like accounts which disseminated both anti-Hindu and anti-Muslim messaging, each blaming the other for the violence. The bots were identified based on the time of account creation and the number of repeated tweets, with some tweeting 500 times per minute, according to the findings.

“It’s not Hindus versus Muslims it’s Leicester versus extremist Hindus who came here through fake Portuguese passports, they started coming here 5 years ago, before the Hindus and Muslims lived peacefully,” wrote one account flagged by NCRI. Another, which has been banned, said that Hindus were trying to “mobilise a global genocide.”

Largely, the researchers found that UK-based assailants used social media platforms as a weapon to organise attacks and amplify conspiracies against British Hindus, which in turn caused a “tit-for-tat relationship between these two forces,” said Finkelstein.

After the first instances of fake videos spread on Twitter, a “highly orchestrated echo chamber,” from India kicked into amplify tweets “solely blaming Muslims for the events in Leicester,” the report claimed, which in turned spurred even more violence against Hindus in Leicester.

This suggested that local community tensions were ripe for exploitation on Twitter by external nationalist groups, the researchers warned. The BBC and disinformation research company Logically also found evidence that a lot of the social media posts during the unrest hailed from India, some 5,000 miles away.

Fiyaz Mughal, an author of the report and the founder of Tell MAMA, a service that allows people in the UK to report anti-Muslim abuse and monitors Islamophobic incidents, said he was shocked at how quickly social networks “could jump on these issues.” Mughal said the events in Leicester proved the “risk to the national security of any country today.”

Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Claudia Webbe, the MP for Leicester East, told Bloomberg News the riots were undoubtedly sparked by social media. Although hundreds of police were deployed to areas around the West Midlands to monitor the demonstrations, she said she believed most of her constituents within the Hindu and Muslim community had largely been affected “through their phones.”

“Even the people who didn’t take to the streets were in fear because of what they were receiving through WhatsApp and Twitter — they were afraid to go outside for weeks,” she said.

“You’ve got these overseas influences who are trying to drive political hate and the desire to sow division,” she said.

Source: Indian Express

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Sweden Banning Islamic Schools In A Bid To Push "Anti-Islamic Rhetoric"




Leila Nezirevic



Despite many being among the best-performing schools in the country, the Swedish government continues to close down Islamic academic institutions in a bid to push "anti-Islamic rhetoric" and "stop privatization" in education.

Earlier this year, the Nordic country's then-Educational Minister Lena Axelsson Kjellblum told a press conference that her government had introduced a bill aiming to "prohibit the establishment of so-called independent religious schools."

The bill essentially prevents the schools from expanding by increasing the number of their students or opening new branches from 2024 onwards.

Only Islamic schools have been targeted by the legislation so far, triggering an outcry from Muslim organizations, researchers, and schools, arguing that the decision to shut down Islamic schools was not based on poor academic results or other teaching shortcomings, but rather had political, anti-Islamic motives.

Mohamed Amin Kharraki, head of the independent Muslim school Framstegsskolan in the Ragsved suburb of Stockholm, told Anadolu Agency that around 20 schools that classify themselves as Islamic or those that are owned by Muslims are being closed with the only three remaining fighting a lawsuit against them.

Last May, the country's school inspectorate announced it was shutting Framstegsskolan down. However, the school won an appeal and the administrative court said the decision should no longer apply, pending a verdict.

Decisions made on 'conspiratorial claims'

The inspectorate's decision to close the school was based on a report by the Swedish domestic security service SAPO with "conspiratorial claims" about the Muslim Brotherhood group, secret agendas, and alleged terror labels that have left some researchers baffled.

"If I hadn't had the research background I have, that I studied and researched the Muslim Brotherhood, I would have been afraid of the dark. I would be afraid of basically all Muslim leaders in Sweden," local news outlet Syre quoted Emin Poljarevic, an associate professor in the sociology of religion, as saying.

"This further shows that we have a social climate where Muslims are exotified and made suspicious. It is a shame that Sapo, of all authorities, has fallen into that pit," said Poljarevic, who is a lecturer in Islamic theology and philosophy at Uppsala University.

Islamic preschools also caught in crosshairs

Saimagarden's preschool in the Akalla district of Stockholm, also run by Framstegsskolan, was to close last August due to SAPO's claims that children were at risk of radicalization.

The court, however, overturned the move and the preschool remains open until a final verdict is issued.

Kharraki suggested that SAPO had not mentioned any specific accusations about either school in its report and that it instead referred only to "secret" sources.

Underlining the danger posed by the inspectorate's argument, he said that if a school is accused of putting children at risk of radicalization, with no actual proof or past incident, then it's "very hard for you, as an accused party, to defend yourself, actually, because it's nothing that has actually happened. It's something that may happen."

According to Kharraki, the school inspectorate never visited Framstegsskolan to observe the alleged radicalization and has refused to question SAPO's report.

Anti-Muslim agenda

Sead Busuladzic, a board member of the Nyans political party and its top official in the southernmost Skane county, told Anadolu Agency that the school closures were not about education, but about the political anti-Muslim climate.

He pointed out how the right-wing parties that are currently in power have explicitly said they have nothing against Christian, Jewish, or other schools.

Politicians who, in his words, are normalizing Islamophobia and making life more difficult for minorities, have only voiced problems with Islamic schools, supposed to "stop radicalization." In doing so, they are "influencing the general opinion and how the Muslims are viewed."

Busuladzic explained that initially, Social Democrats had driven this issue, because they are "against all private schools," and argue that the state should run all educational institutions.

In practice, however, only Islamic schools bore the brunt of even Social Democrat policies, despite their purportedly general opposition to private education.

In past elections, instead of focusing on issues such as the economy and high unemployment, politicians have fed anti-Muslim sentiment, he said, suggesting that the school closures were a reflection of this.

When the bill was first introduced by the government, it claimed that all religious schools would be affected. However, in reality, this has not been the case as no other religious schools have been shut down except Muslim schools.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Saudi Arabia Sentences Pro-Democracy Activist Abdullah Gailan,  To 10 Years In Prison Over Tweets, Rights Groups Say


Photo: Pars Today


16 November 2022

Human rights organizations says a Saudi pro-democracy activist has received a 10-year jail sentence for writing tweets critical of the government,  as a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against human rights activists and political dissidents widens.

The Prisoners of Conscience, an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that the so-called Specialized Criminal Court in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh has passed the ruling on Abdullah Gailan, and slapped a 10-year travel ban on him as well.

Gailan, a graduate of West Chester University, was arrested in May 2021 after he travelled from Pennsylvania to Saudi Arabia to see his family.

He has apparently been held in conditions that amounted to torture since his arrest by Saudi authorities.

The London-based rights group ALQST, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, said Gailan was tortured and sentenced to 10 years in prison over his critical tweets.

He used to write against joblessness, economic conditions and citizens' rights in posts published on social media platforms, according to online activists.

Since bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader in 2017, the kingdom has arrested hundreds of activists, bloggers, intellectuals and others for their political activism, showing almost zero tolerance for dissent even in the face of international condemnation of the crackdown.

Muslim scholars have been executed and women’s rights campaigners have been put behind bars and tortured as freedom of expression, association, and belief continue to be denied by the kingdom's authorities.

Over the past years, Riyadh has also redefined its anti-terrorism laws to target activism.

Source: Press TV

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Protest Against Hindu Students Reciting Muslim Prayer In Coastal Karnataka During An ‘Inter-Faith Prayer’


The alleged incident took place at Kundapura in Udupi district of Karnataka on November 16, 2022.


November 16, 2022

A group of Hindu Jagran Vedike activists held a protest on Wednesday November 16 against recital of a Muslim prayer during an ‘inter-faith prayer’ that was part of the inauguration of a block-level sports meet in Shankaranarayana in Kundapura taluk of Udupi district.

According to officials from the Department of Public Instruction, Mother Teresa Memorial School in Shankaranarayana hosted the Kundapura block-level sports meet, which started on Tuesday November 15.

As part of inauguration programme, a group of students recited prayers. First was a song related to Ganapati, which was followed by the sound of bells, and the last was ‘Allah O Akbar’. As the students bowed down to pray, a person on stage objected.

The school management immediately apologised and continued with the event.

On Wednesday November 16, Hindu Jagran Vedike (HJV) activists staged a protest against the school management allegedly using Hindu students to recite a Muslim prayer.

Source: The Hindu

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Islam Is The Religion Of Tolerance, Peace, And Humanity: Chief Justice of Sharia Court

Faizan Hashmi 

November 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Nov, 2022 ) :Chief Justice of the Federal Sharia Court, Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwar has said that Islam is the religion of tolerance, peace, and humanity.

He was addressing as Chief Guest at an international seminar on religious tolerance held at Allama Iqbal Open University the other day.

He said that all the prophets have taught love, tolerance, forgiveness, and justice. Our constitution has given the right to religious freedom to minorities and people of all religions living here in Pakistan.

Dr. Syed Muhammad Anwar further said that intolerance is far from Islam and far from the Constitution of Pakistan.

He said that the rights of minorities are the responsibility of our state, and all the democratic and government institutions need to take care of minorities.

This seminar was jointly organized by the AIOU's Department of Islamic Thought, History and Culture, Faculty of Arabic and Islamic Studies, board of Bright Future society, and Implementation Minority Rights Forum, Pakistan. Dean, Faculty of Arabic, AIOU, Prof. Dr. Shah Mohyuddin Hashmi, Director General, IRI, IIUI, Dr. Muhammad Zia Ul Haq, Director, Christian Study Center, Rawalpindi, Rt. Rev. Bishop Samuel Azariah, Founder of Grace Churches International, Dr. Yousaf Nadeem, Prof.

Dr. Ghulam Shams ur Rahman, Dr. Muhammad Akram, and Dr. Ayesha Quratul-Ain were among the speakers.

The speakers stressed the need to promote tolerance, forgiveness, love and brotherhood, inter-faith harmony, and national unity and said that the promotion of peace and tolerance in Pakistan is the guarantee of a peaceful future for our generations.

Dr. Mohyuddin Hashmi said that we have completely forgotten the most important lesson of diversity. He said that despite the natural differences, the Holy Quran orders Muslims to stay united instead of dividing.

He added that Allama Iqbal Open University had recently organized an international conference on interfaith harmony.

He said that AIOU has also established the Department of Interfaith Studies, which is offering a BS program in interfaith studies, while we are about to start MPhil and Ph.D. programs soon.

Dr. Zia Ul Haq said that we need to establish an atmosphere of tolerance and brotherhood.

He congratulated Vice Chancellor, AIOU, Prof. Dr. Zia Ul-Qayyum on organizing different events for the promotion of religious harmony.

Samuel Azariah, Dr. Yousuf Nadeem Bhinder, Prof. Dr. Ghulam Shamsur Rahman, and Dr. Muhammad Akram also stressed the need for tolerance, peace, and brotherhood.

Source: Urdu Point

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 Sweden approves 'anti-terrorism law'

Leila Nezirevic 



The Swedish government voted Wednesday in favor of a constitutional amendment in hopes of altering its anti-terror law.

The Riksdag adopted the legislative changes in a 270 - 37 vote.

The new law will give greater opportunity to restrict freedom of association for groups engaged in terrorism -- a key demand from Türkiye to approve Stockholm’s NATO membership bid.

Changes will make it possible to propose and decide on laws that prohibit terror groups or involve participation in a terror group’s criminal offense.

The Left Party and the Green Party opposed the bill.

The amendment paves the way for easier criminal proceedings against members of the PKK/YPG terror organization or other terror groups.
Source: Anadolu Agency

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No deadline for Iran's answers but talks cannot go on forever: UN nuclear chief

Oliver Towfigh Nia 



The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday said there is no need to set a deadline for Iran to answer questions about its nuclear program, but made clear that talks cannot go on forever.

“I don’t like deadlines. Deadlines have a connotation, a repressive connotation, that I don’t like. I think we have to work with … mutual respect,” Rafael Grossi said at a press conference in Vienna.

“So I wouldn’t talk about deadlines, but at the same time we cannot continue with this forever.”

He reiterated the need for Tehran’s “full cooperation” with the IAEA to resolve issues blocking the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The agreement curtailed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from Western economic sanctions, but former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018.

“It is obvious that for the international community … if you add absence of cooperation with a nuclear program that is growing and growing and growing, then the lack of confidence is absolute,” he said.

“We hope that we can finally sit down … (and) reconstruct a dialogue with Iran as soon as possible. My effort is aimed at making Iran cooperate with us, understanding that they have an obligation to do that.”

Grossi’s comments came a day after he pressed Iran to answer questions over its nuclear program, particularly about “traces of uranium that were found in places where they should not have been.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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British spy chief: Iran has tried 10 times to kidnap or kill UK-based individuals

November 16, 2022

LONDON: Iran’s intelligence services have tried on at least 10 occasions to kidnap or even kill British nationals or individuals based in the United Kingdom regarded by Tehran as a threat, the head of Britain’s domestic spy agency said on Wednesday.

Ken McCallum, Director General of the Security Service known as MI5, said while at home Tehran was using violence to silence critics, its “aggressive intelligence services” were also projecting a threat to Britain directly.

“At its sharpest this includes ambitions to kidnap or even kill British or UK-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime,” McCallum said in a speech at MI5’s headquarters.

“We have seen at least ten such potential threats since January alone.”

The British spy chief’s words echo similar remarks earlier on Wednesday from French President Emmanuel Macron that Iran was being increasingly aggressive toward France by detaining its citizens.

For its part, Iran has accused Western foes of stoking nationwide protests ignited by the death of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16 in the custody of the morality police.
Source: Arab News

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Arab World


Türkiye nabs 2 PKK/YPG terrorists preparing suicide bombing in Syria

Zafer Fatih Beyaz  


Two PKK/KCK-PYD/YPG terrorists who were preparing a suicide bomb attack in Afrin were caught Wednesday by Turkish security forces.

It was reported that the planned action by the PKK/KCK-PYD/YPG terror organization in Syria was prevented with intelligence studies conducted by the Hatay Intelligence Branch Directorate under the coordination of the Intelligence Department of the General Directorate of Security.

The capture of the two terrorists follows months of follow-up after two women were detained while they were preparing a suicide bomb attack at a restaurant in the region May 18.
Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israel blames Iran for drone attack on oil tanker off Oman

Abdelraouf Arnaout  


Israel on Wednesday blamed Iran for a drone attack against an oil tanker owned by an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman.

Israeli Army radio said the attack was carried out by an explosive-laden drone, but without providing any further details.

The broadcaster quoted a senior Israeli security official as saying that Tehran was behind the attack.

According to the official, the oil tanker is operated by a Singapore-based company owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer.

The Eastern Pacific Shipping company, the owner of the tanker, said the attack took place on Tuesday evening where the vessel was "hit by a projectile" 150 miles (240 kilometers) from the coast of Oman.

It said the tanker was carrying a gas oil cargo and that the attack did not cause any leaks or injuries among its crew, but suffered minor damage.

There was no comment from Iran on the Israeli accusation.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Angry villagers, troops block US military convoy from advancing in Syria's Hasakah

16 November 2022

Local residents of a village in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah in cooperation with government forces prevented a US military convoy from advancing through their villages on Wednesday.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that a convoy of six armored vehicles was forced to turn around and head back in the direction it came from after locals in al-Buladiyah village aided by government forces stationed at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the area blocked the road.

The report added that the villagers threw stones at the American convoy and chanted vociferous slogans in condemnation of US occupation forces.

There were no reports of casualties during the confrontation.

The development took place two days after the US military, in cooperation with allied Kurdish-led militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), employed 76 tankers to smuggle crude oil from Syria’s Jazira region in Hasakah province to bases in neighboring Iraq.

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

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s natural resources. Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

Daesh weapons cache with Western-made munitions uncovered in Syria’s Dara’a

Separately, Syrian government forces have discovered Western-made weapons from a position of Daesh Takfiri militants in the country's southwestern city of Dara'a.

An informed source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told SANA that security forces carried out a clean-up operation in Tariq al-Sad neighborhood, and found a big weapons depot left behind by members of the Daesh terrorist group.

Source: Press TV

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US ambassador’s bids pose serious threats to our national security, Iraqi legislator says

16 November 2022

An Iraqi lawmaker has lambasted US Ambassador to Baghdad Alina L. Romanowski for her seditious moves and attempts to provoke bitter divisions within the Iraqi society, stressing that her divisive stances are detrimental to the Arab country’s national security and sovereignty.

Abbas al-Maliki, a member of the State of Law Coalition led by former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, in an interview with the Arabic-language al-Maalomah news agency, sharply criticized Romanowski’s “suspicious” meetings with political and social figures as well as members of civil organizations in Iraq.

“The US ambassador in Iraq behaves like a special envoy as she holds meetings with any political and non-political figure whom she desires, and can make use of all available social and political means for such a purpose. Romanowski believes that she can give orders and tell people what to do and not to do,” Maliki said.

He stressed, “Under the orders of the Iraqi premiership, foreign diplomats must perform their roles in accordance with international norms and principles, and should only communicate with officials from the Foreign Ministry and state authorities through diplomatic channels and submit a plan for their meetings in advance.”

“The US ambassador must respect diplomatic principles, sovereignty of Iraq as well as the laws and regulations in the country,” Maliki said.

Source: Press TV

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Iraq sets up top body to tackle ‘major’ corruption cases

16 November ,2022

Oil-rich Iraq said Wednesday it has set up a high commission to investigate “major cases of corruption,” as the newly appointed premier makes tackling graft a priority.

Corruption, mismanagement, and nepotism are rife in Iraq where they has caused widespread public anger.

Days after Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani was appointed last month, authorities announced they were investigating the “theft” of $2.5 billion from the tax authority, with a hearing by a judge of five senior tax officials.

The high commission, whose creation the Commission of Integrity announced on Wednesday, will be specifically responsible for “investigating major cases of corruption” such as the tax authority case, said Judge Haider Hanoun, who will now head both bodies.

The new panel must “block corruption and punish those who are guilty of it”, the commission said in a statement.

Official figures published in 2020 estimated that well over $400 billion had gone missing from state coffers since dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled in the US-led invasion of 2003.

Iraq ranks a lowly 157 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index.

Criminal charges are rare in Iraq and usually limited to mid-level government officials.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia to donate $50 mln to global Pandemic Fund: FM

17 November ,2022

Saudi Arabia will donate $50 million to the global Pandemic Fund in a bid to boost efforts to combat future pandemics, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.

The Kingdom’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan made the announcement during his speech at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The initiative comes as part of the goals Saudi Arabia set during its G20 presidency in 2020 to address the gaps in the global response to pandemics following the COVID-19 outbreak, according to SPA.

The fund will provide financing to low- and middle-income countries and regions to improve their ability to not only prevent future pandemics, but to also respond to outbreaks efficiently at the national, regional, and global levels, SPA cited the foreign minister as saying.

The donation will also be used to fund laboratory systems, disease surveillance, emergency communications and management, community engagement and the health workforce, according to SPA.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Crown Prince holds talks with South Korean Prime Minister in Seoul

16 November ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman held official talks with South Korea’s Prime Minister Han Duck-soo in Seoul, state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Crown Prince congratulates Indonesia’s President on ‘successful’ G20 summit

16 November ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a telegram of thanks to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo following his participation in the G20 Summit in Bali, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

“As I leave your brotherly country, following my participation in the G20 Leaders’ Summit, I express to your excellency my deep gratitude and appreciation for the kind reception and hospitality I and the accompanying delegation received,” the Crown Prince said.

“I would also like to congratulate your excellency on the success of Indonesia in hosting this summit and on the positive results that we reached during your presidency,” he added.

The Crown Prince arrived in Bali on Tuesday and met with several country leaders, including UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE President meets Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince on sidelines of G20 summit

16 November ,2022

President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday.

The leaders discussed bilateral ties between their two countries, as well as topics of mutual interest, including those on the agenda for G20 talks, the official Emirates News Agency WAM reported on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by high-level officials from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, including the Kingdom’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Won’t Betray You, Says Sena (Uddhav Bal Thackeray) to Marathi Speaking Muslims

Nov 17, 2022

By Jyoti Punwani

Mumbai: For the better part of Maharashtra’s history, the two sides have been sworn enemies. But on Wednesday evening, at a meeting held at the Islam Gymkhana, both swore to support each other.

Anant Geete, six-time MP and former union minister from the Shiv Sena, was the special invitee at a meeting held by the Marathi Muslim Seva Sangh, an umbrella organisation of NGOs run by Marathi-speaking Muslims. A delegation of the Sangh had met Uddhav Thackeray about a month ago and told him its members were pained by the way his government had been dislodged. They also offered their support.

Citing this initiative, Islam Gymkhana president Yusuf Abrahani pointed out that the Sangh had come to Uddhav Thackeray’s party not when it was in power but out of it. Geete acknowledged this. “You came to offer support at a time when many felt the Shiv Sena was finished,” he said.

Geete recounted that Thackeray had asked the Sangh if it had thought its gesture through. Faqir Thakur, founder of the Sangh, had then replied that they were Marathi Muslims, and Bal Thackeray had formed the Shiv Sena to fight for the rights of the Marathi Manoos. “We are also Bhumiputra, sons of the soil,” Thakur had told Uddhav Thackeray.

“Now that you have put it this way and shown faith in us when we are down and out, it becomes our responsibility to stand by you,” said Geete. “I’m not making any grand promises, but I can say that when this bad patch is over, whenever we get the opportunity, we will see to it that you get your due. We will not betray you.”

This assurance came in response to Thakur’s opening remarks in which he reiterated the long-standing grievance of his outfit: that previous governments had not wanted local Muslim leadership to develop, and had hence cultivated “outsiders” ie Urdu-speaking Muslims from the North who had settled in Mumbai. These outsiders were told to focus on Mumbai’s Muslims and ignore the concerns of Marathi-speaking Muslims in the rest of the state. Thus, despite their numbers and their problems being the same as the rest of Maharashtra’s citizens, Marathi-speaking Muslims were side-lined, said Thakur.

The Sangh founder added their NGO was a socio-political outfit but without being part of the state’s politics, it was difficult to achieve its social goals. At this, pointing to his own background, Geete said that his family had had nothing to do with politics. “If someone like me, an ordinary Shiv Sainik, could become a union minister without ever dreaming of it, surely you, who rightfully dream of a share in politics, will see your dream fulfilled,” he said.

Ali Ahmed Shamsi, an 87-year-old veteran leader of the community, traced the closeness between Shivaji and the Muslim community to assert that this new coming together of Marathi Muslims and the Shiv Sena was nothing out of the ordinary. Recalling that Bal Thackeray’s magazine ‘Marmik’ had an Urdu couplet on its masthead, and it was in Bal Thackeray’s reign that a 12-lakh strong meet of the Tableeghi Jamaat had been held, he said that those who had projected the Shiv Sena founder as an enemy of Muslims were themselves enemies of Muslims.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Shraddha Walkar Murder: Maha BJP MLA Urges Delhi Cops To Probe 'Love Jihad' Angle

16 NOV 2022

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Mumbai, Ram Kadam, on Wednesday wrote a letter to Delhi Police, urging them to probe into the possible "Love Jihad" angle behind the murder of Shraddha Walkar, a resident of Vasai near Mumbai.

In his letter addressed to New Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora, the MLA from Ghatkopar West said, "The angle of 'Love Jihad' should be probed into Shraddha Walkar murder case. It needs to be investigated whether there was a conspiracy behind the love that the accused had for her."

The Delhi Police have arrested Walkar's live-in partner Aaftab Amin Poonawala, who is accused of killing her. Poonawala (28) allegedly strangled Walkar in May this year and cut her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a fridge for almost three weeks at his residence in south Delhi's Mehrauli before dumping them across the national capital over several days past midnight.

The MLA said in the letter, "If he (Poonawala) was earning only moderately, then how come he was amassing money? It should be probed thoroughly. The information that has surfaced so far indicates the 'Love Jihad' angle. The Delhi police should form a special team to probe this angle."

"Love jihad" is a term used by right-wing groups and activists to allege a concerted effort by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam through marriage.

Meanwhile, activists of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and its affiliated organisations on Wednesday held a protest in Nagpur against Poonawala, seeking the death penalty for him.

Source: Outlook India

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UP Orders Action Against Unrecognised Madrasas 'As Per Law'

Nov 17, 2022

Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government has directed officials to take action against unrecognised madrasas "as per law".

According to a survey report submitted to the state government by District Magistrates, there are about 8,441 madrasas across the state that do not have recognition.

State minister for minority welfare, Muslim Waqf and Haj, Dharampal Singh, said he had directed department officials to upload a list of all unrecognised madrasas on the department portal and the MELA app so that parents should get correct information regarding any particular madrasa and they do not end up sending their children to the wrong institutes where they can be misled.The minister said that during the survey, 8,441 unrecognised madrasas were identified in which about 7,64,164 students, both girls and boys, were enrolled.

"These children are the future of our country and to ensure that they are aligned with mainstream society, it is necessary that they be given access to modern education," he said, adding that the department had also been able to identify the means of funding for the unrecognised madrasas and in most cases, donations and zakat were the main sources of funding.

Singh directed officials to take action in order to provide education as per the new education laws to children from the minority community.

He said that action as per law should be taken against unrecognised madrasas and a presentation must be prepared to give a clear picture about all the unrecognised madrasas that had been identified till now.

This would be presented before Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the coming days.

The survey on madrasas was started in all districts on September 10 on the orders of the state government.

The government has maintained that the survey will only be used to improve the level of education in the madrasas.

Source: Times Of India

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Imran’s Divisional Politics Impediment To National Unity: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl

NOVEMBER 17, 2022

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman Wednesday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)Chairman Imran Khan’s divisional politics was an impediment to unity among the nation. Addressing to media here, the JUI-F chief continued to criticize the PTI chief, saying that the country was being dragged towards a quagmire as the allegations were being levelled after “destroying the country’s economy”. He said Pakistan was being pushed towards difficulties, which made it lag behind in the comity of nations economically.

He said the coalition government was trying to revive bit-by-bit the ties with other countries “damaged by Imran Khan”. Fazl said due to prudent policies of the coalition government, rigorous monitoring and effective implementation of the given tasks, the Financial Action Task Force had removed Pakistan from the Grey list. The country was now moving towards an ‘interest-free’ banking system under Islamic law by 2027, he maintained. Regarding the PTI’s long march, Fazl made it clear that nobody would be allowed to play with Pakistan at all costs, adding that it was a complete flop show. To a query, he said Imran Khan was giving statements against the armed forces, adding the “PTI chief would not be allowed to destroy the national institutions as the JUI-F would defend the country’s geographical boundaries”.

Source: Daily Times

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COAS should be selected on seniority: Fazl

November 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) head and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) should be made on seniority basis like the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), reported local media on Wednesday.

Source: The News Pakistan

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Pakistan seeks Constitutional amendment to rule on army chief appointment

Nov 17, 2022

With less than two weeks left for the retirement of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Pakistan government is seeking to amend an Act of 1952 to have greater authority over the appointment and retention of the Army chief, according to a media report on Wednesday.

The current army chief, Gen Bajwa, will be retiring by November 29 after serving for six years, which includes one extension to his term.

The planned amendment of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 would empower the prime minister to retain an incumbent Army chief with a simple notification rather than through a complex constitutional process which also requires the President's assent, the Dawn newspaper reported.

“The current legislation calls on the government to follow a set procedure to reappoint or extend the tenure of the Army chief, through a summary through the Ministry of Defence, followed by the Prime Minister’s approval and a final nod from the President,” a senior lawyer was quoted as saying by the report.

According to the proposed amendment in Section 176 titled ‘Power to make rules', sub-section (2-a), in clause (a) of the PAA, the word ‘retention’ shall be inserted after ‘reappointment’ in the current text of the law, while the word ‘resignation’ would be inserted after the word ‘release’.

The proposed changes were approved by the Ministry of Defence last month and were set to be at a November 11 meeting of the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) but were cancelled for unknown reasons, the report said.

Lt-Gen Asim Munir, the senior most of those said to be in the running to become the next army chief, is also set to retire a few days before Gen Bajwa’s tenure comes to an end.

The appointment of the Army chief may be a routine affair for other countries, but in Pakistan, it generates a lot of heat due to the power wielded by the person heading the Army.

There has been intense ongoing speculation about the appointment of the new Army chief. The recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to London where he met his elder brother Nawaz Sharif and his influential daughter Maryam Nawaz added further momentum to the speculation.

Ousted Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman, Imran Khan has previously slammed Shehbaz and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz, and questioned how the Prime Minister could consult with “a convict” on the appointment of the new Army chief.

Nawaz was in jail serving a term for conviction in a corruption case when he was allowed by the court to leave the country for London in 2019 for medical treatment.

He lambasted the current government by saying that “important decisions are taken abroad by those who have plundered the state wealth for the past 30 years".

However, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif rejected reports about consultation with former premier Nawaz Sharif over the Army chief’s appointment, underlining that the decision was "strictly" Prime Minister Shehbaz's prerogative.

Generals in Pakistan have directly controlled power for almost half of the history of Pakistan.

Source: India Today

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Minister ‘confirms’ plans to amend army act

Baqir Sajjad Syed

November 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Even though Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday attempted to downplay the debate on a leaked proposal to amend the army act, the revelation has laid bare the ongoing behind-the-scenes power struggle, ahead of the impending appo­intment of a new army chief.

The wide-ranging amendments proposed in the Pakis­tan Army Act (PAA) 1952 pertain to an array of subjects rel­a­ted to the army’s functioning, structure, command, and terms and conditions of service.

However, amendments to Sec­tion 176 are currently the centre of attention, especially the insertion of the words “ret­e­ntion” and “resignation” in sub-section 2(a) of the same clause.

A casual reading of this specific amendment in the current scenario, wherein one of the contenders for the coveted post is scheduled to retire a couple of days before the chief’s position falls vacant, would suggest that a provision is probably being created to pull up the transition in a manner where the complexity involved in making an appointment is removed.

But that may not necessarily be the case.

The amendment was originally proposed by General Headquarters, as per the Defence Ministry’s Summary for the Cabinet Committee for the disposal of Legislation Cases (CCLC) and, on the face of it, seems to be meant to achieve the goal of getting Gen Bajwa to continue.

According to a retired defence secretary, the government or any of the services can technically retain any of retiring officers of the rank of lieutenant general and below for as long as they are required, without needing any new legislation.

The former secretary, who did not want to be named, said the plan to ‘retain’ seemed to be meant for none other than the incumbent army chief.

It is clear that the positions taken by the ruling allies and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf have made the choice of the new commander quite tricky: if one candidate is picked, there is a chance that one of the political parties may try to discredit that appointment in public.

This is something the military can ill-afford at this juncture, when some of its senior officers are facing relentless criticism in the political domain.

This is the context in which the proposal to get Gen Bajwa to continue in office until after a new government is installed, seems to have emerged. The idea is that the new government then picks who would be the next army chief.

Until a few weeks ago, PTI chief Imran Khan was a leading proponent of this idea, but even he seems to have readjusted his views on the appointment and no longer seems keen to force his opinion on the appointment process.

Also read: Gen Bajwa to stay on as COAS for 6 more months: Supreme Court

On Wednesday, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif contended in a tweet that the proposed amendments package was required as per the Supreme Court verdict of 2019, which had called for legislating on the tenures of the services chiefs.


Now comes the question of how serious the government is about the legislation proposed by GHQ. The summary shows that the proposal was sent by the defence ministry to the cabinet committee, which is the first port of call for any legislative proposal, on Nov 1. Since then, more than a fortnight has passed without a meeting of the CCLC.

When contacted by Dawn on Wednesday, three key federal ministers expressed complete ignorance about the proposed legislation, indicating that it had yet to be circulated among the members of the executive body.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s sudden detour to London on his way back from Sharm el-Sheikh on Nov 8 and his extended stay there also explains the government’s reluctance to do the needful. Reports from London had, at that time, indicated that PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif was averse to Gen Bajwa staying in the job.

A federal minister, on the condition of anonymity, also said that the amendments in the army act may not happen before the change of command.

The defence minister also seemed non-committal about the scope of the amendments and the timeline for legislation, saying that no major changes in the army act were being considered and whatever amendments were to be carried out, would be done in “due course”.

Source: Dawn

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Default risk soars amid political turmoil, delay in IMF talks

Shahid Iqbal

November 17, 2022

KARACHI: The country’s default risk as measured by five-year credit-default swaps (CDS) — insurance contracts that protect an investor against a default — rose sharply overnight amid political turmoil and uncertainty about talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The CDS soared to 75.5 per cent on Wednesday from 56.2pc a day ago, according to data provided by research firm Arif Habib Limited.

Official sources in Washington said last week the schedule for talks between Pakistan and the IMF had been readjusted, but the negotiations are continuing. Media reports, however, claimed that the talks that were scheduled to begin in early November had been postponed until the third week of this month.

According to these reports, the talks would resume after Pakistan fulfilled its pledge to adjust sales tax on petroleum products and took other measures required under a loan agreement revived earlier this year.

Pakistan’s five-year credit default swap rises sharply to 75.5pc from 56.2pc a day ago

But official sources, who spoke to Dawn, had said the talks were rescheduled after last month’s release of a World Bank report on flood damages in Pakistan.

Pakistan is scheduled to pay $1 billion on Dec 5 against the maturity of five-year sukuk, or Islamic bonds. The finance minister has repeatedly assured for sukuk payment, but the international market is not ready to rely on assurances as the country’s economy struggles to avoid default by borrowing more from the markets, donors, commercial banks and friendly countries.

The day-to-day increase in the CDS reflects a grave situation, making it increasingly difficult for the government to raise foreign exchange from markets either through bonds or commercial borrowings.

The country requires $32bn to $34bn this fiscal year to meet its foreign obligations.

Financial experts said the country still needed about $23bn through the remaining fiscal year.

Pakistan is still in the IMF programme, which enables it to get inflows from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Pakistan had promised the IMF to bring down the fiscal deficit by Rs1,500bn in the current fiscal year, but the situation is worsening as the deficit expanded in the first quarter.

The financial sector said the Fund was demanding new taxes to increase liquidity and avoid fiscal deficit expansion.

The government requires at least Rs800bn, which is only possible through new taxes, something that can be difficult for the government amid a faltering economy and political unrest.

Govt exceeds borrowing target

The government raised Rs757bn through treasury bills against the target of Rs650bn on Wednesday.

Source: Dawn

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COAS pays farewell visits to PMA Kakul, Baloch Regimental Centre

November 16, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Tuesday visited Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul and Baloch Regimental Centre, Abbottabad as part of his farewell visits.

Upon his arrival at PMA, the COAS was received by Commander Rawalpindi Corps Lieutenant General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) news release said.

The COAS laid floral wreath at the Martyrs’ Monument and offered fateha. He also interacted with the cadets and officers of PMA.

The COAS, while addressing the cadets, appreciated the exceptionally high standards of Pakistan Army’s premier training institution and its efforts towards grooming future leaders.

He also advised cadets to focus their energies on the pursuit of professional excellence.

Later on, the COAS visited Baloch Regimental Centre. After laying floral wreath at the Shuhada Monument, he interacted with serving and retired officers and troops of the regiment, and paid rich tribute to their supreme sacrifices.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Two TTP militants jailed for life in Landhi blast case

Naeem Sahoutara

November 17, 2022

KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Wednesday handed down life imprisonment to two militants of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on charges of carrying out an improvised explosive device (IED) blast near a Rangers office in Landhi.

Inamullah alias Mulla and Muhammad Shafiq were found guilty of killing two persons and wounding eight passers-by in the Khurramabad area on March 11, 2013 by detonating the IED.

They have already been sentenced to death by a military court in 2013 for carrying out the Abbas Town bomb blast.

On Wednesday, the ATC-V judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced his verdict reserved after recording evidence and final arguments from both sides.

The judge noted that the prosecution proved its case against the accused beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Besides life term, the court ordered the convicts to pay Rs200,000 as compensation to the legal heirs of the victims.

The judge also sentenced them to total 20-year-imprisonment for causing injuries to eight people and terrorism.

However, the court ruled that all the sentences would run concurrently.

The court kept the case against two absconding accused — Fareedullah alias Fareed and Zahidullah alias Zahid — on dormant file until their arrest or surrender.

In the verdict, the judge wrote that some mitigating circumstances did exist in this case, for which the accused could not be handed down capital punishment of death.

It stated that at the time of the commissioning of the offence as per the prosecution evidence and material available on record, both the accused were accompanied by their accomplices Zahid and Fareed, who had a remote control in their hands which the prosecution failed to recover from their possession. Therefore, the capital punishment cannot be given to them, the court ruled.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan stresses unfreezing of Afghanistan’s financial assets ‘pivotal’ for rehabilitation roadmap

November 16, 2022

MOSCOW: Special Representative on Afghanistan Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq on Wednesday stressing the region’s role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan said that exploring realistic pathways towards unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial assets was pivotal.

“A roadmap for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan is equally important,” Sadiq said while addressing the 4th Meeting of the Moscow Format Member States.

The fourth meeting of the Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan was held in Russia, with the participation of representatives from Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Iran, Pakistan, China, Turkmenistan, India, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Muhammad Sadiq said the international community should consider cooperating with the Afghan authorities on a ‘hierarchy of priorities’, especially where the Interim Afghan government had shown a commitment to act on countering terrorism and combatting drug trafficking.

He emphasized that the pressing humanitarian needs of the Afghan people must be de-hyphenated from any political considerations.

Beyond the confines of humanitarian assistance, he said that “we should focus on generating economic activity within Afghanistan to ensure a sustainable future”.

He said after four decades of war and bloodshed, Afghanistan had turned a new page in its history, however, said that now that the war had ended, there was a unique opportunity to secure durable peace.

Muhammad Sadiq said Pakistan was a firm adherent to the primacy of a regional approach to the situation in Afghanistan.

He mentioned that the international community had consistently urged the interim Afghan government to promote greater political inclusivity. He, however, regretted that unfortunately, there was little to show on this count.

He mentioned that despite assurances by the interim Afghan government, the rights of women and girls also appear to have regressed, not progressed.

Sadiq pointed out that the footprint of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan had yet to be fully eradicated.

He said the advent of the Afghan winter had exacerbated an already dire situation – the World Food Programme had already warned that over half the Afghan population could face a ‘winter of famine’ this year.

He said the international commitments to provide humanitarian support to Afghanistan remained largely unfulfilled.

Afghanistan remains cut-off from the international banking system and faces serious liquidity challenges, he added.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Taliban: Afghanistan regrets deadly border shooting incident

November 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Taliban expressed regret for a shooting incident that killed a Pakistan Army soldier over the weekend and led to the closure of a main border crossing in Balochistan.

Chaman is the most important border point for trade between the two countries, after Torkham in the mountainous northwest.

Taliban-appointed spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Afghanistan “expresses regret” for the incident and has appointed a high-level committee to investigate it.

He said the border guard was shot dead by an unknown person.

“The security institutions of the Islamic Emirate are trying to pay serious attention to prevent such incidents from happening again,” Mujahid said.

The frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan has seen similar shooting incidents before at Chaman, Torkham and other crossing points.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Terrorism one of Pakistan's foremost problems, admits PM Shehbaz Sharif

Nov 17, 2022

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif acknowledged that terrorism remains one of the “foremost problems” faced by his country as he condemned the attack on a patrol van in the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in which six police personnel were killed.

“Let us make no mistake. Terrorism continues to be one of Pakistan's foremost problems. Our armed forces and police have valiantly fought the scourge. No words are enough to condemn terrorists' attack on a police van in Lakki Marwat. My thoughts and prayers are with bereaved families,” Sharif said in a tweet.

News agency AFP reported that gunmen with automatic rifles ambushed a police vehicle patrolling the village of Shahab Khel in Lakki Marwat district early on the morning of Wednesday.

All six policemen were killed under fire from both sides, Tariqullah Khan, a district official in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the local chapter of the Afghanistan-based Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement issued shortly after the attack, Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif condemned it and paid tribute to the martyred policemen. "The nation salutes brave officers who have sacrificed their lives for their motherland,” he said, as quoted by The News.

Terming terrorists as the enemies of Pakistan, Sharif vowed that the nation would stand strong against them.

Expressing grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the terror incident, President Alvi also said the sacrifices rendered by the security personnel in the war on terrorism are unforgettable.

Source: India Today

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TTP kills six police officers during ambush in Pakistan's northwest

Nov 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: At least six policemen were killed in a terrorist attack on a police mobile van in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province bordering Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The attack took place in Shahabkhel area of Lakki Marwat district in the morning. Police said the slain cops were on a routine patrol when gunmen on motorcycles opened fire on their vehicle and managed to flee. “The deceased included four police constables, an assistant sub-inspector and a driver,” said Irfanullah, a local police official.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack, calling the police a “vanguard against terrorism”.

“Let us make no mistake. Terrorism continues to be one of Pakistan’s foremost problems. Our armed forces and police have valiantly fought the scourge,” he tweeted.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of various Pakistani terrorist outfits, claimed responsibility for the attack. The group said in a statement that the attack was carried out to counter a police raid on the outfit’s facilities.

In a separate statement on Wednesday, the TTP claimed that a US drone strike and following Pakistani security raid had killed three of the group’s commanders in KP’s Dera Ismail Khan district. The claim could not be independently verified but the provincial counter-terrorism department had confirmed a day earlier the killing of four terrorists in an intelligence-based operation in the same district.

There has been a dramatic rise in TTP attacks in Pakistan since the Afghan Taliban seized power in Kabul in August 2021 following the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government and exit of all international troops from the war-torn country. A ceasefire agreement between the TTP and Islamabad in November 2021, which was indefinitely extended in May this year, could also not stop the frequent militant attacks.

Source: Times Of India

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Israeli Arab Teen Indicted For Affiliation With Islamic State, Plans To Make Bombs

By Emanuel Fabian

16 November 2022

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed an indictment against an Arab teen from northern Israel over his alleged affiliation with the Islamic State terror group, the Justice Ministry said.

According to the charge sheet, over the past two years, the 16-year-old was in contact with several members of the jihadist group via the Telegram messaging application and other social media sites.

The indictment, citing the teen’s interrogation by the Shin Bet security agency, said in 2020 he was interested in swearing allegiance to IS and potentially joining its ranks abroad.

In 2021, the teen swore allegiance to the group, and continued being in contact with members, who provided him with instructions to build explosive devices and makeshift weapons, the indictment read.

The teen also attempted to convince several of his friends to join IS as well, however, they declined, according to the indictment.

As he is a minor, the suspect’s name and other identifying details, such as when he was arrested, were barred from publication.

The prosecution has asked to keep the suspect held until the end of legal proceedings.

Last month, six Arab men were arrested for alleged affiliation with IS and plans to commit terror attacks. The men, from Nazareth in northern Israel, were accused of planning to attack a Muslim school, a busy bus stop, a police station and a park where Jewish Israelis often visit.

In August, three Arab men were arrested for alleged affiliation with IS and plans to fight with the jihadist group in Africa. In April, another Arab teen was arrested for planning to join IS in Syria.

Source: Times Of Israel

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Israeli military to seize 320,000 square meters of Palestinian land for settlement expansion in West Bank

17 November 2022

The Israeli military is set to confiscate thousands of square meters of Palestinian-owned land in the southern West Bank to expand illegal settlements in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions which condemn the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation policies in the occupied territories.

Hasan Brijiyeh, a local anti-settlement and anti-apartheid activist, told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa that Israeli officials had issued a military order aimed at confiscation of 230 dunams (230,000 square meters) of private Palestinian land in al-Khader town and the villages of Nahalin and Artas, in order to expand the nearby illegal settlements of Daniel, Eliezer and Efrat.

Brijiyeh noted that the order will come into effect within 30 days from the date of the decision.

Last month, Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian activist who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli officials were planning to grab some 616 dunams (616,000 square meters) of Palestinian-owned land in the villages of Qaryout and al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya, and as-Sawiya town to make room for the expansion of Eli settlement.

Emboldened by former US president Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has stepped up its illegal settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

Much of the international community regards the Israeli settler units in the occupied lands as illegal.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

Source: Press TV

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Israeli forces to demolish several Palestinian-owned houses in East al-Quds

16 November 2022

Israel appears set to demolish a number of privately-owned Palestinian houses in the occupied East al-Quds neighborhood of al-Tur, amid ongoing land grab policies carried out by the Tel Aviv regime.

According to Palestinian WAFA news agency, Israeli police, accompanied by staff of the Israeli municipality of West al-Quds, stormed several neighborhoods in al-Tur, photographed a number of homes in the area and placed demolition notices against the structures.

The local source did not provide further information on who owns the houses or when the demolitions will take place.

Earlier on Monday, local sources said that Israeli occupation forces demolished two Palestinian-owned houses in the town of Tarqumia, northwest of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, in order to expand two illegal settlements.

The destruction of houses took place even though the land owners own legal papers that prove their ownership.

In a report issued in September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the Israeli regime has demolished close to 9,000 Palestinian-owned structures since 2009, rendering thousands of Palestinians homeless. The demolitions have displaced some 13,000 Palestinians and inflicted losses on around 152,000 others, the UN report added.

To justify the demolitions, the regime has been claiming that their owners lack construction permit, which is almost impossible to obtain.

The Tel Aviv regime also regularly destroys the homes of Palestinians it blames for attacks on Israeli settlers, in an act of collective punishment condemned by human rights activists.

According to a recent survey, some 130,000 Palestinians, who live in the areas occupied by Israel in 1948, face the threat of demolition of their homes and displacement even though they were not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Source: Press TV

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President Rayeesi: Resistance Only Way to Confront West's Excessive Demands


The Iranian president made the remarks in a meeting with a visiting high-ranking Venezuelan delegation comprised of Vice President and Minister of Science, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Agriculture and Lands.

President Rayeesi said that Iran's different and vast economic, scientific and energy capacities make bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran fruitful for other nations.

The Iranian president praised the resistance of the Venezuelan people against Imperialist powers, saying Americans thought they could stop the nations with threats and sanctions.

"However, the approach of independent nations forced them to retreat and once again proved that resistance and cooperation are the only way to tackle the West's excessive demands," he added.

The Venezuelan transport minister, for his part, said that "in the negotiations, we reached good agreements to expand cooperation in the fields of transportation, agriculture, energy and technology".

The Venezuelan official also considered the results of the negotiations to be important for the expansion of trade relations between Tehran and Caracas and welcomed the strengthening of scientific and educational cooperation between the two countries.

In relevant remarks in June, President Rayeesi lauded the strategic relations between Tehran and Caracas, and expressed the hope that the two countries will further strengthen their cooperation in future.

"The two countries would keep up their cooperation by signing a 20-year cooperation document," the Iranian president said addressing a joint press conference with Maduro in Tehran.

"Iran has always sought to have ties with independent countries and that Venezuela’s resistance against imperialism and enemies was exemplary," he added.

The Iranian president said that as the White House press secretary has confessed the US’ maximum pressure policy has failed and this is a victory for the Iranian people and a failure for the enemy.

"The Venezuelan nation, which has had difficult years under US sanctions, has been determined to stand against the enemies," he added.

President Rayeesi said that Venezuela has left hyperinflation behind and resumed economic growth, adding that it proved that resistance had worked and forced the enemy to withdraw.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Nuclear Chief: IAEA’s Anti-Iran Resolution Lacks Credibility


Mohammad Eslami made the remarks on the sidelines of the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday and called the policy of exertion of maximum pressure and false accusations against Iran an addiction of global arrogance and the Zionist regime.

He reiterated that they (the western countries) themselves know for sure that the resolution they have drafted against Iran is not correct and is strongly turned down by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

"The important issue is that Iran has a comprehensive, approved and announced plan to advance its nuclear program and it continues its activities within the framework of it," Eslami added.

He pointed out that Iran expected IAEA to show a positive reaction to the goodwill of the Islamic Republic and allow the natural, non-political path and professional method, as well as safeguards criteria to be taken into consideration.

In a relevant development last week, Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Amir Saeed Iravani urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to act as an independent and professional body and stay away from the control of world powers.

Iran's envoy made the remarks at the UN General Assembly plenary meeting on the report of the IAEA for 2021.

"The IAEA’s duty to verify member states’ activities and concerns over nuclear proliferation should not turn into a hurdle in the way of peacefully using nuclear energy as an inalienable right of the member states," he said.

Speaking about Iran’s cooperation with the UN nuclear agency, Iravani stated that no issue has remained regarding safeguards agreement between Tehran and the IAEA.

Source: Fars News Agency

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FM: Iran Not to Allow Foreign Elements Harm Nation's Interests, Security


Amir Abdollahian made the remarks in a message addressed to Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic on Tuesday while thanking him for his condolence message on the sad occasion of Shah Cheragh terrorist attack by an ISIL agent in Shiraz.

"Iran, as a country that is a victim of terrorism and extremism, has always been a pioneer of campaign against that malignant phenomenon in the region and the international scenes, and dedicated many martyrs, including Martyr Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in that campaign," Amir Abdollahian said.

The Iranian foreign minister added that unfortunately, some oppressor countries that claim to be the pioneers of campaign against terrorism and have lost hope in imposing maximum sanctions against the Iranian nation, are now trying to impose their deceiving policies by encouraging terrorism and aggressive moves in Iran.

"Such moves cannot break the will of the Islamic Republic of Iran in paving the path towards strength and advancement, and the Iranian nation, too, will not permit national interests and security be played with, by the foreign intruders and their mercenary terrorists," Amir Abdollahian further said.

In his message, the Iranian foreign minister also expressed hope that the Islamic Republic of Iran will in collaboration with the independent and friendly countries, including the Republic of Serbia, take precious steps in the path of real campaign against the malicious phenomenon of terrorism, as well as the deceitful policies of the global oppressor powers.

Amir Abdollahian blasted some Western countries' unconstructive positions and actions against Tehran over the recent developments in his country, and said some diplomats pay greater attention to partisan goals than their national interests.

In relevant remarks last week, Amir Abdollahian stated in a phone conversation with his Spanish counterpart José Manuel Albares that some European officials proved during the unrest across Iran that they are after their “partisan objectives rather than the national interests of their country".

Elsewhere in telephone talk, Iran’s foreign minister referred to the diplomatic efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, noting, “We always welcome interaction with Europe."

"This is while the three countries of Germany, France and England have since 2018 not been able to implement the nuclear agreement, which was an international obligation, after the imposition of sanctions by the Trump administration,” he continued.

The top Iranian diplomat also pointed to the historical relations between the two countries and welcomed the further expansion of Tehran-Madrid ties.

He appreciated the position of Spain in condemning the recent terrorist attack in the southern city of Shiraz.

Albares, for his part, condemned the terrorist attack in Shiraz and expressed the sympathy of the Spanish nation and government with the Iranian nation and government.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian FM Cautions Baku over Irrational Positions


During the phone conversation, Amir Abdollahian and Bayramov reviewed the latest status of bilateral relations and other issues of mutual interest.

Amirabdollahian expressed Tehran's deep dissatisfaction with some illogical stands adopted in recent days, and  argued, "Respecting the national security and territorial integrity of the countries and refraining from interference in other countries' internal affairs are among the fundamental rules in Iran's foreign diplomacy."

The foreign minister said that the diplomatic and official channels are be best way to resolve disputes and misunderstandings, and underlined, "Talking about such issues in mass media not only does not lead to problem resolving, but also provides the path for the enemies' making disadvantages."

Amir Abdollahian also said that relations with neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan Republic, is the priority of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the two countries' relations need to be boosted.

He also invited his Azeri counterpart to attend the 3+3 Meeting, initiated by the Islamic Republic of Iran as a framework for solving regional disputes diplomatically.

Bayramov pointed to the two presidents' meeting in Astana, and the meetings between the two countries' top officials, as a positive point in bilateral relations, announcing Azerbaijan's readiness for strengthening relations and removing the misunderstandings.

In a relevant development in September, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kana'ani asked Armenia and Azerbaijan to seek a solution to resolve their differences through dialogue, amid concern that worsening relations between Yerevan and Baku may threaten regional security and stability.

Kana’ani said Tehran strongly believes that dialogue is key to a peaceful resolution of existing disputes between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

"Iran, on the basis of good neighborliness and as part of attempts to constructively help resolve regional conflicts, launched political efforts as soon as border clashes between the two former Soviet republics flared up again last week," he added.

Source: Fars News Agency

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At least five killed, 15 injured in ‘terrorist attack’ in southwest Iran: State media

16 November ,2022

At least five people were killed, and 15 others were injured in a “terrorist attack” in Iran’s southwestern city of Izeh on Wednesday, state news agency IRNA reported.

The attack was carried out by two motorcyclists who opened fire on people in a market in Izeh, a city in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, IRNA said, citing an unnamed official.

Members of the security forces were among those killed, it said.

Last month, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack at a Shia Muslim shrine in the Iranian city of Shiraz that killed 15 people and injured dozens.

Earlier on Wednesday, activists shared videos of anti-regime protests in Izeh.

“Freedom, Freedom, Freedom,” protesters chanted in Izeh in one video posted by the activist group 1500tasvir on Twitter.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran sentences three protesters to death: Report

16 November ,2022

Iranian courts issued three more death sentences for violence linked to protests over Mahsa Amini’s death, the judiciary said Wednesday, bringing to five the total handed down in three days.

One was convicted of attacking police officers with his car, killing one of them, the second had stabbed a security officer and the third tried to block traffic and spread “terror,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online website reported, citing the verdicts.

Five people went on trial on October 29 before the revolutionary court of Tehran, the judicial authority announced at the time.

Iran has been gripped by protests -- described as “riots” by the authorities -- since the September 16 death of Amini, three days after her arrest by the morality police for an alleged breach of Iran’s dress code for women.

Charges have been filed against more than 2,000 individuals in provinces across Iran in connection to the protests, according to the judiciary.

Mizan reported that an individual identified as Mohammad Ghobadlou was charged in Tehran with “corruption on earth,” an offense punishable by death, for “attacking police with a car, which resulted in the death of one officer and the injury of five others.”

Another of the five, Saeed Shirazi, faced the same charge for “inciting people to commit crimes against the country’s security,” Mizan said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards arrest person they say linked to Israel’s Mossad: Report

16 November ,2022

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday they had arrested a person who they alleged is linked to Israel’s intelligence services, semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The Revolutionary Guards’ statement said the alleged spy was arrested in the southeastern province of Kerman, without specifying the person’s nationality or the time of the arrest.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran rejects western draft calling for cooperation with IAEA

16 November ,2022

Iran said Wednesday it rejected a draft resolution by Western nations calling on it to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“They wrote a resolution and brought documents which they themselves know are not true and which are rejected by the Islamic republic,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Iran’s atomic energy chief Mohamed Eslami as saying.

On Tuesday, diplomats said that the United States, Britain, France and Germany had submitted the resolution to the UN nuclear watchdog.

The resolution calling on Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA comes after a report by the agency concluded there had been “no progress” in a long-standing probe into undeclared nuclear material in Iran.

The text must be discussed during a quarterly meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors, that starts on Wednesday.

The draft text seen by AFP underscored that it was “essential and urgent” for Iran to “act to fulfil its legal obligations.”

An IAEA delegation was due to visit Iran this month, but Eslami said that “for the moment, no visit of the agency (IAEA) is on the agenda.”

“We have responded to all of the IAEA’s allegations and accusations and, if it had good intentions and a will to continue negotiations, they (Western countries) would not have presented a resolution” against Iran, he added.

It comes against the backdrop of stalled talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

The deal Iran reached with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States gave it relief from sanctions in return for guarantees it could not develop an atomic weapon. Iran has always denied wanting a nuclear arsenal.

The deal collapsed after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in 2018 under then president Donald Trump.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Several killed in separate incidents in Iran on day marred by violence

Syed Zafar Mehdi



Two people were shot dead Wednesday in Iran’s central city of Isfahan, hours after five people were killed in an armed attack in the country’s southwest.

The latest incident took place around 9.00 p.m. local time (1730GMT) in the Khane Esfahan area of the city when two motorcycle riders armed with assault rifles opened fire at security forces, according to local reports.

The two slain men were both paramilitary voluntary Basij personnel, identified as 54-year-old Mohsen Hamidi and 30-year-old Mohammad Hossein Karimi.

At least eight others were also injured in the attack, seven of them law enforcement personnel and one paramilitary Basiji.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi extended condolences to the families of the victims and asked the security agencies to "immediately identify the perpetrators and leaders of the terrorist incident and hand them over to the judicial system," his office said.

Meanwhile, according to Iran's state broadcaster, quoting local officials, at least three people were also killed in Semirom, another city in Isfahan province, on Wednesday during fierce clashes. Many others were also injured.

In another similar incident Wednesday evening, at least five people were killed and 15 others injured after motorcycle-borne armed men opened fire at a busy market in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.

Among the dead were an elderly woman and a child. At least two others are said to be in critical condition.

A religious seminary was also set ablaze by unknown men in the main market of the city.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attacks.

It comes amid sweeping protests triggered by the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of Iran’s morality police in mid-September.

This week, a call had been given by anti-government protesters for a three-day shutdown across the country, which notably received a lukewarm response.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia


Opening Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Office In Kabul Strengthens Relations Between Islamic Emirate And Islamic Nations

November 16, 2022

In a ceremony, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) opened its mission in Kabul, few days ago.

Senior officials of the Islamic Emirate, including the country’s Foreign Minister, attended the ceremony to open the office of the Organization of the Islamic Countries (OIC) in the capital Kabul.

The IEA acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi, said the office would play key role in the improvement of relations between Afghanistan and Islamic countries.

Opening of the OIC office, according to the Islamic Emirate’s Foreign Minister, will provide the ground for the improvement of Afghanistan’s relations with the Islamic countries.

In fact, the OIC’s office would be effective in other fields including political cooperation, besides its clear contribution to the economic and humanitarian support for Afghanistan.

The organization of the Islamic country’s office would facilitate the delivery of humanitarian and development aids for Afghanistan.

A number of Turkish religious scholars have earlier visited Afghanistan and spoke on related issues with the authorities of the Islamic Emirate and pledged to convoy the available opportunities in Afghanistan to the Islamic world.

The Turkish Ulama expressed happiness over the recently ensured countrywide security, restored proper political environment, social and economic developments in the country and vowed to share the good message about positive development with the Islamic world.

Indeed, such visits and resuming missions by the Islamic countries help overcome humanitarian problems including aids supplying issues in Afghanistan.

Likewise, such visits and exchanges of views between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the Islamic countries can pave the way for further political engagements with the world and ease recognition of the Islamic system by the world countries.

The Islamic Emirate has 100 percent of the country’s territory, ensured countrywide security and formed a nationally accepted and legal Islamic system.

What is more important for both the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the Islamic countries is that the Islamic countries should not be affected by the western powers and their allies in recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They should act independently and based on the holy sharia and do not fear others in their plan to inter a direct, firm and honest interaction with Afghanistan, under the legal Islamic system.

Source: The Kabul Times

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US Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction Assesses Factors Behind the Collapse of Afghan Gov’t

By Arif Ahmadi

November 16, 2022

KABUL, Afghanistan – The US Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a recent report assessed the underlying factors behind the collapse of former Afghan government in 2021, listing at least nine factors that led to Taliban’s regime in Afghanistan.

SIGAR found the single most important factor in the ANDSF’s collapse in August 2021 was the US decision to withdraw military forces and contractors from Afghanistan, which was based on the US-Taliban agreement signed in February 2020 under Trump administration.

According to SIGAR, the Afghan government was fundamentally unprepared to manage a fight against the Taliban as the United States military and its contractors withdrew from the country.

Due to the ANDSF’s dependency on U.S. military forces, these events destroyed Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) “morale” that eventually led to the fall.

“Many Afghans thought the U.S.-Taliban agreement was an act of bad faith and a signal that the U.S. was handing over Afghanistan to the enemy as it rushed to exit the country; its immediate effect was a dramatic loss in ANDSF morale,” said the report.

In addition, SIGAR had identified eight other factors that explain why, after 20 years and nearly $90 billion in U.S. security assistance, the ANDSF was ill-prepared to sustain security following a U.S. withdrawal.

1st Factor: No country or agency had complete ownership of the ANDSF development mission, leading to an uncoordinated approach;

2nd Factor: The length of the U.S. commitment was disconnected from the reality of the time required to build an entire security sector;

3rd Factor: The U.S. created long-term dependencies that would require significant time to overcome, such as providing the ANDSF with advanced equipment they could not sustain and leaving them out of the equipping process;

4th Factor: The U.S. military, driven by political deadlines, struggled to balance winning battles with letting the ANDSF gain experience by fighting on their own;

5th Factor: The U.S. metrics created to measure the development of the ANDSF were unable to effectively measure ANDSF capabilities;

6th Factor: Afghan corruption harmed ANDSF capabilities and readiness;

7th Factor: The U.S. control of the battlespace and of key governance systems restricted Afghan ownership of important military and governance systems;

8th Factor: The U.S. and Afghan governments failed to develop a police force effective at providing justice and responsive to criminal activities that plagued the lives of Afghan citizens.

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban arrived at the gates of Kabul, compelling then-President Ashraf Ghani to flee to Uzbekistan, precipitating the collapse of the Afghan government.

By then, six of the seven ANA Corps had surrendered or dissolved. Only the 215th Corps in Helmand Province remained engaged in combat operations against the Taliban for two days after the president had fled the country, at which point it was instructed to stop fighting.

On the day of President Ghani’s departure, the Taliban entered the presidential palace.

Source: Khaama Press

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Taliban visit fails to solve Chaman border issue

Saleem Shahid

November 17, 2022

QUETTA: The Friendship Gate at the Pak-Afghan border could not be opened for a fourth consecutive day, as efforts for reopening of the border failed on Wednesday.

Sources said a delegation of the Afghan Taliban administration visited Chaman and condoled with the Pakistan security officials over the death of a soldier of the Frontier Corps who embraced martyrdom when armed men opened fire at the Friendship Gate on Sunday.

The Afghan Taliban during their stay at the Friendship Gate held talks with the Pakistani officials deployed at the border. They expressed their grief over the death of the soldier, terming it an unfortunate incident.

The sources said that Kabul and Islamabad were in contact with each other on the issue of the border closure. However, no progress was reported regarding the opening of the border until the Taliban hand over to Pakistan the people involved in the firing.

Meanwhile, the return of Pakistani and Afg­han families to their respective countries was completed.

“We allowed all Pakistanis to come back to Chaman from Afghanistan who produced required legal documents, which proved their Pakistani nationality,” a senior official of the Chaman administration told Dawn, adding that the border was completely closed.

Source: Dawn

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Russia’s Multilateral Talks on Afghanistan Opens without Taliban

By Saqalain Eqbal

November 16, 2022

Russia’s multilateral talks, Moscow format of consultations on Afghanistan, started on Wednesday, November 16, with the presence of envoys from various countries but the Taliban.

Sputnik reported that there are 11 countries represented at this meeting, including Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

At a news conference in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that the discussion will center on the military-political, socioeconomic, and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as well as coordinating measures to bolster regional security.

Despite taking part in the last Moscow format meeting in October 2021, Russian officials previously announced that the Taliban would not attend the talks.

The Taliban and other Afghan political forces will receive a thorough briefing from the Russian government after the planned meeting in the Russian capital, according to Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia.

The Taliban Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier asserted that the meeting was “incomplete” since Taliban government representatives were not invited to the Moscow format meetings in Afghanistan.

Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the Taliban’s foreign ministry, said on November 5 that the absence of the government from such events may have an “adverse” impact on engagement.

The Taliban, however, participated in the last Moscow consultative format, in October 2021, as the Taliban’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi chaired a Taliban delegation to the meeting.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Malaysia GE15: Will there be a ‘big tent’ approach by opposition parties this time?

17 Nov 2022

SINGAPORE: Political parties looking to form Malaysia’s next government after the general election will likely have to forge coalitions – an uphill task given various factors such as race and religion issues, and the possibility of parties hopping between existing alliances.

With so many parties contesting the Nov 19 polls – likely splitting the votes in a number of areas – none of the main coalitions is expected to achieve a simple majority. This means negotiations will have to be conducted before the next government can be formed.

Factored into their decisions would be the stance towards race issues in the country, with the significant Malay vote at play, and political baggage of candidates who had switched parties before the anti-hopping law was introduced.

There has been talk of a “big tent” strategy by the opposition parties to work together and block the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) from returning to power.

But that seems increasingly unlikely and unnecessary, due to the current polling figures, said political science professor Meredith Weiss from the University at Albany.

“The issue is that the vote could well be so sufficiently split, that we really have multiple different options, some including a bigger tent than others,” Dr Weiss, who is also a visiting senior fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), told CNA Asia First.

Forming coalitions also goes beyond just the number of supporters garnered by the component parties combined.

Dr Lau Zhe Wei, assistant professor at the International Islamic University Malaysia’s political science department, said that the supporter base of the three main coalitions are also very different in nature.

The BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN) supporter bases are more loyal towards the party leadership, and more willing to compromise and leave the freedom of decision-making to the coalition’s leaders.

However, Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters are more vocal and active. “They will demand what they want. Yes, I elect you, but make sure you do things that I want,” Dr Lau told CNA’s Asia Tonight.

“So it will be a problem for them to simply combine with any other component party or any other coalition,” said Dr Lau, who thinks the most likely collaboration would be BN and PN coming together under the name of Malay-Muslim unity.


Dr Lau noted that to win elections in Malaysia, one needs to strike a balance between securing the Malay vote while also pursuing diversity.

“At the end of the day, Malaysia politics still rely a lot on ethnicity or religion, and also on diversity. It sounds a bit contradictory, but basically it's about having both together.”

He explained that although the Malay community forms the voting majority, a party would still not have the votes to win enough seats to form the federal government just by courting them alone.

The only occasion in which a component party could form the government on its own was United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) back in 2004, when it won 110 out of 219 seats, said Dr Lau, a result he described as “a huge tsunami”.

He added that due to the Malaysian electoral system, the lack of electoral pacts would mean parties heading into contests on their own would lead to the splitting of votes, and further prevent a clear winner from emerging.

The new anti-party hopping law would also not sufficiently address the formation of coalitions.

“Parties themselves can still hop from one coalition to another and that is very much a possibility shortly after the election,” said Dr Weiss.

Malaysia had introduced the anti-party hopping law to address political defection, with the law kicking in on Oct 5, five days before Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that parliament was dissolved.

There are however other considerations such as political baggage.

For example, UMNO has issued strong statements against aligning with Bersatu in a potential post-election coalition, as they are made of former UMNO members who hopped over.

Dr Weiss said that there could be movements among politicians before the next general election or even before a by-election, such as candidates who were dropped as nominees moving to stand for another party.

There are also coalitions that stood together and compete under one banner, but whose members still have loyalties to their own component parties, such as BN and PH, said Dr Weiss.

Source: Channel News Asia

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Good seed will become island, Rashid Hasnon tells Anwar

By Yiswaree Palansamy

16 Nov 2022

BATU PAHAT, Nov 16 — A good seed will become an island, Perikatan Nasional candidate Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon said to rebut Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, his former party’s president.

Rashid used the Malay proverb to respond to Anwar, who said at a political rally here last week that he would kick Rashid “into the sea” for defecting to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) as part of the Sheraton Move in 2020.

“Did I attack him back? No, I didn’t attack. He and I have been taught religious education. We do not indulge in openly shaming someone.

“Furthermore, that issue, as I had said, is a fairy tale. There is no truth of that happening, about me crying asking for positions,” the Batu Pahat incumbent said in an interview with Malay Mail here.

Anwar alleged during the ceramah that Rashid had cried and begged for a position, and left for Bersatu out of spite, after which he was made a deputy Speaker of Parliament.

“Personal attacks are not my game and I looked up to him and I don’t want to go down that path,” he said.

Rashid then recalled when Anwar left the Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (Abim) to join Umno, which was led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister then.

“We said, ‘eh Anwar, why are you doing this?’” he said, adding that Anwar was a figure he adored and supported in his student days.

“You know, in my personality as an engineer, I develop people. Whoever gets a chance, I bring them up. I have never degraded someone.”

The former Penang deputy chief minister said his objective for seeking re-election was to continue his existing efforts on education, flood management, and solving housing issues.

He said his experience helping solve displacement and housing issues in Penang would help in his constituency.

Rashid said that he was also hoping to develop Batu Pahat as a tourism destination, as it has potential for extreme sports as well as leisurely hiking.

While saying he would not ask for a ministerial position, he described himself as capable of handling one.

Source: Malay Mail

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After nearly half a century under BN, Kepala Batas wonders if it’s time for change

By R. Loheswar

17 Nov 2022

KEPALA BATAS, Nov 17 — For as long as the federal constituency here as existed since 1974, it has had a Barisan Nasional representative.

Yet, there was now an angst in the area that suggested all was not well with incumbent Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican’s standing with his constituents.

In 2013, Reezal inherited the seat from former prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi who opted to go into retirement after having been the constituency’s federal lawmaker since 1978.

But while Abdullah had always enjoyed commanding wins in the seat — even in 1999 when many Umno stalwarts had come close to losing — Reezal did not appear to have come into the same unwavering support.

This was not for a lack of trying. In a Kepala Batas entering an election, his presence was inescapable.

Posters, flags, buntings, and advertising billboards bearing his image and touting his service were prevalent all across the constituency, even deep into the rural areas like Jalan Kedah, Permatang Tiga Ringgit all the way to Paya Keladi and beyond.

Unlike this near-omnipresence, there was not a corresponding level of affinity for the Umno lawmaker.

In Taman Bertam Indah, Malay Mail met residents who described themselves as former supporters of the BN coalition, saying they were disillusioned by the apparent corruption that has landed several Umno leaders in court.

Shahrul Effendi, 49, was expressive in his disapproval for Reezal’s party president, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and was unconvinced he would not try and claim the prime ministership himself.

“I’m definitely thinking about his court cases although many want to simply brush it aside, forget about it like it’s nothing. Imagine he gets the big seat (prime minister), he’ll squash all of us like insects,” Shahrul said when met at his house where he was smoking shirtless and in his sarong.

A vegetable farmer, Shahrul said everyone in Kepala Batas could see Reezal’s banners and billboards, but most just interpreted these as him being rich enough to spend lavishly on electioneering material.

Shahrul also said it only hardened his resolve to vote differently than in the previous three general elections, so he would not be accused of enabling yet further corruption.

“We cannot keep going like this and since you asked me what the undercurrent was, I’ll tell you it’s not going to be a walk in the park for BN,” he said.

Nearby, Malay Mail met Norshamira, 28, a storekeeper for a warehousing firm, and her colleague, Ah Seong, who said they have not decided how they would vote.

Norshamira noted that politicians appeared to be busy bickering over positions and not focused on matters affecting Malaysians, such as the cost-of-living crisis.

Expressing anxiety over stagnant wages coupled with skyrocketing inflation, she said she would like to vote for a representative who could address this, but did not see one available to her.

“For the residents here, we also see the kind of politics that’s happening and it’s so messy and we can’t help but wonder if these politicians want to work for the people or themselves,” she said.

For school teacher Zailan Aboo Hassan, who described himself as a staunch Muslim, he said he preferred his candidate to also exhibit this virtue, but explained that ultimately, he was leaning towards the Perikatan Nasional candidate, Siti Mastura Mohamad, because she was a woman.

Saying that Kepala Batas was no longer the BN bastion it once was, he explained that he would like a woman MP because he felt men were less hardworking.

“The PN candidate is a woman, young, a local. I hope she wins. If you look at the current trends, support for her is rising. So, if I had to compare between a man and a woman, I feel a woman can work way harder than the male so let’s see what happens.

“I am guided by the Quran so for me when the time comes it’ll be easy,” said the 50-year-old.

Housewife Yuslida Arshad, 42, was carrying groceries to her car when approached, initially declining to share her views, but relented to say she also wanted a change.

She explained that Kepala Batas has grown weary with the same representation for decades and seeing the same results, which were no longer acceptable with the residents’ worsening circumstances.

Still, she said change might be hard for the seat that has grown so accustomed to voting for BN, and was unconvinced this election would be when the streak would finally end.

“I feel PN is strong now, but to be honest the old people are brainwashed and they love to vote. They cannot change, cannot see the light, cannot see anything beyond the old ways so these pak cik and mak cik will be a problem.

“Now the youngsters, they are not as hard headed as the older guys and they will be the ones who will be able to influence this election, but, as usual, it’s a mystery what the kids will do.”

For Azman Yusoff, 52, the frustration was not with Reezal personally, but with the government in general, saying he did not feel assured by national leaders who could allow the country to run short of staples such as egg and cooking oil.

A critical Azman said the government appeared to be dysfunctional and powerless to address the spiralling inflation and profiteers, leaving Malaysians to suffer.

While he said he was still undecided over which candidate to pick, he was certain it would not be Reezal.

“I mean what on earth are these people in government doing? It’s a mad government. We must bring in change,” he said when met outside a sundry shop in Taman Paya Keladi.

Adding to the uncertainty of Reezal’s defence was the addition of 6,317 voters between 18 and 20 courtesy of the Undi18 movement.

While they represented less than 8 per cent of the eligible voters, their numbers are greater than Reezal’s majorities in the previous two general elections. Including those from 21 to 29, the two age categories accounted for 25,695 votes or nearly a third of all ballots.

First-time voter Hadi Zulkifli, 22, said he was excited to head to the polls on Saturday, saying he would intuit his decision.

Saying he did not follow the news and obtained his political information from social media, Hadi believed a meeting with the candidates would allow him to decide.

“If my gut feeling tells me this is the person to vote for, that’s the person I’ll vote for. For now, I am unaware of these manifestos, policies and promises. I know the parties,” he said.

For Pakatan Harapan’s candidate in the seat, Danial Abdul Majeed from the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), the rumblings of discontent were encouraging.

While he would be trying to woo young voters who were his party’s target audience, Danial said there were many older residents who were also on the verge of changing allegiances due to a perceived lack of assistance.

He told Malay Mail he has spoken to some farmers and fishermen in the area who complained they were struggling to buy pesticide, seeds and fertilizer. Some also alleged that political affiliation to a certain party was needed before fishing permits could be obtained.

“They tell me they don’t want money or handouts, they want this broken system to be fixed,” he said.

In 2018, Reezal saw off the challenges of PH’s Zaidi Zakaria and Siti Mastura, who was contesting for PAS then, to retain the seat for a second term.

Source: Malay Mail

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Named after vintage town, Bangi voters grapple with age-old issues of religion and roads

By Radzi Razak

16 Nov 2022

BANGI, Nov 16 — The old town of Bangi is not much different from when it was rebuilt after a huge fire in 1936, with the biggest difference perhaps being that the train station originally built in 1905 now serves the KTM Komuter service as well.

The station still stands by the side of a small hill leading to the main road, with temples and a mosque situated nearby. Down the road, old shop lots made out of wood — said to be part of the 18 original ones set up in 1906 when the town was originally founded — still currently stand side by side with their newer brick neighbours.

Past the wooden shop lots, the village head office is situated on the main road of Jalan Bangi. Situated opposite a small old Chinese coffee shop with wooden frames and zinc roofs, it governs the various villages in Bangi.

Knowing its history, it feels jarring to consider that the name Bangi was not even used for a state assembly seat until 2003. It was then placed under the Kajang state seat, itself falling under the Hulu Langat federal seat.

Bangi was then placed by the Serdang federal seat, before replacing the latter and being promoted to a federal seat itself in 2018 — a testament to its burgeoning population of 303,430 voters, which is one of the biggest seats in the country and almost double the previous head count of 178,790 voters in 2018.

Is being a Muslim a must to win Bangi?

Consequently, the seat is also seeing a crowded fight in the 15th general election with eight candidates, including Pakatan Harapan's (PH) Syahredan Johan, who hopes to defend the seat won by his DAP senior Ong Kian Ming since 2013 when it was still Serdang.

Syahredzan is facing Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Datuk Hoh Hee Lee, Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Nazrul Hakim Nazir, Gerakan Tanah Air's (GTA) Annuar Salleh, and Parti Rakyat Malaysia’s (PRM) Chee Chee Meng.

Three independent candidates have also thrown their hats into the ring: Suthan Mookaiah, Muhammad Fauzi Hasim and Dr Jamal Hisham Hashim

Though expected to win, Syahredzan is also seen by locals as a ploy for DAP and PH to win more Malay votes, especially in Malay-majority areas such as Bandar Baru Bangi and Kampung Teras Jernang.

"I am sure Syahredzan is a good candidate but he is from DAP. But I think it is a good sign if he can represent the people here,” local Rafiz Amin told Malay Mail, admitting that DAP has little by little shed its public perception of being "chauvinist" towards the Malays.

"He prays five times a day, he has a good background and qualifications. That could be a plus point,” he added, highlighting how Syahredzan has shown his presence in the area even before being nominated since he is PH's Bangi Parliament coordinator.

The mention of Syahredzan's religious credentials may seem incongruous in an urban area, but in Bangi this is more of a reflection of Syahredzan’s two Malay-Muslim rivals who play the religious card.

Islamist party PAS, contesting under PN, has fielded the 27-year-old Nazrul, who was formerly a special officer for ex-religious affairs minister Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad.

Meanwhile, GTA has fielded Annuar Salleh from PAS' splinter party Berjasa. The religious teacher known as ustaz was formerly the Hulu Langat chief of controversial Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) — whose headquarters is in Bandar Baru Bangi, and is fielding at least six candidates under GTA.

"It is important that Malays are seen not just as professional but also religious as well. Religious people will be seen with more integrity,” said Bangi voter Wan Ikmal Abdullah, referring to some of the more conservative Malay voters.

Rat race to influence votes

Despite this sentiment, the truth is that Bangi as a seat is home to affluent and vibrant multi-ethnic communities divided into 62.2 per cent Bumiputera, 28 per cent ethnic Chinese, and 8.4 per cent ethnic Indians — a close enough mirror to the national population.

While Bandar Baru Bangi and Kampung Teras Jernang is home to stridently "halal and 100 per cent Malay owned" restaurants and tudung sellers, areas such as Balakong New Village is predominantly Chinese, while Bandar Mahkota Cheras does not even have a single mamak outlet.

Chinese educationist group Dong Zong — which Isma would see as an ideological opposite — is also headquartered in the constituency.

To drive from one end of the constituency at Bandar Damai Perdana to the other end in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia would take more than 30 minutes in normal traffic, and twice as long during rush hour.

This congested traffic during rush hour amid a rat race that is affecting almost every voter from UKM students to office workers at Cheras Perdana may instead be the prevailing make-or-break issue for candidates.

Even before Nomination Day, the matter was already raised by Syahredzan, who promised to raise issues relating to public transport should he win — alongside other pet issues such as human rights, data privacy and draconian laws.

"I don’t care what race, religion or how drunk they are but they need to do something about the horrendous traffic,” said Grace Ho, who has lived in Balakong for more than 20 years.

For a lot of voters, this situation is ironic considering the number of highways and expressways that run through the constituency: PLUS, SILK, Grand Saga, Lekas, and even the just-launched Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (Suke).

"Most of us totally depend on the MRT, but when it breaks down, we are out of luck. I don’t want to drive two hours to get to work,” said Imran Alias. referring to the very recent breakdown of train services in Kuala Lumpur.

Source: Malay Mail

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Saudi Arabia to finance restoration of Islamic center in G20 host Indonesia’s capital Jakarta


November 16, 2022

RIYADH: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced that the Kingdom will finance the restoration of the Jakarta Islamic Center after it suffered fire damage during renovation work last month.

Wednesday’s announcement reflects the crown prince’s interest in preserving the site as “it plays a great role in educating young generations and spreading Islam’s tolerance and message of peace,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It added it is also “an embodiment of the fraternal relations that unite Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.”

Indonesian Ambassador Abdul Aziz Ahmad told Arab News: “I express my deepest gratitude to Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman for attending the G20 Summit in Bali.

“We hope that the presence will further strengthen relations between the two countries, not only at the G20 but especially for the good relations between the two nations that have been established from thousands of years ago.

“We welcome the initiative to finance the renovation of the JIC by the Kingdom, as a reflection of the brotherly relationship between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

“The JIC is an important institution for spreading Islam, not only for the people of Jakarta but also for the people of Indonesia. We believe the initiative will further strengthen the brotherly relations between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in the present and the future.”

Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, president of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, thanked the crown prince for supporting the restoration.

He also gave his appreciation for the backing of the Kingdom and its leadership in aiding Islamic countries, and said that Indonesia is at the forefront of regions that have enjoyed such support.

He added that the Saudi leadership is keen to support Islamic centers, initiatives and projects to help establish the concept of moderation. It was this enthusiasm that led to the decision to restore the JIC.

Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said that the announcement is an extension of the Kingdom’s interest in serving Islam and Muslims, based on its leadership in the Islamic world.

The minister added in a statement that the restoration confirms the crown prince’s enthusiasm for Islamic centers in all friendly countries, and for the role they provide in educating younger generations and spreading Islam’s belief in tolerance and message of peace, moderation and dialogue.

Source: Arab News

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Time running out as Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar fights for top job

November 17, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s perennial opposition leader, has often been on the cusp of power but age is catching up with him and Saturday’s election could be his last chance to win the top job.

The 75-year-old, whose political career spans four decades and includes two prison stints, is optimistic his Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition can finally win enough seats to form a government and replace the graft-tainted ruling party.

So long the runner-up of Malaysian politics, Anwar could be running out of time to achieve his long-held but elusive ambition of leading the Southeast Asian nation.

“This is Anwar’s last election. If he fails to get the support to become PM, there will be expectations that he should step aside,” Bridget Welsh of the University of Nottingham Malaysia told AFP.

“If he chooses to stay on, this will only serve to weaken the opposition further and fragment it. There are other leaders ready to lead.”

Anwar was a firebrand Muslim youth leader when he was recruited in 1982 into the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the main political party that ruled Malaysia for more than 60 years.

His star rose meteorically, with the suave young politician becoming finance minister and then deputy prime minister in the early 1990s under former premier Mahathir Mohamad, a youthful counterbalance to the political veteran.

The pairing, considered one of the most dynamic duos in Southeast Asian politics at the time, soon unraveled.

Tensions came to head during the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis, when they had a bitter falling out over how to handle the debacle.

Some observers say Anwar had been too impatient to become prime minister, slighting his patron.

Mahathir sacked Anwar, who was also expelled from UMNO and charged with corruption and sodomy, the latter a crime in the largely Islamic nation.

He was sentenced to six years in jail for corruption in 1999, with an additional nine-year prison term added for the sodomy charge the following year, the two sentences to run consecutively.

As Anwar claimed political persecution, street protests erupted and evolved into a movement calling for democratic reforms.

Photos of Anwar with a black eye, inflicted in prison by Malaysia’s then police chief, were published in newspapers around the world, turning him into a symbol for a struggle that adopted the battle cry of “Reformasi!,” or reforms.

The Mahathir-Anwar tussle has dominated and shaped Malaysian politics over the past four decades, “alternately bringing despair and hope, progress and regress to the country’s polity,” according to Oh Ei Sun of the Pacific Research Center of Malaysia.

The Malaysian Supreme Court overturned Anwar’s sodomy conviction in 2004 and ordered him freed.

After a brief hiatus from politics as an academic, Anwar returned to lead an opposition coalition in the 2013 general election.

His alliance won 50.87 percent of the popular vote but failed to muster the numbers needed for a parliamentary majority.

Controversy continued to hound the married father of six. He was again sentenced to jail for sodomy in 2015, this time for five years, at the age of 70.

He has maintained his innocence and received a full pardon from the Malaysian king three years into his sentence. Anwar returned to parliament months later after winning a by-election.

Anwar allied with Mahathir during the 2018 elections when his erstwhile tormentor came out of retirement to challenge incumbent Najib Razak, who was mired in the billion-dollar 1MDB financial scandal.

Their alliance scored a historic victory against UMNO and Najib, who is serving a 12-year jail term for corruption.

Mahathir became prime minister for the second time, this time with an agreement to hand over the premiership to Anwar later.

He never fulfilled that pact, and their alliance collapsed after 22 months, leaving Anwar empty-handed again and paving the way for UMNO to return to power.

Anwar has rejected any more alliances with Mahathir, who is again running for parliament at age 97.

“No matter how you dice it, the relationship between Mahathir and Anwar is cold,” Malaysian political analyst Charles Santiago told AFP.

Anwar’s campaign rallies for Saturday’s vote have drawn sizeable, enthusiastic crowds, many still chanting the “Reformasi!” slogan made popular 30 years ago.

Source: Arab News

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At 97, Malaysia’s Mahathir makes last election hurrah

November 17, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: When two-time former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed said he wanted to earn his “work till death” title, he wasn’t joking.

At 97, Mahathir is back again in the election race as the head of a new ethnic Malay alliance that he calls a “movement of the people.” He hopes his bloc could gain enough seats in Saturday’s polls to be a powerbroker. Analysts said it is likely to be a spoiler party in a tight race.

Denounced for being an autocrat during his first 22-year rule until 2003, Mahathir was welcomed as a savior after leading the opposition to oust a long-ruling corruption-stained party in 2018.

He became the world’s oldest leader at 92, and was to hand over power to his rival-turned-ally Anwar Ibrahim.

The euphoria was brief as their government fell in 22 months due to infighting. The United Malays National Organization — which had ruled since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957 until its defeat — bounced back to power but the country has since been rocked by continuous political infighting.

In all, Malaysia has had three prime ministers since 2018.

Mahathir, a master tactician, is no stranger to setbacks. He swiftly formed the Pejuang Malay party that now heads a motley bloc known as Gerakan Tanah Air, or Homeland Movement. But it seems an almost impossible mission as it is fielding 116 mostly inexperienced non-political faces including activists, actors and lawyers, and lacks the machinery to reach out to voters.

Mahathir’s star power has also faded and he is up against three established groups including the UMNO-led coalition and Anwar’s Alliance of Hope. Still, his party may further split votes that could tip the balance in a tight race and his return cannot be ruled out.

“Malaysia’s political landscape is so fragmented that even Mahathir’s chances of returning to power, however minuscule it may appear, could not be totally discounted, especially when no single major coalition is likely to win an outright parliamentary majority and a compromise leadership figure may be needed,” said Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Source: Arab News

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Sudan's Military Leader Burhan Again Warns Islamists Against Interfering In Politics

16 NOV 2022

Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan issued on Sunday another warning to politicians not to interfere in the affairs of the armed forces.

“Anyone who interferes in the affairs of the armed forces will be considered our enemy. We will cut off his tongue and hand,” Al-Burhan warned.

The top general repeated the strong warnings he addressed last week to the Islamists, but this time, referred to their link with the armed forces.

“We warned the Islamists because they are trying to infiltrate the army. We tell them: Go away, you will not be able to rule through the army,” he said.

Addressing high-ranking officers during his visit to Al-Markhayat Operational Base in Omdurman, General Al-Burhan underscored that he will not allow any party to infiltrate the military.

“The army will remain a unified, independent national institution whose concern is the homeland and the preservation of its security and people,” he said.

“We will not allow any of them to exploit the armed forces to gain power, whether those parties are Islamists, communists, Baathists or others,” he added.

The military leader admitted the presence of understandings with the opposition Freedom and Change forces, for the benefit of Sudan, stressing that there is no bilateral settlement with any party.

Al-Burhan added that the army received the draft transitional constitution proposed by the country's Bar Association and made some observations on it.

Al-Burhan said the army does not want unilateral solutions but a civil rule guarded by the armed forces.

Source: Radio Tamazuj

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Critical aid starts trickling into Ethiopia's Tigray after truce

Andrew Wasike 



Following a cease-fire agreed earlier this month, humanitarian organizations have finally been able to access Ethiopia’s Tigray region, where millions remain in need of urgent assistance.

The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) confirmed that a convoy of its trucks had entered northwestern Tigray via Gondar, a city in the neighboring Amhara region.

“Critical relief food will now be delivered to communities in coming days. More food, nutrition, medical cargo will follow,” the WFP said on Wednesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also reported that its “test-flight” successfully landed in Shire, a town in northwestern Tigray.

This was the “first humanitarian flight in 2 years since the conflict erupted,” according to the ICRC.

“The resuming of airlifts to Tigray will help carry urgent humanitarian aid to the region more quickly, to alleviate the suffering of thousands needing immediate support,” the aid group said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the ICRC delivered two truckloads of vital medical supplies to Mekelle, marking the first aid delivery since fighting between the Ethiopian government and the rebel group Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) resumed in August after a months-long truce.

There was intense fighting in the northern Ethiopian region over the past few months, with reports of mass casualties and other rights violations.

UN rights experts have accused both sides of committing abuses that border on war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Hostilities have subsided after the two sides signed agreements in Pretoria and Nairobi earlier this month.

The Tigray conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more since November 2020.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Kenyan president dismisses parliament bid to lift his term limit

Andrew Wasike 



Kenya's president on Wednesday rejected attempts by lawmakers to remove a limit on his tenure to give him 20 years in office.

William Ruto shut down attempts by a section of lawmakers to annul a Constitutional limit of two five-year presidential terms that would have opened the way for him to lead the East African nation for 20 years.

"Do not spend your time pushing for selfish and self-serving legislation, like changing the Constitution to remove term limits. My focus is service to the people," Ruto told legislators from the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which holds a majority in the National Assembly.

Ruto was speaking at the State House in the capital Nairobi during a parliamentary group meeting of the UDA, urging lawmakers to focus on delivering and coming up with bills that would improve lives.

The country has been in uproar over plans to remove the term limit in a proposal by Salah Yakub, a member of parliament from the western Fafi region, to replace it with an age limit of 75 years. Ruto is currently 55.

There has been a growing trend across Africa to evade presidential term limits, weakening governance.

According to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, since 2015, leaders of 13 countries have evaded or overseen the further weakening of term limit restrictions that had been in place.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Sudan’s rivals reach framework deal to end political deadlock

Mohammed Amin  



Sudan’s military and political rivals reached a preliminary deal on Wednesday to resolve the country’s months-long political crisis.

In a statement, the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition said the framework deal aims to end last year’s military coup and set new rules for civilian rule to be followed by elections.

A final agreement will be signed between the two sides soon, the statement said.

“The deal aims to address issues of transitional justice, reform of the military and security sector and the revision of the Juba peace agreement,” the statement said.

Sudan has been without a functioning government since October 2021 when the military dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s transitional government and declared a state of emergency, a move decried by political forces as a "military coup."

The two sides have undergone talks under the auspices of the United Nations Integrated Transition Mission in Sudan in recent weeks to reach an agreement to resolve the country’s political deadlock.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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North America


US sanctions officials, 'interrogator' journalists with Iran's state broadcaster

Michael Hernandez



The US sanctioned on Wednesday three senior officials and two "interrogator" journalists who work with Iran's state broadcaster, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

IRIB was sanctioned in 2013, and has been "a critical tool in the Iranian government’s mass suppression and censorship campaign against its own people," including recent productions and broadcasts of interviews with individuals who said their relatives were not killed during ongoing mass demonstrations in Iran, but died due to unrelated causes, the Treasury Department said.

“The Iranian government’s systemic reliance on forced confessions illustrates the government’s refusal to speak truth to its citizens and the international community,” Brian Nelson, the department's top official for financial intelligence, said in a statement.

“The United States remains committed to supporting the Iranian people as they continue their peaceful protests. We will continue to hold Iranian officials and government institutions accountable for their human rights violations and their censorship of the Iranian people.”

Those sanctioned include Ali Rezvani and Ameneh Sadat Zabihpour, whom the department labeled "interrogator-journalists." The Treasury said the men have worked with Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to extract and broadcast forced confessions "in the style of documentaries."

Zabihpour is the head of IRIB's Persian-language media group, and "has a long history of direct involvement in the broadcast of coerced confessions of dual nationals, civil society activists, political prisoners, writers, and religious minorities," the department said.

Rezvani "has also been implicated in the harassment of the family of an Iranian-American activist," according to the Treasury. It did not specify to which activist it was referring, but last year US prosecutors charged four Iranian intelligence officers with attempting to kidnap a dissident believed to be journalist and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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There has never been any truth to Imran’s foreign conspiracy claims: US

November 17, 2022

The United States has asserted that there had never been any truth to former premier Imran Khan’s allegations of Washington orchestrating a regime change conspiracy to oust his government and reiterated its resolve not to let “misinformation” and “propaganda” come in the way of its bilateral ties with Pakistan.

“As we’ve previously said, there has — there is not and there has never been a truth to these allegations, but I don’t have anything additional to offer,” US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said during a press briefing on Wednesday when asked to comment on the PTI’s chief’s apparent “backtracking” on the allegations.

Since his removal from public office through a no-confidence vote in April — the first such ouster of any prime minister in Pakistan’s history — Imran has been blaming the US and the incumbent dispensation in Islamabad of colluding and conspiring to overthrow his government.

But in a recent interview to Financial Times, he said he no longer “blamed” the US administration for his removal from power, and that he wanted a “dignified” relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

“As far as I’m concerned it is over, it’s behind me,” he said about the alleged US role in the purported conspiracy.

His remarks were seen by opponents as him backtracking on his allegations but the PTI leadership, including Imran, maintained that his statements were misconstrued and taken out of context.

When Vedant’s comments were sought on the matter on Wednesday, he began by saying: “The US values our longstanding cooperation with Pakistan and has always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests.

“That remains unchanged.”

He also clarified that the US did not have “a position on one political candidate of a party versus another.

“We support peaceful upholding of democratic, constitutional, and legal principles. And ultimately, we will not let propaganda, misinformation and disinformation get in the way of any bilateral relationship, including our valued bilateral partner with Pakistan.”

Asked to elaborate further, Vendant said, “As we’ve previously said, there has — there is not and there has never been a truth to these allegations, but I don’t have anything additional to offer.”

It was then pointed out to him that in the Financial Times interview, Imran had also termed his visit to Russia on the eve of Moscow’s launch of an offensive on Ukraine “embarrassing”.

The timing of the visit last year was questioned but the then-PTI government had defended the visit, describing it as a move in line with policy shift to geoeconomics.

And Imran also explained to Financial Times that the visit was organised months in advance.

To this end, Vedant said, “I really don’t have anything else to offer on foreign minister — or former prime minister Khan’s comments on that.”

Source: Dawn

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US ‘confident’ Iran used drone to attack tanker MV Pacific Zircon off Oman coast

16 November ,2022

The US is “confident” Iran attacked commercial tanker, the MV Pacific Zircon, off the coast of Oman on Tuesday and that Tehran used a drone to conduct the attack, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday.

“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran likely conducted this attack using a UAV, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing directly and via its proxies throughout the Middle East and proliferating to Russia for use in Ukraine,” he said in a statement.

Last month, Washington decried the use of Iranian drones by Russia in Ukraine. The State Department reported having evidence of Iranian drones being used to strike Ukrainian civilians and critical civilian infrastructure. Tehran continues to deny the fact that their drones are being used in Ukraine.

Sullivan added: “There is no justification for this attack, which is the latest in a pattern of such actions and broader destabilizing activities. This action further threatens freedom of navigation through this crucial waterway, international shipping and commerce, and the lives of those on the vessels involved.”

The attack comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Iran, as well as regional tensions with Tehran. Gulf waters have experienced in recent years several attacks on tankers, many of them blamed on Iran while Tehran typically denies responsibility.

“We will work with partners and allies, including as part of the International Maritime Security Construct, to hold Iran accountable and respond through appropriate means,” he said.

Israeli-controlled Eastern Pacific Shipping manages the attacked tanker, and Israeli officials said Iran used the same type of drone in the attack on the vessel as the type it supplies Russia for use in the war on Ukraine.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Canada sanctions Iran makers of drones used by Russia in Ukraine

16 November ,2022

Canada on Wednesday targeted Iranian makers of drones that Kyiv and the West say have been used by Russia to attack Ukraine in a rollout of new sanctions against the Islamic republic.

The two companies -- Shahed Aviation Industries and Qods Aviation Industries -- “are key to the regime's ongoing activities aimed at destabilizing international peace and security,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement.

This has included, she said, “the sale of weapons and the provision of Iranian military personnel to train and assist Russian forces on the use of Iranian weapons.”

The chief military adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the head of its UAV Command were also hit with the Canadian sanctions.

Kyiv and its Western allies have accused Russia of using Iranian-made drones in recent weeks to carry out attacks.

Shahed Aviation Industries and Qods Aviation Industries are alleged to have produced the lethal combat drones used by Russia, including in attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

Iran has admitted that it sent drones to Russia but insisted they were supplied to its ally before Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Britain and the European Union have already imposed sanctions on Iranian officials and arms firms over the drones shipments.

Earlier this week, Ottawa also permanently banned thousands of Iranian officials from Canada over what Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino described as “gross human rights violations and terrorism.”

“This is a regime that has killed its own citizens. This is a regime that has also killed our citizens,” Mendicino said on Monday in reference to Tehran's deadly crackdown on protests and its downing of flight PS752 in January 2020.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US sanctions senior employees of Iranian state-run media

16 November ,2022

The US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on senior employees of an Iranian state-run media corporation it accused of broadcasting hundreds of forced confessions of detainees in the country, as Washington increases pressure on Iran over the crackdown on protests.

The US Treasury Department in a statement said it imposed sanctions on six senior employees of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which was designated by Washington in 2013.

The Treasury said the media corporation acts as “a critical tool in the Iranian government’s mass suppression and censorship campaign against its own people.” The Treasury said the corporation has produced and broadcast interviews of people being forced to confess that their relatives were not killed by Iranian authorities during recent protests but instead died due to accidental, unrelated causes.

“The Iranian government’s systemic reliance on forced confessions illustrates the government’s refusal to speak truth to its citizens and the international community,” the Treasury's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.

“The US remains committed to supporting the Iranian people as they continue their peaceful protests,” he said, adding that Washington would continue to hold the Iranian government accountable for human rights violations and censorship.

Source: Al Arabiya

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