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India’s Ruling BJP Removes Official over 'Anti-Islam' Tweet Likening the Kaaba to an Ice Cube in a Glass of Whiskey, Muslims Demanding He Be Arrested

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 July 2022


FILE - Muslims rally to condemn a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member for comments about Prophet Mohammad they perceived as insulting, in Kolkata, India, June 14, 2022. In a separate case of alleged blasphemy, the BJP removed one of its social media officials from his post.


• The Taliban Destroys “ISIS Kharijites” Hideout in Northern Afghanistan

• Islam in China Must Be Chinese In Orientation: President Xi Jinping

• High Unemployment Rate among British Muslims Not Due To Cultural, Religious Practices: Study

• Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Pushes Violence; Rift within Coalition Government



• After LoC, Pakistani drone sighted near Samba border in J&K

• Gurgaon Probes Reports of Manesar Slum Dwellers Leaving Days after Mahapanchayat Call to Boycott Muslim Shopkeepers

• Hyderabad: Get ready for another Muslim matrimonial conclave


South Asia

• University Lecturer Allegedly Tortured to Death in Southeastern Afghanistan

• Sirajuddin Haqqani, Acting Interior Minister Asks World To Recognize Islamic Emirate

• Stop illegal entry of Rohingyas in Bangladesh

• Heat Exhaustion in a Car’s Airless Trunk Kills an Afghan Migrant on the Way to Iran

• Gunmen Shoot a Newly Returned Man from Iran Dead in Northern Afghanistan

• UN Senior Official Markus Potzel Calls for Afghan Girls’ Education


Southeast Asia

• Deviationist teachings committee safeguards sanctity of Islam, says Idris

• Saifuddin stays mum over Tajuddin’s position as ambassador

• Cops arrest man who allegedly insulted Islam in Puchong



• Next round of Syrian peace talks scheduled for Geneva put on hold: UN envoy

• UAE President's France trip to boost ties, focus on energy

• UK considered suicidal Afghan ‘fine’ for Rwanda deportation: Documents

• Swedish Supreme Court stops extradition of senior FETO terrorist



• Pakistani Sikh Leadership Demands Extension of Pilgrimage Duration, Meets PM Shehbaz Sharif

• Imran Khan demands fresh general elections in Pakistan after impressive show in Punjab by-polls

• Sharif will be reduced to 'Prime Minister of Islamabad': PTI leader post victory in Pak's Punjab by polls

• Afghan refugees turn F-6 children’s park into ‘tent village’

• Raza Rabbani blames PTI for increased establishment role in govt affairs

• Security forces neutralise two more terrorists as body of Omer Javed recovered


North America

• US Will Not Leave Vacuum in Mideast to Russia, China: Biden

• US Terms Imran’s Claim Disturbing, Looks Ahead To Strong Ties

• Jamal Khashoggi’s US lawyer detained in UAE

• US President Biden meets Iraqi PM, agrees to strengthen coordination on ISIS issue

• Biden pledges $1.45 billion per year in assistance to Jordan


Arab World

• Muslim World League Welcomes Jeddah Summit Outcomes

• Islamic State Group Ex-Bastion in Syria Hosts Jackie Chan Film Shoot

• Facing Drought, Iraq Asks Turkey to Release More Water along Tigris, Euphrates Rivers

• US, GCC nations release joint statement following Jeddah summit

• Saudi FM Prince Faisal holds press conference at end of Jeddah summit

• Over 100,000 young Saudis to benefit from training agreement with IBM

• UAE President receives Iraqi PM, Kuwaiti Crown Prince at GCC summit

• 26 Daesh/ISIS suspects arrested in Iraq raids



• Israeli Minister Foresees Direct Pilgrim Flights To Saudi Arabia Next Year

• Iran Accuses US of Stoking 'Iranophobia' After Biden's Mideast Tour

• Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis say they will not extend truce despite Saudi pledge

• Iran ‘capable of making N-bomb’, says Ayatollah Khamenei’s aide

• Iran's Human Rights Chief Urges UK to Release Imprisoned Citizen

• Supreme Leader Pardons, Commutes Sentences of Over 2,200 Iranian Prisoners

• Iranian, Turkish FMs Discuss Ties Ahead of Erdogan Visit

• Iran imposes sanctions on 61 Americans as nuclear talks hit impasse

• Khamenei adviser says Iran ready for regional dialogue after Biden's Middle East tour



• Presidency to Nigerians: Ignore Online Toxic Reports on APC Muslim-Muslim Ticket

• Sudan troops deploy ahead of pro-democracy protests

• Curfew declared in two Sudan towns after deadly clashes

• Libya’s NOC continues to do its job according to the law, it says

• Suicide car bombing kills 3, wounds 14 in Somalia

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



India’s Ruling BJP Removes Official over 'Anti-Islam' Tweet Likening the Kaaba to an Ice Cube in a Glass of Whiskey, Muslims Demanding He Be Arrested


FILE - Muslims rally to condemn a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member for comments about Prophet Mohammad they perceived as insulting, in Kolkata, India, June 14, 2022. In a separate case of alleged blasphemy, the BJP removed one of its social media officials from his post.


July 17, 2022

Shaikh Azizur Rahman

India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party has removed its social media head in the northern state of Haryana for an allegedly anti-Islam tweet five years ago, but Indian Muslims are demanding that Arun Yadav be arrested.

In the 2017 tweet, Yadav likened the Kaaba, the Muslim shrine in Mecca’s Great Mosque, to an ice cube in a glass of whiskey.

In the first week of July, when some online activists and Muslim leaders called attention to the five-year-old tweet and demanded legal action against Yadav, the BJP removed him on July 7.

“Arun Yadav’s abusive comment targeting the Kaaba hurt the religious sentiment of all Muslims. The community across the country demanded that he is arrested and tried in court for his dirty depiction of Islam's holiest place,” Syed Azharuddin, a Muslim leader in the southern state of Telangana, told VOA.

“But to our disappointment, the government is showing no sign it will act against Yadav,” he said.

Before Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014, his party set up social media wings, known as information technology or IT cells, across the country, aiming to propagate its ideology and political messages, and to expand popular support.

These cells have in recent years been blamed for spreading propaganda against opposition party leaders. Social media fact-checkers have frequently exposed fake news materials, allegedly spread by the BJP’s IT cell network.

Online activists and Muslim community leaders have long accused the cells of spreading Islamophobia on social media platforms. By posting aggressive anti-Islam or anti-Muslim content, many BJP IT cell workers, including top executives, aim to improve their political profiles within the party, Muslim community leaders said.

“Many from the BJP IT cell frequently post anti-Muslim content that is liked by the leaders and followers of the Hindu nationalist party. Such posts abuse the Prophet Muhammad, Kaaba Sharif [Holy Kaaba] etc., and insult the religious beliefs of Muslims. Yet, to gain popularity among a good number of Hindu community members, those like Arun Yadav post content abusing and attacking Muslims,” the president of Tipu Sultan Party, a political party, Shaikh Sadeque, told VOA.

Yadav’s firing was just a BJP action, nothing was done by the government for the “blasphemous” post, Sadeque said.

“The Indian government also did not act against BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for abuses she aimed at the Prophet Muhammad. The government does not want to take action against any BJP leader for any of their anti-Muslim statements or comments, so, they keep posting such abusive content fearlessly.”

BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma allegedly insulted Muhammad in a May television appearance, sparking international condemnation. She was suspended from the party.

VOA sought a reaction from the BJP IT cell following the allegation against Yadav but emails sent to the cell’s national head, Amit Malviya, have remained unanswered.

There are hundreds of past instances of social media users being arrested in India for hurting religious sentiments. Perhaps the most sensational among them is the recent arrest of journalist and fact-checker Mohammed Zubair. Police accused him of insulting Hindu beliefs in a 2018 tweet.

“Zubair was arrested for a tweet carrying a screen grab of a movie scene which showed a hotel signboard repainted from ‘Honeymoon Hotel’ to ‘Hanuman Hotel.’ The tweet of Yadav was certainly more abusive. Yet he has not been arrested,” Muslim leader Azharuddin said. Hanuman refers to a monkey god revered by Hindus.

The BJP routinely uses anti-Muslim propaganda to polarize the Hindu society and to unite Hindus by identifying Muslims as “the other, an outsider, an enemy,” New Delhi-based Muslim leader Zafarul Islam Khan told VOA.

“They can go on doing this because, under the current dispensation, they enjoy full immunity. The victims [Muslims] have no recourse — the government, bureaucracy and police do not listen to them,” Khan said.

“Even courts are not keen to listen to the victims or are not taking the matters seriously. The victims find no one around to turn to for justice.”

Activists say the BJP and other Hindu right-wing organizations, including the RSS, or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, work in tandem, attacking the religious minorities and making them appear as threats to the majority community or the Hindus. The RSS is also known as the ruling party’s ideological guide.

Delhi University teacher Apoorvanand said the “life breath of the RSS and BJP is anti-Muslim and anti-Christian prejudice and hatred.”

“To keep it alive and make it part of the lives of Hindus they have to keep creating images of Muslims which look abhorrent to Hindus. They have to manufacture stories and events which paint Muslims as horrible creatures, their living practices as ugly, unclean, backward, conservative… and Muslims as a collective always conspiring against Hindus,” Apoorvanand told VOA.

“By keeping Hindus fed with this hatred the RSS and BJP want to turn them into their unquestioning followers as if it is only the RSS/BJP which can protect them from Muslims and keep Muslims in their place,” he said.

Source: VOA News

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The Taliban Destroys “ISIS Kharijites” Hideout in Northern Afghanistan


Photo: Khaama Press


By Saqalain Eqbal

17 Jul 2022

According to the Taliban senior official, the group’s Special Forces’ operation in northern Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, discovered and destroyed an ISIS hideout, killing at least three ISIS militants and arresting five others.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban, announced in a Twitter thread that an operation by the Taliban’s Special Forces on Saturday night, in Kunduz province’s Qanjogha area targeted an ISIS hideout.

He stated that the group behind launching missiles at the neighbouring countries, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were targeted and destroyed, calling them “Kharijites”.

One of the captured Daesh members confessed in a video released by the Taliban to have launched rockets into Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

While the detainee alleged that the National Resistance Front provided the equipment for ISIS, the Resistance Front is yet to respond to the allegation.

The destructive equipment and vehicles of the ISIS group were also confiscated by the Taliban security officials.

Earlier, the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that five rockets were launched from Afghan soil, and landed in the Uzbek territory, in proximity to the Afghan-Uzbek border town, Termez.

Source: Khaama Press

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Islam In China Must Be Chinese In Orientation: President Xi Jinping


Chinese President Xi Jinping (AP/File)


July 17, 2022

President Xi Jinping has asked officials to step up efforts to uphold the principle that Islam in China must be Chinese in orientation and religions in the country should adapt to the socialist society being pursued by the ruling Communist Party of China.

Xi visited the volatile Xinjiang region, where the Chinese security forces for the last several years have made efforts to control protests by Uygur Muslims over settlements from Han Chinese from outside the province.

During his four-day tour of the region which started on July 12, Xi met with officials. He stressed fostering a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, promoting exchanges, interactions and integration among different ethnic groups, the official media reported.

Xi underlined the need to improve the governance capacity of religious affairs and realise the healthy development of religions.

Enhanced efforts should be made to uphold the principle that Islam in China must be Chinese in orientation, and to adapt religions to socialist society, he was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The normal religious needs of believers should be ensured and they should be united closely around the party and the government, Xi added.

In the past few years, the president has been advocating the “sinicization” of Islam which broadly means bringing it in tune with the policies of the ruling Communist Party.

Stressing the importance of cultural identity, Xi called for educating and guiding people of all ethnic groups to strengthen their identification with the motherland, the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, the Communist Party of China (CPC) and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

China has been battling allegations of mass incarcerations of Uygur Muslims in camps, which Beijing describes as de-radicalisation and education centres.

China accuses the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) which is active in the region of carrying out numerous terrorist attacks.

Beijing also downplays western allegations of massive human rights violations against Uygur Muslims and refutes the US and the EU allegations of genocide against Muslims in the province.

Recently, UN Human Rights Council chief Michelle Bachelet visited Xinjiang after a long drawn-out negotiation process with Beijing to look into the allegations of the internment of over a million Uygur Muslims of different ages as part of China’s crackdown on Islamist militants.

At the end of her visit to Xinjiang on May 28, Bachelet said she raised questions and concerns over the application of counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation measures and their broad application, particularly their impact on the rights of Uygurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities.

Source: Indian Express

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High Unemployment Rate among British Muslims Not Due To Cultural, Religious Practices: Study


The high unemployment rate among Muslims in the UK cannot be explained by sociocultural attitudes, a study has found. (@elondonmosque)


July 17, 2022

LONDON: The high unemployment rate among Muslims in the UK cannot be explained by sociocultural attitudes, such as commitment to traditionalism, a study has found.

Published in the peer-reviewed Ethnic and Racial Studies journal, the research confirmed the existence of a “Muslim penalty” in the employment market that discriminates against them and poses a significant barrier to them accessing work.

It rejected previous suggestions that high unemployment was due to cultural and religious practices.

Muslim men and women were found to have a significantly greater likelihood of unemployment than their respective white British Christian counterparts after adjustments were made for factors such as age, area of residence, education, and whether they have children.

After taking into consideration factors like religiosity, gender attitudes, and civic participation, the author found that they had only a minor effect.

“The findings offer evidence against the view that Muslims’ poor employment outcomes in Britain are due to their so-called sociocultural attitudes,” the author of the research, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, told the Guardian newspaper.

Samir Sweida-Metwally, a doctoral researcher at the University of Bristol, added: “In challenging this narrative, which problematizes Muslims and their faith, the study lends support to the overwhelming evidence from field experiments that shows anti-Muslim discrimination towards Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim to be a significant barrier to them accessing work.”

The researcher’s paper uses 10 years of data from the UK Household Longitudinal study, an annual survey of about 100,000 people from 40,000 households that collects information, mainly through face-to-face interviews on people’s socio-economic situation.

Participants were asked questions including how strong their religious beliefs are, whether they are members of social organisations, and whether they agree with statements such as: “Husband should earn, wife should stay at home,” and “Family life suffers if mother works full-time.” This enabled Sweida-Metwally to establish whether specific attitudes were associated with a higher risk of unemployment.

“Sociocultural variables such as gender attitudes, language proficiency, and the extent of inter and intra-ethnic social ties are not a convincing source of the unexplained ethno-religious differences in labour market participation and unemployment among Muslim men and women,” he said.

Another finding of interest was that country of origin or “perceived ‘Muslimness’” might be important. While white British Muslims did not display a significantly different risk of unemployment and inactivity from white British Christians, Arab men of no religion were among those with the highest likelihood of unemployment or inactivity.

“This might suggest that perceived ‘Muslimness’ is more important for predicting religious disadvantage among men than actual attachment to the faith,” Sweida-Metwally wrote.

“This means that an understanding that Islamophobia is multidimensional, and relates to colour, religion, culture and country of origin, with any one dimension of difference being ‘enough’ for someone inclined to be prejudiced, is essential to any strategy seeking to attenuate these inequalities,” he added.

With regards to men, the study found that those of black Caribbean ethnicity had the highest risk of unemployment. Among women, Muslims displayed the greatest risk of unemployment, with Pakistani women exhibiting the highest risk of unemployment.

“Overall, the evidence indicates support for the thesis that there is both a religious (Muslim) and colour (Black) penalty at play in the British labour market. Confirming previous research, religion is a much better predictor of unemployment and inactivity for women, whereas for men both colour and religion are important,” Sweida-Metwally said.

Source: Arab News

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Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Pushes Violence; Rift Within Coalition Government


Casualties of security personnel almost doubled in June as compared to the May figures. (AP file)


Jul 17, 2022

By Shishir Gupta

The Pakistan government held a series of secret peace talks with the anti-Pakistan insurgent group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in June after months of intense fighting. TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, who had been leading the peace talks for the group, revealed that former director-general of ISI and Corps Commander Peshawar (Gen) Faiz Hameed has been representing the Shehbaz Sharif government. The TTP also declared an indefinite ceasefire with the Pakistani government.

The casualties of security personnel and terrorists, however, indicate the talks have floundered, without any final conclusion, and there is a strong probability that, if the talks fail, violence will escalate further.

Data shows in June itself, Pakistan recorded 102 terrorism-linked fatalities as against 66 in May, a sharp jump of 54.54 per cent. More importantly, casualties of security personnel almost doubled - from 26 to 51 - and terrorist fatalities recorded an over two-fold increase - from 13 to 31. Civilian fatalities, however, fell slightly from 27 in May to 20 in June.

Additionally, the rift within the ruling alliance, bitterness between Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and the government, and the dire economic situation are shaping up to further destabilise the system.

On June 10, the federal budget with an outlay of PKR. 9.5 trillion was presented, in which loan repayment and debt servicing at PKR 3.9 trillion and the defence outlay of PKR 1.53 trillion were the two largest components. Dissatisfied with the provisions in the budget, the IMF demanded the removal of all subsidies and plans for a surplus of PKR 800 billion in order to move ahead with IMF’s USD six billion extended fund facility. Meanwhile, petroleum prices and the electricity tariff have been revised upwards to remove various subsidies, sparking second-order inflation, which was already in double digits at 13.5 per cent.

Pakistani political and military leaders also made an outreach to the international community.

Sharif travelled to Ankara in Turkey to enhance bilateral economic, defence and trade relations, and foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto visited the US and Iran to canvass for their support and cooperation.

From June 9 to 12, chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Beijing, China, to attend the Pakisatn-China Joint Military Cooperation Committee meeting and then travelled to Paris on June 13-17 to attend the Eurosatory Defence Exhibition.

In an embarrassment to Pakistan, Canadian Parliamentarian Tom Kmiec alleged that General Bajwa was instrumental in toppling two governments and the army under his command had indulged in human right violations and supported various terrorist outfits.

No breakthrough in talks with TTP

The TTP has said there won’t be a dissolution of or surrender by the group even if the peace talks with the Pakistan government succeed. Mehsud asserted that the TTP won’t back down from its demand for the reversal of the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with neighbouring province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Our demands are clear and especially the end of FATA merger (into KP) is our primary demand, which we cannot back down from,” he said.

The TTP emir also said the Afghan Taliban is not merely a facilitator of the peace talks but also a mediator.

Chinese nationals targeted

Chinese nationals are under increasing threat. Since July 19, 2007, when the first attack targeting Chinese nationals took place, at least 14 attacks directly targeting Chinese nationals have been recorded, resulting in 77 fatalities. The dead include 13 Chinese nationals, 13 Pakistani security personnel, 41 Pakistani civilians and 10 attackers.

Another, 54 persons, including six Chinese nationals, have been injured in these attacks. At least 66 Pakistani nationals (including civilians and Security Force personnel) have been killed in attacks not directly targeting Chinese nationals, but targeting Pakistani nationals associated with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, during this period.

Chasm within the ruling alliance

With disparate parties comprising the present ruling alliance, sharp differences have begun to emerge. On June 27, some leaders of the allied parties criticised government decisions in the National Assembly, claiming that the allies were not being taken on board in important matters. In order to assuage their grievances, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif hosted an informal dinner to listen to their grievances.

On June 18, during an interaction with the party’s office bearers and workers, Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari declared, “The next government (at the Centre) will be the Pakistan Peoples Party’s.”

Referring to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz he argued, “They (Sharifs) listen to us only when they need us.”

However, on June 7, Asif Ali Zardari had announced that his party would cooperate with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidates in the 20-seat by-elections for the Punjab Assembly, scheduled to be held on July 17.

Imran Khan's warning

On June 1, PTI chairman Imran Khan warned that the country would descend into civil war, if elections were not announced at an early date.

Meanwhile, on June 7, Sharif underlined that "political stability" was a must to revive the economy. He indicated the coalition government’s intent to govern the balance 15 months of the National Assembly’s tenure, instead of seeking an early election.

Source: Hindustan Time
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After LoC, Pakistani drone sighted near Samba border in J&K

Jul 18, 2022

JAMMU: After the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch, another drone movement was detected by locals on Saturday night near the International Border (IB) in Samba district of J&K, police sources said.

“Late Saturday night, some villagers from Mangu Chak village in Samba informed the police of having spotted a drone in the area. Following the information, security forces, including local police, launched a massive search operation in the area to rule out any air-dropping of arms and ammunition, or drug consignment,” a police officer said on Sunday.

On Saturday, alert Army troops had fired some rounds on spotting a drone near the LoC in Poonch district of J&K and forced it to return to the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) side.
Source: Times Of India

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Gurgaon Probes Reports of Manesar Slum Dwellers Leaving Days after Mahapanchayat Call to Boycott Muslim Shopkeepers

By Pavneet Singh Chadha | Gurgaon

July 17, 2022

The Gurgaon administration is looking into reports that several residents of a slum in IMT Manesar have left for their hometowns, days after a Panchayat in the area called for an economic boycott of Muslim shopkeepers and issued an ultimatum to the administration to conduct an enquiry to evict “illegal immigrants”.

According to locals and neighbours at the slum in sector 1 IMT Manesar, most of those who left are scrap dealers or rag pickers. On Saturday, the slum cluster, with over 50 shanties, was largely vacant, with scrap material and people’s belongings lying around. “The matter has come to my knowledge and we are examining it,” Gurgaon deputy commissioner Nishant Yadav said.

Satpal, who rents jhuggis in the slum, said, “I received information that at least 20-25 shanties that I had rented to scrap dealers have been vacated this week and the families have gone back to their village in Assam. After the panchayat was held, they felt scared and anxious.”

Bimla Yadav, who lives in a house adjacent to the slum cluster, said, “Some families left for their home in Assam due to fear.”

Locals also claimed some people had been making rounds of the cluster with a copy of a memorandum that Panchayat members had submitted to the district administration, claiming that a drive to check ID cards and documents of people had been initiated and those found staying illegally would be evicted. “People here are poor and not educated. They got worried and packed up their belongings,” said Bhat Chand, a local.

Mohit Yadav, who was among the people who had organised the Panchayat, claimed at least 400 people have vacated the slums in sector 1 IMT Manesar. “We had only asked for police verification of documents. Many people have been staying illegally here. We do not know if they are Rohingya or Bangladeshis. We did not threaten or ask anyone to leave. The fact that they left on their own suggests they were staying here illegally,” claimed Yadav.

Police, however, denied reports of people leaving due to threats. Manbir Singh, DCP Manesar, said, “We’ve not received any such reports. People may have left of their own accord.”

On July 3, the panchayat held in Manesar had urged the gathering to form village-level committees to enforce an economic boycott in their respective villages in Manesar region.
Source: Indian Express

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Hyderabad: Get ready for another Muslim matrimonial conclave

Sameer Khan

17th July 2022

Hyderabad: Did you miss Siasat Matri’s first Muslim matrimonial conclave that has helped many prospective brides and grooms in finalizing their alliances? Nothing to worry about as another conclave is going to be arranged soon.

During the first conclave that was held on Sunday, June 19 at Siasat Office, Abids, one-to-one meetings were arranged between family members of prospective brides and grooms.

Invite-only Muslim matrimonial conclave

Before inviting family members of the prospective brides and grooms, Siasat Matri had analyzed the expectations that were specified by them while registering on the website.

Based on the expectations, the one-to-one meetings were arranged under the supervision of the Siasat Matri team.

In the next conclave too, the parents of the prospective brides and grooms will be invited after careful analysis of the profiles.

Success rate of Muslim matrimonial conclave

As the expectations are being analyzed before inviting them to the conclave, the rate of success has increased significantly.

So, what are you waiting for, register on the website (click here) and then select one of the Membership Plans (click here to know membership plans).

Video matrimonial series

Apart from Siasat Matri’s conclave, the profiles will be showcased (Only after taking consent) in the episode of the video matrimonial series.

Following is the next episode of the series which is going to be released at 3 pm today.

Siasat Matri’s video matrimonial series and conclave are ensuring that the prospective brides and grooms find their life partners easily.

Source: Siasat Daily

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South Asia


University Lecturer Allegedly Tortured to Death in Southeastern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

17 Jul 2022

Mumtaz Sherzai, a lecturer at Khost University in the province of Khost in southeast Afghanistan, has reportedly been found dead after going missing for a few days.

Local sources state that after Professor Sherzai went missing for a few days, his body was discovered on Saturday, July 16, bearing obvious signs of torture.

The professor’s death is thought to have been caused by beatings and torture, as evidenced by the professor’s body’s torture marks.

The lecturer’s family and relatives told the media that although he was the only breadwinner and main source of income for the family, professor Sherzai had no personal animosity against anyone.

Moreover, according to sources, the professor is survived by his wife and their 3-year-old daughter.

The Taliban government’s officials have not spoken to the media about the enigmatic death of this professor.

Nearly a month ago, armed robbers killed Nematullah Wali, another university professor, by stabbing him to death in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

They took the professor’s phone and cash after which they killed him.

The passing of Professor Sherzai comes as Afghanistan experiences a brain drain problem, which analysts claim has an impact on the Taliban’s ability to rule the country.
Source: Khaama Press

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Sirajuddin Haqqani, Acting Interior Minister Asks World To Recognize Islamic Emirate

Jul 18, 2022

Sirajuddin Haqqani, acting Interior Minister, during his visit to Khost province asked the international community to recognize the Islamic Emirate.

“Based on international principles and our Islamic and national traditions they should recognize the Islamic Emirate, but if they don’t recognize it, I assure our people that Afghans are not without resolve. They (Afghans) have fought for 20 years without foreign resources, and with their faith and zeal, they will fight against the economic situation with the strength of their arms,” he said.

Haqqani said that the Islamic Emirate is ready to start economic and diplomatic relations with the world.

“I want to say that it is in their best interest to create diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, they need us and we need them, if tomorrow they need us in any matter, then based on what principles they will talk to me,” Haqqani said.

The acting Interior Minister added that the Islamic Emirate has proven in practice that Afghanistan's territory has not been used against any country.

Meanwhile, Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US envoy for Afghanistan peace, in an interview with “Talks at GS” said that the Islamic Emirate has not fulfilled the Doha agreement commitments.

“It is not in our interest for it (Afghanistan) to be a failed state, that’s why although it will have ... costs one would have to look among choices that you make, whether we should be looking at a grand bargain with the Taliban, that if they did this and that, we will do this, this is the unfinished part of the Doha agreement that I signed on behalf of the United States. There were things that they committed themselves too, and things that we committed ourselves too in return, parts of it were implemented and parts are not,” he said.
Source: Tolo News

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Stop illegal entry of Rohingyas in Bangladesh

Jul 18, 2022

Dhaka has requested Delhi to stop the illegal entry of Myanmar nationals into Bangladesh from India.

This issue was raised at the director general-level conference between Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Security Force (BSF) of India, which began in Dhaka yesterday.

The development comes following intelligence reports that Rohingyas living in India are sneaking into the country with the help of brokers.

Some of them were detained by law enforcers and sent to the transitional camps in Cox's Bazar.

Though there is no official record of the numbers of Rohingyas entering so far, this newspaper quoting officials reported in May that some 500 of them may have entered Bangladesh from India over the last month.

The new inflow creates an additional burden for the country already hosting nearly one million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals.

Fruitful discussions were held on preventing the illegal entry of Myanmar nationals into Bangladesh from India at the conference held at BGB headquarters in Pilkhana, said a press release issued by the border guards yesterday.

Besides, the killing of Bangladeshi nationals on the border topped the list of issues discussed at the meeting.

According to human rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), five people were shot dead on the border by BSF from January to June of this year. Besides, four people were wounded while six were abducted during the period.

Last year, 16 people were shot dead, one was tortured to death and another died of a heart attack after being chased by the Indian border guards.

Meanwhile, nine were injured and three were abducted by BSF during this time, ASK statistics show.

Illegal trespass; smuggling of drugs, arms and ammunition and gold; prevention of various border crimes including trafficking of women and children were also discussed at the conference.

Also on the agenda were the protection of border riverbanks, exchange of immediate information regarding activities of various armed extremist-terrorist groups; taking joint initiatives to implement the Coordinated Border Management Plan (CBMP), the release added.

BGB Director General (DG) Major General Shakil Ahmed led a 20-member Bangladesh delegation at the conference which included top BGB officials and representatives from the Prime Minister's Office, and foreign and home ministries.

Source: The Daily Star

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Heat Exhaustion in a Car’s Airless Trunk Kills an Afghan Migrant on the Way to Iran

By Saqalain Eqbal

17 Jul 2022

According to local sources in the province of Ghazni in southeast Afghanistan, a resident of Ghazni’s Jaghatu district died in agony from heat exhaustion and a lack of oxygen in the car’s trunk while allegedly being trafficked to Iran.

Zabihullah Yaqoubi, according to sources, risked his life to travel to Iran in quest of employment and sought to smuggle himself into one of the country’s cities, escaping poverty and unemployment in Afghanistan.

Sources stated that he was originally from and lived in Ghazni province’s Dara Turkman area in the Jaghatu district.

After the Taliban took over, the labor market in the country encountered several challenges, and a sizable population fled to neighboring countries in search of work, where they experience additional difficulties including the risk of being forcibly deported.

With the increasing pressure of the Iranian security forces, according to the reports, over 1,200 Afghans have returned or were forcibly deported to Afghanistan.

Turkey, which is considered a safe third country for Afghan nationals, also deported numerous undocumented Afghans in different regions of Turkey back to Afghanistan, in chartered flights.

Source: Khaama Press

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Gunmen Shoot a Newly Returned Man from Iran Dead in Northern Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

17 Jul 2022

According to local sources in Faryab province in northern Afghanistan, unidentified assailants shot and killed a man in the district of Almar, which is located about 35 kilometers from the provincial capital.

The incident, according to sources occurred in Halwa Khor village of the said district on Saturday night, July 16.

The Taliban’s director of Information and Culture for the Faryab province, Shamsullah Mohammadi, confirmed the veracity of this information to the media and stated that the respective department is currently conducting an investigation.

He also told the media that the motive of the crime is unknown but is the subject of the ongoing investigation.

The victim, whose name was Bukharuddin, had just returned from Iran three days ago and was gunned down last night while he was on the way to visit a relative, according to the source.

Reports of people being killed by armed individuals and groups have sharply increased since the Taliban took control.

Source: Khaama Press

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UN Senior Official Markus Potzel Calls for Afghan Girls’ Education

By Saqalain Eqbal

17 Jul 2022

Markus Potzel, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, stressed the importance of secondary education for Afghan girls and emphasized that everyone should have access to it.

On Saturday, July 16, during a visit to Nangarhar, Markus Potzel, the new deputy of the UN Mission in Afghanistan, stated that the Taliban should reconsider their stance on the matter of girls’ education if international aid to Afghanistan is to continue.

“Girls should go to school and even above grade six and should enjoy the same educational opportunities as boys,” Potzel said.

He has also mentioned the $100 million Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund, which will help the country’s crippled economy.

The director of Nangarhar’s information and culture department, Qari Noor Mohammad Hanif, said that the UN official had been to the province and had promised to assist in addressing the Taliban’s challenges, particularly with regard to unfreezing Afghan assets.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Deviationist teachings committee safeguards sanctity of Islam, says Idris

17 Jul 2022

BALING: The national-level Steering Committee on Addressing Deviationist Teachings (Japas) under the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) plays a role in safeguarding the sanctity of Islam from being insulted or ridiculed by irresponsible parties.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Idris Ahmad (pic) said the committee, which is chaired by him,comprised the National Security Council (NSC), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the State Islamic Religious Department.

He said the committee played a crucial role in ensuring the faith of Muslims was not distorted by the actions of some who ridiculed and insulted Islam.

"When we receive a report (on persons insulting Islam), we will act and will contact them because we do not want them to deviate from the true teachings of Islam. Muslims have to remember, if they make a mockery of Islam, it concerns their faith.

"If it s due to their ignorance , we (Japas) will advise them, but if they are still stubborn, then action will be taken," he told a press conference after presenting flood relief donations at Sekolah Menengah Agama (SMA) Arab Yayasan Khairiah near here Sunday (July 17).

Idris said this when asked on the action of a Muslim who was alleged to have insulted Islam during a performance at a comedy club in Kuala Lumpur recently.

In another development, he said a total of RM1.3mil had been donated by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) to help residents affected by the floods and the water surge phenomenon that hit Baling last July 4.

Source: The Star

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Saifuddin stays mum over Tajuddin’s position as ambassador

July 17, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah has remained reticent over Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s purported appointment as ambassador to Indonesia, days after Tajuddin’s name was omitted from a list of new heads of missions.

Saifuddin said it was not Wisma Putra’s practice to reveal the identity of envoys until they have received their appointment letters from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“The names will only be revealed on the day that, meaning if His Majesty hands over appointment letters to five (envoys), then it is five, if 10, then 10,” Saifuddin said, according to Malaysiakini.

Saifuddin said the ministry does not issue statements on “who will soon be an ambassador”.

On Tuesday, the King presented letters of appointment to four new Malaysian ambassadors: Lim Jay Jin (South Korea), Shahril Effendi Abd Ghany (Japan), Wan Zaidi Wan Abdullah (Saudi Arabia) and Khairi Omar (Iran).

Tajuddin’s purported appointment had come under heavy criticism from former diplomats, civil society and others.

Tajuddin’s absence from the ceremony came in the wake of an FMT report that Putrajaya had dropped him as an envoy to the republic. A high-level government source told FMT that Putrajaya had a “change of heart”.

However, the Malaysian Insight reported that the appointment was “still on track” and that the appointment letter had merely been delayed.

The following day Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that Tajuddin would clarify his status.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Cops arrest man who allegedly insulted Islam in Puchong

July 17, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Serdang police have arrested a man, aged 39, for allegedly insulting Islam in a TikTok video clip that went viral on social media.

He was picked up at his house in Bukit Kuchai, Puchong, about noon today.

He was believed to have been assaulted as well, based on a 28-second-long video clip on Facebook that showed him with a bloodied face. People can be heard berating him for allegedly insulting their faith on the video clip.

According to Serdang police chief AA Anbalagan, the case has been been classified under Section 298A of the Penal Code for insulting religion, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) for sharing or disseminating false, offensive and threatening content.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Next round of Syrian peace talks scheduled for Geneva put on hold: UN envoy

Peter Kenny  



The UN special envoy for Syria on Saturday said that the next session of the Syrian-led and UN-facilitated talks scheduled for July 25-29 in Geneva "is no longer possible."

While Geir Pedersen said he regrets that holding the ninth session of the “Constitutional Committee’s Small Body” to find a constitution for the war-torn country will not take place.

He did not give any specific reasons.

"The Special Envoy stresses the importance of all the stakeholders in this conflict protecting and firewalling the Syrian political process from their differences elsewhere in the world and encourages them to engage in constructive diplomacy on Syria," he said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council agreed to extend its mandate for badly-needed cross-border aid deliveries into Syria for six months following Russia's blocking of a one-year stay.

The 12-0 vote came after Russia vetoed a UN resolution four days earlier that would have extended cross-border deliveries from Türkiye for one year.

The resolution nixed by Moscow last week included a one-year extension for aid deliveries from Türkiye's Cilvegozu border crossing to Bab al-Hawa in northwest Syria.

Russia had sought a six-month extension with the option of another six months.

On June 30, Pedersen addressed the UN Security Council on the process he is driving and said the constitutional talks "if approached the right way, could contribute to a political settlement to implement resolution 2254," which calls for a cease-fire and political settlement in Syria.

'Real challenges'

The constitutional drafting body has representatives of both the Syrian regime and the opposition and civil society members.

"I told the committee members at the conclusion of the Eighth Session that I appreciated the tone and substantive nature of the dialogue in the room," Pedersen told the UN Security Council.

"But I was also honest with them that I saw real challenges," Pedersen noted.

"These relate to the pace of work and the inability of the members to identify and conclude areas of initial provisional agreement – even on points where there was potential consensus in the room," he added.

Established in 2019 with the support of the UN, the Syrian Constitutional Committee consists of two structures – large and small.

The large structure includes all the committee members, and there are three groups: the regime, the opposition delegation, and civil society representatives.

The large 150-person structure must approve the drafts prepared by the 45-person editorial board, and at least 75% of the members must support a decision for it to be adopted.

The Syrian civil war began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UAE President's France trip to boost ties, focus on energy

17 July ,2022

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan landed in Paris Sunday, on his first overseas state visit and with energy and transport deals on the agenda.

He is due to meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Monday at the Elysee Palace.

The UAE president's visit comes after Joe Biden's first Middle East tour as president, including a visit to Saudi Arabia at a time when Western powers remain desperate for both Riyadh and the UAE to increase oil output to tame elevated energy prices stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A key facet of the trip is likely to be the unveiling of “guarantees given by the UAE on quantities of hydrocarbon supplies to France”, a presidential advisor at the Elysee told AFP, referring to diesel supplies.

Dominated by hydrocarbons, UAE exports to France in 2019 reached 1.5 billion euros, much of it refined petroleum products, but the Emirates does not currently supply diesel to the country.

France is seeking “to diversify its sources of supply in the context of the conflict in Ukraine,” the Elysee source added.

MOUs and contracts are also expected to be signed in the transport and waste treatment sectors during the three-day visit.

Relations between the two countries have grown considerably in recent years. The UAE is home to the only foreign branch of the Louvre museum, and in December it signed a record 14-billion-euro contract for 80 Rafale warplanes.

The UAE is home to the largest French and Francophone expatriate community in the Gulf region.

The UAE's de facto ruler for years, Sheikh Mohamed, also known as MBZ, took office in May following the death of his half-brother, the long-ailing Sheikh Khalifa.

The visit to France “has of course a very symbolic dimension and illustrates... Macron and MBZ's good personal relations,” said Anne Gadel, a member of the North Africa Middle East Observatory at the Fondation Jean Jaures in Paris.

“This trip will be marked by energy issues in a context where European countries are worried about growing inflation driven by high energy prices”, she added.

Both European powers and the US have sought to press Gulf countries into upping oil output.

In opting for France -- rather than the US -- as his first foreign destination as president, the UAE's Sheikh Mohamed could be sending “a signal... to the US... meaning: we are not in a hurry to respond to the US' demands at all costs,” Gadel said.
Source: Al Arabiya

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UK considered suicidal Afghan ‘fine’ for Rwanda deportation: Documents

July 17, 2022

LONDON: The UK Home Office has been accused of “denying reality” after it claimed that suicidal asylum seekers were “fine” with the prospect of being deported to Rwanda.

Documents seen by The Observer suggest that one Afghan man at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre at Heathrow had tried to kill himself twice in detention to avoid being deported to Rwanda, and threatened to do so again, but that officials had said afterward that he was prepared to go.

After attempting suicide on June 20 by hanging, having previously tried to poison himself and asking for a doctor, the documents show that he was moved to an isolated area of the center away from other asylum seekers after saying he would throw himself off a balcony.

“(The detainee) stated that he does not care why he is in detention or CSU (care and separation unit), he only cares about his mental health and his children,” the documents read.

A following section marked “Home Office comments,” however, made no reference to the incidents, saying: “The DET (detention engagement team) officer conveyed to him that he had been served with the paperwork and was due to be removed to Rwanda. He was fine with going there or Afghanistan provided we assist him with his mental health issues.”

Clare Moseley, founder of the charity Care4Calais, which has helped 125 people facing deportation to Rwanda, said: “It is deeply shocking that the Home Office is saying that someone who is suffering extreme mental anguish due to fear over their future and that of their children is fine with being forcibly removed to Rwanda, when the extent of their distress so clearly demonstrates the opposite. The Home Office is denying reality.”

Moseley added that several asylum seekers issued with deportation notices and in detention had not been given adequate access to medical services.

The policy of deporting people to Rwanda, championed by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, was dealt a setback on June 14 when the first flight to the country carrying asylum seekers was scrapped after an intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.

Plans for a second flight were put on hold last week after the start of the Conservative Party leadership contest.

The policy remains popular with Conservative voters, so much so that all five remaining leadership contenders have pledged to pursue it. The UK exiting the ECHR has also become a topic of discussion within the party.

A judicial review hearing into the policy scheduled for this week has been pushed back to September as a result of the leadership contest, with the Home Office set to release dozens of asylum seekers as a result of their deportations no longer being imminent. According to Moseley, 46 have been released so far, with 79 still being held.
Source: Arab News

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Swedish Supreme Court stops extradition of senior FETO terrorist

Kemal Karadağ  


A member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that Sweden's Supreme Court had blocked from being extradited to Türkiye was found to be one of the terror group's ringleaders.

Just weeks after Sweden signed an agreement with Türkiye allowing Stockholm to join NATO as long as it take steps to address Ankara's terrorism concerns, Swedish media reports had recently emerged that the court blocked the FETO member's extradition, who was identified as Yilmaz Aytan, a so-called covert imam running the terror group's schools in Afghanistan.

Since 2018, Aytan has had a permanent residence permit in Sweden, where he filed for asylum to escape efforts launched against the terror group. He has since been granted refugee status, according to Swedish media.

Sweden, along with Finland, formally applied to join NATO last month, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated a defeated coup attempt in Türkiye on July 15, 2016, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Authorities in Türkiye have uncovered that Aytan is a user of the organization's encrypted communication app ByLock and is among the top members of the terrorist organization.

Türkiye's Justice Ministry has filed a request with Sweden to extradite Aytan for the crime of "forming/leading an armed terrorist organization."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Pakistani Sikh leadership demands extension of pilgrimage duration, meets PM Shehbaz Sharif

Jul 18, 2022

AMRITSAR: The demand of doing away with the US $20 service fee charged by the Pakistan government from every Indian devotee going on a day long piligrmage to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartapur Sahib, Pakistan, is now being raised from within Pakistan.

The issue has been taken up by Pakistani Sikh leadership which is also pursuing the Pakistan government to extend the duration of the current pilgrimage from the existing dawn to dusk to twenty-four hour yatra.

Ramesh Singh Arora, member, Provincial Assembly, Pakistan told TOI on Sunday that he had held a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and urged him to consider scrapping the service fee and increasing the yatra duration to 24 hours.

Notably, the Pakistan government charges a US $20 service fee from every Indian devotee visiting through Kartarpur corridor from India for a day-long visit to Kartarpur Sahib where Sikh’s first master Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life.

“Yatree sanu kehnday ny ki tusi mattha takken day ve US $ lande ho, jo ki bara bura lagda hai (we feel bad when pilgrims say that we charge US $ 20 for paying obeisance)," said Ramesh, who is also the chairman of the standing committee on Human Rights and Minorities Affairs, Pakistan.

He said the Sikh leadership of Pakistan had also urged PM Sharif to extend the duration of Indian Sikh pilgrims arriving at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib through Kartarpur Corridor, since the Indian devotees miss significant religious rituals of amrit vela (early morning time) and sandhya vela (evening time).

Ramesh said that they have over fifty rooms and dormitories to accommodate devotees from India at Kartarpur Sahib and if need arises, they would make extra arrangements to meet any number of devotees from India.

Presently, around 300 pilgrims visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib via Kartarpur Corridor which was inaugurated on November 9, 2019.

“I have also extended an invitation to the prime minister to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, and Gurdwara Nankana Sahib to celebrate parkash utsav (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Dev on November 8,” said Ramesh Singh, adding that the prime minister gave a patient hearing and assured consideration of their demands.
Source: Times Of India

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Imran Khan demands fresh general elections in Pakistan after impressive show in Punjab by-polls

Jul 18, 2022

LAHORE: Imran Khan has demanded fresh general elections in Pakistan after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party registered an impressive electoral victory in the crucial Punjab assembly by-polls, dealing a major blow to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif whose son Hamza Shehbaz is all set to lose his post as chief minister.

The election for the chief minister will be held on July 22 on the Supreme Court's order and PTI-PMLQ joint candidate Chaudhary Parvez Elahi is likely to be the new chief minister of the politically crucial province Punjab.

According to unofficial results so far, the PTI has won 16 seats while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of Sharif just three. An independent candidate also won.

PTI chairman Khan in a tweet on Sunday thanked party workers and voters of Punjab for defeating, what he called, not just PML-N candidates, but the entire state machinery, especially harassment by police and a “totally biased” Election Commission of Pakistan.

He also thanked the PTI allies — PML-Q, Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

“The only way forward from here is to hold fair and free elections under a credible ECP. Any other path will only lead to greater political uncertainty and further economic chaos,” Khan, who was ousted as prime minister in April after he lost a confidence vote in Parliament, said.

PTI party's senior leader Asad Umar said Khan would announce the party strategy after a meeting of the core committee on Monday.

He said now the PML-N is left with only one option and that is "immediately calling for fresh general elections."

The ruling PML-N of the Sharifs has accepted its defeat and even congratulated PTI Chairman Khan for a 'landslide victory' in the by-polls.

"We respect the mandate of the people. Now we ask the PTI-PMLQ to form the government in Punjab," the Prime Minister's spokesperson Malik Ahmad Khan told PTI.

To a question about whether Prime Minister Shehbaz would dissolve the National Assembly to call early general elections, he said: "The PML-N leadership will decide about it in consultation with its allies.”

PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz also accepted her party's defeat. "We should accept our defeat with an open heart," the daughter of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif said in a tweet.

She said that in politics, victory and defeat are a part of the game. "We will see our weaknesses and remove them," she said.

"Tehreek-e-Insaf is winning at least 15 seats. But it is very important for all our people on duty at all polling stations not to leave their place until the official results are obtained from the returning officers,” Khan said in a tweet.
Source: Times Of India

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Sharif will be reduced to 'Prime Minister of Islamabad': PTI leader post victory in Pak's Punjab by polls

Jul 18, 2022

ISLAMABAD: After the landslide victory of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in the Punjab by-polls on Sunday, party's secretary general Asad Umar said that with the ouster of Hamza Shehbaz as the current Punjab CM on July 22, PM Shehbaz Sharif would be reduced to the "prime minister of Islamabad".

It was a massive win for PTI in the by-elections on 20 Punjab Assembly seats. PTI candidates secured victory in Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sahiwal, and Khushab provincial assembly seats while the party took the lead by a clear majority in 15 constituencies of the province.

After PTI's win, while speaking with local media, the PTI secretary general Asad Umar urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to call snap elections, reported Dawn.

Notably, the current Chief Minister of Punjab is PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz. The defeat of the PML-N has prompted a series of reactions from rival PTI.

Umar said that PML-Q leader Parvez Elahi will become the Punjab CM on July 22.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz called for introspection within the party coalition, media reports said.

The likely victory of the PTI proved that the people of Pakistan had rejected the "decisions taken behind closed doors", he added.

Umar said the PTI chairman had called a meeting of the core committee on Monday (today) where decisions will be taken regarding the future strategy, as per the media reports.

While the race for Punjab was still on, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz had conceded defeat after the PTI took the lead in the majority of the 20 provincial assembly constituencies which were up for grabs.

She said that defeat should be accepted with an open heart. "The PML-N should accept the results of the bypolls with an open heart and concede to the decision of the masses," Maryam said, reported Geo TV.
Source: Times Of India

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Afghan refugees turn F-6 children’s park into ‘tent village’

Kashif Abbasi

July 18, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Owing to the negligence of authorities concerned, Afghan refugees have taken over a children park in Islamabad and are living there after pitching tents.

F-6’s newly-renovated children park has become a makeshift campground for the Afghan refugees mostly belonging to the Hazara community, who fled their country following the takeover of Kabul by Taliban.

Initially, the refugees camped outside the National Press Club and later started living in the red zone near Parliament House. However, police and administration managed to remove them from the high security zone.

The refugees then again established their camps outside the press club. However, those belonging to the Hazara community set up their camps in the children park across the road. Nearly 700 Afghan refugees, most of them women and children, have been sheltering in the park for the last few weeks.

Protesters say they are helpless, cannot return to homeland; CDA to seek local admin, police’s help to get area vacated

“We are living in a public park but we are helpless and shelterless and have no idea where we should go?” said Surya Mosawai, a university graduate from Herat.

She said the refugees had been facing lots of difficulties but no one, including developed countries and other champions of human rights, were paying any heed to their issues.

“Do you think we are living in this park by choice. No. We don’t want to live here but we have no other option. We have been demanding the international community and developed countries, including the United State of America, to provide us citizenship as we can’t go back to our country because of the Taliban,” she said.

Another refugee, Bakar Ahmed, said: “The United Nations High Commission for Refugees should help us.”

He said if developed countries were not ready to accept them, Pakistan should give them asylum.

It may be noted that Pakistan has already been providing shelters to more than 1.3 million Afghan refugees for decades.

Najma Nowrozi, another refugee, said camped life was highly tough as refugees had to go to nearby mosques for using washrooms.

“Even, we are facing shortage of water,” she said and added that some well-off local people had provided them two plastic tanks for storing water. It is a blessing for us but the water is insufficient,” she said, adding: “We are helpless and hopeless.”

Some of the refugees said there was a public toilet near their camps but they had to pay to the operator of the toilet for using it. Similarly, they said, they had to pay to shopkeepers for charging their mobile phones.

The park was recently renovated and restored by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) by spending millions of rupees. However, due to negligence of the civic agency, the same has been taken over by the refugees.

“We are not against refugees, they are our brethren. But we are against setting up of camps in a public park. The CDA and police should remove them from the park,” said Liaquat Khan, a local. Another local resident, Shabbir Ali, said unregulated camps posed a security threat to the locals. He raised questions over the efficiency of the CDA which is the custodian of the public parks.

“These camps should be shifted to some other place as people of the area have been deprived of their right to visit the park as it has been taken over by the refugees,” he said.
Source: Dawn

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Raza Rabbani blames PTI for increased establishment role in govt affairs

Ikram Junaidi

July 18, 2022

ISLAMABAD: While holding the previous PTI government responsible for “an increased role” of the establishment in government’s affairs, PPP leader and former Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said that the civilian space ceded to the military during previous government’s tenure was “unprecedented”.

In a statement released on Sunday, the PPP leader said that historically, civil-military relations have been heavily tilted towards the military, but the PTI government “was a government of the establishment, for the establishment and by the establishment”.

He claimed that during the PTI-led government, Parlia­ment was controlled by “others” rather than the Senate chairman and the National Assembly speaker.

“Motions, questions and other tools of parliamentary oversight were vetted by ‘the others’ rather than parliament’s staff,” Mr Rabbani alleged.

He claimed that members’ presence in Parliament during voting on vital issues was ensured by the establishment.

“Crucial decisions pertaining to or discussions on national security and foreign policy were taken outside Parliament,” he added.

The establishment had a role in all major decisions and there was a greater militarisation of civilian institutions, Mr Rabbani alleged.

He also said that the PTI-led coalition government was kept intact by the establishment.

He said that during the previous government, 25 autonomous or semi-autonomous bodies and organisations were headed by retired or serving officers of the armed forces.

While emphasising the need to address this disequilibrium, Mr Rabbani proposed three actions.

“Firstly, all political parties should agree on a second Charter of Democracy. Secondly, all institutions functioning under or through the Constitution should respect the trichotomy of power as envisaged in the Constitution. Thirdly, an economic agenda [should be chalked out]. This will require an intra-institutional dialogue and Parliament should assume its role and set this process into motion,” Mr Rabbani said

This statement came a day after PTI Chairman Imran Khan deplored the imbalance in civil-military relations and blamed previous the PPP and PML-N governments for ceding space to the army to `save their skin` in corruption cases.
Source: Dawn

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Security forces neutralise two more terrorists as body of Omer Javed recovered

July 17, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Security forces have neutralised two more terrorists during recovery operation for the abducted civilian Mr Omer Javed who was abducted along with Lt. Col. Laeeq Shaheed by the BLA terrorists.

“On 16 July 22, during ongoing recovery operation linked with abduction of Mr Omer Javed and apprehending perpetrators of abduction, in Warchoom, Ziarat, another terrorists hideout has been identified and cleared by security forces,” says a press release issued by the ISPR.

“During exchange of fire, two terrorists have been killed and arms and ammunition have been recovered. After clearance of hideout, entire area was sanitized. During search of the area, unfortunately, Dead body of Mr Omer Javed Shaheed has been found in a nearby Nullah, five Kilometers from Warchoom towards Khalifat Mountains. As per assessment, terrorists had killed Mr Omer Javed immediately after abduction,” the statement said.

Source: Pakistan Today

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North America


US will not leave vacuum in Mideast to Russia, China: Biden

Abdel-Jabbar Abu Ras  


US President Joe Biden said Saturday that the US will not leave any vacuum in the Middle East region to Russia, China, or Iran.

“We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia, or Iran,” Biden said at an Arab-American summit in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

“We will seek to build on this moment with active, principled, American leadership,” he added.

The summit brought together Biden with the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council members, as well as Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq.

Biden is set to conclude his four-day trip to the Middle East region later Saturday that included Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the West Bank.

The trip was seen as a US attempt to assert leadership in the Middle East against China and Russia amid the Russian war in Ukraine.

Addressing the summit, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the meeting was held "at a time when the world is witnessing great challenges."

He also called on regional rival Iran to be “cooperative and not to interfere in regional affairs."

Earlier Saturday, Washington and Riyadh called in a joint statement for deterring Iran’s interference in the region and for preventing Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

Before the start of the summit, Biden held separate meetings with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President of the United Arab Emirates President, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US terms Imran’s claim disturbing, looks ahead to strong ties

Anwar Iqbal

July 18, 2022

WASHINGTON: Former prime minister Imran Khan’s conspiracy claims are ‘very disturbing,’ says a US State Department official while underlining Wash­ington’s desire to rebuild a strong partnership with Pakistan.

Addressing a convention of Pakistani physicians in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Director Pakistan Desk Neil W. Hop described US-Pakis­tan relations as “a partnership we cannot do without”.

“We have to work with Pakistan in tackling global affairs. It is a partnership that is essential for us,” he said.

Mr Hop said that a Paki­stani delegation would visit Washington on July 25 for the largest ever health talks between the two countries.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Masood Khan said that the US-Pakistan relations had already stabilised and were “poised to become even better” in the near future.

A former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani, however, acknowledged that relations were passing through a difficult phase and suggested “the revival of structured high-level dialogue” to keep the partnership on track.

Ambassador Khan suggested strong commercial ties between the two countries, reminding American investors that “Pakistan has a large and vibrant Middle class and offers great opportunities for investment.”

Responding to a question about former prime minister Imran Khan’s claim of alleged US interference in Pakistan’s domestic politics, Hop said: “It’s very disturbing. There’s absolutely no truth in those allegations. We support a strong, democratic setup in Pakistan. We have no interests in its domestic politics.”

Jilani said the entire episode was very tragic, adding that he has had personal relations with the US official, Donald Lu, implicated in this alleged conspiracy. “He has positive feelings for Pakistan and has rejected involvement in any conspiracy,” he said.

Hop too called Lu a thorough “professional who cannot make such statements.”

Source: Dawn

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Jamal Khashoggi’s US lawyer detained in UAE

July 18, 2022

ABU DHABI: United Arab Emirates authorities have detained Asim Ghafoor, a US citizen and civil rights attorney who previously served as a lawyer for slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said US-based rights group DAWN, of whose board Ghafoor is a member.

A UAE government official confirmed Ghafoor was arrested while transiting through Dubai airport on July 14 on charges related to an in absentia conviction for money laundering pursuant to evidence heard by Emirati courts.

A US administration official had told reporters on Saturday that the United States was aware, but could not say whether President Joe Biden would raise the issue in bilateral talks with the UAE president on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Saudi Arabia.

“There’s no indication that it has anything to do with the Khashoggi issue,” the official added.

Saudi journalist Khashoggi was killed in 2018 at Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate in an operation that US intelligence accuses Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of approving. The prince denies involvement.

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) said in a statement on Friday that Ghafoor, a civil rights attorney based in Virginia, was en route to Istanbul to attend a family wedding.

The Emirati official said the UAE has granted a request by the US embassy to conduct a consular visit and that since the original trial was held in absentia, Ghafoor is permitted to request a retrial.

Source: Dawn

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US President Biden meets Iraqi PM, agrees to strengthen coordination on ISIS issue

16 July ,2022

US President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Saturday ahead of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.

During the meeting, Biden and al-Kadhimi agreed on strengthening security and military institutions in Iraq and voiced the importance of combating corruption and supporting Iraq’s economy, according to a joint statement.

Biden also reaffirmed the significance of a “stable and unified Iraq which includes the Kurdistan region,” and said a “strong Iraq” is an essential factor to achieve stability in the region.

Highlighting the strong partnership between the two countries, Biden and al-Kadhimi agreed on strengthening security coordination to prevent the resurgence of ISIS in Iraq.

During the meeting which also tackled Iraq’s political situation that is currently mired by political disagreements among parties hindering the parliament from electing a president and forming a government, the two leaders voiced the importance of forming a new Iraqi government that meets the expectations of the Iraqi people.

Prior to their meeting, Biden reaffirmed he wanted to support Iraq’s democracy, saying “I want the press and you to know we want to be (as) helpful as we can in doing that.”

Al-Kadhimi spoke about the “strategic, friendly relationship” between the US and Iraq, and he thanked the US for providing support to combat terrorist groups.

An estimated 2,500 US troops remain in Iraq to support the country’s fight against ISIS.

Biden is in Jeddah attending a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The leaders of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan are also attending.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Biden pledges $1.45 billion per year in assistance to Jordan

Abdel-Jabbar Abu Ras 


US President Joe Biden pledged on Saturday to provide Jordan with $1.45 billion in assistance per year.

The pledge was made in a joint statement issued following a meeting between Biden and Jordanian King Abdullah II on the sideline of a US-Arab summit in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

The statement said Biden announced his intention to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for assistance for Jordan with a value of $1.45 billion per year beginning in 2023 and ending in 2029.

"The MOU is designed to address Jordan's extraordinary needs, supports King Abdullah II's economic reform program, and ensure the long-term strength of the close partnership between the United States and Jordan,” the statement said.

“The MOU represents a major US political commitment to Jordan’s stability and the durability of the partnership,” it added.

According to the statement, both leaders "highlighted the strong defense partnership between the two countries, and reiterated commitment to their partnership in the fight against terrorism."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Arab World


Muslim World League welcomes Jeddah Summit outcomes

July 17, 2022

RIYADH — The Muslim World League (MWL) welcomed the outcomes of the Jeddah Summit for Security and Development, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia with the participation of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, and the United States of America.

MWL Secretary General and Chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars Sheikh Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa praised the outcomes of the summit, which focused on partnership in promoting peace and prosperity in the region.

Dr. Al-Issa congratulated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the success of the Jeddah Summit for Security and Development, praising the wise efforts of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the Crown Prince. He stressed that this great success reaffirms the status of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the regional and international arenas, and its deserved leading role in achieving peace and prosperity in the region and the world. — SPA

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Islamic State group ex-bastion in Syria hosts Jackie Chan film shoot

17 Jul 2022

"Home Operation" is inspired by China's 2015 evacuation of Chinese and other foreign citizens from the war in Yemen, an operation that was seen as a landmark for Beijing.

Yemen was deemed too dangerous a venue to shoot and some scenes of the film, which is also backed by an Emirati production company, are being shot in Syria, although the script only mentions a fictional country called "Poman".

The ruins of Hajar al-Aswad on Thursday filled with a motley crew of actors in Yemeni tribal attire, Syrian extras in uniform and polo-wearing Chinese film crew members.

Jackie Chan is the main producer, although there are no plans for him to visit Syria.

The film pitches itself as a blockbuster that will glorify the role of the Chinese authorities in a heroic evacuation.

Speaking to reporters as his crew installed their equipment and tanks in hastily altered livery moved into position, director Yinxi Song confirmed the film's propaganda credentials.

"It takes the perspective of diplomats who are Communist Party members, who braved a hail of bullets in a war-torn country and safely brought all Chinese compatriots onto the country's warship unscathed," he said.

The ambassador of China, one of few countries to have maintained good diplomatic relations with the regime of Syria President Bashar al-Assad, was present to launch the Syria shoot, which is expected to last several days.

A red banner in three languages was unfurled for the small ceremony and another that read "Peace & Love" was propped up on the front of a tank.

'Low-cost studio'

Hajar al-Aswad, which means "black rock" in Arabic, was once a densely populated Damascus suburb that lies next to the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk.

Both areas became major hotspots in the Syrian civil conflict that erupted in 2011 and were at least partially controlled at one point by the Islamic State group.

The reconquest of both neighbourhoods by Syrian pro-government forces in May 2018 marked the moment the regime brought the entire capital Damascus back under its control.

Swathes of Hajar al-Aswad were completely levelled, however, turning the neighbourhood into a sinister sprawl of grey, gutted buildings.

A few residents have returned to the least damaged parts of Hajar al-Aswad, leaving the rest completely uninhabited.

"The war-ravaged areas in Syria have turned into a movie studio. These areas attract film producers," said director Rawad Shahin, who is part of Home Operation's Syria crew.

"Building studios similar to these areas is very expensive, so these areas are considered as low-cost studios," he said.

The production team says it plans to use several other locations to film in Syria, where productions from Iran and Russia, both allies of Assad, have also been shot.

Syria is targeted by a raft of international sanctions and is also littered with unexploded ordnance which last year made it the world's most lethal country for landmine kills.

Chinese navy vessels carrying out anti-piracy patrols were diverted to Yemen in 2015 to evacuate what officials at the time said were hundreds of people from 10 different countries stranded by the escalating conflict.

Source: Ahram

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Facing Drought, Iraq Asks Turkey to Release More Water along Tigris, Euphrates Rivers

16 July ,2022

Iraq on Saturday asked Ankara to increase the flow of water downstream along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as both countries face droughts and tensions over resource management.

Baghdad regularly complains that dams constructed in neighboring countries impact its river levels.

Water Minister Mehdi al-Hamdani and the Turkish president’s special representative for Iraq, Veysel Eroglu, discussed “quantities of water arriving in Iraq through the Tigris and Euphrates” from Turkey, an Iraqi statement said.

Hamdani asked Turkey via videoconference “to re-examine the amounts of water released, in order to allow Iraq to overcome the current water shortage,” it added.

Eroglu said he would pass on the request to water authorities in Ankara to “increase the amounts of water released in the coming days, according to (Turkey’s) available reserves,” according to the Iraqi statement.

Both sides agreed that an Iraqi “technical delegation” would visit Turkey and allowed to “evaluate Turkish dam reserves on site.”

The UN classifies Iraq “as the fifth most vulnerable country in the world” to climate change, having already witnessed record low rainfall and high temperatures in recent years.

The issue of managing water resources has raised tensions between Baghdad and Ankara.

On Tuesday, Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq, Ali Riza Guney, sparked anger by accusing Iraqis of “squandering” water resources, calling on Twitter for “immediate measures to reduce the waste” including “the modernization of irrigation systems.”

Hamdani responded that Ankara was assuming “the right to reduce Iraq’s water quota.”

Iraq has seen three years of successive droughts and has halved cultivated agricultural areas for its 42 million inhabitants.

“Water reserves have dropped 60 percent compared to last year,” a government official said this Wednesday, Iraq’s INA news agency reported.

Source: Al Arabiya

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US, GCC nations release joint statement following Jeddah summit

16 July ,2022

The US and Gulf Cooperation Council countries released a joint statement on Saturday following the meeting of GCC leaders with US President Joe Biden in Jeddah.

The GCC leaders highlighted the historic partnership with the US and reaffirmed their keenness to build on the achievements of Saturday’s summit and previous summits to strengthen cooperation in all fields.

During the meeting which addressed global challenges and regional affairs, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to guarantee the region’s security and stability and voiced their support of all diplomatic efforts which aim to reduce regional tensions.

They also discussed strengthening their regional cooperation on the levels of security, intelligence and defence and boosting their efforts to guarantee the safety of naval passages.

“The GCC welcomes the US’… reaffirmation that it will always work with the GCC to deter and confront all external threats against the [GCC’s] security and against vital maritime passages particularly the straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb,” the statement said.

“The leaders reaffirmed their keenness to develop cooperation and coordination to develop defence capabilities [and confront] threats posed by drones, missiles and the armament of terrorist militias and armed groups.”

They also voiced their support for efforts which guarantee that the Gulf remains free of mass destruction weapons meaning preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“The leaders also welcomed establishing Combined Task Force 153 and Combined Task Force 59 which strengthen defence coordination between GCC countries and the US Central Command [and help] detect naval threats,” the statement said.

Highlighting their commitment to enhance cooperation, the US president and the GCC leaders reiterated that they will enhance their coordination to support efforts aimed at helping with the recovery of the international economy and at addressing the negative economic repercussions which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

“The US welcomed the Arab Coordination Group’s decision to provide at least $10 billion to help with the response to food security challenges regionally and internationally,” the statement said, adding that GCC leaders also welcomed the US’ decision to provide $1 billion in near- and long-term food security assistance for the Middle East and North Africa region.

The leaders also praised the efforts of OPEC+ to achieve the stability of global oil markets in a manner that serves the interests of both producers and consumers and welcomed OPEC+ recent decision to increase production in July and August.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi FM Prince Faisal holds press conference at end of Jeddah summit

16 July ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said on Saturday he was not aware of any discussions on a Gulf-Israeli defense alliance and that the Kingdom was not involved in such talks.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan told reporters after the Jeddah Security and Development Summit that Riyadh’s decision to open its airspace to all air carriers had nothing to do with establishing diplomatic ties with Israel and was not a precursor to further steps.

“The issue of overflights is a decision we took based on our commitments to the international protocols and also in the interest in providing connectivity between countries in the world. We hope that it will make some travelers’ lives easier. It’s not in any way a precursor to any further steps,” the Kingdom’s foreign minister said.

Any form of military or technical cooperation was neither discussed nor proposed at the recently concluded Jeddah Summit.

On Iran, the Saudi official said the Kingdom’s hand is extended to it, adding that although talks with Tehran have been positive, they have not achieved any results.

On Yemen, the foreign minister said the Kingdom continues to work to reach a comprehensive ceasefire in the war-torn country, adding that the Iran-backed Houthi militia must “realize that Yemen’s interest lies in peace and stability.”

He added that one of the reasons the conflict is ongoing in Yemen is Iranian weapons.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Over 100,000 young Saudis to benefit from training agreement with IBM

16 July ,2022

A new agreement between IBM and Saudi Arabia’s IT authority will upskill 100,000 young Saudis in the digital sector, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

The MoU to implement eight initiatives seeks to “bolster the Kingdom’s position as a hub of technology and innovation in the Middle East and North Africa region,” according to SPA.

The agreement was signed during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, between the Kingdom’s Deputy Minister for International Cooperation and Partnerships, Issam al-Thukair, and Fahad Alanazi, General Manager, IBM Saudi Arabia.

The agreement is expected to tie in with Saudi Arabia’s investment-focused route to the fourth industrial revolution.

Areas covered under training will include artificial intelligence and machine learning, cybersecurity and joint research, innovation accelerators, a policy laboratory, and IBM’s cloud and open technology centers for software interoperability, SPA reported.

“Our collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will help identify, co-create, and co-develop innovative applications to provide the Kingdom with access to advanced technology aligned to its Saudi Vision 2030 objectives,” Fahad Alanazi, General Manager, IBM Saudi Arabia, was quoted as saying.

Artificial intelligence projects are reportedly expected to be implemented within entities operating in the public sector to reach 66 projects.

Within five years, the agreement will also enable 100 workshops with government agencies on design thinking, and train 600 public sector employees in the accelerator established.

The two sides will also work together to conduct “many joint research and studies over the years,” according to the SPA report, which is expected to accelerate the growth of the digital economy.

Saudi Arabia and the US will cooperate on a range of future industries including 5G networks, enhanced cybersecurity, and space exploration, in addition to public health, the two countries announced on Friday.

Biden, who arrived in the Kingdom earlier in the evening, met with King Salman at Al Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah before the Crown Prince headed a meeting with the US president and officials from both countries.

Speaking to reporters following his meetings, Biden said he had good discussions on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies during his meetings with King Salman and the Crown Prince.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UAE President receives Iraqi PM, Kuwaiti Crown Prince at GCC summit

16 July ,2022

UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s Prime Minister, and Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Crown Prince of Kuwait, on Saturday on the sidelines of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit taking place in Saudi Arabia.

During the meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohamed and al-Kadhimi discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations to serve the interests of their countries, as well as advancing their cooperation and coordination across several developmental, economic and investment sectors, state news agency WAM reported.

They also exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of mutual concern.

In their meeting, the Kuwaiti Crown Prince conveyed to Sheikh Mohamed his wishes for more progress and prosperity for the UAE and its people.

Sheikh Mohamed and Sheikh Mishal discussed UAE-Kuwait relations and ways to enhance them to serve the interests of their countries and peoples, as well as support joint work among GCC countries.

They also exchanged views on several issues of mutual concern.

The meetings come on the sidelines of a summit of the countries that make up the Gulf Co-operation Council in addition to Iraq, Jordan and Egypt, known as the GCC+3.

Source: Al Arabiya

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26 Daesh/ISIS suspects arrested in Iraq raids



Iraqi security forces captured 26 suspected members of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist groups in security swoops across Iraq, according to authorities on Sunday.

Seven Daesh/ISIS suspects were arrested in an ambush in the northern Kirkuk province on Saturday, the Iraqi National Security Service said in a statement.

Security forces also nabbed 12 suspects in the western Anbar province and seven others in Salahuddin in northern Iraq.

All the suspects were transferred to judicial authorities for investigation, the statement said.

In 2017, Iraq declared victory over Daesh/ISIS by reclaiming all of its territories – about a third of the country’s area – invaded by the terror group in 2014.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israeli minister foresees direct pilgrim flights to Saudi Arabia next year

17 July ,2022

An Israeli official said on Saturday he expected members of the country’s Muslim minority to be able to fly directly to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage by next year after the kingdom signaled new openness as it hosted US President Joe Biden.

On Friday, Riyadh said its airspace would be open to all carriers - a de facto extension of flyover rights for Israeli planes, which previously had a Saudi corridor only for Gulf destinations, to include various Asia routes too.

Esawi Freij, Israel’s regional cooperation minister, said the Saudi decision showed US-encouraged efforts to move the countries toward more normal ties “are at a very advanced stage” that may “turn the dream into reality” for Muslims like himself.

“I believe that, in a year, the Muslim Israeli citizen will be able to fly from Ben Gurion (airport near Tel Aviv) to Jeddah and from there to Mecca to fulfill his pilgrimage duty,” Freij told public broadcaster Kan.

He declined to say on what this prediction was based.

There was no immediate comment from Riyadh.

Last week, Freij said he had asked Saudi Arabia to allow direct Tel Aviv-Jeddah flights for Muslim pilgrims. A US official told Reuters on Thursday that such permission was in the works.

Saudi Arabia has long admitted Muslim pilgrims from Israel, but they must travel through third countries. That ends up costing around $11,500 for a week-long stay, Freij said. Pilgrims from neighboring Arab countries pay around half that.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran accuses US of stoking 'Iranophobia' after Biden's Mideast tour

Syed Zafar Mehdi  



Iran has accused the United States of stoking tension in the Middle East region by resorting to "Iranophobia" following President Joe Biden's regional tour.

In a statement on Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani dismissed claims and accusations against Iran made during Biden's maiden regional trip.

He said joint statements made during Biden’s visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia were "in line with the US policy of inciting sedition and tension" in the region.

On the second leg of his regional tour in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Saturday, Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman addressed a regional summit, which was followed by a joint statement.

The two sides "underscored the need to further deter Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of other countries, its support for terrorism through its armed proxies, and its efforts to destabilize the security and stability of the region."

They also stressed the "importance of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," according to the statement.

Taking strong exception to the statement, Kanaani said the US was the "first country to use a nuclear bomb,” has "continued its interference in regional countries,” and "sold weapons" to governments in the region.

He also referred to the "blind and unlimited support" of the US government to Israel, holding Washington equally responsible for the "continued occupation" of Palestine.

On the first leg of his tour to Israel, Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid issued a joint declaration, reaffirming their resolve to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“The United States stresses that integral to this pledge is the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome,” read the statement dubbed “Jerusalem Declaration.”

Kanaani said Iran's nuclear program is in line with the "framework of international laws and regulations,” claiming that Israel possesses the "largest nuclear arsenal in the region.”

He further said Iran welcomes dialogue with its neighbors and intra-regional initiatives.

Tensions between Iran and the US are again running high in the wake of Biden's maiden visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia, which has seen both sides exchange verbal volleys.

The two sides are currently engaged in indirect talks in Doha to revive the 2015 nuclear accord, mediated by the European Union, but breakthrough remains elusive amid key disagreements on security and economic issues.

On Saturday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry updated its list of designated US officials per a 2017 parliamentary law that calls for "countering US human rights violations and terrorist actions.”

The 61 newly designated individuals include former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former US presidential candidate, and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani among others.
Source: Anadolu Agency

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Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis say they will not extend truce despite Saudi pledge

17 July ,2022

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia, slamming US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, said they would not agree to extend a truce in the seven-year war.

“We reject any outcomes for the American president’s visit to the region that touch the sovereignty, security and stability of Yemen, the Houthi ruling political council said in a statement on Saturday.

After Biden met with officials in his trip there this week, the White House in a statement said that Saudi Arabia had committed to extending and strengthening a UN-mediated truce in Yemen and will engage in talks to end the war that’s roiled the Arabian Gulf and triggered a humanitarian crisis.

All sides in the seven-year-old war agreed to a two-month truce in April, renewing the arrangement for a further two months in June. The White House statement suggested the fragile cease-fire will once again be extended.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran ‘capable of making N-bomb’, says Ayatollah Khamenei’s aide

July 18, 2022

DUBAI: Iran is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to build one, a senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatar’s al Jazeera TV on Sunday.

Kamal Kharrazi spoke a day after US President Joe Biden ended his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, vowing to stop Iran from “acquiring a nuclear weapon”.

Kharrazi’s comments were a rare suggestion that Iran might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.

“In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium ... Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build one,” Kharrazi said.

Iran is already enriching to up to 60 per cent, far above a cap of 3.67pc under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Uranium enriched to 90pc is suitable for a nuclear bomb.

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump ditched the nuclear pact, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment work, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

In reaction to Washington’s withdrawal and its reimposition of harsh sanctions, Tehran started violating the pact’s nuclear restrictions.

Last year, Iran’s intelligence minister said Western pressure could push Tehran to seek nuclear weapons, the development of which Khamenei banned in a fatwa, or religious decree, in the early 2000s.

Iran says it is refining uranium only for civilian energy uses, and has said its breaches of the international deal are reversible if the United States lifts sanctions and rejoins the agreement.

The broad outline of a revived deal was essentially agreed in March after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and Biden’s administration in Vienna.

But talks then broke down over obstacles, including Tehran’s demand that Washington should give guarantees that no US president will abandon the deal, the same way Trump did.

Biden cannot promise this because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political understanding, not a legally-binding treaty.

“The United States has not provided guarantees on preserving the nuclear deal and this ruins the possibility of any agreement,” Kharrazi said.

Israel, which Iran does not recognise, has threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Kharrazi said Iran would never negotiate its ballistic missile programme and regional policy, as demanded by the West and its allies in the Middle East.

Source: Dawn

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Iran's Human Rights Chief Urges UK to Release Imprisoned Citizen


Qaribabadi criticized the UK government's opposition to the return of Richard John, a Christian Iranian citizen who is imprisoned in the UK, and stated, "This Iranian citizen in the British prison does not enjoy favorable conditions in prison and is also deprived of receiving medical and health services."

"The Iran's Foreign Ministry has so far made follow-ups to improve the conditions of Richard John and return him to Iran, but the British side has not taken any action in this regard," he said.

He stated that in order to be released from prison and return to Iran, the Christian Iranian citizen even revoked his British citizenship years ago, but the British Ministry of Justice opposed this request on the pretext that his release could be dangerous for the lives of British citizens.

Referring to the unfavorable situation of the Christian Iranian citizen in the British prison, the inhumane treatment of him in prison, as well as the recent goodwill of Iran in the release of two convicted Iranians with dual citizenship, he asked the British government to adhere to its human rights obligations and to release this Iranian citizen and return him to Iran as soon as possible.

Richard John, a Christian Iranian citizen imprisoned in the British prison, has been in jail for about 20 years, but he has not gone on leave even for a single day, even to treat his illness. UK authorities have been opposed to sending him to a protected specialized hospital.

In February, Qaribabadi stated Iran has a total of 3,800 prisoners abroad, expressing concern that some of the inmates are serving their jail terms in inappropriate conditions.

He added a number of Iranians are in overseas prisons for their offenses or due to injustice or on political and groundless pretexts, including for circumventing illegal sanctions, and that they need to be protected.

Recently, Hamid Nouri, a former Iranian judiciary employee who has been in solitary confinement in Sweden since 2019, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Sweden.

On the sidelines of a conference on the US’s human rights violations in Tehran in late June, Qaribabadi stressed that Iran is following up the case of the Iranians taken hostages by the United States over “false accusations” of bypassing sanctions imposed on the country.

“The United States is one of the main violators of human rights at home and abroad, and human rights for the United States are merely a tool to exert political pressure on independent countries to achieve its foreign policy goals,” he continued.

“The US is the biggest enemy of humanity. Now’s the time for the international community to hold the US accountable for its crimes,” the official added.

Qaribabadi denounced international organizations for failure to take practical measures against the United States’ arbitrary measures, saying they lost their clout because they have become “politicized”.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Supreme Leader Pardons, Commutes Sentences of Over 2,200 Iranian Prisoners


Ayatollah Khamenei issued the approval on Sunday on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha and Eid Al-Ghadir, two highly important Muslim feasts.

Back in May, the leader agreed with granting clemency to 1,542 convicts of different Iranian courts. He issued the approval on the occasion of the Eid Al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Iran's Constitution grants the Supreme Leader the right to pardon or commute the sentences of convicts upon a recommendation from the head of the judiciary. The clemency, however, does not apply to all types of convicts, including those who have been found guilty of armed fight against the country, armed or organized drug trafficking, rape, armed robbery, arms smuggling, abduction, bribery and embezzlement.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian, Turkish FMs Discuss Ties Ahead of Erdogan Visit


Amirabdollahian and Cavusoglu discussed on Saturday issues related to political ties between the two countries, as well as the upcoming official visit to Tehran by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan, heading a high-ranking delegation of Turkish political and economic officials, is set to arrive in the Iranian capital on Monday afternoon.

His visit takes place upon an official invitation by President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi.

Erdogan will attend a joint meeting with Rayeesi and their Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday evening, which will take place within the framework of the Astana peace process aimed at resolving the years-long crisis in Syria.

In late June, Amirabdollahian visited Ankara upon an invitation by Cavusoglu, and held talks with his Turkish counterpart and President Erdogan. The Iranian diplomat reaffirmed Tehran's determination to expand relations with Ankara more than ever before.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran imposes sanctions on 61 Americans as nuclear talks hit impasse

16 July ,2022

Iran said on Saturday it had imposed sanctions on 61 more Americans, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, for backing an Iranian dissident group, as months of talks to revive a 2015 nuclear deal are at an impasse.

Others blacklisted by Iran’s Foreign Ministry for voicing support for the exiled dissident group Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) included former President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and former White House national security adviser John Bolton, Iranian state media reported.

The sanctions, issued against dozens of Americans in the past on various grounds, let Iranian authorities seize any assets they hold in Iran, but the apparent absence of such assets means the steps will likely be symbolic.

Giuliani, Pompeo and Bolton have been widely reported to have taken part in MEK events and voiced support for the group.

In January Iran imposed sanctions on 51 Americans, and it blacklisted 24 more Americans in April in its latest sanctions moves.

Iran’s indirect talks with the United States on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact began in November in Vienna and continued in Qatar in June. But the negotiations have faced a months-long impasse.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Khamenei adviser says Iran ready for regional dialogue after Biden's Middle East tour

Syed Zafar Mehdi  



A senior Iranian official and adviser to the country's supreme leader has expressed Tehran's readiness for dialogue with regional countries to resolve disputes.

Kamal Kharrazi, who is also a former Iranian foreign minister, in an interview with Al Jazeera, said Iran is ready to hold dialogue with key regional players, including Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Egypt, and Qatar.

The remarks came after US President Joe Biden's maiden visit to the Middle East, which took him to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

On the second leg of his tour in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Friday, Biden and Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman addressed a regional summit, which was followed by a hard-hitting statement against Iran.

In the joint communique, the two sides "underscored the need to further deter Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of other countries, its support for terrorism through its armed proxies, and its efforts to destabilize the security and stability of the region".

Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the only solution to regional crises is the formation of a regional forum with the participation of important countries.

He also dismissed the idea of "Middle East NATO" as "trivial" and said it was "out of agenda," seconding Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan.

Kharrazi further said that Iran welcomes the top Saudi diplomat's statement wherein he expressed his country's readiness to extend a hand of friendship toward Iran.

Faisal on Saturday said the kingdom's hand of friendship is extended toward Iran, while adding that the ongoing talks between the two regional adversaries in Baghdad have been "positive" but without any significant breakthrough.

“We are keen on finding a path to normal relations with neighboring Iran, and this is fundamentally linked to getting understandings that address sources of concern regarding Iranian activities, not only in Saudi Arabia, but with all countries in the region,” the top Saudi diplomat told reporters after the Jeddah summit.

Kharrazi also reiterated what other Iranian officials have said in recent weeks about the Israeli “threat” to Iran and the region, vowing Iran's appropriate response.

"Targeting our security from neighboring countries will be dealt with a response from us to these countries and a direct response to Israel. We have held extensive drills targeting Israel's depth in case our sensitive facilities are targeted," the official said.

On the ongoing talks between Tehran and Washington in Doha, mediated by the EU, Kharrazi said the US has been unwilling to give "guarantees" which can "freeze any possible agreement."

He also referred to the UN nuclear agency's recent resolution against Iran, saying if the agency acts fairly and independently, "it would be easy to resolve disputes."

The senior Iranian official ruled out any negotiations over Iran's missile development program and regional activities, which have been bones of contention between Iran and the Western powers for many years.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Presidency to Nigerians: Ignore online toxic reports on APC Muslim-Muslim ticket

16 July 2022

The Presidency says no classified report against the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket in the forthcoming 2023 presidential election by the Department of State Service (DSS) has been submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an online newspaper, Peoples Gazette, on Friday quoted the DSS report frowning at APC presidential candidate’s (Bola Tinubu) decision to nominate a fellow Muslim as vice-presidential candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

The online newspaper also quoted the report as describing Tinubu’s decision as a recipe for renewed sectarian crises that could destabilise Nigeria.

It further reported that a classified report was sent to President Buhari by the DSS, highlighting the security implications of the choice of former Gov. Kashim Shettima as vice-presidential running mate to Tinubu.

”The document, which got to the president by way of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), said Tinubu should consider security implications of his selection before making it public,” the newspaper reported.

However, Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s media aide, in a statement on Friday in Abuja, described the online report as fake and meant to sow division and chaos on the choice of Shettima.

Shehu, therefore, advised Nigerians to always ignore what he described as toxic reports, calling the online newspaper as a ”deadly virus”.

The statement read in part: ”We wish to advise well-meaning Nigerians to ignore a laughably puerile report by an apparently pirate online newspaper seeking to sow division and chaos on the choice of former Governor Kashim Shettima as the running mate of our Party’s Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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Sudan troops deploy ahead of pro-democracy protests

17 July ,2022

Sudanese police and soldiers deployed in large numbers Sunday across the capital Khartoum, ahead of mass protests planned by pro-democracy groups against coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Security forces erected road blocks on bridges crossing the Nile river linking Khartoum to its suburbs, AFP reporters said.

Undeterred, protesters vowed to take to the streets in large numbers following a period of relative calm over the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha which ended early last week.

The demonstrators oppose Burhan’s October power-grab and are also highlighting heavy fighting in Sudan’s southern Blue Nile state, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Khartoum.

Sudan’s latest coup derailed a transition to civilian rule, sparking near-weekly protests and a crackdown by security forces that has left at least 114 killed, according to pro-democracy medics.

Nine were killed on June 30, the medics said, when tens of thousands had gathered and their deaths reinvigorated the movement.

On July 4, Burhan vowed in a surprise move to make way for a civilian government.

But the country’s main civilian umbrella group rejected the move as a “ruse”. Protesters have continued to press the army chief to resign.

They accuse the military leadership now in power and the ex-rebel leaders who signed a 2020 peace deal of exacerbating ethnic tensions for personal gain.

In Blue Nile on Sunday, witnesses reported troops deployed in the town of Al-Roseires, after at least 33 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in violence between rival ethnic groups, according to the health ministry.

Guerrillas in Blue Nile battled former strongman president Omar al-Bashir during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war, picking up weapons again in 2011.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Curfew declared in two Sudan towns after deadly clashes

16 July ,2022

Sudanese authorities have declared an overnight curfew in two towns in southeastern Blue Nile state, close to the border with Ethiopia, after several days of tribal clashes that they said had left 31 people dead and 39 injured.

Clashes spread in several towns from Wednesday after the killing of a farmer, before security forces made arrests and brought the situation under control, a statement from Blue Nile state’s regional government said.

The statement said 16 shops had been destroyed and a night curfew was declared in the towns of Damazin and Roseires.

There have been sporadic outbreaks of violence in several regions of Sudan including eastern coastal regions and western Darfur, despite a nationwide peace deal signed by some groups in 2020.

The most powerful faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, a group active in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, did not sign the deal.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Libya’s NOC continues to do its job according to the law, it says

17 July ,2022

Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) is continuing to do its job according to the law, it said on its Facebook page on Sunday, days after the Government of National Unity (GNU) sought to replace the head of NOC and its board of directors.

NOC said it will not comply with any “illegal” sacking measures from an “outgoing” government.

GNU’s decision on Tuesday to replace Mustafa Sanalla has aggravated Libya’s political crisis and threatens to pull NOC into the factional infighting that it has mostly avoided during

years of conflict.

Sanalla says that Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah does not have the authority to sack him because the GNU’s mandate had expired. Dbeibah rejects that, saying his term will end only with an election.

In its Facebook post on Sunday, NOC said its headquarters is “occupied and surrounded by armed vehicles.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Suicide car bombing kills 3, wounds 14 in Somalia

Mohammed Dhaysane  



At least three people were killed and more than 14 others wounded when a suicide car bomb blast rocked the town of Jowhar on Sunday, officials said.

A police officer in Jowhar told Anadolu Agency that it was a suicide car bomb attack that targeted Nur Dob hotel, killing at least three people and wounding more than 14 others, including the health minister of Hirshabelle state.

The blast also destroyed many nearby buildings and businesses, he added.

Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre condemned the attack and sent his condolences to the victims’ families.

Jowhar is the administrative center of Hirshabelle state and is located 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of the national capital Mogadishu.

Eyewitnesses told Anadolu Agency that the explosion had affected nearby buildings and was one of the largest they had heard lately in the Horn of Africa country that has suffered major attacks in recent years.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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