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Islamic World News ( 24 Nov 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Instead Of Cracking down On Cannabis and Opium Taliban May Legalize ‘Cannabis Processing’ To Boost Afghanistan’s Economy

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 November 2021

 

A boss has said he has 'no idea' how his firm ended up being in a Taliban announcement about a drug trade deal (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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• Uzbek Police Reportedly Force Muslim Men to Shave Beards in the Tashkent Capital Region

• YPG/PKK Terror Group Continues To Forcibly Recruit Children in Northeastern Syria

• Rights Group Raises Alarm Over Threat to Freedom of Expression in Pakistan

• Libya Election Head Rules Out Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi as Presidential Candidate

 

South Asia

• Media Outlets in Afghanistan Closed Due To Financial Challenges and Restrictions on Press since Taliban Takeover

• Taliban believe current govt in Afghanistan is inclusive: Spokesperson

• Taliban welcome Indian aid as Pakistan conveys decision to India

• UAE holds talks with Taliban to run Kabul airport

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Europe

• Manchester Arena bombing inquiry told Didsbury Mosque imam received death threats

• EU condemns execution of juvenile offender in Iran

• Turkey, UK to negotiate landmark free trade deal to include more sectors

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Arab World

• Rights watchdog demands probe into France's role in airstrikes on civilians in Egypt

• Lebanon central bank governor told to hand over data for forensic audit: Presidency

• Iran chief negotiator meets senior officials in UAE: WAM

• Turkey, UAE to sign accords on energy, technology at talks: Officials

• Turkey is a ‘great natural partner,’ says UAE minister

• Arab coalition bombs drone sites in Yemen’s Sanaa: Report

• UAE Establishes $10 Bln Fund to Support Investments in Turkey

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Pakistan

• Taliban Govt Signs Deal With Australian Firm for Cannabis Centre

• World Realizing Islam as Religion Of Peace Despite Propaganda: FM

• ‘Pakistan Promoting Interfaith Harmony to Ensure World Peace’, Says Pakistan’s President

• Religious Dialogue Vital To Save World from Hunger, Poverty: Qureshi

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Africa

• Moroccan, Israeli Ministers Sign Defence MOU In Rabat: Spokesperson

• Sudanese prime minister says deal with military allows return to democracy

• Failure to hold Libya's Dec. 24 elections could lead to more conflict: UN

• Al-Shabab blast by school in Somali capital kills at least 5

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India

• Vice President AIMPLB: All Sections of the Society Should Come Together To Fight Sectarianism

• Taliban Look to ‘Balance’ Ties with India, Pakistan

• NIA raids multiple locations in J&K in terrorism conspiracy case

• 144 terrorists killed, 2 civilians died in cross-firing this year: IGP Kashmir

• 3 terrorists killed in Srinagar shootout

• 86% of terrorists killed in J&K this year were local residents: Sources

• Tripura violence: 4 Muslim clerics booked under UAPA granted bail

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Southeast Asia

• Malaysia Bans Israelis from World Squash Event

• PM Ismail Sabri preaches importance of evidence-based policies to drive Malaysia’s economy

• MCA’S Kelebang rep says up to party leadership to decide his position in Melaka govt

• Johor govt ramps up effort to register disabled people in state for welfare aid

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Mideast

• Israel Aerospace Eyes 25 Percent Share Sale and More UAE Deals

• Iran Says OIC Has Great Capacity for Helping Achieve Islamic Unity

• Defend Al-Aqsa Mosque, says Head of High Islamic Commission in Jerusalem

• Iran: US Must Lift All Unlawful Sanctions before Returning to JCPOA

• IAEA chief says he ‘could not agree’ in talks with Iran

• Spokesman: Iran, IAEA Reach General Agreement on Pursuing Issues of Mutual Interest

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North America

• US Will Not ‘Sit Idly’ If Iran Drags Out Nuclear Talks: Rob Malley

• US amends Syria sanctions rules to allow NGOs engage in transactions, activities

• Top US military general for Middle East warns Iran

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/taliban-afghanistan-economy-cannabis/d/125840

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Instead Of Cracking down On Cannabis and Opium Taliban May Legalize ‘Cannabis Processing’ To Boost Afghanistan’s Economy

 

A boss has said he has 'no idea' how his firm ended up being in a Taliban announcement about a drug trade deal (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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25 Nov 2021

The Taliban have signed a deal with Australia’s Cpharm Company that is willing to invest $450,000,000.00 in the cannabis processing industry in Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesperson tweeted.

Qari Saeed Khosty, the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry has said that the deal has been finalized and its work may start within days.

The company will use process cannabis for medical purposes and will be provided with thousands of acres of land of cannabis, Khosty said.

The cannabis production and processing will be legally contracted with Cpharm, he added.

But, on the other hand, Cpharma, an Australian medical consulting firm rejects any kind of involvement in the cannabis deal with the Taliban, the company said in a press release.

We have become aware overnight of numerous media articles stating that Cpharm in Australia has been involved in a deal with the Taliban to be involved in the supply of cannabis in a cream.  We have been contacted today by numerous media outlets around the world regarding this. Cpharma said in a statement.

The company further added that they do not manufacture or supply anything.

We provide a medical advice service to the pharmaceutical industry within Australia. We have no products on the ARTG. We have no connection with cannabis or the Taliban. We have no idea where the Taliban media release has come from and want to assure everyone that it should not be connected to Cpharm Pty Ltd Australia. The company added in a media advisory statement.

This comes as the Taliban had earlier committed to crack down on cannabis and opium processing in Afghanistan and will not allow formers to get engaged in the drug production business.

Afghanistan is currently going through an economic and humanitarian crisis with over 95% population below the poverty line for months now and this is the first initiative announced by the Taliban, however, it was widely criticized by the Afghan social media users.

The Taliban took power in Afghanistan by force on August 15, 2021, despite the international partners’ urges to return to power through a political settlement which was negotiated for months in Doha, Qatar with the delegation both from the Taliban and the Afghan government sides.

The International community has said they will not recognize the Taliban government until an inclusive government with the inclusion of women and other ethnicities and religious groups is not formed in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, the United States and Taliban are going to resume talks in the coming week in Doha, Qatar with a focus on counterterrorism operations against ISIS-K and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-may-legalize-cannabis-processing-to-boost-afghanistans-economy-876875/

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Uzbek Police Reportedly Force Muslim Men to Shave Beards in the Tashkent Capital Region

 

Men who spoke with RFE/RL said police in Yangiyul were forcing practicing Muslims to shave their beards.

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November 25, 2021

TASHKENT -- Uzbek police in the Tashkent capital region have forced dozens of practicing Muslims to shave off their beards, a practice in the Central Asian nation that has been criticized by domestic and international rights organization for years.

RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reported on November 24 that in recent weeks police in the city of Yangiyul, located 20 kilometres from Tashkent, have summoned men and forced them to shave their beards.

A local activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that 22 men had their beards shaved in Yangiyul alone over the past month.

"Only religious men are forced to shave their beards,” he said, adding that the practice appears “systematic.”

Men who spoke with RFE/RL said police don’t target those who grow a beard for fashion, but only practicing Muslims.

"The police say that we supposedly look like terrorists," said one resident of Yangiyul. “We grow beards as this is considered in line with the traditions and practices of the Prophet Mohammad. They violate our rights.”

A local police official denied authorities are forcing men to shave their beards.

There have been frequent reports in recent years of police targeting men with long beards in Uzbekistan, in what is considered an effort to combat radical Islam in Central Asia's most-populous nation.

In May, a video circulated on the Internet allegedly showing a police official in the eastern city of Namangan instructing his subordinates to single out men with beards and force them to shave while documenting the process, taking the men's pictures before and after shaving. In June, police in Uzbekistan's eastern city of Angren reportedly forced dozens of practicing Muslims to shave off their beards.

Authorities have rejected the reports, saying that in some cases citizens were asked to shave off their beards in order to have the appearance that corresponds to their pictures in identification documents.

In December 2020, the U.S. Department of State removed Uzbekistan from the special observation list for violations of religious freedom, on which the country had been since 2018, saying the government no longer engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.”

Source: RFERL

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

https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbekistan-islam-beards-shaving-/31578046.html

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YPG/PKK Terror Group Continues To Forcibly Recruit Children in Northeastern Syria

 

The YPG/PKK terror organization continued to forcibly recruit and exploit children in areas under its control in northeastern Syria, according to sources.

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Eşref Musa, Ethem Emre Özcan  

25.11.2021

TAL ABYAD, Syria

The YPG/PKK terror organization continued to forcibly recruit and exploit children in areas under its control in northeastern Syria, according to sources.

YPG/PKK terrorists detained three more 15-year-old girls -- Hediyye Abdurrahim Anter, Evin Jalal Halil and Ayana Idris Ibrahim -- in Amuda in al-Hasakah province on Nov. 21 to forcibly recruit them as "child fighters."

The terror group detained two children, aged 13 and 16, in early August. And two children aged 16 and 13 were kidnapped Aug. 23.

The YPG/PKK is taking the children to its so-called training camps in al-Hasakah.

The terror group’s use of children as fighters and its educating them for military purposes has repeatedly been documented in UN reports.

A UN report, "Children and armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic," released May 18, showed that the YPG/PKK used more than 400 children between July 2018 and June 2020.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is PKK's Syrian offshoot.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/ypg-pkk-terror-group-continues-to-forcibly-recruit-children-in-northeastern-syria/2429909

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Rights Group Raises Alarm Over Threat To Freedom Of Expression In Pakistan

 

Freedom of Expression in Pakistan

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Nov 25, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday expressed concern over attempts to smother freedom of expression and opinion in the country.

The remarks were made in the context of the recently concluded Asma Jahangir Conference 2021.

"HRCP is increasingly alarmed by attempts to smother freedom of expression and opinion in the country--from the PTA's ham-fisted bid to disrupt internet services to the venue of the Asma Jahangir Conference and detractors questioning its funding, to the Pakistan Ulema Council's demand that the state takes action against the convenors for having allegedly 'defamed' the army and judiciary," HRCP said in a statement.

"In an environment where marginalised voices--particularly those from Balochistan and grassroots movements such as the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement--have to fight to be 74 heard on human rights, such steps are at odds with the government's claim that Pakistan's media is 'free'.

Religious and sectarian minorities suffer systematic discrimination and violence in Pakistan, an expert panel said during a seminar in Lahore.

This issue of discrimination against minorities was raised during the Asma Jahangir Conference 2021, where the speakers discussed the theme of 'Freedom of Religion and Belief' on Sunday.

"Despite all discrimination, we own this land and accept the Constitution of Pakistan," said speakers while attending a session on "Impact of extremism on religious and sectarian Minorities" on Sunday, The News International reported.

Prominent Pakistani academic Pervez Hoodbhoy said that the two-Nation Theory and the Objectives Resolution laid the basis for the systematic discrimination of minorities in Pakistan. He said that the Christians, Hindus and Parsis, over time, chose to leave Pakistan due to discrimination and violence.

Lal Chand Malli, Member of the National Assembly, said the government, under the Ministry of Human Rights, had formed a parliamentary committee to protect minorities against forced conversions, but the law was blocked at the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

A representative of the Hazara community termed Hazaras "double minority" as they faced systematic discrimination. "The extremists are empowered due to encouragement by the state as Hazaras suffer gross violations of human rights," Jalila Haider said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/rights-group-raises-alarm-over-threat-to-freedom-of-expression-in-pakistan/articleshow/87901094.cms

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Libya Election Head Rules Out Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi As Presidential Candidate

 

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi

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24 November, 2021

Libya’s election commission said on Wednesday that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former ruler and a major candidate in December’s planned presidential election, was ineligible to run, compounding the turmoil surrounding the vote.

Gaddafi was one of 25 candidates that it disqualified in an initial decision pending an appeals process that will ultimately be decided by the judiciary. Some 98 Libyans registered as candidates.

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

Disputes over the election rules, including the legal basis of the vote and who should be eligible to stand, threaten to derail an internationally backed peace process aimed at ending a decade of factional chaos.

The military prosecutor in Tripoli had urged the commission to rule out Gaddafi after his conviction in absentia on war crimes charges in 2015 for his part in fighting the revolution that toppled his father Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. He has denied wrongdoing.

Some of the other candidates initially approved by the commission had also been accused of possible violations by political rivals.

Interim prime minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah vowed not to run for president as a condition of taking on his present role, and did not stand down from it three months before the vote as is required by a contested election law.

Another prominent candidate, eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, is said to have U.S. nationality, which could also rule him out. Many people in western Libya also accuse him of war crimes committed during his 2019-20 assault on Tripoli.

Haftar denies warcrimes and says he is not a U.S. citizen. Dbeibah has described as “flawed” the election rules issued in September by the parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, who is also a candidate.

UN Libya envoy Jan Kubis, who is stepping down from his post, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that Libya’s judiciary would make the final decision on the rules and on whether candidates were eligible.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/11/24/Libya-election-head-rules-out-Saif-al-Islam-Gaddafi-as-presidential-candidate

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 South Asia

 Media Outlets in Afghanistan Closed Due To Financial Challenges and Restrictions on Press since Taliban Takeover

Nov 24, 2021

KABUL: At least 257 media outlets have closed in Afghanistan due to financial challenges as well as restrictions on the media since the Taliban took over Kabul in August, according to newly formed media watchdog, Nehad Rasana-e-Afghanistan (NAI).

Tolo News reported that the shutdown include print, radio and TV stations. According to NAI, over 70 per cent of media workers have become jobless or left the country.

Afghanistan has released two lists of principles for the media's operation which have raised concerns over restrictions of media activities in the country.

Journalists have expressed dissatisfaction with the Taliban-led government.

Tolo News quoted a reporter as saying: "They (Islamic Emirate) said they will work for reporters, but we see no positive results."

"Recently access to information have been limited which has caused problems for reporters. The recent statement of the Ministry of Virtue and Vice has increased the concerns over restrictions of media activities," Abdurraqib Fayaz, another reporter said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/afghanistan-257-media-outlets-closed-in-100-days-since-taliban-takeover/articleshow/87889024.cms

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Taliban believe current govt in Afghanistan is inclusive: Spokesperson

November 25, 2021

The Taliban on Wednesday said the outfit consider the government they have installed in Afghanistan to be inclusive as it includes members of various ethnic groups.

This claim comes as the Taliban has been facing stringent criticism from the international community for the all-male government they installed in September.

"With regard to inclusiveness, our understanding of inclusiveness is that people of different ethnicities should participate in the government," Suhail Shaheen told Sputnik noting that it is exactly what the movement "has done and is doing."

Shaheen further stressed that "talented people of different ethnicities" can take part in governing the country.

The international community also demands that the movement ensure women have access to education, and the Taliban, according to the spokesperson, "has no problems" with women's education.

Three months have passed since the Taliban regained control of Kabul, as the US and its allies departed, wrapping up their 20-year military presence in Afghanistan.

Earlier in September, the outfit had announced the composition of an all-male interim government headed by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, who served as a foreign minister during the first Taliban rule.

Source: Business Standard

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

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/taliban-believe-current-govt-in-afghanistan-is-inclusive-spokesperson-121112500098_1.html

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Taliban welcome Indian aid as Pakistan conveys decision to India

Nov 24, 2021

NEW DELHI: The Taliban have welcomed Pakistan's decision to allow India to send wheat to Afghanistan through the land route and expressed readiness again to have Indian diplomats back in the country.

This followed Pakistan's announcement earlier in the day that it had formally conveyed to India its decision to allow, as a goodwill gesture, transportation of Indian wheat to Afghanistan via the Attari-Wagah border.

"I appreciate Pakistan’s announcement to facilitate wheat delivery by India to Afghanistan. We welcome decision by any country to reopen its embassy in Kabul and we categorically assure them of their diplomats' security," Taliban's ambassador-designate to UN Suhail Shaheen told TOI, responding to a query on Taliban's stated willingness to have diplomatic ties with India.

Significantly, India's close strategic partner Japan said Wednesday it will consider reopening its embassy in Kabul if the security situation allowed it. "We intend to reopen our embassy after security is assured. A joint framework should be created for practical measures," Japan's ambassador to Afghanistan Takashi Okada was quoted as saying by TOLO News. The ambassador also said Japan will continue to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Foreign minister S Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi had in a phone conversation earlier this week underlined the need for cooperation in dealing with the Afghanistan situation.

While maintaining that the current dispensation in Kabul isn't inclusive enough to merit international recognition, India has been looking to work with the Taliban to help them deal with the unfolding humanitarian crisis. More public engagements with the Taliban in the next few weeks aren't ruled out as the government prepares to send aid, including 50,000 MT of wheat, to Afghanistan.

Taliban's assurance on security also comes ahead of another round of talks with the US in Doha where the 2 sides are expected to discuss, among other things, humanitarian aid and the threat from terrorism.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan said in a statement that as a goodwill gesture towards the "brotherly" Afghan people, it had decided to allow the transportation of wheat and life saving medicines from India to Afghanistan via Wagah Border on an "exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes". The decision was officially conveyed to the Indian chargé d'affaires in Islamabad Wednesday.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/taliban-welcome-indian-aid-as-pakistan-conveys-decision-to-india/articleshow/87896388.cms

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UAE holds talks with Taliban to run Kabul airport

November 25, 2021

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates has held talks with the Taliban to run Kabul airport, going up against Gulf rival Qatar in a diplomatic tussle for influence with Afghanistan’s new rulers, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter.

UAE officials have held a series of discussions with the group in recent weeks to discuss operating the airport that serves as landlocked Afghanistan’s main air link to the world, the foreign diplomats based in the Gulf region said.

The talks demonstrate how countries are seeking to assert their influence in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan even as the hardline Islamist group largely remains an international pariah and its government not formally recognised by any country.

The Emiratis are keen to counter diplomatic clout enjoyed there by Qatar, according to the sources who declined to be name due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The Qataris have been helping run the Hamid Karzai International Airport along with Turkey after playing a major role in evacuation efforts following the chaotic US withdrawal in August, and have said they are willing to take over the operations.

Yet the Taliban has not yet formalised an arrangement with Qatar, the four diplomats said.

A senior Emirati foreign ministry official said the UAE, which previously ran Kabul airport during the US-backed Afghan republic, “remains committed to continuing to assist in operating” it to ensure humanitarian access and safe passage. Abu Dhabi also aided recent evacuation efforts.

The Taliban and Qatari authorities did not respond to requests for comment.

Two of the diplomats said the Taliban has also sought financial assistance from the UAE, though they added it was not clear if this was related to the airport discussions.

The Emirati foreign ministry official, Salem Al Zaabi, director of international security cooperation, did not respond to a question on whether the UAE was considering providing financial help to the Taliban.

One key issue that’s still to be resolved between the Taliban and potential airport operators is who would provide security at the site, the four diplomats said. The Taliban say they do not want foreign forces in the country following their return to power after two decades of war.

Still, Qatari special forces are presently providing security within the airport’s perimeter, the diplomats added, while Taliban special forces were patrolling areas outside.

So far countries have been reluctant to formally recognise the Taliban’s government, accusing the group of backtracking on pledges to uphold the rights of women and minorities.

Yet Qatari officials have urged greater international engagement with the Taliban to prevent impoverished Afghanistan from falling into a humanitarian crisis. Gulf states have also voiced concern that the US withdrawal would allow Al Qaeda to regain a foothold in Afghanistan.

While there is little commercial benefit for any operator, the airport would provide a much-needed source of intelligence on movements in and out of the country, according to the four diplomats, who said that since the withdrawal many countries have lacked real-time information.

Qatar and the UAE have had strained relations for years as they competed for regional influence. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and their allies boycotted Qatar for over three years, cutting off political, trade and transport ties, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism — a charge that it denies. The dispute was resolved in January this year.

Qatar has long been the gateway to the Taliban, with Doha hosting the group’s political office since 2013 and negotiations with the US in early 2020 that led to the withdrawal.

Last week, Qatari officials strengthened their position by signing an accord to represent American diplomatic interests in Afghanistan.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1660110/uae-holds-talks-with-taliban-to-run-kabul-airport

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Europe

 

Manchester Arena bombing inquiry told Didsbury Mosque imam received death threats

Soraya Ebrahimi

Nov 25, 2021

An imam received death threats after delivering a sermon denouncing extremism, he told the inquiry into the Manchester Arena bombing.

Mohammed Saeed El Saeiti said he spoke at Didsbury Mosque in the city condemning ISIS in October 2014, on the day the terrorist group said it had murdered local taxi driver Alan Hemming.

Salman Abedi gave the imam a “hateful look” after the sermon, Mr El Saeti said.

An “inciteful” Facebook message by Abedi’s father, Ramadan, was also posted, urging worshippers to “isolate this man” [El Saeti] so the UK government would not shut down the mosque.

Salman Abedi killed 22 people and injured hundreds in a suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena in May 2017, after a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

The inquiry into the attack heard the sermon also prompted a petition calling for Mr El Saeiti’s dismissal, with signatories including Abedi’s brothers, Hashem and Ismail.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Mr El Saeiti said mosque trustees admonished him for talking about politics and warned him threats had been made to harm him if he returned to the pulpit.

“I was speaking about the sanctity of human life. So I didn’t mention political groups. I’m not affiliated with any political party, I was just basically combatting terrorism and extremism,” he said.

He said he named ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Libya-based militias Ansar Al Sharia and Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, who he referred to as “dogs of hellfire”.

At the end of the sermon, a man snatched the microphone and accused him of espousing political views, he said.

“This man was a cardiologist. I told him he should feel ashamed to defend ISIS. I did tell him in front of the congregation,” Mr El Saeiti said.

Weeks later, Salman and Hashem Abedi sat “very close” to the pulpit and he could see from Salman’s face “he was not happy with me”.

“One of the congregation told me he sent his children to sit behind them in case ‘they might do something to you’,” Mr El Saeiti said.

Shortly after, he had a second encounter with Salman in a corridor at the mosque, the inquiry heard.

“He gave me a hateful look. He showed me that he didn’t like me, basically.”

Mr El Saeiti said he went on to phone Ramadan Abedi because he believed his Facebook post had incited harm against him.

“He said to me: ‘You spoke about the brothers of Ansar Al Sharia’. He said ‘I know them, they are good people’. So I then told them they are terrorists: they behead, they kill”.

Ansar Al Sharia, which has since dissolved, was a banned terrorist group in the US at the time of his sermon and was proscribed in Britain a month later.

He said Ismail Abedi also confronted him outside Didsbury Mosque and criticised him for speaking out against “the brothers”.

Libyan-born Mr El Saeiti said, as far as he knew, the majority of Libyans who attended the mosque, also known as the Manchester Islamic Centre, were opposed to Muammar Qaddafi, the disposed dictator.

He said sympathisers of terrorist groups in Benghazi were among the congregation.

“Some of them signed the petition,” he said. “They objected to my sermon against those groups.”

Mr El Saeiti told the inquiry he had raised concerns about regular “secret meetings” of Libyan supporters of extremist organisations held at the mosque throughout 2015 and 2016. he said they had been permitted by its trustees.

Mosque chairman Fawzi Haffar has denied any such meetings took place. He said Mr El Saeiti was “a liar” who held a grudge after being made redundant.

Mr Haffar said Didsbury Mosque was “middle of the road, mainstream” and rejected any suggestion it was not doing enough to address whether members of its congregation were being radicalised.

Source: The National News

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

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2021/11/24/manchester-arena-bombing-inquiry-told-didsbury-mosque-imam-received-death-threats/

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EU condemns execution of juvenile offender in Iran

Agnes Szucs 

24.11.2021

BRUSSELS

The European Union on Wednesday condemned the execution of a juvenile offender in Iran.

The EU condemned “in the strongest terms” the execution of Arman Abdolali who committed a crime when he was 17 years old, Peter Stano, the European Commission’s chief spokesperson in charge of foreign affairs, said in a statement.

“The European Union calls on Iran to refrain from any future executions and to pursue a consistent policy towards the abolition of capital punishment,” he added.

“It is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” the statement said.

The bloc also reminded Iran of its international obligations under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child that prohibit the death penalty for people under the age of 18.

Earlier in the day, Abdolali, now 24 years old, was executed at Rajaei Shahr Prison in the city of Karaj, west of the capital Tehran.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-condemns-execution-of-juvenile-offender-in-iran/2429753

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Turkey, UK to negotiate landmark free trade deal to include more sectors

Zeynep Cetinkaya  

24.11.2021

While the trade ties between the UK and Turkey continue at full speed, the landmark free trade agreement is planned to be renegotiated to include more sectors in the next two years.

The UK officially quit the EU after 47 years of membership on Jan. 31, 2020, as the 27 members of the bloc approved the Brexit deal on Nov. 25, 2018.

On Dec. 24 last year, the UK reached a post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU in a bid to prevent commercial losses after the divorce.

A few days later on Dec. 29, the country signed a historic free trade agreement with Turkey.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey's exports to the UK rose by 28% year-on-year to $9.7 billion in January-September, while its imports from the country increased by 4.5% to $4.2 billion in the same period.

Brexit has not affected the UK’s trade relations with Turkey thanks to the historic free trade agreements, Chris Gaunt, chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey (BCCT), told Anadolu Agency.

He pointed out that the deal has a clause to enhance and improve the free trade agreements.

"So there's the opportunity within the next two years to renegotiate the free trade agreements between Turkey and UK to include more sectors and give more opportunity for both Turkish companies and UK companies."

Agriculture, pharmaceuticals, technology, and financial services are areas that offer great potential for both countries, he said.

"Hopefully, we can start to include these in the new free trade agreement negotiations," Gaunt expressed.

The trade ministers of the two countries will meet in the next six to eight months to start the renegotiation process, he stated.

The technology sector in Turkey is growing very quickly, he underlined, adding: "It is becoming a major force within Europe. So the potential for Turkey and UK to grow their trade is still very big. And we want to create an environment whereby we can realize that potential over and above what we currently have."

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on bilateral trade, Gaunt said there is no lack of appetite to boost the trade volume.

"The UK is Turkey's second largest export market. Hopefully in the future UK will be Turkey's biggest export market," he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/turkey-uk-to-negotiate-landmark-free-trade-deal-to-include-more-sectors/2429402

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Arab World

 

Rights watchdog demands probe into France's role in airstrikes on civilians in Egypt

Merve Aydogan  

24.11.2021

A global human rights watchdog on Wednesday called on French authorities to "immediately investigate" allegations on involvement in aerial attacks against civilians in a joint "covert operation" with Egypt at the Libyan border in 2016-2018.

The statement by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) came shortly after the investigative website Disclose leaked a number of classified documents from the French Directorate of Military Intelligence, Ministry of Armed Forces, and armed forces general staff, unveiling information on a secret French intelligence operation in Egypt dubbed Operation Sirli.

The HRW noted that France had previously aided the "appalling human rights record" of Egypt under the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a country that is "among France's top arms clients."

"France continues to sign major arms deals with Sisi's government -- also under a pretext of security and fighting terrorism -- despite evidence that some of these weapons had been used to violently suppress protests and commit other human rights violations," it added.

Citing a statement by the French Armed Forces Ministry on launching an investigation "into the information disseminated by Disclose" a day after its release, the watchdog said it remained "unclear whether the investigation would focus on the origins of the leaks themselves or the allegations contained therein."

"France should immediately investigate the allegations made by Disclose into the reconnaissance mission in Egypt's western desert and suspend all sales of security-related assistance to the Egyptian government."

Despite the alleged evidence of French complicity in the killing of civilians, the Disclose said in its report that French forces were "still deployed in the Egyptian desert."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/rights-watchdog-demands-probe-into-frances-role-in-airstrikes-on-civilians-in-egypt/2429494

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Lebanon central bank governor told to hand over data for forensic audit: Presidency

24 November ,2021

Lebanon’s president told central bank governor Riad Salameh on Wednesday to provide data for a forensic audit of the bank, saying the restructuring consultancy Alvarez & Marsal(A&M) had said it did not have information it needed a month after starting.

President Michel Aoun made the comments in a meeting with Salameh and Finance Minister Youssef Khalil about the audit, part of efforts to address the fallout from Lebanon’s financial collapse in 2019 that has left swathes of the nation in poverty.

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More than two months after a new government took office, efforts to start resolving the crisis appear to be going nowhere fast. Salameh said on Tuesday Lebanon had yet to give the IMF its estimate of losses in the financial system, without which Beirut cannot begin serious talks for IMF support.

An audit of the central bank is one of the demands of foreign donors who have said they will not release funds for Lebanon until it reforms.

The governor and minister told the president they were “doing what is necessary” to meet A&M’s requests as quickly as possible, the presidency said in a statement.

A&M previously withdrew from auditing the central bank in November 2020 because it did not receive data required to carry out the task. It agreed to return in September 2021 after the authorities promised to ensure it received everything it needed.

An official source told Reuters that A&M had informed the presidency a few days earlier it would again withdraw if it did not receive more information from the central bank, leading the president to summon the governor on Wednesday.

A&M and the central bank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/Lebanon-central-bank-governor-told-to-hand-over-data-for-forensic-audit-Presidency

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Iran chief negotiator meets senior officials in UAE: WAM

24 November ,2021

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Baghreri-Kani met with senior Emirati officials on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, state news agency WAM reported.

Bagheri-Kani, who’s Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, met with the diplomatic adviser to the UAE president, Anwar Gargash, and Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, WAM said.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations and “emphasized the importance of strengthening them,” it said.

Bagheri-Kani said his country reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to “open a new chapter” in bilateral relations after meeting senior Emirati officials in Abu Dhabi.

“We agreed to open a new page in Iran-UAE relations,” Bagheri-Kani wrote on Twitter without elaborating.

There were also discussions about regional and international developments of common interest to the two countries, WAM added.

The meeting comes days before nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are slated to resume in Vienna.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/Iran-chief-negotiator-meets-senior-officials-in-UAE-WAM

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Turkey, UAE to sign accords on energy, technology at talks: Officials

24 November ,2021

Turkey and the United Arab Emirates will sign accords on energy and technology investments after talks between President Tayyip Erdogan and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Ankara on Wednesday, a Turkish official said.

Sheikh Mohammed’s meeting with Erdogan, the first such visit in years, comes as the two countries work to mend frayed ties and amid a currency crisis in Turkey.

The official said the memorandums of understanding would be signed between the Abu Dhabi Development Holding (ADQ), Turkish Wealth Fund (TVF), and the Turkish Presidency Investment Office, as well as with some Turkish companies.

The agreements highlight the pivot towards economic partnership after a battle for regional influence since the Arab uprisings erupted a decade ago. The disputes have extended to the eastern Mediterranean and Gulf, before Ankara launched a charm offensive in the region last year.

ADQ will sign an accord on investing in Turkish technology firms and on establishing a technology-oriented fund, the person said, adding Abu Dhabi Ports will also sign an agreement on port and logistics cooperation.

ADQ will also sign deals with Turkish company Kalyon on energy and infrastructure, one with CCN Group on health cooperation, and another with Turkey’s Presidency Investment Office for UAE investments in renewable energy projects of up to 3GW in Turkey.

“Problems with the UAE are now behind us. We are entering a period based fully on cooperation and mutual benefit,” said another official familiar with preparations for Wednesday’s visit, and added the UAE investment would ultimately be in the billions of dollars.

Turkey’s Central Bank Governor, Sahap Kavcioglu, was also meeting United Arab Emirates officials at the Turkish presidency for preliminary talks regarding a potential swap agreement, two sources told Reuters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/Turkey-UAE-to-sign-accords-on-energy-technology-at-talks-Officials

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Turkey is a ‘great natural partner,’ says UAE minister

25 November ,2021

Turkey is a “great natural partner” for the UAE and the two countries “share a similar outlook and agree on a range of strategic topics,” a senior Emirati official said on Wednesday.

Dr Sultan bin Ahmed al-Jaber, UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, told the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), “As we celebrate our Golden Jubilee, partnerships and building bridges will continue to be central to our next 50-year development plans. So, we are laser-focused on prioritizing sustainable economic growth and prosperity alongside regional and global partners.”

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“That means establishing stronger economic, trade, business and cultural ties with nations around the world like Turkey. As a close regional neighbor, Turkey is just a great natural partner,” he added.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has met with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday.

Al-Jaber is part of the high-level delegation accompanying Sheikh Mohamed during his official visit, state news agency WAM reported.

“From our engagements with various Turkish counterparts, it is evident and very clear that we share a similar outlook and agree on a range of topics that are strategically important to both of us,” he explained.

“It is our common interests, genuine commitment and shared vision for peace, stability and prosperity, not just for us but for the broader region.”

Al Jaber highlighted the fact that the UAE is Turkey’s largest regional trading partner. “From 2019 to 2020, UAE exports to Turkey increased by more than 110 percent and total trade increased by 21 percent.”

The UAE, now, is “taking a comprehensive approach” to the partnership with Turkey, he emphasized. “We will build on the existing foundation between the two countries and enhance our economic, trade and social ties across multiple sectors, including energy, healthcare, food and agriculture, logistics, ports, transportation, industry and manufacturing, infrastructure, finance and capital markets, technology, tourism, culture and more.”

The UAE announced on Wednesday that it will establish a $10 billion investment fund in Turkey, which will focus on logistics, energy, healthcare and food.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/11/25/Turkey-is-a-great-natural-partner-says-UAE-minister

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Arab coalition bombs drone sites in Yemen’s Sanaa: Report

24 November ,2021

The Arab coalition engaged in Yemen said on Wednesday it launched air strikes on the Iran-backed Houthi militia’s drone sites in the capital Sanaa in the second such raid in as many days after earlier targeting Houthi missile capabilities.

The alliance bombed a building under construction that was being used as “a secret factory” for drones and urged civilians to stay clear of areas with “legitimate” military targets, Saudi state media reported.

Residents said there was no hospital in the vicinity of the targeted area. Reuters could not immediately independently verify the report of casualties.

On Tuesday, the alliance, which has been battling the Houthis for over six years, said it destroyed a ballistic missile launch site.

The Houthis have repeatedly launched cross-border drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia since the coalition intervened in March 2015 after the movement ousted the internationally-recognized government from Sanaa.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/11/24/Arab-coalition-bombs-drone-sites-in-Yemen-s-Sanaa-Report

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UAE establishes $10 bln fund to support investments in Turkey

24 November ,2021

The United Arab Emirates has established a $10 bln fund to support investments in Turkey, according to a state news agency report.

The fund will focus on strategic investments, including in the energy and health sectors, according to state news agency WAM.

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

"The UAE announced the establishment of a $10 billion fund to support investments in Turkey," the official Emirati news agency WAM said.

The announcement comes after Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Wednesday, opening a new chapter in relations between the regional rivals.

WAM said that the move was "to support the Turkish economy and boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries."

It added that the main focus will be on "strategic investments", especially in sectors including energy, health and food.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/business/economy/2021/11/24/UAE-establishes-10-bln-fund-to-support-investments-in-Turkey

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Pakistan

 

Taliban govt signs deal with Australian firm for cannabis centre

Nov 25, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan government has signed a deal with an Australian company, Cpharm, that wants to set up a cannabis processing centre in Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“All the stages of the contract with Cpharm have been completed and in a few days the project will be officially launched which will create jobs for many citizens,” Saeed Khosty, Taliban press director, posted on Twitter.

He said that a representative of the Australian company pledged $450-million investment for the project in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan’s deputy narcotics minister met Cpharm’s representative on Tuesday in this regard,” Khosty said.

He added that the company, which produces medicinal cannabis cream, would be given access to thousands of acres of Afghan cannabis crops. Quoting a spokesperson for Cpharm, Khosty posted on Twitter: “Afghanistan has 6,000 acres of land for cannabis cultivation and they (Cpharm) need 5000 acres of cannabis.”

After taking control of Afghanistan in August, the Taliban authorities had vowed to crack down on the illicit drugs trade.

Yussef Wafa, Taliban governor of Kandahar, said in October that the group had been arresting drug users and would not let farmers grow cannabis or opium poppies.

According to Afghan poppy and hashish (cannabis) cultivators, they have not seen any real change in Taliban’s attitude towards them since they took control of the country.

Cannabis and opium crops were known to be significant sources of revenue for the hardline group when it was fighting a war against the US-led occupation of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan produces significant amounts of cannabis and manufactures methamphetamine using the local ephedra plant. It is also the world’s largest opium producer, accounting for 85 percent of the global total in 2020.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/taliban-govt-signs-deal-with-australian-firm-for-cannabis-centre/articleshow/87900629.cms

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World Realizing Islam as Religion Of Peace Despite Propaganda: FM

24 November, 2021

ISLAMABAD (APP) - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday emphasized the need for a genuine inter-civilizational dialogue and interfaith harmony to save billions of people from conflict, poverty, disease, and hunger.

Addressing a conference, the foreign minister said promotion of inter-faith harmony had assumed unparalleled significance in today’s polarized world characterized by extremism, supremacist ideologies, conflicts, and festering disputes.

The foreign minister said Pakistan was committed to sparing no effort to promote harmony and understanding between different religions, cultures, and civilizations.

He said the global Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for all that had led to the realization that shunning conflicts and intolerance and promoting understanding and cooperation hold the key to the survival of mankind.

He mentioned that Pakistan was at the forefront of efforts to promote understanding of the deep veneration held by Muslims for their Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

He stressed that the West must not encourage or tolerate the abuse of freedom of expression to injure the sentiments of nearly two billion Muslims.

Source: Dunya News

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https://dunyanews.tv/en/Pakistan/630126-World-realizing-Islam-as-religion-of-peace-despite-propaganda:-FM

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‘Pakistan Promoting Interfaith Harmony to Ensure World Peace’, Says Pakistan’s President

November 25, 2021

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday terming interfaith harmony the need of the hour, said Pakistan was promoting the message of tolerance and affinity among people of different faiths to make the world a peaceful place to live.

Addressing here at the International Interfaith Peace Conference, the president said Pakistan, as a responsible State, was implementing religious freedom as enunciated by its Constitution in conjunction with the Islamic principles.

The conference titled ‘Respect of Humanity and its importance’ was organised by Interfaith Council for Peace and Harmony, and Majlis Ulema-e-Pakistan and was joined by the representatives of various religions including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and others.

President Alvi said all religions of the world emphasized promoting peace and tolerance for the betterment of mankind and stressed translating the same spirit into societies having people with diverse faiths.

In today’s world with conflicts, he said, a global message of interfaith harmony was direly needed to reduce frictions and misconceptions about other religions.

He said Islam was a religion of peace and believed in respecting humanity.

He referred to the last sermon of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), where he had preached equality regardless of the discrimination of religion, race or gender in a society that was divided by notions of tribal and ethnic superiority.

Dr Alvi said promoting the message of the Prophet (PBUH) was still needed to be resonated today in a world where misconceptions about Islam were growing.

He called upon the followers of all religions to shun differences on the basis of their faiths and get united for the common cause of humanity.

He mentioned that several challenges such as global warming and environmental degradation required no religious intent, but a joint action to save the world and mankind.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent by Almighty Allah as a blessing for the entire mankind, whose teachings promoted love for all. He mentioned that the establishment of Rehmatul lil Alameen Authority by the government reflected its respect for all religions in line with the Prophet’s message of peace.

Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Professor Dr Qibla Ayaz said the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan enjoys the support of the majority of schools of thought, believing in the freedom of religions. He emphasized giving a message to the world that Pakistan was a citadel of peace that provided religious freedom to people with religious diversity and discouraged extremist approaches.

Grand Imam Badshahi Mosque and Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad said the solidarity of humanity was linked with practicing tolerance despite religious differences, in line with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

Source: The News Pakistan

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https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/911468-pakistan-promoting-interfaith-harmony-to-ensure-world-peace

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Religious dialogue vital to save world from hunger, poverty: Qureshi

November 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Wednesday emphasised the need for inter-civilisational dialogue and interfaith harmony to save billions of people across the globe from conflict, poverty, disease and hunger.

Addressing at the International Interfaith Peace Conference here, the foreign minister said promotion of inter-faith harmony had assumed unparalleled significance in today’s polarised world characterised by extremism, supremacist ideologies, conflicts, and festering disputes.

The foreign minister said Pakistan was committed to sparing no effort to promote harmony and understanding between different religions, cultures, and civilisations.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for all, leading to the realisation that shunning conflicts and intolerance and promoting understanding and cooperation hold the key to the survival of mankind.

He mentioned that Pakistan was at the forefront of efforts to promote understanding of the deep veneration held by Muslims for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

He stressed that the West must not encourage or tolerate the abuse of freedom of expression to injure the sentiments of about two billion followers of Islam.

He said Islam firmly rejects notions of racial superiority and discrimination on the basis of caste and creed.

Despite malicious propaganda, he said, there was a growing realisation in the world that Islam is a religion of peace that does not condone, encourage or promote terrorism or violent extremism.

The foreign minister referred to the last sermon of the prophet as the “most definitive and unequivocal rejection of racism” and a timeless beacon of hope for humanity.

He said Pakistan had a rich tradition of tolerance, understanding, and respect for the cultural values of minorities.

The spirit of interfaith harmony is reflected in the green and white of our national flag and is codified in our constitution, he added.

Qureshi mentioned Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech before the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, was a forceful enunciation of religious tolerance.

He said Pakistan is the land of Sufi saints whose message of respect for diversity, humanism and compassion resonates across the country.

Being on the crossroads of civilisations, he said, Pakistan is a rich mosaic characterised by a confluence of cultures and amalgamation of ideas and wisdom.

He mentioned that guided by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of promoting tolerance and interfaith harmony, Pakistan had opened up Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh brethren. Similarly, efforts are underway to protect religious sites and promote festivals of other religions.

Source: Pakistan Today

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https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/11/24/religious-dialogue-vital-to-save-world-from-hunger-poverty-qureshi/

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Africa

 

Moroccan, Israeli Ministers Sign Defence MOU In Rabat: Spokesperson

24 November ,2021

Morocco and Israel signed a defense memorandum in Rabat on Wednesday, an Israeli defense spokesperson said, opening the way for possible military sales and cooperation after the countries upgraded diplomatic ties last year.

The document was signed during a visit by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who was scheduled to hold talks with Abdellatif Loudiyi, Morocco’s defense administration minister, and other officials.

Departing for Rabat on Tuesday, Gantz told reporters he was embarking on “the first formal visit” by an Israeli defense minister to Morocco - implicit acknowledgement of discreet relations dating back decades.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/Moroccan-Israeli-ministers-sign-defense-MOU-in-Rabat-Spokesperson

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Sudanese prime minister says deal with military allows return to democracy

Adel Abdelrahim  

25.11.2021

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Wednesday that his political deal with the head of the ruling military council allows the restoration of the country’s democratic transition.

The agreement announced Sunday between Hamdok and Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, stipulates 14 points, including the return of Hamdok as prime minister, formation of a qualified professionals' (technocratic) government, release of political prisoners and a pledge to jointly continue the nation’s democratic path.

In an interview with private Sudania 24 TV, Hamdok said he "wasn't hesitant to sign the political agreement because it allows the restoration of the civilian and democratic transition."

He pointed to the importance to "complete the constitutional and national merit, conduct elections ... to continue the economic reform and achieve peace."

Hamdok said the agreement was also to stop bloodshed and "to preserve the gains of the last two years."

Following al-Burhan measures that deposed Hamdok’s government on Oct. 25, Sudan witnessed mass rallies and protests that caused the death of 42 civilians, according to Sudan's Doctors Committee.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/sudanese-prime-minister-says-deal-with-military-allows-return-to-democracy/2429906

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Failure to hold Libya's Dec. 24 elections could lead to more conflict: UN

Michael Hernandez

24.11.2021

Conflict could result from any failure to hold Libya's presidential and parliamentary elections as scheduled, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' outgoing special envoy warned on Wednesday.

Jan Kubis, whose Nov. 17 resignation was accepted by Guterres on Tuesday, told the Security Council that Libya is at a "delicate and fragile juncture" ahead of its nationwide Dec. 24 polls.

"While risks associated with the ongoing political polarization around the elections are evident and present, not holding the elections could gravely deteriorate the situation in the country and could lead to further division and conflict," he said.

"The Libyan people are yearning for an opportunity to elect their representatives and give them a mandate to govern Libya through democratic legitimacy. The aspiration and determination of the majority of Libyans to participate in the presidential and parliamentary elections as candidates or voters must be fulfilled," added Kubis.

Nearly 100 candidates have registered to run in Libya’s presidential elections, including transitional Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, renegade general Khalifa Haftar, and Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former strongman leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The presidential and parliamentary elections are set to take place under a UN-sponsored agreement reached by Libyan political rivals last November.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/failure-to-hold-libyas-dec-24-elections-could-lead-to-more-conflict-un/2429762

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Al-Shabab blast by school in Somali capital kills at least 5

November 25, 2021

MOGADISHU, Somalia: A large explosion outside a school in Somalia’s capital on Thursday has killed at least five people, including students, witnesses said. The extremist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Al-Qaeda-linked group controls large parts of rural Somalia and continues to frustrate efforts at rebuilding the Horn of Africa nation after three decades of conflict.

The blast sent a plume of smoke above a busy part of Mogadishu during the morning rush hour.

Abdulkadir Adan of the Amin ambulance service confirmed the five deaths to The Associated Press, and the service said at least 15 wounded people were rushed to a hospital.

“This is a tragedy,” he said.

Photos show the blast shredded part of the school, with emergency workers looking through the collapsed roof beams and wooden benches.

Al-Shabab in a statement carried by its Andalus radio said it targeted Western officials being escorted by the African Union peacekeeping convoy. But a witness, Hassan Ali, told the AP that a private security company was escorting the officials and said he saw four of the security personnel wounded.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1975026/world

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India

 

Vice President AIMPLB: All Sections of the Society Should Come Together To Fight Sectarianism

24th November 2021

New Delhi: After being elected Vice President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Arshad Madani said that all sections of the society should come together to fight sectarianism and Muslims alone could not fight the hatred being spread by a handful of people particularly in north India.

Maulana Madani said, “we cannot win the war against sectarianism alone. We have to bring together all secular-minded people of the society. We have to come together to put out this fire of hatred and sectarianism. If we do so, we can defeat the sectarian forces.”

Explaining the game of sectarianism and hatred in north India in comparison with south, he said, “the main reason for this is political interest. Provocation and outrageous statements are being made to create sectarian classification at the social level in order to achieve success in their nefarious plans by completely isolating the majority from the minority.”

He further said that there are only a handful of people who are fanning the flames of hatred and sectarianism but they are powerful because they have the backing of the people who are in power, and therefore the hands of law cannot reach their necks.

Maulana Madani also said that hatred cannot be countered with hatred, only ignorant people can try to extinguish the fire with fire. “In contrast, we must promote brotherhood, unity and love, which has been our and our country’s long history. This history must be revived,” he said.

Madani said the government’s attitude towards the issues regarding the growing dangers of sectarianism in the country, and the things that have been presented in the whole country, is based on hatred and prejudice.

“Interference in Sharia rules is in fact based on the same politics of hatred and prejudice. We have apparently no power to stop these things, and those who are doing this have the power of authority which is considered to be the greatest power in today’s world,” Madani said.

But there are many people in the country who consider the current situation as worrisome, and they are unhappy with what is happening against a certain class of people in the last few years. They also think that such things are very dangerous and harmful for the country.

Source: Daily Siasat

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https://www.siasat.com/hatred-more-in-north-india-than-south-arshad-madani-2230280/

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Taliban Look to ‘Balance’ Ties with India, Pakistan

Nov 25, 2021

Days before the Taliban’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi embarked on a visit to Pakistan on November 10, one of his aides reached out to an intermediary to ascertain whether there were any India-related issues that should be raised in Islamabad.

The aide from Muttaqi’s office also wanted to ascertain from the intermediary whether there were any sensitivities that should be kept in mind in the Taliban foreign policy chief’s maiden engagement with the Pakistani leadership, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

Muttaqi’s aide was informed about the need to take up with the Pakistani leadership the offer made by India several weeks ago to supply 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan, and the pressing need to make travel arrangements for hundreds of Afghan citizens stranded across India since the fall of the Ashraf Ghani government in August, the people said.

Pakistan had not responded to India’s proposal to ship the wheat to Afghanistan via the Wagah land border crossing in the absence of direct flights.

The Taliban delegation led by Muttaqi, which was in Pakistan for three days, raised both issues with top leaders such as foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Prime Minister Imran Khan. As a result, Khan announced on November 22 that his government would allow the shipment of the Indian wheat as soon as modalities were worked out by Islamabad and New Delhi.

Khan said Pakistan would also facilitate the return of Afghans who had gone to India for medical treatment and were stuck there.

This outreach by Muttaqi’s camp and the Taliban’s balanced response to the November 10 meeting of senior security officials of seven countries, including Iran and Russia, that was convened by India are being seen in some quarters as an attempt by the Taliban to strike a balance in their attempts to forge relations with Pakistan and India.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid had said the first regional meeting on Afghanistan convened by India was in the “better interest of Afghanistan” and reiterated the group’s policy on not allowing Afghan soil to be “used against any country”. The Taliban, he added, had no “objection or anxiety” about the meeting.

“Though we are not present in this conference, we firmly believe this conference is in the better interest of Afghanistan...and the participating countries also must be thoughtful of improving and safeguarding the security situation in Afghanistan and helping the current government to ensure security in the country on its own,” Mujahid said.

One of the people cited above said: “It is difficult to gauge their sincerity but they do seem to be going through the motions to create an impression that they want a balance between Pakistan and India. It also suits the Taliban to be seen as not completely reliant on Pakistan.”

The Indian side, which had opened channels of communication with sections of the Taliban leadership last year, has made it clear it is in no rush to give legitimacy or recognition to the Taliban setup. New Delhi has insisted that Afghanistan must not be used for planning or executing terror attacks on other countries and an inclusive government must be formed in Kabul.

Participating in an online event organised on Wednesday by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, foreign secretary Harsh Shringla described the Indian side’s conversations so far with the Taliban as “very reassuring” but also listed the world community’s continuing concerns on Afghanistan.

Though the rapid developments in Afghanistan amounted to a setback, he said: “We have also established some contact with the Taliban both in Doha as well as in Moscow in the talks, and I think the Taliban in our conversation with them have been very reassuring. They have recognised that India has contributed greatly to the people of Afghanistan that our developmental projects over the last 20 years have greatly contributed to Afghanistan’s development.”

He added the Taliban “want us to provide humanitarian assistance, they want us to re-establish our embassy there. So they have said good things, which is a good start.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/taliban-look-to-balance-ties-with-india-pakistan-101637779766204.html

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NIA raids multiple locations in J&K in terrorism conspiracy case

Nov 25, 2021

JAMMU: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday morning carried out searches at multiple locations in Jammu and Kashmir in a terrorism conspiracy case, the agency said.

The agency, however, did not reveal the exact case under which its sleuths conducted raids citing investigation reasons, but it assures to share the inputs soon as and when it finds a suitable time that will not affect its probe.

The raids were conducted three days after the NIA arrested Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez from Kashmir for his involvement in anti-India activities and having direct links with a banned Pakistan-based terrorist outfit.

A senior NIA official earlier confirmed ANI that "Parvez was in touch with Over Ground Workers (OWGs) of a banned Pakistani organisation".

The official, however, did not disclose the name of the banned Pakistani outfit suspecting that the revelation may impact the ongoing investigation.

The official said that Parvez was held based on "solid evidence" against him proving his links with the OWGs for several years. "These evidences are in the form of electronic devices and some other platforms that can be proved before the court during proceedings."

"Some digital devices have been found from the possession of Khurram Parvez... Some facts have emerged which are yet to be verified," the official further said.

The official also mentioned that the case in which Parvez has been arrested has some links to Himachal Pradesh where the NIA sleuths had conducted raids on Monday besides carrying out search operations at two locations in Kashmir.

In this case, the NIA had on November 22 conducted raids at two places in Kashmir, and one in Himachal before arresting Khurram Parvez from the Valley.

Parvez was arrested from Jammu and Kashmir in connection with NIA's ongoing probe in a terror funding case.

The agency had conducted raids at Parvez's residence in Sonwar and office in Amira Kadal of Srinagar.

NIA sources said that Parvez has been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

The NIA sleuths picked up Parvez from his residence in the afternoon and he was later arrested following questioning at the agency's office in the Valley, said sources.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nia-raids-multiple-locations-in-jk-in-terrorism-conspiracy-case/articleshow/87903715.cms

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144 terrorists killed, 2 civilians died in cross-firing this year: IGP Kashmir

Nov 25, 2021

SRINAGAR: IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said on Wednesday that 144 terrorists had been killed in different encounters so far this year while two civilians had died in cross-firing in the valley in the same period.

"Last year, 207 militants were killed during encounters and only one civilian was killed in cross-firing," Kumar said. He added that only three civilians had been killed in cross-firing during encounters in the last two years and that was the "lowest collateral damage in the last three decades".

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/144-terrorists-killed-2-civilians-died-in-cross-firing-this-year-igp-kashmir/articleshow/87900685.cms

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3 terrorists killed in Srinagar shootout

Nov 25, 2021

SRINAGAR: A senior commander of the terrorist outfit TRF, Mehran Yasin Shala, was killed in a brief encounter in Srinagar's Rambagh area on Wednesday along with terrorists Manzoor Mir and Arafat Ahmad Sheikh, officials said.

Mehran Shala was previously a local goon associated with the "Gujjar Gang" who reportedly took drugs and terrorised locals. The TRF (The Resistance Front) is a shadow group of the LeT.

"Acting swiftly on our own specific inputs... a team from the Srinagar police signalled a Santro vehicle to stop. However, the terrorists started firing indiscriminately on the police party from inside the car while trying to flee, police said, adding that they retaliated.

In the ensuing gunfight, three terrorists were killed. Meanwhile, IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said on Wednesday that 144 terrorists had been killed in encounters so far this year while two civilians had died in cross-firi-ng in the valley in the same period.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/3-terrorists-killed-in-srinagar-shootout/articleshow/87899811.cms

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86% of terrorists killed in J&K this year were local residents: Sources

Nov 24, 2021

NEW DELHI: Of the 148 terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir so far this year, 86% were local residents and only 14% foreign terrorists, sources in the security establishment have disclosed. Also, as many as 129 local Kashmiris were recruited by terror outfits this year, they said.

A senior officer said 127 local terrorists were killed in various encounters with the security forces in J&K this year, against 21 foreign terrorists neutralised in the same period. Local recruitment continues to be a concern, with 129 Kashmiris believed to have joined terrorist ranks so far in 2021. However, many of these local recruits have been killed in anti-terror operations, while some surrendered or got arrested.

Around 199 terrorists, including 110 local and 89 foreigners, are said to be active in the Valley. Infiltration activity has picked up in J&K in the last one month, though it was largely concentrated in the Poonch region. “A group is believed to have already infiltrated through this route, and may have headed to adjoining Shopian by road. Usually, just after onset of winter, the terrorists use the Poonch-Samba-Rajouri sector, where visibility on the border is low due to foggy conditions, to infiltrate and lie low in districts like Shopian through the winter months. Once the weather improves, they resurface to execute terror attacks,” said an officer of the central security establishment.

The officer added that arms continue to be smuggled into Punjab through drones, before being transported to Kashmir in trucks, using the narco-terror network.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/86-of-terrorists-killed-in-jk-this-year-were-local-residents-sources/articleshow/87876518.cms

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Tripura violence: 4 Muslim clerics booked under UAPA granted bail

24th November 2021

Hyderabad: Four members of the Tahreek-Farooghe-Islam (TFI) socio-religious organisation were granted bail by a magistrate court in Tripura on November 23. The bail was granted after two weeks of their detention under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

TFI national president and Muslim scholar Qamar Usmani Ghani, national vice-president Qari Asim, national secretary Ihsanul Haque Rezavi, and a member Roshan are the four members who were arrested and sent to jail for 14 days.

Speaking to Maktoob media Mahmood Pracha, the legal advisor of Tahreek-Farooghe-Islam, said that the four of them have been granted bail and walked out of prison on Tuesday.

The four Muslim scholars had travelled to Tripura to see individuals who had been affected by communal violence that had rocked the state last month. On November 4, they were arrested by Tripura police claiming that their lives were under threat. When police took them to the police station, they were told that their visit had created law and order issues in the area.

TFI president Qamar Usmani enroute to the police station recorded and released a video on his Twitter handle informing people about his detention.

The scholars were charged under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between various groups on the basis of religion, race, or place of birth), 153B (imputations, claims harmful to national integration), 503 (criminal intimidation), and 504 (criminal harassment) (intentional insult with the intent to provoke breach of the peace).

A nutshell of Tripura violence

A massive wave of anti-Muslim violence was witnessed a month ago in Tripura which has led to 16 verified incidents of Mosques getting vandalised. Of the same, three Mosques were completely burned down. 27 verified incidents of mob violence and an incident of right-wing groups attacking three houses in Panisagar and molesting women were also reported.

Source: Daily Siasat

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https://www.siasat.com/tripura-violence-4-muslim-clerics-booked-under-uapa-granted-bail-2229942/

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia bans Israelis from world squash event

November 25, 2021

Muslim-majority Malaysia is refusing to grant visas for Israeli players to participate in a major squash tournament next month, the sport's governing body says, sparking anger in the Jewish state.

It is the latest instance of the Southeast Asian nation, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, attempting to bar athletes from the country.

The World Team Championship for men is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur from Dec. 7-12, with 26 squads participating.

But the World Squash Federation (WSF) said it had "been made aware that, at present, the Malaysian authorities have not accepted yet to provide visas for the Israel squash team".

"The WSF is committed to the principle of open and inclusive world championships in which all member nations who wish to participate are welcome to do so," the governing body said in a statement to AFP.

The WSF added it is in contact with Malaysia's squash body and hoped that "a fair and practical solution can be achieved".

The Israel Squash Association said it plans to turn to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland if the WSF can't resolve the issue.

"It's a shame that they are mixing sports with politics," association chairman Aviv Bushinsky told AFP.

"Those who close their eyes — all the countries that participate and let something like that happen — they allow racism and discrimination to take place in sports."

The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia, the country's squash organisation, declined to comment.

Source: UCA News

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https://www.ucanews.com/news/malaysia-bans-israelis-from-world-squash-event/95109

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PM Ismail Sabri preaches importance of evidence-based policies to drive Malaysia’s economy

25 Nov 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — The evidence-based policy (EBP) approach should be promoted in the government’s effort to achieve the target of being among the world’s nine best economies based on the Government Efficiency sub-index of the Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) World Competitive Yearbook.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who said this, noted that the business legislation indicator showed a significant declining trend over the last decade, from 19th place in 2010 to 47th place in 2021.

“This is a strong call for regulatory reform. We must do something. To achieve the target, the EBP approach must be encouraged.

“EBP will be applied in the planning, evaluation and monitoring mechanism in order to ensure a comprehensive structural update for sustaining productivity and economic growth,” he said in his speech today at the virtual launch of the National Conference on Good Regulatory Practice (GRP), an event that marked the climax of the GRP Month that began on Oct 25.

Malaysia was placed 25th in IMD World Competitiveness rankings for 2021, up from 27th spot last year. Under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) (2021-2025), Malaysia is targeting to rise to among the top nine economies in the Government Efficiency sub-index.

Ismail Sabri said the “whole-of-government” approach that emphasised close and integrated cooperation among ministries, agencies and departments was the foundation for GRP’s implementation.

“Not only that, but the participation of the private sector, industry and business community in GRP will also be enhanced.

“The principles, elements and processes in the GRP approach must be adopted by all ministries and administrative agencies in drafting and reviewing policies and regulations,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said GRP elements, including Regulatory Impact Analysis, Cost-Benefit Analysis and Regulatory Notification Evaluation, must be done carefully and the data and information included must prove that the regulatory actions actually led to the people’s well-being.

“I am fully supportive of the initiative to develop quality regulations to realise this agenda as planned in the 12MP.

“I am also confident that the mandate given to the Malaysia Productivity Corporation to spearhead the updating of regulations will be carried out responsibly in facilitating the GRP implementation.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/11/25/pm-ismail-sabri-preaches-importance-of-evidence-based-policies-to-drive-mal/2023544

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MCA’S Kelebang rep says up to party leadership to decide his position in Melaka govt

25 Nov 2021

MELAKA, Nov 25 — Senator Datuk Lim Ban Hong is leaving it to the MCA leadership to decide on his position as International Trade and Industry deputy minister following his victory in the recent Melaka state election.

Lim, the newly elected Kelebang state assemblyman, said both federal and state posts were a platform for him to serve the people and country, and he would do his best to fulfill the new mandate given him in the state poll.

“I need to respect the decisions of the MCA president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman. I cannot pre-empt them, so let’s wait for their announcement.

“I have begun my work as the newly elected assemblyman and will do my best for the people of Kelebang and Melaka,” he told reporters here last night.

Lim was mentioned as a prospective state executive councillor to be appointed from MCA.

Commenting on MCA’s success in winning two seats in the polls, he said it was a mandate not only for MCA but also the whole of BN.

Being part of the BN family, MCA would help the new leadership administer the state in a spirit of togetherness that the coalition is known for, he added.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/11/25/mcas-kelebang-rep-says-up-to-party-leadership-to-decide-his-position-in-mel/2023586

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Johor govt ramps up effort to register disabled people in state for welfare aid

25 Nov 2021

BY BEN TAN

ISKANDAR PUTERI, Nov 25 — The Johor government will embark on a campaign to register the number of disabled people in the state next year, especially children.

The state Social Welfare Department (JKM) currently has 68,120 in its database.

“The move is not only meant to increase registration, but to also detect those who have not been registered so that appropriate assistance can be channeled to them,” state executive councillor Zaiton Ismail said in the legislative assembly today, in reply to Sri Medan assemblyman Datuk Zulkurnain Kamisan.

Zaiton chairs the state Women, Family and Community Development Committee.

Zulkurnain had earlier asked about the latest number of disabled people in Johor, as well as the state government's plans to assist them.

Zaiton said the majority of the 68,120 registered people are those with physical disabilities.

“The highest of which are physical (24,268), learning (23,892) and mental (6,498).

“Those with visual impairment and disabilities make up 5,450 people, hearing (4,428 ), speech (373) while 3,208 others have various other forms of disabilities,” she listed.

The Sungai Balang assemblyman added that the state government will promote a disability registration application online through the MyDaftar OKU programme to facilitate the process.

She said this was made for those with obvious disabilities, apart from complying with the standard operating procedures.

Source: Malay Mail

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https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/11/25/johor-govt-ramps-up-effort-to-register-disabled-people-in-state-for-welfare/2023593

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Mideast

 

Israel Aerospace eyes 25 percent share sale and more UAE deals

24 November ,2021

State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the United Arab Emirate’s state-owned defense conglomerate EDGE have started work on joint development of an advanced drone defense system, while IAI is likely to sell 25 percent of the company on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in the first half of 2022, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Israel’s privatization panel gave approval last year for IAI to sell up to 49 percent of its shares in an initial public offering.

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

“We’re aiming right now for 25 pct. It will be a first step,” Boaz Levy told Reuters after IAI reported a slight rise in third-quarter profit. “It will be somewhere in the first half of next year.”

The share offering still needs final government approval, he added.

IAI, one of Israel’s largest defense companies, earned net profit of $31 million in the three months to Sept. 30, compared with $30 million a year earlier. Sales rose to $1.04 billion from $1.01 billion, boosted by its Systems Missiles & Space and the Military Aircraft divisions.

Sales for export over the first nine months of the year accounted for 73 percent of total sales.

Defense budgets are rising, Levy said.

“We see many conflicts around the world and many changes that require a new approach and new capabilities ... We are trying to be a part of that,” he said.

AI last week opened a new office in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and has already signed a $100 million contract to convert Boeing 777-300ER passenger jets to cargo planes, which Levy said was “just the beginning.”

He said an office in the UAE was necessary to continue to bid for contracts and that IAI is also starting work on joint development of an advanced drone defense system with the UAE’s state-owned weapons maker EDGE.

The deals follow normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE last year, as well as with Bahrain and Morocco.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/business/technology/2021/11/24/Israel-Aerospace-eyes-25-percent-share-sale-and-more-UAE-deals

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Iran says OIC has great capacity for helping achieve Islamic unity

November 25, 2021

Khatibzadeh made the remarks while speaking about the latest situation of cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the OIC, according to the Thursday report of the information center of the Foreign Ministry.

The spokesman expressed hope that OIC during the tenure of the new secretary-general would witness further effort in line with serving common interests of the Islamic Ummah and member states in the international arena.

Then, the spokesman congratulated Hussein Ibrahim Taha on his election as the new OIC Secretary-General and wished success for him.

As Khatibzadeh noted, Ibrahim Taha has extended separate messages to the Iranian president and foreign minister and has expressed readiness for fostering cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

Source: IRNA

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

https://en.irna.ir/news/84554611/Iran-says-OIC-has-great-capacity-for-helping-achieve-Islamic

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Defend Al-Aqsa Mosque, says Head of High Islamic Commission in Jerusalem

November 24, 2021

Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque and head of High Islamic Commission in Jerusalem, yesterday called for defending the holy site against increasing Israeli raids, Quds Press reported.

In a statement, Sheikh Sabri said: "The Israeli occupation has turned the city of Jerusalem into a military base since Sunday and has escalated its provocative measures against worshippers."

"The Israeli occupation police tightened its restrictions on the Palestinians, while it opened the door wide for the Jewish settlers to desecrate Al-Aqsa Mosque."

Sheikh Sabri pointed out that the increasing Israeli raids "prove that the occupation is planning to dominate the holy site and impose its sovereignty over it."

Source: Middle East Monitor

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

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211124-jerusalems-sheikh-ekrema-sabri-calls-for-defending-al-aqsa-mosque/

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Iran: US Must Lift All Unlawful Sanctions Before Returning to JCPOA

2021-November-24

Khatibzadeh's remarks came in reaction to the allegations by the US officials regarding the upcoming Vienna talks.

"Spin won't get the US anywhere. Wise decisions—like ending max failure—just may," the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman tweeted.

"The US still manufactures fake news. Orchestrating photo op to sell fake narrative about need for mutual return to JCPOA doesn't change reality that unlike the US, Iran never left the deal," Khatibzadeh added.

The revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been on the agenda of high-profile negotiations between Iran and the remaining signatories, known as the G4+1 group (Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany), in the Austrian capital since April.

The JCPOA was unilaterally abandoned by the US in 2018, when former US President Donald Trump decided to implement a “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran.

US President Joe Biden promised to reverse Trump’s own reversing of his predecessor Barack Obama’s decision to sign on to the JCPOA. The Biden administration also argued on the sidelines of the Vienna talks that Tehran and Washington should mutually return to their commitments under the agreement.

Iran, however, has insisted that the US, as the party that initially violated the pact by its 2018 withdrawal, needs to fully honor its commitments first, after which Tehran will halt its nuclear energy activities that go beyond the limits set by the JCPOA.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iran's Lead Negotiator Ali Baqeri Kani underlined the need for Washington to prove commitment to its undertakings based on the nuclear deal.

“The US and the EU must show that they have the political will to implement what they agreed to do in 2015. They must overcome domestic considerations to resolve this,” Baqeri Kani said in an interview with Al-Jazeera network.

He added that the onus is on the US to prove its compliance with the deal as it was the only party who ditched the accord in a unilateral manner.

“It is widely believed that the United States, by withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), breached the deal blatantly and violated UNSC Resolution 2231 flagrantly,” Baqeri Kani said.

He made it clear that Iran has overcome Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign and will be sitting at the negotiating table on November 29 with “full preparedness, capacity, and total commitment to the JCPOA.”

“That’s why the Americans, while resorting to deception, try to exploit the political and media environment in their own favor. But it is not to their advantage. They should accept reality and abide by all their commitments,” the lead Iranian diplomat noted.

According to Baqeri Kani, Iran continues its nuclear activities legitimately within the framework stipulated in paragraphs 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, which give Iran the right to reciprocate the noncompliance of the other side through legally reducing its own commitments under the accord.

Rejecting calls on Tehran to reverse its nuclear advancements, Baqeri Kani said, “Until the violating and noncompliant party to the deal does not demonstrate, in practice, its commitment to the JCPOA, there is no reason for Iran to abandon its rights and entitlements guaranteed by the deal.”

“Everything is clear and there is nothing ambiguous about the nuclear deal to negotiate,” he added.

In another part of his remarks, Baqeri Kani called on the European parties to the JCPOA – namely France, Britain, and Germany – to demonstrate their abidance by the nuclear deal in action, instead of paying lip service to it, and to put an end to the noncompliance of the United States and its bankrupt policy of maximum pressure.

Asked whether Iran would discuss its missile program or regional influence after presumably successful conclusion of the Vienna talks, he stressed that only the countries of the region are entitled to make decisions about the issues of the region.

“Any interference from outside the region will bring no benefit for any party,” said the senior diplomat, pointing to the catastrophic ramifications of US-led interventions in the region. “It’s their presence and interference that impedes constructive dialogue.”

"The experience of foreign intervention from outside the region in Iraq and Afghanistan indicates that murder, genocide, the destruction of infrastructure, the spread of terrorism as well as narcotics cultivation and trafficking have been the main outcome of intervention and manipulation by foreign powers during the past two decades," the Iranian diplomat noted.

Baqeri Kani also signaled that the Islamic Republic is ready to keep weathering US sanctions if the Vienna talks do not fulfill its expectations.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000903000243/Iran-US-Ms-Lif-All-Unlawfl-Sancins-Befre-Rerning-JCPOA

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IAEA chief says he ‘could not agree’ in talks with Iran

24 November ,2021

The UN nuclear watchdog’s head said on Wednesday that he “could not agree” in talks with Iranian officials to resolve disputes over the monitoring of the country’s atomic program, a day after returning from Tehran.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the quarterly meeting of the board of governors that his talks in Tehran were “inconclusive”, despite what he had earlier described as “intense” negotiations.

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

“We could not agree yesterday, in spite of my best efforts,” Grossi told reporters on Wednesday, shortly after addressing the board meeting.

Among other officials in Tehran, he met Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

He had been hoping to make progress on several points of contention between the agency and Tehran.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/IAEA-chief-says-he-could-not-agree-in-talks-with-Iran

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Spokesman: Iran, IAEA Reach General Agreement on Pursuing Issues of Mutual Interest

2021-November-24

“In addition to meeting with Vice-President and AEOI Head Mohammad Eslami, Mr. (Rafael) Grossi (Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency) also met with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian,” Kamalvandi told FNA.

"The talks took place in a constructive atmosphere and the two sides reached a general agreement on how to pursue issues of mutual interest," he added.

"Due to the intensity of this trip, which took place on the eve of the (IAEA) Board of Governors meeting, and due to the lack of time, the two sides agreed to continue their consultations to complete the framework and details of continued cooperation," Kamalvandi said.

Grossi arrived in Tehran for meetings with top Iranian officials, days before the resumption of high-profile talks in Vienna on the removal of the United States’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

He said on Tuesday that he has held intensive talks with Iranian officials about issues of mutual interest, and hoped for a positive result from the negotiations.

“A few months ago during my visit to Iran, we agreed with Mr. Eslami that we would continue our joint work on transparency a few months later, as well as continuation and deepening of talks with the new government in Iran and I am proud to meet the Iranian foreign minister a few hours later,” Grossi said in a joint press conference with Eslami in Tehran.

“Today's talks were intensive and we are after continued negotiations to find common grounds,” he added.

“There are issues that we study with Mr. Eslami but our goal has been to define the perspective of the nuclear program in a way that we can help production of clean energies with respect to the climate changes and provide it to all. This was an issue which was discussed in detail in Glasgow meeting a few days ago,” Grossi said.

“We are making efforts to reach positive results from today meeting,” he added.

During the press conference, Eslami said that his country is determined to use peaceful nuclear program to improve the Iranian people’s lives, adding that the UN nuclear watchdog is due to help Tehran to this end.

“The important point between us and the Agency is that issues between the two sides are technical and (the assurance) that the Agency does not pay attention to the political issues and the enemies' plots to influence the path of progress of Iran’s nuclear program and is not influenced by them,” Eslami told reporters in a joint press conference with Grossi in Tehran on Tuesday.

“Mr. Grossi said several times today that they have witnessed no deviation in Iran’s nuclear programs and Iran continues its nuclear activities based on treaties and regulations,” he added.

Asked about the allegations raised by enemies against Iran’s nuclear program in the IAEA, Eslami said that they have been answered by Iran in the nuclear deal and that the case has been closed.

“We agreed today to end these issues and with the procedure that we will adopt, which is still being negotiated, talks on them will not continue,” he added.

“Iran is resolved in (developing) its nuclear program,” Eslami said, adding that the country wants to use different aspects of nuclear technology for a better living of the Iranian people and the IAEA will help Iran in this regard.

Also, Amir Abdollahian in a meeting with Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi called on the UN nuclear watchdog not to surrender to attempts by certain countries to influence and pressure the IAEA.

During the meeting on Tuesday, Amir Abdollahian underlined Iran's serious will to engage constructively with the IAEA under the Safeguards Agreement, and expressed the hope that mutual trust and cooperation would be further strengthened during Grossi's visit.

The Iranian foreign minister also referred to the importance of IAEA's technical, professional, and impartial work, and underlined the need for the Agency to ignore foreign political pressures.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000903000748/Spkesman-Iran-IAEA-Reach-General-Agreemen-n-Prsing-Isses-f-Mal

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North America

 

US will not ‘sit idly’ if Iran drags out nuclear talks: Rob Malley

24 November ,2021

The United States will not “sit idly” on Iran if it drags its feet on returning to a nuclear accord in talks resuming next week, the US special envoy said.

“If they start getting too close, too close for comfort, then of course we will not be prepared to sit idly,” US negotiator Rob Malley told National Public Radio in excerpts released Tuesday.

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

Iran will return to talks in Vienna with world powers on Monday after a five-month gap following the election of an ultra-conservative president, Ebrahim Raisi.

The negotiations come after the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, back from a visit to Iran, said there had been no progress in talks on disputes over the country’s program.

President Joe Biden’s administration opened the talks earlier this year in hopes of returning the United States to a 2015 nuclear accord trashed by predecessor Donald Trump, but has failed to reach an understanding with Iran.

“We’re prepared to get back into the deal and to lift all of the sanctions that are inconsistent with the deal. So if Iran wants to get back into the deal, it has a way to do that,” Malley said.

“If it doesn’t want to get back into the deal, if it continues to do what it appears to be doing now, which is to drag its feet at the nuclear diplomatic table and accelerate its pace when it comes to its nuclear program, if that’s the path it chooses, we’ll have to respond accordingly.”

The negotiations are being held indirectly, with an EU envoy shuttling between Malley and the Iranian delegation, which refuses to meet the US representative face-to-face.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/US-will-not-sit-idly-if-Iran-drags-out-nuclear-talks-Rob-Malley

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US amends Syria sanctions rules to allow NGOs engage in transactions, activities

24 November ,2021

Aiming to facilitate humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, the United States on Wednesday took action to let nongovernmental organizations deal with elements of Syria’s government despite American sanctions and gave them wider latitude in their activities.

The US Treasury Department in a statement said it amended existing rules called the Syrian Sanctions Regulations to expand the authorizations for NGOs to engage in certain transactions and activities.

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It also amended a general license for NGOs to enable them to take part in additional transactions and activities in support of not-for-profit actions in Syria including new investment, purchase of refined petroleum products of Syrian origin for use in Syria and certain transactions with parts of the government.

“The US government prioritizes expanding humanitarian access throughout Syria to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people, who continue to face armed conflict, food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in the statement.

The department said the new transactions and activities in the amended general license are authorized only in support of not-for-profit activities already allowed such as humanitarian projects and democracy-building.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration last June imposed sweeping US sanctions targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle to choke off revenue for his government in a bid to force it back to UN-led negotiations and broker an end to the country’s decade-long war.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/US-amends-Syria-sanctions-rules-to-allow-NGOs-engage-in-transactions-activities

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Top US military general for Middle East warns Iran

24 November ,2021

Iran is “very close” to being able to develop a nuclear weapon, but the US military has ways to prevent this from happening if diplomacy fails, the top US military general for the Middle East said in an interview published Wednesday.

But Iran does not have a warhead small enough to add to its ballistic missiles yet, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie told TIME.

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“They’re very close this time,” McKenzie said. “I think they like the idea of being able to break out,” he added.

And although the US is pursuing diplomacy as a way to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, McKenzie said the military stood ready to act if called upon.

“The diplomats are in the lead on this, but [US CENTCOM] always has a variety of plans that we could execute, if directed,” he warned.

Diplomats from the US and Iran are expected to resume indirect talks next week on the now-defunct 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna next week.

Talks stalled after six rounds following the election of a new Iranian government.

On Tuesday, US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley cautioned against more stalling.

“If it doesn’t want to get back into the deal, if it continues to do what it appears to be doing now, which is to drag its feet at the nuclear diplomatic table and accelerate its pace when it comes to its nuclear program, if that’s the path it chooses, we’ll have to respond accordingly,” Malley told the National Public Radio.

Iran has also been engaged in other malign activities throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world.

Militias backed by Tehran continue to target US bases and forces in and around the region.

On Tuesday, a CENTCOM official told Al Arabiya English that rocket attacks targeted US-led Coalition bases in Syria. No injuries or damages were reported, but drones and other missile attacks have come close to bases in Syria and Iraq.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/11/24/Top-US-military-general-for-Middle-East-warns-Iran

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