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

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Islamic State Group Released A Poster Depicting A Militant Beheading Santa Claus In Bizarre Anti-Christmas Graphic

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 December 2021

 

Islamic State 'beheaded Santa' in a graphic [Getty]

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• Russian President: Insulting Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) Not an Artistic Freedom but Is 'Violation of Religious Freedom'

• Rizvi alias Tyagi, Ex-Chief of UP Shia Waqf Board, Booked for 'Dharam Sansad' Hate Speech

• Pakistan Ulema Board Decides To Cleanse Curriculum of Extremism: Special Assistant To PM

• Indonesia’s Festive Tradition, Arguing If Muslims Can Say ‘Merry Christmas’ Or Not

 

Arab World

• Arab Coalition Air Strikes Destroy Vehicle Killing Three Houthi Militia

• Two killed after Houthi projectile hit Jazan: Arab Coalition

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Europe

• Western powers demand Libya decide on elections without delay

• Turkey pursuing 'proactive diplomacy': Foreign minister

• Pope celebrates Christmas Eve Mass as virus surges in Italy

• Britain to begin resettling Afghan refugees in January

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India

• 'New Sai Juice Centre' Run By A Muslim Man For 15 Years Vandalised, Forced To Shut by Right-Wing Group Claiming Sai Is ‘Hindu Deity’

• Friday prayers ‘barred’ at Srinagar’s Grand Mosque for 20th week in a row

• Namaz only at six sites in Gurugram, under police watch

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Pakistan

• Extremists have torn state’s writ into pieces, Rabbani tells Senate

• PM hails Putin’s remarks against Islamophobia

• Pakistan, Afghanistan border fencing row resolved: Official

• Terrorists attack check post in Pak; two soldiers killed: Official

• Govt Officials, Opposition Leaders, Others Extend Felicitations To Christian Community On Christmas

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Southeast Asia

• Compulsory for Haj pilgrims to wear digital detectors upon return, says health minister

• On Christmas eve, Melaka, Perak, Pahang and Selangor record drop in number of evacuees

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Mideast

• Open-Ended UNHRC War Crime Probe against Israel Backed By 125 Countries

• Gazans Attend Friday Prayer In Solidarity With Female Palestinian Prisoners

• President Raeisi offers Christmas greetings to Pope, Christians

• Iran fires missiles on last day of massive drills with stark warning to Israel

• FM: Iran, Azerbaijan Agree to Open New Chapter in Cooperation

• Turkey freezes assets of 770 people, including a Chicago-based foundation

• Dozens of Palestinians injured in anti-settlement protests in West Bank

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South Asia

• UN Extends Exemption of Travel Ban on Afghan Taliban Leaders

• Pakistan for accountability in Afghanistan

• Taliban Claim To Dissociate Nearly 2,000 Affiliates For Misbehaviour

• China delivers winter clothes to 34 provinces of Afghanistan

• Pakistan, Taliban resolve Afghanistan border fencing row: Official

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Africa

• Internet Services Disrupted in Sudan’s Khartoum Ahead Of Planned Protests: Report

• 500 Wagner paramilitaries reportedly enter Mali amid controversy

• Libya’s parliament under pressure over delayed presidential vote

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North America

• Is Biden Really Concerned About The Saudi Ballistic Missile Program?

• US lawmakers call on Biden to end blockade on Yemen

• US embassy urges nationals to avoid protest sites in Sudan

• US foreign policy team sends confusing signals about Iran: Analyst 

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

 

URL:  https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/islamic-state-beheading-santa-claus-anti-christmas/d/126031

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Islamic State Group Released A Poster Depicting A Militant Beheading Santa Claus In Bizarre Anti-Christmas Graphic

 

Islamic State 'beheaded Santa' in a graphic [Getty]

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24 December, 2021

The Islamic State group has released a poster depicting a militant beheading Santa Claus in an attempt to strike fear as the Christmas holidays near.

The text on the poster encouraged their followers to launch attacks:

"We send a message to our monotheist brothers in Europe, America, Australia, Canada, Russia, and other countries of unbelief and apostasy. We say to you, our brothers, oh monotheists, avenge your brothers and sisters who have been killed and captured by these scumbags", the poster read.

“Attack the citizens of crusader coalition countries with your knives, run them over in the streets, detonate bombs on them, and spray them with bullets.”

The extremist group released a number graphics ahead of the Christian religious celebration, including one showing helmets of US soldiers stacked up in the shape of a Christmas tree. On top of the tree was a blood stained Santa hat.

Another graphic depicted the United States Central Command's chief being roasted in a Santa outfit, with text saying: "bring the red wine, we will roast General Mackenzie".

The latest graphics are not the first time that the extremist group, which once held large areas of territory in Syria and Iraq, has targeted Santa Claus.

In 2016, as it held control over the Iraqi city of Mosul, reports emerged that the group was distributing leaflets warning of the "evils" of the fictional character.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/islamic-state-group-behead-santa-anti-christmas-graphic

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Russian President: Insulting Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) Not an Artistic Freedom but Is 'Violation of Religious Freedom'

 

Vladimir Putin (File)

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December 24, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that insulting Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) does not count as an expression of artistic freedom but is a "violation of religious freedom", according to state news agency TASS.

Putin made these remarks during his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday, adding that insults to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were a violation of "the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam".

TASS reported that the Russian president also criticised the publication of blasphemous sketches of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Such acts, the report quoted Putin as saying, gave rise to extremist reprisals.

Artistic freedom had its limits and it shouldn't infringe on other's freedoms, he added.

The president further stated that Russia had evolved as a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state and so Russians were used to respecting each other’s traditions, according to the report.

In some other countries, this respect came in short supply, he said.

PM welcomes Putin's remarks

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed Putin's statement, saying it "reaffirms my message that insulting Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not 'freedom of expression'."

"We Muslims, especially Muslim leaders, must spread this message to leaders of the non-Muslim world to counter Islamophobia," the premier said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also appreciated the Russian president's statement.

"Insulting our Holy Prophet (PBUH) is indeed a violation of religious freedom and is a far cry from freedom of expression," he said.

Charlie Hebdo had published the blasphemous sketches in 2015, prompting condemnation from Muslims across the world.

The publication had also led to an attack on the magazine's office on January 7, 2015, in which 12 persons had been killed.

The issue had resurfaced in 2020 when the magazine republished the sketches on September 2 to coincide with the trial of 14 people accused of helping the attackers carry out their gun rampage against the magazine staffers.

A month later, a history teacher in France was beheaded after he had shown the caricatures in his class. In a ceremony dedicated to the teacher, French President Emmanuel Macron had vowed not to "give up [the] cartoons" and also made contentious remarks against "Islamists", who he said "want our future".

The caricatures were then also projected onto the facade of a building in one city and at protests around the country.

The move and the French president's remarks had drawn criticism from the Muslim World.

PM Imran had denounced them and said: "This is a time when President Macron could have put [a] healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalisation."

Meanwhile, the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan demanded that the government expel the French envoy and close the embassy, leading to protests with police and clashes across the country.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1665573

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Rizvi alias Tyagi, Ex-Chief of UP Shia Waqf Board, Booked for 'Dharam Sansad' Hate Speech

 

Wasim Rizvi alias Jitendra Narayan Tyagi is the former head of Shia Central Waqf Board in Uttar Pradesh and recently converted to Hinduism. (@ANI/Twitter)

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December 24, 2021

Amid widespread outrage over alleged hate speeches made at a religious assembly in Haridwar last week, police have filed a case booking Wasim Rizvi alias Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, the former head of Shia Central Waqf Board in Uttar Pradesh, under Section 153-A (promoting enmity). Rizvi alias Tyagi had recently converted to Hinduism.

“A case has been registered against Wasim Rizvi alias Jitendra Narayan Tyagi. We are probing the case. Police will look into details of the case and act accordingly,” Senior Superintendent of Police Yogendra Singh Rawat told News18.com, adding that the investigation officer will decided if additional sections should be added to the FIR.

The FIR was lodged based on a written complaint by a local resident who said his sentiments had been hurt by the speeches made at the ‘Dharam Sansad’ held in Haridwar from December 17-19. The complaint mentioned Rizvi by name.

The ‘Dharam Sansad’ was attended by several religious leaders, who allegedly exhorted violence against minorities and called for a ‘Hindu nation’. The religious assembly was organised by Yati Narsinghanand, a controversial figure accused of making provocative speeches in the past as well.

A related controversy has, meanwhile, erupted over All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi’s purported remarks against Uttar Pradesh Police.

Addressing a gathering in Kanpur, Owaisi recounted cases of police atrocities against minorities in the state and said they would be published by god. He added that policemen in the state will not enjoy political patronage forever.

Clarifying on his remarks, Owaisi on Friday said a clipped version of his speech was being circulated on social media to trigger controversy.

“A clipped one-min video is being circulated from a 45 min speech I gave in Kanpur. I have shared my entire speech on Twitter now. The context to my speech is amply clear. I was talking about cops who torture 80-year-old men. I was talking about cops who watch silently as mobs thrash a rickshaw driver in front of his daughter. Also, cops who rained lathi blows on a man as held his child in his arms," Owaisi said.

“I said we will remember these police atrocities. Is this objectionable? Why is it offensive to remember how police have treated Muslims in UP? We cannot forget the oppression that was meted out to Anas, Suleiman, Asif, Faisal, Altaf, Akhlaq, Qasim, and hundreds of others," he asked in a series of tweets. “I did not incite violence or make threats. I talked about police atrocities."

The Uttarakhand unit of Owasi’s party had also filed a police complaint on Thursday night, seeking action against those who made hate speeches at the ‘Dharam Sansad’.

On Friday, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too sought action against those who incited violence.

“Strictest action should be taken against those who incite hatred and violence of this kind. It is despicable that they should get away with making an open call to murder our respected ex-PM and unleash violence against people of different communities," she said, referring to remarks made against former PM Manmohan Singh at the event.

“Such acts violate our constitution and the law of our land," she added.

Source: News18

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

https://www.news18.com/news/india/wasim-rizvi-alias-jitendra-tyagi-ex-chief-of-up-shia-waqf-board-booked-for-dharam-sansad-hate-speech-4589417.html

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Pakistan Ulema Board Decides To Cleanse Curriculum of Extremism: Special Assistant to PM

 

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi speaks to the media in Lahore on Friday. — PID

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December 25, 2021

LAHORE: The Muttahida Ulema Board has unanimously decided to cleanse the curriculum of extremist content, says Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Religious Harmony Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi.

Speaking at a press conference here on Friday following a meeting of the board, he said the single national curriculum did not have any element of extremism and radicalism. So far, 307 books had been cleared from possible extremist content, he added.

Mr Ashrafi expressed grief over the Sialkot tragedy, stating that the nation as a whole was embarrassed over the incident. He said that teachings of Islam did not allow any such heinous act and the united voice raised by the Ulema in condemning the incident had been heard all over the world.

In response to a question, Hafiz Ashrafi said that if Maulana Fazlur Rehman was expecting to be congratulated on winning the local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he should first congratulate Imran Khan on becoming the prime minister.

Commenting on the Afghanistan situation, he said that it’s the responsibility of all human beings to help the Afghans on humanitarian grounds in the prevailing circumstances. He hoped that aid to Afghanistan would soon begin to flow to alleviate the sufferings of its people.

Mr Ashrafi felicitated the Christian community on the eve of Christmas with the commitment to help avail all facilities to celebrate their festivities.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1665609/ulema-board-decides-to-cleanse-curriculum-of-extremism-sapm

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Indonesia’s Festive Tradition, Arguing If Muslims Can Say ‘Merry Christmas’ Or Not

 

Members of a choir get ready to sing Christmas songs in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

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23 Dec, 2021

It’s the end of another year, which in Indonesia can only mean one thing: the return of the country’s perennial debate on whether Muslims should say “merry Christmas” to Christians.

Heated public discourse around the topic highlights how entrenched identity politics still are in Indonesian society, analysts said – more than two years after a divisive presidential election in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, which saw the heavy use of such identity-based appeals to voters.

This time around, the debate was sparked by a regional branch of the country’s supreme body of Islamic clerics. On December 9, the Indonesian Ulema Council’s (MUI) North Sumatra branch released a list of recommendations for Muslims in the region, which included a ban on wishing Christians a merry Christmas as it said this was “not in accordance with Islamic law”.

Many were quick to dispute the decision, including members of MUI’s central leadership. Cholil Nafis, the council’s head of da’wah (proselytising), said in a statement released on Sunday that Muslims are allowed to say Christmas greetings, as Indonesia is “a plural society”.

While the council did decree in a 1981 fatwa that celebrating Christmas is haram (forbidden) for Muslims, he said it had issued no such ruling on festive greetings. In fact, the MUI said in 2019 that it neither encouraged nor forbade the saying of “merry Christmas” – essentially leaving people to make up their own minds.

On Sunday, Indonesia’s deputy minister for religious affairs, Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi, said in a statement that he respected both opinions regarding Christmas greetings.

Clerics who ban such greetings “based their argumentations on [the belief] that saying ‘merry Christmas’ is part of [the Christian] religion”, while those who allow Muslims to say it believe that it is only a friendly gesture “to respect human relations”.

“Let’s not turn this into a polemic that could disrupt inter-religious harmony,” he said.

A festive tradition

MUI North Sumatra is far from alone in telling Indonesia’s Muslims to forego Christmas greetings. Multiple videos showing popular cleric Abdul Somad and others doing the same can be found on Twitter and TikTok. One even features a cleric telling Islamic bakers not to accept Christmas-related orders from Christian customers.

For many of the country’s Muslims, however, the annual tradition of arguing about festive greetings has grown tiresome – with some such as Makmun Rasyid, an anti-extremism activist, pointing out on Twitter that Egypt’s top Sunni Muslim leader, Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, has no qualms about wishing Christians a ‘merry Christmas’, and “also does not hesitate to visit Christian leaders at their churches ahead of Christmas”.

“At the end of every year we discuss whether it’s OK to say ‘merry Christmas’,” said another Twitter user posting under the name Jihan. “Don’t you get tired of talking about this all the time?”

For feminist activist, human rights worker, and medical anthropologist Lies Marcoes, the re-emergence of the debate every Christmas shows how hard its is for Indonesian society to shake off its identity politics.

The country’s politicians, and their supporters, often latch onto topics such as festive greetings “that make Muslims doubt their identity” said Marcoes, described as one of Indonesia’s foremost experts on Islam and gender.

“In Islam, this topic will always be twisted, such as claiming that wishing Christians ‘merry Christmas’ means that [a Muslim] acknowledges Jesus as their god. [But] there are many dimensions to a Christmas celebration, including as a way to acknowledge brotherhood.”

Marcoes suggested that Muslims in Indonesia “ignore” the Christmas greetings ban in North Sumatra – and urged the MUI’s leadership to deliver a ruling that allows Muslims to wish Christians ‘merry Christmas’, to prevent future controversies and reaffirm the unity of the nation.

“Wishing ‘merry Christmas’ to Christians should be seen as a normal thing to do, much like how Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and others greet Muslims during Islamic holidays,” she said.

Source: SCMP

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

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/lifestyle-culture/article/3160797/indonesias-festive-tradition-arguing-if-muslims-can-say

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Arab World

 

Arab coalition air strikes destroy vehicle killing three Houthi militia

25 December ,2021

Air strikes by the Arab Coalition destroyed a military vehicle killing three Houthi militia crew northwest of the rebel-held capital Sana’a.

Medics in Yemen said that three people died and six others were injured in the coalition air strikes.

On Friday, the Arab Coalition said a Houthi projectile that hit the Saudi city of Jazan has led to the killing of two civilians, a Saudi national and a Yemeni resident.

The coalition said another Houthi projectile hit the Saudi city of Najran.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/25/Arab-coalition-air-strikes-kill-three-Houthi-militia-destroy-vehicle

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Two killed after Houthi projectile hit Jazan: Arab Coalition

24 December ,2021

The Arab Coalition said on Friday a Houthi projectile that hit the Saudi city of Jazan has led to the killing of two civilians, a Saudi national and a Yemeni resident.

Earlier on Friday, the coalition, which is supporting the legitimate government in Yemen, said two civilians were wounded, according to initial reports.

The coalition said another Houthi projectile hit the Saudi city of Najran.

The Arab Coalition added that the hostile attacks were launched from the Yemeni city of Sadaa, warning that it will carry airstrikes to deal with the source of the threat.

The coalition said it took precautionary measures to ensure there were no civilian casualties.

On Thursday, the Arab Coalition said it had destroyed an armed drone attempting to target Abha International Airport.

The Iran-backed Houthi militia has in recent months ramped up their attacks on the Kingdom and launched dozens of cross-border aerial attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The Houthis targeted civilian areas and energy facilities in the Kingdom with explosive-laden drones and ballistic missiles.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/24/Arab-Coalition-says-Houthi-projectiles-targeted-civilians-in-Jazan-Najran-borders

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Europe

 

Western powers demand Libya decide on elections without delay

Shweta Desai

25.12.2021

PARIS

European countries and the US urged Libyan authorities to decide Friday on a final date for elections without delay. 

The demand came two days after crucial presidential and parliamentary elections were canceled.

France, Germany, Italy, UK, and the US appealed to authorities in a statement “to respect the aspirations of the people for prompt elections by swiftly determining a final date for the polling and issuing the final list of presidential candidates without delay.”

The electoral commission canceled elections Wednesday that were scheduled for Dec 24, citing a lack of preparedness and disagreements.

Voting has been postponed until January.

The statement said it was important to maintain momentum for the goal of holding “free, fair and credible elections” and to elect a representative and unified government.

The much-awaited polls were detrimental to mark the first step of the war torn country toward political stability.

Since a NATO-led intervention in 2011 overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's regime, Libya has spiraled into chaos and civil war controlled by rebel armies and foreign fighters.

In March, an interim government was sworn in -- replacing the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) controlling Tripoli and the Western region, and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), led by warlord Khalifa Haftar.

Although Libyans were eagerly awaiting the elections that could pave the road for political transition, various political factions and presidential candidates had disputes and disagreements on the mechanisms of the electoral process and the conduct of elections.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/western-powers-demand-libya-decide-on-elections-without-delay/2457078

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Turkey pursuing 'proactive diplomacy': Foreign minister

Muhammet Tarhan 

24.12.2021

Turkey is pursuing a "realistic foreign policy" based on the superiority of the diplomatic initiative over a wide geography, the country's foreign minister said Thursday.

"We have a proactive approach to diplomacy, not reactive, without letting events rule us," Mevlut Cavusoglu said at the closing ceremony of the virtual International Security Academy organized by the International Relations Association.

Cavusoglu stressed that the global security environment was getting increasingly fragile.

"After the Cold War, great power competition is fueling tensions in different regions such as Ukraine, the Balkans, the Black Sea, Taiwan, and the South China Sea. The effects of relatively modern challenges such as climate change, terrorism, cyber attacks, irregular migration and the pandemic are being felt everywhere," he said.

He underlined that in the current environment of rapid change, one of the most important points in international relations that has remained constant was the international order established after World War II.

"While software updates come to our mobile devices every few weeks, the fact that the international system has not been updated for 80 years makes it difficult for the system, especially the UN, to find solutions to problems," he said.

Cavusoglu pointed out that in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the "need for multilateralism" had emerged once again.

"We cannot say that a significant distance has been covered on this road in the last year. However, we see that concepts such as multilateralism and solidarity come to the fore, at least at the level of discourse," he said.

Russa, Ukraine, NATO relations

The Turkish top diplomat said during his speech that today, the rivalry between Russia and Ukraine as well as between Russia and NATO has reached "dangerous" levels.

"We will not ignore our principles and close relations with Ukraine just because we have extensive relations with Russia. In many difficult equations like this, we do whatever the spirit of the time and our national security require. It's hard work, but that's what diplomacy is for," Cavusoglu said.

In 2014, Russia began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years.

For the second time this year, Moscow reportedly concentrated military troops in and around Ukraine last month.

NATO and the EU have warned Russia that if it shows an aggressive attitude towards Ukraine, it will face a serious response and heavy sanctions.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-pursuing-proactive-diplomacy-foreign-minister/2456176

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Pope celebrates Christmas Eve Mass as virus surges in Italy

December 24, 2021

ROME: Pope Francis celebrated Christmas Eve Mass before an estimated 1,500 people in St. Peter’s Basilica on Friday, going ahead with the service despite the resurgence in COVID-19 cases that has prompted a new vaccine mandate for Vatican employees.

A maskless Francis processed down the central aisle of the basilica as the Sistine Chapel choir sang “Noel,” kicking off the Vatican’s Christmas holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem.

The “Midnight Mass” actually began at 7:30 p.m., a nod to the 85-year-old pope’s endurance and a hold-over from last year, when the service had to end before Italy’s nationwide COVID-19 curfew.

No curfew is in place this year, but cases this week have surged even beyond 2020 levels. For the second day in a row, Italy on Friday set a new pandemic daily record with 50,599 new cases. Another 141 people died, bringing Italy’s official death toll to 136,386.

The Vatican secretary of state on Thursday imposed a new vaccine mandate on all Vatican staff, extending it to all employees except those who have recovered from the coronavirus. Previously, only employees who dealt with the public directly had to be vaccinated, such as staff at the Vatican Museums and the Swiss Guards, while others could access their offices with regular testing. The mandate does not apply to the faithful attending Mass, but they were required to wear masks.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1992401/world

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Britain to begin resettling Afghan refugees in January

December 24, 2021

LONDON: The UK has announced its Afghan resettlement scheme will start in January, months after it secured the recovery of thousands of at-risk Afghans during the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

It is expected to provide support for up to 20,000 Afghans, with the program prioritizing women, children, and those considered at high risk from Taliban retribution.

Activists for women’s rights, freedom of speech and the rule of law are anticipated to be prioritized by the government’s support.

The government said the Afghans it had already evacuated would be the first to be resettled throughout Britain under the scheme. They will be granted indefinite leave to remain, an immigration status that affords them the right to work and study without risk of deportation.

Despite details provided in recent announcements, charities working with refugees have asked the government to clarify how the scheme will operate.

Louise Calvey, head of services and safeguarding at Refugee Action, told The Guardian: “It’s vital for the thousands of Afghans stuck in hotels in the UK and the thousands more in fear of their lives in and around Afghanistan that the resettlement program starts immediately and is properly funded. Yet ministers remain concerningly tight-lipped on crucial details, such as how many of the 20,000 people they’ve pledged to help are already in the UK, and how many additional refugees stuck overseas will be welcomed.

“The government must also provide urgent clarity on how it intends to back local councils and international organizations to make sure people fleeing the Taliban quickly receive the life-saving protection and support they desperately need.”

A British Red Cross spokesperson told The Guardian: “We welcome the news that the UK government is set to open the resettlement program that was promised to people within Afghanistan who need protection.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1992376/world

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India

 

'New Sai Juice Centre' Run By A Muslim Man For 15 Years Vandalised, Forced To Shut by Right-Wing Group Claiming Sai Is ‘Hindu Deity’

Dec 25, 2021

Bareilly: A juice shop called 'New Sai Juice Centre', being run by a Muslim man for past 15 years in Majhola area of Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district, was vandalised and forced to shut on Thursday after members of a right-wing outfit raised objection to the outlet's name.

The activists claimed that "Sai Baba is a Hindu deity” and the Muslim owner should change its name. They also allegedly threatened to shut all shops run by Muslims which are named after Hindu deities in the locality.

Locals in the area claimed that police initially remained a mute spectator while all this was going on and later advised the owner, Shabbu Khan, to change the shop's name “to avoid further trouble.”

An FIR was subsequently registered against a local leader of the Bajrang Dal, identified as Navneet Sharma, and his aides for "rioting and criminal intimidation" on Friday.

The action was taken after videos of the incident began circulating on social media.

Speaking to TOI, Khan, the juice shop owner, said, "I was about to have dinner at home on Thursday when I was shocked to learn that a few people started vandalising my shop. They asked me to close my shop because of my faith. This shop is part of my life and is important for my family.”

Assuring appropriate action against the culprits, Majhola SHO Dhananjay Singh said, “We found that about 20-25 people, led by Navneet Sharma, had forcefully closed the juice shop. They also slapped its owner. We have registered an FIR under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 147 (rioting) against Sharma and his aides.”

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/right-wing-group-objects-to-muslim-man-running-juice-shop-named-after-sai-baba-in-up-claims-sai-is-hindu-deity/articleshow/88481085.cms

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Friday prayers ‘barred’ at Srinagar’s Grand Mosque for 20th week in a row

by Bashaarat Masood

December 24, 2021

Friday prayers were stopped for the 20th consecutive week since August 6 this year at Srinagar’s Grand Mosque. While the mosque has been largely out of bounds for worshippers on Fridays since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019, this year it has remained shut on 44 of the 52 Fridays so far.

“We have now lost count of the number of times the mosque has been closed for Friday prayers,” says Altaf Ahmad Bhat, Secretary of the Grand Mosque’s Auqaf (management committee). “Every Friday, the police come in the morning, tell our staff that there is no permission for the prayers and seal the mosque. They don’t give any reason for it,” he said.

Asked why Friday prayers were not allowed at the Grand Mosque, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said: “Please enquire from the civil administration”.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Mohammad Ajaz Asad, did not respond to repeated calls or messages.

While the Grand Mosque was closed after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019 to prevent a huge congregation from gathering and to avoid a law and order problem, the mosque was subsequently kept shut on Fridays as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

However, even as the second wave of Covid subsided and the government relaxed guidelines that prevented the assembly of people, congregating at the mosque was still not allowed. Over the last several months, the Jammu and Kashmir government has allowed massive official functions, political rallies and conventions as well as Christmas and New Year celebrations to take place.

“We are unable to understand how all places of worship, mosques, shrines, imambargahs and Khanqahs in Jammu and Kashmir are open for Friday prayers, but only Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, continues to be selectively banned and restricted from holding Friday prayers, which is extremely unfortunate and incomprehensible,” the Auqaf said in a statement. “This behaviour of the rulers is tantamount to sheer interference in religion and hurting the religious sentiments and feelings of Muslims, which is unacceptable,” it added.

Situated in Nowhatta, in the centre of the old Srinagar city, the Jamia Masjid has been one of the oldest mosques in the city, built six centuries ago. It is one of the main mosques in the valley and is the centre of religion and politics. The mosque used to be the pulpit of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who has been under house arrest since the abrogation of J&K’s special status.

“In the name of law and order and Covid, we are being stopped from offering even prayers now,” said a resident of Nowhatta. “Why are curbs selective? If political rallies can be held, if other places of worship can remain open, why can’t we open the Jamia Masjid. There seems to be a sinister design behind it,” he added.

Source: Indian Express

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

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/srinagar/friday-prayers-barred-at-srinagars-grand-mosque-for-20th-week-in-a-row-7688758/

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Namaz only at six sites in Gurugram, under police watch

Bagish Jha

Dec 25, 2021

GURUGRAM: Friday prayers passed off peacefully for the first time since protests and disruptions began in October, but were restricted to just six open sites, heavily truncated from the 37 places that would usually see namaz congregations.

The six sites — Atlas Chowk at HSIDC Ground, Peepal Chowk in Udyog Vihar phase-2, HSVP land in Udyog Vihar phase-4, Leisure Valley Ground in Sector 29, HSVP land in Sector 42 and HSVP land in Sector 69 — are the same that were announced by outfits participating in talks to re-designate namaz spots.

While two Muslim outfits, including the Muslim Rashtriya Manch, were parts of the talks, another group formed by some of the city’s Muslim residents in the wake of the protests, Gurugram Muslim Council, has rejected the truncated list.

Unlike in the last two weeks when Muslims gathered at places that were earlier on the list of designated spots for namaz, congregations this Friday were largely at the six sites, where police kept a watch.

In Sector 40, a small group had gathered at an open area to offer namaz but were sent back by police. The group claimed the land belongs to them but failed to produce papers.

Locals claimed the land is reserved for the construction of a school. Mufti Ahmad Salim Qasmi claimed they had been offering namaz at the site for the past two weeks.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/namaz-only-at-six-sites-in-city-under-police-watch/articleshow/88482683.cms

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Pakistan

 

Extremists have torn state’s writ into pieces, Rabbani tells Senate

December 24, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader and Senator Raza Rabbani has said that the extremists have torn the state’s writ into pieces, warning that Sialkot lynching-like cases would continue if the root cause of the problem is not uprooted.

Speaking at the Senate session on Friday, he said: “Extremists groups are established in the country and running their own courts in public.”

Rabbani asked the government to divulge the conditions on which the state had brokered a ceasefire agreement with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

He also questioned the government’s haste to extend support to the Afghan Taliban, when the latter do “not even recognise the border”.

He asked the foreign minister to take the parliament into confidence about a recent incident, in which the new rulers in Afghanistan reportedly barred Pakistan’s security forces from fencing the border.

“They are not ready to recognise the border, so why are we moving forward?” questioned Rabbani.

The former Senate chairman also raised alarm over reports that the banned TTP is regrouping in Afghanistan, “which could possibly fuel terrorism in Pakistan”.

“On what terms is the state talking about a ceasefire with the banned group?” he questioned.

He went on to say that the state of Pakistan means the civil and military bureaucracy of Pakistan and not the people sitting in parliament.

Taking part in the debate, Senator Azam Nazir Tarar said intolerance is spreading fast in the society. “We should forget our political differences and unite on issues like this,” he added.

Tarar spoke about the horrific lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, a factory manager in Sialkot, saying “the incident has shaken us to the core”.

The senator said the brutality with which the mob killed the Sri Lankan citizen is highly reprehensible.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/24/extremists-have-torn-states-writ-into-pieces-rabbani-tells-senate/

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PM hails Putin’s remarks against Islamophobia

December 24, 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks against Islamophobia, saying that the latter’s statement reaffirmed his stance that “insulting our Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not freedom of expression”.

“I welcome President Putin’s statement which reaffirms my message that insulting our Holy Prophet (PBUH) is not freedom of expression. We Muslims, especially Muslim leaders, must spread this message to leaders of the non-Muslim world to counter Islamophobia,” the prime minister tweeted.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that disrespecting Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) does not count as the “expression of artistic freedom”.

Blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a “violation of religious freedom and the violation of the sacred feelings of people who profess Islam,” he said while addressing his annual news conference on Thursday.

Putin said these acts give rise to extremist reprisals, citing as an example the attack on the editorial office of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris after it published blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

Putin also criticised posting photos of Nazis on websites such as the one titled the Immortal Regiment and dedicated to Russians who died in World War II.

While praising artistic freedom in general, Putin said it has its limits and it shouldn’t infringe on other freedoms.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/24/pm-hails-putins-remarks-against-islamophobia/

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Pakistan, Afghanistan border fencing row resolved: Official

Dec 25, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have resolved the recent row over border fencing by agreeing that further work on the project that led to a tense situation would be done through consensus, a media report said on Saturday.

A senior official, who spoke to a group of journalists on the background on Friday, said it has been decided at a senior level that fencing-related issues would in the future be dealt with through mutual agreement, he said.

The official, however, did not exactly specify at which level the talks between Pakistan and the de facto Afghan government were held after Wednesday's incident in which Taliban fighters disrupted border fencing and took away spools of barbed wire, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The fighters had then also warned Pakistani soldiers against resuming fencing. The incident led to a tense situation in the area where it occurred, it said.

Defence ministries of the two sides later held talks on the issue. The Taliban ministry of the border and tribal affairs also reportedly took part in the parleys.

The official said Taliban defence minister Mullah Yaqoob visited the area on Wednesday and defused the situation.

"The dispute has been quietly and calmly settled," he said.

Pakistan has been fencing the 2600-kilometer-long border with Afghanistan since 2017 to end terrorist infiltration and smuggling despite very intense opposition from the neighbouring country, the report said.

Besides the erection of a fence, the project also includes the construction of border posts and forts, and the raising of new wings of Frontier Corps, the paramilitary force that guards the border.

The official said 90 per cent of the fencing had been completed.

A large part of the fence has been constructed in inhospitable terrain and in some places at very high altitudes. The fencing is expected to be completed at a cost of about $500 million.

Fencing has been a contentious issue in Pakistan-Afghanistan ties because the Afghans dispute the border demarcation done during the colonial period.

Pakistan, however, insists that the line separating the two countries, also called the Durand Line, is the valid international border.

The differences over the status of the border have been so intense that they have in the past resulted in several fatal clashes between the troops of the two countries.

Pakistani construction teams installing the fence have on a number of occasions endured cross-border attacks by terrorists, the report said.

Islamabad had always hoped that the Afghan Taliban would help in settling the longstanding matter. However, that has not been the case.

The Taliban did not resolve the issue when they were in control of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and have not done anything substantive to address it this time either so far, the report said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who is currently the acting culture and information minister, said in an interview days after the takeover of Kabul by the group on August 15, rejected the fencing of the border by Pakistan.

"The Afghans are unhappy and oppose the fencing. … The fencing has separated people and divided families,” he had said.

The official at the background briefing downplayed the Taliban's opposition to the fencing project.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-afghanistan-border-fencing-row-resolved-official/articleshow/88487878.cms

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Terrorists attack check post in Pak; two soldiers killed: Official

Dec 24, 2021

KARACHI: Two Pakistani soldiers were killed when terrorists attacked a check post in the country's restive Balochistan province on Friday, according to an official statement.

The incident happened in Kech district of the province when the terrorists attacked the checkpost and killed the two soldiers, the Inter-Services Public Relations, the military's media affairs wing, said.

The security forces have launched a search operation in the area to locate the terrorists.

"Security forces are determined to defeat such acts of inimical elements, aimed at disrupting peace, stability and progress of Balochistan," the statement said.

This is the second such incident in the Balochistan province in a month.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/terrorists-attack-check-post-in-pak-two-soldiers-killed-official/articleshow/88468799.cms

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Govt officials, opposition leaders, others extend felicitations to Christian community on Christmas

December 25, 2021

As the Christian community across the country celebrates the festive occasion of Christmas today (Saturday), government officials, opposition leaders and others extended their felicitations and wishes to members of the community.

According to Radio Pakistan, special ceremonies are being held in churches across the country in which prayers will also be held for "peace, progress and prosperity of Pakistan".

The state radio broadcaster stated that Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Dr Arif Alvi congratulated the Christian community on the occasion and assured that the government will continue to safeguard rights and privileges of all minorities living in the country.

"They also commended sincere and invaluable services rendered by Christian community in the fields of defence, education, health as well as economic development of the country," the report added.

"They said that the government will empower the minorities to use their abilities for national development."

In a tweet from his official account, the prime minister wished "all our Christian citizens a very Happy Christmas".

The president's official Twitter account also extended his "heartiest felicitations", adding that the Muslims "deeply respect Jesus Christ as one of the great messengers of Allah Almighty".

Inter-Services Public Relations' (ISPR) director general extended the felicitations of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and service chiefs to the "Christian community in Armed Forces and across Pakistan".

"From the creation of Pakistan to date their sacrifices and contributions in service of Pakistan are phenomenal," the DG ISPR added.

"Heartiest congratulations to the Christian community around the world, particularly to the Pakistani Christian brothers & sisters on the auspicisous occasion of Christmas," Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif tweeted.

He called for celebrating shared values and brotherhood in his message.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz wished "Christian brothers and sisters" and urged the country to "celebrate with them by spreading love, peace and compassion".

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari extended his "heartiest felicitations to the Christian Community in Pakistan", saying that his party "always treats the non-Muslims, including the Christians as equal citizens".

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1665716/govt-officials-opposition-leaders-others-extend-felicitations-to-christian-community-on-christmas

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Southeast Asia

 

Compulsory for Haj pilgrims to wear digital detectors upon return, says health minister

Saturday, 25 Dec 2021

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 25 — Individuals undergoing the seven-day mandatory quarantine after returning from umrah pilgrimage, will be made to wear a digital detection device starting next week, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin

Speaking at a press conference on the Covid-19 development here today, Khairy said the move was taken after 30 out of the 49 new cases involving the Omicron variant in Malaysia detected between Dec 23 and 24 were cases imported from Saudi Arabia.

“All of them arrived from Saudi Arabia beginning Dec 13 until Dec 17. We discovered that a large number of them did not comply with the directive to isolate themselves from their family members but continued to meet with them. In fact, they were also found to be entertaining guests.

“Maybe guests and family members shook hands with them in the hope of receiving blessings but unfortunately they were actually getting ‘Omicron’,” he said.

Khairy said failure to adhere to the quarantine directive can potentially result in increased transmission of Omicron variant infections in the country.

“I hope the quarantine directive is observed. This is serious. We asked them to complete their quarantine at home and not in hotels to save costs. So please comply,” he said.

Khairy also said to date, 62 Omicron variant cases have been recorded in the county where 62 cases were imported and one local infection.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/25/compulsory-for-haj-pilgrims-to-wear-digital-detectors-upon-return-says-heal/2031006

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On Christmas eve, Melaka, Perak, Pahang and Selangor record drop in number of evacuees

24 Dec 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — The number of flood victims at relief centres (PPS) in Melaka, Perak, Pahang and Selangor continues to drop, while in Kelantan the number remains the same since noon.

According to the Social Welfare Department’s InfoBencana application, there are still 46,524 flood victims at 306 PPS in Pahang, Kelantan, Selangor, Melaka, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur.

In Melaka, the number of flood victims dropped to 37 victims from 13 families as at 8 pm today.

Melaka Civil Defence Force director Lt Col (PA) Cuthbert John Martin Quadra said eight of the victims (four families) were at the PPS at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Lubok China in Alor Gajah, while the remaining victims from nine families were at the PPS at SK Parit Penghulu Benteng in Jasin.

In Perak, there are still 105 victims, from 28 families, at two PPS in Hilir Perak, from 111 people (30 families) at noon.

A spokesman for the Malaysian Defence Force (APM) and the Perak Disaster Management Committee Secretariat said the two families who returned home were from Batu 7 ½ Lorong Mesra, Changkat Jong.

The remaining evacuees comprise 61 people (18 families) at the PPS at Dewan Bandaran Teluk Intan and the other 44 people (10 families) are at the PPS at Dewan Sekolah Menengah Abdul Rahman Talib, he said.

In Pahang, the number of flood victims has dropped to 26,494 people at 193 PPS tonight, compared with 29,611 people at 212 PPS at noon.

The number of districts still affected by floods remains at nine, namely Kuantan, Maran, Jerantut, Lipis, Raub, Bentong,Temerloh,Bera and Pekan.

On the water level of rivers, at Sungai Bera, it is still at the danger level and reported to be rising. The water in Sungai Kundang, in Maran, and Sungai Pahang at Lubuk Paku, is also at danger level.

In Selangor, the Social Welfare Department’s Info Bencana portal reported that 17,656 flood victims, involving 4,732 families, are still at 99 PPS in the state, from 17,891 people at noon.

The Selangor Health Department (JKNS) through its official Facebook stated that the Covid-19 Assessment Centre in Petaling has to be temporarily closed tomorrow due to floods at the Section 19 Health Clinic (KK), Shah Alam, and will be temporarily relocated at the Taman Medan Health Clinic, Petaling Jaya.

Another CAC that will be temporarily closed tomorrow is at the Jenjarom Health Clinic, which will be relocated at the Telok Datok Health Clinic, Banting.

Meanwhile, the number of flood victims in Kelantan remained at 974 people from 332 families at five PPS in the Pasir Mas district.

Meanwhile, the Drainage and Irrigation Department’s info banjir portal at https://publicinfobanjir.water.gov.my, reported that the water in all major rivers in Kelantan has receded to below the danger level.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/12/24/on-christmas-eve-melaka-perak-pahang-and-selangor-record-drop-in-number-of/2030936

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Mideast

 

Open-ended UNHRC war crime probe against Israel backed by 125 countries

25 December 2021

An overwhelming majority of 125 countries have backed an unprecedented open-ended war crime investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against Israel, including into the 11-day Israeli deadly aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip earlier this year.

In May, the military of the Israeli regime bombarded the besieged Gaza Strip for 11 consecutive days, killing at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children. In the aftermath of the brutal war, the 47-member UNHRC initially approved a probe into the crimes committed by the occupying entity against the inhabitants of the impoverished enclave.

Its broad mandate allows for a thorough probe into the human rights violations committed by the Israeli military on either side of the so-called Green Line, which includes Israel, the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Later, Israel asked to defund the probe by excluding the money for the probe from the overall UNHRC budget.

The matter was put to vote before the 193-member UN General Assembly on Thursday night and Israel’s proposed amendment was massively rejected 125-8, with 34 abstentions.

Israel itself and the United States were among the few that voted against the approval of a budget for that investigation.

After the vote, Palestine’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour commended the vote and all UN member states that rejected Israel’s proposal, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.

He also thanked the UNGA for approving all budgets of the programs relating to the Palestinian cause, including his request to increase funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Israel’s brutal siege on the Gaza Strip since 2007 has inflicted severe hardship on residents. The poverty rate among Gaza’s population has reached 53 percent, while “extreme poverty” stands at 33.8 percent, according to statistics by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/25/673331/Palestine-Israel-war-crimes-UNHRC-Gaza

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Gazans attend Friday prayer in solidarity with female Palestinian prisoners

24 December 2021

Ashraf Shannon

Hundreds attended the Friday prayer in front of the Red Cross office in Gaza in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails.

They came to drum up support especially for female Palestinian prisoners who have been subjected to inhumane and oppressive measure inside Israeli prisons and detention centers.

The event is part of the Friday of Rage in solidarity with female Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas movement accused the Israeli Prison Service of deliberately targeting female prisoners and endangering their lives.

According to prisoners’ advocacy groups Palestinian female prisoners continue to face a wide range of human rights violations in Israeli jails under the watchful eye of the international community.

Israel currently incarcerates some five thousand Palestinian political prisoners including scores of women and children.

Palestinian prisoners are being held in twenty four Israeli prisons and detention centers under the administration of the Israeli Prison Service.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/24/673321/Gazans-attend-Friday-prayer-in-solidarity-with-female-Palestinian-prisoners

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President Raeisi offers Christmas greetings to Pope, Christians

24 December 2021

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi has penned a letter congratulating Pope Francis on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ and the Gregorian New Year.

In his Friday message, the Iranian president expressed “cordial congratulations” to the head of the Roman Catholic Church and all the Christians across the world on the jubilant birth anniversary of Jesus Christ, the Prophet of peace and kindness and the beginning of New Year.

He said the Jesus Christ’s birth is the "manifestation of God’s will and power” and added that the spiritual status of Saint Mary, the Prophet’s mother, shows the lofty position of women in divine religions.

Raeisi added that the Prophet’s birth is an opportunity to pay tribute to Saint Mary (Peace be upon Her) and a reminder of the moral characteristics of Jesus Christ, who is a role model of altruism and the herald of salvation for the oppressed, in standing against the arrogant powers’ oppression and signaling a bright future for humanity.

The Iranian president also thanked Pope Francis for his efforts to bring closer the hearts and views of followers of Abrahamic religions.

He also prayed that God bestow "health and success" to Pope Francis and "happiness and blessing" to all human beings.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/24/673303/Raeisi-Iran-Pope-Francis-Christians-Jesus-Christ-birth-anniversary-Roman-Catholic-New-Year-Saint-Mary

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Iran fires missiles on last day of massive drills with stark warning to Israel

24 December 2021

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has simultaneously launched 16 ballistic missiles of different classes during massive joint military exercises in Iran’s southern areas, saying the drills carried a stark warning to Israel.

The IRGC Aerospace Force fired long-range, medium-range, and short-range missiles on Friday, marking the final day of the large-scale exercise, dubbed Great Prophet 17.

The ballistic missiles used in the exercise were Emad, Ghadr, Sejjil, Zelzal, and Zolfaqar, which hit and destroyed the intended targets with an accuracy of one hundred percent.

At the same time, 10 of the Aerospace Force’s offensive drones also launched a simultaneous operation and destroyed the intended targets.

The IRGC Deputy Chief of Operations and spokesman for the joint drills Brigadier General Abbas Nilforoushan said the exercise conveyed Iran’s deterrent power to the enemies and carried a message of peace to Iran’s friends and neighboring countries.

The maneuvers were held in the Persian Gulf region, the Strait of Hormuz, as well as the coastal areas of the southern province of Hormuzgan, Bushehr, and Khuzestan. The exercises were part of major military drills Iran holds regularly to improve its combat readiness.

They intended to showcase the maneuverability of solid fuel missiles to cross enemy shields and simultaneous strikes and to improve the combat readiness of the IRGC’s forces.

During the drills, five cruise missiles were also fired from Iran’s Shahid Roudaki ocean-going warship for the first time. The medium-range cruise missiles successfully hit their targets.

'We will cut off hands of aggressors'

On the sidelines of the drills, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said the drills are aimed at giving an appropriate response to the Israeli regime’s latest empty threats.

“This exercise was planned in advance, but the numerous, empty threats of the Zionist regime’s officials in recent days caused this exercise to take place at this time … This was one of the most successful missile exercises of the Islamic Republic of Iran so far,” General Baqeri said.

He said the fact that Iran’s military can hit a target with 16 missiles simultaneously demonstrates only a part of the Islamic Republic’s missile power.

Baqeri further warned Israel against making the slightest mistake, otherwise “we will cut off their hands,” adding that the difference between a real operation and a military exercise is a “change in the angle of launching the missiles.”

The chief commander of the IRGC also made similar remarks, warning the enemies to be careful of what they say.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/24/673295/Iran-fires-ballistic-missiles-stark-warning-Israel-drills-end

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FM: Iran, Azerbaijan Agree to Open New Chapter in Cooperation

2021-December-24

"During official visit to Baku, we agreed to open a new chapter," Amir Abdollahian wrote on his Twitter account on Friday.

He pointed out that the Iranian government prioritizes cooperation with its neighbors.

"In cordial meeting w @presidentaz, & my discussions w FM Bayramov & Parl. Speaker we charted a roadmap to further enhance ties," the Iranian foreign minister added.

In a relevant development in late October, Amir Abdollahian and Bayramov in a phone conversation discussed the latest developments in bilateral ties with emphasis on resolving the differences and development of relations.

During the phone call, Amir Abdollahian said the release of the two Iranian drivers, detained on accusations of trespassing into Azerbaijan territories, was a “constructive” measure that could prepare the necessary ground for resolving misunderstandings between the two countries.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14001003000519/FM-Iran-Azerbaijan-Agree-Open-New-Chaper-in-Cperain

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Turkey freezes assets of 770 people, including a Chicago-based foundation

24 December ,2021

Turkey froze the assets of 770 Turkish nationals and a Chicago-based foundation, according to a decision published Friday in the country’s official gazette.

The list of targets includes 454 people with alleged links to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the United States. The Turkish government accuses Gulen and his network of being behind a bloody coup attempt in 2016. Gulen has denied the allegation.

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

Gulen is the honorary president of the Chicago foundation that had its assets in Turkey frozen. The Niagara Foundation’s parent organization, the Alliance for Shared Values, is a nonprofit of the Gulen movement, which Turkey designated as a terror group.

The list published Friday shows 119 other people had assets frozen for links to ISIS terrorist group, al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front and other alleged “terror groups that abuse religion.”

Another 108 people were targeted for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, which is designated a terror group by Turkey and the United States.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/12/24/Turkey-freezes-assets-of-770-people-including-a-Chicago-based-foundation

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Dozens of Palestinians injured in anti-settlement protests in West Bank

24 December 2021

Dozens of Palestinians taking part in anti-settlement protests in the occupied West Bank have been injured by Israeli forces.

The Palestine Red Crescent ambulance service said on Friday that five Palestinian protesters were hit by rubber bullets during clashes with Israeli forces in Burqa Village and the town of Beita in Nablus Province on Friday.

According to the report, 43 other Palestinians suffered breathing difficulties due to inhaling tear gas used by the Israeli troops to disperse the anti-settlement protests in Burqa, Beita and the village of Beit Dajan in Nablus.

Three other protesters suffered different injuries during the clashes in the West Bank province.

Since May, Beita has seen intensified clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians protesting against a settlement outpost that has been established on Sobeih Mountain by settlers under the protection of Israeli forces.

In the village of Kafr Qaddum, east of the West Bank city of Qalqilya, six Palestinians taking part in the weekly anti-settlement protests on Friday were hit by rubber bullets and scores of others suffered breathing difficulties due to tear gas used by the Israeli troops against the demonstrators.

Meanwhile, clashes also erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the town of Azzun, east of Qalqilya, on Friday.

During the clashes, an 18-year-old Palestinian was injured by live ammunition fired by the Israeli forces, who also used tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs against the Palestinians.

Also on Friday, dozens of Palestinians suffered breathing difficulties due to inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli troops who stormed the area of Bab al-Zawiya area in the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

Israel military, settlers will pay price for instigating violence: Hamas

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas on Friday warned that the Israeli military and settlers would pay the price for rising settler violence against Palestinians after an Israeli settler ran a 63-year-old woman over near the town of Sinjil, northeast of the West Bank city of Ramallah, earlier in the day.

“Rising setter terrorism against our people in the occupied West Bank will be confronted with an escalation of the act of resistance,” Hamas spokesman, Hazem Qassem, said on Friday. “The [Israeli] occupation army and its settlers will pay the price for these crimes.”

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/24/673316/Israel-injure-Palestinians-anti-settlement-protests-West-Bank

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South Asia

 

UN extends exemption of travel ban on Afghan Taliban leaders

Dec 25, 2021

KABUL: The UN Security Council announced that it has extended the exemption of the travel ban on senior members of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, including First Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, for a period of 90 days.

In its announcement on Friday, the UNSC said that the ban, which came into force on Wednesday, will last until March 21, 2022, TOLO News reported.

Besides Baradar, there are 14 other Taliban members on the ban list, including Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

"The travel ban exemption is solely for travels required for participation in peace and stability discussions in a range of countries," TOLO News quoted the UNSC as saying in its announcement.

"Individual itineraries will depend on the location of peace discussions. The Committee has also decided to grant a limited asset freeze exemption only for financing exempted travels."

The Taliban-led government welcomed the UNSC's decision, while calling for the removal of its leaders' names from the UN and US blacklists.

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/un-extends-exemption-of-travel-ban-on-afghan-taliban-leaders/articleshow/88485578.cms

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Pakistan for accountability in Afghanistan

Anwar Iqbal

December 25, 2021

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan supports a comprehensive and equitable accountability in Afghanistan, says the country’s envoy to the United Nations, which recently adopted a resolution to allow humanitarian and financial assistance to Kabul.

Although the UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted the resolution moved by the United States, some council members suggested holding the Taliban responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan. The UNSC resolution also cautioned that the assistance sent to Afghanistan must not benefit individuals and entities sanctioned by the United Nations. Several Taliban leaders are on the sanction list.

When asked at his latest news briefing if Pakistan supports the demand for acc­ountability, Ambassador Munir Akram said: “There have obviously been violations of human rights and criminal beha­vior, but we must see that this accountability is comprehensive and equitable.”

Such an accountability, he said, must “take into account all the crimes committed by anybody in Afghanistan over the last two decades”.

“So that is at least our approach. We don’t know whether the process will start or not. But if it does start, we hope that it will be equitable and comprehensive.”

The UNSC resolution does not call for accountability, but it does remind the Taliban of their responsibilities as the de facto rulers of Afghanistan.

The United Nations does not recognise the Taliban government and earlier this month, the UN General Assembly delayed a decision on who will represent Afghanistan at the world body.

At Ambassador Akram’s news briefing, a journalist noted that the Taliban had greatly restricted the freedom of the Afghan women and therefore could not be trusted with protecting the rights of all Afghan citizens.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1665635/pakistan-for-accountability-in-afghanistan

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Taliban claim to dissociate nearly 2,000 affiliates for misbehaviour

Dec 25, 2021

KABUL: The Taliban on Friday claimed to have dissociated nearly 2,000 affiliates for misbehaviour, including provincial heads of some directorates.

Officials of the purification commission of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) said that they have dissociated 1,895 Taliban affiliates due to their misbehaviour, reported Khaama Press.

A spokesperson of IEA Inamullah Samangani in a Twitter post said that provincial heads of some directorates are also among those whose memberships have been dissolved.

"Cases of most of these people have been referred to courts and a large number of ill-bred people left IEA after the commission was created," read his Twitter post.

Samangani added that the officials and rank and file were dissociated after the investigations of the purification commission, reported Khaama Press.

Purification commission, a newly created administration of IEA, observes the Taliban affiliates who misbehave with common people and do not abide by the rules.

Earlier, the Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Hebtullah Akhundzada had asked Taliban officials to identify influential people and dissociate them from their rankings.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-claim-to-dissociate-nearly-2000-affiliates-for-misbehaviour/articleshow/88487083.cms

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China delivers winter clothes to 34 provinces of Afghanistan

24 Dec 2021

Ministry of Refugees and Repatriates of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan sent to 34 provinces of the country the winter clothes and blankets donated by China.

The aids were loaded in tens of trucks and are supposed to be distributed to people who have not yet received aids.

Speaking to journalists in Kabul, the Acting Minister of Refugees and Repatriates Khalilurahman Haqqani said that the aids will be distributed to people in need after a transparent survey in the provinces.

Khalilurahman Haqqani expressed gratitude to countries that have delivered humanitarian aids to Afghanistan and called on other countries to continue delivering aids to the Afghan people.

“Afghanistan is going through the toughest economic situation and the world must implement its pledges in delivering humanitarian aids to Afghan people.” Said Haqqani.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/china-delivers-winter-clothes-to-34-provinces-of-afghanistan-47457/

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Pakistan, Taliban resolve Afghanistan border fencing row: Official

December 25, 2021

Pakistan and Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have resolved the recent row over border fencing by agreeing that further work on the project that led to a tense situation would be done through consensus, a media report said on Saturday.

A senior official, who spoke to a group of journalists on the background on Friday, said it has been decided at a senior level that fencing-related issues would in the future be dealt with through mutual agreement, he said.

The official, however, did not exactly specify at which level the talks between Pakistan and the de facto Afghan government were held after Wednesday's incident in which Taliban fighters disrupted border fencing and took away spools of barbed wire, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The fighters had then also warned Pakistani soldiers against resuming fencing. The incident led to a tense situation in the area where it occurred, it said.

Defence ministries of the two sides later held talks on the issue. The Taliban ministry of the border and tribal affairs also reportedly took part in the parleys.

The official said Taliban Defence Minister Mullah Yaqoob visited the area on Wednesday and defused the situation.

"The dispute has been quietly and calmly settled," he said.

Pakistan has been fencing the 2600-kilometer-long border with Afghanistan since 2017 to end terrorist infiltration and smuggling despite very intense opposition from the neighbouring country, the report said.

Besides the erection of a fence, the project also includes the construction of border posts and forts, and the raising of new wings of Frontier Corps, the paramilitary force that guards the border.

The official said 90 per cent of the fencing had been completed.

A large part of the fence has been constructed in inhospitable terrain and in some places at very high altitudes. The fencing is expected to be completed at a cost of about USD 500 million.

Fencing has been a contentious issue in Pakistan-Afghanistan ties because the Afghans dispute the border demarcation done during the colonial period.

Pakistan, however, insists that the line separating the two countries, also called the Durand Line, is the valid international border.

The differences over the status of the border have been so intense that they have in the past resulted in several fatal clashes between the troops of the two countries.

Pakistani construction teams installing the fence have on a number of occasions endured cross-border attacks by terrorists, the report said.

Islamabad had always hoped that the Afghan Taliban would help in settling the longstanding matter. However, that has not been the case.

The Taliban did not resolve the issue when they were in control of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and have not done anything substantive to address it this time either so far, the report said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who is currently the acting culture and information minister, said in an interview days after the takeover of Kabul by the group on August 15, rejected the fencing of the border by Pakistan.

"The Afghans are unhappy and oppose the fencing. The fencing has separated people and divided families, he had said.

The official at the background briefing downplayed the Taliban's opposition to the fencing project.

Fence is a reality. Nearly 90 percent of it has been installed. Not agreeing with it is not an option, he emphasised.

Responding to a question about talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which were being held in Afghanistan through the Afghan Taliban's facilitation, the official said the dialogue is still continuing despite TTP's announcement about not extending the ceasefire.

The talks are continuing and an effort is being made to reach a settlement. There are differences over TTP's demand for the release of prisoners. The dialogue has, however, not reached a dead end, he said.

The TTP had on December 9 refused to extend the month-long ceasefire that started after accusing Pakistani authorities of not fulfilling their commitments. The ceasefire had begun on November 9 after initial progress in talks and it had largely held. The TTP resumed attacks soon after ending the truce.

Source: Business Standard

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https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/pakistan-taliban-resolve-afghanistan-border-fencing-row-official-121122500279_1.html

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Africa

 

Internet services disrupted in Sudan’s Khartoum ahead of planned protests: Report

25 December ,2021

Internet services appeared to be disrupted in the Sudanese capital Khartoum early on Saturday ahead of planned protests, according to a Reuters witness.

On Thursday, hundreds of women marched in Omdurman and protests hit other Sudanese cities in response to allegations that 13 women were raped

during anti-military rule protests earlier in the week.

The United Nations Human Rights Office received 13 allegations of rape and gang rape by security forces during the protests on Sunday.

That demonstration drew hundreds of thousands of people to the capital Khartoum to protest against a military coup on Oct. 25. They converged on the presidential palace, where they attempted a sit-in before being dispersed by security forces after sundown.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/12/25/Internet-services-disrupted-in-Sudan-s-Khartoum-ahead-of-planned-protests-Report

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500 Wagner paramilitaries reportedly enter Mali amid controversy

Aurore Bonny 

25.12.2021

DOUALA, Cameroon

At least 500 paramilitaries from the controversial private Russian Wagner Group arrived on Thursday in Bamako, Mali’s capital, local security sources confirmed to Anadolu Agency on Friday.

''We confirm the arrival of 500 Russian soldiers,'' the Malian sources told Anadolu Agency, asking not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The soldiers will be deployed in 10 locations in the West African country, according to local media.

The reported arrival comes as the paramilitary group attracts greater controversy.

On Thursday, 15 European countries, including France, which is deploying its military in Mali as part of the fight against terrorism, announced in a statement that they had taken note of "the involvement the Russian Federation’s government in providing material support for Wagner group’s deployment in Mali" and called on "Russia to adopt responsible and constructive behavior in the region."

They condemned the deployment of mercenaries on Malian territory, warning that it could further deteriorate the security situation in West Africa.

The countries warned that the group’s involvement would "worsen the human rights situation in Mali" and threaten the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the country.

In 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed to 2,000 Wagner mercenaries fighting in nearby Libya in support of Khalifa Haftar, a warlord who has fought Libya’s legitimate government and undermined efforts for peace and unity in the country.

-Wagner Group ‘confusing the game’

"It is certain that the Russian paramilitary group poses a lot of concerns, not for the Malians but more for the West, France, the European community and the United States because it is a new player that is confusing the game," Regis Hounkpe, the executive director of InterGlobe Conseils, a consulting firm specializing in strategic communication and geopolitical expertise, told Anadolu Agency.

The group is criticized due to Russia's relations with France and the US, he said, questioning if there would be as much controversy if it were a British group, for example.

"It is true that these mercenaries have a bad record in the Central African Republic and elsewhere. But Mali is a sovereign state and has the right to contract any action with any actor. Mali does not have to choose between the wishes of its European collaborators who are against the new actor. This country must assert itself," Hounkpe added.

On previous French anti-terrorist operations in Mali, he said: "France's record in Mali is very poor at the moment. The recently withdrawn French anti-terrorist force, Barkhane, did not have the desired effect. Mali is still balkanized and in a political and security crisis. On its borders the terrorist threat is still evident.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/500-wagner-paramilitaries-reportedly-enter-mali-amid-controversy/2457079

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Libya’s parliament under pressure over delayed presidential vote

24 December 2021

Libya’s parliament has come under growing pressure to finish planning a long-awaited presidential election, after the vote was postponed earlier this week.

A group of presidential candidates called on the election commission on Friday to finalize the list of candidates for the presidential and parliamentary polls. They also warned that they would not accept further delays.

Some 98 candidates had registered for the presidential race, but no official list of candidates was presented to the public and no formal campaigning went underway. The parliament announced on Wednesday that the presidential election, planned for Friday, would not go ahead. It did not set a new date for the election.

But later on Wednesday, the electoral board suggested pushing the vote back by a month to January 24.

The parliament will meet on Monday to debate a new timeline for elections, according to an official.

Analysts, however, say that given the animosity between the eastern-based parliament and authorities in Tripoli, agreeing a new date will be far from easy.

Citing a parliamentary source, AFP reported that a committee had been formed to set out a new roadmap. The source, who asked to remain anonymous, said the assembly might propose reshuffling or replacing the current unity government.

The interim government’s mandate expires on Friday. Some members of the House of Representatives keep calling for a new government to be installed, while some main factions and political institutions may stick with the UN-recognized government.

The interim government was formed in February to take the country through to elections, but the election’s collapse, which was widely expected, has now left an internationally-backed peace process in chaos and the fate of the interim government in doubt.

The delay has also sparked anger among people who say they were “thirsty” for the crucial election that was aimed at ending a decade of chaos in the country.

Some 2.5 million Libyans had collected their voter cards, out of a population of seven million.

After the postponement of the vote, there was also a reported surge in violence in the country, including by armed groups seeking to control the country’s oil fields.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/24/673305/Libya-parliament-under-pressure-over-delayed-presidential-vote

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North America

 

Is Biden really concerned about the Saudi ballistic missile program?

24 December 2021

Former American diplomat and political analyst J. Michael Springmann doubts that US President Joe Biden is really concerned about Saudi Arabia’s manufacturing of ballistic missiles, as has been shown by US satellite images.

US satellite images acquired by American broadcaster CNN suggest that Saudi Arabia is actively manufacturing ballistic missiles in at least one location.

Sources familiar with the latest US intelligence claimed in the report that China is helping the conservative kingdom in this regard.

In recent months, according to the report, US officials at several agencies, including the National Security Council at the White House, have been briefed on classified intelligence revealing a number of large-scale transfers of sensitive ballistic missile technology between China and Saudi Arabia.

The report observed that the Biden administration is concerned that Saudi's ballistic missile advancements could dramatically change regional power dynamics and complicate American attempts to put restraints on Iran’s own missile technology.

“Really? Joe is concerned? Does he realize that his previous wild remarks about ‘hostile’ and ‘dangerous’ China have consequences?  And that his remarks are causing the Chinese to move into prior American spheres of influence?” asked J. Springmann, a former US diplomat in Saudi Arabia.

“In the late 1980s, before the US State Department fired him, this author reported the Saudi import of Chinese Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBMs) tagged Silkworm.  At the time, there was a great uproar in the international news media and the writer’s information about the actual introduction of the missiles went nowhere (except to the US embassy in Riyadh and to the then-president's daily security briefing),” he stated.

“This time around, the Chinese are back with advice and assistance—on solid-fuel missiles. (The Silkworms were liquid-fueled.)  According to Jeffrey Lewis, a weapons expert, and professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, The domestic production of ballistic missiles by Saudi Arabia suggests that any diplomatic effort to control missile proliferation would need to involve other regional actors, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, that produce their own ballistic missiles,’ he added.

“Now that the Saudis have joined the missile race, along with the Apartheid Entity styling itself Israel, Iran has more problems (and opportunities) for its defensive missiles. Will the Islamic Republic demand that Israel reduce or eliminate its rockets, many of which can be nuclear-tipped? Will the Islamic Republic require international intervention to end the Saudi program?  Or will the Islamic Republic press ahead with newer and better defensive missiles?” Springmann said.

Despite decades of Washington-imposed sanctions, Iran has made great achievements in its ballistic missiles program.

A Pentagon study has hailed Iran’s missiles program, saying its arsenal is larger than that of any other Middle Eastern country.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/24/673306/Is-Biden-really-concerned-about-the-Saudi-ballistic-missile-program-

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US lawmakers call on Biden to end blockade on Yemen

December 25, 2021

A group of international humanitarian organizations and a number of American legislators have demanded the administration of President Joe Biden to end the siege on Sanaa International Airport.

The organizations emphasized that the cruel and senseless blockade is harming millions of innocent Yemenis, diplomacy and the peace process.

According to The “Common Dream” website, the human rights and humanitarian organizations, to which a number of US legislators joined, demanded President Biden to open the airport in order to provide humanitarian aid, indicating that the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes damaged the airport.

“The Biden administration should take advantage of every possible influence to put pressure on the Saudi-led coalition to end its siege of Sanaa International Airport,” the website said, quoting the statement of the organizations group.

Source: ABNA24

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

https://en.abna24.com/news//us-lawmakers-call-on-biden-to-end-blockade-on-yemen_1212038.html

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US embassy urges nationals to avoid protest sites in Sudan

Buhram Abdel-Men'em  

24.12.2021

The US Embassy in Sudan on Friday advised its nationals to avoid areas expected to witness protests on Saturday.

"Demonstrations are expected to take place on December 25 in Khartoum and potentially in other states," the embassy said in a circular posted on Twitter.

It encouraged personnel and US nationals to "avoid non-essential travel, avoid crowds and demonstration, and to exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests."

On Thursday, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) made a public call to take part in a rally on Saturday to demand the "establishment of a full civilian authority."

On Oct. 25, the military in the North African country dismissed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional government and declared a state of emergency amid accusations and differences between politicians and the armed forces.

Hamdok, however, was reinstated on Nov. 21 under an agreement with Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the Sudanese army chief, in a move that aimed to resolve a political crisis that threatened to undermine Sudan's transition to democracy.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/us-embassy-urges-nationals-to-avoid-protest-sites-in-sudan/2456780

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US foreign policy team sends confusing signals about Iran: Analyst 

24 December 2021

The current US foreign policy team is "rife with dissension and sends confusing signals" about Iran, an American political commentator in Oregon has said.

In an interview with Press TV on Friday, Charles Dunaway said that there are hard-core Zionist neocons embedded in key roles in the State Department and White House who will do everything in their power to undermine President Joe Biden if he adopts a more realistic stance on Iran.

As a new round of talks is slated to kick off between Iran and the five remaining parties to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna, China calls on the United States to "overhaul" its failed “maximum pressure” policy on Iran and remove all "illegal" sanctions it has imposed against Tehran after its unilateral withdrawal from the agreement.

"I’d like to reiterate that, as the culprit of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should overhaul its erroneous policy of 'maximum pressure' on Iran, and lift all illegal sanctions on Iran and “long-arm jurisdiction” on third parties," China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Friday. "On this basis, Iran should resume full compliance," he added.

In a tweet on Thursday, European Union deputy foreign policy chief Enrique Mora said Iran and the five parties to the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), would resume anti-Iran sanctions removal talks in Vienna on Monday to "discuss and define the way ahead."

Dunaway said, “The Chinese foreign ministry is quite correct that the US should have removed all its sanctions on Iran before beginning these talks on the JCPOA.  That would have restored the treaty in its original form immediately.  After that, the parties could negotiate in good faith about additional matters.”

“One problem left unaddressed is that the US government cannot be trusted to live up to its treaty commitments.  Even the Obama administration, which negotiated the JCPOA, imposed new sanctions in violation of the agreement the next day after the treaty was signed,” he added.

“Because the US has only contempt for international law and for the United Nations, there is no way to hold it accountable for its serial violations of this and many other treaties.  Even if the Biden administration had the integrity and inner strength to drop the sanctions and return to the agreement, the next administration would most likely back out. The pressure of the Israeli lobby would be relentless and few, if any, US politicians have the guts to stand up to them,” he stated.

“The current foreign policy team in the US is also rife with dissension and sends confusing signals. There are hard-core Zionist neocons embedded in key roles in the State Department and White House.  If a more realistic stance is adopted by the President, they will do everything in their power to undermine him. This is evident in the mixed signals being given regarding Ukraine and Taiwan,” he noted.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/12/24/673330/US-foreign-policy-team-sends-confusing-signals-about-Iran

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