New Age Islam
Wed Oct 21 2020, 09:50 AM

Islamic World News ( 28 Aug 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Madrasas to Use Students to Educate Muslim Men about the 'Correct Way to Divorce Wife'

















Volunteers for Muslim Youth USA assist in relief efforts during tropical storm Harvey Courtesy Muslim Youth USA

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Madrasas to Use Students to Educate Muslim Men about the 'Correct Way to Divorce Wife'

U.S. Muslims Are Religiously Observant, but Open to Multiple Interpretations of Islam

Blasphemy Laws on the Books in One-Third of Nations: Study

Iraqi Security Forces Find Daesh Torture Cells in Western Tal Afar

Netanyahu: We Will Never Abandon West Bank Settlements to Radical Islam

 

India

Madrasas to Use Students to Educate Muslim Men about the 'Correct Way to Divorce Wife'

An Initiative That Aims To Empower Muslims Economically, Create More Entrepreneurs

CBI To Investigate Student Leader Lafikul Islam's Killing in Assam

Jammu-Kashmir cop shot dead by militants

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North America

U.S. Muslims Are Religiously Observant, but Open to Multiple Interpretations of Islam

Harvey: Muslim Youth Group Hits Streets to Help Houston Residents during Storm

US intelligence officials under pressure by Trump administration over Iran

Americans hold polarized views on terrorists — but the threat is minimal

Congress Seeks to Cut U.S. Aid to Islamic Charity Tied to Terror

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Pakistan

Blasphemy Laws on the Books in One-Third of Nations: Study

Ballistics System Helps Police Detect, Dismantle Terror Cells

NAB to file four references against Sharifs, Dar after Eid

20pc of Pakistanis live in 10 cities, census reveals

Pakistani, Chinese officials discuss Afghanistan amid tension with US

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Arab World

Iraqi Security Forces Find Daesh Torture Cells in Western Tal Afar

Daesh, US Trauma to Haunt Raqqah Kids for Decades: Charity

Car Bombing Kills 9, Injures 25 in Baghdad Market Area

Several Terrorists Killed in Clashes among ISIL Members in Syria's Deir Ezzur

Terrorists Fail to Break through Syrian Army Positions in Sweida Province

Terrorists Start Evacuating Syria-Lebanon Border Regions

ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Syrian, Russian Raids in Eastern Hama

Reports: ISIS militants begin evacuating Lebanon border area

Popular Mobilization forces ransack liberated areas in Tal Afar

Iraqi forces advance towards ISIS’s last stronghold in Tal Afar

Daesh attempting to save last stronghold in Syria: Russia

Daesh terrorists had no choice except submission: Nasrallah

Iraqi Security Forces Find Daesh Torture Cells In Western Tal Afar

Daesh, US trauma to haunt Raqqah kids for decades: Charity

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Mideast

Netanyahu: We Will Never Abandon West Bank Settlements to Radical Islam

UN Chief Seeks ‘Dream’ Of Israel, Palestinian Peace in First Visit

Netanyahu: Iran building sites to produce missiles in Syria and Lebanon

Houthi militias, Saleh loyalists agree to ease tension in Sanaa

Report: Iranian-backed spy ring in Saudi trained by IRGC in Mashhad

Emir of Qatar wants to leave GCC: Iranian diplomat

Iran voices extreme worries over Rohingyas' plight in Myanmar

Israel jails 5 relatives of Palestinian teenager in occupied West Bank

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South Asia

Bangladesh Offers Myanmar Army Aid Against Rohingya Rebels

141 Rohingyas pushed back amid tension in Rakhine state

Pope Francis to visit Dhaka in November

$727 million contract awarded in support of Afghan Air Force, Special Mission Wing

Frustrated with new US strategy, Pakistani FM claims Afghan forces sell US weapons

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Southeast Asia

DAP: PAS Wants Candidates to Be ‘Suicide Bombers’

Najib hails the young as catalysts for Malaysia’s greater success

PAS vows to defend Selangor from BN, Umno

Indonesia: Islamic State-inspired bomb plotter sentenced to 7.5 years in jail

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Africa

Sudan, Libya Agree To Normalize Ties, Protect Borders

Ghana: Islamic Finance Gaining Momentum

Libyan navy detains 20 Filipinos for alleged smuggling

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Europe

Germany, Egypt Reach Agreement to Slow Down Flow of Refugees to Europe

One arrest in Buckingham Palace ‘terror’ incident

German FM concedes lack of EU support on Turkey policy

UN chief calls for reopening of Yemen port, airport

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/madrasas-to-use-students-to-educate-muslim-men-about-the--correct-way-to-divorce-wife-/d/112373

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Madrasas to Use Students to Educate Muslim Men about the 'Correct Way to Divorce Wife'

Aug 28, 2017

AGRA: With the Supreme Court holding triple Talaq unconstitutional, madrasas have begun preparations to educate Muslim men on the "correct way to divorce their wives".

Mufti Muddasar Khan, who runs a madrasa in Agra, said they have a full chapter on the correct way of going through a divorce and will ask students to educate others about it.

Syed Jamal, who runs a madrasa in Aligarh, also said triple Talaq was wrong according to the Sharia Islamic law. "We want to educate people on the correct manner in which Talaq can be effected," he said adding that they would tell their students to spread the message.

Maulana Noman Ahmed Azhari, who is lecturer in Albarkat Islamic Research and Training Institute, Aligarh, said the institute gives cultural and social training to students who come from madrasa. He said that it is true that many people are not aware of the Sharia law and practice it incorrectly. "We will not only train our students well but would motivate them to teach the correct things to others also, as there is an urgent need to end the wrong practices.

At present, there are 200 madrasas, including non-recognised ones in Aligarh and about 150 in Agra. However, students in lower classes are not taught practices of Talaq, Nikah or Halala, said Mufti Muddasar Khan.

There is a need to raise awareness in the society. "Through madrasa students we can reach out to a large Muslim audience and educate the men about the correct practices, according to the Shariyat", said Maulana Tanveer Ahmed, who also runs a Madrasa in Agra.

When contacted Maulana Shahbudin Razvi, national general secretary, Jamat Raza-e-Mustafa (an influential organisation of Sunni Barelvi sect), said, "Following the Supreme Court order, we conducted a meeting of clerics associated with madrasas and have urged them to inform the community through students and in their Friday prayers and religious congregations about the correct ways of undergoing Talaq".

He said the reason behind this move is to educate couple that they must not separate and in case they decide to, it should be done according to the Sharia Islamic law and not instant triple Talaq. He said Talaq can be effected over a period of three months.

Significantly, Razvi said that they would also urge Muslim women not to take their personal matters to courts or the police.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/madrasas-to-use-students-to-educate-muslim-men-about-the-correct-way-to-divorce-wife/articleshow/60262937.cms

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U.S. Muslims Are Religiously Observant, but Open to Multiple Interpretations of Islam

AUGUST 28, 2017

For American Muslims, being highly religious does not necessarily translate into acceptance of traditional notions of Islam. While many U.S. Muslims say they attend mosque and pray regularly, sizable shares also say that there is more than one way to interpret their religion and that traditional understandings of Islam need to be reinterpreted to address the issues of today.

By some conventional measures, U.S. Muslims are as religious as – or more religious than – many Americans who belong to other faith groups. Four-in-ten (43%) Muslim Americans say they attend mosque at least once a week, including 18% who say they attend more than once a week, according to a 2017 Pew Research Centre survey. An additional 32% say they attend once or twice a month, or a few times a year. These attendance levels are comparable to those of U.S. Christians, 47% of whom say they attend services weekly or more, and greater than the 14% of American Jews who say the same.

A majority also say that they pray at least some or all of the Salah, or ritual prayers required of Muslims five times per day. Among all U.S. Muslims, fully 42% say they pray all five Salah daily, while 17% pray at least some of the Salah every day. A quarter say they pray less often, and just 15% say they never pray.

And nearly two-thirds of U.S. Muslims (65%) say that religion is very important in their lives, similar to the share of U.S. Christians who say the same (68%), and higher than the share of U.S. Jews who say this (31%). An additional 22% of Muslims say that religion is somewhat important in their lives, while fewer say that religion is not too or not at all important to them.

At the same time, American Muslims openly acknowledge that there is room for multiple interpretations of the teachings of Islam. A majority (64%) say there is more than one true way to interpret the faith’s teachings, while just half as many (31%) say there is only one true way to interpret Islam. And it’s not just less-religious Muslims who express this sentiment: While 72% of Muslims who say religion is somewhat (or less) important in their life say they are open to multiple interpretations, a majority (59%) of those who say religion is very important in their life also say there is more than one true way to interpret the faith. Among U.S. Christians, there is a similar balance: 60% say there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion, while 34% say there is just one true way.

About half (52%) of all U.S. Muslim adults also say that traditional understandings of Islam must be reinterpreted to reflect contemporary issues, while 38% maintain that traditional understandings of Islam are all that are needed to address today’s issues. On this question there is more of a difference of opinion among Muslims when it comes to how important religion is in their lives. Those who say religion is very important in their lives are evenly divided (43% say traditional understandings should be reinterpreted vs. 46% who say traditional understandings are all that is needed), while about seven-in-ten (71%) of those who say religion is less important express the view that Islamic teachings need to be reinterpreted.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/28/u-s-muslims-are-religiously-observant-but-open-to-multiple-interpretations-of-islam/

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Blasphemy laws on the books in one-third of nations: study

AUGUST 28, 2017

GENEVA (Reuters) - Laws prohibiting blasphemy are “astonishingly widespread” worldwide, with many laying down disproportionate punishments ranging from prison sentences to lashings or the death penalty, the lead author of a report on blasphemy said.

Iran, Pakistan, and Yemen score worst, topping a list of 71 countries with laws criminalizing views deemed blasphemous, found in all regions, according to a comprehensive report issued this month by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The bipartisan U.S. federal commission called for repeal of blasphemy statutes, saying they invited abuse and failed to protect freedoms of religion and expression.

“We found key patterns. All deviate from freedom of speech principles in some way, all have a vague formulation, with different interpretations,” Joelle Fiss, the Swiss-based lead author of the report told Reuters.

The ranking is based on how a state’s ban on blasphemy or criminalizing of it contravenes international law principles.

Ireland and Spain had the “best scores”, as their laws order a fine, according to the report which said many European states have blasphemy laws that are rarely invoked.

Some 86 percent of states with blasphemy laws prescribe imprisonment for convicted offenders, it said.

Proportionality of punishment was a key criteria for the researchers.

“That is why Iran and Pakistan are the two highest countries because they explicitly have the death penalty in their law,” Fiss said, referring to their laws which enforce the death penalty for insulting the Prophet Mohammad.

Blasphemy laws can be misused by authorities to repress minorities, the report said, citing Pakistan and Egypt, and can serve as a pretext for religious extremists to foment hate.

Recent high-profile blasphemy cases include Jakarta’s former Christian governor being sentenced to two years in jail in May for insulting Islam, a ruling which activists and U.N. experts condemned as unfair and politicized. Critics fear the ruling will embolden hardline Islamist forces to challenge secularism in Indonesia.

A Pakistani court sentenced a man to death last month who allegedly committed blasphemy on Facebook, the first time the penalty was given for that crime on social media in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

"Each of the top five countries with the highest scoring laws has an official state religion," the report said, referring to Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Somali and Qatar. All have Islam as their state religion.

Saudi Arabia, where flogging and amputations have been reported for alleged blasphemy, is not among the top "highest-risk countries", but only 12th, as punishment is not defined in the blasphemy law itself.

"They don't have a written penal law, but rely on judges' interpretation of the Sharia. The score was disproportionately low," Fiss said. "If a law is very vague, it means prosecutors and judges have a lot of discretion to interpret."

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-privacy-idUSKCN1B90EN

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Iraqi security forces find Daesh torture cells in western Tal Afar

Aug 28, 2017

Iraqi security soldiers have discovered a detention facility in the western flank of Tal Afar, which members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group used to incarcerate people and subject the detainees to various forms of torture.

The Arabic-language al-Sumaria satellite television network reported on Monday that government forces had found the prison in the recently-liberated al-Saad neighborhood of the city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.

The building incorporated several rooms, where Daesh extremists apparently used to hold civilians in captivity and torment them.

Iraqi security forces could recover dozens of boxes of tablets in addition to narcotics from the site.

Daesh had installed a comprehensive CCTV surveillance system across the building for the principal purposes of keeping an eye on the movements of the detainees.

Meanwhile, the media bureau of Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha'abi, announced in a statement that soldiers from the 16th Division of the Iraqi Army had reclaimed control over Kharaj al-Asheq village southwest of al-‘Ayadiya district, which lies 11 kilometers northwest of Tal Afar.

Separately, Kurdish authorities said on Monday that Iraqi troops had found and rescued three Izadi women, whom Daesh extremists had been holding captive in Tal Afar.

Hussein Qaidi, an official from the Office of Kidnapped and Rescued Izadis’ Affairs in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk, said those released were a 40-year-old woman and two teenage girls aged 14 and 19.

Additionally, the head of Nineveh provincial municipalities department, Abdel Qader Dakhil, told Arabic-language al-Ghad Press that “the scope of damage in Tal Afar is too little”.

Dakhil added that municipal teams are awaiting military engineers to clear booby-trapped houses and defuse explosive devices so as to begin the reconstruction of Tal Afar.

On August 20, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, declared the start of an operation to retake control of Tal Afar and nearby areas from Daesh terrorists.

Tal Afar is the last Daesh stronghold in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh.

Khaled al-Obaidi, the head of Nineveh provincial department of the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement, told al-Ghad Press news agency on Saturday that 10,000 people had fled Tal Afar to refugee camps south of Mosul.

Obaidi added that most of Tal Afar residents had fled towards Turkey, noting that many districts in the city had been deserted.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533225/Iraqi-forces-find-Daesh-prison-torture-cells-Tal-Afar

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Netanyahu: We Will Never Abandon West Bank Settlements To Radical Islam

AUGUST 29, 2017

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised that Israel would remain in Samaria and that radical Islam would never create a base on its hilltops.

“It has been proven that uprooting settlements does not foster peace,” Netanyahu said on Monday, as he spoke at a ceremony celebrating 50 years of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. “We have returned here to stay and, there will be no more uprooting of settlements,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking to thousand of participants who sat on plastic chairs in a large open air area in the Barkan Industrial Park, Netanyahu recalled how the demolition of 21 settlements in Gaza and four in northern Samaria in 2005 had only lead to a major increase of violence against Israel from Gaza.

“We uprooted settlements, and we received missiles,” he said. “Samaria is the key to our future. I am asking all those who visit here and all foreign leaders to imagine a radical Islamic base on these hilltops. It would endanger us, and the region as a whole,” Netanyahu said.

The hilltops of Samaria guard Route 6, one of Israel’s major highways, and Ben-Gurion Airport.

Initiatives to push Israel to abandon Samaria will be met with increased building, Netanyahu said.

“This is a period of development in Judea and Samaria,” the prime minister said. “We are leading this initiative. There is no government in Israel that has done more on behalf of the settlements than the one under my leadership.”

Separately, Netanyahu promised to return home the bodies of the two soldiers believed killed in the 2014 Gaza war, as well as the Israeli civilian believed missing in Gaza.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan lauded Netanyahu for his leadership, saying that he was certain the prime minister would continue to lead the country for many years to come.

Dagan asked Netanyahu to give residents the power to build and develop the area.

“The land in Samaria is crying out for new settlements,” he said. In particular, Dagan asked Netanyahu to allow his council to rebuild the four settlements in northern Samaria that were destroyed during the 2005 disengagement: Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim.

Dagan said he was making this request as a former resident of Sa-Nur whose home was destroyed in 2005.

“We have returned to the land of the Bible, to the land where Joshua built his alter and to where Joseph is buried,” said Dagan. “We have returned and plan to remain here eternally.”

http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Netanyahu-We-will-never-abandon-any-part-of-Samaria-to-radical-Islam-503657

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India

 

An Initiative That Aims To Empower Muslims Economically, Create More Entrepreneurs

by ZEESHAN SHAIKH

August 27, 2017

While a slew of efforts has been undertaken over the years for the educational upliftment of Muslims, a new initiative being planned aims at the economic upliftment of the community. Behind the initiative is a group of young Muslim professionals, who under the aegis of the Association of Muslim Professionals met in Mumbai on Saturday to work out a time-bound plan for the economic empowerment of the Muslim community.

“Over the last 20-odd years, a lot of work has been done for the educational upliftment of the Muslim community. We feel it’s time to take the next step to ensure their economic upliftment as well. Our idea is, enchain the educated Muslims to this project whereby we can create a facilitating body to create social entrepreneurs within the community,” said Aamir Edresy, convenor of the Association of Muslim Professionals and the brain behind the project.

Over the past two decades, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the Muslim community to get itself educated. Between 2001 and 2011, the total number of graduates in India increased by 64 per cent from 3.76 crore to 6.2 crore. At the same time, the total number of Muslim graduates increased by 98.8 per cent, from 23.9 Lakh to 47.52 Lakh.

In spite of this, Muslims remain one of the most poor and deprived sections of society. The average monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) for Indians stands at Rs 1,128. It is, however, the lowest for Muslims at Rs 980. There is, however, a wide social disparity within the community, which also has a substantial number of successful and wealthy entrepreneurs.

The group, which included senior Muslim professionals from the corporate world, brainstormed to set an economic agenda for the community. “The community has no voice when it comes to help formulate economic policies. Our idea is to create a system whereby the community’s entrepreneurs can play some role in making themselves useful in facilitating the drafting of economic policies. We are also seeking to create an environment whereby fledgling Muslim entrepreneurs are provided both mentorship as well as economic support if required,” Edresy said.

The group plans to hold meetings in this regard across the country and in the coming years want to come up with a concrete roadmap. “We are planning to come out with a roadmap, which we plan to submit to the government by next year on steps that can be taken to help in the economic empowerment of the community. We will also create a plan of action for the community itself, which can be used to facilitate its own economic growth,” Edresy said. Businessmen Suhail Khandwani said the initiative was to help create a sustainable network within the community to help entrepreneurs.

“We are looking at creating a system which will facilitate not only business-to-business ties but also business-to-consumer ties. The whole aim is to create an environment for social entrepreneurs who uplift the community and help in creating a better and prosperous society,” said Khandwani, CEO of Khandwani Group and who is a part of the initiative.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/an-initiative-that-aims-to-empower-muslims-economically-create-more-entrepreneurs-4815465/

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CBI To Investigate Student Leader Lafikul Islam's Killing In Assam

Aug 29, 2017

GUWAHATI:  The CBI will probe the murder of All Bodo Minority Students Union (ABMSU) president Lafikul Islam in Assam's Kokrajhar district early this month.

"Following the Assam government's request, the Central government has handed over the investigation of Lafikul Islam murder case to the Central Bureau of Investigation," a press release by the Assam government said in Guwahati today.

Union Minister of State for DoNER, Jitendra Singh informed this to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal over phone today, it said.

Mr Islam was killed by unidentified miscreants at Titaguri market in Kokrajhar district on August 1 and the state government has already constituted a special investigative team or SIT, headed by inspector general of police Anurag Tankha, to inquire into it.

Full report at:

http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cbi-to-investigate-student-leader-lafikul-islams-killing-in-assam-1743157

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Jammu-Kashmir cop shot dead by militants

by Wajahat Shabir   

August 29, 2017

A police officer shot by suspected militants on Monday succumbed to injuries in Mehandi Kadal of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. A police officer said that Abdul Rasheed, an assistant sub-inspector of Jammu and Kashmir police was shot from close range when he was on his duty. “He was immediately shifted to the Anantnag district hospital and was referred to Srinagar. However, Abdul Rasheed succumbed to injuries,” the officer said.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Anantnag, Altaf Ahmed Khan, said: “Abdul Rasheed was a resident of Qazigund and was in police for many decades. He was on duty without a weapon.” The attack took place two days after the fierce encounter between militants and security forces in Pulwama, where eight security personnel and three militants were killed. Last month, a policeman, Gowher Nazir Tantray, was shot dead by suspected militants in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. Tantray was on his bike when militants opened fire on him near Kanjijula bridge Kulgam.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/jammu-kashmir-cop-shot-dead-by-militants-4818373/

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North America

 

Harvey: Muslim youth group hits streets to help Houston residents during storm

Emily Shugerman

Aug 29, 2017

As tropical storm Harvey hit Texas with devastating floods, a group of young Muslim men hit the streets to help their neighbours.

More than 100 members of Muslim Youth USA, and 40 members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, passed out food, water, and other supplies in Houston, according to organisers. Both groups expect to gain more volunteers from surrounding cities when the roadways open up.

Madeel Abdullah, director of humanitarian affairs for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, said more than 700 members of his organisation have been affected by the storm. But the volunteers, he said, are "helping anybody else that’s in distress".

"We’ve already provided basic supplies such as food items and water bottles," Mr Abdullah told The Independent, "and we have a few members who have boats who are going around making sure everyone is safe."

Both youth groups were assisted by Humanity First, an Ahmadiyya Muslim charity dedicated to disaster relief. First founded in England, the charity has expanded to more than 40 countries in the last 25 years.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community spokesman Qasim Rashid told The Independent the groups had mobilised both their local and national chapters before hurricane Harvey even began. They started sending volunteers into Houston neighbourhoods as early as Sunday – just two days after the storm first hit.

All three groups identify as Ahmadiyya Muslim – an embattled branch of Islam that originated in India in the 19th century.

According to Mr Rashid, the groups follow the teachings of Caliph Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who preaches empathy for their fellow Americans.

“Your faith as Muslims and your identity as Americans needs to hold you accountable,” Mr Rashid said the Caliph told them. “Whenever your fellow Americans are in need, you need to be the first ones on the ground to help them.”

To that end, Humanity First USA has aided recovery efforts in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, in New York after hurricane Sandy, and in Texas after hurricane Rita. So far, they have raised more than $18,000 to benefit the victims of hurricane Harvey. It's a notable feat for a Muslim charity, in a year in which anti-Muslim hate crimes have spiked 91 per cent and the President has proposed a so-called "Muslim travel ban". But Mr Rashid said he’s seen no drop-off in enthusiasm.

“If anything, it has had the opposite effect that people might think,” he said of the current political climate. “If anything it’s emboldened our youth to work even harder to exemplify what Islam means.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/harvey-muslim-group-relief-effort-texas-houston-hurrican-youth-usa-a7917406.html

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US intelligence officials under pressure by Trump administration over Iran

Aug 28, 2017

The administration of US President Donald Trump is pressuring intelligence officials in the United States to produce intelligence that could be used to declare Iran in violation of a nuclear deal the president despises, reports say.

“Anecdotally, I have heard this from members of the intelligence community — that they feel like they have come under pressure,” said Ned Price, a former CIA analyst, The Guardian reported Monday.

Price said intelligence officials had told him they felt the scenario that led to the US invasion of Iraq was repeating itself and that they were resisting the pressure to manufacture intelligence.

“They told me there was a sense of revulsion. There was a sense of déjà vu. There was a sense of ‘we’ve seen this movie before,’” Price said.

The US is a party to a multilateral deal with Iran that was concluded under the administration of former president Barack Obama in 2015. But Trump, who took over in January 2017 and who campaigned mainly on a platform of undoing every one of Obama’s major policy achievements, has taken aim at the Iran deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Earlier, Trump sent a senior member of his administration to Vienna to lobby with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to request access to Iranian military sites as part of the deal, a move generally considered as an attempt to undermine the JCPOA.

The IAEA, tasked with monitoring Iranian compliance with the deal, has consistently verified that Iran has been holding up its end of the bargain.

Trump has also set up a team of his White House confidantes to present him with “options” other than certifying Iranian compliance with the deal to the Congress. Such certification is needed by US law every 90 days in order for the Congress to continue to withhold nuclear-related sanctions against Iran, itself a US commitment under the JCPOA.

Cooking the books

But the Trump White House attempts to pressure the intelligence community are a newer development.

David Cohen, a former deputy director of the CIA, told the CNN that the politicization of intelligence on Iran would have serious consequences for the US intelligence community in all areas.

“If our intelligence is degraded because it is politicized in the way that it looks like the president wants to do here, that undermines the utility of that intelligence all across the board,” he warned.

Richard Nephew, a former Obama administration official and a member of the US negotiating team in the talks with Iran, said the White House was seeking manufactured intelligence to pull out of the deal.

“It seems there is a faction within the administration that is trying to lay the basis for getting out [of the JCPOA] on the basis of cooked books,” he said.

Nephew and other former officials said members of the US intelligence community had learned the lessons of the Iraq scenario the hard way and would be unwilling to fabricate intelligence.

In the lead-up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the then-White House officials said they were in possession of conclusive evidence that the then Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

An eight-year war and hundreds of thousands of lost lives later, the US withdrew without ever finding any WMDs. In a debate that continues to this day, White House officials responsible for the invasion have blamed false intelligence, and spies have said they had been under pressure by the White House to provide intelligence.

The report by The Guardian said that things were not quite the same this time, however.

“Unlike the case of Iraq…, where there were deep divisions in the US intelligence community over the evidence for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, there is now a general consensus among US intelligence and foreign intelligence agencies, the state department, the IAEA and the other five countries that signed the JCPOA, as well as the European Union, that there is no significant evidence that Iran has violated its obligations under the deal,” it said.

The Trump administration efforts to undermine the deal have disgruntled some US politicians who had themselves been opposed to the deal before.

Senator Bob Corker, one such politician, has implied that by unilaterally walking away from the deal, the US would face a credibility issue.

Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a group that worked to defeat the Iran deal, said simply pulling out would “alienate the Europeans,” according to an article by The New York Times.

Iran has complained about such politicizing of the matter by the US. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has written to the IAEA chief to warn that the agency’s bending under the US pressure would “undermine [its] independence and credibility.”

The Trump administration has twice so far certified Iran’s compliance with the deal. US media reports said Trump agreed to those certifications only “reluctantly.” All indications are that he wants to avoid a third certification.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533202/US-Trump-intelligence-officials-pressure-intelligence-Iran-deal

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Americans hold polarized views on terrorists — but the threat is minimal

By Jonathan Zimmerman

August 28, 2017

Who’s a bigger terror threat to the United States right now: Islamic extremists or white nationalists?

That’s been a big question on Americans’ minds, especially since a neo-Nazi killed a counterprotester and injured 19 others during an Aug. 12 white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Democrats are more worried about white nationalists, while Republicans are more likely to identify Islamic extremists as the greater terror threat.

But here’s what neither side will tell you: In both cases, the threat is negligible. Whatever their politics, Americans radically exaggerate the danger of radical terrorism. They just point to different terrorists, depending on their point of view.

And that speaks to the real problem here, which doesn’t have to do with terrorism at all. It’s the hyper-polarization of our politics, which leads us to demonize the other team. Most Muslims are not Islamic extremists, any more than most supporters of President Trump are white nationalists. But the bogeyman of terrorism blinds us to these distinctions, transforming our political opponents into existential enemies.

Witness how both sides cite their own statistics, each designed to make the other look worse. After Charlottesville, liberals pointed out — accurately — that there have been more fatal attacks on U.S. soil by far-right extremists (62 incidents) than by Islamic extremists (23 incidents) since Sept. 11, 2001.

And conservatives said — again, correctly — that more people had died at the hands of Islamic extremists (119) than at the hands of the far-right attackers (106). But nearly half of the people murdered by Muslim terrorists died in a single incident, the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting; if you subtract that, liberals countered, the murder toll from the far right is almost twice as high as that from Islamic extremists.

But guess what? In the grand scheme, all of these threats are infinitesimal. Since 2001, your chance of being crushed to death by an unstable television or piece of furniture has been greater than your chance of dying at the hands of a terrorist. About 100 Americans die every day in automobile accidents. So this coming weekend, more of us will perish on our roads than the total number of deaths from terrorism since 2001.

Here liberals will insist that white nationalism is different from Islamic extremism, because racism is baked into America’s historical DNA. And it has recently received a big boost from the president of the United States, whose odious “violence on both sides” comments after Charlottesville placed white nationalists on the same moral plane as their opponents.

All true. It’s also true that the Trump administration recently cut federal funds for groups that fight white supremacists and neo-Nazis, focusing the government’s antiterror efforts on Muslims. Indeed, many Americans still don’t seem to regard white racists like James Alex Fields — the alleged killer in Charlottesville — as “terrorists” at all.

But it’s absurd to saddle all Trump supporters with the mantle of terrorism. And if you think otherwise, think back to the Orlando shooting and the ways that some conservatives used it to slander all Muslims.

When Omar Mateen murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub last year, conservatives were quick to note that Muslims are less likely to embrace equal rights for homosexuals than other Americans are. About two-thirds of Americans support same-sex marriage, for example, but only 4 in 10 American Muslims do.

And worldwide, majority-Muslim countries are overwhelmingly antigay. In a 2013 poll, 97 percent of people in Jordan said that homosexuality should “not be accepted by society”; in Egypt, 95 percent agreed; in Tunisia, it was 94 percent.

So Islam is an “intolerant religion” that provoked Mateen into mass murder, right? Wrong. Not every Muslim is antigay, of course. And even among those who denounce homosexuality, the vast majority don’t think it’s legitimate to take up arms against it.

Likewise, not everyone who voted for Donald J. Trump is a hard-core racist. About 30 percent of them were Latino and 8 percent were African American; indeed, Trump polled better among both groups than GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney did four years earlier.

Did Trump’s calls to “build a wall” and ban Muslims galvanize white racists to his side? Of course. There’s a reason the likes of David Duke have praised him, after all.

But no matter how much racism they harbor in their hearts, most of these voters would never wear Nazi regalia or carry a tiki torch in a white-supremacist parade. And, most of all, they would never consider murdering in the name of their beliefs.

There are plenty of bigots in the United States, of every creed and color. And yes, we have to be vigilant about identifying and neutralizing the real terrorists among them, whether Muslim or white supremacist.

Full report at:

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Americans-hold-polarized-views-on-terrorists-12086075.php

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Congress Seeks to Cut U.S. Aid to Islamic Charity Tied to Terror

BY: Adam Kredo        

August 28, 2017

A new congressional measure seeks to cut all U.S. funding for an Islamic charity that has been banned in some countries for providing assistance to Hamas and other terror-tied organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

The new measure, which was proposed as an amendment to Congress's yearly appropriations bill, which sets U.S. expenditures, would ban any taxpayer funds from being provided to Islamic Relief Worldwide, or IRW, a global charitable organization that has been linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

IRW is banned in some Middle Eastern countries for its alleged support of terror organizations, though the United States has continued to provide taxpayer funds to the organization under the Obama administration, sparking outrage among some lawmakers and regional experts.

The move to ban U.S. funding to IRW was authored by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who told the Free Beacon that the U.S. taxpayers should not be giving to any organization tied to terror movements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, which continues to support extremist activities.

"U.S. tax dollars cannot go to groups involved in funding terrorism," DeSantis told the Free Beacon. "Any group tied to Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood should be ineligible for funding.  It is a slap in the face of the American taxpayer to allow such groups to receive federal funding."

IRW has been a source of tension for some time. Congressional leaders and terrorism experts expressed shock at the Obama administration in 2015, when the Free Beacon disclosed the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, a taxpayer funded group, had awarded IRW $100,000 in grants.

The Obama administration awarded IRW another $270,000 in 2016 via a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The effort to ban IRW from receiving any further taxpayer funds is part of a larger effort by DeSantis and others to isolate Muslim Brotherhood-tied organizations and other terror groups that have cashed in on American taxpayer funds through a range of questionable third-party organization.

IRW is banned in both the United Arab Emirates and Israel after investigations determined the group has ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other extremist entities bound up in terror financing schemes, according to multiple reports.

An independent investigation by the Israeli government sparked allegations the charity was providing material support to Hamas and its operatives.

The charity "provides support and assistance to Hamas's infrastructure," Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs charged in 2006. "The IRW's activities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives."

IRW was also cited as a "hub for donations from charities accused of links to al Qaeda and other terror groups," according to a separate investigation conducted by the Gatestone Institute.

The charity's "accounts show that it has partnered with a number of organizations linked to terrorism and that some of the charity's trustees are personally affiliated with extreme Islamist groups that have connections to terror," according to report, which was authored by terrorism analyst Samuel Westrop.

Israeli authorities arrested IRW's Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali, in 2006 due to his alleged work on Hamas's behalf.

"Incriminating files were found on Ali's computer, including documents that attested to the organization's ties with illegal Hamas funds abroad (in the UK and in Saudi Arabia) and in Nablus," Israel's foreign affairs ministry said at the time. "Also found were photographs of swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols, of senior Nazi German officials, of Osama Bin Laden, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as many photographs of Hamas military activities."

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/congress-seeks-cut-u-s-aid-islamic-charity-tied-terror/

Radicalism and Terrorism: Obstacles Hindering Historic and Geographic European-Muslim Ties

Cairo – One of the most important questions posed on the intellectual scene is one related to the ties between Europe and Islam as a religion and Muslims as followers of that religion. This is a relationship that dates back to centuries. Yes, they may not all have been calm and peaceful, but they, in one way or another, witnessed a form of cooperation and coexistence.

At this we ask, will recent terrorist attacks, which are a sign of growing radicalism, act as an obstacle to coexistence or will the Europe of enlightenment and tolerance be able to overcome this hurdle in recognition of the relationship that dates back to over a thousand years?

Associate professor of media studies and Middle Eastern studies at Rutgers University, Deepa Kumar argued in her book, “Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire,” that for over a century and a half, the West has looked towards the East in general, the Ottomans in specific, as being inferior to it. The West believed that eastern cultures were only capable of producing oppressive societies. The most accurate perception of Islam in the West occurred during the age of Enlightenment. During the Romantic age, Islam was viewed as something exotic.

Kumar refuted the claim that the West and East were in a constant state of conflict. In fact, she noted that the history of the West and the history of the East were closely connected.

The critical and fundamental question that should be asked is: “Did the West always have a negative and distorted image of Islam and Muslims?”

Not at all at first. The distortion started to emerge during colonial times and with efforts to “demonize Islam and Muslims.”

In examining the terrorist attacks that have taken place over the past two decades, we are concerned in whether Islamophobia was an obstacle that hindered communication between West and East, which could have prevented these crimes.

Perhaps French political journalist Edwy Plenel can offer the best answer to this question in his book “For the Muslims.” He said that Islam is being manipulated to produce an internal enemy to create a state of panic among the most important figures of the European public, especially in France. He noted that France has started to adopt violent stances against immigration, which in many media, has become synonymous with Islam, extremism, terrorism, cultural invasion and other terms from the xenophobic dictionary.

Plenel pointed out to a pre-ISIS 2013 human rights report that clearly showed violent anti-Muslim sentiment and anti-Muslim blocs. If we compare the current sentiment in Europe to the one preceding World War II, we can say that Muslims today have become the scapegoat, similar to how Jews used to be, revealed the report.

This sentiment led to debates over barring religious symbols, such as the veil, from universities and institutions of higher education in Europe. Islamophobia has been used as an excuse to protect “secularism” and politicize issues of immigration and terrorism.

Logically, the Europeans should have kept these two issues apart because they have nothing to do with each other as some sides are trying to say through distorting facts and questioning whether Islam allows cultural diversity. How is this possible while some figures still cast doubts against Muslims and their ties with Europe?

The “father” of Orientalism, Bernard Lewis, has for a long time, been a planter of doubt. Despite being naturalized as an American citizen, he never forgot his European roots, therefore presenting the image of a racist Europe that is intolerant of Islam and Muslims. This image, which was evident in his 2010 book, “Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East”, was present even before the emergence of ISIS and it preceded the recent terrorist attacks.

Lewis spoke of the intolerant European minority, which has grown in numbers in recent years. This minority believes that the developments in Europe today are part of a second wave of attacks by Muslims, which is summed up by terrorism and immigration.

The author said that terrorism is being used in service of the religion. He stated that Islam recommends it as a fact of life and that Muslims believe that the world is divided into one of peace, which is ruled by Islamic Sharia law, and another that is ruled by war. Lewis also spoke of Europe losing its demographic identity due to the flow of immigrants. He went so far as to warn of the “Islamization” of the Christian continent as a result of the influx of Muslims.

An in-depth analysis of Lewis’ views leads us to an unexpected place, a fertile ground where radical Muslims and their European allies meet.

He explained that radical Muslims have an appeal to leftist anti-Americans in Europe, who see them as a substitute to the Soviets. They appeal to the anti-semitic right as a substitute to Nazis. These views have managed to garner support, often by the same people. Some figures in Europe clearly believe that grudges trump loyalties.

In Germany, the majority of Muslims are of Turkish origin. They tend to compare themselves to Jews, saying that they have succeeded them as the victims of German racism and oppression. Lewis referred to a meeting that was held in Berlin to address the situation of the new Muslim minorities in Europe. He remarked that one of the attendees wondered: “For 2,000 years the Germans were unable to accept 400,000 Jews, so what hope is there for them to accept two million Turks?”

Of course, Lewis has to add fuel to the fire, noting that Muslim Turks are playing on German guilt to advance their own agenda.

Within the lines of searching for the future of Europe and its Muslims, we find that there are some figures who are promoting the idea of “Islamicizing” the continent.

Radical French Jewish journalist Eric Zemmour, author of “Le Suicide Francais”, called for expelling Muslims from France. He said that it was shameful to compare the position of Jews in the 19th and early 20th centuries and the position of Muslims in France today. He claimed in an article in France’s Le Figaro newspaper in October 2014, that the Jews back then were rich and contributed to the economy. Muslims today spark fear due to their large numbers and Islamic terrorism and extremism. In addition, he remarked that the majority of violence against Jews in France is usually committed by Muslims.

In the same vein, French journalist Benoit Rayski, who is specialized in attacking Islam, wrote an article called: “It is our duty to be Islamophobic.” He constantly seeks to justify Islamophobia by promoting stories of the crimes committed against Christians in Nigeria, Iraq and Sudan, as well as highlighting ISIS’ execution of western hostages.

The question that should be asked at this point is whether Europe can reconcile with Muslims. The answer is not clear yet, especially in wake of recent terrorist attacks.

We are perhaps on the doorstep of a new phase of relations between Europe and Islam and Muslims. In sum, we can say that the direct relationship between Europe and Muslims took place over three different phases or eras. During each phase, the Muslim that Europe met was different. In the first phase, the Arabs played a prominent role. The Ottoman Turks were prominent in the next phase and the Mongols in the third.

Some observers believe that we have reached the fourth phase of European-Muslim ties.

The best way to conclude the above statements is to refer once again to Plenel, whose views on Islam have not been distorted by terrorist attacks in France. He believes that attributing the entire beliefs and culture of a certain peoples to the actions of the few paves the way for dark days.

Full report at:

https://english.aawsat.com/emile/features/radicalism-terrorism-obstacles-hindering-historic-geographic-european-muslim-ties

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Pakistan

 

Ballistics system helps police detect, dismantle terror cells

Imtiaz Ali

August 29, 2017

KARACHI: Two major cells of banned militant outfits allegedly involved in some recent terrorist acts in Karachi were dismantled after being traced through the use of technology by police, it emerged on Monday.

Police investigators also identified various groups of criminals in the city with the support of the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS).

“Through the use of modern technology, we are moving [towards the] rule of law departing from the medieval-era tactics of investigation,” said Additional IG Police Dr Sanaullah Abbasi, who heads the Counter-Terrorism Department of police in Sindh, while speaking to Dawn.

AIG Abbasi said the IBIS, introduction with US support, allowed the police department to improve its forensic capabilities. It also had an immediate and a very positive impact on the detection of major terrorism incidents, he added.

“At least two major cells of hitmen affiliated with banned outfits have been detected and dismantled. They were involved in recent major terror acts in the metropolis,” said the CTD chief.

One of the cells was linked with the outlawed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LJ), operated by Asim alias Capri and Ishaq alias Bobby, he said, adding that the LJ hitmen were involved in the murder of 72 persons from 2015 to 2016.

The victims included 31 police officers, four army personnel, four Rangers’ officials and renowned qawwal Amjad Sabri.

“The weapons recovered by the CTD team were matched with the spent bullet casings found at the crime scenes. Their positive result was a very significant piece of technical evidence that corroborated the statements of the held suspects,” said the CTD head.

AIG Abbasi said another cell detected and dismantled was linked with the Mufti Shakir-led Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan group. This group was involved in the recent targeted killing of policemen, particularly in Korangi and Abul Hasan Ispahani Road areas, and members of the Shia Ismaili and Bohra communities, he explained.

The CTD chief said the TTP cell comprising 12 members was neutralised, as four of them were arrested while others had been killed in exchange of fire with law enforcers.

About the strength of this identification system, AIG Abbasi said the greatest advantage was that it could not be tampered with.

“In the past, questions have been raised about the validity of manual matching of empties and whether positive matches were actually truthful or not, but the IBIS rules out this element of doubt,” he said.

Previously, the CTD chief said, the police did not have any systematic way to check confiscated weapons through a centralised database. But the newly introduced system was a fool-proof forensic method of detecting crime or at the very least identifying crime patterns, he said, explaining that the confiscated weapons could be checked through the entries made in the IBIS but with the condition that its record extended as far back as 2014 only.

AIG Abbasi said that IBIS had allowed police investigators to collect reliable information about the kinds of criminal groups operating in different areas. Matching spent bullet casings collected from one crime scene with those seized from another gave significant clues to the kind of criminal groups operating in different areas and their possible motives, he said.

The CTD head explained that the number of weapons used in more than one case allowed the investigators to streamline and focus their inquiries.

About possible expansion of this technology, AIG Abbasi said there were future plans to expand the IBIS database by retaining the sample of one spent bullet casing fired from each licensed weapon in the province. He said this would hugely expand the database as well as its benefits and could be a step towards an integrated forensic crime management system in the province.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1354564/ballistics-system-helps-police-detect-dismantle-terror-cells

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NAB to file four references against Sharifs, Dar after Eid

Syed Irfan Raza

August 29, 2017

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry on Monday said that the Supreme Court judgement in the Panama Papers case would be implemented in letter and spirit.

Talking to reporters after the inauguration of NAB’s new premises for its headquarters on Monday, he said that references against the Sharif family as required by the apex court’s verdict would be filed soon.

Elaborating on what the chairman said, a senior NAB official told Dawn that NAB had decided to file four corruption references against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar soon after Eidul Azha, as the Supreme Court’s six-week deadline according to the verdict would end soon.

The official said that the apex court had set the NAB a deadline for Sept 11, and the Bureau was expected to file the references in an accountability court in Islamabad in the second week of September.

He said NAB would file references on the basis of statements of Mr Sharif, his sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, recorded by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). They would also consider the JIT’s report (especially volume-10), and the material received from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The official said that NAB had served three notices on the members of the Sharif family but they had refused to appear before NAB investigators till the apex court announced a decision on their review appeals against the apex court’s verdict.

He said that members of the JIT, who had prepared the report on directives of the Supreme Court, would also be summoned to record their statements before NAB’s combined investigation team.

The official said that the NAB headquarters had been provided a copy of Volume-10 of the JIT report to prepare references in the light of Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) with different countries and their replies.

According to the MLA with British authorities, it has been proved that Maryam Nawaz was an owner of the Avenfield properties. Similarly, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government had sent a letter that rejected the Sharifs’ stance on the Gulf Steel Mills and thus nullified the letter from former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani, which had been presented to explain the money trail of their off-shore assets, he said.

Earlier while addressing the participants in the inauguration ceremony, the NAB chairman said that the bureau had grown in size and importance, gradually establishing itself as a nationally, and globally recognised anti-corruption agency.

NAB’s staff, he said, had increased by more than four times and the idea of moving into a new headquarters building had been conceived in 2005. He added that the project had faced a number of constraints and delays in the subsequent years due to paucity of funds till 2013. “I must acknowledge the present government for extending its full support to this project,” he said.

“This building will inevitably become known as the public interface of anti-corruption and would provide a sound foundation for the bureau to pursue the mandate of a corruption-free society for our citizens,” he said.

He added that NAB, as an institution, had played a central role in galvanising anti-corruption efforts all over the country by becoming a focal point for people to file their complaints. “We have developed and introduced an online complaint registration system along with dedicated telephone lines for assistance of the general public and [to take down their] complainants, we listen very carefully to all that our citizens are saying,” he added.

Mr Zaman said Pakistan had been consistently improving according to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), but the state and the society would have to work together to rid the nation of the scourge of corruption. “I assure the nation that we will continue our fearless fight against corruption, without any discrimination for or against any one, with honesty and objectivity,” he claimed.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1354650/nab-to-file-four-references-against-sharifs-dar-after-eid

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20pc of Pakistanis live in 10 cities, census reveals

Mubarak Zeb Khan

August 29, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The population in the country’s 10 largest cities has grown by 71 per cent over the past 19 years, and currently stands at 41 million, as compared to the 24 million who lived there in 1998.

The population of these cities accounts for 20pc of the country’s population, according to provisional census figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Monday.

With 14.9m people, Karachi retained the title of the most populated city, registering an increase of over 57pc from the 9.4m people that lived there in 1998.

Lahore comes in at a close second, with 11.13m residents in 2017 — a more than 75pc increase from the 6.3m figure from 1998.

The industrial town of Faisalabad emerged as the third most populous urban centre in the country, with a population of around 3.2m. This is nearly a 60pc increase from the just over 2m people that lived there in 1998.

Rawalpindi, the garrison city, ranks fourth in the top ten with 2.1m residents in 2017, compared to 1.4m in 1998, registering an increase of around 60pc.

Gujranwala emerged as the fifth most populated city in the country, housing 2.03m people as opposed to 1.1m in 1998.

The population of Peshawar, the largest city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, doubled over the past 19 years, reaching nearly 2m in 2017.

Multan, the fifth largest city in Punjab and the only major urban centre in south Punjab, currently houses 1.9m people, compared to the 1.2m who lived there in 1998.

Hyderabad, the second major metropolis in Sindh, housed 1.7m people, an increase of over 48pc from the previous census, which was 1.2m in 1998

The capital city, Islamabad, occupies the penultimate spot in the top ten, with a population of just over 1m people, nearly double from the 529,180 people who lived here in 1998.

The population of Quetta, the only major metropolis in Balochistan, registered a population increase of 77pc, going from 565,137 residents in 1998 to just over 1m in 2017.

Balochistan

The sparsely-populated province of Balochistan, with its sprawling administrative divisions, saw the population of Quetta division — which includes Chagai, Pishin, Nushki and Killa Abdullah districts as well — emerged as the most populous division with 4.1m residents as against 1.7m, showing an increase of 144pc.

Kalat, which includes Mustung, Awaran, Kharan, Khuzdar and Lasbela, was the second most populated division in the province with a population of 2.5m as against 1.4m in 1998, showing an increase of 73.8pc.

The population of Nasirabad division rose from 988,109 to 1.60m; Makran division from 832,753 to 1.5m; Zhob division from 956,443 to 1.5m; while the population of Sibi division more than doubled from 630,901 in 1998 to just over 1m.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In KP, the Malakand division — which contains Buner, Chitral, Shangla, Swat, lower and upper Dir — emerged as the most populous division, witnessing a 76.3pc increase from 4.3m to 7.5m.

Peshawar division was a close second, with its 7.4m against 3.9m in 2008, showing an increase of 88.7pc.

Hazara, which includes Manshera, Battagram, Abbotabad, Kohistan and Haripur, has a population of 5.3m, a 52pc increase from the 3.5m in 1998.

Mardan division has a population of nearly 4m, up nearly 61pc from the 2.5m in 1998; Kohat division rose from 1.3m to 2.2m people; the Bannu population swelled to just over 2m from 1.1m in 1998; while in Dera Ismail Khan, the population was declared to be 2m in 2017, against 1.1m in the previous census.

Sindh

The sprawling Karachi division, with its six districts, registered a total population of over 16m, a 63pc rise from the nearly 10m people that lived there in 1998.

The second biggest concentration of population was in Hyderabad division, which housed 10.6m in 2017 as against 6.8m in 1998, an increase of 47pc.

Larkana’s population rose from 4.2m to 6.2m; Sukkur division expanded from 3.4m to 5.5m; Shaheed Benazirabad division (formerly Nawabshah) went from 3.5m to 5.3m; while Mirpurkhas went from 2.6m to 4.2m in 19 years.

Punjab

Unsurprisingly, Lahore division emerged as the most populous in the country’s largest province, with 19.4m people living in its four districts in 2017, a growth of 61pc from the 12m recorded in 1998.

Gujranwala division, which includes Gujrat, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Narowal and Sialkot, has a population of 16m, 41pc increase from the 11.4m in 1998.

Faisalabad division, meanwhile, has a population of 14m, a 43pc increase from the 9.9m people who lived in Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot and Toba Tek Singh in 1998.

In south Punjab, Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions registered growth of 45pc, 50pc and 69pc, respectively. Multan’s population stood at 12.3m in 2017 against 8.4m in 1998; Bahawalpur had 11.5m people as against 7.6m; while DG Khan’s population rose from 6.5m to 11m in 19 years.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1354653/20pc-of-pakistanis-live-in-10-cities-census-reveals

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Pakistani, Chinese officials discuss Afghanistan amid tension with US

29-Aug-17

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign secretary met China’s special envoy on Afghan affairs on Monday, a Foreign Office spokesman said, a day after Islamabad canceled a scheduled visit by a top US official.

The decision by Pakistan to postpone the visit of Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, came a week after President Donald Trump said Islamabad was prolonging the war in Afghanistan.

Trump had accused Pakistan of harboring “agents of chaos” and providing safe havens for militant groups waging an insurgency against the US-backed government in Kabul.

Pakistani officials responded by saying the US should not “scapegoat” Pakistan and accused the American military of failing to eliminate militant sanctuaries inside Afghanistan.

Wells had been due to discuss Trump’s new Afghan policy during her time in Islamabad.

During Monday’s visit, Chinese envoy Deng Xijun and Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua discussed “efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan”, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“The Chinese special envoy lauded Pakistan’s contribution and sacrifices made in the fight against terrorism ... he said Pakistan’s efforts toward eliminating the scourge of terrorism should be fully recognised by the international community,” the Foreign Office said.

Beijing has pledged to spend $57 billion on infrastructure projects in Pakistan as part of its One Belt, One Road initiative.

China’s spending in Pakistan has helped revive the country’s sputtering economy.

Full report at:

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/29-Aug-17/pakistani-chinese-officials-discuss-afghanistan-amid-tension-with-us

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Arab World

 

Daesh, US trauma to haunt Raqqah kids for decades: Charity

Aug 28, 2017

A charity group has warned that children fleeing Syria's Raqqah need decades to heal from their psychological injuries after being "tormented" by Daesh's brutal acts in the terrorist group’s stronghold as well as US strikes.

Save the Children interviewed some of them and their families who have fled Raqqah, recounting what they saw under the Daesh rule as well as the death of their neighbors in US airstrikes on the city's residential buildings.

"Raqqah's children might look normal on the outside but inside many are tormented by what they've seen," the NGO's Syria director Sonia Khush said on Monday.

"The children of Raqqah didn't ask for the nightmares and memories of seeing loved ones die right in front of them," Khush added.

Raashida, a 13-year-old girl who escaped with her family three months ago to a displacement camp north of Raqqah, was one of the children interviewed by the NGO.

Daesh "beheaded people and left their bodies on the ground. We saw this and I couldn't handle it," she said.

"I wanted to sleep but I couldn't when I remembered what I saw. And I wouldn't sleep - I would stay awake because of how scared I was," Raashida added.

Khush stressed the importance of providing the children with psychological support to ensure their mental wellbeing.

"It's crucial that the children who've made it out alive are provided with psychological support to help them deal with the trauma of witnessing senseless violence and brutality," she said.

"We risk condemning a generation of children to a lifetime of suffering unless their mental health needs are addressed," the NGO's Syria director added.

The charity also said US airstrikes left families "facing an impossible decision: stay and risk being bombed or leave and risk being shot at by Daesh or stepping on a landmine."

The US and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.

The city of Raqqah, which lies on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, was overrun by Daesh terrorists in March 2013 and proclaimed the center for most of the Takfiri group's administrative and control tasks.

In June, US-backed militiamen from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which mostly includes Kurdish fighters, launched an operation aimed at pushing Daesh out of Raqqah.

Observers believe Raqqah is about to give a foothold to the US for its potentially long-term stay in Syria. In recent months, the US military has shipped massive volumes of weapons to Kurdish-populated areas which have emerged as Washington's new allies in the region.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533195/Charity-Syria-Raqqah-children

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Car bombing kills 9, injures 25 in Baghdad market area

Aug 29, 2017

A car bomb ripped through a busy market area in eastern Baghdad earlier today, killing at least nine people, Iraqi officials said.

The explosives-laden car went off at the wholesale Jamila market in Baghdad's Shiite district of Sadr City, a police officer said. The explosion also wounded 25 other people, he added, saying the death toll was expected to rise further.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they aren't authorized to talk to journalists.

A plume of thick black smoke was billowing from the area and people were running away in panic. At the site, twisted metal and shards of glass littered the pavement, along with vegetables and other goods sold at the market.

At least one soldier was seen being evacuated from the scene, which was sealed off by security forces.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, though the attack had all the hallmarks of the Islamic State group, which often claims responsibility for large-scale attacks targeting Shiite civilians in Iraq's capital.

The bombing came as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces are in final stages of recapturing the northern town of Tal Afar from IS, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Syria's border.

Yesterday, Iraqi military said it had "fully liberated" Tal Afar's town center from IS militants. On Monday, the troops fought at the outskirts of al-Ayadia district, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northwest of Tal Afar, where most of the militants fled.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/28-Aug-2017/car-bombing-kills-9-injures-25-in-baghdad-market-area

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Several Terrorists Killed in Clashes among ISIL Members in Syria's Deir Ezzur

Aug 28, 2017

Infighting erupted among ISIL terrorists, mostly from Africa and Saudi Arabia, in the town of al-Salehiyeh in terrorist-held Albu Kamal region, leaving seven militants dead and several more wounded.

In the meantime, dead bodies of two non-Syrian members of ISIL were found in an old garage in the town of al-Mayadeen in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

Local sources reported that Majed Suleiman nom de guerre Abu Fatimeh Shanan and another ISIL commanders have escaped from Deir Ezzur as a growing number of terrorist leaders are fleeing the region after the rapid advances of the Syrian Army troops in Homs, Hama and Raqqa provinces that are all moving towards Deir Ezzur.  

Reports said earlier today that the army's artillery and missile units along with the Russian Air Force targeted ISIL's positions in the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur on Monday, destroying a bomb-making workshop of the terrorists.

The artillery and missile units opened heavy fire at ISIL's positions and destroyed their bomb-making workshop near al-Tamo'ein square, killing the commander in charge of the workshop Abu Abdullah Tunisi and 12 others.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960606001552

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Terrorists Fail to Break through Syrian Army Positions in Sweida Province

Aug 28, 2017

The army units clashed fiercely with a group of terrorists and warded off their attack on the strongholds of pro-government forces in al-Dowar region from Northeastern Dara'a.

The terrorist group left behind a number of dead and injured members and retreated. 

Relevant reports said earlier this month that the army forces continued advance in the Southeastern parts of Sweida, and won back control of the 154th and 143th border posts and several other points along the border with Jordan.

Meantime, the Syrian army cleansed all points and bases at the common borders with Jordan and seized back control over the entire Badiyeh region in Sweida.

A military source also said that the army gained back control of a 4,000-sq/km of lands since the start of the operations in Badiyeh region in Sweida since last May.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960606001445

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Terrorists Start Evacuating Syria-Lebanon Border Regions

Aug 28, 2017

The sources confirmed that 17 buses and 10 vehicles of the Red Crescent entered Qareh heights in Western Qalamoun, and started evacuation of ISIL gunmen and their family members from the region to Deir Ezzur.

The sources said that the gunmen and their family members are to go through al-Sheikh Ali-al-Roumi'yat passageway to be later transferred to the ISIL-held town of Albu Kamal in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.

Field sources said that the terrorists set fire at their positions and military vehicles before leaving Western Qalamoun.  

Field sources said Sunday that the Lebanese and Syrian Army troops and Hezbollah Resistance Movement declared simultaneous truce with ISIL terrorists in mountainous regions at common border.

The General Command of the Lebanese Army said in a statement that the ceasefire regime has started since 7 o'clock this morning to pave the ground for the last phase of negotiations for clearing fate of the kidnapped Lebanese military men by the ISIL.

In the meantime, the Syrian Army and Hezbollah declared ceasefire in the Western Qalamoun region since 7 o'clock this morning aimed at ending hostilities in the region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960606001408

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ISIL Suffers Heavy Casualties in Syrian, Russian Raids in Eastern Hama

Aug 28, 2017

The army men engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL in Wadi al-Azib and Salba regions in Eastern Hama, killing a number of militants.

Also, the army's artillery and missile units shelled heavily ISIL's movements and positions in the villages of al-Hadaj and Mostariheh Tahmaz in Aqayrabat region, and destroyed several military vehicles.

The Russian and Syrian fighter jets, meanwhile, pounded ISIL's concentration centers in Salba, Qalib al-Thor regions and in the villages of Hamadeh Omar, Naqba and in the town of Aqayrabat.

Tens of ISIL terrorists were killed or wounded in the attacks.    

Relevant reports said on Wednesday that the army units stormed ISIL's positions in the town of Jana al-Albawi from several directions and took it back after three years.

Meantime, the army men drove ISIL out of the strategic al-Mahasah hill and later advanced towards the Northern entrance of the town of Aqayrabat, the ISIL's main stronghold in Eastern Hama.

ISIL suffered heavy casualties and its military hardware sustained major damage in the attacks.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960606000820

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Reports: ISIS militants begin evacuating Lebanon border area

29 August 2017

ISIS militants began evacuating a Syrian-Lebanese border region Monday under an unprecedented deal to end three years of their presence there, Syrian state television and Hezbollah said.

The evacuation comes a week into a Lebanese army campaign against the group on the Lebanese side of the border, coinciding with a joint Syrian army and Hezbollah offensive on neighboring Syrian territory.

Under the evacuation deal, several hundred militants and their families on both sides of the border are set to leave by bus for Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, the country’s only province still under ISIS control.

Also read: Lebanon finds remains believed to be of soldiers kidnapped by ISIS

Early Monday evening, Hezbollah and Syrian state television said that “buses transporting IS fighters have left the (Syrian) region of Qara, in western Qalamun, and are heading for the town of Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzor”.

Hezbollah said “hundreds of ISIS fighters” had left the border area of eastern Lebanon, but this was not confirmed by the Lebanese army. “The objectives (of the operation) have been achieved,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast live on the party’s Al-Manar television channel.

“ISIS was expelled from Lebanese territory... the border was secured and the western Qalamun (on the Syrian side) was liberated” from the militants,” he said. Nasrallah said the battle had cost Hezbollah 11 fighters and the Syrian army seven soldiers. Lebanon’s army has said it lost six soldiers.

DNA tests

Earlier, a Lebanese army source told AFP that no convoys would leave the area until DNA tests had been carried out on bodies found in the region at the weekend, believed to be the remains of eight Lebanese soldiers IS kidnapped in 2014. The Lebanese army launched an offensive against ISIS in the mountainous Jurud Arsal and Jurud Ras Baalbek border regions on August 19.

It said Tuesday it had seized most of the territory formerly held by the militants. At the same time, Hezbollah mounted a parallel offensive to dislodge IS from the Syrian side of the frontier.

The Lebanese army and Hezbollah announced a ceasefire on both sides of the border after reaching the evacuation deal over the weekend. On Monday, dozens of Lebanese soldiers were seen manning positions on a string of hilltops in Jurud Ras Baalbek.

Also read: Syrian regime backs evacuation deal for ISIS at Lebanon border

Most appeared relaxed, leaning on armored personnel carriers and waving to journalists embedded with Lebanese troops. Others manned vehicle-mounted heavy machineguns and looked out over the arid territory they had seized in the nine-day fight.

Smoke could be seen rising behind hilltops along the border. Lebanese army General Fadi Daoud said the area had been secured, but that there was still a danger of mines laid by the militants. “Daesh is done, but we may still find caves with bombs in them,” he said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/08/29/Reports-ISIS-militants-begin-evacuating-Lebanon-border-area.html

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Popular Mobilization forces ransack liberated areas in Tal Afar

28 August 2017

Popular Mobilization forces have started looting the liberated areas of Tal Afar city in Iraq’s northwest, Al Arabiya Television has learned.

An Iraqi Army officer told Al Arabiya that militiamen began looting as forces battled to clear the city of the remaining ISIS militants. He added that the army has tried to stop the looting but has failed.

The officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, identified the looters as Turkmen tribesmen in the Hussein mobilization militias. He described them as “engaging in revenge attacks on homes” in the Mahlabia district east of Tal Afar.

The officer said that the militiamen are demolishing homes with explosives after looting them. A local city official confirmed to Al Arabiya news channel that members of the popular mobilization forces are looting government property as well as private property in the city.

ISIS control

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday that Iraqi forces recovered 95 percent of Tal Afar from ISIS.

After just nine days of fighting, all 29 neighborhoods in Tal Afar had been taken back from the militant group, the military said in a statement on Sunday.

However, fighting was ongoing in al-Ayadiya, a small area 11 kilometers northwest of the city, where militants who fled the district’s city center were hiding, Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/08/28/Popular-Mobilization-forces-ransack-liberated-areas-in-Tal-Afar.html

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Iraqi forces advance towards ISIS’s last stronghold in Tal Afar

28 August 2017

The spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya al-Zubaidi, said Iraqi army troops began advancing towards Ayadieh which is the last ISIS stronghold in Tal Afar.

Zubaidi said Ayadieh has been fully besieged, adding that the air force has struck ISIS targets in it.

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday that Iraqi forces recovered 95 percent of Tal Afar from ISIS, the militant group’s stronghold in the country’s northwest. Iraqi forces await recovering Ayadieh before declaring complete victory over ISIS.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia congratulated Iraq for the government forces’ consecutive victories against ISIS and for recovering Tal Afar.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/08/28/Iraqi-forces-advance-towards-ISIS-s-last-stronghold-in-Tal-Afar.html

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Daesh attempting to save last stronghold in Syria: Russia

Aug 29, 2017

Russia says Daesh is attempting to prevent its last stronghold in Syria from falling back under government control by concentrating forces and heavy weaponry in the western city of Dayr al-Zawr.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a Sunday statement that a recent joint push by the Syrian army and Russian air force near the town of Ghanem Ali in Raqqah Province recently slew 800 Daesh terrorists, Russia Today reported on Monday.

Among the fatalities were the “most capable and best armed group of [Daesh] in the Euphrates River valley,” it said.

The Russian Defense Ministry earlier published footage showing some stages of the aerial operations in Ghanem Ali.

“Following the successful offensive action of the Syrian Armed Forces group supported by the Russian Air Forces in the Ghanem Ali area,” Daesh terrorists were trying “to regroup and establish fortified defensive positions in the Dayr al-Zawr area,” it said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the terrorist onrush toward the city showed that Daesh recognized “the fact that the staging area around Dayr al-Zawr is the last stronghold of the international terrorists on Syrian soil.”

Syria has faced militancy since March 2011. A mixed group of international terrorists, including from Daesh, have been fighting the Syrian government since then. In September 2015, Russia started an aerial campaign in Syria in support of the Damascus government’s anti-terror fight.

The Syrian army and Russian air force were targeting the terrorists’ advance, the Russian Defense Ministry said in its Sunday statement.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/29/533295/Russia-Syria-Daesh-Dayr-alZawr-last-stronghold

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Daesh terrorists had no choice except submission: Nasrallah

Aug 28, 2017

Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, says Daesh terrorists who left the border region between Lebanon and Syria had no choice, but to submit to resistance fighters.

“Daesh had no choice, but to submit to us, because they had collapsed from within and had to accept our conditions,” the leader of hezbollah said in a televised address on Monday explaining about evacuation of Daesh terrorists from Qalamoun region near the border with Syria.

Nasrallah pointed out that the battle against Daesh terrorists in Qalamoun has achieved all its objectives, describing the evacuation of the Takfiris from the rugged mountainous region as “the second victory” as Lebanon-Syria border region has been completed purged of their presence.

He went on to say that the fight against Daesh is a battle and not an act of personal vengeance, praising the Lebanese army soldiers for their successful operation against Daesh.

The Hezbollah chief also described Takfiri terrorism as part of a US-Israeli plot in the region, stating that Washington and Tel Aviv sponsor terrorists in order to dictate their hegemony in the Middle East region.

On August 19, Hezbollah and the Syrian army launched an operation to purge Daesh from Qalamoun, located about 330 kilometers (205 miles) north of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Hezbollah launched a major push on July 21 to clear both sides of Lebanon's border with Syria of “armed terrorists.”

Earlier on Monday, Daesh terrorists and their families began evacuating Syria's strategic and mountainous Qalamoun region, heading towards eastern part of the country as part of a negotiated deal to end the extremists’ presence near the Lebanese border.

Lebanese and Syrian media reported that an unidentified number of militants and their families headed in buses toward the Daesh-controlled city of al-Bukamal, which lies on the Euphrates River in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr and near the border with Iraq.

The media bureau of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement said ambulances ferried 25 wounded Daesh Takfiris from the area.

On Sunday, the Syrian government agreed to a deal between Hezbollah and Daesh, which allows the transfer of Takfiri militants from Qalamoun to eastern Syria.

Nasrallah stated that there were about 670 ordinary people along with 26 injured ones and 380 Daesh militants among those who left Qalamoun region on Monday.

Referring to recent discovery of the bodies of a number of Lebanese soldiers who had been in captivity of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group since 2014, Nasrallah said all parties involved in expelling terrorists were unanimous that without shedding light on the fate of Lebanese soldiers, any victory would be defective.

The Lebanese soldiers were among 30 troops and police kidnapped by Daesh and terrorists linked to al-Nusra Front, a former affiliate of al-Qaeda, in August 2014 when they briefly overran the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

Four were killed by their captors and a fifth died of his wounds while 16 were released in a prisoner swap in December 2015.

The Lebanese Hezbollah leader emphasized that negotiation was the best way to solve the problem of Daesh’s presence along Syrian border with Lebanon, noting that if they had chosen a military solution, they would not be able to find the location of the Lebanese soldiers.

He added that defeating Daesh in various parts of Syria, including in Raqqah, Aleppo and Homs, was instrumental in convincing the terrorist group to leave the Lebanese border with Syria.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533260/Hezbollah-chief-Nasrallah-speech-Daesh-evacuation-Qalamoun-Syria

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Iraqi security forces find Daesh torture cells in western Tal Afar

Aug 28, 2017

Iraqi security soldiers have discovered a detention facility in the western flank of Tal Afar, which members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group used to incarcerate people and subject the detainees to various forms of torture.

The Arabic-language al-Sumaria satellite television network reported on Monday that government forces had found the prison in the recently-liberated al-Saad neighborhood of the city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.

The building incorporated several rooms, where Daesh extremists apparently used to hold civilians in captivity and torment them.

Iraqi security forces could recover dozens of boxes of tablets in addition to narcotics from the site.

Daesh had installed a comprehensive CCTV surveillance system across the building for the principal purposes of keeping an eye on the movements of the detainees.

Meanwhile, the media bureau of Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha'abi, announced in a statement that soldiers from the 16th Division of the Iraqi Army had reclaimed control over Kharaj al-Asheq village southwest of al-‘Ayadiya district, which lies 11 kilometers northwest of Tal Afar.

Separately, Kurdish authorities said on Monday that Iraqi troops had found and rescued three Izadi women, whom Daesh extremists had been holding captive in Tal Afar.

Hussein Qaidi, an official from the Office of Kidnapped and Rescued Izadis’ Affairs in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk, said those released were a 40-year-old woman and two teenage girls aged 14 and 19.

Additionally, the head of Nineveh provincial municipalities department, Abdel Qader Dakhil, told Arabic-language al-Ghad Press that “the scope of damage in Tal Afar is too little”.

Dakhil added that municipal teams are awaiting military engineers to clear booby-trapped houses and defuse explosive devices so as to begin the reconstruction of Tal Afar.

On August 20, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, declared the start of an operation to retake control of Tal Afar and nearby areas from Daesh terrorists.

Tal Afar is the last Daesh stronghold in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh.

Khaled al-Obaidi, the head of Nineveh provincial department of the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displacement, told al-Ghad Press news agency on Saturday that 10,000 people had fled Tal Afar to refugee camps south of Mosul.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533225/Iraqi-forces-find-Daesh-prison-torture-cells-Tal-Afar

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Daesh, US trauma to haunt Raqqah kids for decades: Charity

Aug 28, 2017

A charity group has warned that children fleeing Syria's Raqqah need decades to heal from their psychological injuries after being "tormented" by Daesh's brutal acts in the terrorist group’s stronghold as well as US strikes.

Save the Children interviewed some of them and their families who have fled Raqqah, recounting what they saw under the Daesh rule as well as the death of their neighbors in US airstrikes on the city's residential buildings.

"Raqqah's children might look normal on the outside but inside many are tormented by what they've seen," the NGO's Syria director Sonia Khush said on Monday.

"The children of Raqqah didn't ask for the nightmares and memories of seeing loved ones die right in front of them," Khush added.

Raashida, a 13-year-old girl who escaped with her family three months ago to a displacement camp north of Raqqah, was one of the children interviewed by the NGO.

Daesh "beheaded people and left their bodies on the ground. We saw this and I couldn't handle it," she said.

"I wanted to sleep but I couldn't when I remembered what I saw. And I wouldn't sleep - I would stay awake because of how scared I was," Raashida added.

Khush stressed the importance of providing the children with psychological support to ensure their mental wellbeing.

"It's crucial that the children who've made it out alive are provided with psychological support to help them deal with the trauma of witnessing senseless violence and brutality," she said.

"We risk condemning a generation of children to a lifetime of suffering unless their mental health needs are addressed," the NGO's Syria director added.

The charity also said US airstrikes left families "facing an impossible decision: stay and risk being bombed or leave and risk being shot at by Daesh or stepping on a landmine."

The US and its allies have been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.

The city of Raqqah, which lies on the northern bank of the Euphrates River, was overrun by Daesh terrorists in March 2013 and proclaimed the center for most of the Takfiri group's administrative and control tasks.

In June, US-backed militiamen from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which mostly includes Kurdish fighters, launched an operation aimed at pushing Daesh out of Raqqah.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533195/Charity-Syria-Raqqah-children

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Mideast

 

UN chief seeks ‘dream’ of Israel, Palestinian peace in first visit

Aug 29, 2017

JERUSALEM - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres held talks with Israeli leaders Monday on his first visit since taking office, making a forceful argument for a two-state solution with the Palestinians and speaking of his “dream” for peace.

Guterres also spoke of what he called obstacles to peace when meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, including Israeli settlement building and the need for Palestinian leaders to condemn “terrorism”.

“I dream that I will have the chance to see in the Holy Land two states able to live together in mutual recognition, but also in peace and security,” Guterres said in remarks at Netanyahu’s office.

He recalled past secret talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders at his office when he was Portugal’s premier from 1995 to 2002, saying it had exposed him to the difficulties of the peace process.

Guterres spoke of improving economic and social conditions for Palestinians to provide them with a “dividend” and incentive for peace. His meeting with Netanyahu was part of a three-day visit that ends Wednesday and came with the two-state solution, long the focus of international diplomacy, under threat.

Earlier Monday he met President Reuven Rivlin, and is due in Ramallah on Tuesday for talks with Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is in Turkey and not expected to meet Guterres during the trip.

Guterres will travel to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, with UN officials calling for Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian coastal enclave to be lifted, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions there.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, including Islamist movement Hamas which runs the territory, have fought three wars since 2008.

On Monday, Hamas’s head in Gaza, Yahya al-Sinwar, said it had increased its military capabilities thanks to newly improved relations with Iran, but stressed it was not seeking war. After arriving on Sunday evening, the UN chief met Jason Greenblatt, a top aide to US President Donald Trump charged with pursuing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Greenblatt was part of a US delegation last week, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, that held talks with Netanyahu and Abbas. He remained in the region for further discussions.

Peace efforts have been at a standstill since April 2014 and Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank has continued.

Trump has said he wants to reach the “ultimate deal”, but he himself has cast doubt on the two-state solution, saying he could support a single state if it meant peace.

Such statements deeply concern Palestinians, while delighting right-wing Israelis who want their country to annex most of the West Bank.

The two-state solution envisions an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, and has been the focus of international diplomacy since at least the early 1990s.

At the same time, many analysts say both Netanyahu and Abbas are not in a position to make any major concessions for now.

Netanyahu faces pressure from his right-wing base not to do so and to continue settlement building, and there is little incentive at the moment for him to change course, some analysts say.

The 82-year-old Palestinian leader is unpopular and his Fatah party, based in the West Bank, continues to be divided from Hamas in Gaza.

- Iran, Syria -

While Guterres spoke at length in his public comments on Monday on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli leaders’ interests lie elsewhere for now.

Netanyahu pressed Guterres on the UN peacekeeping force in neighbouring Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, with Israeli officials having accused it of “blindness” to what they call an arms buildup by the Shiite group Hezbollah.

The trip comes as the UN Security Council debates renewing the force’s mandate for a year, with a vote expected on Wednesday.

Guterres told Netanyahu: “I will do everything in my capacity to make sure that UNIFIL fully meets its mandate.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has expressed “full confidence” in the force’s commander.

Netanyahu also spoke of what he sees as Israel’s arch-rival Iran seeking to expand its presence in the Middle East, particularly in neighbouring Syria.

He accused Iran of building sites to produce “precision-guided missiles” in both Syria and Lebanon.

“Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts (for) its declared goal to eradicate Israel,” Netanyahu said in English.

Netanyahu again accused UN bodies of bias against his country, saying they had “an absurd obsession with Israel”, and called on Guterres to address it.

Guterres, meanwhile, said: “To express that the right of existence of the state of Israel doesn’t exist or the wish to destroy the state of Israel is an unacceptable form of modern anti-Semitism.”

http://nation.com.pk/international/29-Aug-2017/un-chief-seeks-dream-of-israel-palestinian-peace-in-first-visit

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Netanyahu: Iran building sites to produce missiles in Syria and Lebanon

28 August 2017

Iran is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon, with the aim of using them against Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

At the start of a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Netanyahu accused Iran of turning Syria into a "base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel."

"It is also building sites to produce precision-guided missiles towards that end, in both Syria and in Lebanon. This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the U.N. should not accept," Netanyahu said.

Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest backer and has provided militia fighters to help him in Syria’s civil war.

There was no immediate comment from Iran

Israel has pointed to Tehran’s steadily increasing influence in the region during the six-year-old Syrian conflict, whether via its own Revolutionary Guard forces or Shi’ite Muslim proxies, especially Hezbollah.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu, in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Israel was prepared to act unilaterally to prevent an expanded Iranian military presence in Syria.

Russia, also an Assad ally, is seen as holding the balance of power in achieving a deal on Syria’s future. Israel fears an eventual Assad victory could leave Iran with a permanent garrison in Syria, extending a threat posed from neighboring Lebanon by Hezbollah.

Netanyahu accused Iran of building the production sites two weeks after an Israeli television report showed satellite images it said were of a facility Tehran was constructing in northwest

Syria to manufacture long-range rockets.

The Channel 2 News report said the images were of a site near the Mediterranean coastal town of Baniyas and were taken by an Israeli satellite.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2017/08/28/Netanyahu-Iran-building-sites-to-produce-missiles-in-Syria-and-Lebanon.html

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Houthi militias, Saleh loyalists agree to ease tension in Sanaa

29 August 2017

The Yemeni news agency, which is under the control of rebels in Sanaa, has reported that Houthi militias and Saleh loyalists have agreed to end tensions in the capital.

According to the report, a Houthi delegation met with a delegation of Saleh loyalists in the presence of Saleh al-Sammad, the head of the so-called Supreme Political Council.

The delegations agreed to end tensions, which Sanaa recently witnessed and to restore the security situation. They also agreed to resume their investigation into the clashes that erupted between their members on Saturday.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/08/29/Houthi-militias-Saleh-loyalists-agree-to-ease-tension-in-Sanaa.html

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Report: Iranian-backed spy ring in Saudi trained by IRGC in Mashhad

28 August 2017

Members of an Iranian-backed spy ring currently on trial in Saudi Arabia received training at military sites of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Monday.

According to the report, the spy ring - made up of Saudi nationals - utilized religious pilgrimages to a Holy Shiite shrine in the Iranian city of Mashhad to be trained at IRGC camps.

One of the spy-ring members was arrested at King Fahad International Airport in Dammam as he was attempting to leave the country.

His confessions to Saudi security authorities revealed that upon arrival at Mashhad airport member of the spy-ring were transported to furnished apartments in the city and were kept indoors for three days.

IRGC officers allegedly blindfolded the men before taking them to the training camps, two hours away from the airport.

The men were given a “special allowance” and were housed in private quarters where they received training on weapons and explosives.

The trainees met convicted terrorist Ahmed al-Mughsil who is currently detained in Saudi Arabia after being involved in the Khobar Towers bombing of 1996 that killed 19 US soldiers and wounded 372 others.

Mughsil supervised their training for two weeks, and asked them to establish a terrorist cell in Saudi Arabia immediately after they returned to the kingdom, the report said.

The members viewed Mughsil as a leader and awaited instructions to carry out bombings and assassinations.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/08/28/Report-Iranian-backed-spy-ring-in-Saudi-trained-by-IRGC-in-Mashhad.html

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Emir of Qatar wants to leave GCC: Iranian diplomat

28 August 2017

Iran’s former ambassador to Qatar Abdullah Suhrabi has said that Qatar wants to leave the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

In an interview to the Iranian newspaper Jaam-e Jam, he said: “The information we have received from Qatar indicates that the Prince (now Emir) wanted to withdraw from the GCC since the onset of the Gulf crisis, but he had deferred the move on the advice of his counsellors”.

Suhrabi also claimed that Doha has been trying to restore relations with Iran for over eight years and that early last year it reluctantly followed Saudi Arabia’s cue in calling back its ambassador from Tehran.

He pointed out that when Doha took over the presidency of the GCC in 2007, it had invited former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Gulf summit, despite opposition from other member states.

Suhrabi stressed that Iran had decided to re-open Qatar’s embassy in Tehran “to stabilize its national security”. The diplomat averred that the areas Doha and Tehran are working together relate to the strengthening of Qatar’s economy and the settling of its problems.

Meanwhile, Qatari ambassador Ali bin Ahmed Ali al-Sulaiti started his work in Tehran on Saturday. Iranian agencies released pictures of the Qatari ambassador presenting his credentials to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The Iranian media has dubbed the Qatari move as a “new victory” for Iran against the “Arab confederacy,” and sees it as a “chink in the Arab front”.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/08/28/Emir-of-Qatar-wants-to-leave-GCC-Iranian-diplomat.html

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Iran voices extreme worries over Rohingyas' plight in Myanmar

Aug 28, 2017

Iran has voiced its deepest worries over Myanmar’s continued military crackdown against Rohingya Muslims.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi called on the government in Myanmar to halt the continued violation of human rights of Muslims and end the present inhuman and violent situation in the country.

He further urged Myanmar to adopt a realistic approach towards establishing peace and a peaceful coexistence with the Rohingya.

“The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is extremely worried by the continued violation of the rights of Muslims in Myanmar, which has led to their deaths and forced immigration," Qassemi said.

Rohingya leaders say 8,000 to 9,000 Rohingya have entered Bangladesh since a fresh wave of violence broke out in Rakhine last Thursday.

At least 104 people have been killed in the fresh bout of violence involving Myanmar’s military and the armed group. The official death toll as of Sunday was 96. 

Renewed violence erupted on August 25 after dozens of police and border outposts in Rakhine allegedly came under attack by a group claiming to be advocating the Muslim Rohingyas against the government crackdown in Rakhine. A total of 89 people, including 12 security personnel, were killed during the violence.

Turkey: World ‘blind and deaf’ to Rohingya plight

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on the international community to increase its efforts to helping Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya community.

"Unfortunately I can say the world is blind and deaf to what is going on in Myanmar," he said, adding that, "It does not hear and it does not see."

He further referred the latest fleeing of refugees towards Bangladesh as an "extremely painful event" while promising to bring up the issue at the UN General Assembly next month.

Myanmar’s government brands the 1.1 million-strong Rohingya population in the country as “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh. Rohingya Muslims, however, have had roots in the country that go back centuries. They are considered by the UN the “most persecuted minority group in the world.”

The government used a militant attack on border guards back in October 2016 as a pretext to enforce the blockade on Rakhine.

There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks by the military since the crackdown began.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533279/Iiran-myanmar-rohingya-muslims

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Israel jails 5 relatives of Palestinian teenager in occupied West Bank

Aug 28, 2017

Israel has jailed five relatives of a Palestinian teenager, who fatally wounded three settlers in an alleged stabbing attack, claiming that the prisoners knew about the attack beforehand but did not try to prevent him from conducting his purported deadly assault.

An Israeli military court ruled on Sunday that the parents, an uncle and the three brothers of 19-year-old Omar al-Abed “knew he intended to commit” a stabbing attack but “did nothing to warn the security services to prevent it.”

The court sentenced Abed's brothers and uncle to serve eight months in prison each, while his mother and father received one and two months respectively.

Israeli authorities claim that on July 21 Abed, from the occupied West Bank town of Kobar, stabbed to death three settlers in the nearby settlement of Neve Tsuf. Israeli troops then shot the teenage boy and wounded him before taking him into police custody.

Abed has, since then, been placed under arrest. His family members have been in detention for what Israeli officials call their failure to prevent the alleged attack. Later in July, the Israeli military raided and closed off the village. On August 16, Israeli security forces also demolished Abed’s family home in Kobar, near Ramallah.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tension ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October 2015.

The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533256/Palestine-Israel-stabbing-attack-Omar-alAbed-court-prison

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South Asia

 

Bangladesh offers Myanmar army aid against Rohingya rebels

August 29, 2017

Bangladesh has proposed joint military operations with Myanmar against Rohingya militants fighting in Rakhine state, as the UN raised fears over reports of civilians killed during fresh violence in recent days.

An upsurge in fighting in Rakhine, an impoverished state neighbouring Bangladesh, has been raging since Friday when Rohingya militants staged coordinated ambushes against Myanmar’s security forces.

More than 100 people, including around 80 militants, have been confirmed killed in the fightback, which has seen thousands of Rohingya villagers fleeing for Bangladesh.

The United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is deeply concerned at the reports of civilians being killed during security operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State,” according to a statement from spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

He called on Bangladesh to step up assistance to civilians escaping the violence, noting “many of those fleeing are women and children, some of whom are wounded”.

More than 3,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar, where the stateless Muslim minority faces persecution, in the past three days, the UN refugee agency said yesterday.

Bangladesh has said there are thousands more Rohingya massed on its border with Myanmar, where it has stepped up patrols and pushed back hundreds of civilians who have tried to enter.

Their flight comes as Human Rights Watch said it has satellite data “consistent with widespread burnings” in 10 populated areas of the violence-wracked wedge of Rakhine State near Bangladesh.

Those include Rohingya villages as well as Rakhine-majority settlements attacked by the militants.

In a meeting with Myanmar’s charge d’affaires in Dhaka, a top Bangladeshi foreign ministry official proposed joint military efforts against the militants along the border.

“If Myanmar wished, the security forces of the two countries could conduct joint operations against the militants, any non-state actors or the Arakan Army along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border,” a foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity, as he was not permitted to speak to the media.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) is a militant group that says it is fighting to protect the Muslim minority from abuses by Myanmar security forces and the majority-Buddhist Rakhine community.

There was no comment from the Myanmar diplomat.

At the weekend, as violence in Rakhine worsened, Bangladesh’s foreign minister summoned Myanmar’s charge’d affaires in Dhaka to express “serious concern” at the possibility of a fresh refugee influx.

There are already some 400,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in squalid camps near its border with Myanmar.

Bangladesh is waging a bloody crackdown on homegrown Islamist militancy and has vowed ‘zero tolerance’ towards violent extremism, domestic or otherwise, on its soil.

Dhaka has repeatedly asked Myanmar to take back the Rohingya refugees and address the root causes of problem.

Despite decades of persecution, the Rohingya in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state largely eschewed violence.

But in October ARSA, a small and previously unknown militant group, staged a series of well coordinated and deadly attacks on security forces.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/bangladesh-offers-myanmar-army-aid-against-rohingya-rebels-4818530/

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141 Rohingyas pushed back amid tension in Rakhine state

August 28, 2017

Rohingyas, who have been sent back, included women, children and elderly people

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) members have pushed back some 141 Rohingyas who fled Rakhine state in the face of Myanmar security forces massive crackdown.

“They were sent back when they tried to trespass into Bangladesh by crossing the Naf River from last night to till Monday morning,” Teknaf BGB 2 Commander Lt Col SM Ariful Islam said.

Rohingyas, who have been sent back, included women, children and elderly people.

In October last year, Rohingyas tried to intrude into Bangladesh in the same way after violent clashes broke out in Rakhine state.

This year, thousands of Rohingyas have already started gathering at Bangladesh border as fresh fighting erupted in Rakhine state between militants and security forces.

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/nation/2017/08/28/141-rohingyas-pushed-back-amid-tension-rakhine-state/

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Pope Francis to visit Dhaka in November

August 28, 2017

An advance team from the Vatican recently visited Bangladesh to coordinate preparation for the visit

Pope Francis will make an official three-day visit to Bangladesh on November 30.

The visit, at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Catholic Archbishop of Dhaka Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario, was officially announced in Dhaka and Vatican simultaneously.

President Abdul Hamid will receive the pope at the airport.

Pope Francis will meet President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina among other engagements.

An advance team from the Vatican recently visited Bangladesh to coordinate preparation for the visit with the protocol wing of the Foreign Ministry.

Pope Francis previously appointed His Eminence Patrick D’Rozario, the Archbishop of Bangladesh, as the first ever cardinal from Bangladesh on November 19, 2016.

Dean of Diplomatic Corps Ambassador of Vatican to Bangladesh Archbishop George Kocherry confirmed the visit on Monday at a press conference. He said: “A detailed programme for the visit will be published shortly.”

The pope will also make an apostolic visit to Myanmar from November 27 to 30 before coming to Dhaka. In Myanmar, he will visit the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, reports UNB.

Ambassador Kocherry said: “The Vatican Embassy in Dhaka, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SSF are working together to finalise his programme in Dhaka. The ministry and SSF are cooperating very well with us. I appreciate their readiness and support.”

Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario said: “Pope Francis is a voice of conscience for all political, economic, social and environmental issues in the world. He leads a very simple life and sets an example for all with his love towards marginalised people, those who are suffering, who are weak, who are affected by disasters and migrants.”

On November 26, 1970, the sixth Pope was the first person who visited Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) during an hour-long stopover here on his way to Manila. Pope John Paul II visited Bangladesh in 1986.

Full report at:

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2017/08/28/pope-franciss-dhaka-november/

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$727 million contract awarded in support of Afghan Air Force, Special Mission Wing

Aug 28 2017

The United States has awarded a contract worth around $727 million in support of the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing as efforts are underway to boost the capabilities of the Afghan national defense and security forces.

“Leidos Innovation Corp., Gaithersburg, Maryland, was awarded a $727,689,796 firm-fixed-price contract to provide support for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and Special Mission Wing (SMW) helicopter/fixed-wing fleets,” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

The statement further added that aids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Work will be performed in Kabul, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2020. Fiscal 2017 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $126,689,243 were obligated at the time of the award.

This comes as the Afghan government and the country’s international allies including US and NATO have stepped up efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan force and Air Force.

The commander of the United States Central Command General Joseph L. Votel requested the US Congress to approve the budget for the Afghan forces Blackhawk program.

In his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in March this year, Gen. Votel informed regarding the significant capability gaps in Afghan Air Force and said “The DoD-request of $814.5M for FY17 for the first year of our plan to recapitalize the Afghan fleet provides funding to procure 53 UH-60s, with refurbishment and modification of the first 18; 30 additional armed MD-530F helicopters; 6 additional A-29 attack aircraft; and five AC-208s.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/727-million-contract-awarded-in-support-of-afghan-air-force-special-mission-wing-03364

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Frustrated with new US strategy, Pakistani FM claims Afghan forces sell US weapons

Aug 28 2017

In an apparent gesture of frustration with the US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia, the foreign minister of Pakistan has claimed that the Afghan security forces are selling the US supplied weapons.

Khawajah Asif made the remarks during an interview with a private Television Channel in Pakistan.

Asif further added that more than 90 percent of the attacks in Pakistan were plotted inside the Afghan soil besides claiming that 40 percent of the Afghan soil is under the control of the Taliban insurgents.

He was apparently responding to the criticisms of the US President Donald Trump who criticized Pakistan regarding the existence of the terrorist sanctuaries while announcing the new US strategy.

The US President Donald Trump on Tuesday unveiled the new US strategy outlining the approaches for Afghanistan and South Asia as he harshly criticized Pakistan for harboring the terrorist groups  besides he vowed continued support to Afghanistan and war against terrorism.

President Trump said  “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.  The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict.  And that could happen.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/frustrated-with-new-us-strategy-pakistani-fm-claims-afghan-forces-sell-us-weapons-03362

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Southeast Asia

 

DAP: PAS Wants Candidates to Be ‘Suicide Bombers’

August 29, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — DAP's Lim Kit Siang today claimed former ally PAS will use “suicide bombers” to undermine Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the general election.

Lim accused PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang of planning to do so in order to prop up the ruling Barisan Nasional.

He also claimed that the Islamist party's professed ambition of winning 40 seats and five states in the 14th general election were to divert from its true intentions.

“I do not think PAS’ Hadi and his tembikai leadership will dare to unveil the identity of the 40 parliamentary seats and the five state governments they are certain of winning, for it will show that in all these parliamentary and state assembly seats, PAS candidates will be mere 'suicide bombers' to help Umno candidates to win,” Lim said in a statement today.

Pakatan Harapan's presidential council yesterday decided it will not cooperate with PAS in the general election, following PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali's continued push for an electoral pact with the Islamist party to protect his Selangor administration.

PAS was formerly a member of the Pakatan Rakyat pact that was declared “dead” by DAP following the two parties' argument over the push for more stringent Islamic law.

It ended ties with PKR ties year and officially has no links with any of the PH parties.

The exclusion of PAS is set to cause multi-cornered fights in constituencies with overlaps, which could hurt the pact's chances of defeating BN.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/kit-siang-pas-wants-candidates-to-be-suicide-bombers#pYlh1QmROu2eAjxQ.97

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Najib hails the young as catalysts for Malaysia’s greater success

August 29, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 ― Datuk Seri Najib Razak came to Dataran Merdeka today for the full dress rehearsal of the National Day 2017 celebration and liked what he saw ― young people full of enthusiasm to deliver a performance the people will remember for a long time to come.

“You, the new generation, are the catalysts who will take Malaysia to greater heights,” the Prime Minister said as he addressed the estimated 18,000 participants comprising mainly schoolchildren, government servants and uniformed personnel who were preparing for the National Day performance on Thursday.

Najib was accompanied by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak and the ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Sharifah Zahrah Syed Ahmad.

The Prime Minister said the new generation must realise how difficult it was for the country to achieve independence and remain independent and to understand the major challenges they would have to face as they marched on to the future.

“When we see such a celebration planned for this year, we can feel that what we have achieved all through the years since independence is nothing short of excellence,” he said.

He said the new generation of today was the generation of the National Transformation (TN50) who would take Malaysia to a higher level in the eyes of the world.

“Remember these words. We have to continue this journey until Malaysia reaches the peak of success,” he said as he inspired the participants with words of encouragement.

Najib said he was happy with the performance of the participants. “Hopefully, this show will be a memorable performance for all Malaysians,” he said.

At the rehearsal, Najib shouted out “Merdeka” seven times to recall the historic moment when first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj hailed the word as many times in 1957.

The celebration, carrying the theme “Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa” (My Country,  One Heart, One Soul), recalls the nostalgic moments of independence in 1957, the declaration of Malaysia Day, the era of development under the leadership of the five prime ministers after Tunku Abdul Rahman, and the country’s success and development up to now.

In Kota Kinabalu, a full dress rehearsal was held for the Sabah-level National Day celebration at Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens.

 State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor, who is the chairman of the celebration organising committee, said more than 200 contingents participated in the parade.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/najib-hails-the-young-as-catalysts-for-malaysias-greater-success#j54dDrB8DS3RfGK2.97

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PAS vows to defend Selangor from BN, Umno

August 28, 2017

PETALING JAYA: PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has vowed to ensure Barisan Nasional does not regain Selangor in the next general election (GE14).

The party’s official mouthpiece, Harakah Daily, yesterday reported Tuan Ibrahim as saying the party will continue to defend the state from Umno, and it will also contests in states where it managed to win seats in the last general election (GE13).

Despite severing political ties with PKR in May, PAS still has three representatives in the Selangor Exco which is led by PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Tuan Ibrahim’s statement comes days after his party shot down any prospect about discussing seat allocations for GE14 with PKR.

Last week, PAS vice-president Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah was reported to have said that the Islamist party had severed political ties with PKR in May.

“While there is still room for discussion, as of now we won’t negotiate with PKR.

“If PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says she wants to discuss seat negotiations with PAS for GE14, we’ll make it simple. Don’t contest where we are contesting,” he was reported to have said.

Meanwhile, Selangor PAS said it will be challenging both Wan Azizah and her deputy Azmin in GE14 as part of its plans to contest in 42 state seats in Selangor.

Prior to that, Wan Azizah said she has not ruled out discussing seat allocations with PAS for GE14.

Wan Azizah had stressed that the main objective was to topple BN at the federal level.

“If there is anything that can help us achieve that, we will give it a try,” she was reported as saying.

PAS is not part of PH, which comprises PKR, DAP, PPBM and Amanah.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/08/28/pas-vows-to-defend-selangor-from-bn-umno/

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Indonesia: Islamic State-inspired bomb plotter sentenced to 7.5 years in jail

29th August 2017    

A 28-YEAR-OLD Indonesian woman has been given seven years and six months jailtime by a Jakarta court for plans to launch a suicide bomb attack last December – the first female to be convicted of such a crime in Indonesia.

Dian Yulia Novi was arrested late last year on suspicion of plotting to blow herself up outside Jakarta’s presidential palace during the changing of the guard. She was arrested along with her husband, Muhamad Nur Solikin.

Indonesia – the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation – has seen a surge in homegrown militancy inspired by Islamic State and has grappled with a series of small-scale attacks in the past two years.

Prosecutors had demanded a 10-year sentence for Dian, whom they said received instructions to carry out the attack from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant believed to be fighting with Islamic State in Syria.

“Her sentence was reduced because she admitted to her actions,” Dian’s lawyer Kamsi told Reuters on Monday. He said the verdict was handed down by the East Jakarta District Court on Aug 25.

Judges delivered the verdict earlier than expected because she is pregnant and due to give birth in early September, her lawyer said. She is detained at a Jakarta area facility.

Her husband is on trial for the same plot. His next hearing, at which he is expected to enter a plea, is scheduled for Sept 6.

Kamsi said Dian, who was believed to be radicalised through social media while employed as a domestic worker in Taiwan, did not intend to appeal her verdict.

Police said they had intercepted a letter she intended to send to her parents stating her intention to carry out jihad. Later, an unexploded bomb was found in a room she had rented in Bekasi, about an hour outside Jakarta.

“If the [bombing] failed, she would attack the security guards of [then-Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama] Ahok or attack a mosque at the [police elite unit] Mobile Brigade Headquarters,” said the presiding judge Syrafrudin Ainor Rafiek, as quoted by the Kyodo News agency.

Counter-terrorism forces are worried militants may be using new and more sophisticated tactics to carry out attacks – like recruiting female suicide bombers or using dangerous chemicals to make “dirty bombs.”

Full report at:

https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/08/indonesian-islamic-state-inspired-bomb-plotter-sentenced-7-5-years-jail/#Ql3wurOB6plbyTPf.97

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Africa

 

Sudan, Libya agree to normalize ties, protect borders

28 August 2017

Sudan and Libya have agreed to normalize their tense relations and secure common border.

In a joint press conference with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj in capital Khartoum on Sunday, Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir expressed support for the internationally recognized Libyan government and the country's stability.

Libyan leader's visit comes amid a row that erupted in last July, when Libya ordered the closure of Sudan’s Consulate in the city of Kofra, in southeastern Libya, and expelled 12 diplomats.

The Sudanese leader rejected any "agenda" in Libya and said: "Our first, second and final priorities are the interests of the Libyan nation."

Bashir said the instability in Libya has also affected the national security of Sudan.

"We have been directly affected by the insecurity in the Libyan scene, including the prices we paid for combating the human trafficking, the illegal migration and the transit crimes," said Bashir.

He asserted that the presence of the Sudanese mercenaries among the fighters in Libya was a direct threat to the Sudanese security.

Libyan prime minister, for his part, said they agreed to fully normalize the fluctuated relations, adding that previous agreements for a full integration between the two countries would be implemented.

"We will learn from the previous lessons and mistakes, aiming to build strong relations" between the two countries, said Sarraj.

"We have also talked about the joint efforts to secure our common border and to activate the previous security agreements in this regard," the Libyan prime minister said.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/193430/eight-killed-in-landslide-at-burkina-gold-mine

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Ghana: Islamic Finance Gaining Momentum

28 AUGUST 2017

By Felix Dela Klutse

The Islamic world is increasingly seeing Ghana and other African countries as a destination for foreign investment, both on the institutional and corporate fronts.

One sign of such interest was the recent forum on investments in Africa, held in Marrakech and organised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which groups 57 countries and has been very active on the continent on the humanitarian and diplomatic fronts since its creation in 1969.

More recently, the organisation's financial arm, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) - whose main shareholders are Saudi Arabia (23.6%), Libya (9.5%), Iran (8.3%), Nigeria (7.7%) and the United Arab Emirates (7.5%) - has become a major player in development finance in Africa.

The Director of Islamic Development Bank, Sidi Mohamed Taleb, told Business Day in an interview that "Ghana is one of the countries that has so many business opportunities," disclosing that Ghana had greatly benefitted from the $122 billion invested in 2015 by his outfit into sub-Saharan Africa.

The Islamic Development Bank is now focusing on removing obstacles to Africa's development, among them are poor infrastructure and agricultural productivity. The strategy, which has been largely designed by the 22 African member states of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, according to Mr Taleb, will invest mainly in Africa's energy, telecoms, and transport and agriculture sectors.

How Islamic Banking works

Islamic banking, which implies the avoidance of interest, has become a substantial industry during the last four decades. The industry, which exists in more than 50 countries, is estimated to be worth $5 trillion in the next three years, according to international credit ratings agency, Moody's.

As an increasing number of people are dissatisfied or skeptical about the banking services they receive, and see them as exploitative or even unethical, many view the emergence of Islamic banking as a curiosity, and perhaps even a business opportunity, and one that lends itself to dialogue between Westerners and Muslims.

Spread across the Middle East and other parts of the world, a slew of Islamic financial institutions have been offering interest-free services that advocates say can provide a more sustainable alternative to conventional banking practices.

Charging and paying interest is not allowed in Islamic finance because it is prohibited under Sharia law. Instead, if a bank is providing finance for an infrastructure project, for example, the bank and customer agree to share the risk of investment and divide any earnings.

Ms. Hajara Adeola, Managing Director of Lotus Capital, one of the groups helping to pave the way for Islamic finance in Nigeria told Business Day: "One of the most well-known principles is the lack of interest, so you can't own a return simply for having money. You would have to somehow employ that money into productive use and then you can earn a return on that money."

Islamic banks are also not allowed to trade in financial risk areas or deal in mortgage-backed securities or credit-default swaps. Investing in Islamically unacceptable businesses such as alcohol and cigarette makers, casinos and adult-entertainment companies is also forbidden.

According the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Islamic finance assets grew at double-digit rates during the past decade, from about $200 billion in 2003 to an estimated $1.8 trillion at the end of 2013.

A new IMF study compares the performance of Islamic banks and conventional banks during the recent financial crisis, and finds that Islamic banks, on average, showed stronger resilience during the global financial crisis.

Ernst & Young, a consultancy and accounting firm, estimates that Islamic banking assets grew at an annual rate of 17.6% between 2009 and 2013, and will grow by an average of 19.7% a year to 2018.

Setting up Islamic Bank in Ghana

In Ghana, the Banking Act is being reviewed to incorporate the concept and governance of Islamic Banking and Finance in the country. This is to pave the way for the establishment of banking practice in the country particularly with regards to the changing of high interest charges by the conventional banks.

Presently, two applications for the establishment of Islamic banks in Ghana are pending before the central bank awaiting approval to kick start what will see a different dimension of banking and finance in the 60-year history of the country.

The move, according to Bank of Ghana sources, is to provide funding options to businesses and creditors who are reeling under high interest rates by the conventional banks.

The Head of Banking supervision of the Bank of Ghana, Franklyn Belnye, sometime ago said: "the banking act, 2004, (Act 673) was being revised to establish a framework for undertaking consolidated supervision of banks, including the yet to be approved Islamic banking and finance."

In 2015, an Islamic Investment Fund has been launched in Kumasi with the objective of reviving economic activities within Muslim communities. The Shari'a complaint financial system aimed to mobilize funds from the Muslim Ummah for development, whilst creating jobs for the teeming youth in need of jobs.

The Fund is initiated by the Ahlussunna WalJama'a Ashanti Regional Imam (ASWAJ) to offer "ethical investment" tools to investors seeking to invest in profitable "halal" business ventures which have minimal risk but good potential for growth.

A GHC 100,000 was raised in the initial public offering of 200 shares at a share value of Gh500 per share. The Fund seeks a combination of capital appreciation and current income for shareholders.

The investment plan is established along three minimum risk areas: short term businesses - Cattle Rearing, Washing Bay and Cash-Crop Farming; medium term - Transportation and Commodity Trading; and long term - Real Estate Development, Islamic Microfinance, Project financing and Venture capital.

Islamic finance in other African Countries

Islamic finance is gaining momentum in sub-Saharan Africa, where about 30% of the population is Muslim, according to the Pew Research Center, a think tank in Washington D.C. Gulf African Bank, which offers sharia-compliant products, now has 14 branches in Kenya, with a rising portfolio of small and medium enterprises. Apart from Nigeria, Islamic bank has gain grounds in some African countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Morocco.

Morocco's banks, insurance and agribusiness are expanding fast in Africa, helping to boost Moroccan exporters. The Attijawariwafa Bank now has subsidiaries and branches in 14 African countries, mostly in West Africa. The world leader in fertilisers, the Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP), a Moroccan company, is aggressively promoting its products south of the Sahara.

In the Sahel region the bank is financing the flagship Dakar-Port Sudan railway and key energy projects in Mali, Mauritania, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire, in some cases with the strategic aim of stabilising the region.

The bank has a $400m portfolio in Mali, where it is building a new international airport. It is also financing a road between Algeria and Kidal, the capital of northern Mali, which fell to the extremist group Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, in 2013.

Companies from several Islamic countries have also developed commercial and private investment ties with Africa. According to a 2015 report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), East Africa is attracting most of the Gulf's non-commodity investment, with manufacturing in Ethiopia; leisure, retail and tourism in Mozambique and Kenya; and education in Uganda of particular interest. Retail and hypermarkets, automotives, commercial banking and tourism are key sectors.

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines is expanding its presence on the continent, with 44 African destinations; Royal Air Maroc has 22 and Emirates Airlines 19. Turkey is becoming increasingly involved in FDI to Africa.

Turkish trade with Africa has risen nearly fourfold from $5.4bn in 2003 to $20bn in 2014, according to a 2015 research paper by Chatham House, the UK's Royal Institute of International Affairs. Turkey has signed investment treaties with 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and aims to sign a free trade agreement with the East African Community by 2019. For example, Turkish exports into Ghana increased from US$3million in 2002 to US$179million in 2013.

Regulator's concerns

Money transfers from Islamic countries or charities to Africa have also faced regulators' concerns that networks could be used for criminal financing. Kenya suspended the operations of 13 firms in the first half of 2015 over concerns that funds were flowing to al-Shabab militants. In May 2013, Barclays has threatened to close the bank accounts of 250 money transfer companies as part of a drive to meet stricter money laundering rules.

IMF's position on Islamic Banking

Full report at:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201708280872.html

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Libyan navy detains 20 Filipinos for alleged smuggling

29 August 2017

At least 20 Filipino crew members of an oil tanker have been arrested by the Libyan navy for suspected fuel smuggling, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

The DFA said in a statement it is closely monitoring the case of the detained crewmen after their tanker was intercepted Sunday.

"The DFA instructed our embassy to closely monitor the situation and extend all necessary assistance to our (countrymen)," it said in a statement, according to GMA News.

The Philippine embassy in Libya has yet to report back, it added.

According to Libyan media, which quoted Navy spokesman Gen. Ayoub Kacem, the navy intercepted a Liberian-flagged oil tanker off Abu Kamash, 170 kilometers west of Tripoli near Tunisian waters, on allegations that fuel was being smuggled.

The tanker, belonging to a Greek company, was loaded with 6 million liters (1.5 million gallons) of contraband fuel, but its grade and original extraction location are still unknown, said Kacem.

The Filipino crewmen were transported to Tripoli to appear before the prosecutor general.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/193452/libyan-navy-detains-20-filipinos-for-alleged-smuggling

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Europe

 

Germany, Egypt reach agreement to slow down flow of refugees to Europe

Aug 28, 2017

Germany and Egypt have agreed on a plan to reduce the flow of refugees and asylum seekers to Europe, as part of Berlin’s wider push to curb the stream of illegal and unchecked immigration to the European country, the refugees’ ideal destination.

The agreement was reached on Sunday during a meeting of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced in a statement on Monday.

Seibert added that according to the new accord, Berlin would provide Cairo with more resources to run training programs to assist Egyptian people in finding better jobs, and more funds for them to study in the European country. 

The statement further said that Germany would also help Cairo to improve conditions of facilities designated for Syrian refugees and other displaced people in Egypt, adding that both countries further agreed to work more closely to mount crackdown on human traffickers, who bring desperate refugees into Europe through perilous Mediterranean routes.

“The problem of illegal immigration is an international one, and we must deal with the socio-economic roots of the crisis. The problem must be dealt with while respecting the rights of refugees and migrants in accordance with international law,” the Egyptian foreign ministry quoted Shoukry as saying on Sunday.

Over a million refugees and asylum seekers crossed into Germany in 2015 and most of them stayed in the country. Far-right nationalist sentiments intensified in Germany after a series of attacks involving refugees.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel then began to feel the political costs when her conservative party suffered losses in regional elections. After that, the German chancellor allowed introducing a cap on the number of arrivals and negotiating deporting mechanisms for those refugees whose applications had failed.

The flow of refugees into Germany only subsided in March 2016, when Merkel led a European Union agreement with Turkey to send back refugees sailing from Turkish shores to Greece. Estimates say around a million refugees, mainly from Syria and Iraq, arrived in Germany over the last two years.

The majority of refugees now take the more dangerous route from North Africa to Italy through the Mediterranean. In crisis-hit Libya, smugglers operate with relative ease, but many refugees and asylum seekers also sail from Egypt to Italy.

According to figures provided by the International Organization for Migration, some 121,000 refugees and asylum seekers have arrived in Europe by sea this year.

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees. Many blame major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in those regions, thus forcing more people to flee their homes.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2017/08/28/533234/Germany-Egypt-refugees-agreement-EU-Libya-Italy-Turkey

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One arrest in Buckingham Palace ‘terror’ incident

28 August 2017

Police have arrested a second man in relation to last Friday’s “terrorist” incident near Buckingham Palace.

A 30-year old man was “arrested on suspicion of being involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism and he has been taken into custody,” a Metropolitan Police statement said on Sunday.

"The arrest was carried out by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command who are investigating the terrorist incident in Constitution Hill which resulted in three officers receiving minor injuries on Friday night," it said.

A police search continued on Sunday at an address in West London, where the second man was arrested, according to the authorities.

Police on Saturday said the incident near Buckingham Palace Friday involving a car driver stopping in front of a police van was being treated as a terrorist incident.

The Metropolitan Police said three police officers were slightly injured during the arrest of a man who reached for a four-foot (122-centimeter) sword when officers attempted to investigate a car that deliberately drove at a police van and stopped in front of it.

“As they challenged the driver, who was the only occupant in the car, he reached for what we now know to be a four-foot sword which was in the front passenger foot well,” the police statement said.

The police continued their investigation into the incident and a warrant for the further detention of a 26-year-old man who was arrested on Friday night after the incident has been granted.

The terror threat level in the U.K. remains as severe.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/193435/one-arrest-in-buckingham-palace-terror-incident

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German FM concedes lack of EU support on Turkey policy

28 August 2017

Call for EU countries to back Germany to pressure Turkey through economic measures failed to grab much support, said Foreign Minister Sigman Gabriel on Sunday.

Speaking at an open event in Berlin, the German minister recalled that the government had sought support from EU countries against Turkey.

"Every country in Europe does not think like us, and some countries say, 'Let us continue our cooperation with Turkey as in the past'.

"We think differently on this issue," Gabriel said.

Gabriel did not name the countries, but according to German weekly Der Spiegel reported that France and Italy were among them.

Last month, the German government announced several economic measures in an attempt to increase pressure on Ankara, which were focused on investments and tourism.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/193426/five-german-climbers-die-in-accident-on-austrian-alps

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UN chief calls for reopening of Yemen port, airport

 27 August 2017

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged warring parties in Yemen to allow humanitarian aid into the country amid a political stalemate that has seen violence spill into Sanaa.

His comments come after tension between Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his ally Abdul Malik al-Huthi, who control the capital Sanaa, escalated into armed clashes that left two rebels and a pro-Saleh colonel dead late Saturday.

Since 2014, the Saleh-Huthi alliance has fought the UN-recognised government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi for control of the impoverished country.

Witnesses in the capital said the ex-president's forces had spread in southern parts of the city near the presidential offices, which Saleh still holds despite resigning in 2012.

A Saudi-led coalition supporting the Hadi government imposed an air and sea blockade on all rebel-held territory in March 2015 and tightened it in August last year saying it was the only way to stop weapons smuggling.

Guterres said the UN was trying to facilitate the re-opening of the country's main international airport in Sanaa as well as the Hodeida port, a key entry point for aid also in rebel-held territory.

"We will be working very closely with the (parties) to see when and how a new strong initiative will be possible," he told a news conference.

More than 8,400 civilians have been killed and 47,800 wounded since the Arab coalition joined the war in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

Another 2,000 people have died of cholera in a deadly outbreak that has spread across Yemen since April.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/193420/five-german-climbers-die-in-accident-on-austrian-alps

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