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Islamic World News ( 14 Nov 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Ninety nine Percent Of Muslims In India Are Hindustani By Their Ancestry, Culture, And motherland: RSS Leader Indresh Kumar

New Age Islam News Bureau

14 November 2022

99% Of Muslims In India Are Hindustani By Their Ancestry, Culture, And motherland: RSS Leader PTI File Photo


• Sudan’s Burhan warns Islamists and other factions against interfering with the military

• US forces loot 94 more truckloads of Syrian oil, wheat: Report

• Germany’s Muslim community worried about rise in Islamophobic attacks

• Govt withdraws plea against Shariat Court's decision on interest-free banking

• 20 killed as minibus plunges into canal in Egypt

• Report: 130,000 Palestinians Facing Home Demolition Threat in Israeli Occupied Territories

• East Turkestan Day: Protests erupt in Bangladesh against Chinese oppression of Uyghur Muslims

• Exiled Uyghurs mark East Turkestan formation, say will strive for freedom from China


• Kerala: Islamic Institute Starts Sanskrit Course, Sets Example Amid Saffronisation Debate

• Construction of Ayodhya mosque to begin after its map approval: Secy of Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust

• How The Issue Of Paying Imam Salaries Has Kept Cropping Up Over The Years

• Muslim seniors thrash Hyderabad B-school student; made him chant 'Allah hu Akbar'; BJP demands probe

• Gyanvapi mosque case: Varanasi court verdict on plea seeking worship rights of 'Shivling' today

• Islamic flag removed from mobile tower in Kushinagar

• Upcoming visit of Saudi Crown Prince to expand Saudi-India relations



• Jordan king calls for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands

• Tunisia to get 100 million euros from EU for budget support

• Sudanese protesters call for end to foreign interference


North America

• New York Times coverage of deadly Istanbul blast sparks anger on Twitter



• Germany’s Scholz says Iran can expect more EU sanctions

• Spain to continue its Patriot missile defense support to Türkiye

• Iranian man who inspired movie The Terminal dies at Paris airport

• Supporters of PKK terrorist group hold demonstration in Sweden



• What’s behind the rise of suicide cases in Gilgit-Baltistan

• Fazl, Ashrafi Condemn "incident Of Terrorism" In Turkiye

• PTI chairman Imran Khan no longer blames US for his ouster

• Lt-Gen Asim Munir is technically senior-most of the top generals in the running for Pak Army chief

• US can't stop us from purchasing Russian oil: Pakistan minister Ishaq Dar

• Four corridors being added to CPEC, says Chinese diplomat

• Arshad Sharif ‘not tortured’ before death, says Kenyan expert

• Islamabad's Lal Masjid road closed to traffic, again

• Gwadar protesters threaten to block CPEC projects


Arab World

• Rocket attack near Iraq’s Erbil kills one, wounds ten: Mayor

• Syria’s air defenses shoot down most Israeli missiles targeting Homs, casualties reported

• Lebanon extradites to Iraq ‘Saddam grandnephew’ accused of ISIS link

• Culture is a prerequisite for peace in the world: UAE Minister Noura Al Kaabi

• Bahrainis vote in parliamentary, municipal elections

• Saudi leaders offer condolences to Turkiye after deadly blast

• Iran targets “terrorist groups” in Iraq’s Kurdistan

• Lebanon slams Israeli airstrikes on Syria, calls it violation of country's sovereignty

• Crackdown on dissent: Saudi forces detain Yemeni-American citizen while on pilgrimage

• ‘Bahrain regime abused polls to burnish image, endorse normalization with Israel’

• UAE meddled in American political system: US intelligence report



• 'Everything is restricted': Iranian cleric supports protest against country's Islamic regime

• President Erdogan says initial signs point to 'terror' attack in Istanbul

• Turkey accuses Kurdish PKK over Istanbul bomb attack

• Speaker: Iran's Hypersonic Ballistic Missile Frustrating Enemies

• Spokesman Slams German Chancellor's Meddlesome Remarks on Iran's Unrest

• Iran Strongly Deplores Macron’s Meeting with Regime-Change Mouthpieces at Elysee

• Iran's Rayeesi, Russia's Putin Reiterate Deepening Ties

• Iran Cracks Down on Int'l Drug Trafficking Network, 32 Smugglers Captured

• Jailed Iranian activist Ronaghi hospitalized, ‘life in danger,’ his brother warns

• Palestine President Abbas says Netanyahu does not ‘believe in peace’

• Iran leader sends delegation to strife-torn southeast

• Iran charges more than 750 for involvement in ‘recent riots’

• Israel's Netanyahu formally tasked with forming new government

• Russia’s Putin speaks to Iranian President Raisi, with emphasis on deepening ties

• Turkey’s Erdogan arrives at G20 in Indonesia after Istanbul blast

• Iran slams German French leaders for 'supporting' anti-government protests


South Asia

• Taliban’s leader emphasizes on serious punishments for criminals in Afghanistan

• United Nations refuses to recognize Taliban interim government

• Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) opens Afghanistan bureau office

• UNAMA Chief Meets Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan

• Afghanistan: Why Ahmad Shah Massoud still matters to the Middle East


Southeast Asia

• UAE President Inaugurates Mosque in Jokowi’s Hometown

• DAP’s Nga sounds another ‘Taliban’ warning

• PAS the one using Malays to fish for Malay votes, DAP hopefuls tell Hadi

• After 2020 state election, political fatigue rather than election fever in Sabah this GE15

• Sanusi slams actor’s alleged remarks about harming ‘enemies of Islam’

• Our future depends on stable, competent leadership, says Johari

• Muhyiddin says 'Father of MCO' label a badge of honour as it saved lives

• PAS banks on clean politics for big win in Terengganu, but race will be tight

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



99% Of Muslims In India Are Hindustani By Their Ancestry, Culture, And motherland: RSS Leader

13 NOV 2022

99% Of Muslims In India Are Hindustani By Their Ancestry, Culture, And motherland: RSS Leader PTI File Photo


Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Indresh Kumar on Sunday said 99 per cent of Muslims in India are "Hindustani" by their ancestry, culture, traditions, and motherland.

He also supported the view expressed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the past that Indians had common ancestors, hence their DNA is common.

Kumar was addressing the concluding ceremony of the two-day state-level workshop of activists of the Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), the Muslim wing of the RSS, at RambhauMhalgiPrabodhini at Uttan in Thane district.

"We must consider our duty towards our nation as supreme and above all other things as per the directives and tenets of the Holy Quran," a release quoted Kumar as saying.

"Ninety-nine per cent of Muslims in India are Hindustani by their ancestors, culture, traditions, and motherland," he said.

As per the release, Kumar referred to RSS chief Bhagwat's past statement on Indians having common DNA, and said, "D means the dreams we get every day, N denotes native nation and A represents ancestors. We all dream in our mother tongue."

"We have common ancestors and share a common native nation which makes all of us share the common DNA," said Kumar, a member of the national executive committee of the RSS.

A total of 250 activists from more than 40 locations across the state, including women activists, attended the workshop.

MRM national conveners Irfan Ali Pirjade, ViragPachpore, and other officer-bearers of the organisation were present on the occasion.

Pachpore traced the two-decade-long journey of the MRM since its foundation in 2002 and spoke about its activities, programmes, and campaigns on issues like triple talaq, Jammu and Kashmir, Ayodhya, cow slaughter, and terrorism, among others.


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Sudan’s Burhan warns Islamists and other factions against interfering with the military

Nov 13, 2022

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan on Sunday issued another stern warning to Islamists and other political factions against any interference in the military, amid talks with civilian parties to form a non-partisan government.

More than a year after the military took power in a coup, the military and its former civilian partners and other political forces have begun U.N.-facilitated talks to agree on a new political framework.

However, Islamists loyal to former president Omar al-Bashir have criticised the military for seeking a partnership with pro-democracy civilian groups, and for what they say is allowing foreign interference from U.N. and western facilitators.

On Saturday thousands of Bashir loyalists held a protest against the ongoing talks. Burhan warned both civilian parties and the former ruling Islamists of agitating within the military or interfering, saying it was carrying out its own reforms.

“We’ll cut out the tongue of anyone who speaks on the military,” Burhan said in a speech at an army base west of the capital.

“We warned the Islamists, as they have started interfering with the military, we told them to stay away from the military,” he said.

Since the coup in Oct. 2021, Sudan has been without a new prime minister or cabinet, seen increasing tribal violence, and its economy has been plunged into further turmoil. Both the military and participating parties have said they aim to pull the country out of impending chaos.

In a Nov. 6 speech Burhan had confirmed that talks had begun and on Sunday he acknowledged that the military had presented its notes on a draft constitution which the U.N. said last week was the basis of discussions it had launched.

“We expect this next government to be made up of independents not affiliated with any party, this is what we’ve always said,” Burhan said in the speech.

He also said that the civilian politicians he had sat with had assured him they are not negotiating to advance their political interests.


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US forces loot 94 more truckloads of Syrian oil, wheat: Report

13 November 2022

File video image of an oil tanker looting Syrian crude from one of its oil fields. (Photo by SANA)


US occupation forces in Syria and their local Kurdish mercenary allies have reportedly looted another 94 tankers and trucks loaded with the country’s oil and wheat, illegally transporting them to neighboring Iraq.

Citing local sources, Syria’s official SANA news agency further unveiled in a Saturday report that the intruding American military forces transferred out 30 tankers loaded with stolen Syrian crude via the illegal al-Waleed border crossing and 44 more tankers of oil from al-Swaidiya fields through the unauthorized Mahmoudiya crossing, heading to US military bases across Iraq.

According to the report, the occupation troops, aided by the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) of US-backed Kurdish militants, also hauled 20 more trucks loaded with wheat out of the country to northern Iraq through the Semalka crossing.

Syrian media outlets regularly report on American illegal oil and food smuggling activities, with the US occupiers and their local Kurdish allies organizing convoys containing dozens of tankers or trucks at least once a week, and sometimes multiple times.

Last week, US forces reportedly shipped 43 tankers of Syrian oil looted from the country’s al-Jazeera field into northern Iraq.

This is while Damascus has repeatedly condemned Washington’s oil and food looting activities in the war-torn Arab nation, which have robbed Syria of access to nearly 90 percent of its oil resources, and much of its arable land.

Prior to the 2011 foreign-backed terrorist campaign unleashed in the country by the US and its European and regional allies in their bids to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Syria enjoyed modest self-sufficiency in both food and energy.

The US military has illegitimately maintained at least 800 troops in Syria east of the Euphrates River since 2017, tasking its troops with controlling Syrian energy fields and blocking Damascus from regaining control of its internationally recognized borders.

In addition to plundering Syria’s energy and agricultural resources, Washington and its European allies have further imposed a crushing sanctions regime against the country, aimed at crippling its economy by blocking the import of all sorts of goods, including medicines and medical equipment.

Former US president Donald Trump has conceded on several occasions that American military forces were deployed to Syria because of the country’s oil wealth.

On September 21, China called on the United States to stop looting Syria’s national resources and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin further underlined that Washington has a duty to investigate robberies committed by its occupying military forces, as well as to compensate for the damages caused.

Source: Press TV

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Germany’s Muslim community worried about rise in Islamophobic attacks



German authorities registered at least 662 Islamophobic crimes in 2021.

There were more than 46 mosques attacked and at least 17 people were injured because of anti-Muslim violence.

Suleyman Demir, project director at the anti-discrimination group, Inssan, said attacks on Muslims and mosques have seen a rise following the coronavirus pandemic and the situation is serious as Germany is facing economic difficulties.

“The statistics have definitely increased, especially for women who wear a headscarf,” Demir told Anadolu Agency.

“We are also increasingly seeing from our community that not only men, but also women who wear the hijab and niqab are exposed to much more physical attacks, like spitting, and this has actually increased significantly in recent years,” he said.

German authorities recorded 152 Islamophobic attacks, while at least seven people were injured in the first six months of 2022.

But that might not be the full picture because many attacks go unreported.

Demir, who is leading the “Network against discrimination and Islamophobia” project at Inssan, said many Muslims do not report incidents to the police, thinking their complaints will not be taken seriously.

“Sometimes they don't feel heard or seen and that's why they think, ‘Oh, why report it? There won't be any consequences,’” said Demir.

He urged better sensitivity training for police to tackle Islamophobic crimes.

“Police officers are not properly trained. For example, they are trained on transphobia or anti-Semitism, but they are not trained on tackling anti-Muslim crimes,” he said, adding that many incidents of Islamophobia are not properly registered by police in crime statistics.

Demir also warned that far-right groups are trying to exploit the ongoing economic and energy crises to stir fear and hatred against minorities and Muslims.

Portraying minorities scapegoats

“It is easy to portray minorities as scapegoats, i.e. as scapegoats for political or economic problems, and the far-right groups naturally use this method to say that these minorities are to be blamed for the major economic crisis. Therefore, I see a connection between rising right-wing extremism, and the economic situation,” he said.

Demir said it is important for Muslims and minorities to be more politically active to strengthen democracy and counter the rise of the far-right.

“There are people from 180 to 200 different nations here, so I assume that Muslims will also feel at home here, especially those who were born here,” he said. “They will take part in democratic decision-making and will, of course, also shape the future in Germany.”

Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France with total inhabitants of more than 84 million.

Among the country’s nearly 5.5 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Govt withdraws plea against Shariat Court's decision on interest-free banking

Nov 13 2022

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) — SBP/Official


ISLAMABAD: The federal government withdrew its petition against Federal Shariat Court's decision seeking the government to transform the banking system into Shariah-compliant banking, The News reported Sunday.

Lawyer Salman Akram Raja, on behalf of the State Bank of Pakistan, filed a civil miscellaneous application (CMA) in the Supreme Court to withdraw the instant appeal filed against the judgement of the Federal Shariat Court, The News reported.

On June 25, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had challenged in the Supreme Court the decision of Federal Shariat Court of April 28.

As respondents, the SBP named Dr Mahmoodur Rehman Faisal, Chairman of the Tehreek-e-Enqilab Islam, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Finance, the Banking Council of Pakistan through its chairman, Karachi (now defunct), and the Attorney-General of Pakistan.

In its appeal, the central bank appreciated the spirit and the intent that led to the substantive provisions of the judgement delivered by the Sharia Court on April 28. However, it sought clarification as there were certain discrepancies in the judgement.

The SBP submitted that, as the premier custodian and regulator of the financial and monetary framework of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, it is deeply committed to ensuring compliance with the injunctions of Islam about interest (riba) while protecting the stability and security of the financial sector of the country that functions as part of the global financial system.

“The appellant can, with considerable justification, take pride in the furtherance of the Islamic banking sector in Pakistan as a critical and growing part of the financial sector as a whole,” the SBP submitted, adding that these efforts are noted by the Federal Shariat Court in its judgment of April 28, 2022, in paragraphs 82 to 88.

It further submitted that a gradual approach to transforming the banking system into Shariah-compliant banking was adopted at the start of this millennium, wherein both the Islamic and conventional banks were allowed to operate simultaneously in the country.

This approach has proved successful, and the Islamic banks now account for 19.4% of the country’s overall banking system in terms of assets, while in terms of deposits, the share is 20% (as of March 31, 2022).

Currently, 22 Islamic Banking Institutions (IBIs) (five full-fledged Islamic banks and 17 conventional banks having standalone Islamic banking branches) with a branch network of 3,983 associates and 1,418 Islamic banking windows (Islamic banking counters at traditional branches) are operational across the country, the SBP said.

The SBP has also been taking measures to bring the legal and regulatory infrastructure into compliance with Shariah principles.

It recalled that the SBP is among the few regulators in the world that have introduced a comprehensive legal, regulatory, and Shariah-compliant framework for Islamic banking, adding that details of the progress already made and the strategic plan for the future are contained in the document titled “Strategic Plan for Islamic Banking Industry 2021–2025.”

Source: Geo

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20 killed as minibus plunges into canal in Egypt

Ibrahim al-Khazen


At least 20 people were killed and six injured Saturday when a minibus fell into a canal in northern Egypt, according to officials.

Dakahlia governorship updated the death toll on Facebook.

The Health Ministry previously said 19 were killed and six injured when the minibus fell into the Nile River.

Media reports said the minibus was carrying dozens of passengers when the driver lost control and fell into Mansuriya canal in Aga town, in the Nile Delta province of Dakahlia.

A Health Ministry statement said 18 ambulances were dispatched to the scene to search for survivors.

Egypt has a poor transportation record despite government efforts to improve the country’s road network.

The country has recorded 56,789 deaths and 6,164 injuries in road accidents in 2020, according to the state statistics agency, CAPMAS,

The Turkish Foreign Ministry extended condolences to the people of Egypt.

“We wish God's mercy on those who lost their lives, our condolences to their families, the brotherly people of Egypt and the Arab Republic of Egypt, and a speedy recovery to the injured,” is said in a statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Report: 130,000 Palestinians Facing Home Demolition Threat in Israeli Occupied Territories


The survey was published by the Arab Center for Alternative Planning (ACAP) and the Sikkuy-Aufoq Organization, both of whom are NGOs based in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, the Palestinian Information Center news agency reported on Saturday.

The two organizations produced the statistics by counting the number of the Palestinian-owned buildings that lacked what the occupying regime calls "construction permits".

The 130,000 Palestinians reside in about 29,000 buildings that have fallen short of obtaining the permits due to restrictions or dilatory tactics that are intentionally employed by the occupying regime. About 15,000 of those Palestinian structures are small buildings, agricultural sheds, car repair shops, and other structures.

Close to 90 percent of the structures are located "within the approved structural plans and within areas designated for housing", the news agency reported, citing the research. The Tel Aviv regime, however, has stopped short of completing the "necessary planning procedures" in those areas that allow the issuance of the permits.

The Israeli regime claimed existence after occupying huge swathes of Palestinian territories during a Western-backed war that lasted between May 1948 and March 1949.

Following the warfare, roughly 800,000 Jews immigrated to the occupied territories in line with plans led by the Israeli regime, which sought to create a racial supremacy regime. In the year running up to the war, Tel Aviv also embarked on a large-scale ethnic cleansing campaign that forced between 750,000 to 850,000 Palestinians out of their homeland.

The research, meanwhile, showed that, within the occupied territories, it takes Palestinians an average of eight years to obtain a building permit, compared to just 2.5 years for the Israeli population.

Separately on Saturday, scores of Palestinians took to the streets in the city of Tayibe, located in the central part of the occupied territories, in protest at the Israeli regime's demolition policy.

The protests broke out after a local Palestinian resident, Diaa Jaber, was notified that his home would be demolished soon by the Israeli authorities, the official Palestinian WAFA news agency reported.

The protesters blocked the main road in the city to express their rejection of the policy, under which dozens of their homes and structures are at risk of demolition.

They chanted slogans and raised banners reading "demolition of Arabs’ homes won’t go on", and "no to the demolition policy".

Witnesses said Israeli police forces confronted the participants in an attempt to disperse them.

In early September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) offered a grim report, saying the Israeli regime has demolished close to 9,000 Palestinian-owned structures since 2009, rendering thousands of Palestinians homeless.

According to the report, the regime has laid waste to as many as 8,746 such buildings throughout the period. The demolitions have displaced some 13,000 Palestinians and inflicted losses on around 152,000 others, the UN report added.

In order to try to rationalize flattening of the Palestinian structures, the regime has been accusing their owners of lacking construction permit, obtaining which is next to impossible.

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

Thousands of Palestinians, in spite of the fact that they had done nothing wrong and were not suspected of any wrongdoing, have been displaced due to the regime’s cruel policy.

Source: Fars News Agency

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East Turkestan Day: Protests erupt in Bangladesh against Chinese oppression of Uyghur Muslims

12 November, 2022

Dhaka [Bangladesh], November 12 (ANI): On East Turkestan Day, protests erupted in Bangladesh against the persecution of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese government and Beijing’s expansionist attitude.

Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country, shows its solidarity with the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang, local media reported.

The Bangladesh Muktijoddha Mancha on Saturday staged a protest against the persecution of Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese government and demanded the release of 1 million prisoners from China’s minority community.

Bangladesh Muktijoddha Mancha protested in front of the National Museum, Shahbag, near Dhaka University, Dhaka, from noon to 3 pm.

Around 600 participants participated in the protest, carrying banners against Chinese killing and oppression of Uyghur Muslims, their religious persecution, and forced labour and demanding the release of 1 million Uyghurs, including women, from Chinese jails.

The demonstrators explained the Chinese expansionist attitude in Bangladesh, significantly delaying and increasing the cost of Chinese projects (like the Dhaka-Kurigram 6-lane highway and Transmission line expansion of Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd.), not employing any foreign skilled technicians in these projects, neglecting security precautions for labour used in these projects and pushing Bangladesh towards a debt trap like Sri Lanka. Around 1000 onlookers observed the program.

A bicycle rally was organized by BBSS Welfare Association. The rally started from Hatirjheel in Dhaka and ended at United Hospital via Gulshan-2. Students of different schools and colleges, journalists, leaders and activists of political parties took part in the demonstration.

Tawfiq Ahmed Tafsir, General Secretary of BBSS led the event. While addressing the gathering, Ahmed said that East Turkestan was never a part of China and condemned the Chinese actions and atrocities against minorities.

Meanwhile, in Chittagong, SachetonNagarik Samaj, NagorikOikyo and Al-Ettehad Islamic Organisation Bangladeshi organised a motorcycle rally. The rally started from the New Market area of Chittagong city at 4 pm and after passing through various locations of the city including Rifle Club, Tulshidham, Boudha Mandir and CheragiPahar, it ended at Chittagong Press Club, several media reports said.

About 150 protesters wearing Tee shirts and placards highlighting atrocities on Uighur Muslims, Human rights violations by China etc participated in the event.

This condemnation of the Chinese government on international platforms and in different countries via protests comes in the wake of a UN report highlighting “serious human rights abuses” — and potential crimes against humanity — committed by the Chinese government in Xinjiang.

The Jagrata Muslim Janata also condemned China for illegally occupying East Turkestan, the land of innocent Uyghur Muslims. In Narayanganj city of Bangladesh, protesters were carrying banners and placards and organized a Human Chain and protest rally to support the cause of Uyghur Muslims.

They criticised China for its inhuman actions, maltreatment of Uyghur minorities and continued occupation of East Turkestan. Protesters urged the people of Bangladesh to support Uyghur Muslims and condemn China for its illegal activities.

Meanwhile, in Gazipur, SanchetanNagarik Samaj organised a protest rally and human chain to condemn the illegal occupation of East Turkestan by China and extended support to the just demand of Uyghur Muslims. Protesters urged participants to spread awareness among the people of Bangladesh on the Uyghur issue and the double standards being adopted by China. (ANI)

Source: ThePrint

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Exiled Uyghurs mark East Turkestan formation, say will strive for freedom from China

Nov 14, 2022

The Uyghur Muslim community living in exile in Turkey celebrated the formation of the two East Turkestan republics, re-affirming their resolve for independence from the People's Republic of China.

The East Turkestan Federation organised a meeting attended by over 2,000 delegates including the NGO representatives and community members. During the event, the Uyghur leaders highlighted ‘hunger genocide’ unleashed in East Turkestan by the Chinese authorities in the garb of implementing the Covid Zero Policy.

The delegates took a vow that East Turkestan is their homeland and that the community will continue to fight for ‘independence’ from China. Another meeting organised by The International Union of East Turkestan NGOs under HidayetullahOghuzhan was held in Istanbul, attended by community leaders and Uyghur academics.

The meeting attended by 800-900 Uyghurs accused China of carrying out a genocidal policy against the members of the community. Another meeting was held at Ankara wherein 200 delegates including NGO representatives, academicians and journalists were in attendance.

Uyghurs are a Turkic Muslim minority predominantly in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, where a recent UN report said Beijing may have committed crimes against humanity.

On November 1, at least 50 countries majorly from the West urged China to implement all recommendations in the UN report which accused the Jinping regime of possible crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups. Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, UK and United States are among the countries which signed on the statement.

The human rights groups have accused Beijing of large-scale atrocities against minority groups in mainland China, sweeping a million people from the community into detention camps. The detained prisoners are said to have been tortured, sexually assaulted, and forced to abandon their language and religion.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Kerala: Islamic Institute Starts Sanskrit Course, Sets Example Amid Saffronisation Debate

13 NOV 2022

An Islamic institute in Kerala has attracted praise for starting the teaching of Sanskrit within its campus.

Hindu gurus teach students students at the Academy of Sharia and Advanced Studies (ASAS), by Malik Deenar Islamic Complex (MIC), in Kerala's  Thrissur.

Students in long white robes and white head-dresses unwaveringly reciting 'slokas' and 'mantras' in Sanskrit under the watchful gaze of their Hindu gurus sets apart the institute.

"Gurur brahma gururvishnu, Gurur devo maheshwara, Gurursaakshaat param brahma, Tasmai shri guravenamaha," one such student recites on being asked to do so in Sanskrit by his professor.

"Uttamam (excellent)," the professor responds in Sanskrit, as another student finishes reciting a different 'sloka' asked of him.

All conversations between the student and the professor in the class are in Sanskrit.

The objective behind teaching Sanskrit, Upanishads, Puranas, etc. is to inculcate in the students knowledge and awareness about other religions, said Onampilly Muhammad Faizy, the principal of ASAS to PTI.

Another reason, and the main one, for teaching Sanskrit to the students at MIC ASAS was Faizy's own academic background as he had studied Shankara philosophy.

He said, "Therefore, I felt that students should know about other religions and their customs and practices. But an in-depth study of Sanskrit as well as the 'Upanishads', 'shastras', 'vedantams' would not be possible during the eight-year study period. Instead, the idea is to provide basic knowledge about these and create an awareness in them about another religion."

Important portions of the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, Mahabharata, Ramayana are selectively taught in Sanskrit to the students over a period of eight years after they pass out of Class 10, he said.

The selective teaching of these texts is because the institution is primarily a Sharia college where other languages, like Urdu and English are also taught besides a degree course in Arts as it is affiliated to the Calicut University.

Faizy said, "The academic workload is huge. Therefore, we take in students who can handle it and also maintain strict standards. There is an entrance exam for admitting students."

Some of the students recently told the media that initially it was tough to learn Sanskrit, just like Arabic, but by continuously studying and practising, it becomes easier over time.

"It is a tough task initially. Just like Arabic. But if we study it continuously, repeatedly practice it, just like with Arabic, it becomes easier over a period of time. The regular classes and the tests also help us to learn it," one of the students said.

Another student said he was excited to learn Sanskrit and hear the 'slokas'.

Just like his classmate, he too was of the view that like Arabic, "if you put in the effort, it becomes easier to learn".

While there has been no objection from parents of the students or anyone else, a major challenge has been finding good faculty to teach Sanskrit, the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, etc., properly to the students.

"That is why we were able to start teaching Sanskrit just seven years ago and it is also the reason that it is being taught only at this branch -- one of seven," principal Faizy said, noting they have an excellent faculty here who have devised a good curriculum for the students.

He added the response from the side of the students too has been encouraging as they have shown an interest in learning Sanskrit.

One of the faculty, professor K KYatheendran, told media when he was invited to teach there, Faizy "was concerned whether I would have reservations about teaching in an Arabic institution as I was a Hindu".

"I said there is no Hindu or Muslim issue here. I am coming there ready to teach. So, I have no such reservations," he told the media.

He also said that when people see him walking toward the institute with sandalwood 'tilak' on his forehead, they ask why I am going there.

"I tell them I am going there to teach Sanskrit and they say it is a good thing I am doing," according to Yatheendran.

Faizy too said that he has not heard any negative or discouraging remarks from any quarter.

"Everyone who heard about it has only praised it and encouraged us," he added.

Dr Ramesh, who also teaches Sanskrit at MIC ASAS, said that the students there have never heard of Sanskrit before coming there.

He said, "They have not even learnt it in school. But as we move from one phase to another, the students are able to speak a little in Sanskrit, learn 'padams' and are able to understand some 'slokas' also."

The other faculty members are Dr C M Neelakandan, retired professor of Sanskrit Literature from SreeSankaracharya University of Sanskrit, and Dr Shamseer P C —assistant professor, department of Sanskrit, Kerala University, according to the Facebook page of MIC ASAS.

The visuals of the Sanskrit classes are also posted on the institute's Facebook page.

At a time when political parties in Kerala are at loggerheads over alleged saffronisation of higher education institutions or them becoming centres of communism, this Islamic institution is setting an example by teaching its students Sanskrit and the Bhagavad Gita along with Arabic and the Quran.

Hafiz Aboobacker, one of the coordinators at the institute, told a media channel that it was important to learn about Islam, but knowledge about other religions was also important and that is also a reason for including Sanskrit in the syllabus.


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Construction of Ayodhya mosque to begin after its map approval: Secy of Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust

Nov 14, 2022

LUCKNOW: Construction of the proposed Masjid-e-Ayodhya -- to be built in Ayodhya’sDhannipur village -- will start once the map of the religious structure is approved by the Ayodhya Development Authority, said Athar Hussain, secretary of the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust on Sunday. He added that the construction of the mosque would be completed within a year of the map approval, which is expected soon.

“Construction of the mosque will take about a year. However, the construction of adjoining buildings -- including a community kitchen, a museum, and a library and research centre in the Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Complex -- may take at least three years,” Hussain further said.

Earlier, in 2019, the Supreme Court, in its landmark verdict on the Ayodhya dispute, had ordered the construction of a Ram temple on the 2.77-acre plot where the Babri Masjid once stood. In the same order, the apex court had also directed the state government to allot five acres of land for a mosque to be built near Ayodhya.

“We aren’t competing with the deadline for the completion of the Ram Temple project. As the mosque won’t be built in a very large space, its construction shouldn’t take more than a year. The Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation Trust will start the construction of other proposed adjoining structures simultaneously. At present, we are raising funds for the construction of the mosque and other structures in the complex,” Hussain clarified.

According to the proposal, the trust plans to build a 100-bed hospital in the Maulvi Ahmadullah Shah Complex. The facility will later be upgraded to a 200-bed medical centre. Similarly, the community kitchen would initially cater to 1,000 needy people and gradually, its capacity would be raised to provide food to 2,000 people per day. The Indo-Islamic Research Centre and the proposed library will also benefit people, said Hussain.

Source: Hindustan Times

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How The Issue Of Paying Imam Salaries Has Kept Cropping Up Over The Years

13 NOV 2022

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has summoned officials of the offices of the lieutenant governor, chief minister, and chief secretary over the non-disclosure of information on salaries paid to Imams of mosques in Delhi under the RTI Act.

The background

The Supreme Court in 1993 ordered the Waqf Boards to pay adequate salaries to Imams working in mosques managed by the boards.

“We are, therefore, not willing to accept the submission the absence of any statutory provision in the Waqf Act the Imams who look after religious activities of mosques are not entitled to any remuneration, “the Bench of Justice R.M. Sahai had held on a petition by All India Imam Organisation which had approached the apex court for “enforcement of a fundamental right against their exploitation by Waqf Boards.” The organisation had approached the apex court seeking a direction to Central and State Waqf Boards to treat them as employees of the Board and to pay them basic wages to enable them to survive.

Instances Where Imams Received Support/Dues

On July 16, 2022, the Telangana government sanctioned Rs 17 crore for salaries of Imams and Muezzins that were due for the past three months. The state government had been paying them Rs 5,000 every month as an honorarium. “We will use this remaining amount for widow pensions,” Mohammed Massiullah Khan, Chairman Wakf Board, had said. Days before, the state BJP Minority Morcha had appealed to the government to release pending salaries of the last six months of Imams across 10,000 masjids, as Bakri Eid was around the corner.

On May 2020, a Hyderabad-based NGO called Helping Hand Foundation (HHF) paid Rs 3,000 each to 200 Imams and Muezzins from 100 mosques, mainly across low-income areas in the city. “Nearly 80 per cent of the Imams and Muezzins in city mosques have not been paid their salaries due to drying up of collections in mosque which are closed now. Due to this many are facing hardship for ration, essential items and are struggling to support their families,” said Mujtaba Askari of HHF had said.

On January 2019, Delhi CM and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal declared that the salaries of Imams and helpers in mosques in Delhi would be increased. The hiked salary will be paid by the Delhi Waqf Board. As per the announcement by the AAP chief, the salaries of imams will be increased from Rs 10,000 per month to Rs 18,000 per month. Whereas the salary of the helpers would be increased from Rs 9,000 per month to Rs 16,000 per month. The decision will be applicable to 185 mosques in the national capital that come under the Delhi Waqf Board.

Kejriwal also announced a salary hike for imams of mosques that are outside the domain of the Delhi Waqf Board. It is for the first time that the salary expense of such mosques would be covered by a government body. The imams of these mosques will be paid Rs 14,000 per month while the helpers will get Rs 12,000 per month.

The current case

Activist Subhash Agrawal has filed an RTI, asking for the file notes on the decision to pay salaries to Imams in Delhi mosques through his application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Agrawal sought to know the total number of mosques in the national capital that pay Imams a salary, the total amount incurred, annual expenditure, and details of the competent authority responsible for the payments.

He has asked if salaries of these amounts are being paid to priests of Hindu temples as well.

The reaction

The offices of the LG and the chief minister did not respond to the RTI application, but the office of the chief secretary transferred it to the Department of Revenue and Delhi Waqf Board.

The Delhi Waqf Board, in its reply to Agrawal, said none of the queries are related to it.

The Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar has issued notices to the Public Information Officers of these two departments asking them to appear before it for a hearing on November 18.


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Muslim seniors thrash Hyderabad B-school student; made him chant 'Allah hu Akbar'; BJP demands probe

November 13, 2022

Hyderabad: The Telangana wing of the Bhartiya Janata Party has demanded a detailed probe in the alleged ragging incident of an undergraduate law student, who was physically assaulted and sexually harassed by a group of other students inside hostel over alleged remarks on Islam and the prophet Mohammad.

According to Telangana Police, the incident took place on November 1, at ICFAI Business School in Dhonthanpally village. The victim is a student in the first semester of a law undergraduate programme.

The incident came to public view after a video of the said student went viral on Social media in which he was being thrashed by other students. The accused students also made him chant ‘Allah hu Akbar’ on camera, and also took his wallet.

Rachana Reddy, a BJP leader from Telangana, on Sunday slammed K Chandrashekar Rao government for not taking timely action into the matter.

“We don’t know what statements were made but the fact that absolutely no action was taken. Apparently, an FIR has been registered but there is absolutely no information as to what the hooligans wanted and what was the cause of the said abuse and assault. Don’t know what the ministers, MLAs and the entire state government are doing about this incident,” she said.

She further said that the State government is turning blind eye to the rights and issues of the people.

“This is a pattern wherein in Telangana including the surrounding areas of Hyderabad as well, the State government is turning blind eye to the rights and issues of the people. It is not about religion here but in the name of secularism, they are actually being pseudo-secularism where such provocative incidents are unnoticed and nobody from the Home Department is informing the general people about protecting themselves and dos and don’ts,” the BJP leader said.

The BJP leader said that her party demands a full-fledged inquiry into this incident, to see what exactly is the cause because the communalisation of an incident itself is dangerous to the peace and security of the state.

“BJP demands a proper investigation and inquiry be taken up in this because the student unfortunately was abused assaulted and allegedly sexually harassed as well. Hence, a proper inquiry into these allegations of what happened, exactly what was the cause of such serious physical assault, abuse and sexual harassment has to go and action should be taken,” she added.

Telangana Police said the victim has filed a complaint stating that he was physically and sexually harassed by 15-20 individuals in his hostel room on campus.

“On November 1, a few students of ICFAI Business School thrashed a student at the campus hostel for his alleged comments against Prophet Mohammed,” a police officer said.


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Gyanvapi mosque case: Varanasi court verdict on plea seeking worship rights of 'Shivling' today

14th November 2022

VARANASI: A Varanasi fast-track court will deliver its verdict today on the plea seeking worship rights of the 'Shivling' that the Hindu side claimed to be found on the Gyanvapi mosque premises.

The court had adjourned the matter for November 14 during the last hearing on November 8.

The demands of the Hindu side on which the court will deliver its verdict include permission for the immediate beginning of prayer of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga BhagwanVishweshwar, the handing over of the entire Gyanvapi complex to the Hindus, and banning the entry of Muslims inside the premises of the Gyanvapi complex.

The Muslim side is allowed to offer prayers in the premises till the matter is in court.

The Supreme Court on November 11 extended its earlier order to protect the area where the 'Shivling' was stated to be discovered at the Gyanvapi Mosque complex during the court survey.

During the previous hearings in the Varanasi court, it had refused to allow a 'scientific investigation' of the purported 'Shivling'.

The Hindu side had demanded carbon dating of the structure they claimed to be a Shivling found inside the Gyanvapi Mosque's wazukhana.

However, the Muslim side said that the structure found was a 'fountain'. The Hindu side had then submitted an application in the Varanasi District Court on September 22 that sought a carbon dating of the object they claimed to be 'Shivling'.

The Hindu side said that they would approach the Supreme Court against the Varanasi court's verdict refusing to allow a 'scientific investigation' of the purported 'Shivling', claiming to be found on the Gyanvapi mosque premises.

On September 29 hearing, the Hindu side had demanded a scientific investigation of the 'Shivling' by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the carbon dating of 'Argha' and the area around it.

The Varanasi court said, "It would not be proper to order the survey of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and by giving such order the age, nature, and structure of the said Shivling is known, even this does not imply the possibility of a just solution".

Advocate Vishnu Jain, representing the side in the Gyanvapi case, "Court has rejected our demand of seeking carbon dating. We'll move to Supreme Court against this order and challenge it there. I cannot announce the date as of now, but we'll soon challenge this order in Supreme Court."

Another lawyer of the Hindu side Madan Mohan Yadav said, "Though the court has rejected the demand of seeking carbon dating, the option of going to the High Court is available and the Hindu side will place their point before the High Court as well."

Referring to the order of May 17 of the Supreme Court, the Varanasi Court had said that "If the alleged Shivling is damaged by taking samples, then it will be in violation of the order of the Supreme Court".

"If the Shivling is damaged, the religious sentiments of the general public can also get hurt", the Varanasi Court had said.

Carbon dating is a scientific process that ascertains the age of an archaeological object or archaeological finds.

After hearing both sides' arguments, the court had reserved the order in the Gyanvapi Mosque-Shringar Gauri case.

On May 20, the Supreme Court had ordered the transfer of the case related to worship at Gyanvapi mosque from the civil judge to the District Judge, Varanasi.

Akhlaq Ahmed, representing the Muslim side had said that the plea by the Hindu side is not maintainable as it is against the order of the Supreme Court that stated protecting the structure (which the Muslim side claims to be a fountain and the Hindu side claims to be a Shivling).

"We responded to the application on carbon dating. Stone does not have the capacity to absorb carbon. The Supreme Court in its May 17 order, according to which, the object that the commission found, had to be protected. The order of the SC will prevail, so the object cannot be opened. According to the Hindu side, the process will be scientific, even if it is so, there will be tampering with the object. Chemicals will be used for the test. We will take action based on the order by the court on October 14," Ahmed had told ANI.


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Islamic flag removed from mobile tower in Kushinagar

Nov 13, 2022

District officials on Sunday removed an Islamic flag from a mobile tower in Kasia town near Kushinagar after it was spotted by locals in the morning.

According to reports, angry locals who spotted the flag, which was installed parallel to a saffron flag, took to the streets and forced traders to shut shops amid rumours of it being the national flag of Pakistan. A video of the incident was widely shared on social media.

Sources said the T20 World Cup final match between Pakistan and England that took place on Sunday, could have given rise to the rumours.

Senior police officials rushed to the spot and explained to the people that the flag was an Islamic flag and not the flag of Pakistan.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Upcoming visit of Saudi Crown Prince to expand Saudi-India relations

13th November 2022

New Delhi: The upcoming visit of the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud to India is set to expand and diversify the relationship between the two countries.

The visit of the crown prince comes at a time when India is assuming the Presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20) for one year starting from December 2022.

Saudi Arabia, at present, is attempting to establish its image beyond an energy exporter and is bound to see the advantages of engaging with India on several levels.

The statement from Saudi’s Investment Minister, Khalid al-Falih, saying “We are the biggest economy; we are the geopolitical capital of the region”, neatly encapsulates the dream the Kingdom is sowing for its coming years.

The foundation of Saudi-India relations lies in their long historical and cultural ties. This relationship continued to prosper from ancient times through the medieval era to modern times. It strengthened when a group of Arab merchants took permanent settlements on the eastern coast of India at Malabar in Kerala and Gujarat in the 7th century. This opened a much broader landscape where cultural, architectural and traditional diffusion took place.

The trade linkages were primarily responsible for cultural and artistic transmissions blending India and the Arab World into an everlasting relationship. By the year 1000 AD, commercial ties between Arabia and southern India were thriving. Before the development of European imperialist powers, Arab traders had a monopoly on the spice trade between India and Europe.

With the establishment of the Delhi sultanate and the coming of Mughal rule in the Indian subcontinent, relations with the Arab World grew more robust. The cultural exchange, synthesis and dialogue between the Indian subcontinent and Arab World forged relations among scholars and philosophers beyond their own borders. This led to the creation of a cosmos of knowledge serving as the beacon of hope for the generations to come.

The Muslim rulers of India were great patrons of art. They brought with them significant impressions of the Islamic style of art. New designs and new modes of construction like spherical domes, arches, tall minarets, open courtyards, pillared caves, huge walls etc. were introduced in architectural creations following the Islamic style. There is a long list of beautiful Islamic architectural heritage in India including Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Char Minar and so on,

The Arabic language and its literature began to spread and take root across India through the efforts of Arab and Indian men who had embraced Islam. They strove to disseminate the Arabic language and its learning all over the country.

The rich literature and medical system of the two countries have been synthesized since times immemorial. The Arab-Persian body of medical knowledge, known as the Unani School of Medicine, remains influential. Unani (Greco-Arab medicine) is an ancient medical tradition that has its roots in ancient Greece and Rome and was developed under Muslims in the Middle East and was brought to the Indian subcontinent around the 10th century. It is based on the principles of the Greek physician Galen and developed by the Arab philosopher Avicenna (A.D. 980-1037).

The Muslim rulers were great lovers of music. So they openly patronized the growth of music and musicians in the country. During this period Islamic music came in close contact with Indian classical music. From this synthesis, a number of new musical genres and instruments came into existence.

Moreover, due to the age-old cultural connection, Indian pilgrims go to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in large numbers and the government of India promotes it.

Saudi Arabia also values Indian culture. In 2021, an MoU on Yoga Cooperation was signed between the Saudi Ministry of Sports and India’s Ministry of AYUSH, which paved the way for the establishment of formal Yoga standards and courses in the Kingdom, marking the first time such standards were implemented by any country in the Gulf region.

The robust 2.8 million diasporas, employed primarily in hospitality and mining industries, is the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom. India’s cultural similarities such as religion, and geographical proximity have made the Kingdom a preferred destination for Indians looking for employment opportunities in countries outside of India.

The active role of the Indian diaspora is growing as Saudi Arabia is shifting its focus on developing both the entertainment and tourism sectors. The film industry may present a platform of soft power, especially given that the Indian film industry has registered enormous growth and is the fastest emerging multilingual industry in India, accommodating to the Saudi audience.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad Bin Salman’s official visit to Pakistan has reportedly been postponed, ARY News reported citing a Foreign Ministry official, however, the reason for the postponement has not been specified.

Source:Siasat Daily

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Jordan king calls for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands

Laith Al-Jnaidi


AMMAN, Jordan

King Abdullah II of Jordan said Sunday the solution of the Palestinian problem starts with ending the decades-long Israeli occupation.

Addressing parliament, King Abdullah said the Palestinian cause "can only be resolved by reaching a just and comprehensive solution that begins with ending the Israeli occupation."

Jordan will "continue to safeguard Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, under the Hashemite Custodianship," he said.

"The absence of a horizon for a political solution must not prevent us from supporting our Palestinian brothers and sisters economically, bolstering their steadfastness on their land, and helping them uphold their legitimate rights," the monarch stressed.

In 1993, the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel signed the Oslo Accords, which gave Palestinians a form of civil rule. Negotiations, however, failed to complete a peace agreement leading to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Tunisia to get 100 million euros from EU for budget support

Adel Thabeti


TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisia said Sunday it will get 100 million euros from the European Union to support the country’s budget.

The money will be used to alleviate impact of the coronavirus pandemic and support economic activity, the Ministry of Economy and Planning said in a statement cited by the state news agency TAP.

The agreement will be signed on November 14, TAP added.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country's economic conditions since last year, when Tunisian President Kais Saied ousted the government and dissolved parliament.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Sudanese protesters call for end to foreign interference

13 November 2022

Sudanese protesters have called for the expulsion of the United Nation's representative to Sudan and a stop to foreign interference in the country's internal affairs.

Protesters from civilian groups gathered outside the United Nations office in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, to condemn the interference of foreign countries in their country's internal affairs.

The demonstrators were opposed to UN efforts to mediate between the country's military and civilian leaders following last year's military coup.

They expressed opposition to a transitional constitution proposed by the Sudanese Bar Association, calling for a civilian government to pull the country out of its current political crisis.

"Sudanese can solve their own problems without the interference of foreign embassies and representatives in Khartoum," demonstrators present at the rally told Iran Press.

The protesters at the rally, who said that the objective of the foreign powers in Sudan was to impose a mandate on the Sudanese nation and exploit their resources, demanded the expulsion of the UN's Special Representative of the Secretary - General for Sudan and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan, Volker Perthes.

Protesters also held placards reading, "No to foreign interference" and "Volker out", in reference to the UN's Khartoum envoy Perthes.

The recent protests have pitted the country's civilian parties against the coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

In the meantime, Sudanese protesters have been staging rallies regularly on a near weekly basis to protest to the coup that derailed the transition to civilian rule and saw the junta assume power.

The junta, led by Burhan, seized power in October 2021, after detaining Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other civilian leaders and dissolving the year-old transitional government as well as the joint ruling military-civilian sovereign council formed after the 2019 ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir.

Protesters want an end to the military rule by Burhan. At least 119 people have been killed while demanding a return to civilian rule.

Sudan, which is home to one of the world's poorest nations, has been reeling from a weak economy.

Source: Press TV

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North America

New York Times coverage of deadly Istanbul blast sparks anger on Twitter




A New York Times report about Sunday’s deadly blast on Istanbul’s best-known commercial avenue sparked anger on Twitter after focusing on the city’s tourist area instead of expressions of sympathy by the social media site’s users with the people of Türkiye.

“Of the tens of millions of tourists from around the world who visit Turkey each year, many spend time in the area where Sunday’s bombing took place,” the newspaper said in a tweet, referring to Istiklal Street, the scene of the bombing.

One user, Marcos Moschovidis, called the coverage “cold reporting.”

“Focusing on tourism (and thereby implicitly saying the whole country is not safe) instead of on the innocent dead and injured is truly horrific and cold reporting.

“Also, I can’t recall that when there’s shootings in the US in popular areas, tourism is mentioned in headlines,” said Moschovidis.

Another user compared the blast to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

“Imagine a newspaper in Turkey talking about the impact of the act of terrorism on the tourism industry in America when the twin towers were hit...You guys are so despicable!” the user commented.

Nazgul Kenzhetay, a journalist, rebuked the reporting, saying it was “discrimination.”

“What a discrimination! It's not a tourism problem, It's a human crisis. There people died, no matter their citizenship is. It's important to be human before being a journalist,” she said.

A Turkish celebrity, Berna Lacin, was also among those who raised criticism, calling the tweet “racist.”

“Shame on you! Delete this racist post now NYT!” she wrote on Twitter.

The explosion occurred around 4.20 p.m. local time (1320GMT), killing at least six people and injuring 81 others.

Turkish authorities said the blast is considered a terrorist act and a female attacker detonated the bomb.

Later, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the suspect was arrested, adding that 21 other people had already been arrested in connection with the bombing.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Germany’s Scholz says Iran can expect more EU sanctions

12 November ,2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz strongly criticized the Iranian government Saturday for its bloody crackdown on protests in the country said Germany stands “shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people.”

Scholz said the ongoing protests sparked by the September 16 death of 22-year-old MahsaAmini following her detention by Iran's morality police were no longer merely a question of dress codes but had evolved into a fight for freedom and justice.

The protests have grown into one of the largest sustained challenges to Iran's theocracy since the chaotic months after its 1979 Iranian Revolution.

“The European Union has already adopted a number of sanctions packages," Scholz said in his weekly video address.

"The principal focus is on all those who are responsible for this violence against their own people. Further sanctions are due to be added to this next week," he added.

Scholz said Iran would receive additional sanctions for its brutal crackdown and its decision to send hundreds of drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine.

European Union foreign ministers are expected to agree on additional sanctions when they meet on Monday.

Germany’s foreign minister on Friday rejected a complaint by her Iranian counterpart that she was taking an “interventionist” stance over protests in Iran and pushed back against his pledge of a “firm” response.

Baerbock had made a speech to the German parliament in which she said Berlin would not let up in pursuing further sanctions against Tehran over the protest crackdown.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Spain to continue its Patriot missile defense support to Türkiye

Sarp Ozer 


Spain has extended the mandate of the Patriot missile defense system that was deployed in Türkiye's southern Adana province in 2013 to contribute to the country's air defense, according to Turkish security sources on Sunday.

The sources told Anadolu Agency that Spain has extended the mandate of the system and the duty period of the soldiers until June 2023.

Taking over the task from the Netherlands in January 2015, Spain has continued the mission since then.

The mandate of the Patriot missile defense system stationed in Adana was set to expire at the end of this year.

National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar thanked his Spanish counterpart, Margarita Robles, for her actions and support in line with the spirit of the alliance, the sources added.
Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iranian man who inspired movie The Terminal dies at Paris airport

Handan Kazanci


An Iranian man whose 18 years at a French airport inspired Steven Spielberg’s movie The Terminal, died on Saturday, according to media reports.

“(Mehran Karimi) Nasseri was pronounced dead by the airport medical team at Terminal 2F and had died of natural causes,” CNN reported on Saturday, citing a spokesperson for the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport.

Nasseri, reportedly born in 1945 to an Iranian-British family, was trapped at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport’s international no man's land in 1988 as he did not have proper documentation.

Nicknamed Sir Alfred, he lived at the airport until 2006 when he was hospitalized. After being discharged from the hospital, he was housed in a Paris shelter from 2008, according to reports.

He had been living at the airport again in recent weeks until his death on midday Saturday, the reports added, noting that Nasseri always kept his luggage by his side, reading, and taking notes in his diary during his time at the airport.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Supporters of PKK terrorist group hold demonstration in Sweden




Supporters of the PKK/YPG terrorist organization held a demonstration in Sweden’s capital on Saturday, calling for an end to Türkiye's counter-terrorism operations in northern Iraq.

Carrying posters, rags and other items symbolizing the terror outfit, they gathered in the NorraBantorget Square in central Stockholm.

Turkish security forces regularly conduct anti-terror operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from where they plot cross-border attacks.

Abandoning decades of military non-alignment, Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in May, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

But Türkiye voiced objections to their membership bids, accusing the two Nordic nations of tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

Stockholm and Helsinki struck a deal with Ankara in June, which requires them not to provide support to the PKK and its offshoots, or to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye. Ankara has also called for extradition of terror suspects.

Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have warned Türkiye will not give the nod to their memberships until its concerns are addressed.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently visited Türkiye to discuss the membership bids, which require unanimous approval from the alliance's 30 members.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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What’s behind the rise of suicide cases in Gilgit-Baltistan

Jamil Nagri

November 14, 2022

GILGIT: A host of factors, including sociocultural stigma, communication gap between parents and children, academic pressure, lack of employment opportunities and limited access to professional psychological help are resulting in an increase in suicide cases in Gilgit-Baltistan, a new report has said.

According to the report titled “Prevention of Suicides in Gilgit Baltistan: An Integrated Multisectoral Strategy and Roadmap for Implementation,” from January 2005 to June 2022, 573 suicidal deaths were reported in GB.

However, the number of cases have drastically increased in 2022 with 65 cases being reported in the first seven months, more than double, as compared to 2021, the report said, quoting government’s data.

Of these, 79 per cent of deceased were in the age bracket of 15 to 39 years, while more than half of all deaths were in males (54pc).

Report identifies lack of jobs and academic pressure among leading causes; number of cases in 2022 twice that in 2021

The most number of incidents occurred in Ghizer district, (64.9pc), followed by Gilgit (10.7pc), Skardu (8pc) and Hunza (7.5pc), the report said. Out of the 556 cases — for which data on marital status was available — 54pc were single while among married, 47pc were males and 53pc females. According to the data, depression was the leading cause of suicides, with mental health issues and domestic issues being the other reported reasons.

However, in the absence of a robust data collection mechanism, these numbers might under-represent the true extent of the cases, the report said, adding that families also hide such cases for the fear of stigma, and refusal of the religious leaders to offer a proper burial.

An all-round systemic failure

The report has highlighted several challenges at community, as well as administrative level which hamper the development of a comprehensive policy to deal with the cases of suicide.

“There is a near absence of mental health care infrastructure in the public sector in GB from the community to higher levels,” the report stated adding that the current health care system was incapable to respond to cases of suicide.

“Psychiatrists often have to fight for beds in the medical ward, as this is not considered a high priority by health administrators. No nursing or other supportive staff in inpatient areas are trained in offering in-patient care to patients presenting with acute psychiatric illnesses that require admission.”

The report pointed out that there was no system to collect data of suicide or self-harm while no psychiatric evaluation, risk assessment of follow up were being done.

In terms of community-level challenges, the report added that high degree of stigma associated with mental health, lack of communication between parents and children, academic pressure and limited avenues to express feelings were some factors that were resulting in higher suicides.

“The tension between the traditional and the modern values in respect of the parents and their children, unhealthful competitiveness and comparison between families for academic achievement among the youth, existence of traditional domestic differences sometimes leading to acts of violence, limited opportunities for employment among educated youth in GB, and abuse of social media [...] were some of the key sociocultural and economic issues highlighted during these meetings and interviews,” the report added.

Lack of employment opportunities, complex governance structure and lack of training of government officials were highlighted as key governance challenges. One of the key contributing factors in strengthening the taboo around suicides was the irresponsible media coverage of the issue, the report said.


Calling it a complex problem, the report said multi-pronged short- and long-term strategies were needed for the prevention of suicides in GB.

“These strategies are based on a five-pillar framework that includes — policy and governance, early identification and response, build awareness and hope, introducing continuum of care, and learning more about the problem.”

To strengthen governance and regulation, the report recommended coordination among police, health and educations sectors; capacity building of government institutions and decriminalisation of suicide.

It added that a mechanism to “improve coordination and information sharing” among law enforcement and health officials was needed in the event of an act of suicide.

While calling for more resources for the public health sector, the report also urged the GB government to ask the federal government to “decriminalise suicide and suicidal attempts” to help reduce stigma in the community.

Guidelines should be developed to promote ethical journalism and improve reporting of suicides, the report recommended, adding that a surveillance system should be established across all GB districts for data collection, processing and analysis in the event of a suicide.

While stressing the need for an intervention at community level, the report called for an “innovative technological solution” to provide community-based mental health services through frontline healthcare workers.

This approach will have five segments: training, screening, counselling, referral and tracking and monitoring. The researchers should be trained in identifying mental health issues and also in basic psychoeducation and counselling, it added.

“In the case that teachers identify students in distress, teachers could be trained in engaging parents in understanding the issue faced by the student. Teachers could educate parents about mental ill-health and help connect the family to care option”

Source: Dawn

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Fazl, Ashrafi Condemn "incident Of Terrorism" In Turkiye

Faizan Hashmi 

November 13, 2022

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Nov, 2022 ) :Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman on Sunday strongly condemned the "incident of terror" in Istanbul, Turkiye.

Fazl, who is also the chief of Pakistan Democratic Movement, expressed his sympathy and solidarity with the Turkish government and people at this testing time.

He also prayed for the early recovery of the injured ones.

Meanwhile, in a separate condolence message, Prime Minister's Special Representative for Interfaith Harmony and middle East Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi condemned the Taqsim Square's blast in its strongest terms.

Ashrafi, who is also the chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council, said Muslim world should unite against the terrorism and devise a combined strategy to get rid of this menace once for all.

Source: UrduPoint

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PTI chairman Imran Khan no longer blames US for his ouster

Mansoor Malik

November 14, 2022

LAHORE: PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday said he no longer “blamed” the US administration for his removal from power.

The remarks came as a surprise because ever since his removal from office through a vote of no confidence, the PTI leader has continuously campaigned on the slogan that a foreign conspiracy led to his ouster, and that the US administration was behind it.

Separately, the former prime minister claimed that PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was pushing the country towards disaster by “not allowing” Prime Minis­ter Shehbaz Sharif to hold transparent elections in the country.

Addressing multiple gatherings of party supporters via video link from his residence in Lahore, Mr Khan trained his guns at the elder Sharif and said the latter was not going to the polls because he was afraid of defeat at the hands of PTI.

“It is a matter of grave concern for the whole Pakistani nation that a person convicted by the Supreme Court is poised to take decisions about the future of Pakistan that includes the appointment of a new army chief,” he added.

“Those installed through the ‘regime change conspiracy’ are running away from holding elections, knowing that they will lose [elections] against me and will not be able to save their corruption and looted money,” he claimed.

According to Mr Khan, the ‘regime change experiment’ had failed but the “handlers and facilitators” were still not accepting their mistake. He alleged that the incumbent rulers never “appointed any top official on merit to ensure that their looted money should be given protection at all costs”.

Claiming that his ouster had sent the ‘booming’ economy into a tailspin, the PTI chairman said the Sharifs had “no remorse because they are busy getting themselves acquitted through tailor-made legislation”. He also chided the PDM government for accusing him of isolating Pakistan at the international level and asserted that the government should explain to the nation what it did in this direction during the past seven months.

‘Govt should be thankful’

Furthermore, Imran Khan said the incumbent ‘illegitimate’ government should be thankful that he was “channelising the public wrath by holding the long march within the parameters of law”.

“The nation is vociferously telling the powers that be and the handlers that it…want(s) snap elections for a people-mandated government,” he said.

Mr Khan reiterated that when the PTI march will reach Rawalpindi, he will be present in the garrison city to welcome the “sea of people coming from the width and breadth of the country”.

The PTI chairman yet again urged the chief justice of Pakistan to stand with the nation and assert his judicial powers to bring the powerful under the law and constitution. “The nation has lost faith in all other state institutions,” he claimed.

Lamenting that despite being a former prime minister and head of the largest political party he was unable to get an FIR registered for an assassination attempt on him, Mr Khan said how can someone get justice in this country if it was not possible for the former premier. “It is my right to nominate three accused in the FIR and courts should investigate whether my allegations are right or wrong,” he added.

‘US-backed conspiracy’

Separately, Imran Khan, who has repeatedly claimed a US-backed conspiracy behind his ouster in April this year, said he no longer “blamed” the US administration for his removal from power. He said he wanted a “dignified” relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

The PTI chairman made these remarks during an interview with a British newspaper, Financial Times.

“As far as I’m concerned it is over, it’s behind me,” the newspaper quoted Mr Khan’s comments on the US’s role in the alleged conspiracy.

“Our relationship with the US has been as of a master-servant relationship, or a master-slave relationship, and we’ve been used like a hired gun. But for that I blame my own governments more than the US,” the former premier added.

The PTI chairman also termed his visit to Moscow on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia as “embarrassing”. He, however, added that trip was organised months in advance.

About the role of the military, he said the army could play a “constructive role” in his future plans for Pakistan.

The former premier asserted that there should “be a balance” between the civil-military ties as “you cannot have an elected government which has the responsibility given by the people, while the authority lies somewhere else”.

Source: Dawn

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Lt-Gen Asim Munir is technically senior-most of the top generals in the running for Pak Army chief

Nov 13, 2022

KARACHI: Lt-Gen Asim Munir is technically the senior-most of the top generals who are in the running for the coveted slot of Pakistan Army chief. However, he is set to retire a few days before the incumbent hangs up his uniform, local media reported.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif could theoretically find a way out if he decides on Gen Munir as the next COAS, since he has the authority to elevate a Lt-Gen to the rank of a four-star general before his retirement, a move that may add another three years to his career, Dawn reported.

"Mian sahib feels it should be the senior-most man, but the other side has a different point of view," one insider told Dawn on condition of anonymity.

Given the controversies that have marked Gen Bajwa's consecutive terms, it is learned that Nawaz is "aware that he needs to strike a balance".

"The younger Sharif will do as ordered - by who, I don't know," said the source, with a chuckle, Dawn reported.

The source said that while Nawaz Sahrif knows the brinkmanship needed, "the question is whether the prime minister will be able to withstand the pressure when the summary comes to him".

"Some sanity will have to prevail or there is a chance of things going south with diverging viewpoints. Both sides have cards to play, but Nawaz Sahrif is clear that a decision will be taken when the summary comes."

Source: Times Of India

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US can't stop us from purchasing Russian oil: Pakistan minister Ishaq Dar

November 14, 2022

The United States cannot stop Pakistan from purchasing Russian oil and it will be possible to do so soon, Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Sunday.

He made these remarks while addressing the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) workers in Dubai, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.

Dar, during his visit to the US last month, had a meeting with the officials of the US State Department in which the matter of oil purchase from Russia was discussed.

Citing India's example, the Pakistani minister said that the ministry will try to purchase oil from Russia on similar terms.

"In the next few months, you will see that the government will take important steps in favour of Pakistan in this regard," he said.

This is not the first time that Dar had made this remark.

Dar, during his visit to Washington last month, said the country is ready to buy fuel from Russia if the same rate that India is paying is also applicable to Pakistan, The News International reported.

In a State Department press briefing last week, spokesperson Ned Price said the US has been intentional about exempting oil and gas from the sanctions imposed on Russia.

"So the fact that India has high demand for energy, that it continues to seek oil and other forms of energy from Russia - that is not something that runs afoul of the sanctions that have been imposed," he added.

Notably, the reports on the Pakistani government's procurement of wheat and fuel from Russia have been going on for months.

Earlier this month, the Pakistani government approved a deal worth nearly USD 112 million to import 300,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia to meet its domestic shortfall.

Source: BusinessStandard

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Four corridors being added to CPEC, says Chinese diplomat

Amjad Mahmood

November 14, 2022

LAHORE: Chinese Consul General in Lahore Zhao Shiren has said four corridors are being added to the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as both Islamabad and Beijing have agreed to it during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent visit to the country.

Speaking at a seminar here on Sunday on impacts of the policies adopted at the 20th congress of the Communist Party of China that elected President Xi Jinping as its secretary general for another five-year term, he termed Shehbaz Sharif’s maiden visit as premier “unprecedentedly constructive and successful” as both sides agreed to adding four new corridors — digital, industrial, green and health — to the CPEC project.

Replying to questions about the “slowed down” pace of work on the CPEC in the recent past, the diplomat said he would not blame anyone, in China or Pakistan, for it, but could assure [Pakistanis] that from now on things would speed up.

He said the project would benefit both China and Pakistan, but it would be more beneficial for the latter. He urged Pakistanis that being on the driving seat, they should take ownership of the project, while Chinese could only facilitate them in this regard.

Foreign affairs expert Muhammad Mahdi lamented that the first phase of the CPEC could not be completed because of ‘ineptness’ of the previous [PTI] government. He said all political parties needed to make a commitment with the CPEC in their respective manifestos for the next elections so that the project could not be harmed again.

About the anti-CPEC propaganda, he said the Western world is also being taken on board on the project, while premier Sharif made it clear during a reception hosted by the US ambassador that Islamabad would go with the country that would come forward and help Pakistan at this critical time.

He said China has so far given Rs30 billion in aid — the largest by any country — for the flood victims, while it’s also expected to announce the biggest relief for Pakistan at the Paris Club meeting.

Jawed Salim Qureshi, the chairman of an agricultural research organisation, stressed on transfer of technology in the agriculture sector, particularly for major crops like cotton, wheat and maize, to enhance the yield and cut cost of production for the local farmers.

Comparing the data on the wide agricultural production gap between China and Pakistan, he said old seeds of various crops were failing to give desired results and there’s need for introducing new ones. He said if there was any obstacle in government-to-government cooperation, then avenues of business-to-business cooperation should be explored to accelerate local farm productivity as the private sector did not require subsidies but facilitation.

Former additional secretary Nazeer Husssain said the CPEC was targeted by the vested interests through thousands of “fake” articles published in the print media and called for an effective response to such propaganda. He said the civil society must be taken along for sustainable Pak-China relations. Chinese diplomatic and economic help would also be needed for stability in Afghanistan, the route to Central Asia, he added.

Dr Amjad Magsi from the Punjab University said China’s vision of building a human community with a shared future is gaining support from more countries and will play a vital role in promoting world peace and development.

Dr Khalid Jalal from a UK-based university regretted that the previous government in Pakistan showed a lack of commitment to the CPEC. Referring to the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar JavedBajwa’s troubleshooting role in relations between the two countries, he said Islamabad could not yet decide on the post-Bajwa scenario with regard to sustainability of the CPEC.

Source: Dawn

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Arshad Sharif ‘not tortured’ before death, says Kenyan expert

November 14, 2022

REFUTING news reports carried by the sections of Pakistani media in recent days claiming that journalist Arshad Sharif was tortured for two to three hours and then killed, a Kenyan newspaper cited an expert who analysed post-mortem examination findings and discredited this account of Mr Sharif’s death.

“The reporting by sections of Pakistan media sought to cast doubt on the official account by Kenyan authorities that the prominent journalist was shot dead [last month in Kenya] by police at a roadblock in a case of mistaken identity,” Kenya’s Nation newspaper said in a report published on Friday.

The “torture before death” account first came to the fore when a Pakistani journalist gave what he described as “shocking details of the cold-blooded” killing of Arshad Sharif. That journalist claimed that Mr Sharif was “brutally tortured for over three hours and his nails were pulled from fingers before being martyred, while his fingers and ribs were also broken due to severe torture”.

Describing the death as a premeditated assassination, he said that “the shots were fired from a close range on the back of [Mr Sharif’s] head”.

When the Nation reached out to Dr Ahmed Kalebi, an independent consultant pathologist based in Nairobi who analysed the two post-mortem examination reports to explain the cause of death, he pointed out that the probable time that lapsed between injury and death “was between 10 and 30 minutes”, the Kenyan newspaper reported.

“Whereas the report doesn’t elaborate on the reasoning behind the time interval from injury to death, it appears that this estimation was made on the basis of the injuries seen in the brain and the right lung rather than any particular histopathological examination or further scientific examination analysis,” Dr Kalebi explained.

The pathologist explained from the reports of autopsies done in Kenya and Pakistan, there is no evidence of torture. “The report has not documented any evidence of other injuries that would be consistent with torture, nor does it indicate that the deceased was tortured before death,” he said.

In Kenya, Chief Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor conducted Arshad Sharif’s post-mortem examination. In Pakistan, an eight-member team led by Prof S.H. Waqar of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences conducted the autopsy, the news report said.

What autopsy report says

Brian Obuya, an investigative reporter at the Nation Media Group, posted the post-mortem report on Twitter, saying that its findings were “an exact match with what eight doctors in Pakistan found. As we pursue justice for the late Sharif, let’s beware of propaganda, sensation and its beneficiaries”.

According to the autopsy report, Mr Sharif had a “graze gunshot wound” on the left parietal area of the scalp. The parietal region is in the upper portion of the brain, above the ear. Some part of his skull was also missing, the report said. Besides, another shot entered the body from the upper back side and exited the chest. The report also mentioned damage to the lungs and hemothorax.

Mr Sharif died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head and chest, it said, adding that the shots came from high-velocity firearms from an intermediate range.

Source: Dawn

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Islamabad's Lal Masjid road closed to traffic, again

Kashif Abbasi

November 14, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad administration has closed a portion of Aabpara-Melody Road, causing difficulties for commuters, a month after the artery was opened to traffic on the directives of the Islamabad High Court.

A portion of the road remained closed for years due to security issues pertaining to Lal Masjid and relevant administration issues; however, it was reopened last month on the orders of the high court.

But, the administration has blocked the road from Melody Chowk to near Sunday Bazaar once again and the traffic has been diverted to the other side of the road, turning the route into a two-way traffic zone. This has resulted in traffic congestion, mainly during school and office hours.

“Is blocking the road a solution to any problem,” questioned a citizen as he criticised the administration for its myopic measures.

Citizens question competence of city administration, say two-way traffic has increased congestion

“If there are security issues, the administration and police should provide the required security and improve intelligence, but closing down the road is not a solution, rather it reflects poorly on the decision-making process,” said Nazar Ahmed, a resident of G-6.

He termed it an “unwise decision” of the administration and said the road had remained blocked for years till the high court asked the administration to remove the blockades. “But they have closed down the road once again,” he said.

Another citizen, Umair Alim, said now traffic on both sides – to and from Aabpara – has been plying on just one side of the road, making the two-way situation risky for driving. He said sometimes vehicles from adjacent streets appear on the road and then take a sharp turn towards the other side of the road, towards Aabpara, causing a risk of accidents.

“The city managers are not able to resolve the so-called security issues without closing down the road,” he said, questioning their competence.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Irfan Nawaz could not be approached for comments. However, an officer of the administration said recently students of Jamia Hafsa - a seminary adjacent to Lal Masjid which was demolished and shifted to G-7 after the Lal Masjid operation - tried to start the reconstruction of the seminary in its old spot.

The officer said the administration managed to stop them and to avert any law and order situation, subsequently closed the road. He quickly added that the closure of the road was a temporary arrangement and it would be reopened soon.

A senior officer of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) told Dawn that the road was blocked to avoid a law and order situation. When asked about the IHC’s order of last month, he responded: “Let me talk to you after checking the current situation.”

The official later got back to Dawn and claimed that the road would be open to traffic by Sunday night. However, the artery had remained closed when this report went to press.

Source: Dawn

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Gwadar protesters threaten to block CPEC projects

Behram Baloch

November 14, 2022

GWADAR: Hundreds of children took out a protest rally in the port city of Gwadar and joined the Maulana Hidayatur Rehman-led sit-in that entered its 18th day on Sunday, with protesters threatening to block China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) if their demands are not met within a week.

Maulana Rehman, the head of Haq Do Tehreek who came to national attention when massive peaceful protests swept Gwadar, has once again staged a sit-in for the implementation of the agreement reached with the provincial government in December last year after a month-long sit-in.

The children reached Gwadar city from Turbat, Pasni and other areas of Gwadar district and marched through the streets carrying placards and banners inscribed with their demands.

They chanted slogans against the government and the authorities concerned for not implementing the agreement signed by the government to ban illegal trawling in Gwadar and eliminate unnecessary checkpoints, among several other issues.

Addressing the rally, Maulana Rehman, who is also general secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami’sBalochistan chapter, strongly criticised the government and said the people of Makran had been protesting for the last two weeks, but no government official came for negotiations, which reflected the non-serious attitude of rulers.

He warned that if citizens’ demands were not accepted and the agreement with the Haq Do Tehreek was not honoured until Nov 20, the expressway, Gwadar port and CPEC projects would be closed.

He said the movement he had started could not be abandoned now, and the children who were participating in the rally would lead the protests in future, as they also knew the rulers were not taking steps to resolve the problems of their parents.

Source: Dawn

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Arab World

Rocket attack near Iraq’s Erbil kills one, wounds ten: Mayor

14 November ,2022

At least one person was killed and 10 others were wounded on Monday after rockets hit the headquarters of the Iranian Kurdish party in the city of Koye, near the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region Erbil, the mayor of Koye Tariq Haidari said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Syria’s air defenses shoot down most Israeli missiles targeting Homs, casualties reported

13 November 2022

Syrian air defenses have successfully shot down most of the Israeli missiles launched toward an airbase in the central Syrian province of Homs, according to Syria’s state media.

Citing a military source, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported that the Israeli missile attack was carried out from the Lebanese airspace and targeted Shayrat military airbase in the southeastern part of Homs on Sunday evening.

“At 6:23 p.m. this evening, the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression from the direction of Tripoli-Hermel in northern Lebanon, targeting Shayrat military airport in Homs countryside,” the report said, adding, “Our air defenses confronted the aggression’s missiles and shot down some of them.”

Syrian state television also broadcast footage of air defenses intercepting “missiles of an Israeli aggression” against Homs, which is home to military sites belonging to the Syrian government forces and the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

Citing the military source, SANA also said the Israeli aggression “led to the martyrdom of two soldiers, the wounding of three others in addition to material losses.”

Israel frequently violates Syria’s sovereignty by targeting military positions inside the Arab country, especially those of the resistance movement Hezbollah, which has played a key role in helping the Syrian army fight foreign-backed terrorists.

The Tel Aviv regime mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on Syrian territories, which many view as a knee-jerk reaction to the Syrian government’s increasing success in confronting terrorism.

Israel has been a key supporter of terrorist groups that have been fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad since the foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria in early 2011.

Source: Press TV

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Lebanon extradites to Iraq ‘Saddam grandnephew’ accused of ISIS link

12 November ,2022

Lebanon extradited a man said to be a grandnephew of Saddam Hussein to Iraq, where he is accused of involvement in a massacre by the ISIS extremist group, a security source said Saturday.

Abdullah Sabawi, dubbed the “grandnephew” of the executed dictator by Iraqi media, was extradited on Wednesday, the security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

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“He is accused of having been a member of ISIS and having participated in the Speicher massacre” of 2014, in which up to 1,700 air force cadets were executed by the extremist group, the source added.

A Lebanese judicial source said Sabawi, born in 1994, “was detained on June 11” following an Interpol notice calling for his arrest over his alleged involvement in the massacre.

“Iraq requested his extradition,” the Lebanese source added.

Sabawi’s family has denied the accusations, telling AFP he had been in Yemen at the time of the killings.

The Camp Speicher massacre was considered one of ISIS’s worst crimes after it took over large parts of Iraq in 2014.

Video footage released by ISIS showed an assembly-line massacre in which gunmen herded their victims towards the banks of the Tigris, shot them in the back of the head and pushed them into the river one after the other.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Culture is a prerequisite for peace in the world: UAE Minister Noura Al Kaabi

13 November ,2022

The UAE Minister of Culture and Youth, Nourabint Mohammed Al Kaabi, attended the fifth edition of the Paris Peace Forum held on November 11 and 12, 2022.

This year the theme of the annual forum was ‘Riding out the Multicrisis’ and preventing a destructive world polarization that risk jeopardizing global collective efforts addressing humanity’s most critical challenges.

Leaders and representatives of states, international organizations, businesses, development banks as well as foundations and NGOs from around the world convened at the forum to forge solutions and take actions to mitigate global challenges.

Speaking on a panel targeting the embedding of culture at the core of policies and cooperation, Noura Al Kaabi shed light on the UAE’s firm commitment to culture and the significant role it plays with regard to the country’s regional and global cooperation efforts.

On the panel, she was joined by Youssou Ndour, Artist and Former Minister of Culture of Senegal; Ernesto Ottone, Assistant Director General for Culture, UNESCO; and Mariko Silver, President, Luce Foundation. The session was moderated by Nathalie Delapalme, Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

The discussion was attended by diplomats, government representatives, private sector players as well as journalists and media representatives from around the world who convened in Paris to attend the conference.

Speaking about culture and its significance in the global arena, Noura Al Kaabi said that “culture is a way of life, a mix of the old and the new, what we inherited from our forefathers and how we place it in the current context. Culture promotes social cohesion and enhances people-to-people interactions and is a prerequisite for peace in the world.”

She further added that in the UAE, sustainability, diversity and dialogue are the pillars of culture and it is these values that spur growth, opportunity, and creativity. The notions of tolerance, fraternity and coexistence, are deeply ingrained in the UAE’s cultural tapestry today.

The UAE Minister said that it is very important to inculcate culture among the youth and allow them to explore creatively the bridging of their heritage with the opportunities of the future.

“From early education to higher education, we endeavor to enhance national identity, Emirati culture, positive values and the Arabic language among students, and to integrate them in educational curricula, programs, activities, and teaching methodology.”

She also added that a robust cultural and creative sector remains at the heart of the UAE’s growth strategy and to give it a further boost, the UAE has been rallying for the amplification of culture and arts education.

“We proposed a framework for culture and arts education at the 211th session of the UNESCO Executive Board last year, which was unanimously adopted by the member states,” she noted.

Commenting on cooperation in culture, the Minister said: “Opening of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi is testimony to the UAE-France relations and an example of how art and culture transcend boundaries. This month we are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi.”

“We also promote tolerance, coexistence and diversity with our global projects such as Revive Spirit of Al Mosul in Iraq, a multistakeholder project that showcases cultural cooperation on a global level.”

Noura Al Kaabi also cited the Expo 2020 Dubai, as one of the greatest cultural events in the world. She said that the UAE successfully congregated more than 190 countries of the world to showcase their cultural, business, and diplomatic offerings at the Expo. The whole world came together under the Al Wasl Dome or the “dome of connection,” to forge stronger bonds and highlight common human values.

Majlon at the UAE Embassy in Paris

The Minister also addressed the Majlon at the UAE Embassy in Paris on Saturday and spoke in detail about the UAE’s contribution to the Revive the Spirit of Mosul project.

Majlon is a series of events launched by the UAE Embassy in Paris that convenes prominent voices from France and the UAE around key issues of mutual interest, in order to further deepen French-Emirati ties.

She said that the Revive the Spirit of Mosul Project is much more than a brick-and-mortar initiative and has a far greater impact because of what it symbolizes, from hope to opportunity and to growth that echoes far beyond Mosul. Giving the people of Mosul tangible engagement in the process of rebuilding as partners.

“The UAE jointly undertook Revive the Spirit of Mosul with UNESCO and the government of Iraq four years ago. This project is very close to my heart and the leadership of the UAE regards it as one of the most significant peace initiatives for bridging cultures and promoting the heritage of humanity,” she said.

“The Al Nouri Mosque had stood the test of time and gathered Muslims for prayers through centuries. The destruction of the site was a personal blow to many of us. Today, through sustained joint efforts of the locals, the UAE’s and European Union’s financial support and UNESCO’s rehabilitation expertise, Al Nouri is beginning to come back to life. Hundreds of Iraqis performed Eid Al Adha prayers in the courtyard of Al Nouri Mosque this July for the first time in five years. The site recently celebrated Al Maled to mark the birth anniversary of the Prophet.”

“The project that began with the idea to rebuild the mosque and its minaret soon took two churches -- Al Tahera and Al Sa'aa -- in its fold, a reflection of our commitment to pluralism and religious diversity,” Al Kaabi added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Bahrainis vote in parliamentary, municipal elections

Ibrahim al-Khazen


Bahraini voters went to polling stations on Saturday to cast ballots in the country’s parliamentary and municipal elections.

Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and will close at 8 p.m. (1700 GMT).

There are 344,713 eligible voters in Saturday’s vote to elect 40 members of the House of Representatives and 30 for local councils from among 507 candidates.

Bahrainis living abroad cast their ballot in the polls on Nov. 8. in 37 stations worldwide.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Saudi leaders offer condolences to Turkiye after deadly blast

November 14, 2022

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over victims of the terrorist attack that killed at least 6 people and injured dozens in Istanbul’s busy Istiklal Street, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

“We strongly condemn this criminal act and We send to Your Excellency, the families of the deceased and the Turkish people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Turkish president.

The UAE also expressed its sincere condolences to the government and friendly people of Türkiye, and to the families of the victims of this heinous crime, according to a Foriegn Ministry statement.

Egypt also condemned the deadly explosion “in the strongest terms,” extending condolences to the relatives of the victims, the Turkish people, and the Republic of Türkiye.

At least 81 were injured in an explosion on Sunday in the popular tourist area.

Videos posted on social media showed bodies lying on the ground following the blast at around 4:20 p.m. local time.

Confirming casualty numbers, Erdogan described the explosion as an “attack.”

The person who planted the bomb has been arrested, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told Turkey's official Anadolu news agency on Monday.

Sunday’s blast was the deadliest since December 2016.

Source: Arab News

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Iran targets “terrorist groups” in Iraq’s Kurdistan

November 14, 2022

DUBAI: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards targeted on Monday what the semi-official Fars news agency reported as “terrorist groups” in Iraq’s Kurdistan region with missile and drone strikes.

The Revolutionary Guards have launched attacks on Iranian Kurdish militant opposition bases in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq since the death of Kurdish woman MahsaAmini on Sept. 16.

Source: Arab News

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Lebanon slams Israeli airstrikes on Syria, calls it violation of country's sovereignty

14 November 2022

Lebanon has condemned in the strongest terms the latest Israeli airstrikes against an airbase in central Syria after the Tel Aviv regime’s warplanes violated the Arab country’s airspace to carry out the act of aggression.

The Lebanese Foreign Ministry in a statement voiced solidarity with the Syrian Arab Republic after the aerial raids, which targeted Shayrat Airbase southeast of Homs on Sunday evening, saying Beirut reserves the right to lodge a complaint with the United Nations in connection with the deadly attack.

“The ministry reaffirms that such attacks constitute a blatant violation of international laws and principles, and a violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty by infringement upon its airspace by Israeli warplanes to carry out attacks," read the statement.

"The airstrikes also pose a direct threat to the safety of civilian navigation in Lebanese airspace and to international peace and security."

“The ministry reserves the right to file a complaint with the United Nations in New York as soon as all security data are available,” it said.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing a military source, said two soldiers were killed and three were wounded, and unspecified damage was caused to the site that was struck in the Israeli attacks.

SANA added that Syrian air defenses managed to intercept and shoot down several of the Israeli missiles.

The strikes occurred after Israeli warplanes were seen flying over neighboring Lebanon, whose airspace Israel sometimes crosses to carry out attacks on Syria.

Israel violates Lebanon’s airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes.

Lebanon’s government, the Hezbollah resistance movement and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of UN Resolution 1701 and the Arab country’s sovereignty.

Back in August, Lebanon lodged a complaint to the United Nation against the Tel Aviv regime for violating the country’s airspace after Israeli military aircraft carried out separate airstrikes against positions near the Syrian capital city of Damascus and the western city of Homs.

Source: Press TV

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Crackdown on dissent: Saudi forces detain Yemeni-American citizen while on pilgrimage

13 November 2022

As Saudi Arabia is hardening crackdown on dissent, including targeting its citizens who live abroad, a Yemeni-American citizen has been detained in Saudi Arabia while performing the 'Umrah' pilgrimage at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site.

Mohamad Salem was taken into custody on November 1 and has been transferred to a maximum-security facility typically used for high-profile political prisoners and suspected terrorists.

Salem, a 63-year-old of Yemeni origin, is one of several Americans who have recently run afoul of Saudi authorities.

Abdallah Moughni, a family spokesman from the US state of Michigan said on Sunday that Salem traveled to Saudi Arabia with two of his sons to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.

While in line, he got into a verbal altercation with security officials who separated him from his sons.

Later, two men approached him, saying they were from Libya and asking what happened.

"At this point, Mohamad was livid, he was furious. He just let it out. He said, 'If it was not for Mecca and Medina, we would burn this country to the ground'," Moughni was quoted as saying on Sunday.

The two men turned out to be undercover Saudi agents, and Salem was detained.

Salem's relatives have grown increasingly concerned for his welfare since he was transferred to Dhahban Central Prison, where rights groups previously documented allegations of torture via electrocution and flogging.

Saudi Arabia is often criticized for not tolerating dissent and has recently been in the spotlight for decades-long prison sentences handed down to a number of women who tweeted and retweeted posts critical of the Riyadh regime.

This week, Carly Morris, an American woman who has publicly accused her Saudi ex-husband of trapping their daughter in the kingdom under so-called guardianship laws, was briefly detained.

Last month, Saad Ibrahim Almadi, a 72-year-old US citizen of Saudi origin, had received a 16-year prison sentence apparently because of Twitter posts on topics including the war in Yemen and the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

All sentences were handed down weeks after President Joe Biden of the United States set aside his past condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record to travel to the kingdom, despite criticism from rights groups and Saudi exiles.

It was a moment when the US urgently needed the kingdom to keep up oil production. But the Biden administration has ended up with no more oil or any improvement in human rights.

Saudi rights advocates say Biden’s attempts to soothe the crown prince have only emboldened him.

Saudi authorities illicitly monitor and strike out against their citizens in the US and other Western countries. Since the gruesome murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Saudi crown prince has been emboldened to commit more crimes against dissidents. Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the mission in October 2018.

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

Freedom House, a research and advocacy group, says Saudi Arabia has targeted critics in more than a dozen countries.

Source: Press TV

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‘Bahrain regime abused polls to burnish image, endorse normalization with Israel’

13 November 2022

The spokesman for a Bahraini opposition political organization has repudiated the latest parliamentary elections in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, stating that the ruling Al Khalifah regime exploited the polls in order to polish its international image and endorse its normalization and establishment of diplomatic ties with the occupying Israeli regime.

Abdul Ghani al-Khanjar, the spokesman for Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy, said the November 12 elections were largely boycotted by opposition groups, nationalist and Islamic movements, as well as people from all walks of life.

“The most important reason for the boycott of the elections is that legislature is a complete farce in Bahrain and the upshot of a non-consensual constitution. The bills and pieces of legislation passed by such a parliament are, therefore, detrimental to our nation,” he said.

“Over the years, the Bahraini parliament has served as a venue where laws severely harmful to our people have been adopted. This sham parliament was formed in an incredibly repressive environment by the governing regime. This means that our young people cannot involve themselves in the parliament, as it introduces unjust laws that hurt the nation both at domestic and international levels,” Khanjar highlighted.

The senior Bahraini opposition figure noted, “The main demands of our people are the establishment of the right to seal their own destiny, and that people must be the source of power in the country and benefit from freedoms of opinion and expression as well as civil liberties.”

“People are also calling for an end to sectarian discrimination and repressive measures in the country. Opposition groups have already put forward several initiatives. Movements like February 14 Youth Coalition, Bahrain Freedom Movement, and Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy have presented viable proposals and urged a new constitution that would grant people the right to determine the political structure of the country and closely align the ruling establishment to their aspirations,” Khanjat pointed out.

“The Bahraini regime abused the latest elections to burnish its international image and endorse its normalization of diplomatic relations with the Israeli regime. The new parliament will definitely be much worse than its predecessors,” he said.

On Saturday, Bahrain held parliamentary elections in an environment that rights groups describe as “political repression” under the Al Khalifah regime.

More than 330 candidates, including 73 women, competed to join the 40-seat Council of Representatives – the lower house of parliament.

“This election will not introduce any change,” Ali Abdulemam, a Britain-based Bahraini human rights activist, said.

“Without the opposition, we will not have a healthy country,” he told AFP.

The restrictions ignited calls for a boycott of Saturday's elections which come more than a decade after the 2011 popular uprising.

Since then, authorities have imprisoned hundreds of dissidents – including Wefaq's leader Sheikh Ali Salman – and stripped many of their citizenship.

International human rights organizations have argued that the vote is being held in an “environment of political repression.”

Citing Bahraini civil society figures, the rights groups said the retroactive bans have affected between 6,000 and 11,000 Bahraini citizens.

The elections “offer little hope for any freer and fairer outcomes,” they said.

Source: Press TV

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UAE meddled in American political system: US intelligence report

13 November 2022

A classified report by US intelligence officials details extensive efforts by the United Arab Emirates to manipulate the American political system, according to The Washington Post.

The report compiled by the National Intelligence Council, states that the UAE’s activities, for years, have included illegal and legal attempts to steer US foreign policy in ways favorable to the Arab autocracy, three people who read the report told the newspaper.

The UAE worked throughout multiple administrations to take advantage of vulnerabilities in the US government, including its reliance on campaign contributions, susceptibility to powerful lobbying firms and lax enforcement of disclosure laws intended to guard against interference by foreign governments, making it more closer to espionage, the people said.

It further stated that the UAE has spent over 154 million dollars since 2016 on lobbying and millions more on donations to US universities and think tanks, many of which create papers that support the Arab country's interests.

A US lawmaker said the large spending shows how foreign money can influence US democracy, saying it should serve as a wake-up call.

“A very clear red line needs to be established against the UAE playing in American politics,” said the lawmaker. “I’m not convinced we’ve ever raised this with the Emiratis at a high level.”

There is no prohibition in the United States on lobbyists donating money to political campaigns.

“The US intelligence community generally stays clear of anything that could be interpreted as studying American domestic politics,” said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who served on the National Intelligence Council in the 1990s.

“Doing something like this on a friendly power is also unique. It’s a sign that the US intelligence community is willing to take on new challenges,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UAE’s ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, said he is “proud of the UAE’s influence and good standing in the US.”

“It has been hard earned and well deserved. It is the product of decades of close UAE-US cooperation and effective diplomacy. It reflects common interests and shared values,” he said in a statement.

National security staff is aware of some of the activities that the report describes, but these operations have been able to be in effect because the federal government has not reformed foreign influence laws or provided more resources to the Justice Department, the newspaper reported.

Experts who spoke to the Post were surprised that the US government critically examined the activity of a close ally.

The UAE allegedly hired three former US intelligence and military officials to help the Arab nation survey “dissidents, politicians, journalists and US companies” by breaking into computers in the US and other countries.

The men admitted to giving the UAE advanced hacking technology in federal court last year. They gave up their security clearance and paid about $1.7 million to resolve criminal charges, but were not given prison time.

Source: Press TV

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'Everything is restricted': Iranian cleric supports protest against country's Islamic regime

Nov 14, 2022

Abdolhamid Ismail-Zai, an Iranian Sunni cleric, has turned up in support of protesters leading the movement against the country’s ruling dispensation inspired by an Islamic theocracy.

Abdolhamid (75) is a renowned Muslim cleric having spiritual and political influence over the country’s Baluch population.

He has hit out at the Iranian regime in the wake of growing violence against protestors in the country’s Baluch southeast.

On Friday, a week after regime gunmen shot dead at least 18 unarmed protesters in several cities across the Baluch heartland, MrAbdolhamid disclosed that regime insiders had offered to buy the silence of the families of the dead. They refused, he said. They wanted justice instead, reported the Independent.

“We do not have freedom in the Islamic Republic,” he retorted. “Where is the freedom? Where is the freedom of the press? Where is the freedom of expression? Everything is censored. Everything is restricted,” Abdolhamid was quoted as saying by the Independent.

The majority of people in Iran have objections, and therefore, regime leaders should listen to them, urged Abdolhamid.

Source: IndiaToday

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President Erdogan says initial signs point to 'terror' attack in Istanbul

Nov 13, 2022

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that initial signs pointed to a "terror" attack in the explosion in Istanbul which killed six people and wounded 53 others.

"It might be wrong if we say for sure that this is terror but according to first signs ... there is a smell of terror there," Erdogan told a televised press conference.

Source: Times Of India

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Turkey accuses Kurdish PKK over Istanbul bomb attack

November 14, 2022

Turkey’s interior minister accused the Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (PKK) of responsibility for a bombing in a busy Istanbul shopping thoroughfare that killed six people and said on Monday a suspect has been arrested.

The explosion tore through Istiklal Street, a popular shopping destination for locals and tourists, on Sunday afternoon, wounding dozens.

A suspect was arrested by the early hours of Monday.

“The person who planted the bomb has been arrested,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement broadcast by the official Anadolu news agency.

“According to our findings, the PKK terrorist organisation is responsible,” he said.

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara as well as its Western allies, has kept up a deadly insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.

Regularly targeted by Turkish military operations, the group is also at the heart of a tussle between Sweden and Turkey, which has been blocking Stockholm’s entry into Nato since May, accusing it of leniency towards the PKK.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the “vile attack” on Istiklal.

“It might be wrong if we say for sure that this is terror but according to first signs … there is a smell of terror there,” Erdogan told a news conference on Sunday.

Turkey’s Vice President FuatOktay said, “We believe that it is a terrorist act carried out by an attacker, whom we consider to be a woman, exploding the bomb”.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said: “A woman had been sitting on one of the benches for more than 40 minutes and then she got up”.

“One or two minutes later, an explosion occurred,” he told A Haber television.

“There are two possibilities,” he said. “There’s either a mechanism placed in this bag and it explodes, or someone remotely explodes (it).”

“All data on this woman are currently under scrutiny,” he said.

Soylu’s announcement did not add any details about the woman.

Turkish cities have been struck by militants and other groups in the past.

Istiklal Street was hit during a campaign of attacks in 2015-2016 that targeted Istanbul and other cities, including Ankara.

Those bombings were mostly blamed on the militant Islamic State group and outlawed Kurdish militants, and killed nearly 500 people and wounded more than 2,000.

Sunday’s explosion occurred shortly after 4:00pm (1300 GMT) in the famous shopping street.

Helicopters flew over the city centre after the attack. Police established a large security cordon to prevent access to the area for fear of a second explosion.

Images posted on social media showed the explosion was followed by flames and immediately triggered panic, with people running in all directions.

Several bodies were seen lying on the ground nearby.

“I was 50-55 metres away, suddenly there was the noise of an explosion. I saw three or four people on the ground,” witness CemalDenizci, 57, told AFP.

“People were running in panic. The noise was huge. There was black smoke,” he said.

Istiklal, in the historic district of Beyoglu, is one of the most famous arteries of Istanbul. It is entirely pedestrianised for 1.4 kilometres, or about a mile.

Criss-crossed by an old tramway and lined with shops and restaurants, it attracts large crowds at the weekend.

Many stores closed early in the neighbouring district of Galata, while some passers-by, who came running from the site of the explosion, had tears in their eyes.

A massive deployment of security forces barred all entrances and rescue workers and police could be seen.

Source: Dawn

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Speaker: Iran's Hypersonic Ballistic Missile Frustrating Enemies


Qalibaf made the remarks in a Sudnday session of parliament, lauded Iran for its achievements in military arena.

He noted that developing hypersonic ballistic missiles in the country disappointed the enemies and made lovers of Iran happy.

"Unprecedented maneuverability, breaking the record of speed and ability to pass through missile defense systems plus the ability to target them are among the outstanding features of the new achievements of the Iranian young scientists, he added.

"Today, there are many pioneers in the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) aerospace force that all of their thoughts and actions focus on building a strong Iran," the senior lawmaker continued.

On Wedensday, IRGC Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that Tehran has developed a hypersonic ballistic missile which enjoys advanced technologies to penetrate all types of advanced air defense systems.

The top commander stated that the missile, newly manufactured by Iranian experts, is very fast and able to maneuver both in the space and outer space.

“The missile can target the enemy’s anti-missile systems and is a great generational leap in the missile field,” he added.

“I don’t think any technology would be found for tens of years capable of countering it,” the IRGC commander declared.

Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi has also noted that the country's armed forces are at the highest level of preparedness to defend Iran against any possible threats and aggression by enemies.

"Iran is at the peak of its military power," he stressed.

Iranian officials praises the development of the country's defense capabilities in recent decades, and stress that Tehran's defense power is not negotiable.

Military comanders say Iran stands among the world's top states manufacturing drones and precision-striking missiles, and add different types of home-made military equipment are favored by world powers.

The Islamic Republic’s military doctrine holds that the country’s armed capability solely serves defensive purposes.

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made substantial headway in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the weaponry sphere.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Spokesman Slams German Chancellor's Meddlesome Remarks on Iran's Unrest


"Unfortunately, some so-called advocates of the human rights have forgotten their dark record of supporting the Saddam regime against the great Iranian people," Kana'ani said on Sunday.

"Through following unjust sanctions after the US unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JAPOA) and keeping silent on the Daesh terrorist measures whose latest one occurred recently in Southern Iranian holy shrine, they have politicized the issue of the human rights," the spokesperson noted.

The senior diplomat added that Iran follows the human rights basis which include respect for the people, fight against the oppression and defense for the oppressed.

He stated that "this is while Germany runs away from its international responsibility for respecting countries’ national sovereignty".

Kana'ani decried recent “interfering, provocative and undiplomatic” remarks from Scholz in support of the Western-instigated unrest in Iran.

The official went on to say that Germany introduces itself as defender of human rights while it provides shelter for the terrorist and anti-Iran groups, and takes double-standard approach towards crimes committed by the Zionist regime.

The Iranian spokesman advised the German officials to bring rationality back to the atmosphere of cooperation and prevent from more mess in relations.

"Building confidence and respecting mutual interests are the sole solution for sustainable cooperation," he continued.

Scholz claimed on Saturday that Germany would stand “shoulder to shoulder" with the Iranian people in their protests across the country, accusing the Iranian government of being "solely responsible for this spate of violence".

Warning that additional sanctions will be placed on Iran for the proclaimed "repression of protests", the German chancellor stated the EU’s foreign ministers are due to meet on Monday to agree on the anti-Tehran restrictive measures.

Earlier, German Foreign Minister AnnalenaBaerbock voiced support for the recent demonstrations in Iran, noting the EU would seek to adopt new sanctions against Tehran.

Iranian War Veterans Condemn German Hostile Policy Towards Tehran

— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) November 1, 2022

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of MahsaAmini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei severely censured the deadly riots, saying they were orchestrated in advance by the United States and the Israeli regime.

“I state it clearly that these developments were planned by America, the Zionist regime and their acolytes. Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the country’s progress. The Iranian nation proved to be fairly strong during recent events and will bravely come onto the scene wherever necessary in the future,” he added.

Iranian officials have blamed the United States, the European Unions, and several Western states for meddling in Iran's internal affairs over the death of Mahsa. They advised the US and its allies against "opportunism and instrumentalization of the issue of human rights" by misusing the incident.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Strongly Deplores Macron’s Meeting with Regime-Change Mouthpieces at Elysee


“It is surprising that the president of a country claiming to support freedom, lowers his level and meets with a hated pawn who, in the recent months, has clearly tried to spread hatred, violence and terrorist acts in the Islamic Republic of Iran and also against its diplomatic missions as well as diplomats of the Islamic Republic abroad,” Kana'ani said on Sunday.

The diplomat called the statements quoted from Macron that he supports the so-called revolution, led by these people, as "regretful" and "a cause for shame".

The spokesperson added the meeting is a flagrant violation of France’s international responsibilities in fighting terrorism and violence, and is regarded as a promotion of these vicious phenomena.

He emphasized that such anti-Tehran measures will undoubtedly be kept in the memory of the great Iranian nation, who are well aware of the selective approaches of some European leaders, going against human rights.

Macron on Friday held a meeting with a number of anti-Tehran figures, including Masih Alinejad, at the Elysée. In the meeting, the French president described the recent unrest in Iran as a "revolution".

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of MahsaAmini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei severely censured the deadly riots, saying they were orchestrated in advance by the United States and the Israeli regime.

“I state it clearly that these developments were planned by America, the Zionist regime and their acolytes. Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the country’s progress. The Iranian nation proved to be fairly strong during recent events and will bravely come onto the scene wherever necessary in the future,” he added.

Iranian officials have blamed the United States, the European Unions, and several Western states for meddling in Iran's internal affairs over the death of Mahsa. They advised the US and its allies against "opportunism and instrumentalization of the issue of human rights" by misusing the incident.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran's Rayeesi, Russia's Putin Reiterate Deepening Ties


In a phone talk with Putin on Saturday, Rayeesi said that increased political and economic consultations between the two countries will play a leading role in the expansion of mutual relations.

Iran's president welcomed Moscow's keenness to improve economic cooperation with Tehran.

He added that the expansion of infrastructural bonds, including the development of connecting routes among the Eurasian countries, would boost trade and economic cooperation in the region.

Putin, for his part, said the North-South Corridor plays an effective role in reducing the cost of transporting goods, adding that the transit route would turn into a useful way for the expansion of trade and economic cooperation in the world.

The Russian president emphasized that Tehran and Moscow enjoy great capacities to develop cooperation.

In a statement earlier in the day, the Kremlin announced the Iranian and Russian presidents had, in their phone call, stressed the importance of deepening bilateral cooperation in political, trade and economic fields as well as in transport and the logistics sector.

"A number of topical issues on the bilateral agenda were discussed, with the emphasis on further enhancing cooperation in the political, trade and economic fields, including the transport and logistics sector," according to the Kremlin.

The Rayessi administration has made ties with neighbors a top priority of its foreign policy.

Since Tehran and Moscow enjoy common interests in economic, military, and security affairs as well as friendly relationship pursue common policies on regional and international developments especially when it comes to taking stances in the face of the United States’ unilateral and interventionist strategies.

Iranian officials say Tehran and Moscow, both subjected to tough economic sanctions by the Western countries, are determined to deepen their economic cooperation, adding that there are great capacities for increasing the volume of bilateral trade.

Iran and Russia have grown exchane of visits by officials to speed up expansion of relations in recent months.

In late May, Iranian and Russian officials in a meeting in Tehran inked 3 important Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to further develop the two countries' energy and banking ties.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in June visited Iran for talks on boosting trade and energy cooperation.

During a visit to Moscow in late August, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed the status of the relations with Lavrov, including Tehran's commercial, economic, transit, defensive, and security relations with Moscow.

The Iranian diplomat noted that Tehran and Moscow enjoy abundant capacities for expansion of ties and that a cooperation document of the two countries will be put into force in the near future after being examined in the parliaments of both countries.

Lavrov stated that Moscow-Tehran comprehensive document of relations is in the final stage, and added that the relationship between Iran and Russia is on track to enhance to strategic levels.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iran Cracks Down on Int'l Drug Trafficking Network, 32 Smugglers Captured


The security and intelligence forces managed to identify and dismantle a major international drug trafficking band, which was trying to transfer large shipments of drugs from the Eastern borders of the country to other Central provinces, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

"Based on the technical and intelligence observations, the mentioned drug smuggling gang was distributing 300 to 400 kg of narcotics shipments in the country on an average daily," the statement read.

"32 smugglers were arrested and 1,054 bank accounts belonging to the members of the network were blocked," it added.

The intelligence ministry noted that a large amount of property and assets belonging to smugglers were confiscated.

For decades, Iran has been fighting a relentless battle against international drug networks, but the war has cost it the loss of many lives and finances. Iranian security forces confiscate tons of narcotics every year in ambush operations against drugs traffickers.

The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan - the major supplier of the vast majority of the world’s opium and heroin even during the 20-year occupation of the county by US-led forces - has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past four decades.

In late June, the head of the Iranian anti-narcotics police said European countries owe Tehran a lot for blocking the transit of drugs destined for Europe, adding that the country confiscated over 1,200 tons of illicit narcotics last year.

Majid Karimi, however, slammed Europe for depriving the Islamic Republic of the latest technology to fight drug trafficking in line with sanctions spearheaded by the US, while they directly benefit from Iran’s anti-drugs measures.

“If the Islamic Republic of Iran stops the fight (against drugs) for only a month, the European countries will have to gather every gram of the huge hauls of drugs from their streets,” he warned.

Iran’s Interior Minister has also criticized the Western governments for their “poor performance” in the fight against narcotrafficking.

Ahmad Vahidi stated in late June the main culprits behind the promotion of drug use are some Western intelligence agencies and Western politicians.

He noted that the production of industrial drugs is a lucrative business for the Western countries.

He demanded that Western banks control the financial operations of narcotrrafickers, saying it’s questionable that financial institutions in the West turn a blind eye to the issue.

Vahidi underlined Iran is now going it alone in the fight against narcotics but instead of being thanked, it’s getting accused by its adversaries under various pretexts.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Jailed Iranian activist Ronaghi hospitalized, ‘life in danger,’ his brother warns

14 November ,2022

Iranian authorities on Sunday transferred to hospital a prominent dissident arrested in September as protests swept the country and who is now on hunger strike, his brother said, warning his life is in danger.

Hossein Ronaghi, an outspoken freedom of speech campaigner, is one of dozens of prominent rights activists, journalists and lawyers who have been arrested in the crackdown on protests that erupted after the death of MahsaAmini, who had been arrested by the morality police.

Ronaghi was taken to Evin prison after his arrest on September 24. His family says he risks dying due to a kidney condition, and that both his legs have been broken in prison.

He has been on a hunger strike for over 50 days and began refusing water on Saturday to protest the authorities’ denying him medical leave, his brother Hassan had said previously.

On Sunday, his brother said Ronaghi was moved to the Dey general hospital in Tehran.

“Hossein was taken to one of the departments of the Dey hospital,” Hassan Ronaghi wrote Sunday, saying his parents had been prevented from seeing their son. “His life is in danger.”

He accused prosecutors of blocking his release “under false pretences” and of instead seeking “to kill Hossein,” urging people to surround the hospital and help ensure his wellbeing.

Renowned Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof, jailed with Ronaghi in Evin, had already expressed concern for his life, warning he could suffer a heart attack at any moment.

“According to the prison doctors, the risk of cardiac arrest is now very high,” they said in a letter published by the Iran Wire news site.

“There is a possibility at any moment of the heartbreaking repeat” of the death in custody of a political prisoner, they added.

Ronaghi, 37, a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, has for years been one of the most fearless critics of the Islamic republic still living in the country.

Security forces made a first attempt to arrest him on September 22 while he was giving a live television interview to London-based Iran International television, but he managed to slip out of his apartment, he said at the time.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Palestine President Abbas says Netanyahu does not ‘believe in peace’

14 November ,2022

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday he would have to deal with Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister who won reelection this month, even though he believed Netanyahu was not interested in making peace.

“I knew Netanyahu for a long time, since the 1990s ... He is a man who doesn’t believe in peace but I have no other choice but to deal with him,” Abbas told Palestine Television.

The Palestinian leader, whose authority has limited control in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said there must be a peaceful resolution to the decades-long conflict.

The interview, which was also broadcast by Egyptian television, was recorded on Friday.

“I have a problem with Israel, Israel occupies my land and my country. Who is the prime minister? Netanyahu. I am forced to deal with him,” said Abbas.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran leader sends delegation to strife-torn southeast

13 November ,2022

A delegation from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed sadness and promised solutions in a visit to a southeastern province where dozens have been killed in unrest, official media said.

The violence in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchistan province which borders Pakistan, erupted on September 30, and authorities say six members of the security forces were among the dead.

The casualties came against the backdrop of nationwide unrest that followed the September 16 death of MahsaAmini, 22, after her arrest by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

Some local figures said the protests in Zahedan were triggered by anger over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police officer.

Overseas-based activists accused security forces of firing on demonstrators.

Zahedan is one of the few Sunni-majority cities in predominantly Shia Iran.

“We came to share the sadness felt by the supreme leader concerning the incidents which happened” in the province, said Mohammad-Javad Haj Ali Akbari, spokesman for the delegation which arrived Saturday.

He said they were also there to “report on measures decided (by Khamenei) to resolve these problems,” the state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying on Sunday.

Akbari also referred to a “special plan” from Khamenei to benefit the province’s people, but IRNA gave no further details on such measures.

He also met the imam of Zahedan’s Makki mosque, Iran’s largest Sunni house of worship, and said he wanted to see relatives of those killed or wounded in the incidents “to console them.”

In late October the Sistan-Baluchistan security council said it had concluded an investigation that found “negligence” by officers and the deaths of “innocent” civilians during the unrest.

The council announced the dismissal of Zahedan’s police chief as well as the head of a police station.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran charges more than 750 for involvement in ‘recent riots’

13 November ,2022

Iran’s judiciary has charged more than 750 people in three provinces for participating in “recent riots,” local media reported, amid nationwide protests since the death of MahsaAmini.

More than 2,000 people had already been charged, nearly half of them in the capital Tehran, since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to judiciary figures.

Dozens of people, mainly demonstrators but also security personnel, have been killed during the protests, which the authorities have branded as “riots.”

Judicial chief for the southern province of Hormozgan, MojtabaGhahremani, said 164 people had been charged “after the recent riots,” the judiciary's Mizan Online news website reported Sunday.

They face accusations including “incitement to killing,” “harming security forces,” “propaganda against the regime” and “damaging public property,” the website said, adding that their trials would begin “from Thursday in the presence of their lawyers.”

Another 276 people were charged in the central province of Markazi, its judiciary chief Abdol-Mehdi Mousavi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

However, 100 young people were released after signing pledges not to participate in any future “riots,” IRNA said.

In central Isfahan province, judicial chief Asadollah Jafari said 316 cases had been filed in connection with the recent strife.

Twelve have already gone to trial, the Tasnim news agency reported him as saying late Saturday.

Amini’s death on September 16 came days after her arrest by the morality police for an alleged breach of the country's strict dress rules for women.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israel's Netanyahu formally tasked with forming new government

13 November ,2022

Israel's president on Sunday assigned Benjamin Netanyahu a mandate to form the next government, following November 1 elections that put the ex-premier on track for a stable right-wing coalition.

President Isaac Herzog told Netanyahu -- Israel's longest-serving premier until he was ousted last year -- at a ceremony in Jerusalem that he had tasked him with forming a government.

Herzog said that, following his consultations with party leaders, “the result was clear, and the task of forming a government must be assigned to Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Herzog noted Netanyahu's ongoing trial over corruption allegations, which the right-wing veteran denies.

“I am not oblivious, of course, to the fact that there are ongoing legal proceedings against Mr Netanyahu at the Jerusalem District Court, and I do not trivialize this at all,” Herzog said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Russia’s Putin speaks to Iranian President Raisi, with emphasis on deepening ties

12 November ,2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, with both leaders placing emphasis on deepening political, trade and economic cooperation, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.

It did not say when the phone call took place and made no mention of Iranian arms supplies to Moscow. Russia has stepped up its efforts to build ties with Iran and other non-Western countries since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

“A number of topical issues on the bilateral agenda were discussed, with the emphasis on further enhancing cooperation in the political, trade and economic fields, including the transport and logistics sector,” the Kremlin said.

A senior Russian security official met Iranian leaders in Tehran on Wednesday and the two countries pledged closer ties.

The visit took place following accusations by Ukraine and the West that Russia has used Iranian drones to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkey’s Erdogan arrives at G20 in Indonesia after Istanbul blast

16 November ,2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan touched down in Bali, Indonesia on Monday to attend the G20 summit, hours after his home city of Istanbul was rocked by an explosion that authorities blamed on Kurdish separatists.

Erdogan said before he departed Turkey that the “vile attack” that killed at least six people in the heart of the city had “a smell of terror.”

The explosion tore through a busy Istanbul shopping street on Sunday, killing six and wounding dozens.

Police cordoned off an area around Istiklal, where there were dense crowds on Sunday afternoon, and helicopters flew over the city center as sirens sounded.

Turkey’s interior minister accused the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) of responsibility.

The PKK, blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara as well as its Western allies, has kept up a deadly insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.

“The person who planted the bomb has been arrested,” interior minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement broadcast by the official Anadolu news agency.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Iran slams German French leaders for 'supporting' anti-government protests

Syed Zafar Mehdi 



Iran on Sunday condemned remarks by the leaders of Germany and France in support of the ongoing anti-government protests over the death of an Iranian woman in police custody.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani termed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's remarks on protests in Iran as "interventionist and provocative".

The spokesman warned that damage to relations between the two countries will have "long-term consequences".

In his weekly address on Saturday, Scholz slammed the Iranian government for its crackdown on protests and said Berlin stands “shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people”.

He said the protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old MahsaAmini in police custody were no longer "a question of dress codes" but had transformed into a fight for freedom and justice.

Amini's death in September sparked countrywide protests in Iran, prompting the US and European Union to impose a slew of sanctions on several Iranian officials and entities.

Scholz also hinted at additional sanctions on Iran for its crackdown against protesters as well as for supplying drones to Russia.

Reacting to Scholz's remarks, Kanaani said Germany has forgotten its support to Iraq's former ruler Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war as well as sanctions by the US following its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.

He accused the German government of "running away from its international responsibility to respect the sovereignty of countries", and "providing shelter to terrorist and separatist groups".

The Iranian spokesman also took strong umbrage to French President Emmanuel Macron's meeting with a dissident Iranian-American journalist and activist on the sidelines of the Paris Peace Forum.

Kanaani termed it "surprising" that Macron "lowered his level" by meeting with a person who has "tried to spread hatred and violence against Iran".

The French president on Friday met with a delegation of exiled Iranian journalists and rights activists, describing the ongoing protests in Iran as a "revolution".

"We welcomed with great honor and pleasure a delegation of Iranian women," Macron said at the Paris Peace Forum. "I want to emphasize our respect and our admiration in the context of the revolution they are leading."

The delegation included Iranian-American journalist and activist Masih Alinejad, who works for Voice of America and is a fierce critic of the Iranian government.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Asia

Taliban’s leader emphasizes on serious punishments for criminals in Afghanistan

November 14, 2022

According to a Taliban’s spokesperson, Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban’s supreme leader has recently met with the judges and have told them to seriously investigate and implement Sharia law on the criminals.

The records of those criminals engaged in theft, abductions and seditionists should be carefully assessed and serious sentences including death penalties must be considered for the finalized cases, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban’s spokesperson quoting Mullah Hebatullah, tweeted on Sunday.

According to Mujahid, Mullah Hebatullah has ordered judges to take serious actions against the criminals as implementation of his orders and Sharia law is obligatory.

Source: Khaama Press

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United Nations refuses to recognize Taliban interim government

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Abdullah Amirzada

A resolution was recently presented to the UN General Assembly for the first time after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

While discussing issues including security, terrorism and the social and economic situation, the Assembly significantly refrained to recognize the Taliban as a government. Experts believe this could affect the nation.

In response to this resolution, SohailShaheen, the head of the political office of the Islamic Emirate in Qatar, said according to Islamic principles and values, the Taliban are committed to fulfilling all the legitimate rights and demands of the people, and that they are trying to provide the right means and environment to achieve this goal. Experts say the recognition of the Taliban could have positive results.

Since the Taliban took control 15 months ago, their non-recognition, along with the sanctions imposed on the central bank and the freezing of Afghan assets, has driven the economy of the country to the brink of collapse.

Source: Press TV

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Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) opens Afghanistan bureau office

November 14, 2022

Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) opened its Afghanistan bureau office in the Afghan capital Kabul city on Sunday.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by a number of Taliban’s high officials including the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amir Khan Muttaqi and some foreign diplomatic mission heads.

The Taliban considers the opening of OIC office as a political and diplomatic success, said the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Muttaqi.

Muttaqi says that the OIC office in Kabul will help in strengthening in Taliban’s foreign relations with the Islamic world.

According to Muttaqi, OIC in addition to helping the country with the economic and humanitarian assistances, will also play a positive role in the political affairs.

Tariq Ali Bakheet, OIC’s secretary general representative said that the office will help Afghanistan with the security, humanitarian and political assistances.

Source: Khaama Press

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UNAMA Chief Meets Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan

By SaqalainEqbal

November 13, 2022

Roza Otunbayeva, the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), met with Obaidur Rahman Nizamani, Pakistan’s newly appointed ambassador to Afghanistan.

The UNAMA leader met with the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, according to a tweet from UNAMA News, to address the political and economic challenges Afghanistan is facing since the Taliban took over the government.

Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to working together in the areas of counterterrorism, inclusivity, economic growth, and education in Afghanistan, according to the tweet.

In September, as Mansoor Ahmad Khan’s tenure as ambassador to Afghanistan came to an end, Pakistan named Obaidur Rehman Nizamani as his successor.

The UN official visited the Taliban senior officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister in Administrative Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy Prime Minister in Political Affairs to discuss inclusivity, governance, women, and girls in Afghanistan.

This occurs at a time when the Taliban, despite having been in power for more than 15 months, has not yet received international recognition as Afghanistan’s official government.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghanistan: Why Ahmad Shah Massoud still matters to the Middle East

Kamal Alam

13 November 2022

Few individuals would unite Bernard-Henri Levy, Michael Waltz, Qassem Soleimani and Abdullah Azzam like Ahmad Shah Massoud, the subject of their boundless admiration. So what was it about Massoud, the former Afghan military commander, that moved the controversial French philosopher, the first Green Beret in Congress, and the late leaders of the Shia and Sunni resistance movements?

As Afghanistan slips out of the headlines - barring the odd hostage swap, continued Taliban support for al-Qaeda and denial of basic women's rights - there is a sense of deja vu creeping into global affairs. Just as former US Congressman Charlie Wilson warned at the end of the Cold War that ignoring Afghanistan would have global repercussions, today, Waltz is highlighting Massoud's past warnings on Afghanistan.

Conflicts in Afghanistan resonate across the Middle East, from al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria looking to the Taliban for inspiration, to countries in the Gulf vying for influence in Kabul. Iran has steadily grown its influence as Afghanistan again drifts into a void where Middle Eastern powers can compete with each other's violent proxies. Almost all of today's problems were foretold by Massoud in the mid-1980s.

The recent assassination of former al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, while only symbolic, reaffirms UN warnings that Afghanistan could again become a key base for terrorist organisations. With the Islamic State further entrenched in northern Afghanistan and as attacks continue across the country, there is renewed concern in Middle Eastern capitals that what begins in Afghanistan may not remain confined to Afghanistan.

This harkens back the historical dispute between Massoud and foreign Arab fighters on how to conduct the war against the Soviets. Today, as the Taliban reel from the repercussions of the two-decade conflict in Afghanistan, there is fresh debate over the right way to carry out a war, and over the growing influence of foreign groups in the country. The Taliban are even echoing Massoud by calling their opponents "kharijites", or defectors.

Pivotal moment

After the fall of Kabul, the Palestinian Hamas movement congratulated the Taliban on ending the US occupation. Syrian rebel groups in Idlib also saw it as a pivotal moment for their cause, while a close confidante of Osama Bin Laden has since returned to Afghanistan.

The thread that binds these groups is Abdullah Azzam. He was on the cutting edge of political Islam being brought to life by the barrel of a gun, and is now lionised across parts of the Arab and Muslim world. A brilliant memoir of Azzam's son-in-law, Abdullah Anas, helps to dispel some of the myths that exist to this day, such as that Massoud was part of the same extremist lot that led to the founding of al-Qaeda.

The book discusses how Massoud was in fact opposed to the foreign fighters who brought their own agenda to Afghanistan. Thus began a three-decade war of contestation over political Islam, which eventually led to the triumph of the extremists in the form of the Taliban, but also other groups that took part in the Algerian civil war and the Syrian conflict.

Massoud had for years warned the Americans, Pakistanis, Egyptians and Saudis that if they continued to settle their disputes in Afghanistan, their "warriors" would come back to haunt them - and they did, as a former Saudi intelligence chief testified in his book released in 2021, on the 20th anniversary of both 9/11 and Massoud's assassination.

Battle for influence

Soleimani, who was assassinated by US forces in January 2020, had a close relationship with Massoud and even did some training with him. The special relationship between the two men assisted the Americans in the early days of the post-9/11 "war on terror", when Iran helped the US against the Taliban.

Soleimani's successor, an old hand who has changed Afghanistan's landscape and perhaps even outsmarted Pakistan's decades-long influence, is again turning the country into a battleground, driving Gulf powers back into Afghanistan.

Iran also has its Shia fighters, whom it has been reshuffling from Syria back into Afghanistan. Even before the fall of Kabul, former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran's foreign fighters could help settle the insecurity in the country. And last summer, foreign fighters once again rushed into Panjshir to help the Taliban fight against forces allied with Massoud's son.

As Arab states jockey for influence in Afghanistan and Iran deepens its foothold in the country, there are fears that the void left by a second superpower pulling out in less than four decades will make Afghanistan a centre for regional rivalries. As the Ukraine war peaks, Moscow could also attempt to use its proximity to Afghanistan to gain further influence.

Source: MiddleEastEye

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Southeast Asia

UAE President Inaugurates Mosque in Jokowi’s Hometown

NOVEMBER 14, 2022

Solo. United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan inaugurated a mosque funded by his government in the Central Java town of Solo on Monday morning accompanied by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo who is a native of the town.

Named after the UAE leader, the two-story mosque is built on a land of 8,000 square meters and equipped with a large library.

It’s a gift from the UAE government as a symbol of friendship between the two countries, according to a statement from the presidential office.

Jokowi was accompanied by his eldest son Gibran RakabumingRaka who is the mayor of Solo, Central Java Governor GanjarPranowo, State-Owned Enterprise Minister Erick Thohir, Religious Affairs Minister YaqutCholilQoumas, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, and State Secretary Pratikno.

The Indonesian president has earlier expressed appreciation for the strengthening bilateral relationship by naming an elevated toll road on the outskirts of Jakarta after his UAE counterpart.

Mohamed bin Zayed, also known as MBZ, is in Indonesia to attend the G20 Summit which will take place in Bali from November 15-16.

He will lead a high-level UAE delegation to participate in meetings and engagements throughout the two-day summit, according to the state-run Emirates News Agency. Priority areas of discussion will be energy and food security, climate action, and sustainable development that enables nations and their people to grow and prosper.

Source: Jakarta Globe

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DAP’s Nga sounds another ‘Taliban’ warning

November 14, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming has sounded another warning about a Taliban type of government, saying that Malaysia would become like Afghanistan should Perikatan Nasional come to power.

He said PAS, which is a partner in PN, would push what he called extremist policies on gambling, alcohol, concerts and gender segregation.

Such policies were a threat to secular values and to a multiracial country, he said in a statement in Mandarin, quoted by Malaysiakini.

Nga said the policies espoused by PAS would encroach on the rights of non-Muslims and could lead to foreign investors shying away from the country.

Malaysia would be ruined, he said.

Nga was previously reported to have said in March 2019 that Malaysia could turn into a “Taliban state” if an Umno-PAS coalition was established.

The Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic group, governed Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and again from August 2021, enforcing a strict interpretation of shariah.

Nga urged voters not to back Perikatan Nasional candidates, to ensure that freedom and human rights would be upheld.

He said PN had announced that if the coalition won the general election, PAS would head the state governments in Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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PAS the one using Malays to fish for Malay votes, DAP hopefuls tell Hadi

By Justin Ong

12 Nov 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang was demeaning the intellect of Malay-Muslims by suggesting they did not look beyond skin colour when voting, said DAP election candidates from the community.

Responding to Hadi’s “concern” yesterday that they were only being used to fish for Malay votes, the group said the PAS president must realise that Malay-Muslim voters were capable of mature and nuanced views.

“Hadi Awang continues to look down on the ability of Malay Muslims to think when choosing their leaders and elected representatives,” they said in a joint statement.

“Hadi Awang was simultaneously undermining Malay Muslim leadership figures, such as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is admired both locally and globally, by depicting them someone who could be manipulated.”

They then suggested that Hadi was projecting when he expressed his supposed “concern” that they were being used to attract Malay voters to DAP.

“Most now realise that the party that rides on Malay sentiment and Islam to draw votes is PAS and its allies. Their short-term view causes them to only know how to use racial and religious sentiments to win elections,” they said.

Conversely, they said rival parties such as DAP and its PH allies were presenting candidates with the ability to lead and to propose policies that would benefit the country as a whole and solve real issues affecting Malaysians.

The group added that PAS was unusually preoccupied with attacking DAP in the general election despite the two parties on clashing directly in a handful of seats.

They suggested this could be because Hadi was concerned that the tide was shifting towards DAP and Pakatan Harapan among his party’s supporters.

The DAP candidates who signed the statement were Zulhazmi Shariff (Jerai), Syerleena Abdul Rashid (Bukit Bendera), TarmiziMohd Jam (Gerik), Young Syefura Othman (Bentong), Syahredzan Johan (Bangi), Sheikh Omar (Ayer Hitam), Fatin Zulaikha Zaidi (Mersing), ShazwanZdainal (Pontian) and Khairil Khalid who was running for the Pulau Manis state seat.


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After 2020 state election, political fatigue rather than election fever in Sabah this GE15

By Julia Chan

13 Nov 2022

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 13 — Along most roads around Sabah, party flags, posters and billboards are scarce, with most concentrated strategically at road crossings rather than fully dotting the pothole-ridden roads of the state like in previous elections. Many that were put up have also been ravaged by bad weather.

The many big rallies previously met with fanfare every night have been replaced with smaller, more intimate meet-the-people sessions, many in homes or walkabouts.

The bigger budgets of coalitions like Barisan Nasional (BN) and even the state’s Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) can afford bigger fancier locations and attract bigger crowds, but the opposition has so far utilised existing public spaces for their events.

With the state having gone through three big cycle elections in four years — the 14th general election in 2018, the snap state election in 2020, and the by-elections in Sandakan (2019) and Kimanis (2020) — it is understandable how political fatigue and apathy have crept into voters’ sentiment.

“It’s the same thing over and over for the last few years. The promise of development, MA63, improve the economy... it’s all talk and it’s boring,” said one voter from the state capital Kota Kinabalu.

Despite the perception that the recurring topics have grown stale, political analysts polled by Malay Mail however stressed that those issues still matter to Sabah voters. However, they felt that the onus is on politicians to relate those issues to more pressing ones such as the food on the table.

“People on the ground feel this election is just another show of how power-crazy politicians disrupt their everyday livelihood. Just when life was about to return to ‘business as normal’, ‘here comes another election, another government’,” UniversitiTeknologi Mara’s Tony ParidiBagang told Malay Mail.

So far the main contenders have spelt out their offers: The GRS-BN government’s campaign rides on continued development and prosperity, Pakatan Harapan (PH) promises sweeping changes of reform and good governance, while local party Warisan touts a local reset of what it claimed to be an innately rotten system.

But voters have instead turned to consider the cons of these coalitions, as much, if not more, than the pros.

Many Sabahans see GRS-BN as remnants of the BN big brother era, with a “you’re either with us or against us” attitude, while PH had its chance but blew it. Warisan, for all its good intentions, is not seen as having the credentials to implement its vision.

Sabah parties, coalitions putting out fires from friendly shots

Personal attacks have considerably been kept at a minimum, to be replaced instead by friendly fire.

PH and Warisan have been trading barbs, attacking each other for their part in the fall of the PH government and the many broken promises, while GRS and BN in some seats have had to deal with clashes from disgruntled parties.

A standout character in the last week — perhaps not for the right reasons — is former Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony who is now leading his own PartiKesejahteraanDemokratik Masyarakat (PKDM).

Peter has been making waves since day one of campaigning as the Melalap assemblyman began stringing together his lineup of ambitious candidates, among others a leading tourism figure, a shrewd politician hell-bent on contesting Kota Marudu, and a former state footballer to go against the GRS-BN alliance.

PKDM previously openly declared itself to be GRS-friendly but pending its approval into the coalition, has decided to instead contest the seats anyway against GRS-BN — leading to accusations that it is in cahoots with GRS to split BN’s votes.

When prevented from contesting the Tenom seat on nomination day, Peter’s supporters stormed the nomination centre and police had to deploy tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd, making national headlines.

Unable to contest in Tenom, he has instead accepted independent candidate Riduan Rubin’s application to join the party. Riduan and PKDM will be able to share resources in campaigning, although he will still only be recognised as an independent candidate if he wins.

Another talked-about friendly fight is from Beluran incumbent Datuk Ronald Kiandee who broke party ranks to defend his seat on a Perikatan Nasional ticket. Both Kiandee and Riduan are contesting against the sanctioned Umno candidate.

Less controversial but equally damning is BN’s Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) Datuk Ewon Ebin who is contesting against Bersatu’s Datuk Jonathan Yasin.

Both GRS chairman Datuk Hajiji Noor and Sabah BN chairman Datuk Bung Moktar have had to fend off speculations and criticism of the disputes, and insisted that the electoral pact — and the state government — is still and will be, intact.

So who has the obvious advantage?

The coalitions have also had to make do with little backing from their national counterparts and allies.

Only PH’s Datuk Anwar Ibrahim and Gerakan Tanah Air’s Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad have shown up in the Land Below the Wind. DAP’s Anthony Loke is expected to make a showing as well.

Warisan, on a mission to prove its mettle by standing solo this time around, has been relying on Shafie’s small but mighty persona as he races around the state and parts of Peninsular Malaysia to extoll the party’s moderate, multi-ethnic approach.

He seems set to retain parts of the Sabah east coast where his influence among the Bajau and Suluk communities are undeniable, but the odds are even in all other seats including Malay and KadazanDusun-Murut seats of Sepanggar, Kota Belud and Penampang where his incumbents are considered popular.

If the opposition can hold on to the seats it won in GE14, it will be considered a win in this new climate. Warisan had won eight (one has quit and one has died since), while GRS and BN currently hold eight and three respectively, PH holds six and PartiBangsa Malaysia one.

Warisan has a good chance of winning over urban constituents in Tawau, but Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan’s ethnic Chinese majority may stick with the tried-and-true DAP.

But for Muslim and non-Muslim native seats which make up the other 22 seats in Sabah, the trend is unclear. The many options, camps, and chaos make it impossible to predict human behaviour, especially with the rural or young first-time voters.

GTA, the newest coalition in the running, has yet to prove it can make any kind of impact.

But taking into account BN’s established machinery and GRS’resources, no party has proven to have the lead in what looks like a footrace to the finish line.


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Sanusi slams actor’s alleged remarks about harming ‘enemies of Islam’

Tsubasa Nair

November 14, 2022

IPOH: PAS election director Sanusi Md Nor has denounced a local actor’s remarks about harming the “enemies of Islam” or “kafir harbi”.

The actor, ZulHuzaimy, made the remarks while speaking at an event in Terengganu earlier this month.

A video of Zul’s remarks has gone viral, and social media users have questioned PAS over the matter as the actor has been seen campaigning for the party.

Speaking to reporters after an event here last night, Sanusi said Zul did not represent PAS.

He said only PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan could speak on behalf of the party, adding that he himself did not dare do so.

“It’s dangerous to be talking like that, you can be arrested,” Sanusi said when asked to comment on Zul’s remarks.

Sanusi pointed out that PAS has never perpetuated violence against anyone in the 32 years it ruled Kelantan, adding its citizens from all walks of life lived in peace and harmony.


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Our future depends on stable, competent leadership, says Johari

Robin Augustin

November 14, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Titiwangsa candidate Johari Abdul Ghani believes political stability and competence – not populist policies – are the key to getting Malaysia on the path forward.

Johari, a former second finance minister, said Malaysia needed development policies that brought long lasting benefits rather than populist policies that provided only instant satisfaction.

The people must be prepared to pay the price of short-term pain for the reward of long-term gain, he said.

Economic growth would depend on foreign investment, and Malaysia must have a strong team of credible, competent leaders to provide the kind of political stability important to investors, he said.

“In four years, we have changed prime ministers three times. That is not the right signal to send,” he said in an interview with FMT.

“We must have a team of leaders, we cannot just be centred on one person, it has to be a team,” he said, pointing out that the best football teams in the world were good because they functioned as a team.

Only a strong team leading Malaysia could restore confidence in the country and ensure that policies would provide long-term benefits.

Johari said the country could not run away from having to introduce policies that are necessary but which may be unpopular.

Avoiding Sri Lanka’s collapse

“If we only want to be popular, it will cause problems. I’ve seen what Sri Lanka was like, 10 years before its economy collapsed. It was all about popular policies and increased debt,” he said.

The Covid-19 outbreak caused a collapse in Sri Lanka because they did not diversify the economy.

“Look at Malaysia now. Our total debt stood at RM686 billion after 61 years. But in the past four years, we’ve added almost RM350 billion to that load of debt.”

He said Malaysia was paying the price for the lack of stability in politics and policy-making.

The path to rebuilding the economy was through growth, through foreign investment, rather than cash handouts to the people, which were not sustainable.

Review education policy

A good education policy was another factor in attracting investors, said Johari, who has 25 years’ experience in the corporate world and has been in top management of government companies.

Education policies should be reviewed every five years so that the country could produce the kind of graduates needed by the market. The government must also have a greater understanding of the human resource requirements of big companies.

“We keep churning out graduates. Everyone is chasing after A-grades, but A’s are not relevant to industries and their needs,” he said.

He said Malaysia was still ahead of Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines in ranking on the global competitiveness index and still a preferred investment destination

“But Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines get more foreign investment than us. There must be something wrong,” he said.

Malaysia did not seem to attract the types of investments that matched the talent pool, he said.

“It’s not about us only wanting their (investors’) money, if we just want their money then it’s not sustainable because it doesn’t benefit our people,” he said.

Local boy making comeback

Johari, 58, the Federal Territories Umno chief, is seeking a fresh term as MP for Titiwangsa which he represented from 2013 to 2018. His biggest challenger for the seat is former federal territories minister Khalid Samad of Pakatan Harapan, who was moved from Shah Alam to contest in Titiwangsa.

The other candidates are Rosni Adam of Perikatan Nasional and Khairuddin Abu Hassan of Pejuang.

However, Johari believes he can provide better insight into the needs of Titiwangsa residents, being a local boy born in Kampung Pandan, from a humble background who was educated at the local schools.


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Muhyiddin says 'Father of MCO' label a badge of honour as it saved lives

By YiswareePalansamy

13 Nov 2022

MUAR, Nov 13 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the ‘Father of MCO’ label given to him as a jibe is something he is proud of as the movement restriction order had saved many lives from Covid-19.

Malaysiakini reported the Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman responding to Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who had labelled him as such.

“Anwar Ibrahim said I’m the ‘Father of MCO’ but he doesn’t realise that if during that time I didn’t implement the MCO, many more lives would have been lost due to Covid-19.

“In Malaysia, 99 per cent of Covid-19 patients recovered and went home safely, while the US recorded 1.6 million deaths.

“Anwar went to the same university as I did, which is Universiti Malaya, but he said 36,000 deaths in Malaysia is the biggest figure in the world, even bigger than 1.6 million,” Muhyiddin reportedly said at a ceramah in Batu Pahat, yesterday.

He told the crowd that Malaysia’s vaccine rollout was faster than other countries in the region and his government had also offered aid to the masses at that time, to ensure there was food on the table for the people when many economic sectors were temporarily closed.

At the programme, the Pagoh incumbent who is running for the seat again, also trained his guns at the DAP, claiming that the party had demanded the abolishment of the Sedition Act.

“It was as though they wanted to abolish the royal institution, as well as the special privileges for the Malays.

“This was because the royal institution, national language, Islam and Malay special privileges are among those safeguarded under the Sedition Act,” Muhyiddin alleged.

Muhyiddin reportedly said that the DAP was among the reasons why he brought PartiPribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) out of Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the ‘Sheraton Move’, adding that he would rather be called a “traitor” than become one to the Malays and Islam.

He also claimed that Barisan Nasional (BN) may eventually work with PH after the 15th general election (GE15), as BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had reportedly admitted that if the coalition is unable to form the federal government by itself after GE15, it will cooperate with other political parties.


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PAS banks on clean politics for big win in Terengganu, but race will be tight

Hazlin Hassan

NOV 13, 2022

KUALA TERENGGANU - A muted election campaign in Malaysia’s sleepy east coast state of Terengganu belies a tight race between the two main contenders – Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional (BN).

PN coalition partners Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and PartiPribumi Bersatu Malaysia hope to win all eight parliamentary seats in Terengganu in the Nov 19 General Election. PAS is contesting in seven seats while Bersatu is running in one.

At the 2018 General Election, PAS won six of the seats, with BN securing two.

“We are very confident of winning all eight parliamentary seats,” Datuk Ahmad Amzad Hashim, PAS’ incumbent MP for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat, told The Straits Times.

“Looking at the people, especially in Kuala Terengganu, they are with Perikatan Nasional. Last time, it was only PAS, but now we have Bersatu. We think we are going to do better (this time),” said MrAmzad, who is also Malaysia’s caretaker Deputy Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation.

First-time voter Rohayu Muhammad, 24, said she will vote for PAS, a party which, in her opinion, embodies clean politics. “The young people here will remain with green (the colour of PAS’ party flag) because it is an Islamic party. I want an honest, clean politician who does not steal money,” she told ST.

However, a PAS insider told ST that while the party is on track to win all eight seats, there are three wards where it needs to work harder to shore up support.

BN said it is confident of winning three seats, including Besut where it is fielding candidate Nawi Mohamad. Its incumbent MP Idris Jusoh has a strong presence and can draw votes to BN linchpin party Umno, but will not be contesting this time around.

Kemaman is another seat that BN is confident of taking. It is fielding former Terengganu menteribesar Ahmad Said, who is contesting for a parliamentary seat for the first time, having previously been an Umno state assemblyman.

BN also feels it has a good chance in Dungun with its candidate Norhisham Johari, a religious teacher in his 40s and a political science graduate.

Tan Sri Idris, who is also a former Terengganu menteribesar, said: “He is a candidate of calibre, he is young, if we want to rejuvenate Umno. Ahmad Said is well known in Kemaman. With these three, I feel that we can win in these three parliamentary seats.”

Although the PAS state government has decided not to hold its state elections until the end of the monsoon season in 2023, some voters said they prefer to have BN helming the state government as it is better at economic development.

Felda settler Adnan Muhammad, 63, said: “BN is the best when it comes to development, for Malaysians of all races.”

Other rival parties are hoping to make inroads in the state, with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of Pakatan Harapan (PH) making Terengganu part of his campaign trail on Friday. He stopped by in Kuala Nerus and Dungun to speak to voters there, despite PH getting mauled in the 2018 General Election in the state and failing to win a single seat.

Former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s PartiPejuang Tanah Air is also contesting in all eight seats.

Terengganu has 922,856 voters, 97 per cent of whom are Malay Muslims.

Analysts say it may not be all smooth sailing for PAS.

Dr Yusri Ibrahim, head of research at think-tank Ilham Centre, said: “I don’t see an easy win for PAS in Terengganu. It is hard to predict, it is a very close race.”


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