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Islamic World News ( 15 March 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan Parliament Adopts Resolution for Holi, Diwali, Easter Holidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Devotees light oil lamps in a temple in Pakistan's Multan on the eve of Diwali festival. (Reuters photo)

 

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Pakistan

Pakistan parliament adopts resolution for Holi, Diwali, Easter holidays

15 Killed As Bomb Rips Through Bus Carrying Govt Employees in Peshawar

Turkmenistan premier arrives in Islamabad, Tapi discussion expected

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Arab World

Several Under-18 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Clashes Northeast of Syria

Saudi-Led Air Strikes Kill 41 Civilians in Yemen

Jordan’s king visits UAE for talks on combating extremists

Kerry discusses Syria with Turkish FM ahead of visit to Moscow

Terrorists' Attacks Repulsed by Syrian Army in Lattakia Province

Syria: ISIL Terrorists Suffer Heavy Death Toll in Clashes with Army near Palmyra

Syrian Army Engages in Heavy Fighting with ISIL in Deir Ezzur's Neighborhood

ISIL Supply Convoy Hit Hard by Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Offensives near Damascus-Sweida Road

Army Destroys Militants' Defense Lines in Hama Province

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Mideast

Pope Announces Palestinian as Winner of International Teaching Prize

Palestinian Students Suffocate as Israeli Troops Tear-gas Bethlehem School

Israel seized the land belonging to Palestinians

‘Hard work’ needed to patch up Turkish refugee proposal, EU’s Tusk says

Ankara bomber identified as 24-year-old PKK member

Three academics arrested on charges of terror propaganda

Turkey cautious on Russia’s withdrawal from Syria

Israel Demolishes 4 Palestinian Stores in Jerusalem

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Africa

Nigeria: Suicide Bomber Kills 14 Worshippers in Maiduguri Mosque

No Plans' To Send British Troops to Libya

France ups Africa anti-terror support

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South Asia

IS Militants Are On the Run, Claims Ashraf Ghani

39 Militants Killed In Latest Clearance Operations Led By Afghan Army

10 Militants Killed, 3 Wounded In Kunar Air and Ground Operations

Eight Militants Killed by Army Forces in Urozgan

Russia to continue training Afghan law enforcers

Afghanistan updates UNSC on growing border violations by Pakistan

Pakistan seems to be dragging its feet on the Afghan peace process

Impressive rap video encourage recruitment for Afghan army

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Security Forces Kill Two Chinese Uighur Militants in Sulawesi Shoot-Out

New anti-terror agency chief promises to focus on Poso

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India

Pakistan Invites Kashmiri Separatist Leaders for 'Pakistan Day' Function

BJP Minority Chief’s Resignation in West Bengal: A Big Blow to Its Poll Fortunes

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North America

No Immediate Decision on US Troops in Afghanistan: Pentagon

Lockheed staves off F-16 production line closure as it waits on Pakistan's orders

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Europe

German Anti-Islam Leader Summoned On Hate Speech Charges

Russia begins withdrawal from Syria as peace talks enter second day

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Pakistan parliament adopts resolution for Holi, Diwali, Easter holidays

PTI | Mar 16, 2016

ISLAMABAD: For the first time, minority communities in Pakistan will have public holidays on Holi, Diwali and Easter festivals after the country's parliament on Wednsday adopted a resolution to this effect.

The National Assembly adopted the resolution that paves the way for the government to declare Holi, Diwali and Easter as public holidays for the country's Hindu and Christian minorities.

Hindu lawmaker Ramesh Kumar Vankwani of PML-N moved the resolution that said the "government should take steps to declare Holi, Diwali and Easter as closed holidays for minorities".

State minister for religious affairs, Pir Aminul Hasnat Shah, speaking in the house, said that interior ministry has already given permission to heads of government institutions to grant leave to minorities on their religious festivals.

Information minister Pervaiz Rashid said that Pakistan has more public holidays than any country in the world, therefore there is need to revisit the number of holidays.

He said he had no objection over holidays being observed on the religious festivals of minorities adding that no discrimination was meted out to the followers of different faiths and that the people share their grief and happiness regardless of the religion they are practicing, Pakistan Today reported.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-parliament-adopts-resolution-for-Holi-Diwali-Easter-holidays/articleshow/51423609.cms

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Several Under-18 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Clashes Northeast of Syria

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least 16 young members of the ISIL terrorist group were killed in clashes with the Kurdish fighters in the Northeastern Hasaka province.

The Syrian Democratic Forces' anti-terrorism operations in the Sothern territories of Hasaka province claimed the lives of at least 16 young combatants of the ISIL and wounded several others.

The SDF that is comprised of mainly Kurdish fighters as well as a few hundred Syrian Arab dissident forces have received trainings from the US and have been provided with scanty US-coalition air support in their battles in Raqqa province in Northeastern Syria; but in Northern and Northwestern battlefronts, they have been operating alongside the YPG and received the Russian air backup in their Aleppo wars that started with the conquest of Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates early in February.

On Tuesday, the Turkish Army's artillery units targeted Kharzeh border base of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) near a border town in the Northern part of Hasaka province.

The Turkish artillery shelling of the Kurdish strongholds near the town of Amouda near border with Turkey inflicted heavy losses on the Kurdish fighters' military equipment.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000511

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Pope announces Palestinian as winner of international teaching prize

Vatican City, Mar 15, 2016

A Palestinian school teacher on Sunday became the recipient of a US$1m international award for her work with children – and it was Pope Francis who announced the winner.

“A population that is not well educated because of wars, or by other reasons that exist in order not to get any education, is a population that decays,” the Pope said in a pre-recorded video message announcing Hanan Al Hroub as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize, awarded by the Varkey Foundation.

“That is why I would like to highlight the noble profession of a teacher.”

A teacher in the West Bank, Hroub was awarded the Global Teacher Prize for her specialization in working with children exposed to violence at a ceremony held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' largest city.

Full report at: catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-announces-palestinian-as-winner-of-international-teaching-prize-49844/

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Nigeria: Suicide Bomber Kills 14 Worshippers in Maiduguri Mosque

Mar 16, 2016

At least 14 Muslim worshippers were killed when a suicide bomber detonated himself in a mosque in Umarari Village, outskirts of Maiduguri, during the early morning prayers on Wednesday, an official said.

Umarari is about 5km south of Maiduguri, the northeast Nigeria city where Boko Haram insurgency birthed.

An official of the Civilian-JTF, Alhaji Danbatta, who coordinated the evacuation of victims said 26 other persons were injured in the blast.

The blast is the first to be recorded in Borno state since the last that killed about 50 persons at an IDP camp in Dikwa, a town 85km away from Maiduguri.

"The bomb attack occurred this morning in Umarari village, just after Mulai Leprosy Hospital, outside Maiduguri, along the Biu-Maiduguri highway," said Mr. Danbatta.

"It was a suicide attack: the bomber sneaked in while the worshippers were observing the morning congregational prayer. We evacuated 14 corpses and 21 injured ones were taken to the hospital".

allafrica.com/stories/201603160706.html

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Pakistan

Pakistan parliament adopts resolution for Holi, Diwali, Easter holidays

PTI | Mar 16, 2016

ISLAMABAD: For the first time, minority communities in Pakistan will have public holidays on Holi, Diwali and Easter festivals after the country's parliament on Wednsday adopted a resolution to this effect.

The National Assembly adopted the resolution that paves the way for the government to declare Holi, Diwali and Easter as public holidays for the country's Hindu and Christian minorities.

Hindu lawmaker Ramesh Kumar Vankwani of PML-N moved the resolution that said the "government should take steps to declare Holi, Diwali and Easter as closed holidays for minorities".

State minister for religious affairs, Pir Aminul Hasnat Shah, speaking in the house, said that interior ministry has already given permission to heads of government institutions to grant leave to minorities on their religious festivals.

Information minister Pervaiz Rashid said that Pakistan has more public holidays than any country in the world, therefore there is need to revisit the number of holidays.

He said he had no objection over holidays being observed on the religious festivals of minorities adding that no discrimination was meted out to the followers of different faiths and that the people share their grief and happiness regardless of the religion they are practicing, Pakistan Today reported.

timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Pakistan-parliament-adopts-resolution-for-Holi-Diwali-Easter-holidays/articleshow/51423609.cms

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15 killed as bomb rips through bus carrying govt employees in Peshawar

DAWN.COM | ALI AKBAR

Mar 16, 2016

PESHAWAR: A powerful bomb, detonated by a timing mechanism, ripped through a bus carrying government employees in Peshawar on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and causing injuries to 25.

The blast that took place near Peshawar's Sunehri Masjid targeted a Civil Secretariat bus which was carrying government employees from Mardan to the provincial capital.

Fear and panic spread among residents in the wake of the explosion and the area was cordoned off with the injured being shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital, where an emergency has been declared.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Cantonment Muhammad Kashif said the bomb was planted in the rear portion of the bus.

"Fifteen people were killed and 25 others were severely injured," added the police officer.

Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Peshawar Mubarak Zeb said the bus left for Peshawar from Malakand, picking up government employees on its route. The bus, which is parked at a petrol pump during the night, leaves for duty after morning prayers. Levis personnel provide security in the area, the CCPO said.

Malakand is closely linked to Bajaur Agency and Mohmand Agency, which are sensitive areas, he said.

Bomb Disposal Unit personnel claimed that high-grade explosives weighing eight kilograms was used in the attack.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Information Adviser Mushtaq Ghani told DawnNews Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak condemned the blast and issued directives to provide proper medical care to the wounded.

He said the employees were travelling in a privately-operated bus and that the government cannot ensure security of private vehicles. It was the responsibility of the contractor, Ghani said, adding that usually checks are carried out before the bus leaves its station.

An eye witness talks to DawnNews

This is not the first time that a civil secretariat bus has been targeted in Peshawar. Similar attacks in 2012 and 2013 killed at least 38 people.

Peshawar has seen scores of attacks on civilians as well as law enforcement personnel in the past. The city is also the home to the XI Corps, an administrative corp of the Pakistan Army which manages all military activity in KP and is currently engaged in a full-blown operation in North Waziristan.

PM, PTI Chairman condemn blast

Expressing his grief over loss of lives in the attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the blast.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan also condemned the explosion and ordered the KP government to provide excellent medical care to the injured victims.

NAP and recent attacks

The explosion comes a day after the military top brass suggested publicly that the army was about to conclude the military offensive in North Waziristan's Shawal valley.

Despite implementation of the 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) combating terrorism, there have been multiple attacks in the country since the beginning of the year.

In January, the insurgency-ravaged province of KP witnessed another APS-style attack on Charsadda's Bacha Khan University, engineered by the mastermind of the horrific Dec 2014 massacre.

Since then, there have been numerous attacks targeting security forces' convoys and checkposts.

The most recent attack comes just days after a blast hit Charsadda's Shabqadar area, an attack claimed by Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group Jamatul Ahrar. The group claimed the attack had been carried out to avenge the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.

On the other hand, official reports claim there have been thousands of intelligence-based operations, and scores of militants have been arrested and eliminated as per the implementation of NAP.

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Turkmenistan premier arrives in Islamabad, Tapi discussion expected

DAWN.COM

Mar 16, 2016

ISLAMABAD: President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov arrived here on Wednesday on a two-day visit to Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Turkmen president was received by the prime minister at Nur Khan airbase.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and other senior officials were also present to receive the Turkmen premier.

The Turkmen president will hold discussions with the prime minister and President Mamnoon Hussain regarding issues pertaining to bilateral relations. Cooperation in diverse fields will come under discussion.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1246020/turkmenistan-premier-arrives-in-islamabad-tapi-discussion-expected

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Arab World

Several Under-18 ISIL Terrorists Killed in Clashes Northeast of Syria

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- At least 16 young members of the ISIL terrorist group were killed in clashes with the Kurdish fighters in the Northeastern Hasaka province.

The Syrian Democratic Forces' anti-terrorism operations in the Sothern territories of Hasaka province claimed the lives of at least 16 young combatants of the ISIL and wounded several others.

The SDF that is comprised of mainly Kurdish fighters as well as a few hundred Syrian Arab dissident forces have received trainings from the US and have been provided with scanty US-coalition air support in their battles in Raqqa province in Northeastern Syria; but in Northern and Northwestern battlefronts, they have been operating alongside the YPG and received the Russian air backup in their Aleppo wars that started with the conquest of Tishrin Dam on the Euphrates early in February.

On Tuesday, the Turkish Army's artillery units targeted Kharzeh border base of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) near a border town in the Northern part of Hasaka province.

The Turkish artillery shelling of the Kurdish strongholds near the town of Amouda near border with Turkey inflicted heavy losses on the Kurdish fighters' military equipment.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000511

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Saudi-led air strikes kill 41 civilians in Yemen

REUTERS,Mar16,2016

RIYADH: Saudi-led air strikes killed 41 civilians and wounded 75 on Tuesday in Yemen's northwestern province of Haja, a senior provincial health official said, a region largely controlled by the Houthi militia.

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen's civil war was not immediately available for comment.

The coalition entered the conflict a year ago to stop Houthi forces and others loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh from seizing the entire country, and has fought to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1245842/saudi-led-air-strikes-kill-41-civilians-in-yemen

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Jordan’s king visits UAE for talks on combating extremists

AP,Mar16,2016

DUBAI: Jordan’s king has arrived in the United Arab Emirates for talks with top officials. Emirati state news agency WAM reported late on Monday that King Abdullah II met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the federal capital, Abu Dhabi.

It says their meeting focused in part on efforts to fight extremism, violence and terrorist groups, including Arab-led efforts aimed at boosting regional stability and security.

Jordan and the seven-state Emirates federation, which includes the Gulf commercial hub of Dubai, are key American allies in the Mideast and members of the US-led coalition fighting the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

Vice President Joe Biden last week paid visits to both countries as part of a Mideast tour.

dawn.com/news/1245888/jordans-king-visits-uae-for-talks-on-combating-extremists

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Kerry discusses Syria with Turkish FM ahead of visit to Moscow

ANKARA, Mar 16, 2016

Kerry discusses Syria with Turkish FM ahead of visit to Moscow

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have discussed recent developments surrounding the Syrian conflict, as the latter will visit Russia next week to discuss the Syria crisis.

Kerry called Çavuşoğlu in order to extend his condolences over the car suicide bomb attack that killed at least 35 people in the capital city of Ankara on March 13, Turkish diplomatic sources said late March 15.

Full report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/kerry-discusses-syria-with-turkish-fm-ahead-of-visit-to-moscow.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96514&NewsCatID=510

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Terrorists' Attacks Repulsed by Syrian Army in Lattakia Province

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army repelled the attacks of al-Nusra Front's terrorists on the government forces' positions in Northern Lattakia after inflicting major casualties on the militants.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front's attempts to prevail over the strongholds of the Syrian government forces' near Jabal (mountain) al-Qal'ah were thwarted by the Syrian army, which faced the terrorist group a heavy death toll.

The militants left behind tens of dead or wounded members and fled the battlefield to evade more casualties.

In relevant developments on Sunday, the Syrian army advanced in the Northeastern part of Lattakia province and encircled a large number of terrorists in the key town of Kabani, leaving them with only one way out.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000760

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Syria: ISIL Terrorists Suffer Heavy Death Toll in Clashes with Army near Palmyra

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops' continued anti-ISIL operations near the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) inflicted major casualties on the terrorists.

The ISIL strongholds in the Eastern part of Homs province near the Western entrance of Palmyra were heavily attacked by the Syrian soldiers, which claimed the lives of many terrorists.

The ISIL military hardware also sustained major damage in the attacks.

On Tuesday, military sources said the Syrian artillery units in an almost unprecedented surgical operation heavily hammered ISIL terrorists' positions in the city of Palmyra, destroying a major part of their military hardware and killing over two dozens terrorists.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000682

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Syrian Army Engages in Heavy Fighting with ISIL in Deir Ezzur's Neighborhood

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL terrorist group sustained heavy casualties after its strongholds in a neighborhood of the Eastern city of Deir Ezzur came under the heavy offensives of the Syrian soldiers.

The Syrian army men stormed the ISIL positions in the neighborhood of al-Haweiqa, which ended in the killing or wounding of several terrorists and inflicted serious damage on their military vehicles and equipment.

On Tuesday, the Syrian army thwarted the ISIL's attack on the military centers in a key district in the city of Deir Ezzur, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists.

The ISIL attempted to attack the Syrian army's military positions in al-Sina'ah, but its terrorists were driven back by the government troops.

Scores of ISIL militants were killed or wounded in the army heavy fire.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000650

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ISIL Supply Convoy Hit Hard by Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops opened heavy fire at a column of ISIL vehicles carrying fuel and foodstuff in the Southern part of Deir Ezzur city, inflicting major damage on the convoy.

The ISIL fuel tankers, supplying trucks guarded by several heavy machinegun-equipped vehicles came under the attack of Syrian Tank's shelling on a road connecting Haql al-Tim to al-Shouleh.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000415

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Syrian Army Repels Terrorists' Offensives near Damascus-Sweida Road

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops fended off an al-Nusra Front offensive on the government forces' positions to cut-off the main supply route from Sweida to Damascus, and forced the terrorists to retreat from the battlefield.

Al-Nusra Front's terrorists and their allies launched a new assault on the Syrian government’s main supply route from Damascus city to the Sweida province, striking the Syrian army's positions from the al-Lajat Plateau.

The militants attempted to advance East from the al-Lajat Plateau in the Dara’a province towards the Khalkhalah Military Airport on the border of Sweida province.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000622

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Army Destroys Militants' Defense Lines in Hama Province

Mar 16, 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and air force backed by the popular forces destroyed the defense lines of the Takfiri terrorists in Hama province.

The army units backed by the popular forces inflicted heavy losses on the militants in Hama province, killing scores of militants and injuring many more in heavy clashes.

The Syrian army and popular forces also hit hard the military positions of the Takfiri terrorists in other key provinces across Syria.

Hama

The ISIL terrorist group has received another severe blow as the Syrian military airplanes crushed the group positions in the Eastern parts of Hama province on Tuesday, battlefield reports said.

"The Syrian fighter jets carried out four rounds of combat flights over ISIL terrorists in two villages of al-Hardanah and al-Qastal in the Eastern regions of Hama province," the reports said.

The reports also suggested that during the intensive aerial operation two ISIL positions in the area were severely destroyed and a number of terrorists were killed or injured.

Earlier in a separate development in Hama province, the Syrian Army fended off the assaults of the al-Nusra Front on the government forces' positions in the Southern part of the province and inflicted a heavy death toll on the terrorists.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front's attempts to prevail over the defense lines of the government forces near the villages of al-Rumaylah and al-Madajen in al-Salamiyah region were thwarted by the Syrian soldiers, which claimed the lives of several terrorists.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000355

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Mideast

Pope announces Palestinian as winner of international teaching prize

Vatican City, Mar 15, 2016

A Palestinian school teacher on Sunday became the recipient of a US$1m international award for her work with children – and it was Pope Francis who announced the winner.

“A population that is not well educated because of wars, or by other reasons that exist in order not to get any education, is a population that decays,” the Pope said in a pre-recorded video message announcing Hanan Al Hroub as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize, awarded by the Varkey Foundation.

“That is why I would like to highlight the noble profession of a teacher.”

A teacher in the West Bank, Hroub was awarded the Global Teacher Prize for her specialization in working with children exposed to violence at a ceremony held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates' largest city.

Full report at: catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-announces-palestinian-as-winner-of-international-teaching-prize-49844/

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Palestinian Students Suffocate as Israeli Troops Tear-gas Bethlehem School

March 16 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Several Palestinian students suffocated by teargas, while a teacher was injured by a teargas canister, when Israeli troops fired teargas canisters towards a school in the village of Hosan, to the West of Bethlehem, local sources said.

Head of Hosan village council Hasan Hamamreh told WAFA that Israeli troops cordoned off as-Seddiq school in the village, and fired teargas canisters towards the school.

A teacher, identified as Mohammad Zaoul, was also hit with a teargas canister and injured in his shoulder. He was transferred to nearby Beit Jala public hospital for medical treatment.

en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000690

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Israel seized the land belonging to Palestinians

Mar15, 2016

Israel occupied the West sherry management keep 2 thousand 342 acres of land confiscated.

against the construction of Jewish settlements "According to Peace Now" Israelis written statement made by the non-governmental organizations, the Israeli government of the West Bank's Jericho 2 thousand 342 acres belonging to the south of the Palestinians of the city seized the land.

by the realization of the territory usurped by the Israeli army radio in the statement is expressed as announced, the expansion of the confiscated lands of the nearby Jewish settlements, where tourism and plans to use for other commercial investments, the report said

zaman.com.tr/israil-filistinlilere-ait-arazilere-el-koydu/

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‘Hard work’ needed to patch up Turkish refugee proposal, EU’s Tusk says

ANKARA, Mar16, 2016

There is still “hard work” to do to adjust a new refugee deal with Turkey so that it becomes “acceptable” to all members of the 28-member European Union, EU Council President Donald Tusk has underlined.

“My task for our summit on Thursday and Friday [March 17-18] is to put together the elements needed to make this proposal legally sound, in line with EU and international law, practically implementable, and of course acceptable to all 28 EU member states as well as to Turkey. That is why I am here in Ankara today,” Tusk said March 15 at a joint press conference following talks with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Ankara.

Full report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/hard-work-needed-to-patch-up-turkish-refugee-proposal-eus-tusk-says.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96512&NewsCatID=510

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Ankara bomber identified as 24-year-old PKK member

ANKARA

The suicide bomber who carried out the deadly car bomb attack in Ankara on March 13 has been identified as Seher Çağla Demir, who was a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) born in 1992, the Interior Ministry has stated.

Born in 1992 in the Kağızman district of the eastern province of Kars, Demir had been a PKK member since 2013 and was trained by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD), after crossing into Syria, according to the ministry.

The official investigation into the attack, the third major suicide bomb blast to hit Ankara in five months, is still ongoing.

Full report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/ankara-bomber-identified-as-24-year-old-pkk-member.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96486&NewsCatID=509

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Three academics arrested on charges of terror propaganda

March 16 2016

Three academics arrested on charges of terror propaganda

An Istanbul court arrested three Turkish academics late March 15 for “making terrorist propaganda” when they read out a joint petition signed by more than 1,000 colleagues calling for an end to clashes between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in January.

The arrest of academics Esra Mungan, Muzaffer Kaya and Kıvanç Ersoy came after the three were detained for holding a press conference on March 10 at the Education and Science Workers’ Union’s (EĞİTİM-Sen) 6th Office in Istanbul, where they read out a declaration entitled “We won’t be part of this crime.”

Full report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/three-academics-arrested-on-charges-of-terror-propaganda.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96517&NewsCatID=509

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Turkey cautious on Russia’s withdrawal from Syria

Uğur Ergan – ANKARA,March 16 2016

Ankara remains cautious about Russia’s partial withdrawal from Syria after conducting more than five months of air strikes in the country.

Turkish sources speaking on condition of anonymity said Russia’s withdrawal was not so much an act of goodwill but a “political maneuver” with the intention of pressuring Western countries as United Nations-backed peace talks continue in Geneva.

Full report at: hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-cautious-on-russias-withdrawal-from-syria-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=96506&NewsCatID=352

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Israel Demolishes 4 Palestinian Stores in Jerusalem

March 16 2016

TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli authorities demolished four Palestinian-owned stores and the foundations of a building in Beit Hanina, an outskirt of Jerusalem, local sources said.

The Israeli police accompanied by bulldozers cordoned off the town and denied the entry and exit of local Palestinians, before they proceeding to demolish the said structures, under the pretext of construction without an Israeli permit, WAFA reported.

The police also razed a land which was used as a playground for children, the sources added.

The demolished structures belong to local al-Haroub family.

Full report at: en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941226000693

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Africa

Nigeria: Suicide Bomber Kills 14 Worshippers in Maiduguri Mosque

Mar 16, 2016

At least 14 Muslim worshippers were killed when a suicide bomber detonated himself in a mosque in Umarari Village, outskirts of Maiduguri, during the early morning prayers on Wednesday, an official said.

Umarari is about 5km south of Maiduguri, the northeast Nigeria city where Boko Haram insurgency birthed.

An official of the Civilian-JTF, Alhaji Danbatta, who coordinated the evacuation of victims said 26 other persons were injured in the blast.

The blast is the first to be recorded in Borno state since the last that killed about 50 persons at an IDP camp in Dikwa, a town 85km away from Maiduguri.

"The bomb attack occurred this morning in Umarari village, just after Mulai Leprosy Hospital, outside Maiduguri, along the Biu-Maiduguri highway," said Mr. Danbatta.

"It was a suicide attack: the bomber sneaked in while the worshippers were observing the morning congregational prayer. We evacuated 14 corpses and 21 injured ones were taken to the hospital".

allafrica.com/stories/201603160706.html

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No plans' to send British troops to Libya

2016-03-16

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee had said that Britain could be part of a 6 000-strong international force in Libya, which has been riven with unrest since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was expected to agree Britain's contribution to the force at a conference in Europe this week, the committee added.

But a government spokesperson said that the Foreign Affairs Committee was "wrong on a number of counts."

Full report at: news24.com/Africa/News/no-plans-to-send-british-troops-to-libya-20160316

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France ups Africa anti-terror support

2016-03-15

Abidjan - France vowed on Tuesday to step up anti-terrorist cooperation in Africa after al-Qaeda's North African branch said it carried out a deadly weekend attack on an Ivory Coast beach resort.

"We must reinforce our cooperation so that the terrorists have no chance" of success, said French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who arrived in Abidjan earlier on Tuesday along with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

The two ministers flew in after Sunday's attack on the Grand-Bassam resort that left 18 people dead, among them four French nationals. Thirty-three people were wounded in the attack, 26 of whom are still in hospital.

Full report at: news24.com/Africa/News/france-ups-africa-anti-terror-support-20160315

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South Asia

IS militants are on the run, claims Ashraf Ghani

REUTERS Mar 16, 2016

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani played down on Tuesday recent failures to jumpstart peace talks with the Taliban, instead choosing to highlight recent successes against fighters of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan.

Taliban have made significant gains in recent months, briefly capturing the northern city of Kunduz and threatening to overrun multiple districts in the southwest.

The latest efforts to bring them to the negotiating table faltered when the militant group issued a statement refusing to participate.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1245991/is-militants-are-on-the-run-claims-ashraf-ghani

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39 militants killed in latest clearance operations led by Afghan army

By KHAAMA PRESS - Wed Mar 16 2016

Afghan armyAt least 39 anti-government armed militants were killed in the latest clearance operations led by the Afghan national army forces in the past 24 hours.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said at least 18 militants were also wounded and various types of weapons and explosives were seized during the same operations.

A statement by MoD said at least 16 of the militants were killed in Dehrawood district of Uruzgan province and 12 others were woundeda.

Full report at: khaama.com/39-militants-killed-in-latest-clearance-operations-led-by-afghan-army-0356

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10 militants killed, 3 wounded in Kunar air and ground operations

By KHAAMA PRESS - Wed Mar 16 2016

Afghan air forceAt least anti-government armed militants were killed and 3 others were wounded during a clearance operation by the Afghan national security forces in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said the operations are part of the ongoing operations which were launched on Tuesday to suppress the growing activities of the militants.

A statement by MoD said the operations are led by 201st Corps of the Afghan National Army in coopration with the Afghan national and border police and Afghan intelligence operatives.

The statement further added that the operations are being conducted along the highways of Asmar, Nari, Ghaziabad up to Jalalabad city.

Full report at: khaama.com/10-militants-killed-3-wounded-in-kunar-air-and-ground-operations-0353

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Eight militants killed by security forces in Urozgan’s Dehrawoud district

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL - Wed Mar 16 2016

A small number of British advisors from 4th Battalion, The Rifles (4 RIFLES) have assisted their Afghan counterparts from the Afghan National Army (ANA) in a successful operation in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand Province, in southern Afghanistan.  The operation was the first commanded by the new 3/215 Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Mohammad Nasim, who has recently replaced Brigadier General Sherin Shah.   Around 400 warriors of 3/215 Brigade conducted a clearance operation across rugged terrain in the Gereshk area. No operational support was required from 4 RIFLES and they limited their role to providing specialist advice to the command group of 3/215 Brigade.  The ANA conducted the operation in close cooperation with patrolmen from the Afghan National Police (ANP) who provided support in searching compounds.  The warriors detained five insurgents, and a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and parts were found and dealt with at the scene by 3/215 Brigade’s own explosive ordnance disposal teams.  NOTE TO DESKS: The MoD release authorised handout images.  All images remain crown copyright.  Photo credit to read - Sergeant Barry Pope RLC (Phot) Email: mau.gris@mediaops.army.mod.uk

Full report at: khaama.com/eight-militants-killed-by-security-forces-in-urozgans-dehrawoud-district-4745

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Russia to continue training Afghan law enforcers

Wed Mar 16 2016

Permanent Representatives of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (UN) has said that his country would continue its assistance with Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF).

“In February, we donated weapons and munitions to Afghanistan (10,000 Kalashnikov submachine guns and 2.1 million cartridges),” Ambassador Churkin said at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

“We will continue our assistance to Kabul in training Afghan law enforcers.”

The renewal of pledge comes amid fresh concerns that fighting may surge in Afghanistan as Taliban militants rejected an offer by Afghan government for renouncing violence and coming to the negotiation table.

In the meantime, local officials in some provinces including Helmand and Ghazni have expressed concern over the threat of expansion of Taliban insurgency.

They say that some areas are on the verge of collapse.

khaama.com/russia-to-continue-training-afghan-law-enforcers-4744

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Afghanistan updates UNSC on growing border violations by Pakistan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Wed Mar 16 2016

cross-border-shellingAfghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mahmoud Saikal raised the issue of cross-border incursions by Pakistan during a debate by United Nations Security Council on Afghanistan.

“We welcome the growing voice of reason within Pakistan calling for a change in the right direction. In light of that, we want an immediate end to regular incursions along the Durand Line, which cannot and will not be tolerated by Afghanistan,” Saikal said.

Full report at: khaama.com/afghanistan-updates-unsc-on-growing-border-violations-by-pakistan-0352

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Pakistan seems to be dragging its feet on the Afghan peace process

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL - Wed Mar 16 2016

Taliban CommanderPakistan likely has been dragging its feet on bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiation table with Afghan government.

A Pakistani news agency says that Islamabad is reluctant to host face-to-face meeting between Afghan government and Taliban and therefore it has informed Kabul to remain in direct contacts with Taliban’s Qatar office in this regard.

This comes as a decision was made in the fourth Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), formed by peace negotiators from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China, meeting that the upcoming peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban would take place in Islamabad.

Full report at: khaama.com/pakistan-likely-stepping-back-in-the-peace-process-4743

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Impressive rap video encourage recruitment for Afghan army

By KHAAMA PRESS - Wed Mar 16 2016

afghan army recruitment rap song

An impressive rap video encourages recruitment to the Afghan National Army (ANA) forces, a clip which emerges amid concerns regarding the growing rate of desertions among the Afghan national security forces.

Flags of various regiments of the Afghan forces, modern equipments, including heavy armours, snipers and state of the art weapons are included the footage as it starts with a patriotic rap song.

The patriotic rap song comes as reports emerged last month regarding the growing desertion rate of the Afghan national security forces.

According to the report prepared by The Wall Street Journal, about 25 percent of Afghan police members deserted the force last year.

Full report at: khaama.com/impressive-rap-video-encourage-recruitment-for-afghan-army-0350

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia security forces kill two Chinese Uighur militants in Sulawesi shoot-out

Mar 16, 2016

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesian security forces have killed two ethnic Uighur Chinese belonging to a militant network led by the country's most wanted man, police said on Wednesday (March 16).

Indonesia has launched an aggressive, military-backed, security campaign in the jungles of Sulawesi island as it battles the threat from growing domestic support for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.

Police said the men, part of China's Uighur Muslim minority, had joined Santoso, a militant in Poso in central Sulawesi, who is Indonesia's most high-profile backer of Islamic State, and has been on the run for more than three years.

Full report at: straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesia-security-forces-kill-two-chinese-uighur-militants-in-sulawesi-shoot-out

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New antiterror agency chief promises to focus on Poso

Wed, March 16 2016

Newly inaugurated National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) chief Ins. Gen. Tito Karnavian has promised to enhance the implementation of the agency's functions and to focus its works on counterterrorism operations in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

He made the statement after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated the former Jakarta Police chief as the new BNPT chief at the State Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Speaking after the inauguration, Tito said the core business of BNPT was to prevent terrorism and to provide rehabilitation for ex-terrorists after they had served their sentences. He further said the ongoing security operation code named Operation Trinomial in Poso regency in Central Sulawesi was his main focus.

"I will learn the existing concept of the BNPT and adjust it to my concept. In the short term, I will focus on Poso," he said.

Tito further said he would pay attention to the ongoing Operation Tinombala conducted by the National Police, with support from the Indonesian Military, which was aimed at hunting down Indonesia's most-wanted terrorist Santoso and his group.

Full report at: thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/16/new-antiterror-agency-chief-promises-focus-poso.html

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India

Pakistan invites Kashmiri separatist leaders for Pakistan Day' function

Mar 15, 2016

NEW DELHI: Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and Asiya Andrabi among others have been invited by Pakistan to attend 'Pakistan Day' function at its high commission here.

Besides them, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik and Hurriyat's moderate faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have also been called to attend the event, official sources said.

Pakistan's envoy Abdul Basit has invited Hurriyat leaders including Geelani, Andrabi, Malik, Farooq and others to attend the 'Pakistan Day' function on March 23, they said.

Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh has also been invited to the function. However, sources said it is unlikely that he will attend the function.

Full report at: timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistan-invites-Kashmiri-separatist-leaders-for-Pakistan-Day-function/articleshow/51413478.cms

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BJP minority chief’s resignation in West Bengal: A big blow to its poll fortunes

If the BJP intends to make any mark in the Bengal elections, it cannot ignore the contribution of the Muslim population

March 16, 2016

BJP, BJP bengal, bengal elections, bengal elections 2016. 2016 elections, BJP news, Shakeel Ansari, BJP minority cell chief, Shakeel Ansari resignation File photo of Shakeel Ansari, minority cell chief of the BJP in West Bengal (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

The Modi wave of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls is showing sure signs of fizzling out and along with that the waning support of the minority community in West Bengal should concern the state BJP ahead of the assembly elections.

Full report at: indianexpress.com/article/explained/bjp-minority-chiefs-resignation-in-west-bengal-a-big-blow-to-its-poll-fortunes/

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North America

No immediate decision on US troops in Afghanistan: Pentagon

AFP,Mar 16, 2016

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama's administration has not yet made a decision on whether to ramp up troop levels to counter a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter wants to give Lieutenant General John Nicholson, who leads international forces in Afghanistan, time to evaluate the situation on the ground and make proposals first.

"Let's give General Nicholson a chance to get on the ground, find out... whether or not there needs to be an adjustment," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.

Nicholson vowed to make a proposal within 90 days of taking up the post on March 2.

The number of US troops is due to drop to 5,500 starting in January 2017 down from 9,800 currently. But losses by the Afghan military against Taliban fighters last year, including when the insurgents took and briefly held the northern city of Kunduz, has concerned US military officials.

The American and NATO combat mission in Afghanistan officially ended in December 2014.

But since then the Taliban have managed to make significant gains against the 350,000 Afghan soldiers and police, with the 13,000 foreign troops now officially limited to training and advising them.

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Lockheed staves off F-16 production line closure as it waits on Pakistan's orders

REUTERS AFP, Mar 16, 2016

WASHINGTON: Lockheed Martin Corp is using its own funds to pay suppliers and stave off the closure of its F-16 fighter jet production line as it waits to finalise orders from Pakistan and other countries, a company official said on Tuesday.

Orlando Carvalho, who heads Lockheed's Aeronautics division, said the cost of keeping the F-16 supply chain ready for further orders was "very manageable", but did not elaborate.

"We will have a gap in the production line because of the fact that there hasn't been another order yet," Carvalho told Reuters in an interview at the company's annual media day.

Lockheed is now funding suppliers to ensure it will be able to build planes for Pakistan and other countries after it wraps up work on 36 F-16 jets ordered by Iraq in 2017.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1246026/lockheed-staves-off-f-16-production-line-closure-as-it-waits-on-pakistans-orders

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Europe

German anti-Islam leader summoned on hate speech charges

AFP,Mar 16, 2016

BERLIN: The founder of Germany’s xenophobic and anti-Islam group PEGIDA has been summoned to court on hate speech charges for describing refugees as “cattle” and “scum”, a court in Dresden said on Monday.

Lutz Bachmann, 43, was charged with inciting hatred in October for a series of widely shared posts on the PEGIDA Facebook page, which stands for “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident”. A court date has been set for April, with two further hearings in May.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1245850/german-anti-islam-leader-summoned-on-hate-speech-charges

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Russia begins withdrawal from Syria as peace talks enter second day

AFP Mar 16, 2016

MOSCOW: The first Russian planes flew out of Syria on Tuesday, at the start of a surprise withdrawal that diplomats hope will boost a new round of UN-backed peace talks.

UN peace envoy Staffan de Mistura described the Russian pullout as a “significant development” for the talks that began in Geneva on Monday.

“We hope will have a positive impact on the progress of the negotiations”, he said in a statement.

A group of Su-34 bombers and a Tu-154 transport plane left Moscow’s Hmeimim base in Syria headed for home, the defence ministry said, a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered most of his forces out of the war-torn nation.

Putin on Monday said Moscow’s military goal had been “on the whole” completed some five-and-a-half months and 9,000 combat sorties after the Kremlin launched its bombing campaign in support of long-time ally President Bashar al-Assad.

Western leaders reacted cautiously to the announcement, with Moscow yet to specify a timeframe for the withdrawal and set to maintain its air and naval base and advanced air defence systems in Syria.

And hopes for a breakthrough at the Geneva talks remained remote, with both sides locked in a bitter dispute over Assad’s future as the conflict in Syria entered its sixth year. As the talks entered their second day, De Mistura was expected to hold his first official meeting with the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which has repeatedly said that Assad cannot be part of Syria’s political future.

Full report at: dawn.com/news/1245848/russia-begins-withdrawal-from-syria-as-peace-talks-enter-second-day

 

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