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Islamic World News ( 23 Nov 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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PM Modi Thanked The 130 Crore People Of India For The Manner In Which The ‘Spirit Of Unity And Brotherhood’ Was Furthered After The Ram Janambhoomi Verdict







PM Modi Thanked The 130 Crore People Of India For The Manner In Which The ‘Spirit Of Unity And Brotherhood’ Was Furthered After the Ram Janambhoomi Verdict

Pakistan Forms Panel to Curb Forced Conversion of Minorities

World Muslim Ulema Union Asked To Play Role in Afghan Peace Talks

India’s Humble Auto Rickshaw a Hero in Iraqis’ Fight for Rights

Furey: The Rise of the Organized Muslim Vote in Canada

Governor-General: Several ISIL, PJAK, MKO Terrorists Identified In Riots In Kermanshah

Tens Of Thousands March In France To Condemn Domestic Violence

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India

Gujarat: 400-Year-Old Mosque Shows Up As Cobwebs of Encroachments Clear

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Pakistan

Islam Teaches Peace, Justice, Says Scholar Justice (R) Nazir Ahmed Ghazi

Pakistani Hindu family heaves sigh of relief as MHA defers deportation

No assurance about premier’s resignation given to JUI-F: Pervaiz

Petition for contempt proceedings against PM

Political face-off leading to ECP shop closure

Pakistan wins Rs1bln damage claim against Chinese firm

Already told PM Imran Khan would never resign: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi

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South Asia

China attacks US at G20, calls it world's biggest source of instability

Pope urges abolition of nuclear weapons at Nagasaki ground zero

Fleeing ‘harassment’ in India, 200 held in Bangladesh: reports

Afghan forces foil militants bid to detonate multiple IEDs in Khost

Afghan forces suffer casualties in Taliban attack in Daikundi province

Taliban militants suffer heavy casualties in Faryab and Ghazni operations

Airstrikes kill 8 Taliban and ISIS militants in 4 provinces

Islamic bank Al Salam Bahrain to launch tech-focused VC fund with China’s MSA Capital

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Arab World

Two Iraqi protesters shot dead as unrest intensifies

Saudi Arabia and Japan drill deep in bid to predict earthquakes

Saudi technology city developing drones

Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecutor leads coalition of authorities to fight money laundering

Madinah deputy governor honours graduates of performance assessment training

Al-Jubeir calls for ‘deterrence not appeasement’ to halt Iranian aggression towards Saudi Arabia

Museum of Islamic Art to host talk by the State Hermitage Museum

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North America

Jeremy Corbyn Shared Platform with Speakers Who Said Zionism Made the Jews ‘Immoral’ and Endorsed Violent Jihad

US Joins In Global Movement to Make Asylum Harder To Obtain

Key Congressman Seeks Trump’s Help To Visit Held Kashmir

CPEC to Push Pakistan Deeper Into Debt Burden, Cautions US

Iran may be plotting a major attack: US General

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Mideast

Iranian VP Warns Countries Involved in Riots to Expect Repercussions

Iranian MP Says Palestine Main Issue Of Islamic World

Main Ringleaders behind Last Week Riots Arrested by IRGC

Pro-Government Rallies Continue in 4 Corners of Iran

Tehran Raps US for Obstructing Iran’s Medicine Import

Iran Protests against UK-Based Media’s Anti-Tehran Smear Campaign

Iranian VP Calls for Technology-Based Economy, Raps Dependence on Oil

4 Turkish men receive royal honours for building Islamic centre in Netherlands

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Europe

Mauritius Calls UK An ‘Illegal Colonial Occupier’ After Missing UN Deadline To Return Chagos Islands

Badgers sett to feature in Muslim prayer hall planning battle

Muslim Mum Speaks Out After Confronting Anti-Semitic Bigot On London Underground

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Southeast Asia

Mujahid Steps Aside as Amanah’s Penang Chief

Proposed UEM Sunrise-Eco World Merger Raising Concerns, Says Report

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Africa

Mudslides, Floods Kill 34 People In Western Kenya

Ibadan ‘Rehab’ Centre: I’m Not against Islam, Muslims —Makinde

Surabaya Court to Sentence Ahmad Dhani Today; 349 Police Stand By

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Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pm-modi-thanked-the-130-crore-people-of-india-for-the-manner-in-which-the-‘spirit-of-unity-and-brotherhood’-was-furthered-verdict-on-the-ram-janambhoomi/d/120349 



PM Modi Thanked The 130 Crore People Of India For The Manner In Which The ‘Spirit Of Unity And Brotherhood’ Was Furthered After The Ram Janambhoomi Verdict

Nov 24, 2019

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked the 130 crore people of India for the manner in which the "spirit of unity and brotherhood" was furthered after the Supreme Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi case.

Saying that Indians have proved once again that there is nothing bigger than national interest, PM Modi appreciated the maturity and patience displayed by the people after the verdict in the Ayodhya case.

PM Modi was addressing the 59th edition of his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat'.

He conveyed his greetings to all the cadets on the NCC Day and held a special interaction with few youngsters also during his 'Mann Ki Baat' programme.

The PM while interacting with the NCC cadets urged everyone who like nature to visit the northeast region of the country.

During the 'Mann Ki Baat', the PM talked about the significance of Armed Forces Flag Day. Modi paid tributes to the valour of the armed forces and at the same time appealed the people of India to contribute towards the well-being and the welfare of the armed forces personnel.

Highlighting an CBSE's initiative to promote fitness among youngsters, PM Modi urged schools to follow a 'Fit India' week in the month of December.

The PM also announced that based on feedback, the 'Pariksha Pe Charcha' programme will be held in January now. "The feedback received after the last Town Hall Programme and from Exam Warriors book has been very valuable," said Modi.

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister had asked the people to share their inputs for the programme.

In the last edition of the programme on October 27, the Prime Minister spoke on various issues like urging people to buy local products and the idea of festival tourism on 'Mann Ki Baat'.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/mann-ki-baat-pm-modi-thanks-people-for-spirit-of-unity-after-ayodhya-verdict/articleshowprint/72206584.cms

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Pakistan forms panel to curb forced conversion of minorities

Nov 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Faced with frequent instances of forced conversations of Hindu and Sikh girls, the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government has constituted a parliamentary committee to look into the reasons behind such cases. The committee will also give recommendations for forming a law to prevent forced conversions in future.

Keshoo Mal Kheeal Das Kohistani, a Hindu member of the national assembly from Sindh, told TOI on Saturday that additional secretary (committees) of senate secretariat, Muhammad Tahir Khan, on November 21 issued a list of 22 members of the ‘Parliamentary Committee to Protect Minorities from Forced Conversions’. Kohistani said apart from him, the committee had seven other Hindu members. The committee also includes federal minister for religious and interfaith harmony Noor-ul Haq Qadri and federal minister for human rights Shireen M Mazari.

Kohistani said the parliamentary committee would set its ‘terms of reference’ in its soon-to-be convened first meeting.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-forms-panel-to-curb-forced-conversion-of-minorities/articleshow/72204962.cms

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World Muslim Ulema Union asked to play role in Afghan peace talks

November 23, 2019

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Qatar Abdul Hakim Dalili on Saturday asked the World Muslim Ulema Union to play its role in the Afghan peace process.

During a meeting with Ulema Union Secretary Dr. Alqura Dai, the envoy sought his support for the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, Pajhowk Afghan News reported.

Dai earlier served as deputy head of the World Muslim Ulema Union. He is a renowned scholar with great knowledge about Taliban.

Using his knowledge, personality and relationship, Dai could play an effective role in the Afghan peace process, he said.

According to Dalili, Dai assured full cooperation on the Afghan reconciliation rffort and pledged playing his part in the Afghan reconciliation bid, in coordination with other members of the union.

Dai said he had a lot of information about Afghanistan and Taliban and could play his role in promoting peace in the war-battered country.

Peace talks between US and Taliban have been called off by US President Donald Trump after a Taliban bomber killed at least 12 innocent Afghan masses including one American soldier. Trumps said in that time that Taliban don’t have desire for peace.

But on Friday, President Donald Trump seemed to suggest that formal negotiations with the Taliban were back on — months after the peace talks with the militant group collapsed.

“We’re working on an agreement now with the Taliban,” Trump said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.” “Let’s see what happens.”

His comments come several days after the Taliban released an American and Australian professor in exchange for the release of three Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government. The Taliban also released 10 Afghan soldiers this week.

http://www.afghanistantimes.af/world-muslim-ulema-union-asked-to-play-role-in-afghan-peace-talks/

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India’s Humble Auto Rickshaw a Hero in Iraqis’ Fight for Rights

Nov 24, 2019

BAGHDAD: For about two months now, ordinary Iraqis have been protesting against corruption, repression and poverty. Every day, thousands pour into Tahrir Square, the centre of Baghdad, to be beaten, tear-gassed and shot. An AP report describes it as “the largest grassroots protest movement in Iraq’s modern history”, but its symbol and ‘hero’ is the humble auto rickshaw, made in India.

For most of its five years in Iraq, the Bajaj ‘RE’ — called ‘tuk-tuk’ on the street — was reviled as a poor man’s taxi, but now, German newspaper Spiegel reports: the taxis for the poor have transformed into the ‘knights of the revolution’.

Walls around Tahrir Square even have graffiti showing a winged tuk-tuk. Hussam Alrassam’s song ‘Abu Altoktok’ has clocked over 60 lakh views and 2.4 lakh likes on YouTube in less than a month. The international press is already calling it the ‘Tuk-Tuk Movement’, and it’s likely that history will remember it that way.

The tuk tuk earned people’s respect when it became central to the movement. Three-wheelers squeeze in — four abreast sometimes — where no car or ambulance would, and when police open fire, they get out nimbly.

“They bring injured people from the front lines to the field hospitals in the rear, and then they return with water and concrete blocks for the barricades,” says the Spiegel report. Also, “food, water, first aid, masks, helmets and anti-tear gas goggles,” says a report in Vice.

People’s attitude towards auto drivers has also changed because they have been serving the cause for free. Some have been shot, their vehicles have been badly damaged, but they have not deserted. Vice quotes Wafaa, a 22-year-old woman protester: “I apologise (to the drivers) for every bad word or look...I regret constantly criticising them, but I’ve made it up to them by sending specially-prepared meals for them to Tahrir Square twice a week.”

In honour of the autos, the movement’s field newspaper is also called Tuk Tuk. A team of six volunteers publishes the 8-page newspaper from Tahrir Square every alternate day. It has a circulation of 3,000 and the editors plan to make it a daily, says the AP report. They started it after the Iraqi government shut down the internet following the first wave of protests in October. “We knew it would happen again, there needed to be something to keep everyone informed,” one of the editors told AP.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/desi-autos-a-hero-in-iraqis-fight-for-rights/articleshow/72204991.cms

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FUREY: The rise of the organized Muslim vote in Canada

November 23, 2019

A number of puzzled columnists and policy experts are currently trying to figure out why it was that Canada under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken with its tradition of voting down United Nations resolutions that denounce Israel and – as happened last week – joining the pile-on to condemn the only Jewish state in the world.

So far the working conclusion they’ve arrived at is that it was done because Trudeau covets a two-year seat at the Security Council and this is one way to win over votes at the notoriously anti-Israel body. That’s no doubt part of it.

There could be something else at play though: Maybe this is just what Canadian voters want. Or at least what one highly motivated and increasingly influential segment of the electorate wants.

In the months leading up to the election, a group called The Canadian Muslim-Vote (TCMV) was unapologetic in predicting the power the organized Muslim vote could yield over the 2019 federal election results.

“The Canadian Muslim community has the numbers to decide the winners and losers this election, which directly impacts the composition of the government we will have,” TCMV executive director Ali Manek wrote in a press release that went out on October 17 – just days before the election. “Muslim voters have turned out to the Advance Polls over Muslim Vote Weekend and we will be there on election day because we understand that we speak the loudest when we vote.”

TCMV also released the results of an online survey, finding that the top three issues selected by Muslim voters were immigration (64%), foreign policy (60%) and healthcare funding (58%).

The poll did not further break down what particular foreign affairs issue animated Muslims in Canada. However, the controversial Canadian Muslim Voting Guide – authored by Wilfrid Laurier University professor Jasmine Zine with support from a federal grant – had sections on foreign policy that pushed Muslim voters to judge the issue solely through the lens of boycotting Israel while supporting Muslim majority countries in North Africa, South Asia and the Middle East.

What do you think the answer would have been if TCMV had polled to ask which way Canada should vote on UN resolutions concerning Israel?

Now it would be entirely unfair to say that all Muslims in Canada are de facto anti-Israel. For example, the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee regularly has Muslim allies helping to organize and boost their events. And there were Muslim activists and candidates happy to campaign alongside the Conservative Party of Canada, which is proud of its pro-Israel stance.

But let’s not kid ourselves either. Whether it’s the recurring news stories of imams preaching anti-Semitism or events like the recent anti-Israel violence that erupted on York University campus last week, there’s a running theme going on that’s pretty easy to figure out.

While the Muslim community has always been targeted as a special interest voting bloc – what my colleague Tarek Fatah laments as the ghettoization of politics – this was in the past an ad hoc operation. It was a community affair that happened riding-by-riding and was more about political strategists organizing them than Muslim groups organizing themselves.

That’s clearly changing – whether through Manek’s national project or smaller scale efforts, like attempts to register an Islamic Party of Ontario with Elections Ontario. (The latter seems to have fallen apart, although when I spoke with Jawed Anwar, its leader, earlier this year he said he was quite serious and committed.)

In fact, the TCMV even went so far as to produce a list of 73 closely fought ridings where they predicted that Canada’s estimated 765,000 registered Muslim voters could decide the winner. They wrote that mosques in 17 of those ridings had already participated in get-out-the-vote initiatives and bragged that “in the recently concluded Alberta provincial election mosques used Friday sermons to encourage Muslims to vote.”

My colleague Farzana Hassan predicted these possibilities back in September, before TCMV released their targeted ridings list. “It will be interesting to see how the election unfolds from a Muslim perspective,” she wrote. “With support for Trudeau and Scheer neck and neck, the Muslim vote may determine how the result goes in swing ridings.”

There is no serious exit polling conducted in Canada, so for all we know the Muslim vote did determine the outcome in multiple ridings and Manek’s project was a success.

Over a decade ago I watched as Muslim women were literally bused in to a Liberal nomination meeting and then instructed on how to vote by the neighbourhood imam. Operations like TCMV – a self-described non-partisan operation – are basically an attempt to do this on a national scale. (As an aside, it should be noted that Ali Manek has previously sought Liberal nominations on both the provincial and federal level.)

Demography is destiny, as the saying goes. Yet people are sheepish about discussing this issue. It’s considered politically incorrect to even acknowledge that the Muslim population – and therefore the Muslim vote – is increasing in Canada faster than other groups. No wonder. The whole thing that spurred the human rights tribunal battles involving Mark Steyn over a decade ago was an essay that appeared in Maclean’s breaking down the population numbers game and what it means for the future.

You can talk about this or you can ignore it. You can see it as a positive, negative or neutral phenomenon. But whatever your take, there’s no denying that the Muslim vote in Canada is growing and so is its influence.

https://edmontonsun.com/opinion/columnists/furey-the-rise-of-the-organized-muslim-vote-in-canada/wcm/1366c7e8-b95f-4051-8a76-d28bd3ad5909

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Governor-General: Several ISIL, PJAK, MKO Terrorists Identified in Riots in Kermanshah

Sun Nov 24, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Governor-General of Kermanshah province in Western Iran Houshang Bazvand said that members of the ISIL, PJAK (the Party for Free Life of Kurdistan) and Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI) terrorist groups are among the rioters who have been identified as they were destroying public properties last week.

"The destroyers and rioters set fire at many economic units of Kermanshah city and a number of individuals affiliated to the PJAK, ISIL, Monafeqin (hypocrites as MKO members are called in Iran) and anti-revolutionary forces have been identified by the Law Enforcement Police and security forces and all of them will be handled decisively and legally," Bazvand said on Saturday.

He added that many of those arrested have confessed that they had planned for riots in Iran since long time ago.

Head of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Public Relations Department Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said on Saturday that the ringleaders behind the last week’s violent riots were identified and apprehended by the IRGC.

"The key ringleaders, promoting violence in last week’s riots which hijacked peaceful protests against gas price rise, have been arrested in cities of Shiraz and Tehran, and provinces of Alborz and Khuzestan," Brigadier General Sharif said in the Northern Iranian city of Astara.

He added that unfortunately some cases of looting happened where opportunists pounced on the mayhem and plundered chain stores and banks, vowing that the looters will be arrested and punished later.

The IRGC official then highlighted that the rioters, thugs and looters behind the last week unrest were supported by three major anti-Iran movements.

According to Sharif, Monarchists, who seek restoration of Pahlavi regime in Iran, made up the first group behind the riots.

He then named the MKO, a terrorist cult responsible for attacks which claimed the lives of 17,000 civilians in Iran, as the second side advocating street violence in last week.

“The third current behind the recent riots in the country was made up of Americans, some Persian Gulf littoral states and the Zionists. Even, Saudis and some Emiratis as well as some intelligence services contributed to these events to stoke insecurity inside the country,” Sharif recounted.

He went on adding that the unrest, ranging from minor and major incidents, were mostly reported from 100 cities across the country, adding that a quick response by security apparatuses and the help of masses of people helped to put an end to riots in a short period between 1 to 3 days.

On November 15, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

Last Friday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said last Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980903000235

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Tens of thousands march in France to condemn domestic violence

Nov 23, 2019

PARIS: Tens of thousands of people took the streets of Paris and other French cities on Saturday to protest against domestic violence, after more than 130 women are believed to have been killed by their partner or ex-partner in France this year.

In Paris, the mostly female activists chanted "Abuser, you've had it, women are in the street" and held purple placards bearing the names of female victims and slogans such as "not another murder more".

Purple is a symbolic colour used by the women's rights movement.

The demonstrations, led by the #NousToutes association, took place two days before the government is due to publish the results of an investigation into domestic violence.

A Council of Europe expert group on domestic violence (GREVIO) said this week France needed to offer better protection for victims and their children and more effective anti-violence measures.

"We cannot continue to accept that women are being murdered today with total impunity. The state must do its job to guarantee the security of all women in this country," #NousToutes activist Karine Plassard told Reuters in Paris.

Other marches took place in French cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Lille.

"There is far too much violence against women everywhere in society, at work, in our intimate lives," said Paris demonstrator Pauline, 28. "The masculine part of the population must be aware of what they are doing to the other half."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/europe/tens-of-thousands-march-in-france-to-condemn-domestic-violence/articleshow/72201547.cms

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India

 

Gujarat: 400-year-old mosque shows up as cobwebs of encroachments clear

Nov 24, 2019

AHMEDABAD: After a civic body team razed a series of shops selling wedding paraphernalia at Raipur Chakla, a four-century-old mosque - hitherto divorced from the city's culture because of illicit buildings - rose into view in the mist of debris.

The Bai Jitbai ni Masjid rediscovered on November 16 in the Walled City which has won the coveted Unesco's 'World Heritage City' tag is a monument from the sultanate era. Its significance stands on a solidly multicultural foundation: it is one of the four mosques commissioned in the city by Hindu queens and noblewomen of Ahmedabad.

Local residents do not recall when the mosque was last visited to offer namaz prayers. The civic body though found the mosque well preserved, given its age and the assaults of reckless constructions. The two minarets have taken a beating though: one has disappeared and the other survives only as a stub.

A brick boundary around the mosque - thought to have been raised decades ago - seems to have given it a measure of protection.

Though the hall of the mosque and the wuzu (ablution) tank are intact, the open plot adjoining the mosque, which was an extended portion of the 'sahn' (courtyard), was heavily encroached. Namazis assemble at the sahn.

"In my 88 years, I have not seen this mosque in use," said Persian scholar and director of the Hazrat Pir Mohammed Shah Library Trust, Prof Mohiuddin Bombaywala.

‘Locals took care of the dargah’

In my 88 years, I have not seen this mosque in use,” said Persian scholar and director of the Hazrat Pir Mohammed Shah Library Trust, Prof Mohiuddin Bombaywala. “Some local residents tended to the dargah of Bai Jitbai. She was among the five Hindu noblewomen, apart from Rani Roopmati, Rani Sipri, and Bai Harir, who constructed the mosque.”

The Ahmedabad Sunni Muslim Waqf Board was informed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation before the demolition drive was undertaken.

“The Bai Jitbai mosque and the open area alongside belong to the Waqf board,” said architect and Ahmedabad Sunni Muslim Waqf Board president, Rizwan Kadri. “The Waqf board had built protection structures around the mosque and had been carrying out maintenance. But it was really the local residents who took care of the dargah.”

Kadri said that a small gate, barely visible to any passerby, was kept open for a particular time of the day for anyone who wanted to visit the dargah. Gujarat State Waqf Board chairman Sajjad Hira told TOI, “I have not gone into the details of the encroachment removal. But a property belonging to the Waqf exists in the Khadia area.”

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-400-year-old-mosque-shows-up-as-cobwebs-of-encroachments-clear/articleshow/72204788.cms

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Pakistan

 

Islam teaches peace, justice, says scholar Justice (r) Nazir Ahmed Ghazi

Syed Kosar Naqvi

November 24, 2019

ABBOTTABAD: A religious scholar Justice (r) Nazir Ahmed Ghazi has said that Islam is the only religion, which teaches peace and justice and the entire life of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) practically proved it with his preaching and action.

“History bears the testimony that all revolutions brought massacre and endless sufferings to the mankind. But Islamic revolution by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is an exception and cannot be called a bloody revolution. Although 65 battles were imposed on him, he had no swords in his hands to force the people to accept Islam.

His was a revolution in the realm of thoughts, intellect and wisdom, and not in the field of warfare, arms and weapons,” he said while addressing the District Bar Association at a one-day seminar on Seerat-un-Nabi here on Saturday.

Hundreds of Lawyers attended the seminar. President District Bar Association Asad Khan Jadoon welcomed the guest in his welcome address and said the district bar is one of the oldest bars of the province. Nazir Ahmed Ghazi in his address said that Islam completely changed the intellectual outlook of Arabia and within a span of 23 years.

During the prophet’s life and also after his death, Muslims took the message of Islam to every corner of the world and within a few years, Muslims became the superpower of the era.

He said that within half a century after the advent of Islam, the religion spread in most of the world.

Nazir Ghazi said that 13 years after the rise of Islam due to the intolerable situation in Makkah, the Prophet of Islam and most of his companions were forced to migrate to the city of Yasrib, which was later called Madina, and it became a turning point in the history of Islam and hence marked the commencement of the Islamic calendar.

He pointed out that prior to prophethood, the Holy Prophet was greatly regarded for his superior character and exceptional manners, earning him the title of the “Truthful One”. The people of Makkah entrusted him with their possessions for safekeeping and he was often asked to mediate disputes as an impartial judge, he concluded.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/573312-islam-teaches-peace-justice-says-scholar

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Pakistani Hindu family heaves sigh of relief as MHA defers deportation

November 24, 2019

The deportation notice was issued by the Rajasthan government after an MHA letter on October 14 to the Rajasthan Home Department.

The family members of six Pakistani Hindu nationals were relieved after the Ministry of Home Affairs deferred a notice for their deportation to Pakistan. Earlier, the Rajasthan government had issued a deportation notice to the six people on November 19.

The deportation notice was issued by the Rajasthan government after an MHA letter on October 14 to the Rajasthan Home Department. The home ministry had mentioned that the Pakistani nationals were residing in Nachna village in Jaisalmer district and that it was reported that members of the family were involved in “suspicious activities” with one of them suspected to be in receipt of hawala money.

The letter had advised the FRO Jodhpur to issue a deportation order to the six individuals and ensure their deportation from India. A notice was then issued by the office of Jodhpur SP (intelligence).

However, the MHA issued an order on November 21, deferring the notice till further orders.

“Two children of my brother Nawab Chand were born after he migrated from Pakistan to India. My sister, whose name was also on the deportation notice has been engaged here in India. We were shattered… If they are deported, our whole family of 19 people would be divided. How can my brother’s wife and four children live without him if he is deported to Pakistan? How can we live without our father,” said Sundar Lal, son of Gul Chand.

“We are relieved now and want to be granted Indian citizenship. Ever since the past few days, we were running pillar to post in order to stop the deportation,” said Lal.

Activists had opposed the government notice and had claimed that it would not set a good precedent for minorities of other countries who migrate to India to escape persecution.

“If a person has committed visa violation or even a crime then that person should be punished according to the law of the land. But deportation is not the solution as the government should consider that they have migrated to India fearing persecution,” said Hindu Singh Sodha, president, Seemant Lok Sangathan.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistani-hindu-family-heaves-sigh-of-relief-as-mha-defers-deportation-6134036/

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No assurance about premier’s resignation given to JUI-F: Pervaiz

Zulqernain Tahir

November 24, 2019

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Saturday declared that the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JU-F) had not been given any assurances regarding resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and dissolution of assemblies to end its Islamabad sit-in.

Commenting on the statement of JUI-F Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Mr Elahi said: “No such assurances -- resignation of the prime minister or dissolution of assemblies – were given to the JUI-F (chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman) to end its Islamabad sit-in.”

Senator Haideri the other day disclosed that Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had assured the JUI-F (during the sit-in) that the premier would resign and the assemblies be dissolved. “We had ended our sit-in (on Nov 13) after getting certain assurances by some trustworthy persons and Mr Elahi had become a guarantor,” he had claimed.

Mr Elahi, however, denied that any such assurances were ever given to the JUI-F.

“We had made it clear on the very first day (of parleys with the JUI-F) that neither there will be a resignation of the premier, nor the assemblies be dissolved,” Mr Elahi said, adding the government and its coalition partners were on “the same page” to steer the country out of prevailing economic crisis.

“PML-Q is an ally of the PTI government and we have a unanimous strategy under the leadership of PM Khan,” the senior PML-Q leader said in a statement.

Mr Elahi also indirectly suggested the premier should show big-heartedness and learn to forgive his political opponents. “This is the holy month of Rabiul Awwal in which benefactor of the mankind Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had come into the world. We should learn to forgive the creatures of God by practicing his Seerat as in it lies goodness for all,” he said.

Mr Elahi further made it clear that during talks between the government and the opposition, the former was also given no guarantee that after the sit-in ended the latter would change its attitude towards it.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Nov 13 had called off the party’s 13-day-long sit-in at Islamabad apparently on the assurance of “powers that be”. Maulana Fazl later claimed the sit-in had cut the “roots of the Imran Khan government” and it would fall within months.

As the government had authorised the Chaudhrys of Gujrat – Shujaat Husain and Pervaiz Elahi – to hold talks with the Maulana and persuade him to end the sit-in. They were mandated to offer the Maulan “audit” of any constituency he named where vote was cast in the 2018 polls but no negotiations on the premier’s resignation. “On which condition we persuaded the Maulana to end the sit-in, we cannot disclose,” Mr Elahi had said.

A source told Dawn that the JUI-F leaders’ recent statements regarding assurances from some elements in the powers that be and the Chaudhry brothers showed the Maulana’s frustration. “Such assurances (resignation of the premier or dissolution of the assemblies), if promised, are not meant to be made public. Therefore, the JUI-F leaders are showing their frustration as nothing substantial they got from the sit-in and road blockades as claimed by the government,” he said.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518528/no-assurance-about-premiers-resignation-given-to-jui-f-pervaiz

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Petition for contempt proceedings against PM

November 24, 2019

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court was on Saturday asked to initiate contempt proceedings against Prime Minister Imran Khan on the basis of an “anti-judiciary” speech he delivered few days back.

A citizen, Tahir Maqsood, made this request through a petition filed through his counsel advocate Faizan Naseer Chohan.

The petitioner contended that the prime minister tried to make cases pending against opposition leaders prejudiced by delivering a speech.

He said the prime minister criticised senior judges of the Supreme Court which amounted to contempt of court.

The petitioner pointed out that the SC had in 2013 issued a contempt notice to Mr Khan for his ‘anti-judiciary rants’.

To establish maintainability of his petition, the petitioner referred to conviction of PML-N leaders Talal Chaudhry and Nehal Hashmi by the apex court for their anti-judiciary speeches.

He asked the court to summon Prime Minister Imran Khan in person, disqualify him and order the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to de-notify him as member of the National Assembly.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518529/petition-for-contempt-proceedings-against-pm

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Political face-off leading to ECP shop closure

Tariq Butt

November 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will shut down, and the key constitutional forum will fail to perform its multiple functions, enumerated in the Constitution and Elections Act, after it will become nonfunctional simply due to key vacancies.

The only reason behind the non-filling of the posts is the perennial political confrontation, which is intensifying day by day. To avert the ECP’s dysfunctionality, the new chief election commissioner (CEC) and its two members or at least one of them have to be appointed before Dec 6; otherwise, the ECP will be rendered redundant. To keep the ECP constitutionally and legally operational, a minimum of three of the total of five foremost functionaries – the CEC and four ECP members-- have to be in place all the time. If this figure comes down, the ECP’s functions come to an end.

After the ECP becomes inoperative, it will be put out of action to continue hearing the foreign funding case, filed five years ago against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which has of late assumed a lot of importance with the opposition parties agitating to wrap it up without loss of further time. There are several functions that the ECP performs, and in case it is rendered ineffective, it will be incapacitated to do any of its duties.

Under Article 219 of the Constitution, the ECP is charged with preparing electoral rolls for election to the national and provincial assemblies, and revising such lists annually; organising and conducting election to the Senate or to fill casual vacancies in federal and provincial legislatures; appointing election tribunals; the holding of general elections to the national and provincial assemblies and the local governments and such other functions as may be specified by an Act of Parliament. According to Article 218, it shall be the duty of the ECP to organise and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the poll is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against.

The incumbent CEC Justice (retd) Sardar Muhammad Raza retires on Dec 6, which will leave the ECP with only two members. The posts of the rest of the two members from Sindh and Balochistan are already vacant for nearly one year with the two main constitutional consultees – Prime Minister Imran Khan and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif – having failed to reach consensus on the nominations. While they are at odds over these selections, the post of the CEC is also falling vacant after two weeks.

Neither side is in a mood to realise the urgency and gravity of the ECP becoming nonfunctional. However, the outgoing CEC has, in a letter to the parliamentary affairs secretary, noted that his constitutional term would expire on December 6 urging the government to take steps to appoint his replacement. If steps are not taken, the ECP would become inactive on December 7, he said and warned that in the absence of the CEC and two ECP members, the electoral forum would be unable to take any decision. The ECP won’t be able to conduct by-elections or local polls, he pointed out.

After the two ECP members retired nearly a year ago, an intense controversy erupted between the prime minister and the opposition leader with the latter insisting that a meeting should take place between the two to discuss the filling up of the vacancies and the former refusing to have any session with him on any issue. After a lot of reluctance, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote a letter to the opposition leader suggesting the required names. But the communication was quickly rejected by Shahbaz Sharif, who responded through his director challenging its legitimacy and validity. Qureshi’s letter was signed by an additional secretary of the foreign ministry, which irked the addressee.

After this rebuff, the principal secretary to the prime minister wrote a letter to the opposition leader, proposing names different from those cited in Qureshi’s communication. It was also responded by Shahbaz Sharif through his director, turning it down on the ground that the officer has no authority to do so, and only the premier has the requisite power. Later, the two sides forwarded their respective recommendations to the parliamentary committee which has equal representation of the ruling alliance and opposition parties. The body failed to reach agreement. The deadlock thus occurred. The Constitution is silent on how to break this kind of stalemate.

However, instead of doing meaningful consultations by the prime minister with the opposition leader to do away with the impasse, President Arif Alvi notified two nominees, proposed by Imran Khan. The appointments were challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), which struck them down. It directed the Senate Chairman and National Assembly Speaker to contact the two consultees and evolve a consensus not only on two ECP members but also on the next CEC and informed it by Dec 5.

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, while declaring the appointment unconstitutional, ordered: “Resolve this matter before December 7 and tell the court”. A week back, the chairman and speaker wrote a letter to the prime minister and opposition leader. No further progress is in the public domain with the matter being stuck up as before. “Under the Elections Act, 2017, the ECP must have at least three members, the CEC being also a member, all the time, otherwise, the electoral body will become totally imperfect and non-operational,” a senior ECP official told The News.

“The ECP would be hit by a grave, unheard of crisis after Dec 6 when the incumbent CEC retires on completing his term of office, if his replacement is not brought in and the two posts of the ECP members from Sindh and Balochistan, which are lying vacant for about a year, were not filled up.” The official referred to Section 3 of the Elections Act and said that the ECP would be unable to take any decision if these nominations were not made by December 7. The section further says in the performance of its functions, and duties and exercise of its powers, the ECP shall regulate its own procedure. It may exercise its powers and perform its functions even if the office of any ECP member is vacant or any of them is, for any reason, unable to attend its proceedings, and the decision of the majority of the members shall have the effect of its decision.

For both the ruling alliance as well as opposition parties, the selection of new CEC is equally critical as he will supervise the 2023 general elections. Neither side is empowered under the Constitution to impose its choice on the other as the appointment has to be made through consensus or by following the specified, mandatory trajectory through the parliamentary committee. The constitutional procedure, which has been unsuccessfully applied to selection of the ECP members, will also be followed for the appointment of the CEC. The maximum time period, 45 days, will be required to pick up the new CEC after the retirement of the present office holder as is the case with the choice of ECP members.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/573588-political-face-off-leading-to-ecp-shop-closure

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Pakistan wins Rs1bln damage claim against Chinese firm

November 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has clinched a favourable ruling in an international court regarding the country’s one billion rupees of liquidated damage claim against a Chinese energy conglomerate for delaying renewable power projects, officials said on Saturday.

The officials said London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) issued its final awards related to a dispute between Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA-G) and Zonergy Company Limited earlier this week.

In the determination of the disputes between the parties, the sole arbitrator decided the required commercial operations date, “as agreed between the parties under the respective energy purchase agreements, represented a valid and binding obligation”.

“Consequently, CPPA-G’s imposition of liquidated damages for the power projects’ delay in achieving COD (commercial operations date) by RCOD (required commercial operations date) was justified,” the official said, citing the awards.

The CPPA-G and three subsidiaries of Zonergy approached the London Court of International Arbitration earlier this year to agitate their disputes under three identical energy purchase agreements signed between CPPA-G and the subsidiaries of Zonergy in June 2015 to set up 300 megawatts of solar power project. Each solar independent power producer has capacity to generate 100 megawatts.

The final hearing for the LCIA arbitration numbers (183,881, 183,884 and 183,885) initiated by the independent power producers took place from April 29, 2019 to May 3, 2019 in Islamabad. The sole arbitrator appointed by the LCIA issued his final awards in the LCIA arbitration on November 19, 2019.

The federal cabinet has approved a draft of a renewable energy policy, envisaging 20 percent clean energy by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030, up from around 4 percent currently. The government would soon convene a meeting of the Council of Common Interests to finalise the renewable energy policy.

Consequent to expiry of RE Policy 2006 in March 2018, AEDB initiated the formulation of a new policy in view of government’s decision to come up with a policy aimed at creating conducive environment supported by a robust framework for the sustainable growth of renewable energy sector.

London Court of International Arbitration further determined that the identical liquidated damages provision in the energy purchase agreements was legal and enforceable.

“Consequently, the sole arbitrator dismissed the entire claim raised against CPPA-G by the subsidiaries of Zonergy,” the official said. CPPA-G was represented in the LCIA arbitration by ‘Cornelius, Lane & Mufti, Advocates and Solicitors’. The team from CLM comprised of Barrister Munawar-us-Salam (Advocate Supreme Court), Barrister Waleed Khalid (Advocate High Court), Adil Umar Bandial (Advocate High Court), Ahmed Tariq (Advocate) and Amna Salam (Advocate).

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/573325-pakistan-wins-rs1bln-damage-claim-against-chinese-firm

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Already told PM Imran Khan would never resign: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi

November 24, 2019

LAHORE: Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Saturday said government and allied parties are on same page and he had told Fazl that neither Prime Minister Imran Khan would resign nor the assemblies would be dissolved.

In a statement, Pervaiz Elahi said that during the negotiations with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman it was never discussed that Imran Khan would resign. He said similarly it was also not guaranteed that after the talks the opposition will start praising the government. “We should learn to forgive people,” the PML-Q leader further said, adding: “We are putting our efforts under the leadership of Imran Khan to steer the country out of crisis.”

Meanwhile, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has decided to convene an All Parties Conference (APC) on November 26 in Islamabad to formulate the opposition strategy. The Rahbar Committee of the opposition had suggested convening of the All Parties Conference. In this regard, Maulana Fazlur Rehman made a telephonic contact with the Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday. During the conversation, Fazlur Rehman and Bilawal agreed to make Rahbar Committee more active. The prevailing political situation of the country also came under discussion during the talks. The meeting between Bilawal and Fazlur Rehman is also expected soon, most probably in the coming week.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/573590-already-told-pm-would-never-resign-elahi

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South Asia

 

China attacks US at G20, calls it world's biggest source of instability

Nov 23, 2019

BEIJING: The United States is the world's biggest source of instability and its politicians are going around the world baselessly smearing China, the Chinese government's top diplomat said on Saturday in a stinging attack at a G20 meeting in Japan.

Relations between the world's two largest economies have nose-dived amid a bitter trade war - which they are trying to resolve - and arguments over human rights, Hong Kong and US support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

Meeting Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok on the sidelines of a G20 foreign ministers meeting in the Japanese city of Nagoya, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi did not hold back in his criticism of the United States.

"The United States is broadly engaged in unilateralism and protectionism, and is damaging multilateralism and the multilateral trading system. It has already become the world's biggest destabilising factor," China's Foreign Ministry cited Wang as saying.

The United States has, for political purposes, used the machine of state to suppress legitimate Chinese businesses and has groundlessly laid charges against them, which is an act of bullying, he added.

"Certain US politicians have smeared China everywhere in the world, but have not produced any evidence."

The United States has also used its domestic law to "crudely interfere" in China's internal affairs, trying to damage "one country, two systems" and Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, he added.

China was incensed this week after the US House of Representatives passed two bills to back protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights, with President Donald Trump expected to sign them into law, despite delicate trade talks with Beijing.

China runs Hong Kong under a "one country, two systems" model whereby the territory enjoys freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China like a free press, though many people in Hong Kong fear Beijing is eroding this. The government denies that.

Wang said that China's development and growth was an inevitable trend of history that no force could stop.

"There is no way out for the zero-sum games of the United States. Only win-win cooperation between China and the United States is the right path."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/china-attacks-us-at-g20-as-the-worlds-biggest-source-of-instability/articleshow/72199296.cms

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Pope urges abolition of nuclear weapons at Nagasaki ground zero

Nov 24, 2019

NAGASAKI: Pope Francis, speaking in one of only two cities hit by atomic bombs in history, appealed on Sunday for the abolition of nuclear weapons, saying their mere possession was perverse and indefensible.

He restated his support for a 2017 treaty to ban nuclear weapons agreed by nearly two-thirds of U.N. members, but opposed by big nuclear powers who say it could undermine nuclear deterrence, which they credit with averting conventional war.

"The possession of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is not the answer (to longings for peace)," Francis said, after having closed his eyes in prayer and lighting a candle in memory of the victims.

"Our world is marked by a perverse dichotomy that tries to defend and ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust," he said in a somber voice, amid driving rain and strong wind.

"Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction or the threat of total annihilation."

Francis, who was speaking at Nagasaki's Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park, ground zero of the bomb the United States dropped on Aug. 9, 1945, instantly killing 27,000 people, also decried what he called a dismantling of non-proliferation pacts.

Nagasaki was the second city hit by an atomic bomb during World War Two. Later on Sunday, the pope was due to visit Hiroshima, site of the first blast, which instantly killed about 78,000 people.

About 400,000 more eventually died of radiation illness and injuries caused by the bombs dropped by the United States in an effort to end the war.

"Here, in this city, which witnessed the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences of a nuclear attack, our attempts to speak out against the arms race will never be enough," Francis said in his emotional appeal.

Resources spent on the "arms race" should be used for development and protection of the environment, instead.

"In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven," he said.

Last August, the United States pulled out of one landmark strategic arms accord, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), citing violations by Russia that Moscow denies.

Nuclear experts said it also appeared doubtful that agreement on a full-fledged replacement for the New START nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States will be in place before it expires in February 2021.

The bombing is seared in the collective memory of the people of the green and hilly harbour city of Nagasaki and has been passed on through the generations.

"We can't have any more atomic bombings. It'd be great if that message would get across to the world. I'd like it if nuclear weapons were eliminated and there wasn't any more war," said Chizuko Hisamatsu, 66, a housewife. "I think I may cry."

The pope delivered his appeal standing near a large print of a famous photograph taken by an American soldier shortly after the blast, showing a Japanese boy taking his dead younger brother to be cremated.

After his address, Francis spoke at a monument to faithful martyred during the 250 years in which Christianity was banned in Japan, forcing believers to go underground or face death.

"Hidden Christians" blended Christianity with Buddhism and native Shinto beliefs to survive, and Francis may meet several members of the ageing, dwindling population later on.

Jesuits brought Christianity to Japan in 1549, but it was banned in 1614. Missionaries were expelled and the faithful were forced to choose between martyrdom or hiding their religion. The ban was lifted in 1873.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/pope-urges-abolition-of-nuclear-weapons-at-nagasaki-ground-zero/articleshow/72205171.cms

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Fleeing ‘harassment’ in India, 200 held in Bangladesh: reports

Written by Johnson T A, Shubhajit Roy

November 24, 2019

At least 200 people crossing over from India have been arrested in the Bangladesh areas bordering West Bengal in the past few weeks. Newspaper reports from Bangladesh suggest the number could be higher, and those arrested are people fleeing harassment and intimidation, specifically from Bengaluru.

On Wednesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah told Parliament that the government was planning a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), an exercise last held in Assam and seen as directed at illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

On Saturday, more than 55 alleged Bangladeshi nationals, including women and children, were brought to the Howrah Railway Station in Kolkata from Bengaluru, for deportation. They remained at the station for four hours, as the Bengaluru police discussed what to do next with the West Bengal Police and BSF. They were later driven away in a bus.

No officer from police of either state or the BSF was willing to speak on the issue.

Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) S D Sharanappa, the nodal officer for deportation of the alleged illegal immigrants, told The Sunday Express, “They have been escorted by 30 policemen. We have spoken to the West Bengal Police, the BSF, and are coordinating with the Karnataka Home Department and Union Home Ministry.”

A police official said the batch was “the first that was issued leave India notice for deportation”. The notice is issued after Union Home Ministry has established that a person is not Indian. The Bengaluru police will be compensated by the Centre for the cost of their transport.

A month ago, the Bengaluru police had announced a crackdown on alleged Bangladeshis in the city, raiding two camps and arresting 60, all of them Muslims. Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao warned against providing shelter and employment to illegal immigrants, after which many suspected Bangladeshis started leaving the city.

According to Dhaka Tribune, a Bangladeshi news outlet, over the last 15 days, the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has detained more than 200 people after they illegally crossed over from India through Moheshpur in Jhenaidah.

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Bangladesh’s largest English daily, Daily Star, put their numbers at 329, saying arrests started three weeks ago, in Jhenaidah and Jessore’s Benapole area. The men, women and children had been handed over to police and sent to district jails, it said.

The Bangladesh media has quoted officials of the 58th BGB battalion as saying the people had claimed to be Bangladeshis. “They fled different areas of India after facing persecution at the hands of locals and fearing repercussions after being left out of the NRC,” reports said. The Daily Star said among them were 67 minors, 69 men and 78 women. Dhaka Tribune quoted the battalion commander as saying they faced “various problems, especially in areas like Bangalore”.

At the Howrah Railway Station, Muhammed Jehangir, huddled with his wife Laila Bibi and three-year-old son, said, “For three years, I was living in Bengaluru. I worked as a plastic garbage collector, earning Rs 400 a day, which is unthinkable in Bangladesh for a man like me. One morning police came. They told me that if I accept I am from Bangladesh, they will send me home. Or else I would be put in a jail. I handed over papers showing I am from Bangladesh.”

Haji Abdul Hakim, 50, and wife Hasina Begum, 40, too said they worked as garbage collectors in Bengaluru for the past four years. “I came to India paying people to help me cross the border,” said Hakim.

A Bengaluru police official said that since they began their crackdown, “almost half the illegal immigrants had left”. “We do not know the exact numbers.”–with inputs from Kolkata

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/fleeing-harassment-in-india-200-held-in-bangladesh-reports-6133898/

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Afghan forces foil militants bid to detonate multiple IEDs in Khost

Sunday, 24 Nov 2019

The Afghan forces thwarted militants bid to detonate multiple Improvised Explosive Devices in South-eastern Khost province.

According to a statement released by Ministry of Interior, the security forces discovered and defused 8 IEDs during the operations which they launched few days ago in Musa Khe district.

The statement further added that the militants had planted the IEDs on main roads frequented by ordinary civilians.

Some of the IEDs also carried ‘illusory’ messages written in Urdu language about paradise, the Ministry of Interior added in its statement.

Taliban militants and militants of the other groups frequently use improvised explosives as the weapon of their choice to target the security personnel and government officials.

However, the roadside bombings often inflict casualties on ordinary civilians.

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-foil-militants-bid-to-detonate-multiple-ieds-in-khost-04390/

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Afghan forces suffer casualties in Taliban attack in Daikundi province

Sunday, 24 Nov 2019

The Afghan forces suffered casualties in a coordinated Taliban attack in central Daikundi province, the local security officials said.

Gul Aqa Sajadi, a spokesman for the provincial police headquarters confirmed that eight security personnel lost their lives after a large number of Taliban militants attacked the security check posts in Kajran district.

He said the Taliban militants launched the attack at around 1 am local time which lasted for several hours.

According to Sajadi, eight policemen and a soldier of the Afghan national army lost their lives in the attack and four others sustained injuries.

Meanwhile, another official said the Afghan forces also inflicted heavy casualties on Taliban militants but did not elaborate further regarding the exact number.

The official further added that additional forces have arrived in the district and the Afghan forces are in full control of the area.

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-suffer-casualties-in-taliban-attack-in-daikundi-province-04389/

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Taliban militants suffer heavy casualties in Faryab and Ghazni operations

Sunday, 24 Nov 2019

The Taliban militants suffered heavy casualties during the operations in northern Faryab and South-eastern Ghazni provinces, the Afghan military said.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in the North said in a statement that a series of airstrikes killed 6 Taliban militants and wounded 3 others in Qaramqol and Andkhoi districts of Faryab.

The statement further added that the security forces conducted the airstrikes amid ongoing Shaheen-607 operations.

Meanwhile, the 203rd Thunder Corps in the South-east said the security forces killed 4 Taliban militants and wounded 5 others during the operations in Nogha and Shahbaz areas of the provincial capital of Ghazni province.

The security forces also discovered and defused 10 improvised explosive devices during the operations in Paktika, Ghazni, Wardak and Logar provinces, the 203rd Thunder Corps added.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the operations so far.

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-militants-suffer-heavy-casualties-in-faryab-and-ghazni-operations-04388/

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Airstrikes kill 8 Taliban and ISIS militants in 4 provinces

Sunday, 24 Nov 2019

A series of airstrikes killed eight militants of Taliban and ISIS groups in four provinces in the past 24 hours, the military officials said.

The officials further added an airstrike in Gulistan district of Farah killed 3 Taliban militants, destroyed an IED and a Taliban vehicle.

Another airstrike in Musa Qalah district of Helmand killed 3 Taliban militants, the officials said, adding that a similar airstrike killed a Taliban militant and destroyed a small cache of weapons in Shindand district of Herat.

The officials also added that an airstrike in Achin district of Nangarhar province killed a militant of ISIS Khurasan group.

The Taliban and ISIS groups have not commented regarding the airstrikes so far.

https://www.khaama.com/airstrikes-kill-8-taliban-and-isis-militants-in-4-provinces-04386/

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Islamic bank Al Salam Bahrain to launch tech-focused VC fund with China’s MSA Capital

20 NOV 2019

Shariah-compliant Al Salam Bank-Bahrain has partnered with China-based MSA Capital to launch a $50 mln venture capital fund.

MEC Ventures will target investment opportunities “that put innovative Chinese technologies and business models to work within the MENA region using Bahrain as a gateway,” said Al Salam in a bourse filing on Wednesday (Nov 20).

The fund will cover multiple sectors including e-commerce, fintech and sub-sectors in the tech ecosystem such as big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, logistics and networking systems, said Al Salam.

MSA Capital’s portfolio includes companies in healthcare big data, gene sequencing, electric vehicles, food delivery, ride hailing, micro mobility, and cross-border e-commerce. The companies include Uber, Mobike, B2B steel trading platform Zhaogang, and China’s Airbnb Tujia.

Al Salam said the fund is expected to be the first investment limited partnership to be established under Bahrain’s recently-introduced Investment Limited Partnerships Law.

This is the second Bahraini-Chinese investment fund announced this month.

Alternative investments manager Investcorp Holdings on Nov 7 said it was partnering with China Resources and Fung Strategic Holdings on a private equity platform targeting food brands in Asia, specifically China, Singapore and greater Southeast Asia. The platform aims to raise $500 million.

© SalaamGateway.com 2019 All Rights Reserved

https://www.salaamgateway.com/story/islamic-bank-al-salam-bahrain-to-launch-tech-focused-vc-fund-with-chinas-msa-capital

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Arab World

 

Two Iraqi protesters shot dead as unrest intensifies

November 24, 2019

Two Iraqi protesters were shot dead overnight in the southern city of Nasiriyah, where anti-government demonstrators shut down schools and blockaded bridges, a medical source told AFP on Sunday.

At least 47 other people were wounded in clashes with security forces as protesters burned car tyres on roads and outside many public offices in the city, some 300 kilometres (200 miles) south of the capital Baghdad.

An estimated 350 people have been killed and thousands wounded in the protest movement that erupted on October 1 calling for a total overhaul of a government widely seen as corrupt and inefficient.

In Iraq's mostly rural south, schools and public offices have been severely affected with many students and teachers leading rallies and sit-ins outside public offices.

The education ministry has issued a directive that classes resume on Sunday, the first day of the school and work week in Iraq.

But protesters in Nasiriyah defied the ministry and shut down schools anyway, AFP's correspondent said.

In the oil-rich southern city of Basra, demonstrators blocked main roads just before dawn, including those leading to the ports of Umm Qasr and Khor al-Zubair.

The ports, which bring in food and medicine to Iraq but also export fuel products, have seen some delays in loading and offloading due to the unrest in recent weeks.

Clashes also pitted protesters against security forces in Karbala, one of Iraq's two holy cities.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518601/two-iraqi-protesters-shot-dead-as-unrest-intensifies

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Saudi Arabia and Japan drill deep in bid to predict earthquakes

November 24, 2019

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s expertise in deep oil-well drilling is being used in an International bid to predict life-threatening earthquakes in the tumultuous seas off the coast of Japan.

Scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology are working with Japanese and American colleagues in a long-term project to drill down into sub-sea sections of the earth’s crust in the Nankai Trough, a notorious seismic zone off the country’s southern coast, which has been the site of fatal tsunami-generating earthquakes throughout Japan’s history.

The project - involving a multi-national team aboard the hi-tech research vessel the Chikyu - has already set a new world record for underwater drilling, having reached 3,262.5 meters below the seabed, which is itself 2,000 meters below sea-level, using expertise tried and tested by Saudi Aramco in the Kingdom’s oil industry.

Thomas Finkbeiner, a petroleum geomechanics expert turned KAUST senior research scientist, and a member of the Chikyu expedition, told Arab News: “The ultimate aim is to help save lives and prevent damage to the infrastructure of Japan, as we tragically witnessed after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The economic cost was huge, but the real cost was in human lives.”

The 2011 earthquake and tsunami - which occurred further north off the Japanese Pacific coast - led to as many as 20,000 deaths, though many victims are still classified as “missing”, and $235bn of economic damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in history.

The Chikyu expedition is run under the auspices of the Yokohama-based Japanese Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology, and aims to drill down into the Nankai Trough where three tectonic plates - the Pacific, Eurasian and the Philippines - meet. It is one of the most seismologically active areas in the world.

“The geology and the environment is very challenging. Nobody has ever tried to drill a well so deep in such a seismogenic region before. These are large-scale subduction zones with lots of tectonic stress, and folding and faulting of the undersea plates,” Finkbeiner said.

The aim is to install monitoring equipment at the heart of the zone in an effort to detect seismic and tsunami events and give early warnings of impending disasters. “If such a well succeeded, the knowledge and insight that would be gained from such an observatory would be invaluable,” he added.

Earlier his year, operations were halted when drilling encountered tough geological conditions as they approached the plate boundary fault. The Japanese and their Saudi partners are hoping for further official funding to resume drilling in the near future.

The 11-year Chikyu project has been working at the extremes of scientific and technological experience.

The official website says: “These operations are extremely difficult tasks never before achieved due to the fragile geological formations and factors including the powerful Kuroshio current, a location subject to typhoon approaches and also affected by multiple cold fronts during the winter.

The operations are challenging even for Saudi Arabia’s technological expertise in drilling for oil. Most wells in the Kingdom typically strike oil at around the 2,000 meters level, though some are significantly deeper.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1588911/saudi-arabia

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Saudi technology city developing drones

November 24, 2019

DUBAI: King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) is enhancing its home-grown unmanned-aerial-vehicles (UAVs) — Saker-1 and Saker-4.

The medium-altitude and long-endurance drone Saker-1 has already achieved good results in preliminary tests.

It “managed to carry … up to 150 kg, managed to fly up to 15,000 ft (4.6 km) … fired a missile and a bomb with a range of 6 km,” Dr. Ali Al-Shihri, manager of the National Center for Aeronautical Technology at KACST, told Arab News.

The drone is also equipped with an Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) system and can live stream videos during shot during the day and night, with the help of infrared radiation sensors.

Saker-4 is a smaller model of UAVs.

It is “capable of carrying about 3 kg of surveillance systems, and managed to fly up to 11,000 ft (3.6km) and reach a speed of about 120 km per hour,” Al-Shihri said.

Composite materials — such as glass fibers, carbon fibers, resin and fiber-reinforced composites — are used to create the UAVs. This decreases the weight of the devices, saves energy and prolongs flying time.

KACST is a research and development facility in Saudi Arabia that aims to employ scientific research in the development of new technologies and push them into industrial development.

Weaponized UAVs “are sensitive technologies, they need to go through different levels of certification, and pass the aviation and military standards — it’s a long process” until their industrialization, Al-Shihri said, adding that realizing the capability to build such technology is a big achievement in itself.

The company’s work is aligned with the aims of Vision 2030, including localizing technology, increasing local content, improving infrastructure and offering jobs for Saudis.

When it started its work in 2001-2003 it only had 10-20 employees; now there are about 120 Saudi engineers with different levels of certification working at the center.

“We are striving to recruit Saudi females,” Al-Shihri added.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1588831/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecutor leads coalition of authorities to fight money laundering

24 November 2019

RIYADH: The training program on International Developments in Combating Money Laundering, held at the Public Prosecution agency in Riyadh with the participation of international experts from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in cooperation with Naif Arab University for Security Sciences (NAUSS), concluded on Saturday under the patronage of Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mua’jab.

Professionals from the Supreme Judicial Council, the Ministry of Interior, the security services and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), as well as members of the Public Prosecution and a number of advisers in specialized departments, participated in the program.

Anti-money laundering experts from the Law department at CWRU reviewed a number of key themes and discussed the economic and political impacts of money laundering, mechanisms to discover the stages of money laundering in financial institutions, developments in the procedures of inference and investigation of money laundering crimes, and methods to monitor money laundering using modern technology, such as Bitcoin.

Professor Bill Clonger stressed the importance of adopting such training programs for all professionals in the field of combating money laundering.

For his part, Al-Mua’jab explained that money laundering had become one of the most important issues to authorities given its economic and security dimensions.

Al-Mua’jab said the agency sought to develop general plans that met the requirements of the next phase for working to combat money laundering in all economic and commercial outlets.

“During 2019, the Public Prosecution carried out over 15 training programs in the Kingdom and abroad on money laundering investigation and prosecution mechanisms for members of the agency, and heads of money laundering departments in branch offices,” Al-Mua’jab explained, highlighting that about 215 members of the Public Prosecution and experts from across the Kingdom participated in the programs.

He added that the Public Prosecution was also set to implement in early 2020 an international program in cooperation with a specialized US organization. The program aims to develop the skills of prosecutors in the field of combating money laundering.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1588801/saudi-arabia

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Madinah deputy governor honors graduates of performance assessment training

23 November 2019

MADINAH: Madinah Deputy Gov. Prince Saud bin Khalid Al-Faisal honored 40 graduates representing government agencies that participated in a program organized by the National Center for Performance Measurement (Adaa).

This took place during the closing ceremony of the second forum for heads of programs whose aim is to realize the Vision 2030 reform plan. The forum was organized by the Madinah Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship.

Adaa is tasked with performance measurement and enablement of government entities. This involves providing tools, frameworks and educational support.

The forum aims to review the best practices of relevant offices and programs, measure and develop the performance of government bodies, and refine the skills of young Saudi leaders, so as to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030.

The event highlighted the contributions of heads of government agencies such as the Saudi Railway Co., and the ministries of commerce and investment, finance, health, civil service, economy and planning.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1588726/saudi-arabia

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Al-Jubeir calls for ‘deterrence not appeasement’ to halt Iranian aggression towards Saudi Arabia

23 November 2019

MANAMA: Deterrence is the only way to stop Iran from destabilizing the Middle East and attacking Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s minister of state for foreign affairs said Saturday.

An investigation into a drone and missile attack against Saudi oil facilities in September is still ongoing, Adel Al-Jubeir told a regional security conference in Bahrain.

But he added that both the direction of the attack on the Abqaiq oil processing facility and Khurais oil field, and the types of weapons used meant Saudi Arabia held Iran responsible.

Al-Jubeir defended Riyadh’s measured response to the September strikes, saying the Kingdom was being “strategically very patient” in its investigation so there is “not a shadow of doubt” on where the drones and missiles came from.

“We have said all along we don't want war, so to jump into war very quickly is not a rational position,” he added.

The strikes on the oil facilities followed a series of incidents earlier this year blamed on Iran, including attacks on shipping in and near the Strait of Hormuz.

Faced with increasing US sanctions straining the Iranian economy, Tehran is accused of lashing out against its enemies in the region to prove it can disrupt global energy supplies.

The regime has also started breaking its commitments to an international deal to curb its nuclear program in response to an easing of sanctions.

Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal last year and immediately ramped up economic pressure on Iran. European states are scrambling to keep the deal intact.

But Al-Jubeir told the annual Manama Dialogue that deterrence, not appeasement was the only way to deal with Iran.

“The idea that perhaps engagement would cause the Iranians to change their behavior has not worked in 40 years, why would it work in the next four years,” he said. “The key to regional stability is deterrence. The key to regional stability is a steadfast position by the international community to make sure everyone has to abide by the rules of international law.

“That’s how we can bring about a change in Iran’s behavior. If Iran wants to continue with its destructive past then sanctions should be increased, not reduced.”

Earlier, the French Defence Minister Florence Parly accused the US of failing to respond to Iran’s aggression in the region, including the shooting down of an American surveillance drone in June.

Al-Jubeir disagreed, saying the US had been a dependable ally for the past seven decades.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1588671/saudi-arabia

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Museum of Islamic Art to host talk by the State Hermitage Museum

24 Nov 2019

The Peninsula

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) is set to host a talk titled ‘The Hermitage Days’ on November 27 at 6pm in MIA Auditorium. The talk will be hosted in collaboration with one of Russia’s most prestigious museums, the State Hermitage Museum of St Petersburg, and will introduce attendees to the history of the museum and its conservation center.

In addition to the public talk, and part of the larger collaboration between MIA and the Hermitage, a series of talks and hands-on-workshops delivered by the State Hermitage team targeting conservation specialists, will be from January 26 to 28. The series of talks will cover conservation practices of the Hermitage as well as provide an insight into the history, departments and the materials present in the museum.

The State Hermitage Museum is the world’s second largest museum after the Louvre, Paris. Its collection is a must see for all art enthusiasts and contains in excess of 3 million items, spread over six historic buildings. The session will be delivered by the General Director of the museum, Prof. Mikhail Piotrovskiy, and Ms. Irena Guruleva, Research Officer in the Department of Scientific Restoration and Conservation.

Prof. Dr. Mikhail Piotrovskiy has been the General Director of the Hermitage since 1992. He is a prominent Arabist and Archaeologist and the author of more than 250 publications including catalogues of Arabic manuscripts, medieval monuments and ancient inscriptions as well as works on Islamic political history and Arabic culture and archaeology.

Irena Guruleva is a Research Officer of the Department of the Scientific Restoration and Conservation in the State Hermitage museum. She oversees the administrative work and documentation of the department, as well as all exhibition and publishing activities related to conservation and research within the field of restoration.

The initiative is a testament to the legacy of the Year of Culture programme which aims to build lasting relationships between Qatar and partner countries. Last year, key Qatari and Russian cultural organizations, prestigious institutions and individuals came together to deliver a rich programme of major exhibitions, activities and community outreach events to introduce the two nations to each other’s rich cultures.

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/24/11/2019/Museum-of-Islamic-Art-to-host-talk-by-the-State-Hermitage-Museum

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North America

 

JEREMY CORBYN SHARED PLATFORM WITH SPEAKERS WHO SAID ZIONISM MADE THE JEWS “IMMORAL” AND ENDORSED VIOLENT JIHAD

It has emerged that Jeremy Corbyn shared a platform in 2008 with a speaker who claimed that Zionism has made the Jews “immoral”, while another endorsed violent Jihad against Israelis.

The footage from a 2008 rally shows Mr Corbyn, then a backbench Labour MP, on a stage with Ismail Patel, the chair of Friends of Al-Aqsa, who said that Zionism had a “devastating effect on the Jewish community itself: it has made them immoral in justice.” Mr Corbyn was on the stage and appeared to embrace Mr Patel when the latter concluded his remarks.

Mr Corbyn has a long relationship with Friends of Al-Aqsa, which raised £10,000 for his first leadership campaign, although it subsequently emerged that most of that donation had not been declared by Mr Corbyn, in an apparent breach of Electoral Commission rules.

Mr Patel is also known to have defended the antisemitic genocidal terrorist group, Hamas, saying: “Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. The reason that they hate Hamas is because they refuse to be subjugated to be occupied by the Israeli state and we salute Hamas for standing up to Israel.” Mr Corbyn has infamously referred to Hamas as his “friends”.

Another speaker at the 2008 rally was the academic, Azzam Tamimi, who urged the people of Gaza to “explode in their faces” and engage in Jihad, in an apparent reference to vioment terrorism against Israelis. Mr Corbyn is seen at the side of the stage when these comments were made.

On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.

In recent months, thirteen MPs and three peers have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.

Over 58,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”

On 8th December, regardless of religion, race or politics, Jews and non-Jews alike will gather in Parliament Square to declare that they stand together against antisemitism in the face of Jew-hatred in politics and mounting anti-Jewish hate crime.

https://antisemitism.uk/jeremy-corbyn-shared-platform-with-speakers-who-said-zionism-made-the-jews-immoral-and-endorsed-violent-jihad/

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US joins in global movement to make asylum harder to obtain

Nov 23, 2019

TIJUANA: Nkeze wasn't home when Cameroonian militants came knocking, probably to deliver their signature ultimatum to join their separatist movement or have his writing arm cut off.

The 24-year-old economics student escaped to Douala, the country's largest city, only to learn that the government wanted to arrest him for participating in a university protest.

He then flew to Ecuador and traveled through eight countries to the US border with Mexico, including a trek through Panamanian jungle where he saw corpses and refugees crying for shelter, food and water.

In his quest to settle with relatives in Houston, Nkeze now faces a potentially insurmountable obstacle: a new American ban that forbids anyone who travels through another country to the US-Mexico border from applying for asylum there.

“When you find yourself on US soil, you are well-protected,” Nkeze said, sounding upbeat as he waited in Tijuana for a chance to make his case.

“You are protected by human rights.” He spoke to The Associated Press on the condition that he be identified only by his last name due to safety concerns.

The US is increasingly aligning itself with wealthy countries in Europe and elsewhere to make asylum a more distant prospect.

On Thursday, American authorities sent a Honduran man from El Paso, Texas, to Guatemala.

It marked the first time the US government directed an asylum-seeker back to that country under the new policy, which gave him an option to file a claim there. He decided against filing a claim and returned to Honduras, according to Guatemala's foreign ministry.

Asylum was once almost an afterthought, until an unprecedented surge of migrants made the United States the world's top destination in 2017, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

The US held its leading position last year, followed by Peru, Germany, France and Turkey.

Trump has called asylum “a scam” and declared that the country is “full.” In nine months, the administration returned more than 55,000 asylum-seekers to Mexico to wait for their cases to wind through US courts.

Another asylum ban on anyone who crosses the border illegally from Mexico is temporarily blocked in court.

It's unclear how the ban will be rolled out.

The US Homeland Security Department did not comment on Thursday's initial flight, which got a bare-bones announcement from Guatemala's foreign ministry.

The US has struck agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that aim to send back asylum-seekers who pass through their countries, but the Central American nations are woefully unprepared to accept large numbers.

The UN Refugee Agency said Tuesday that the ban is at odds with international law and “could result in the transfer of highly vulnerable individuals to countries where they may face life-threatening dangers.”

Asylum is designed for people fleeing persecution based on their race, religion, nationality, political beliefs or membership in a social group.

It isn't intended for people who migrate for economic reasons, but many consider it their best hope of escaping poverty and violence.

The US isn't alone in asking other countries to block migrants. After about 1 million refugees travelled through Turkey and Greece to seek safety in Europe, the European Union agreed in 2016 to pay Turkey billions of euros to keep them in refugee camps.

The EU has also funded the Libyan Coast Guard to stop Africans from crossing the Mediterranean, where thousands have drowned. Libyan forces have kept refugees in squalid conditions and inflicted torture.

Since 2001, Australia has intermittently blocked boats from Asia and detained asylum-seekers on Christmas Island, a tiny Australian territory, or sent them to Papua New Guinea and Nauru, an island nation of 10,000 people. Australia pays detention costs.

The US long resettled more refugees than any other country, raising its ceiling to 110,000 during President Barack Obama's last year in office.

That practice has been sharply curtailed since Trump took office, with the country planning to resettle no more than 18,000 refugees in 2020.

“There's this race to the bottom around the world, and governments are looking to each other and trying to figure out what's the harshest policy they can get away with,” said David FitzGerald, a sociology professor at University of California at San Diego and author of “Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum-seekers.” Cameroonians hoping to follow Nkeze's path face mounting obstacles. Ecuador, the main gateway from Europe, began requiring visas for Cameroonians and 10 other nationalities in August, including six in Africa.

Under heavy pressure from Trump, Mexico is bottling up Cameroonians and other US-bound asylum-seekers near its southern border with Guatemala.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/us-joins-in-global-movement-to-make-asylum-harder-to-obtain/articleshow/72202644.cms

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Key Congressman seeks Trump’s help to visit held Kashmir

Anwar Iqbal

November 24, 2019

WASHINGTON: The head of a US congressional panel has asked the Trump administration to persuade India to allow US diplomats to visit and review the situation in occupied Kashmir.

Congressman Brad Sherman, who made this request in a letter to the US State Department, heads a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia. Last month, the panel held a hearing on human rights in Asia, which focused almost entirely on the situation in the India-occupied Kashmir.

The participants expressed grave concern on gross human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and questioned New Delhi’s Aug 5 decision to revoke the valley’s special status by merging it with India.

In his letter to Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, who heads the State Department’s Bureau for South and Central Asian Affairs, Mr Sherman urged her to expedite efforts for sending US diplomats to Kashmir.

“One reason I am so concerned about the situation in Kashmir is because there is a lack of reliable information coming from the region,” he wrote.

Brad Sherman, who heads a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, writes to State Department for the purpose

Mr Sherman reminded Ms Wells in the Oct 22 hearing he also asked her if US diplomats have been able to visit Kashmir to “report on the situation on the ground since August 5”, when India annexed the occupied valley.

“In response, you said the United States has requested permission to visit Kashmir, but the Indian government has denied those requests,” Mr Sherman wrote in the letter which was released to the media on Thursday.

“I wanted to follow up with you on this point. In particular, would you like to answer three questions: Have U S diplomats been permitted to visit Kashmir since August 5, 2019? How many times has the United States officially requested permission for US diplomats to visit Kashmir since August 5, 2019? What are the reasons the Indian government has given for refusing to grant US diplomats permission to visit Kashmir?” he wrote.

Congressman Sherman noted Indian officials’ claim that they were not allowing US diplomats to visit Kashmir due to the security situation on the ground. But he pointed out that the Indian government allowed “certain, select European Union members of Parliament” to visit Kashmir in October.

“In light of this, the Indian government should (also) allow US diplomats to visit Kashmir,” he added.

At the Oct 22nd hearing, members of the House Subcommittee also requested a classified briefing from the State Department and Office of the Director of Intelligence regarding Kashmir.

“I would like to formally request that the Slate Department and Intelligence Community provide this classified briefing to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and other interested members of Congress,” Mr Sherman wrote.

“I ask that you direct your staff to work with my Subcommittee Director, Don MacDonald, to find a mutually convenient time to schedule this briefing.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518498/key-congressman-seeks-trumps-help-to-visit-held-kashmir

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CPEC to push Pakistan deeper into debt burden, cautions US

Anwar Iqbal

November 23, 2019

WASHINGTON: The United States has warned Pakistan that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would push the country deeper into an already stifling debt burden, foster corruption and repatriate jobs and profits to China.

In a speech, described as “unusually specific” by the international media, the top US diplomat for South Asia warned on Thursday that the multi-billion-dollar project would take a toll on Pakistan’s economy at the time of repayments and dividend in the coming years.

Assistant Secretary Alice Wells explained that CPEC was not an aid to Pakistan but a form of financing that guarantees profits for Chinese state-owned enterprises, with little benefits for Islamabad.

As an international media report pointed out, this specific warning comes at a time when Washington and Islamabad are trying to rebuild their turbulent relationship.

Addressing a gathering of diplomats, scholars and journalists at a Washington think tank, the Wilson Center, Ms Wells also quoted specific examples from the project.

Alice Wells says multibillion-dollar project will take a toll on Pakistan’s economy at the time of repayments

“CPEC’s most expensive single project is upgrading the railway from Karachi to Peshawar. When the project was initially announced, the price was set at $8.2 billion,” she said.

“In October of 2018, Pakistan’s railways minister announced that they had negotiated the price down to $6.2 billion, a saving of two billion. And he explained Pakistan is a poor country. We cannot afford this huge burden of these loans.”

“But recent media reports claim the price is now risen to $9 billion,” she added. “So, why doesn’t the Pakistani public know the price for CPEC’s most expensive project or how it’s being determined?”

The US diplomat also underlined the long-term effects in Pakistan of China’s “financing practices” and urged Islamabad to examine “the burdens that are falling on the new government to manage with now an estimated $15 billion debt to the Chinese government and $6.7 billion in Chinese commercial debt”.

Ms Wells also emphasised the need for Pakistan to know that China was providing loans, not grants, as the United States.

“It’s clear or needs to be clear that CPEC is not about aid. This is almost always the form of loans or other forms of financing, often non-concessional with sovereign guarantees or guaranteed profits for Chinese state-own enterprises that are repatriated to China,” she said.

“Now, together with non-CPEC Chinese debts payments, China is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy, especially when the bulk of payment starts to come due in the next four to six years.”

Ms Wells warned that even if loan payments were deferred, “they are going to hang over Pakistan’s economic development potential, hamstringing Prime Minister (Imran) Khan’s reform agenda.”

Directly addressing the alleged lack of transparency in CPEC projects, she said this could increase projects costs and foster corruption, resulting in a heavier debt burden for the country.

Ms Wells also challenged the notion that CPEC would create jobs in Pakistan. “CPEC relies primarily on Chinese workers and supplies, even amid rising unemployment in Pakistan,” she said.

The US diplomat also demanded more transparency on the proposed link between Gwadar Port and China’s Xinjiang while responding to a question that New Delhi saw this as a military project aimed at encircling India.

She said that while CPEC would only benefit China, the United States offered a better model and urged Islamabad to introduce economic reforms that would encourage US investors to invest in Pakistan.

She also recalled that during PM Khan’s July visit to the White House, US President Donald Trump had offered to greatly enhance American trade with Pakistan.

Ms Wells acknowledged that the United States could not offer investments from state-run companies. But, she added, the private US investment, coupled with grants, would improve Pakistan’s troubled economy.

“There is a different model,” she said. “Worldwide we see that US companies bring more than just capital; they bring values, processes and expertise that build the capacities of local economies.”

She pointed to interest in Pakistan by US companies including Uber, Exxon Mobil, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, with the soft-drink makers together investing $1.3 billion in the country.

Her speech appeared linked to a major offensive that Washington has recently launched against Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, a signature project of President Xi Jinping which aims to build ports, highways and railways around the world.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1518319/cpec-to-push-pakistan-deeper-into-debt-burden-cautions-us

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Iran may be plotting a major attack: US General

Nov 24, 2019

WASHINGTON: The head of US military's Central Command on Sunday has warned that Iran remains on track to carry out a large-scale attack in the region said that Gulf nations were in danger.

Referring to the major attack at the Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie told the New York Times, "My judgment is that it is very possible they will attack again."

McKenzie ruled out any possibility of a major attack on the Jewish state but said that Gulf nations were in danger.

"It's the trajectory and the direction that they're on," The Times of Israel quoted him as saying. "The attack on the oil fields in Saudi was stunning in the depth of its audaciousness. I wouldn't rule that out going forward," he added.

Netanyahu last month had said Iran was emboldened by the lack of a response to the series of attacks attributed to it. He vowed Israel would respond forcefully to any attack.

The United States has recently increased its troop deployment in the Middle East. The Department of Defense has deployed more American troops to Saudi Arabia following mid-September attacks on the world's largest oil processing facility at Abqaiq and a major oil field at Khurais. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Saudi officials had blamed Iran for the attack.

Iran has denied US accusation over drone attacks on Aramco plants while Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi termed accusations as "meaningless and not comprehensible and are pointless."Meanwhile, Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the pre-dawn attacks.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/iran-may-be-plotting-a-major-attack-us-general/articleshow/72207575.cms

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Mideast

 

Iranian VP Warns Countries Involved in Riots to Expect Repercussions

Sat Nov 23, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri warned those countries of the region which have been involved in stoking insecurity inside his country during the last week riots to await the backlash of their anti-Tehran policies in the near future.

Jahangiri cautioned “some regional countries” to wait for a hard time in the region if Iran finds out clues to substantiate those countries’ involvement in the riots of the last week.

“Some countries of the region must know that if clues are found that they have been involved in provoking riots inside Iran, then their goose is cooked in the region because Iran is not a country to be joked in this way or to tolerate such behaviors,” he reprimanded foreign governments involved in insecurities in Iran.

“They have to behave with utmost respect towards Iran. They will receive a crushing blow if it is found that foreigners have intervened in domestic affairs of Iran and have inflicted costs and damages on the Iranian nation,” Jahangiri stated.

Earlier on Saturday, Head of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Public Relations Department Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said the US, some Persian Gulf littoral states and Israel have been involved in the last week riots in Iran. "Even, Saudis and some Emiratis as well as some intelligence services contributed to these events to stoke insecurity inside the country.”

Last Friday, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

On Friday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said on Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980902000750

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Iranian MP Says Palestine Main Issue Of Islamic World

24 November 2019

TEHRAN, Nov. 24 (MNA) – Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’ National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mojtaba Zonnour said that "the issue of Palestine is the main issue of the Islamic World.”

Speaking in a meeting with a number of leaders of the Palestinian resistance movements in Damascus on Saturday, Zonnour said that increased unity among Islamic Ummah will improve the conditions of the Palestinian nation.

He said that Iran's viewpoint regarding Palestine has always been transparent, unchanged and serious, adding, the resistance of Palestinians against the Israeli regime will pave the way for the collapse of the usurper regime.

The regime’s aggression against the Gaza Strip indicates Israel's concern about its diminishing existence and rapid destruction of the faked regime, he added.

Characterizing the so-called 'Deal of Century' as a plot for taking away the identity of the Palestinian nation, he said the way to counter the plot is uphold the ideals of Palestine until the freedom of the Holy Quds has been materialized. 

Ahmad Fouad, a leader of Palestinian groups, said during the meeting that the stance of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been based on decisive and unchangeable support to Palestine.

"Palestine's resistance groups consider US oppressive sanctions against Iran as a result of Iran's all-out support to the Palestinians and resistance movement," he said.

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/152602/MP-says-Palestine-main-issue-of-Islamic-World

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Main Ringleaders Behind Last Week Riots Arrested by IRGC

Sat Nov 23, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Public Relations Department Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said on Saturday that the ringleaders behind the last week’s violent riots have been identified and apprehended by the IRGC.

"The key ringleaders, promoting violence in last week’s riots which hijacked peaceful protests against gas price rise, have been arrested in cities of Shiraz and Tehran, and provinces of Alborz and Khuzestan," Brigadier General Sharif said this morning in Iranian Northern city of Astara.

He added that unfortunately some cases of looting happened where opportunists pounced on the mayhem and plundered chain stores and banks, vowing that the looters will be arrested and punished later.

The IRGC official then highlighted that the rioters, thugs and looters behind the last week unrest were supported by three major anti-Iran movements.

According to Sharif, Monarchists, who seek restoration of Pahlavi regime in Iran, made up the first group behind the riots.

He then named the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as the MEK, PMOI and NCRI), a terrorist cult responsible for attacks which claimed the lives of 17,000 civilians in Iran, as the second side advocating street violence in last week.

“The third current behind the recent riots in the country was made up of Americans, some Persian Gulf littoral states and the Zionists. Even, Saudis and some Emiratis as well as some intelligence services contributed to these events to stoke insecurity inside the country,” Sharif recounted.

He went on adding that the unrest, ranging from minor and major incidents, were mostly reported from 100 cities across the country, adding that a quick response by security apparatuses and the help of masses of people helped to put an end to riots in a short period between 1 to 3 days.

Last Friday, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

On Friday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said on Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980902000680

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Pro-Government Rallies Continue in 4 Corners of Iran

Sat Nov 23, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian people hit streets in more cities all across the country on Saturday, after similar rallies were held on Thursday and Friday, despite the freezing temperature in some areas, to voice their support for the government, and to condemn the moves of rioters who destroyed public and private properties last week.

Iranian demonstrators turned out in several towns and cities this morning, as similar demonstrations were held on Thursday and Friday, to protest against the riots in the past few days, show allegiance to the Establishment and deplore rioters who hijacked the peaceful protest rallies to damage public properties.

People in Bojnourd, Sanandaj, Ahvaz, Qazvin and Semnan poured to the streets to stress their support for the Islamic Republic and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei and voice opposition to the rioters and enemies.

Demonstrators chanted slogans against the rioters and enemies who masterminded the unrests in Iran, and called on the government to tighten control on the prices of other goods after increasing the gasoline price.

A massive turnout is expected to happen in Tehran on Monday when the residents of the capital city are expected to stage the biggest pro-government rally in the country.

Last Friday, the government raised Iran’s extremely cheap gas price in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum domestic requirement.

The government also announced a number of aid and subsidiary programs to protect vulnerable households from the adverse effects of the measure.

The price reform, required by Iranian legislature and essential as US-imposed sanctions seek to deplete Iran's budgetary resources, had been long delayed due to concerns regarding the move's probable backlash.

The measure's adoption prompted initially peaceful protests, but riotous elements, abusing the situation, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting ablaze banks and gas stations among other facilities, and opening fire on people and security forces.

On Friday, Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Ali Fadavi said that the US was disappointed that its perpetrated violent riots in Iran did not last more than 48 hours, adding that reports from all four corners of the country indicate that peace and calm has been restored much to Washington’s chagrin.

"Based on information we have received, the Americans have gone mad that the riots were over within 48 hours and are disappointed that there is no more disorder in Iran," Fadavi added.

However, Fadavi said that in numerous calls with other IRGC officials in the country no further riot attempts had been reported.

"Attacking homes, shops, hospitals, banks and gas stations is a malicious act which is not an act of protest nor rioting, but an act of thievery," Fadavi said.

"This is the difference between protest and disorder," he said.

The IRGC deputy commander added that peaceful protests were "natural" given the recent price hike and that the government has to adopt additional measures to reduce pressure on the general population.

Fadavi added, however, "The fact that the malicious actors of the world are targeting Iran in issues that are by no means related to them is a matter to note."

Deputy Head of Iran's Basij volunteer forces Brigadier General Salar Abnoosh said on Friday "a full-fledged war" had been meant to be waged against the country, only to be quelled early on.

Abnoosh added that interrogations of arrested rioters had revealed that a "coalition of evil" made up of "Zionists, America and Saudi Arabia" had joined forces to organize destructive riots from abroad.

Addressing worshipers during weekly Friday prayers in Tehran, senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said certain foreign countries had spent "three years" preparing for an opportunity to wreak havoc in Iran, training specific elements to that end.

"But their schemes were neutralized," he said, adding that the riots ceased to continue despite the fact that countries such as Saudi Arabia had spent many resources and had provided much media coverage in order to instigate disorder.

Following the Friday prayers, numerous rallies were also held across Iran to condemn the recent riots.

The protesters condemned the US, Israel and seditionist elements for fueling the unrest and chanted slogans in support of the Islamic establishment.

Addressing recent riots during a speech, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said those "who have abused the concerns and troubles of the people in order to create disorder and insecurity" will face severe consequences.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is known as the safest country in the region due to the sacrifices of our martyrs and our wounded," he said.

"We will never allow the smallest breach in the security of our people," he added.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980902000486

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Tehran Raps US for Obstructing Iran’s Medicine Import

Sat Nov 23, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Vice-President and Head of the Management and Planning Organization (MPO) Mohammad Baqer Nobakht lashed out at Washington’s economic terrorism against his country, reminding that Tehran is facing hardships to import needed food and medication at the same time that it is banned from selling oil.

Nobakht said on Saturday that the US have created obstacles for import of food and medicines, adding that they have attempted to prevent export of a single barrel of oil as well.

Speaking in the ceremony to sign MoU for building 20,000 small solar power plants, he said that the enemies have intensified sanctions against Iran.

He added that Iranian government has put on the agenda some project for construction of houses and setting up solar energy plants.

Earlier this month, it was announced by an NGO that Iranian children suffering from epidermolysis bullosa (EB) are the new victims of inhumane US sanctions against Tehran, as Washington’s bans are preventing a Swedish supplier from sending protective bandages to the country.

The NGO added that American bans have so far killed 15 of these children.

Hamid Reza Hashemi-Golayegani, the head of the NGO that helps such patients, said on Sunday that at least 15 Iranian children with epidermolysis bullosa (EB) have died since the US launched its new sanctions on Iran in August.

That is because Swedish medical companies which provided protective bandages for such patients have halted supplies due to the restrictions, he said.

Often known as butterfly children because their skin is as fragile as the wings of a butterfly, EB patients need special care. Even mild frictions or bumps cause severe blistering of the skin which is very painful.

They often have difficulty with their daily activities, such as walking, eating and even breathing, but without proper protective bandages, their agony would be heartbreaking.

The trade of humanitarian goods, such as food, medicine and medical devices, is on paper allowed by the US, still European companies refuse to do business with Iran, fearing secondary American sanctions.

Since the re-imposition of sanctions, Swedish medical products firm Molnlycke Health Care has stopped delivering Mepilex dressings which are trusted around the world to treat a wide range of chronic and acute wounds, including in EB patients, Iranian media reports say.

Earlier, Permanent representative of Iran to the United Nations Office in Geneva Esmayeel Baqayee Hamaneh censured the US for imposing sanctions which are globally considered as illegal, adding that Washington is violating human rights principles by obstructing patients’ access to needed medications.

Baqayee Hamaneh called the US "blind and inhumane sanctions" as one of the challenges that violate the human rights of the Iranian people, including the right to health and the right of free access to medicine and treatment.

He made the remarks, addressing a ceremony at the Human Rights Achievement Exhibition in Geneva.

Baqayee Hamaneh also pointed to the great challenges that have been imposed on the path of growth and development of the Iranian people over the past four decades, and went on to say that the Islamic Republic of Iran has firmly believed in national capacities and relied on popular support to overcome these obstacles.

In relevant remarks last month, Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki condemned the US medical sanctions against the country, calling for the World Health Organization (WHO)'s action against Washington.

"The US cruel sanctions and blocking the Iranian people's access to medicine, medical equipment and food stuff threatens the Iranians' heath and is a crime against humanity," Namaki said, addressing a conference of the East Mediterranean countries' health ministers in Tehran.

He said that Iran is committed to provide health and hygiene services to all people living in the country, including the Shiites, Sunnis, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and even prisoners who have received death sentence, calling on the WHO not to allow the US warmongers to threaten people's health by sanctions and pressures.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980902000781

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Iran Protests against UK-Based Media’s Anti-Tehran Smear Campaign

Sat Nov 23, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to London Hamid Baeedinejad said that his country has officially lodged a complaint against adversary Persian-language TV channels based in the United Kingdom for biased distorting of the recent events following Tehran’s decision to raise gas price in the country.

Baeedinejad said on Twitter on Friday that the embassy in a formal letter has lodged a complaint with Ofcom against the conduct of hostile Persian-language networks such as BBC Farsi, Iran International and Manoto which framed protests against gas price hike in Iran as an anti-establishment movement and tried to encourage protestors to use violence against civil entities with spreading fabricated claims against the Iranian government.

The complaint relates to these channels' biased distortion of the recent developments in Iran and calling for widespread violence against civil institutions in Iran, he added.

Head of Iran's Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali had said on Monday that anti-revolutionary forces organized groups in recent riots across Iran who threatened people with firearms to force them close their businesses and join the riots.

"The presence of organized anti-revolutionary groups in recent gatherings could be seen very clearly. Which protestor would go to a protest rally while fully equipped with tools to unscrew light poles and guardrails and to manace citizens with cold weapons and firearms to force them to join the riots," General Jalali said.

He added that destruction of public properties and plundering the stores and banks is not called civil protest, stressing that security of the people is the Islamic Republic's redline.

Riots by a small number who had taken advantage of legitimate public protests against the government's gas price hike plan in Iran were directed at sowing chaos through targeted attacks on public and private properties, forcing law enforcement to step in to stop saboteurs.

Early estimates of an intelligence body showed that a sum of nearly 87,000 protesters and rioters had taken part in protest rallies and gatherings since Friday night, mostly (over 93%) men. A large number of protesters had only been present in the gathering centers and avoided joining the rioters in sabotage attacks on public and private properties.

"The identical methods of the main core of violent rioters discloses that they are fully trained individuals who have been prepared and looking forward for the situation to rise, unlike most people who have been taken off guard by the sudden hike in gas price," the report said.

The report showed that gatherings have been comprised of 50 to 1,500 people held in 100 regions of the country out of a number of 1,080 major towns and cities. The report says violent raids and damage inflicted on properties has been larger than what happened in February 2018 unrests.

Most cases of damage to properties had happened in Khuzestan, Tehran, Fars and Kerman provinces. The report says most casualties have resulted from armed outlaws' attacks on oil storage and military centers, adding that a number of police and popular forces have been martyred in these attacks.

Nearly 1,000 people were arrested across the country while over 100 banks and 57 big stores were set on fire or plundered in just one province.

The Iranian intelligence ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that it had identified several rioters who misused the recent protest rallies against the gasoline price hikes to destroy public and private properties.

"The main culprits behind the riots in the past two days have been identified and proper measures are being adopted and the honorable nation will be informed about its result later," the statement said.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980902000331

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Iranian VP Calls for Technology-Based Economy, Raps Dependence on Oil

Sun Nov 24, 2019

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari censured the country’s dependence on oil revenues, and urged for more technology-oriented economic activities.

Speaking on a visit to the Northern province of Mazandaran on Saturday, Sattari criticized oil economies for their incapability, saying that nowadays, the price of a barrel of oil is lower than a bottle of perfume.

"Development with an oil economy is impossible, and we must all realize that dependency on oil revenues will get nowhere," he added.

The official urged for a technology-based economy, saying that "today, no country is going to oil-rich countries for technology”.

The vice president pointed out that pharmaceuticals is one of the most important areas that knowledge-based companies are involved in Iran, adding that 98% of the country's human medicines are produced domestically.

He added big steps have been taken by the knowledge-based firms in the area of veterinary pharmacy and nutrition industry.

Last month, Governor of the Central bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati announced that the country has further reduced its reliance on oil revenues to bring the share of the income earned though crude sales in the budget to less than 30 percent.

“Oil has had the major share of production and exports in Iran’s economy for 50 years, but today less than one-third of the exports is related to oil,” Hemmati wrote on his Instagram.

He reiterated that Iran’s economic growth had been greatly affected by the oil sector, but now the situation has changed.

“The CBI will be able to create stability in non-oil sector by adopting monetary and currency policies,” the CBI governor added.

In August, Iranian Vice-President and Head of the Management and Planning Organization Mohammad Baqer Nobakht said that his country is determined to draft its new budget bill with zero-dependence on oil revenues in a bid to disappoint the US with its maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.

Following the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last year, US President Donald Trump's administration went ahead with re-imposing sanction on Iran, targeting the country’s energy and banking sectors, and stepping up efforts to drive Iran’s oil revenues to zero.

In April, the White House announced its decision not to renew waivers that allow eight countries, including China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey, to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran says with or without waivers, the country’s oil exports will not fall to zero under any circumstances. At the same time, the country is making efforts to reduce its reliance on oil revenues and instead turn its focus on non-oil production and exports.

Back in July, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani underlined the US failure to cut to zero his country's oil exports, saying that Washington has been defeated by Iran's smart moves.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980903000408

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4 Turkish men receive royal honors for building Islamic center in Netherlands

24.11.2019

Four Turkish-Dutch citizens were given royal honors on Saturday for their contributions to transforming a 40-square-meter mosque into an Islamic complex and their support for integration efforts in their city of Schiedam.

At the award ceremony – held in the hall of Schiedam Islamic Center, also known as Yıldız Islam Merkezi – Mehmet Kılcı, 81, Mustafa Güngör, 77, and Irfan Ulusoy, 63, received the royal honors from Schiedam Mayor Cor Lamers. A fourth honoree, Dursun Ali Başalan, died last month at the age of 81. His son Mükremin Başalan received the award on his behalf.

Kılcı, Güngör, Ulusoy and Başalan, who have been pioneers in their community since the 1980s with their volunteer activities, were deemed worthy of the royal award due to their contribution to the entire construction process of the Islamic complex, and for using that space to support integration initiatives in their community.

Ulusoy, who is originally from Sivas in central Turkey, told an Anadolu Agency correspondent that he was touched by the royal honor.

“It was a big surprise. Forty years passed in front of my eyes like a filmstrip. It makes a person emotional whether they want it or not. Praise be to God for granting us these beauties,” he said.

Güngör, from the western Black Sea province of Karabük, said, “We have worked voluntarily for the sake of God and we have not expected any appreciation from anyone, but we were very pleased and proud to see that we were worthy of such an award.”

More than 100 Turkish-origin Dutch citizens residing in various cities across the Netherlands have previously received a royal honor for volunteer work.

The awards are announced as part of celebrations marking King Willem-Alexander's birthday on April 27.

This year, 1,003 women and 1,861 men were presented with honors. Among this year's order recipients, the oldest was 94 years of age and the youngest was 25.

https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/2019/11/24/4-turkish-men-receive-royal-medals-for-building-mosque-in-netherlands

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Europe

 

Mauritius calls UK an ‘illegal colonial occupier’ after missing UN deadline to return Chagos Islands

November 22, 2019

Mauritius called the United Kingdom an ‘illegal colonial occupier’ after it failed to meet a UN deadline to return control of an overseas territory to the island nation, according to the BBC.

Britain was given six months to return the Chagos Islands after the UN General Assembly voted to condemn its continued occupation of the Indian Ocean territory.

After the deadline passed Friday, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said the UK was now an illegal colonial occupier.

Mauritius, a former British colony, claims it was forced to trade the Chagos Islands in exchange for independence.

When Mauritius was still a colony, Britain purchased the islands for 3 million pounds in 1965. This archipelago is known as British Indian Ocean Territory.

The UN General Assembly had earlier this year, voted by an overwhelming majority of 116 to 6 countries in the favour of a notion demanding that the Chagos Islands, Britain’s last African territory be reunited with Mauritius.

The United Nations had adopted the motion on the advice of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which said that the decolonisation of Mauritius was not “lawfully completed” according to international law.

The UK does not regard the ICJ judgment or the UN motion as binding.

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“We have no doubt about our sovereignty over British Indian Ocean Territory, which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

Adding that, “Mauritius has never held sovereignty over the archipelago and we do not recognise its claim,” he said that the territory will remain in British hands until “it is no longer needed for defence purposes.”

https://indianexpress.com/article/world/mauritius-calls-uk-an-illegal-colonial-occupier-after-missing-un-deadline-to-return-chagos-islands-6132286/

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Badgers sett to feature in Muslim prayer hall planning battle

CONCERNS have been raised over plans for Cumbria’s first dedicated Muslim prayer hall after objectors claimed badgers had been spotted on the site.

Planning permission is being sought by South Lakes Islamic Centre to build the religious centre off Ulverston Road, Dalton.

Opponents to the controversial scheme said it should be rejected on the grounds that families of badgers and setts had been spotted on the grounds.

Allan Whittaker said he and other residents had also 'raised concerns mainly about the project being on a greenfield site, as well as there being problems with parking and pollution that could arise if this goes ahead'.

Mr Whittaker said he had included the complaint over potential harm to protected wildlife in his letter of objection to Barrow Council.

Fifty Dalton residents attended a council meeting this week where they aired concerns regarding the plans.

Some echoed Mr Whittaker’s objections to the plans at the meeting on the basis that the proposed land was a greenfield site.

However, a representative from Manchester-based County Planning Limited, which is advising the group on the application, said it was in fact a brownfield site.

The letter, sent to The Mail and Dalton Town Council, said: "The site is broadly classified as ‘species-poor amenity grassland’ which means the land is not considered to be likely to be home to any protected or otherwise rare plant or animal species.”

The letter added: "The exact details will be subject to planning conditions to be agreed by the council’s planning department.

"Due to the faith of Islam’s requirement to worship in relation to sunlight and sunset hours, there will necessarily be a requirement for some flexibility in hours of use. However, I can confirm that there will be no music or instruments played during anti-social hours and having discussed it with the South Lakes Islamic Centre representatives, they are keen to reassure the community of its members intentions not any cause unnecessary disturbance to local residents at any time."

Another council meeting is set to take place at the Station Road town hall on December 2 at 7pm.

https://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/18056788.badgers-sett-feature-muslim-prayer-hall-planning-battle/

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Muslim mum speaks out after confronting anti-Semitic bigot on London Underground

23 NOV 2019

A mother-of-two who confronted a bigot who hurled anti-Semitic abuse at Jewish children on the London Underground said she "wouldn't hesitate to do it again".

Asma Shuweikh, from London, told how she wished more people on the Tube had stood up the man when he started being aggressive towards the young family.

It comes after a man wearing a cap and hoody was filmed reading anti-Jewish passages to two young boys who were wearing skullcaps on the Northern Line in Central London.

In the video the man is seen threatening a man off-camera after he tries to intervene before a woman in a hijab - Asma - confronts him.

She said: "I would have loved more people to come up and say something, because if everyone did, I do not think it would have escalated in the way that it did."

She said when she saw what was happening she knew she "had to confront him".

"Being a mother of two, I know what it's like to be in that situation and I would want someone to help if I was in that situation," she said.

She said the couple were travelling with three children and she wanted to deflect the man's attention away from them.

She said: "He was quite aggressive and was getting in my face."

Fellow passenger Chris Atkins took the video after catching the Tube heading south on the Charing Cross branch of the line at midday on Friday.

He said: "The Muslim woman didn't take any shit from him and really, really took him to task, very firmly and persistently."

"In this day and age we are told how intolerant everyone is and all religions hate each other and there you had a Muslim woman sticking up for some Jewish children."

Twitter users have hailed Mrs Shuweikh a "hero".

Mrs Shuweikh told how she got off the Tube after two stops and did not realise the video was going viral until a friend texted her to say she had seen her on Twitter.

She created a Twitter account just so she could see the reaction.

She said: "It was so heartwarming to see the responses and see what people were saying. I can't take all the credit because a lot of other people were involved.

"I would not hesitate to do it again."

British Transport Police have now arrested a man in connection with the incident.

They said: "A man has been arrested in connection with an anti-Semitic incident on the London Underground.

"British Transport Police officers attended an address in Birmingham this evening.

"The man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence - he remains in custody.

"The offence itself happened on a Northern Line train at around 12pm on Friday 22 November.

"A video widely circulated on social media showed passengers being harassed and being targeted with anti-Semitic abuse."

https://www.mylondon.news/news/zone-1-news/muslim-woman-abuse-jewish-underground-17307359

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Southeast Asia

 

Mujahid steps aside as Amanah’s Penang chief

November 23, 2019

GEORGE TOWN: Amanah Penang chairman Mujahid Yusof Rawa, a federal minister, has relinquished his position in order to concentrate on his government duties.

Nibong Tebal division leader Dr Roslan Ahmad has been appointed the new state chairman.

Mujahid, who is also Amanah vice-president and a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the appointment was made at the party’s state Convention, which party president Mohamad Sabu officiated here earlier today.

He also revealed that he had declined reappointment for the state party chairman post as he wanted to focus on his federal duties.

He hoped the new state party leadership will continue its good ties with the Penang government, now that Amanah was also a component party in the state.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/11/23/mujahid-steps-aside-as-amanahs-penang-chief/

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Proposed UEM Sunrise-Eco World merger raising concerns, says report

November 24, 2019

PETALING JAYA: A proposed merger between UEM Sunrise, the property arm of Khazanah Nasional, and Eco World Development Group Bhd is raising some concerns, according to The Sunday Times.

Bankers and government officials close to the situation told the Singapore daily that there is some opposition from the sovereign fund and several senior government officials to the proposed merger.

Leading the charge for the deal, the report said, is tycoon Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, who is closely linked to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Bankers and government officials said he is also closely associated with the main shareholders of Eco World.

“(The proposed transaction) hangs in a balance that for now is tilting in Eco World’s favour,” a senior government official close to the situation, who is also against the UEM-Eco World deal, told The Sunday Times.

The report said that Eco World founder Liew Kee Sin and his partners are insisting on management control in the merged entity should the deal go through.

It said the “keen interest on developments surrounding Eco World” is also due to Liew, who set up SP Setia in the early 1990s and turned the company into one of the most profitable publicly-listed property entities before being taken over by state-owned investment fund Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) in 2014.

Eco World was set up shortly after Liew and his partners took over Focal Aims, a small Johor-based listed company, before expanding aggressively.

“But the group’s high leveraged expansion strategy has left it saddled with debts of more than RM3.7 billion against a backdrop of declining sales both in Malaysia and its international operations,” the report said.

On Thursday, it was reported that UEM Sunrise and Eco World were expected to merge by year-end via a share swap, to form one of Malaysia’s largest real estate companies by market value.

However, the following day, UEM Sunrise said it had not made or received any corporate proposals on a potential merger with Eco World.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/11/24/proposed-uem-sunrise-eco-world-merger-raising-concerns-says-report/

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Africa

 

Mudslides, floods kill 34 people in western Kenya

Nov 23, 2019

NAIROBI: Kenya's interior minister says 29 people have been killed in mudslides, among the 34 people overall who lost their lives Saturday amid flooding in the East Africa nation.

Heavy rains unleashed overnight floods in western Kenya. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said 17 people died in a mudslide in the village of Takmal in the Pokot Central district, while 12 others lost their lives in mudslides in the villages of Parua and Tapach in Pokot South.

Five other people died when their car was swept away on the road between Kitale and Lodwar after two rivers overflowed their banks, said West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello.

West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello said five other people died when their car was swept away on the road between Kitale and Lodwar after two rivers overflowed their banks.

Matiangi said the government sent military and police helicopters to help those affected by the floods, but the scope of the disaster was not yet clear.

``While rescue and recovery efforts remain the priority, a full assessment into the extent of damage caused continues to be a challenge due to harsh weather conditions,'' he said.

More than 1 million people in East Africa have been affected by flooding after higher-than-normal rainfall. The latest deaths in Kenya bring to 72 the number of people who have died in a month and a half due to flooding-related causes.

The International Rescue Committee said this month that many people had been reeling from an earlier severe drought in the region. Now rains in parts of Somalia, South Sudan and Kenya are expected for four to six more weeks.

The torrential rain is uncommon for this time of year. Experts have said the changing weather patterns have a huge impact because close to 100% of Kenya's agriculture is rain-fed.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/mudslides-floods-kill-34-people-in-western-kenya/articleshow/72200518.cms

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Ibadan ‘Rehab’ Centre: I’m Not Against Islam, Muslims —Makinde

By Saheed Salawu

Nov 24, 2019

GOVERNOR of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, has declared that he is not against Islam and will not do anything to bring the image of the religion or its adherents into disrepute.

The governor made the declaration on Saturday in Ibadan in a message to a forum provided by a thank-you visit of the proprietor of Olore Arabic and Islamic Reformation Centre, Ibadan, Khalifa Muhammad Olore, to the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Dawud Akinola, at his residence in Ibadan.

Khalifa Olore with his entourage was at the Muslim leader’s house to thank him for his intervention in his trouble with the state’s authorities after the recent uncovering of the disheartening condition of inmates at his facility.

The governor, whose message was delivered by the chairman of the state’s Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Nureni Adeniran, said he did not harbor any negative feelings against Muslims and Islam, adding that his government had been very sensitive in handling the Olore “rehabilitation centre” saga which, he noted, had set the general public on the edge.

The governor said the government was still looking into the matter and it would do the needful to ensure that things were done in line with the provisions of the law and in a manner that would not bring any question.

“For the purpose of rehabilitation, there shouldn’t be any dehumanisation of anybody. The right to human dignity should be ensured. That is the provision of the law.

“The Oyo State government is passionate about the welfare of its citizens. This set of people [the inmates at Olore rehabilitation centre] is part of the responsibility of the Oyo State government. All the Oyo State government is after is to ensure that nobody is dehumanised or maltreated and that there is no illegality going on.

“The leaders of the Olore centre are already aware of this and they are thankful to the government for being magnanimous about the whole scenario and are trying to cooperate with the government to achieve peace and orderliness and ensure that every citizen enjoys the right to human dignity,” Makinde said.

Dr Adeniran intimated the audience of a project called Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) which, he said, was being facilitated by the Oyo State government and supported by the World Bank.

He said the project was targeted at out-of-school children, some of whom are the almajiris who are mainly the people at some of the Quranic centres located across the state.

“What we intend doing is to convert some of these Quranic centres to centres for the BESDA project, where instructional materials and all other useful materials will be provided for the purpose of ensuring that literacy is taken to them.

The Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Akinola, in his remarks, expressed gratitude to God that the controversy provoked by the Olore rehabilitation matter did not degenerate into civil disorder.

https://tribuneonlineng.com/ibadan-rehab-centre-im-not-against-islam-muslims-makinde/

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Surabaya Court to Sentence Ahmad Dhani Today; 349 Police Stand By

11 June 2019

TEMPO.CO, Surabaya - As many as 349 joint officers of East Java Police, Surabaya Resort Police, and Sawahan Sector Police dispatched to secure the verdict trial of Ahmad Dhani in Surabaya District Court, Tuesday, June 11.

Surabaya Police operation head Comr. Anton Elfrino said that the trial initially scheduled at 13:00 local time was forwarded an hour.

“So we stand by earlier,” said Anton after leading the troop ceremony in the backyard of the court. The assigned officers are mobile brigade (Brimob), public order squad or Sabhara, and traffic unit, tasked inside and outside the court building.

Anton ordered several Brimob personnel to form a fence of legs (pagar betis) along the road possibly passed by the musician from his arrival until entering the trial room. While, traffic police were instructed to manage the traffic flow on Jalan Arjuno, in front of the court building.

The trial would be led by Judge Anton Widyopriyono.

In the previous trial, the prosecutor demanded the leader of a music group Dewa 19 with one year and 6 months in jail for spreading hate speech on his Instagram account as he violated Article 45 (3) in conjunction with Article 27(3) of the Information and Electronic Transactions Law (UU ITE).

The case began on August 26, 2018, when Ahmad Dhani planned to lead an event of #2019GantiPresiden or #2019ChangethePresident in Tugu Pahlawan, Surabaya. The plan was halted because Majapahit Hotel he stayed in was surrounded by hundreds of people joined in Elemen Bela NKRI. He then created a vlog and calling those people idiot.

https://en.tempo.co/read/1213645/surabaya-court-to-sentence-ahmad-dhani-today-349-police-stand-by

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/pm-modi-thanked-the-130-crore-people-of-india-for-the-manner-in-which-the-‘spirit-of-unity-and-brotherhood’-was-furthered-verdict-on-the-ram-janambhoomi/d/120349

 

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