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Probe Reveals Karnataka 'Love-Jihad' Case To Be Fake; Afjal Sollapura Died And Nethravathi Waddar - Is Battling For Life

New Age Islam News Bureau

04 April 2023

Image used for representational purpose only.

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• Sri Lankans Celebrate Unity As Several Communities Come Together For Ramadan Iftar

• Syrian Refugee, RyyanAlshebl, Becomes Mayor In Germany

• Saudi Arabia Executes Saudi Man During Ramadan; ‘Rare’ Decries Rights Group

• President Rayeesi Accepts King Salman's Invitation to Visit S. Arabia

 

India

• UP: Hindu Man Killed 18-Year-Old Muslim Wife For Insisting To Eat Meat

• Cattle Trader Lynching: Karnataka Congress Tweets Photos Of Prime Accused

• Protect Muslims During Ramazan, Mamata Banerjee Urges Hindus

• 'Plot to Evacuate Muslims from Surat Before Planting Nuclear Bomb': Court's Charges Against Yasin Bhatkal

• Centre to issue forex cards for 1.4 lakh Hajj pilgrims

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South Asia

• Bangladesh says Myanmar must build trust, safety for Rohingya repatriation

• Spokesperson of IEA Claims Daesh Threat in Afghanistan is ‘Propaganda’

• Afghanistan: 2 children killed in mortar mine blast in Wardak province

• Afghan Security Forces Kill 6 Key Daesh Fighters in Balkh Province

• Afghanistan to Handover Iranian Prisoners to Iran Soon

• Russia, Tajikistan Troops Hold Military Exercises Near Afghanistan Border

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Europe

• Ukrainian Muslims Mark Ramadan, Pray For Victory

• Turkish Community Gathers At Iftar Event In London

• UK minister under fire for singling out Pakistani men

• UK set to deport Nepalese guards who risked lives protecting Kabul embassy

• Germany, Jordan call for 2-state solution to Israel-Palestine conflict

• France expresses regret for French journalists' expulsion from Burkina Faso

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Arab World

• PM Sudani: No Need For US Forces In Iraq As Iraqi Troops Fully Ready, Daesh Vanquished

• El-Sadat’s passport returns to Egypt after US auction controversy

• Islamic Ministry hosts Iftar banquets in Kosovo, Philippines

• Two Islamic State suicide bombers killed in Syria amid group’s resurgence

• Bus attack in Syria injures 16 near Jordan border: State media

• Israeli air strikes kill two civilians in Syria’s government-held areas

• Syria's deputy FM urges immediate withdrawal of Turkish forces, non-interference in domestic affairs

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Mideast

• Tehran Vows Revenge for Israeli Terror Attack Against Iranian Military Advisors in Syria

• Rayeesi: Holy Qur’an, Spirituality Of Ramadan Can Promote Unity Within Muslim Ummah

• Deputy Minister: Total $80bln Oil Investment Agreements Signed with Foreign Parties

• Senior Diplomat: Ancient Treasure Seized in UK to Return to Iran

• Israel detains Passover sacrifice campaigner as al-Aqsa tensions simmer

• Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in West Bank gunfight, medics says

• Houthis must reveal location of all mines to save lives, say activists and government

• The inspirational strength of the victims of Houthi landmines in Yemen

• Hamas targets Israeli warplanes after resistance group’s drone shot down over Gaza Strip

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Pakistan

• Militant Attacks Drop by 36 Pc in Pakistan, Casualties Remain Same: Report

• Ruling on PTI’s election petition likely today

• SC registrar removed after Justice Isa’s blistering rejoinder

• Voices from within ruling coalition call for ‘de-escalation’

• NAB on notice as Imran, Bushra challenge summons

• Karachi Chapter OfPTI Unhappy Over Move To Contact MQM-P

• Terror-stricken Sikh community weary of its safety

• 125 policemen martyred in militant attacks in three months in KP

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Southeast Asia

• Law Ministry Seeks To Spur Economy Through Ramadan Bazaar

• Malaysia says Beijing expresses concerns about its energy projects in South China Sea

• Malaysian parliament approves bill to scrap mandatory death penalty

• As Japan ages, young Indonesians train to fill caregiver jobs

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Africa

• Tunisia’s Saied Reappears In Public, Dismisses ‘Mad’ Speculations

• UN calls for accountability push in Libya as war crimes probe ends

• Algerian president discusses Syrian developments with al-Assad

• KSrelief continues humanitarian efforts in Indonesia, Nigeria

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North America

• Surrey Throat Slashing Suspect Charged With Terrorism Linked To Islamic State Group

• US says its forces killed ISIS leader in Syria behind planning attacks in Europe

• After attacks by Iranian-backed forces, US carrier repositioned near Syria: Pentagon

• US vows to act against human rights abusers in Libya

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/reveals-karnataka-love-jihad-afjalsollapura/d/129488

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Probe Reveals Karnataka 'Love-Jihad' Case To Be Fake; Afjal Sollapura Died And Nethravathi Waddar - Is Battling For Life

03rd April 2023

Image used for representational purpose only.

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BAGALKOT (Karnataka): The police investigations into the alleged 'love-jihad' case reported from Bagalkot district in Karnataka have revealed that the Muslim youth and Hindu girl were in love for three years, according to sources.

The 26-year-old AfjalSollapura died on Monday at a hospital and the girl - 22-year-old NethravathiWaddar - is battling for life.

Afzal and Nethravathi had torched themselves on February 27 at Guduru village in Ilkal taluk. They were admitted to a hospital by the locals. Afzal and Nethra were treated at the district hospital and later shifted to the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) at Hubballi.

Afzal who suffered 70 per cent injuries succumbed on Monday. The girl is battling for life with severe burn injuries.

The Hindu organisations had claimed it to be a case of 'love-jihad' and alleged that the boy had poured petrol and set the girl ablaze for rejecting his love proposal.

The family members of the girl had stated that Afzal was behind her and their daughter did not love him. They also alleged that he threatened her as well that he will not let her live.

But, the police probe revealed that both were in love and Netharavathi had not revealed about Afzal to her family. She also agreed for marriage to be fixed by her family. Further investigation in the case is on.

Source:New Indian Express

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

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2023/apr/03/tragic-ithihas-probe-reveals-karnataka-love-jihad-case-to-be-fake-but-its-too-late-2562332.html

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Sri Lankans Celebrate Unity As Several Communities Come Together For Ramadan Iftar

Mohammed Rasooldeen

April 03, 2023

Sri Lankans gather at Independence Square in the capital Colombo for an iftar event on April 2, 2023. (AN photo)

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COLOMBO: Thousands of people from several communities in Sri Lanka came together for iftar over the weekend, an occasion they say conveyed unity and optimism in a country that faced economic collapse and political upheaval in the past year.

Muslims make up less than 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people, who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists.

As the minority community celebrates the holy month of Ramadan, which involves fasting during daylight hours, around 3,000 Sri Lankans gathered in the capital Colombo on Sunday for the fast-breaking evening meals of Iftar.

“We organized this to bring unity amongst all communities. We always believe that humanity is beyond religion,” Rizan Nazeer, a chief organizer of the event, told Arab News.

The gathering, which was organized by the Sri Lanka Muslim Civil Society, the Soup Kitchen Sri Lanka and the Torrington Walkers’ Team, aims to “show the unity in this country,” he said.

Former Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena, who was among the participants, said the iftar event “will contribute a lot to strengthen intercommunal amity.”

Sirisena told Arab News: “Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims but today we enjoy the companionship of members of all communities for a common goal.

“This joint initiative by all communities is a good signal that the country will forge ahead in the future.”

Calm has returned for the most part in Sri Lanka, an island nation facing its worst economic crisis that, only last year, saw months-long mass protests which eventually ousted then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sunday’s iftar event was a celebration of diversity, said Thailand’s Ambassador in Colombo PojHarnpol.

“What I witness, I see people from all places and all walks of life to join together and it’s a blessing that we have a pluralistic society,” Harnpol told Arab News. “I’m so glad to be part of the national unity.”

For Y.M. Jayaratne, a Sinhalese Buddhist, seeing the larger Sri Lankan community come together was a boost of optimism.

“I can see all the communities are involved here, it’s a good sign of how this country is coming up after difficult times,” Jayaratne told Arab News.

“We had our ups and downs as a country but we have to come out, we have to look forward,” he said. “I’m glad that I take part in this evening with the community, with my friends.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280666/world

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Syrian Refugee, RyyanAlshebl, Becomes Mayor In Germany

April 03, 2023

Syrian refugee Ryyan Alshebl won an outright majority in the mayoral contest in Ostelsheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. (Twitter Photo)

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LONDON: A Syrian refugee has been elected mayor of a village in southwest Germany.

RyyanAlshebl, 29, arrived in the country in 2015 after fleeing the conflict in his homeland. He settled in the region of Baden-Wurttemberg, where he has worked for seven years in the town hall in Althengstett.

Standing as an independent candidate on a platform of improving access to digital services, he won an outright majority in the mayoral contest in the village of Ostelsheim on Sunday, securing 55.4 percent of the vote.

He described his win as “sensational,” and praised the village as having “set an example for broad-mindedness and cosmopolitanism for the whole of Germany.”

Originally from As-Suwayda in southwest Syria, Alshebl — a non-practicing member of the Druze religious minority and the son of a secondary school teacher and an agricultural engineer — was forced to abandon his studies in finance and banking because of the war.

He is the first Syrian refugee to have applied for asylum in Germany between 2015 and 2016 — of whom there are at least 430,000 — known to have been elected to office.

He is also among just 1.2 percent of Germany’s elected mayors to be from a migrant background, as opposed to 27 percent of the country’s total population, according to Mediendienst Integration.

The most high-profile German politician with Syrian roots, Frankfurt’s Mayor Mike Josef, was born in Qamishli in 1983 but moved to Germany with his family soon after as political refugees for their Christian faith.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280636/world

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Saudi Arabia Executes Saudi Man During Ramadan; ‘Rare’ Decries Rights Group

By Mallika Soni

Apr 04, 2023

Saudi Arabia Execution: The man, a Saudi national who had been convicted of murder, was put to death in the Medina region. (AFP)

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Saudi Arabia executed a man during the holy month of Ramadan, Guardian reported citing a rights group which said that the execution was rare. The execution took place on 28 March – five days into Ramadan- the report claimed. The man, a Saudi national who had been convicted of murder, was put to death in the Medina region. The man had stabbed the victim and set him on fire, the report added.

“Saudi Arabia executed a citizen during Ramadan,” European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights (ESOHR) said in a statement, citing Saudi interior ministry capital punishment data. “No sentence has been implemented during the holy month” since 2009 in Saudi Arabia, , the group said.

Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest rates of executions and with the latest case, the number of executions in 2023 rose to 17, the group said. In 2022, Saudi Arabia executed 147 people in- over double the 2021 figure of 69, news agency AFP earlier reported.

Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman assumed power as the country's de facto ruler in 2015, more than 1,000 death sentences have been carried out, according to a report published by Reprieve and ESOHR.

Although in March 2022, the Crown Prince had said in an interview with The Atlantic magazine that Saudi Arabia “got rid of” the death penalty. It only applied to cases of murder or when someone “threatens the lives of many people”, he had said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/saudi-arabia-execution-saudi-arabia-news-saudi-arabia-executes-man-during-ramadan-rare-decries-rights-group-101680567279533.html

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President Rayeesi Accepts King Salman's Invitation to Visit S. Arabia

2023-April-3

TEHRAN (FNA)- First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber said that President Seyed Ebrahim Rayeesi has accepted an invitation from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to visit the kingdom following the reconciliation deal between Tehran and Riyadh.

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"King Salman has invited the president, and there has been a positive response to this invitation, and hopefully good things will happen," Mokhber stated on Monday.

"The main strategies of Mr. Rayeesi since the first day he was elected as the president have been to improve relations with the countries of the region," he added.

The two regional heavyweights announced on March 10 a Chinese-brokered agreement to restore ties seven years after they were severed.

According to a joint statement, Tehran and Riyadh have stressed the need to respect the national sovereignty and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of one another.

The two countries have agreed to implement a security cooperation agreement signed in April 2001 and another accord reached in May 1998 to boost economic, commercial, investment, technical, scientific, cultural, sports, and youth affairs cooperation.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr by theRiyadh government, stormed its embassy in Tehran.

The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia have also agreed to hold a meeting within the coming days.

In a telephone conversation with his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian expressed pleasure with the positive trend of ties between Tehran and Riyadh.

He also stressed Iran’s resolve to expand its policy of neighborliness.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020114000508/Presiden-Rayeesi-Acceps-King-Salman's-Inviain-Visi-S-Arabia

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India

 

UP: Hindu Man Killed 18-Year-Old Muslim Wife For Insisting To Eat Meat

3rd April 2023

A Hindu man was arrested on Sunday after he murdered his 18-year-old Muslim wife in Uttar Pradesh’s Banti Khera village.

According to police, the incident took place on March 21. Naima wanted to have non-vegetarian food which was objected to by her husband Ajit.

“The couple had a heated argument and Naima threatened to leave the house. In a fit of rage, Ajit murdered Naima and dumped her body at a nearby well. He tried to eradicate the evidence by sprinkling salt over the body,” police said.

Source: SiasatDaily

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

https://www.siasat.com/up-man-killed-18-year-old-muslim-wife-for-insisting-to-eat-meat-2560772/

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Cattle trader lynching: Karnataka Congress tweets photos of prime accused

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore  

04.04.23

The Karnataka Congress on Monday tweeted a collage of pictures showing the prime accused in Friday night’s lynching of a Muslim cattle trader, by alleged cow vigilantes, with several senior state and national BJP leaders, including state home minister AragaJnanendra.

The photographs show Puneeth Kerehalli, head of the Rashtra Rakshana Pade (Nation Protection Army), who police sources say is a well-known cow vigilante, with Jnanendra, BJP national general secretary C.T. Ravi, Lok Sabha member and BJP youth icon Tejasvi Surya, state energy minister V. Sunil Kumar, Lok Sabha member Pratap Simha and some other party functionaries.

Puneeth and four unnamed others have been booked on the charge of murdering Idrees Pasha, 38, at Sathanur village in Ramanagara district, about 150km from Bangalore. All five accused are in hiding. The police have formed two teams to trace them. The BJP had till evening not reacted officially to the Congress charge of links with Puneeth.

A senior BJP leader said Puneeth “has nothing to do with the party” and stressed that “there is nothing unusual in political leaders posing for pictures with members of the general public”. Pasha’s lynching comes a month after state animal husbandry minister Prabhu Chavan had declared that the May 10 Assembly elections were “a battle between cow protectors and cow slaughterers”.

State Congress president D.K. Shivakumar, whose Assembly constituency of Kanakapura includes Sathanur, has demanded the resignation of home minister Jnanendra, the immediate arrest of the accused, and compensation of Rs 25 lakh to Pasha’s family.

“(Chief minister) Basavaraj Bommai is responsible for this. He has encouraged it. We had raised our voice when he made that statement on moral policing,” Shivakumar told a news conference, where he held up pictures of Puneeth with BJP leaders that his party had earlier tweeted. Bommai had in 2021 justified a surge in acts of moral policing — mainly the harassment of interfaith couples at public places — by saying: “Action and reaction are bound to happen if sentiments are hurt.”

Asked about the BJP’s silence on the pictures, a party source said all the senior leaders were busy finalising the candidates’ list, which would be sent to Delhi in a couple of days. Puneeth’s Facebook page has a video, posted on March 18, of what appears an act of cow vigilantism. It shows a mini-truck laden with cattle, its rear hatch open.

The cattle are tied to one another and to the vehicle itself. Puneeth unties the cattle, which are later seen at a cattle shelter. Pasha and two companions were travelling in a mini-truck with 16 heads of cattle when the five accused allegedly stopped them at Sathanur late on Friday night and attacked them, telling them to “go to Pakistan”.

The companions — Syed Zaheer, 38, and Irfan, 37 — say they somehow managed to run away. Pasha’s body was found on Saturday morning on a roadside in Sathanur. Former chief minister and Janata Dal Secular leader H.D. Kumaraswamy tweeted in Kannada: “If he was transporting cattle illegally, he could have been caught and handed over to the police or information could have been provided (to the police). What is the meaning of this murder?” He added: “Anyone can understand the conspiracy behind this during election time.”

Kumaraswamy slammed the police’s inaction while cow vigilantes ran amok in the state. “These people masquerading as cow protectors do not care for the cows on the streets, which have neither food nor shelter. But their objective is to keep the fire of caste and religion burning. Is the police system fast asleep?” Hundreds of Muslims carried Pasha’s body in a funeral procession in his native Mandya town on Sunday.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/india/cattle-trader-lynching-karnataka-congress-tweets-photos-of-prime-accused/cid/1927067

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Protect Muslims during Ramazan, Mamata Banerjee urges Hindus

Devadeep Purohit   |   Calcutta  

04.04.23

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday urged “Hindu brothers and sisters” to protect Muslims during the holy month of Ramazan.

The appeal was issued ahead of Hanuman Jayanti, scheduled on April 6, and against the backdrop of sporadic communal clashes in the state during the Ram Navami celebrations in Howrah and Rishra in Hooghly.

“I would like to put our people on alert for April 6. We do respect Bajrangbali. But they (the BJP) may have plans to create riots,” Mamata said, seeking to sensitise people about the saffron camp’s polarisation agenda.

The chief minister not only instructed the state administration to be vigilant to thwart any attempts to create communal disharmony but also appealed to the people at large to help the minority community.

“There should not be any atrocities against Muslims in the month of Ramazan. My Hindu brothers and sisters will protect them and save them in every village. They are a minority. They should get justice,” Mamata said at a programme in Khejuri, around 120km from Calcutta, in East Midnapore.

With her appeal, the Bengal chief minister touched upon a topic that B.R. Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution, had broached in the immediate aftermath of India’s independence when the country was reeling under communal conflict.

Referring to the growing fanaticism against minorities in the turbulent days after Independence, Ambedkar had said: “... the minorities in India have agreed to place their existence in the hands of the majority…. They have loyally accepted the rule of the majority, which is basically a communal majority and not a political majority. It is for the majority to realise its duty not to discriminate against minorities.”

Against the backdrop of the strife in parts of Bengal over the past few days over Ram Navami — a festival that was never part of the cultural legacy in the state and was imported by the saffron camp since it became a potent force after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections — Mamata’s appeal to the majority community assumes significance. 

The chief minister took care to explain the various facets of intolerance witnessed in the past few days in the name of Ram Navami celebrations.

“We have seen riots in the BJP regime. I want to know why Ram Navami processions are continuing even five days after the festival. And that too with guns and bulldozers.... There have been instances of people dancing with guns,” Mamata said,  referring to footage from the Ram Navami procession in Howrah on Thursday.

“They are entering minority areas…. They are setting fruit carts on fire,” she added, suggesting that deliberate efforts are being made by the saffron ecosystem to create a rift between the two communities.

Mamata was in Khejuri —adjacent to Nandigram, from where she lost to the BJP’s SuvenduAdhikaroi in the 2021 Assembly polls — for a government programme during which she unveiled a slew of projects in the district and handed over benefits under various welfare schemes to a select group of beneficiaries.

Although Mamata began her address by describing the “relentless efforts” of her government to offer a better deal to the people of the state, she spent considerable time explaining how the BJP was trying to create disharmony among Hindus and Muslims.

Sources close to her said that the chief minister, who doesn’t follow a written script, probably spoke on the issue as she was receiving constant reports from the administration about the rising tension in various parts of the state after scores of saffron camp leaders hit the streets to capitalise on clashes over Ram Navami celebrations.

Several BJP leaders — both at the state and the central levels — spent the day talking about the RamNavami clashes, which the state administration managed to control without any loss of life, and criticising the state administration’s alleged policy of pampering “one particular community”.

From demanding the chief minister’s resignation to spreading the word about the Centre’s possible intervention in Bengal because of the “alleged deterioration “in the law and order situation”, the saffron ecosystem went on an overdrive to create an impression that the majority Hindu community was not safe in the state.

Such a perception is the menacing backdrop for large-scale communal violence, said a retired IPS officer.   

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/hindus-protect-muslims-mamata-banerjee/cid/1927073

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'Plot to Evacuate Muslims from Surat Before Planting Nuclear Bomb': Court's Charges Against Yasin Bhatkal

APRIL 03, 2023

Delhi’s Patiala House Court recently framed charges against Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Yasin Bhatkal and 10 others in a UAPA case for designing and executing terror plots to wage a war against India.

Special NIA Judge Shailendra Malick, who also discharged three accused in the case, noted while framing charges that Bhatkal was repeatedly involved in terror activities to wage a war against India.

“…Extraction report of the data in digital devices seized from A-6, as per the report of CERT-In show that many folders containing video clips of jihadi literature, including writings for justifying killing of non-Muslims, in the name of jihad. Videos of Talib and Al Qaida on necessity of violent jihad," the court noted.

After analysing various electronic and digital evidence, the court also observed that Bhatkal was involved not only in a larger conspiracy for committing terrorist activities but also instrumental in preparing of IEDs and explosives.

The court noted that a chat between Yasin Bhatkal and Mohd Sajid (Bada Sajid) reflect IM was planning to evacuate Muslims from Surat town before planting a nuclear bomb.

Another chat between Bhatkal and Sajid on June 1, 2013, showed them discussing a Maoist attack on a Congress leader in Chhattisgarh and also planning to kill leaders instead of the general public for “shaking the government”.

Appearing for Bhatkal, advocate MS Khan, during arguements, submitted that Bhatkal has faced prosecution in other cases of bomb blast and has also been convicted in one of the matters. He submitted that evidence in those cases cannot be relied upon in the present case as it would

tantamount to trial of Yasin Bhatkal on the second occasion, based on the same evidence.

Source:News18

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

https://www.news18.com/india/plot-to-evacuate-muslims-from-surat-before-planting-nuclear-bomb-courts-charges-against-yasin-bhatkal-7453987.html

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Centre to issue forex cards for 1.4 lakh Hajj pilgrims

Apr 04, 2023

Emphasising on a "cashless Hajj", the government has made special arrangements to meet the foreign exchange requirements of those going on the annual pilgrimage, including the issuance of a forex card through the State Bank of India (SBI).

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has taken several initiatives to make Haj 2023 more comfortable, convenient and affordable for Indian Muslims, according to an official statement.

Dedicated efforts have also been made to make the process of pilgrim selection objective, transparent, efficient, timely and free from human involvement.

The process of applying for Haj and selection of pilgrims was carried out online and of the 1.84 lakh applicants, 14,935 have been given assured allotment, including 10,621 in the 70-plus category and 4,314 women who will perform the Haj without a "Mehram" (male companion).

This is the largest ever contingent of women proceeding on Haj alone, not accompanied by men, the ministry said in a statement.

The applications received over and above the Haj quota have been finalised through an online randomised digital selection (ORDS) process, without any human intervention, it added.

For the first time, the list of selected and waitlisted applicants was published on the official portal immediately after the selection process in the interest of increased transparency, the statement said.

All 1.4 lakh selected pilgrims have been sent a text message with the information of their selection for Haj 2023. A text message has also been sent to the waitlisted applicants, informing them about their position on the list, the statement said.

The ministry has partnered with the SBI to make special arrangements to provide foreign exchange to the pilgrims.

Unlike previous years, when each pilgrim was given 2,100 Saudi riyals by the Haj Committee of India in lieu of Indian currency, irrespective of his actual requirements, the Haj Policy 2023 gives the option to the pilgrims to arrange their own foreign currency or take a lesser amount of foreign exchange, according to their requirements.

The government has collaborated with the SBI to ensure the supply of foreign exchange to the pilgrims at the most competitive rates, the statement said.

With more than 22,000 branches across the country, the SBI shall facilitate providing foreign exchange and the mandatory insurance to all the pilgrims to meet their requirements during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

The bank will reach out to the pilgrims through text messages, the ministry said.

The facility of a forex card is also being provided to the pilgrims, eliminating the possibility of theft or loss of physical currency, it added.

In case the card is lost during the pilgrimage, the pilgrim can get his money refunded from the bank.

An official said the government's aim is to support a "cashless Haj" to make it convenient for the pilgrims.

The SBI will also set up stalls at all the embarkation points with dedicated nodal officers of an appropriate level to help the pilgrims collect the foreign exchange in cash or through the forex card and also to provide any guidance and assistance as may be required.

A helpline shall be operated by the SBI and the contact details of these nodal officers will be made public soon, the statement said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/hajj-pilgrimage-centre-to-issue-forex-cards-for-1-4-lakh-hajj-pilgrims-101680565138643.html

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South Asia

 

Bangladesh says Myanmar must build trust, safety for Rohingya repatriation

SHEHAB SUMON

April 04, 2023

DHAKA: The government in Myanmar must build trust and ensure safety for Rohingya refugees, Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner has said following calls to suspend the community’s potential return to their homeland.

Bangladesh has been hosting and providing humanitarian support to 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims, most of whom fled violence and persecution in neighboring Myanmar during a military crackdown in 2017.

A leading human rights watchdog last week urged authorities in Bangladesh to halt plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, after a junta delegation visited Bangladeshi refugee camps in March to verify hundreds of potential returnees for a process ostensibly aimed at jumpstarting a stalled repatriation agreement.

“Repatriation must be dignified, voluntary and sustainable — this is the stand of Bangladesh,” Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mizanur Rahman told Arab News.

“For this, the major part of responsibilities lies on the shoulders of Myanmar authorities…It’s the responsibility of the destination country to take their people in confidence and build an atmosphere of trust, safety, and dignity.”

Bangladesh is prepared for repatriation to begin, but “the question remains whether the Rohingya are ready for repatriation,” Rahman said, adding that the UN refugee agency will be involved to check their willingness if the process were to take place.

Human Rights Watch said voluntary, safe and dignified returns of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar “are not possible while the military junta is carrying out massacres around the country and apartheid in Rakhine State.”

In a statement, HRW said Rohingya refugees were “lied to, deceived, or otherwise coerced” by Bangladeshi authorities to meet with the Myanmar delegation last month.

“For future returns to be truly voluntary, the Bangladesh authorities need to allow Rohingya to live freely, without enforcing pressures pushing them to go back,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW South Asia director.

Bangladesh has been pressing for the repatriation of Rohingya for years as it has been hosting the refugees despite not being a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.

The developing country spends an estimated $1.2 billion a year to support the Rohingya, as international aid for the community has been dropping since 2020. The UN World Food Programme cut food rations for the group earlier this year, as its pleas for donations had not been met.

Though the recent verification process appeared to signal a potential return for the Rohingya to Myanmar, the actual process may still be delayed further, said Dhaka-based migration expert Asif Munir.

The process has been “very faulty” so far, Munir said, adding that Myanmar may only be looking to “demonstrate to the international community that they are willing to take the Rohingya back.”

Munir told Arab News: “We have seen before that there was a date fixed and there was no repatriation because eventually, the people were not willing to go. 

“We already know that on the other side, there has not been any improvement in the overall situation regarding the recognition of their identity.

“It’s not a question of just physical movement. It’s more about the conditions and the support they get from both authorities and local communities.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280781/world

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Spokesperson of IEA Claims Daesh Threat in Afghanistan is ‘Propaganda’

By Fidel Rahmati

April 3, 2023

The Daesh group’s activities in Afghanistan have been reduced, and the organization is being dismantled, said Zabihullah Mujahid, a senior spokesperson of the interim government.

In an interview with state-run TV RTA, Mujahid stressed that some countries are attempting to exaggerate and take advantage of the false propaganda about Daesh’s threats in Afghanistan.

“Some countries accuse Daesh of their activities or claim Daesh has increased activity and is a threat to the world after six months; we deny this propaganda,” stated Mujahid.

He added that these countries want to exaggerate the Daesh phenomenon and its danger of exploiting their existence either against the country’s people or against the regime.

Earlier, he said to Voice of America, Pashto, since August 2021, the Taliban forces have arrested and imprisoned 1,600 to 1,700 Daesh militants and killed more than 1,100 fighters.

But in a recent speech to Congress, Michael Kurilla, the head of the US Central Command, asserted that ISIS is now more powerful than it was in Afghanistan.

Kurilla said “at least hundreds of thousands” of US people could be at risk from an attack by ISIS, which has the “ultimate goal of striking on the US homeland.”

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/mujahid-claims-daesh-threat-in-afghanistan-is-propaganda/

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Afghanistan: 2 children killed in mortar mine blast in Wardak province

2 April, 2023

Kabul [Afghanistan], April 2 (ANI): Two children in Afghanistan were on Saturday killed in a mortar mine blast, Afghanistan-based Khaama Press reported.

Yusuf Israr, the provincial police spokesperson, said the explosion caused by a mortar mine of past wars resulted in the death of two children in Sayedabad district on Saturday evening while the children were playing with it.

A similar incident occurred on Friday evening in the Sarkhakan area of the Shah Joi district of Zabul province, resulting in one child’s death and three others’ injuries, according to Khaama Press.

Meanwhile, according to local sources, another blast that happened on Tuesday, March 28, caused the death of two children and injured four others in the northern Jawzjan province.

Recently, the incidence of unexploded devices from past wars has increased in several parts of the country, resulting in the death and hurt of men and women, including children.

The presence and existence of unexploded devices and the remnant in war-torn Afghanistan pose significant threats to people’s lives, particularly children, according to Khaama Press.

International bodies have since last November, contributed to support demining in the country, including Australia, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the United States, the UK, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Source: ThePrint

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

https://theprint.in/world/afghanistan-2-children-killed-in-mortar-mine-blast-in-wardak-province/1491984/

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Afghan Security Forces Kill 6 Key Daesh Fighters in Balkh Province

By Fidel Rahmati

April 4, 2023

The Taliban Security forces in the Northern Province of Afghanistan, Balkh, killed six Daesh key fighters in a special operation late Monday.

Mohammad Asif Waziri, a spokesperson for Balkh provincial police, confirmed that in a special raid by the Taliban security forces, six key fighters of Islamic State Khorasan were killed in Nahr-e-Shahi District of Balkh province on late Monday.

The operation occurred after one of the perpetrators was arrested on Sunday by the Taliban intelligence Department which was involved in several deadly attacks in the Balkh province, including the assassination of Mohammad Dawood Muzamal, governor of the province.

The accused person allegedly said that he had contributed blast in the office of the Balkh governor, Tebyan Cultural Center and several others.

Earlier in March, the Taliban governor of Balkh, Mohammad Dawood Muzmal, was killed in the blast with two of his aide. Two days after the Balkh governor blast, a journalists’ gathering was targeted in Tebyan Cultural Center, leaving at least three people dead and more than 30 others injured.

Daesh, or the group also known as Islamic State-Khorasan, claimed responsibility for both incidents.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-security-forces-kill-6-key-daesh-fighters-in-balkh-province/

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Afghanistan to Handover Iranian Prisoners to Iran Soon

By Fidel Rahmati

April 3, 2023

The deputy ambassador, Sayed Hasan Murtazavi, on Sunday met with the Afghan Attorney General MawlavishamsuddinPahlavan in Kabul to discuss judicial and legal cooperation and handing over the Iranian prisoners in Afghanistan to Iran authorities, Iranian Embassy said in a statement.

Pahlavan promised that the handing over of the Iranian prisoners in Afghanistan would begin soon to the Iranian side while adding that Afghan authorities would follow the demands of the Islamic Republic of Iran following the “expansion of relations and commonalities between the two countries,” the statement read.

In the meeting, the deputy ambassador, Murtazavi, said, “For Tehran, the pursuit of issues relating to Iranian prisoners in Afghanistan has in the past been accompanied by disturbances, but we hope that in the current circumstances, the problems of Iranian prisoners are solved in the shortest period so they can return to Iran.”

It is worth mentioning that the Afghan Attorney General’s Office, led by Pahlavan, visited Iran two months ago. As a result, 857 Afghan inmates were handed over by Iran authorities to Afghan officials.

Meanwhile, according to the statement of the Iran Embassy in Kabul, around 6,000 Afghan prisoners are currently serving their sentences in Iranian prisons.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/afghanistan-to-handover-iranian-prisoners-to-iran-soon/

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Russia, Tajikistan Troops Hold Military Exercises Near Afghanistan Border

By Fidel Rahmati

April 3, 2023

Russia and Tajikistan held military exercises at the Kharb-Maidon training ground in Tajikistan, 20 Km from the border with Afghanistan, that will continue till April 7, Officials said on Monday.

At the Kharb-Maidon training facility in Tajikistan, 20 kilometres from the Afghan border, military contingents from Russia and Tajikistan began joint drills that will last through April 7, according to a Monday press release from the Central Military District of Russia, TASS News Agency reported.

“During the practical stages, the military contingents from Russia and Tajikistan will practice preparing and carrying out a joint operation on mountainous terrain to eliminate outlawed armed gangs intruding into the territory of an allied state and also exercising command and control of joint forces in blocking and destroying an illegal armed formation,” according to the press office.

According to the press office, the majority of the Russian military contingent taking part in the exercises is made up of the Central Military District’sDistrict’s mobile electronic warfare groups, armoured, artillery, radiation, chemical, and biological protection troops, and motor rifle units, all of which total more than 300 personnel.

Russia’s most extensive military base is stationed in the cities of Dushanbe and Bokhtar, and according to the agreement signed in October 2012, the military bases in Tajikistan will remain through 2042.

The military manoeuvre came after the security concerns expressed by the Russian envoy and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Chief on Friday, saying that an increased risk of terrorist groups’ infiltration from Afghanistan threatens the security of the organization’s member countries.

“There is an increasing risk that terrorist groups and extremist ideas will infiltrate the territories of our CSTO allies. Complex threats from Afghanistan are of particular concern,” the CSTO chief said.

The Russian and Central Asian countries reiterated their concerns over the security threats and risks emanating from Afghanistan and stressed watching the situation in Afghanistan closely.

Since the return of the de facto government in Afghanistan, Russia’s bloc expressed their security concerns about ISIS militants in the country, including “terrorism, illegal arms, drug trafficking, illegal migration and the spread of extremist ideology,” according to Russian officials.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/russia-tajikistan-troops-hold-military-exercises-near-afghanistan-border/

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Europe

 

Ukrainian Muslims mark Ramadan, pray for victory

04 Apr 2023

KYIV: Muslims are observing Ramadan in war-ridden Ukraine for a second year, and most people praying at a mosque near the eastern frontline this week were soldiers in camouflage fatigues.

“I ask Allah to protect our mosque. I ask Allah to protect Ukraine… and to punish tyrants,” Mullah Murat Suleymanov said in prayers for the holy month.

“Ramadan is a month of victory,” he told the small congregation of 16 people, 11 of them in uniform including one woman.

The mosque has numerous boarded-up broken windows and walls pitted by shrapnel. A rocket exploded nearby two days earlier.

Among the worshippers was Said Ismagilov, formerly one of Ukraine’s Muslim spiritual leaders.

When the war began, he quit and now works as an ambulance driver with volunteer paramedics, evacuating wounded soldiers from the frontline.

Sandy-haired and wearing glasses, 44-year-old Ismagilov is a Tatar, a Muslim ethnic group.

He wore a sleeve patch from his ASAP Rescue battalion and showed his ambulance parked outside, with taped-over dents caused by shrapnel.

‘Allah’s protection’

He said he feels “Allah’s will and protection” amid the danger.

“There were times when my ambulance got riddled with shrapnel. Thank God, I wasn’t injured.”

When the war broke out, he had been serving as mufti of Ukraine’s Umma religious administration for 13 years.

But the mosque where he served emptied as many evacuated the area.

“I realised I was useless,” he said, opting to “stand up and defend my motherland”.

“Now I evacuate wounded people.”

Last year he spent Ramadan in Lysychansk, a city that saw extremely heavy shelling before Ukraine’s military eventually withdrew.

One of the most important Muslim festivals, Ramadan requires believers to abstain from food and water from dawn to nightfall for a month.

Despite his wartime job, Ismagilov said he can still observe the Ramadan fasting rules.

“I’d got used to spending Ramadan at war, so this year was nothing new to me,” Ismagilov said.

“I have all I need for fasting according to all Muslim traditions.”

“I’m not in the trench now. I spend most of my daytime driving or at the stabilisation point,” a building where paramedics take wounded for initial medical care, he said.

He also tries to fit in a couple of hours praying at night.

‘Hard to be Muslim’

“It’s hard for those Muslims who have to stay in the trenches. They are cold and there is a lot of water in the trenches as it often rains… It’s hard to be a Muslim there,” he said.

Ismagilov said he did not know how he would celebrate the end of Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr, later this month.

“You are lucky if you can visit a mosque now and you never know how many people will come, or if they will come,” he said.

“If there is heavy shelling, we will probably gather in a basement to pray there.”

Ismagilov grew up in the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Intrigued by his family’s Muslim heritage – which his parents knew little about – he went to study theology at an Islamic university in Moscow and later became an imam in Donetsk.

While he grew up in a largely Russian-speaking region, he now prefers to speak Ukrainian.

“I think it’s disgusting when Russian Muslims support the war”, he said.

Russia treats its ethnic minorities, many of them Muslims, as “people of low quality” and “uses them as cannon fodder” in the war, he said.

“It’s no secret that most of the dead enemy soldiers are ethnically from Buryatia, Tuva, Dagestan, Tatarstan, Chechnya,” he said, naming Russian regions with large numbers of Muslims and Buddhists.

“I’m absolutely sure that many Muslim fighters taking part in combat would like to fast… because in this case they feel even better with Allah’s help,” the Mufti Suleymanov told AFP.

Dressed in long robes and a white hat, he was elected mufti last November, replacing Ismagilov.

A soldier standing outside the mosque said he was fasting and that most Muslim soldiers do, unless they are on combat missions.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2023/04/04/ukrainian-muslims-mark-ramadan-pray-for-victory/

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Turkish community gathers at iftar event in London

Burak Bir 

04.04.2023

LONDON

Around 200 people attended a fast-breaking meal Monday for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan organized by a Turkish community in London.

Türkiye's Ambassador to the UK Osman KorayErtas, Kemal Ergun, head of the Islamic Community Milli Gorus (ICMG), Nasim Ali, the mayor of Camden, and Humaira Garasia, speaker of the London Borough of Hackney, were among the attendees.

After the call to prayer was recited, Muslims broke their fast at the iftar, which was organized by ICMG UK.

Speaking at the event, UbeydeBilaloglu, the head of ICMG's UK organization, mentioned the deadly earthquakes that struck Türkiye on Feb. 6 which killed more than 50,000 people.

Thanking all non-governmental organizations, including non-Turkish and non-Muslim NGOs, for their help to fundraise money for the quake-hit victims, he said that ICMG has so far collected €23 million ($25 million).

Touching on the importance of the holy month, he said: "Ramadan is a good time and good opportunity to change. It's a time where we can analyze ourselves."

Noting there are people who are facing many problems around the world, including Palestinians and Ukrainians, he said they will continue to fight for peace and the well-being of people.

Ambassador Ertas meanwhile thanked everyone who took part in organizing the event, saying compared with the Ramadan atmosphere in Türkiye, it is not easy to observe Ramadan abroad.

Also touching on February's earthquakes, he said everyone has made huge efforts to help heal the wounds in the quake-hit areas of Türkiye.

"Hopefully, we will heal all the wounds," he noted, also thanking Ali and Garasia for attending the event.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-community-gathers-at-iftar-event-in-london/2862706

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UK minister under fire for singling out Pakistani men

Atika Rehman

April 4, 2023

LONDON: British Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s remarks that British-Pakistani men “hold cultural values at odds with British values” have been criticised by political commentators and children’s charities as “inflammatory” and akin to initiating “race wars”.

Ms Braverman came under fire when, during a Sky News interview about plans to tackle child sexual abuse, she spoke about “the predominance of British-Pakistani males who hold cultural values totally at odds with British values”.

“[British-Pakistani men] see women in a demeaned, illegitimate way, and pursue an outdated and frankly heinous approach to the way we behave,” Ms Braverman commented after she was informed that a Home Office report in 2020 concluded that most child sexual abuse gangs are made up of white men under the age of 30, and that there was not enough evidence to suggest members of grooming gangs were disproportionately more likely to be Asian or black.

Ms Braverman instead pointed to reports from Rotherham, which was rocked by a child sexual exploitation scandal in which five British-Pakistani men were convicted of grooming, raping and exploiting young girls. The home secretary also cited a 2015 report penned by Dame Louise Casey CB, which ironically noted how British-Pakistani community had been “harmed by association” in the scandal.

Braverman’s remarks akin to triggering ‘race wars’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is expected to roll out new measures to tackle sexual violence against children, said the grooming gang crackdown would defy “political correctness”. However, he did not repeat Ms Braverman’s comments targeting Pakistanis.

The government vowed that experienced specialist officers and members of the National Crime Agency will assist police forces with their investigations into child sexual abuse cases.

Reaction

Speaking on a Sky News show after Ms Braverman, West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin said, “It feels very dog whistle, if I may say, and it doesn’t deal with what is happening on the ground.”

British actor and presenter Adil Ray was one of many who pointed out that, as per the Home Office report in 2020, most perpetrators are white. Braverman was attorney general at the time [it was published].“

British-American political commentator Mehdi Hasan tweeted, “Despite heavy competition, and despite her own ethnicity, Suella Braverman may be the most bigoted, cynical, and dangerous politician to emerge from the modern UK Conservative Party in many decades. This is vile and dishonest stuff.”

Former chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal, too, drew attention to the predominance of white male perpetrators in child sexual abuse case data.

“Suella Braverman knows that 84% of child sex offenders are white British, but chooses to focus on those who are not,” he posted.

For The Independent, journalist Adam Forrest penned a column titled “Is Sunak’s grooming gangs crackdown just ‘dog whistle’ politics?”, in which he wrote, “The suspicion remains that the Tories have latched upon the grooming gangs issue again in order to create controversy, rile up voters in the Midlands and north of England and demonstrate they are the party willing to say the “unsayable”.

Chief Executive of the National Soc­iety for Prevention of Crue­lty to Children, Sir Peter Wanless, said government’s focus on tackling such crimes was welcome, but race should not be the focus.

“Child sexual exploitation by organised networks is one pernicious form of abuse and it’s welcome to see the government focus on disrupting perpetrators and protecting victims. This must be backed up with funding for services to help child victims recover and support for a justice system that is struggling to cope.

“It’s also vital we remember that any child can be a victim of child sexual exploitation and adult perpetrators do not just come from one background. Sexual predators will target the most vulnerable and accessible children in society and there must be a focus on more than just race so we do not create new blind spots that prevent victims from being identified.”

Sabah Kaiser, an ethnic minority ambassador to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse led by Professor Alexis Jay, who investigated child abuse in Rotherham, said, it was “very, very dangerous” for the government to turn child sexual abuse into a matter of colour.

“Child sexual abuse does not have a skin colour, it doesn’t have a religion. It doesn’t have a culture. Child sexual abuse does not discriminate. And so therefore, it is really, really important that we as a nation have a singular societal response to this issue,” she told Today on BBC 4.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745812/uk-minister-under-fire-for-singling-out-pakistani-men

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UK set to deport Nepalese guards who risked lives protecting Kabul embassy

April 03, 2023

LONDON: The UK is preparing to deport Nepalese security guards who were airlifted from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover after helping to protect Western embassies in Kabul, The Guardian reported on Monday.

Eleven Nepalese and two Indian guards, several of whom risked their lives protecting British personnel and embassy staff in Kabul, were detained as a result of government decisions on their immigration statuses and warned of their imminent deportations.

After being transported to the UK following the Western withdrawal almost two years ago, at least two of the former guards were granted indefinite leave to remain, while others were left waiting for decisions on their immigration status.

The pending deportations are believed to be the first concerning people who were successfully evacuated from Afghanistan.

The UK government has previously faced criticism over its apparent failure to evacuate those who have been forced into hiding in Afghanistan and neighboring countries due to the Taliban’s rise to power.

One of the 13 guards, 37-year-old Bam Bahadur Gurung, worked in Afghanistan for more than 10 years, partly serving as a security guard at the British and Canadian embassies in Kabul.

In 2016, several of his colleagues were killed in a suicide bombing that targeted consular guards.

Gurung was evacuated to the UK in the wake of the Taliban takeover and was provided with a hotel stay in London alongside other people who were evacuated.

He was employed by the hotel as a worker and was told that his application to resettle in the UK was “progressing” early last year.

However, he was informed by authorities several months later that his evacuation had only been a “gesture of goodwill,” and that he was ineligible to stay in the country over a long-term period.

On March 27, Gurung and the 12 other former guards were arrested and detained by the UK Home Office. He is now being held at an immigration removal facility near Gatwick Airport.

Gurung said: “I was getting ready for work when I was arrested. I am in a state of shock and am very sad about what the UK has done to me.

“I helped to protect British Embassy staff in Kabul for many years. None of us have criminal records. My dreams is to remain in the UK and serve with the British Army.”

Jamie Bell, who is legally representing Gurung and another Nepalese national in the same circumstances, said: “After being allowed to build a life in the UK, they have been betrayed and detained. Those responsible should be ashamed of how they have been treated.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280626/world

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Germany, Jordan call for 2-state solution to Israel-Palestine conflict

03.04.2023

BERLIN

Germany and Jordan on Monday called for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, urging all parties to take steps to de-escalate the situation in the region.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and her Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi expressed their concern over recent developments in the region, following their meeting in Berlin.

"Unfortunately, it is a bitter reality that this year, Ramadan was not marked by peace, family, and happiness as one would have wished for," Baerbock said, adding that recent tensions and violence claimed more lives in the region.

She thanked Safadi for his diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation, and announced Berlin's plan to actively support the "Aqaba process" and host a conference with Jordan, Egypt, and France, in the so-called Munich format.

"Our two countries agree that the two-state solution still offers the best basis for Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace, with dignity and security," Baerbock said.

Jordan's Safadi criticized recent controversial statements from Israeli ministers, and Tel Aviv's policy of illegal settlements, warning that the situation was very explosive.

"We are at a crossroads. Either we will let extremists, racists, and hate preachers to chart the path of the future, or we will work together with those who want peace, and do everything to achieve this goal," he said.

Safadi underlined Jordan's commitment to a two-state solution to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-jordan-call-for-2-state-solution-to-israel-palestine-conflict/2862603

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France expresses regret for French journalists' expulsion from Burkina Faso

Nur AsenaErturk

03.04.2023

France voiced regret for a recent decision by Burkina Faso to expel correspondents of French newspapers from the West African nation.

"France reaffirms its constant and determined engagement in favor of the press freedom and the protection of journalists everywhere in the world," the French Foreign Ministry said on Sunday in a statement.

French media had reported earlier in the day that Burkina Faso had expelled reporters of French dailies Le Monde and Liberation.

The ministry noted that Burkina Faso had also suspended, a few days earlier, broadcasts by France 24 channel.

Sophie Douce of Le Monde Afrique and Agnes Faivre of Liberation were ordered by Burkinabe authorities to leave the capital Ouagadougou on Saturday, according to Le Monde.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/france-expresses-regret-for-french-journalists-expulsion-from-burkina-faso/2862473

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Arab World

 

PM Sudani: No need for US forces in Iraq as Iraqi troops fully ready, Daesh vanquished

03 April 2023

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani says the Arab country does not need US-led foreign combat troops on its soil, as the Iraqi forces are fully capable of preserving Iraq’s security.

Sudani said in an interview with Al Jazeera that Iraqi security forces have the necessary capability to ensure security throughout the country after the elimination of the Daesh terrorist group.

In early 2003, the US invaded Iraq under the later debunked pretext that the regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The US withdrew soldiers from Iraq between 2007 and 2011 but redeployed them in 2014 along with other partners to allegedly counter the threat of Daesh.

Iraq managed to end the territorial rule of the Takfiri outfit in the country thanks to the sacrifices of the national army as well as the anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which had the backing of Iran.

However, Washington kept its forces inside Iraq in defiance of a resolution that required its withdrawal.

The US military declared the end of its combat mission in Iraq in December 2021, but it still maintains a number of troops there under the guise of playing an advisory role.

Iraq no launch pad for attacks on neighbors: Sudani

Also in his remarks, Sudani said attacks on any country from Iraqi territory are unacceptable, noting that Iraq, as a legal and moral obligation, does not allow the use of its soil for invading neighboring states.

The Iraqi constitution does not accept the presence of armed individuals in camps, where they receive military training, as well as their infiltration into Iranian soil, he said, adding that no one is meddling in the country’s national decisions and independence.

Iran-Saudi deal will contribute to regional stability: Sudani

Also in his comments, the Iraqi prime minister described a recent agreement between Tehran and Riyadh to revive ties as "very important".

The deal will help boost regional stability, he said, adding that development and economic growth can only be realized through cooperation between the countries of the region.

Last month, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to resume their diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies and diplomatic missions after seven years of estrangement. China mediated the rapprochement between the two Middle Eastern powers.

‘Syria should rejoin Arab League’

The Iraqi premier underlined the need for Syria’s return to the Cairo-based Arab League as well as interaction with the Damascus government, emphasizing that the most serious security challenge now is the security situation in Syria.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011 following the outbreak of foreign-backed militancy in the country.

Currently, after more than a decade, reports say Saudi Arabia is planning to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to an Arab League summit hosted by Riyadh next month.

Corruption, Iraq’s main challenge: Iraqi PM

Sudani also said the main challenge now facing the Iraqi government is corruption, with much of it perpetrated by political or official sides.

He assured that the Iraqi judiciary will issue arrest warrants for the officials who were involved in a corruption case dubbed the “theft of the century” regardless of their position and affiliation with different parties.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/03/700886/Iraqi-PM-Iraqi-forces-no-need-for-US-combat-troops

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El-Sadat’s passport returns to Egypt after US auction controversy

GOBRAN MOHAMMED

April 04, 2023

CAIRO: The passport of the late Egyptian President Mohammed Anwar El-Sadat was handed to his museum at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in the city of Alexandria, a month and a half after it was controversially sold at auction in the US.

In a statement, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina said it had been “instructed to include the recovered passport in the collection of the late president’s holdings in the library.”

Ahmed Zayed, the library’s director, said that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi had directed state agencies to move quickly to retrieve the passport after it was sold by the American Heritage Auction Hall in February.

How the passport came to be at a US auction house is not clear, nor has it been revealed how Egyptian authorities were able to retrieve it.

After it became known the item would be auctioned, Karim Talaat El-Sadat, a member of Egypt’s House of Representatives and the grandson of the late president, said in a statement: “El-Sadat gave a lot to the homeland throughout the years of his life, and he does not deserve to have his passport sold in a foreign auction house.

“This is an insult that we will not accept as a family or as representatives of the Egyptian people who adore the late president.

“We will not accept, as Egyptians, the sale of El-Sadat’s rich history in this humiliating way without taking action to stop it.”

He denied the late president’s family had nothing to do with the passport’s exit abroad or its sale at auction, and called on Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the concerned authorities to immediately intervene to retrieve it.

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina also denied that it had ever previously held the passport in its El-Sadat collection.

Zayed added: “The Bibliotheca Alexandrina did not obtain, in any way, the passport of President El-Sadat (in the past), and it was not among the holdings that his wife Jehan El-Sadat gave to the library.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280806/middle-east

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Islamic Ministry hosts iftar banquets in Kosovo, Philippines

April 03, 2023

RIYADH: The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, represented by the religious attache in Sarajevo, has held an iftar banquet in Kosovo.

Saudi Ambassador to Albania Faisal Ghazi Hifzi, Grand Mufti and President of the Islamic Sheikhdom in Kosovo Naim Ternava, and more than 100 guests attended the event, which was part of King Salman’s iftar program.

Ternava expressed appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their unwavering support for Muslims in Kosovo.

He also thanked the ministry for its cooperation with the Islamic sheikhdom in implementing several programs to help Muslims in the region during Ramadan.

Several Islamic figures from Kosovo also expressed their gratitude to the Saudi government for its efforts in serving Muslims.

The ministry also hosted iftar banquets at Masjid Al-Dahab, known as the Manila Golden Mosque and Cultural Center, in the Philippines.

Islamic dignitaries, officials, and worshippers attended the events, which were part of the Kingdom’s efforts to serve Muslims worldwide.

Masjid Al-Dahab, named after the golden dome that crowns its roof, is one of the largest mosques in Manila.

Turki Al-Sweileh, religious attache at the Saudi Embassy in Manila, said that the iftar program this year aimed to serve more than 100,000 fasting people during the holy month of Ramadan.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280776/saudi-arabia

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Two Islamic State suicide bombers killed in Syria amid group’s resurgence

April 3, 2023

The US military said on Sunday that its Syrian allies thwarted an attack by the Islamic State. The group is seeing a resurgence and has carried out numerous attacks in Syria in the last few months.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) killed two IS suicide bombers in Hasakah in the northeast. The SDF ambushed the would-be bombers before they were able to detonate their explosives, CENTCOM said in a tweet.

The SDF did not appear to comment on the incident.

Background: The Islamic State lost its formal territory in Syria in 2019, but remains active in the country. IS has a particularly strong presence in the vast desert region known as the Badia in central and eastern Syria. The US continues to back the Kurdish-led SDF in its fight against IS.

Why it matters: Syria has been experiencing a resurgence of Islamic State attacks in the past few months. Al-Monitor contributor Khaled al-Khateb reported from Aleppo in October on the Islamic State bombing businesses in northeast Syria in demand of money, for example.

The following is a list of notable attacks in Syria that have been attributed to IS in 2023:

Feb. 17: IS killed 53 people who were collecting truffles east of Homs in central Syria, the official SANA news outlet reported.

Mar. 9: IS killed three people and stole hundreds of sheep easy of Hama in central Syria, SANA and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Mar. 23: IS killed 15 people who were collecting truffles via a knife attack, according to the observatory.

Source: AlMonitor

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

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2023/04/two-islamic-state-suicide-bombers-killed-syria-amid-groups-resurgence

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Bus attack in Syria injures 16 near Jordan border: State media

04 April ,2023

A bus attack in Syria’s south near the Jordan border wounded at least 16 people on Monday, Syrian state media said.

“Sixteen employees of the joint Syrian-Jordanian duty free zone were injured after terrorists planted an explosive device near the bus they were on,” state news agency SANA said.

The attack took place “near the Saida bridge on the Damascus-Amman highway,” an area in Syria’s Daraa province, SANA said.

Daraa was the cradle of Syria’s 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, but it returned to Damascus’s control in 2018 under a ceasefire deal backed by Russia.

But the province has been wracked by violence for years.

ISIS, whose third leader was killed in Daraa in October, sometimes claims responsibility for attacks in the region.

Monday’s attack comes one day after a rare car bombing rocked the capital Damascus, with no deaths reported and no side claiming responsibility.

On January 30, a bomb attack on a bus carrying Syrian police wounded 15 officers in Daraa province, which is mostly controlled by Syrian government forces and former rebels who have reached understandings with the regime.

The Syrian war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful anti-government protests, and escalated into a deadly armed conflict that pulled in foreign powers and global extremists.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Bus-attack-in-Syria-injures-16-near-Jordan-border-State-media-

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Israeli air strikes kill two civilians in Syria’s government-held areas

04 April ,2023

Two Syrian civilians were killed in an Israeli air strike Tuesday, state media reported, the fourth such attack on government-held areas of the war-torn country in less than a week.

“At 00:15 (2115 GMT Monday) the Israeli enemy carried out an air strike... and the attack resulted in the death of two civilians,” state news agency SANA said, quoting a military source.

The strike came from the direction of “the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting some points in the vicinity of Damascus and the southern region”, it said, adding that air defense intercepted “most of” the missiles.

During more than a decade of civil war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on Syrian territory, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

SANA had earlier reported “an explosion heard in the vicinity of Damascus”.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor gave the same civilian death toll, with its director Rami Abdel Rahman adding that “an unknown number of Iran-backed fighters were also killed” in the strike.

Israel fired “barrages of missiles targeting military areas controlled by Iran-backed groups and regime air defense,” said the Britain-based monitor with a wide range of sources inside Syria.

An Israeli missile targeted a radar in the countryside of Sweida, while another hit a glass factory in the al-Kiswah area of the Damascus countryside, killing the two civilians, it said.

The monitor had earlier said the missiles also targeted the vicinity of Damascus International Airport and an Iranian complex near the Sayyida Zeinab area, with Syria’s air defense intercepting at least two missiles.

On Sunday, two Iran-affiliated fighters were killed in an Israeli air strike on targets in Syria, according to the monitor, with SANA reporting five Syrian soldiers wounded.

Israel struck early Sunday near the western city of Homs, after striking the Syrian capital Thursday and early Friday.

A rare car bombing also rocked Damascus on Sunday, with no deaths reported and no side claiming responsibility.

While Israel rarely comments on the strikes it carries out on Syria, it has repeatedly said it will not allow its arch-foe Iran to extend its footprint in the war-torn country.

The Syrian war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of peaceful anti-government protests, and escalated into a deadly armed conflict that pulled in foreign powers and global extremists.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/Israeli-air-strikes-kill-two-civilians-in-government-held-areas

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Syria's deputy FM urges immediate withdrawal of Turkish forces, non-interference in domestic affairs

03 April 2023

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Ayman Sousan has reiterated the Damascus government’s calls for Turkey to immediately withdraw its forces from the northern regions of the Arab country, and non-interference in Syria's internal affairs by other countries.

Sousan made the remarks in a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and African countries Mikhail Bogdanov in Moscow on Monday.

The senior Syrian official stressed the need for Turkish military forces to quickly pull out of the Syrian soil, non-interference in the domestic affairs of the country as well as practical measures in order to counter all forms of terrorism.

Bogdanov, for his part, underscored Russia’s determination to continue efforts aimed at protection of Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

The two sides also exchanged viewpoints on coordination of quadrilateral talks aimed at normalizing relations between Syria and Turkey.

Last Monday, Bogdanov said a quadrilateral meeting to be attended by the deputy foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria will be held in Moscow soon as a major step to help normalize ties between Ankara and Damascus.

“We are getting ready (for a meeting). I think it will be held soon. We are hoping,” Bogdanov told Russia’s TASS news agency, adding, “We are hoping that our mediating mission, which is directed at a very important strategic goal – the normalization of Syrian-Turkish relations – will result in our shared success.”

Turkey severed its relations with Syria in March 2012, a year after the Arab country found itself in the grip of deadly violence waged by foreign-backed militants.

Now, after 11 years, the two neighboring countries are taking steps toward reconciliation.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's territorial integrity.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push militants of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

The Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria says the Turkish offensive has killed hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children since it started.

Turkey has played a major role in supporting terrorists in Syria ever since a major foreign-backed insurgency overtook the country more than ten years ago.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/03/700912/Deputy-Syrian-FM-urges-immediate-withdrawal-of-Turkish-forces,-non-interference-in-domestic-affairs

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Mideast

 

Tehran Vows Revenge for Israeli Terror Attack Against Iranian Military Advisors in Syria

2023-April-3

In a post on his Twitter account on Sunday, BahadoriJahromi stated that the Tel Aviv regime is used to carry out acts of terror in a bid to divert the public from its internal crises.

“The Zionist regime and other terrorist states have the habit of carrying out terrorist acts abroad at critical times in order to deflect public attention and not let the depth of their domestic problems be revealed,” he wrote.

“Terrorist acts will not go unanswered,” the spokesperson added.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) military advisers Milad Heidari and MeqdadMehqani were martyred in Friday’s aerial assaults conducted by Israel on the suburbs of Damascus, Syria.

Earlier, Spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry Nasser Kana'ani stressed that Tehran reserves the right to respond to state terrorism of the Israeli regime in due time and place following the martyrdom of the Iranian military advisers.

He vowed Iran's legal and political action against the Israeli regime’s criminal and aggressive acts.

Israel’s air raids in Syria came at a time of mass rallies against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to overhaul the judiciary, which undermines the Supreme Court, weakens judicial oversight over policymaking, and gives the party in power – currently Likud – greater authority.

Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, as a result of which Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other terror groups emerged in the Arab country.

Iran maintains an advisory mission in the war-ravaged country at the request of Damascus, helping it in the face of foreign-backed terrorism. Several members of the IRGC have so far martyred in battle against terrorists in Syria.

Israel has been a key supporter of the terrorist groups during the war and has frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian Army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020114000178/Tehran-Vws-Revenge-fr-Israeli-Terrr-Aack-Agains-Iranian-Miliary

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Rayeesi: Holy Qur’an, Spirituality Of Ramadan Can Promote Unity Within Muslim Ummah

03 April 2023

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi says leaders of Muslim countries should rely on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and revere the spirituality of Ramadan in order to promote unity within the Muslim community during the sacred fasting month.

Raeisi, in a message to the head of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council Mahdi al-Mashat on Monday, extended his felicitations on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, saying that it is the month of emancipation from worldly entanglements.

“I wish growth and development for the Yemeni nation, Muslims and all those who tread the path of righteousness,” the Iranian president said.

He also noted that the leaders of Muslim countries should rely on the teachings of the Qur’an and venerate the spirituality of Ramadan in order to foster unity and integrity within the Muslim Ummah during the blessed month.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/03/700890/Raeisi-Quran-spirituality-Ramadan-promote-unity-Muslim-Ummah

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Deputy Minister: Total $80bln Oil Investment Agreements Signed with Foreign Parties

2023-April-3

“The policy of the Ministry of Petroleum in the 13th government has been to make maximum use of the financing capacity from within the country. Hence, we have directed the capital of banks and large holdings of the country to the oil industry. For example, we opened the door to steelmakers to invest in the development of gas fields,” Falahat Pour told Fars news agency.

“It is necessary to use the financial power of these industries to provide them with stable gas. As a result, if the steel company invests in the development of gas fields, it will be exempted from applying restrictions on gas supply in the cold season of the year, because it will receive its gas from the developed field,” he added.

The government also contacted large banks and holding companies to participate in the construction of oil refineries, the senior official continued.

“In addition, we have had detailed discussions with foreign countries to attract investment,” he said.

“So far, we have signed more than $80 billion of memorandums of understanding with foreign investors to participate in the financing of oil projects, including the development of fields and the construction of refineries. More than $5 billion of this amount has been converted into contracts, and the rest, God willing, will be converted into contracts one after the other,” Falahat Pour added.

Iran is the holder of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves combined, and at current recovery rates, it can continue to produce hydrocarbon resources for another 100 years, according to state officials. However, sustainable production in the industry requires investment and the use of modern equipment.

Falahat Pour added that the government is trying to make up for the backwardness in the field of investment by making maximum use of domestic capacities and developing relations with neighboring and Asian countries.

“God willing, good things will happen in the coming months and years,” he said without elaboration.

Last week, Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Mohsen Khojasteh Mehr stated that Tehran plans to increase its oil and gas production capacity by 50%, for which it needs $160 billion of investment.

To achieve this, the country needs to invest $89 billion in the oil industry and $71 billion in the gas sector, he confirmed.

Iranian officials say US attempts to disturb Tehran's trade through sanctions have failed. They state Washington has been defeated in the maximum pressure policy against their country, and confirm that Iran's oil exports has come closer to the figures prior to the re-imposition of the US sanctions.

In quitting the 2015 nuclear deal, former President Donald Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Joe Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a mistake and a failure.

Tehran says it will not be able to trust Washington as long as President Biden continues the wrong policy of maximum pressure and sanctions practiced by Trump against Iran.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020114000546/Depy-Miniser-Tal-$0bln-Oil-Invesmen-Agreemens-Signed-wih-Freign

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Senior Diplomat: Ancient Treasure Seized in UK to Return to Iran

2023-April-3

Seyed Mahdi Hosseini Matin, who serves as Iran’s chargé d’affaires in Britain, stated on Sunday that the rock relief, known to archaeologists in Iran and around the world as the Sasanian Soldier, will be handed over to Iranian officials in London for repatriation to Tehran within the next months.

Hosseini Matin added that the antiquity had been seized by the British border police in January 2016 at Stansted airport near London, noting that Iran was forced to fight a legal battle in British courts to prove that it owns the relief.

“This relief had not been registered in Iran’s national museum and it is clear that it has been smuggled out of the country illegally,” he continued.

His comments came a day after a report was published by The Guardian about the Sasanian rock relief and how British Museum officials have been taking care of the antiquity.

The report said the Interpol and the UK National Crime Agency have been investigating the case but no one has been arrested in relation to the case.

Experts believe the carving may have come from Iran’s Fars province where a majority of Sasanian rock reliefs exist.

They suspect the piece may be part of a big sequence that has been cut from a cliff in an area near Fars provincial capital Shiraz.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14020114000111/Senir-Diplma-Ancien-Treasre-Seized-in-UK-Rern-Iran

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Israel detains Passover sacrifice campaigner as al-Aqsa tensions simmer

03 April ,2023

An Israeli campaigner for Jewish prayer rights at the Jerusalem compound that houses al-Aqsa mosque was detained on Monday, in an apparent bid to preempt any attempt to hold a Passover sacrifice at the site while Palestinians mark Ramadan.

The compound, revered by Jews as a vestige of their two ancient temples, is a flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is monitored especially closely by authorities during religious holidays.

Since capturing the site in a 1967 war, Israel has maintained a long-standing status quo arrangement preventing non-Muslim worship there.

But a fringe Jewish religious group, the Temple Mount Administration, has been calling for fellow activists to bring Paschal lambs to sacrifice at the site on Wednesday, the beginning of the Passover festival.

That would clash with Palestinian observances of the Ramadan month, when Muslims fast during daylight hours.

Israeli media aired cellphone footage taken by Refael Morris - whom the Temple Mount Administration describes as the leading Passover sacrifice campaigner - that showed him being pulled over in his car by plainclothes policemen.

In the video an officer says Morris is suspected of disrupting public order and that his house would be searched. Police said the video was authentic but did not make further comment on the reasons for the detention.

Morris was stopped while driving near Latrun, about 35 kilometer (20 miles) from Jerusalem, the Temple Mount Administration said.

Growing numbers of Jewish visitors who flout the ban on prayers in the compound have stoked rancor among Palestinians and in Jordan, al-Aqsa’s custodian. So has Israel’s appointment of Itamar Ben-Gvir, a far-rightist who once opposed the ban when he was minister for police.

On Sunday, the Temple Mount Administration circulated a protest statement after Ben-Gvir told Channel 12 TV the Passover sacrifice campaigners should “cool it” on what he dismissed as their “protest stunt”.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/03/Israel-detains-Passover-sacrifice-campaigner-as-al-Aqsa-tensions-simmer

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Israeli forces kill two Palestinians in West Bank gunfight, medics says

03 April ,2023

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians during a clash in the occupied West Bank on Monday, medics said, and the military said troops shot gunmen who fired on them as they detained suspects in connection with a drive-by ambush last month.

The was no word of Israeli military casualties in Nablus, a city that has been a focus of intensified raids by Israel following a spate of Palestinian street attacks in its cities last year.

The Lion’s Den, a coalition of Palestinian gunmen active in Nablus and elsewhere in the northern West Bank, said on Telegram it was battling the troops. Palestinian officials did not immediately name the two fatalities.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/03/Israeli-forces-kill-two-Palestinians-in-West-Bank-gunfight-medics-says

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Houthis must reveal location of all mines to save lives, say activists and government

MOHAMMED AL-SULAMI

April 03, 2023

RIYADH: The Houthis must reveal the location of all the mines they have planted to prevent further bloodshed and assist in Yemen’s economic recovery, say activists and government officials.

Yemen’s Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said recently that the mines were manufactured by Iran and Hezbollah, and not his government, and that there have been “indiscriminate” planting of these devices since the Houthi’s 2014 coup.

He said the Houthis have not been “differentiating between military and civilian areas, (which is) one of the most serious crimes committed against the Yemeni people’s present and future.”

“The militia has planted mines in quantities not seen since World War II. They planted them inside people’s homes, schools, mosques, markets, grazing areas, agricultural fields, water sources, public service buildings and sovereign institutions. They also did so along main and secondary roads as well as international maritime navigation corridors.”

Al-Eryani said the National Mine Action Program has recorded “more than 7,000 cases where civilians, mostly women and children, were either killed or injured due to the Houthi’s land mines network. The program’s reports confirmed that these mines were not among the Yemeni army’s equipment before 2014 and that they were manufactured locally by the Houthis, under the supervision of experts from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

“The Houthis, under the supervision of the Iranian experts, turned anti-tank mines into anti-personnel mines, innovatively manufactured improvised explosive devices using conventional explosives, such as rockets, tank shells and artillery shells and camouflaged the mines and explosive devices to make them seem like rocks that naturally fit in the environment.”

Al-Eryani said the Houthis also “manufactured naval mines and planted them in the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab strait, targeting commercial ships and oil tankers, while also threatening the security of international maritime navigation routes.” This resulted in “dozens of accidents” over the past few years where “commercial ships and fishing boats hit naval mines, killing and injuring hundreds of fishermen.”

He said that the “legitimate government, through its National Mine Action Program and the Defense Ministry’s military engineering teams, has been exerting significant efforts to remove and destroy mines, raise awareness about their danger and assist the victims by providing them with the necessary plastic surgeries, prosthetic limbs and rehabilitation services. It has been doing so in partnership with the UN Development Program, the Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance in Yemen (or Masam), and the supporting countries and organizations.”

“I would like to seize this opportunity to express my deep appreciation for the support that our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been providing, through the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid and Masam project, to the Yemeni government and people in terms of clearing the mines planted by the Houthi militia. This comes as a continuation of their constructive role in Yemen,” Al-Eryani said.

He lambasted the Houthis for the manner in which they have endangered the country’s people. “I stress that the Houthi militia’s excessive indiscriminate planting of anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines and explosive devices in populated villages and cities … constitute a constant risk to the lives of millions of civilians. They also paralyze public life, bring the operations of people’s businesses to a complete halt, exacerbate their humanitarian suffering and hinder developmental efforts. The devastating repercussions and risks of these problems will prevail for dozens of years to come, even after the war ends,” he said.

Mohammed Askar, Yemen’s former minister of human rights, said the biggest threat posed by the mines was to “the most vulnerable groups, including children and women. The problem with mines is that not only do they affect the present of the war-torn country significantly, but also its future and sustainable development. The Yemeni government had signed the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, and had begun disposing of its mine stockpiles. (This was) until the Houthi militia arrived with an Iranian technology and opened the gates of hell in Yemen.”

“Unfortunately, the Houthi militias have widely planted millions of mines of all kinds and forms, including camouflaged mines, personnel mines, rock-shaped mines and mines that look like toys. Around 30 percent of mine victims in Yemen are among women and children who returned to their valleys, villages and homes after wars, and were targeted by these explosive mines that (resulted in their limbs being) amputated and (now they are) unable to move in highly difficult humanitarian conditions. Some of them are no longer able to learn and go to schools located many kilometers from their homes in rural and tribal areas.”

Askar called on the Houthis to prevent further “misery” in the country. He said more work should be done to raise awareness of the risk posed to lives and livelihoods by these devices, and praised the Masam project for providing medical assistance to victims.

Yemeni political activist Wissam Basounda echoed the view that little economic progress could be made without tackling this issue, with women and children remaining the most vulnerable group. “The problem of mines remains an obstacle to any peace plan or sustainable development programs, and must be urgently and intensively addressed so it wouldn’t linger for generations.

“While the world’s women celebrated their political, social and economic achievements on International Women’s Day on March 8, the Yemeni women live in a state of misery and fear in an environment filled with the Houthi mines, lying in wait for them and their children, thus aggravating their overall suffering.”

According to the statistics of the legitimate government, over 1,800 women and girls have fallen victim to mines during the years of war waged by the Houthi militia in several Yemeni governorates. The Executive Mine Action Center in Taiz revealed that just between 2017 and February 2023, 1,222 had been injured or killed by Houthi mines.

Journalist Badr Al-Kahtani, a Yemeni affairs expert, agreed that the mines remain a lingering threat to the country’s future, with many victims having to now wear prosthetic limbs. “The main problem is that the (location) of these mines are missing. I think that the Masam project is playing a very important role in land mine clearance. What is remarkable also is that the project is following precise criteria in statistics and is in direct contact with the Yemeni government and the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center to update the figures. That’s a very big process, and the Saudi project, Masam, deserves to be highly praised.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2278916/middle-east

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The inspirational strength of the victims of Houthi landmines in Yemen

MOHAMMED AL-SULAMI

April 03, 2023

RIYADH: When one first meets the victims of landmines and other explosive devices in Yemen, there are often smiles on their faces. But as one spends more time with them, and listens to their harrowing stories, it is hard to avoid the feeling that they have lost all hope.

As they recall the details of the life-changing incidents that caused often devastating injuries, and describe their daily struggles to overcome the disabilities they have been left with, the smiles disappear, replaced by tears for their own plight and that of their war-torn country.

Amal, a young women from Taiz, was preparing for her wedding when a chance encounter with an unexploded shell changed everything.

“I went to the city’s entrance to take care of some things for my wedding, as one of the neighborhood’s young men, who is an expat living outside Yemen, had asked for my hand in marriage,” she said.

“While I was out, I came across some children who had a suspicious object. It looked like something my father had been holding a while ago. He had warned us against touching these weird objects we might see in the streets.

“I was scared for the children’s safety and hurried to take it from them so it wouldn’t explode and hurt them. However, one of the playful children jumped and forcibly snatched it out of my hand, causing it to fall to the ground and explode. I no longer felt anything until I woke up at the hospital, where I realized that my arm and eye had been injured … I had to wear a prosthetic eye.”

Amal said the accident had a huge effect on her life.

“My fiance cut contact with us and my marriage never happened,” she said. “After a while, we heard that he got engaged to another girl.

“I decided to continue my university studies. However, in the beginning I faced a lot of bullying at university and on the streets. The questions I was asked were very difficult and I wanted to stop going to university, but my father supported me until I graduated from university and worked at a private school.

“This explosion affected my ability to deal with people, as I was afraid to talk to them. It destroyed my life.”

Jamila QassemMaheeb, who is in a wheelchair, began to weep as soon as she started to share her story.

“I went out to bring back my sheep from an area close to my house,” she said. “I took the same road I always take. On my way back home, I stepped on a mine with my left leg. The mine exploded and threw me up in the air and I landed on a second mine that hit my right leg.

“I started shouting for people to help me and they took me to the hospital. I was not aware of where I was or what had happened to me until I discovered that I will not be able to walk ever again and that this wheelchair will stay with me forever.

“I used to comfortably walk around the area. Now, however, I am no longer comfortable as I am confined to this wheelchair. I used to walk and herd my sheep but now I cannot do that.

“This mine has dramatically affected me. I miss everything in this life. You feel like you are dead while alive. How can I be comfortable?”

Maheeb said the hostilities in Yemen “leave everyone, men and women, young and old, either injured or disabled. They are killing people in their houses, on their farms and at their workplaces. However, those who suffer the most are the children, women and civilians.”

After suffering his own traumatic experience, Omar Bashir Saeed, a child from Taiz governorate, now dreams helping others by becoming a doctor who specializes in landmine injuries.

“I was playing on the street when a missile hit us,” he said. “I did not realize what happened and I still don’t know how we reached the hospital. I then discovered that my foot was amputated and I freaked out.

“However, I got used to my new situation, one day after another. I am no longer playing as much as I used to. Sometimes, playing with my friends might worsen the case of my foot, so I leave them to play without me.”

Yet brave Omar says that feels he got off relatively lightly compared with some of his friends who were with him at the time of the incident.

“I am doing much better than them, as some of them can no longer walk … while others are paralyzed,” he said. “My condition is better than theirs.

“I dream of becoming a doctor in the future to help those who are injured and lose limbs due to mines. I hope I excel in my school studies, and at university, so I can make my dream come true.”

Hamza Mohammed Ghaleb said that when combatants plant mines, the victims are always children, women, civilians and the elderly. He speaks from personal experience.

“We were gathered at my cousin’s house and upon exiting the house I was walking in front, and I suddenly felt that I was stepping on a mine planted in the road,” he said.

“I was taken to the hospital and when I woke up from the anesthesia I was told my foot had been amputated. The mine affected my studies as I couldn’t go to school, to the supermarket or do anything else.

“After I received the prosthesis, my life returned to normal and I went back to school and to my friends.”

Despite the adversity she has faced, Hadeel Mohammed Abdul Wase, from Al-Kedha, was perhaps the boldest and most self-confident all the people we met. She told how she was left in a coma after a missile strike hit her home at about 3.00 a.m. one night.

“My uncle and villagers took me to the hospital located in the nearest city,” she said. “Two days after the incident, I woke up from my coma to realize that both of my hands had been amputated.

“I asked my mom: ‘How will I ever be able to write again?’ I started imagining how I would face life and I couldn’t believe that I lost both hands to the missile.

“I finally managed to adapt to my new life after facing very challenging obstacles at first, as I couldn’t eat or drink. I used to rely on my mother until I finally managed to rely on myself.”

There is still some anger about what happened to her but Abdul Wase directs her rage toward the Houthis.

“Instead of planting seeds of hope in our land, they are planting seeds of obscenity and evil,” she said. “Our land is no longer safe. We are stepping on exploding mines. We have lost all forms of safety.

“The majority of the people have lost an arm or a leg, while others met death, lost sight or other parts of their bodies. The world is no longer a safe place.

“They select the paths people take as locations to plant chains of mines instead of a single exploding device. They are ruthless and cold-hearted. All they want is to raze the nation to the ground, including military personnel and citizens.”

Abdul Wase said she fears what the long-term effects of the violence will be on her country and its people.

“Mines leave no space for the future; with all these explosions, deaths, and wounds, is there really any future left in Yemen?” she asked.

“The seeds of failure are planted in our land. Plant hope and future seeds instead of these demolishing mines. There is no future in Yemen until mines are completely removed from our land.”

Mohamed Saleh Maraani, who lives in Moussa district, says: “The terrorist Houthi militia had reached us … and planted mines on roads and in houses, farms, schools, water wells and hospitals. We could not return to our homes, to our mosques, and to our schools. Our ways of life were destroyed.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280046/middle-east

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Hamas targets Israeli warplanes after resistance group’s drone shot down over Gaza Strip

03 April 2023

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement says it has fired a number of surface-to-air missiles towards Israeli fighter jets flying over the Gaza Strip after an unmanned aerial vehicle belonging to the group was shot down.

The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced in a Monday statement that one of its Shehab (Meteor) drones, while on a training flight, was shot down by Israel's air force earlier the same day.

It noted that the incident occurred as members of the al-Qassam Brigades were conducting training in the southern Gaza Strip.

After Israeli fighter jets targeted the drone, the Brigades responded by firing anti-aircraft missiles towards the Israeli planes.

No Israeli aircraft were apparently damaged in the incident.

The Israeli military said the Hamas drone was spotted in the airspace over the besieged coastal enclave, and was monitored up until the moment it was shot down.

The regime's army added that the aircraft did not enter Israeli airspace and did not pose a threat.

This came a day after Israeli combat helicopters and planes downed an unidentified aircraft that appeared to have crossed into Israeli airspace from Syria's Golan.

The unidentified aircraft was tracked by the Israeli military and “taken down over an open area,” without posing a threat to residents of the area, the regime's army said in a statement on Sunday.

The remnants of that drone were collected by the army on Monday morning and transferred for additional checks.

Tensions in northern Israel have escalated after a series of airstrikes in Syria.

Israel launched air raids on outposts in Syria’s central province of Homs early on Sunday, wounding at least five soldiers, according to the Syrian Ministry of Defense.

The raids were the third in recent days, including an attack on Friday that killed two military advisers with Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).

Israel launched “an aerial aggression from the direction of northwest Beirut, targeting some outposts in Homs city and its countryside at 00:35 a.m. local time on Sunday (2135 GMT Saturday) and Syrian air defenses had intercepted some of the missiles,” the ministry said in a statement carried by Syria’s official news agency SANA.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/04/03/700899/Hamas-targets-Israeli-jets-after-group%E2%80%99s-drone-shot-down-over-Gaza-Strip

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Pakistan

 

Militant Attacks Drop by 36 Pc in Pakistan, Casualties Remain Same: Report

By Fidel Rahmati

April 3, 2023

According to a new statistic by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security (PICSS), Pakistan saw a relatively calm March, with fewer militant attacks than in February, while resultant casualties remained almost the same as in February 2023.

The report revealed that there had been a 36 per cent decline in militant attacks during March in comparison to the previous month. However, the number of causalities remained the same, the report said.

The report added that 37 attacks had been recorded during March, in which 57 people lost their lives, and 72 others were injured. In February, 59 people were killed in 58 attacks, and 134 were wounded, local media reported.

As per the report, the number of suicide attacks has declined compared to March, one such attack was reported during March, but there were three attacks in February.

The document also shows that security forces foiled several deadly attacks by eliminating 38 suspected militants and arresting more than 35 others during the March.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are among the highest-recorded attack in Pakistan.

In comparison to February, the KP witnessed a rise in militancy with 16 attacks, killing 21 people and injuring 30 others. In February, the number of attacks was 13, killing six and wounding 8 eight others.

Balochistan recorded the second-most province with the highest number of attacks after KP. Though there was a 50 per cent decline in the number of attacks compared to February, the number of causalities remained the same. The militants carried out 11 attacks in March, killing 28 people and injuring 35.

Most of the attacks were carried out by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and some other was claimed by Balochistan Liberty Army (BLA).

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/militant-attacks-drop-by-36-pc-in-pakistan-casualties-remain-same-report/

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Ruling on PTI’s election petition likely today

Nasir Iqbal

April 4, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court is likely to announce its verdict on a PTI petition against a delay in Punjab Assembly elections today (Tuesday) after a three-member bench reserved the ruling, while refusing to entertain a request for a full court hearing into the matter.

Before it reserved the judgement, the three-judge bench took the wind out of the ruling coalition’s sails by asking whether they have trust in the bench or not.

“Have you withdrawn your boycott… if you want to argue then bring it in writing whether you have confidence in the bench or not,” observed Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial when Senator Farooq H Naek, who was representing the PPP, appeared before the bench in the morning.

The remarks by the top judge were in reference to a meeting of government allies in Lahore on Saturday, wherein the Pakistan Democratic Movement as well as its partners, dropped hints that they would not accept the court decision while expressing “complete no-confidence” in the bench.

Farooq Naek, however, tried to dissuade the bench by stating that the coalition partners had expressed reservations on the bench in view of the jurisdictional point of view by asking that a larger bench be formed to hear the matter.

Justice Munib Akhtar — a member of the bench while referring to the statement issued after the Lahore meeting — wondered if the ruling coalition did not trust the bench then how could they make a submission before the court.

While closing proceedings, the CJP regretted that it was rather a sense of loss that the court could not hear lawyers of the PDM partners, saying “political agendas” always come in the way during cases of political nature, resultantly depriving the court of able assistance from the other side.

Outside the top court, lawyers belonging to PTI and the ruling parties turned up in large numbers holding placards in support of the Constitution and rule of law, as well as expressing solidarity with the CJP.

However, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) distanced itself from the gathering, saying it did not ask lawyers to converge on Constitution Avenue.

No ‘constitutional disharmony’

When Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan was asked about his position, the AGP said there could be no constitutional disharmony between the executive and judicial branches. At this, the CJP observed that this was what could be expected from a “serious-minded” AGP.

However, the court closed its proceedings with a direction to Defence Secretary Hamood Zaman and Finance Additional Secretary Amir Mehmood to convince the court about the overwhelming impediments blocking the holding of the elections in Punjab.

The defence secretary requested the court for an in-camera briefing but the court asked him to furnish what he wanted to say in a sealed envelope which would be returned to him in the same manner.

During the hearing, the CJP again offered to slash the salary of judges as well as that of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from the employees-related expenditure head to bridge the gap of Rs20 billion required for polls.

CJP Bandial reiterated that the court was not here to create any difficulty for the government since it “understands that the entire burden would be on the judiciary” if any untoward incident happened during the elections.

“There is still time that the political parties should come to a settlement in the wake of acrimony and violence,” the CJP observed.

During the hearing, the CJP also mentioned his meeting with senior judges, like Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, wherein issues faced by the judiciary were identified. The CJP also hinted that though a full court hearing was not possible, a full court meeting of all judges was possible that could be held soon for amendments to the Supreme Court Rules.

No recusals’

The AGP requested the bench the case should be heard by the other six judges who have not heard the election matter, or the current petition of PTI must also be dismissed given the majority judgement of 4-3 passed on March 1.

He stressed that the provincial governments of the Punjab and KP were dissolved to achieve a political objective i.e. to force general elections.

The AGP added that even though there was nothing wrong with such a political objective, under the constitutional scheme conducting free and fair general elections — likely to be held later this year — may not be possible in the presence of elected governments in Punjab and KP.

However, the CJP brushed aside the 4-3 controversy and said nobody had recused from the nine-judge bench, besides all judges had requested him to reconstitute the bench.

The bench was reconstituted by him using his discretion as the CJP for which he was not answerable, Justice Bandial said, adding the opinion of Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Athar Minallah were part of the record but not a part of the judgement.

The CJP also rubbished the concept of order of the day in case of dissenting judgement by asking the AGP to come up with any law requiring the issuance of an order of the court.

Referring to the March 31 circular issued by the registrar, the CJP observed that Justice Qazi Faez Isa’s order was on the administrative side and expressed a desire to postpone all cases under Article 184(3) instead of mandatory directions.

Therefore, the circular had to be issued to disregard the direction, especially in light of an earlier five-judge order, he added. Justice Bandial further observed that the full court comprising 15 judges was not possible since all the judges were not available for already taking different stands.

Later, Irfan Qadir, who was representing ECP, urged the top court to resolve its internal conflict and added that this case of “immense importance should not be proceeded with”.

“I am not attacking the integrity of judges but there is some misconception about bias,” he said, stressing that the fundamental rights of a group or a political party should not be construed as the fundamental rights of the entire nation.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1745817/ruling-on-ptis-election-petition-likely-today

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SC registrar removed after Justice Isa’s blistering rejoinder

Syed Irfan Raza | Nasir Iqbal

April 4, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The government went into ‘defiance mode’ on Monday and recalled the services of the Supreme Court registrar, following a demand put forward by the second senior-most judge of the apex court.

In a tersely worded letter, written in response to a March 31 circular that asked to disregard the decision of a Justice Qazi Faez Isa-led bench, the senior puisne judge urged the Cabinet Division to recall Ishrat Ali to “prevent him from further damaging the reputation and integrity of the Supreme Court”.

The judge also sought disciplinary proceedings against Mr Ali for apparently violating the Constitution and the order of the Supreme Court of March 29.

The two-page letter, addressed to the registrar, was also copied to the cabinet secretary through the Attorney General for Pakistan and Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

Cabinet calls on president to sign new bill clipping CJP’s powers, into law

In a subsequent meeting of the federal cabinet on Monday night, held after the CJP-led Supreme Court bench reserved its judgement on a PTI petition against a delay in Punjab Assembly elections, PM Shehbaz Sharif and his advisers agreed on two main points — withdrawing charge from the incumbent Supreme Court registrar and urging President Dr Arif Alvi to give his nod to the newly-passed bill clipping the CJP’s powers of suo motu.

An official statement issued after the meeting said: “The federal cabinet Monday asked President Dr Arif Alvi to immediately sign the Supreme Court Practice and Procedure Bill 2023 so that the country could be taken out of the constitutional and political crisis. The cabinet also decided to withdraw the services of Registrar Supreme Court and asked him to report to the Establishment Division.”

Later, the Establishment Division issued a notification saying that Mr Ali’s services had been withdrawn from the Supreme Court and he had been directed to report to the Establishment Division with immediate effect.

Justice Isa’s letter

In his letter, Justice Isa said he was astonished to receive the circular that purports to “negate, undo, disobey and violate” the March 29 order of a three-member Supreme Court bench headed by him.

He argued that the registrar does not have the power or authority to undo a judicial order and the CJP cannot issue administrative directions with regard thereto.

“As a senior officer, the registrar is expected to know what the constitution stipulates, act in accordance therewith and abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court under Article 189 of the Constitution.”

In your best interest and that of the Supreme Court, the letter said, the registrar should withdraw the circular immediately and inform all those who have been sent it since his conduct demonstrates that he did not have the requisite competence, ability and understanding to hold the office of registrar.

Moreover, a bureaucrat holding the office of the registrar violates Article 175(3) of the Constitution, which mandates the complete separation of the judiciary from the executive, the letter emphasized.

Parliamentary party meeting

Earlier, speaking in the National Assembly Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar had lashed out at the President Alvi for not signing the bill.

Meanwhile, addressing a meeting of the PML-N parliamentary party, the PM categorically said the ruling coalition had no confidence in three-member bench of the Supreme Court.

Drawing a stark comparison, the prime minister said Nawaz Sharif’s daughter was implicated in corruption cases, but contrary to that the PTI wanted to save Imran Khan’s wife by claiming that she was not a public officeholder.

The PM told PML-N parliamentarians that before coming to power, he could not have imagined the severity of the crisis – in form of a destroyed economy and strained foreign relations with brotherly countries – that faced Pakistan last year.

He said the government had fulfilled all the conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the previous regime had violated its commitments and accused the PTI regime of derailing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects, which he said impacted Pak-China relations.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1745818/sc-registrar-removed-after-justice-isas-blistering-rejoinder

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Voices from within ruling coalition call for ‘de-escalation’

Syed Irfan Raza

April 4, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Voices have started emerging from within the ruling coalition calling for de-escalation and finding ‘amicable solutions’ to the prevailing political, economical and judicial crises.

Six parties in the ruling alliance, Pakistan Democratic Move­ment, on Monday urged the political forces to sit together after a meeting with a civil society group, Mediators, at the National Press Club.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of MuttahidaQaumi Movement (MQM), Baloch­istan Nat­ional Party (BNP-Men­gal), National Party (NP), National De­­m­ocratic Movement (NDM), Qaumi Wat­­an Party (QWP) and Pashtun­khwa Milli Awami Party (Pk-MAP).

In a joint statement after the meeting, the political parties and the group stressed the need for holding a multiparty conference (MPC) to overcome the crises.

The meeting also expressed concerns over the judicial crisis and urged the need for unity within the judiciary and safeguarding its independence.

Six allies urge political forces to sit together, overcome crises

The Mediators, a group of over 100 civil society organisations including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan Bar Council, Pakistan Federation of Union of Journalists and others, has been making efforts to bring warring parties to the table and defuse the political tension which erupted since on the issue of holding general elections to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies within the constitutional timeframe of 90 days after the dissolution of assemblies.

The Mediators’ coordinator Im­­tiaz Alam urged the ruling PDM to do legislation to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution. He asked PML-N, PTI and PPP to accept the invitation for the proposed MPC.

The meeting was apprised that invitations for the proposed MPC have been sent to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. However, the date of the MPC was yet to be announced.

This is the second such effort by the group to build a consensus among political parties to overcome the prevailing crises.

Earlier in March, the group met with PTI Chairman Khan and urged him to sit with the rival parties for the sake of “greater national consensus” on elections.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745749/voices-from-within-ruling-coalition-call-for-de-escalation

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NAB on notice as Imran, Bushra challenge summons

Malik Asad

April 4, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday sought a reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with an inquiry initiated against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi, for ‘illegally’ retaining Toshakhana gifts.

The IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Saman RafatImtaiz heard the petitions of Mr Khan and Bushra Bibi.

Khawaja Haris Ahmed, counsel for the petitioners, requested the court to stay the inquiry till the final decision on the complaint of Election Commission of Pakistan in the Toshakhana case.

He argued that the NAB’s notices didn’t state in which capacity the information was being sought.

Counsel asks IHC to stay probe until final decision in Toshakhana case

He pointed out that superior courts had made it mandatory for NAB to explain details of the inquiry and for what reason the bureau was summoning individuals.

Justice Farooq inquired as if the procedure of serving notices provided in the NAB law amendments of 2022.

The counsel replied that the amendments made it mandatory for NAB to establish a reason and communicate it to the suspect.

“As per the amended law, it should be mentioned whether anyone was summoned as an accused or summoned for any other reason,” he said.

The NAB’s prosecutor informed the court that a reminder had been sent to the former prime minister for sharing details of Toshakhana gifts.

The PTI chairman and his wife challenged the NAB case initiated against them for retaining and ‘illegally’ selling the Toshakhana gifts.

On Feb 17, NAB issued notices to Mr Khan and Ms Bushra Bibi for retaining state gifts. The anti-corruption watchdog sought details from Mr Khan of wrist watches and a mobile phone, presented to him by various foreign dignitaries.

The bureau also sought details of jewellary sets presented to Ms Bushra Bibi, including a Rloex watch, a gold and diamond locket presented by Emir of Qatar, and two necklace sets gifted by the Saudi crown prince.

In the identical petitions before the IHC filed through his attorney Khawaja Haris Ahmed and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, the former prime minister and his wife pleaded that NAB had issued the notice in violation of Section 19 of the National Accountability Ordinance.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1745813/nab-on-notice-as-imran-bushra-challenge-summons

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Karachi chapter of PTI unhappy over move to contact MQM-P

Imran Ayub

April 4, 2023

KARACHI: Local leaders of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf are unhappy over attempts by the party’s high command to re-establish contacts with the MuttahidaQaumi Movement-Pakistan as they accused their former ally of backstabbing the party’s federal government last year.

The fresh move from the PTI-Karachi came following the statement of party president Chaudhry Parvez Elahi in which he claimed to have restored links with the MQM-P in line with its ongoing campaign to engage different political parties to build the momentum for general elections.

Within hours of Mr Elahi’s statement, party lawmakers, city leaders and senior workers held a meeting with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was in the city on Sunday to meet different political leaders, and conveyed him their opinion before “anything becomes final”.

A party leader confirmed that the majority of legislators and leaders from Karachi had expressed their serious reservations over the fresh development.

“We had a meeting with vice chairman Qureshi the other day and it was attended by all legislators elected from Karachi,” PTI MPA and deputy information secretary of Sindh chapter Shahzad Qureshi told Dawn. “I can say that almost everyone showed reservations.”

He said that the local leadership told the former foreign minister that the MQM-P was a part of the PDM government. “Considering Karachi politics and its future, we have conveyed our reservations and opinion in this regard,” he said.

Another PTI leader, on the condition of anonymity, said that most participants of the meeting were not in favour of “any fresh partnership” with the MQM-P.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1745734/karachi-chapter-of-pti-unhappy-over-move-to-contact-mqm-p

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Terror-stricken Sikh community weary of its safety

Ibrahim Shinwari

April 4, 2023

KHYBER: While relatives and well wishers of slain Diyal Singh mourned his targeted killing, many of them said they now felt more insecure than before.

Herjeet Singh, a young imitation jewellery dealer in Peshawar’s Karkhano market told Dawn that his entire community was ‘heart broken’ and terrorised by the killing of Diyal Singh whom he described as a ‘harmless soul’.

He said that minority community and especially Sikhs were feeling very insecure in Peshawar and surrounding localities as a minority person was killed after every seven or eight months with the security agencies failing to provide them much needed protection.

Harjeet Singh’s family had migrated to Peshawar from Bara some 17 years back when Bara was under effective control of the proscribed Lashkar-i-Islam, led by Mangal Bagh.

He said that Diyal Singh had four children, including three sons and a daughter and he was the only breadwinner for his family.

“Owing to his poor financial status, our community would hire him as watchman during festive occasions so that he could earn some extra money apart from his small herbal shop,” he said.

Malak Balendar Singh, a spokesman for Sikh community in Bara told Dawn that the grandfather of the deceased migrated from Tirah some three decades back and settled down in Kalanga, Akkakhel area of Bara.

He said that Diyal Singh was running his herbal shop in Bhatta Thal locality, adjacent to Bara Bazaar but had to shift to MuhallahJogan Shah in Peshawar in May last year when two of his close relatives Ranjeet Singh and Kulgeet Singh were killed by unidentified gunmen.

He said the deceased was very concerned about the safety of his family and had thus shifted to Peshawar with the hope that he would be safe while living close to other Sikh families in MohallahJogan Shah.

Jaspal Singh, another Sikh trader in Karkhano market, told Dawn that while majority of the Sikh families had long shifted to either Peshawar or other cities of the country, 29 Sikh shopkeepers were still running their small businesses in Bara while another 19 had their shops in Bhatta Thal market.

He said none of these Sikh shopkeepers had residences in Bara or any other locality of Khyber as they come back to Peshawar in the evening.

“Our relationship with the local community is very cordial and friendly but still we feel insecure as a number of the minority community members had fallen victims to targeted killing in recent past,” he explained.

He said hundreds of Sikh families previously residing in Tirah valley for over a century had now deserted their homes and had migrated to other comparatively safer places.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745804/terror-stricken-sikh-community-weary-of-its-safety

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125 policemen martyred in militant attacks in three months in KP

April 4, 2023

PESHAWAR: One hundred and twenty-five police personnel embraced martyrdom and 212 others sustained injuries in different militant attacks across the province during the first quarter of 2023. A total of 25 cases of militant attacks have been registered with the police during the three months, police data shows.

According to the data, 15 militant attacks were reported against police in January 2023, in which 116 personnel embraced martyrdom and 189 were injured.

Three militant attacks were reported in February 2023, in which two police personnel embraced martyrdom and five others were wounded.

Seven cases were registered by the police in March 2023, wherein seven policemen embraced martyrdom and 18 others were wounded.

Meanwhile, a senior police official told Dawn that following a surge in attacks on the police in January after the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) called off the ceasefire, the police were equipped with latest weaponry, leading to reduction in the number of attacks in February and March.

“There were fewer attacks reported in February and March,” the police official said, adding the force was carrying out intelligence-based operations and hunting down the militants.

Of the 125 personnel, who embraced martyrdom during last three months, 84 personnel, including officers, laid down their lives on January 30 alone when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque at Peshawar’s police headquarters.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1745798/125-policemen-martyred-in-militant-attacks-in-three-months-in-kp

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Southeast Asia

 

Law Ministry seeks to spur economy through Ramadan bazaar

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Law and Human Rights Ministry is seeking to assist in the effort to recover the people's economy and support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by organizing a Ramadan bazaar.

The bazaar is expected to be an event for forging social connections among people, the ministry's secretary general Police Commissioner General AndapBudhiRevianto said during the bazaar’s opening here on Monday.

According to his statement, the event that was earlier routinely held during Ramadan was discontinued for three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revianto lauded and expressed full support for the three-day event, which has been put together by the ministry's Dharma Wanita Persatuan (DWP), an organization of civil servants’ wives, from Monday to Wednesday (April 5, 2023).

Before opening the event, he visited several booths at the bazaar and directly reviewed the prices of goods.

"I also just checked the price from the participants in the bazaar, monitoring the disparity between the price (in the bazaar) and the market price," he said.

Several processed food products, Muslim clothes, prayer equipment, daily necessities, and fasting and Eid al-Fitr goods made by MSMEs were exhibited in the lobby and hall of GrahaPengayoman as part of the bazaar.

Revianto also expressed his gratitude over no COVID-19 case being detected at the ministry.

"However, we still need to be careful, we cannot be arrogant. We still need to be disciplined in implementing the health protocols," he said.

This year’s Ramadan bazaar has drawn 94 participants, including representatives from 11 of the ministry's main units and 2 of the ministry’s regional offices in Jakarta and Banten.

Source: AntaraNews

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

https://en.antaranews.com/news/277569/law-ministry-seeks-to-spur-economy-through-ramadan-bazaar

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Malaysia says Beijing expresses concerns about its energy projects in South China Sea

04 April ,2023

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday said Beijing has expressed concerns about energy activities by Malaysian state firm Petronas in the South China Sea, even though Kuala Lumpur believes the projects are in its territory.

Anwar’s remarks come after he opened the door for negotiations with China earlier this week, in a sign of mounting pressure on Malaysia’s energy operations in waters that Beijing claims as its own.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes annually. Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have some overlapping claims.

Petronas operates oil and gas fields within Malaysia’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and has in recent years had several encounters with Chinese vessels.

China was worried that “Petronas has carried out a major activity at an area that is also claimed by China,” Anwar said, responding to a parliamentary question about his discussions on the South China Sea during his visit to China last week.

“I stressed... that Malaysia sees the area as Malaysian territory therefore Petronas will continue its exploration activities there,” Anwar said, without specifying an offshore project or a location.

But Malaysia is open for negotiations “if China feels this is their right”, Anwar said, adding the Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc feels that overlapping claims should be resolved by negotiations.

Petronas declined to comment and the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur was not immediately available for comment.

China claims its territory via a “nine-dash line” on its maps, which cuts into the EEZs of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, however, ruled in 2016 that the nine-dash line, which stretches as far as 1,500 km off its coastline, has no legal basis.

US think tank, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), last week said a Chinese coast guard vessel was for the past month operating near Petronas’ Kasawari gas development off Malaysia’s Sarawak state, and came as close as 1.5 miles of the project. A Malaysian navy ship was in the area, AMTI said.

The Kasawari field holds an estimated 3 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves and is expected to start production this year.

China foreign ministry on Monday said they were not aware of the specific incident but said the conduct of the China coast guard is beyond reproach.

Anwar, in his parliamentary comments, said China believes its ships were in international waters.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/04/04/Malaysia-says-Beijing-expresses-concerns-about-its-energy-projects-in-South-China-Sea

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Malaysian parliament approves bill to scrap mandatory death penalty

NOR ARLENE TAN

April 04, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian lawmakers voted on Monday in favor of abolishing the mandatory death penalty, paving the way for landmark legal reforms the government said are aimed at respecting each individual’s right to life.

The lower house of Malaysia’s Parliament passed the bill, which will now be brought to the government-controlled Senate, or upper house, for approval, before it is presented to the king and passed into law.

Under the revised law, which applies retroactively, 11 offenses that previously carried a mandatory death penalty will instead have alternative punishments, including whipping and imprisonment between 30 and 40 years.

The new measures will also remove capital punishment as an option for some serious crimes that do not cause death, such as the discharging and trafficking of firearms and kidnapping.

“The abolition of the mandatory death penalty aims to respect the right to life for every individual in Malaysia while ensuring justice for all parties,” Deputy Law Minister Ramkarpal Singh said during a wrap-up of parliamentary debates on the bill.

“The basic principle for every sentence in Malaysia is rehabilitation so that they can return to society and become individuals who can serve the family, community and country after completing their sentence.”

A moratorium on the death penalty has been in effect since 2018 in Malaysia, where over 1,300 prisoners are on death row, representing a disproportionately high number compared to other countries in the region.

While the new bill does not completely remove capital punishment, which remains for offenses ranging from drug trafficking and terrorism to murder, it allows judges the discretion to pass alternatives.

“We commend the government, which has shown political will and determination to reform. The abolition is a move toward the advancement of Malaysia’s human rights,” Ngeow Chow Ying, an executive committee member of the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, told Arab News.

However, Ying said officials could do more in their efforts to reform Malaysia’s criminal justice system, as the use of caning in the law is “barbaric” and an “ultimately cruel and inhuman punishment.”

Though Monday’s vote was “a long time in the making,” Amnesty International Malaysia’s Executive Director Katrina JoreneMaliamauv said that “there is still more to be done.”

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280771/world

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As Japan ages, young Indonesians train to fill caregiver jobs

April 04, 2023

JAKARTA: Speaking in Japanese and bowing, 24-year-old Siti Maesaroh offers a tray with a mug and two bowls to a fellow student pretending to be an elderly person, before asking him if he wanted chopsticks and a spoon to eat with.

The role play is an example of the type of training being offered by vocational institutions across Indonesia catering to students seeking to fill job vacancies in Japan.

“I think the reason Japan chooses us is because Indonesian youths are very capable of caring for the elderly,” said Maesaroh, who is attending the Onodera User Run school in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

The school, established in 2022, also offers Japanese language training for its students seeking to enrol in a Japanese government program to employ foreigners with special skills to work in sectors like care giving.

Japan is one of the world’s most rapidly aging societies, with people who are 65 or older now accounting for 28 percent of the population, according to UN data.

Births in Japan fell to fewer than 800,000 for the first time last year, according to official data, as Japan’s working-age population shrinks.

Hiroki Sasaki, labor attache at the Japanese embassy in Jakarta, estimates only about 130,000 of the 340,000 special skilled job vacancies in Japan have been filled.

A foreign workforce, therefore, is becoming increasingly necessary, he said.

As of December 2022, there were more than 16,000 Indonesians working under Japan’s special skilled worker scheme, the second-highest number behind Vietnam.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country with some 280 million people and Kamila Mansjur, the principal of the school, said sending workers to Japan to care for the elderly benefited both countries.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280861/world

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Africa

 

Tunisia’s Saied reappears in public, dismisses ‘mad’ speculations

April 04, 2023

TUNIS: Tunisian President Kais Saied appeared in a video posted Monday on his official Facebook page, dismissing “mad” reports over his health following almost two weeks with no public engagements.

The North African country’s main opposition coalition had pressed the government earlier to explain Saied’s public “absence,” saying it had information that he was sick.

“These people deserve nothing but contempt,” Saied said in the video, referring to his political rivals.

“The president is absent for two or three days, he gets a cold and that becomes a problem, a power vacuum?“

Saied, 65, had not appeared in public or held any meetings since March 22, according to posts on Facebook — the presidency’s only official channel of communication.

The lack of statements or videos has sparked rumors over the state of Saied’s health.

Speaking alongside Prime Minister NajlaBouden, the president said the reports reflected “a level of madness never seen before in Tunisia.

Earlier on Monday, Ahmed Nejib Chebbi of the National Salvation Front opposition coalition told journalists: “We ask the government to address the Tunisian people and say if the president has health problems that have forced him to be absent.”

Chebbi said Bouden would run Tunisia in the event of a temporary power vacuum, but that a permanent vacancy would present the country with a “great catastrophe” due to a legislative void.

In his video, Saied accused unnamed people of “trying to create crises” by talking of a power vacuum.

“These people have lost the plot, they’re obsessed with power,” he said.

Saied, who staged a dramatic power grab in July 2021 and has since ruled by decree, last year rammed through a constitution giving his office unlimited powers and neutering parliament.

Since February, security forces have arrested over 20 public figures, including top members of the opposition.

Those targeted include members of the once-powerful Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party and political activists, as well as lawyers, businessmen and the head of a popular radio station known for giving a platform to criticism of the president.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280811/middle-east

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UN calls for accountability push in Libya as war crimes probe ends

April 03, 2023

GENEVA: The UN rights chief called Monday for Libyan authorities and the international community to step up accountability efforts in the conflict-ravaged country, as a probe into war crimes wrapped up.

“Libyan authorities, armed groups, smugglers and human traffickers should not assume that the eyes of the international community have now left Libya,” Volker Turk said.

“It is crucial that we redouble efforts to secure accountability for past violations and continue to monitor the reality on the ground to prevent future violations.”

Turk’s comments came as the so-called UN Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, set up by the UN Human Rights Council in 2020, wound up its operations and handed over its archives and the evidence it had collected to his office in Geneva.

Instead of prolonging the investigation, the rights council is expected this week to adopt a resolution calling merely for the UN to provide “technical assistance” toward improving the rights situation in Libya.

In its final report issued last week, the fact-finding mission voiced deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the conflict-torn North African country.

The mission concluded that there were “grounds to believe a wide array of war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by state security forces and armed militia groups.”

It warned among other things that migrants stuck in Libya while trying to reach Europe are being systematically tortured and forced into sexual slavery.

The team recommended that the UN rights office “establish a distinct and autonomous mechanism with an ongoing mandate to monitor and report on gross human rights violations in Libya.”

That effort should be aimed at “supporting Libyan reconciliation efforts and assisting the Libyan authorities in achieving transitional justice and accountability,” it said.

Turk voiced support for that recommendation Monday, and said his office also remained committed to working with authorities to create a victim-centered plan for transitional justice and accountability.

Libya has seen more than a decade of stop-start conflict since the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi, with a myriad of militias forming opposing alliances backed by foreign powers.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280481/middle-east

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Algerian president discusses Syrian developments with al-Assad

Hassan Jebril

03.04.2023

ALGIERS, Algeria

Algerian President AbdelmajidTebboune discussed developments in Syria on Monday with head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad.

An Algerian presidential statement said al-Assad briefed the Algerian leader on the current situation in Syria.

The two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations between the two countries, the statement said.

Al-Assad thanked Algeria for its support to Damascus following the Feb. 6 earthquakes that killed thousands in both Syria and Türkiye, the statement said.

Algeria has maintained relations with Syria following the outbreak of the country’s civil war in 2011.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/algerian-president-discusses-syrian-developments-with-al-assad/2862613

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KSrelief continues humanitarian efforts in Indonesia, Nigeria

April 04, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) recently distributed food packages in Indonesia and Nigeria as part of its continuing aid efforts for depressed communities and needy individuals.

In Indonesia’s Bandung city in West Java province, KSrelief distributed more than 16 tons and 480 kilograms of food baskets as part of the Food Basket Project for the Hijri calendar year 1444.

Some 1,600 people – or 400 families – have benefited from the initiative that has programmed the distribution of 6,687 food baskets that will help 33,435 individuals in the provinces of Jakarta, West Java, Benten and Central Java.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2280881/saudi-arabia

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North America

 

Surrey throat slashing suspect charged with terrorism linked to Islamic State group

Apr 03, 2023

Kim Bolan

A man arrested after a bus passenger was seriously injured in a knife attack in Surrey on Saturday now faces four terrorism charges.

The charges of “committing an offence for the benefit of a terrorist organization” — specifically the Islamic State — were sworn against Abdul Aziz Kawam on Monday. He also made an appearance in Surrey provincial court.

Kawam, born in 1995, was already facing four other charges, laid Saturday after a man had his throat slashed while on a bus travelling on Fraser Highway at 156th Street at about 9:30 a.m. Another person had a knife held to his throat at a bus stop about four blocks away.

The weekend charges include one of attempted murder, two of assault with a weapon and one of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Const. Amanda Steed of Metro Vancouver Transit Police said Monday that investigators reached out to the RCMP-led Integrated National Security Enforcement Team because of disturbing comments made by Kawam.

“During the course of our investigation, it was determined that the suspect made quite a few concerning statements, which is why we notified the RCMP INSET,” Steed said. “So they have taken on an investigation as well. And we’re working with them. But from here on, they will be in charge of the investigation and they have forwarded their own charges along with ours.”

Steed said she couldn’t specifically comment on what the suspect allegedly said.

“I can only say that it was concerning enough to notify INSET.”

RCMP Supt. David Teboul said INSET continues to work with Metro Vancouver Transit Police on the case.

“We remain committed to uncovering all the facts relating to this disturbing and unprovoked assault.”

He said Kawam is being held in custody.

About 10 minutes before the bus attack, the other victim was standing at a bus stop at Fraser Highway and 152nd Street when a person approached “and held a knife to his throat,” she said.

“That victim was able to break free and run away. And then the suspect ran from there and boarded the bus with the second victim at 156th and Fraser. They both boarded at the same place.”

While the injured man is listed on LinkedIn as a bus driver, he was not on duty nor wearing a driver’s uniform, Steed said.

Source: Toronto Sun

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

https://torontosun.com/news/crime/suspect-surrey-bus-throat-slashing-facing-terrorism-charges/wcm/27752dd1-a50e-4cd4-a844-994945935075

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US says its forces killed ISIS leader in Syria behind planning attacks in Europe

04 April ,2023

The United States carried out a military operation that killed a senior ISIS leader in Syria on Monday, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement early on Tuesday.

Khalid Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri was responsible for planning ISIS attacks into Europe and developed the leadership structure for ISIS, the statement said.

Last week, the TASS news agency said Russia had protested to the American-led coalition against ISIS about “provocative actions” by US armed forces in Syria.

No civilians were killed or injured in this strike, CENTCOM said, and added that the group “continues to represent a threat to the region and beyond.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/04/04/US-says-its-forces-killed-ISIS-leader-in-Syria-behind-planning-attacks-in-Europe-

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After attacks by Iranian-backed forces, US carrier repositioned near Syria: Pentagon

ServetGünerigök

04.04.2023

WASHINGTON

The Pentagon said Monday that the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean has been repositioned near the Syrian coast as a precaution after Iranian-backed forces launched attacks on American military bases in Syria.

"We saw increased attacks from (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC-affiliated groups targeting our service members across Syria, and as a precaution, we did move the carrier to be slightly closer," Deputy Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told a press briefing.

Singh stressed that the reason for positioning the carrier was in response to the attacks.

Asked by Anadolu whether the vessel is being kept in the region for a possible military strike on Iran, Singh said: "This was about the attacks that we saw on our service members in the region and the response to that.”

Late last month, a drone attack killed one American contractor and wounded at least six US military personnel. The Pentagon blamed Iran for it.

The US carried out airstrikes in response.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/after-attacks-by-iranian-backed-forces-us-carrier-repositioned-near-syria-pentagon/2862682

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US vows to act against human rights abusers in Libya

Ahmed Asmar

03.04.2023

The US Embassy in Libya on Monday voiced deep concern over alleged abuses against migrants in Libya and vowed to use its powers to hold perpetrators accountable.

A report by a UN fact-finding mission cited evidence on crimes against humanity committed against migrants in Libya, including women being forced into sex slavery.

The UN mission said its investigators collected nearly 2,800 items of information documenting numerous cases of abuse against migrants, including arbitrary detention, murder, torture, rape, enslavement, sexual slavery, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances.

"We stand with the Libyan people and will continue to use the tools and authorities at our disposal, including in the HRC [Human Rights Council], to seek accountability for all human rights abusers," the embassy said in a statement.

On Sunday, the Libyan Foreign Ministry rejected the UN report on abuses against migrants and called on the UN mission to present its information about the victims of violence and sex slavery to the authorities.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-vows-to-act-against-human-rights-abusers-in-libya/2862492

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