New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 29 Dec 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Radical Islamist Gunmen Shut Yemen Faculties for Mixing Of Sexes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Photo: Gunmen shut Yemen faculties for mixing of sexes

Mideast

Gunmen Shut Yemen Faculties for Mixing Of Sexes

Yemeni Forces Capture Scores of Saudi-Led Coalition Troops Near Ma'rib

Saudi Arabia, Turkey to set up ‘strategic cooperation council’

Erdogan accuses Kurdish party chief of ‘treason’ over autonomy call

Bahraini warplane participating in Yemen war crashes in Saudi Arabia

Turkey arrests 3 IS suspects, including Briton

Israel arrests Jews over celebration of toddler death

Iraqis will flush Takfiri terrorists out soon: Iran FM

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South Asia

Taliban Bomber Kills 26 at Mardan Nadra Centre

Unknown Fate of 300 Villagers Detained By Daesh in Nangarhar

Drone Strike Kills Two Taliban Commanders in Laghman

Security forces arrest nine Taliban during a clash in Nangarhar

NATO, US military commander seeks to keep more troops in Afghanistan

36,000 Bangladeshi maids ready to work in Kingdom

Afghan leader promises parliamentary election next year

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia Opts Out Of Saudi-Led Military Coalition

'Un-Islamic' Vaping Catches Fire in Malaysia amid Government Backlash

Suspected Muslim rebels kill official, attack police in Thailand’s south

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India

After U.S. Refuses Entry to British Muslims, Indian Students Are Being Turned Away In Droves

TN Muslim Group Issues Fatwa against Ramdev’s Patanjali Products

‘Islam Has Been Misinterpreted’: Rakesh Bhatt, a Reputed Scholar

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Europe

French Socialists Split Over Terrorist Citizenship Plans

Russia’s Contacts with Taliban Don’t Worry US

Russia Admits Turkey an Important Trading Partner

One killed, 11 injured in shooting at Russia's Caucasus Unesco heritage site: health ministry

2 Russians imprisoned for funding Daesh

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Arab World

Takfiri Terrorists Crushed In Idlib

Iraqi Army Deploys Tribal Fighters in Re-conquered Ramadi

As record numbers flee their homes in 2015, hopes of people forced out

Syrian Forces Win More Battles East of Damascus

Syrian Warplanes Bomb ISIL Gatherings Southeast of Deir Ezzur

Aleppo: Terrorists Sustain Casualties in Syrian Air Raids

Army Seizes Back Vast Areas in Syria

Syrian Army Inflicts Major Losses on Militants North of Dara'a

Army Continues Heavy Clashes with Terrorists in Key Provinces

Syrian Air Force Targets Militants' Centers South of Dara'a

Russian Airstrikes on ISIL-Turkey Oil Smuggling Reveal Huge Scope of Theft

Al-Baqdadi's Office Chief Killed in Mosul

Bahrain jails 29 over bomb attack on police

Riyadh fumes over militant leader’s killing in Syria

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North America

Qaeda Re-Emerges in Afghanistan as US Focuses on IS, Taliban

Latinos: Fastest-Growing Group of Muslims in US

US denies it spies on Turkish authorities

US acknowledges Iran’s compliance with N-deal

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Pakistan

Ministers in the Dark about Outcome of Army Chief’s Kabul Visit

Three Terrorists Killed In Turbat Operation

Anti-ISIS Hunt On After Daska Arrests

Non-bailable arrest warrants issued for MQM, PPP and Pasban leaders in Dr Asim terror case

8 IS suspects remanded in CTD custody for 10 days

‘Politics of confrontation to harm security’

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Africa

Central African Republic Votes In Election to Restore Democracy

Nigerian minister claims Boko Haram 'largely' defeated

Nigerian Shia cleric Zakzaky charged with conspiracy

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/radical-islamist-gunmen-shut-yemen-faculties-for-mixing-of-sexes/d/105801

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Mideast

 

Gunmen Shut Yemen Faculties for Mixing Of Sexes

December 30, 2015

ADEN: Radical Islamist gunmen shut down three faculties at Yemen's University of Aden on Tuesday in an attempt to force students to observe segregation of the sexes on campus, witnesses said.

The incident was the second of its kind in recent weeks in Aden, Yemen's second city, where the presence of militant groups is growing as the embattled government struggles to spread control. The gunmen, some of whom were masked, forced the students out of the faculties of administrative sciences, law, and engineering, before locking down the gates, students said. "They dragged us out of the exam halls," said one of the students. "They detained two students who were filming the incident."

Students said the gunmen shouted: "No mixing. We have warned you before," and added that the authorities did not intervene to stop the extremists.

It was not immediately clear what group the gunmen belonged to but witnesses and local residents said they were loyalists of Ayman Askar, a local militia leader known for his links to both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Askar's militia is influential in Aden's district of Madinat Asha'ab where the faculties are located, according to residents.

Last month, radical gunmen also entered the faculty of administrative sciences in Aden and closed it down after threatening to use force against students if they did not observe segregation of the sexes.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), long active in Yemen, and the newly emerged IS appear to be vying for influence in the main port city.

Fighting between Iran-allied rebels and Saudi-backed loyalist forces has plunged impoverished Yemen into chaos, which militant groups have exploited to make sweeping gains, particularly in southern regions. The extremists are occupying government buildings and are frequently seen patrolling several districts of Aden.

They have carried out several deadly attacks, assassinated government officials, and intimidated civilians. Yemen's capital Sanaa has been under the control of Shia Huthi rebels and their allies since September last year.

http://nation.com.pk/international/30-Dec-2015/gunmen-shut-yemen-faculties-for-mixing-of-sexes

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Yemeni Forces Capture Scores of Saudi-Led Coalition Troops near Ma'rib

Dec 29, 2015

At least 20 Saudi troops were captured in heavy clashes with the Yemeni forces near Jawf-Ma'rib intersection in the Central part of Yemen.

The Saudi-led troops were trying to move through Jawf-Ma'rib intersection when they came under Yemeni forces' ambush.

In relevant development, tens of Saudi-led troops were killed and dozens more were injured in a successful ambush attack by the Yemeni forces in the province of Ma'rib, Central Yemen, on Monday.

The Yemeni army and the popular forces also took scores of Saudi troops into captivity in Ma'rib province.

Meantime, the Yemeni forces cleared Al-Awa military base and Al-Karba region in the province of Ta'iz.

Al-Karba was the biggest stronghold of the pro-Saudi troops in Jbal al-Habashi (Habashi Mountain) in Ta'iz province.

On Saturday, the Yemeni army and popular forces laid siege on a large number of Saudi and Emirati forces in Jawf province, Eastern Yemen.

Hundreds of Saudi and UAE military men are now surrounded by the Yemeni forces in the town of al-Jabal al-Aswad in al-Jawf province.

The Yemeni forces captured 130 military troops from the Saudi-led coalition, including at least 39 Emirati soldiers and 9 officers during a series of clashes in Jawf province yesterday.

Several Yemeni civilians have lost their lives over the past three days as Saudi warplanes continue to pound areas across Yemen.

Also on Monday, the Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed a Saudi warship in the waters near Bab al-Mandab Strait, the ninth Saudi vessel sinking in waters offshore Yemen in the last four months.

The Saudi warship was targeted with Yemeni missiles in the Al-Mukha coastal waters in the province of Ta'iz.

The sunken ship had repeatedly fired rockets at the residential areas in Ta'iz province, inflicting casualties and destruction there.

This is the ninth time that a Saudi warship is sent deep into the waters of Bab al-Mandab Strait by the Yemeni forces.

Other Saudi battleships that were approaching Yemen's coasts retreated fast following the attack.

The coast of Al-Mukha is located in Bab al-Mandab strait and the Saudi-led forces have been trying hard for several months now to win control over the coastal regions near the waterway.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941008000596

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Saudi Arabia, Turkey to set up ‘strategic cooperation council’

DEC 29, 2015

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Turkey have agreed on the need to set up a “strategic cooperation council” to strengthen military, economic and investment cooperation between the two countries, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.

“The meeting produced a desire to set up a high-level strategic cooperation council between the two countries,” Jubeir told a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart after talks in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, between Saudi King Salman and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

He said the council will deal with security, military, economic, trade, energy and investment between the two countries.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229522/saudi-arabia-turkey-to-set-up-strategic-cooperation-council

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Erdogan accuses Kurdish party chief of ‘treason’ over autonomy call

DEC 29, 2015

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused the leader of the main Kurdish party Selahattin Demirtas of “treason” over his call for autonomy for the country’s Kurdish minority.

In a speech at the weekend, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairman Demirtas said that Turkey’s largest ethnic minority had to decide whether to live in autonomy or “under one man’s tyranny”.

On Monday, prosecutors opened a criminal investigation against him for crimes against the constitutional order over suggesting Kurds should push for autonomy in their stronghold of the southeast of the country.

“What the co-leader has done is clearly provocation, treason,” Erdogan told reporters on Tuesday at Istanbul airport before leaving for Saudi Arabia.

“This is the time when the masks have been taken off and the real faces exposed,” he said.

The charismatic 42-year-old Demirtas has emerged as Erdogan’s key rival over the last year, with many commentators saying he is the only politician to rival the Turkish strongman’s rhetorical skills.

Under party rules Demirtas shares the leadership of the HDP with a woman, Figen Yuksekdag.

In an address to HDP lawmakers in the parliament, Yuksekdag hit back, saying: “If there is a word to describe us, it’s not treacherous but loyal. We are loyal to our peoples’ struggle.”

The Turkish government labels the HDP a political front for the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and its Western allies.

Erdogan accused HDP politicians of being “puppets of the terrorist organisation”. Referring to the criminal investigation against Demirtas, Erdogan said: “I believe that the treachery network dealing a blow to our country’s unity will learn a lesson it deserves from our people and from the law.”

Tensions are running high in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, which has been rocked by curfews imposed on several towns where the security forces have been battling PKK militants.

A five-year-old boy, named as Huseyin Selcuk, was shot dead this week while playing in the garden at his home in the flashpoint town of Cizre, local media reported.

The military confirmed the death of the child, but said the boy had been killed by PKK fire.

Last week, a three-month-old baby and her grandfather were killed when they became caught in the crossfire, again in Cizre.

Residents of the towns under curfew are facing food shortages and problems with water and electricity supplies. Many homes have been damaged by shelling.In the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, police fired tear gas and water cannon against protesters who demonstrated against the curfew in the Sur district of the city, a photographer said.

Nearly 2,000 protesters made up of representatives from left-wing unions gathered outside the city’s municipality but police blocked them from staging a march.

Then almost 300 protesters from the group attempted to occupy a major street but were dispersed by the police who responded with tear gas and water cannons.

And in Ankara, around 700 protesters congregated in Sakarya Square, demanding peace, a photographer reported. The group unfurled banners: “No to war. Peace now!” and “No to policies of war and pressure”.

The army says more than 200 PKK militants had been killed in the current campaign in the southeast which started earlier this month, including the provinces of Sirnak and Diyarbakir.

Yuksekdag said 360 civilians, including 61 children and 73 women, had lost their lives since the violence erupted this summer.

It is not possible to independently verify the figures and the areas remain under army curfew with access barred to outside observers.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229519/erdogan-accuses-kurdish-party-chief-of-treason-over-autonomy-call

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Bahraini warplane participating in Yemen war crashes in Saudi Arabia

December 30, 2015

DUBAI: A Bahraini F-16 jet taking part in a mostly Gulf Arab military campaign in Yemen crashed in southern Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, according to a coalition statement on the Saudi state news agency.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/30-Dec-2015/bahraini-warplane-participating-in-yemen-war-crashes-in-saudi-arabia

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Turkey arrests 3 IS suspects, including Briton

December 30, 2015

ISTANBUL : Turkish authorities have arrested three suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Istanbul, including two Pakistanis and a Briton, state media said Tuesday.

The state-run Anatolia news agency said the Pakistani suspects had been detained last week in a raid on their homes in Istanbul’s central Mecidiyekoy district.

Police then expanded the operation based on intelligence the suspects provided and detained the British suspect, identified as Hasan H.

, at a bus stop in the conservative Fatih district, it added.

All have now been remanded in custody by a court.

Anatolia said that Hasan H.

was believed to be linked to Aine Lesley Davis, a close associate of the notorious British IS militant known as “Jihadi John” who Washington believes was likely killed in a recent drone strike in Syria.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/30-Dec-2015/turkey-arrests-3-is-suspects-including-briton

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Israel arrests Jews over celebration of toddler death

30 December 2015

Israeli police said on Tuesday they have arrested four Jewish men suspected of being among gun-waving extremists filmed celebrating the murder of a Palestinian toddler in a firebombing.

They were shown in a wedding video, broadcast last week by an Israeli news channel, which spread online and drew strong condemnation from Israeli politicians including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Four people have been arrested until now,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.

“An investigation was opened last week and, during this week, four people were arrested and are scheduled to appear tomorrow morning in front of a Jerusalem court” for a remand hearing, he said.

“That’s in connection with the weapons that were at the wedding and other things.”

He gave no further details, but Israeli public radio said among those arrested were the groom, a soldier who lent his assault rifle to another reveller and a former activist of the outlawed Kach extremist movement allegedly shown brandishing a weapon and calling for revenge against Arabs.

The video showed guests dancing with guns, knives and at least one unlit Molotov cocktail, while slashing a picture of the toddler killed in the firebombing of his home that also fatally wounded his parents and was blamed on Jewish extremists.

Media reported that the groom had previously been questioned over acts of “Jewish terrorism” while other guests were friends or relatives of suspects arrested over the July attack.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/30/Israel-arrests-Jews-suspected-of-praising-arson-attack.html

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Iraqis will flush Takfiri terrorists out soon: Iran FM

Dec 29, 2015

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed confidence that the Iraqi army and volunteer fighters will recapture all areas in the country from Takfiri terrorists soon.

In a message to Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Tuesday, Zarif congratulated the Iraqi government and nation on the full liberation of the strategic city of Ramadi from the grips of Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

The Iranian minister expressed confidence that unity, national cohesion and bravery of the Iraqi armed forces and popular forces, including Shias, Sunnis and Kurds, will lead to the liberation of other areas in Iraq from Takfiri terrorists in the near future.

In a televised statement on Monday, Iraqi military spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool declared that the city of Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar, has been "fully liberated" from Daesh.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/29/443702/Iran-Iraq-Zarif-Jaafari-Ramadi/

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South Asia

 

Taliban bomber kills 26 at Mardan Nadra centre

December 30, 2015

RIAZ MAYAR/Agencies

MARDAN - A Taliban suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed 26 people and wounded over 70 yesterday after crashing into the main gate of a government office in Mardan.

The blast demonstrated the Pakistani Taliban’s continued ability to stage deadly attacks, despite a major military offensive against its headquarters that analysts say has reduced its capacity.

The explosion ripped through the front entrance of a regional branch of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

“At least 26 people have been killed and more than 70 injured,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani told AFP. “[The] condition of 11 of them is still critical,” Ghani added.

According to an eyewitness, an unidentified person parked his motorbike near the wall of the Nadra office located in the limits of the city police station on Nisatta Road. The terrorist then tried to enter the Nadra office at the main gate. As security guard Parvez Khan prevented him from entering the office, he opened fired on the guard, killing him on the spot.

On his failure to enter the office, the terrorist blew himself up at the main gate.

District police chief Faisal Shahzad said the suicide bomber was riding a motorbike. “Apparently the target was the queue as there were around 400 people standing there,” Faisal told AFP.

Some of those critically wounded were taken to the main Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

Television footage showed the collapsed front wall of the building and twisted metal debris strewn on the road in the town.

Eyewitness Nasir Khan, a 29-year-old labourer who suffered a shrapnel injury to his right leg, told AFP: “I was standing in the queue waiting for my turn as I had gone to renew my identity card when I heard someone shouting Allahu Akbar (God is great) and then I fell to the ground.

“The air was filled with smoke and dust and I could not see anything.

“When the dust settled and I stood up, it looked as though someone had butchered the people in the line. There was only blood and flesh in the row where people were previously standing.”

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Dec-2015/taliban-bomber-kills-26-at-mardan-nadra-centre

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Unknown fate of 300 villagers detained by Daesh in Nangarhar

Dec 30 2015

The fate of around 300 villagers detained by the militant group of the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh in eastern Afghanistan is still unknown, an official says.

Governor of Nangarhar’s Achin District has told VOA news that the 300 villagers have been kidnapped by the group in his district in last two months.

According to Haji Ghalib Mujahid, Daesh is running eight captivities in Abdulkhil, Mamand, Pikhi, Shadal and Takhto areas.

About the fate of the hostages, the governor said there is no information “On how many of them might have been killed.”

Some local residents have also confirmed to the news agency that Daesh kidnapped several community elders in their areas.

On condition of anonymity, they have told media that some elders were later released for ransom but others who could not afford to pay money are still missing.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/unknown-fate-of-300-villagers-detained-by-daesh-in-nangarhar-4445

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Drone strike kills two Taliban commanders in Laghman

Dec 30 2015

A U.S. drone strike has killed two Taliban commanders in eastern Afghanistan.

Sarhadi Zwak, spokesperson for the governor of Laghman province said the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) targeted Zarjan and Dil Agha in Masboud valley of Alishang District Tuesday afternoon.

He said Zarjan originally hailed from Bombai area of Dawlat Shah District and was responsible for several terrorist attacks in the two districts.

The governor’s spokesperson added that Zarjan was also under the surveillance of Afghan security forces.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/drone-strike-kills-two-taliban-commanders-in-laghman-4442

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Security forces arrest nine Taliban during a clash in Nangarhar

Dec 30 2015

Afghan forces have arrested nine militants belonging to Taliban group during a clash in Nazyan District of eastern Nangarhar province.

A statement released by Nangarhar Media Center on Tuesday states that Taliban planned to launch attacks on border police check posts in Maru area but security forces prevented them.

The press release adds that a confrontation occurred between the two sides during which security forces arrested nine Taliban along with their weapons and explosives.

Military uniforms were also recovered from the possession of the militants.

Taliban have not yet commented on the report.

The clash occurs a day after Afghan Air Force killed dozens of militants in air strikes in Achin and Chaparhar districts.

Nangarhar province has become a stronghold for militant groups in the eastern part of the country.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/security-forces-arrest-nine-taliban-during-a-clash-in-nangarhar-4443

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NATO, US military commander seeks to keep more troops in Afghanistan

Dec 30 2015

As the security situation in Afghanistan deteriorating day by day, the NATO and U.S. military commander in Afghanistan General John F. Campbell seeks to keep as many U.S. troops in Afghanistan as possible through 2016.

In a telephonic interview with USA TODAY from Kabul, Gen. John Campbell said that maintaining the current force of 9,800 U.S. troops to train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism raids is vital, and that the scheduled reduction to 5,500 by Jan. 1, 2017, should be put off as long as possible.

“My intent would be to keep as much as I could for as long as I could,” he said. “At some point it becomes physics. I’m going to have to get them out.”

Gen. Campbell will be Washington soon to brief senior leaders on the security situation in Afghanistan and troop levels required for their missions.

“My job as commander on the ground is to continually make assessments,” he said. “Every time I’ve gone to the president and said, ‘I need X,’ I’ve been very, very fortunate that he’s provided that. So he’s been very flexible. It’s actually been conditions based as we’ve gone forward.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nato-us-military-commander-seeks-to-keep-more-troops-in-afghanistan-4441

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36,000 Bangladeshi maids ready to work in Kingdom

MOHAMMED RASOOLDEEN

30 December 2015

RIYADH: Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi said on Tuesday that 36,000 maids are ready in Dhaka to be sent to the Kingdom for various Saudi homes for work.

“We send around 4,000 maids a month to the Kingdom,” he said, pointing out that the total number of his country’s maids in the Kingdom has reached 20,000.

Moshi was refuting a recent report in the local newspapers that 150 Bangladesh housemaids have fled from Saudi homes during the past seven months. “This is not true! There are some 200 housemaids waiting for deportation with the consent of their respective sponsors for various other personal reasons,” he noted, indicating that bad weather and health conditions went against their favor in the Kingdom and that the maids are going following an amicable settlement with their respective sponsors.

Bangladesh has some 1.2 million workers in the Kingdom who are mainly skilled and semi-skilled workers located in various parts of the Kingdom.

On a recent agreement between Dhaka and Riyadh, Bangladesh housemaids will return into the Kingdom beginning June this year. He said the two countries enjoy excellent bilateral relations.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/857586

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Afghan leader promises parliamentary election next year

December 30, 2015

KABUL - Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani pledged on Tuesday to hold promised parliamentary and district council elections next year, as he sought to calm growing political turmoil that has hindered his government’s fight against the Taliban insurgency.

Parliament’s five-year term was set to expire on June 22 this year, but elections due in April were postponed because of security fears and disagreement on how to ensure a fair vote after a bitterly disputed presidential election last year.

“Parliamentary and district council elections will be held between summer and autumn of the next year,” said Ghani in a statement, adding that the exact dates would be for the Independent Elections Commission to announce.

If they go ahead as planned, the elections are likely to be held against a backdrop of sharply worsening security, with the Taliban set to build on its campaign this year which included the brief capture of the northern city of Kunduz. Both Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory after last year’s presidential vote was marred by accusations of fraud. It took months for them to agree to a US-brokered deal to form a unity government under Ghani.

Ghani issued a decree in June this year, extending parliament’s mandate until a vote could be held. The decision met with harsh criticism from many Afghans, who questioned whether the extension was legal. Ghani and Abdullah agreed on a electoral reform as a condition for future elections but little progress has been made since rivals in unity government have long disagreed over who should lead the reform commission.

A new opposition council, set up earlier this month, has been pushing the government to hold the elections as well as a “Loya Jirga” council meeting of representatives from across the country to decide changes to the constitution.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/30-Dec-2015/afghan-leader-promises-parliamentary-election-next-year

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia opts out of Saudi-led military coalition

NANI AFRIDA | INA PARLINA

DEC 29, 2015

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo refrained from openly rejecting the idea of joining the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition of 34 countries to fight terrorism, but his chief security czar announced the government’s decision to distance itself from the anti-terrorist coalition.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said Indonesia had no intention of joining the military alliance, as the government was prioritising the use of soft power in its war on terror.

“The stance of Indonesia’s government is that we want to handle the IS with a soft approach, including by promoting Islam as gracious and full of compassion, not a brutal religion like what the IS is portraying,” the retired four-star general said after accompanying the president in his meeting with Indonesian Military (TNI) generals on Dec 16.

The president said that the government did not want to follow other countries that used military force to combat radicalism and preferred using a soft approach as it was more effective.

“There are actually other things that we can do. Whether it is a religious approach or cultural approach, we need to do it consistently, firmly and continuously so that we can face any threat,” Jokowi said in his speech during a limited cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, the president also told the military at TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Java, not to rule out deradicalisation measures while implementing a hard approach, saying that seeking breakthroughs in introducing better soft-approach measures was also needed.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229447/indonesia-opts-out-of-saudi-led-military-coalition

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'Un-Islamic' Vaping Catches Fire In Malaysia Amid Government Backlash

December 30, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR:  At Malaysian e-cigarette outlet Vape Empire, customers kick back and puff out thick, aromatic clouds of vapour in funky flavours like Horny Mango and Creamy Suckerz' Banana Anna.

"Vaping" is soaring in popularity in Malaysia, the largest e-cigarette market in the Asia-Pacific region, but authorities are threatening to ban the habit for health reasons -- a move that has sparked anger from growing legions of aficionados.

Backing a ban, Malaysian religious leaders this month declared a fatwa on the "un-Islamic" habit, but it remains to be seen whether the decree will dampen enthusiasm.

"The business is growing very fast because there are many people trying to convert from tobacco smoking to vaping," Vape Empire's co-founder Muhammad Sharifuddin Esa said, adding that his business has expanded to 57 locations since it opened just two years ago.

The pastime has proved a particular hit in the moderate, Muslim-majority nation, where other vices such as alcohol and drugs are especially frowned upon.

Now several Malaysian states say they may impose a ban from January 1 and have threatened to stop issuing new merchants' licences -- a potential blow to a sector worth an estimated 2.8 billion ringgit ($650 million) last year, according to reports.

Health Risks Debated

The industry, which is expected to grow by more than 13 percent year-on-year to 2025, is currently unregulated, and many say forbidding e-cigarettes -- already outlawed in Thailand and Singapore for health reasons -- is a big mistake.

"The government must regulate and not ban, because vaping is the future," Sharifuddin said.

Research on health risks remains split and like Malaysia, few countries have introduced national legislation to regulate the sector.

The devices function by heating flavoured nicotine liquid -- or e-juice -- into a vapour that is inhaled, much like traditional cigarettes but without the smoke.

Some experts warn vaping can produce cancer-causing formaldehyde and one US study said vaping is up to 15 times more harmful than traditional tobacco smoking. The World Health Organization has called on governments to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

A worker inspecting a coil, the metal heating element in an e-cigarette that produces vapour from e-juices, at a vape shop in Kuala Lumpur. (AFP Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR:  At Malaysian e-cigarette outlet Vape Empire, customers kick back and puff out thick, aromatic clouds of vapour in funky flavours like Horny Mango and Creamy Suckerz' Banana Anna.

"Vaping" is soaring in popularity in Malaysia, the largest e-cigarette market in the Asia-Pacific region, but authorities are threatening to ban the habit for health reasons -- a move that has sparked anger from growing legions of aficionados.

Full report at:

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/un-islamic-vaping-catches-fire-in-malaysia-amid-government-backlash-1260501

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Suspected Muslim rebels kill official, attack police in Thailand’s south

December 29, 2015

BANGKOK: Suspected Muslim insurgents attacked police and a government office in Thailand’s deep south on Tuesday, killing one official as they seized hostages, police said.

More than a dozen armed men dressed in black seized 13 civil servants in a local government office in Narathiwat province, police investigator Wongduan Kamsri told Reuters. The head of the office was shot three times in the head and the surviving hostages fled, Wongduan added.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, Thailand’s three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat– all majority Muslim– have been plagued by unrest since 2004, when a long dormant separatist rebellion resurfaced.

As police traveled to the scene of Tuesday’s attack, gunmen opened fire on one vehicle and tried to detonate a bomb planted in the road as another car passed over it, Wongduan said, adding that no officers were injured.

“This incident was well planned and coordinated by the insurgents,” said Pramote Prom-in, a spokesman for the military-run Internal Security Operations Command.

The region abutting the Malaysian border was an independent Malay Muslim sultanate a century ago before being annexed by Thailand, an otherwise predominantly Buddhist state.

More than 6 500 people have been killed since 2004 in the sporadic violence.

Shortly after taking power in a 2014 coup, Thailand’s ruling junta vowed to bring peace to the deep south within a year and the country’s defense minister expressed optimism the violence could be halted.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2015/12/29/suspected-muslim-rebels-kill-official-attack-police-in-thailands-south/

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India

 

After U.S. Refuses Entry To British Muslims, Indian Students Are Being Turned Away In Droves

BY ESTHER YU-HSI LEE

DEC 29, 2015

Twenty Indian students carrying valid student visas for colleges in California were denied entry in Chicago and put on planes back to India on Sunday, following other incidents of the U.S. turning away people from certain countries.

The U.S. is in a heightened state of vigilance since the terror attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California. One of the shooters in San Bernardino came in on a fiance visa, prompting concern that potential terrorists could find loopholes to enter the country on valid visas or through the visa waiver program, which allows citizens of friendly countries to visit the United States without visas.

Some foreigners have already been barred from entering the country without being told why. Last week, a British Muslim family planning a trip to Disneyland was told by United Kingdom border officials that they wouldn’t be allowed to board a plane to the United States. Another 20 British Muslim families were reportedly denied entry into the United States without explanation.

In the latest incident, the Indian students, who were issued F-1 student visas and carried the necessary I-20 forms issued by the schools certifying their admission, were turned back in Chicago, the Times of India reported. According to the publication, some of the students failed immigration interviews at the port of entry in Chicago. According to the Deccan Herald, some students were grilled for hours at a local jail and “were not served proper food.”

The students intended to go on to two California-based, accredited colleges offering technical and computer science degrees: Silicon Valley University in San Jose and Northwestern Polytechnic in Fremont.

Full report at:

http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2015/12/29/3735274/indian-students-denied-entry-us/

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TN Muslim group issues fatwa against Ramdev’s Patanjali products

Dec 29, 2015

A Tamil Nadu-based Muslim organisation has issued a ‘fatwa’ against yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali products containing cow urine, saying their use was considered ‘haram’ (forbidden) in Islam.

Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamat (TNTJ) said cow’s urine was being used as a ‘key ingredient’ in cosmetics, medicines and food products of Patanjali that are available in open markets as well as online.

“According to the beliefs of Muslims, cow’s urine is haram which should not be used. Therefore, TNTJ issues a fatwa that products of Patanjali are haram,” TNTJ said in a release.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/tn-muslim-group-issues-fatwa-against-ramdev-s-patanjali-products/story-dRLj3OuNIFya273tAVxF9H.html

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‘Islam Has Been Misinterpreted’: Rakesh Bhatt, a Reputed Scholar

Dec 30, 2015

Panaji: Merely reading portions of the Quran without attempting to understand the intent in its teachings is one of the reasons for so much turbulence in the Muslim community, Rakesh Bhatt, a reputed scholar said.

At an event organized by the council for social justice and peace (CSJP) recently, Bhatt said, "Islam is a religion of peace." Bhatt, a Hindu Brahmin from Garwhal, Uttaranchal studied the religion and engaged in dialogue with Muslims in Iran, Iraq, Syria during his stint as a diplomat on the West-Asia desks in the Indian mission.

He agreed that the unprecedented humiliation of the Muslim world by the western world has helped a section of Muslims exploit the sentiments in the community to capture power by resorting to brutal violence.

The misinterpretation of the term 'jihad' to mean a holy war by the western world, and the reckless labelling of non-believers as 'kafir' (infidel) by Muslim fanatics is not the intent of the Quran. The term 'jihad' was a call to believers for acts of 'ultimate goodness' in relation to one's neighbour and utterance of the word 'Kafir' by a follower of Islam is forbidden by Allah, he explained.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Goa/Islam-has-been-misinterpreted/articleshow/50373790.cms

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Europe

 

French Socialists split over terrorist citizenship plans

30 December 2015

President Francois Hollande's call for convicted terrorists to lose their French citizenship if they have a second nationality has triggered uproar among those who see him adopting right-wing ideas that recall dark moments in France's history.

Ever since the French Revolution in the late 1700s, "le droit du sol" ("the right of the soil") has been a fundamental principle, giving everyone born in the country the right to citizenship.

But in the aftermath of November's attacks in Paris, Hollande announced to an extraordinary session of both houses of parliament that he would seek changes to the constitution so that dual-nationals could be stripped of their French passport.

Patrick Weil, a political scientist who met Hollande and advised him against the decision, said France would become "the first democracy in the world" to enshrine in its constitution the principle of unequal treatment of dual nationals.

"It introduces the idea of a different penalty for the same act, just because of the random chance of their birth," said Weil, who teaches at Yale University in the United States.

"That people -- who sometimes don't even know they have a second nationality -- can be banned is like the return of banishment as a penalty."

For many in Hollande's Socialist party, and others on the left of French politics, the move is little short of ideological treason.

"In wanting to steal the thunder of the far right, we risk implementing their programme," said Cecile Duflot, a former minister in Hollande's government.

Economist Thomas Piketty, author of the blockbuster book on inequality "Capital in the 21st Century", wrote on his blog: "To its economic incompetence, the government has now added infamy."

 An ugly history 

As well as breaking a legal principle, the measure also touches a raw nerve from France's history, say critics.

The Vichy regime, which collaborated with the Nazis in the 1940s, stripped thousands of Jews and foreigners of French citizenship during World War II.

Dissenters say Hollande has borrowed from the playbook of the right wing, not least since the treatment of immigrants was one of the few areas where there was clear daylight between the two mainstream parties.

When right-wing leader Nicolas Sarkozy raised the idea of removing the "droit du sol" from some types of violent criminals in 2011, he was blasted by the Socialists.

Worse still in the eyes of the left, it was an idea first mooted by the far-right, anti-immigrant National Front (FN).

FN leader Marine le Pen happily took credit when the new reforms were outlined last week, saying it was a direct result of her party's record tally in recent polls.

"Removal of nationality: the first effect of the 6.8 million votes for the National Front in regional elections," Le Pen wrote on Twitter.

 'Inept and unprincipled' 

But the attacks of November 13, in which 130 people were killed by Islamic State militants, have changed the calculus for Hollande.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167920/four-way-phone-talks-on-ukraine-wednesday

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Russia’s contacts with Taliban don’t worry US

DEC 29, 2015

WASHINGTON: The US State Department, while commenting on reported contacts between Russia and the Afghan Taliban, says it hopes to find ways to work with Moscow for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry told a news briefing in Moscow that Russia was cooperating with those Taliban groups who were fighting the militant Islamic State (IS) group — also known as Daesh — in Afghanistan.

However, in a statement posted on their website, the Taliban denied any cooperation with Russia, saying that they “do not see a need for receiving aid from anyone concerning the so-called Daesh”.

But according to Afghan experts in Washington, the Taliban always deny such contacts but later acknowledge them.

Asked to comment on the reported contacts between Russia and the Taliban, US State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner said: “Russia and other regional actors all have a shared interest in supporting continued security and increased stability in Afghanistan. We certainly hope we can find ways to work with Russia to promote Afghanistan’s security and stability.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229588/russias-contacts-with-taliban-dont-worry-us

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Russia admits Turkey an important trading partner

30 December 2015

Turkey remains an important trading partner for Russia, and Moscow aims to minimise problems for Turkish and Russian businesses caused by sanctions, Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Tuesday, according to a report in Reuters.

His comments were intended to play down the impact of recent economic sanctions introduced as retaliation for Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet, suggest that Russia is eager to prevent sanctions harming Russia's own economy.

"Turkey remains our large trading partner. Our embargo is selective, very selective, concerning food and only certain (items)," Ulyukayev said in an interview with Russian state television.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/167926/four-way-phone-talks-on-ukraine-wednesday

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One killed, 11 injured in shooting at Russia's Caucasus Unesco heritage site: health ministry

DEC 29, 2015

MOSCOW: One person was killed and 11 were injured in a shooting at a Unesco heritage site in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region of Dagestan, local health authorities said on Wednesday.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night near the fortress at Derbent, which claims to be Russia's oldest city.

"As a result of a shooting by the fortress one person was killed and 11 were injured," a spokeswoman for the local branch of the health ministry, Tatyana Abdullayeva, told AFP.

The injured, five of whom are in serious condition, have been taken to hospital for treatment, Abdullayeva added.

Police official Magomed Taymuradov said the incident had taken place near Derbent's historic citadel declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 2003 and that security forces were searching for suspects.

The Kremlin is fighting a deadly insurgency against rebels in the largely Muslim North Caucasus, with unrest particularly intense in Dagestan.

The leader of Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, told Interfax news agency the attack could have been staged by "bandit groups" that "continue to take vengeance for the peace and tranquillity the people of Derbent live in".

At least 118 people were killed in Dagestan between January and November as a result of the armed conflict, according to the Kavkazsky Uzel news portal, which monitors militancy in the North Caucasus.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229621/one-killed-11-injured-in-shooting-at-russias-caucasus-unesco-heritage-site-health-ministry

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2 Russians imprisoned for funding Daesh

Dec 29, 2015

A court in the Russian capital of Moscow has sentenced two people to more than five years in jail on charges of helping Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

Court spokeswoman Irina Zhirnova said on Tuesday that the two females in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan, identified as Yelena Arshakhanova and Saida Khalikova, were “accused of transferring funds to terrorists.”

Arshakhanova received a five-year-three-month jail term while Khalikova was sentenced to five years, six months behind bars.

According to the opposition Open Russia group, the 24-year-old Khalikova is accused of transferring 43,000 rubles (USD 594, 544 euros) to a Daesh-linked bank account, a charge that her lawyer has dismissed, saying she had sent the money for a friend and knew nothing about its final destination.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/29/443734/Russia-women-Daesh-Astrakhan-aid/

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Arab World

 

Takfiri Terrorists Crushed in Idlib

Dec 30, 2015

"The Syrian army killed scores of Takfiri terrorists and destroyed the militants' military vehicles, strongholds and depots on the outskirts of Sarmin town in Idlib," informed sources said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Syrian army destroyed a position of al-Nusra Front, killing all Takfiri terrorists who were inside it in al-Dana town in Idlib on Tuesday.

On Monday, a large group of Takfiri militants were killed and injured in Syrian airstrikes and artillery attacks that targeted terrorists' positions in Idlib province.

The Syrian airstrikes hit Takfiri militants' positions in the city of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib.

The Syrian army also fired artillery shells at Takfiri militants' positions in al-Habit town in the province.

Sources also said that a large number of militants were killed and injured in the air and artillery attacks.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000465

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Iraqi Army Deploys Tribal Fighters in Re-conquered Ramadi

DEC 29, 2015

BAGHDAD: Tribal fighters deployed in Ramadi on Tuesday, a step towards providing the reconquered Iraqi city with a force both capable of preventing the militants’ return and palatable to the local population.

Hundreds of fighters from local Sunni tribes, with the assistance of the army, took over security duties from elite counter-terrorism forces.

“Five hundred members of the tribes from the Hashed arrived in northern Ramadi to participate in operations there and hold the liberated areas,” said Major General Ismail Mahalawi, who heads Anbar operations command.

The Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) is an umbrella group dominated by Tehran-backed Shia militias that have played a key role in retaking land from IS.

However, Sunni fighters from Anbar tribes opposed to the militants also officially belong to the group, which is nominally under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s command.

“Five units of tribal forces arrived today and hold the areas of Jaraishi, Zawiyah and Albu Faraj north of Ramadi,” said their leader, Tareq Yusef al-Asal.

They have been trained on Habbaniyah base, east of Ramadi, and armed by the defence ministry, he added. The US-led coalition supported that process.

The premier visited the Anbar capital on Tuesday, a day after the elite counter-terrorism service raised the Iraqi flag above the city’s large government complex.

The provincial headquarters had been the epicentre of the fighting since Iraqi forces punched through IS defences a week ago to cap a months-long operation to retake Ramadi.

Abadi congratulated the security forces, who were still sweeping streets and buildings for roadside bombs, booby traps and holed up militants.The most powerful groups in the Hashed al-Shaabi played only a peripheral role in the Ramadi battle, as Abadi and the US-led coalition wanted federal forces to regain confidence by spearheading the operation.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229517/iraqi-army-deploys-tribal-fighters-in-reconquered-ramadi

As record numbers flee their homes in 2015, hopes of people forced out

December 30, 2015

Sebastien Malo - The year 2015 saw a record number of people fleeing their homes, with more than 60 million people uprooted by wars, conflict and persecution in countries ranging from Syria to South Sudan and Afghanistan, according to the United Nations.  ------------

Worldwide that means one person in every 122 has been forced to flee their home, displaced within their own country of forced to move to another country.

Here are some of their stories and their hopes for 2016: Sandy Khabbazeh, 26, a Syrian now living in Oakland, New Jersey, United States “I am from Aleppo City. Our house is on the line between ISIS (Islamic State) and the Syrian government. If the Syrian army wants to attack ISIS, they put tanks near our house. When ISIS wants to attack the Syrian government, they come to our neighborhood. My family is stuck there. It’s like a nightmare, but it’s true.

One time ISIS went next door and put snipers there. When I was going to school, a sniper shot at me three times. I was lucky he missed me.

My mom came a couple of times to America and she loved America so she named me Sandy. It is an American name because she wanted me to come back here. And here I am. Her dream came true.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/30-Dec-2015/as-record-numbers-flee-their-homes-in-2015-hopes-of-people-forced-out

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As record numbers flee their homes in 2015, hopes of people forced out

BY SEBASTIEN MALO

Dec 29, 2015

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The year 2015 saw a record number of people fleeing their homes, with more than 60 million people uprooted by wars, conflict and persecution in countries ranging from Syria to South Sudan and Afghanistan, according to the United Nations.

Worldwide that means one person in every 122 has been forced to flee their home, displaced within their own country of forced to move to another country.

Here are some of their stories and their hopes for 2016:

Sandy Khabbazeh, 26, a Syrian now living in Oakland, New Jersey, United States

"I am from Aleppo City. Our house is on the line between ISIS (Islamic State) and the Syrian government. If the Syrian army wants to attack ISIS, they put tanks near our house. When ISIS wants to attack the Syrian government, they come to our neighborhood. My family is stuck there. It's like a nightmare, but it's true.

One time ISIS went next door and put snipers there. When I was going to school, a sniper shot at me three times. I was lucky he missed me.

My mom came a couple of times to America and she loved America so she named me Sandy. It is an American name because she wanted me to come back here. And here I am. Her dream came true.

I came here as a student. I came because I'm an ambitious woman. I want opportunity to build my future. My dream was to work with NASA. But I'm struggling financially because education here is so, so expensive.

I'm a civil engineer, and I'm working a job for people who graduated from high school. With that money, I trained to become a concrete inspector certificate.

One day I went to a church. The pastor and I we started talking, and he told me: "I will help you." Until now, the church keeps sponsoring me and they offered me a place to stay.

My hope is in 2016 to be reunited with my family here in America and to be a good American. I love America."

Mustafa Asefi, 28, an Afghan living in Vancouver, Canada

"I'm from Afghanistan, from Kabul, and I was working for an international company. In 2014 in December, I got a warning letter from the Taliban. They warn people who are working with international companies. They assume these people are their enemy, are helping the enemy of the Taliban, or the foreigners.

These are normal strategies that the Taliban and other militias use in Afghanistan. They just send you a letter which is called 'shabnama'; it's like a warning letter. And along with that they call you and send you text messages. They continue these threats and you have to obey them. Otherwise they will take action.

Because I was working for an international company, I was lucky enough that we got a U.S. visa and from the United States, we eventually came to Canada. We applied for protection. When they accepted me as a refugee, it was like someone issued me a new birth certificate.

For me, it was a very tough year because I never expected I would have to flee everything, leave everything behind. I was working as a professional engineer, and I wanted to work with my country, with my people. But my life was in danger and I had no choice.

My hope is to start my normal life as it was in my home country. I want to have a job, I want to work, as I was working in my home country, because now this is my country and this is my people."

Full report at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-migrants-world-testimonies-idUSKBN0UC0SY20151229

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Syrian Forces Win More Battles East of Damascus

Dec 30, 2015

"The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) stormed the militant positions and drove them back from several farms in Eastern Ghouta and a chunk of the road connecting Marj al-Sultan village and al-Nashabiyah town," the sources said.

"Over 12 Takfiri militants were killed or wounded and their military vehicles sustained heavy damage in the attacks," the sources added.

Militant groups' positions in different parts of Damascus province have been under the massive attacks of the Syrian army, air force, and artillery units in the recent weeks.

On Monday, the Syrian army's ground force, fighter jets and artillery units staged a large-scale attack on the militant groups' positions in Eastern and Western Ghouta, inflicting heavy losses on the militants.

"The Syrian army's artillery units shelled the militant groups' defense lines in Jobar in Eastern Ghouta, destroying the terrorists' defense lines and killing or wounding large groups militants," the army said.

"Minutes after the shelling of the terrorists' centers in Jobar, the Syrian army and popular forces stormed the shelled positions and killed or wounded the remaining terrorists," the army added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000359

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Syrian Warplanes Bomb ISIL Gatherings Southeast of Deir Ezzur

Dec 30, 2015

There has been very constructive cooperation between the Syrian ground and air forces in their combat against the terrorism in the country, specially in the recent weeks.

Almost in the entire cases the Syrian government forces asked the country's air force to target the enemy' positions two-three day before the army's operation.

The close cooperation between the ground and air forces has faced the militant groups many problems.   

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000440

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Aleppo: Terrorists Sustain Casualties in Syrian Air Raids

Dec 30, 2015

Syrian fighter jets bombed strongholds of Takfiri terrorists in the village of Tal Msaibeen in the Northern countryside of Aleppo, field sources said Wednesday.

At least 14 militants were killed and injured in the air attacks.

Militants' machine gun-equipped military vehicles were also destroyed.

On Tuesday, battlefield sources said the Eastern and Northeastern territories of Aleppo province witnessed the heavy bombardments of ISIL's defense lines by Syrian fighter jets.

"The Syrian fighters jets bombed heavily the ISIL positions near the villages of Tal Hatabat and Nejarah in Deir Hafer in the Eastern part of the province," the sources said, adding, "Tens of the ISIL members were killed or wounded and their military equipment were destroyed in the air attack."

"In the meantime, the Syrian bombers carried out several sorties over the ISIL military sites in the Northeastern part of the province and targeted them near the village of Aisheh East of al-Bab city," the sources said.

"Many military vehicles and a depot of weapon were set ablaze in the attack," the sources added.

The Northern province of Aleppo has been the scene of the Syrian government forces' advances in various battlefields in the recent two-three months.

Military sources said earlier on Tuesday that the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF), in two separate offensives, targeted the ISIL strongholds in the Southern part of the Kuweires airbase to end the militants' mortar attacks on the airbase.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000399

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Army Seizes Back Vast Areas in Syria

Dec 30, 2015

The Syrian army has regained control of Tal al-Hash, camp of Brigade 82 and a number of strategic points in al-Sheikh Maskeen in Daraa province, Ali Mahyoub said in a statement on Tuesday.

The spokesman also said that the army, backed by popular defense groups, retook full control of mountains of Mahin al-Kabir and Mahin al-Saghir, Mahin village, Hawarin and al-Hadath towns in Homs.

Mahyoub added the Syrian forces won back Height 1112 to the South of Asarmaniyah in the Northwestern countryside of Hama.

"The army units also regained control of Jrouf and the strategic Tal Sharba’a" in Aleppo, the Spokesman said, adding the Syrian forces also recaptured "the village and tower of al-Qasab and height 1044" in Lattakia.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000328

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Syrian Army Inflicts Major Losses on Militants North of Dara'a

Dec 30, 2015

"The Northern part of al-Ghezlan farms near Athman was the scene of the Syrian government force's heavy offensive on the militant defense lines," the sources said, adding, "The militant groups' suffered a heavy death toll and their weapons and ammunition were destroyed in the attack."

The Syrian army and its allies have been significantly advancing against the militant groups in the province in the recent weeks, particularly in Sheikh Meskeen.

On Tuesday, the army announced that its troops and their popular allies advanced in the Northern battlefronts of Sheikh Meskeen rapidly and pushed the militants back from more positions.

"Following the capture of Battalion 82 base and Tal al-Hish, the Syrian government forces captured the Sheikh Meskeen's Pool Facility, killing over 15 enemy combatants from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the army said.

"The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces and other popular fighters are on a roll in the Dara’a province after launching a massive assault on the strategic town of Sheikh Meskeen over 72 hours ago," the army added.

Sheikh Meskeen is imperative to the Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command due to its location along the second most important highway in the Dara’a province; it is also the key to the cities of Nawa and Jassim.

Reports said also on Tuesday that the Syrian army alongside the National Defense Forces (NDF) stormed the militant groups' strongholds and pushed them back from a major part of Sheikh Meskeen in Dara'a province after hours of heavy battle

"The Syrian army troops and the NDF advanced deep into the heart of Sheikh Meskeen after a series of violent firefights with the Free Syrian Army (FSA)," the army said.

"The pro-government forces captured 4 building blocks in the Northeastern part of the strategic city of Sheikh Meskeen and completed control over the Battalion 82 base," the army added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000193

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Army Continues Heavy Clashes with Terrorists in Key Provinces

Dec 30, 2015

Tens of terrorists were killed and many more were wounded in the Syrian army's military operations across Syria on Tuesday.

Lattakia

The Syrian Army alongside the country's popular forces continued to advance against the militant groups in the mountainous regions of the coastal province of Lattakia and won back a key height near the border with Turkey.

"The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces and other popular forces struck the defense lines of al-Nusra Front and the Free Syrian Army at the village of Katf al-Alamah in Kurdish Mountains, killed 18 militants and destroyed two mounted machinegun turrets," sources said.

"Following a long 6 hour battle, the Syrian army troops and their allies finally broke through the terrorists' defense lines and imposed full control over Katf Al-Alamah and its surrounding hilltops," the sources added.

The village of Katf al-Alamah is situated just North of the recently captured village of Katf al-Harami and West of the contested town of Kabani.

The Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces continued their rapid advances against the militant groups in the mountainous regions of the coastal province of Lattakia and captured a new strategic height near the border with Turkey, provincial sources said.

"The pro-government forces drove back the militant groups from their positions near the Height 1044 and won back the height and its surroundings," the sources said.

"Scores of the militants were killed or wounded and their military grid sustained heavy damage in the liberating operation of the height near border with Turkey," the sources added.

Aleppo

The Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces, in two separate offensives, targeted the ISIL strongholds in the Southern part of the Kuweires airbase to end the militants' mortar attacks on the airbase.

"The Syrian army's Special Forces and the NDF launched two separate attacks on the ISIL military camps near the villages of Rasm al-Abboud and Tal Ayyoub," the sources said.

"The ISIL terrorists suffered a heavy death toll in the Syrian forces' attacks," they said.

"Tal Ayyoub and Rasm al-Abboud are strategically located near the terrorist group’s stronghold of Tal Al-Ahmar, which is used to launch rockets, missiles, and mortar shells towards the Southern perimeter of the Kuweires Military Airport and its surrounding area," the sources added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000287

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Syrian Air Force Targets Militants' Centers South of Dara'a

 Dec 30, 2015

"The Syrian warplanes tracked and targeted the militant groups' hotbed near al-Naziheen camp in Dara'a al-Balad, which claimed the lives of many terrorists and wounded many others," the sources said.

"The militants' military grid was also badly destroyed in the airstrikes," they added.

The Syrian army and its allies have been significantly advancing against the militant groups in the province in the recent weeks, particularly in Sheikh Meskeen.

On Tuesday, the army announced that its troops and their popular allies advanced in the Northern battlefronts of Sheikh Meskeen rapidly and pushed the militants back from more positions.

"Following the capture of Battalion 82 base and Tal al-Hish, the Syrian government forces captured the Sheikh Meskeen's Pool Facility, killing over 15 enemy combatants from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the army said.

"The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces and other popular fighters are on a roll in the Dara’a province after launching a massive assault on the strategic town of Sheikh Meskeen over 72 hours ago," the army added.

Sheikh Meskeen is imperative to the Syrian Arab Army’s Central Command due to its location along the second most important highway in the Dara’a province; it is also the key to the cities of Nawa and Jassim.

Reports said also on Tuesday that the Syrian army alongside the National Defense Forces (NDF) stormed the militant groups' strongholds and pushed them back from a major part of Sheikh Meskeen in Dara'a province after hours of heavy battle

"The Syrian army troops and the NDF advanced deep into the heart of Sheikh Meskeen after a series of violent firefights with the Free Syrian Army (FSA)," the army said.

"The pro-government forces captured 4 building blocks in the Northeastern part of the strategic city of Sheikh Meskeen and completed control over the Battalion 82 base," the army added.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941009000237

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Russian Airstrikes on ISIL-Turkey Oil Smuggling Reveal Huge Scope of Theft

Dec 30, 2015

Russian Aerospace Forces’ airstrikes against trucks smuggling oil from Syria into Turkey by ISIL, prohibited in numerous countries including Russia and the United States, have helped in revealing the volume of theft from Syria’s natural resources, Syrian Electrical Energy Minister Imad Hamis told Sputnik.

“The Turkish government and groups associated with it have played a large role in the theft of Syrian oil. This is one of the key factors influencing [Syria’s] oil and energy sectors.

Lately many oil cisterns and tanker trucks have been shown smuggling stolen Syrian oil into Turkey that the Russian Aerospace Forces have been striking. This has revealed the volume of oil that the Syrian government is losing that is needed to produce energy,” Hamis said.

Russia has repeatedly stated that Turkey is the main procurer of illegal oil from Syria and Iraq, accusing President Erdogan and his family of direct involvement in the Daesh oil business.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941008000487

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Al-Baqdadi's Office Chief Killed in Mosul

Dec 29, 2015

Al-Baqdadi's office director was killed in a bombing raid in Hay al-Maleki region in Mosul city on Tuesday, Arab media outlets reported.

No further detail has been released about the identity of Al-Baqdadi's slain chief of staff.

Earlier today, the Iraqi forces captured the so-called financial minister of the ISIL in the city of Ramadi in Anbar province.

The senior ISIL leader was hidden among 414 Iraqi refugees in Anbar province, but was identified and apprehended by security forces.

The security forces did not reveal the identity of the captured terrorist leader.

Iraq's joint operations command announced on Monday that the Iraqi forces have managed to liberate the entire city of Ramadi from the control of ISIL terrorists.

The Iraqi armed forces started massive attacks on the ISIL last week to take back Ramadi.

On Monday, the Iraqi forces also captured senior ISIL leader Abu Omar Al-Shishani and two of his top aides in the Northern parts of Iraq.

Al-Shishani and two of his senior aides and commanders were captured in the city of Kirkuk.

Some Arabic-language media reported that Al-Shishani was arrested in a joint military operation with the US special force, but Pentagon rejected that its forces had any role in al-Shishani's capture.

The report on al-Shishian's capture comes as the Arab media outlets had reported his death several times before.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941008000644

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Bahrain jails 29 over bomb attack on police

30 December 2015

At least 29 people in Bahrain were handed down jail sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment on terror charges on Wednesday, according to Bahrain News Agency.

Terror Crime Prosecution Chief Advocate, General Ahmed Al-Hammadi, confirmed that the High Criminal Court handed out the sentences.

According to the news report: “The convictions relate to attempted murder of policemen, using and possessing explosives and weapons, rioting, and receiving and providing explosives, training in order to commit terrorist crimes.”

Al-Hammadi stated that Bahrain’s High Criminal Court revoked the citizenship of two individuals and ordered twenty seven defendants to pay heavy fines for damages.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/30/Bahrain-jails-29-over-bomb-attack-on-police.html

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Riyadh fumes over militant leader’s killing in Syria

Dec 30, 2015

Saudi Arabia has expressed dismay over recent killing of the notorious leader of the so-called Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam) terrorist group in Syria, saying his death does not help the establishment of peace in the crisis-hit country.

"Attempts to assassinate leaderships fighting Daesh do not serve the peace process and [efforts] to achieve a political solution in Syria,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Tuesday.

Syria's General Command of the Army and Armed Forces, in a statement issued late on Christmas Day, confirmed that Zahran Alloush and several leaders of other Takfiri groups were killed in aerial attacks against terrorist hideouts in the Damascus countryside of Eastern Ghouta.

The General Command said the operation followed "a series of surveillance and monitoring operations, based on accurate intelligence."

According to the statement, many senior figures of "al-Rahman Legion" and "Ahrar al-Sham" terrorist groups were also killed in the attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/30/443777/Saudi-Arabia-Jaysh-alIslam-Takfiris-Zahran-Alloush-Ghouta/

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North America

 

Qaeda re-emerges in Afghanistan as US focuses on IS, Taliban

December 30, 2015

NEW YORK - Al Qaeda training camps have sprouted up in Afghanistan, according to a leading American newspaper which said that reappearance of the “old enemy” was leading to questions on whether they could again become breeding grounds for attacks on the United States.

The report of the new camps comes as the Obama administration scrambles to confront the Islamic State and resurgent Taliban, The New York Times said in a dispatch on Tuesday. Although most of the handful of camps were not as big as those that Osama bin Laden built before the 9/11 attacks, the Times said Al Qaeda’s “deadly” resilience in Afghanistan appears to have caught American and Afghan officials by surprise. Until this fall, it said, American officials had largely focused on targeting the last remaining senior Qaeda leaders hiding along the Pak-Afghan border.

The newspaper said the administration has said little about the new challenge or its strategy for confronting the threat from Al Qaeda, even as it rushes to help the Afghan government confront what has been viewed as the more imminent threat, the surge in violent attacks from the Taliban, the Haqqani network and a new offshoot of the Islamic State. Former administration officials, it said, have been more outspoken - especially those who were on the front lines of the original battle to destroy Al Qaeda’s central leadership.

“I do worry about the rebirth of AQ in Afghanistan because of what their target list will be - us,” Michael Morell, the deputy director of the C.I.A. until two years ago, was quoted as saying.

“It is why we need to worry about the resurgence of the Taliban,” Morell said, “because, just like before, the Taliban will give Al Qaeda a safe haven.”

But a senior administration official was cited as saying that the increased Qaeda activity was more the result of Pakistani military operations pushing fighters across the border into Afghanistan than Qaeda enlisting new Afghan recruits inside the country.

In October, American and Afghan commandos, backed by scores of American airstrikes, attacked a Qaeda training camp in the southern part of the country that military officials said was one of the largest ever discovered.

The assault, which took place over several days, pounded two training areas - one sprawled over 30 square miles - that featured elaborate tunnels and fortifications. As many as 200 fighters were killed, American officials said.

Senior administration officials say that there are other Qaeda camps or bases, including at least one in Helmand Province, though they are not certain exactly how many because they were made harder to detect after the October assault. The senior officials - four from three different federal agencies - spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential intelligence assessments.

A spokesman for the United States military in Afghanistan, Col. Michael Lawhorn, declined in an email to discuss “any current intelligence we may have on Al Qaeda training camps,” according to the newspaper.

The two camps attacked in the fall were in a sparsely populated area of Kandahar Province. Some of the facilities apparently were in place for up to a year and a half, undetected by American or Afghan spies or surveillance aircraft.

“A lot of that is because, you know, it’s a very remote part of Kandahar,” General John Campbell, the top American commander in Afghanistan, was quoted as saying.

For months, the Times said, General Campbell has been sounding a warning about Al Qaeda in the broader context of Afghanistan’s complex threat environment, telling Congress in October that Afghan security forces “have thus far proven unable to eradicate Al Qaeda entirely.”

“Al Qaeda has attempted to rebuild its support networks and planning capabilities with the intention of reconstituting its strike capabilities against the U.S. homeland and Western interests,” General Campbell said in his testimony.

The general said that pressure on Qaeda fighters from the United States and its Afghan allies had forced them to be “more focused on survival than on planning and facilitating future attacks,” but that continued pressure was necessary to keep Al Qaeda from gaining new footholds.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/30-Dec-2015/qaeda-re-emerges-in-afghanistan-as-us-focuses-on-is-taliban

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Latinos: Fastest-growing group of Muslims in US

30 December 2015

Latinos in the U.S. are considered to be the fastest-growing demographic as well as the fastest-growing group of Muslims in America, the Press-Enterprise reported.

Although the statistics haven't been widely tracked, there are an estimated 150,000 Islam converts among the Latino community in the U.S.

The trend of Hispanic converts to Islam has been tracked by the Islamic Society of North America, which in 2006 estimated there were roughly 40,000 Latino Muslims in the U.S.

Some community leaders said the recent growth of the demographic has its roots in a shared experience of immigration and the negative political rhetoric that advocates have deemed as anti-Muslim.

Mark Gonzales, a Muslim poet and artist in California said that immigration officials' targeting of Mexicans and Muslims after the 9/11 terror attacks helped the two demographics find common ground.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/167932/latinos-fastest-growing-group-of-muslims-in-us

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US denies it spies on Turkish authorities

30 December 2015

The Obama administration on Tuesday rejected claims that the U.S. spies on Turkish authorities.

The denial came hours after the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that the U.S. conducted surveillance on some of its NATO allies, including Turkish authorities.

"I've never heard of such allegations," said State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

"I won't speak beyond that what our intelligence activities may be and I'm not speaking in respect to Turkey, certainly, but in general, Turkey is a valued NATO ally."

As members of a coalition fighting to destroy ISIL, the U.S. values Turkey's input and participation in that effort, according to Toner. 

He said the U.S. changed its approach to surveillance after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, in 2013, exposed much of the agency’s spying operations.

White House National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said President Barack Obama has instructed his administration to refrain from monitoring communications of foreign leaders of allies.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/167918/us-spying-on-israel-pm-wsj

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US acknowledges Iran’s compliance with N-deal

DEC 29, 2015

WASHINGTON: The United States acknowledged on Tuesday that Iran had taken a “significant step” towards meeting its nuclear commitments by sending a large quantity of uranium abroad.

“As it agreed to do, Iran has … begun dismantling critical elements of its nuclear facilities and, on Dec 28, shipped a major portion of its enriched uranium out of the country,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry in a statement issued by his office.

“That shipment more than triples our previous timeline of two to three months for Iran to acquire enough weapons-grade uranium for one weapon,” he said.

In July, the United States and five other world powers signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran to prevent Tehran from making nuclear weapons. In return, the United States and its western allies agreed to lift economic sanctions that had crippled the Iranian economy.

On July 20, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution, endorsing the action plan and Iran agreed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on a roadmap for the clarification of past and present issues.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229518/us-acknowledges-irans-compliance-with-n-deal

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Pakistan

 

Ministers in the dark about outcome of army chief’s Kabul visit

AMIR WASIM

DEC 29, 2015

ISLAMABAD: In a reflection of growing civil-military disconnect on crucial foreign policy and security matters, two key government ministers expressed ignorance in the Senate on Tuesday over the outcome of the army chief’s weekend visit to Afghanistan.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, who had specially been called to the Senate for the purpose, made a statement on the Indian prime minister’s surprise visit to Lahore, but passed the responsibility of briefing the senators on the visit of Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif to Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, who was not present in the house.

It was during an exchange of remarks between Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani and Mr Aziz on the matter when Defence Minister Khawaja Asif entered the house, but only to seek some time for the briefing.

The defence minister said he would speak on Gen Sharif’s visit only after getting some input from his ministry for which he required at least one day.

The chairman directed him to brief the house on Thursday.

Interestingly, when Mr Rabbani inquired from Khawaja Asif if he wanted to have an in camera session on the issue, the minister said he would let the Senate secretariat know, if needed.

Opposition senators expressed dissatisfaction over the adviser’s statement on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Lahore.

The house witnessed an exchange of some interesting remarks between Mr Aziz and the chairman when the former took the seat after stating that the ISPR had already issued a statement on the army chief’s visit and that further information could be provided by the defence minister.

“If the foreign ministry has abdicated the talks with Kabul to the Ministry of Defence, then I will talk to the defence minister,” Mr Rabbani said.

The Senate chairman also told Mr Aziz that it was not appropriate for him to quote the ISPR statement, saying that the press releases were meant for newspapers and the house wanted to seek more information than that.

He said the whole house supported Pakistan-India talks, but it wanted to know their details and impact.

Earlier, Mr Aziz in his statement informed the house about the background of the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart in Lahore, saying the process was initiated by the Indian prime minister when he had an informal brief chat with Mr Sharif recently in Paris during a conference on the climate change.

Terming Mr Modi’s visit a good development, the adviser said the meetings between the leadership of the two countries had brought a positive impact on their formal talks.

The adviser said it was not a “state visit” but an informal and goodwill visit, and was aimed at further developing the existing relationship between the two countries.

He, however, said that no-one should have “unrealistic expectations” from these meetings as there could be progress on some issues soon, while it could take time for progress on others.

He said as per a decision of the two prime ministers, foreign secretaries of the two countries would meet in the second week of January in which a roadmap for the future talks on agreed 10 identified points for the next six months would be drawn up.

Mr Aziz was of the view that except reaction from some quarters in India, the visit of Mr Modi had been welcomed by majority of people in the two countries and the international community.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229602/ministers-in-the-dark-about-outcome-of-army-chiefs-kabul-visit

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Three terrorists killed in Turbat operation

December 30, 2015

QUETTA - At least three suspected terrorists including key commander of a banned outfit were killed during a raid by Frontier Corps (FC) in Turbat on Tuesday.

Frontier Corps (FC) spokesman told the media that operation was held on a tip-off about the presence of criminal elements.

The alleged terrorists opened fire at security officers retaliating to which, all the three militants were killed.

The spokesman said that the miscreants were involved in heinous crimes and other acts of terrorism.

However, forces also claimed to have confiscated huge cache of weapons from the possession of dead suspects.

Officials said more than 3,000 militants have been killed since the launch of the latest offensive in tribal areas of Pakistan.

Security forces have been battling militants for over a decade following the late 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

FC MAN MARTYRED IN BLAST:A Frontier Corps personal was martyred and two others injured in a remote-controlled bomb blast in Mastung on Tuesday.

The bomb was planted near a water tanker that was used for supplying water to the FC checkposts in the area.

Constable Tariq was martyred while Naik Imtiaz and constable Naveed were seriously injured when the bomb blast occurred.

The injured were shifted to hospital for medical treatment.

Search operation has been launched in the area to apprehend the culprits involved in the bomb blast.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Dec-2015/three-terrorists-killed-in-turbat-operation

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Anti-ISIS hunt on after Daska arrests

December 30, 2015

LAHORE - Punjab Law Minster Rana Sanaullah Khan has said hunt is on to nab the persons who had been leaning to the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) under influence of the nine suspects arrested from Daska, Sialkot on Monday.

“The people arrested from Daska were preparing to join Daesh (using an Arab acronym for the terrorist group) in Syria and were also preaching the massage of this proscribed organization,” the law minister told the media yesterday.

He overruled that the arrested people had any material links with the IS leadership. “They were only influenced by the terrorist group’s propaganda through internet and no traces have been found they were actually in contact with any of ISIS member,” Sanaullah added.

The minister, who was flanked by Punjab government’s spokesman Zaeem Hussain Qadri and DIG Investigation Ashraf Haidar, said: “The counter terrorism department is hunting the people who allegedly had contacted the arrested persons and were inclined to join them.”

To a question, he turned down the allegations leveled by the Sindh government about lukewarm implementation of the National Action Plan in Punjab and said the NAP was most effectively working in Punjab than in any other province.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/30-Dec-2015/anti-isis-hunt-on-after-daska-arrests

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Non-bailable arrest warrants issued for MQM, PPP and Pasban leaders in Dr Asim terror case

ISHAQ TANOLI

DEC 29, 2015

KARACHI: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for five absconders in a terror case registered against former federal minister and PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain.

The court ordered Investigating Officer (IO) Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP) Altaf Hussain to arrest and produce the absconders Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) Waseem Akhtar, Anis Qaimkhani, Saleem Shahzad, PPP's Qadir Patel and Pasban leader Usman Moazzam before the court on the date of the next hearing on January 8.

MQM's Rauf Siddiqui who was also named an absconder in the investigation report is on pre-arrest bail.

A First Information Report (FIR) booked Dr Asim for allegedly treating and harbouring terrorists, gangsters and activists of banned militant outifits at the North Nazimabad and Clifton branches of his hospital at the behest of political leaders.

Police in the remand paper earlier had stated that IO Rana Zulfiqar had questioned Dr Asim, who confessed to having provided treatment to alleged terrorists of the MQM and gangsters of Lyari at his hospital and harboured them after MQM leaders Waseem Akhtar, Rauf Siddiqui, Anis Qaimkhani and Saleem Shahzad, Qadir Patel of the PPP had allegedly asked him to do so.

The court on Wednesday (today) also expressed displeasure over provision of incomplete prosecution documentation by IO DSP Hussain to Dr Hussain and directed the IO to produce all prosecution documentation along with a list of documents before the ATC in the next hearing.

The court, in a hearing earlier this month, had ordered that copies of all prosecution documents, including statements of witnesses, be handed over to Dr Hussain in compliance with Section 265-C of the Criminal Procedure Code by December 30.

It is pertinent to mention that Dr Hussain has been on physical remand of the National Accountability Bureau and will be produced before the court on Jan 5.

The arrest of Dr Hussain, chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, came on Aug 26 and was described as the first major action against PPP leaders during the ongoing Karachi operation.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1229613/non-bailable-arrest-warrants-issued-for-mqm-ppp-and-pasban-leaders-in-dr-asim-terror-case

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8 IS suspects remanded in CTD custody for 10 days

December 30, 2015

SIALKOT/GUJRANWALA - Various intelligence agencies including the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) continued its search operation in various parts of Sialkot region against terrorists belonging to the banned organisations including Daish.

However, no activist of any militant organisation was arrested from the region, officials said.

The officials added that the intelligence agencies including Counter-Terrorism Department raided several parts of Sialkot region in search of more terrorists, militants and extremists.

They launched the search after the CTD’s claim to bust a cell of militant Islamic State group (IS) operational in Sialkot for launching their nation-wide subversive activities in Pakistan.

The CTD had claimed to bust the IS cell a few days ago and claimed to arrest eight suspects identified as Jawad Ahmad, Abu Hafs, Amir Sohail, Ijaz Ahmad, Adnan Babar aka Danu Kabarria, Saeed Ahmad, Yasir Ali, Hamza Imtiaz and Waqas Ahmad from different parts of Sialkot region.

It had also claimed to seize weapons, explosives and laptops, as well as a large number of compact discs containing publicity material.

According to the police officials, the suspects had taken oath to overthrow democracy and introduce Khilafat in Pakistan through armed struggle.

The senior CTD officials added that the suspects belong to different districts of Punjab, but Sialkot served as the base of their operations.

They had already established infrastructure in the Sialkot region to carry out their subversive operations across the country.

The preliminary interrogations revealed that three of these suspects had received militant training, as the suspects were trying to extend their network to other parts of Punjab through recruitment.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Dec-2015/8-is-suspects-remanded-in-ctd-custody-for-10-days

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‘Politics of confrontation to harm security’

December 30, 2015

LAHORE: Secretary General (SG) of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Liaqat Baloch has said that politics of confrontation is not in favour of country, national security, National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism and the ongoing democratic process.

Addressing the JI political affairs committee at Mansoora on Tuesday, Liaqat Baloch stressed on the need of ending the lingering confrontation between the federation and the Sindh government and warned that any third party can take benefit of the situation. He said that all institutions of the state should remain within their limits and none should try to go beyond that.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/30-Dec-2015/politics-of-confrontation-to-harm-security

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Africa

 

Central African Republic votes in election to restore democracy

30 December 2015

Thousands lined up in Central African Republic's capital have started voting with hope that a new president will lead to a more stability after years of violence.

Voters are choosing a president from a list of 30 candidates to replace transitional leader Catherine Samba-Panza, who was put in place in January 2014 to lead the nation to a poll, which has been delayed several times. More than 1.8 million people are expected to vote at more than 500 polling stations.

U.N. peacekeepers, gendarmerie and police have been deployed to safeguard polls where violence threatened voters during a referendum Dec. 13 seen as a test for these national elections.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/africa/2015/12/30/C-African-Republic-holds-much-awaited-election-amid-hopes-for-stability.html

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Nigerian minister claims Boko Haram 'largely' defeated

29 December 2015

Nigeria's information minister on Tuesday insisted that Boko Haram was "largely defeated" despite two days of bombings blamed on the extremist group that left dozens dead in the volatile northeast.

Lai Mohammed maintained the Nigerian government had greatly reduced the group's capacity to attack and was on its last week.

"Boko Haram has been largely defeated. They (Boko Haram) know they are on their way out," Mohammed told journalists in Lagos.

"They lack the capacity to launch horrendous attacks they used to do in the past. We have succeeded in dislodging them," he said.

"Our problem now is how to resettle the internally displaced people."

In the final days before his self-imposed deadline to stamp out the group on December 31 expires, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that Boko Haram was "technically" defeated.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/167901/nigerian-minister-claims-boko-haram-largely-defeated

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Nigerian Shia cleric Zakzaky charged with conspiracy

Dec 30, 2015

Prominent Nigerian Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky has reportedly been charged with "criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbances."

According to reports, Zakzaky and several of his followers were arraigned and remanded in custody in Kaduna state’s Chief Magistrate Court on Tuesday.

The reports do not clarify if the court accepted the cleric’s plea or if he had legal representation during the process.

“The Shia leader has been arraigned in court where he was charged with criminal conspiracy, inciting public disturbances among others; he has been remanded in prison custody and the case adjourned,” said police public relations officer, Olabisi Kolawole.

Zakzaky has been in police custody since Nigerian forces raided his home on December 13 and arrested him after reportedly killing those attempting to protect him, including one of the movement’s senior leaders and its spokesman.

A day before the police raid, Nigerian soldiers attacked Shia Muslims attending a ceremony at a religious center in the northern city of Zaria, accusing them of halting the road convoy of the army’s chief of staff and attempting to assassinate him.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/30/443756/Nigeria-Zakzaky-charged-conspiracy-/

 

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