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Saudi Arabia Showing Fake Videos on Military Gains in Yemen

New Age Islam News Bureau

30 Aug 2015

U.S. President George Bush with Vice President Dick Cheney (L) and senior staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center in Washington in the hours following the September 11, 2001 attacks. Reuters


Arab World

 Saudi Arabia Showing Fake Videos on Military Gains in Yemen

 Syrian Army Repels ISIL Attack on Kuweires Airbase, Kills over 40 Militants

 ISIL Terrorists Executes Three Kurds in Iraqi Mosul

 Ansarullah: Fugitive President Trying to Recruit Mercenaries for Saudi Army

 Saudi Air Strikes Claim More Civilian Lives in Yemen

 3 US Military Advisors killed, 2 Others Wounded in Yemeni Attack on Najran

 Iraqi Warplanes Raid ISIL Positions West of Ramadi

 Syrian Army Destroys ISIL's Hideouts in Hama Province

 Iraq: Army Starts Fresh Operations to Win Back Strategic Town in Anbar Province

 Fire at Alkhobar complex kills 11, injures over 200



South Asia

 Afghan forces retake Musa Qala District, 220 Taliban killed, wounded

 US considered using nuclear weapons against Afghanistan after 9/11

 Taliban infighting left five killed in Zabul

 Taliban fired rockets killed two civilians, wounded 12 others in Maidan Wardak

 Afghan forces regain control of a symbolic district in Helmand

 100th anniversary of Afghanistan-Germany friendship marked in Kabul

 Families seek justice on 'lawless' Bangladesh-India border

 Non-traditional education to start in rural areas in Afghanistan

 Ukrainian citizen kidnapped in Afghanistan set free

 Urban Development Minister Inaugurates New Projects in Badakhshan




 Turkish jets hit Daesh in Syria for the first time

 Turkey behind Terrorists' Violation of Ceasefire in Zabadani, Idlib

 Iran nuclear deal will 'fuel terrorism': Netanyahu

 Minister: Iran to Use Optical Cameras to Bolster Border Control




 Militants attack Jiwani airport in Balochistan, two killed

 14 militants killed in Shawal, Peshawar

 Pakistan conveys concern to US NSA over blocked Coalition Support Fund

 Musharraf could be back as head of new Pakistan party ahead of local body polls

 Four PIA officials suspended for Human smuggling

 Pakistan wants meaningful dialogue with India: Sharif tells US Security Adviser

 Pakistan will be world's sixth largest nation by 2050: report




 Migration crisis: Germany, France and Britain demand urgent EU meeting

 Egypt summons UK envoy over Al Jazeera verdict remarks

 A Syrian family's journey to a new life in Germany

 British Library rejects Taliban archive over terror law



Southeast Asia

 Pressure mounts on Malaysian PM as protests spill into second day

 Thai police hunt more suspects after Bangkok bomb arrest




 17 Iranian Fishermen, Sailors Escape Somali Pirates' Captivity


Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau


Arab World


Saudi Arabia Showing Fake Videos on Military Gains in Yemen

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015  (FNA)- The Saudi media are running a hype about their country's unreal military gains in Yemen in order to boost the morale of their troops, even showing fake videos of slain Yemeni forces.

The footage of Saudi Arabia's false videos comes just days after the Yemeni army and revolutionary forces uploaded their genuine videos on their victories in Yemen and Southern Saudi Arabia.

One of the videos titled 'Saudi Apache helicopter precisely targeted Al-Houthis in Sa'ada Mountains' is actually a videogame that has even appeared in some pro-Saudi media such as Al-Watan al-Kuwait and al-Manateq al-Wusta.

The fake video comes from a computer game named 'Medal of Honor 2010'. The Arabic subtitle has even been used for the fake video, making the case even more ridiculous.

On Saturday, a senior Yemeni popular commander cautioned that Saudi Arabia is running a media hype about war in Sana'a in a bid to reduce pressure on the Riyadh-led forces in the South.

"The Saudi media hype about Sana'a battle is no more than the enemy's psychological warfare to help the forces loyal to fugitive president Mansour Hadi who are fighting against the Yemeni forces in the South and the Saudi army in Najran and Jizan to feel less pressure and boost their morale," a senior Ansarullah commander told FNA.

The commander said that the Saudi enemy has to pass through Southern provinces before opening its path to Sana'a, while it has failed to do so. "Before Sana'a, they should come in control over Ibb, Taez and Damar, but have failed to stretch their control over these provinces."

He said the Saudi regime does not even know the location or whereabouts of the Ansarullah missiles that target its troops. "The Yemeni army and revolutionary forces have developed their missile capabilities to adopt a new strategy against the enemy," he added.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 158 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,535 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.



Syrian Army Repels ISIL Attack on Kuweires Airbase, Kills over 40 Militants

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- Military sources in Aleppo said that the Syrian Armed Forces defended the Kuweires airbase against the ISIL Takfiri terrorists' fresh massive offensive and killed more than 40 of them in their joint counter-assault operation.

The sources said that the ISIL terrorist group launched another powerful assault at the Kuweires Military Airport’s Southern perimeter from their positions at the town of Tal Al-Ahmar; however, unlike their previous attacks, this one was not led by a suicide bomber.

In the meantime, another contingent from the terrorist group began their own assault at the Eastern gates of this besieged base.

The fire fights were very intense between the Syrian Armed Forces and the ISIL, but the prevalence of airstrikes from the Syrian Air Force helped deter the terrorist group’s advance, giving the ground forces protecting the base an added boost.

According to a military source in Aleppo, over 40 ISIL combatants were killed and 7 armored vehicles were reportedly destroyed during the failed infiltration attempt at the Kuweires airbase.

Military sources said last week that despite repeated attempts to break-through the Syrian Army’ frontline at the Kuweires Airbase near the Northern city of Aleppo, the ISIL has failed in its offensives and sustained heavy losses, including 175 killed members in August.

The sources said that the ISIL has relentlessly targeted the isolated Kuweires airbase for the last two years; however, as of recently, the terrorist group has launched some of their fiercest attacks on the Syrian army's positions, which has left at least 175 ISIL militants killed and scores more wounded.



ISIL Terrorists Executes Three Kurds in Iraqi Mosul

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- The ISIL Takfiri terrorists executed three Kurdish citizens in Mosul after they refused to fight for the militant group, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official said.

Saeed Mamuzini told BasnNews that the ISIL insurgents arrested three Kurdish residents in Mosul on 29th August, accusing them of disobedience.

Mamuzini revealed that the militants later executed the three men in a prison in Southern Mosul.

The agency learned that the victims were previously ordered by the ISIL to join the terrorist group on the frontline and fight against other forces, but they refused to comply.

The ISIL is struggling with a huge death toll among its fighters. They are now conscripting civilians to fill the gaps on the battlefields. Human rights activists also revealed that the group is recruiting under-aged children in Iraq and Syria to reinforce the frontlines.



Ansarullah: Fugitive President Trying to Recruit Mercenaries for Saudi Army

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- Zeifollah al-Shami, a senior Ansarullah leader, disclosed that fugitive Yemeni president Mansour Hadi is recruiting new mercenaries for the Saudi army.

"Mansour Hadi is looking for new mercenaries to further massacre of the Yemeni nation," Shami said in reaction to Hadi's visit to Sudan.

The remarks by Shami came while 700 new forces from Maarib province's tribes have gone to Saudi Arabia for military training in lieu of receiving 2,000 Saudi rials.

On Saturday, Hadi visited Sudan where he met Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Some 3,000 Sudanese mercenaries were among the Saudi-led ground troops that invaded Aden in Southern Yemen two months ago.

Earlier this month, a senior Ansarullah leader renewed the revolutionary movement's strong opposition to the presence of Hadi in the political future of Yemen.

"This movement will never allow the fugitive and treacherous Yemeni president to play any role in the future of Yemen," member of Ansarullah Political Council Ali Hashem al-Houthi told FNA.

He underlined that the pro-Hadi militias have waged a war in Southern Yemen in line with the Saudi regime's objectives.

Al-Houthi called on all Yemeni political parties to put aside their differences and prepare themselves to confront the Saudi aggressors.



Saudi Air Strikes Claim More Civilian Lives in Yemen

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- Saudi fighter jets bombed several areas across Yemen as the Persian Gulf kingdom's air raids have claimed the lives of over 5,500 civilians so far.

Late on Saturday, the warplanes conducted air strikes on the province of Hajjah. Saudi jets also bombed a fuel station and several houses in the Bayt al-Faqih district in the province of Hudaydah.

Two Saudi air raids hit the Sirwah district in the province of Ma'rib.

Also on Saturday, Saudi fighter jets bombed the Baqim district of Sa'ada province.

On Friday, at least 30 Yemenis have died and 25 others sustained injuries in Saudi air raids.

The fighter jets bombed Yemen on Friday, killing eight civilians and injuring four others in Al Bayda Province.

Airstrikes against the city of Ibb took the lives of nine people, mostly women and children, and wounded 18 more, while two civilians died after the fighters targeted the Taiz Province.

Pounding Northwestern Yemen, Saudi aerial attacks claimed the lives of three grocery store workers in the city of Dhahyan, killed five and injured two others in the Razeh district, and wounded a child elsewhere in Sa’ada Province.

The bombardment of the Al Hawak district in the Al Hudaydah Province, located in the West, also claimed the lives of three people.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 158 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,565 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.



3 US Military Advisors killed, 2 Others Wounded in Yemeni Attack on Najran

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- Several US military advisors of the Riyadh government's army were killed and wounded in heavy clashes with Yemen's revolutionary forces in Saudi Arabia's Najran region.

"The Yemeni revolutionary committee forces killed three US military advisors and wounded two others in the Southern province of Najran," Abu Hessam, a senior  Ansarullah commander, told FNA on Sunday.

He noted that seven Saudi military men were also killed in the clashes with Yemeni forces.

Abu Hessam did not disclose the names of the American military advisors.

On Saturday, media reports revealed that the US has invaded and occupied Yemen's strategic Island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean and is now building up its biggest naval base there.

"Hundreds of workers from Asian countries have been deployed by the US navy to construct its biggest naval base on the island," Arabic-language Al-Masyra TV quoted a Spanish-language newspaper as saying.

Socotra is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean; the largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95 percent of the landmass of the archipelago. Socotra is located between the continents of Asia and Africa.

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 158 days now to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 5,535 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Hadi stepped down in January and refused to reconsider the decision despite calls by Ansarullah revolutionaries of the Houthi movement.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.



Iraqi Warplanes Raid ISIL Positions West of Ramadi

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- Military sources said that scores of the ISIL Takfiri terrorists were killed or wounded in the Iraqi airstrike on their gathering centers in Western side of Ramadi, in Anbar province.

“The Iraqi air force carried out an airstrike on a bomb-making workshop of the ISIL in Khalid Ibn al-Waleed farm located in a village West of Ramadi,” Commander of the 18th Brigade of the Federal Police Shaker Alwan said.

“The Iraqi fighter jets' strike resulted in the destruction of the workshop and killing of dozens of the terrorists,” he further added.

On Friday, military sources said that the Iraqi fighter jets' attacks on the strongholds of the ISIL Takfiri terrorists near Ramadi resulted in the killing of at least seven militants and wounding of several others.

“The Iraqi Air Force destroyed hideouts of the ISIL militants in Khalidiya island which left at least seven terrorists killed and tens others wounded,” a statement by the military sources said.



Syrian Army Destroys ISIL's Hideouts in Hama Province

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- The Syrian air force in an air assault destroyed the hideouts and the concentration centres of the Takfiri terrorists in Hama province, killing tens of militants.

The ISIL terrorists were killed in the Syrian warplanes airstrikes in Zaizoun, al-Enkawi, and al-Zaqqoum in Sahl al-Ghab area in the North-western countryside of Hama province.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more injured in the Syrian airstrikes on their positions in Northwestern Hama.

Also in the past 24 hours, Al-Nujaba Movement resistance forces gained the upper-hand against the Takfiri militants in Jisr al-Shughour region in Idlib province as they seized back strategic hilltops.

The resistance forces took control of important hilltops in the Mountainous area of Jisr al-Shughour.

Jisr al-Shughour is located in the Western parts of Idlib province and it is of highly strategic importance. The city links Syria's coastal towns as well as the Idlib and Aleppo provinces. It has a population of over 150,000 people.

Al-Nujaba Movement in a statement announced that it has gained access to many documents showing that the Qatari government helps the militants in Syria.

The resistance forces warned the Qatari government that if it does not cease supporting the terrorists, Al-Nujaba movement will further publicize the documents on Qatar's supports for the terrorists.

The Syrian army thwarted the Takfiri terrorists' attempt to take control of the Damascus-Sweida main route by attacking the army's positions.

The terrorists were pushed back from their positions in the surrounding areas of the Damascus-Sweida road.

The Takfiri terrorists tried to penetrate into Kou Hadr region near Damascus-Sweida road, but to no avail.

Meantime, the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance forces kicked off fresh military operations to seize back a strategic town in Zabadani in Damascus countryside.

The army and the resistance forces started their operations to take control of al-Mazaya town in the Southern parts of Zabadani as the 48-hour ceasefire with the militants ended earlier today.

Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group resumed artillery fire on the two towns of Fuaa and Kafraya with the end of the ceasefire earlier today.

A 48-hour ceasefire had begun at 6a.m. Thursday in several towns in the Northwestern and Western parts of Syria along the border with Lebanon, including Zabadani.

The truce terms included ceasefire in the town of Zabadani in the countryside of Damascus and two Shiite villages of Fuaa and Kafraya in Idlib province.

Elsewhere, military sources in the Southwestern battlefields said that the Syrian Army has advanced against the al-Qaeda Affiliated terrorist group of al-Nusra, and has killed or wounded scores of militants in the nearby areas of two villages in the province.

The sources said that the two villages of Hamidia and Ofania were the scenes of heavy clashes between the Syrian Army and the Nusra rebels which resulted in the killing of scores of militants.



Iraq: Army Starts Fresh Operations to Win Back Strategic Town in Anbar Province

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- The Iraqi army started fresh military operations to take control of a strategic region in al-Anbar province, and killed tens of ISIL Takfiri terrorists in fierce clashes.

The army backed by warplanes are advancing in Anbar province towards al-Khalediya region which is currently under the control of the ISIL terrorists.

The Iraqi officials announced that at least 45 Takfiri terrorists have been killed and their strongholds have been destroyed in the Iraqi army raid.

On Wednesday, Iraqi forces and volunteers reportedly retook the key Jubbah region in Iraq’s Western Anbar province, driving out the ISIL Takfiri militants which had previously held it.

"Joint forces managed to free the Jubbah Region in the Heet District," an informed source said.

This came as part of operation aimed to re-take the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, which was seized by ISIL back in May.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control shrinking swathes of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Ezadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The ISIL has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.



Fire at Alkhobar complex kills 11, injures over 200

ALKHOBAR/JEDDAH, 30 August, 2015: A fire at the Aramco residential complex in Alkhobar early Sunday killed at least eleven people and injured more than 200, civil defense officials said.

Some of the injured were in “critical condition” and confined at nearby hospitals, the Civil Defense Department said. It said the casualties were from “various nationalities.”

Preliminary investigation showed that the fire started in the basement of one of the buildings at the Radium compound in the eastern city. The cause of the fire is still being looked into, said the Saudi Press Agency, quoting other officials.

Mohammed Siddique, an engineer who lives nearby, said he first saw smoke coming from the complex at around 6 a.m. “I saw at least 30 ambulances and three helicopters. The smoke was very heavy,” he said.

Siddique described the complex, which includes multiple buildings, as relatively new and “nicely built” with a mix of Western, Asian and Saudi residents. It is rented by Aramco and guarded by security teams affiliated with the company, he said.

Emergency crews struggled to contain the blaze.

Residents of nearby buildings were evacuated, with helicopters rescuing those fled to rooftops. By early afternoon, Civil Defense officials put the number of injured at 219.

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company in terms of crude production and exports, released a statement confirming the fire at the residential complex, adding that the incident was being investigated.

The company says it employs more than 61,000 workers worldwide from 77 countries.

Residents affected by the blaze were being moved to alternate accommodation. Aramco promised to use “all means and available resources” to help those affected.

(Additional input from Agencies)



South Asia


Afghan forces retake Musa Qala District, 220 Taliban killed, wounded

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 30 2015

ANA 2Ministry of Defense has announced that Afghan forces have retaken Musa Qala District of southern Helmand province from Taliban.

A statement issued by the ministry states that after 220 Taliban were killed and wounded in the operation, the district came under government control around 01:00 am last night.

The press release adds that in the clearance operation that is still ongoing, security forces have discovered and defused hundreds of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Taliban had captured the District after severe clashes with security forces on Tuesday night.

After the district fall to Taliban, Mohammad Sharif Khan the district governor of Musa Qala told media that Afghan forces fought till they ran out of last bullet and food.

Taliban increased their attacks in an attempt to seize areas from Afghan forces after they announced their ‘Spring Offensive” in April.

But ministries of defense and interior say Taliban area not in the position to hold an area longer.



US considered using nuclear weapons against Afghanistan after 9/11

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Aug 29 2015

Following the 9/11 terror attack in Washington and New York by al-Qaeda terrorist network, the administration of President George W. Bush considered using nuclear weapons against Afghanistan to response the attacks, it has been reported.

The option to use nuclear weapons in response to the terror attacks was reportedly confirmed by political advisor to then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder.

In response to a question regarding the option to use nuclear weapons Michael Steiner told the German daily newspaper Der Spiegel “The papers were written.”

“They had really played through all possibilities,” Steiner said, adding that Schroder had feared that the U.S., which was in a state of shock following the attacks, would overreact.

The attacks orchestrated by Al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden left nearly 3,000 people dead.

Steiner further added that Schroder rejected his idea to publish a statement declaring “unconditional support” for the United States.

According to the newspaper, Schroder also rejected to join the US-led coalition in the military against Iraq in 2003 which further intensified tensions between him and the US President George Bush.



Taliban infighting left five killed in Zabul

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 30 2015

10Taliban infighting has left five militants killed in southern Zabul province as gap over the appointment of the new supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour has been widening within the leadership of the militant group.

Mullah Ahmad Rabbani, who heads the committee formed to resolve differences within the Taliban, says that the five deaths occurred between the loyalists of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour and Mullah Mansour Dadullah who is loyal to Mullah Omar’s family.

Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour was appointed as the supreme leader of Taliban after the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar was confirmed.

But his appointment has been opposed by several other Taliban leaders including Mullah Abdul Manan who is the brother of Mullah Mohammad Omar.

These opposing Taliban commanders want Mullah Omar’s son Mullah Mohammad Yaqoub as the successor to his father.

Mullah Rabani says Mullah Mansour Dadullah is heading hundreds of gunmen in Zabul province to confront with those supporting Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

He hoped that his committee would find a solution to the leadership crisis and that Taliban would be unified again.



Taliban fired rockets killed two civilians, wounded 12 others in Maidan Wardak

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sun Aug 30 2015

Two civilians killed and 12 others wounded after rockets fired by the Taliban landed in residential areas in Maidan Wardak province on Sunday.

Local officials say one rocket landed in Karokhil village of Sayed Abad District around 10:00 am which left 12 civilians wounded.

The target of the rocket was reportedly the nearby security check posts.

 Three of the victims have been announced being in critical condition.

 The second rocket hit a home in Yousufkhil village of the same district leaving two children killed.

Hayatullah Hayat the governor of Maidan Wardak province has strongly condemned the attacks.



Afghan forces regain control of a symbolic district in Helmand

REUTERS — FP 30 08 15

LASHKAR GAH: Afghan government forces, backed by Nato air strikes, have regained control of a key district in volatile Helmand province after days of fierce fighting with Taliban insurgents, provincial officials said on Sunday.

The fall of Musa Qala in Helmand to the Taliban on Wednesday put government forces under more pressure than at any time since most NATO combat troops withdrew at the end of last year, with no sign of violence abating.

Helmand province in the south has seen some of the fiercest battles over the course of the war that began almost 14 years ago.

British forces lost more than 400 men trying to defeat the Taliban and some 350 US Marines were also killed there.

“A comprehensive operation led by chief of the army staff, managed to retake Musa Qala in which 220 enemies were killed and wounded,” Afghanistan's defence ministry said in a statement.

British and Afghan troops first wrenched Musa Qala, a town of about 20,000 people that straddles opium farms and smuggling routes, from the Taliban eight years ago before the Islamist militants won it back four days ago.

US aircraft from Nato's Resolute Support mission had carried out 18 air strikes over the past week trying to push the Taliban from the district, coalition spokesman Brian Tribus said. Some foreign soldiers had also helped on the ground, Tribus said.

A man in Afghan military uniform opened fire last week in Camp Bastion, a former British base in Helmand now run by the Afghan army, killing two US service personnel before being shot and wounded.

Violence has increased sharply across Afghanistan since the US-led military coalition formally ended its combat mission last year and left a contingent of about 12,000 Nato troops to train and assist Afghan forces fighting the Taliban-led insurgency.



100th anniversary of Afghanistan-Germany friendship marked in Kabul


StA special gathering was organized at the Presidential Palace on Sunday to mark the completion of 100 years of Afghanistan-Germany friendship.

The gathering was attended by Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah and other high ranking officials.

Steinmeier while expressing gratitude over the Afghanistan-Germany friendship said that they will continue their assistance with Afghanistan.

Steinmeier said that his country will not only assist Afghanistan economically but will also play role to improve the capacity Afghan security forces.

He said the purpose of this assistance is to help Afghanistan stand on its feet.

Germany is one of the countries playing a key role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Although, there were contacts and friendly relations between Afghanistan and Germany for more than 100 years but they reached a friendship and trade agreement in January 1916.



Families seek justice on 'lawless' Bangladesh-India border

AFP — 30. 08 2015

DEBIGANJ: As thousands of Bangladeshis and Indians celebrated the end of one of the world's most intractable border disputes, Fatema Khatun was quietly hopeful of finally seeing justice.

Fifteen years after Khatun's husband, Badshah Mia, was hacked to death and his body dumped on a canal bank near their home along the border, no one has been charged with his murder.

But the mother of six is praying that this month's historic land swap between the two countries along their frontier — sparking wild celebrations — means the case will at last be investigated.

“There were 15 to 20 attackers... they hacked him repeatedly, cutting open his skull,” the 45-year-old said, wiping away tears.

When the attack occurred, Khatun lived in what was then the enclave of Dahala-Khagrabari, a small island of Indian land locked inside Bangladesh.

The case fell under India's jurisdiction. But it has always been too difficult for Indian police to gain permission to cross the border into Bangladesh to investigate.

Read: Bangladesh, India in historic land swap after 70 years

For almost 70 years, some 50,000 residents like Khatun living in a string of enclaves struggled in stateless limbo, cut off from their national governments and unable to access vital services like hospitals, schools and police.

The isolation meant criminals acted largely with impunity, resulting in scores of grisly murders, rapes and looting, while precious farmland was grabbed from villagers by more powerful ones, without recourse.

In Dahala-Khagrabari, home to 7,500 people, at least a dozen murders were committed in the last 30 years, but no one was punished, Rabbul Alam, head of the enclave's citizens committee, told AFP.

In one day alone, in Lothamari enclave, 13 people were slaughtered with no prosecutions.

“I still remember that day. Hundreds of villagers attacked a group of men who grabbed a piece of land illegally. They killed them one after another and then dumped their bodies in a well,” Lothamari villager Jashiar Rahman Dulal said.

Minority Hindus living in the 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh bore the brunt of attacks from their Muslim-majority neighbours, according to locals.

The territories also became a magnet for smugglers and other criminals who fled inside the enclaves on both sides of the border to hide and escape arrest, locals said.

Eyes gouged out

With no police presence, local residents tried to hand down their own form of justice, by electing committees to resolve disputes and dole out fines for minor offences.

But with no way of enforcing the punishments, they were often ignored.

Johura Bewa says attackers gouged out her husband's eyes and left him dead some 40 years ago, as he was guarding his cattle in Dashiar Chhara enclave.

She says the local committee ordered the main suspect, an influential villager, to donate a piece of farmland to Bewa as compensation, but she never received it.

“I became a pauper after the murder. I had to struggle hard to provide food for my four children,” Bewa said, adding that she now hoped to see justice before she died.

The enclaves dated back to ownership arrangements made centuries ago between local princes.

The parcels of land survived partition of the subcontinent in 1947 after British rule, and Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

Bangladesh endorsed a deal with India in 1974 in a bid to dissolve the pockets, but India only signed a final agreement in June when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Dhaka.

Agreement had stalled because of domestic opposition in parts of India where anti-Bangladesh sentiment runs high, but Modi's strong electoral mandate allowed him to push a deal through parliament.

On August 1, the 162 enclaves — 111 in Bangladesh and 51 in India — were officially nonexistent and the territories handed over to the nations that surround them.

Both governments have since unveiled plans to build roads, schools and clinics for their new territories.

Hopes for justice

Khatun's son, Bulbul Islam, said he planned to file a case at a nearby police station over his father's murder in Dahala-Khagrabari, which is now part of Bangladesh.

“Most of the people who killed my father are now dead. The two men who led the attack on my father were themselves murdered by other people. But still we want justice,” Islam told AFP.

Bangladesh laws permit investigations even decades after crimes are committed. But local authorities are not sure whether they can probe the murders and other crimes that, at the time, took place in India.

“If any families lodge any complaints, we'll consider them only in the light of the country's laws,” local police superintendent Tobarak Ullah told AFP. “But at least the enclave people should be delighted that those days of lawlessness are now over.“



Non-traditional education to start in rural areas in Afghanistan


The project would be financially supported by USAID and administered by the Ministry of Education in partnership with UNICEF.

The five-year program with a budget of $75 million will provide community-based education in non-formal classrooms in 13 provinces of Afghanistan. The curriculum and textbooks for this program are approved by the Ministry of Education.

The program will focus on reaching children unable to access formalized schools due to insecurity, difficult terrain or distance. It will also reach older Afghans who missed out on education as children by offering accelerated learning programs.

“Community-Based Education is a proven method for reaching underserved school-age children,

“It is especially significant for girls because research has shown that if schools are in the villages parents will send their daughters to school.” said P. Michael McKinley the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan.

“The initiative will enable 100,000 children, including girls, in 13 disadvantaged provinces to benefit from education from Grade one to 3,

“In addition, with generous support from USAID, a three-year accelerated learning program will enable 20,000 out-of-school children to complete their primary education.” said UNICEF Deputy Country Representative Dr. L.N. Balaji.

Meanwhile, Asadullah Hanif Balkhi the Minister of Education this is the best to provide education services for children in remote and rural areas.

“The Ministry of Education believes Community-Based Education and Accelerated Learning Centres are the best approaches to provide education services for children in remote and rural areas,” he said.

Balkhi added that after studying in these non-formal classrooms form three years, the students would then be admitted to formal schools.

“These students will study in classes in their village for three years, after completion, the students will be admitted to grade four at formal schools nearby their villages.” He said.



Ukrainian citizen kidnapped in Afghanistan set free


UkraineA Ukrainian citizen who was kidnapped by armed men earlier this year has been released after joint efforts by Afghan and Russian authorities, The Russian Foreign Ministry said in statement on Saturday.

“We are glad that our efforts helped save the life of the Ukrainian citizen and restore his freedom,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

Russian officials say Dmitry Bely is now safe and that they are ready to hand him over to Ukrainian officials in Afghanistan at any convenient time.

Russia’s RT news has published the footage of a man identified as Bely who is meeting Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Alexander Mantytskiy to thank the Russian authorities for their help in rescuing him.

“I want to thank you personally, along with your colleagues, for providing help. The situation felt desperate, but, thank God, everything has been resolved,” Bely said.

Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Alexander Mantytskiy said the next step would be checking the man’s identity and physical condition, as procedure requires.

Dmitry Bely was working for a construction company when he was taken hostage by armed men in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry later confirmed the abduction and said that they are in contact with Afghan side to resolve the situation.

“We have received an appeal of his wife Ukrainian citizens about the disappearance of his husband in Afghanistan. We have asked the competent authorities, as well as our diplomats tasked to verify this information. Now our diplomats find out the circumstances of the incident and are working to resolve the situation in close cooperation with the Afghan side,” said Marjan Betz the spokesman for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.



Urban Development Minister Inaugurates New Projects in Badakhshan

By KHAAMA PRESS - Sat Aug 29 2015

The Ministry of Urban Development Affairs of Afghanistan (MUDA) inaugurated new as well as completed urban development projects in the remote north-eastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan.

The projects were inaugurated during Urban Development Affairs Minister Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi’s visit to this province.

The inauguration of construction work of the first private town and the newly built building of the provincial urban development directorate were among the two major projects inaugurated during his first day of visit.

The new building of the urban development directorate in Badakhshan province has been completed with the financial help of Germany, according to MUDA.

The construction work of the first private town – Makhdoom Esmatullah town also kicked off with the formal inauguration after the legal formalities of the town was completed with the relevant government institutions including the Ministry of Urban Development Affairs.

According to the ministry, the town will house 200 residential plots and will cover 65 acres of land in Dasht-e-Qarq in Faizabad, the capital city of Badakhshan province.

Mr. Naderi will also will visit the project sites as well as water reservoirs and will review the problems and challenges facing the urban development sector in this province.

A delegation of high level government officials including provincial governor Shahwali Adeeb, head of the provincial council Abdullah Naji, provincial urban development director Eng. Tahir Yaqoobi, Lawmaker Amanullah Paiman representing Badakhshan in the Afghan parliament, Director of the Municipalities in Independent Directorate of the Local Governance Abdul Baqi Popal, Director of the Water Company Dad Mohammad Baheer and Economic Advisor to Urban Development Ministry Amir Hamza Sahrahi.





Turkish jets hit Daesh in Syria for the first time


ANKARA: Turkish planes have for the first time joined raids by the US-led coalition against Daesh positions in Syria, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

“Our fighter planes ... along with planes from the coalition yesterday evening began joint operations against (Daesh) targets which pose a threat to the security of our country,” it said in a statement.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last week called on Turkey to play a full part in the US-led air campaign against Daesh and take better control of its border with Syria.

He said Ankara had agreed in principle to join the anti-Daesh coalition but should add its own warplanes to the “air tasking order,” the military structure coordinating strikes.

“They need to join the ATO (Air Tasking Order) and they need to work more on controlling their border. And we’ve made that clear,” he said.

“Their leadership has indicated that this needs to be done. It’s overdue, because it’s a year into the campaign, but they’re indicating some considerable effort now.”

Turkey agreed last month to step up its involvement in the war raging across its southern border in Syria and to allow US planes to launch strikes from a Turkish base.



Turkey behind Terrorists' Violation of Ceasefire in Zabadani, Idlib

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- The violation of the ceasefire in the countryside of Damascus and Idlib province has been orchestrated by the Turkish government, media reports said.

Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group has received orders from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to violate the ceasefire between the government and the militants in the town of Zabadani in Damascus countryside and two Shiite villages of Fuaa and Kafraya in Idlib province, the Arabic-language Al-Watan newspaper reported.

"One of the reasons that the ceasefire was violated was because Ahrar al-Sham called for complete withdrawal of the Syrian troops from the villages of Kafraya and Fuaa in Idlib," Al-Watan quoted Secretary General of the Syrian Solidarity Party Mohammad Abolqassem as saying.

On Saturday, the Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance forces kicked off fresh military operations to seize back Zabadani.

The army and the resistance forces started their operations to take control of al-Mazaya town in the Southern parts of Zabadani as the 48-hour ceasefire with the militants ended on Saturday.

Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group resumed artillery fire on the two towns of Fuaa and Kafraya to violate the ceasefire.

A 48-hour ceasefire had begun at 6a.m. Thursday in several towns in the Northwestern and Western parts of Syria along the border with Lebanon, including Zabadani.

The truce terms included ceasefire in the town of Zabadani in the countryside of Damascus and two Shiite villages of Fuaa and Kafraya in Idlib province.

The ceasefire was announced in Zabadani while the terrorists have been surrounded by the Syrian army and resistance forces one and a half kilometers from the city center.

The local ceasefires happen from time to time in parts of Syria to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered.



Iran nuclear deal will 'fuel terrorism': Netanyahu

AFP | Aug 30, 2015

FLORENCE (Italy): The deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme will bolster Tehran's ability to fund global terrorism by providing the Islamic state with "billions of dollars" in sanctions relief, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared.

"Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars from sanctions relief and investments to fuel its aggression and terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond," Netanyahu — who is bitterly opposed to the deal agreed by Iran and world powers in July — said during a visit to the Italian city of Florence.

The Israeli leader is on a tour of Italy — his first major overseas visit since being re-elected in June.

Speaking ahead of a meeting yesterday evening with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi he compared the threat posed by the Islamic State jihadist group with the "far more serious threat...posed by another Islamic state, the Islamic state of Iran and specifically its pursuit of nuclear weapons".

Israel was not opposed to Iran having a civilian nuclear program, he said, but the deal hammered out in the Swiss city of Lausanne would allow Tehran "to keep and extend a formidable infrastructure that is completely unnecessary for civilian nuclear purposes but is entirely necessary for the production of nuclear weapons," Netanyahu declared.

Iran denies trying to develop nuclear weapons, insisting its atomic programme is peaceful.



Minister: Iran to Use Optical Cameras to Bolster Border Control

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced the country's plans to use optical cameras to increase control over bordering areas.

"At present, we are busy with transferring fiberoptics to the bordering areas to control the borders by mounting optical cameras," Rahmani Fazli said on Sunday.

Reminding Iran's lengthy border with its neighbours, he expressed displeasure in the neighbouring states' (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq) lax control over the common borders.

Rahmani Fazli, meantime, underlined the Iranian border guards' intelligence superiority and control over the terrorist and anti-revolutionary groups, including various Takfiri, Taliban, ISIL and al-Qaeda groups, and said despite the fact that some of them are active near the country's shared borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t dare to make any aggression against Iran and a large number of their members have been arrested and their weapons and ammunitions have been seized.

He said that at present the terrorist groups don’t dare to approach areas any closer than 20km away from the Iranian borders, describing the overall security situation at the country's borders as good.

In relevant remarks in 2014, former Commander of the Iranian Border Guards Units General Hossein Zolfaqari underlined that his forces would use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to patrol the country's borders.

"We are in the process of signing contracts with the manufacturing companies to use drones for protecting the country's borders," Zolfaqari told reporters at the time.

Also in February, a senior Iranian official said the country's border guards were using drones to monitor every move along the borderlines.

"The border guards are controlling Iran's Eastern borders by the help of drones," Deputy Head of Iran's Anti-Drug Council Assadollah Hadinejad told FNA on Sunday.

"We have also erected closed circuit cameras along the Eastern borders …," he added.

In November, Hadinejad announced that the country's Eastern borders will be fully sealed to make any sneaking by drug traffickers (and terrorists) impossible.

"Nearly all borders of the country have been sealed off and only a small portion of the Southeastern borders is left, which will be sealed off in the coming months to prevent sneaking of drug traffickers into the country," Hadinejad told FNA at the time.

He underlined that Iran's all-out efforts to tighten control over the borders, and said it will not take much time to seal the remaining borders of the country.





Militants attack Jiwani airport in Balochistan, two killed

SYED ALI SHAH, Aug 30 2015

QUETTA: At least two engineers were killed on Sunday as a result of a militant attack on Jiwani aiport, near the Pak-Iran coastal border in Balochistan's Gwadar district.

Police sources told DawnNews unknown miscreants opened fire at the airport and killed electronics superintendent identified as Khalilullah during the attack.

The assailants had also kidnapped electronics engineer Mehmudullah Niazi from the airport. Niazi's bullet-ridden body was later found from a nearby area.

Police sources said that the kidnapped engineer was shot from a close range.

At least six miscreants riding motorcycles were involved in the attack on Jiwani airport, police said.

According to sources, security was not tight in and around the airport at the time of attack.

The assailants sped away on their motorcycles after the attack.

Police and personnel of other law enforcement agencies reached the site and started investigation into the incident.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

In the past, militants attacked the Pasni Radar Station in the region.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch also condemned the attack and expresses grief over the loss of innocent lives,

He also directed the district administration and police officials to file a report in this regard.



14 militants killed in Shawal, Peshawar

BUREAU REPORT — 30 08 15

PESHAWAR: Fourteen suspected militants were killed in Shawal, North Waziristan, in air strikes by the Pakistan Air Force on Saturday.

A statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations said warplanes carried out precise aerial strikes near the Afghan border.

However, the official claim about the number of casualties could not be verified independently.

The security forces launched the final phase of operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan to purge the area of terrorists and their safe havens.

AFP adds: According to military officials, more than 2,800 suspected militants have been killed since the launch of the latest offensive early this month.



Pakistan conveys concern to US NSA over blocked Coalition Support Fund


ISLAMABAD: US National Security Adviser (NSA) Susan Rice called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday. She was accompanied by Senior Director for South Asian Affairs at the US National Security Council Dr. Peter Lavoy and Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson.

The meeting focused on matters of bilateral interest and the future of Pakistan-US relations.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took Rice into confidence regarding prevailing security situation in the region, particularly the relations with India and Afghanistan.

The Pakistani side, which included Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister's Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry, conveyed Pakistan’s concerns over the block in disbursement of the next tranche of Coalition Support Fund (CSF). Pakistan emphasised to US NSA the restoration of the fund next year.

Matters related to the war on terror and security and counter-terrorism efforts between Pakistan and the US came under discussion.

The premier apprised the NSA on Pakistan’s efforts for bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan.

A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is not only of regional interest, but also in Pakistan’s interest, the prime minister said.

On relations with New Delhi, Nawaz said Pakistan wanted to hold a meaningful and objective dialogue on all outstanding issues with India.

He also informed the US delegation the reasons behind the cancellation of talks between NSAs of India and Pakistan.

Nawaz said that the US is an important partner of Pakistan in all areas especially economy, defence and counter-terrorism. He said that Pakistan sees its relations with the US as a partnership which is in the interest of the two countries, the region and the world.

The prime minister said that he was looking forward to his visit to the US in October this year as an opportunity to further strengthen the ties between the two countries.

Rice underscored the importance of strong Pakistan-US relations. She noted the positive direction of ongoing cooperation between the two countries especially in the areas of defence, economy and energy sectors.

Rice expressed appreciation for the sacrifices made by the Pakistan Army and Pakistani nation in the efforts to root out terrorism and extremism and the success achieved so far.

She lauded Pakistan’s role in bringing regional stability by holding the first round of Taliban dialogue in Islamabad.

She also expressed appreciation for the premier’s vision of a peaceful neighbourhood.

Rice assured the Pakistani delegation that Pakistan's concerns regarding issuance of CSF and security issues will be conveyed to the White House.

The US has been reimbursing Pakistan for operations and maintenance costs incurred in direct support of its operations in Afghanistan since 2001. So far $13 billion has been reimbursed to Pakistan under this arrangement.

The CSF arrangement was supposed to end with the completion of the drawdown in Dec 2014, but the US government late last year extended the programme for another year through legislation which envisaged additional conditions, including a requirement for certification by the defence secretary that military operations in North Waziristan have significantly disrupted the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani network in Pakistan.

The certification has to be made by the US defence secretary to congressional committees after every six months.

In a move that has blocked the disbursement of the next tranche of CSF, the US told Pakistan that it would not be certifying to the Congress that its (Pakistani) counter-terrorism operation in North Waziristan damaged the Haqqani network.

The last tranche of $337 million was received by Pakistan last month. The non-certification will affect the disbursement of the next instalment.

Doubts have been expressed in the past by both the US and Afghanistan that the Haqqani network has been spared in the Operation Zarb-i-Azb. But it’s the first time that the US has taken such a harsh step.

Pakistani military has, however, been insisting that “terrorists of all shades” were targeted in Zarb-i-Azb launched in June last year.

German foreign minister due to arrive in Islamabad tomorrow

Foreign Minister of Germany Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Pakistan on an official visit beginning on 31st August.

During his stay Dr Steinmeier will hold a meeting with Premier Nawaz Sharif and hold formal talks with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz.

"Pak-German bilateral ties, regional security situation and Afghanistan would be focus of discussion during the visit," a FO source told DawnNews.



Musharraf could be back as head of new Pakistan party ahead of local body polls

By: PTI         

Lahore, Aug 30, 2015, There has been a feeling in all Muslim League factions except PML-N, that they should be united and form a new political force to challenge the PML-N and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Pakistan’s former military dictator Pervez Musharraf could soon stage a political comeback as head of a new party combining all factions of the Muslim League except the ruling PML-N of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, ahead of local body elections.

Full report on:



Four PIA officials suspended for Human smuggling


LAHORE: The PIA has suspended four senior officials from service in connection with Toronto human smuggling case.

The FIA last month had arrested two PIA officials on charges of boarding a passenger on a Toronto-bound flight without a visa.

Passenger Muhammad Akram had a visa for Dubai but he was issued two boarding cards – one for Dubai and the other for Toronto. Akram had sought asylum in Canada after reaching there.

“We have suspended four more senior officials – Lahore district manager Salimullah Shahni, Toronto station manager Ejaz Shah, General Manager Passenger Services Aamir Bashir and Ramp Services manager Daud Durrani – from service in connection with the Toronto human smuggling case,” PIA spokesman Aamir Memon told Dawn on Saturday.

He said the PIA had already sacked three officials of passenger services in connection with the case. He said the PIA had “zero tolerance” for human smuggling and would not spare any of its officials involved in the crime.

The dismissed employees – Hammad Butt, senior passenger services officer and Asif Arzani Khan, the reservation and ticketing officer – have been arrested by FIA and investigation is under way.

Another dismissed employee, a woman, is on pre-arrest bail.

The FIA has also taken into custody another passenger services employee, Zulfiqr Dar, for interrogation.



Pakistan wants meaningful dialogue with India: Sharif tells US Security Adviser

By: PTI         

Islamabad, Aug 30, 2015, in his meeting with Rice, Sharif, while talking about ties with India, informed the US delegation the reasons behind the cancellation of talks between NSAs of India and Pakistan, Dawn News reported.

Sharif said Pakistan wants to hold a “meaningful” and “objective” dialogue on all outstanding issues with New Delhi.

Rice arrived in Pakistan on a day-long visit to exchange views on various matters and prepare agenda for Sharif’s visit to the US in October.

A statement by Sharif’s office, that made no direct reference to his comments on ties with India, said the meeting “focused on matters of bilateral interest and the future of Pakistan-US relations.”

“The situation in the region also came under discussion,” it said without giving details.

Media reports have said the US National Security Advisor is here on an “emergency visit” as part of the American effort to reduce the ongoing tension between the two neighbours.

Her visit coincides with an escalation in tension between Pakistan and India along the Line of Control (LoC). There have been 55 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in August, and more than 245 during the year so far.

Also, Pakistan called off the scheduled NSA-level talks between the two countries at the last minute over India’s refusal to allow Islamabad to have consultations with Kashmiri


The White House has, however, asserted that Rice’s visit was planned in advance and this was not emergency visit due the increasing tension.

During the meeting today, Sharif said the US is an important partner of Pakistan in all areas especially economy, defence and counter-terrorism.

He said Pakistan sees its ties with the US as a partnership which is in the interest of the two countries, the region and the world.

Sharif said he was looking forward to his US visit in October as an opportunity to strengthen bilateral ties.



Pakistan will be world's sixth largest nation by 2050: report

By Web Desk: August 30, 2015

Pakistan is expected to become the sixth largest nation in the world by 2050, according to data published by Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

The data lists down ten countries that will receive the greatest increase in population by 2050. Pakistan which is listed number six on the list is expected to reach a population of 344 million as the world population reaches 9,7 billion in 2050.

Further, India tops the list as the world’s largest country in 2050 as its population is expected to grow to 1,660 million. Whereas, China makes it to number two and United States to number three as the largest countries by population in 2050.

An earlier report by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations also revealed similar findings.

The report predicted that between 2015 and 2050, half of the world’s population growth is expected to be concentrated in nine countries, including Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Indonesia and Uganda, while confirming that Pakistan’s population is expected to surpass 300 million by 2050.

The report also indicated a key increase in population in African countries making, one-third of the world African by 2050.

Commenting on the population-data revelations, Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs said: “Understanding the demographic changes that are likely to unfold over the coming years, as well as the challenges and opportunities that they present for achieving sustainable development, is key to the design and implementation of the new development agenda.”

However, Jennifer Blanke, chief economist for World Economic Forum expressed concern about the report, questioning how the governments will manage the growing populations in the respective countries.

“If these countries are to meet the needs of their rapidly growing populations, they have to be able to deliver both sustainable economic growth and social inclusion. But while almost everyone agrees with that, we’re still struggling to establish the best way of achieving it. That’s something political, business and civil society leaders will need to work together on, and is indeed the main goal of the initiative I’m leading.” She said.

This article originally appeared on CNN.





Migration crisis: Germany, France and Britain demand urgent EU meeting

30 August 2015

Germany, France and Britain have issued a joint call for an urgent meeting of EU ministers to find concrete measures to cope with the escalating migration crisis.

A statement from the home affairs ministers of the three countries said they had “asked the Luxembourg presidency to organise a special meeting of justice and interior ministers within the next two weeks, so as to find concrete steps” to deal with the situation.

The three “underlined the necessity to take immediate action to deal with the challenge from the migrant influx”.

The call came after Germany’s Thomas de Maizière, Britain’s Theresa May and France’s Bernard Cazeneuve spoke about the crisis on the sidelines of a meeting in Paris on Saturday on transport security after passengers thwarted an attack on a high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.

Earlier this month, May visited Calais to inspect new security measures aimed at preventing migrants from reaching England via the Channel tunnel. Up to 5,000 displaced people are estimated to be in the French port, with at least nine known to have died trying to make the journey into Britain since June.

Unprecedented numbers of migrants are reaching EU borders, surpassing 100,000 in July alone and reaching more than 340,000 this year so far. Italy and Greece are struggling to cope, while Macedonia has declared a state of emergency.

The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, said on Sunday he believed the migrant crisis would push the EU to adopt uniform rules for refugees in place of the current patchwork of laws and approaches. “It will take months, but we will have a single European policy on asylum, not as many policies as there are countries,” he told the Corriere della Sera.

The French, British and German statement specifically called for reception centres to be set up urgently in Italy and Greece to register new arrivals, and for a common EU list of “safe countries of origin” to be established, which would theoretically allow asylum applications to be fast-tracked for specific nationalities.

Germany, which is expecting to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, has been pushing for such a list, arguing that it would free up resources to help those fleeing war and persecution.

The call comes after May, the UK home secretary, said current levels of migration were unsustainable and that only European migrants with a job lined up should be allowed into the UK.

Her comments came after figures from the Office for National Statistics showed migration to Britain had hit a record high, reaching 330,000 in the past year to March. The rise comes despite a pledge made by David Cameron in 2011 to bring down immigration to the tens of thousands.

“Net migration at that volume is simply unsustainable,” May wrote in an editorial in the Sunday Times. “It puts pressure on infrastructure, such as housing and transport – and public services, such as schools and hospitals.”

She argued that the biggest single factor preventing the government from meeting its immigration target was net migration from the EU. “While net migration from outside the EU is 10% lower than it was in 2010, net migration from within the EU has more than doubled,” May said. “That is why this government’s renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU is so important.”

The promise of an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU before the end of 2017 was a key element of the Conservative party’s general election manifesto. Cameron, the UK prime minister, has promised to secure a better deal for Britain in the EU before campaigning for continued membership.

May said countries across Europe were realising that the Schengen agreement – which created Europe’s borderless area – has exacerbated the migration crisis that has dominated the continent this summer.

“The events of this summer have shown that the most tragic consequences of a broken European migration system have been borne by those at risk of exploitation,” she said. “And the greatest beneficiaries have been the callous gangs who sell false dreams and trade on the free borders within the EU.”

May said that suggesting migration cannot be controlled within the EU – which gives freedom of movement to member state nationals – was “defeatist and wrong” and flies in the face of the evidence.

“Reducing net EU migration need not mean undermining the principle of free movement. When it was first enshrined, free movement meant the freedom to move to a job, not the freedom to cross borders to look for work or claim benefits.”

Four in 10 of the migrants who came to the UK last year came with no job waiting for them, said May, and this “search for a better life” has had huge economic costs for the countries they’ve left behind.

“A third of Portugal’s qualified nurses have migrated; 20% of the Czech Republic’s medical graduates leave as soon as they qualify; nearly 500 doctors are leaving Bulgaria every year.”

Cameron will continue his attempt to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership of the EU on Friday, visiting Lisbon for talks with the portuguese prime minister, Pedro Passos Coehlo, before traveling to Madrid where he will meet the Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

A Downing street spokesperson said: “The prime minister has been clear on the four areas where the UK is seeking reform of the European Union. Technical talks on these issues are now underway and while these talks take place, he will continue to hold discussions with his counterparts – including in Portugal and Spain this Friday – in order to secure reforms that address the concerns of the British people.”



Egypt summons UK envoy over Al Jazeera verdict remarks

30 Aug 2015

The ministry said on Sunday it objected to John Casson's comments, calling them "unacceptable interference" in the country's judiciary.

The Cairo court sentenced Egyptian Baher Mohamed and Canadian Mohamed Fahmy to three years in prison while Australian Peter Greste was sentenced in absentia.

Speaking in Arabic after the verdict, Casson said he was concerned the sentencings could "undermine confidence in the basis of Egypt's stability, both in Egypt and abroad".

The comments were posted on the British embassy's Facebook page, and were met with a wave of negative reaction in Arabic and English.

Meanwhile on Saturday, Britain's minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Ellwood, said he was "deeply concerned by the sentences".

Ellwood said that the "sentences will undermine confidence in Egypt’s progress towards strong long-term stability based on implementing the rights granted by the Egyptian constitution".

The journalists and Al Jazeera vigorously denied the accusations during the course of the trial.

Speaking from Sydney on Saturday, Greste said he was "shocked" by the court's decision and that the verdicts were "unjust" and "unethical".

"We will do everything we can to fight the verdict to clear our names. We are not terrorists. We did not collude with any organisation. We did not broadcast any false news," Greste said.

Greste called on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to pardon the journalists and said the president "now has an opportunity to undo that injustice".

Trying to do their jobs

Saturday's verdicts prompted international outrage.

A spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights, Prince Zeid bin Raad, said: "We are very disturbed by these three sentences and the extra pressure it creates on journalists in Egypt who are just trying to do their jobs."

The European Union said the verdict was "a setback for freedom of expression in Egypt".

Al Jazeera 'sickened' by Egypt court verdict

Al Jazeera has said it plans to file an appeal before the Court of Cassation.

In January, an appeals court ordered a retrial, saying the initial verdict lacked evidence against the three journalists.

Lynne Yelich, the Canadian minister of state for foreign and consular affairs, issued a statement after the verdict calling on Egyptian authorities to release Fahmy.

"Canada is disappointed with Mohamed Fahmy's conviction today. This decision severely undermines confidence in the rule of law in Egypt," Yelich said.

"The government of Canada continues to call on the Egyptian government to use all tools at its disposal to resolve Mr Fahmy's case and allow his immediate return to Canada."



A Syrian family's journey to a new life in Germany

Victoria Schneider | 27 Aug 2015

Recklinghausen, Germany - The phone call came out of the blue one day last summer, recalls Naser Alameen. The Syrian was on his way home when a voice asked: "Do you want to be relocated?"

For two years, the 52-year-old man and his family had been living between the highway and the sea on a farm south of Beirut, Lebanon. After they were forced to flee their war-torn village near Idlib in Syria, a Lebanese farmer gave them shelter in a small, one room stone shack in the middle of his banana plantation.

Together they numbered 20 people, including Alameen, his wife and five of their children, brother-in-law and family, along with neighbours and their relatives from Syria.

"Why not?" he replied to the woman from UNHCR on the other end of the phone. "Anything is better than this."

The Alameens were among 20,000 people selected to take part in a resettlement programme for Syrian refugees in Germany, a joint initiative between the United Nations and the German government.

Naser Alameen and 19 others shared a room of about 10 square metres [Victoria Schneider/Al Jazeera]

"We target the most vulnerable of the registered refugees," Audrey Bernard, from the UNHCR office in Beirut, told Al Jazeera.

Every day, Bernard and her team screen a database of 1.2 million names and choose potential cases matching situations provided by countries willing to take in refugees.

Chance at new life

"They had the flexibility and the legislation allowing admission of asylum seekers in their territory faster than standard resettlement procedures," said Bernard, commenting on the Alameens' fit with Germany.

The European country was the first to allow certain Syrians registered in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Egypt to move there without a protracted asylum application procedure.

About half of all those selected have successfully arrived in the Federal Republic of Germany, where they have a chance to integrate and build a new life.

Thomas Langwald from the German Office for Migration and Refugees explained the programme, which costs the state about $14m, specifically targets families that "cannot return to Syria" and would have difficulty settling in the country they first fled to.

Every candidate has to undergo numerous interviews, collective and individual, as well as medical check-ups. Every file is thoroughly vetted by both United Nations and German authorities.

"We have to make sure the people have no criminal record or ties to terrorist organisations," explained Langwald.

The Alameens were approved in March 2015. A month later they boarded a chartered plane in Beirut and left the Middle East.

Everything was different in Germany - the bread, the language, the opening hours of the supermarket, recalled Alameen, sitting in the room the family shares in their temporary shelter.

At a transit camp in Friedland village, the family discovered the deep culture differences that set them apart from the locals.

"We miss Syria," said Hend, Alameen's wife. "Suddenly it is so far away."

The resettlement programme tries to buffer the culture shock.

Upon arrival, they are granted temporary residence for two years. They get work permits and receive social grants and free healthcare. Relocated Syrians get free German integration classes to learn the language and culture.

The asylum system, however, is becoming overwhelmed in Germany.

The thousands of undocumented refugees arriving in Europe every day can only dream of the benefits afforded families such as the Alameens, who are unofficially known as "first class refugees".

Asylum applications for those arriving in Germany through other means can take months to be processed, which means months of uncertainty as they are unable to work, live in overcrowded hostels with no privacy, and realise the low chance of having their applications approved.

In the first seven months of 2015, Germany received 195,000 asylum applications. That's more than twice as many as the same period of 2014, when it received 80,000. One-fifth of the applicants - nearly 42,100 - are from Syria.

According to the interior ministry, Germany received 140,000 refugees from Syria since the conflict started in 2011. "We are reaching our limits," said Langwald.

That's one of the reasons why Germany has not submitted a fourth relocation pledge to the UN. "We are hoping for a pan-European solution, which Germany will then be part of," Langwald said.

While the resettlement programme is meticulously organised, municipalities are struggling to cope with the influx of newcomers. Sports venues and old warehouses have been transformed into temporary residences.

Settling in

"Yalla, show what you've learned," Naser Alameen told his youngest daughter, Amina. The young girl timidly recited the alphabet and numbers, up to 20, in German.

The family was allocated a home for free in Recklinghausen, a town in the former coal region in the west of Germany. It has three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. Volunteers gave them two sofas.

Many refugees, such as the Alameens, would be without furniture if it weren't for local support.

"Without the voluntary refugee organisations it wouldn't work," said Esther Aderholz, a German official.

The Alameens get free healthcare, the children are learning German at a nearby school, and they've discovered a Turkish supermarket where they can buy Middle Eastern food - including Lebanese bread and Arabic yogurt - which makes them feel more at home.

Naser Alameen still finds the language barrier challenging, expressing frustration that he cannot communicate while running simple errands. 

But the family has found support in fellow refugees and neighbours who are happy to accompany the Alameens and translate.

Yet, Naser and Hend Alameen haven't been able to leave their old life behind completely.

They worry for their relatives in Syria and Lebanon. Their eldest son was killed in Turkey last year. Their second son, who also lived in Turkey, is facing problems after attempting to return to Syria.

"He has changed, we don't know what happened. His friend was killed, he is living on the streets," Hend said as tears rolled down her face. "My heart cannot rest until he is safe.



British Library rejects Taliban archive over terror law

Shafik Mandhai | 29 Aug 2015

The British Library has decided not to acquire an archive of Taliban documents over fears that researchers accessing the materials could fall foul of the country's terrorism laws.

In a statement posted on its website on Friday, the library acknowledged that the collection was of research value, but some of the material would present "restrictions" on the library's ability to provide access to the archive.

"The Terrorism Act places specific responsibilities on anyone in the UK who might provide access to terrorist publications, and the legal advice received jointly by the British Library and other similar institutions advises against making this type of material accessible," the statement read.

What does the death of Mullah Omar mean for the Taliban?

The library had been in talks with the consultancy, Thesigers, which represents the Taliban Sources Project, to provide access to the digitised collection.

The materials include poetry, maps, press releases, and edicts published by the Afghan armed group, which has been in a long-running fight against the Afghan government and NATO troops.


Rizwaan Sabir, an academic at Liverpool John Moores University who specialises in the study of counterterrorism and armed movements, said British terrorism laws were creating a climate of fear and self-censorship.

"The decision of the British Library may seem far-fetched to some, but the law is says that sharing information that encourages or is useful for terrorism is a criminal offence," Sabir told Al Jazeera.

"Simply holding or sharing the information is a criminal offence that can carry a prison sentence...such laws have a deeply damaging effect on the freedom of scholars to research.

"Where such offences exist, a climate of fear and self-censorship becomes inevitable, and free scholarly inquiry becomes next to impossible."

Sabir was himself arrested in 2008 while conducting research on terrorism for downloading an al-Qaeda training manual from the US Department of Justice website. In 2011, he won compensation and an apology from the British police for false impirsonment.

Academic Thomas Hegghammer, who leads terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, said the issue was the library's "excessive risk aversion".

In a series of tweets posted on Friday evening, Hegghammer said the British Library already held documents by other controversial groups.

The UK Terrorism Act of 2006 makes it a criminal offence, punishable by imprisonment, to possess "material likely to be understood" as direct or indirect encouragement to carry out acts considered terrorist in nature.

The British Home Office told Al Jazeera the British Library had acted on their "own independent legal advice and decided not to accept this material into its collections".

Source: Al Jazeera



Southeast Asia


Pressure mounts on Malaysian PM as protests spill into second day

Reuters | Aug 30, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands gathered for a second day of protests on Sunday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak over a multi-million-dollar financial scandal, their spirits lifted by unexpected support from Malaysia's longest-serving leader.

Hundreds slept out overnight in central Kuala Lumpur after the first day of a rally that has brought into the streets a political crisis triggered by reports of a mysterious transfer worth more than $600 million into an account under Najib's name.

Najib, who denies wrongdoing, has weathered the storm and analysts say the two-day rally is unlikely to inspire broad public support for him to quit because it lacks a strong leader.

Security remained tight and anti-riot trucks stood ready. The first day passed without reports of violence and the rally resumed in a festive mood on Sunday with group exercises, a mass at the city cathedral and interfaith prayers.

City authorities rejected an application by pro-democracy organisation Bersih for a protest permit, raising fears of a repeat of a 2012 rally when police used water cannon and teargas to disperse protesters.

The government blocked access to Bersih's website and banned the wearing of its signature yellow T-shirts, although the crowd of protesters was a sea of yellow.

The protesters, whose numbers swelled into the tens of thousands on Saturday, were thrilled when former leader Mahathir Mohamad made a surprise appearance.

Bersih said the open support from Mahathir, a deeply respected 90-year-old who was once Najib's patron and is now his fiercest critic, could add momentum to its movement.

"It's a boost for us that he recognises that corruption is not good for the economy. It's a show of support for Bersih," said the group's leader, Maria Chin Abdullah.

Unlike the 2012 rally, this summer's protest lacks the support of a party identified with the Malay majority: most of the protesters on Saturday were from the minority ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

However, Mahathir was long a leader of the powerful United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which represents Malays.

Outrage over murky money

Bersih, whose name means 'clean' in Malay, campaigns for electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections but its rally has been overtaken by outrage with the prime minister.

Malaysia has been gripped since July by reports that investigators probing allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad had discovered the transfer into Najib's account.

Its anti-corruption agency has said the funds were a donation from an unidentified Middle East donor.

Najib, who says he did not take any money for personal gain, has sacked his deputy and ministers who had questioned him as he sought to contain the scandal. The attorney-general who had been investigating 1MDB was also replaced.

Authorities also suspended two newspapers and blocked access to a website that had reported extensively on 1MDB.

Najib also retains significant support from the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and his party, UMNO. The coalition, in power since 1957, lost the popular vote for the first time in 2013 to an opposition alliance that split earlier this year.

However, he is under pressure over his handling of the economy, which has been hit by a slump in energy prices that threaten oil and gas revenues, and Malaysia's currency has plummeted this month to 17-year lows against the dollar.



Thai police hunt more suspects after Bangkok bomb arrest

Reuters | Aug 30, 2015

BANGKOK: Police probing Thailand's deadliest bombing widened their net in the search for more suspects on Sunday after a foreigner was arrested and stacks of fake passports and bomb-making materials were found during a raid on a Bangkok apartment block.

The 28-year-old man, who has been in Thailand since January 2014, was detained on charges of possessing illegal explosives. Police have not revealed his identity or nationality.

The Aug. 17 bomb at Bangkok's Erawan Shrine, where Thais and Asian tourists flock each day, stunned Thailand.

Fourteen foreigners, seven from mainland China and Hong Kong, were among the 20 killed in an attack the ruling junta said was intended to cripple an already flagging economy.

Police have been criticised for an erratic investigation that had, until this weekend, uncovered few clues about who was behind the blast. No group has claimed responsibility.

Officials declined to say if the man arrested had provided new information, but deputy national police chief Chaktip Chaijinda told Thai television more suspects were being sought.


Police and residents in Bangkok's Nong Chok district said the suspect rented four apartments on the same floor of the rundown building.

A man and woman living on the same floor told Reuters the suspect did not live alone and they had seen a taller man with similar appearance entering and leaving several times each day. They had not seen the second man since Friday.

"We've seen two of them, frequently. One was the arrested man, but there's another, he's much taller," said the man, who requested anonymity because he feared for his safety.

The detained man was reclusive but always appeared focused and walked with intent on his rare forays outside. They said he was often seen on his knees praying outside the room.

"I still fear danger," the woman said. "We don't know if the other man has been arrested."

Speculation has focused on which groups could have motive and capability to carry out the bombing.

These have included southern ethnic Malay insurgents, opponents of the military government, foreign militant groups and sympathisers of Uighur Muslims. Thailand forcibly repatriated more than 100 Uighurs to China last month, prompting international outrage.

Many of the minority Uighurs from China's far west have sought passage to Turkey via Southeast Asia.

On Saturday, police indicated the person arrested was the prime suspect, a young man with shaggy dark hair who wore a yellow shirt and was picked out on security cameras dropping off a backpack at the shrine and leaving before the bomb went off.





17 Iranian Fishermen, Sailors Escape Somali Pirates' Captivity

TEHRAN, Aug 30, 2015 (FNA)- 17 Iranian fishermen and sailors who had been taken hostage by the Somali pirates 5 months ago have escaped and will come back home soon, officials announced on Sunday.

"17 fishermen and sailors of Konarak (a region in Southern Iran) who had been abducted by the Somali pirates in March managed to escape from their hands last week," Director-General of Iran's Fishery Organization Mosen Ali Golshani told FNA on Sunday.

"The Iranian officials' efforts to free them continued (since their abduction) but we were informed that they had managed to escape from the Somali pirates' captivity using stormy weather and were rescued by a European warship," he said.

Golshani said efforts are underway to transfer the fishers' boat to Iran by the weekend through cooperation with the Iranian Navy.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

In relevant remarks last week, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that his forces deployed in the high seas had escorted at least 22 foreign cargo ships so far.

Sayyari said that his forces had so far had nearly 200 clashes with pirates in their anti-piracy missions and escorted 22 foreign ships.

He further pointed to providing security and safety of the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandeb by the Iranian Navy, and said that Navy had provided safe passage for Iranian shipping lines in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb and the Red Sea.

"About 2,000 trade ships and oil tankers have so far been escorted by the (Iranian) Navy's fleets of warships," the Iranian commander went on to say.