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Islamic World News ( 6 Nov 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Record under Fire at UN

New Age Islam News Bureau

6 Nov 2018

Photo: President of the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia Bandar bin Mohammed Al Aiban (centre) delivers as speech before the UN Human Rights Council on Monday. –AFP


 Rioters Have Nothing to Do With Islam: Federal Information Minister

 Not to Examine Triple Talaq Ordinance: Supreme Court of India

 Prime Minister of Bangladesh: Whoever Insults Islam Will Be Punished According To the Law

 Riyadh Sent Experts to Cover Up Khashoggi Murder: Turkey

Arab World

 Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Record under Fire at UN

 Qaradawi Steps Down As Head of Muslim Scholars’ Group

 Saudis Launch 'Boycott Amazon' To Take On Post Over Coverage Of Khashoggi Murder

 US Attacks Deir Ezzur with Banned Weapons Again

 Living Conditions Critical in over 1,000 Camps in Terrorist-Held Regions in Northwestern Syria

 France issues arrest warrants for three senior Syrian officials

 Sisi: We want Egypt to return to what it was before January 2011

 ISIS says hits Syria’s Raqqa with car bomb

 UK announces joint Omani-British military training base

 Saudi Arabia to UN Rights Council: Khashoggi probe to bring culprits to justice

 Three children killed in US-led coalition strikes on Syria's Dayr al-Zawr

 Oman and Britain to open joint military training base



 Rioters Have Nothing to Do With Islam: Federal Information Minister

 Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal To Hold ‘Million March’ Against Aasia’s Acquittal On Thursday

 Govt Heaps Scorn on Religious Hate Mongers, Lauds Opp for Support

 Long Arm of the Law Falls Short When It Comes To TLP Leaders

 Maulana Samiul Haq assassination probe on track: interior minister

 Aasia Lawyer Holds EU, UN Responsible For His Pakistan Exit

 Strategy being made to curb violent protests, hate speech: minister

 ‘PM advised to sign convention against enforced disappearances’

 Pakistan to attend Afghan peace talks in Moscow

 Joint drills vital to boost Pak-Russia cooperation: COAS



 Not to Examine Triple Talaq Ordinance: Supreme Court of India

 Focus on Neutralising Terrorism: J&K Top Cop Tells Officers

 2 Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists killed in encounter in J&K

 Muslims Not Against Ram Mandir, Want Both Temple, Masjid: Congress Leader

 India expects big rise in Iran exports as sanctions return


South Asia

 Prime Minister of Bangladesh: Whoever Insults Islam Will Be Punished According To The Law

 Taliban Seize Key Ghazni Security Post, Kill Afghan Forces

 Taliban attack an Afghan forces check point, killing 13

 Myanmar to repatriate first round of Rohingya from Bangladesh

 Afghan Senate reacts to assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq

 NATO Secretary General arrives in Afghanistan in an unannounced visit

 Abdullah admits government’s delay in responding to Uruzgan violence

 Afghan delegation to attend multilateral peace talks in Russia

 Sanctions on Iran have negative impact on Afghanistan



 Riyadh Sent Experts to Cover Up Khashoggi Murder: Turkey

 US-Led Coalition Pounds Syrian Town Using White Phosphorus Bombs: SANA

 Gazans launch new flotilla against Israel's seige

 Israeli bill on death penalty of Palestinian prisoners slammed

 Yemeni army captures Hodeidah hospital as Houthis lose ground

 Saudis sent clean-up team to Istanbul after Khashoggi killing to erase evidence: Official

 Thousands of Yemeni civilians trapped as Saudi jets pound Hudaydah

 Denmark anti-Iran claim about terror attack, Mossad plot: FM Zarif



 “There Is No Justification for Nigerian Army to Shoot At and Kill Unarmed Shiite Protestors”

 Death Toll of People Killed By Nigerian Army on Arbaeen Rises To 47

 Over 80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

 Kenya: Take Graft War to Counties, Muslim Leaders Tell State

 Mpeketoni struggles to find footing after series of deadly Shabaab raids


North America

 Muslim Democrat Supports Transgenderism for Six-Year-Olds in New Campaign Ad

 74 pc Americans Believe Muslims Face Discrimination: Survey

 US vows ‘relentless’ sanctions as it seeks to pressure Iran

 Reimposing US sanctions against Iran will further isolate Washington: Analyst

 US military alarmed by Iran’s growing defence might, combat power

 Egypt postpones Brazilian FM’s visit over Bolsonaro's decision on Israel embassy

 US begins patrols with SDF in northeast Syria: Official



 German Jews Propose Anti-Semitism Lessons for Muslim Migrants

 Mosques Seek Twitter Ban on Dutch Anti-Islam Politician Geert Wilders

 Britain pushes for UN peace resolution on Yemen conflict

 UK, Norway vow to expand trade ties with Iran despite US bans

 UK, Canada say urgent need to resolve Khashoggi murder


Southeast Asia

 Najib Condemns Putrajaya Over Refusal to Release IPIC Documents

 Gerindra gives deputy Jakarta governor post to PKS

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Saudi Arabia’s human rights record under fire at UN

November 06, 2018

GENEVA: Saudi Arabia insisted at the UN on Monday that its investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be “fair”, amid a barrage of criticism from countries over the brutal murder.

The half-day public debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva comes just over a month after the royal insider-turned-critic was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The so-called Universal Periodic Review — which all 193 UN countries must undergo approximately every four years — came as a Turkish official charged on Monday that Saudi Arabia had sent experts to Turkey to cover up the journalist’s murder before allowing Turkish police in to search the consulate.

During Monday’s review, Western countries especially voiced outrage at the killing, with many calling for a “credible” and “transparent” investigation, and some, like Iceland and Costa Rica, going further and demanding an international probe.

British Ambassador Julien Braithwaite told the council his country was “gravely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Saudi Arabia”, pointing to women’s rights, mass arrests of rights defenders and extensive use of the death penalty. The Saudi delegation meanwhile barely mentioned the case, choosing instead to highlight the “progress made towards the protection and promotion of human rights”, including reforms that among other things have allowed women to drive in the ultra-conservative country.

But the delegation chief and head of the Saudi Human Rights Commis­sion, Bandar Al Aiban, did touch on the case briefly, stressing at the end of the review that “our country is committed to carry out a fair investigation”. “All persons involved in that crime will be prosecuted,” he said, stressing that “the investigation is continuing in line with our domestic laws”.

The review also focused heavily on the use of the death penalty in the country, especially for alleged crimes committed when the perpetrator was under the age of 18. The kingdom has one of the world’s highest rates of execution, with suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking facing the death penalty.

Many countries urged Saudi Arabia to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty or to abolish it altogether, and to explicitly ban its use for juvenile offenders.

Women’s rights were also high on the agenda. While many countries hailed some progress in this area, including the fact that the country now permits women to drive, they warned that much more reform was needed. The country especially faced criticism over its male guardianship system which allows men to exercise arbitrary authority to make decisions on behalf of their female relatives.

Experts sent to cover up Khashoggi murder

Saudi Arabia sent two experts to Istanbul with the specific aim of covering up evidence after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul, a Turkish official said on Monday.

“We believe that the two individuals came to Turkey for the sole purpose of covering up evidence of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder before the Turkish police were allowed to search the premises,” a senior Turkish official said, asking not to be named.

The official confirmed a report in the Sabah newspaper saying that chemicals expert Ahmad Abdulaziz Al Janobi and toxicology expert Khaled Yahya Al Zahrani were among a team sent from Saudi Arabia purportedly to investigate the murder last month.

The report said they visited the consulate every day from their arrival on Oct 11 until Oct 17. Saudi Arabia only allowed Turkish police to finally search the consulate on Oct 15.

The sons of Khashoggi, Salah and Abdullah, told CNN they wanted Saudi Arabia to return the body so that he could be buried in Madina with the rest of his family.

Yemen clashes rage

Battles raged on Monday near a Yemeni port crucial for humanitarian aid, but Saudi Arabia and its allies said they were committed to de-escalating hostilities with rebels as calls for a ceasefire mount.

The United Nations has appealed for urgent peace talks and warned that an assault on the Red Sea port city of Hodeida would threaten millions of lives.

Rebels and government sources both reported intense fighting in the area on Monday, despite calls by the UN and the United States — which pro­vides military support to the Saudi-led camp — for an end to the war.

A source in the Saudi-led coalition told AFP the clashes were not “offensive operations”, adding that the alliance was “committed to keeping the Hodeida port open”.

The coalition source said the government alliance was “committed to de-escalating hostilities in Yemen and strongly supportive of the UN envoy’s political process”.

“If the Houthis fail to show up for peace talks again, this might lead [us] to restart the offensive operation in Hodeida,” the source said.



Rioters Have Nothing to Do With Islam: Federal Information Minister

NOVEMBER 6, 2018

LAHORE: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Monday said the rioters merely used the name of religion for their ulterior motives and they had nothing to do with Islam.

“The protestors merely used the name of religion and they had nothing to do with Islam. How the followers of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), who was sent by Allah Almighty as a blessing for the universe, could cause pain to others,” he said at a press conference here. To a question, Fawad regretted the moral degradation of protestors, who looted a fruit-seller also and insulted womenfolk on roads without remorse.

To a query, the minister took the credit for resolving the recent crisis through wisdom and sagacity, saying the government wanted to resolve the issue amicably rather than using force. He said the federal government has decided to pay compensation to the affectees of the sit-ins staged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and the provincial governments have been asked to submit details in this regard.

The minister hailed the political parties and the opposition for their support on the issue of TLP sit-ins against Asia Bibi’s acquittal by the apex court. All the parties showed political maturity and sent a strong message that the national leadership was on one page on the issue, he said, adding that the opposition parties were taken into confidence on all matters of national security. The government was in close contact with the respective focal persons of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), he said.

The minister said the European Union Human Rights Court had decreed blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as illegal. It was a great victory of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, which had taken up the case with the governments across the globe, he added.

About the prime minister’s devotion to Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), Fawad said Imran Khan was an ‘Aashiq-e-Rasool’ (Devotee of Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him). He always landed in Madina bare-foot and making Pakistan like the State of Madina was his ideal.

On the issue of media censorship, the minister said the PTI government had ended censorship on the state media. The government had only asked the social media websites (Twitter, etc) to take into account the sensitivity on the issue of religious hatred. The Facebook has blocked some accounts for hate content on the request of the government, he added.

To a question, the minister said the government and the opposition parties are in unison on almost all matters. The only reason of discord is the government’s unwillingness to grant an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to the corrupt politicians. The looters would have to return the stolen money, he added.

Fawad said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s landmark visit to China is a great success which has opened up new vistas of cooperation on the economic and strategic fronts. He said Pakistan and China have decided to do trading in Chinese RMB instead of American dollar, adding that Pakistan-China current trade volume stands at 15 billion dollars. He said the switchover will reduce burden on the country’s dollar reserves.

He said Pak-China cooperation in the space programme was another achievement in the scientific relations, adding that the first Pakistani astronaut would be sent to the space with the help of China in 2022. He said the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) would invite applications from the interested individuals by 2019. In a lighter vein, he said all the corrupt politicians and mischief-makers should be dispatched to the space for good. The SUPARCO should be tasked with this mission for greater good of the country, he added.

The minister said Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and other regional countries as well as the United States were improving. On the international front, he said, Pakistan has emerged as a leading Islamic state. “Prime Minister Imran Khan has been playing the role of a mediator in the Middle East crisis. The Islamic world is looking towards the prime minister for the resolution of Yemen issue,” he added.

Fawad reiterated the government’s stance to take the accountability of the corrupt to a logical conclusion. The accountability process would not be used for political settlements as was practised by the past regimes, he said, adding that the last PPP and PML-N governments fooled the people in the name of accountability. “The nation is lucky to have Imran Khan as their prime minister, who does not believe in giving concessions as he has no vested interests,” he added.



Not to examine triple talaq ordinance: Supreme Court of India

November 06, 2018

The Supreme Court of India on Friday November 3, declined to assess the constitutionality of an ordinance, promulgated on September 19, making the declaration of instantaneous triple talaq by a Muslim husband of his wife an offence.

The Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi being the head of the Bench in this petition, reasoned that two months have already passed since the promulgation of the ordinance, which has a life of only six months unless ratified by the parliament.

In other words, the Chief Justice left it to the parliament to debate the legality of the ordinance, saying the Winter Session of the Parliament is shortly to commence.

“We don't like to interfere…”, the Chief Justice addressed the lawyers for Samastha Kerala Jamiathul, one of the biggest religious organisation of the Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics in Kerala, which had challenged the ordinance.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran said the very promulgation of the ordinance is a “fraud on the Constitution.” But the Chief Justice Gogoi restrained the line of argument, saying it was not necessary to “go so high.”

The court allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea.

The Jamiathul said the only objective of the ordinancee is “to punish Muslim husbands.”

The Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018 was notified on September 19 makes instant triple talaq a penal offence.

Section 4 imposes a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment when a Muslim husband pronounces talaq thrice consecutively. The offence is cognizable and non-bailable.

“If the motive was to protect a Muslim wife in an unhappy marriage, no reasonable person can believe that the means to ensure it is by putting an errant husband in jail for three years and create a non-bailable offence for merely saying 'talaq, talaq, talaq',” the petition contended.

“It is absurd that for an utterance which has no legal effect, whether spoken by Muslim, Hindu or Christian, it is only the Muslim husband who is penalised with a three-year sentence.

Protection of wives cannot be achieved by incarceration of husbands… the intent behind the ordinance is not abolition of triple talaq but punishment of Muslim husbands,” Jamiathul, represented by advocate Zulfiker Ali P.S, contended.

It urged the court to stay the operation of the ordinance while questioning the haste with which the government promulgated it.

The petition contends that the Supreme Court has already declared the utterance of triple talaq “null and void”. If triple talaq has thus no legal effect, why should the government go ahead and make it an offence now?



Prime Minister of Bangladesh: Whoever Insults Islam Will Be Punished According To The Law


Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The religion of Bangladesh "is Islam. Anyone who pronounces offensive comments against it or against the Prophet Muhammad will be prosecuted according to the law “stated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday.  She was speaking at a gathering of madrassas [Koranic schools] in Dhaka. "I know that on social media - she added - there is a lot of propaganda. Pay them no attention ".

The event was organized by Al-Hiyatul Ulya Lil-Zamiatil Qawmiya, an organization that gathers the "Qawmi" institutes, Islamic schools not managed by the government that follow a specific educational model. The meeting was an opportunity to thank the government for recognizing the educational qualifications obtained in these madrassas on a par with postgraduate courses in public schools.

For the occasion, the executive has also decided to postpone the school exams that were to be held yesterday, attracting the criticism of many teachers. In all, 2.7 million children had to take the test.

From the stage, Hasina said that in Bangladesh "there is no place for Islamic militancy, terrorism and corruption. Bangladesh wants to show that Islam is a religion of peace and wants to be a peaceful, prosperous and developed country ". Finally she recalled that Saudi Arabia is providing donations to build 560 "model madrassas" and has invited everyone to pray for the general elections, which should take place in the last week of December.



Riyadh sent experts to cover up Khashoggi murder: Turkey

Nov 6, 2018

Ankara - Despite extensive searches by Turkish police, the body of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi still has not been recovered.

Saudi Arabia sent two experts to Istanbul with the specific aim of covering up evidence after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul, a Turkish official said on Monday.

More than a month after the Saudi royal-insider-turned critic was killed inside the mission on October 2, Turkey has still yet to recover the remains amid claims that his body was dissolved in acid.

The killing of the 59-year-old has severely dented the kingdom’s image in the West and put powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the defencive. “We believe that the two individuals came to Turkey for the sole purpose of covering up evidence of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder before the Turkish police were allowed to search the premises,” a senior Turkish official said, asking not to be named.

The official confirmed a report in the Sabah newspaper saying that chemicals expert Ahmad Abdulaziz al-Janobi and toxicology expert Khaled Yahya al-Zahrani were among a team sent from Saudi Arabia purportedly to investigate the murder last month. The report said they visited the consulate every day from their arrival on October 11 until October 17. Saudi Arabia only allowed Turkish police to finally search the consulate on October 15. After weeks of allegations in pro-government media, Turkey’s chief prosecutor last week confirmed Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate and the body was dismembered.

But despite intensive searches by Turkish police, there is still no trace of his remains. The sons of Khashoggi, Salah and Abdullah, told CNN they wanted Saudi Arabia to return the body so that he could be buried in Medina with the rest of his family.

Turkey’s allegation of the deployment of a “clean-up” team came after Yasin Aktay, an advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hinted Friday that the body may even have been destroyed in acid.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told the official Anadolu news agency Monday that “all those reports should be investigated”.

Although Riyadh has arrested 18 individuals on suspicion of involvement, the key question remains over who gave the order to kill Khashoggi.

In an editorial published in The Washington Post Friday, Erdogan said it came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government, while he did “not believe for a second” that Saudi’s King Salman had ordered the crime.

Turkish media have pointed the finger at powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and analysts have said Ankara is keen to have the heir sidelined from the nexus of power in Riyadh.

“Yes, a murder was committed and it was premeditated. Who gave the command for this murder to be carried out on Turkish soil?” Oktay echoed the president’s question in Monday’s interview.

However, Erdogan has yet to directly accuse Prince Mohammed, who has condemned the murder “a repulsive incident”.

The unnamed Turkish official said Monday: “The fact that a clean-up team was dispatched from Saudi Arabia nine days after the murder suggests that Khashoggi’s slaying was within the knowledge of top Saudi official.”

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb met with Turkish authorities last week in Istanbul. But this visit appeared to be a fiasco, with the Saudi official refusing to share information from Riyadh’s own investigation, according to Turkish officials.

Prince Mohammed had been heralded in some quarters before the murder as a modern Arab reformer spearheading a bold vision to transform the country and make it less dependent on energy resources.

That image has now been severely battered. There is also a new international focus on Saudi’s involvement in the war in Yemen where 14 million people now stand at the brink of famine in Yemen in what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis

The outrage has alarmed business leaders seeking a foothold in the crown prince’s reform drive but many have insisted they have no intention of pulling out.

Masayoshi Son, the head of Japanese firm SoftBank which has major investments in Saudi Arabia, on Monday condemned the killing but indicated he would continue to do business with the kingdom.

“As horrible as this event was, we cannot turn our backs on the Saudi people as we work to help them in their continued efforts to reform and modernise their society.”

Despite extensive searches by Turkish police, the body of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi still has not been recovered.

Turkey accused Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb (L) of refusing to share information from Ryiadh’s own probe when he visited Istanbul last week.

Masayoshi Son, the head of Japanese firm SoftBank which has major investments in Saudi Arabia, has condemned the killing but indicated he would continue to do business with Riyadh.



Arab World


Qaradawi steps down as head of Muslim scholars’ group

November 5, 2018

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi on Saturday declared that he will be stepping down from his position as president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS).

Speaking at the opening session of the fifth general assembly in Istanbul, Al-Qaradawi said he “will yield the floor to the next chairman” and that this is the last time he will chair the meeting.

Al-Qaradawi added that he had told Sudanese scholar and Islamic preacher Essam Al-Bashir last year that he intended to leave after this general assembly.

He went on to accuse the West of plotting against Turkey to derail its advancement.

“Turkey is facing plots by those who don’t like to see this nation [rising] and by the West,” Al-Qaradawi added.

“They would have succeeded [in their plots] but for Allah’s support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his brothers,” he said.

Bringing together more than 1,500 scholars from around the world, the IUMS’ general assembly will continue until Thursday.

Election will be held during the meeting to choose a new chairman, secretary-general and his deputies and board members.



Saudis launch 'Boycott Amazon' to take on Post over coverage of Khashoggi murder

Nov 6, 2018

Saudis have launched an online campaign to "Boycott Amazon and" to take on the Washington Post over coverage of the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for the paper.

A call to boycott Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos owns the newspaper, was trending on social media in Saudi Arabia on Monday.

The move appears to be part of an effort to punish those highlighting the role of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the last month assassination of the dissident journalist in Turkey.

The monarchy is using socials media to portray such coverage as a media campaign against the country’s de facto ruler.

"Let's defend our nation...boycott Amazon to send a message to its owner so he is aware of the scale of the damage," Saudi journalist Bandar Otyf tweeted, saying the Post "consistently publishes articles that are defaming."

Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the murder, yet left many questions unanswered.

Turkish intelligence intercepts reportedly show that Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2, was murdered on a direct order from bin Salman.

Khashoggi had been there to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife.

US lawmakers and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintain that the crown prince and other top Saudi leaders should be held accountable for Khashoggi's assassination.

In an op-ed by Erdogan published on the Washington Post Friday, the Turkish leader called for an “answer” to the questions left unanswered.

Full report at:



US Attacks Deir Ezzur with Banned Weapons Again

Nov 05, 2018

SOHR reported that the coalition's artillery units opened heavy fire on Eastern Deir Ezzur using phosphorous shells that set ablaze the targeted areas.

In the meantime, local sources reported that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces' artillery units targeted the village of Albu Daran in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing an Iraqi refugee woman and her two children.

Also, the US air force pounded the small town of al-Shafa'ah in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing 3 children and wounding several more.

The Arabic-language website of SANA news agency quoted several local sources in Deir Ezzur as saying last week that the US warplanes targeted several districts in the town of Hajin in Eastern Deir Ezzur with white phosphorous bombs which are forbidden internationally.

Full report at:



Living Conditions Critical in over 1,000 Camps in Terrorist-Held Regions in Northwestern Syria

Nov 05, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted militant-affiliated sources as reporting that a sum of 1,039 refugee camps are controlled by Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) and other terrorist groups in Idlib province, adding that over 778, 000 refugees are living in the camps.

It went on to say that over a half of the camps are located in Harem region in Northern Idlib, adding that refugees in the camps are suffering from very dire living conditions, including shortage of fuel, drinking water, health service and other necessary facilities.

The daily further pointed to the growing infighting among rival terrorist groups and intensified insecurity in militant-held regions in Idlib province, and said that the refugees' difficulties are deteriorating.

Syria's Arabic-language al-Mahaver news website reported last month that body organ trading by terrorists intensified in Idlib city and other militant-held regions in the Northwestern province.

It further said that the terrorists kidnap several civilians in the militant-held regions in Idlib each day to excise their organs in dreadful operations and send them to Turkey by certain groups that are running operations in both countries.

Full report at:



France issues arrest warrants for three senior Syrian officials

5 November 2018

France has issued international arrest warrants for three senior Syrian intelligence officials in connection with the deaths of two Franco-Syrian nationals, legal sources said Monday.

This is a first since the beginning of the revolution in Syria, in 2011, which caused a civil war.

Warrants were issued by an examining magistrate, in accordance with the prosecution’s submissions, on the counts of “complicity in acts of torture, complicity in enforced disappearances, complicity in crimes against humanity, and war crimes.”

Among those prosecuted is Ali Mamlouk, the current director of National Security in Syria, and the man who oversees the entire Syrian security apparatus.

French newspaper Le Monde reported that the decision was not yet announced in France, and is part of a lawsuit that the French judiciary has been investigating since 2016, relating to issues of the forced disappearance of some Syrians carrying the French nationality.

The French judicial inquiry, which resulted in the arrest warrant for Mamlouk and others, was based on documents known as "Caesar", the Syrian photographer of the Assad army, who fled the country in 2013 carrying pictures of thousands of Syrians who were tortured or severely tortured in prisons the system.

The other two senior Syrian officials are Jameel al-Hassan, Syria's air force intelligence chief, and the head of air force intelligence in Bab Tuma, a Damascene area.

The French investigation was based on documents from a file known as “Ceasar”, which exposed pictures of torturing techniques in Syrian prisons and pictures of citizens who died as a result of torture by the Syrian regime.

Syrian intelligence had arrested Franco-Syrian Mazen Dabagh and his son Patrick in November 2013, after the two were participating in an anti-regime peaceful demonstration. The father and son were confirmed dead last August, after being tortured to death in Syrian prisons.

Full report at:



Sisi: We want Egypt to return to what it was before January 2011

5 November 2018

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned of attempts to achieve change by force and voiced hope to take the Egyptian state back to how it was before January 25, 2011.

“Change by force (means) opening the gates of hell. There was a phase in Egypt when all we cared about was returning to the situation we had before January 25, 2011,” Sisi said during a youth forum held in Sharm El Sheikh.

“Everyone wishes that the Egyptian state goes back to how it was before January 25, 2011,” he added.

Sisi also warned that Egypt was a “candidate for national suicide” noting that efforts during the past five years to restore stability and peace to the Egyptian state were unprecedented.

The president added that Egypt thwarted foreign countries’ attempts to interfere in its affairs.

“The careless activity – and I won’t say conspiracy – which Egypt witnessed during the past years opened the gates of hell on the country,” he said.

“Mobilizing the youths and the public opinion to change societies by force may get out of control and it may result in a huge vacuum that may (lead) local and foreign powers to interfere in the state’s affairs and topple institutions,” Sisi said.

Sisi also said that the financial, moral and political costs which countries that witness conflicts have endured have been much more than expected, adding that the economic reforms that are currently underway in Egypt are the largest in its modern history.

Sisi also slammed attempts to incite chaos saying they allowed terrorist groups that have been in Egypt for a while to use arms.

“Terrorist groups have the willingness to take over power using weapons,” he said, adding that the Egyptian experience in confronting terrorism and extremism confirms that building social peace shields the country from conflicts.

“Even if former rulers were not good, do not be fooled by slogans which lead to loss,” Sisi said and called on people to work and be patient so their countries “are not lost”.

Full report at:



ISIS says hits Syria’s Raqqa with car bomb

5 November 2018

A car bomb exploded near a military position in Syria’s Raqqa on Sunday, local authorities and a war monitor said, and ISIS extremist group said it was behind the blast.

The blast came a day after the assassination of a local council leader in the city, the former Syrian capital of the militant group’s self-declared caliphate, which was seized a year ago by US-backed Kurdish-led fighters.

Raqqa security forces said a civilian had been killed and several people, including civilians and fighters injured. The war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the blast caused “a large number” of casualties.

ISIS said in a statement that it had detonated the bomb, targeting fighters from the Kurdish YPG militia, the strongest element in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) group that drove the militants from Raqqa last year.

The SDF is battling ISIS fighters in one of their last patches of territory in Syria, along the north bank of the Euphrates river close to the Iraqi border.

The militants took advantage of bad weather on Sunday to attack SDF positions, killing a dozen fighters, the Observatory


Full report at:



UK announces joint Omani-British military training base

5 November 2018

Britain announced on Monday it would open a joint military training base in Oman in March 2019 as it looks to bolster its relationships with allies in the region.

Defense secretary Gavin Williamson announced the British-Omani training base as he visited the country to observe the end of a large-scale joint military exercise involving thousands of personnel practicing desert combat.

“Our relationship with Oman is built on centuries of cooperation and we are cementing that long into the future with the opening of our new joint base,” Williamson said in a statement released by his department.

“This has never been more important as malign activity by hostile states and violent extremist organizations seek to undermine stability and subvert the rules based order on which we all rely.”

Earlier this year, Britain also opened a permanent military base in Bahrain.

Full report at:



Saudi Arabia to UN Rights Council: Khashoggi probe to bring culprits to justice

5 November 2018

Saudi Arabia told the United Nations top human rights body on Monday that it was investigating the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate last month with a view to prosecuting the perpetrators.

Bandar Al Aiban, President of the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia who headed the government delegation at a regular review of its record, said in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council that King Salman had instructed the public prosecutor to "investigate the case according to applicable laws and to bring perpetrators to justice."



Three children killed in US-led coalition strikes on Syria's Dayr al-Zawr

Nov 5, 2018

US-led warplanes have lunched fresh airstrikes against a town in Syria’s troubled eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, claiming the lives of at least three children.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said the children were killed during the airstrikes that targeted the town of al-Shaafah on Monday.

The fatalities took place two days after fighter jets from the US-led military coalition killed at least 15 civilians in Dayr al-Zawr.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

Addressing world leaders at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 29, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said the US-led coalition had been doing everything it could since the onset of its airstrikes but combat terrorism and militant outfits wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

Muallem described the military alliance as “illegitimate” and censured the “hegemonic policies” pursued by certain countries against the Damascus government.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on October 23 that as many as 3,222 Syrian civilians had been killed since the onset of aerial aggression by the US-led coalition.

There were 768 people under the age of 18 among the fatalities, in addition to 562 female victims.

Full report at:



Oman and Britain to open joint military training base

November 05, 2018

LONDON: Oman and Britain will open a joint military training base next year to help counter the activities of hostile states and extremist groups.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the base would open in March.

He made the announcement as he visited the country to observe the end of a large-scale joint military exercise involving tens of thousands of personnel practicing desert combat.

“Our relationship with Oman is built on centuries of cooperation and we are cementing that long into the future with the opening of our new joint base,” Williamson said.

“This has never been more important as malign activity by hostile states and violent extremist organisations seek to undermine stability and subvert the rules based order on which we all rely.”

Earlier this year, Britain opened a permanent military base in Bahrain.

The Al Saif Al Sareea 3 military exercises included 70,000 defence personnel from Oman and 5,500 soldiers, sailors, pilots and engineers from the British Armed Forces.

Full report at:





Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal To Hold ‘Million March’ Against Aasia’s Acquittal On Thursday

Nov 6, 2018

The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) on Monday said it plans to hold a ‘million march’ in Karachi on Thursday against the Supreme Court’s recent acquittal of Christian blasphemy convict Aasia Bibi.

Last Wednesday, the apex court in a landmark judgement, had accepted Aasia Bibi’s appeal against her sentence, following which several religio-political parties had taken to the streets to protest, which at some places had escalated into riots.

A day later, JUI-Fazl chief Fazlur Rehman, whose party is one of several that constitutes the multi-party MMA alliance, had announced that a ‘million march’ would be held in Karachi, where he said “the future strategy” on the issue would be chalked out. On Monday, the JUI-F recapitulated their plans, urging party workers to gather at Shahrah-e-Quaideen on November 8.

Thursday’s march will be Rehman’s second major political event after he headed a rally in Peshawar last Friday.

In the Peshawar rally, the JUI-F head had held the PTI government responsible for the turmoil in the wake of the SC’s verdict, and announced that his countrywide agitation would continue until the government was ousted.



Govt heaps scorn on religious hate mongers, lauds Opp for support

Nov 6, 2018

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Monday said that those who were spreading hate in the name of religion have nothing to do with it, as he lauded the opposition parties for supporting the government during the recent protests.

He said this while addressing a press conference in the provincial capital about the recent countrywide protests following a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.

“The protesters were damaging property in the name of Islam, but had no moral standing,” he said, adding that “those who were spreading hate in the name of religion have nothing to do with it”.

Regarding the agreement between the government and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leaders which ended the sit-ins across the country, Chaudhry said, “There were two ways to deal with the protesters.”

“If we sent forces then it would have been said that the government transgressed. We had to normalise the situation and should be credited for resolving the issue wisely,” the information minister further said.

“We want to resolve issues and will have to end sit-ins as it is not acceptable that two to three thousand people shutdown a city,” he added.

Furthermore, Chaudhry said, “Prime Minster Imran Khan truly loves Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and has never even worn shoes while visiting Medina. He does not need a certificate from anyone.”

Stating that “the state of Medina is our model”, the information minister said, “We will give all citizens, including minorities, their due rights.”

Chaudhry said that all segments of the society — including those belonging to religious circles — had condemned the inciteful speeches and violence during the protests.

He said that the federal government has directed all provinces to submit data regarding damage to property during the protests and provide details of the rioters by Monday night.

He assured that the government would compensate those who had suffered losses during the riots.

Chaudhry referred to a video showing protesters looting a child selling bananas on a push cart which had gone viral on social media, and questioned the moral standing of the demonstrators.

“The way they (protesters) pulled rickshaw drivers out [of their vehicles] and set fire to their rickshaws, mistreated women by dragging them out of their cars and setting the cars alight [shows] that they don’t have any moral values,” he said.


Fawad Chaudhry further appreciated the opposition, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), for showing “political maturity” by standing with the government during the protests.

“[The opposition parties] told the world that Pakistan is united,” the minister said.

Speaking about Pakistan’s space mission, the information minister said, “There are some politicians who are creating chaos on ground and should be sent to space.”

“I will ask SUPARCO to ensure that once these politicians go to space, they cannot return,” he added.

In response to a question, the information minister said that the government did not support censorship. However, he expressed hope that social media channels would cooperate with the government to curb online hate speech and religious hatred.

Chaudhry said that while the government had a relationship with Facebook — that had taken action against “hundreds of accounts” for spreading hate speech — there was no agreement with Twitter to monitor accounts that promote religious hatred.

Furthermore, Chaudhry said, “We do not have any big fight with opposition parties.”

“Our only point of contention is that the opposition wants an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] and we cannot give that.”

He continued, “The opposition wants that corruption cases against them should not be taken forward and the All Parties Conference (APC) is also taking place for this reason. But this is Pakistan’s money and has to be returned.”

“Nobody should expect us to stop or back-off from the cases,” Chaudhry asserted.

“In the past, accountability was used for politics. However, the current government is not using accountability as a political means on any level,” he added.

“PM Imran is a leader who needs no favours. He will not even take one rupee and neither will his children,” the information minister said.


The information minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China had been “as successful as that to Saudi Arabia”.

He further said that “China has always stood by Pakistan,” adding that “we praise China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at home and even did in China”.

He said that further details of the trip would be disclosed by the ministers of finance and planning upon the conclusion of the official visit.

He disclosed that it had been agreed that trade with China would be conducted in the Yuan instead of the US Dollar.

“Trade in dollar exposes the national economy to risk that ultimately leads to financial burden,” said the minister.

The PM is in China on a four-day visit to review the entire range of bilateral relations and to participate in the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

“Relations are between countries not leaders and Pakistan has great relations with China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.”

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is playing a historic role in the Middle East crisis,” he added.

“The country should be proud that they got a great leader in the form of PM Imran,” the information minister said. “After several years, Pakistan has got a leader in which the Islamic countries have confidence in.”

“The Islamic countries are turning towards PM Imran to resolve their issues,” he added.

Full report at:



Long Arm of the Law Falls Short When It Comes To TLP Leaders

Nov 6, 2018

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Law enforcement agencies continued on Monday a crackdown against ‘miscreants’ involved in damaging public and private property after the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Aasia Bibi case, however no effort has yet been made to arrest the protest leaders, Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Pir Afzal Qadri, despite cases registered against them two days ago.

In Islamabad, police arrested at least 18 people and identified another 30 for vandalism during the protests called by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

After the Supreme Court’s Oct 31 judgement acquitting Aasia Bibi, TLP launched countrywide protests, bringing several cities to a standstill for three days.

In Lahore, police lodged cases against the protesters. In Nawabshah, two TLP leaders and dozens of protesters were arrested for violence and hate speech, while more than 2,500 unidentified men as well as nine leaders of different religious parties – including the TLP and the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-Fazl – were booked for destroying state property and promoting violence in Gujranwala.

In addition to that, 170 rioters have been arrested from Sheikhupura.

“In Sheikhupura, the rioters had not only damaged property but clashed and wounded 34 policemen,” officials said.

Another four cases were registered in Attock while 17 TLP leaders were also charged for violence in Jehlum as police continued making arrests.

In Karachi, Sindh Police detained two men on charges of inciting violence and causing harm to public property while cases were also registered against 12 others.

The crackdown came as the government released footage of the rioters torching vehicles, blocking roads and vandalising public and private property.

The government was able to strike a ‘deal’ with the TLP leadership after three days of rioting, and the protests were called off. The party leadership ‘apologised’ for offending anyone during the sit-ins, claiming that their members and supporters were only staging peaceful demonstrations, but some unknown offenders caused disruptions.

The government later announced that it would not spare those involved in rioting. The Ministry of Interior issued orders to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the police to take action against any person identified as a miscreant.

The government has also established a complaint cell to collect videos of miscreants involved in damaging property and harassing citizens.

According to the Ministry of Interior, citizens can share pictures and videos of those involved in damaging state and private property by WhatsApping on 0331 5480011. The ministry has assured that the name and number of citizens who share pictures and videos of violent protesters will be kept confidential.

Earlier, the Interior Ministry had released initial pictures of the miscreants involved in vandalising property and harming common citizens during the demonstrations.

On Saturday, the Interior Ministry assured action against elements involved in destroying properties and harming citizens. The ministry said it was in the process of identifying such elements and that action will be taken against them.

The same day, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and senior leader Afzal Qadri were booked on charges of rioting and disrupting peace in various parts of Lahore.

At least 500 TLP leaders and supporters, including firebrand cleric Khadim Rizvi and Afzal Qadri, were booked in 11 different cases under charges of causing agitation among the masses, blocking roads and vandalism in Lahore.

Two cases were also lodged in the federal capital on charges of damaging public and private properties as well as violating section 144.

The countrywide demonstrations by TLP and other religio-political parties, which erupted on Wednesday after the Supreme Court announced acquitting Aasia Bibi, had left major highways — including the motorway connecting Lahore and Islamabad — blocked and routine life paralysed in major cities.

Mobile services in major cities had also been suspended.

The protests had come after Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a forceful rebuke to the TLP in a nationally-televised address in the ruling’s wake, saying the government would not tolerate violent protests.

On Friday, the government and the TLP signed a deal to conclude the latter’s nationwide protest. One of the major concessions the government agreed to was to “initiate the legal process” to place Aasia Bibi’s name on the ECL [Exit Control List].

The state had also assured the party that it would not oppose a review petition filed against the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Aasia Bibi blasphemy case.

The government further promised to take appropriate legal action to redress any deaths that may have occurred during the protests against the Aasia Bibi verdict and to release all people picked up in connection with the protests starting October 30.

Full report at:



Maulana Samiul Haq assassination probe on track: interior minister

November 6, 2018

PESHAWAR: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi has said probe into the killing of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-S) leader Maulana Samiul Haq is on the right track and will reach its logical conclusion.

“Modern techniques are being used and all resources are utilised to investigate the case. The government will soon reach the culprit. We are in contact with all the departments and Prime Minister Imran Khan has issued clear instructions in this regard,” Afridi said on Monday.

Haq’s murder in Rawalpindi is peculiar: Senator Mir

The federal minister was talking to media after offering Fateha for the departed soul. “The prime minister will be briefed on the issue as soon as he arrives in the country, he added.

Meanwhile, the JUI-S acting chief and Sami’s son Maulana Hamidul Haq has announced countrywide protest against Sami’s killing on November 9.

“We will be waiting for the government to conclude its investigations into the killing. Not even a single incident of violence took place following the killing of the party chief. However, a protest demonstration will be held across the country on November 9,” Hamid said.

The interim JUI-S chief, who was addressing a news conference at Darul Uloom Haqqania, said the government was well aware of the threats to Sami’s life but nothing was done. On Monday, a large number of people arrived to Jamia Haqqania, Sami’s famous seminary, and offered prayers for his soul.

The assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq

Besides others, Abdullah Gul, son of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) former chief General Hameed Gul, the JUI-F General Secretary Maulana Ghafoor Haidri also visited the seminary, located in Nowshera.

Gul told the media that India and Afghanistan are celebrating Sami’s assassination. “In fact, they say they have avenged last month’s murder of Afghan General Raziq,” he added.

Full report at:



Aasia lawyer holds EU, UN responsible for his Pakistan exit

November 06, 2018

THE HAGUE: The lawyer who saved Aasia Bibi convicted of blasphemy from death row disclosed on Monday that the UN and EU made him leave the country “against my wishes” because his life was at risk.

Saiful Mulook, who has fled to the Netherlands, said he contacted a United Nations official in Islamabad after violence erupted following the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Aasia Bibi on Wednesday.

“And then they (the UN) and the European nation ambassadors in Islamabad, they kept me for three days and then put me on a plane against my wishes,” the lawyer told a press conference in The Hague.

“I pressed them that I would not leave the country unless I get Aasia out of the prison... I am not happy to be here without her, but everybody said that you are the prime target at the moment and the whole world is taking care of Aasia Bibi.

“They were of the view that I was the prime target to be killed, and that my life was in imminent danger. For three days they did not let me open the door, one day I called the French ambassador and said I do not want to be here.” The lawyer had previously said before his departure on Saturday that he was leaving because “in the current scenario, it’s not possible for me to live in Pakistan”.

Mr Mulook arrived in The Hague at the weekend after a short stopover in Rome, with the help of the HVC Foundation, a Dutch group that focuses on the human rights of Christian minorities.

The government struck a deal with the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) group after its supporters blocked main roads in major Pakistani cities in protest against the court judgement.

Mr Mulook dismissed the deal as a “face-saving” exercise for the TLP and insisted that Aasia would “100 per cent” be freed soon.

“This compromise is nothing but a piece of paper that can be thrown in the dustbin,” he said.

It was not clear whether Aasia had had any firm offers of asylum if she left Pakistan, added the lawyer, who said he was “legally authorised” to choose a country for her.

The lawyer said a UN official in Pakistan told him “we are taking care of her” but that “when I said which country, they said we can’t say.

Full report at:



Strategy being made to curb violent protests, hate speech: minister

Mansoor Malik

November 06, 2018

LAHORE: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said the government is preparing a strategy to tackle violent protests and hate speech on sensitive religious issues “without flexing state muscles”.

“The interior ministry has been given a task to devise a comprehensive strategy to ensure that no violent protests take place on roads and common people’s lives and properties are protected,” he told a news conference at PID office here on Monday.

Lauding opposition parties’ maturity in the wake of violent protests across the country following Aasia Bibi’s acquittal in a blasphemy case, Mr Chaudhry said the growing problem of violent protests on sensitive religious issues would be tackled as a part of national security in consultation with the opposition parties.

He said the federal and provincial governments were busy identifying miscreants who damaged public and private properties and injured people during the three-day countrywide protest last week.

Regretting that the miscreants under the garb of religion burnt private vehicles and even humiliated women, he said: “All provincial governments are required to compensate the damages caused to common people’s properties and physical injuries.” The Centre would also extend assistance to the provincial governments, he added.

Acknowledging Facebook for blocking hundreds of accounts found spreading hate material, Mr Chaudhry stressed that social networking site Twitter should also consider the religious sensitivity and block posts fanning sectarianism in the country.

Referring to the Pak-China collaborative space programme, the minister came down hard on certain religious leaders, saying: “Those spreading religious extremism and anarchy in the country should be sent to space — for good.” In the same breath, he said some politicians also needed to be sent to space.

About checks on hate material on social networking sites, he made it clear that the government had no intention to block freedom of speech and said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government was accepting criticism wholeheartedly.

He said the opposition parties tried to make a hue and cry while alleging rigging in the general election but could not come up with any evidence. In order to satisfy the opposition, he said, the prime minister had constituted a committee and the voices of rigging allegations died down.

Responding to PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb’s comment that the PTI criticised the CPEC at home and applauded it in China, Mr Chaudhry said the PTI government was always for the corridor project and now working to expand it and explore more opportunities in the agriculture sector, establishment of industrial zones and creation of new jobs.

“Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif in his speech in the National Assembly tried to create an impression that a case lodged against him may affect Pak-China relationship,” he said and added that countries’ relationships were based on strategic interests instead of personalities.

Mr Chaudhry said Pakistan’s relations were improving with China, Saudi Arabia, the UAE as well as the United States. Pakistan’s relationship with the European Union was also expanding, he said, adding that PM Khan was offering a quality leadership to resolve issues confronting the Ummah.

In reply to a question about financial crunch and lay-offs in the media, the minister said media organisations should redo their business model. He said the government’s share of advertisement to the media was just 20 per cent, compared to 80pc private sector advertisement. “The cuts from 20pc advertisement cannot be blamed for lay-offs in the media industry,” he added.

He said the country was facing financial challenges and the government could not offer advertisements worth billions of rupees. Assuring that he was standing by journalists’ bodies, the minister said the government was also ready to support the media industry on a short-term basis.

Reacting to the information minister’s anti-Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakis­tan assertions, the TLP leadership said they reserved the legal right to take Mr Chaudhry to court on the issue.

TLP patron-in-chief Pir Mohammad Afzal Qadri on Monday warned of retaliation if “violations of the agreement between the party and the government do not stop immediately”. In a video message, he said all those who had participated in negotiations and signed the agreement should stay warned that no violation (referring to registration of FIRs and arrests of workers) would be tolerated.

“The TLP will again be on the roads, with full zeal for martyrdom. The leadership and workers of the party are not afraid of anybody. All workers should start preparatory meetings as they can be told any moment to hit the roads. Ultimately, the truth will prevail,” Mr Qadri said.

Full report at:



‘PM advised to sign convention against enforced disappearances’

Ikram Junaidi

November 06, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Human Rights has suggested that the prime minister sign the International Convention against Enforced Disappearances, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said on Monday.

She also said that the PTI was committed to ending enforced disappearances.

“Country-wide legislation takes a lot of time as bills get stuck in different ministries. So for quick redress, we should sign the convention with reservations over three clauses which do not suit Pakistan,” she said at a meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights.

Although she did not reveal what these three clauses are, it has been suggested during various parliamentary committees to express reservations over section 26 of the convention, which empowers a United Nations body to conduct raids in countries and make surprise visits to check missing persons.

Dr Marazi added that “we can ratify the convention later”, but signing the convention would send the message to the people and the international community “that we are serious about it”.

She said families were suffering while their loved ones had been missing for years, so a truth and reconciliation commission should also be established.

She said Prime Minister Imran Khan also wishes to address the issue, as he spoke about it while in opposition.

The minister said that they would simultaneously continue working on the domestic bill and “with the passage of time we will pass a comprehensive domestic bill regarding enforced disappearances”.

There is a long list of missing persons, which has even been tabled in parliament, Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini from the Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) said during the meeting.

“The people of Balochistan have confidence in Justice Kamal Mansoor’s report. However, they have reservations over the reports of Justice Noor Mohammad Meskanzai and Justice Javed Iqbal on enforced disappearances.

“Retired Justice Iqbal says that the majority of missing persons are out of the country and others are in feudals’ jails. According to him, only 3pc of missing persons are in internment centres. If this is correct, why are the relatives of missing persons running after politicians and wasting their time,” he asked.

Senator Jamaldini said that under the National Action Plan (NAP), missing persons are to be produced in court within 10 days of their arrest. However, this could not be implemented.

“Relatives are waiting for their loved ones, and they have every right to know if those missing persons are alive or not. Moreover, the committee should record the statements of those who have been recovered,” he added.

Committee chair Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar from the PPP said enforced disappearance is a burning issue. The National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) had drafted a bill on enforced disappearances which was rejected by the government, he added.

There is currently no law regarding enforced disappearance in Pakistan, and a law should be made at the earliest, he said.

“While we were in government we tried to sign the International Convention against Enforced Disappearance, but failed. It could not be signed during the PML-N government and may not be signed during the PTI government. So serious efforts should be made for domestic legislation along with the signing of the convention,” he said.

The committee has decided to hold its next meeting solely on the missing persons issue and associated legislation.

Piera briefs senators

The committee was also given a comprehensive briefing by the chairman of the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority regarding steps taken against undue fee increases by private schools.

Senators were told the matter was deliberated on at length by the NCHR and a committee has been constituted under the federal ombudsman by the Supreme Court as well to report on the matter.

Full report at:



Pakistan to attend Afghan peace talks in Moscow

Nov 6, 2018

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal confirmed that a Pakistani delegation would attend an international conference in relation to the Afghan peace process in Russia’s capital Moscow on November 9.

Afghanistan is also likely to send a High Peace Council’s, a government body responsible for reconciliation efforts with the militants, four-member team to the meeting, Spokesperson Sayed Ihsan Taheri said.

However, Taliban Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the militant group is still mulling whether to attend the Moscow-led initiative or not.

Russia has also invited representatives from the United States as well as India, Iran, China and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia.

Earlier on Saturday, Moscow had announced that it would host the event on November 9 in the Russian capital — even as the United States engages the Taliban in nascent bilateral talks to end the 17-year conflict.

The Afghan foreign ministry initially had remained evasive about whether it would dispatch a delegation to the conference, which will focus on starting peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

“We are still negotiating with the Russian officials,” Spokesperson Sebaghtullah Ahmadi had said. “We welcome any peace effort that is Afghan-led,” he added.

The Moscow meeting was initially scheduled to take place in September but was postponed after Kabul insisted that the process should be Afghan-led.

The meeting comes at a sensitive time. Newly appointed US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been trying to convince the Taliban to agree to negotiate an end to the war and there are fears the Russian multi-lateral meeting could derail those efforts.

Full report at:



Joint drills vital to boost Pak-Russia cooperation: COAS

NOVEMBER 5, 2018

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday said joint military exercises between Pakistan and Russia are vital to enhance cooperation and strengthen ties between the two countries.

General Bajwa said the above while speaking during his visit to National Counter Terrorism Center, Pabbi on last day of Pak – Russia Joint Training Exercise Druzhba III, an Inter-Sevices Public Relations (ISPR) press release said.

COAS appreciated the participating troops for their dedication, skill and professionalism. He said that this exercise is great forum to reinforce existing relationship between the two militaries.

The exercise focused on counter terrorism training of the Special Operation Forces of Pakistan and Ground Forces of Russian Federation while exchanging mutual counter terrorism experiences.

Full report at:





Focus on neutralising terrorism: J&K top cop tells officers

November 5, 2018

Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Dilbag Singh Monday exhorted upon the officers of the state police to give attention to “neutralising terrorism” and timely “disposal of crime cases”.

Lauding his men for their dedication in the rescue operations launched after the recent snowfall and ensuring a smooth and hassle free ‘Darbar Move’– a practice under which the government functions six months each in Srinagar and Jammu, the DGP said whenever faced with a challenge, the state police has come out with flying colours.

“The officers should give attention to disposal of crime cases, curbing the bovine and narcotics smuggling and neutralising terrorism,” Singh said at a high level meeting here.

Civil Secretariat – the seat of Jammu and Kashmir government, Raj Bhavan and other offices reopened here after functioning for six months in Srinagar during the summer season.

The DGP impressed upon the officers to continue their good work and also hailed their contribution as first responders.

“Police personnel have to help the people sometimes at the cost of their own comforts,” he said, advising the officers to work on the positions with more dedication.

After paying homage to police martyrs at a memorial here in the morning, the DGP reached police headquarters and received a ceremonial guard of honour.

“All wings are important and all jobs designated for the respective posts are important,” Singh said and impressed upon the officers to strengthen the jawans of the state police, as strong and capable constables will make the force stronger.

He asked the officers to conduct formal inspections of police stations and administrative inspections of the offices.

The DGP further highlighted that work was on to modernize the force and provide housing infrastructure, equipment and training to its personnel.

“Police is working on modernisation and up-gradation of police control room Jammu and other units,” he said, adding efforts would be made to strengthen the city, highway and border grid.



2 Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists killed in encounter in J&K

Nov 6, 2018

SRINAGAR: Two Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorists, including an Army deserter, were on Tuesday killed in an encounter with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Safanagri area of Zainapora of south Kashmir in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday after receiving credible inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area, a police spokesperson said.

He said as the search operation was going on, the hiding terrorists fired on the search party of the forces.

The spokesperson said the forces retaliated the fire, leading to an encounter in which two terrorists were killed.

The slain terrorists have been identified as Mohammad Idrees Sultan alias Chota Abrar, a resident of Safanagri Shopian and Amir Hussain Rather alias Abu Sobaan, a resident of Awneera Shopian.

"They were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit HM and were involved in terror attacks on security establishments and many other civilian atrocities in the area," he said.

The spokesperson said Sultan was a deserter from the Indian Army and had joined the militant ranks in April this year.

"No collateral damage took place during the operation," he said.

Incriminating materials, including arms and ammunition, were seized from the site of the encounter, he said.

Police have registered a case and initiated investigation into the matter, he said.

He appealed to the people not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can be dangerous due to stray explosive materials.

Full report at:



Muslims Not Against Ram Mandir, Want Both Temple, Masjid: Congress Leader

November 5, 2018

Karnataka Minister B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan Monday said Muslims were not against Ram temple at Ayodhya but pitched for construction of both Mandir and Masjid.

Khan, who is from the Congress in the party’s coalition government with the Janata Dal-Secular, hit out at the BJP for raking up the issue for political reasons, ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“Muslims are not against the construction of Ram Mandir, we want Ram Mandir, also Babri Masjid,” Khan said.

“What we want is peace. Muslims have never opposed Ram Mandir. We have two wishes- one side we want Masjid, one side we want Ram Mandir.”

Khan’s statement comes days after another Congress MLA and former minister Roshan Baig asked, “If Ram Mandir is not constructed in India, will it be built in Pakistan” and said Muslims respected the sentiments of “Hindu brothers.”

The chorus for bringing in a law to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya is growing louder among the Sangh Parivar following the Supreme Court’s decision to defer hearing on the Ramjanmabhoomi land dispute case to January.

Pointing out that the case was pending before the Supreme Court, the Minister said, there was no use in talking about it, as the issue has to be decided in the court.

Flaying the BJP for “politicising” the issue ahead of Lok Sabha elections, he questioned as to why the saffron party did not remember about the Mandir for the last four-and-a-half years, after they came to power at the Centre.

“All of a sudden they want to construct Ram Mandir. What happened for last four-and-a-half years? Elections (Lok Sabha) are due in five or six months, now they remember Ram Mandir, Babri Masjid issue,” he said.

Full report at:



India expects big rise in Iran exports as sanctions return

Nov 5, 2018

India says it expects a major jump in its exports to Iran in light of a sanctions waiver mechanism provided by the United States to maintain purchases of oil from the Islamic Republic.

Ganesh Kumar Gupta, the president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), was quoted by media as saying that the trade terms envisaged in Iran sanctions waiver mechanism would provide assurances for increased exports to Iran.

This, Gupta added, could translate into a rise of 20-25 percent under the new bilateral trade regime between the two countries.

"If there is bilateral trade and in exchange of crude, the Iranian government makes payment in Indian rupees to Indian exporters then there can be a jump of 20-25% in exports to Iran," he said.

On Friday, the US said countries that had received waivers to continue purchases of oil from Iran – including India – would have to set up escrow accounts from which payments to Tehran would be settled.

Senior US official Brian Hook was quoted by media as saying that settlements with Iran would be carried out through “credits” and not hard currency, and that the same credits could be used to settle financial matters over exports of goods to Iran.   

The revised terms of crude purchase being worked out between Indian and Iran includes rupee-denominated trade, where the Islamic Republic nation would give assurance of Indian imports to the tune of oil bought by Indian refiners, reported DNA India news portal.

The revised terms of trade between India and Iran would require rupee payment in India's UCO Bank, which does not have international exposure and so is immune to sanctions. One striking amendment to the previous arrangement is that the entire Iranian crude import would be in rupee and Iran would have to utilize this amount for imports from India, the report added.

Apart from India, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, China, Italy, Greece and Japan have also been granted sanctions waivers to continue importing oil from Iran.

The settlement technicalities envisaged in the waiver mechanism would save foreign currency for the countries that have been allowed to continue oil purchases from Iran among other gains.    

Elsewhere in his remarks, FIEO head Gupta said Indian exports to Iran during the last fiscal year stood at $2.5 billion, which was less than 1 percent of India's total exports of around $302.8 billion.

Full report at:



South Asia


Taliban seize key Ghazni security post, kill Afghan forces

Nov 5, 2018

Taliban militants have seized control of an important security post outside the central Afghan city of Ghazni, killing more than a dozen government forces manning the position.

Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said 13 soldiers were killed, and 13 more were wounded, in the attack on the west-central city.

He added that the Taliban suffered heavy casualties as well, without giving the exact details on the toll.

In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid put the number of the fatalities among Afghan security forces at 18, saying large quantities of weapons and ammunition were seized during the raid.

Ghazni is of strategic significance as it sits on the main road connecting the capital Kabul to the country’s south.

In August, the city briefly fell to the Taliban in what was said to be one of the militant group’s largest offensives in years. At least 150 Afghan soldiers and 95 civilians were killed during a five-day siege on Ghazni back then.

The Taliban were ousted from power in 2001 following a US-led invasion of the country.

However, the group still controls some parts, and wields huge influence in other parts, of the country and is involved in widespread militancy.

Thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians as well as foreign forces have been killed in raids by the militant outfit.

The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group is also making inroads in Afghanistan as well taking advantage of the chaos there.

Last year, Washington added thousands of additional troops to its forces in Afghanistan, but the violence has only seen a rise.

A report by the Pentagon’s watchdog said last week that the Afghan government was struggling to recover control of districts lost to the Taliban while casualties among security forces had reached record levels.

The government had control or influence over 65 percent of the population, but only 55.5 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in the report.



Taliban attack an Afghan forces check point, killing 13

November 05, 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says the Taliban have attacked a checkpoint in eastern Ghazni province, killing at least 13 soldiers and policemen.

Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor, says seven soldiers and six policemen were killed. Four soldiers were also wounded in the early Monday attack at the joint army and police checkpoint in Khogyani district.

Noori added that six insurgents were killed and more than 10 others were wounded during a three-hour battle with Afghan forces.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to the media.

Noori says the joint checkpoint was set up two days ago in a strategic area to cut off a supply route for the Taliban. He says the attack completely burned down and destroyed the checkpoint.



Myanmar to repatriate first round of Rohingya from Bangladesh

November 5, 2018

Myanmar will soon accept the first batch of over 2,000 Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh as part of a repatriation deal signed with Dhaka last year.

Aung Kyaw Zan, deputy permanent secretary at Myanmar's foreign affairs ministry, said they will accept over 2,260 Rohingya at a rate of 150 per day beginning from Nov. 15.

"As a next phase, another 2,000 people will be repatriated. We will steadily work out the repatriating process," Aung Kyaw Zan told

The first round of 2,260 Rohingya are made up of 485 families from a list of 8,000 of the ethnic Muslim minority submitted by Bangladesh to Myanmar in February.

Nyi Pu, chief minister of Rakhine State, and other senior officials held meetings in Maungdaw on Nov. 4. They also inspected homes and other facilities at the Ngakhuya and Hla Po Khaung reception centers where the returning Rohingya will be housed, reported state-run Global New Light of Myanmar.

Calls for suspending repatriation

A meeting of the Joint Working Group of Bangladesh and Myanmar officials was held last week to oversee the repatriation of more than 800,000 Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh to escape Myanmar's military crackdowns in Rakhine State.

Most of that number fled to Bangladesh after a Myanmar military crackdown in August 2017 began following attacks on security personnel by Rohingya insurgents.

Rights groups have called for suspending the plan as they say it is not safe for Rohingya to return to Rakhine State where it is feared they will continue to face repression and discrimination.

Bill Frelick, Human Rights Watch's refugee rights director, said Myanmar's government keeps talking about returns but it has done nothing to allay the Rohingya's fears of being returned to face the same violence and oppression they fled.

"If Bangladesh moves forward on repatriations without the U.N., it will squander the international goodwill it has accrued over the past year as a host to Rohingya refugees," Frelick said in a statement on Nov.2.

Rakhine protest Rohingya return

More than 1,500 ethnic Rakhine from Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung regions took to the streets in Maungdaw on Nov. 4 to protest the Rohingya resettlement.

Win Thein, an ethnic Rakhine and one of the leaders of the protest, said he called on the government not to resettle Rohingya in southern Maungdaw, which has seen outbreaks of sectarian violence since the 1940s.

"Our sovereignty is very important, more important than prioritizing human rights of the Bengalis (Rohingya) who are illegal immigrants and not citizens of Myanmar," Win Thein told

Most people in Myanmar insist on referring to the Rohingya as Bengalis, implying that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. However, vast numbers of Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Win Thein added that local ethnic tribes such as Rakhine, Mro and Daingnet are very concerned about their security. He called for the government to build more ethnic villages in northern Rakhine because "Bengali villages have overwhelmed the region."

The returnees need to be scrutinized, he said. "And they must be put in a separate place closely watched by security officials prior to a verification process," he said.

Full report at:



Afghan Senate reacts to assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq

Nov 05 2018

The Afghan Senate House, Meshrano Jirga, reacted to the assassination of a pro-Taliban Pakistani religious cleric Maulana Samiul Haq.

The Senators of Meshrano Jirga on Sunday discussed the assassination of Maulana Samiul Haq during the general session of the Senate House.

According to the Afghan Senators, Maulana Samiul Haq had shown interest towards the Afghan peace process during the recent months and his assassination could have other dimensions, including the involvement of intelligence circles in a bid to create barriers on the way for reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.

In the meantime, the Senators said the assassination of Maulana Samiulhaq should be a teaching to those who are sparking violence and refrain from killing innocent civilians.

Maulana Samiul Haq, who was also famous as the ‘Father of Taliban’ in Afghanistan, was stabbed to death in his residence on Saturday evening.

Full report at:



NATO Secretary General arrives in Afghanistan in an unannounced visit

Nov 06 2018

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in Afghanistan on Tuesday to meet with the Afghan leaders, Afghan and coalition officials, and coalition forces.

“The NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, is currently visiting the lslamic Republic of Afghanistan, accompanied by the Chairman of the Military Committee, Air Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Genera! Curtis Scaparrotti,” NATO said in a statement.

The statement further added that “During his visit, the Secretary General will meet with President Ashraf Ghani; Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and other Afghan ministers and senior officials, as well as with representatives of Afghan civil society.”

The Secretary General will also meet with the Resolute Support Commander, General Austin Scott Miller; with NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan , Ambassador Cornelius Zimmermann; and with troops contributing to the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, the statement added.



Abdullah admits government’s delay in responding to Uruzgan violence

Nov 05 2018

The chief Executive of the National Unity Government Abdullah Abdullah admitted the government has delayed to respond to the ongoing violence in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan.

However, Abdullah said the ongoing violence and conflict has no links with tribal and ethnic tensions, emphasizing that the Taliban group has claimed responsibility behind the clashes.

He made the remarks during a meeting of the Council of Ministers in Kabul today.

Abdullah further added that the attack by Taliban on Khas Uruzgan district has resulted to displacement of the local residents while civilians and police forces have also sustained casualties.

He said he has spoken with the MPs representing Uruzgan and other people regarding the issue, admitting that the government has acted in delay to respond to the issue.

Full report at:



Afghan delegation to attend multilateral peace talks in Russia

Nov 5, 2018

An Afghan delegation will attend international talks on the war-torn country, which are scheduled to be held in the Russia capital Moscow this month.

The spokesman for the High Peace Council, Sayed Ihsan Taheri, said on Monday that the council would send four representatives to the meeting, which will focus on kick-starting peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

The HPC is a government body responsible for reconciliation efforts with militants.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry, however, did not say whether it would dispatch a delegation to the conference or not.

"We are still negotiating with the Russian officials," spokesman Sebaghtullah Ahmadi said, adding, "We welcome any peace effort that is Afghan-led."

Moscow has also invited representatives from the United States as well as Iran, India, China, Pakistan and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia to take part.

Russia said Saturday it would host the event on November 9 in the Russian capital. The meeting was initially scheduled to take place in September.

Taliban pledge to attend Moscow talks

Senior Taliban officials confirmed on Monday that the Afghan Taliban will join multilateral peace talks hosted by Russia on Friday.

A five-member Taliban delegation led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, head of the Taliban's political council in Qatar, will attend.

“The majority of our top leaders showed the willingness to participate in the Moscow peace talks though some of them also expressed their reservations and said it would not give them any benefit on the ground in Afghanistan,” said a Taliban member.

Some Taliban members said the delegation would raise their demands for a withdrawal of all foreign forces, the release of all prisoners and the lifting of a ban on travel.

“This is a very good opportunity and we would like to participate and raise our genuine issues,” said another Taliban official. "We would urge these world powers to help resolve the Afghan issue as per international laws and principles."

The Moscow talks will be held as newly-appointed US adviser to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad reportedly met with the Taliban representatives in Qatar in October with the declared aim of bringing the militant group to the negotiating table.

Zahid Hussain, a Pakistani defense analyst and author of two books on militancy in the region, earlier said the appointment of Khalilzad as a special adviser in Afghanistan could complicate his job. “He has been very critical of Pakistan in the past and his appointment will not help move things forward.”

Afghan people still face insecurity 17 years after the United States and its allies invaded the country as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.

Full report at:



Sanctions on Iran have negative impact on Afghanistan

November 07, 2018

KABUL: For years just after dawn, both during harsh winter days or hot summer times — men, women and children routinely used to jostle to join the long queue outside Iran’s embassy in Kabul to get a visa for traveling to the country.

The increased rush prompted Tehran to put in place certain restrictions for Afghan travelers such as financial guarantees and return flight tickets.

It would take at least one week for the luckiest ones to get their visa approved and there were hundreds of other Afghans who daily sneaked into neighboring country through illegal and hazardous ways overland.

They escaped to Iran either because of war or poverty back home, for a family reunion or used its territory as transit for making it to Turkey and beyond to Europe.

But since the slapping of US financial and economic sanctions on Iran in August, the numbers of Afghans wishing to travel to Iran has drastically dropped down.

Tehran has eased the visa restrictions too in order to persuade Afghans wishing to go there, according to residents. Afghans who used to go to Iran, legally or illegally for labor jobs, are returning in big numbers and as do some of the Afghan refugees to lived there for decades because of the colossal devaluation of Iran’s currency against dollar or foreign money.

Afghanistan’s economy has also been suffering as a result of crippling US sanctions on Iran since Tehran has been the major trade partner of Afghanistan which imports nearly $2 billion of goods and fuel annually, according to traders.

The effects of the sanctions are hugely felt in Afghanistan’s western region, particularly, Herat, they said.

Full report at:





US-led coalition pounds Syrian town using white phosphorus bombs: SANA

Nov 5, 2018

The so-called US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has used white phosphorus in a bombing raid against an area in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

Local sources, requesting not to be named, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that US-led military aircraft carried out a bombing attack on al-Souq al- Jadeed commercial district in the town of Hajin, located some 110 kilometers east of the provincial capital city of Dayr al-Zawr, on Monday afternoon, using the internationally-banned chemical agent.

Late last month, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar al-Ja'afari confirmed at a UN Security Council meeting that the US-led alliance had used white phosphorus bombs against the same Syrian town.

On October 13, SANA also reported that the US-led coalition had dropped internationally-banned white phosphorus bombs on Hajin.

On September 8, two F-15 warplanes of the US Air Force targeted the same Syrian town with white phosphorous bombs.

In June last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that the US-led coalition was deploying white phosphorous bombs in both Iraq and Syria.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying Daesh.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, in two separate letters addressed to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the rotating president of the UN Security Council Ma Zhaoxu on Thursday, asked the United Nations Security Council to conduct an “international investigation” into crimes perpetrated against ordinary Syrians by the US-led coalition.

The letters added that the US-led coalition was using internationally banned weapons, including white phosphorus bombs, in bombing residential neighborhoods in Raqqah, Dayr al-Zawr, Aleppo and Hasakah provinces.

“The Syrian government strongly condemns attacks by the US-led coalition, as well as its war crimes and massacre [perpetrated] against Syrian civilians. It also denounces the failure of some countries to withdraw from the alliance and not allow the crimes to be written in their names,” the Syrian foreign ministry stressed.



Gazans launch new flotilla against Israel's seige

Nov 5, 2018

People in the Gaza Strip have launched a new flotilla against Israel’s illegal siege on the impoverished enclave. Hundreds of Palestinians also held rallies to express their support for the flotilla in northern Gaza. Our correspondent Ashraf Shannon has more in this report.



Israeli bill on death penalty of Palestinian prisoners slammed

November 06, 2018

RAMALLAH - The Palestinian Authority (PA) slammed on Monday the Israeli decision to advance a bill that would allow Israeli military courts to punish Palestinian prisoners convicted of killing Israelis by death penalty . Yousef Al-Mahmoud, Palestinian government spokesperson, said in a press statement that the green light given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to press ahead with this law is “an open call for incitement to kill, execute and to massacre Palestinians.” He said the “Netanyahu and his followers shall be held responsible for the consequences of this horrible decision and for how it flagrantly breaches international and humanitarian laws and norms.”

The spokesman also urged the international community to shoulder responsibility towards the protection of the Palestinian people and push towards ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.

Full report at:



Yemeni army captures Hodeidah hospital as Houthis lose ground

5 November 2018

The Yemeni army took control of the May 22 Hospital in Hodeidah and recaptured surrounding areas amid fierce clashes as the Houthi militias continue to lose ground in the strategic port city.

This comes a day after the Yemeni armed forces made strategic gains after reaching al-Saleh city east of Hodeidah as fierce battles are being fought beyond the Kilo 19 area.

The national army also took control of the “Yemen Mobile” roundabout, gaining control of the faculty of Engineering in the city.

According to military sources, the Houthi militias suffered dozens of deaths and injuries among their fighters, as well as the destruction of ammunition and military equipment.



Saudis sent clean-up team to Istanbul after Khashoggi killing to erase evidence: Official

Nov 5, 2018

Saudi authorities have sent a two-man “clean-up” team to Turkey nine days after dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Arab kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in an attempt to get rid of his body and hide the evidence, Turkish official says.

“We believe that the two individuals came to Turkey for the sole purpose of covering up evidence of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder before the Turkish police were allowed to search the premises,” Reuters quoted an unnamed senior Turkish official as saying on Monday.

The official confirmed the news the first published in the Turkish-language Sabah newspaper, which identified the men as chemicals expert Ahmad Abdulaziz al-Janobi and toxicology expert Khaled Yahya al-Zahrani, tasked with erasing evidence before Turkish investigators were given access to the Saudi consulate and consul’s residence.

The pro-government daily further said that the experts came to Turkey as part of an 11-person team sent from Riyadh on October 11 to carry out the inspections with Turkish officials, adding that the pair visited the consulate on a daily basis until October 17, when they flew back to Saudi Arabia.

“The fact that a clean-up team was dispatched from Saudi Arabia nine days after the murder suggests that Khashoggi’s slaying was within the knowledge of top Saudi officials,” the official added.

Khashoggi, 59, an outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, when Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on dissent.

He was seeking to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but never came out despite Riyadh’s initial claim that he exited the mission less than an hour after completing his paperwork.

The kingdom, however, later admitted that the journo had been murdered in the consulate during an interrogation by rouge operatives that had gone wrong after diplomatic pressure grew tremendously on Riyadh to give an account on the mysterious fate of its national. However, Saudi Arabia said that it did not know the whereabouts of the journo’s body, which is widely believed to be dismembered or dissolved in acid, or both.

In an unexpected statement last month, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb admitted that the journo had been killed in a “premeditated” attack in the consulate.

Late last month, Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Irfan Fidan also said in a statement that ill-fated Khashoggi was strangled upon his arrival in the Saudi diplomatic mission in Istanbul, and then his body was dismembered and destroyed in a premeditated murder.

The remarks bolstered Turkish investigators’ line of thought that the journo’s remains could have been disposed of at the nearby consul general’s house, dissolved in acid or dumped in a well on the property.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that the order to slay Khashoggi had been issued from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government, while he stressed that he did “not believe for a second” that Saudi King Salman had ordered such a gruesome crime.

Turkish media have pointed the finger at the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with analysts saying that the Turkish government is keen to have the ambitious heir sidelined from the nexus of power in the Arab kingdom.

However, the Turkish president has yet to directly accuse the young crown prince, who has already condemned the murder as “a repulsive incident.”

Turkish authorities believe that a 15-person “hit squad” was sent from Saudi Arabia to Istanbul to kill the journo.

Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said on Thursday that Ankara wanted Riyadh to reveal who gave the orders for the so-called squad. “Our expectation is for these questions to be answered swiftly,” Gul stressed at the time.

Saudi Arabia has said that it had arrested 18 suspects over the case, but has rejected Ankara’s request for sharing their testimonies.

Full report at:



Thousands of Yemeni civilians trapped as Saudi jets pound Hudaydah

Nov 5, 2018

Thousands of Yemeni civilians have been trapped on the southern outskirts of Hudaydah as the key port city has become the flashpoint of a war by Riyadh and its allies against the Arab world's poorest nation, international aid groups say.

The Saudi-led alliance and militia groups loyal to Yemen’s former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, have been pushing over the past several months to capture the Red Sea city of Hudaydah, which is seen as the main entry point for food imports and aid relief needed by millions in the war-torn country.

“All the people living between the airport and the university are trapped, the last four days have been very tough, it is beyond catastrophic levels,” Isaac Ooko, Hudaydah’s area manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), told Reuters on Monday.

“Air strikes have been very intense and the hovering of the jets causes permanent anxiety... Hudaydah has become a ghost city, people stay indoors and the streets are deserted,” he added.

Meanwhile, Juliette Touma, a spokeswoman for the United Nations children's agency, who recently visited Hudaydah, has expressed concern that clashes were getting close to al-Thawra hospital, the main medical facility on Yemen’s western coast which treats thousands of people, including for cholera and diphtheria.

“You could hear the fighting from the hospital and from our guest house close to it,” Touma said.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Full report at:



Denmark anti-Iran claim about terror attack, Mossad plot: FM Zarif

Nov 5, 2018

Iran has decisively rejected Denmark's claims that an Iranian intelligence service had tried to carry out an assassination plot on the Danish soil, saying the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, was behind such allegations.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday also dismissed reports that the Iranian ambassador to Copenhagen had been expelled from Denmark and said the news by no means was true.

Danish intelligence chief, Finn Borch Andersen, on October 30 said a Norwegian citizen of Iranian background was arrested on October 21 on the accusation of helping an unspecified Iranian intelligence service “to act in Denmark” and for alleged involvement in the assassination plot.

He did not name the suspect, but said he has denied wrongdoing and was being held in pre-trial custody until November 8.

Zarif further pointed to talks between Iranian and Danish officials about the issue and said, "We have told them that it is unacceptable to shelter terrorists."

He noted that Iran has expressed its readiness to help Denmark investigate the case and said, "We have to wait and see to what extent the Danes want to adhere to their international obligations."

Immediately after the Danish intelligence chief's claims, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi dismissed his allegations and said that the publication of such "spiteful" media reports and its attribution to Iran is a plot by enemies to affect Tehran's growing relations with European countries.

He emphasized that these claims are the continuation of plots and conspiracies hatched by known enemies who are against good and expanding Iran-Europe relations at the current sensitive conditions.

Later on October 31, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Danish ambassador to Tehran to express the Islamic Republic’s strong protest to “rash, politicized” remarks by certain officials of the European country over the alleged thwarted assassination plot.

Full report at:





“There is no justification for Nigerian Army to shoot at and kill unarmed Shiite protestors”

November 6, 2018

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

Human rights groups quoting eyewitness testimonies said the Nigerian military dispersed peaceful gatherings by firing indiscriminately without warning, in blatant violation of international and Nigerian law. Muhammadu Buhari government, despite the global outcry and court orders, continues to keep IMN leader Sheikh Zakzaky behind bars.

Oluyemi Fasipe is a Nigerian political analyst, social activist and communication strategist. In an interview with Tehran Times, he talks about the latest army crackdown on the supporters of IMN and the horrendous atrocities unleashed on Nigerian Shias by the Buhari government, backed by Western and Arab powers.

Following are the excerpts:

Q. Nigerian police at the behest of Buhari government carried out another gory massacre against Shiites on the day of Arbaeen this year. Can you tell us exactly what happened?

A. The army claimed that the Shiites attacked their convoy that was escorting ammunitions and attempted to overpower them, but the video circulated online only shows the army shooting at them while they run away. The Nigerian Shiites are known for peaceful protests.

Q. Nigerian army cited a video of U.S. President Donald Trump, in which he said soldiers should respond with force to migrants throwing stones, to justify opening fire on the supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. How would you react to that?

A. I have never been more embarrassed as a Nigerian. In the purported video of Trump, he was talking about Mexican immigrants trying to cross into the U.S. illegally and he later backtracked on it. The Nigerian Army has no justification whatsoever to shoot at and kill unarmed protestors simply because they belong to a Muslim sect different from that of the President. There can be no justification to it whatsoever.

Q. Contrary to the claims of Nigerian authorities, Amnesty International said the protestors were unarmed, calling on the U.S. and Nigerian governments to abide by international human rights law. Do you think the international community needs to put more pressure on Buhari government?

A. Yes but whether it will yield any results different from what we have witnessed in the last three years is another thing entirely.

Q. Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky is still in prison despite a 2016 High Court ruling ordering his unconditional release. On what grounds is the Nigerian government justifying his continued incarceration?

A. The three arms of the Nigerian government distrust each other, go against each other and have worked over the years to sabotage any semblance of synergy between each other. The executive government justifies Zakzaky's continuous incarceration by alleging that the judiciary has been compromised and lacks the credibility to pass judgments that are for the good of the country. The judiciary holds similar sentiments towards the legislative and executive and vice versa.

Q. Why is the Nigerian government so afraid of Sheikh Zakzaky and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria?

A. Nigerian politicians, especially those from Northern extraction, view Shia Islam as a threat to the majority Sunni Islam. This isn't peculiar to Nigeria. Globally, Shia Muslims are not generally viewed positively. In Nigeria, they have been accused of not recognizing the Nigerian state and of trying to run a parallel government. There is also the fear of Sunni Muslim youth in Nigeria being converted to Shia Islam.

We all know their history and conflicts over the years. This escalation of hostilities is as a result of the emergence of a Sunni bigot as Governor of Kaduna State (the base of the Shia Muslims in Nigeria and the emergence of a Sunni bigot as President of Nigeria.

These two leaders sought for and got the endorsement of Zakzaky while they were campaigning for their various offices. After getting their votes, they turned against them. It is believed that their ultimate plan is to exterminate the Shia Muslims from Nigeria, which is practically impossible. So the alternative is to try and break their will by imprisoning their leader and attacking them at will, just like we saw a few days ago and the way we have seen in recent past.

Q. We don't see much coverage about Nigerian Shiites in the international media the way we see about Rohingyas or Tibetans. Why is the world media not interested in the plight of Nigerian Shiites?

A. Shiites are not part of the mainstream global Muslim Sunni community. The only major Islamic state backing Shiites is Iran, a country singled out as being a ‘sponsor of terrorism’. Saudi Arabia, Israel and other major political actors in the Middle East who lobby the United States and greatly western posturing on the global state already consider Iran as an enemy. They also consider Shia Islam as its major export that needs to be curtailed. The plight of Shiites isn't viewed as the plight of Muslims

Q. What does future hold for Shiites in Nigeria? Do you see situation improving and Zakzaky being released in immediate future?

A. The next election and subsequent elections will be critical to Zakzaky's fate. If the Buhari administration loses power, the next government will likely release Zakzaky. Such an act will be popular both locally and internationally. And it would be another subtle means of showing the world how terrible the incumbent government is.



Death toll of people killed by Nigerian army on Arbaeen rises to 47

Nov 5, 2018

Muslim authorities say the number of the people killed by Nigerian security forces during Arbaeen ceremonies last week has risen to 47. The figure was announced by the Islamic Movement in Nigeria during a press briefing in Abuja. Press TV Correspondent Danjuma Abdullahi has a report.



Over 80 people, mostly school children, kidnapped in Cameroon

Nov 5, 2018

More than 80 people, mostly children, have been kidnapped from a school in a restive English-speaking region in Cameroon as violence continues to plague government efforts to reach a settlement with separatists.

Government and military sources said that the abduction took place in the city of Bamenda in western Cameroon early on Monday. The students were abducted along with their principal, a teacher and a driver.

"In total, 81 people were kidnapped, including the principal. They were taken to the bush," media outlets quoted a military source as saying.

The government says its forces have launched a massive search operation to find the abductees across the region.

"The search for the hostages has been launched - every man has been called in," a government source said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction in the violence-hit region where separatists are fighting to form a breakaway state.

The kidnapping - the gravest incident so far in 13 months of unrest - coincides with an upsurge of political tensions in the majority French-speaking country.

In recent months, many people have fled Bamenda and other centers to seek refuge in more peaceful Francophone regions.

The separatist movement gathered pace in 2017 after a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

The separatists have gunned down troops and police, boycotted and torched schools and attacked other perceived symbols of the Cameroonian state.

Authorities have responded with a massive crackdown by police and troops.

According to a toll compiled by non-governmental organizations, at least 400 civilians have been killed this year as well as more than 175 members of security forces.

UN figures show 246,000 people in Cameroon’s Southwest Region have fled their homes, and 25,000 sought shelter in neighboring Nigeria, with many living hand-to-mouth in the forests.

The separatists have imposed curfews and closed down schools as part of their protest against President Paul Biya's French-speaking government.

The central government in Yaounde has rejected calls for secession or a return to Cameroon’s previous federal system of governance. It has tried to reach out to key separatist leaders for political dialogue although nighttime curfews, restrictions on movement, raids and body searches remain in place in Anglophone regions.

Full report at:



Kenya: Take Graft War to Counties, Muslim Leaders Tell State


By Wanderi Kamau

Muslim leaders in the country have called on the government to take the current graft purge to the counties.

Speaking in Nairobi on Sunday, the leaders, drawn from different parts of the country under the auspices of the National Muslim Leadership Forum (NAMLEF) said that although devolution had borne fruits in terms of development, corruption remains its great impediment.

"We appreciate the ongoing war on corrupt individuals jointly led by the office of Director Public Prosecutions and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. However, we want the same zeal at the national government reciprocated in the counties," said the forum's chairman, Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi.


The calls come amid concerns that level of corruption in the counties has increased with most suspects still remaining at large.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is currently investigating several county heads for economic crimes with some leaders' accounts already frozen.

Among the leaders being investigated is Migori Governor Okoth Obado, who has been accused of fleecing the county of up to Sh2 billion.

Others are former governors Evans Kidero (Nairobi), Waithaka Mwangi (Nyandarua) and Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia) among other county heads.


In July, EACC said that it was investigating over 30 former governors on corruption-related offences.

Apart from corruption, the forum also announced a countrywide plan to meet Muslims at the grassroots to sensitise them on issues affecting the country.

Sheikh Abdullahi said that some of the issues to be focused on are the preparations for next year's national population census and support for Muslim youth and women among others.

"We are going to establish a technical committee to help us prepare background papers to inform Muslim on these matters," he said.

Full report at:



Mpeketoni struggles to find footing after series of deadly Shabaab raids


The Mpeketoni terror attack and subsequent raids in Kibaoni, Witu, Hindi and other villages in Boni forest and on the border of Lamu and Somalia left scars that have affected the towns’ growth.

Al-Shabaab killed more than 90 men and destroyed property worth millions of shillings in the worst terror attack in the region.

Hundreds of women were plunged into widowhood and children left fatherless.


The attack has stalled growth and expansion of these towns, making them lose investment.

Mpeketoni Town was previously a beehive of activity both during the day and at night and was headed to become Lamu’s major trade, business and investment hub, until the night of June 15, 2014 when all this took a drastic turn for the worse.


The town would be littered with people going about their business until late into the night or even till dawn. However, if you take a stroll on the streets of Mpeketoni town now, few people will be in sight as early as 8pm.

People rush to their homes before nightfall. It’s a sorry situation.

Many sectors have also been dealt a blow and the growth of Mpeketoni, Kibaoni, Witu and Hindi has remained stunted for the longest time.


Before the 2014 Mpeketoni massacre, the real estate business was fast picking up what with mega projects like the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project, the proposed Sh200 billion coal fired power plant as well as the intended Sh21 billion wind power projects that were promising bigger and better prospects for the region.

During the terror attack on the night of June 15, 2014, more than 40 buildings were torched, among them Equity Bank, the Breeze View and Deep Sea hotels.


Despite the government promise to rebuild the structures, nothing has been done.

To make matters worse, insurance companies have refused to sponsor the rebuilding, forcing the few who still have the financial will to dig deeper into their pockets to get back on their feet.

That was the beginning of the end for the real estate sector as many shied away from it and focused on other ventures.


A spot check by the Nation showed residents were struggling to shed off the terrorism tag now associated with the towns. Those who talked to Nation said had it not been for the attacks, the towns could have made more development milestones.

“We are trying to forget the attacks and strive for a better future. However, we can’t hide the fact that we are afraid of investing too much and blindly the way we had done before hell broke loose,” said Mr Joseph Kimani, a businessman in Mpeketoni.


Mr Suleiman Yakub, a resident, said the recent attacks in Boni Forest are also making things harder since they are scaring away investors.

“The government should intensify the crackdown on Al-Shabaab so that Lamu remains peaceful to attract more growth and industrialisation,” he said.

In an earlier interview with the Nation, Lamu Trade minister Dismas Mwasambu said that five years down the line, the county was still trying to recover from the attacks. However, he was quick to add that currently all the affected sectors are finally going back to normal.


“I can confidently say that tourism is on the path to total healing. It has grown by almost 70 per cent and we are looking forward to even better times,” he said.

Business owners, whose property was torched have unsuccessfully tried to pursue all avenues for compensation over the years until they gave up.

“We are now focused on rebuilding the premises ourselves,” a business owner, Mr Francis Ndung’u, said.

Full report at:



North America


Muslim Democrat supports transgenderism for six-year-olds in new campaign ad

James Risdon

Mon Nov 5, 2018

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota, November 5, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) - The Democrat's candidate for attorney general in Minnesota is pushing for schools to have LGBT "safe spaces" and even supports transgenderism for children as young as six years old.

In the lead-up to tomorrow's election, a campaign ad for Democrat Congressman Keith Ellison, a Muslim, extols his support for families with young transgendered kids – little children confused as to whether they are boys or girls.

Although Islamic attitudes towards transgenderism run the gamut, many Muslim countries consider gender dysphoria to be an illness brought upon by Satan.

The Islamic information website Islam Question and Answer clearly states that religion maintains it is not possible for anyone to change their gender.

“Doctors may tamper with him to satisfy his perversion so that he will think that he has become a woman, but he will never be truly female and will live in a state of anxiety and worry, which may lead him to commit suicide,” reads the website.

Hannah and Dave Edwards, though, think otherwise.

This couple considers their now-eight-year-old son to be a girl because he started identifying as a girl while he was in kindergarten. In a video on Facebook, they attack the pro-traditional family Republican candidate for attorney general in Minnesota, Doug Wardlow, for allegedly "making a career out of attacking families like ours."

Wardlow, a former lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, a national pro-bono law group famous for defending freedom of religion and expression, is being slammed by the Democrats in this campaign for asserting "the simple reality that there are boys and there are girls and boys and girls are fundamentally different in ways that really do matter."

That's enough to make the LGBT-activist Edwards back the Democrat in this race.

"[Rep.] Keith Ellison has been an unapologetic ally and defender of public policies that support LGBTQ people and their families," says Hannah Edwards in the Facebook video.

Ellison wants to see "safe spaces" for transgendered students in schools and special training for teachers to make that a reality.

But American College of Pediatricians president Dr. Michelle Cretella says the practice of simply supporting children's gender confusion at a young age is harmful.

"Today’s institutions that promote transition affirmation are pushing children to impersonate the opposite sex, sending many of them down the path of puberty blockers, sterilization, the removal of healthy body parts, and untold psychological damage," Dr. Cretella has said. "These harms constitute nothing less than institutionalized child abuse."

The Republican campaign team in the race for the attorney general's spot in Minnesota has fired back against the Democrats, claiming that Ellison shows little regard for protecting children.

"Keith Ellison supports and promotes so many extremist views it's hard to keep track of them all," maintain the Republicans.

They point to Ellison's track record of voting against a bill, proposed in 2004, that would have imposed life sentences on violent sex offenders. Then, in 2013, he also opposed a bill to protect children from sexual predators by prohibiting them from working in schools.

“Time after time after time, Keith Ellison chose to cast votes to support some of the worst offenders of all,” said Republican campaign manager Billy Grant.

The Congressman, who is the vice-chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has also been dogged for more than a decade by allegations of violence towards women.

His former girlfriend, Amy Alexander, alleged in 2006 that he pushed, shoved and verbally abused her and a judge dealt with the matter by issuing restraining orders against both her and Ellison.

Then, in August this year, the Democrat was again accused, this time by ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan and her son of trying to drag her off a bed and shouting obscenities. The politician denied the allegations and an investigation by the Democrats concluded those allegations were unsubstantiated.



74 pc Americans believe Muslims face discrimination: survey

Nov 05, 2018

Washington, DC: A survey was conducted by New America, in collaboration with the American Muslim Institution (AMI) to examine the general public’s perceptions of Muslim Americans. The “Americans’ Views of Muslims Survey” provides insight into public perceptions of Muslim Americans at both the national and local levels in Houston, Orlando, Tampa, and the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, where oversampling was done.

According to the New America report, Americans are largely accepting of Muslim Americans, but more than half of the respondents express concerns about the spread of extremism within Muslim communities in the United States. 1/3 of the respondents feel uncomfortable when they see Muslim Americans wearing a veil or other Islamic attire, are concerned if a mosque or Islamic centre was built in their neighbourhood and believe Muslims should be subject to extra security screenings at airports.

According to the report, a majority of non-Muslim Americans (71%) agree there is a lot of discrimination against Muslim Americans.



US vows ‘relentless’ sanctions as it seeks to pressure Iran

5 November 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made his case for President Donald Trump administration’s tough new sanctions on Iran, saying that, “it is completely clear the Islamic Republic of Iran is the destabilizing force in the Middle East today.”

Pompeo also said the Trump administration is watching Iran with “laser focus.”

“If they try to evade our sanctions, we will take action to disrupt their activity,” Pompeo said.

In what the US said was the largest-single sanctions designation, the Treasury imposed penalties on more than 700 Iranian and Iranian-linked individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels. The move brought to more than 900 the number of Iran-related targets sanctioned by the Trump administration in less than two years.

Full report at:



Reimposing US sanctions against Iran will further isolate Washington: Analyst

Nov 5, 2018

The reimposition of US sanctions against Iran on Monday following Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May will further isolate the US and decrease American influence around the world, an academic and analyst says.

“The world is going to stand with Iran… not the United States,” said James Fetzer, a retired professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

"It’s a tragedy that this giant step backward is taking place."

“It’s obviously a gross mistake and one more reason why [US President] Donald Trump and the United States are losing influence in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world,” Fetzer said in an interview with Press TV on Monday.

Trump’s decision to unilaterally pull out from the nuclear agreement - known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - and reimpose sanctions against Iran has pitted the US against European powers, China and Russia, Fetzer said.

Dieter Kempf, head of the BDI, Germany’s main business lobby, echoed widespread European business concern about the potential destabilizing effect of the US sanctions.

“By using the global economy to pursue political goals, the US is straining international relations and the transatlantic partnership,” Kempf said.

The Trump administration announced on Monday the reimposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran in an attempt to curtail the Islamic Republic’s oil exports and put extra pressure on the country's economy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took the podium at the State Department’s Foreign Press Center in Washington to unveil what the White House claims will force Iran to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs while rolling back Tehran’s influence in the Middle East region.

Pompeo said the US had successfully persuaded over 20 countries to stop or dramatically reduce their oil imports from Iran, causing Tehran’s overall sales to suffer by more than 1 million barrels per day.

The campaign of pressure had also taken away over $2.5 billion in Iran’s oil revenue, he further claimed.

Mnuchin also addressed reporters on Monday, noting that the US Treasury’s “largest ever single-day action” against Iran cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, and the country’s national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft.

Full report at:



US military alarmed by Iran’s growing defense might, combat power

Nov 5, 2018

Pentagon officials are reportedly losing confidence in the US military’s ability to counter Iranian armed forces in case of a direct confrontation, citing the shrinking presence of US military forces in the Middle East region is the main contributing factor.

Just as US President Donald Trump is preparing to resume what he calls the “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran to drive the Islamic Republic’s oil exports to zero, US military commanders think that the recent decisions by the Pentagon to move ships, combat aircraft and missile defense systems out of the region only plays into Iran’s hands.

Iran has threatened to close down the Strait of Hormuz and stop all oil exports from the Persian Gulf region in case Trump delivers on his pledge.

While the threat seems to have worked its magic by prompting the White House to issue waivers for Iran’s main oil buyers, US military officials are worried that the current levels American military presence in the region cannot stop Iran from shutting down the crucial waterway.

According to The Washington Post, the officials worry that Iran could easily fulfill the task by using it robust arsenal of ballistic missiles and its ability to plant naval mines.

Under Trump, who thinks China and Russia pose the greatest threats to the US, the Pentagon has moved some of its forces out of the region and stationed them in bases across the Pacific region instead.

The US military has not had an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf region since March. It has also removed a large share of its Patriot missile batteries out of the region along with a number of its stealthy combat aircraft, the F-22 Raptor.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis calls the new posture a “great power competition.”

That doesn’t mean the Trump administration has forgotten about Iran.

Ever since entering the White House, Trump has taken aggressive actions against Tehran, a pressure campaign that peaked in May, when he pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and pledged to reinstate all of the sanctions that were removed under the historic accord.

Undeterred by the threats, however, Iran has defended its territories against any possible trespassing by American and other foreign forces in the region.

Iranian naval forces have on many occasion fired warning shots towards American military vessels approaching Iranian waters and asked them to change course.

The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) made it clear on Friday that Iran will give a crushing response to any threat to its security even if it requires extraterritorial operations.

Full report at:



Egypt postpones Brazilian FM’s visit over Bolsonaro's decision on Israel embassy

Nov 6, 2018

Egypt has postponed a scheduled visit by Brazilian foreign minister in apparent protest at the new Brazilian government’s decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

Brazilian top diplomat Aloysio Nunes Ferreiran was going to visit Cairo from November 8 to 11 and hold talks with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as well as his counterpart.

However, the visit was postponed by the Egyptian foreign ministry which cited problems with the South American diplomat’s agenda.

Two diplomatic sources told Reuters that the decision was made in protest at Brazilian far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s bid to relocate the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

The sources, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said no new date has been proposed, signaling Cairo's discontent with Bolsonaro's proposal.

Bolsonaro, an admirer of US President Donald Trump, told a news conference last Thursday that he saw no problem in such a move, as he had also promoted the idea during his campaign.

The new president's decision followed a similar move by Trump who recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's so-called capital and officially opened the US embassy in the city in May, sparking international outrage.

Many in Brazil have raised concerns about Bolsonaro’s plan, saying the move would hurt the country’s relations with Muslim nations.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Saturday condemned as “illegal” the decision, saying “the declaration was a flagrant violation of international law and of all relevant UN resolutions.”

On Friday, the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, called upon Bolsonaro to reverse his decision, terming it “an affront to the Palestinian people as well as Arab and Muslim nations.”

Full report at:



US begins patrols with SDF in northeast Syria: Official


By Kasim Ileri


U.S. troops have begun patrols in northeastern Syria, a military official confirmed Monday.

The patrols come after the Turkish military shelled several PKK/YPG positions in the region last week. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK terror group.

At a news conference, Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said the "assurance patrols" with SDF forces started Friday.

"While there is no set timetable for these specific patrols or regularity, these patrols will allow us, Turkey and our SDF partners to maintain the safety and security of the region," said Manning.

On combined joint patrols that started with the Turkish military in Manbij, Manning said: "These patrols and our continued efforts to de-escalate tensions will allow us to focus on our goal of ensuring the enduring" defeat of Daesh.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.

Full report at:





German Jews propose anti-Semitism lessons for Muslim migrants

5 November 2018

Germany's foremost Jewish organisation has called for special classes for Muslim immigrants to help stop the spread of anti-Semitism.

Its vice-president, Abraham Lehrer, said many migrants were arriving from countries where "anti-Semitism is part of the rationale of the state".

He said integration classes should be "tailored" by country of origin.

Germany has seen a large increase in asylum seekers since 2015, many of whom come from Muslim-majority countries.

The country is battling a wave of anti-Semitism, partly attributed to rhetoric from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Germany last year, the vast majority of which were carried out by neo-Nazi or other far-right groups.

Mr Lehrer, from the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said that anti-Semitism among migrants was a problem which "still lies ahead of us" as migrants settle permanently in the country.

"Many of these people were influenced by regimes in which anti-Semitism is part of the rationale of the state and the Jewish state is denied the right to existence," he said in remarks reported by Deutsche Welle.

"When these people no longer just think of finding jobs and housing, this influence will have a greater bearing and people will express their opinions openly.

"In order to prevent this scenario, we need to tailor integration courses more closely to these people, preferably by country of origin."

Mr Lehrer called for integration classes to assign hours of teaching to "fundamental values" such as democracy and the treatment of women.

But he also criticised the AfD party, saying it "creates a platform on which anti-Semitism can grow and manifest itself openly".

He pointed to the party's opposition to Jewish traditions such as circumcision and strict methods of animal slaughter for meat.

"The AfD is a kind of catalyst for various groups with anti-Semitic roots," he said.

AfD, however, has denied any anti-Semitic views in the party, and opened a Jewish group within its ranks in October - a move which itself drew criticism from other German Jews.



Mosques seek Twitter ban on Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders

6 November 2018

A body representing 144 Turkish mosques in the Netherlands has asked Twitter to block the account of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders for inciting hatred.

The Turkish Islamic Cultural Federation (TICF) sent the letter on Friday seeking “a permanent ban of the Twitter of Mr. Geert Wilders... due to continuous publications on his Twitter account of messages, images and other content which is a display of hateful conduct.”

It said Wilders’ tweets breached Twitter’s guidelines, adding: “His hate messages are being spread worldwide thanks to the platform and abilities Twitter provides him”.

Necessary measures

“We reserve the right to take any legal actions and measures necessary if you will not take action as requested within 21 days after this,” it said. TICF’s lawyer Ejder Kose told AFP on Monday they would take legal action if nothing was done.

“Going to court is the last thing we want to do but if we have to, we’ll do it,” Kose said. Kose said many of Wilders’ tweets breached laws in several countries including Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia.

Full report at:



Britain pushes for UN peace resolution on Yemen conflict

Nov 5, 2018

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has indicted his country is pushing for a resolution in the United Nations Security Council that could guarantee the end of the Saudi war in Yemen.

Hunt made a statement on Monday in which he said the Foreign Office (Britain’s foreign ministry) was in close consultation with the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, about the situation in the war-torn country.

The statement did not mention what specific action the UK will take to help end the crisis in Yemen but reiterated that London will do its best to ensure that a ceasefire could be implemented if the two sides of the conflict agree to end hostilities.

“The action the UK takes forward at the UN Security Council will help towards that goal, ensuring that a full ceasefire, when it comes, is fully implemented,” said the statement, adding that the time was right for the Security Council to act to bolster the UN-led process in Yemen.

It is the first time that Britain is showing its resolve to help end the conflict in Yemen, where it has supported a devastating war by its ally Saudi Arabia on civilian population for the past three and a half years.

According to Yemen’s Health Ministry, more than 15,000 have died since the onset of the warfare. This is while various reports put the death toll far higher, saying a Saudi-enforced media blackout has prevented proper investigation into the number of fatalities.

Hunt and other UK government officials are under immense pressure to act against Saudi crimes in Yemen, especially after it was revealed last month that Saudi authorities had ordered the killing on October 2 of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Hunt said the UK “will use all its influence” to push for a political settlement of the dispute between the ruling Houthi Ansarulah movement and the resigned government which is backed by Saudi Arabia.

Full report at:



UK, Norway vow to expand trade ties with Iran despite US bans

Nov 5, 2018

British and Norwegian top diplomats have assured their Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that London and Oslo will try to maintain and even expand their business cooperation with Tehran despite the re-imposition of US sanctions on the country.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, in a Monday phone conversation with Zarif, underlined the commitment of London and other parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to continued implementation of the 2015 deal.

He also underlined the need for immediate establishment and implementation of Europe's special payment mechanism known as Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in a bid to maintain economic cooperation with Iran.

Earlier on Friday, top European diplomats vowed to preserve and maintain “effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas.”

A joint statement released by France, Germany, the UK, and the European Union asserted that efforts have been intensified in recent weeks, particularly those underpinning the European initiative to establish the SPV.

According to the statement, the SPV “will enable continued sanctions lifting to reach Iran and allow for European exporters and importers to pursue legitimate trade.”

In another phone conversation with Zarif, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide also expressed her country’s support for the implementation of JCPOA, and underlined the need for expansion of mutual cooperation between Tehran and Oslo.

The comments by European diplomats come shortly after the United States announced re-imposition of the “toughest” sanctions ever against Iran in an attempt to curtail the Islamic Republic’s oil exports and put extra pressure on the country's economy.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took the podium at the State Department’s Foreign Press Center in Washington on Monday to unveil what the White House claims will force Iran to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs while rolling back Tehran’s influence in the Middle East region.

Pompeo said the US had successfully persuaded over 20 countries to stop or dramatically reduce their oil imports from Iran, causing Tehran’s overall sales to suffer by more than 1 million barrels per day.

This is while the US administration agreed on Friday to allow eight countries – Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Turkey, India, Greece, and Italy – to continue purchasing Iran’s crude oil after Washington’s sanctions on Tehran take place.

Truth behind Denmark accusations

During the Monday phone call, Zarif and the Norwegian foreign minister also conferred on the Danish police’s accusation against a Norwegian-Iranian citizen, who is charged with plotting to assassinate an anti-Iran figure in Denmark.

The Iranian top diplomat once again expressed Tehran’s preparedness to have all-out cooperation with European governments in order to reveal the truth, stressing the need for shedding light on all aspects of the issue.

Earlier on Sunday, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official reiterated the Islamic Republic’s readiness to cooperate with European countries in fighting terrorism.

The Iranian official made the call in a meeting with Norwegian and Swedish ambassadors to Tehran, and Denmark’s chargé d'affaires.“At the meeting, it was announced that Iran was ready for comprehensive and expansive cooperation, including in security areas and implementation of joint fact-finding investigations, with the respective countries,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram

Denmark recently accused Iran “of planning to assassinate an Iranian activist on Danish soil”. The accusation came shortly after a similar allegation by France.

Full report at:



UK, Canada say urgent need to resolve Khashoggi murder


By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal


Britain and Canada said Monday that establishing what happened to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi remains an “urgent need”.

In a phone call, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau discussed Saudi Arabia and the “appalling” murder of Khashoggi, agreeing there was an urgent need to establish what happened and for those responsible to be held to account, said a statement from Downing Street.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to receive paperwork he needed to get married.

Once inside, he was immediately strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.

The British government’s statement said May and Trudeau also agreed that the international community should continue to press for a “thorough, credible and transparent investigation by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.

After days of denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, Saudi Arabian officials said he died in a “brawl” in the consulate but later admitted that he was killed there.

May and Trudeau also discussed Yemen and agreed on the pressing need to alleviate the humanitarian situation and reach a political solution.

“We supported the U.S. call for de-escalation in Yemen, noting that it must be underpinned by a political deal between the conflict parties,” said May.

Full report at:



Southeast Asia


Najib condemns Putrajaya over refusal to release IPIC documents

November 4, 2018

PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak has rubbished Putrajaya’s excuse for not releasing documents pertaining to a 1MDB-related settlement which they claimed would be sub judice as the matter was related to his court case.

He said despite saying this, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had continued to speak on the matter, including when tabling Budget 2019.

“And this also includes his father who continues to hurl allegations about IPIC and 1MDB,” Najib said, referring to Guan Eng’s father, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

Yesterday, Guan Eng said the government could not release documents pertaining to the settlement agreement between Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and the state investment arm as doing so would be sub judice.

He said this in response to the repeated calls by the former prime minister for the Pakatan Harapan government to reveal the agreement made by Malaysia.

In a Facebook post, Najib also refuted Guan Eng’s claim that he (Najib) had only raised the matter after being charged in court.

Najib said he had urged Putrajaya to release the documents during a Dewan Rakyat sitting, prior to being charged last month.

“But at that time, Guan Eng wasn’t in the Dewan.”

Najib said it was difficult to raise the matter in the past, especially when he was the prime minister, as it also involved another country.

There is no reason to quarrel with a foreign nation, he said, if the issue could be resolved amicably.

Najib then accused the Pakatan Harapan government of not wanting to release the documents due to a clause which stated that IPIC would have to pay the sum which was said to be missing from 1MDB.

“They do not want people to know the truth about 1MDB and efforts made to recoup the money. They want to use the issue to smear my name.“

He also wondered why Putrajaya was not pushing IPIC to honour the agreement to recover the money from IPIC.

“Is it more important to have me charged in court instead of recovering 1MDB money and safeguard ties with Abu Dhabi?”



Gerindra gives deputy Jakarta governor post to PKS

November 5, 2018

The vacant deputy Jakarta governor seat will be filled by a Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician following an agreement reached during a meeting between the Islam-based party and the Gerindra Party on Monday.

The post has remained vacant for the past several months following Sandiaga Uno’s resignation to run as a vice presidential candidate in next year’s presidential election. Gerindra and PKS backed Governor Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga during the gubernatorial election last year.

“We are committed to following the mandate from Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto to give the seat to PKS,” Gerindra Jakarta chapter head M. Taufik said as quoted by He was previously touted as the one to be given the post.

Both Prabowo and Sandiaga, the pair that will challenge President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in his reelection bid, come from Gerindra.

PKS Jakarta chapter head Syakir Purnomo said that his party would prepare two names to be proposed to the city council to be assessed for the vacant post.

Full report at:




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