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Islamic World News ( 10 Dec 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Supreme Court Issues Notice to Indian Government on Uniform Age of Marriage for Muslim Girls

New Age Islam News Bureau

10 December 2022


Representative Image/ The Print


• Florida Teacher Used Whistle To Disrupt Muslim Students' Prayers While Telling Them 'I Believe In Jesus!'

• Saudi Crown Prince: Arab States Look Forward To New Phase of Partnership with China

• China Supports Palestinian Nation’s Just Cause Aimed at Restoring Legitimate Rights: Xi

• Islamic Architecture, Cultural Values Well Protected In Hungary: Ambassador of Hungary to Pakistan



• Probe Sought Into Madrasas Enrolling Non-Muslim Kids Following Complaints from Different Sources

• Muslim Couple Threatened, Prevented from Watching ‘Kantara’, Supporting Hindu Culture, In Karnataka by Muslim Youth

• A Private Member’s Bill To Set Up A Committee To Prepare A Uniform Civil Code Was Introduced In The Rajya Sabha, Opposition Protests

• Congress's Imran Khedawala Only Muslim MLA In 182-Member Gujarat Assembly

• ‘Unknown to law’, says Karnataka HC on Muslim couple adopting unborn Hindu child

• No decision on love jihad law, studying similar legislations in other states: Fadnavis


North America

• US Asks UN Not To Sanction Companies Doing Business In Illegal Israeli Settlements

• Turkish actor becomes face of Canadian NGO’s campaign

• US defence budget trims millions of dollars benefiting terrorist group PKK/YPG


Arab World

• UAE Issues New Law on Personal Status for Non-Muslims to Be Applied From February 1, 2023

• Chinese President Xi says Chinese-Arab Relations have achieved historic leap

• Qatar’s Emir, Fujairah ruler among GCC leaders in Riyadh for summit with China

• Gulf Cooperation Council summit rejects Iranian intervention in region

• Iraq's new electoral system leaves Turkmen at risk of political discrimination: Party chief



• Iran says uranium traces came in waste from abroad

• At Least Five Jews Arrested By Iran during Protests against Islamic Republic

• Iran’s Raisi promises to pursue crackdown on protesters; cleric critical of execution

• Raisi says Iran will pursue punishing protesters ‘with determination’

• Netanyahu's government 'most extreme, crazy' in Israel's history, warns outgoing premier

• Israelis rapped for blocking Christian permits to visit Bethlehem



• Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Scales Up Attack on Security Forces Post Truce Withdrawal

• UK Sanctions Controversial Sindh Cleric Responsible For Forced Marriages of Non-Muslims

• Pakistani Journalist's Killing In Kenya A Pre-Meditated Murder: Report

• Bilawal tells world to break ‘stereotypes’ about Pakistan

• Google to open office in Pakistan next week: IT minister

• All-out facilities for 385,000 Afghans crossing into Pakistan through border points monthly


South Asia

• Taliban Pushes Afghan Media to Margin Again, Impose Further Restrictions

• Islamic Emirate: Anti-Corruption Commission to Resume Activity

• Finance Ministry takes notice of dollar, wheat, urea 'smuggling to Kabul'

• Two opposition leaders arrested in Bangladesh

• Afghanistan’s War Widows Desperate Demand for Work

• Anti-Corruption Commission to Resume Operation Soon: Taliban

• Expansion of Afghan Refugee Sponsorship Program; A Pathway to Canada


Southeast Asia

• Sarawak Premier Says State Practices Moderate Islamic Approach to Maintain Racial Harmony

• Group pleads with Malaysia to find Rohingyas feared dying at sea due to mistaken identity

• Malaysia’s PM Anwar names 27 deputy ministers to complete his leadership team

• Anwar Ibrahim is good news for the Muslim world

• Already under probe for Islamophobia claim, Hadi now accuses DAP of milking Malay disunity



• UK's Daily Mail Apologizes To Pakistan Premier Over Corruption Allegations

• Russia trying to get ballistic missiles from Iran, says Britain

• Türkiye emphasizes effective cooperation with Bulgaria to manage border security

• UK summons Iran's charge d'affaires over protester's execution

• UK sanctions Russian and Iranian officials, citing human rights abuses

• UK sanctions 10 Iranians as part of global offensive

• Australia imposes sanctions on Iran, Russia over human rights violations



• New ‘Ruthless Conflict’ Displaces Thousands in South Sudan

• South Sudan’s Ruling Party Endorses President Kiir as Candidate for another Term

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Supreme Court Issues Notice to Indian Government on Uniform Age of Marriage for Muslim Girls


Representative Image/ The Print


10 December, 2022

Pranay Lad

The NCW petitioned the SC on Friday to equalise the minimum age of marriage for Muslim girls with that of people of other religions, and the SC responded by giving notice to the Centre.

In response to a plea by the National Commission for Women (NCW) asking that Muslim girls be allowed to marry at the same age as those of other religions, the Supreme Court sent notice to the Centre on Friday.

DY Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India, and Justice PS Narasimha asked the Centre for a response within four weeks. In India, the legal minimum age for marriage is presently 21 for men and 18 for women. But for Muslim women, the legal marriage age is considered to be 15 years old, or when they reach puberty.

According to the NCW, permitting Muslims to get hitched at puberty (about 15) is arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, and against the law.

Even the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO), according to the argument in the lawsuit, forbids consenting to sex for anybody under the age of 18.

It stated that the PIL was filed to enforce the fundamental rights of young Muslim women to have Islamic personal law be consistent with laws that apply to people of other faiths.

A 15 years old Muslim girl is competent to enter into a contract of marriage with a person of her choice under Muslim Personal Law, the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s ruling stated. Earlier, the Supreme Court agreed to consider the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) appeal of that ruling.

In order to help the court, it had served notice on the Punjab government and named eminent lawyer Rajshekhar Rao as an amicus curiae.

A 15-year-old Muslim girl was found to be competent to enter into a contract of marriage with the person of her choice by the High Court in June, according to the court’s ruling, which referenced the marriage-related rules of the Muslim Personal Law.

The NCPCR aimed to guarantee the correct application of statutory legislation created expressly to safeguard children under the age of 18.

In support of its arguments against the High Court’s decision, the Commission emphasised the provisions of the PCMA of 2006 and the POCSO, which protect children from sexual offences.

According to NCPCR, the ruling violates PCMA, which is a universally applicable secular law, according to the petition.

No minor under the age of 18 is allowed to offer a legally binding consent, according to POCSO regulations, it stated.

The high court’s decision was based on a petition filed by a Muslim couple from Pathankot who claimed their relatives had threatened them for getting married without their consent and who had come to the court seeking protection.

The girl and the male, who was 21 years old, claimed to have wed in accordance with Muslim customs.

The High Court had awarded the Muslim couple protection, adding that it is evident from the statute that a Muslim girl’s marriage is governed by Muslim Personal Law.

Source: Newsx

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Florida teacher used whistle to disrupt Muslim students' prayers while telling them 'I believe in Jesus!'


Students in school classroom

© Raw Story


Matthew Chapman

December 09, 2022

On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that a charter school teacher in South Florida has been dismissed after she reportedly used a whistle to disrupt the prayers of Muslim students.

"A TikTok video of the incident shows the unidentified teacher entering her office and blowing a whistle upon seeing two students praying," reported Alec Karam.

"I believe in Jesus so I’m interrupting the floor, excuse me," the teacher said. "And why are they in my office? Who told them to come in here?"

Muslims and Christians both worship the same deity, known alternatively in various faiths as Yahweh or Allah. Indeed, Muslims revere Jesus as a holy prophet, one of several who revealed partial revelations before Muhammad, although they do not consider him to be the Son of God.

"Officials of Franklin Academy, the South Florida public charter school where the incident happened, said they launched an investigation into the teacher’s conduct after the 'troubling' video surfaced, ultimately firing her," said the report. In a statement, the school said that “Franklin Academy does not tolerate discriminatory behavior.”

Over the past year, a number of scandals around discriminatory behavior from teachers have emerged from Florida.

In May, a teacher in Duval County Public Schools in the Jacksonville area called a middle school student the N-word and told him "Black people are beneath White people." And in September, an art teacher at Manatee High School in Bradenton was fired after he told a student who didn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance to "go back" to "Mexico or Guatemala."

Source: Rawstory

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Saudi Crown Prince: Arab states look forward to new phase of partnership with China


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is pictured with leaders during the China-Arab summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 9, 2022. (Reuters)


09 December, 2022

Arab countries seek to improve cooperation with China and look forward to a new phase of partnership, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Friday at the China-Arab summit.

“The Kingdom is working on enhancing cooperation [with China] to serve international stability,” the Crown Prince said at the summit which brought together Arab leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping who is on a three-day official visit to the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Xi said the summit “will lead to a brighter future,” adding that China seeks “comprehensive cooperation” with Arab states to serve Chinese-Arab mutual interests.

The president also voiced the importance of maintaining the region’s stability, adding that China supports Arab efforts to reach “political solutions” to urgent matters in the region.

Xi also said that Islamophobia and extremism must be confronted, adding that “terrorism” must not be associated with a specific religion or race.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Xi said the “historical injustice” which the Palestinian people have endured “must not go on,” adding that China supports the establishment of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also highlighted the significance of Arab-Chinese ties, saying coordination with China must be increased to resolve regional and international crises.

Commenting on current challenges, al-Sisi said water security represents “an existential threat,” hence the matter must be a priority in terms of cooperation.

He also called on Ethiopia to engage “in reaching a final solution to the issue of the Renaissance Dam.”

The massive $4.2 billion dam has been at the center of a regional dispute ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the project in 2011.

Egypt and Sudan view it as a threat because of their dependence on Nile waters, while Ethiopia deems it essential for its electrification and development.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he stands with China against the “malicious campaigns” it’s facing.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abbas condemned Israel’s attempts to alter the Arab identity of Jerusalem and said Israel must be held accountable for its violations.

“The international community must boycott any Israeli government that does not recognize peace,” he added.
Source: Al Arabiya

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China Supports Palestinian Nation’s Just Cause Aimed At Restoring Legitimate Rights: Xi


On the afternoon of December 8 local time, President Xi Jinping met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Riyadh. 


09 December 2022

Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing firmly supports the Palestinian nation’s just cause aimed at restoration of their legitimate national rights, as Palestinians have been struggling against the occupying Israeli regime for decades.

Xi made the remarks during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh on Thursday on the sidelines of the first China-Arab States Summit and a meeting with leaders of the six-member Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Xi highlighted that China and Palestine have maintained a long-standing friendship, and that they have trusted and supported each other for over half a century.

“China and Palestine enjoy a time-honored friendship and the friendship between our peoples is deeply rooted in our hearts. For more than half a century, we have always trusted and supported each other. While leading the people in realizing Chinese-style modernization, the Communist Party of China will remain committed to safeguarding world peace, promoting common development, upholding international fairness and justice, and building a community with a shared future for the people,” the Chinese president said.

“No matter how the international and regional situation may change, China firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people and will always stand with them,” he said.

For his part, Abbas thanked China for its unwavering support to Palestinian people.

“The Palestinian nation is proud of our relationship with Chinese people. As a major country with great influence in the world, China has always firmly supported Palestinian people. I would like to convey to you and to all Chinese people the sincere gratitude of Palestinian people,” he said.

“We firmly support the one-China principle and believe that China's position on all international occasions is just. Therefore, we are ready to stand firmly with China on all issues. This is beyond doubt,” the Palestinian president said.

Xi arrived in Riyadh on Wednesday afternoon  for a three-day visit that is mainly focused on energy ties as Beijing seeks to further boost its economy, and Saudi Arabia looks to expand its alliances with the East, amid rising tensions with the United States.

Arab leaders convening in Riyadh include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Tunisian President Kais Saied, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Sudan’s de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia’ al-Sudani, Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch and Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati have also taken part.

Source: Press TV

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Islamic Architecture, Cultural Values Well Protected In Hungary: Ambassador Of Hungary To Pakistan


Ambassador of Hungary to Pakistan Mr Bela Fazekas/ Photo: Pakistan Today


December 9, 2022

LAHORE: Ambassador of Hungary to Pakistan Mr Bela Fazekas has said that there are traces of ancient Islamic architecture in Hungary. He said that Islamic architecture and other cultural values had been protected in Hungary.

He was addressing a week-long art exhibition based on Islamic architecture and culture in Hungary jointly organized by Punjab University and Hungarian Embassy at College of Art & Design’s Grand Hall on Friday.

Federal Secretary Investments Asad-ur-Rahman Gillani, former Provincial Minister for Minority Affairs Ijaz Alam Augustine, CAD Principal Dr Sumera Jawad, External Linkages Director Prof Dr Shobia Khuram, deans of various faculties, faculty members and students were present on the occasion.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Béla Fazekas, welcomed the participants of the exhibition and said that we wanted people here to know about Islamic heritage in Hungary. He said that the architecture of the Ottoman Empire was impressive.

He said that in 2013, the Turkish and Hungarian governments started projects to secure Islamic buildings. He said that Hungary, Turkey and Pakistan were developing excellent relations. He said that Ertugrul Ghazi’s drama serial was also very popular in Hungary.

The Hungarian Ambassador said that we will celebrate the joint cultural year next year together with Turkey. He said that the first two principals of PU Oriental College, GW Leitner and Sir Marc Aural Stein came from Hungary.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Probe Sought Into Madrasas Enrolling Non-Muslim Kids Following Complaints from Different Sources

10th December 2022

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt

NEW DELHI:   The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked all states and union territories to conduct a detailed inquiry of all government-funded and recognised madrasas admitting non-Muslim children. In a letter to all the chief secretaries, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said, “The inquiry should include physical verification of children attending such madrasas. After the inquiry, admit all such children in schools for formal education.”

The Commission wrote to the states and union territories following various complaints from different sources. Kanoongo said it is noted that children belonging to a non-Muslim community are attending government funded/recognised madrasas.

He said in various states and UTs, several children attend institutions like madrasas, which are of three types Recognised Madrasas, Unrecognised Madrasas and Unmapped Madrasas. Madrasas, as institutions, are primarily responsible for imparting religious education to children.

However, it is also learnt that those Madrasas funded by the government or recognised by the government are imparting spiritual and, to some extent, formal education to children, he said. The NCPCR chief said it is learnt that some states/UTs are providing these madrasas with scholarships too.

He said this is a clear-cut violation and infringement of Article 28(3) of the Constitution of India, that prohibits educational institutions from obligating children to take part in any religious instruction without the consent of parents.

Source: New Indian Express

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Muslim Couple Threatened, Prevented from Watching ‘Kantara’, Supporting Hindu Culture, In Karnataka by Muslim Youth

Dec 09, 2022

Mysuru: A Muslim couple was threatened and prevented from watching the film, Kantara, at Sullia in Dakshina Kannada district on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

According to eyewitnesses, the couple, both college students belonging to Kerala and studying in KVG institutions, came to watch the film at Santhosh theatre. Seeing the girl’s hijab, a nearby shopkeeper alerted Muslim youth who came and questioned the couple for watching the movie.

The boy was assaulted by the group for watching Kantara, which, according to the complaint, the attackers said was supporting Hindu culture. Later the couple returned from the theatre without watching the movie.

“We have received information through social media. The couple didn’t file a complaint, but we tracked them down and asked them to file a complaint. Based on their complaint, we have registered an FIR and we are on the lookout for the suspect,” said Dileep Rai, sub-inspector of Sulia police station.

The FIR has been registered under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (assault), 504 (intentional insults) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

“No one has the right to deny fundamental rights to a person for any reason. We have launched search to nab the group which assaulted the boy,” Rai added.

In another incident, Malavalli town police in Mandya district registered a complaint against a woman for allegedly imitating Daiva Nartakaand and collecting money from devotees. In a complaint, S Puneet Kumar, a resident of Malavalli town, said that the woman, Shivalingamma, was doing pooja at her home for three years on Kanakapura road.

After the release of the movie Kantara, the woman started imitating the movie hero recreating the scream, which is revered as a sigh of the presence of god by some communities in coastal Karnataka. The complaint stated that the woman collected gold and cash from devotees claiming to invoke god inside herself.

“We have received a complaint from one person alleging that the woman imitating like Kantara movie and collecting money, and gold from devotees. We have summoned the woman to the police station for questioning. She said she is doing pooja every Monday and Friday at her home for three years for the well-being of devotees,’’ Malavalli town police station inspector B Rajesh said.

If any other person who lost the money or gold gives a complaint, police will register an FIR, he added.

“The crowd of devotees started swelling after the release of the film Kantara as the woman imitating the hero through a divine scream. The woman announces the time in the previous day that god invoked her,‘’ S Puneet Kumar the complainant said.

He said that the woman claiming invoked god demanding devotees to donate gold mangal sutra and cash to god, promising god would solve the problems. The brother of a woman collects offerings by devotees,” he said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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A Private Member’s Bill To Set Up A Committee To Prepare A Uniform Civil Code Was Introduced In The Rajya Sabha, Opposition Protests

Anita Joshua   |   New Delhi  


A private member’s bill to set up a committee to prepare a uniform civil code was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Friday amid protests from the Opposition, which suspects the BJP will use its majority in Parliament to push this through with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

After the Ram temple in Ayodhya and the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370, a uniform civil code is the next item on the BJP’s agenda.

In recent months, the BJP governments in Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Assam and Karnataka have said they want to implement the uniform code in their respective states.

Although the bill has come to the House several times since 2020, this is the first time the BJP has pushed ahead with it.

The bill was introduced after chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar ordered a vote as demanded by MDMK member Vaiko, who led the Opposition’s charge against it.

The BJP had come prepared and was able to muster 63 votes in favour of the introduction while the Opposition could manage only 23 against.

The RJD’s Manoj Jha said that BJP member Kirodi Lal Meena had tried to introduce the bill at least six times in the past and faced stiff opposition.

“This bill came for introduction on very many occasions earlier. Good sense prevailed. My friends from the BJP requested Dr Kirodi Lal Meena not to proceed further. I am witness to six such occasions,” he said.

Vaiko, T. Siva of the DMK and several CPM members had submitted separate notices opposing the introduction of the bill.

Explaining the Opposition’s concern, Siva said: “If the bill is introduced, it becomes the property of the House. Automatically, it will be taken up for consideration. When it is taken up for consideration and debated, it will be put to vote, and as they have the majority, automatically it will get passed.”

Once a private member’s bill is passed, it is up to the government to ignore it or own it and bring an official bill to Parliament for enactment. The CPM’s John Brittas underlined that the 21st Law Commission had said: “A uniform civil code is neither necessary nor desirable.”

Leader of the House and Union minister Piyush Goyal urged the members to allow the bill to be introduced and said the founding fathers of the Constitution had in their wisdom included a uniform civil code in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

CPI member Binoy Viswam wrote to the Rajya Sabha chairman to register his concern over the bill.

“In today’s India, such a discussion would lead to unwanted debates and rift in our social life. I request you to drop the consideration of the bill,” he wrote.

Jawhar Sircar of the Trinamul Congress said every Opposition party resisted the bill’s introduction.

He described the bill as “unconstitutional, unethical and anti-secular” and said: “It is being introduced as a private member’s bill by an indulgent government to test the waters in a very dangerous game.”

Source: Telegraph India

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Congress's Imran Khedawala Only Muslim MLA In 182-Member Gujarat Assembly

December 10, 2022

Ahmedabad: Imran Khedawala of the Congress is the only Muslim candidate elected to the 182-member Gujarat Assembly in the just concluded polls, which saw the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) register a landslide victory.

The outgoing Assembly had three Muslim legislators, all from the Congress.

Mr Khedawala, the sitting Congress MLA from the Jamalpur-Khadia Assembly constituency in Ahmedabad city, won the election by a margin of 13,658 votes on Thursday to retain the seat.

He defeated his nearest rival, Bhushan Bhatt of the BJP, in the Muslim majority constituency, where state president of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and former MLA Sabir Kabliwala was also in the fray.

The Congress had fielded six Muslim candidates, including three siting MLAs. Of these, five candidates, including two MLAs, lost.

In 2017, three of five candidates from the minority community fielded by the main Opposition party had emerged victorious. Muslims account for around 10 per cent of Gujarat's population.

Congress candidate and sitting MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh lost to BJP's Kaushik Jain in the Dariapur Assembly segment of Ahmedabad district. Another legislator of the Opposition party, Mohammed Javed Pirzada, faced defeat in Wankaner in Morbi district at the hands of the saffron outfit.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate took away 53,110 votes and contributed in the defeat of Pirzada.

In the Abdasa seat in Kutch district, Congress' Muslim candidate Jat Mamad Jung was defeated by a margin of around 9,000 votes by BJP nominee and former Congress MLA Pradhyumansinh Jadeja.

The AAP had fielded Muslim candidates on three Assembly seats - Jamalpur-Khadia, Dariapur and Jambusar - but none of them won.

The BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate, while 12 All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) nominees from the minority community were in the fray, but all of them were trounced. Two of these AIMIM candidates finished third in their respective constituency.

Source: ND TV

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‘Unknown to law’, says Karnataka HC on Muslim couple adopting unborn Hindu child

10th December 2022

BENGALURU: Expressing shock over an unregistered agreement entered into by a Muslim couple to adopt an unborn child of a Hindu couple, the Karnataka High Court said that such an agreement is “unknown to law”.

Terming it a case of adoption for money, a division bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice K S Hemalekha upheld an order passed by a trial court in Udupi which had rejected a plea filed by the Muslim couple seeking directions to appoint them as the adoptive parents and guardians of a minor child, who is now two years nine months old, under the provisions of the Guardians and Wards Act. 

The high court said that the agreement was entered into on March 21, 2020, five days before the birth of a girl child, whose mother had almost completed nine months of pregnancy. Thereby the appellants, both adoptive and biological parents, have violated the rights of the child.

Dismissing the appeal filed by the adoptive and biological parents of the child against the judgment of the trial court, the high court said that even ‘Mohammedan Law’ does not recognise such adoption. “It is shocking that an agreement is entered into between two parties with regard to an ‘unborn child’. It is for the District Child Protection Unit to take responsibility of all such cases. It is well established that an unborn child has a life and rights of its own, and the rights of unborn are recognised by law”, the court observed.

Child was sold in name of adoption, says HC

While the adoptive couple are aged 39 years and 33 years, the biological parents are aged 36 years and 32 years. If the biological parents came forward to give the child for adoption due to poverty, they could have surrendered the child to the authorities concerned with child welfare.

Source: New Indian Express

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No decision on love jihad law, studying similar legislations in other states: Fadnavis

December 10, 2022

The Maharashtra government is studying laws regarding interfaith conversions passed by other states, and is yet to take a call on such a law of its own, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Friday.

Fadnavis was replying to a question about Maharashtra’s stand regarding a law on love Jihad, during an interaction with the media on Friday afternoon.

Asked if such a law is likely to be tabled before the upcoming Winter Session of the state legislature, Fadnavis said, “We have not taken any decision yet. We are studying all aspects. We are also taking this time to study similar laws in other states.”

The issue of love jihad has come up following the murder of Vasai resident Shraddha Walkar, who was allegedly killed by her live-in partner Aftab Poonawala and chopped into 35 pieces in their Delhi residence. On Friday, Shraddha’s father Vikas Walkar met Fadnavis at his official residence Sagar Bungalow in Mumbai.

State BJP MLA Nitesh Rane, in a statement to the media on Friday, claimed that the “government is bringing in a law in coming days” to prevent love jihad.

“A strong and efficient anti-conversion law or love jihad law is the need of the hour in Maharashtra. Every day, in every corner of the state, we see Hindu girls being targetted and cheated. The future is darkened by members of a specific community. The government is now bringing in a law in coming days to prevent this,” he said.

The BJP, over the last one month, has staged protests across Maharashtra, urging the Delhi Police to investigate the Love Jihad angle in the murder case. Party leader and state Minister for Women and Child Development, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, had also directed the state women commission to form a special squad to trace women who have been estranged from the families.

“Love jihad” is a term often used by right-wing activists to allege a ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.

Source: Indian Express

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North America


US asks UN not to sanction companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements

10 December 2022

The United States has acknowledged pressing the United Nations not to impose sanctions on companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The US State Department issued the statement on Friday days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Biden administration would oppose Tel Aviv’s land grab policy in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The State Department said that it had approached the UN human rights office with concerns about the blacklist, whose first publication in 2020 incensed Israel.

The United States "continues to oppose any work to update it" and has raised concerns "directly with the Office of the High Commissioner" for rights, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.

"Our view is that this database only serves to reinforce an anti-Israel bias that too often finds traction in UN venues," he said.

"Also, this database poses a genuine threat to companies doing business or considering business operations in the region,” he added.

The administration of former President Donald Trump had reversed longstanding US opposition to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, and denounced the initial publication of the blacklist -- which listed US companies including Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor.

Blinken in a speech on Sunday said that Washington would judge Benjamin Netanyahu's incoming regime by actions and not personalities.

Controversial Israeli politician Netanyahu is likely to return to power after striking a coalition deal with the extreme-right outfits including Religious Zionism, which could be put in charge of constructing illegal settlements and the Tel Aviv regime’s land grab policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

Source: Press TV

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Turkish actor becomes face of Canadian NGO’s campaign

Seyit Aydoğan  



Turkish actor Engin Altan Duzyatan, known for his leading role in the popular television series, Resurrection: Ertugrul, has become the face of a Canadian NGO’s campaign for clean drinking water on Friday.

Duzyatan, who came to Canada at the invitation of Human Concern International (HCI), one of the oldest humanitarian organizations established by Canadian Muslims, held a news conference in the national capital of Ottawa with the group’s CEO Mahmuda Khan and Liberal Party lawmaker Iqra Khalid.

The actor said he is committed to raising awareness about the effects of climate change around the world.

He said he traveled to Africa to document the effects of the lack of access to clean water on communities and noted his striking encounter with facts that deeply affected him, starting in Kenya.

“Fifty-three percent of African people do not have access to clean water, and three out of 10 newborns die from diseases caused by contaminated water,” he said.

The Canadian government supports water infrastructure investments in fragile and post-conflict countries, he said, but it needs to do more to support sustainable water projects in developing countries.

“As part of the UN's commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Canada has a responsibility to its own people by eliminating long-term water restrictions on indigenous peoples' reserves,” he said.

“I support HCI's call for the government of Canada to fulfill its commitment to addressing access to clean water in Canada,” the Turkish actor added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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US defence budget trims millions of dollars benefiting terrorist group PKK/YPG

Kasim Ileri



As it moves towards final approval, the US military budget for 2023 cuts millions of dollars in military aid that would have aided terrorist groups in northern Syria and northern Iraq, but still leaves millions more for the groups, which threaten the Turkish border and local civilians.

The US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill, which passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday by a vote of 350-80, cuts more than $35.81 million from the Iraqi part of the anti-Daesh/ISIS fund, which the PKK/YPG terror group will also benefit from, and almost $18.37 million from the Syrian part.

Following its House of Representatives approval, the $858 billion NDAA bill now heads to the Senate for a final vote, and if passed there, to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

Through many years and several US administrations, Türkiye has strenuously objected to US military aid – in the form of weapons, ammunition, and training – and partnering with the terrorist YPG/PKK, a branch of a terrorist group that has resulted in the deaths of some 40,000 people in its terror campaign against Türkiye. The US says it works with the YPG/PKK to fight Daesh/ISIS, while Turkish officials say using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.

In the US bill, as part of the fight against Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria, $502.92 million of nearly $541.7 million requested to be given to US partners, including the terrorist group PKK/YPG, was still approved, including an inflation adjustment.

A table attached to the bill said $35.81 million of $358.15 million of the requested for Iraq was found unjustified, so the total was cut to $322.2 million.

The table also says that $18.37 million of the $183.67 million that PKK/YPG terrorists will benefit from in Syria is unjustified, so ultimately nearly $165.31 million was approved for activities including cooperation with the terrorist group.

Taiwan, Ukraine, Türkiye

The wide-ranging bill, which includes raising military salaries by 4.6% and requires the Pentagon to convert fleets of non-tactical vehicles to zero-emission standards, also provides for $10 billion in military assistance to Taiwan by 2027. The status of the self-governing island, which China sees as its territory, has become increasingly contentious since then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited it this August.

On the Ukraine war, now nearing its 10th month, the bill allocates $800 million to finance the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative, and also allocates $6 billion in funds to support US military operations in Europe.

Articles linking the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye to restrictive conditions were also removed from the final version of the bill – a step that Ankara had pressed for.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Following after a terrorist attack in Istanbul last month that killed six people and injured dozens and was blamed on the YPG/PKK, Türkiye launched airstrikes on terrorist YPG/PKK positions in northern Iraq, near the Turkish border, and has said a ground operation might come at any time.

In 2013, Türkiye became one of the first countries to declare Daesh/ISIS a terror group.

The country has since been attacked by the terror group multiple times, with over 300 people killed and hundreds more injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks, and four armed assaults.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Arab World


UAE Issues New Law On Personal Status For Non-Muslims To Be Applied From February 1, 2023

09 Dec 2022

The UAE has announced a Federal Decree-Law on Personal Status to all non-Muslim foreigners in the country, to be applied from February 1, 2023.

The Federal Personal Status Law comes in line with the UAE’s continuous efforts to develop its legislative ecosystem and supports the country’s endeavours and ambitions for the next 50 years, through strengthening the country’s position as a destination for tolerance, family stability and demographic diversity, a Wam news agency report said.

The provisions of the decree-law apply to non-Muslim foreigners residing in the country unless someone adheres to the application of his country’s law. Moreover, non-Muslim foreigners may agree to implement other legislation on family or personal status in force in the UAE instead of the provisions of this decree-law.

The decree-law provisions regulate the marriage conditions and the procedures of contracting and documenting the marriage before the competent courts.

Source: Trade Arabia

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Chinese President Xi says Chinese-Arab Relations have achieved historic leap

10 December ,2022

China’s President Xi Jinping said relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Arab countries witnessed great developments, as the two sides established strategic partnership relations and joint development for a better future following the inaugural China-Gulf summit in Saudi Arabia.

In his closing speech during the Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, President Jinping said that the Arab-China summit worked to strengthen construction to confront the food, energy and climate crisis, and is committed to find political solutions to thorny issues and working to maintain peace and security in the region, and calls for reaching mutual benefit and enhancing harmonious coexistence between different civilizations.

He added that the People's Republic of China has established comprehensive strategic partnership relations with 12 Arab countries separately, and signed cooperation documents to enhance the Belt and Road initiative with 20 Arab countries, state news agency SPA reported Saturday.

Furthermore, he said 17 Arab countries expressed their support for the global development initiative, confirming that 15 Arab countries joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Seventeen cooperation mechanisms have been set up within the framework of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum.

The Chinese president stressed that the Chinese-Arab relations have achieved a historic leap, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples and injecting more stability factors into the region and the world

He noted that the Arab-China summit was a complete success, as the two sides agreed to work with all efforts to build the Chinese-Arab community for a common future towards the new era, which is a milestone in the history of Chinese-Arab relations.

President Jinping stressed the Chinese side's keenness to take this summit as a new starting point to work to devote the Chinese-Arab friendship represented in solidarity, equality, interests, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and to advance promising prospects for cooperation.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Qatar’s Emir, Fujairah ruler among GCC leaders in Riyadh for summit with China

09 December ,2022

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani arrived in Riyadh on Friday to participate in the China-Gulf summit which will bring togwther Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

At King Khalid International Airport, Sheikh Tamim was received by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Riyadh; Prince Mansour bin Khalid al-Saud, Saudi Ambassador to Qatar; Bandar bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, ambassador of Qatar to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Dr. Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for the Arab States.

The inaugural China-Arab summit is set to take place in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Friday.

The ruler of UAE emirate Fujairah Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed al-Sharqi also arrived in Riyadh representing the UAE's delegation participating in the summit.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was among the first Arab leaders to arrive in Riyadh Thursday in preparation for the China-Arab summit which will also be held on Friday.

Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal, Sudan’s Sovereign Council head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied and Libya’s Presidency Council head Mohammed al-Menfi also landed in Riyadh.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Gulf Cooperation Council summit rejects Iranian intervention in region

Ibrahim al-Khazen  



The 43rd summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced Friday its rejection of what it described as Iranian interventions in the region.

It called for the continuation of implementing the Istanbul grain deal between Russia and Ukraine.

The announcements came in the final statement of the summit which was held in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

The statement urged Iraq to respect the sovereignty of Kuwait and stressed enhancing the military collective work between GCC countries to achieve collective security.

On Dec. 2, Kuwait asked Iraq to withdraw three Iraqi ships that crossed into Kuwait's territorial waters.

The summit hailed the success of Qatar hosting the World Cup and decided that Doha will hold the presidency of the 44th GCC summit.

Regarding the Palestinian issue, the statement stressed activating efforts of the international community to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It also demanded a halt to targeting Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and rejected any move to annex any Israeli settlement built in the occupied West Bank to Israel.

The GCC urged Lebanese parties to honor the Constitution in Lebanon and implement political and economic reforms.

I also said the GCC Ministerial Council will follow up with Kuwait to name a successor to GCC's Secretary General Nayef Al-Hajraf.

The summit was headed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was attended by Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud and Hamad Al-Sharqi, ruler of the Fujairah Emirate, representing the United Arab Emirates.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iraq's new electoral system leaves Turkmen at risk of political discrimination: Party chief

Omer Faruk Mandanoglu


The latest changes in Iraq's election law have caused tension in the country, especially among Iraqi Turkmens, who are losing seats in the Kirkuk region in early general elections held in October 2021.

Turkmens demanded that the changes be reviewed, citing the country's demographic structure as the cause behind their losing seats in Turkmen areas in the elections.

The leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), Arshad Salihi, said the new narrowed electoral zone system, dividing Kirkuk into three electoral districts, had affected the Iraqi Turkmens' political representation.

"While Kurds and Arabs were able to secure their votes in their densely populated areas, Turkmens had to compete for them," he added.

Salihi emphasized that the people of Kirkuk could not be represented correctly in the Iraqi parliament under the new system.

"The Arabization and Kurdification policies implemented in Turkmen villages resulted in Kirkuk Turkmens losing their seats in the last election," he added.

Iraqi Turkmens punished constantly

Turkmens have constantly been punished in Iraq, seen as an "extension" of neighboring Türkiye, according to Salihi, who added they were ignored for seats in Iraqi governments, parliaments, and ministries.

"We have struggled to be represented and take charge in government," he said.

Salihi pointed out that after the coalition government formed in 2022 was dissolved, the newly formed administration held talks with Kurdish representatives, as well as Shiite and Sunni Arabs, but not with Turkmen representatives.

"They found it more beneficial for Turkmens not to take part in the new government," he asserted.

"Both the Shia and Sunnis in the government negotiated with the Kurdish representatives over Kirkuk. They didn't want to the deal break or the bargaining to be harmed by including the Turkmens. The Iraqi authorities still see us as an extension of Türkiye."

Turkmens seek Turkic world's help

Salihi emphasized that Turkmens should reconsider their attitude towards the central government should it continue its policy of changing the demographic structure of Turkmen areas of Kirkuk and other parts of Iraq.

The ITF leader pointed out that the Turkic ethnic group has always "defended the territorial integrity of Iraq. However, they have always been exposed to more political discrimination."

"We were constantly excluded from the Council of Ministers and the parliament," he added.

Salihi said it was a serious danger that the PKK terrorist organization and its extensions resided in places where Turkmens live.

"Housing terrorist organizations in our region may endanger Kirkuk and its future," he said.

"As Iraqi Turkmens, we struggle to maintain peace and security in our region, the reason that pushed us to request support from Türkiye and other Turkic states, which has displeased the Iraqi government," he added.

He concluded that if Iraqi authorities continue their "discriminatory policy" against Turkmens, they would continue "knocking on outside doors."

Three separate electoral districts in Kirkuk

Iraq's election law 2020/9, enacted for the elections held on Oct. 10, 2021, was the first such provision in the country based on the narrowed electoral district system.

Turkmen parties expressed their concern over the division of Kirkuk, which is home to a large Turkmen population, into three separate electoral districts.

This division of the region, which is represented by 12 parliament seats in total, into three separate electoral districts, could lead to a great loss of Turkmen votes in the elections, Turkmens have said.

The first electoral constituency that Kirkuk was divided into consists mainly of Kurdish voters and has five seats. The second includes both Kurdish and Arab voters but is mainly home to Turkmen voters and has four seats, while three seats were given to the third constituency, where Arab voters dominate.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Iran says uranium traces came in waste from abroad

09 December ,2022

Iran’s nuclear chief has said traces of enriched uranium found on its territory by UN inspectors were brought into the country from abroad, disputing claims of secret nuclear activity.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, has for months been pressing Tehran to explain the presence of the nuclear material at three undeclared sites.

The discovery further complicated efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has been hanging by a thread since the United States unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump.

In remarks published Thursday by Hamshahri newspaper, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, said the traces came from waste brought into Iran from other countries.

Eslami said the places visited by UN inspectors were a cattle farm, an abandoned mine and a landfill.

“In the landfill, they took samples from the waste that entered Iran from different countries,” the report quoted him as saying.

“This does not mean the place of discovery was a nuclear site or that it was an undeclared nuclear activity.”

“The waste came from Iraq and from other countries,” Eslami said.

“We have prevented the entry of much of this waste... They were not nuclear substances from our own manufacturing but perhaps traces from previous use in the country of origin.”

In a resolution last month, the IAEA’s board of governors deplored the lack of cooperation an “technically credible” answers from Tehran.

As a result, the agency said it was unable to guarantee the authenticity and integrity of Iran’s nuclear program.

But Eslami said Tehran has “provided documented and argued answers to the request” of the UN nuclear watchdog.

An IAEA delegation had planned to travel to Tehran in November, but the visit did not take place.

Source: Al Arabiya

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At least five Jews arrested by Iran during protests against Islamic Republic

By Benjamin Weinthal

December 9, 2022

At least five Iranian Jews were arrested by Iranian security forces over the last few weeks during nationwide protests engulfing the theocratic Islamic state, The Jerusalem Post can reveal.

Karmel Melamed, an Iranian-American journalist who has deep sourcing within the Persian Jewish community in Iran and in the Iranian diaspora, told the Post that "my contact source who is in contact with the Jewish leadership in Iran has confirmed that indeed five Jews have been arrested in Iran recently, but one was released after a one-week detention.”

He added that "the four remaining Jews are still in jail, awaiting adjudication of their cases by the Iranian authorities along with many other young people who have been arrested for their involvement in the protests. Of the four Jews are in custody and two of them are university students from Tehran who were rounded up with the scores of other student protestors.”

Some detained Jews are Tehran university students

Melamed, who has written extensively about Iranian Jews, said “one of the Jews in custody is a Jewish student from Shiraz who was arrested for flying a small drone in his city. The flying of any drones by civilians is strictly prohibited by the Iranian regime in Iran.”

According to Melamed, “right now the Jewish leadership in Tehran is working closely with the regime's authorities to help secure their release.”

The 20-year-old Armita Abbasi, who sports a Star of David necklace in photographs of herself, was arrested and raped by the Islamic Republic’s security forces in October. CNN reported that, in contrast to most Iranian dissidents within Iran, she “did not anonymize her anti-regime posts” on social media.

CNN, which did not note that Abbasi wore a Star of David, reported that leaked accounts “suggested that Iranian security forces tortured and sexually assaulted Abbasi.”

Abbasi is not Jewish.

Sheina Vojoudi, a spokesperson for the Senate of the National Iranian Congress, told the Post: “Ask the Islamic Republic where Armita Abbasi, the girl with Magen David is? She was arrested, raped and tortured. Where is she now?"

Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled the Islamic Republic of Iran due to repression, added that the "Jewish community in Iran is under pressure. Like other Iranians, also Jewish Iranians, are oppressed. The Jewish people must admit whatever the Islamic Republic tells them to show the world that the Jewish people in Iran have religious freedom, but it’s a lie. They can easily be accused of espionage and cooperation with Israel. They can be sentenced to dreadful penalties and all their properties can be confiscated.”

Melamed said "The statements recently released by the Jewish community and Christian communities leaders in support of the Islamic regime in Iran during the recent protests should be given zero credibility because they were likely made under duress from the Iranian regime's Intelligence Ministry. Sadly the regime's thugs always direct the Jewish and other religious minority leaders in Iran to make favorable statements about the regime in the media or often parade them in front of western news television programs to praise the regime as a part of a propaganda effort to make the regime look good. These Jewish  and Christian leaders in Iran are forced to comply with the regime's demands otherwise they know their communities will face possible dire consequences for their failure to comply.”

He added that “The Jewish protestors who were arrested in Iran recently are most likely younger people and I'm not at all surprised that they've joined the protests with other young Iranians in the streets there. While their older Jewish parents and grandparents may have witnessed or experienced the brutality of the Iranian regime against Iran's Jews over the last 43 years and have fear of the regime, the younger generation of Iran's Jews has not and are following other young people who also have no fear of the regime and are only demanding freedom for themselves.”

According to Melamed, ”the young protestors in Iran all see themselves as Iranian collectively and do not differentiate among one another based on religion as the Iranian regime does. I personally believe that since the Islamic regime has been trying to force state-sponsored religion down the throats of these young people for so long, they are altogether turned off by any organized religion.”

Tehran-raised Jew: Iranian Jews want to see Islamic regime toppled

George Haroonian, an Iranian-American Jew who was born in Tehran, told the Post that "It is absolutely normal that young Iranian Jews like other young Iranians would participate in" the protests against the regime.

"Their arrests in general does not mean that they have been pinpointed as Jews. All are young men.  The number of arrestees is so high, they do not have enough people to interrogate the  arrestees."

He added that "A lot of Iranian Jews do not, traditionally, want to speak up. Families are not saying their names or asking people to fight for them. They are fearful the authorities will hurt them, like other Iranians. Nothing unusual with this regime. The young man who was executed yesterday, his family did not speak up."

Source: J Post

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Iran’s Raisi promises to pursue crackdown on protesters; cleric critical of execution

10 December ,2022

A prominent cleric on Friday said the death sentence of an Iranian protester involved in anti-government unrest violated sharia law, as President Ebrahim Raisi promised to press on with a crackdown a day after the man’s execution.

On Thursday, Iran hanged Mohsen Shekari, who had been convicted of injuring a security guard with a knife and blocking a street in Tehran, the first such execution after thousands of arrests over the unrest, drawing a chorus of Western condemnation.

Nationwide protests that erupted after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16 pose one of the biggest challenges to theocratic rule in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

“The identification, trial and punishment of the perpetrators of the martyrdom (killing) of security forces will be pursued with determination,” Raisi said at a ceremony honoring security forces killed during protests, according to state media.

Molavi Abdolhamid, an outspoken Sunni cleric in the Shia-ruled Islamic Republic, criticized the death sentence, according to his website.

“When someone has not killed but only blocked a road and stabbed and injured a Basij (militia) member with a knife, he cannot be put to death under sharia,” Molavi Abdolhamid said.

“Listen to these protests and negotiate with the people of Iran. Beating, killing and executing this nation is not right. This protest will not be quelled by killing people,” he said, addressing authorities.

State media published a video of what it said was Shekari’s confession where he appears with a bruise on his right cheek. He admitted to striking a member of the Basij militia with a knife and to blocking a road with his motorbike alongside one of his friends.

Human rights groups said Shekari was tortured and forced to confess.

A video widely shared on social media showed protesters shouting from north Tehran rooftops late into the night “We are all Mohsen” and “Khamenei is a murderer” - in reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Another video showed people lighting candles in front of Shekari’s home late on Friday. Reuters could not immediately verify the videos.

In Geneva, UN Human Rights High Commissioner Volker Turk called the execution “very troubling and clearly designed to send a chilling effect to the rest of the protesters.” He called on the Iranian authorities to immediately institute a moratorium on the death penalty.

In a Friday prayers sermon, however, hardline cleric Ahmad Khatami thanked “the judiciary for sending the first rioter to the gallows.”

Iran’s foreign ministry rejected Western criticism of rights abuses during the crackdown as meddling in Iran’s internal affairs and in violation of international law.

“Under the slogan of supporting human rights or women’s rights, (Western countries) incite and promote violence against the integrity of the nation and Iran’s national security,” ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a statement carried by state media.

Amnesty International has said Iranian authorities are seeking the death penalty for at least 21 people in what it called “sham trials designed to intimidate those participating in the popular uprising that has rocked Iran”.

Iran has blamed the unrest on its foreign foes including the United States, although protesters have come from all walks of life in the Islamic Republic and have drawn public support from prominent cultural and sports figures, as well as a sister and a niece of Ayatollah Khamenei.

Germany on Friday condemned the execution, called on Tehran to immediately end its violence against protesters and confirmed it had summoned the Iranian ambassador in Berlin.

Britain announced sanctions on Friday against 30 people worldwide, including officials from Russia, Iran and Myanmar it deems responsible for human rights abuses or corruption.

Molavi Abdolhamid made his critical comments from Zahedan, the capital of restive Sistan-Baluchistan province, home to Iran’s Baluch minority who have faced discrimination and repression for decades, according to human rights groups.

Protests were held in Zahedan and other cities of the province on Friday, according to online videos.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Raisi Says Iran Will Pursue Punishing Protesters ‘With Determination’

09 December, 2022

Iranian authorities will determinedly pursue punishing anti-regime protesters, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Friday, a day after Iran carried out its first death penalty over demonstrations sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death.

Speaking at a meeting with families of members of the security forces who have been killed in the unrest, Raisi stressed that punishing “rioters” and those behind deaths of regime agents “will be followed up with determination by the relevant institutions,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran carried out on Thursday its first execution over the ongoing protests in the country, hanging 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari.

Shekrai had been convicted of wounding a member of the security forces and blocking a street in Tehran, in what rights groups called a “sham trial.”

The execution has triggered global condemnation.

Protests – referred to by the regime as “riots” – have swept across Iran since September 16 when 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Amini died after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.

Since Amini’s death, demonstrators have been calling for the downfall of the regime in a movement that has become one of the boldest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Netanyahu's government 'most extreme, crazy' in Israel's history, warns outgoing premier

Abdel Raouf Arnaout 



The incoming government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is shaping up to be the “most extreme and crazy” in Israel’s history, outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid warned on Friday.

“Netanyahu is weak and his partners are younger, more determined and more extreme than him, and have subdued him unconditionally,” Lapid said on Twitter.

He vowed to continue “fighting for our beloved country, for our democracy, for our soldiers, for the future of our children.”

An election this November paved the way for Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, to return to power.

On Friday, he was granted 10 additional days by President Isaac Herzog to form a government, extending the initial deadline of Dec. 11 until Dec. 21.

Netanyahu has been wooing religious hardliners and far-right forces to cobble together a new government, with opposition parties warning that their policies could undermine democracy and fuel conflict.

If Netanyahu is unable to finalize a government within the extended deadline, Herzog could assign the task to another political leader.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Israelis rapped for blocking Christian permits to visit Bethlehem


December 09, 2022

GAZA CITY: Christians in the Gaza Strip hope to celebrate Christmas each year and reunite with their families, but Israeli restrictions on movement are preventing thousands from taking part in the occasion.

Israel has been accused of strictly limiting permits to pray in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to a limited number of worshipers.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs Authority — the body responsible for communicating with Israeli officials at Erez crossing — said that Israel rejected more than 260 applications.

An anonymous source told Arab News that the authority received approval for only about 640 people from the more than 900 applications submitted.

A senior Israeli security official told journalists in a phone briefing that about 200 people were denied access to Israel after being denied security clearances.

About 1,100 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, according to statistics issued by the Latin Monastery Church in Gaza.

The number of Christians in Gaza has fallen in past years as a result of migration, owing to the dire economic situation, siege and successive Israeli offensives.

Many have moved to the West Bank or emigrated abroad.

“We feel very sorry that not all Christians were granted the necessary permits,” Kamel Ayad, director of public relations at the Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza, told Arab News.

“It is our right as Christians to witness Christmas celebrations in the birthplace of Christ in Bethlehem as it is available to all Christians of the world to travel to,” said Ayad.

Ayad added that the usual practice every year was to send a list of the names of Christians who wish to obtain a permit to travel during the Christmas period.

In most cases the issuance of permits is random, meaning that only some members of Christian families can visit Bethlehem, said Ayad.

The YMCA in Gaza lights up a large Christmas tree each year at the association square with participation of Christians and Muslims.

Israel has imposed a strict blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control of the area by the armed force in mid-2007.

Hani Farah, secretary-general of Gaza’s YMCA, said that Israel “practices all forms of repression and violations against the Palestinians, regardless of their religion or gender.”

He added: “Just as Israeli bombs and missiles do not differentiate between the Palestinian and the Palestinian, the blockade and its repressive measures do not differentiate between a Muslim and a Christian. We are all trapped in Gaza and we share pain and suffering.”

Sanaa, a Gaza Strip Christian, received approval for a permit, but her husband and her three children did not.

She said: “What should I do with the permit alone without my family?”

Sanaa told Arab News: “The spirit of Christmas is for all family members to gather in one place. I cannot attend the Christmas celebration in Bethlehem alone. This happens every year. One or two members of the family only get a permit.”

Israel controls the entry and exit of Palestinians through the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, and grants permits only to humanitarian cases and several thousand daily workers, in addition to some aid workers in international organizations.

Hamas condemned the Israeli ban of Christians from traveling to the West Bank during Christmas.

“We condemn the Israeli occupation’s banning of Christian Gazans from accessing sacred places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem on religious holidays,” said a statement.

Source: Arab News

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Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Scales Up Attack on Security Forces Post Truce Withdrawal

Dec 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Taliban have intensified their attacks against security officials in the country’s volatile northwest and southwest since the group last week called off the truce with Islamabad, declar ed earlier this year, forcing the military to launch a crackdown.

The talks between the Pakistan government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), facilitated by the Afghan Taliban, had broken down months earlier, but the ceasefire had r emained in force till last week. Since then, TTP has unleashed a wave of attacks against security forces.

On Monday night, a Frontier Constabulary soldier, Rehmat Zaman, was beheaded after being shot dead along with his son at his house in Bannu, a district adjacent to the restive North Waziristan. Rehmat’s wife told police th at her husband and son were asleep when about 20 armed men entered their compound. When the family came out, the gunmen shot the two men. They then chopped off Rehmat’s head and hung it from a tree in the nearby market. The same day a tribal elder was shot dead in Mirali town of North Waziristan. This was preceded by the killing of three policemen in Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In the last three days, two top police officials survived attacks on their convoys, claimed by the TTP, in the northwest. The group was also behind asuicide attack on a police truck that left four dead and nearly two dozen injured in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province.

Source: Times Of India

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UK Sanctions Controversial Sindh Cleric Responsible For Forced Marriages of Non-Muslims

Atika Rehman

December 10, 2022

LONDON: A controversial Pir from Sindh was placed on the British government’s sanctions list on Friday, making Pakistan one of 11 countries where rights violators will be punished.

In a comment to Dawn, the British High Commission said: “The UK takes freedom of religion or belief very seriously and is committed to protecting minorities around the world. The new package of sanctions targets those violating fundamental freedoms. This includes Mian Abdul Haq, a cleric of the Bharchundi Sharif shrine in Ghotki, Sindh, who is responsible for forced marriages and forced religious conversions of non-Muslims and minors. This sanctions package does not include any other Pakistani national.”

The sanctions effectively mean that designated individuals will be unable to do any business or undertake economic activity with UK citizens or businesses, and that they will be denied entry to the UK.

The pir, popularly known as Mian Mithu, is notorious in upper Sindh for his alleged involvement in the forced conversion and marriages of minor Hindu girls. He has denied the allegations on several occasions and even claimed to have promoted religious harmony in Sindh.

Mr Mithu came in the spotlight after he allegedly converted a Hindu girl, Rinkle Kumari, who was later renamed Faryal, to Islam in February 2012, before her marriage to a local Muslim, Naveed Shah.

The conversion, Mian Mithu had claimed, was not forced. He found himself in the news yet again in September this year.

He made headlines when he reportedly led a large number of people who took to the streets in protest against an alleged incident of blasphemy.

In 2008, the pir won a National As­­s­e­mbly seat on a PPP ticket, but the party denied him a ticket in 2012.

In 2015, Imran Khan attempted to invite him into the party fold but was forced to disassociate himself with the cleric after protests from the Hindu community.

In 2021, activists on Twitter called out the PTI government after Mian Mithu was invited by the Council of Islamic Ideology to deliberate on legislation around forced conversion.

Clerics expressed reservations on a draft bill, and a parliamentary panel ultimately rejected the bill despite protest from minority lawmakers.

The cleric is one of 30 individuals who have been sanctioned in total. Of these, 18, including Mr Mithu, have been targeted for “violations and abuses of human rights”.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistani journalist's killing in Kenya a pre-meditated murder: Report

Dec 9, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A team set up by the Pakistani government to probe the killing of a well-known Pakistani journalist in Nairobi said it found several contradictions in the version given by Kenyan authorities, and believes it was a case of pre-meditated murder.

TV journalist Arshad Sharif, who had fled Pakistan citing threats to his life, was shot dead in Nairobi in October. Kenyan officials said it was a case of mistaken identity and police hunting car thieves opened fire on his vehicle as it drove through a roadblock without stopping.

A two-member fact-finding team from Pakistan that travelled to Kenya and conducted a number of interviews, examined and reconstructed the crime scene and examined the deceased's phones and computers, said in a 600-page report that Sharif's killing was a pre-planned murder.

"Both the members of the (fact-finding team) have a considered understanding that it is a case of planned targeted assassination with transnational characters rather than a case of mistaken identity," said the report, copies of which were submitted to Pakistan's Supreme Court.

"It is more probable that the firing was done, after taking proper aim, at a stationary vehicle," it said.

Kenyan authorities declined comment on the specifics of the report.

"The investigation into the matter is still ongoing, so there is not much I can tell," said Resila Onyango, spokesperson for the Kenya National Police Service.

A multi-agency team is conducting the investigation, he said, adding that the team will apprise authorities when they are done with the probe.

The chairperson of the Kenyan police watchdog Independent Police Oversight Authority, Anne Makori, also told Reuters investigations were still ongoing.

Pakistan's interior minister Rana Sanaullah had said before the release of the report that Sharif's body had bruises and torture marks, suggested it was a targeted killing.

The fact-finding team highlighted one wound in particular on Sharif's back, saying it appeared to have been inflicted from relatively close range.

The report noted there was no corresponding penetration mark of a bullet on the seat on which Sharif was sitting when the shooting purportedly took place, calling it a "ballistic impossibility".

"The injury had to have been caused either before the journalist got into the vehicle, or the shot was fired from a relatively close range, possibly from inside the vehicle, and almost certainly not a moving vehicle," the report said.

Case of treason

Sharif had fled from Pakistan citing threats to his life after the government registered several treason cases against him.

One of the treason cases stemmed from reporting Sharif did that led to an accusation he had spread a call from an official in a previous government, led by former cricket star Imran Khan, for members of the armed forces to mutiny.

Both Sharif and the official in the previous government denied inciting mutiny.

Former prime minister Khan said Sharif had been murdered for his journalistic work. He and his successor Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, not related to the journalist, had called for a judicial investigation.

The fact-finding team's report also pointed out apparent contradictions in the autopsy reports in Kenya and Pakistan.

The post-mortem report in Pakistan identified 12 injuries on Sharif's body whereas the Kenyan report identified just two injuries pertaining to gunshot wounds.

Source: Times Of India

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Bilawal tells world to break ‘stereotypes’ about Pakistan

December 10, 2022

KARACHI: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has called upon the world to move away from its stereotypical image and look towards Pakistan as a “promising emerging market” full of opportunities.

The foreign minister met Singapore President Halimah Yacob and his counterpart Dr Vivian Balakrishnan during his visit to the country on Friday.

In an interview with the Singapore-based English language daily The Strait Times before the visit, the foreign minister said there was a need for the world to have a fresh look at Pakistan away from its stereotypical image.

“As a young political leader, I strongly feel that the world needs to have a fresh look at Pakistan, away from its stereotypical image,” he said.

Meets Singapore FM and president; calls the country ‘an emerging market’, ‘full of potential’

“There are so many opportunities in Pakistan awaiting the world, for which the first step is to lift the travel advisories against the country. I strongly feel that the world needs to look at us more objectively, as a promising emerging market,” he told The Strait Times.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari remarked that online trading and e-commerce activities were on the rise in Pakistan and Asian countries that outsource IT and financial services and can benefit from the young population.

He said Pakistan was keen to forge closer cooperation with Southeast Asia’s digital economy and enhance ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), especially in the technical and vocational education sector.

“Some recent initiatives of Asean are of great interest to Pakistan which we believe are bound to unlock immense trade and investment opportunities for emerging economies including Pakistan,” he said in the interview.

Meetings with president, FM

During his meetings with President Yacob and Foreign Minister Balakrishnan, Mr Bhutto-Zardari emphasised the importance accorded by Pakistan to its relations with Singapore, which is a key partner in Asean, a press release issued by the Foreign Office said.

In the meeting with Ms Yacob, the two leaders welcomed the progress in bilateral relations and expressed the desire to consolidate cooperation in diverse fields.

During the breakfast meeting with his Singaporean counterpart, the foreign minister highlighted the importance of regular interaction and dialogue and high-level visits to promote people-to-people contacts, the FO added.

The two leaders agreed to “unlock the potential for economic cooperation” and collaborate in the fields of agriculture, digital economy and digital finance. They also exchanged views on the regional situation and agreed to stay in contact to promote cooperation.

Facebook monetisation

The foreign minister also visited the Asia-Pacific headquarters of Meta — the parent company of Facebook — where he launched the “Stars Programme” for content monetisation in Pakistan.

Source: Dawn

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Google to open office in Pakistan next week: IT minister

Kalbe Ali

December 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: While Twitter and Facebook have expressed their inability to establish offices in Pakistan in near future, the world’s largest search engine and video-sharing platform Google is set to open a liaison office in Pakistan.

IT and Telecom Minister Syed Aminul Haque on Friday announced the global giant has already registered itself as a company in Pakistan.

“A delegation of Google is scheduled to come to Pakistan early next week from Singapore and the company will likely announce the establishment of a functional office here,” Mr Haque told Dawn.

He also disclosed that TikTok has also agreed to establish a liaison office in Pakistan.

However, Google has already taken a lead in this regard and the company has already been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Karachi registry.

Registration is the first step towards the establishment of the office, which is one of the requirements under the Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards) Rules 2021.

Twitter, Meta still reluctant on inconsistent policies, say industry sources

The social media platforms will have to abide by the laws and the norms of Pakistan after getting registered and opening offices.

The rules also require the social media platforms to have their “servers” in Pakistan to ensure that the data was secure. Currently, the data of all the platforms are stored outside the country.

The IT minister has recently expressed confidence that more social media platforms will establish their offices in Pakistan, but industry sources said that Twitter and Meta have been reluctant so far.

A senior executive of one of the telecom companies in the country said that both Twitter and Meta were undergoing some radical structural changes, and they have laid off a large number of employees in the region and globally too.

“The members of negotiating teams for Pakistan in Meta, representing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have been changed, therefore no headway is expected in discussions with Meta and Twitter,” the executive said.

On the other hand sources in the telecom industry said that despite assurances by the IT ministry regarding a business-friendly environment, the inconsistent policies have led to mistrust among the companies and they were hesitant to establish offices in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday visited the Asia Pacific headquarters of Meta (Facebook), Singapore to launch the “Stars Programme” for monetisation in Pakistan.

Source: Dawn

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All-out facilities for 385,000 Afghans crossing into Pakistan through border points monthly

December 9, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has taken all-out facilitative measures at all five Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing points to ensure smooth processing of Afghan people, despite a heavy inflow of around 385,000 people a month.

Currently, Pakistan has five crossing points operational with Afghanistan, which include Chaman, Torkham, Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan and Angoor Ada.

Around 13,000 people move to and from Afghanistan through these crossing points that include pedestrians, patients, traders, tourists and transporters. In addition to hundreds of trade convoys, around 385,000 Afghan travel through the crossing point a month.

Despite limited resources and workforce, Pakistan is manning over 100 counters at the crossing points to ensure the smooth processing of a heavy inflow of cross-border movement.

No other bordering country has such an exodus at their border crossings, a security official commented.

Around 79 counters have been placed at Chaman and Torkham, the busiest crossing points.

Though Pakistan has an Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) in place at main crossings, which supports One Document Regime (valid visa/ passport). However, to facilitate their Afghan brethren, Pakistan also allows a large number of Afghans especially patients, journalists, women and traders to cross the border on Tazkera (non-valid) documents, on humanitarian grounds.

The security official said that exclusive counters at crossing points have been operational for Afghan patients and women only.

Afghans entering Pakistan either on valid or invalid documents are allowed to extend or renew their status to stay in Pakistan.

Border crossing for Afghan people even without passports to earn a livelihood, visit a relative, address any medical emergency or get an education is an exclusive offer extended by Pakistan, which no other neighbor offers.

However, despite all the said facilitations, the Afghan and Indian media keeps maligning Pakistan by reporting incidents of perceived mistreatment of Afghans by Pakistani authorities at Pak-Afghan border crossing points, causing resentment among Afghan masses towards Pakistan.

The fact is that, as per official data, around 6,000 Afghan nationals are refused entry into Pakistan every month due to the obvious reasons of having insufficient documents or even no documents.
Source: Pakistan Today

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South Asia


Taliban pushes Afghan media to margin again, impose further restrictions

10 December, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], December 10 (ANI): Instead of sharing a strategy to favour the media personnel in Afghanistan, the Taliban has pushed the media outlets in the country to the margin once again, saying that the authorities are planning to formulate a proper direction for the media outlets, Khaama Press reported on Friday.

The remarks were made by an executive of the Information and Cultural Affairs Department of Balkh, Mohammad Younis Rashid, after a recent gathering in Northern Mazar-e-Sharif province between the media and the Taliban’s acting government.

Instead of drawing a comprehensive roadmap for the freedom of journalists in the country, the group put further restrictions on the media outlets in the war-torn country, Khaama Press reported.

“We have experienced limitations on media after the takeover of the current regime. Unfortunately, these restrictions will further push the media to the margin,” said the head of a private media outlet in Balkh, Abdul Baseer Abid.

As to locals in the country, the lack of a particular blueprint has posed a severe challenge for Afghan media to grow and prosper, especially after the Taliban took control of the country in August last year.

“The lack of a particular roadmap is a great challenge for the media to grow, therefore, the government should introduce a single policy that would fit with media and journalism,” stated Sayed Mohammad Yazdan, a local journalist, Khaama Press reported.

Several humanitarian organizations have called out the violations against the journalists in the Afghanistan.

In the wake of the excessive rise in crime against journalists in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated the human rights violation of at least 200 reporters in its report, earlier in November.

Taking to Twitter, UNAMA said, “Human rights abuses of more than 200 reporters in Afghanistan recorded by UNAMA since August 2021. Record high numbers include arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment, threats and intimidation.”

“Media in #Afghanistan is in peril. Let us all help #ProtectJournalists #EndImpunity,” UNAMA tweeted.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in mid-August last year, it rolled back women’s rights advances and media freedom revoking the efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech in the country.

According to a report by the South Asian Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) over 45 per cent of journalists have quit since the terrorist outfit assumed power. The ever-increasing restrictions against media in Afghanistan have also drawn widespread criticism globally with the United Nations (UN) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) decrying the arrests, demanding the Taliban stop harassing local journalists and stifling freedom of speech through continued detentions and threats.

Source: The Print

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Islamic Emirate: Anti-Corruption Commission to Resume Activity

December 10, 2022

On International Anti-Corruption Day, the Islamic Emirate spokesperson said that the Anti-Corruption Commission will restart its work soon.

According to the spokesman, because of financial issues, the commission's operations had been suspended.

"If there was a need for an anti-corruption department, we have it already. Because of economic challenges it has been suspended. As far as the fight against corruption is concerned, there is currently no corruption in the offices," said Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesman of the Islamic Emirate. 

The deputy spokesman added that the current governmental organizations are free from corruption now.

"The anti-corruption department is necessary. For government offices in some countries, corruption levels are low because they have an anti-corruption department," said Maiwnd Rohani, a governance expert.

Meanwhile, some citizens of the country called on the current government to fight against corruption in the country.

The citizen added that corruption in government institutions has decreased compared to the past, but this problem has not been completely removed.

"In the current government, the level of corruption is very low but it's not zero," said Ahmad Zia, a Kabul resident.

"In some departments there is no corruption, and it will solve the problems of the people a little bit," said Bakht Munir, a Kabul resident.

The Islamic Emirate said that they were committed to removing corruption from the government departments from the first day of their takeover. And now they completely have removed corruption from the government departments, they say.

Political analysts consider the existence of independent institutions important.

Source: Tolo News

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Finance Ministry takes notice of dollar, wheat, urea 'smuggling to Kabul'

Khaleeq Kiani

December 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: An inter-ministerial huddle on Friday noted with concern that many of the challenges confronting the country were being aggravated by smuggling, mostly on western borders and decided to take robust measures to stop the outflow of foreign currency and critical imported commodities.

The meeting presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was told that various reports suggest that not only foreign currency but wheat and urea were imported at huge subsidies at the cost of scarce foreign exchange flowing to Afghanistan.

The participants of the meeting were flabbergasted that the smuggling of urea, wheat and currency was happening despite the presence of a large workforce of civil and armed forces and customs and fencing of over 2,500km of borders at the cost of more than Rs50 billion. It was observed that while it was humanely difficult to monitor such a long border yet this could not be allowed to go on.

Mr Dar directed that all stakeholders should put their acts together in a coordinated manner beyond routine responsibilities in the nation’s interest while also keeping in mind the sensitivities across the border.

Finance minister stresses coordinated efforts in the national interest

“Everybody will have to play a role because no single institution could overcome the situation without the cooperation of others,” the finance minister said. The meeting felt it ironic that large dollar amounts were moving out purportedly in the name of coal being imported from Afghanistan in local currency.

“The meeting discussed and reviewed the economic situation and current mechanism of foreign currency, wheat and urea smuggling,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, adding that various measures were discussed in order to strengthen the anti-smuggling regime.

The measures were not specified in the statement. Still, an official said all the stakeholders particularly customs intelligence, frontier constabulary and intelligence agencies were asked by the finance minister to come up with their respective roadmaps on an urgent basis to address the menace, causing serious financial and foreign exchange loss to the kitty when it faced historic challenges.

The meeting was also attended by law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Special Assistants to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Tariq Bajwa and Tariq Pasha, SBP governor, secretaries of finance and interior and DG Federal Investigation Agency and Customs and senior representatives of intelligence agencies.

Source: Dawn

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Two opposition leaders arrested in Bangladesh

December 10, 2022

DHAKA: Two top leaders of Bangladesh’s main opposition party were arrested by police on early Friday, a day before a planned rally to call for the prime minister’s resignation.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Mirza Abbas, a former minister and member of the party’s top decision-making body, were taken from their homes at about 3am on Friday Zahiruddin Swapan, head of the BNP’s media wing, said.

Protests sparked by power cuts and fuel price hikes have erupted across the country in recent months, demanding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina step down in favour of fresh elections under a caretaker government.

Friday’s police action came two days after security forces in the capital Dhaka fired rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd of thousands of Bangladesh Nationalist Party supporters preparing for the December 10 rally, leaving at least one dead and scores wounded.

Source: Dawn

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Afghanistan’s War Widows Desperate Demand for Work

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

December 9, 2022

Women who lost their husbands in the war in the Southern Helmand Province desperately ask the interim government of Afghanistan to provide them with work.

The prolonged war in Afghanistan took the lives of scores of innocent civilians including men, women, and children across the country. Thousands of women lost their daily bread earners in either fighting against the insurgent groups or standing against the previous regime. The consequences of the never-ending war have adversely affected the lives of every segment of society, women, and girls in particular.

“In the absence of my husband, I have to work and support my family. I have five children, and I would do every possible work to feed my family before they die from hunger and poverty. The current government should pay serious attention to the living conditions of the war widows because they have no other alternative to look for,” said a local Helmand resident. 

Despite the flowing humanitarian aid since the overthrow of the previous regime last August, the economic situation in Afghanistan is worsening. Foreign-based organizations ceased operations. Similarly, public and private businesses have shrunk due to regime change and uncertain political conditions, leading to a massive unemployment rate.

Over the past years, certain women supported their families through handicrafts, however, due to the recent political changes, the handicraft business has declined with low demand for the product.
Source: Khaama Press

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Anti-Corruption Commission to Resume Operation Soon: Taliban

By Arif Ahmadi

December 10, 2022

Kabul, Afghanistan – The Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid, on International Anti-Corruption Day, said the Anti-Corruption Commission will resume its work soon, according to sources, whose operation has been suspended.

Mujahid addresses financial issues as the main reason why the commission has suspended its operation.

“If there was a need for an anti-corruption department, we have it already,” he said as TOLOnews quoted. “Because of economic challenges it has been suspended.”

According to the spokesperson, the government offices are free of corruption under their leadership since the last August 2021.

“As far as the fight against corruption is concerned, there is currently no corruption in the offices,” he exclaimed.

Highlighting the effectiveness of the anti-corruption commission, governance expert believe such department is necessary to eradicate misconduct within an organization.

“The anti-corruption department is necessary. For government offices in some countries, corruption levels are low because they have an anti-corruption department,” said Maiwnd Rohani, a governance expert.

Meanwhile, a number of Afghan citizens called on the current leadership to fight against corruption in the country, saying the problem has not been completely removed from the system.

“In the current government, the level of corruption is very low but it’s not zero,” said Ahmad Zia, a Kabul resident, as local media quoted.

“In some departments there is no corruption, and it will solve the problems of the people a little bit,” said Bakht Munir, another Kabul resident.

Political analysts consider the existence of independent institutions important, saying such will resolve economic problems in the country.

“Whenever political and economic problems have been resolved in a country is when corruption decreases,” said Toryalai Zazai, political analyst.
Source: Khaama Press

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Expansion of Afghan Refugee Sponsorship Program; A Pathway to Canada

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

December 10, 2022

After the collapse of the previous regime in August 2021, the Canadian people extended their helping hands to those Afghan families and friends fleeing for their lives, and they are still ready to support more asylum seekers. 

The Canadian government and people have been extremely generous to the people of Afghanistan. Their unconditional support has continued for the people of Afghanistan over the past two decades across different domains. Even after the Taliban’s takeover, they moved thousands of vulnerable Afghan families to Canada through a so-called emergency program.

Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada introduced a temporary federal program dedicated to Afghan nationals less than two months ago, waiving the need for official refugee status, as long as the refugees meet the Canadian government’s criteria to be privately sponsored.

However, the demand was so high that the program reached its cap of 3,000 applications within the initial 20 or 30 minutes, leaving many sponsors frustrated, who raised funds and took full preparation to fill out an application.

“I am pleased the government opened this temporary program and hopes there will be more refugees without official refugee recognition status who are accepted, highlighting Afghans are one of the largest refugee populations in the world,” said Iris Challoner, MOSAIC’s refugee sponsorship program manager.

Meanwhile, the private sponsorship group is another scheme through which eligible Afghan families could move to Canada who already have relatives to sponsor. But the major obstacle is the legal status of Afghans who have fled to Pakistan and Iran. They need to have official recognition from those states or the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees.
Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Sarawak premier says state practices moderate Islamic approach to maintain racial harmony

10 Dec 2022

KUCHING, Dec 10 — Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the appointment of five Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs proved that the state has always adopted a moderate approach in its Islamic teaching.

The GPS chairman said practising a moderate Islamic approach was necessary in order to maintain racial harmony in the state.

“This is because our people here are united. The Muslims unite, and we understand our non-Muslims (Sarawakians) very well, and they believe in us because our practice is based on knowledge,” he said, adding that the state did not condone racial or religious bigotry.

“Be balanced, don’t be too obsessed. We must be moderate. Yes, you can talk and preach about Islam, we fight for Islam but we also must be careful.

“If we want to make more people to believe in Islam, we must talk about science. You rationalise it. Use the Islamic astronomy knowledge theory and apply it.

“Don’t be obsessive,” he said during the opening ceremony of the Sarawak-level Falak (Astronomy) Seminar at the Sarawak Islamic Information Centre here yesterday.

Abang Johari explained better understanding in scientific knowledge in preaching Islam would strengthen inter-religious relationship.

“Astronomy itself is a knowledge of science. Al Falaq is related to astronomy. Its philosophy articulates how our solar system including the stars in the sky, the earth, the sun, everything is bound to by an equilibrium that makes it balance.

“The core of science is research, it has to be done and has to be learned from the creation of Allah SWT. Just look at the balance created by Allah to stabilise our planet earth today. Our philosophy of life is to be balanced,” he said.

Abang Johari also said that GPS had never expected that one of its MPs would be appointed as a deputy prime minister.

He believes the appointment of Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof as deputy prime minister demonstrated Sarawak’s capability in managing its politics.

“Who would have thought that a Sarawakian would become a deputy prime minister. This happened because we had proved to them that we manage our own politics well.
Source: Malay Mail

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Group pleads with Malaysia to find Rohingyas feared dying at sea due to mistaken identity

By Julia Chan

09 Dec 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 ― A humanitarian group has urged Malaysians authorities to urgently launch a search mission for a boat with Rohingya refugees who were allegedly dying after being left stranded for days within the country’s search-and-rescue (SAR) limits.

Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network’s Rohingya Working Group chairman Lilianne Fan asserted that her group has information that showed up to 180 Rohingyas remained adrift in the Andaman Sea near Thailand’s Ranong province, which was within Malaysia’s SAR region.

Thai authorities had launched a separate mission that recovered another boat, which Fan claimed may have been mistaken for the one in need of rescue

“It is critical that Malaysia verify if this boat in serious distress is the same one that was rescued by Thais and if not, Malaysia should fulfil our international responsibility to rescue boats in distress in our SAR region without discrimination,” said Fan.

Speaking to Malay Mail, Fan, who is also director of the Geutanyoe Foundation, said she was in touch with the families of the passengers onboard and given coordinates of the boat’s location at 4pm from a satellite phone aboard.

Fan said that their information put the number of passengers at between 160 and 180 Rohingyas, including some 50 women and 30 children, who left Bangladesh on November 26. According to her, the boat was taking on water and its engine disabled days ago.

“Many passengers including women and children have already passed away on the boat as they ran out of food and water in the last five days,” she said.

Fan also asserted that Malaysian authorities were not taking any action as they believed Thailand have already rescued a boat of Rohingya refugees today.

“However, there have been multiple boats at sea and we have concerns the boat in distress was not the one rescued by the Thais. To our knowledge there are multiple boats left and in the sea, different from the boat that was found by oil rig workers yesterday and handed over to the Myanmar Navy,” she said.

“They have been in serious distress at sea in the Andaman Sea for more than a week, and there are people dying. They are in need of urgent rescue and humanitarian assistance and Malaysia has the international responsibility to conduct search and rescue operations for boats in distress in this region,” Fan added.

She said that her organisation has so far been in touch with the Home Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organization (Mapim) and several members of Parliament.

“I am sure that our government has looked into it but they believe that Thailand has been conducting rescues so right now they are not looking,” she said.

According to the last GPS coordinates received from a satellite phone on the boat at 4pm, the last known location of the boat is approximately 388km from Ranong, 352 km from Port Blair, and 619 km from Langkawi.

The United Nations UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had in a statement Wednesday urged countries in the region to save the lives of about 200 Rohingya refugees whose boat has been stranded off the coast of Thailand since December 1.

Unverified information suggests a number of Rohingya, including women and children, have already lost their lives, and there is a significant risk of additional fatalities in the coming days if people were not rescued.

It was also reported by Reuters earlier today that a Vietnamese oil service vessel rescued 154 Rohingya from a sinking boat in the Andaman Sea and has transferred them to Myanmar’s navy.

The vessel, Hai Duong 29, was en route from Singapore to Myanmar when it spotted the boat in distress 458.7km south of the Myanmar coast on Wednesday.

Source: Malay Mail

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Malaysia’s PM Anwar names 27 deputy ministers to complete his leadership team

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Friday named 27 deputy ministers for his unity government, seven days after naming his Cabinet ministers.

The names were unveiled at a news conference in Malaysia’s administrative capital of Putrajaya after they were approved by the Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, earlier on Friday. The deputy ministers will be sworn in before the King at 3pm on Saturday.

Datuk Seri Anwar on Dec 2 unveiled a slightly smaller Cabinet than that of his predecessor, totalling 28 full ministers that included himself and two deputy prime ministers.

Mr Anwar is also the Finance Minister. The Finance Ministry will have two deputy ministers – Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan from the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and Mr Steven Sim from Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The deputy minister for the Ministry of International Trade and Industry is Mr Liew Chin Tong (PH), who was the deputy defence minister when PH helmed the government in 2018.

The deputy defence minister is Mr Adly Zahari (PH), who was formerly Melaka chief minister.

The deputy ministers in other key ministries are:

- Home Affairs – Mr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN)

- Law and Institutional Reform – Mr Ramkarpal Singh (PH)

- Foreign Affairs – Mr Mohamad Alamin (BN)

- Transport – Hasbi Habibollah (Gabungan Parti Sarawak, or GPS)

- Education – Ms Lim Hui Ying (PH), younger sister of Mr Lim Guan Eng, a PH leader and chairman of the Democratic Action Party

- Higher Education – Mr Yusof Apdal (Parti Warisan), younger brother of former Cabinet minister Shafie Apdal.

Malaysia’s unity government is made up of four main coalitions: PH led by Mr Anwar with 82 seats, BN with 30, GPS with 23 and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah with six, making a total of 141 seats in the 222-strong federal Parliament.

Mr Anwar has said he also has support from other smaller coalitions and parties for a total of 148 parliamentary seats, or a two-thirds majority.

The Anwar administration is burnishing its reformist credentials by reviewing projects and plans approved by past administrations. The PH alliance’s election manifesto also promised to fight corruption.

Mr Anwar on Friday said the government will continue to be consistent in its efforts to combat corruption.

“By celebrating and upholding integrity, it can propel Malaysia towards holistic excellence that will include the physical and spiritual aspects, values and identity,” he said in a Facebook post on Friday, which is also International Anti-Corruption Day.

Separately, Malaysia’s anti-graft agency said its investigation into the alleged misuse of Covid-19 era stimulus packages by the previous administration will focus on RM92.5 billion (S$28.4 billion) spent by the government.

This comes a day after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said that it had opened an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of RM600 billion of public funds for tackling the pandemic. The MACC said on Thursday that it would summon former premier Muhyiddin Yassin and two former Cabinet ministers who served in his administration for questioning over the case.

Source: Straits Times

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Anwar Ibrahim is good news for the Muslim world


December 09, 2022

The news has been particularly fraught and relentless recently; so much is happening. A major war in Europe continues, financial issues such as inflation and energy price rises sweep the world in developed and developing nations alike, and there is a World Cup to watch and dissect.

In the current climate, it is hard to find time to stop and think — and harder still, sometimes, to acknowledge tentative good news stories. But that only makes it all the more vital to ensure that we do indeed stop to mark such moments.

One such tentative positive step was recently taken by Malaysia. Anwar Ibrahim, a perennial opposition leader, took office as prime minister last month. That he might do so seemed unlikely, even impossible, for more than two decades. In all that time, during crisis after crisis, scandal after scandal, Ibrahim toiled in the political wilderness. It was a very difficult road.

Even now, as the BBC reminds us, Ibrahim will not have an easy ride. There are forces arrayed against him that threaten to render his time in office short and unsuccessful.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First, a reminder of who Ibrahim is, what he represents and why his election, after all these years, is good news not only for Malaysia but for the whole of the Muslim world.

In the 1990s, Ibrahim was his country’s finance minister and deputy prime minister. His long tenure and steady hands meant he was internationally respected. His time as head of Malaysia’s economy coincided with a period of remarkable growth and optimism. It was the era of the Asian tigers.

Not only a competent finance minister, Ibrahim also proved from the beginning of his political career to be a socially aware Muslim. From the 1970s he was at the head of an Islamic revival movement in Malaysia. As a co-founder of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia), his party and ideals combined social concerns and care for the poor and dispossessed with an explicit vision of Islam.

Ibrahim’s politics were shaped around a vision of a kind of multiethnic, globally aware Islam. He was, and is, a proud Malay and a proud Muslim. In contrast to transnational Islamism, Ibrahim favors social progress within nation states. His vision for Malaysia sees it taking its place both within the Islamic community and the wider world.

All of this will be central to his future plans because Malaysia has many problems. It is a corrupt society where the rule of law is an inconsistent principle. For years, the country was run by a succession of prime ministers whose Byzantine sense of politics was accompanied by an almost imperial taste for wealth and luxury.

Competent economic management is a soothing balm in the aftermath of such crises and scandals. So, too, is a modest philosophy of government steeped in the civic teachings of Islam, led by a party that consists of a multiethnic, multifaith coalition.

Such virtues, once expressed, tend to spread. If Ibrahim succeeds, Malaysia will transcend the recent scandal and turmoil and could well become a beacon for the region and the wider Muslim world: A country that recovered from poor governance, greed and moral corruption, and sought through its own efforts to instead build a brighter future for its people.

Ibrahim faces many challenges, not the least of which includes the global economic crisis. With China in perpetual slowdown and the US and Europe teetering on the brink of recession, the prospects of growth for many countries have been depressed.

Ibrahim cannot imagine that he will enjoy immediate success. The headwinds he faces are strong. But as his supporters have said, would the people of Malaysia rather be led by an experienced man long kept out of positions of power, or by the leaders from its recent history: Men accused and even convicted of corruption, or men whose political coalitions failed to stand the test of time?

We must hope that the long-awaited leadership of this perennial opposition figure proves capable of bringing about the transformation that Ibrahim’s supporters have so long imagined, for their sake.

Source: Arab News

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Already under probe for Islamophobia claim, Hadi now accuses DAP of milking Malay disunity

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

09 Dec 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang today accused DAP of exploiting divisions in the Malay polity to further its agenda, adding to his anti-Islam claim against the Pakatan Harapan component for which he is under police investigation.

In a post on his Facebook page, Hadi appeared to have referenced Malay political leaders that are now working with the DAP, in a litany of allegations that included them having insatiable thirst for power and wealth.

Hadi claimed greed was why these Malay leaders were willing to collaborate with a party that allegedly worked against Islam, an allegation the PAS president has repeatedly made without substantiating.

Alluding to the Melaka sultanate’s fall to the Portuguese, Hadi suggested that today’s Malay political leaders have allowed “foreign invaders” — likely a euphemism for DAP — to conquer their land because they are preoccupied with endless power tussles.

“The arrival of the invaders was made easy because of the divisions among the rulers and their subjects, alongside the thirst for wealth and power to the point that they would sell their dignity, faith and community. At the end they relinquished everything to the invaders and all races that are enemies of Islam,” he wrote.

Hadi claimed the ideology underpinning the DAP to be “clearly anti-Islam” but suggested that Malay-Muslim political leaders were turning a blind eye to justify forming political cooperation because they want to be in power.

“Today, DAP is praised supposedly because their leaders claimed to have changed even if their ideology remains clearly anti-Islam. All they (DAP leaders) have done is keep quiet without actually changing the party’s foundation together with other parties that abet them,” the PAS president said.

On November 28, Hadi accused DAP of spreading Islamophobia in another lengthy Facebook rant that featured the usual diatribe against the PH component member as a party allegedly bent on “destroying” Islam.

In August, he accused non-Muslims and non-Bumiputera of making up the bulk of what he called “roots of corruption” — those who chase illicit gains — to the detriment of the country’s economy and politics.

The police questioned Hadi over his claims on Monday.

Source: Malay Mail

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UK's Daily Mail apologizes to Pakistan premier over corruption allegations

Aysu Bicer  



UK's tabloid Daily Mail has apologized to Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif over a 2019 article which accused him of stealing British aid money meant for earthquake victims.

The news story, ‘Did the family of Pakistani politician who has become the poster boy for British overseas aid STEAL funds meant for earthquake victims,’ written by journalist David Rose, was published on July 14, 2019 when former Prime Minister Imran Khan was in power.

The article alleged that Sharif and his family members misappropriated funds out of more than £500 million ($612 million) aid provided by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) for the devastating 2005 earthquake victims when he was the chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province.

Both Sharif and DFID denied the charges, with the former filing a defamation case against the newspaper in a UK high court, seeking withdrawal of charges, damages and an apology.

In a clarification published on its website on Thursday, the British newspaper said that "we reported on an investigation by Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau into Mr Sharif and suggested that the money under investigation included a not insubstantial sum of British public money that had been paid to the Punjab province in DFID grant aid.

"We accept Mr Sharif has never been accused by the National Accountability Bureau of any wrongdoing in relation to British public money or DFID grant aid. We are pleased to make this clear and apologise to Mr Sharif for this error."

According to Murtaza Ali Shah, a senior Pakistani journalist based in London who had been following the case, the Daily Mail has withdrawn all allegations of corruption after an out-of-court settlement with Sharif and his son-in-law Imran Ali Yousaf. The article has also been removed from all of the publication's platforms as part of the agreement, he said.

Following the apology, Sharif thanked God for his "vindication," saying "brazen lies" have been exposed and that "disinformation & fake news have limited shelf life."

Rose, the journalist who wrote the story, tweeted on Friday that the newspaper has not apologized for other allegations in the article, such as those covering alleged money-laundering.
Source: Anadolu Agency

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Russia trying to get ballistic missiles from Iran, says Britain

09 December ,2022

Russia is attempting to obtain more weapons from Iran, including hundreds of ballistic missiles, and offering Tehran an unprecedented level of military and technical support in return, Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward said on Friday.

Woodward also said that since August Iran had transferred hundreds of drones - also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - to Russia, which had used them to “kill civilians and illegally target civilian infrastructure” in Ukraine.

Iran denies supplying the drones to Moscow, and Russia has denied its forces used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.

“Russia is now attempting to obtain more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles,” Woodward told reporters.

“In return, Russia is offering Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical support. We’re concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with more advanced military components, which will allow Iran to strengthen their weapons capability,” she said.

The Iranian and Russian missions to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Iran has promised to provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles, in addition to more drones, two senior Iranian officials and two Iranian diplomats told Reuters in October.

The United States said on Wednesday that it has seen the continued provision of Iranian drones to Russia, but that Washington had not seen evidence that Iran has transferred ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine.

Woodward spoke ahead of a Security Council meeting later on Friday, requested by Russia, on weapons from the Ukraine conflict that Russia says are “falling into the hands of bandits and terrorists” elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

She also said that Britain was “almost certain that Russia is seeking to source weaponry from North Korea (and) other heavily sanctioned states, as their overstocks palpably dwindle.”

The United Nations is examining “available information” about accusations that Iran supplied Russia with drones, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council in a report earlier this week, as he faces Western pressure to send experts to Ukraine to inspect downed drones.

Britain, France, Germany, the United States and Ukraine say the supply of Iranian-made drones to Russia violates a 2015 UN Security Council resolution enshrining the Iran nuclear deal.

Russia argues that there is no mandate for Guterres to send UN experts to Ukraine to investigate the origin of the drones.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Türkiye emphasizes effective cooperation with Bulgaria to manage border security

Faruk Zorlu 


Türkiye emphasized the need for effective cooperation with Bulgaria to deal with border security in the management of irregular migration, the Turkish president said on Friday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "We focused on the need for effective cooperation in the management of irregular migration."

This bilateral cooperation will further develop with the completion of the modernization of the border gates on the Bulgarian side and the strengthening of the food inspection infrastructure, he added.

He said the trade volume between Türkiye and Bulgaria reached $6 billion last year, adding that the common goal decided on Friday's talks was to increase it to $10 billion in a short time.

The issue of cooperation opportunities on energy security was on the agenda, he said, adding that Türkiye's Energy and Natural Resources Ministry will take the necessary steps to help to meet Bulgaria's demand.

Meanwhile, for his side, Radev appreciated Türkiye's efforts to help forge a grain corridor deal and its support for Bulgaria's need for liquefied gas.

Friday's talks were "very helpful," he said, underlying the importance of increasing the security of border gates by taking steps jointly.

Bulgaria also hailed Ankara's efforts to prevent the increasing illegal immigration, he added.

On July 22, Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a landmark agreement in Istanbul to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which had been paused in February due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UK summons Iran's charge d'affaires over protester's execution

Ahmet Gürhan Kartal



The British government on Friday summoned Iran's top envoy to the country over the execution of a protester, a Foreign Office statement said.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly "instructed the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) to summon" Mehdi Hosseini Matin, Charge d'affaires of Iran, after Tehran carried out the first execution of a protestor since demonstrations began in September over the death of a young woman in police custody, it said.

"The execution of Mohsen Shekari by the Iranian regime is abhorrent. He is a tragic victim of a legal system in which disproportionate sentences, politically motivated trials and forced confessions are rife," Cleverly said.

"We have made our views clear to the Iranian authorities -- Iran must immediately halt executions and end the violence against its own people," he added.

Following reports of the execution, the foreign secretary said in a statement on Thursday that the UK was "outraged."

FCDO officials held a meeting with Matin to "underline that in the UK's view this is a grossly disproportionate action, which is designed to intimidate ordinary Iranians and stifle voices of dissent."

Matin was also told that the UK "opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and urged Iran to immediately halt executions and the imposition of death sentences."

The execution was ordered for Muhsin Shikari, who, according to the Mizan News Agency, affiliated with Iran's judiciary, "threatened citizens with a cold weapon and injured a security guard during protests on Sattar Khan Street" in the Iranian capital Tehran

Shikari was given the death penalty on Nov. 20 and the execution was carried out on Thursday morning.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UK sanctions Russian and Iranian officials, citing human rights abuses

December 09, 2022

LONDON: Britain on Friday announced sanctions against 30 people worldwide, including Russian and Iranian officials, targeting those it deems responsible for acts of torture, sexual violence, and the violent repression of street protests.

The move came a day after France announced plans for new European Union sanctions against Iran over human rights abuses in its security crackdown on popular unrest there as well as its supply of drones to Russia before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The British government said its sanctions were coordinated with international partners to mark International Anti-Corruption Day and Global Human Rights Day. They encompassed individuals involved in activities including the torture of prisoners and the mobilization of troops to rape civilians.

“Today our sanctions go further to expose those behind the heinous violations of our most fundamental rights,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.

Those sanctioned include Russian Col. Ramil Rakhmatulovich Ibatullin for his role as the commander of the 90th Tank Division, which has been involved in fighting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

The government said there have been multiple allegations made against serving members of the 90th Tank Division, including the conviction in Ukraine of a senior lieutenant on sexual abuse charges during the conflict.

Russia, which has said it is conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine to eliminate threats to its security, has denied committing war crimes or targeting civilians.

Britain also sanctioned 10 Iranian officials connected to Iran’s prison systems. This included six people linked to the Revolutionary Courts that have been responsible for prosecuting protesters with sentences including the death penalty.

Nationwide protests that erupted after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16 have posed one of the biggest challenges to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979.

The British government sanctioned Ali Cheharmahali and Gholamreza Ziyayi, former directors of Evin prison in Tehran, which it said was a facility notorious for the mistreatment of both Iranian and foreign detainees.

The foreign office said the sanctions against 11 countries across seven sanctions regimes were the most that Britain has ever imposed in one package.

Britain also sanctioned figures involved in Myanmar’s military, which it said were involved in committing massacres, torture and rape.

Source: Arab News

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UK sanctions 10 Iranians as part of global offensive

09 December ,2022

Britain on Friday announced wide-ranging sanctions against 30 targets worldwide, including officials in Iran accused of pursuing “egregious sentences” against anti-regime protesters.

The sanctions against the 10 people connected to Iran’s judicial and prison systems came after the clerical regime’s first execution of one such protester, which has triggered global condemnation.

“This includes six individuals linked to the Revolutionary Courts that have been responsible for prosecuting protestors with egregious sentences including the death penalty,” the government in London said.

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Two of the Iranians now subject to a UK travel ban and assets freeze are former directors of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran: Ali Chaharmahali and Gholamreza Ziaei.

The sanctions, timed to mark world days for anti-corruption and human rights, hit individuals across 11 countries -- “the most that the UK has ever brought together in one package,” the foreign ministry said.

They include five people from Russia and Russian-held Crimea amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which has attracted successive waves of UK sanctions against Moscow.

Others on the list, accused of violating human rights, are from Nicaragua, Pakistan and Uganda.

The UK also highlighted orchestrated sexual violence in sanctioning two local officials in South Sudan, one extremist group in Mali and three junta entities in military-ruled Myanmar.

Designated individuals from Kosovo, Moldova and Serbia were accused of corruption.

“Today our sanctions go further to expose those behind the heinous violations of our most fundamental rights to account,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Australia imposes sanctions on Iran, Russia over human rights violations

10 December ,2022

Australia’s foreign minister said on Saturday the government would place targeted sanctions on Russia and Iran in response to what it called “egregious” human rights violations.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said in a statement Australia was imposing Magnitsky-style sanctions on 13 individuals and two entities, including Iran’s Morality Police and Basij Resistance Force, and six Iranians involved in the crackdown on protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in custody in September.

In an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, Wong said the sanctions applied to Seyed Sadegh Hosseini, whom she described as a senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He was being listed for his alleged role in “indiscriminate use of violence against protesters”.

“The Iranian regime’s flagrant and widespread disregard for the human rights of its own people has appalled Australians, and the perpetrators must be held accountable,” Wong wrote in the newspaper on Saturday.

Seven Russians involved in what the foreign minister said was the attempted assassination of former opposition leader Alexei Navalny would also have human rights sanctions imposed on them, Wong said in her statement, issued with Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Tim Watts.

In addition to human rights sanctions, Wong said Australia was placing further targeted financial sanctions on three Iranians and one Iranian business for supplying drones to Russia for use against Ukraine.

“The supply of drones to Russia is evidence of the role Iran plays in destabilizing global security. This listing highlights that those who provide material support to Russia will face consequences,” she said.

The announcement comes after Australia’s center-left Labour government in October imposed targeted financial sanctions and travel bans on 28 Russian-appointed separatists, ministers and senior officials after President Vladimir Putin proclaimed the annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

Since the start of the conflict, Australia has sanctioned hundreds of Russian individuals and entities, including most of Russia’s banking sector and all organizations responsible for the country’s sovereign debt.

It also has supplied defense equipment and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, while outlawing exports of alumina and aluminum ores, including bauxite, to Russia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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New ‘Ruthless Conflict’ Displaces Thousands in South Sudan

Benjamin Takpiny  


JUBA, South Sudan

Fighting between rival army groups in remote areas of South Sudan's Upper Nile State has spread into a camp housing people displaced by the violence, religious leaders said Thursday.

The bloodshed has killed an unknown number of people while rape, murder and kidnapping have been reported as the conflict intensifies.

Father Paolino Tipo Deng, a Comboni missionary priest and chairman of Upper Nile Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation, urged warring parties to embrace peace and dialogue in a bid to restore stability.

“We condemn and reject such senseless and unnecessary war among people of one nation who are supposed to be living in peace and harmony, collaborating together for their good,” Deng told Anadolu Agency in the nation’s capital of Juba. “We urge the warring parties to a cease-fire and stop blood-shedding.”

The conflict erupted in August between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in-opposition (SPLA-IO) faction, led by Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual, and the Agwelek militia force under Gen. Johnson Olony.

The conflict later on expanded to members of the Nuer and Shiluk communities. The root cause of the conflict concerns land.

Deng urged the government to intervene and stop the conflict which has resulted in the deaths of civilians and displacement of thousands from their homelands.

“We call on the president, first vice president and all peace partners to take immediate action to stop the fighting and open up their hearts in a sincere dialogue to address the root causes of this conflict,” said Deng.

The abduction of women and children and the destruction of properties and livelihoods have also been reported.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, is alarmed by the escalating conflict which has displaced at least 20,000 people, some of them forced to flee for their lives up to four times as the conflict rages. At least 3,000 have already fled to neighboring Sudan, further intensifying South Sudan’s refugee crisis, the largest in Africa.

The armed conflict erupted in the village of Tonga on August 15. Violence has since spread further to northern parts of the states of Jonglei and Unity. It is currently advancing in the Upper Nile’s Fashoda county and is threatening the town of Kodok.

“Desperation is rising, and more people are fleeing as conflict intensifies,” said UNHCR’s Representative in South Sudan, Arafat Jamal. “Civilians are under attack in this ruthless conflict; we must ensure their protection.”

Women and children and others at high risk make up the majority of those displaced. Some elderly people or those with disabilities, have been unable to flee and are compelled to hide in bushes and along the White Nile River during attacks.

Fleeing civilians are visibly traumatized and report killings, injuries, gender-based violence, abductions, extortion, looting and burning of properties. Many have lost their homes and have been separated from their families.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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South Sudan’s Ruling Party Endorses President Kiir as Candidate for another Term

Benjamin Takpiny 


JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan’s ruling party on Wednesday endorsed President Salva Kiir as its candidate for another term in the elections that will be held at the end of 2024.

Kiir has been the country’s only president since it gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the country's 2011 provisional constitution did not provide a presidential term limit.

South Sudan has since grappled with a five-year civil war and the slow implementation of a peace deal signed in 2018.

“I am humbled and honored by your decision to nominate me for these two important tasks ... to be the sole candidate in the forthcoming convention, and also the flag bearer for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party in the general election,” Kiir said after being endorsed by his party members.

“I hope I will not fail you. ... I believe that we will fight together whatever battles that are coming,” Kiir said.

There has been no other declared candidate for the 2024 presidential elections, but Vice President Riek Machar is expected to run for the presidential elections. Machar is also a longtime Kiir rival and a former rebel leader.

In 2013, the political disagreement in the country caused a split within the army, leading the soldiers that are loyal to the respective leaders to fight.

The National Liberation Council, the highest party organ of the ruling SPLM, has also endorsed Kiir’s deputies and secretary-general.

Stance of main opposition

Puok Both Baluang, the head of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO), also Machar's acting spokesman, stressed that Machar remains a member of the SPLM party.

Baluang also warned Kiir’s faction against making decisions that can jeopardize cooperation.

He said they are ready for elections if all security arrangements and repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people are completed.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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