New Age Islam
Wed Oct 20 2021, 04:28 PM

Islamic World News ( 3 Oct 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Taliban Government Forces Destroyed An Islamic State Cell Hours After Mosque Blast In Kabul Blast

New Age Islam News Bureau

04 October 2021

 

A member of Taliban force stands guard at the site of yesterday's blast in Kabul, Afghanistan October 4, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

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South Asia

• 70 Per Cent Afghan Media Stopped Working Since Taliban Takeover

• Taliban say bomb blast at Kabul mosque killed five civilians

• Taliban-style security welcomed by some, feared by others

• Five arrested over killing of Rohingya leader in Bangladesh

• Qatar flight with more than 230 evacuees leaves Kabul, official says

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India

• A Foot Soldier’s Account of How Muslims Were Integral to the Jharkhand Movement

• Cross-LoC trade case: NIA conducts raids across J&K

• Islamic nations along with Muslim Brotherhood launch anti-India campaigns, targeting India's economic interest

• Kuwait Assembly condemns violence against Muslims in India; people in Gulf call for boycott of products

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Europe

• Hitler Teen Fanatic Arrested In France For Planning Terror Attack

• Taliban govt behaviour ‘not encouraging’, says EU foreign policy chief

• EU top diplomat Borrell says discussed nuclear talks, Afghanistan in Saudi visit

• Tensions escalate between France, Algeria over French president’s remarks

• EU, Saudi Arabia sign cooperation deal

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Pakistan

• Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan Emir Seeks US Apology Over ‘War Crimes’ In Afghanistan

• Shaukat Tarin, Moonis Elahi among over 700 Pakistanis named in ICIJ's Pandora Papers

• PM Imran says govt will investigate all citizens mentioned in Pandora Papers

• Pakistan: Opposition calls for PM Imran Khan's resignation over Pandora Papers

• Release Of Pandora Papers Ruffles Pakistani Politics; Imran Khan Vows Probe

• TTP kills 5 Pakistan troops near Af border despite ‘ceasefire’ call

• Protection Of Islamic Values Part Of Our Faith: Federal Minister For Religious Affairs

• Parliament Being 'Pressurised' To Pass Un-Islamic Laws: Fazl

• Pakistan Army sepoy martyred in exchange of fire with terrorists in North Waziristan: ISPR

• IS claims responsibility for killing Sikh in Peshawar

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Southeast Asia

• China's Official Think-Tank Casts Doubt On Taliban's Unity, Ability To Form Inclusive Afghan Govt

• Myanmar’s Lack Of Cooperation Means Hard To Have Junta Boss At Asean Summit, Says Foreign Minister

• Zahid's bribery trial: Using businessman's RM5m ‘donations’ to pay mosque contractor doesn't make them legal, prosecution says

• Pandora Papers shed light on offshore assets linked to Daim, who insists nothing shady about them

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North America

• US Honours Khashoggi’s ‘Extraordinary Life, Legacy’ On Third Anniversary Of His Murder

• Jewish And Muslim Leaders Say, Non-Meat ‘Pork’ Is A Dish Too Far

• Festival in US capital offers taste of Turkish culture

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Arab World

• Saudi Arabia’s FM: Talks With Iran Are Still In Exploratory Phase

• Iraqi scholar speaks of practical following of Imam Hussain (a.s.)

• Cyclone Shaheen kills six people in Iran, three in Oman

• Lebanon patriarch calls for end to meddling in judiciary after blast probe stalls

• First ‘Egyptair’ flight lands in Israel

• Jordan’s King Abdullah receives first call from Assad since start of Syria war

• Crisis-hit Lebanon inaugurates its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in a message of hope

• Egypt “selected as nominee” to host COP27 climate talks: US envoy Kerry

• Disinfection, sanitation operations underway in Mecca’s Grand Mosque

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Mideast

• Leaked Research: Secretive UK Base Linked to US Assassination of Iran's Anti-Terror Commander General Soleimani

• Spokesman: Iran Playing Influential Role in Region as Anchor of Peace

• President Rayeesi: Iran-China Cooperation to Stabilize Region

• Iranian Lawmakers Describe Geopolitical Change as Iran's Red-Line

• Turkey plans military drills with Azerbaijan after Iran’s army exercises near border

• Iran demands US unfreeze $10 billion of Tehran’s frozen assets to show ‘intentions’

• Israel indicts six Palestinians who escaped high security prison

• Two children killed in Houthi missile strikes on Yemen's Marib

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Africa

• Nigerian Ports Authority Staff Evangelization Shows Move To Christianize Nigeria – Muslim Rights Concern

• Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s Political Return Worries Opponents

• Sudan factions form new alliance as splits deepen from main bloc

• ‘Very modest start’ to pullout of foreign fighters: Libya FM

• Algeria closes airspace to French military, French army says, amid growing tensions

• About 500 Europe-bound migrants intercepted off Libya: UN

• Libyans end Morocco talks without sign of election law deal

• Algeria recalls ambassador to France as tensions rise over Macron comments

• Libya’s migrant roundup reaches 4,000 amid major crackdown

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/taliban-islamic-state-mosque-kabul-blast/d/125506

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Taliban Government  Forces Destroyed An Islamic State Cell Hours After Mosque Blast In Kabul Blast

Oct 4, 2021

 

A member of Taliban force stands guard at the site of yesterday's blast in Kabul, Afghanistan October 4, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

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KABUL: Taliban government forces destroyed an Islamic State cell in the north of Kabul late on Sunday, a spokesperson for the movement said, after a blast outside a mosque in the Afghan capital killed and wounded a number of civilians.

There was no confirmation that the operation was directly connected with Sunday's blast, which appeared to be the most serious attack in the Afghan capital since the withdrawal of U.S. forces at the end of August.

The local affiliate of Islamic State, known as ISIS-Khorasan, has already claimed to have carried out attacks on Taliban targets and remains unreconciled to the movement which swept to victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said a special Taliban unit carried out an operation against ISIS elements in Kabul's 17th district, in the city's north late on Sunday.

"The ISIS base was entirely destroyed and all of the ISIS members inside were killed as a result of this decisive and successful attack," he said in a statement on Twitter early on Monday.

Earlier, local media had reported heavy clashes in the area and residents contacted confirmed they had heard explosions and gunfire during the night.

The Taliban, who are also fighting the remnants of forces loyal to Ahmad Massoud, an opposition leader from the Panjshir region north of Kabul, have said they have almost complete control of the country.

But Sunday's violence, and a string of smaller incidents in recent days in areas including Nangarhar on the border with Pakistan and Parwan north of Kabul, have shown that security threats have not disappeared.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for bomb attacks in the eastern city of Jalalabad as well for a suicide attack that killed 13 US troops and scores of Afghan civilians who had crowded outside the Kabul airport gates, desperate to secure seats on evacuation flights.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-say-forces-destroy-islamic-state-cell-hours-after-kabul-blast/articleshow/86747179.cms

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Secret Portions Of US-Taliban Tactical Compromises In Doha Worries India; Foreign Minister Says, India Had Been Kept In The Dark

Oct 4, 2021

 

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, leader of the Taliban delegation, and Zalmay Khalilzad, US envoy for peace in Afghanistan, shake hands after signing the deal in Doha, Qatar February 29, 2020. Photo: Reuters

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NEW DELHI: India is coming to terms with the fact that notwithstanding Pakistan’s role in supporting the Taliban and ensuring a strategic failure for the US in Afghanistan, the US could be re-engaging Pakistan — perhaps shorn of illusions — once again, after a gap.

Foreign minister S. Jaishankar pointed to the “tactical compromises” the US might be making in Af-Pak — both vis a vis the Taliban and Pakistan. Acknowledging for the first time, mildly reproachfully, that India had been kept in the dark about the details of the US-Taliban deal, Jaishankar told an event in Washington, “I think to some degree, we’ll all be justified in having levels of concern. And to some degree, the jury is still out.”

Jaishankar’s reference was to the classified portions of the US-Taliban peace agreement in Doha, two annexures of which were not shared — not only with India but will the US’ partners as well. According to sources, these secret portions included military actions that the US committed to in Afghanistan. There is deep disquiet in India about the details of the secret portions of the agreement that could have an impact on India.

“When I say levels of concern, there were commitments which were made by the Taliban at Doha...The US knows that best, we were not taken into confidence on various aspects of that.” The upshot of this was that US actions threw Afghan civil society and the Ashraf Ghani government under the bus, as the Taliban swept into Kabul in mid-August. “We have been victims of cross-border terrorism from that region and...that has shaped in many ways our view of some of the neighbours of Afghanistan. How much the US shares that view and where is it that the US makes its tactical compromises, that is for the Americans to figure out.”

India faces a challenging diplomatic-security situation post the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. This relates not only to the legitimacy of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, it also relates to Pakistan’s relative positioning vis a vis Afghanistan, China and now, the US, that could have a bearing on India’s security space.

This week, US deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will visit India followed by Pakistan, a script that hasn’t been followed in the recent past. She follows a similar path struck by CIA chief Bill Burns who was here a few days ago. For the present, US officials have indicated this would involve evacuations, but sections in the Indian establishment feel that given US’ intelligence vulnerabilities in Af-Pak, the US-Pak engagement may grow. However, there is a growing clamour in Washington to call Pakistan out for its role, with a new Bill introduced in the US Congress that directly mentions Pakistan and calls for an “assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020.”

Top security sources in the Indian government are convinced the Afghanistan situation will get considerably worse — certainly for Afghan civil society. These are already signs of abuse of women, removing them from employment and education, suffering of minorities etc. This is directly related to how the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

This is already playing out badly in the internal politics of the Democrats in Washington. First, a realisation that the main reason the Afghan government folded as it did was that there was virtually no space for it in the Doha deal. Officials said one escape clause for the US could have been reneging on the deal if the Taliban-Afghan talks failed. They did, largely because the Taliban was not interested. But the Biden administration stayed in the deal, which, an increasing number of security experts now describe as a “weak” deal.

A second point of concern in India is the number of weapons left behind by the departing US troops for the Taliban to use. Given their parlous control and an economic crisis, India is worried that these weapons could find their way to armed criminals and terror groups, potentially causing havoc.

However, unlike the last time, the India-US relationship has evolved to a place that now sees both countries at least exchanging notes on Afghanistan, though there are many areas where India does not agree with the US. Those concerns, sources said, have been made clear to the Biden administration as well.

The UN’s credentials committee is expected to meet in November to take a call on giving the UN seat to the Taliban. The Taliban have already named their spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen to the job. The other check to wholesale acceptance of the Taliban has been the UNSC resolution 2593, which sets down conditions for Taliban’s acceptability and committed the international community to it. Even if the UN decides to grant the UN seat to the Taliban, there will be other hurdles, particularly their international travel. India chairs the Taliban sanctions committee in the UNSC — since many members of the Taliban government are under UN sanctions, these would have to be lifted before they can travel.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/classified-parts-of-us-taliban-doha-deal-have-india-worried/articleshow/86740441.cms

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Swedish Cartoonist, Lars Vilks, Known For Anti-Islamic Prophet Mohammed Sketch Killed In Car Accident

Atila Altuntaş  

04.10.2021

STOCKHOLM

Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, known for his derogatory depiction of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, died in a car accident Sunday, according to local media.

Two police officers who had been assigned to protect him were also killed in the accident, the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reported.

The car carrying Vilks and the officers collided with a truck and both vehicles caught fire, Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT reported.

The truck driver was injured.

Vilks had been living under police protection since the controversial 2007 sketch due to death threats.

Police said they have launched an investigation into the incident.

In 2007, Sweden's local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published Vilks’ cartoon insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Since then, he had been living in a secret location with police guards.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/swedish-cartoonist-known-for-anti-islamic-sketch-killed-in-car-accident/2382064

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Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan Emir Seeks US Apology Over ‘War Crimes’ In Afghanistan

October 4, 2021

MARDAN: Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq has asked the government to recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

He said the government should also call an OIC meeting, where all the Muslim countries should jointly announce recognition of Taliban as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.

The JI chief was talking to mediapersons after attending a religious ceremony in Jamia Miftahul Uloom in Shergar area here on Sunday.

Mr Haq said the US and its Nato allies had ruined the future of coming generations in Afghanistan.

He said Washington should apologise to the people of Afghanistan for committing ‘war crimes’ and imposing an illegal war over them.

“The Taliban have given courage to the entire Muslim Ummah by their 20-year-long struggle for freedom and sovereignty of their country,” he claimed.

Mr Haq said passage of a resolution in the US Senate against Pakistan despite its numerous sacrifices was the result of the failed foreign policy of the government.

The JI emir accused the PTI, PPP and PML-N of plundering the exchequer.

He said skyrocketing prices of food items and increase in rates of petroleum products had made lives miserable for people.

He alleged that Imran Khan-led government had made anti-Islam legislation to please his western masters. He urged the people to support the JI to foil the government’s designs.

He said the JI would gather unemployed people in Islamabad on Oct 31 to demand 10 million jobs from the government.

He claimed that it was the Jamaat that could bring Islamic revolution in the country.

The former senator said other political parties had no clear manifestos, and their leaders were only struggling for their own vested interests.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1649954

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South Asia

 

70 per cent Afghan media stopped working since Taliban takeover

Oct 3, 2021

KABUL: At least 70 per cent of media outlets have stopped working in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control over the country due to financial problems, National Association of Journalists.

The national association of journalists in a press conference in Kabul on Sunday, said that they found the statistics after conducting an online survey in 28 provinces of Afghanistan, Khamma Press reported.

They said that 1,500 Afghan journalists had taken part in the survey.

As per the statistics of the organization, 67 per cent of the Afghan journalists have lost their jobs and 33 per cent of them are busy working under acute pressure and in tough situations.

The Head of the national association of journalists said Masroor Lutfi said that most of the Afghan media that are active are confronting dire economic and financial situations.

"40 per cent of the Afghan journalists are worried about their safety in Afghanistan and rest of them are living a difficult life as they have lost their jobs." Said Lutfi.

The re-emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan raised the concerns among many that journalists in the country would be targeted to silence dissent.

Recently, two Afghan journalists were beaten in police custody after covering a protest by women in Kabul.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/70-per-cent-afghan-media-stopped-working-since-taliban-takeover/articleshow/86735147.cms

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Taliban say bomb blast at Kabul mosque killed five civilians

03 October ,2021

At least five civilians were killed in a bomb blast at the entrance of a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, a Taliban Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Qari Saeed Khosti confirmed the deaths. Initial reports indicate the explosion was caused by a roadside bomb. Three suspects have been arrested, Bilal Karimi, Taliban official spokesman said. He added the investigation was ongoing.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Mohammad Israil, a Kabul resident, said he heard the blast: “I heard a loud sound. All the people were running away.”

The bomb targeted the sprawling Eidgah Mosque in Kabul, where a memorial service was being held for the mother of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. He later tweeted the attack had claimed civilian lives.

Taliban fighters were not harmed in the attack, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi told The Associated Press. Those killed in the attack were civilians standing outside the mosque gate. He did not provide a figure for the number killed and said an investigation was ongoing.

An Italian-funded emergency hospital in Kabul tweeted it had received four people wounded in the blast.

Following the blast the area around the mosque was cordoned off by the Taliban, who maintained a heavy security presence. Later in the afternoon the site was cleaned. The only signs of the blast was slight damage to the ornamental arch by the entrance gate.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. However, since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August, attacks by ISIS group militants against them have increased. The rise has raised the possibility of a wider conflict between the two extremist groups.

ISIS maintains a strong presence in the eastern province of Nangarhar and considers the Taliban an enemy. ISIS has claimed several attacks against the Taliban, including several killings in the provincial capital of Jalalabad.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/10/03/Taliban-says-bomb-blast-at-Kabul-mosque-killed-five-civilians

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Taliban-style security welcomed by some, feared by others

Oct 4, 2021

KABUL: It wasn't 7 am yet and already the line outside the police station's gates was long, with men bringing their complaints and demands for justice to Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers.

Something new they immediately found: The Taliban fighters who are now the policemen don't demand bribes like police officers did under the U.S-backed government of the past 20 years.

“Before, everyone was stealing our money,” said Hajj Ahmad Khan, who was among those in line at the Kabul District 8 police station on a recent day.

“Everywhere in our villages and in government offices, everyone had their hands out,” he said.

Many Afghans fear the harsh ways of the Taliban, their hard-line ideology or their severe restrictions of women's freedoms. But the movement does bring a reputation for not being corrupt, a stark contrast to the government it ousted, which was notoriously rife with bribery, embezzlement and graft.

Even residents who shudder at the potential return of punishments - such as chopping off the hands of thieves - say some security has returned to Kabul since the Taliban swept in on Aug. 15.

Under the previous government, gangs of thieves had driven most people off the streets by dark. Several roads between cities are again open and have even been given the green light for travel by some international aid organizations.

Still, there are dangers. On Sunday, a bomb outside Kabul's Eid Gah mosque killed several civilians and targeted Taliban members attending a memorial service. No one took responsibility for the bombing but the rival Islamic State group has ramped up attacks against the Taliban in an IS stronghold in eastern Afghanistan.

During their last time in power in the late 1990s, the Taliban offered a trade-off: They brought a stability Afghans desperately sought and eliminated corruption, but they also imposed their harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

That included punishments like the hand amputations, executions of murderers with a single bullet to the head, most often by a relative of the murder victim and all carried out in public. Religious police beat men for trimming their beards or for not attending prayers.

In the past week, the Taliban arrested 85 alleged criminals, some accused of petty crimes, and others of murder, kidnapping and robbery, said Noor Ahmad Rabbani of the Taliban's anti-crime department.

The Taliban say they will bring back their previous punishments. The only question is whether they will carry them out publicly, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, former justice minister and current official in charge of prisons, told The Associated Press.

Some punishments have already reappeared. The bodies of four men were hung from cranes in the center of the city of Herat, after being killed by Taliban while allegedly attempting a kidnapping.

On at least two occasions in Kabul, petty thieves were paraded around the streets to shame them, handcuffed, with their faces painted or with stale bread stuffed in their mouths.

Gun-toting Taliban have taken up positions at checkpoints across Kabul and gradually some have been made to wear uniforms -- the beginnings of a new national security force, officials say.

For many Kabul residents -- particularly the young who grew up on horror stories about the previous period of Taliban rule -- the sight of the fighters is frightening as they roam the streets freely, with their signature long hair, traditional dress and Kalashnikov rifles hanging by their sides.

But so far, they appear to have brought relief from corruption. Before the Taliban takeover in August, people had to pay bribes simply to settle a utility bill. Rampant fraud in the military was one reason it collapsed so quickly in the face of the advancing Taliban.

Despite the overt graft, the U.S. and Europe poured billions of dollars into the government with little oversight.

As in the past, the Taliban have turned to tribal elders to settle disputes. Last week, a group of elders gathered in a Kabul mosque to adjudicate a stabbing attack that caused minor injuries.

The elders ordered the culprit's father to pay the victim the equivalent of nearly USD 400, enough to cover the medical expenses.

Muhammed Yousef Jawid accepted his punishment.

“It's fast, and much less expensive than it was under the previous system,” he said.

At the District 8 police station, the new commander, an affable Taliban named Zabihullah, said the Taliban had fought for 20 years to bring Islamic laws to Afghanistan. "Now people are safe under our government,” he said.

Zabihullah, who like many Afghans goes by one name, is from central Ghazni province, where the insurgents waged some of their most bitter battles during the last two decades.

At 32, he said he hasn't trained to be a police commander, with most of his education at a madrassa, or religious school. But Zabihullah said his years at war and adherence to the Taliban interpretation of Islamic law had prepared him.

Outside the police station gates, the line was getting longer.

Sixty-year-old Khan had come from eastern Khost province to seek Taliban help in collecting an outstanding loan. He said he supported Taliban punishments like amputations, though not for petty thieves.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-style-security-welcomed-by-some-feared-by-others/articleshow/86750020.cms

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Five arrested over killing of Rohingya leader in Bangladesh

Oct 3, 2021

COX'S BAZAR: Five Rohingya men have been arrested over the killing of a prominent community leader in a refugee camp in Bangladesh, police said Sunday, adding that they were probing links to a militant group.

Mohib Ullah -- a high-profile figurehead for the more than 800,000-strong Muslim minority who fled the Myanmar military in a mass exodus -- was killed by gunmen late Wednesday in one of the spawling camps in southeast Bangladesh.

His family blamed militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a group behind several attacks in Myanmar, with activists claiming they were enraged by his growing popularity in the camps.

"We have arrested five people over the murder of Mohib Ullah," the commanding officer of the police unit in charge of camp security, Naimul Haque, told.

Two of the men were remanded in custody for three days for questioning, authorities said. The other three have not yet appeared in court.

A 28-year-old Rohingya man was also arrested over the murder last week.

All six are being investigated for links to ARSA, which has instead blamed "unidentified criminals" for Ullah's death.

A member of the rights group that Mohib Ullah headed up alleged that one of those arrested, 35-year-old Mohammad Elias, was a member of ARSA and had threatened the popular leader in June.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/five-arrested-over-killing-of-rohingya-leader-in-bangladesh/articleshow/86729785.cms

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Qatar flight with more than 230 evacuees leaves Kabul, official says

Oct 3, 2021

DUBAI: A fifth chartered flight carrying civilians from Afghanistan to Qatar since US forces withdrew in August left Kabul on Sunday with 235 passengers, most of them Afghan citizens, a senior Qatari government official said.

Citizens from several other states were also on the flight, the official said, without identifying them. The passengers will be housed in a compound in Qatar that is hosting evacuees from Afghanistan until departing to their final destinations.

"The State of Qatar will continue this work with international partners on efforts that ensure freedom of movement in Afghanistan, while also remaining focused on providing humanitarian aid to the country," the official said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/qatar-flight-with-more-than-230-evacuees-leaves-kabul-official-says/articleshow/86729380.cms

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India

 

A Foot Soldier’s Account of How Muslims Were Integral to the Jharkhand Movement

Abhik Bhattacharya, Arshad Raza Khan and Ayan Tanweer

Oct 4, 2021

Whoever is aware of the Haitian rebellion against the French colonisers in the late 18th century some way or other must have heard about Sans Souci. Located at the northern mountains of the Republic of Haiti, this palace symbolises the victory of slaves against the colonial masters. It is well known and documented that the palace was made by the great black king Henry Christophe. However, it’s hardly ever asked why the palace was named ‘Sans Souci’.

Michel Trouillot in his book Silencing the Past delves deep into the question and found that it might be possible that Henry named his residence after a palace made six decades before his coronation at Postdam by the Prussian king Fredrick the Great. However, he also referred to another Sans Souci – a man who was one of the early rebels against the French colonisers and was allegedly killed by black king Henry Christophe. Nobody knows the exact motive behind naming the palace ‘Sans Souci’, but it is evident from Trouillot’s work that very few people are even concerned about its name. In between this glory of the palace and celebration of grand history, what is lost is the histories of Sans Souci – the man who fiercely fought against the French Army.

Every rebellion has its own Sans Souci or Sans Soucis. We hardly listen to them. And when we try to, we get seduced by the provocation of being the representative of silenced voices. We end up imposing histories on the people. The colonial fanaticism for chronological history leads us to put things in order, in continuity – if not in coherence. In this situation, our shares in the production of histories are secured against those whose histories we are seeking.

While working to find out the histories of Muslim presence in the Jharkhand andolon (Jharkhand movement), we met several people – sometimes with the motive to get historical accounts, but most of the time to just listen to what they have to say. In this journey, we met Zubair Ahmed, in his late 50s, selling eggs at a small stall near the Jharkhand high court. Known as Zubair Andewala, he is not only a living testimony to Muslims’ presence and activities in the struggle for statehood, but is also the one who acted as a bridge between Adivasi and Moolvasis in the late 1980s in Ranchi.

In a neoliberal world where trust deficiency is the norm, Zubair speaks with documents. Though most of the newspaper cuttings where his name was mentioned are now missing, a few books, articles and photographs still carry his legacy. “These are all I have – Yeh mere life ki punji hai (This is the capital of my life),” Zubair told us.

He couldn’t understand the importance of these documents until the Arjun Munda government in 2012 formed the ‘Jharkhand Andolonkari Chihnitkaran Ayog’ (Jharkhand Agitator Marking Commission) to identify the ‘andolonkaris’ under pressure from several civil society organisations, in most of which Zubair was also a member. The formation of the Ayog was welcomed, but the conditional clauses made it difficult for him to qualify as a ‘pension seeker’.

The criterion was set to accommodate only those who had spent days in jails during the andolon. Those who were detained several times but fortunately got saved from being imprisoned became less freedom fighters! This imposed a graded hierarchy among freedom fighters and made the claims of all those strugglers invalid who kept the movement floating outside the jail.

However, last year, Zubair’s name appeared in the Jharkhand State Gazette along with other renowned andolonkaris and undisputed leaders like Shibu Soren and Suraj Mondol. Significantly 40 names of andolonkaris from Ranchi that are found in the Gazette (Gazette No 118, February 26, 2020) contains 16 Muslim names indicating the formidable Muslim presence throughout the Jharkhand statehood movement. This recognition from the state though offered him a sigh of relief; still, he along with several other non-jailed freedom fighters, is waiting for a substantive resolution – pension scheme, government job, health benefit and a permanent house.

Last year, the commission’s term ended and from among more than 63,000 applications they had identified around 5,000 andolokaris. Claiming that there are several pending applications and the process of identification must go on, the Jharkhand Andolonkari Morcha requested Hemant Soren to reorganise it. Accepting the claims of andolonkaris, the Soren government through the State Gazette No. 327 (June 25, 2021) accepted the request of reorganisation and added the following clauses –

Whoever had spent less than three months in jail would get Rs 3500/- per month as pension

Whoever had spent three to six months in jail would get Rs 5,000/- per month as pension

Whoever had spent more than six months in jail would get Rs 7,000/- per month as pension

The new notification also promises a state government job (Grade III or IV as per the qualification) to one family member or dependent of those who lost their lives or who had become more than 40% disabled during imprisonment. This provision of a government job would also be applicable to those whose family members had participated in the statehood movement (subject to identification).

On September 27, Soren government also declared the names of the members of the new commission (Notification 3689/ Home Department) and both the members Narsingh Murmu and Bhubneshwar Mahato have been warmly welcomed by Jharkhand Andolonkari Morcha.

Former MP and renowned leader of the movement, Sailendra Mahato also welcomed the decision of deploying former freedom fighters in the Ayog. But his letter to Hemant Soren dated September 30 clearly seeks pension for all those who (irrespective of jail terms) participated in the andolon. The hierarchical division of imprisoned and non-imprisoned andolonkaris has become a major point of contention in the newly revived efforts to identify freedom fighters.

For Zubair, it comes as a new hope – hope for substantial recognition beyond the instrumental use and mention of his name.

Zubair Ahmed’s story is not only an effort to find out the silenced Muslim voices of the Jharkhand Andolon, rather it tries to further challenge the Adivasi/Moolvasi binary at a time when polarising forces are gathering momentum in the state. The slogans of ‘Hindu-Muslim Sikh Esai, Sab Jharkhandi Bhai Bhai’ or ‘Johla-Kolha Bhai Bhai’ during the Jharkhand movement point to the unity among communities and promotes Jharkhandi sub-national identity.

In this context, Zubair’s life becomes a testimony – a witness to the struggle where people fought together, challenging every possible binary opposition (Sadan/Adivasi; Adivasi/Moolvasi; Adivasi/Muslims) propagated by anti-Jharkhandi political outfits. What brought them together was not an integrationist concept of a melting pot, rather it was a salad bowl – better to say as Zubair said – a guldasta (bouquet) – where each flower stays side by side without losing its individual colour, vigour and beauty.

Jazba – emotions for the land

Zubair Ahmed was born in 1964 at Doranda, Ranchi. His ancestors came to Doranda village during the early 19th century and gradually settled in the locality. His father was a vegetable vendor. Besides studying in a government-run school, he used to sell eggs near Jharkhand high court to financially support his family. Around 1985 when the Jharkhand andolon was gradually taking its final shape, the pages of Prabhat Khabar and Ranchi Express were overwhelmed with the inspirational speeches of several leaders including the Jharkhand Party supremo N.E. Horo and JMM commander Shibu Soren, to name a few.

Zubair was among thousands of youths who not only read those as news of dharnas and meetings, rather made it a point to contribute to the ongoing movement.

In Zubair’s words –“Hum logo ne socha ki mein bhi yahan ka moolnivasi hoon, humara culture ek hai, Adivasi aur moolnivasi ka- aur iss jaga pe humne janam liya hai, toh kyun nah humara maati ke liye mein bhi awaaz uthayu…(We thought as the Moolnivasi of this land, we must also raise our voice. As Adivasi and our culture are same, we need to join the struggle).

In the same year, near Upper Baazar where one of his relatives used to stay, he met Jharkhand Party leaders Tako Ansari, Moin Ansari and Mohd. Farooq. Though he was much junior to them, his ‘jazba’ (precisely emotional connect) made Moin Ansari call him for his electoral campaigns. Ansari was the MLA candidate of the Jharkhand Party from the Ranchi seat. While talking about Jharkhand party and its earlier politics of dharna, Zubair told us, “Jharkhand party’s movement was limited to dharnas. As there were mostly aged people, they couldn’t make their voices reach Delhi.”

Having the responsibilities of painting the walls with electoral slogans, Zubair travelled to the different villages of Jharkhand where he found much more ‘Jazba’ among the rural people than the township. As per Zubair, the brutality of the Bihar police was one of the major reasons for the conviction among the rural population. What the people got habituated with was ‘Bhojpuri maa behen ki gaaliya’ (Slangs in Bhojpuri language).

“A backend plan was always there behind this attitude. They (the police and Bihar administration) wanted to suppress us to such an extent that we become unable to walk on our own. They took our coals, our irons, our jobs and everything. Anywhere if they found somebody speaking the Jharkhandi language, they would target and beat them. They created an environment of fear so that we don’t resist. The level of desperation for separate state in the rural areas was thus extremely high,” said Zubair.

However, in Ranchi until then the common people were not that much affected by the movement. There were continuous efforts by Congress and other anti-Jharkhand political outfits to spread Adivasi/Sadan binary. Non-Adivasis were told that the movement was for Adivasis and the non-Adivasi communities would be expelled if the newly proposed state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar.

Source: The Wire

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https://thewire.in/rights/a-foot-soliders-account-of-how-muslims-were-integral-to-the-jharkhand-movement

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Cross-LoC trade case: NIA conducts raids across J&K

Oct 4, 2021

JAMMU: National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday raided several locations across J&K in connection with misuse of money generated from trade with Pakistan through the Line of Control (LoC) for carrying out terrorist activities.

An NIA spokesperson said the raids were carried out at 9 places in Poonch district with the assistance of the J&K Police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in a case registered on December 9, 2016.

The cross-LoC trade was started in 2008 as part of confidence-building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan, but on April 18, 2019, India had indefinitely suspended trade at two points along the LoC following reports that it was being misused for smuggling weapons, narcotics and fake currency.

"The trade was based on a barter system and third-party goods were not allowed. The case being probed by NIA is related to large-scale transfer of funds from Pakistan to India through the import of California almonds and other items via the Cross-LoC Trade Facilitation Centres (TFCs) located at Salamabad in Baramulla district and Chakan-Da-Bag in Poonch district. These funds were purportedly being used for fomenting terrorism/separatism in Jammu & Kashmir," the spokesperson said.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cross-loc-trade-case-nia-conducts-raids-across-jk/articleshow/86741434.cms

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Islamic nations along with Muslim Brotherhood launch anti-India campaigns, targeting India's economic interest

October 02, 2021

New Delhi: The Qatar-Turkey-Pakistan (QTPi) nexus with the blessings of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is becoming the new hub for radical Islamists. A new report by Disinfolab says the MB, laced with fake news and and two media weapons, Al Jazeera and TRT World, launched a campaign against India –- targeting New Delhi's economic interests.

A hashtag on Twitter #BoycottIndianProducts was launched a few days ago, and has been going on since. While the nexus tried to give it a colour that it was triggered by the unfortunate incident in Assam, which was deplorable, and the guilty should be brought to justice, be as it may, the trigger was mere excuse.

This was not the first time the trend was attempted. It was started in 2018, and since then it's an annual ritual. The objective is to give it momentum gradually, the Disinfolab report said.

And since one incident wont justify it, they needed the whole gamut of fake news and propaganda. As expected, a great deal of these handles are being run from Pakistan and Turkey, while the trend seems to have originated in Egypt.

What was novel this time was a number of 'news articles' also promoted this trend, albeit in their own style, mostly connected with the MB, including the Al Jazeera.

The target seemed India, but the actual target was Saudi Arabia. The campaign was essentially targeting Saudi and the UAE, and particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for keeping a good relation with India.

This was not one off campaign, and the QTPi Nexus has been targeting Saudi and UAE, questioning their 'right' to be the leader of Islamic world. The idea is obvious – by discrediting Mohammed bin Salman, the new 'Prince' of Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would be crowned as the rightful leader of Ummah. The Ertgurul Ghazi was prelude. The Ottoman Empire is in remaking, the report said.

The report said India was not the only country targeted for this economic boycott. The campaign in also targeted France, asking to boycott French products. It is not merely a geo-strategic move. There is a solid economic logic behind it.

Source: Free Press Journal

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https://www.freepressjournal.in/india/islamic-nations-along-with-muslim-brotherhood-launch-anti-india-campaigns-targeting-indias-economic-interest

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Kuwait Assembly condemns violence against Muslims in India; people in Gulf call for boycott of products

1st October 2021

People across Middle Eastern countries have started a campaign on social media to boycott Indian products to protest against the Assam police’s brutality against Muslims during an eviction drive. The incident drew wide condemnation after the video of the police shooting a Muslim man went viral.

The boycott of Indian products on social media in the Arab world is currently in full swing. The widely circulated video also shows an Assam government photographer repeatedly stomping on a dead man during the eviction drive. The horrific video has triggered a backlash in the Gulf countries.

On September 30, Middle East Monitor, a portal focused on reporting from the region, revealed that members of the Kuwait National Assembly had condemned “the atrocities committed by the Indian authorities and Hindu extremist groups against the Muslim community”.

MS Education Academy

Kuwait’s National Assembly members issued a joint statement condemning the attacks on Muslims in India. “The lawmakers said in a joint statement that in the wake of the wave of violence and discrimination committed against Indian Muslims, including killing, displacement and burning, the lawmakers stand in solidarity with Muslims in India. They called on international, humanitarian, human rights and Islamic organisations to immediately work to stop the Indian authorities’ actions and restore security to Indian Muslims,” Middle East Monitor reported.

Kuwaiti member of Parliament Shuaib Al-Muwaizri called for a boycott of Indian goods. Kuwaiti news outlet Sabr News on September 29, quoted Al-Muwaizri as saying, “The Islamic World Organization, the leaders of Islamic countries, the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the United Nations, where are you about the heinous crimes committed by the Indian government against Muslims, men, women and children? Boycotting India and its products is a legal duty.”

In Qatar, the Indian embassy issued a statement on September 28, cautioning people about “malicious attempt on social media to spread hatred and disharmony through false propaganda about India”. The embassy stated, “We urge everyone to exercise caution and not become a victim of a fake handle, propaganda, doctored videos. All Indian nationals are advised to maintain unity and harmony.”

Oman’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Al Khalili, one of the most influential clerics in the country, had tweeted on September 28, about violence against Muslims in India. He claimed the violence in India was “a blatant aggression against Muslim citizens at the hands of extremist groups—supported by official bodies—it hurts everyone with a conscience.”

Sheikh Ahmed Al Khalili said, “I appeal—in the name of humanity—to all peace-loving countries to intervene to stop this aggression, and I also appeal to the Ummah as a whole to stand united in this matter.” The same day, the Grand Mufti of Oman, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hamad Al-Khalili, also tweeted a post in Arabic from his official handle, seeking international intervention.

In such a situation, the hashtag ‘India kills Muslims’ has been trending in Arab countries in which India has been accused of genocide. In these trends, many people expressed their support for the displaced families and condemned the treatment meted out to them by the authorities.

Khaled Beydoun, author and researcher of the book Islamophobia, described it as “state-sponsored Islamophobia” and “Hindutva violence”.

Former director of Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IESCO), A. Altwaijri, tweeted that the Narendra Modi’s “Hindu Government” is abusing and persecuting Muslims “within the framework of a systematic policy and in light of international silence and Islamic inaction.”

Abdul Rahman Al-Nassarm who has over 3,18,000 followers on Twitter tweeted the viral video of violence at Darrang and said, “There are more than 3million Hindus in the Gulf, they bring tens of billions of dollars to India, and we treat them with respect, so why are our brothers in India being killed just because they are Muslims?”

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/assam-police-brutality-gulf-calls-for-boycott-of-indian-products-over-anti-muslim-violence-2200463/

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Europe

 

Hitler teen fanatic arrested in France for planning terror attack

Yusuf Özcan 

03.10.2021

PARIS

A Hitler teen fanatic in France was arrested for planning to attack a high school and a mosque, media reports said Saturday.

French daily Le Parisien said the 19-year-old, who the newspaper called “Simon,” planned his attack at the high school where he was a student and a nearby mosque in the Seine-Maritime region in the northwest of the country.

He was detained a few days ago by the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) and brought before an anti-terrorism judge on Oct. 1.

The paper said Simon planned the attack for April 20, Hitler's birthday, and before the second round of presidential elections in France.

It said there were 20 knives, at least three guns and 20 notebooks named after Hitler's book, Mein Kampf, or My Struggle, at Simon’s house.

The student described himself as "an extremist who favored Hitler's political line" in notes, it said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/hitler-teen-fanatic-arrested-in-france-for-planning-terror-attack/2381431

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Taliban govt behaviour ‘not encouraging’, says EU foreign policy chief

October 4, 2021

RIYADH: The European Union foreign policy chief said on Sunday the Taliban government’s behaviour up to now was “not very encouraging”, and any economic collapse in Afghanistan would raise the risk of terrorism and other threats.

Josep Borrell, speaking at a joint news conference with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, also said he hoped nuclear talks between global powers and Iran would restart in Vienna “soon”.

The EU diplomat, who is in Riyadh following visits to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, said he briefed his partners on the prospects for restarting nuclear talks and exchanged views with Saudi officials on Yemen and Afghanistan.

The EU has increased its humanitarian aid to Afghanistan since the Taliban took power, but halted development assistance — a move also taken by other countries and the World Bank.

“Certainly it’s a dilemma. Because if you want to contribute to avoid the collapse of an economy, in a certain way, you can consider supporting the government ... Depending on their behaviour. And their behaviour until now is not very encouraging,” Borrell said.

“If the economy collapses, then the humanitarian situation will be much worse. The tension for people to leave the country will be bigger, the threats the terrorist threat will be bigger and so the risks emanating from Afghanistan affecting the international community will be bigger,” he added.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1650002/taliban-govt-behaviour-not-encouraging-says-eu-foreign-policy-chief

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EU top diplomat Borrell says discussed nuclear talks, Afghanistan in Saudi visit

03 October ,2021

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said during a visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday that he had briefed his partners about the prospects of restarting nuclear talks with Iran and hoped that would happen “soon.”

Borrell, speaking at a joint news conference with his Saudi counterpart, said he had also exchanged views on Afghanistan and Yemen. He said the EU was ready to pursue trade deals with Gulf Arab countries.

For his part, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said he had reviewed several issues with his EU counterpart, adding that their meeting in Riyadh also saw them reviewing “the opportunities achieved by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Prince Faisal also confirmed to Borrell “the seriousness of the Houthi militia’s practices in Yemen,” adding that Saudi Arabia is conducting a “dialogue with the United States regarding the war in Yemen.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/10/03/EU-top-diplomat-Borrell-says-discussed-nuclear-talks-Afghanistan-in-Saudi-visit

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Tensions escalate between France, Algeria over French president’s remarks

Yusuf Ozcan  

04.10.2021

PARIS

Tensions between France and Algeria have continued to rise following remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron on the North African country’s colonial past.

On Thursday, Macron met with the descendants of Algerians at the Elysee Palace who fought on France’s side during Algeria’s war of independence, the French daily Le Monde reported.

“The building of Algeria as a nation is a phenomenon worth watching. Was there an Algerian nation before French colonization? That is the question,” said Macron, according to the report.

“There were previous colonizations. I am fascinated to see Turkey’s ability to make people totally forget the role it played in Algeria and the domination it has exercised, and to explain that we are the only colonizers. It’s great. Algerians believe it,” he reportedly added.

Macron reportedly argued that the “official history of Algeria has been rewritten, not based on truths, but based on hatred against France.”

He said that after it gained independence from France in 1962, Algeria was built on “a memorial rent” maintained by “the politico-military system,” adding the whole problem is presented as France.

Macron said he would like to produce Arabic and Berber publications to counter the "disinformation" and "propaganda" in the Maghreb that is "carried out by the Turks and completely rewrites history.”

The Algerian Presidency issued a statement Saturday broadcast on state television condemning the French president’s remarks. “Macron’s remarks are an unacceptable insult to the memory of over 5.63 million martyrs who sacrificed themselves with a valiant resistance against French colonialism [between 1830-1962],” it said.

It said the numerous colonial crimes committed by France are a genocide against the Algerian people and noted that the statements attributed to Macron were not officially denied.

It said Algeria rejects interference in its internal affairs and the Algerian Ambassador to France, Mohamed Antar-Daoud, has been recalled for consultations.

Tensions between the two countries have been growing since France decided to cut the number of visas issued to Algerians, Tunisians and Moroccans.

Paris announced Tuesday that it will reduce the number of visas available to people from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, accusing the governments of the North African countries of refusing to take back irregular migrants expelled from France.

According to French media, orders were issued to deport 7,731 Algerians between January and July this year but Algerian authorities provided consular documents required for the repatriation for just 31 people.

Algeria then summoned the French Ambassador to Algeria, Francois Gouyette, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chakib Kaid, the Foreign Ministry’s secretary general, conveyed Algeria’s grievances to the French envoy, according to a ministry statement.

He said the French government’s “unilateral decision…was issued without coordination with the Algerian side,” which raises questions about “its motives” and implementation.

Previous tensions

French Prime Minister Jean Castex was scheduled to visit Algeria on April 11 for a high-level Franco-Algerian intergovernmental committee meeting, but it was cancelled by the French side due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following day, France insisted there were no tensions with Algeria after Castex abruptly called off the visit.

Shortly after, appearing on a news program, Clement Beaune, France’s secretary of state for European affairs, said: "There are sometimes use of excessive words in Franco-Algerian relations."

He was referring to a statement by Algeria’s Labor Minister El Hachemi Djaaboub, who declared France "our traditional and eternal enemy."

Algerian Army Chief of Staff General Said Chengriha earlier this year also called on France to hand over maps of nuclear test sites in his country's desert in the 1960s to be cleared of radiation.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/tensions-escalate-between-france-algeria-over-french-president-s-remarks/2382141

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EU, Saudi Arabia sign cooperation deal

Burak Bir 

03.10.2021

The EU and Saudi Arabia signed a cooperation agreement, the bloc's foreign policy chief said on Sunday.

Josep Borrell said on Twitter that he signed with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan a cooperation arrangement to reinforce ties through regular consultations on political, socio-economic, security, and other topics.

"With 1st ever #HumanRights dialogue this week it shows positive dynamics in our partnership," Borrell added, referring to the meeting held in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-saudi-arabia-sign-cooperation-deal/2382021

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Pakistan

 

Shaukat Tarin, Moonis Elahi among over 700 Pakistanis named in ICIJ's Pandora Papers

October 3, 2021

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday unveiled “Pandora Papers” — a major international research into the financial secrets held by high-profile individuals around the world.

The exposé named Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Senator Faisal Vawda, PML-Q leader Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, Ishaq Dar’s son, PPP’s Sharjeel Memon, the family of Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh, among others, among those with alleged links to offshore companies.

Geo News reported that more than 700 Pakistanis in total have been named in the investigation.

From Pakistan, investigative journalists Umar Cheema and Fakhar Durrani of The News International were part of the research.

The consortium released a report on the Pandora Papers titled "Prime Minister Imran Khan promised ‘new Pakistan’ but members of his inner circle secretly moved millions offshore."

According to the report, leaked documents revealed that "key members" of Prime Minister Imran's inner circle, including cabinet ministers, their families and major financial backers "have secretly owned an array of companies and trusts holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth".

"Military leaders have been implicated as well," it said, clarifying that the documents contained "no suggestion" that Imran himself owned offshore companies.

"The records also reveal the offshore dealings of a top PTI donor, Arif Naqvi, who is facing fraud charges in the United States," the ICIJ said.

Naqvi, the financier and major donor to Prime Minister Imran's 2013 election campaign, owned several offshore companies. The files show that in 2017, Naqvi transferred ownership of UK holdings – three luxury apartments, his country estate and a property in London’s suburbs – into an offshore trust operated by Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank declined to respond to ICIJ’s questions concerning the beneficiaries of the trust.

The next year, he presided over the spectacular collapse of his Dubai-based private equity firm, Abraaj Group, which also owns K-Electric.

US prosecutors charged Naqvi with engineering a $400 million fraud against Abraaj investors and this year persuaded a court to allow his extradition from the UK. Naqvi has denied wrongdoing.

According to the investigation's findings, Finance Minister Tarin and his family members own four offshore companies. It quoted Tariq Fawad Malik, a financial consultant who handled the paperwork for the companies, as saying that they were set up as part of the Tarin family’s intended investment in a bank with a Saudi business.

“As a mandatory prerequisite by [the] regulator, we engaged with the Central Bank of Pakistan to obtain their ’in-principle’ approval for the said strategic investment,” Malik said. The deal did not proceed.

Tarin didn’t respond to ICIJ’s questions, but in a statement issued today, he said: “The off-shore companies mentioned were incorporated as part of the fund raising process for my Bank.”

Meanwhile, Omer Bakhtiar, the brother of federal industries minister Khusro Bakhtiar, transferred a $1 million apartment in London's Chelsea area to his elderly mother through an offshore company in 2018, according to the ICIJ.

In a written statement to the consortium, Khusro said a Pakistani anti-corruption agency’s investigation against his family "was founded on baseless allegations which had underestimated his family’s past wealth", and that it had so far not resulted in a formal complaint.

Former minister for water resources Faisal Vawda set up an offshore company in 2012 to invest in UK properties, the Pandora Papers show. The now-senator told the ICIJ that he had declared all foreign assets held in his name to tax authorities.

The exposé further revealed that the son of former finance adviser to the prime minister Waqar Masood Khan co-owned a company based in the British Virgin Islands. Khan told the ICIJ that he did not know what his son’s company did and that his son lived a "modest life", and was not his dependent.

Military officers' dealings

The investigation revealed that "a luxury London apartment was transferred from the son of a famous Indian movie director to the wife of a three-star general". This was "one of several offshore holdings involving military leaders and their families", the ICIJ said.

The general told ICIJ the property purchase was disclosed and proper; his wife did not reply.

According to details, the wife of retired Lt Gen Shafaat Ullah Shah, a former aide to then-president Pervez Musharraf, acquired a $1.2 million apartment in London "through a discreet offshore transaction" in 2007.

The investigation found that the property was transferred to Lt Gen Shah's wife by an offshore company owned by Akbar Asif, the son of the Indian film director K Asif. Akbar himself is a businessman who owns restaurants in London and Dubai, the Papers reveal.

According to the report, the leaked documents showed that Asif owned a multimillion-dollar property portfolio through a web of offshore companies.

It was through one of these companies, Talah Ltd. — registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) — that Akbar transferred the London apartment to Shafaat Shah’s wife. The documents show that the apartment, located near the Canary Wharf financial district, was purchased by the company in 2006. The next year, Akbar transferred ownership of the company to Lt Gen Shah's wife.

Intrestingly, the investigation found that Akbar’s sister, Heena Kausar, "is the widow of Iqbal Mirchi, a senior figure in a leading organised crime group, D-company".

At the time, Mirchi was one of India's most wanted men and was under sanction as a drug trafficker by the US. He passed away in 2013.

According to the ICIJ report, Lt Gen Shah told the investigators that the apartment's purchase was made "through a former army colleague then acting as a consultant to London real estate firms, not through any personal connection to Asif". He added that the flat was purchased in his wife's name because “I already had properties in my name while she did not have any and to balance tax deductions”.

Lt Gen Shah further said that his wife had never met Akbar and that he had only met him once while an aide to then-president Musharraf. He revealed that the meeting happened when Akbar was lobbying for the release of his father's film “in the corridors of Dorchester Hotel when he had accompanied the hairstylist, who had come to cut Mrs Musharraf’s hair.”

According to the ICIJ report, Akbar had asked Musharraf to allow the release of one of his father’s movies in Pakistan, where there was a ban on Indian movies. "Musharraf granted the exception and later lifted the ban," the report states.

The Papers also reveal that Raja Nadir Pervez — a retired army lieutenant colonel and later-turned politician, who held various portfolios during the late 80s and early 90s — owned a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, International Finance & Equipment Ltd.

According to the leaked documents, "the firm is involved in machinery and related businesses in India, Thailand, Russia and China". In 2003, Pervez transferred his shares in the company to a trust that controls several offshore companies.

"One of the trust’s beneficiaries is a British arms dealer. According to UK court documents, one of the trust’s other companies has helped broker arms sales from Belgian manufacturer FN Herstal SA to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., a state-owned Indian defence company.

"While he owned International Finance & Equipment, Pervez also held several high-level positions in Pakistan’s government. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1985 and later joined Khan’s party. Pervez did not respond to reporters’ questions."

Another key former military leader whose name showed up in the Papers is retired Maj Gen Nusrat Naeem, the ISI’s onetime director general of counterintelligence. "He owned a BVI company, Afghan Oil & Gas Ltd, that was registered in 2009, shortly after his retirement. He said that the company had been set up by a friend and that he didn’t use it for any financial transactions."

According to the report, Islamabad police later charged Naeem with fraud related to the attempted purchase of a steel mill for $1.7 million, but the case was later dropped.

Meanwhile, the Papers also bring to light the notable offshore holdings of close relatives of three senior military figures.

"Umar and Ahad Khattak, sons of the former head of Pakistan’s air force, Abbas Khattak, in 2010 registered a BVI company to invest what documents call 'family business earnings' in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate."

"In an example involving intergenerational wealth transfer, Shahnaz Sajjad Ahmad inherited a fortune from her father, a retired lieutenant general, through an offshore trust that owns two London apartments, purchased in 1997 and 2011 in Knightsbridge, a short walk from Harrods. She, in turn, set up a trust for her daughters in 2003 in Guernsey, a tax haven in the English Channel. Her father was a favourite of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, the country’s first military dictator (1958-1969). After her father retired from the army, he founded one of Pakistan’s biggest business conglomerates. Ayub Khan’s son later married into the family and sits on the boards of several of the group’s businesses.

"Taken together, the findings offer a portrait of an unaccountable military elite with extensive personal and family offshore holdings," the report stated.

Allegations against Moonis Elahi

The files show how PML-Q leader Chaudhry Moonis Elahi, "a key political ally of Imran Khan’s, planned to put the proceeds from an allegedly corrupt business deal into a secret trust, concealing them from Pakistan’s tax authorities", according to the consortium.

A family spokesman for the Elahi family told ICIJ’s media partners that, “due to political victimisation misleading interpretations and data have been circulated in files for nefarious reasons.” He maintained that the family’s assets “are declared as per applicable law”.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1649930/shaukat-tarin-moonis-elahi-among-over-700-pakistanis-named-in-icijs-pandora-papers

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PM Imran says govt will investigate all citizens mentioned in Pandora Papers

October 3, 2021

Shortly after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday unveiled “Pandora Papers” — a major international research into the financial secrets held by high-profile individuals around the world — Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government would investigate all citizens mentioned in the report.

Among those named as holding foreign assets are Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, his family, and the son of Prime Minister Imran's former adviser for finance and revenue, Waqar Masood Khan.

The documents contain no suggestion that Imran Khan himself owns offshore companies, said ICIJ.

"We welcome the Pandora Papers exposing the ill-gotten wealth of elites, accumulated through tax evasion & corruption & laundered out to financial 'havens'," PM Imran tweeted. "The UN SG's Panel FACTI [International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity] calculated a staggering $7 trillion in stolen assets parked in largely offshore tax havens."

"My government will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers and if any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action. I call on the international community to treat this grave injustice as similar to the climate change crisis."

'Companies registered at a similar address of PM Imran'

According to the ICIJ, in the 48 hours leading up to the publication of the Pandora Papers, ARY News reported that “the owner of two offshore companies registered at a similar address as of Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed that they were registered by him on a different address and denied any role of the premier in this regard”. The story also attributed the information to “a database of the offshore companies".

ICIJ added that ARY is not a partner and doesn’t have access to ICIJ data. It did not provide more details of the said company in this report.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1649932/pm-imran-says-govt-will-investigate-all-citizens-mentioned-in-pandora-papers

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Pakistan: Opposition calls for PM Imran Khan's resignation over Pandora Papers

Oct 4, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Opposition leader and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Sunday demanded the resignation of Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan over the Pandora Papers.

While addressing a press conference, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal Iqbal said that Khan should resign as his name appeared in the Toshakhana case and it would also appear in Pandora Papers, reports The Nation.

"After Imran Khan's name surfaced in Pandora leaks, there is no moral justification for him to retain the post of the premier," Iqbal said.

Iqbal said that Khan's Pandora box is about to open. He also said that Khan who bragged about being a champion of the anti-corruption campaign was himself hiding facts on his foreign gifts, by hiding details about the received gifts, The Nation reported.

He also blamed Khan for the rising inflation in Pakistan, which was the result of his government's bad policies.

"Today a person who earns Pakistani Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month cannot bear the expenses of his household honourably," he added.

The Pandora Papers has revealed names of 700 Pakistani individuals and members of Prime Minister Imran Khan's cabinet, inner circle, including cabinet ministers, their families and major financial backers.

Among those whose holdings have been exposed are Khan's finance minister, Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin, and his family, and the son of Khan's former adviser for finance and revenue, Waqar Masood Khan. The records also reveal the offshore dealings of a top PTI donor, Arif Naqvi, who is facing fraud charges in the US, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Source: Times of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-opposition-calls-for-pm-imran-khans-resignation-over-pandora-papers/articleshow/86744627.cms

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Release of Pandora Papers ruffles Pakistani politics; Imran Khan vows probe

Oct 4, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The release of Pandora Papers containing names of the close associates of Imran Khan has ruffled Pakistani politics and sparked calls for the resignation of the Pakistani Prime Minister.

The news published documents has revealed names of 700 Pakistani individuals and members of Prime Minister Imran Khan's cabinet, inner circle, including cabinet ministers, their families, who have secretly owned an array of companies holding millions of dollars of hidden wealth, according to International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

Among those whose holdings have been exposed are Khan's finance minister, Shaukat Fayaz Ahmed Tarin, and his family, and the son of Khan's former adviser for finance and revenue, Waqar Masood Khan. The records also reveal the offshore dealings of a top PTI donor, Arif Naqvi, who is facing fraud charges in the US, ICIJ said.

Members of Opposition's Pakistan Muslim League party called for Imran Khan's resignation on Sunday following the publication of the Pandora Papers. Forced on the back foot, Imran Khan on Sunday said on Twitter that his government will probe all citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers.

"My govt will investigate all our citizens mentioned in the Pandora Papers & if any wrongdoing is established we will take appropriate action. I call on the international community to treat this grave injustice as similar to the climate change crisis," Khan tweeted.

According to the ICIJ report, Pakistan's civilian government and military leaders have been hiding vast amounts of wealth in a country plagued by widespread poverty and tax avoidance.

ICIJ said Pakistan's elites use of offshore services that rival the findings of the Panama Papers, which led to Sharif's downfall and helped propel Imran Khan to power three years ago.

The revelations are part of the Pandora Papers, a new global investigation into the shadowy offshore financial system that allows multinational corporations, the rich, famous and powerful to avoid taxes and otherwise shield their wealth.

The probe is based on more than 11.9 million confidential files from 14 offshore services firms leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and shared with 150 news organisations around the world, according to ICIJ.

The document has revealed many key military leaders of Pakistan and intergenerational wealth transfer. The findings offer a portrait of an unaccountable military elite with extensive personal and family offshore holdings.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/release-of-pandora-papers-ruffles-pakistani-politics-imran-khan-vows-probe/articleshow/86744352.cms

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TTP kills 5 Pakistan troops near Af border despite ‘ceasefire’ call

Oct 4, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Taliban, known as TTP or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, targeted security forces in a vehicle travelling near the Afghan border on Saturday, killing four soldiers and one policeman, the military said.

In its statement, the military said the attack took place in the Spinwam area of North Waziristan, and that an operation was underway to strike back against the militants.

The group claimed responsibility in a statement, saying it had ambushed a “raiding party” in the area. TTP operates in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Around 6,000 TTP terrorists are said to have sanctuaries in Afghanistan’s east and west, besides the border with Pakistan.

The attack came even as TTP announced a three-week ceasefire late on Friday. PM Imran Khan has said his government was in talks with the terrorist outfit on the reconciliation process. Islamabad’s talks with TTP, a conglomerate of several Pakistani terrorist outfits, has been facilitated by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/ttp-kills-5-pakistan-troops-near-af-border-despite-ceasefire-call/articleshow/86742268.cms

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Protection Of Islamic Values Part Of Our Faith: Federal Minister For Religious Affairs

October 04, 2021

PESHAWAR  -  Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Muhammad Noor-ul-Haq Qadri on Sunday said protection of Islamic values was part of our faith and the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf would make Pakistan a model of Islamic state.

Addressing a condolence reference held here in the memory of eminent spiritual leader Khawaja Pir Rehmat Karim, he said no law would be constituted in Pakistan against Islam and ideology of Pakistan and they would make the state of Pakistan a model of Madina State.

Hundreds of devotees, including prominent leaders and scholars, attended the moot.

The minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had exercised his right to represent the Pakistani nation not only in the country but also at the international level on the platform of the United Nations.

He said Imran Khan had taken practical steps to stop the desecration of all the prophets and holy figures at the international level.

Source: The Nation

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

https://nation.com.pk/04-Oct-2021/protection-of-islamic-values-part-of-our-faith-qadri

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Parliament Being 'Pressurised' To Pass Un-Islamic Laws: Fazl

04 Oct 2021

PESHAWAR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said the incumbent government is taking steps to repeal the law on a special agenda. Talking on the occasion of the JUI-F provincial general council meeting in Peshawar, Maulana Fazl said the assembly was being pressurised to pass un-Islamic laws. He said the friendly neighbouring countries were not happy at present because of the failed foreign policy of the incumbent government.

Maulana said that the poor people were facing hardships to make both ends meet, adding that the people of getting jobless, and the inflation had reached the highest level in history. "The people have been deprived of their right to live," he said.

He said that JUI-F, following in the footsteps of its predecessors, was continuing its struggle against the money laundering agents of the colonial powers. He said that obscenity and nudity were being promoted to impose Western civilization by destroying Islamic civilization.

Domestic violence Bill, Conspiracies against madrassas and ban on underage conversion to Islam are on the agenda of the government, he said and added that they had made it clear to the United States that in the light of the agreements with the Taliban, the US must first recognize the Taliban government.

Maulana Fazl said Pakistan's rulers had tarnished Pakistan's honour and dignity, adding that Pakistan's silence on Afghanistan was also meaningful. He said the world would have to make serious decisions on the situation in Afghanistan.

He said that JUI-F had become a major political force in Pakistan. He said those who left Pakistan Democratic Movement tried to weaken PDM but the historic Karachi public gathering rally disappointed them.

Source: BUSINESS RECORDER

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

https://www.brecorder.com/news/40124273/parliament-being-pressurised-to-pass-un-islamic-laws-fazl

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Pakistan Army sepoy martyred in exchange of fire with terrorists in North Waziristan: ISPR

October 4, 2021

A Pakistan Army soldier was martyred in an exchange of fire with alleged terrorists in the North Waziristan tribal district, the military's media wing said on Monday.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), a post of security forces was targeted by terrorists in North Waziristan's Ghariuom area.

"Troops responded promptly" to the attack, while Sepoy Muhammad Amir Iqbal, 30, was martyred in the ensuing exchange of fire.

An area clearance operation was in progress to eliminate any terrorists found in the area, the ISPR said.

The incident comes two days after four Frontier Corps soldiers and a sub-inspector of Levies Force were martyred when terrorists targeted their vehicle in the Spinwam area of North Waziristan.

That incident took place in the area a day after Shura Mujahideen of North Waziristan headed by Taliban ‘commander’ Hafiz Gul Bahadur announced a ceasefire for 20 days.

The group announced a cessation of hostilities following a statement by Prime Minister Imran Khan that his government had initiated a reconciliation process with different groups of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan to end violence.

The premier had stated that the Afghan Taliban were playing a reconciliatory role in talks with the banned outfits.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1650082/pakistan-army-sepoy-martyred-in-exchange-of-fire-with-terrorists-in-north-waziristan-ispr

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IS claims responsibility for killing Sikh in Peshawar

October 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The militant Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for killing a member of the minority Sikh community earlier in the week in Peshawar city.

An IS statement issued late Friday described Satnam Singh, 45, as polytheist and said he was shot dead by IS members.

Pakistani officials have denied any organised IS presence in the country but the extremist group has claimed a number of attacks on security forces, mosques, political rallies and religious minorities in recent years.

Police said Singh was gunned down on Thursday in Peshawar. The gunmen fled the scene.

Singh, an herbalist, had lived in the city for the past 20 years and ran a small clinic selling herbal medicine.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1649777/is-claims-responsibility-for-killing-sikh-in-peshawar

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Southeast Asia

 

China's official think-tank casts doubt on Taliban's unity, ability to form inclusive Afghan govt

Oct 3, 2021

BEIJING: A Chinese think-tank has said that the Taliban face a series of severe challenges, including those relating to unity and ability to establish an open and inclusive government, calling for a close cooperation between “all-weather” allies China and Pakistan to persuade the Afghan terrorist group to implement its commitments.

As the Taliban's interim government failed to win a global recognition, an article in the state-run Global Times on Saturday said: “China and Pakistan must cooperate closely on the Afghan issue to persuade the Afghan Taliban to establish an open and inclusive government and implement a moderate domestic and foreign policy”.

Written by Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of Research Centre for China-South Asia Cooperation at the government-run Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, the article said: “at present, the verbal expression of the Afghan Taliban is very different from that in the past, but we do not know what specific policies they will champion in the future”.

“The Afghan Taliban are now facing a series of severe challenges. First, the unity of Afghan Taliban itself. Second, whether the Afghan Taliban can establish an open and inclusive government.

“Third, food shortage is likely to lead to humanitarian disasters and refugees. Fourth, they hope to win the recognition and assistance of the international community, but at the same time, they also face the hatred, blockade, sanctions and even subversion of some hostile forces in the world,” it said.

The article said that China and Pakistan, as “all-weather strategic partners”, must work together to maintain and promote regional security and stability.

Titled “Why is it essential for China, Pakistan to enhance coordination against terrorists, safeguard regional stability”, the article also criticised the premise among the strategic analysts that the seizure of power of the Taliban is a success for China and Pakistan.

“They believe that the successful seizure of power by the Afghan Taliban is a success of China and Pakistan, but a strategic failure of the US, the West and India.

“The reason why they have this faulty interpretation is mainly due to their geopolitical-competition thinking and zero-sum game thinking,” it said as it criticised the US move to form the Quad along with India, Japan and Australia.

China, besides hosting a Taliban delegation days before they captured the power in Kabul, has been asking the Afghan terrorist group to “make a clean break” from all terrorist forces and form an open and inclusive government following moderate domestic and foreign policies.

Beijing is yet to officially recognise the Taliban's interim government. However, it has kept its embassy open in Kabul along with Pakistan and Russia even as other countries closed their missions after the Taliban took over Kabul.

On September 21-22, special envoys of China, Russia and Pakistan met top officials of the Taliban's interim government as well as former Afghan leaders Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul and discussed the formation of an inclusive government, combating terrorism and assessing humanitarian situation.

Besides coordinating closely with Russia on Afghanistan, China and Pakistan, which are playing a lead role since Kabul fell to the Taliban, are trying to establish a new grouping of countries sharing borders with the war-torn country, comprising China, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

On September 26, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said in New York that Russia, China, Pakistan and the US are working together to ensure that the Taliban rulers keep up their promises, especially to form a genuinely representative government and prevent extremism from spreading.

The Global Times article further said: “China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran all hope that the Afghan Taliban can establish an open and inclusive regime so that all ethnic groups and parties in Afghanistan can have their own representatives, which is the key for the Afghan Taliban to win domestic and international support”.

“China does not want Afghanistan to fall into turmoil again due to domestic political struggle that always leads to humanitarian crises, nor does China want Afghanistan to become a shelter for Eastern Turkistan forces such as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM),” it said.

Source: Times of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/chinas-official-think-tank-casts-doubt-on-talibans-unity-ability-to-form-inclusive-afghan-govt/articleshow/86730583.cms

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Myanmar’s lack of cooperation means hard to have junta boss at Asean summit, says foreign minister

04 Oct 2021

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Myanmar’s failure to cooperate with a special envoy of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) will make it difficult to have the country’s junta leader attend an upcoming summit of the group, Malaysia’s foreign minister said today.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/10/04/myanmars-lack-of-cooperation-means-hard-to-have-junta-boss-at-asean-summit/2010640

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Zahid's bribery trial: Using businessman's RM5m ‘donations’ to pay mosque contractor doesn't make them legal, prosecution says

04 Oct 2021

BY IDA LIM

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The prosecution today insisted that a businessman’s cheques, totalling RM5 million and personally handed over to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as purported donations were actually money corruptly received by him, and that the subsequent use of this money for a mosque project does not make it legal.

Today, the prosecution was presenting its arguments in the High Court on why former home minister Ahmad Zahid should be called to enter defence and explain himself against eight corruption charges.

Deputy public prosecutor Gan Peng Kun zoomed in on 10 cheques totalling RM5 million which were issued by textile wholesaler Junaith Asharab Md Shariff via his company Berani & Jujur Trading, and which this businessman had passed to Ahmad Zahid in the latter’s house in 2017.

Junaith Asharab had previously as the 36th prosecution witness told the court that he had intended the RM5 million to be a donation for a mosque and a tahfiz school in Bagan Datuk, and that there was initially no recipient named for all 10 cheques but that he was later told by Ahmad Zahid to name law firm Lewis & Co as the recipient.

Gan noted that Ahmad Zahid’s lawyers had recently highlighted that the law firm Lewis & Co’s partner Muralidharan Balan Pillai had confirmed using the 10 cheques totalling RM5 million to pay Noble Energy, which was the contractor for mosque construction.

Gan however pointed out that the corruption charge that Ahmad Zahid is facing is only related to the reason for why the money was allegedly corruptly received, and is not about what this money was later used for.

“We submit, the ends do not justify the means. The purpose the accused (Ahmad Zahid) received the 10 cheques from Junaith cannot be legalised by the fact that they were subsequently used to pay the contractor of the mosque,” Gan told the court today.

In order for the prosecution to prove the corruption charge involving the RM5 million against Ahmad Zahid, Gan said the prosecution does not need to prove how the alleged bribe received by Ahmad Zahid was spent, but instead needs to prove that he had received these 10 cheques as an inducement for him to help Junaith Asharab-linked Mastoro Kenny IT Consultant & Services to get MyEG projects.

This due to there being only three elements for this corruption charge under Section 16(a)(B) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act that the prosecution needs to prove, namely the accused is an officer of a public body in his capacity, that the accused corruptly received gratification for himself, and that the gratification was received as inducement to do anything in relation to a matter or transaction — either actual or proposed or likely to take place — in which the public body is concerned.

Can the witness be trusted about alleged post-GE14 project promise?

Previously, Junaith Asharab had told the court that Ahmad Zahid had promised to award him MyEG projects worth RM50 million after the 14th general election at the same time after the cheques were handed over, and that Ahmad Zahid had asked him to send in proposals for the “promised MyEG project” after the 14th general elections.

Today, Gan said that Junaith Asharab’s testimony about the alleged projects promised by Ahmad Zahid could be considered to be credible.

Gan noted that Junaith Asharab had previously told the court that he had asked his former schoolmate M. Kumaraguru M. Muthusamy to register the company Mastoro Kenny with the Companies Commission of Malaysia to carry out the MyEG project allegedly promised by Ahmad Zahid.

Kumaraguru had previously confirmed in court that he had set up Mastoro Kenny in 2016 on Junaith Asharab’s request as the latter claimed to be able to obtain projects from public-listed firm MyEG Services Bhd, but said the company never received any projects from anyone since its 2016 formation until its closure.

Today, Gan noted that the Companies Commission of Malaysia’s records show that Mastoro Kenny was registered in August 2016 but that its registration was left to expire a year later and not renewed, while two other related businesses which had issued cheques given to Ahmad Zahid — Junaith Asharab’s Berani & Jujur Trading and Kumaraguru’s Jogabonito Jewellery & Diamonds — remained active as they were “genuine businesses” run by the Junaith Asharab and Kumaraguru respectively.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/10/04/zahids-bribery-trial-using-businessmans-rm5m-donations-to-pay-mosque-contra/2010626

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Pandora Papers shed light on offshore assets linked to Daim, who insists nothing shady about them

04 Oct 2021

BY RADZI RAZAK

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The Pandora Papers — documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on tax havens preferred by the rich and powerful — have shed some light on business associates of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.

Malaysiakini reported that according to the documents, which were sighted by them, the companies and trusts held by Daim's children, wife or known business associates jointly were worth at least £25 million (about RM141 million).

Daim’s sons, Muhammed Amir Zainuddin Daim and Muhammed Amin Zainuddin Daim were named owners of a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm Newton Invest & Finance Limited (BVI) in 2007 when they were nine and 12 respectively.

By 2017, when the brothers were in their early 20s, they were owners of several offshore firms set up in tax havens, including Splendid International Ltd (BVI) which held London properties worth £12 million (about RM65 million at 2017 exchange rates).

Besides the two BVI firms, the brothers and their mother are also shareholders in several other offshore companies which hold properties in London.

Meanwhile, the documents also mentioned Josephine Premla Sevaretnam, a former lawyer and deputy public prosecutor who served alongside Daim in the service before holding key positions in his various ventures which includes the Swiss bank ICB Banking Group, in which Daim owns 74.4 per cent when it was listed on the London Alternative Investment Market in 2007.

Josephine was also listed as Newton Invest & Finance Limited (BVI) and Splendid International Ltd’s (BVI) business manager, based in Bryanston Square, London.

Daim’s daughter Aslinda Daim-Pan, who took on her husband's surname, is also a director of the British company 8 Bryanston Square Freehold Limited, according to the UK's Companies House.

In a reply to Malaysiakini, Daim called out what he believes is the news portal's "unending obsession" with him.

He said while not all the trusts listed belonged to him, but all his dealings are legitimate and further stated that trusts are part of "estate planning" as he has retired from business.

As such, he contended that the reporting, which implies wrongdoing by innuendo and speculation, is "unprofessional" and an attempt to discredit him.

The former minister also said he has always paid taxes due for all investments and properties in any jurisdiction and that he was a "successful and wealthy" businessperson in his own right.

Source: Malay Mail

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

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/10/04/pandora-papers-shed-light-on-offshore-assets-linked-to-daim-who-insists-not/2010569

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North America

 

US Honours Khashoggi’s ‘Extraordinary Life, Legacy’ On Third Anniversary Of His Murder

Büşra Nur Çakmak  

03.10.2021

The US ‘honored Jamal Khashoggi’s "extraordinary life and legacy” on the third anniversary of his murder, with a statement Saturday from Washington’s Secretary of State.

“In his memory, we recommit to advocating for freedom of expression and the protection of journalists, activists, and dissidents everywhere,” Antony Blinken said in the statement. “The United States will always stand by and protect the principle that individuals everywhere should be able to exercise their human rights without fear of punishment or harm.”

Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and columnist for The Washington Post, was brutally murdered and likely dismembered after being lured by Saudi officials to their consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. While Riyadh initially denied any role in his death, it later sought to pin blame on what it said was a botched rendition operation.

That explanation has been widely rejected.

Blinken said the US “launched a coordinated effort to prevent and respond to any government targeting journalists, activists, and dissidents beyond its borders, bringing together diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence tools to deter repressive governments and better protect targeted individuals and groups, including within the United States.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-honors-khashoggi-s-extraordinary-life-legacy-on-third-anniversary-of-his-murder/2381433

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Jewish And Muslim Leaders Say, Non-Meat ‘Pork’ Is A Dish Too Far

By Mark A. Kellner

October 3, 2021

Jewish and Muslim leaders say that, although a new plant-based product that looks and tastes like ground pork isn’t really meat, it isn’t really kosher or halal, either.

Two organizations that certify kosher and halal foods — Islamic Services of America and Orthodox Union Kosher agency — have indicated that Impossible Pork is problematic, even if its ingredients meet their strict standards.

“We would not approve a product with the name using the word ‘pork,’” said Timothy Hyatt, vice president of Islamic Services of America, adding that rejection of the word is “an international standard” among the world’s halal certification agencies.

Rabbi Menachem Genack, Orthodox Union’s kosher division chief executive, said that Impossible Pork has not yet received an endorsement, even though the plant-based, ground beef substitute Impossible Burger has.

“It’s still an open issue,” Rabbi Genack said of the non-meat pork replacement.

Impossible Pork made its debut in a New York City restaurant Sept. 23, seemingly offering an alternative for observant Jews and Muslims, who are forbidden from consuming “the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you,” according the Book of Leviticus.

For the observant among America’s 3.45 million Muslims and 7 million Jews, the question of what can and can’t be eaten is not trivial. Creating products officially designated as halal or kosher has generated billion-dollar industries serving both communities.

Mr. Hyatt said that Impossible Pork “could be halal-compliant without any pork base, but it would also have to be clean and clear of any other sub-ingredients that could be non-halal.”

And Rabbi Genack said giving a stamp of approval for something named “pork” could cause marketplace confusion.

“We’re still trying to think what’s the right approach because a lot of this has to do with simply sensitivities within our community, and, frankly, also within the Muslim community, so we try to try to be sensitive to both in terms of when whether it’s kosher or not,” the rabbi said.

Impossible Foods, maker of the non-meat pork product, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Consumers who strive to observe their faith’s dietary restrictions aren’t likely to seek out an imitation, even if it wouldn’t technically violate their faith’s tenets.

“I have never tasted pork and I have no interest in tasting pork,” said Connecticut-based food blogger Liz Rueven, founder/editor of www.kosherlikeme.com. “I have zero interest in tasting something that has imitation pork qualities, whether it’s texture or flavor. I have no interest in that.”

Ms. Rueven said that even without kosher certification, “just the word ‘pork’ may be off-putting enough to have [kosher eaters] steer clear of it.”

She added that a food designated as sausage might not be as “polarizing,” because “it could be a vegetarian sausage, it could be a turkey sausage, it could be a kosher beef sausage.”

An Islamic student noted a deeply ingrained disinclination for eating pork in Muslim culture, consumption that the faithful “find repulsive.”

“What’s the point of going out and trying and curiosity when you have so many other options that God is already ordained?” said the student, who asked not to be identified.

Compliance with the kosher standard varies among American Jews, said Roger Horowitz, a food historian and author of “Kosher USA,” which delves into the history of the standard.

“Most Jews in this country are not observing kosher,” he said. “The number of Jews that are observant, kosher, is a relatively small number.”

Source: Washington Times

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

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/oct/3/observant-jews-muslims-non-meat-pork-dish-too-far/

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Festival in US capital offers taste of Turkish culture

Servet Günerigök 

04.10.2021

WASHINGTON

Thousands of people gathered Sunday in Washington, D.C. for an annual event that offers a sampling of Turkish culture, food and music.

The 19th Annual Turkish Festival, organized by the American Turkish Association of Washington DC (ATA-DC), included live music, folk dance performances, fortune telling and cultural events.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency at the event, Elvan Ramazanogullari, who is in charge of the association’s social media affairs, said it is the first in-person event after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are very excited actually to be able to hold the event once again after COVID and having it in-person,” said Ramazanogullari.

“We aim to bring all Turkish Americans together on this festival day and to promote Turkey and its culture,” she added.

One pier in the Wharf area hosted a stage where local folk dance performances were held and Turkish music was offered.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/festival-in-us-capital-offers-taste-of-turkish-culture/2382068

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia’s FM: Talks with Iran are still in exploratory phase

03 October ,2021

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said on Sunday that talks between the Kingdom and Iran remain in the “exploratory phase”.

“The fourth round of talks took place on September 21. These discussions remain in the exploratory phase. We hope they lay the foundation to address the issues between the two sides and we will work to achieve that,” Prince Faisal said in a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said last month that talks between Tehran and Riyadh achieved “serious progress” on the issue of Gulf security.

“We have had several rounds of talks with Saudi Arabia’s government in [Iraqi capital] Baghdad over the past few months. There have been good talks on bilateral issues. Serious progress has been made on the subject of security in the Gulf,” state news agency IRNA quoted Khatibzadeh as saying.

Saudi Arabia and Iran began talks in April in an effort to contain tensions between them. Iraq’s president had said Baghdad hosted the talks.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/10/03/Saudi-Arabia-s-FM-Talks-with-Iran-are-still-in-exploratory-phase

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Iraqi scholar speaks of practical following of Imam Hussain (a.s.)

October 4, 2021

The prominent scholar from the Iraqi province of Diwaniyah, said, “We should not be satisfied with Hussaini’s rites, but we should also take action. God wants us to do righteous deeds.”

Referring to the importance of Hussaini’s rites, the prominent scholar from the Iraqi province of Diwaniyah said, “In the Holy Quran, God has emphasized the importance of performing divine rites. The mourning on the 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (a.s.) (which is called Arbaeen) is one of the divine rituals that refers to the faith of the followers of the AhlulBayt (a.s.) school.”

“This year, many pilgrims from all over the world participate in the Arbaeen pilgrimage, which was held in complete safety. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, Iranian pilgrims could attend the Arbaeen ceremony late. However, groups of Iranian Shiites were able to attend,” Hojat al-Islam Sayed Hamad Al-Ghorabi Al-Hussaini, in an interview with ABNA News Agency correspondent in Iraq.

Imam Hussain (a.s.) is a virtuous role model for us, and we follow this infallible Imam. In response to Jaber’s request to cancel his journey to Karbala, Imam Hussain (a.s.) replied, “My duty is different from that of my brother Imam Hassan (a.s.). If my brother had 20 men by his side, he would not have reconciled with Muawiyah. But I have more people by my side”. Imam Hussain (a.s.) went to Karbala with his few companions. But the Umayyads sent a large crowd. Imam Hussain (a.s.) was not afraid of the large number of followers of the Umayyads, he fought with them and was martyred,” he continued.

“Imam Hussain (a.s.) performed enjoining good and forbidding wrong, and we must follow him. According to the hadiths, anyone who hears a Muslim asking for help, and does not respond to him, is not a Muslim; anyone who does not care about the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim; and anyone who sleeps full and his neighbor is hungry is not a Muslim” stated the prominent scholar from Iraqi province of Diwaniyah, referring to the purpose of the uprising of Imam Hussain (a.s.).

“We should not be satisfied with Hussaini’s rites, but we should also take action. God wants us to do righteous deeds, and just saying Tasbih is not enough. Faith requires righteous action. God asks us to establish justice, and, like Imam Hussain (a.s.) to rise against the oppressors,” he continued.

Source: ABNA

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https://en.abna24.com/news/iraqi-scholar-speaks-of-practical-following-of-imam-hussain-a-s_1185567.html?__cf_chl_managed_tk__=pmd_NgMQ1QjNAYVbjUsTl617xXJCCdTqdwjb0jkKnM6sRf8-1633333871-0-gqNtZGzNAxCjcnBszRKl

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Cyclone Shaheen kills six people in Iran, three in Oman

04 October ,2021

Six people died due to Tropical Cyclone Shaheen in Iran, an Iranian official said on Sunday about the storm which also killed three in Oman.

“Despite the measures taken by the government to control the storm in Sistan-Baluchestan province, unfortunately, six of our compatriots lost their lives in the port of Chabahar,” Vice Speaker of Parliament Ali Nikzad said.

Oman’s authorities downgraded the Tropical Cyclone Shaheen to a tropical storm. Its center has made landfall on Sunday night and its wind speeds were estimated at 102-116 kilometers per hour.

Shaheen has so far killed three people, two Asian workers and a child, with one person remaining missing, according to Oman’s state news agency.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/04/Cyclone-Shaheen-kills-six-people-in-Iran-three-in-Oman

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Lebanon patriarch calls for end to meddling in judiciary after blast probe stalls

03 October ,2021

Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday the government should put an end to any meddling in the judiciary after the probe into last year’s vast Beirut port blast was halted by the latest of a series of complaints against the lead investigator.

The investigation was frozen on Monday when a former minister wanted for questioning as a suspect filed a case questioning the judge’s impartiality.

The move followed a smear campaign by Lebanon’s political class against Judge Tarek Bitar and a warning by a senior official of the powerful heavily armed Iran-backed Hezbollah group to Bitar that he would be removed.

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, who has been sharply critical of Hezbollah, said in a Sunday sermon that political pressure on Bitar weakened the authority of the judiciary and could put international aid for Lebanon at risk.

“We cannot insist on the investigation in the port crime and not support the investigating judge and the judiciary,” al Rai said.

“It’s true that the government should not interfere in the judiciary but it is it’s duty to intervene to stop any meddling in the affairs of the judiciary,” he added.

The Aug. 4 2020 Beirut port blast, caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely for years, killed over 200 people but more than a year on no one has been held accountable.

Bitar is the second judge whose investigation has been stymied by powerful factions in Lebanon, where a lack of high-level accountability are blamed for systemic corruption, governing gridlock and economic meltdown.

Judge Fadi Sawan, the first to lead the probe, was removed in February on the back of a legal complaint that questioned his neutrality, similar to the one that has now frozen the investigation.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah last month accused Bitar of bias and “playing politics” but said he was not calling for his immediate removal. A senior official from the group was later reported to have threatened to get Bitar fired.

A judicial source said the judiciary were following up on the threat. Hezbollah officials and the justice minister could not be reached for comment.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/03/Lebanon-patriarch-calls-for-end-to-meddling-in-judiciary-after-blast-probe-stalls

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First ‘Egyptair’ flight lands in Israel

03 October ,2021

A plane branded with the logo of national Egyptian carrier Egyptair landed in Israel for the first time Sunday, a flight described as “historic” by the Israel Airports Authority.

Egypt was the first Arab nation to establish ties with Israel in a 1979 peace deal, and direct flights between the countries followed that accord.

But the Egyptian flights to Israel had previously been operated by an Egyptair subsidiary, Air Sinai, set up exclusively for the Israel route, creating a buffer between Egyptair and Israel.

But Egyptair will now run four flights per week into Israel under its own banner, IAA spokesman Ofer Lefler told AFP.

He called Sunday’s landing “a historic first.”

The move comes after a visit to Egypt last month by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for talks with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/03/First-Egyptair-flight-lands-in-Israel

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Jordan’s King Abdullah receives first call from Assad since start of Syria war

03 October ,2021

Jordan’s King Abdullah received a phone call from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the royal palace said on Sunday in what officials said was the first such communication since the start of the conflict in Syria a decade ago.

The conversation was the latest step in a recent normalization of ties between leaders who had long been on opposing sides in Syria’s civil war, with Jordan supporting Syrian Western-backed mainstream rebels seeking to drive Assad from power.

“They discussed relations between the two brotherly countries and ways of enhancing cooperation,” the Jordanian palace statement said.

King Abdullah told Assad his country supported the territorial integrity of its northern neighbor and efforts to preserve its “stability and sovereignty,” the palace statement said.

The king had called for Assad to step down after the Syrian leader’s crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protests at the start of the conflict in 2011 and Jordan became a conduit for Western and Arab weapon supplies to forces trying to oust Assad.

The staunch US ally has, however, in the last few months accelerated steps to normalize ties with Syria and nearly two weeks ago received the Syrian defense minister in a rare visit to coordinate cross-border security.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/03/Jordan-s-King-Abdullah-receives-first-call-from-Assad-since-start-of-Syria-war

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Crisis-hit Lebanon inaugurates its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in a message of hope

02 October ,2021

Crisis-hit Lebanon has inaugurated its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in a message of hope.

The launching ceremony started with the Lebanese and UAE national anthems under the supervision of the Tania Kassis Academy in a performance by 50 Lebanese children residing in Dubai.

The Lebanon pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is organized by the Federation of Lebanese Chambers, commissioned by the Lebanese government, and in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Economy and Trade.

The pavilion includes the Together We Walk concept, an art gallery, a concept store, and a wine bar.

Together We Walk is an invitation for the visitor to join the collective walk of the Lebanese people that refers to the principles of synergy and solidarity, of encounter and connecting minds, that creates change and opportunity.

The itinerary continues through the second space which is a temporary exhibition space where Lebanese artists participate in thematic rotational exhibitions on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, selected accordingly to a main theme covering traditional visuals arts as ceramics, sculpture, paintings, as well as the most comprehensive digital art creations. Its objective is to showcase the moving and incredibly creative Lebanese art scene.

Exhibits exquisite artisanal products, souvenirs, and ready-to-wear fashion clothes specially created by famous international Lebanese designers. The concept store is also meant to promote Lebanese fashion, which is mainly elitist and an Haute Couture one, and invest its prestige for an added value ready-to-wear production, accessible to the larger public.

The Winebar features the Lebanese Wine Industry with more than 19 internationally renowned brands. Wine tasting and initiation to enology will take place in the Wine bar with prominent Lebanese sommeliers.

At the outset, Lebanon’s Ambassador to the UAE Fouad Dandan delivered a speech in which he said, “It is necessary to point out thanks and gratitude to a generous initiative from the UAE and the organizers of this event, who provided Lebanon with this pavilion’s land, designs, and construction. This shows their eagerness to participate in Lebanon’s active participation, despite its economic, monetary, and financial crises, which it is going through.”

“I would like to thank Her Excellency Mrs. Reem al-Hashemi, through her position as Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of the Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, for the leadership of the UAE and its rational government for this support and appreciation,” Dandan added.

Dandan added that the team will strive to make this pavilion a platform for every Lebanese, to offer his contributions in various creative, artistic, cultural, intellectual, technical, economic, and commercial fields.

The Lebanese Pavilion was completed under the supervision and management of ONCE Entertainment Services.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/02/Crisis-hit-Lebanon-inaugurates-its-pavilion-at-Expo-2020-Dubai-in-a-message-of-hope

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Egypt “selected as nominee” to host COP27 climate talks: US envoy Kerry

02 October ,2021

US Climate Envoy John Kerry said on Saturday that Egypt had already been selected as the nominee to host the COP27 UN climate conference due to take place next year.

Each year, a country representing a different region of the world takes over the presidency of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the meeting tends to be hosted in that country.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/02/Egypt-selected-as-nominee-to-host-COP27-climate-talks-US-envoy-Kerry

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Disinfection, sanitation operations underway in Mecca’s Grand Mosque

04 October ,2021

Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has begun its disinfection and sanitation operations in Mecca’s Grand Mosque, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Sunday.

Strict COVID-19 precautionary measures have been put in place at the Grand Mosque – with a focus on sterilization and disinfection procedures.

The operations are underway “so that the pilgrims of the Grand Mosque can enjoy the best and finest services” during their religious ritual of performing Maghrib, Isha and Fajr prayers, according to SPA.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/coronavirus/2021/10/04/Disinfection-sanitation-operations-underway-in-Mecca-s-Grand-Mosque

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Mideast

 

Leaked Research: Secretive UK Base Linked to US Assassination of Iran's Anti-Terror Commander General Soleimani

2021-October-3

It was probable that the targeted killing of General Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), had been planned using information obtained from the Menwith Hill intelligence base, run by the UK Royal Air Force, in Yorkshire, the Guardian newspaper cited the research on Saturday.

The research, titled ‘Menwith Hill in 3D, Domes, Data and Drone Strikes,’ was presented at a special meeting of the Menwith Hill Accountability Campaign, which works to raise public awareness meant to make the facility accountable for its activities.

Menwith Hill, the report said, acted as a foreign outpost of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The research also raised questions about whether British personnel on the site are involved in assisting deadly US drone strikes, in particular in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.

“The involvement of the UK and Menwith Hill in an assassination that threatened to spark a war should be of great concern,” Barnaby Pace, an investigative journalist, wrote in the report in reference to General Soleimani’s assassination. “The UK government’s failure to assure the public that the base was not involved raises deep questions about the accountability for actions at the base.”

He also complained that the US and UK forces at Menwith Hill “operate beyond public scrutiny and accountability,” and that, unless there were change, “Orwellian surveillance systems and extrajudicial executions exposed in recent years will likely continue.”

“Intelligence programs at Menwith Hill have reportedly played a key role in operations to ‘eliminate’ people in Yemen, as part of a deadly drone bombing campaign that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths in a country that neither the UK nor US has declared war with,” he added.

“Any US military activity or US security agency activity carried out at Menwith Hill [must] be carried out in such a way as to make those responsible fully accountable to the UK.”

Menwith Hill is the largest known overseas site of the NSA, with 600 US personnel and 500 British civilians on site.

The base is part of an eavesdropping network, able to collect data from hundreds of millions of emails and phone calls daily and of pinpointing phones on the ground, according to the files leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden. Information obtained can be used in “capture-kill” operations.

Late last year, a senior Iranian Judiciary official said British security services firm GS4 had been linked to General Soleimani’s assassination.

Agents of the company handed the information of General Soleimani and his entourage to the US as soon as they entered the Baghdad International Airport, outside of which the then Quds Force commander was murdered by the US drone raid, Tehran Prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on December 31, 2020.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000711000414/Leaked-Research-Secreive-UK-Base-Linked-US-Assassinain-f-Iran's-Ani

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Spokesman: Iran Playing Influential Role in Region as Anchor of Peace

2021-October-3

"In my address before Normandy World Peace Forum and in my meetings with French counterparts, press & think tanks, I emphasized Iran's commitment to dialogue & diplomacy as the only way forward," Khatibzadeh tweeted while Referring to his visit to France.

"As anchor of peace & stability in our region, Iran will always play constructive role," he added.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000711000279/Spkesman-Iran-Playing-Inflenial-Rle-in-Regin-as-Anchr-f-Peace

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President Rayeesi: Iran-China Cooperation to Stabilize Region

2021-October-3

In his message to President Xi, President Rayeesi congratulated the National Day and the 72nd anniversary of the Establishment of the People's Republic of China.

He said that the lasting trust between Iran and China will stabilize cooperation in the region.

"Certainly, lasting trust between the two countries can expand the context of cooperation in the form of the One Road-One Belt Initiative, as well as a comprehensive programme of cooperation, and turn inter-regional cooperation into development, stability and peace," the Iranian president said.

President Rayeesi pointed out that China's sustained commitment to the priority of 'development' on the global political agenda reflects China's vision of a just, people-oriented international order that benefits all countries, especially developing ones.

"I hope that in the new chapter of relations between the two countries, we will see the promotion and expansion of cooperation in various economic, political and cultural fields, as well as the implementation of strategic partnership," he noted.

China had remained Iran’s biggest trade partner in the Iranian calendar year to late March as the country was responsible for almost a fourth of imports and exports registered at the Iranian customs office.  

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000711000833/Presiden-Rayeesi-Iran-China-Cperain-Sabilize-Regin

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Iranian Lawmakers Describe Geopolitical Change as Iran's Red-Line

2021-October-3

"Any geopolitical change and alteration of borders of neighboring countries is a red-line for the Islamic Republic of Iran," the statement read out in the Iranian Parliament's open session on Sunday said.

It pointed out that Iran neither would tolerate any action by aliens in this regard nor allow the soil of other countries to be a base for the Israeli regime’s provocations.

They also said in the statement that the military exercise held along Northwestern borders of Iran was a peace message to neighbors and warning to the Israeli regime.

Iran has frequently proved brotherhood and good neighborliness with bordering countries, including the Azerbaijan Republic, the lawmakers said, adding that they expect Azerbaijan's government to reject any mischief-making by aliens and counter divisive actions.

The Iranian lawmakers, meantime, asked the Foreign Ministry to deliver their message to the governments playing role in the Caucasus region.

In relevant remarks on Friday, the Iranian Ambassador to Baku Seyed Abbas Mousavi blasted the remarks by the Israeli envoy to Azerbaijan, saying that the dreams of the child-killing regime of Israel for the Middle East region will never come true.

Mousavi's remarks came in reaction to the recent anti-Iran allegations by Israel's envoy in Baku.

"We have a special respect for all Jews, Christians, and other followers of the divine religions; But we are sure that the Republic of Azerbaijan and Palestine will remain Islamic countries forever," Mousavi wrote in his Twitter account on Friday.

"The dreams of Zionism for this region will never be interpreted," he added.

In relevant remarks earlier on Friday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh strongly condemned a visit by the Israeli regime's foreign minister, Yair Lapid, to the Bahrain capital of Manama, and said the visit put a lasting stain on tiny Persian Gulf country.

"Bahrain's despicable welcoming of Israeli foreign minister (Yair Lapid) to Manama is at odds with the will of the Bahraini people," Khatibzadeh said.

The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman reiterated that the visit left an "unremovable stain" on the reputation of that country.

Lapid arrived in Bahrain on Thursday to open the Israeli regime's embassy in Manama and sign cooperation deals with the Arab country.

Khatibzadeh lamented Bahrain’s ignoring of the Zionist regime’s daily atrocities against the oppressed yet resistant people of Palestine.

"Such actions will not give a boost to the legitimacy of the Zionist regime and will not affect the ideal of liberating al-Quds al-Sharif as the first qibla of the world’s Muslims," he said.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14000711000775/Iranian-Lawmakers-Describe-Gepliical-Change-as-Iran's-Red-Line

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Turkey plans military drills with Azerbaijan after Iran’s army exercises near border

03 October ,2021

Turkey will hold joint military drills with Azerbaijan this week in a region bordering Iran after Baku’s government criticized Tehran for staging army exercises near its border.

“The Steadfast Brotherhood-2021 drill will take place with the participation of Turkey and Azerbaijan in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan between 5-8 October,” a spokeswoman for Turkey’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.

Iran’s army began on Friday military exercises near its border with Azerbaijan amid Tehran’s skepticism of Baku’s ties with the West in general and Israel specifically. Artillery, drones and helicopters participated in Iran’s drills.

“We do not tolerate the presence and activity against our national security of… Israel, next to our borders. And we will carry out any necessary action in this regard.” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said.

Azerbaijan and Israel have strengthened their military alliance in recent months, with Israeli-supplied high-tech drones helping Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region last year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2021/10/03/Turkey-plans-military-drills-with-Azerbaijan-after-Iran-s-army-exercises-near-border

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Iran demands US unfreeze $10 billion of Tehran’s frozen assets to show ‘intentions’

03 October ,2021

Iran's foreign minister has called on the US to unlock $10 billion of Tehran's frozen assets to clear the way for a return to a nuclear deal with major powers.

If the Americans have “true intentions, let them release some of our assets, for example $10 billion frozen in foreign banks”, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in an interview with state television broadcast late Saturday.

“But the Americans are not prepared to unlock them for us to be assured that they've taken into account the interests of the Iranian people at least this one time over the past decades,” he said.

Amir-Abdollahian also warned that Tehran would sue South Korea if it continued to refuse to honor a debt of almost $8 billion for purchases of Iranian oil.

Iran's funds are frozen in South Korean banks.

“US pressure (on Seoul) is a fact but we cannot continue... to turn a blind eye to this question,” he said, adding the government would allow the central bank to take legal action against two South Korean banks holding the funds.

Amir-Abdollahian said he had addressed the issue on Thursday during a telephone conversation with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong and asked him to allow Iran access to its assets “as soon as possible”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday renewed warnings that time was running out for Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

“The ball remains in their court, but not for long,” Blinken told reporters. “There is a limited runway on that, and the runway is getting shorter.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/03/Iran-demands-US-unfreeze-10-billion-of-Tehran-s-frozen-assets-to-show-intentions-

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Israel indicts six Palestinians who escaped high security prison

03 October ,2021

Six Palestinian prisoners who made a daring escaping from an Israeli prison in September were formally indicted Sunday, Israel’s justice ministry said.

The men were charged with escaping from the high-security Gilboa prison in northern Israel while five others were accused of assisting them, a statement said.

The inmates -- five from the Palestinian militant group and one belonging to the armed branch of the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah faction -- had been held for attacks against Israel.

They escaped by digging a tunnel under a sink.

One of them, Mahmud Abdullah Ardah, said after he was recaptured that he had used spoons, plates and even the handle of a kettle to dig the tunnel.

The six -- hailed as heroes by Palestinians -- were recaptured in batches during a major Israeli manhunt in September.

In addition to Ardah, the alleged mastermind of the escape, they include Zakaria Zubeidi who headed the Fatah armed wing.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/03/Israel-indicts-six-Palestinians-who-escaped-high-security-prison

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Two children killed in Houthi missile strikes on Yemen's Marib

03 October ,2021

Two children were killed and 33 other civilians injured in Houthi missile strikes on Yemen's central Marib city on Sunday, the internationally recognized government's state news agency said.

Two missiles targeted military areas in the city, residents said, while a third landed near a residential district that houses military headquarters of the Arab coalition.

The state news agency said a four-year-old girl and her two-year-old brother were killed when a missile hit their house, seriously injuring their mother. It said three other women and five children, ages ranging from seven months to 16 years, were among those wounded.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/10/03/Two-children-killed-in-Houthi-missile-strikes-on-Yemen-s-Marib

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Africa

 

Nigerian Ports Authority Staff Evangelization Shows Move To Christianize Nigeria – Muslim Rights Concern

October 4, 2021

By Seun Opejobi

The Muslim Rights Concern , MURIC, on Monday alleged that some staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, are attempting to turn the organization into a Christian crusade camp.

MURIC alleged that some senior staff of NPA usually give out Christian literature as parting gifts to official visitors to the facility.

The body said such an act is part of evidence to Christianize Nigeria.

In a statement by its Director, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC urged the authority of NPA to probe such acts.

Akintola said it’s unethical for staff of NPA to use the facility for evangelization.

The statement reads: “The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is now in the habit of giving Christian literature as gifts to its visitors. A group of people who visited the port recently were told that they should wait for gifts after their data capture for a port pass identity card. To their surprise, the same NPA staff who did their capturing gave them copies of Pastor Chris’s Rapsody.

“This is absolutely unwholesome, unethical and highly demeaning. Who owns these gifts and on whose behalf are they being handed out to visitors? NPA is now being used for Christian evangelisation. It depicts NPA staff as an idle and unserious bunch. How can a federal facility be used to promote one religion? It is an assault on our sensibilities. It is unacceptable.

“It is unthinkable that the same people who lodge complaints of Islamisation are hell bent on Christianising Nigeria. But whereas we cannot find concrete evidence of Islamisation, there are several proofs of Christianisation and what is happening in NPA is one of them.

“We had cause to complain about the Ikoyi immigration office sometime ago. Visitors are compelled to either participate or watch helplessly as the staff conduct Christian morning devotion in the same spot that those who came for international travelling documents are sitting.

Source: Daily Post

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

https://dailypost.ng/2021/10/04/npa-staff-evangelization-shows-move-to-christianize-nigeria-islamic-group/

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Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s Political Return Worries Opponents

3 October, 2021

Recent reports in Libya are claiming that the son of late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, will soon address the Libyan people in a speech to announce his his position on the upcoming Dec. 24 elections.

It is not entirely clear whether Gaddafi is actually considering running for the presidency, or if he only intends to support candidates in the parliamentary elections.

However, his return to politics, whether crowned with success or met with failure at the polls, will be an achievement for Gaddafi, who had been for years the expected successor to his father. But since the fall of the regime ten years ago, he has been either chased, imprisoned, or completely cut off from the public life.

Gaddafi was not, in fact, the only candidate to succeed his father. But the many roles he assumed over the years suggested that he was the first and favorite candidate among the colonel’s sons.

Gaddafi’s eldest son from his second wife, Safia Farkash, played a key role in the 1990s in settling Libya’s foreign issues, pertaining to actions attributed to his father’s regime, such as the bombing of civilian planes (Pan American and UTA) and nightclubs (La Belle in Berlin), and many others.

Gaddafi did not only deal with foreign affairs, but also played key roles in improving the image of his father’s regime inside the country by launching the Libya of Tomorrow project, and initiating reconciliation with the Islamists, his father’s staunch opponents

He was hence accepted at the internal and external levels for the succession of the colonel, whenever the latter chose to move away from power. But the uprising of Feb. 17, 2011 came to destroy, not only the succession project, but the entire Libyan authority. The head of the regime and his son, Mutassim, were killed after their capture in their hometown of Sirte in Oct. 2011.

Khamis Gaddafi, another son of the colonel, who led fierce battles in the west of the country, was also killed in an air strike along with his relative, the son of former intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, near the city of Tarhuna.

Muammar Gaddafi had earlier lost his son, Saif al-Arab, who was not involved in politics, in an air strike that targeted a family home in Tripoli (the raid was likely targeting the hiding place of the colonel).

Saif al-Islam himself almost met the fate of his brothers. He miraculously survived a raid targeting his convoy in Bani Walid, south of Tripoli, where he lost fingers on his right hand. He was arrested by the Zintan brigades in Nov. 2011, after he fled to Ubari in the south of the country.

Amid clear preparations for Gaddafi’s return to the political scene, alleged opinion polls distributed by his supporters put him at the forefront of the contestants in the presidential elections, which are expected to take place in December.

However, serious questions are raised about the legality of such move. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague since 2011, on several charges, including allegations that he tried to bring in mercenaries to defend his father’s regime during the revolution.

In addition, the Court of Appeal in Tripoli issued a death sentence against him in 2015. The judgment was issued in absentia at the time, as he was being held in Zintan.

Gaddafi was released by his captors in 2017. Since then, he has not made any public appearance, except in an interview with the New York Times earlier this year.

Source: Al Awsat

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

https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/3223591/saif-al-islam-gaddafi%E2%80%99s-political-return-worries-opponents

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Sudan factions form new alliance as splits deepen from main bloc

02 October ,2021

Several political factions including ex-rebel groups announced Saturday the formation of an alliance separate from Sudan’s main civilian bloc, in the latest sign of splits marring the country’s transition.

The announcement at a ceremony in Khartoum came as Sudan reels from fragmentation within the Forces of Freedom and Change, an alliance which spearheaded protests that ousted president Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.

Sudan has since August 2019 been run by an administration of military generals and civilians from the FFC through a rocky transition marked by economic woes.

Splits have deepened within the FFC in recent months, and support for the transitional government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has waned in large part due to a raft of tough economic reforms.

Saturday’s ceremony included political parties as well as the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by Mini Minawi and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) of Gibril Ibrahim.

“We want a united FFC,” Minawi said during the ceremony.

“We urge the people on your side who pretend they are from the FFC to sit with us and listen to us,” he added, addressing both the head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the prime minister.

Hamdok did not attend Saturday’s ceremony.

In early September, he was at the signing ceremony for an alliance of other factions within the FFC that also called for unity, calling it a “step in the right direction.”

Neither Minawi nor Ibrahim took part in that signing.

In October last year, Minawi’s SLM faction and Ibrahim’s JEM were among rebel groups that signed a peace deal with the government to end long-running conflicts under Bashir.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2021/10/02/Sudan-factions-form-new-alliance-as-splits-deepen-from-main-bloc

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‘Very modest start’ to pullout of foreign fighters: Libya FM

03 October ,2021

Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush on Sunday announced a “very modest start” to the withdrawal of foreign fighters from the war-torn North African country.

Oil-rich Libya is seeking to emerge from a decade of chaos since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, a period marked by bloody violence involving militias, foreign fighters and extremist groups.

The United Nations estimates 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters are deployed in the country, including Russians from the private security company Wagner, Chadians, Sudanese and Syrians.

“The news is true... It’s a very modest start,” Mangoush told a news conference in Kuwait City in response to a question on the pullout of foreign forces.

Libyan authorities are “aiming for the departure of a larger number,” she said, and to implement “a larger, more comprehensive” departure strategy.

“That is what we will try to achieve during the conference on Libyan stability at the end of this month,” she added, referring to a meeting announced by Libya’s presidential council chief Mohamed al-Manfi.

Mangoush did not specify the number of foreign fighters that had already left the country.

The UN, Libya and several other countries have repeatedly called for the departure of foreign forces from Libyan soil.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/03/-Very-modest-start-to-pullout-of-foreign-fighters-Libya-FM

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Algeria closes airspace to French military, French army says, amid growing tensions

03 October ,2021

Algeria has closed its airspace to French military planes, France’s military said on Sunday, escalating the biggest row between the countries in years.

A spokesperson for the French Armed Forces said Algeria had closed its airspace to two flights, but that it would have “no major consequences” for operations in the Sahel region, south of Algeria.

Algeria’s government and military were not immediately available for comment on the closure of airspace.

On Saturday, Algeria recalled its ambassador to Paris citing comments attributed to French President Emmanuel Macron, who was quoted in Le Monde as saying Algeria’s “politico-military system” had rewritten the history of its colonization by France based on “a hatred of France.”

The Algerian government did not specify which Macron comment had prompted the recall of its ambassador, but it accused him of interfering in Algerian internal affairs.

Macron was also quoted questioning whether there had been an Algerian nation before French colonial rule. Algeria won its independence from France in 1962 after a bloody military struggle.

A source in the Algerian government said the comment about Algeria’s existence as a nation had caused particular anger.

Algeria’s ruling elite since independence has been largely drawn from veterans of its war of liberation from France.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/03/Algeria-closes-airspace-to-French-military-French-army-says-amid-growing-tensions

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About 500 Europe-bound migrants intercepted off Libya: UN

03 October ,2021

Libya’s coast guard Sunday intercepted a wooden boat carrying around 500 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s shore, the UN refugee agency said.

It marked the latest sea interception amid a surge in crossings and attempted crossings from the North African nation to European shores in recent months. It took place two days after a massive crackdown on migrants in a western Libyan town that resulted in the roundup of at least 4,000 migrants.

Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe. The trend developed after the country was plunged into chaos following the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Human traffickers have benefited from the chaos in the oil-rich nation and smuggled migrants through the country’s lengthy border with six nations. They then pack desperate migrants into ill-equipped rubber boats in risky voyages through the perilous Central Mediterranean Sea route.

The migrants from Sunday's interception were disembarked at an oil refinery point in the western town of Zawiya, a major launching point for migrants, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR. They include Sudanese, Somalis, Bengalis and Syrians, it said.

The migrants were likely taken to a detention center as Libyan authorities typically do with intercepted migrants.

On Saturday, the Libyan coast guard intercepted around 90 migrants, including eight women and three children, and returned them to Tripoli, the UN agency said. The coast guard also retrieved the bodies of two migrants, while 40 others remained missing at sea, the agency said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/03/About-500-Europe-bound-migrants-intercepted-off-Libya-UN

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Libyans end Morocco talks without sign of election law deal

02 October ,2021

Two rival Libyan factions wound up a meeting in Morocco without any sign of agreement on a disputed electoral law, ahead of polls scheduled for December 24.

They did, however, jointly appeal for international support for the oil-rich North African country’s political process following years of unrest.

Representatives of the upper house, based in Tripoli in Libya’s west, held two days of talks in Morocco’s capital Rabat with the Libyan parliament, whose seat is in the eastern city of Tobruk.

“We call on the international community to support the electoral process in Libya... and to send international observers to guarantee that this important event takes place smoothly,” said El Hadi Ali Elsaghir, a member of parliament, at the close on Friday.

Libya saw a decade of war following its NATO-backed 2011 revolt which toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, leaving the country split between rival administrations backed by foreign powers and myriad militias.

Hopes of stability had followed a United Nations-led peace process and a ceasefire in October last year.

A western-based unity government took office in March with a mandate to prepare for December elections, but negotiations over relevant legislation have raised doubts over the UN-led process and plans for the ballot.

Elsaghir made no mention of agreement with his western colleagues over an electoral law.

Germany and the United States have been among nations seeking to ensure that the December legislative and presidential vote goes ahead.

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), which attended the Morocco talks, had urged the two delegations “to use this opportunity and live up to their historical responsibilities and move forward with completing the legislative framework for elections.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/02/Libyans-end-Morocco-talks-without-sign-of-election-law-deal

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Algeria recalls ambassador to France as tensions rise over Macron comments

02 October ,2021

Algeria decided Saturday to recall its ambassador to France for consultations, as diplomatic tensions mount with Paris.

The move comes after France’s President Emmanuel Macron made critical remarks about Algeria published in French daily Le Monde in which he said the former French colony was ruled by a “political-military system.”

“Algeria recalls its ambassador (Mohamed Antar-Daoud) from Paris for consultations,” state television said, quoting a statement from the presidency.

It said a longer statement would follow to explain the move.

Le Monde on Saturday quoted Macron as saying Algeria has an “official history” which has been “totally re-written.”

He said this history was “not based on truths” but “on a discourse of hatred towards France”, according to Le Monde.

The remarks, widely picked up by Algerian media, came in a meeting earlier this week between Macron and relatives of figures from Algeria’s war of independence.

It is the second time that Algeria recalls an ambassador from France.

Algiers also recalled its ambassador in May 2020 after French media broadcast a documentary about Algeria’s pro-democracy Hirak protest movement.

Saturday’s move comes amid tense ties following a decision by Paris to reduce the number of visas granted to citizens from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

The Algerian foreign ministry summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday to protest the visa ruling.

France on Tuesday said it would sharply reduce the number of visas granted to people from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, accusing the former French colonies of not doing enough to allow illegal immigrants to return.

Algeria’s foreign ministry handed “a formal protest” to French ambassador Francois Gouyette.

It called the visa reduction an “unfortunate act” that caused “confusion and ambiguity as to its motivation and its scope.”

Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita has described the French move as “unjustified.”

There has not been yet an official reaction from Tunisia.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/02/Algeria-recalls-ambassador-to-France-as-tensions-rise-over-Macron-comments

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Libya’s migrant roundup reaches 4,000 amid major crackdown

02 October ,2021

A major crackdown in western Libya resulted in the detention of 4,000 migrants, including hundreds of women and children, officials said Saturday.

The raids took place Friday in the western town of Gargaresh as part of what authorities described as a security campaign against illegal migration and drug trafficking. The Interior Ministry, which led the crackdown, made no mention of any traffickers or smugglers being arrested.

Officials said Friday that 500 illegal migrants had been detained but on Saturday reported that number had reached 4,000.

Gargaresh, a known hub for migrants and refugees, is about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) west of Tripoli, the Libyan capital. The town has seen several waves of raids on migrants over the years, but the latest one was described by activists as the fiercest so far.

Since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted and killed former leader Muammar Ghaddafi, Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe.

Human traffickers have benefited from the chaos in the oil-rich nation and smuggled migrants through the country’s lengthy border with six nations. They then pack desperate migrants into ill-equipped rubber boats in risky voyages through the perilous Central Mediterranean Sea route.

The detained were gathered in a facility in Tripoli called the Collection and Return Center, said police Col. Nouri al-Grettli, head of the center.

He said the migrants have been distributed to detention centers in Tripoli and surrounding towns. Libya’s detention facilities are miserable places where migrants have suffered from abuses and severe ill-treatment, according to rights activists.

A government official said authorities would “deport as many as possible” of the migrants to their home countries. He said many of the detained had lived illegally in Libya for years. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2021/10/02/Libya-s-migrant-roundup-reaches-4-000-amid-major-crackdown

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