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Islamic World News ( 30 Nov 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

The Revival of Jihad in Bangladesh: Is Islamic State at India’s Doorsteps?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India

The Revival of Jihad in Bangladesh: Is Islamic State at India’s Doorsteps?

Bangladesh raises concern as Rajnath order hits beef supply

Madrassa teaches Sanskrit, Arabic to Hindu, Muslim students; inculcates value of tolerance

Family asked to leave cinema hall for ‘disrespecting’ national anthem

Cops say Pakistan high commission figures in ISI spy racket

Modi, Sharif had hour-long ‘secret’ meeting during Saarc 2014

Pak PM Sharif says want peace with India, but not at cost of dignity

When a Muslim student refused to sing national anthem

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Europe

France calls for ‘enlightened Islam’ against jihadist ideology

German cabinet approves military aid for ISIL fight

France, Belgium push intelligence sharing after Paris attacks: source

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Southeast Asia

Indonesian Muslims speak out against extremists, try to educate others

Muslim Malays need to re-learn the beauty of Islam

Malaysia Joins Efforts To Reinvigorate Science In Muslim World

Indonesia can show that Islam religion of peace: American cleric

Muslim religious teacher to remain as principal of Christian-majority school, director says

Muslim businessman proposes Bali as "sharia" tourism destination

New National Security Council Bill moots wide powers to combat terrorism

Putrajaya cites national security as reason for banning Al-Jazeera reporter from Malaysia

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Mideast

70 Civilians Killed in Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen's Ta'iz

Putin: Turkey shot down jet to protect ISIS oil trade

Erdogan says would resign if Putin IS oil trade claims proven

Turkey calls for military talks with Russia

Two Israelis found guilty of burning Palestinian alive

Commander: Iranian Armed Forces Watching All Moves Closely as Regional Tensions Intensify

Parliament Speaker: West Comes to Join Iran's View on Syria

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South Asia

President Ghani, PM Sharif agree to revive stalled peace talks with Taliban

Military operation ongoing to recapture lost areas in Sar-e-Pol’s Sancharak District

Afghan president expected to visit Pakistan on Dec 9

Four ‘militants’ killed by CTD, police

Khaleda gets bail in graft case

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Arab World

Syria: Scores of ISIL Terrorists Killed in Airstrikes in Aleppo

Iraqi Forces Succeed in Cutting ISIL Supply Lines

Teacher breathes his last while giving Qur’an lesson

Russia ‘intensifies strikes’ on ISIS in Syria

Assad: France supports terrorism and war, not peace

Al-Qaeda warns Saudi Arabia ahead of mass execution

Syrian Army Seizes Another Chunk of Aleppo-Raqqa Highway

Russian Warplanes Bombing ISIL Defense Lines near Syria's Palmyra

Fresh Russian Air Raids Target Meeting of Top Terrorist Commanders in Lattakia

Senior Militant Commander Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Hama

Syrian Forces Complete Siege on ISIL-Held Quaryatayn Town in Homs Province

ISIL Pinned Down in Homs under Syrian Air Force Massive Airstrikes

Syrian Forces Ambush Terrorists in Homs

Nusra Front releases captive Lebanese soldiers

Clinton vows no U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq

Riyadh flays ‘racist’ attacks on refugees

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Africa

Boko Haram kills 4, torches some 50 homes in Niger

France detains two trying to join ISIL in Libya

Brundi on brink of another armed conflict: UN chief

Pope describes Muslims, Christians as 'brothers, sisters'

12 killed by eastern Uganda rebels in Congo

Ghana welcomes Turkish power ship amid energy crisis

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North America

US tightens rules for visa-free visits after Paris attacks

Obama pushes for calm in Russia-Turkey row

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Pakistan

Civil society urges govt to scrap cybercrime bill for violating human rights

Unofficial results: PML-N bags lead in Islamabad LG polls, PTI comes in second

Army wants peace in Balochistan, says commander

Four Qaeda-linked terrorists taken out

Pakistan's nuclear policy governed by restraint, responsibility: Aizaz

Pakistan lodges protest with Bangladesh

Traffic plan made for Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) Chehlum

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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India

The Revival of Jihad in Bangladesh: Is Islamic State at India’s Doorsteps?

November 30, 2015

Islamic State, in its latest issue of Dabiq entitled “Just Terror,” has sounded the clarion for its jihadi campaign in Bangladesh with a dedicated article entitled “The Revival of Jihad in Bengal.” This is the first official instance of the Islamic State trying to revive jihad in the Indian subcontinent, concomitantly confirming the presence of Islamic State in Bangladesh, and posing serious security problems to India.

The Dabiq article has been authored by Abu Abdur Rahman Al Banghali, ostensibly a Bangladeshi himself, identified by the nom de guerre suffix Banghali, which refers to a person of Bengali origin. The use of word “Bengal” in the Dabiq article is explained by an annotation stating that “Bengal is what the region was referred to before the founding of “Bangladesh” by nationalists in 1971.” This reference is to the 1971 liberation war for an independent Bangladesh from Pakistan. The article has criticized even the Islamist political parties and extremist groups with hardline ideology in Bangladesh for non-conformity to the puritan form of Islam as propagated by the Islamic State. The article not only targets new recruits but also members of other organizations in Bangladesh to switch allegiance to the Islamic State.

Interestingly, terror operations in Bengal have been included only in the current issue of Dabiq under a section titled “Military Operations by the Islamic State.” This section is a regular feature in all its issues of Dabiq, where the military operations of Islamic State in its “Wilayats” (provinces) are published.

The magazine has also officially claimed responsibility for the targeted killing of foreigners, policemen, and bomb attacks on a Shia procession in Bangladesh this year. The Dabiq article claims that Islamic State’s security cell carried out the following attacks:

September 28 – assassination of Cesare Tavella, an Italian citizen.

October 03 – assassination of Kunio Hoshi, a Japanese citizen in the city of Rangpur.

October 24 – multiple IED attacks on a Shia procession in the city of Dhaka, killing one person and wounding eighty-seven.

November 04 – assault on a police checkpoint in Dhaka, killing one policeman and wounding another

The Dabiq article has put an end to the ambiguity prevailing over the actual perpetrators of recent “lone wolf” type attacks in Bangladesh. Though these attacks were attributed to the Islamic State by the SITE Intelligence Group, Dhaka had maintained that the attacks were artificially engineered by vested interests, and the government has vehemently denied the presence of the Islamic State in Bangladesh. However, recent reports indicate that Dhaka has reconciled to the presence of Islamic State in Bangladesh by seeking assistance to nab two fugitive Islamic State operatives hiding in India who are suspected of being behind terror attacks in Bangladesh.

Security Implications for India

Given this new development and India’s close physical proximity to Bangladesh, Indian security planners will be concerned as this is bound to have serious security implications for India for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, Bangladeshi extremists have been known to operate from India, particularly in West Bengal. A module of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB), a banned extremist group in Bangladesh, was busted in Burdwan, West Bengal, in 2014. An investigation by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed that JMB has spread its network in the Indian states of West Bengal, Assam, and Jharkhand. JMB has been involved in recruitment, radicalization, and training of Indian youths by organizing terrorist training camps in certain Madrasas. JMB has established organizational bases at certain districts of West Bengal like Nadia, Burdwan, Murshidabad and Birbhum as well as in the Sahebganj district of Jharkhand in India. NIA charge sheets reveals that these bases were actively used for organizing radicalization programs, organizational meetings, fund-collection meetings, and hideouts for cadres and their families. JMB has an elaborate network of terrorist training camps at select Madrasas, and other hideouts where recruits are indoctrinated into the violent jihadi ideology as well as training for violent action through use of explosives and firearms.

More recently, Dhaka handed over a list of 204 Bangladeshi terrorists who are hiding in different parts of India. Interestingly, Dhaka has also provided the details of two Islamic State operatives believed to presently be in India, both of whom were involved in the assassination of the Japanese national in Dhaka in October 2015. As a result, there is always a healthy pool of terrorists or indoctrinated cadres belonging to different Bangladesh extremist groups or organisations in India, any of whom could possibly switch allegiance to Islamic State with a flick of a switch, providing Islamic State with readily available resource, and posing serious threat within India.

Secondly, the Indo-Bangladeshi border is highly porous which has abetted the rapid growth of smuggling networks and easy movement of criminals across the borders. For instance, fake Indian currency notes (FICN) are smuggled by agents at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) into India through Malda in West Bengal. The National Investigation Agency of India is presently investigating cases related to seizure of huge consignments of FICNs (Rs.2.71 Crores) stashed in shipping containers in Dhaka. In reality, Bangladesh has emerged as a key hub for peddling FICNs into India, which are sourced from Dubai. This network is robust, efficient and intact in-spite of joint working mechanisms formulated to tackle this menace by both the countries. This network has been used by terrorist groups in the past to move terrorists and logistics in and out of India.

Thirdly, terrorists and insurgents from both India and Bangladesh have found safe haven at both sides of the border. For instance, some of the Indian insurgent leaders like Arabinda Rajkhowa, and Anup Chetia of the banned United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) have found shelter in Bangladesh in past. Fundamentalists like Thadiyanvide Nazir of the Lashkar-e-Taiba module which carried out the bomb blasts in Bangalore, India in 2008 have also found their way to Bangladesh. Dhaka has arrested these insurgents and terrorists who were handed over to the Indian authorities. Notwithstanding this crackdown, Bangladesh still appears to figure in the itinerary of most of the terrorist groups in India, for both infiltration as well as exfiltration of terrorists using the above networks.

Fourthly, the ability of the Islamic State to mount rapid, frequent attacks with a shortened planning and execution cycle could also play in its favour. For instance, Russia and France started their air campaign against the Islamic State in late September, 2015. Islamic State, in response to their bombing campaign, brought down a Russian civilian jet over Sinai with a bomb and conducted terror attacks in Paris in October and November respectively. Islamic State should have theoretically conceived and planned the attack only after the start of the air campaign. Hence, commissioning, planning, and execution of these complex trans-border terror attacks took anywhere between 30-45 days, which is the key strength of the Islamic State, not rivaled by any other terrorist group. Similar complex attacks by other terrorists groups have used up more time to plan and execute compared to these attacks. For instance, Al Qaeda took more than a year to plan and execute 9/11 attacks in 2001, so did Lashkar-e-Toiba for Mumbai in 2008.The ability of the Islamic State to strike at will at distant lands, at short notice is its unique selling proposition which will make more radicalized youngsters gravitate towards the Islamic State. This ability is more pronounced after its recent conventional losses in Syria due to the coalition air campaign.

There are already ominous signs of Islamic State attempting to harness the above aspects in its favor. Islamic State recently released a recruitment audio message in Bengali, the dialect spoken by a size able population of Bengalis in India’s West Bengal. This is a clear attempt to target the Bengali-speaking population in India and Bangladesh. In addition to that, Indian intelligence agencies have intercepted several youngsters going to Syria to join the Islamic State. Most of these wannabe jihadis had planned to cross over to Bangladesh illegally and travel to Dubai and to Turkey from there, which is a testimony to the fact that the Islamic State handlers are still using Bangladesh as an exfiltration route. This is a strong testament to the presence of a support network in Bangladesh. Hence, an active jihadi support apparatus in Bangladesh will only exacerbate the situation further for India.

A readily available pool of recruits in India, supported by a well-knit support network in Bangladesh, has effectively created a scenario which could bring Islamic State to India’s doorsteps. Islamic State has resources which has facilitated the commissioning of multiple terror attacks in Bangladesh with rapid frequency, including the recent attack on a Shia mosque as recent as November 24th, killing one person. Islamic State could possibly use these resources to enhance its ability to execute terror attacks with a reduced attack cycle, more frequently in India. As reported by Geopoliticalmonitor recently, these resources could well play a key role in translating the intent of the Islamic State into actions, which has already envisioned unleashing the apocalyptic “Ghazva-e-Hind” in India.

http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/the-revival-of-jihad-in-bangladesh-is-islamic-state-at-indias-doorsteps/

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Bangladesh raises concern as Rajnath order hits beef supply

by Deeptiman Tiwary

New Delhi     

Dec 1, 2015

IN APRIL this year, Union Home MInister Rajnath Singh instructed BSF personnel deployed along the Indo-Bangla border to stop cattle smuggling. Seven months later, smuggling is down 70 per cent and the number of smugglers shot dead till October by the BSF stood at a high of 24, double last year’s 10.

A Home Ministry official said this was the principal issue raised by an alarmed Bangladesh at the November 16-17 Home Secretary-level talks between the two countries in Dhaka.

“The crackdown by the BSF has hiked the price of beef in Bangladesh manifold and is having a crippling effect on their Rs 12,000-crore beef industry,” said the official. Dhaka reportedly requested Delhi to “go easy” on cattle smugglers and to avoid killing them as far as possible.

Incidentally in an agreement signed in 2011, the BSF and Border Guard Bangladesh had resolved to use non-lethal weapons against smugglers and those crossing the border illegally. This had brought down casualties on the border significantly in the past few years.

Rajnath Singh had lauded the BSF during his border trip, while claiming that the force had

managed to bring down cattle smuggling to Bangladesh by 90 per cent.

Last Friday, BSF DG D K Pathak said information coming from across the border indicated smuggling had dropped by 70 per cent. By the end of the year, he estimated, the aggregate comparative drop would be anywhere between 40 and 50 per cent. “Even that would be a big achievement,” Pathak said.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/bangladesh-raises-concern-as-rajnath-singh-order-hits-beef-supply/

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Madrassa teaches Sanskrit, Arabic to Hindu, Muslim students; inculcates value of tolerance

Arvind Chauhan

Nov 30, 2015

AGRA: Located in the outskirts of Agra city, Moin-ul-Islam madrassa is the only Islamic educational institution in the country, where girls and boys of both Hindu and Muslim community are taught Sanskrit and Arabic languages.

Nearly nine kilometers away from heart of city in Deoretha-I area, the madrassa which promotes co-education system, has more than 400 students, of which nearly 150 are Hindus, who are fluent in reading and writing Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, English and Sanskrit. The madrassa has classes from I to VIII, in which students are also taught computer, mathematics, science and social studies.

Speaking to TOI, principal of the madrassa Maulana Uzair Alam said, "We introduced the subject Sanskrit last month after consulting to religious scholars and others. The idea behind the initiative, was to embed wholesome knowledge, ethics and tolerant approach in life."

"This madrassa which was opened in 1926, started admitting Hindu children since 2005. Over here, our students not only learn Arabic and Sanskrit to understand the two religion, but also to outsmart the students in terms of knowledge. After VIII these students who mostly belong to underprivileged class take admission in other private and government schools for further studies," he said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/Madrassa-teaches-Sanskrit-Arabic-to-Hindu-Muslim-students-inculcates-value-of-tolerance/articleshow/49984550.cms?

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Family asked to leave cinema hall for ‘disrespecting’ national anthem

Nov 30, 2015

Social media went into a tizzy on Monday after a viral video of a family being asked to leave a Mumbai multiplex for allegedly refusing to stand up during the national anthem.

Sources said the management at central Mumbai’s PVR Kurla stopped the screening of a movie at a late Saturday evening show after audience members complained about one family who were allegedly not standing up for the anthem. Several people got into a bitter verbal altercation with the family, who were immediately asked to leave, following which the screening was resumed.

A viral video titled ‘Muslim family thrown out of the cinema hall’ showed people threatening the family and the hall erupting in applause when they were asked to go – sparking strong reactions on Twitter and YouTube.

“The manager said they asked the family to leave after people protested. However, there was nothing to do with the religion of the family if they are Hindu or Muslim. There is no case registered,” said a police officer from Ghatkopar police station. No case has been registered yet.

“PVR Cinemas is fully committed to the policy of equal respect for everyone. According to order of Maharashtra Government, it is mandatory for all cinemas to play the National Anthem before every film. Being a law abiding company, like all other cinemas in Maharashtra, PVR Cinemas follows the practise prior to every show, said the PVRspokesperson.

“On November 29, 2015 there was an altercation between guests at one of our cinemas in Mumbai. Our staff intervened keeping in mind the safety of guests and a peaceful environment for all our guests,” the spokesperson added.

Watch | Family thrown out of theatre for ‘disrespecting anthem’

Standing up for the national anthem that is played in several multiplex chains across the country has emerged as a delicate issue in recent years.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/family-asked-to-leave-cinema-hall-for-disrespecting-national-anthem/story-8KaiYAYipreCyWeS9c8jqN.html

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Cops say Pakistan high commission figures in ISI spy racket

Dec 01, 2015

Some officials of the Pakistan high commission are being probed over a suspected role in the Inter-Services Intelligence spy racket busted on Sunday evening, police said on Monday.

The investigation so far has revealed one of the two accused, Kaifatullah Khan, was directed to meet a high commission official, police said.

“Our investigation has revealed he was directed to visit Pakistan again. He has confessed he was told to meet an official in the Pakistan high commission who would help him in obtaining a visa. We will probe the identity of the official and at a later stage approach the high commission,” joint commissioner of police (crime branch) Ravindra Yadav said.

Police said they have recovered a recommendation letter from Khan addressed to Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit. Yadav said the handler was to meet the Pakistani official outside the high commission in Chanakyapuri.

On Sunday evening, Delhi police said they had busted an espionage ring of the ISI with the arrest of Khan and his associate Abdul Rasheed, a serving BSF constable. Rasheed, posted with the intelligence unit of the BSF in Rajouri, allegedly accessed information which was sent to handlers in Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/cops-say-pakistan-high-commission-figures-in-isi-spy-racket/story-UBsDgmZLjlMEbM5soZ1L3N.html

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Modi, Sharif had hour-long ‘secret’ meeting during Saarc 2014

Prashant Jha

Dec 01, 2015

A year ago all that the people saw was a quick handshake but away from TV cameras Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif held an hour-long secret meeting on the sidelines of the Saarc summit in Kathmandu.

Both the leaders shared their constraints while agreeing they needed more time and greater political space to move forward with public engagements. The meeting was facilitated by Indian steel magnate Sajjan Jindal, who is the brother of former Congress MP Naveen Jindal.

These revelations have been made by well-known television journalist Barkha Dutt in her debut book, This Unquiet Land — Stories from India’s Fault Lines. HT has exclusive access to the book, which is published by Aleph Books Company and will hit the stores on Wednesday.

Unknown to the media and certainly the public, both Modi and Sharif had found someone to “keep them connected even when things got difficult”, Dutt writes, describing Jindal as an informal messenger serving as a “covert bridge” between the two leaders.

Despite repeated attempts, Jindal did not return HT’s calls or messages. Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup, too, did not comment.

During their first meeting when Sharif came to Delhi for Modi’s swearing-in — the two PMs decided to keep the reins of the relationship in their hands.

“However, they agreed that it could be useful to talk informally through a mutual acquaintance they both felt comfortable with.”

The acquaintance was Jindal, who hosted a tea party for Sharif after his meeting with Modi in Delhi. When Dutt went to meet the Pakistani leader at the Capital’s Taj Mansingh hotel, she saw Jindal escort Sharif’s son Hussain for lunch.

“It was no secret that Indian steelmakers, both state and private players, were looking to foster friendly relations with Pakistan; they needed this to happen so they could ferry iron ore from Afghanistan by road across Pakistan from where it could be shipped to ports in western and southern India,” Dutt writes. But, Jindal’s ties with Sharif, she says, appeared to have gone beyond that of a businessman with the head of a government – and the two had become “confidantes”.

The proximity was at play in Kathmandu, where the Saarc summit was held on November 26 and 27. Modi called up Jindal from Nepal and asked him to take the earliest flight to the Nepali capital. “Jindal was asked to discreetly reach out to his ‘friend’ across the border,” writes Dutt. The two leaders then met quietly “in the privacy of Jindal’s hotel room”, where they spent an hour together.

Modi – hinting at the upcoming Jammu and Kashmir elections – indicated while he was keen, “circumstances” did not permit him to reopen formal channels. Sharif spoke about “constrictions” imposed on him by the security establishment and how his “negotiating power with the army had been gradually whittled away”.

“This under-the radar encounter paved the way for Modi to openly reach out to Sharif two months later through a phone call that was positioned as an innocuous good-luck call for the World Cup,” Dutt writes.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/modi-sharif-had-hour-long-secret-meeting-during-saarc-2014/story-oaPYNkJI2sUS09cdHjWnCL.html

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Pak PM Sharif says want peace with India, but not at cost of dignity

Nov 30, 2015

Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif said his country desired peace with India but without any compromise on its dignity, speaking after his brief meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a climate change summit in Paris on Monday.

The meeting was the first between the two leaders after July when they met in the Russia’s Ufa and agreed that their National Security Advisers would hold talks. The meeting, however, did not take place after the Pakistan high commission in India insisted on inviting Kashmiri separatist leaders for a reception in honour of the Pakistan NSA, Sartaj Aziz.

“If we really keep positive sentiments for one another, we must take practical steps towards their fulfillment,” Sharif was quoted by Geo TV as saying on Monday after his meeting with Modi. “We want to make progress and improve both internal and external matters,” he said, adding that all states should adopt the path of dialogue for resolution of issues.

After meeting Modi, Sharif told the Pakistani media that his country attached highest significance to its principled stance. “Pakistan desires better bilateral relations with India,” he said.

On Saturday, on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Valletta, Malta, Sharif told British PM David Cameron during a bilateral meeting that Islamabad was ready for unconditional talks with New Delhi.

The Paris meeting again sparked hopes of renewal of the dialogue process between the two sides.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/pak-pm-sharif-says-want-peace-with-india-but-not-at-cost-of-dignity/story-mtB623Z9DdE0SIkFD5ybfN.html

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When a Muslim student refused to sing national anthem

December 1, 2015

It started off as a normal day in school for me. Academic and general discussions with the colleagues before the bell rings for assembly, smiling and greeting the students back, which wouldn't stop until the prayer starts. Making the students stand in queues and feeling a sense of solace in this togetherness, watching them as one entity, a little unified world amidst the chaos outside. Till one girl, someone I am particularly fond of, did something unusual.

 Also Read: Family forced to leave theatre after not standing when national anthem was played

I observed that she was not participating in the morning assembly. While the other students were singing 'Itni shakti humein dena daata', she neither joined her hands and sang the prayer, nor stood in attention position for the national anthem later. At first I considered it as a case of general indiscipline until after the assembly, I, along with two other teachers called her to know what made her do so.

Upon being questioned, the Class IV girl replied, "I will not join my hands, nor will I do anything else. It is against Islam. My father has asked me not to do it." It came as a shock at first to the three of us as such an incident had never happened before.

Elsewhere and on Twitter there was a raging debate on a Muslim couple in Mumbai being heckled for not standing up during the national anthem and here, I was facing a crisis in my classroom. The teachers tried to explain to her that the school prayer is not for any particular religion or god but it pays respect to every religion. They are a part of the school curriculum so that in a secular state like India, the students grow up to become citizens who would respect all religions equally while maintaining their own faith.

"It is okay if you do not want to join hands for the prayer but you should stand still when the national anthem is being sung. It is a mark of respect for the nation." The next day the girl was observed keeping her hands together loosely in the front during the entire morning assembly, from prayer to the national anthem. She did not close her eyes even for the five minutes of silent meditation done post the anthem, aimed at increasing the concentration of the students.

Full report at:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/first-person-account-when-a-muslim-student-refused-to-sing-jana-gana/1/535394.html

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Europe

 

France calls for ‘enlightened Islam’ against jihadist ideology

Nov 30, 2015

Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve urged French Muslim leaders on Sunday to develop an “enlightened Islam” to confront what he called the obscurantist views of Islamic State that lead young Muslims into violence.

At their first meeting since the November 13 killings of 130 people, he told about 400 Muslim leaders, imams and activists that France would do everything it could to track criminals, but only they could win the battle of ideas within Islam.

The unusual meeting of 10 Muslim federations and five grand mosques was arranged to “cry loud and clear our condemnation of these acts,” Anouar Kbibech, head of France’s Muslim Council (CFCM), said of the massacre in Paris by mostly French and Belgian recruits to the Syrian-based Islamic State movement.

It swore allegiance to France and ended with the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. France’s five-million-strong Muslim minority, Europe’s largest, makes up about 8% of the population. Two-thirds of them are French citizens.

Cazeneuve, whose portfolio includes religious affairs, recalled Islam’s “Golden Age” of prominent philosophers and cooperation among religions, which was a far cry from what he called the perverted Islam of today’s jihadists.

“It is your responsibility to revive this enlightened Islam to denounce the spiritual duplicity of the terrorists and those who follow them,” he told the meeting.

“You are the most legitimate and qualified to fight these deadly ideas ... we must protect our youth from the spread of this stupidity,” he said. “Just think what effect this progressive Islam would have on the rest of Islam in the world.”

France is home to many Muslim intellectuals who write long treatises about reforming Islam to make it fit better into western society. Most have only faint resonance among practising Muslims here or in the Muslim world.

‘Islam of France’

Since the late 1980s, successive Paris governments have tried but failed to nurture a liberal “Islam of France” that would help integrate the faith into this mostly secular society.

The French Muslim community, torn apart by ethnic divisions and power politics, has for its part failed to unite to oppose radical Salafist groups that have established their presence in some mosques and neighbourhoods as well as on the Internet.

Recently elected as CFCM president, Kbibech brought together the often rival federations and grand mosques to pledge to do more to train imams, fight radicalisation and educate young Muslims in the principles of Islam.

“After the time for emotion, for condemnation and compassion, now is the time for action,” he said. “French Muslims are ready to play their part ... to understand and prevent the drift of some of our youths into violence.”

Islam played a part in this radicalisation, even if only as a source for religious pretexts misused to justify violence, he said, but many political, economic and social factors also pushed young Muslims to extremism.

“We are witnessing an Islamisation of their radicalism, not a radicalisation of Islam,” he said, citing a recent analysis by Olivier Roy, a leading French academic expert on Islam.

Cazeneuve, who announced a meeting with Muslim leaders about radicalisation for early January, said French Muslims should develop a “Gallican Islam, that keeps abreast of modern society’s concerns and resolves issues that (Islam) never had to resolve in its societies of origin”.

Salafist Islam, the puritan literalist interpretation of the faith that is the basis for Islamic State’s violent ideology, says Muslims must return to the practices of early Islam in the seventh century and shun many aspects of modern western life.

Cazeneuve said Paris would continue cracking down on what he called obscurantism and told the meeting that two mosques had been shut down and about 20 more searched since Paris decreed emergency powers to allow it to track down militants.

He praised the meeting for its unequivocal denunciation of extremism and allegiance to France and its values, calling a statement it passed “a declaration of love for the republic and for France”.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/france-calls-for-enlightened-islam-against-jihadist-ideology/story-FfsbT6UqIWInV6E9L58OMK.html

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German cabinet approves military aid for ISIL fight

01 December 2015

The German cabinet on Tuesday approved a mandate offering military assistance to back the fight against the ISIL, sources said.

The package, which still requires parliamentary approval, covers Tornado reconnaissance jets, a naval frigate and up to 1,200 troops following a request from France in the wake of deadly attacks in Paris last month.

"The German contribution serves the fight against terrorism under the auspices of the alliance against IS and is aimed at supporting in particular France, Iraq and the international alliance in its fight against IS," according to a copy of the mandate obtained by AFP.

The mandate is for one year at a cost of 134 million euros ($142 million) and can be extended next year.

By providing for up to 1,200 soldiers for aerial reconnaissance and support, it would be the largest Bundeswehr mission, following a drawdown in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier acknowledged ahead of the cabinet vote that it could be a protracted fight.

"We are doing what is militarily necessary, what we can do best, and what we can back politically," Steinmeier told the daily Bild.

"We need patience against an enemy like ISIL."

No date has been set for the parliamentary vote but approval is considered virtually guaranteed as Chancellor Angela Merkel's "grand coalition" government has an overwhelming majority.

Germany is to send an unspecified number of Tornado aircraft fitted with surveillance technology that can take high-resolution photos and infrared images, even at night and in bad weather, and transmit them in real time to ground stations.

A German frigate could help protect the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean, from which fighter jets are carrying out bombing runs, and the tanker aircraft could refuel them mid-air to extend their range, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week.

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/166904/german-cabinet-approves-military-aid-for-isil-fight

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France, Belgium push intelligence sharing after Paris attacks: source

Dec 1, 2015

PARIS: France and Belgium want to improve intelligence sharing between the nine European nations most concerned with militant threats in the wake of the Paris attacks, a French government source said Monday evening.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel agreed to "launch an initiative" when they met at the United Nations climate summit in Paris on Monday, a source in the French premier's entourage said.

That would include harmonising and systemising how information on individuals deemed dangerous or radicalised is shared between countries in the 26-nation, passport-free Schengen zone, the source said.

France and Belgium want to see the "prolonging and expanding, while better formalising, the multilateral exchange of information" between the countries, the source added.

News agency Belga reported France and Belgium could hold a meeting in the coming weeks, although the source said no date had been set.

Security fears have been heightened in Europe since 130 people were killed in Paris last month by terrorists, many of them with links to the impoverished Molenbeek neighbourhood of the Belgian capital.

The attacks, claimed by the militant Islamic State group, have also called into question how to track and monitor people arriving from Syria during Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II.

The European Commission has proposed setting up a pan-EU intelligence agency, similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States, in the wake of the attacks.

The group of nine EU member states France, Belgium, Italy, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland and Sweden met in June 2014 after an attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223512/france-belgium-push-intelligence-sharing-after-paris-attacks-source

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesian Muslims speak out against extremists, try to educate others

Dec 1, 2015

Daesh, aka the Islamic State, has become the most notorious religious extremist group in the world, even if they aren’t the most deadly. They have carried out numerous terrorist attacks both at home and abroad, the most notorious being those in Beirut and Paris. This has led to a resurgence in Islamophobia in many western nations, up to and including some not-so-subtle Nazi rhetoric from American presidential candidates as well as fear leading to average citizens wanting to slam the doors shut on any and all Muslim refugees, even if those fears are completely unfounded. It has also led to many painting the vast majority of Muslims as extremist, if not in practice then by failing to speak out. This has not sat well with Muslims around the world, who are victimized by terrorist organizations then faced with hate crimes by ignorant people who can’t (or won’t) differentiate between them.

Now Muslims in Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic majority nation, are fed up with both Daesh and those who wish to utilize fear and racism to isolate and denigrate all Muslims. Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), an organization boasting over 50 million Sunni members, is now pushing back in the public sphere, making statements and calling for awareness of Islamic opposition to groups such as Daesh.

“The spread of a shallow understanding of Islam renders this situation critical,” says A. Mustofa Bisri, NU’s leader, “as highly vocal elements within the Muslim population at large -- extremist groups -- justify their harsh and often savage behavior by claiming to act in accord with God’s commands, although they are grievously mistaken.”

NU aren’t the only Indonesian Muslims speaking out, with the government chiming in with their own message of tolerance and combating the issue of Islamist extremism. They aren’t pulling any punches either, explicitly stating that the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East have directly contributed to the problem, exacerbating it rather than quelling it.

“The Indonesian government has a different attitude,” says Security Coordinating Minister Binsar Panjaitan when asked about violent crackdowns during a press conference. “We promote religious and cultural approaches to addressing ISIL.” He added that they “want all elements of society [to understand] that Islam is a peaceful religion” under normal practice.

This understanding has sadly not permeated all areas of society, least of all in the United States. American Muslims are saying that the current climate is as bad, or even worse, than in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The fact that several of the leading candidates for the highest office in the land are openly advocating hatred and intolerance and it leading to higher poll numbers rather than getting run out of town on a rail shows exactly how bad the perception problem is here. It’s almost as though Christianity has a similar problem with supposed followers straying from the message of their own religion.

Full report at:

http://www.examiner.com/article/indonesian-muslims-speak-out-against-extremists-try-to-educate-others

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Muslim Malays need to re-learn the beauty of Islam

November 30, 2015

By Saleh Mohammed

Two weeks ago as I took my morning walk under overcast skies at a park, it began to drizzle and I dashed to the nearest shaded spot for cover. There I overheard a conversation between a young Chinese girl and an elderly Malay couple.

The girl said she was a new Muslim convert and found that while Islam was a complete religion, she noticed many Muslim Malays did not practice true Islamic values.

I couldn’t help but agree with her because sometimes I too, as a mere mortal, forget to follow these good values.

What I am going to discuss here is at the centre of it all – our mosques – the venue for social and political discussions.

I WhatsApp-ed a few friends involved in mosque committees for a reality check and was saddened by the range of feedback I got.

While some had a “tidak-apa” attitude, others spoke of suspected theft, embezzlement and unauthorised use of funds.

A clear example of inconsiderateness is the issue of parking during Friday prayers. It is chaotic, to say the least. Those who come late happily park wherever they want and will maintain their habitual “lateness” when leaving the mosque.

At mosque entrances, it is common to see slippers and shoes strewn all over. Worst yet are those who “pinjam” your slippers for ablution and do not place them back in its proper spot.

In the mosque, the same inconsiderateness is seen with reading materials and the use of chairs meant for those who have difficulty standing for prayers.

If you need to answer nature’s call, be prepared to wade through a mini flood in the bathroom. In the ablution area, be prepared for the sight of vandalism and missing installations everywhere you look.

Clearly cleanliness as well as conserving water and energy in the mosque area is severely lacking. Discipline, observance of time and civic-consciousness are other things the congregation takes lightly.

Due to the nature of its endowment, do you think mosques should be lawfully owned by anyone? It is also a treasury from which charity work is done. Governments, political parties and groups citing ownership rights over such places should not be allowed to do so. There should be no justification for government intervention in the affairs of our mosques.

My friends inform me that for a person to be elected chairman of a mosque, his nomination goes through a vetting process where the Ketua Bahagian (divisional head) has a say. Positions in mosques are meant to be filled by the “kariah” or people staying in the vicinity. Many a time the Ketua Bahagian is not a part of the congregation. As such his dependence on the state may weaken his sense of responsibility.

Another friend observed that professionalism in the management of mosques was also wanting. Efficiency and effectiveness are needed. Mosque managements should include a key performance index, motivation, productivity and participation in decision-making processes. This should include proper budgeting and internal controls.

The question now is whether present committee members will be receptive to this idea. Generally, the committee comprises retirees and a big portion are former government servants. In more exclusive areas, the chairmen are either a Datuk or Tan Sri who is busy being a board member or chairman of a string of companies.

Some mosque committees have become exclusive clubs, and close their doors to others. The feedback I got was that dedicated committee members who fully understand the functions of modern-day mosques are sorely needed. Throughout Islamic history, mosques have not only been places of worship and prayer, but have also been centres of cultural, political, social, economic, legal education as well as training for the Ummah.

In New South Wales, Australia, most mosques are involved in interfaith dialogue and have open days for non-Muslims. Mosques there are involved with the wider society and are willing to communicate and exchange ideas.

Full report at:

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/highlight/2015/11/30/muslim-malays-need-to-re-learn-the-beauty-of-islam/

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Malaysia Joins Efforts To Reinvigorate Science In Muslim World

30 November 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: An international task force has been set up to bring reforms at universities for the scientific revival of the Muslim world.

The task force will set up and manage NEXUS, a Network of Excellence of Universities for Science, with the help of administrators.

It will monitor the progress of reforms at participating universities and issue a peer report card to inspire further improvements.

Chairman of the task force Prof Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid told an international forum here today that "tough" reforms were needed considering the bad situation.

Prof Zakri, who is Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, said the Muslim world represented 25 per cent of the global population but contributed only six per cent of the world's academic publications, 1.6 per cent of the world's patents and 2.4 per cent of the international research expenditure.

He said the countries that constitute the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation lag behind in the scientific world and part of the cause is a lack of mastery of modern knowledge, particularly science and technology.

Prof Zakri was launching the report on the 'State of Science at Universities of the Muslim World' at the one-day open forum attended by key stakeholders in Malaysian education and the Oxford busines group. It was hosted by MIGHT, the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology.

The Convenor of the Task Force on Science at Universities in the Muslim World is American University of Sharjah Professor Nidhal Guessoum. The Co-Convenor is MIGHT President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dr Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman.

Zakri said the situation seemed to be worsening as students in the Muslim world who participated in standardised international science tests lag well behind their counterparts worldwide.

Full report at:

http://www.malaysiandigest.com/news/581769-malaysia-joins-efforts-to-reinvigorate-science-in-muslim-world.html

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Indonesia can show that Islam religion of peace: American cleric

1 Desember 2015

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A cleric of the United States, Mohamad Bashar Arafat, has said that Indonesia can carry the message to the global community about Islam being a religion of peace and non-violence.

"I see that Indonesia can convey the message of Islam as a religion of peace because the country has a plural society," Mohamad Bashar Arafat said here on Monday.

According to Arafat, Indonesia should convey the message of cultural and religious diversity that exists in harmony. It is a country that has the ability to showcase this to the world community globally.

The Founder of Civilizations Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (CECF) said the terrorist attack which killed many people in Paris has tarnished the image of Islam in general, especially in Western countries.

"After the attacks, 63 percent of Americans agree with negative views about Islam. They think there is something wrong with us. We should change (such a perception)," Arafat said.

If the society of Middle East Countries did not act in accordance with the Holy book Quran, they did not represent Islam fully and completely.

"The speech of the former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2014 was very good. We must tell the people that Islam is not just in the Middle East. Islam also exists in Indonesia and other countries," he said.

Therefore, he re-emphasized that Indonesia can be a model and a message carrier to represent Islam as a religion of peace.

On this occasion, Arafat also said the CECF will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah to spread the message of Islam as a religion of peace in each country.

Full report at:

http://www.antaranews.com/en/news/101763/indonesia-can-show-that-islam-religion-of-peace-american-cleric

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Muslim religious teacher to remain as principal of Christian-majority school, director says

BY SULOK TAWIE

November 30, 2015

KUCHING, Nov 30 — Religious teacher Roslin Che Mood will remain as principal of Christian Dayak-dominated SMK Sungai Paoh for now despite initial protests by parents, Sarawak education director Rakayah Madon said today.

“But I believe that he will not be there forever. It could be for a short period,” she told reporters.

“He will stay put for a while as what Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had told me. He had told me to let Roslin be there first,” she said after attending the opening of SK Matu Baru at Kampung Bintawa Hilir here by Federal Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar here.

“The chief minister had also told me that Roslin should not be disturbed in discharging his duties and responsibilities as principal of the school,” she said, adding the chief minister had summoned her after parents and Dayak groups had protested against the appointment.

She also received reports that there was no longer any complaints from the parents against the appointment after Adenan had assured them he would intervene in the appointment if doing so would benefit the students.

Adenan, responding to outrage expressed by Dayak parents of the students as well as Dayak-based groups, had pledged to intervene, but stressed that he would first find out more details about the appointment and Roslin’s background.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/muslim-religious-teacher-to-remain-as-principal-of-christian-majority-schoo

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Muslim businessman proposes Bali as "sharia" tourism destination

11/30/2015

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Making Bali, the most visited tourist destination in Indonesia, a tourist center "in line with Islamic Sharia", is a proposal of Muliaman Hadad, president of the Sharia Economic Society (Mes) Indonesian, who spoke from Denpasar, the capital of the island. The idea is to implement a number of specific services according to the most rigid dictates of Islamic law.

"Bali is made for it, why not try? At least seven million people - says Hadad - visit Bali every year, and three million are from abroad. So why not organize a tourism in line with Sharia as they do in Malaysia and Thailand and other countries in the Middle East? ".

The Muslim businessman was keen to stress that the proposal does not have to deal directly with religion, but aims to increase revenue and volume of visitors. The idea, he says, is a winner from the economic point of view, because it also would attract that segment of consumers who require special treatment such as, for example, halal services [permissible ed]. Muliaman Hadad made the request to the Mes President of Bali to seriously consider the proposal.

Full report at:

http://www.asianews.it/index.php?art=36014&l=en

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New National Security Council Bill moots wide powers to combat terrorism

BY YAP TZU GING

December 1, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — The federal government today tabled a new bill in Parliament seeking to revamp the National Security Council (NSC), granting it far-reaching enforcement powers in dealing with any and all threats to national security.

The Bill, which was tabled for its first reading by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim this morning, proposes to allow the NSC to take command of the country's security forces and impose strict policing of areas deemed to face security risks.

According to the Bill, the NSC's jurisdiction takes effect once the prime minister declares in writing that an area is a "security area" — a status that is valid for six months at a time, subject to renewal by the prime minister.

Once the NSC takes over control of a security area, security forces will have the right to search or arrest without warrant any individual "found committing, alleged to have committed, or reasonably suspected of having committed any offence under written laws in the security area".

The Bill also seeks to empower security forces to arrest without warrant and take action against those who do not abide by an evacuation order from a security area, and also carry out searches of any vehicle or premise within the security area without a warrant.

For operational purposes, the Bill would provide the NSC's director-general the power to commandeer any land or building in the security area, and order the demolition of any vacant building that is suspected to be used for reasons "prejudicial to national security".

Last October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the Dewan Rakyat that the Bill would seek to enhance Malaysia’s security measures amid terrorism threats both from within and outside the country.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/new-national-security-council-bill-moots-wide-powers-to-combat-terrorism

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Putrajaya cites national security as reason for banning Al-Jazeera reporter from Malaysia

BY YAP TZU GING

December 1, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 ― The Home Ministry said today that local authorities had banned Al-Jazeera journalist Mary Ann Jolley from entering Malaysia because her actions were deemed a threat to national security and public order.

The ministry, in a written reply to a question by Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian yesterday, also said the ban was within the right of the Malaysian immigration.

“To answer the question, Al-Jazeera reporter Mary Ann Jolley was banned from entering the country because of her actions that could be prejudicial to national security and public order.

“The Immigration Act 1959/63 gives power to the immigration director-general to block the entry of any foreigner coming to Malaysia if it is believed that the individual could threaten national security,” the ministry said.

Hee had asked the ministry to state its reasons why Jolley, who hosted the September episode of Al-Jazeera’s “101 East” programme on the controversial Altantuya Shaariibuu murder, was barred from Malaysia.

In September, the Al-Jazeera news network resurrected the controversial brutal murder of Mongolian model Altantuya that many have accused the Malaysian government of covering up the past nine years.

The documentary featured an interview with an unidentified Australian said to be a relative of Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two elite police commandos who was convicted of killing the Mongolian woman.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-cites-national-security-as-reason-for-banning-al-jazeera-reporter

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Mideast

 

70 Civilians Killed in Saudi Airstrikes in Yemen's Ta'iz

Dec 01, 2015

"The Saudi airstrikes hit the regions where the popular forces were scattered, but they killed at least 70 civilians and injured dozens more," a popular forces' commander Abdelnour al-Mansour told FNA on Tuesday.

He underlined that the popular forces are present in different residential areas of Ta'iz province to confront the Saudi-led forces and pro-Hadi militias.

Al-Mansour noted that the Yemeni forces killed a large number of Saudi-led forces in the clashes on Monday.

He said that three commanders of pro-Saudi terrorists were also killed in clashes with the Yemeni forces on Monday.

"Abde al-Atfi, Mahmoud al-Jubihi and al-Fanahi were killed in clashes with the Yemeni forces yesterday," Al-Mansour said.

Saudi air raids hit various areas across Yemen on Monday and killed, at least, six civilian

Saudi air Saudi fighter jets bombed a residential neighborhood in the al-Talah district in the province of Sa'ada, killing four women and injuring eight others.

A woman was also injured in Saudi airstrikes on a residential area in Saqin district in Sa'ada.

Two children were also killed and as many injured in Saudi air raids in the al-Misrakh district in the province of Ta'iz.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000328

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Putin: Turkey shot down jet to protect ISIS oil trade

1 December 2015

The war of words between Russia and Turkey continue after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ankara of shooting down one of their warplanes last week to protect supplies of oil from ISIS to Turkey.

“We have every reason to think that the decision to shoot down our plane was dictated by the desire to protect the oil supply lines to Turkish territory, right to the ports where it is loaded onto tankers,” Putin said during a news conference on the fringes of U.N. climate talks near Paris.

“We have received additional information which unfortunately confirms that this oil, produced in areas controlled by the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations, is transported on an industrial scale to Turkey.”

After the Su-24 bomber was downed on the Syrian border last week, Putin accused the Turks of being “accomplices of terrorists” and said oil from ISIS territory was being exported through Turkey.

Revenues from selling oil constitute one of the main sources of income for ISIS, which controls large areas of Syria and Iraq.

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would be “ready to quit office” if the allegations by Russia were proven true.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/01/Putin-Turkey-shot-down-jet-to-protect-ISIS-oil-trade.html

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Erdogan says would resign if Putin IS oil trade claims proven

Dec 1, 2015

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said he would be ready to quit office if allegations by Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Turkey traded oil with the militant Islamic State (IS) group were proven.

"I will say something very strong here. If such a thing is proven, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office," Erdogan was quoted by the state-run Anatolia news agency as saying on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) climate talks near Paris, which Putin is also attending.

Challenging Putin, who has refused to meet the Turkish leader after the shooting down of a Russian military jet, Erdogan added: "And I tell Mr. Putin 'would you stay in that office?' I say this clearly."

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223522/erdogan-says-would-resign-if-putin-is-oil-trade-claims-proven

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Turkey calls for military talks with Russia

1 December 2015

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Tuesday for the opening of communication channels between Turkey and Russia to prevent incidents like the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkish jets along the Syrian border last week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan did not meet at Monday's summit in Paris which Erdogan had described as an opportunity to mend shattered ties between the two countries.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/01/Turkey-calls-for-military-communications-with-Russia.html

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Two Israelis found guilty of burning Palestinian alive

Dec 1, 2015

JERUSALEM: A Jerusalem court convicted two Israeli minors on Monday of the kidnapping and burning alive of a Palestinian teenager in the run-up to last year’s Gaza war, while a third defendant’s mental state will be evaluated.

The 31-year-old, viewed as the ringleader, was found to have committed the crime, but the court held off on convicting him after his lawyers submitted a report in recent days arguing his mental state meant he was not responsible for his actions.

Sentencing for the two who were convicted was set for Jan 13, while a hearing was scheduled for Dec 20 for the third defendant, Yosef Haim Ben-David, from the Adam settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223422/two-israelis-found-guilty-of-burning-palestinian-alive

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Commander: Iranian Armed Forces Watching All Moves Closely as Regional Tensions Intensify

Dec 01, 2015

"One of the outstanding features of the Armed Forces is that they monitor all moves that are somehow related to the country everywhere," Sayyari said on Tuesday.

"They also monitor all threats in the sea and use special tactics against them," he added.

Sayyari stressed that the Iranian Armed Forces are prepared to defend the country and give a crushing response to any kind of perceived threat in the air, on land or in the sea.

In relevant remarks early November, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan underlined the Armed Forces' capability to give a rapid and crushing response to any enemy threat.

"The Iranian Armed Forces are able to control and repel threats decisively and swiftly in accordance with their level and type," Dehqan said, addressing a gathering in Tehran of Iran's diplomatic corps abroad.

He also underscored the country's huge progress in the past few years in building different weapons and military equipment to defend itself.

The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces in a statement in May underlined intelligence superiority over enemies' moves in the region, and warned that any hostile act against the country will face a crushing response.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000299

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Parliament Speaker: West Comes to Join Iran's View on Syria

Dec 01, 2015

"The same western countries which frequently uttered words against us, now say that they cannot settle the regional problems without Iran and they have realized that some of their allies in the region have fooled them," Larijani said in an interview with the state-run TV on Monday night.

Blaming the wrong approach and behavior of the West, specially the US, for the spread of terrorism across the region, he said the Americans invaded Iraq and caused expansion and spread of the terrorist groups and now the same terrorist groups have backfired on the West.

"One of the elements which led to the spread of terrorism in the region was the wars which were waged (by the US) recently," Larijani said.

In relevant remarks last month, Iran's Army Commander Major General Ataollah Salehi blamed the western countries for nurturing and spreading terrorism in the world, saying the recent terrorist attack in Paris by the ISIL was a backfiring of certain western states' support for the terrorist group.

"Today terrorism has emerged in the region under different names of al-Qaeda, Taliban, Somali pirates and the ISIL and we should be aware of it," General Salehi told reporters in the Southern city of Shalamcheh.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000372

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South Asia

 

President Ghani, PM Sharif agree to revive stalled peace talks with Taliban

Dec 01 2015

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif have agreed in a meeting on the sideline of the climate change conference in Paris to revive the stalled peace talks with Taliban but this time a joint action has been put on the platform against those who refuse to join the peace process.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/president-ghani-sharif-agree-to-revive-stalled-peace-talks-with-taliban-4372

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Military operation ongoing to recapture lost areas in Sar-e-Pol’s Sancharak District

By ZABIHULLAH MOOSAKHAIL

Dec 01 2015

Military operation has been ongoing in Sancharak District of northern Sar-e-Pol province to recapture the lost areas from Taliban.

Governor of Sar-e-Pol province says army, police, national directorate of security and the uprising civilians are taking part in the operation backed by air force.

Mohammad Zahir said the operation kicked off on Monday morning and so far several villages including Taghai Khwaja, Deh Morda have been cleared of militants.

Clashes have reportedly occurred during the operation but officials have not yet released information about possible casualties.

Taliban stormed Sancharak District last month and captured areas from security forces after clashes.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/nato-reiterates-commitment-to-afghanistan-4373

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Afghan president expected to visit Pakistan on Dec 9

Dec 1, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is expected to visit Pakistan on Dec 9 on the occasion of the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process which is being jointly hosted by Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The two-day meeting of the regional initiative is being held on Dec 8-9 in Islamabad and will be attended by foreign ministers or senior representatives from Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Rus­sia, Saudi Arabia,Tajikistan, Tur­key, Turkmenistan and UAE.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, at a trilateral meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his British counterpart David Cameroon on the sidelines of the Summit on Climate Change in Paris, said: “A warm welcome awaits Mr Ghani in Islamabad at the Heart of Asia Meeting on 9th December”.

A senior Western diplomatic source said that progress on the resumption of suspended Afghan reconciliation was expected during President Ghani’s trip to Islamabad.

Mr Ghani’s visit was in doubt because of the strains in ties that followed the breakdown of the reconciliation dialogue in July between the Afghan government and Taliban, which was facilitated by Pakistan.

Disclosure about Mullah Omar’s death by Afghan intelligence agency ahead of the second round of talks scheduled for July 31 led to the cancellation of the planned meeting. The subsequent up-tick in violence in Afghanistan added to the bilateral mistrust.

The Afghan president on multiple occasions accused Pakistan of acting against his country’s interests and not doing enough to end terrorist bases on its soil from where attacks were being launched against Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223491/afghan-president-expected-to-visit-pakistan-on-dec-9

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Four ‘militants’ killed by CTD, police

TARIQ SAEED BIRMANI

Dec 1, 2015

DERA GHAZI KHAN: Four suspected terrorists were killed in a shootout with police, while two high profile militants managed to flee in a raid on their hideout near Wadoor village late on Sunday, district police claimed.

The operation was jointly conducted by Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), police and other law-enforcement agencies.

According to district police, a hideout of militants, allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda, was raided in the precincts of Sadar police station.

The militants reacted by opening fire on the raiding party, the police said.

‘Al-Qaeda commander’, his aide flee hideout

The police said that during exchange of fire between the two sides, four suspected militants were killed, while an alleged Al-Qaeda Sub-continent commander, Shoaib Cheema and his accomplice Hanif managed to flee the scene.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223434/four-militants-killed-by-ctd-police

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Khaleda gets bail in graft case

Dec 1, 2015

DHAKA: Former Bangla­desh prime minister Khal­eda Zia was granted bail on Monday after appearing in court over a nearly two-billion-dollar graft case dating back to 2007 and involving a Canadian resources company.

The 70-year-old main opposition leader was ordered to appear in the heavily guarded Dhaka Judge Court after her lawyers had spent years arguing in vain to have the case thrown out.

“The court granted her bail and ordered the next hearing of the case on Dec 28,” public prosecutor Mosha­rraf Hossain said.

Zia is accused of signing a gas exploration contract with Niko Resources Limited when she was prime minister without due process, causing 137.77 billion taka ($1.78bn) in losses to the government.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223380/khaleda-gets-bail-in-graft-case

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Arab World

 

Syria: Scores of ISIL Terrorists Killed in Airstrikes in Aleppo

Dec 01, 2015

The Syrian warplanes launched several airstrikes on ISIL positions in Hazazeh village and Deir Hafer, 52 kilometers East of Aleppo city, on Monday afternoon.

The air raids destroyed vehicles and headquarters of terrorists with all arms and munitions inside them, and killed tens of militants.

Earlier on Monday, the Syrian air force strikers hit ISIL command posts in several villages in the Province of Aleppo as pro-government troops continue to advance against the Takfiri militants on the ground.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000429

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Iraqi Forces Succeed in Cutting ISIL Supply Lines

Dec 01, 2015

But there’s no certainty that that means the city will soon be retaken.

“We have now cut the last supply line of Daash connecting Ramadi to Syria,” said an Iraqi officer who works in the Anbar command center but lacks authorization to brief journalists publicly. “Iraqi forces can now strangle the terrorists inside the city and we should see victory in a few days.”

Daash is an Arabic term for the ISIL, which also is known as ISIS.

A Western military adviser to Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government who’s been briefed on the situation by his country’s trainers working to rebuild the Iraqi military agreed that the progress to isolate Ramadi was a legitimate achievement. But he cautioned that much harder work is to come as Iraqi military units face fighting in a city of nearly 1 million people that remains populated. Kurdish forces are not participating in the operation.

“Iraqi forces have struggled in urban operations, and Ramadi will be tough once they enter the city itself,” he said, asking that his name and his nationality be withheld so as not to be seen as critical of the troops he helps mentor.

The operation to encircle Ramadi began in earnest on Wednesday after months of speculation.

On Thursday, Iraqi officials said that a series of air strikes had destroyed five large ISIL tactical units, allowing the seizure of a bridge to the west of the city that was the last link to other ISIL-held areas.

US and Iraqi officials have been divided on whether retaking Ramadi should have the priority. US officials have publicly pushed for the Iraqi army to focus on the other major city in Anbar, Fallujah, because it has been mostly abandoned and sits astride the highway linking Ramadi to Baghdad. But Iraqi officials have openly said that as a point of pride they want to retake the provincial capital first, which would isolate Fallujah and make it much easier to retake.

Iraqi Prime Minister Hadi al Abadi has been openly critical of the US reluctance to conduct heavy air strikes in populated areas and has repeatedly implied that the disagreement over whether to focus on Ramadi or Fallujah has delayed the operation.

But the Iraqi officer at the Anbar operations center admitted the situation was complicated. Recapturing Ramadi will be no easy task, given the ISIL’s penchant for sowing the areas it holds with thousands of improvised explosive devices and other defenses, he said.

“They have turned Ramadi into a giant bomb since May,” he said of the ISIL. “The number of IEDs, suicide bombers and mines makes progress very slow for our soldiers. Some days they can only move 50 meters because they have to destroy 10 bombs set by Daash in that space.”

Local residents reached by phone Sunday described heavy fighting in the town Bathath Fallujah and said that Iraqi troops appeared to also be moving to encircle Fallujah.

A commander of Iraq's volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) complained on Sunday that the US meddling in the fight against the ISIL has impeded their victory over the Takfiri terrorist group and prevented them from winning back the strategic cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.

"The US meddling prevents the Iraqi army and popular forces from concluding their battles against the ISIL in Ramadi and Fallujah cities," Commander of Imam Khamenei Battalion Haidar al-Hosseini al-Ardavi told FNA on Sunday.

He noted that the US is doing its best to prevent mop-up operations by the popular forces in Anbar province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940909001166

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Teacher breathes his last while giving Qur’an lesson

1 December 2015

RIYADH: Millions of citizens have joined Education Minister Azzam Al-Dakheel in offering condolences and prayers for the Holy Qur’an teacher who took his last breath while teaching students in the classroom.

“Teaching is not just a job. Rather, teachers carry and spread a great message with upmost honesty and trust … rest in peace our colleague,” the minister tweeted.

Fahad Al-Hajji passed away at Hisham bin Hakeem Elementary School in Riyadh.

Another teacher at the school, who taught across the hall, says Al-Hajji was always committed to performing his duties as a teacher and was loved by all. During the lesson, Al-Hajji began feeling breathlessness and asked a student to call upon the school principal, repeatedly saying: “I’m very tired.” Before he could reach the hospital, Al-Hajji recited the shahadah and breathed his last.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/843686

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Russia ‘intensifies strikes’ on ISIS in Syria

1 December 2015

The White House said on Monday it has seen "some intensification" of Russian air strikes against ISIS in Syria during the past several weeks.

Previously, Russia had infrequently targeted ISIS in its campaign in Syria, said White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

Maps of Russian airstrikes prepared by the British government show that, at least as of a week ago, there has been little change in Moscow's practice of targeting non-ISIS areas in Syria with its airstrikes, Reuters has reported.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/01/Russia-intensifies-strikes-on-ISIS-in-Syria.html

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Assad: France supports terrorism and war, not peace

1 December 2015

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused France of “supporting terrorism” and said he saw Prague as a possible venue for signing any future peace deal to end his country’s four-year civil war, in comments broadcast Monday on Czech TV.

In an interview due to be aired in full on Tuesday, Assad was asked whether he could see a peace deal being signed in Prague, as Czech President Milos Zeman had suggested in September.

“Naturally, if you ask Syrians they will tell you they don’t want a peace conference in France, for example, because France supports terrorism and war, not peace,” he said on the CT public station.

“And as you mention Prague, it would be generally accepted because of the balanced position of your country.”

As the last diplomatic outpost of the West in Syria, the Czech embassy has become a hub for confidential U.S. and EU communication with the Damascus regime amid moves aimed at ending the four-year conflict.

France has been adamant in its opposition to Assad, describing him as a “butcher” of his own people and on Monday Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said working with the Syrian army to fight the ISIS group was not on the cards until he was removed.

On a trip to Washington last week, French President Francois Hollande and reiterated his determination to see Assad step down in order to give Syria a chance for peace, saying “it should be as soon as possible.”

“He has been the problem - he cannot be the solution,” Hollande said.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/01/Syria-s-Assad-accuses-France-of-supporting-terrorism-.html

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Al-Qaeda warns Saudi Arabia ahead of mass execution

Dec 01 2015

The global militant network of al-Qaeda has warned the government of Saudi Arabia of consequences in case the planned mass execution is carried out.

Reuters news agency reports that the group’s affiliate in Yemen known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) said it was aware of Saudi intentions to execute its members in Saudi prisons and pledged to carry out attacks in response.

“We swear to God, our blood will be shed before the blood of our captives, and their pure blood will not dry before we shed the blood of the soldiers of Al Saud,” according to Reuters, the group said in a statement which was posted on Twitter and dated Tuesday. “We will not enjoy life unless we get the necks of the Al Saud rulers.”

Okaz newspapaer which has close links with the Saudi Interior Ministry recently reported that Saudi government is going to execute 55 men convicted of terrorism offences, among those, reportedly some members of al-Qaeda.

The mass beheadings are believed to take place in a single day in several cities across the kingdom, most likely after Friday prayers.

Amnesty International, an organization which focuses on human rights has expressed alarm over the report saying that given the spike in executions this year, it has no option but to take the reports very seriously.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/al-qaeda-warns-saudi-arabia-ahead-of-mass-execution-4374

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Syrian Army Seizes Another Chunk of Aleppo-Raqqa Highway

Dec 01, 2015

The pro-government forces, backed up by the Syrian and Russian air support, stormed ISIL's positions along the strategic Aleppo-Raqqa highway, and forced the militants to retreat after sustaining large casualties, sources told FNA on Tuesday.

Last week, the Syrian army launched an attack on ISIL defensive positions along the strategic Aleppo-Raqqa highway, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.

The Syrian forces launched a powerful assault on ISIL defensive positions along the highway, targeting the Siyasko Chemical Factory’s Western perimeter.

Following a series of fierce clashes with militants at the Eastern perimeter of the Siyasko Chemical Factory, the Syrian forces and its allies regained full control over the Aleppo-Raqqa Highway entrance to the facility.

Military sources announced on Monday that large groups of fresh popular forces, trained in the Syrian Army's military camps, are heading North to take part in the final phase of large-scale operations to complete control over territories in Southwestern Aleppo province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000325

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Russian Warplanes Bombing ISIL Defense Lines near Syria's Palmyra

Dec 01, 2015

Early reports said the ISIL terrorists have sustained a heavy death toll in the Russian airstrikes on their positions in the surrounding areas of Palmyra in the Central Homs province.

Damage assessment reports said the militant sites' infrastructure suffered heavy damage in the air raids.

On Friday, the Syrian army thwarted large-scale attacks by the ISIL Takfiri terrorists in Palmyra.

The Syrian forces repelled the ISIL attacks on al-Tawil Mount in al-Bayarat in Palmyra

The Syrian army reportedly killed and injured scores of terrorists.

Reports said on November 24 that the Syrian Army, National Defense Forces and Hezbollah have advanced against the ISIL militants near al-Hayyal and have deployed their units in the Southern side of Palmyra, adding that pro-government forces were readying to launch the final attack on the city from three directions.

In addition to their advance at Al-Hayyal, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies captured more territory along the Homs-Deir Ezzur Highway that leads to Palmyra’s Western side; this paved the way for them to push towards the Qatari Royal Family’s villa that is now used by the ISIL as a training base for their new recruits.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000535

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Fresh Russian Air Raids Target Meeting of Top Terrorist Commanders in Lattakia

Dec 01, 2015

The Russian fighter jets bombed the headquarters of the leadership of the militants in the town of Salma in Lattakia, the sources said.

There were no immediate reports on the number of terrorists' casualties, but local sources said the command building was razed to the ground.

Militants are removing debris in the hope that they can find some of their commanders alive.

On Monday, the Syrian Army has made a major advance against militant groups in the Northern part of the coastal province of Lattakia, specially in its mountainous areas near border with Turkey, sources said.

The sources said that the Syrian army and popular forces' joint operation in the Northern territories of the Lattakia province have ended in recapturing Kishkar mountain.

The sources further added that the militant groups have left behind many dead or wounded members and retreated from the battlefield.

On Sunday, the Russian Air Force traced several gatherings of the militant groups in the mountainous areas of Lattakia province and targeted them in massive airstrikes.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000464

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Senior Militant Commander Killed in Clashes with Syrian Army in Hama

Dec 01, 2015

Abu al-Bara'a al-Demaqi, the leader of Jund al-Aqsa in Morek, was killed alongside a large number of his forces in clashes with the Syrian forces.

All the military vehicles of the terrorist group were also destroyed in the army raid, while the Syrian army said it sustained no causualty in the attack

On Monday, the Syrian army repelled several attacks by the Takfiri terrorists on military posts in Hama province, killing and injuring a large group of the militants.

A military source said the army seized an armored vehicle and machine gun-equipped vehicle, and killed and injured a number of terrorists who tried to infiltrate into a number of military posts in the villages of Zelin, al-Zalaqiyat, al-Bwaida and Tal Bazam, Northeast of Souran town.

Reports from Hama province said terrorists attempted to open their way into the town of Ma’an, but retreated after defeat.

The terrorists retreated after their wave of consequent attacks on army defense lines ended up in defeat and casualties and after their armored vehicles were destroyed, a military source said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000460

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Syrian Forces Complete Siege on ISIL-Held Quaryatayn Town in Homs Province

Dec 01, 2015

The sources said that the pro-government forces have further advanced into the heart of the Quaryatayn countryside, and have captured a collection of farms on the Western side of the city after engaging the ISIL in a series of violent firefights that ended in the terrorist group’s withdrawal from several battlefields.

According to the sources, the Syrian army and the NDF fighters are making their strongest push in the South of Quaryatayn, targeting entanglements along the main road that leads into the city.

The Syrian warplanes intensified their air raids against ISIL terrorists in the Central province of Homs, destroying their strongholds and killing scores of them.

On Monday, the Syrian warplanes targeted ISIL's fortified positions to the Southwest of Al-Quaryatayn city and the farms surrounding it in the countryside of Homs.

The air raids destroyed ISIL positions, and killed all the terrorists who were inside them and destroyed their vehicles and weapons.

The Syrian fighter jets also destroyed ISIL gathering centers in the vicinity of al-Shaer gas field and al-Biarat area in the countryside of Palmyra (Tadmour), killing tens of Takfiri terrorists and destroying their vehicles and weapons.

Meanwhile, Syrian jets destroyed terrorists' positions in Tir Ma'ala village to the South of Homs city.

Reports said on Sunday that terrorist groups sustained heavy casualties in Syrian airstrikes on ISIL strongholds Southeast of Homs province.

The Syrian airstrikes hit ISIL positions in Al-Quaryatayn city in the Southeastern countryside of Homs on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Syrian warplanes launched a series of combat sorties over the ISIL strongholds in the surroundings of Quaryatayn town to pave the ground for the pro-government forces to capture the town form the ISIL terrorists.

The sources said that the ISIL militants' positions near the strategic town of Quaryatayn were heavily bombed by the Syrian fighter jets on Saturday, when the Syrian Army and its allies form the NDF fighters and the Lebanese Hezbollah launched a large-scale operation to push back the ISIL Takfiris from the town.

The sources further added that the ISIL has sustained heavy casualties in the Syrian air attacks.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000381

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ISIL Pinned Down in Homs under Syrian Air Force Massive Airstrikes

Dec 01, 2015

On Monday, the Syrian warplanes targeted ISIL's fortified positions to the Southwest of Al-Quaryatayn city and the farms surrounding it in the countryside of Homs.

The air raids destroyed ISIL positions, and killed all the terrorists who were inside them and destroyed their vehicles and weapons.

The Syrian fighter jets also destroyed ISIL gathering centers in the vicinity of al-Shaer gas field and al-Biarat area in the countryside of Palmyra (Tadmour), killing tens of Takfiri terrorists and destroying their vehicles and weapons.

Meanwhile, Syrian jets destroyed terrorists' positions in Tir Ma'ala village to the South of Homs city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000342

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Syrian Forces Ambush Terrorists in Homs

Dec 01, 2015

The Syrian forces ambushed the terrorists on the axis of Kafr Laha, al-Tiba, al-Sm’alil in al-Houla area in the Northwestern countryside of Homs on Monday, killing at least 10 terrorists and injuring several others.

Reports said on Sunday that terrorist groups sustained heavy casualties in Syrian airstrikes on ISIL strongholds Southeast of Homs province.

The Syrian airstrikes hit ISIL positions in Al-Qaryatayn city in the Southeastern countryside of Homs on Sunday.

The warplanes destroyed ISIL headquarters, killing all the terrorists who were inside them.

Also on Sunday, at least 12 ISIL terrorists were killed in Syrian army's operations in the Province of Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940910000392

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Nusra Front releases captive Lebanese soldiers

1 December 2015

Syria's al-Qaeda branch has freed a group of Lebanese soldiers held captive since August 2014 as part of a swap deal.

The group, known as Nusra Front, released the 16 soldiers on Tuesday near the border town of Arsal, where they were abducted last year.

Lebanese and other media broadcast the release. The soldiers were being transported by the militants to a location outside the border town, to be handed over to Lebanese authorities who were waiting in Red Cross vehicles.

Also on Tuesday, Nusra Front released the body of a soldier it executed last year, which was part of the first stage of the delicate hostage exchange deal, authorities said.

“In the framework of the follow-up in the case of the kidnapped soldiers held by Nusra Front, and as the result of negotiations on the issue, General Security and the Lebanese Red Cross received the body of the martyr soldier Mohammed Hammiya,” Lebanon’s general security body said in a statement.

Hammiya was one of several dozen Lebanese soldiers and policemen kidnapped by al-Nusra and the ISIS from the eastern border town of Arsal in August 2014 after the extremists crossed over from Syria.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/01/Al-Nusra-hands-over-body-of-executed-Lebanese-soldier-.html

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Clinton vows no U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq

1 December 2015

U.S. Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton said that putting American combat troops on the ground in Syria or Iraq to fight the ISIS was a “non-starter.”

“Well, at this point I cannot conceive of any circumstances where I would agree to do that because I think the best way to defeat ISIS is, as I’ve said, from the air which we lead, on the ground, which we enable, empower, train, equip and in cyberspace where, don’t forget, they are a formidable adversary online,” Clinton said.

She was speaking to “CBS This Morning” in excerpts released in advance of the full interview airing early on Tuesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama last month authorized no more than 50 special operations forces to deploy to northern Syria in a non-combatant, advisory role to help coordinate local ground troops and anti-ISIS coalition efforts.

It is unclear whether the forces have already arrived in Syria.

“We don’t know yet how many Special Forces might be needed, how many trainers and surveillance and enablers might be needed, but in terms of thousands of combat troops like some on the Republican side are recommending, I think that should be a non-starter,” Clinton said.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/12/01/Clinton-vows-no-U-S-troops-in-Syria-Iraq.html

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Riyadh flays ‘racist’ attacks on refugees

1 December 2015

RIYADH: The Council of Ministers has condemned the recent spate of attacks on refugees, including Muslims, escaping from oppressive regimes and terrorists groups in the region.

At a Cabinet meeting chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday afternoon, the ministers stated that they were “deeply concerned about the increasing hostile, racist and non-humanitarian rhetoric against refugees in general, and Muslims in particular.”

In a statement to the SPA, Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Toraifi said the ministers urged governments, aid agencies, civil society organizations and the media to refrain from this “racist rhetoric and contribute to raising awareness and assuming responsibility for the protection of displaced people and refugees fleeing from ... unjust authorities and terrorist groups.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/843691

----------

 

Africa

 

Boko Haram kills 4, torches some 50 homes in Niger

Nov 30, 2015

Boko Haram Takfiri militants have attacked a village in southeast Niger, killing at least four people and burning some 50 homes.

Local authorities said on Monday that the latest assault took place in the country’s southeastern Diffa region, located on the border with Nigeria.

Fougou Boukar, an official from the restive region noted that the militants are believed to have come to Niger after crossing the Komadugu Yobe river which separates the country from Nigeria.

"There has been enormous damage with about 50 houses burnt," state television quoted Boukar as saying, adding, "The Boko Haram members were armed with Kalashnikovs and came across the Komadougou Yobe" river.

Local television showed hundreds of distressed villagers, praying in memory of the victims.

Also on November 25, Boko Haram killed 18 people and injured 11 others during a raid in the village of Wagon located near the southeastern town of Bosso.

Diffa has witnessed several attacks since February, including one in June in which 38 people lost their lives.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/30/439777/Niger-Diffa-region-Boko-Haram-Nigeria-

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France detains two trying to join ISIL in Libya

01 December 2015

France has detained two men trying to join ISIL armed group in Libya, the first time people have been caught going to fight for ISIL in the north African country. Two French citizens, aged 19 and 20, who told authorities they were on their way to training camp so they could fight in Syria, were arrested in southern Tunisia according to a report in RFI.

The suspects were then flown to France on 13 November, the day of the Paris attacks.

Full report at:

The Libyan city of Sirte is the first to fall to ISIL outside of Iraq and Syria

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/166907/france-detains-two-trying-to-join-isil-in-libya

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Brundi on brink of another armed conflict: UN chief

Dec 1, 2015

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that another civil war could break out in Burundi amid a surge in violence following a disputed presidential election in the African country.

“Burundi stands on the brink of another armed conflict that could unravel years of painstaking work to consolidate and preserve peace and have potentially disastrous effects in an already fragile region,” Ban said in a letter to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Monday.

In the letter, Ban proposed three options to address the situation in the violence-hit country, including the dispatch of a peacekeeping force, a special political mission or a support team to UN special adviser on Burundi Jamal Benomar to push for political dialogue.

The UN chief, however, recommended the council to consider the third option, stressing that there was no need for the immediate deployment of UN peacekeepers to Burundi.

Ban also urged the UNSC to “review the mandate of the United Nations presence as the situation on the ground evolves.”

The letter came after the council adopted a resolution on November 12, asking Ban to provide options for boosting the UN presence in Burundi.

Earlier in 2014, a UN political mission in Burundi was shut down at the request of the Burundian government.

Hundreds of people have been killed as tens of thousands have fled Burundi since protests began in April against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s ultimately successful quest for a third term.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/01/439823/Burundi-UN-Ban-Kimoon-UNSC-President-Nkurunziza-

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Pope describes Muslims, Christians as 'brothers, sisters'

Nov 30, 2015

Pope Francis says Muslims and Christians are 'brothers and sisters' during a visit to the only remaining Muslim neighborhood in Central African Republic's capital, Bangui.

"Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters and must behave as such,” the leader of the Catholic church said on Monday during a visit to the Central Mosque of Bangui in the once prosperous PK5 Muslim neighborhood of the capital.

"Christians and Muslims and members of traditional religions have lived peacefully for many years," he said, adding, "Together, we say no to hatred, to vengeance and violence especially that committed in the name of a religion or God."

The Pope's visit to the mosque marked the highlight of his three-nation African tour, with previous stops being in Kenya and Uganda.

The chief imam at the mosque, Tidiani Moussa Naibi, thanked the pontiff for his visit, which he said was "a symbol which we all understand."

Sectarian violence by the majority Christian militia, fueled by politico-economic factors, has driven away many Muslims from the CAR to neighboring countries.

Today, the capital that once had 122,000 Muslims has only around 15,000, according to Human Rights Watch.

The anti-Balaka Christian militia has driven the Muslims out by targeting symbols of Islam, destroying mosques and attacking civilians wearing traditional Islamic clothing.

Before a fresh wave of violence erupted in 2014, the Muslim community in CAR had a prosperous life. As soon as the Muslims fled, their shops were looted and destroyed. In some cases, anti-Balaka Christian militia even spray-painted their names on the homes of departing Muslims to claim them.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/30/439773/CAR-Bangui-Pope-Francis-PK5

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12 killed by eastern Uganda rebels in Congo

30 November 2015

At least 12 people have been killed in an overnight attack blamed on Ugandan rebels in the restive east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a witness and local NGO said Monday.

"I saw four civilians killed by bullets... and seven patients and a nurse cut up by machete at the hospital," a regional official told AFP in the north of the troubled North Kivu province.

A local non-governmental organisation however put the toll much higher, at 30 dead.

The Study Centre for the Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights (CEPADHO) said the victims included Congolese soldiers but the army has not confirmed the losses.

The mostly Muslim rebels, who have been active in the region since being driven out of their homeland in 1995, are accused of a series of killings which have claimed the lives of more than 450 civilians since October 2014.

The rebels "attacked our positions at Eringeti and we repelled them all night," said a Congolese army spokesman in the region, Mak Hazukay, declining to give any figures.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/166860/boko-haram-torch-50-homes-in-niger

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Ghana welcomes Turkish power ship amid energy crisis

30 November 2015

Ghanaian government officials have welcomed a Turkish power ship which is expected to generate some 225 megawatts of electricity to augment the country’s energy needs.

At a welcoming ceremony broadcast live on state television Sunday, government officials expressed confidence the arrival of the ship will contribute immensely to addressing the country’s debilitating power-supply problems.

“Those who felt it would never arrive will take consolidation in the fact that when government says it will deliver, it delivers," Ghana’s energy minister, Kwabena Donkor, said at the ceremony.

The West African state is currently going through a severe load shedding which is having a toll on industries and businesses.

Christened “dumsor” in local parlance, the power crisis is seen as the biggest test of the John Mahama government ahead of an election in 2016.

It is not clear when the power barge will begin contributing to the national electricity grid but engineers of the Ghana Grid Company say the final connection will be made in the course of the week.

Constructed by Karadeniz Energy Group, the energy wing of the Turkey-based Karadeniz Holding, the power ship will join other independent power producers in augmenting state power companies in generating power to satisfy Ghana’s energy needs.

“We will be delivering uninterrupted, reliable supply of low cost power to the Ghanaian grid very quickly in the coming weeks," chief executive of Karpowership, Orhan Remzi Karadeniz, announced at the ceremony on Sunday.

He said the power ship will “be one of the lowest-cost power generators in the grid."

Karadeniz added that the company has arranged for an independent fuel supply which will secure a continuous generation of power.

Aysegul Sultan, the power ship which docked at the port city of Tema on Saturday, is one of two power ships to be delivered by the Turkish company under a 10-year agreement signed with the Electricity Company of Ghana.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/166854/ghana-welcomes-turkish-power-ship-amid-energy-crisis

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North America

 

US tightens rules for visa-free visits after Paris attacks

Dec 1, 2015

WASHINGTON: After militant attacks in Europe, the United States (US) will tighten security procedures for its visa waiver program for visitors from friendly countries, officials said Monday.

The US already screens visa applicants from war zones carefully, but will now ask more questions of travellers from countries eligible for visa waivers.

Washington will also seek greater cooperation and intelligence sharing with allied countries to try to intercept "foreign fighters" returning from places like Syria.

This month's deadly attacks in Paris are thought to have been the work of Europeans trained and radicalised by the militant Islamic State (IS) group in its Syrian and Iraqi bases.

As French or Belgian citizens, they could have flown to the US by registering with the ESTA visa waiver system and avoided the close scrutiny imposed on refugees.

But travellers will now be required to declare previous visits to any country the US Department of Homeland Security has deemed a "terrorist safe haven".

Their registrations will also come under greater scrutiny from US agencies, which in turn will work in closer cooperation with allied police and intelligence outfits.

Speaking in Paris, White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the Department of Homeland Security had tightened some rules even before the Paris attacks and would now act quickly.

"We've always been concerned about the fact that there is a significant higher flow of foreign fighters into and out of Europe than the United States," he said.

"We benefit in some respects from geography and in some respects from simply having a population that has not had the same desire to join the effort in Syria under ISIL."

"So we see a much more significant threat of foreign fighters coming into Europe than the numbers of foreign fighters coming into the United States."

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223523/us-tightens-rules-for-visa-free-visits-after-paris-attacks

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Obama pushes for calm in Russia-Turkey row

30 November 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama pushed Monday for a "de-escalation" of a furious war of words over Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane, a White House official said.

Obama called for an easing of inflamed Russia-Turkey tensions in a closed-door meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin on the eve of a climate summit in Paris, the official said.

Hours earlier, Turkey sent back to Russia the body of a pilot killed when his plane was shot down by the Turkish air force on November 24 for allegedly violating its air space on the Syrian border, reports said.

One of the Russian pilots aboard the downed plane was shot dead in Syria after parachuting from the burning aircraft, while the second was found safe and sound. One Russian soldier was killed in a rescue operation.

Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been locked in a furious war of words since the incident and the Kremlin strongman rejected the Turkish leader's offer of face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the climate conference in the French capital.

"President Obama expressed his regret for the recent loss of a Russian pilot and crew member and reiterated the United States' support for de-escalation between Russia and Turkey," the White House official said.

The Russian and U.S. leaders discussed efforts to bring about a ceasefire and political resolution to war in Syria, he said, though there appeared to be no breakthrough over Moscow's support for Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad

Obama pushed Putin to focus Russia's air campaign in Syria on ISIL extremists.

"President Obama reiterated his belief that it will be necessary for Bashar al-Assad to leave power as a part of the transition and stressed the imperative of focusing military efforts against ISIL, as our international coalition is doing, rather than targeting moderate opposition," the White House official said.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/166886/us-court-orders-fbi-to-reveal-web-surveillance-program

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Pakistan

 

Civil society urges govt to scrap cybercrime bill for violating human rights

Dec 1, 2015

ISLAMABAD: A joint statement from international and domestic civil society organisations on Tuesday expressed serious concerns on the ‘Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015’ – currently awaiting debate in the National Assembly – and demanded the bill be scrapped along with initiation of a “process of creating a new bill that reflects international human rights standards and respects the Constitution of Pakistan.”

The statement highlights the forcing of the bill through the NA’s Information Technology Standing Committee as an indication of the lack of consensus about the bill’s effectiveness in combating cybercrime in line with fundamental rights.

The statement reiterates that many of the provisions of the bill continue to pose a risk to, among other rights, the right to privacy.

The amended bill continues to mandate that service providers retain data about Pakistanis’ telephone and email communications for a minimum of one year.

“This requirement drastically expands the surveillance powers of the Pakistan government and goes against the growing consensus that the blanket retention of all subscribers’ data is an unlawful and disproportionate interference with the right to privacy,” reads the statement.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223517/civil-society-urges-govt-to-scrap-cybercrime-bill-for-violating-human-rights

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Unofficial results: PML-N bags lead in Islamabad LG polls, PTI comes in second

Dec 1, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) took the lead in the first local government (LG) polls held in the federal capital since 1979, Radio Pakistan reported.

Unofficial election results available on Tuesday reveal the PML-N secured 21 seats, with rival Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf coming in second, winning 16 seats.

Independent candidates emerged as the third largest entity, grabbing a total of 13 seats.

Residents of Islamabad went to the polls on Monday amidst tight security to elect local representatives for the first time under the newly-minted Islamabad Local Government Act, 2015.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223508/unofficial-results-pml-n-bags-lead-in-islamabad-lg-polls-pti-comes-in-second

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Army wants peace in Balochistan, says commander

Dec 1, 2015

QUETTA: Commander of Southern Command, Lt Gen Aamer Riaz, has said that Pakistan Army wants to see Balochistan emerge as a peaceful and economically thriving province moving on the path of progress and prosperity.

He was addressing a ceremony held in the University of Balochistan on Monday to screen short films produced by students and distribute prizes among winners of a competition of short films.

Local people would be major beneficiaries of mega development projects undertaken in various parts of the province, he said.

Also read: Joint efforts have brought Balochistan out of crisis, say army, govt

Gen Aamer stressed the need for fostering tolerance and harmony in society to defeat “anti-peace elements” and end violence. “All stakeholders will have to make joint efforts to bring an end to violence and extremism, curb corruption and eliminate social evils if we want a thriving and developing Pakistan.”

Nations are built by noble values and traditions and not with material things, he said and added that the country had a bright and enlightened future.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223484/army-wants-peace-in-balochistan-says-commander

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Four Qaeda-linked terrorists taken out

December 01, 2015

DERA GHAZI KHAN

Four al-Qaeda linked terrorists were killed in a shootout with the personnel of Counter-Terrorism Department and other Law Enforcement Agencies near Basti Ealyani towards Wadoor area the other night.

However, key commander of al-Qaeda’s sub-continent branch Shoaib Cheema alias Hanif along with another accomplice managed to escape the scene, the officials said on Monday.

The authorities said that the raid was carried in the limits of Gadani Police following a tip-off about the presence of al-Qaeda linked terrorists.

They informed that the raid was conducted on a house situated on Wadoor Road, about 6 km from DG Khan city where armed culprits opened fire on the LEAs personnel.

“Four militants were killed in the shootout afterwards, the officials said in statement issued on Monday.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/01-Dec-2015/four-qaeda-linked-terrorists-taken-out

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Pakistan's nuclear policy governed by restraint, responsibility: Aizaz

Dec 1, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on Monday said Pakistan's nuclear policy rests on the twin pillars of restraint and responsibility and is exclusively geared towards maintaining strategic stability in South Asia.

In a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Secretary General Dr Michael Linhart at the Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreigns Affairs in Vienna, Aizaz said Pakistan has taken extensive measures in the areas of nuclear safety and security, export controls and command and control.

The foreign secretary briefed Austria on notable gains achieved by Pakistan in its counter-terrorism campaign.

He also briefed Linhart on Pakistan's positive role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan as well as efforts to facilitate the Afghan government's reconciliation efforts with the Afghan Taliban.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the positive trajectory of bilateral relations and emphasised the need for enhanced trade and investment. They also discussed matters of mutual interest including migration, human rights and cooperation in multilateral fora.

Aizaz extended an invitation to Linhart to visit Islamabad, which was accepted.

Aizaz also told Director General International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano that Pakistan accords the highest importance to nuclear safety and security and is fully meeting its obligations in this regard, Radio Pakistan reported.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1223519/pakistans-nuclear-policy-governed-by-restraint-responsibility-aizaz

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Pakistan lodges protest with Bangladesh

December 01, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Monday summoned Acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Foreign Office to lodge protest on the statements of Bangladesh government.

Foreign Office spokesperson in a statement issued here today said the Bangladesh envoy was summoned by Director General (SA & SAARC) and was informed that the Pakistan government rejected the baseless and unfounded assertions of the Bangladesh government conveyed through its November 23 note.

The spokesperson said Pakistan also rejected insinuation of “complicity in committing crimes or war atrocities”.

He added: “It is regrettable that attempts have been made by the government of Bangladesh to malign Pakistan, despite our ardent desire to develop brotherly relations with Bangladesh,” said the spokesperson.

He said Pakistan believes that the peoples of both the countries not only want to maintain but also further strengthen the bonds of friendship and brotherhood.

However, sadly, the Government of Bangladesh does not seem to respect these sentiments, the spokesperson observed.

The spokesperson said the 1974 tripartite Agreement is the bedrock of relations between the two countries.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/national/01-Dec-2015/pakistan-lodges-protest-with-bangladesh

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Traffic plan made for Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) Chehlum

December 01, 2015

Rawalpindi - The city traffic police announced comprehensive traffic plan to facilitate the mourning processions on the occasion of Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) on December 3.

According to traffic plan, Iqbal Road would be remained closed till Committee Chowk for all kinds of traffic.

A diversion would also be placed at DAV College Chowk from where the traffic entry would also be banned.

Chief Traffic Officer (CTO) Shoaib Khurram Janbaz, while talking to media men yesterday, said that the CTP has all set to provide maximum facilities to mourners and other processions on eve of Chehlum of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA).

He said that police would erect diversion on City Saddar Road and Mashriq Hotel besides on Rialto Turn and Rawal Chowk to control traffic flow.

He said that the traffic approaching Kashmiri Bazaar from Novelty Cinema would be converted and the commuters would reach Saddar via Transit Camp.

He said that the traffic coming Kashmiri Bazaar to Novelty Cinema would also be converted from U turn of City Police Station to Ganjmandi Road, Dhoke Hassu, Pirwadhai and Saddar.

A diversion would also be placed on Shah Allah Ditta Road from where the traffic would be moved towards Dhoke Dalal, TB Hospital, Pirwadhai and Asghar Mall Scheme.

Similarly, the traffic wardens would not allow the commuters to go towards Roshan Bakery and would convert the vehicles towards Banni Chowk via Saidpur Road, Circular Road and Murree Road.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/islamabad/01-Dec-2015/traffic-plan-made-for-hazrat-imam-hussain-ra-chehlum

 

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