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Islamic World News ( 27 Jul 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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There Is No Constitution in Pakistan, It Should Be Governed By Sharia Law: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Gave an Open Warning

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 July 2022

  

Photo: Newsday Express/ Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in Pakistan has once again warned the Pakistani Army

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• US Special Envoy Says No One in Tashkent Conference Expressed Support for Taliban Recognition

• German FM Says ‘Every Human Right Has Been Taken From Women and Girls in Afghanistan’

• Kanpur Muslims Decide Not to Take out Paiki Procession in Muharram to Rule out Any Mischief

• Deputy PM of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Met With a Number of Shia Scholars

 

Pakistan

• Fazlur Rehman announces ‘war’ against those supporting Imran Khan’s politics

• Can Talk To TTP or Separatists, Not ‘Thieves’, Says Imran

• Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah warns of governor's rule in Opposition-ruled Punjab province

• Pak: Nawaz Sharif calls for early general election after PML-N's heavy defeat in Punjab

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North America

• Senior US official admits Iran nuclear deal ‘highly unlikely’: Report

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Europe

• EU foreign policy chief urges revival of Iran nuclear deal

• Focus To Be On Partnerships during Saudi Crown Prince's Visit to France

• The strategic partnership that underpins the enduring Saudi-French relationship

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India

• Defying Threats from Fanatics, Muslim Trio, Brother, Sister and a Lawyer Friend, Takes Part in Kanwar Yatra But Not Allowed To Perform the Jalabhishek at Shivalaya

• T.J. Joseph Whose Hand Was Chopped Off By Radical Islamists Wins Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award

• No showering of petals on Muslims, they bulldoze our houses: AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi

• Six Kashmiri Pandits killed by terrorists from 2020 till July 2022: Govt in Rajya Sabha

• 9 'civilian govt employees killed by terrorists in J&K since Art 370 scrapped: MHA to Rajya Sabha

• Muslim tailors in Gorakhpur are busy stitching clothes for Hindu ‘Kanwariyas’

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South Asia

• Taliban gets a promise of economic support from Russia and Uzbekistan at the Tashkent conference

• Videos on social media show Taliban destroying Pakistan-erected border signs: report

• Over 13 Million Afghan Children Need Humanitarian Assistance: Save the Children Report

• US sanctions hindering Afghanistan’s progress: Taliban

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Arab World

• Crown Prince’s Acropolis Visit Puts Saudi-Greek Cultural Partnership in the Spotlight

• Iraq’s Shia Cleric Al-Sadr Likely to Veto New Candidate, Mohammed al-Sudani, for Premiership

• Protesters enter Iraqi parliament, chant curses against Iran

• UAE, Iran foreign ministers discuss ties, regional security

• Deadlock gives Iraq record run without government, hampering reforms

• Rockets target Turkish consulate in Iraq’s Mosul, no casualties recorded

• Syrian, Russian militaries conduct joint air drills

• YPG/PKK continues to threaten safe zones in northern Syria despite pledges from US, Russia

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Mideast

• Iran: UNSC's Inaction Emboldens Israel to Continue Anti-Palestinian Crimes

• Israel Transfers Palestinian-French Lawyer To High-Risk 'Isolation' Prison for Writing To Macron

• Iran: Recently-Arrested Mossad Agents Planned to Explode Sensitive Military Facility by Powerful Bombs

• Israel accuses Hamas of hiding weapons depots near civilian buildings

• Iran's Khamenei says Western enemies stoking anti-hijab protests

• Palestinians strive to stop Gaza shore erosion with concrete and rubble

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Africa

• Palestinians Must Be Part of Regional Economic Projects, Jordan King Tells Israel PM

• Bomb blasts in southern Somalia kill at least 20

• Terrorist attacks in Mali leave 66 dead

• Macron says France will equip Benin militarily against terrorism

• 5 Tunisian parties reject results of constitutional referendum

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Southeast Asia

• Don’t Let ‘Party-Hoppers’ Defend Their Seats, Says Ahmad Maslan Of Malaysia

• Extending Sosma clause allows cops to better maintain order, says IGP

• Dr M’s nephew denies receiving RM2.6mil from UKSB

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/constitution-pakistan-sharia-taliban-ttp/d/127591

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There Is No Constitution In Pakistan, It Should Be Governed By Sharia Law: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Gave an Open Warning

 

Photo: Newsday Express/ Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) in Pakistan has once again warned the Pakistani Army

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By Bhagyashree

JULY 27, 2022

Islamabad/Kabul: The terrorists of Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), who made the Pakistani army cry tears of blood, have given an open warning. The TTP said that Pakistan’s leadership and army are not following the path shown by Sharia law. The Pakistani military, judiciary and politicians implement the Constitution rather than Sharia law. To persuade the TTP terrorists, the Shahbaz Sharif government of Pakistan had sent a team of Deobandi Ulema, which has been disappointed. These Ulema were sent by the Pakistani army to Kabul by military aircraft but they did not get success.

A 13-member team of well-known Deobandi Ulema of Pakistan met TTP Chief Mufti Noor Wali and other Taliban leaders. These Ulema demanded the TTP to drop the demand of separating the tribal area Phata from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The TTP rejected the request of the Pakistani Ulema. This delegation was informed by the Pakistani Army about the demands of the country. The Pakistani government wants the TTP leadership to give up violence against the army, disband its organization and return to its territory.

‘No trust in Ulema’s assurances in absence of army’

The Pakistani ulema, in their meeting, appealed to the TTP leaders for Islam and the Quran and said that it is not religiously correct to commit violence against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In response, the TTP said that it has made several demands from the Pakistani interlocutors. TTP sources told Pakistani media that they have no faith in the assurances of the Ulema in the absence of the army. They believe that the army is the real ruler of Pakistan.

Sources said that the TTP leadership has put forward 8-point demands to stop the violence and has rejected the request of the Ulema. This team of Pakistani Ulama will remain in Kabul till Wednesday and will make a last effort to persuade the TTP. However, there is little hope of this. The TTP said that Pakistan was formed on the basis of a treaty. This treaty is not being implemented and the biggest obstacle in this is the military and political leadership which is a legacy of colonialism.

TTP wants to rule FATA, the tribal area of Pakistan

Actually, TTP wants to rule over Fata, a tribal area of Pakistan. His intention is that somehow the Pakistani army should be removed from FATA and strikes will be launched all over Pakistan by making a launch pad again. TTP says that Shahbaz Sharif’s government running in Pakistan is not according to Sharia law. They want to implement a Sharia law like the Taliban in Fata.

next articleShahbaz Sharif Hamza: Shahbaz Sharif suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Imran Khan in Punjab, Nawaz-Zardari trapped in Bajwa’s trap?

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Source: News Day Express

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

https://www.newsdayexpress.com/world/there-is-no-constitution-in-pakistan-it-should-be-governed-by-sharia-law-ttp-gave-an-open-warning-the-cry-of-islam-is-useless/

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US Special Envoy Says No One in Tashkent Conference Expressed Support for Taliban Recognition

 

Rina Amiri, the US Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights in Afghanistan. Photo: The Khaama Press

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By Saqalain Eqbal

27 Jul 2022

“No one” at the Tashkent international conference pledged support for the Taliban’s recognition, according to Rina Amiri, the US Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights in Afghanistan.

While at the conference, Rina Amiri stressed the importance of upholding women’s rights, putting an end to abuse against all religious and ethnic groups, and promoting an inclusive political process to achieve security, economic strength, political prosperity, and peace.

Amiri disagreed with the assertion that Taliban policies were influenced by Afghan culture. She has claimed that the majority of Afghans seek prospects for jobs, education, and a better future for both their sons and daughters.

She wrote that she was “heartened” by the international community’s solidarity in promoting women’s rights to work and the right of girls to an education, both of which are essential to Afghanistan’s economic development.

“Whereas most called for an inclusive political process, no one expressed support for Taliban recognition,” she wrote on Twitter.

Before this, the Taliban’s acting foreign affairs minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, stated on the opening day of the Tashkent conference that the government of the Taliban is ready to interact with all countries within the parameters of respect for one another.

He also urged the international community to ensure better relations with them, galvanizing them to recognize their de facto government.

The first official day of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan started on July 26 in the capital of Uzbekistan. Attending the conference are officials from more than 20 nations, including the US, and international organizations.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/rina-amiri-says-no-one-in-tashkent-conference-expressed-support-for-taliban-recognition-47383/

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German FM Says ‘Every Human Right Has Been Taken From Women and Girls in Afghanistan’

 

Photo: The Khaama Press: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

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By Saqalain Eqbal

27 Jul 2022

Under Taliban rule, Afghanistan is experiencing the “biggest women’s rights violations on Earth,” according to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

German media reported on Tuesday, July 26, that Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister of Germany, had said that the Taliban’s rule over Afghanistan was a unique instance of egregious human rights abuses.

She also emphasized that women in Afghanistan are facing “the biggest violation of women’s rights on the Earth,” and that a greater emphasis on Afghan women and girls, whose lives “stopped” when the Taliban took power, is required.

Barred from work and education, she expressed concern regarding the deteriorating women’s rights in Afghanistan saying “every human right has been taken from women and girls in Afghanistan.”

On July 26, the German foreign minister told RFE/RL in Prague that the Western pullout had been too quick, leaving the Afghan people “alone.”

Foreign Minister Baerbock stated that providing military aid to the armed opposition to the Taliban is “not on the agenda.”

She stated that the country is in the grip of a humanitarian calamity and that Germany is one of the greatest contributors of aid to help combat the crisis, but she stated that there is no interaction with the Taliban-led administration.

This comes at a time when Afghanistan’s situation with regards to human rights and women’s rights under the Taliban rule has worsened as girls are deprived of attending school and women in the public sector are denied their right to work.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/german-fm-says-every-human-right-has-been-taken-from-women-and-girls-in-afghanistan-45748/

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Kanpur Muslims Decide Not To Take Out Paiki Procession In Muharram To Rule Out Any Mischief

 

Muharram procession

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Jul 28, 2022

KANPUR: With Kanpur still recovering from the June 3 violence and its after-effects, members of the Muslim community in the city have decided not to take out the Paiki procession this Muharram to rule out any mischief during the procession which may end up in a law and order crisis.

The procession continued uninterrupted for 225 years except in the past two years due to Covid pandemic. This year, it was likely to resume.

Khalifa Shakeel of Tanzeem Nishan-e-Paik Qasid-e-Husain and Achche Mian of Tanzeem-Al-Paik Qasid-e-Hussein have been taking out the procession every year with the help of donations from the people.

The present in charge of the procession, Kafeel Qureshi (the successor of Achhe Miyan), said Paiki procession won't be taken out this Muharram.

"Keeping in mind the atmosphere of the city, it has been decided not to take out the Paiki procession this year. We have pleaded with people to offer prayers at their homes this Muharram and help maintain peace in the city," he said. A similar decision has been taken by Khalifa Shakeel.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kanpur/kanpur-muslims-decide-not-to-take-out-paiki-procession-in-muharram/articleshow/93175416.cms

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Deputy PM of The Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan Met With A Number Of Shia Scholars

 

Deputy to the Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi, met with a number of Shia scholars, his office said in a statement.

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July 28, 2022

KABUL: Deputy to the Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi, met with a number of Shia scholars here the other day, his office said in a statement.

Representing others Seyyed Mohammad Ali Jawid spoke about some social, cultural, security and co-existence issues of Muslims and asked the officials of the Islamic Emirate to pay serious attention to ensuring security during Muharram, said the statement.

Deputy Prime Minister Mawlavi Abdul Salam Hanafi welcomed Shia scholars to his office and said the unity and sympathy between the followers of the religions and sects of the Afghan nation is unique in our homeland and the enemies of Afghan nation are trying to create gaps among the Afghan nation through fueling insecurity, but the officials of the Islamic Emirate with the help of Allah Almighty and the cooperation of the nation will not allow anyone to do such things in the future, according to the statement. PM Hanafi asked Shia scholars and elders to cooperate and coordinate with government authorities to provide better security and play their positive role in the development of the country. The Kabul Times

Source: The Kabul Times

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

https://thekabultimes.gov.af/deputy-pm-hanafi-receives-shia-scholars/

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Pakistan

 

Fazlur Rehman announces ‘war’ against those supporting Imran Khan’s politics

July 28, 2022

With the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s coalition government losing in Punjab following the Supreme Court’s verdict on Chaudhry Pervez Elahi’s election, the movement’s chief has thrown down the gauntlet to his biggest opponent and critic, Imran Khan, announcing a ‘war’ against his style of politics and those who support him.

In a briefing to journalists on Wednesday evening, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman took aim at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his politics.

“You have always done politics with support from the establishment, support from the judiciary, support from aliens and charity from the people of India,” Rehman said.

“Any power which thinks that we will support them, they should hear us that we are announcing war against them.”

“Who are they? Opportunists benefitting from happenstance?” he thundered.

Difference of politics?

Accusing Imran of spreading lies and misinformation, Rehman said that all of his claims have proven to be false.

“We buried your government,” the PDM chief said, advising Imran to “worry about your politics.”

“Worry about your government in Punjab, it may last for just a few days,” Rehman said cryptically.

He went on to accuse Imran of depending on crutches to do politics.

“You did politics with support from the US, NGOs and institutions, he said, while cursing the kind of politics played by PTI.

“We will not allow such politics to prevail in Pakistan at any cost,” he said, asserting that they will bury it.

He continued that they had buried Imran Khan’s government and his style of politics.

“We have buried his bogus narrative [of regime change],” he said, adding “we will not allow their narrative to thrive at any cost.”

On Imran’s claims that his regime was subverted through conspiracy, Rehman said that those whom he was accused of orchestrating the conspiracy were the ones who had nurtured him.

“The American consulate paid your rent for eight years,” Rehman said, adding that he was groomed by them.

Litany of complaints

Detailing a list of complaints, Rehman said that he did not have any complaints with state institutions.

“But we do have some reservations with a section of the institution,” he said, as he gave a hint of their identity by describing them as on the other side of Attock.

He added that he also had a list of complaints from the federal government.

“Foreign funding case, Malam Jabba case, helicopter case, BRT case, why have these cases not been decided yet,” Rehman asked.

Accept resignations of PTI MNAs

Rehman also suggested that the National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf complete his investigations into the resignations submitted by the PTI members of the national assembly.

“We have asked the national assembly speaker to conduct an investigation and to accept the resignations of PTI members,” he said.

“This is the prerogative of the national assembly speaker when he accepts the resignations,” he said, adding if there are any lacunae in the laws, then there should be legislation to address them.

Meeting with Shujaat

In his meeting with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain the other day, Rehman said that they discussed various issues of national importance.

Source: Samaa English

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

https://www.samaaenglish.tv/news/40013438

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Can talk to TTP or separatists, not ‘thieves’, says Imran

Syed Irfan Raza | Wajih Ahmad Sheikh

July 28, 2022

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Expressing his gratitude to the nation for what he called “foiling an international conspiracy” by supporting his candidate, Parvez Elahi, in the recent Punjab chief minister’s election, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chair­man Imran Khan on Wedne­sday ruled out any possibility of sitting down for talks with the ruling coalition.

“I can talk to the [Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan], the separatists of Balochistan and Sindh, but not with thieves. Will you speak to someone who robs your home?” he said in his address on Wednesday night, which was being celebrated as a ‘thanksgiving day’ on the call of his party.

“Throughout my life, I have witnessed such enthusiasm only once before, and that was during the 1965 war; at that time, everybody thought that the nation was fighting. And now, I saw the same enthusiasm among the masses during the by-polls in the 20 constituencies of Punjab,” he said.

Insisting that he wanted good relations, even with US — which he accuses of trying to engineer his ouster from power through a conspiracy — but urged the nation to prefer “death to slavery”.

“I do not want bad relations with the US, where we export more than any other country and where a large number of the Pakistani community resides. But death is better than slavery and we have to live with self-respect,” he added.

Saying that general elections were the sole solution to the prevailing crises facing the country, brought on by the ineptitude of the government that was imposed on the nation through foreign conspiracy, Mr Khan vowed that once he comes into power again, he would put the country on its own feet and would only ask overseas Pakistanis and not the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial assistance.

In his remarks, which sounded like an early election speech, Mr Khan once again expressed a complete lack of trust in the incumbent Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. He continued to allege that Mr Raja was involved in rigging in the recent by-elections for 20 seats of the provincial assembly, where his party won the bulk of seats.

During his speech, he also vowed to resume the Sehat Card and Ehsas Ration—two flagship schemes launched by his previous regime in the province, upon his return to power.

The PTI chairman’s pledge to resume two major schemes in Punjab seemed to negate the impression that he may seek to dissolve the assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the party is currently ruling, to pressurise the federal government to step down and announce general elections.

The former prime minister, while commenting on recent decision of the Supreme Court that made Pervez Elahi chief minister Punjab and nullified the victory of Hamza Sharif in the recent election for the slot, said it was clear in the Constitution that the parliamentary leader, not the party head, could decide which side the party will vote for in the polls.

“But leaders of the ruling coalition bashed institutions and the judiciary when the decision came against them,” he said.

LHC moved against PM

In a major move against the ruling coalition in the centre, the PTI has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking the disqualification of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan.

PTI’s former lawmaker Andleeb Abbas and Advocate Hassaan Khan Niazi jointly filed the petition saying the prime minister misused his powers and violated the Constitution by allowing his son Suleman and nephew Hussain Nawaz, both are proclaimed offenders, to meet Saudi crown prince during an official visit.

The petitioners further stated that the prime minister took his cabinet members to London to meet former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former finance minister Ishaq Dar, both proclaimed offenders before the courts of the country.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1701947/can-talk-to-ttp-or-separatists-not-thieves-says-imran

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Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah warns of governor's rule in Opposition-ruled Punjab province

Jul 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Wednesday warned of imposing governor's rule in Punjab if his entry into the province was restricted, a day after the Supreme Court declared former premier Imran Khan-backed candidate Chaudhry Pervez Elahi as the chief minister of the politically important region.

His remarks came after divisive political and judicial wrangling, Elahi was sworn in as the chief minister of the largest province early Wednesday morning by President Arif Alvi.

Sanaullah said the Cabinet discussed the issue of clamping governor's rule in Punjab in case any restriction was imposed by the new Punjab government on the interior minister or any other government official.

Separately, addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he revealed that his ministry had already begun drafting an order for the governor's rule, which is being prepared by the interior ministry.

"If my entry is restricted, it will be grounds for governor's rule," he asserted, after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers had suggested prohibiting his entry to the Punjab province.

Elahi took oath as the chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province following the apex court's verdict that saw Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Hamza Shehbaz, son of the prime minister Shehbaz Sharif, losing his status of the "trustee" chief minister.

"The summary to impose governor's rule is being drafted, and I - personally - have started work on it," Interior Minister Sanaullah said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

In the widely anticipated judgement on a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Elahi, the apex court on Tuesday declared Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari's controversial decision to reject 10 votes in the Punjab chief minister's election as "illegal", citing Article 63-A of the Constitution.

"The Deputy Speaker's ruling is illegal. There is no legal justification for his ruling," the Supreme Court said.

Hamza was earlier declared the winner in the election though his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party did not have a majority in the Assembly after key by-elections held on July 17.

Sanaullah said the Supreme Court's decision had "created complications and destabilised the political situation" because of which the rupee was plummeting against the US dollar and the economy in a tailspin.

"Even a second-grader would interpret Article 63-A - which is related to the disqualification of lawmakers over defection - as saying that the votes of dissident lawmakers would be counted in the election," the minister said.

He added that the apex court's verdict contradicted the Election Commission of Pakistan's decision to de-seat 25 dissident PTI lawmakers who had voted for Hamza in the April 16 election, which was, in turn, based on the Supreme Court order.

Hamza should have remained the chief minister since the votes of those 25 dissident lawmakers would not be subtracted from his tally in the April election, Sanaullah said.

"It is my opinion that the interpretation of Article 63-A will not sustain. Any lawyer will say it amounts to rewriting the Constitution. It is not the Supreme Court's authority to rewrite the Constitution and we will defend the parliament's authority," he explained.

"This situation is unfortunate and we want to restrict our words [...] An independent, uncontroversial and impartial judiciary is any country's basic need. No country can progress without it," the minister said.

The three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justices Ijazul Ahsan and Munib Akhtar announced the decision after refusing to form a full bench as demanded by the coalition government. Pakistan's federal government on Tuesday boycotted the proceedings after the apex court rejected its plea for full bench.

Punjab is Pakistan's second-largest province and any party ruling the key province controls the politics of the country.

For the PML-N, losing Punjab means losing the Centre. Political pundits believe that the ruling coalition is now vulnerable.

The move is a major blow to the Sharif-led government, which is now confined only to the capital Islamabad since the Opposition party, Khan's PTI now rules the sensitive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Punjab through Elahi.

Tuesday's outcome provides a "massive opportunity" to PTI chairman Khan to build further pressure on the rulers to call for fresh elections and also corner the PML-N in Punjab which is considered a stronghold of the Sharifs.

When asked whether the PML-N-led coalition government in Islamabad would find it difficult to continue after losing control of the Punjab province, Sanaullah said: "The federal government has its own role. It is present everywhere."

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistans-interior-minister-rana-sanaullah-warns-of-governors-rule-in-opposition-ruled-punjab-province/articleshow/93167117.cms

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Pak: Nawaz Sharif calls for early general election after PML-N's heavy defeat in Punjab

Jul 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif has urged for early general elections while he discusses with the senior party leadership about quitting the government at the Centre, media reports said citing sources.

This comes after Supreme Court declared Pervaiz Elahi as Punjab's Chief Minister in a recent verdict against the ruling of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammed Mazari.

In a massive defeat of Hamza Shehbaz after the Punjab by-elections, the three-member Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice Atta Bandial and Justices Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Muneeb Akhtar, removed Hamza Shehbaz as Punjab's chief minister.

It has put up a new scenario for the party where it has power in the Centre but Punjab, which is often known as the battleground province for the Sharifs, will be now ruled by Pervaiz Elahi with help from Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Nawaz Sharif has discussed this several times with top leaders of the party including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and also with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). He suggested that staying in the government any longer looked set to create more problems than resolving the issues in the absence of genuine support the government should have received from all state organs, said sources.

They said PDM leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, have so far resisted the idea of quitting the government but this comes as Supreme Court declared Pervaiz Elahi as Punjab's Chief Minister in a recent verdict against the ruling of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammed Mazari.

Sources shared that Nawaz Sharif has told his party leaders about the option of quitting the government in the Centre, confirming that the likely date and time of October and November have been discussed at a great length and Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and the government stakeholders are aware of the nature of these discussions, The News International reported.

The senior party leaders have discussed Nawaz Sharif's return to Pakistan before the next general elections and a message has been conveyed to him that his presence in Pakistan was necessary, the sources added.

Pakistan's President Arif Alvi in the wee hours of Wednesday at the Aiwan-e-Sadar administered the oath to Pervez Elahi as the new Chief Minister of Punjab.

SC's three-member bench -- comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, and Justice Muneeb Akhtar -- had initially ordered Punjab Governor Baligh ur Rehman to administer the oath to Elahi, however, he refused to perform his duties.

Notably, Hamza Shehbaz, son of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, had defeated Pervez Elahi in the Punjab polls and Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Mazari had dismissed PML-Q's 10 votes after party head Chaudhry Shujaat urged them to vote in favour of Hamza.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pak-nawaz-sharif-calls-for-early-general-election-after-pml-ns-heavy-defeat-in-punjab/articleshow/93162023.cms

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North America

 

Senior US official admits Iran nuclear deal ‘highly unlikely’: Report

27 July ,2022

A senior Biden administration official has said that the US does not believe the nuclear deal with Iran will be revived, according to an article published on Wednesday.

Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, said that reaching a deal with Tehran was now “highly unlikely,” as per US sources quoted by Axios.

McGurk reportedly made his comments during a call last week with members of an unnamed think tank, blaming the lack of success in reviving the 2015 nuclear deal on Iran.

The US sources told Axios that McGurk relayed that Iran wanted to “add something to the pot” in reference to a potential deal.

Iran had previously demanded the removal of sanctions issued by the Trump administration and wanted the terror designation lifted against the IRGC. Despite US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley reportedly agreeing to the latter, President Joe Biden quickly shot down the idea after overwhelming bipartisan opposition among Capitol Hill lawmakers.

Malley is scheduled to provide a classified briefing to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday about where indirect talks with the Iranians stand.

As for more concessions from the US, McGurk was quoted by Axios as saying: “We are not going to do that.”

Moving forward, and if no deal is reached, the US official said sanctions and diplomatic isolation would be ramped up. According to McGurk, the use of any force would be the last resort.

National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said the Biden administration remained committed to seeing that Iran never has nuclear weapons capabilities.

Kirby told reporters that the negotiations were “pretty well complete… and it’s on the table and the onus is now on Iran.”

He added that Biden still believed diplomacy would be the best way forward to ensuring Iran did not get a nuclear weapon.

But the US would continue to make sure it had the ability to defend itself and its allies “against the range of other Iranian threatening behavior,” Kirby said. He mentioned Iran’s “burgeoning ballistic missile capability, which continues to improve their support for terrorist groups, their threats in the maritime environment.”

The State Department and other Biden administration officials who have been proponents of outreach to Iran still believe a deal is within reach and in the best interest of the US.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Senior-US-official-admits-Iran-nuclear-deal-highly-unlikely-Report

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Europe

 

EU foreign policy chief urges revival of Iran nuclear deal

Agnes Szucs  

27.07.2022

BRUSSELS

The EU foreign policy chief on Wednesday urged parties to the Iran nuclear deal to accept his latest proposal to revive the agreement.

In a guest opinion piece in Britain’s Financial Times, Josep Borrell argued that it is high time to restore the Iran nuclear deal in today’s current “turbulent times.”

Over the past 15 months of negotiations, “space for additional significant compromises has been exhausted,” he argued.

Borrell said his latest proposal offers “the best possible deal” since it addresses the question of “sanctions lifting as well as the nuclear steps needed to restore” the treaty.

Concluding an agreement now would bring significant economic and financial dividends for Iran once the US sanctions are lifted, he said.

It would also “strengthen regional and global security” by contributing to non-proliferation if Iran returns to compliance with the deal, he added.

The Iran nuclear deal – officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – was signed in 2015 by Iran, the US, China, Russia, France, the UK, Germany, and the EU.

Under the agreement, Tehran committed to limit its nuclear activity to civilian purposes and in return, world powers agreed to drop their economic sanctions on Iran.

The US, under then-President Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and re-imposed the sanctions, prompting Iran to stop complying with the deal.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/eu-foreign-policy-chief-urges-revival-of-iran-nuclear-deal/2646739

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Focus To Be On Partnerships during Saudi Crown Prince's Visit to France

July 28, 2022

PARIS: The visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Paris and his anticipated meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron is a sign of the strength of Saudi Arabia’s relationship with France and of the depth of the bonds of their friendship.

The most significant element of the visit is the timing, amid a turbulent international and regional climate and only a few days after US President Joe Biden’s trip to the Gulf.

The crown prince’s visit illustrates the desire expressed by a number of nations, including Saudi Arabia, to diversify cooperation with the rest of the world, even in areas traditionally reserved for America.

In this context, France holds a special place, given the regular and sustained relations between Macron and the crown prince, as evidenced by the trip made by the French leader to the Kingdom as part of his January tour of the Gulf.

In Paris, while addressing various aspects of bilateral relations, the two leaders will review the economic partnership and ways to strengthen it in sectors of mutual interest.

During their meeting in January, they agreed to strengthen the participation of the private sector in economic exchanges, as well as the sharing of expertise and the development of skills.

Vision 2030, initiated by the Saudi crown prince, and the France 2030 economic plan, are vectors of opportunities and convergence.

The respective commitments in the field of environmental and biodiversity protection will also be on the agenda.

Macron and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will once again emphasize the importance of commitment to the fight against climate change on the basis of the Paris Agreement. And the Kingdom’s own ambitious twin Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives are firmly supported by France.

The visit will also provide an opportunity to discuss cultural relations between the two countries, an area in which Paris and Riyadh have succeeded in establishing a fruitful cooperation for the development of the AlUla region. The two leaders aim to grow the collaboration, particularly in the development of museums, the preservation of heritage, and film production.

On a more strategic level, energy security, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, will be high on the agenda. A source suggested the Saudi crown prince would give assurances to Macron over the Kingdom’s efforts to mitigate the crisis.

France will be looking to present itself as a major partner in view of the American disengagement from the Middle East, and the Saudi desire to diversify partners both on a military and economic level.

Talks on the Palestinian issue are a certainty and the same goes for Lebanon, a country mired in an endemic political crisis and inertia that has prevented even its closest partners from coming to its aid.

The other focus of discussions will be on the Iranian nuclear issue and its regional repercussions. Macron has maintained that the solution to the impasse involves a return as soon as possible to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal signed with Tehran in 2015.

In this context, the meeting with the crown prince will give Macron the chance to reaffirm to Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region, that France is ready to participate in the development of the outline of a new partnership.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2131061/saudi-arabia

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The strategic partnership that underpins the enduring Saudi-French relationship

LAMA ALHAMAWI

July 28, 2022

RIYADH: The arrival of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in France on a state visit continues a tradition of frequent high-level exchanges between the two friendly countries.

The strength of the political ties and strategic partnership between France and Saudi Arabia is evident in the large number of visits undertaken by their leaders and officials in recent years.

Since 2017, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has visited France once. During the same period, France’s foreign minister has visited Saudi Arabia three times, while French President Emmanuel Macron has visited the Kingdom once.

The last official diplomatic visit occurred in December 2021, when President Macron met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah as part of a tour of Gulf countries.

Formal relations between France and the Arabian Peninsula can be traced back to 1839, when the former opened a consulate in Jeddah — its first diplomatic post in the region.

Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz, the future king of Saudi Arabia, was the first member of the royal family to pay an official visit to France in 1919. Full diplomatic relations began when France recognized the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd, the forerunner to the unified Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, established in 1932.

In his role as foreign minister, Prince Faisal again visited Paris after France became one of the first countries to recognize the kingdom.

In 1967, King Faisal visited French President Charles de Gaulle in Paris — his first state visit as ruler of the Kingdom. Since then, the relationship between the two countries has flourished and become closer than ever.

Numerous agreements have been signed between them, from military assistance and advanced technology to economy and cultural cooperation.

The Kingdom’s relations with France are built on the common interests of “preserving security in a troubled region, a common commitment to combating terrorism, and a convergence of views on regional crises,” according to the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’s website.

Saudi Arabia and France have robust business ties, as shown both by the economic history and total trade volume between the two. In 2021, France imported $3.8 billion worth of Saudi goods, while it exported $3.23 billion to the Kingdom, according to the UN’s Comtrade international trade database.

Banque Saudi Fransi is a Saudi joint stock company established by a Saudi royal decree in 1977, and is associated with the French Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank. The bank now boasts more than 100 branches across the Kingdom and more internationally.

The Saudi-French Business Council, established in 2003, has held dozens of sessions to discuss bilateral trade and investment.

The two countries have not just engaged in economic relations with one another, but have come together to assist other nations by providing joint economic relief.

In April this year, Saudi Arabia and France announced a joint development fund to provide $76 million for the development of food safety, health, education, energy, water, and internal security forces in crisis-stricken Lebanon.

Perhaps no sector of Saudi-French relations is sturdier or more readily observed than that of joint cultural and artistic ventures. In 2018, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Saudi Arabia’s minister of culture, and Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, signed an intergovernmental agreement to collaborate on the development of the cultural and tourism destination AlUla.

Since this agreement, France and Saudi Arabia have worked closely and intensely on AlUla’s development. Also in 2018, the Royal Commission for AlUla signed an agreement with Campus France to train 68 Saudi hospitality employees to work at AlUla, and the next year, it was announced that the site would be home to a luxury resort designed by award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel.

Ludovic Pouille, the current French ambassador to the Kingdom, spoke to Arab News earlier this month about the continuing cultural cooperation.

“In 2002, the very first Franco-Saudi archaeological excavation, led by the French archaeologist Laila Nehme, was launched in Mada’in Saleh,” he told Arab News.

“This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of this cooperation, which has expanded with no less than 16 Franco-Saudi archaeological missions in the Kingdom.”

He noted that several agreements had been signed in recent years to open training centers for Saudi youth in collaboration with the French Football Federation.

This year in May, the Saudi-French Business Council hosted a high-level French delegation representing the entertainment sector to discuss potential French investment in the Kingdom’s flourishing entertainment industry.

Campus France’s initiative is far from the only joint educational venture between France and the Kingdom. In 2021, at a dinner in Riyadh, Bertrand Besancenot, the then-French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, stated that 1,500 Saudi students were studying at French universities, and that many of these universities signed agreements aiming to boost the number of Saudi students in the country.

The two states, both G20 members, also have clear visions for progress and modernization. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched Saudi Vision 2030 in 2016, while France launched its own French Vision 2030 a few months ago. The goals of both plans include energy transition to renewables, digital transitions, and sustained economic growth.

France has long stood in solidarity with the Kingdom in the face of military and militant attacks on Saudi Arabia. In December 1979, France sent advisers from its elite GIGN special police and trained members of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate who ended the siege of the Grand Mosque in Makkah by armed fanatics.

In March this year, France condemned attacks carried out on Saudi territory by the Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi militia.

France is also a major provider of defense equipment and technologies to Saudi Arabia, a relationship underscored by the $12 billion in deals signed between the two countries in 2015.

In 2019, Saudi Arabian Military Industries announced at a military exhibition in Abu Dhabi that the Kingdom had signed an agreement with France’s Naval Group to build warships in Saudi Arabia. Two years later, SAMI announced joint investments with the French Airbus and Figeac Aero companies.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2131146/world

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India

 

Defying Threats from Fanatics, Muslim Trio, Brother, Sister and a Lawyer Friend, Takes Part in Kanwar Yatra But Not Allowed To Perform the Jalabhishek at Shivalaya

28th July 2022

By Narendra Sethi

DEHRADUN:  Defying threats from Muslim fundamentalists and warnings from the police not to take part in the Jal Abhishek Mahashivaratri, a Muslim man named Aslam Rana, 32, has set an example of communal harmony.

He also vowed to keep taking part in the festival after he took a holy bath in Haridwar.

However, the devotion of Rana, his sister Kehkashan and lawyer friend Hina couldn’t be fulfilled completely as they were not allowed to perform the Jalabhishek (offering holy water) at Shivalaya.

The police prevented them amid threats from fanatics.

“As soon as word spread about our plan, a dozen policemen barged into our house at night to make enquiries. But it didn’t dampen our spirits,” Aslam told this newspaper.

The trio had to return with Gangajal without offering Jal at Haridwar. They then visited the temple at their village, Maanki.

Source: New Indian Express

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https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2022/jul/28/defying-threats-from-fanatics-muslim-trio-takes-part-in-kanwar-yatra-2481476.html

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T.J. Joseph whose hand was chopped off by radical Islamists wins Kerala Sahitya Akademi award

July 27, 2022

The autobiography of professor T.J. Joseph, whose hand was chopped off by activists of Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) for alleged blasphemy, has won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award-2021.

Joseph's 'Attupokatha Ormakal', a chilling account of the religious extremism and the ordeal he underwent after the shocking incident in his life, shared the award with M. Kunjaman's 'Ethiru' in the category of autobiography.

The award was announced here on Wednesday by K. Satchidanandan, president of the Akademi, and prof C.P. Aboobacker, its secretary. R. Rajashree and Vinoy Thomas shared the award for best novel. Anwar Ali won the award for poetry. Devdas V.M. won the award in the category of short story. Writers Vaisakhan and professor K.P. Sankaran were selected for the Distinguished Membership of the Akademi.

A former lecturer of Malayalam literature at Newman College in Thodupuzha, Joseph was attacked and his right hand was chopped off allegedly by activists of the Popular Front of India in July 2010 while he, along with his mother and sister, was returning home from church.

The attackers told him that he was being punished for the alleged sacrilegious undertones of one of the questions he had framed.

The case was investigated by NIA and a special NIA court in 2015 had convicted 13 people, owing allegiance to the PFI.

Source: The Week

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https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2022/07/27/tj-joseph-whose-hand-was-chopped-off-by-radical-islamists-wins-kerala-sahitya-akademi-award.html

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No showering of petals on Muslims, they bulldoze our houses: AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi

Jul 27, 2022

NEW DELHI: AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi hit out at the BJP on Wednesday over the showering of flower petals on Kanwariyas in Uttar Pradesh, saying this warmth is not for Muslims, whose houses are bulldozed.

Talking to reporters in the Parliament complex, the Hyderabad MP said all communities should be treated equally.

"The BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government is showering flower petals on Kanwariyas using public money. We want them to treat everyone equally. They do not shower flowers on us (Muslims). Instead, they bulldoze our houses. If you love one community, you cannot hate another. If you have faith, then others also have faith," the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief said.

Sharing several news reports on Twitter on Tuesday about the Kanwar Yatra, Owaisi said, "If a Muslim offers prayers in an open place even for a few minutes, it leads to a row. Muslims are facing police bullets, custodial clashes, NSA, UAPA, lynchings, bulldozers just for being Muslims."

Earlier this month, senior officials showered flower petals on Kanwariyas in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/no-showering-of-petals-on-muslims-they-bulldoze-our-houses-aimim-leader-asaduddin-owaisi/articleshow/93159504.cms

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Six Kashmiri Pandits killed by terrorists from 2020 till July 2022: Govt in Rajya Sabha

Jul 28, 2022

NEW DELHI: As many as 6 Kashmiri Pandits were killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir during 2020, 2021 and 2022, the minister of state for home affairs, Nityanand Rai told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

In a written reply presented in the Upper House, Rai also shared details of the deaths. He said 4 Kashmiri Pandits lost their lives in 2021, in encounters that happened in Kulgam, Pulwama and the main city of Srinagar.

As per latest available records, a total of 6,514 Kashmiri Pandits were residing in the Valley till July 20, 2022.

As per the data, maximum of 2,639 Kashmiri Pandits are residing in Kulgam district, followed by 1,204 in Budgam, 808 in Anantnag, 579 in Pulwama, 455 in Srinagar, 320 in Shopian, 294 in Baramulla, 66 in Bandipora and 19 in Kupwara.

This information is significant at a time when several people, including many Kashmiri Pandits, have been a victim of targeted killings in the Valley since last year. There have also been reports of Kashmiri Pandits leaving the Union Territory.

The minister further added that "no Kashmiri Pandit has left the Kashmir Valley during 2022".

In a separate reply, he informed the Upper House that since the repeal of Article 370 in August 2019, a total of nine government employees, including one Kashmiri Pandit lost their lives in terror-related incidents in J&K.

Rai also said that the central government has a policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and the security situation has improved significantly in the Union territory.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/six-kashmiri-pandits-killed-by-terrorists-from-2020-till-july-2022-govt-in-rajya-sabha/articleshow/93176841.cms

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9 'civilian govt employees killed by terrorists in J&K since Art 370 scrapped: MHA to Rajya Sabha

Jul 27, 2022

NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday told the Rajya Sabha that 9 civilians employed with the government, including a Kashmiri Pandit, were killed in terror-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since the nullification of Article 370 in 2019, even as terrorist attacks in the UT dipped to 229 in 2021 from 417 in 2018.

MoS Nityanand Rai said one Kashmiri Pandit each was killed by terrorists in J&K in 2020 and till July 20 this year, while 2021 saw 4 Kashmiri Pandits getting killed.

In reply to another question, Rai said no Kashmiri Pandit has left Kashmir Valley during 2022 and, in fact, their numbers in the UT have grown from 6,432 in 2019 to 6,514 as on 20.07.2022.

The MoS clarified that Kashmiri Pandits employed under the Kashmir Migrants (Special Drive) Recruitment Rules, 2009 notified on December 30, 2009, are required to work within Kashmir Valley and are not eligible for transfer outside the Valley under any circumstances.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/9-civilian-govt-employees-killed-by-terrorists-in-jk-since-art-370-scrapped-mha-to-rajya-sabha/articleshow/93168896.cms

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Muslim tailors in Gorakhpur are busy stitching clothes for Hindu ‘Kanwariyas’

Syed Ali Mujtaba

27th July 2022

There are numerous tales of communal harmony to be told from India in the torrid times when Hindu- Muslim polarization is constructed on the Indo- Gangetic plains to erect the edifice of the Hindu Rashtra.

This story comes from Gorakhpur, UP, where many Muslim families right now are engaged in making  clothes and bags for the  ‘Kanwariyas’ who go on pilgrimage to worship Lord Shiva during the monsoon to Sultanganj in Bihar.

The Kanwariyas travel hundreds of miles to fetch holy water from the Ganga and retake the journey back to make offerings at different local shrines of Lord Shiva.

The annual pilgrimage is made in July which coincides with the “Sawan” month of the Hindu calendar. The Kanwariyas travel on their pilgrimage wears saffron-color attire in their long devotional journey.

There are many Muslim families in Gorakhpur that start preparation for ‘Kanwariyas,’ stitching the clothes and bags, months before the start of the pilgrim season. The Muslim families first soak the white cloth into an orange that has Shiva in ocher and then go on to sew these clothes. The cloth bags are also decorated with printed images of Lord Shiva on them.

These Muslim families make the clothing ready in their homes for the middlemen to pick them up and sell in the market. These are sold in the adjoining districts of Gorakhpur and are even sent to Bihar.

The Muslim families living in Gorakhpur’s Piprapur, Rasulpur, Zafar Colony, and Elahibagh locality earn three to four lakhs rupees every season stitching the ‘Kanwariyas’ clothing. This is a major source of their income and covers the daily expenses of their livelihood for the entire year.

The Covid 19 had a serious impact on the business of those families that survived stitching saffron garments. There were restrictions on the ‘Kanwariyas’ movement since 2020, and as a result, the Muslim families of Gorakhpur had to suffer due to the loss of orders. However, thanks to the changed situation in 2022, the ‘Kanwariyas’ pilgrimage once again started. So the demand for orange clothes and bags has once again increased, giving work to the Muslim families of Gorakhpur.

This year the Muslim tailoring communities are happy that their business has revived after facing troubling times. They feel this has happened due to divine blessings. They are offering special discounts to the ‘Kanwariyas,’ as they see some spiritual connection between the pilgrims and their activity. The Muslim cloth makers feel that if they can do something good for the devotees of Shiva, they may be rewarded with more opportunities to earn their livelihood.

There is a reason for such belief. Some 13 years ago when a poor ‘Kanwariya’ approached Mohammad Kaleem, a tailor at Zafar Colony in Tiwaripur locality of Gorakhpur to make a dress and a bag for him to go for the ‘Bol Bum’ pilgrimage, Kaleem made for him but when he asked for money he got none. Kaleem gave the stitched cloth to this poor ‘Kanwariya’ free of cost. To his surprise, the next day this man came with a dozen ‘Kanwariyas’ for their dresses and they all paid Kaleem the due amount. Kaleem and his entire community since then remain busy making dresses for ‘Kanwariyas’ every monsoon season.

Every year, thousands of ‘Kanwariyas’ travel from Gorakhpur to Sultanganj in Bihar to collect water from the holy Ganges river in vessels placed in decorated ‘Kanwar’. They wear special saffron apparel and also carry saffron cloth bags stitched by the Muslim tailors of Gorakhpur.

Source: Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/muslim-tailors-in-gorakhpur-are-busy-stitching-clothes-for-hindu-kanwariyas-2378468/

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South Asia

 

Taliban gets a promise of economic support from Russia and Uzbekistan at the Tashkent conference

Jul 27 202

By Rahul Kumar

New Delhi, Jul 27: The Taliban government heading the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan, which is still struggling for international recognition, got a boost after Russia decided to cancel duties on Afghan imports and also resume supply of oil and grain to the country.

News agency UNI reports that Zamir Kabulov, the Russian Special Envoy for Afghanistan, announced this at the 'Afghanistan: Security and Economic Development' organised by Uzbekistan to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in its conflict-ridden neighbour. Nearly 20 countries including India attended the two-day conference.

UNI reported that Russia said that as humanitarian aid was not enough to support Afghanistan, it was ready to develop economic relations and trade with Afghanistan.

The Taliban delegation led by acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi got the support it was looking for as Uzbekistan gave a call for unfreezing Afghanistan's blocked foreign reserves.

Afghan news agency Pajhwok reported that Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov also appealed for unblocking Afghanistan's foreign reserves which would enable the country to restart its economy.

Appealing to the Taliban delegation to heed calls for the formation of an inclusive government, Pajhwok quoted the minister as saying: "Afghanistan should no longer pose a threat to the region's countries and to the international community as a whole."

Participating countries at the conference, which include Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West and Special Envoy for Afghan Women, Girls, and Human Rights Rina Amiri, seek an assurance from the Taliban that the Afghan soil will not be used by terror groups against its neighbours. They are also keen that the Taliban government include minorities and women in the government to make it more inclusive.

India was represented by JP Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

Last month, India deployed a "technical team" at its embassy in Kabul after having withdrawn its officials in August 2021 after the takeover by the Taliban. New Delhi, however, held several meetings with the Taliban starting with Qatar talks as far back as August 2021 itself. India has been sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan in the form of food and medical supplies.

India also delivered emergency relief to the country in the wake of the June earthquake that killed over 1,000 people.

The Tashkent conference took place even as a social media campaign "Ban Taliban" raged on Twitter the past three days. The hashtag "BanTaliban" was the top trend on Twitter in Afghanistan along with Pakistan, India, the US and many other countries. The campaign followed Meta, earlier called Facebook, banning Taliban-related content on its platform which prompted Afghans to launch the "Ban Taliban" campaign on Twitter.

The Taliban will complete one year of the takeover of Afghanistan after it toppled the Ashraf Ghani government on August 15, 2021. Since then, the Taliban has banned girls from education and have cracked down on former soldiers and minorities, igniting fears in the neighbourhood that the country may once again see a spill over of terror into the region.

Source: Daiji World

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https://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay?newsID=983252

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Videos on social media show Taliban destroying Pakistan-erected border signs: report

27 July, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], July 27 (ANI): A number of new videos have surfaced on social media showing the members of the Taliban destroying the border signs along the Durand Line in Wakhan and Badakhshan, a media report said amid the rising tension over the border dispute.

In another video, one person can be heard saying Pakistan is apparently trying to capture the only source of water in the region, TOLOnews reported without confirming the exact recording time and location of these videos.

The ties between Taliban-led Afghanistan and Pakistan have been frosty of late and matters have been exacerbated by recent border tensions. These videos have emerged amid an ongoing standoff on the border between the Balochistan and Nimroz Provinces of the two countries.

“Both sides refused to move from their respective positions and the Taliban commander of Zakir Camp Qari Hamidullah informed the Pakistan Army that he was under instructions not to negotiate and demanded the removal of poles intended for fencing on the Durand Line,” said Toronto-based think tank International Forum For Rights And Security (IFFRAS).

“This event is the latest in a series of incidents on the border. In response, Pakistan refused to remove the poles and also threatened to destroy Zakir Camp if Afghanistan maintained an aggressive posture,” it added.

Earlier this month, Taliban-appointed Afghan Defence Minister said that the country will not allow any other country to act aggressively against Afghanistan.

The refusal to accept the status of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Taliban regime has clearly shown the cracks in the relationship between the two countries.

During his visit to the Durand Line in Paktia province, Mawalwi Mohammad Yaqoob Mujahid said the Taliban wants good ties with all neighbouring countries and expects the same from them.

Regional analysts believe that Pakistan has committed a strategic blunder in thinking that the Taliban, which the country helped in fighting a US-backed Afghanistan for over two decades, will fulfil Islamabad’s wishes.

After Pakistan backed the Taliban for over two decades to gain Afghanistan’s control back, it seemed like a legitimate expectation of Islamabad that the Taliban will show some gratitude and accede to Pakistan’s wish list on a range of issues.

However, the Taliban have so far not shown any signs of acceding to these wishes. Rather, on several occasions, rejected Pakistan’s demands including the one to recognize the Durand Line.

According to the Canadian think tank, ‘borders’ that have remained porous for centuries have suddenly been shut down, dividing clans and families.

Source: The Print

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https://theprint.in/world/videos-on-social-media-show-taliban-destroying-pakistan-erected-border-signs-report/1058003/

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Over 13 Million Afghan Children Need Humanitarian Assistance: Save the Children Report

By Saqalain Eqbal

28 Jul 2022

A Save the Children report suggests that 24.4 million people in Afghanistan, including 13 million children, are in immediate need of humanitarian aid.

According to a study from the Save the Children organization released today, Wednesday, July 27, 18.9 million people, including 9.2 million children in Afghanistan, are anticipated to experience an emergency or critical food insecurity between June and November 2022.

Save the Children’s report cited the United Nations Development Program stating that 97% of the Afghan population faces the prospect of living in poverty and falling below the poverty line.

Acute malnutrition affects 1.1 million Afghan children under the age of five, according to the report.

Covid-19, measles, acute watery diarrhea (AWD), and dengue fever are among the numerous disease emergencies Afghanistan is currently dealing with.

A significant contraction of the economy, rising poverty, and financial instability, as well as high unemployment and high food and agricultural input prices, have been caused by the rapid drop in international grant support, loss of access to offshore assets, and disruption of financial links.

In addition, the Ukraine crisis has had a significant impact on how much food costs rise and become out of reach for many Afghans.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/over-13-million-afghan-children-need-humanitarian-assistance-save-the-children-report-376387/

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US sanctions hindering Afghanistan’s progress: Taliban

27 July, 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], July 27 (ANI): Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said that the US-imposed sanctions have hindered the progress of the country and asked the United States government to release Afghanistan’s Central Bank assets.

Speaking at the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan on Tuesday, Muttaqi claimed that the ongoing US sanctions and decades-long war are the main reasons for the poverty in the country. He added that the Islamic Emirate government is now ready to engage with the world based on mutual interest, Khaama Press reported.

“The 20-year war affected our country, our economic system is under US economic sanctions,” Muttaqi said, reported TOLOnews.

“This action has not only prevented the transaction of money but also diminished the activities of our government which benefits only the people,” he added.

According to Muttaqi, if the economic sanctions were lifted then it would be the best way to normalize the relationship between the two countries, and the move would leave a positive impact on the mind of the Afghan people.

“We call on the US to release Afghanistan’s Central Bank assets without any conditions and lift economic sanctions on Afghanistan,” he said. “This is the main step for normalization of relations. This will have a positive impact on the minds of the Afghans toward the US.”

Meanwhile, Anas Haqqani, a senior member of the Islamic Emirate, also a part of the delegation, said that the world saw Afghanistan as a necessity.

He further said that countries like China, Russia and others have raised their voice to defend Afghanistan and have also asked for the release of the country’s assets, reported Khaama Press.

Meanwhile, the Deputy National Security Adviser of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov stressed the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, saying a joint venture is needed to eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan.

“The formation of an inclusive government means the inclusion of all tribes in Afghanistan particularly women,” he said. “This can help in the betterment of the current situation. We should cooperate with each other in countering the terrorism in Afghanistan.”

The Tashkent conference on Afghanistan comes at a time when the Taliban government is continuing to push for formal recognition. But so far no country has granted it, though diplomats of Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia – including a number of other international countries – are operating in Afghanistan.

Source: The Print

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https://theprint.in/world/us-sanctions-hindering-afghanistans-progress-taliban/1057524/

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Arab World

 

Crown prince’s Acropolis visit puts Saudi-Greek cultural partnership in the spotlight

July 28, 2022

RIYADH: When Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a visit on Tuesday night to the archaeological site of the Acropolis in Athens, the purpose was more than to take in the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek antiquity to the world.

The crown prince went to the Acropolis Museum, where he and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister, witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Saudi Arabia and Greece for cooperation in the cultural field.

The agreement was signed from the Saudi side by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Kingdom’s culture minister, who previously visited Athens in May 2021 to discuss aspects of cultural cooperation.

During his visit to the Acropolis, the crown prince, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Dr. Lina Mendoni, minister of culture and sports of Greece, was briefed on the ancient buildings, areas and theaters contained within the archaeological site.

Those include the Erechtheion, the Belvedere, the Parthenon, the Theater of Dionysus, and the ancient Odeon of Herodes Atticus theater.

Later in the evening, the crown prince was honored with a dinner banquet at the Acropolis Museum hosted by Mitsotakis. Opened to the public in 2009, the world-famous archaeological Acropolis Museum houses Bronze Age, Roman and Byzantine artifacts discovered at the site of the Acropolis.

Hosting the agreement-signing ceremony at this venue was rich in symbolism. “This has never happened before,” Adonis Georgiadis, the Greek minister for development and investment, told Arab News on Tuesday ahead of the Saudi crown prince’s arrival in Athens.

“We have never signed an MoU with any other country in the world in the Acropolis Museum. And this is just a (message) from our prime minister to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to show how we feel, that you are something very exceptional to us.”

The Saudi-Greece annual trade relationship of almost $1 billion includes the exchange of cultural goods, services and skills. One of the main initiatives to come out of a strengthened Saudi-Greek cultural relationship are “Cultural Weeks” to be held in both countries.

These events could facilitate collaborative outcomes such as cultural heritage exchanges, art exhibitions and festivals

During Prince Badr’s previous visit, both Greece and Saudi Arabia pledged to work together to protect tangible and intangible heritage, counter illicit trafficking of cultural property and manage the impacts of climate change.

“As Saudi Arabia’s cultural transformation continues at pace, we welcome closer relations with our Greek friends,” Prince Badr had said after meetings with Mendoni.

“Both our countries have a deep and rich heritage, stretching back millennia, and a shared outlook on the positive power of cultural exchange, and the need for its protection and preservation. As the Kingdom looks to share its culture with the world, Greece’s insight and experience has much to offer us.”

In the run-up to the Saudi crown prince’s visit, Alexis Konstantopoulos, Greek ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News: “We have deep-rooted ancient civilizations and tourism, because people-to-people relations are extremely important and Greece is a very touristic country.

“On culture, hopefully we’ll be able to do groundbreaking things together. We can explore the possibilities to do archaeological excavations and the setting up of museums together.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s delegation included the ministers of energy, sports, foreign affairs, culture, trade, investment, telecommunications and information technology, as well as the national security adviser.

The official engagements on Tuesday evening began with a formal reception ceremony for the crown prince at Maximos Mansion, the official seat and residence of the prime minister of Greece.

Afterward, the two leaders held a bilateral meeting, during which Mitsotakis welcomed the crown prince and wished him and the Saudi delegation a pleasant stay.

Later, Mitsotakis and the crown prince held an expanded meeting in the presence of the delegations of the two countries.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of the agreement to establish the Saudi-Greek Strategic Partnership Council, besides the exchange of a number of bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries.

The deals sealed by the two sides included:

an agreement in the field of energy

an MoU for cooperation in the field of sports

an agreement on cooperation in the fight against crime

an agreement to protect and encourage investment between the two countries

an MoU for cooperation in the health field

an agreement for cooperation in the military field

an MoU in the field of scientific and technical cooperation

a technical cooperation program in the fields of standards and quality

an agreement of cooperation in the field of documents and archiving, and

a submarine cable agreement.

The agreement in the field of energy, signed between Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Nikolaos Dendias, the Greek minister of foreign affairs, sets a framework for cooperation in the fields of renewable energy, electrical interconnection, exporting electricity to Greece and Europe, and clean hydrogen and its transfer to Europe, according to a Saudi Press Agency report.

The agreement will also look at working together in the areas of energy efficiency and the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, while adopting the circular economy approach to carbon and technologies to reduce the effects of climate change.

Both countries will explore the scope of reusing, transporting and storing the gas, as well as capturing carbon directly from the air.

As for the submarine cable agreement, it is designed to promote digital transformation and innovation in the fields of energy, including cybersecurity, while working to develop qualitative partnerships to localize materials, products and services related to all energy sectors and their associated supply chains, and technologies.

Concurrently, a strategic partnership was announced between the private sectors in the two countries to build a data cable project linking East and West, in a way that would ensure the smooth digital supply of data globally at a time when the world is witnessing an annual growth rate in data traffic of more than 30 percent.

Another high point of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit was the Saudi-Greek Investment Forum, held in Athens on Wednesday and attended by ministers and representatives of the private sector from both sides.

The forum discussed ways to enhance investment and economic cooperation between the two countries in all sectors. Dialogue sessions were held to discuss various topics, including communications, transport, logistics and energy.

Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi minister of Investment, attended a meeting of private sector representatives, alongside Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha and Minister of Commerce and Acting Minister of Media Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi.

The meeting culminated in the signing of 21 investment agreements in the fields of logistics, transportation, defense, renewable energies, manufacturing, environment services, aquaculture, import and export, engineering and agriculture.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2131006/world

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Iraq’s Shia Cleric Al-Sadr Likely to Veto New Candidate, Mohammed al-Sudani, for Premiership

Haydar Karaalp  

27.07.2022

BAGHDAD

Iraq’s firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and leader of the Sadrist Movement is likely to thwart the nomination of Mohammed al-Sudani as Iraq’s new prime minister, analysts say.

Al-Sudani, 52, was selected by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Shia groups close to Iran, as a candidate for Iraq’s premiership. Concerns, however, grow that al-Sadr, whose movement won last year’s general elections, might veto his nomination.

Al-Sadr has already announced that he will not accept al-Sudani to form a new government, leaving him at the risk of a possible veto.

-Supporters of Al-Sudani

Al-Sudani, a former Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, was elected a member of parliament for three consecutive elections under former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s State of Law Coalition.

He enjoys the support of former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as well as Ammar al-Hakim, the head the National Wisdom Movement and Qais Khazali, the leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq - a powerful Shia faction.

The political wing of Iraqi Hezbollah and other militia leaders also showed their support for al-Sudani’s nomination for premiership.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) also voiced support for the new prime minister candidate while the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Masoud Barzani and the Sovereignty Alliance, the largest Sunni bloc in Parliament, have not yet expressed their position on al-Sudani’s nomination.

Kurdish presidential dispute

Although an agreement has been reached among Iraq’s political forces regarding the prime minister candidate, there is still uncertainty about the presidency.

According to Iraq’s quota system, a Kurd is elected for the presidential post.

Arafat Karam, KDP Secretary General, has reiterated that Rebar Ahmed is their candidate for Iraq’s presidency. This statement shows that the Kurds have not yet agreed on a single candidate for the post.

Although some sources state that the KDP and PUK can agree on a common candidate, there are speculations that the PUK still insists on Barham Salih for the presidency.

If the Kurds field two separate candidates for a parliamentary vote, the scenario of 2018 may eventuate. At that time, KDP and PUK participated in the presidential race with separate candidates, and PUK's candidate, Barham Salih, won the race and became president.

Doomed to failure

"Prime Minister candidate al-Sudani will fail to form a government even if he does not face a veto from al-Sadr,” Iraqi political analyst Ahmet Yasiri told Anadolu Agency.

Yasiri attributed the prospected failure to a rift within the Coordination Framework that led to announcing al-Sudani as a candidate.

“The tripartite alliance comprising al-Sadr, KDP and Sunnis had prepared a program to form a government.

However, the Coordination Framework will need to negotiate a government program with the political groups by giving everyone a share in the Cabinet in order to be able to form a government,” Yasiri said.

Yasiri also pointed out that al-Sadr could also call his supporters to stage mass protests against al-Sudani, which could lead to street clashes.

In 2019, the Sadrist bloc staged mass demonstrations that led then Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to eventually resign.

"Even if al-Sudani’s government survives for one year, it will be overthrown by the street like Mahdi," the political analyst asserted.

Iraq’s to-be-elected president will assign the new prime minister with forming the government. The prime minister is obliged to present his Cabinet lineup to the Parliament within 30 days.

A quota was set up in Iraq by Paul Bremer, who was appointed head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (Iraq’s post-invasion U.S.-led interim government) in 2004.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iraq-s-shia-cleric-al-sadr-likely-to-veto-new-candidate-for-premiership/2646953

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Protesters enter Iraqi parliament, chant curses against Iran

Jul 27, 2022

BAGHDAD: Hundreds of Iraqi protesters breached Baghdad's parliament Wednesday, chanting curses against Iran, in a protest against the selection of a nominee for prime minister by Iran-backed parties. Many protesters were followers of an influential cleric. Some were seen walking on tables and waving Iraqi flags.

No lawmakers were present. Only security forces were inside the building and they appeared to allow the protesters in with relative ease.

The breach came amid the biggest protest since Iraqi elections were held in October. The demonstrators were protesting the recent nomination of Mohammed al-Sudani as the official nominee of the Coordination Framework bloc, a coalition led by Iran-backed Shiite parties and their allies.

Earlier Wednesday, demonstrators, many among them the followers of an influential cleric, breached Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone to protest the selection of a nominee for prime minister by Iran-backed parties.

Riot police used water cannons to repel demonstrators pulling down cement blast walls. But many breached the gates to the area, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies.

The demonstrators walked down the zone's main thoroughfare, with dozens gathering outside the doors to the parliament building.

Riot police assembled at the doors to the main gates. Demonstrators crowded around two entrances to the Green Zone, with some scaling the cement wall and chanting, "Sudani, out!"

Caretaker Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi called for calm and restraint, and for protesters to "immediately withdraw" from the area.

The demonstrators were largely followers of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who recently stepped down from the political process despite having won the most seats in the October federal election. Protesters carried portraits of the cleric.

In 2016, al-Sadr supporters stormed the parliament in a similar fashion. They staged a sit-in and issued demands for political reform after then-Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi sought to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats in an anti-corruption drive.

Al-Sudani was selected by State of Law leader and former premier Nouri al-Maliki. Before al-Sudani can face parliament to be seated officially as premier-designate, parties must first select a president.

Al-Sadr exited government formation talks after he was not able to corral enough lawmakers to get the majority required to elect Iraq's next president.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/protesters-enter-iraqi-parliament-chant-curses-against-iran/articleshow/93170044.cms

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UAE, Iran foreign ministers discuss ties, regional security

27 July ,2022

The UAE foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart discussed boosting bilateral ties and areas of cooperation during a phone call on Wedensday.

According to the official Emirates News Agency WAM, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian “exchanged views on a number of international and regional issues of common concern.”

Sheikh Abdullah reportedly highlighted the UAE’s desire to enhance the security and stability of the region.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that its foreign minister “assured [Sheikh Abdullah] about the seriousness of both Tehran and the EU in the negotiations to remove the sanctions.”

Amir-Abdollahian added that “the EU is continuing its efforts aimed at the success of the talks, and Iran, too, is seriously pursuing efforts aimed at reaching a good and sustainable result,” according to IRNA.

Earlier in July, the UAE President’s diplomatic adviser said the country is working to send an ambassador to Tehran as it seeks to rebuild bridges with Iran, adding that the idea of a confrontational approach to Iran was not something Abu Dhabi supported, Reuters reported.

The UAE started engaging with Iran in 2019 following attacks on tankers off Gulf waters and on Saudi energy infrastructure and has held direct talks ever since.

Last month, after the UAE voiced concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, the Iranian foreign minister “pointed to the priority of neighbors in Iran’s foreign policy and called for more consultation ... to expand bilateral ties,” Reuters reported, citing state media.

As for the nuclear deal, the EU’s foreign policy chief said Tuesday he has submitted a draft text of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, urging parties to accept it or “risk a dangerous nuclear crisis.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/07/27/UAE-Iran-foreign-ministers-discuss-ties-regional-security

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Deadlock gives Iraq record run without government, hampering reforms

27 July ,2022

Iraq marked its longest post-election deadlock on Wednesday as infighting among Shia and Kurdish groups in particular prevents the formation of a government, hampering reforms needed as the country struggles to recover from decades of conflict.

More than nine months since an October election, lawmakers tasked with choosing a president and prime minister looked no closer to an agreement, bringing the country to a record 290 days without a head of state or cabinet.

The last longest deadlock was in 2010, when after 289 days Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki got a second term.

The outgoing government of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi continues to run the country. If parties cannot agree on a new government, Kadhimi might stay on as caretaker until new elections can be held.

The paralysis has left Iraq without a budget for 2022, holding up spending on much-needed infrastructure projects and economic reform.

Iraqis say the situation is exacerbating a lack of services and jobs even as Baghdad earns record oil income because of high crude prices and has seen no major wars since the defeat of Islamic State five years ago.

“There's no government, so there's no budget, streets remain potholed, power and water are scarce and there's poor healthcare and education,” said Mohammed Mohammed, a 68-year-old retired civil servant from the southern city of Nassiriya.

The same conditions Mohammed described fuelled mass protests across Baghdad and southern Iraq in 2019.

Demonstrators demanded the removal of parties that have been in power since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein, accusing them of rampant corruption that has stopped Iraq moving forward. Security forces and militiamen killed hundreds of protesters and the protests fizzled out in 2020.

Kadhimi took office as a compromise candidate in response to the demonstrations, promising to punish killers of protesters and hold an early election which was held on Oct. 10.

Most of those who protested have given up hope for change.

“Whatever government forms, it'll be made up of the people and parties who killed our friends,” said Ali al-Khayali, an anti-government activist who participated in the demonstrations.

Squabbling parties

Iraqi government formation often takes months and requires the buy-in of all main political parties.

Since Saddam was toppled, Shia parties which represent the country's demographic majority have held the post of prime minister, Kurds the presidency and Sunnis the role of parliament speaker.

Sharpening divisions within those groups have made this process especially long.

In the Shia camp, the biggest October vote winner, populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr withdrew his 74 lawmakers from parliament last month after he failed to form a government that would exclude his Shia rivals, most of whom who are backed by Iran and have heavily-armed paramilitary wings.

Sadr's withdrawal ceded dozens of seats to those parties, but he has indicated he could stir up unrest among his millions-strong popular base - and his own militia - if they try to form a government he disapproves of.

A few hundred Sadr supporters pulled down a concrete barrier and entered the Green Zone, home to government buildings, on Wednesday. There were no clashes but a water cannon was used to try to disperse them.

Sadr this month effectively vetoed the candidacy of his arch-rival Maliki, accusing the former premier of corruption in a Tweet.

Sadr's rivals have floated another candidate, Mohammed Shiya al-Sudani, for prime minister, but Sadr might also oppose his candidacy because he is an ally of Maliki.

“Sudani is just a shadow of Maliki,” said a member of Sadr's political party, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give statements to the media.

Disagreement among the main Kurdish parties that run the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq meanwhile prevents the selection of a president - who, once chosen by parliament, names a prime minister.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party has held the presidency since 2003.

Their rivals, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which claimed the largest number of Kurdish votes by far, are insisting on their own candidate for president. Neither side appears willing to budge.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Deadlock-gives-Iraq-record-run-without-government-hampering-reforms

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Rockets target Turkish consulate in Iraq’s Mosul, no casualties recorded

27 July ,2022

Rockets hit the vicinity of the Turkish consulate in Iraq’s main northern city of Mosul causing damage but no casualties, Iraqi and Turkish sources said Wednesday.

The overnight fire came after deadly shelling blamed on the Turkish army killed nine civilians last week, prompting anti-Turkish protests in cities across Iraq.

Four rockets hit, causing damage to cars parked in the street near the consulate, provincial lawmaker Shirwan Dobardani told AFP.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Turkey, which denied its forces were behind last week’s artillery bombardment and instead blamed the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), condemned the overnight rocket fire.

“We condemn this attack, in which no casualties were reported, in the strongest terms,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

“We firmly request from the Iraqi authorities to fulfil their responsibilities in protecting diplomatic and consular missions.”

The ministry said it was a “grave and noteworthy development that this attack was carried out during the UN Security Council meeting, which was held upon the call of the Iraqi authorities.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Rockets-target-Turkish-consulate-in-Iraq-s-Mosul-no-casualties-recorded

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Syrian, Russian militaries conduct joint air drills

27 July ,2022

Syria’s defense ministry on Tuesday released footage of its army’s air force conducting joint drills with key ally Russia.

Moscow is a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, and the Russian army played a key role in pushing back armed opposition groups from overthrowing his government in Damascus over the past 11 years.

It since boasts a formidable military presence in the war-torn country, where hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict.

This is the third documented joint drill between the two countries since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.

Syrian paratroopers trained in coordination with Russian trainers.

Earlier this month, Syrian and Russian military pilots conducted drills across the country, including near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

In February, the two countries conducted a drill a week before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Moscow sent long-range nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets with hypersonic missiles to Syria to conduct naval drills in the Mediterranean Sea.

Though much of the fighting has subsided in government-held Syrian territories.

Israel has conducted hundreds of airstrikes over the years, though it rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

When it does, it says it is targeting bases of Iran-backed militias that have supported the Assad government, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and arms shipments reportedly belonging to them.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Syrian-Russian-militaries-conduct-joint-air-drills

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YPG/PKK continues to threaten safe zones in northern Syria despite pledges from US, Russia

Ethem Emre Ozcan and Omer Koparan  

27.07.2022

Despite the US and Russian assurances, the YPG/PKK terror group still threatens safe zones in northern Syria near Türkiye’s border.

The terror group, which has its base in Aleppo's Tal Rifat district, remains a threat to northern Syria's safe zones.

Besides that, for the past six years, YPG/PKK terrorists have occupied Tal Rifat, which is located 18 kilometers (about 11 miles) from the Turkish border.

Since 2016, the YPG/PKK has killed hundreds of civilians, mainly by targeting hospitals, schools, and crowded civilian settlements in its attacks.

Meanwhile, the YPG/PKK terrorists often target Turkish security forces providing security in the areas of Operation Euphrates Shield, and Olive Branch, and try to infiltrate positions of Syrian opposition fighters from Tal Rifat that the terror group was supposed to withdraw from the areas under agreements with the US and Russia.

Terrorists are also using heavy weapons in their attacks in the Tal Rifat district and villages, including Sheikh Issa, Ayn Daqnah, Kafr Khasher, Taanah, and Menagh.

The YPG/PKK terrorism caused the displacement of approximately 250,000 civilians in Tal Rifat in 2016, forcing them to seek refuge in areas close to the Turkish border.

Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/ypg-pkk-continues-to-threaten-safe-zones-in-northern-syria-despite-pledges-from-us-russia/2647163

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Mideast

 

Iran: UNSC's Inaction Emboldens Israel to Continue Anti-Palestinian Crimes

2022-July-27

"The Security Council to force the Israeli regime to immediately cease its systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law," Ershadi said while addressing a meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

"The Security Council’s inaction has emboldened the Israeli regime to continue its crimes against the oppressed Palestinian people as well as its aggressions and malicious activities against the regional countries. The lack of accountability for such serious violations contributes to this impunity,” she added.

The the full text of Ershadi's speech before the UN Security Council is as follows:

Mr. President

The situation in occupied Palestine remains dire, as the Israeli regime's brutality and grave and systematic violations of human rights against the Palestinian people continue unabated.

According to the UN report, the Israeli regime continues to kill innocent people, including women and children, seize and demolish Palestinian homes, and forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes. At the same time, in blatant violation of international law as well as pertinent UN resolutions, the establishment of settlements in occupied Palestine continues.

The recent assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh, a veteran Palestinian journalist, was in line with Israel's long-running, well-documented campaign of harassment, intimidation, and violence against journalists with the ultimate goal of obscuring the atrocities committed by the Israeli regime against Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the UN annual report on the Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts revealed that the Israeli regime continues to commit the most systematic and flagrant violation of children's rights in the Middle East. This regime murdered 86 Palestinian children and imprisoned 637 more in 2021.

Mr. President,

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is tragic. According to the UN report, nearly 2 million Palestinians are 'locked in,' with the vast majority unable to access the rest of occupied Palestine or the outside world. Longstanding Israeli policy on access restrictions against Gaza has egregiously impacted its economy, resulting in high unemployment, food insecurity, and reliance on aid.

As a collective punishment against all its inhabitants, the continued blockade of Gaza constitutes a clear manifestation of war crime and crime against humanity. In accordance with international law, the blockade must be lifted immediately and completely.

Furthermore, the Israeli regime's destabilizing activities against regional countries are continuing. The regime continues to violate Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity through its prolonged occupation of the Syrian Golan, as well as numerous attacks against civilian targets and civilian infrastructure within Syria, including the recent terrorist attacks against Damascus International Airport on June 10, 2022.

The Israeli regime also continues to occupy and violate Lebanese territory in a flagrant violation of international law and the relevant UN resolutions, particularly Security Council resolution 1701.

We strongly condemn such grave violations and malevolent and destabilizing activities, which clearly threaten the peace and security of the region.

The Security Council's inaction has emboldened the Israeli regime to continue its crimes against the oppressed Palestinian people as well as its aggressions and malicious activities against the regional countries. The lack of accountability for such serious violations contributes to this impunity.

The Security Council must uphold its Charter obligation to maintain international peace and security. The Council is expected to implement its own resolutions and compel the Israeli regime to immediately cease its systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Finally, The Israeli regime's representative has once more abused this forum and made false accusations against my country, all of which are categorically rejected. These unfounded allegations are intended to distract attention from the continuous atrocities and violation of international law committed by the Israeli regime in occupied Palestine and other countries in the region.

The weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the Israeli regime have made this regime even more dangerous for the entire region.

This regime's nuclear arsenal, according to multiple reports, comprises 400 hundred warheads, including thermonuclear weapons. It has access to all weapons of mass destruction delivery systems. The Israeli regime has even threatened nuclear annihilation against the countries in the region. It has refused to adhere to any weapons of mass destruction disarmament or control regimes, as well as the repeated international calls to join the NPT, accept the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement, and submit its nuclear programs to the IAEA inspections.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010505000268/Iran-UNSC's-Inacin-Embldens-Israel-Cnine-Ani-Palesinian-Crimes

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Israel transfers Palestinian-French lawyer to high-risk 'isolation' prison for writing to Macron

28 July 2022

The Israeli regime has transferred Palestinian-French human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hammouri to a higher-risk isolation prison facility following his recent letter to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Hammouri was classified as a prisoner “with a high degree of danger” and transferred to an Israeli isolation prison facility called “Hadarim” as a punishment for writing to the French president, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the Justice for Salah Campaign.

“In the past 10 days, the Israeli occupation prison administration classified HRD and lawyer Salah Hammouri as ‘Sagav’, which means a prisoner with a high degree of danger. This entails excessive harassment with the use of hand- and foot cuffs in addition to repeated night raids to the prisoner’s cell where forces turn everything upside-down,” the campaign said in a statement.

The statement added that the Israeli regime had taken the punitive measure after Salah’s letter to Macron, “addressing him as a fellow French citizen, reminding him of his obligations as head of state to ensure his immediate release and end of persecution.”

“Arbitrary classification and transfer are yet another measure of persecution against Salah and against anyone who tries to get their sounds heard,” the statement stated.

Hammouri, 37, was arrested in March 2017. An Israeli military court sentenced him to administrative detention for defending Palestinian rights and accused him of endangering "security in the region."

He has spent nearly nine years in Israeli jails in separate arrests. Hammouri was denied entry into the occupied city of West Bank for more than two years.

In November 2021, the Irish-based rights organization Front Line Defenders, also known as the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, said in a report that six devices used by Palestinian rights activists “were hacked with NSO Group's Pegasus spyware.” Hammouri was one of the six targeted individuals.

In April, Hammouri and rights groups filed a complaint in France against surveillance firm NSO Group for having "illegally infiltrated" his mobile phone.

Earlier last month, Israel extended the detention of the Palestinian lawyer for 3 more months, just one day before his planned release, pressing ahead with its so-called policy of administrative detention to keep Palestinians behind bars.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention. Some prisoners have been held without a charge for up to 11 years.

Palestinians and human rights groups say "administrative detention" violates the right to due process since the evidence is withheld from prisoners while they are held for lengthy periods without being charged, tried, or convicted.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2022/07/28/686367/Palestinian-French-lawyer-transferred-to-higher-risk-prison-for-writing-to-President-Macron

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Iran: Recently-Arrested Mossad Agents Planned to Explode Sensitive Military Facility by Powerful Bombs

2022-July-27

On Saturday, the Iranian Intelligence Ministry announced that members of a terrorist group affiliated with Mossad were identified and arrested by the country's security forces before they could take any action to carry out acts of sabotage.

The intelligence ministry issued another statement on Wednesday giving more details of the operation that foiled the terror attack inside Iran by the Zionist regime’s notorious spy agency Mossad.

The statement said "the Mossad terrorists wanted to blow up a sensitive military site in Iran".

"Those who were supposed to carry out this plot were members of the anti-Iran terrorist group Komoleh which now works as a mercenary and proxy group for Mossad," it added.

The intelligence ministry noted that "its agents, after arresting the terrorists, let them to remain in touch with Mossad’s officers in order to identify and apprehend other members of this terror ring".

The ministry achieved its goal and captured the other members of the cell, the statement said.

"The terrorists had so many weapons and pieces of equipment that they had to inset them into appliances carried by human porters across the border," it added.

"These weapons included 8 highly powerful bombs for the detonation of the main target and 8 smaller bombs for destruction of the equipment the terrorist ring was carrying after completing their mission," the statement read.

A number of firearms with silencers and also makeup tools as well as a large amount of foreign currencies were seized from the terrorists. Other items confiscated from them were fake Iranian and foreign ID documents, it announced.

The intelligence ministry stated in its statement that despite the fact that the plot was foiled, it reserves the right to respond to this conspiracy by the Zionist regime.

Iran: Terrorists Unable to Achieve Goals by Assassinating Scientistshttps://t.co/smPoM68Ip7 pic.twitter.com/jvHlw8UK70

— Fars News Agency (@EnglishFars) July 23, 2022

Iranian nuclear scientists and sites have been the target of the Western and Israeli spy agencies' terror and sabotage attacks in recent years, but, Iranian intelligence bodies say they have managed to thwart a large number of these plots.

Back in June, a plot by Mossad to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists was defused after security forces arrested three agents of the spy agency.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14010505000866/Iran-Recenly-Arresed-Mssad-Agens-Planned-Explde-Sensiive-Miliary

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Israel accuses Hamas of hiding weapons depots near civilian buildings

27 July ,2022

Israel published images on Wednesday which officials said showed weapons depots and tunnels in Gaza near a school, a Pepsi factory and other buildings and accused the Palestinian militant group Hamas of deliberately hiding them in civilian areas.

The military’s Southern Command released drone footage and coordinates which it said showed tunnels and weapons production sites in densely populated civilian areas including near al-Shifa hospital and the Islamic University of Gaza.

Other sites included a UN-run school, a medical clinic, a library and mosques.

“Hamas launches attacks from within population centers and targets population centers – the world must be aware of this crime against humanity and must exact a heavy price from Hamas,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.

He said Israel would act with “precision and force” to defend its citizens.

Hamas, the radical group which governs the Gaza Strip, rejected the statement.

“These are lies the occupation is circulating to justify its crimes against innocent civilians during the wars it conducted against Gaza,” said Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem.

“We warn that these lies may be a pretext to commit more crimes against civilians,” he said.

Gaza, a densely populated strip of land where some 2.3 million people live on a patch of 365 square kilometers (140 square miles) has been a constant point of conflict ever since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.

Israel has fought five conflicts with Gaza since 2009, the most recent an 11-day war in May 2021, when Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel and Israel pounded the strip with airstrikes.

At least 256 Palestinians were killed and almost 2,000 wounded in Gaza during the conflict, while 13 people were killed in Israel, according to figures cited by the United Nations.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Israel-accuses-Hamas-of-hiding-weapons-depots-near-civilian-buildings

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Iran's Khamenei says Western enemies stoking anti-hijab protests

27 July ,2022

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Western adversaries on Wednesday of being behind a movement among Iranian women activists to challenge the government's obligatory Islamic dress code.

On July 12, Iranian rights activists urged women to publicly remove their veils on the government's “National Day of Hijab and Chastity”, risking arrest for defying the Islamic dress code as the country's hardline rulers crack down harder on “immoral behavior”.

“Recently, on the pretext of hijab, they have raised the case of women again...Suddenly, the propaganda machine and the...media of the US and Britain and some other places, and their mercenaries and followers, go on the attack,” Khamenei said in remarks carried by state media.

“The enemies' goal is to spread doubt among the people... and shake their faith, which is the main factor in maintaining the country and the Islamic system,” Khamenei said in a speech to Friday prayers imams.

Following the calls for anti-hijab protests, videos posted on social media showed cases of what appeared to be heavy-handed action by “morality police” units against women who had removed their hijab.

A video that went viral showed a mother begging morality police to release her daughter due to her illness and trying to stop a police van by standing in front of it. The footage prompted Iranian authorities to announce that the police squad in question would be disciplined.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Iran-s-Khamenei-says-Western-enemies-stoking-anti-hijab-protests

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Palestinians strive to stop Gaza shore erosion with concrete and rubble

27 July ,2022

Authorities in Gaza have ordered giant concrete blocks to be dropped along the shoreline as increasingly heavy seas eat into beaches that provide residents of the densely populated strip with a rare public space for relaxation.

The blocks, placed on beaches and offshore, are aimed at countering waves that have grown in force, eating away the foundations of some seaside cafes and buildings.

But officials, residents of beach areas and experts fear the concrete barricades may not stand another stormy winter and that high waves could cause the collapse of the coastal road and threaten homes.

Nasser Thabit, an official in the territory’s Hamas-run Ministry of Public Works and Housing, said waves that reached up to six meters last year as the effects of climate change have become more pronounced had begun to nibble at the edges of the road.

“There are several fragile areas in Gaza Strip that would be impacted directly from a rising sea. There is a fear that should the waves get higher it may cause a catastrophe, and drown many of those residential areas,” he said.

Thabit said proper long-lasting intervention - vertical wave breakers and retaining walls along all or at least the most at risk parts of the coast - could cost around $150 million and called for help from international donors.

Measuring 375 square kilometer (145 square miles), Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a population of 2.3 million Palestinians, most of them live in refugee camps, some facing the ocean.

In the Beach refugee camp in Gaza City, home to 90,000 people, residents have watched over recent years as rising seas have eroded the beach completely. Broken fridges, large tires and bricks have all been thrown along the shore to hold back the sea to no effect.

“The refugee camp has no beach, there is no place for people to sit, therefore, people are forced to pay to go north or (south),” said Abdel-Karim Zaqout, a history teacher, whose house in the camp borders the ocean.

With Gaza’s land borders tightly controlled by neighboring Israel and Egypt, the seaside is a precious resource for people looking to escape their day-to-day stresses.

In Central Gaza Strip, Radwan al-Shantaf, from al-Zahra city municipality, said the authorities had used large quantities of the rubble of houses destroyed in the May 2021 Israeli bombardment to barricade beaches.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Palestinians-strive-to-stop-Gaza-shore-erosion-with-concrete-and-rubble

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Africa

 

Palestinians must be part of regional economic projects, Jordan King tells Israel PM

27 July ,2022

Jordan’s King Abdullah on Wednesday told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Amman that Palestinians should be part of US-sponsored regional economic projects to underpin stability in the Middle East.

He also told Lapid, in the first meeting after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region earlier this month, that the creation of a Palestinian state was essential to reach lasting peace between Arabs and Israelis.

A statement from the office of Israeli interim premier Yair Lapid said he and King Abdullah discussed recent regional changes, an apparent reference to ties that have improved between Israel and several Arab nations in recent years.

They also talked about how to deepen cooperation between the two countries, including in renewable energy projects, tourism, food security and agriculture, according to Lapid’s office.

King Abdullah “stressed the need to find a political horizon to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace” with the Palestinians, according to a statement from the Jordanian Royal Court.

He also asked that Israel work to maintain calm in Jerusalem and its holy sites, a frequent flashpoint for violence with the Palestinians.

Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994 and maintain close security ties, but relations soured in recent years amid persistent tensions at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, which is a key holy site to both Muslims and Jews, as well as Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and the lack of any progress in the long-moribund peace process.

The countries also fell out over a shooting incident by a guard at Israel’s embassy in Amman.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/07/27/Palestinians-must-be-part-of-regional-economic-projects-Jordan-King-tells-Israel-PM

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Bomb blasts in southern Somalia kill at least 20

Mohammed Dhaysane  

28.07.2022

MOGADISHU, Somalia 

At least 20 people were killed and several wounded in separate bomb attacks Wednesday in southern Somalia, police said.

A police officer in the town of Marka in the Lower Shabelle region told Anadolu Agency by phone that a suicide bomber killed 13 people, including the town’s mayor, Abdullahi Ali Wafow, as well as security guards and civilians.

Several others who were wounded were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Marka, 90 kilometers (55 miles) from the Somali capital Mogadishu, is a major town that houses several African Union peacekeeping mission contingents. The attack took place near the Marka administration headquarters.

Abdiaziz Laftagareen, president of the Southwest State, condemned the suicide bombing and the killing of the mayor, calling him "one of the best civil servants" in the country.

The Al-Shabaab terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

In the same region, a landmine explosion rocked a busy livestock market in the town of Afgoye, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 14 others, according to regional security officials in Lower Shabelle.

The attack in Afgoye also devastated nearby buildings and shops, according to Mohamed Hassan, an eyewitness who spoke to Anadolu Agency by phone.

Afgoye is located 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of Mogadishu.

Ankara condemns attack

Türkiye strongly condemned the deadly terrorist attacks in Somalia.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that many people, including officials and civilians, lost their lives or were injured in the terrorist attacks that took place today” in Afgoye and Marka, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/bomb-blasts-in-southern-somalia-kill-at-least-20/2647411

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Terrorist attacks in Mali leave 66 dead

Aurore Bonny 

28.07.2022

DOUALA, Cameroon

At least 66 people were killed in terrorist attacks Wednesday in several towns in Mali, according to security sources.

"The Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) repelled terrorist attacks targeting positions in Savare, Sokolo and Kalumba early this Wednesday, July 27. The response, carried out with energy and professionalism, has enabled the attackers to be routed and pursued," Colonel Souleymane Dembele, the army’s director of information and public relations, said in a statement.

A report on the fighting showed 54 dead, including six soldiers, and 25 soldiers wounded, including five seriously, in Sokolo in the region of Segou in south-central Mali, where a coordinated response was orchestrated against the attackers, who were routed.

The same source also reported 12 dead "on the friendly side," including three civilians from a road construction company, following a "vigorously repelled" terrorist attack in Kalumba in the Nara region near the Mauritanian border.

The sweep and assessment of the attack is still ongoing, according to the military authorities.

"The aerial pursuit made it possible to attack terrorist logistical bases under cover of vegetation in the vicinity, thus reducing the enemy’s potential," Dembele added.

On the central Mopti side, infiltration attempts targeted one of the checkpoints of a military camp as well as air force installations without success as suspicious movements were contained by FAMa.

The attacks are part of a series that have targeted Malian army posts recently.

On July 21, three soldiers and three terrorists were killed in simultaneous complex attacks in several locations.

The following day, one soldier and seven terrorists were killed in a car bomb attack on the facility of the Directorate of Material, Hydrocarbons and Transport of the Armed Forces (DMHTA) in Kati near the capital Bamako.

The attacks confirm the signals and clues previously detected and identified by the competent services and materialize the agony of the armed terrorist groups in Mali, according to military staff.

"These armed groups are actually demonstrating their overall weakening by carrying out desperate actions of kamikaze attacks, actions on civilians, and the planting of improvised explosive devices," Dembele said.

The military communication from the West African country, one of the most plagued by terrorist attacks in the Sahel for years, does not name the attacking terrorist group.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/terrorist-attacks-in-mali-leave-66-dead/2647408

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Macron says France will equip Benin militarily against terrorism

27.07.2022

DOUALA, Cameroon

France will provide military equipment to the French-speaking West African nation Benin to support its efforts to fight terrorism, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.

The French leader's pledge came in a news conference with his Beninese counterpart Patrice Talon in the second stop of his three-nation tour of West African states.

Both presidents agreed on France's support in Benin for security, culture, and education.

Talon deplored the lack of supply of military equipment and materials requested from France.

"We have the financial means to acquire this equipment but with the tensions in the world, it is becoming problematic. You have made a commitment to do what it takes," he said.

Macron, for his part, said the acquisition of the equipment does not only depend on France, whose army does not sell it, but it also requires a prior structuring from Benin.

The West African country "is not structured to buy and does not have the function that we have structured in France with a general delegation for armaments," he said, pledging that the equipment will be delivered through France in the short term and that technical cooperation will help Benin to structure the equivalent of a general delegation for armaments.

France will always stand by Benin and its authorities to fight terrorism by responding to the requests of the Beninese authorities, Macron said.

Economy, education, culture

On a working visit to Benin, Macron held a one-on-one meeting with Talon, who received his French counterpart at the Marina Palace, the presidential compound.

The leaders' meeting was followed by a working session between the Beninese and French authorities, and a visit to a diptych exhibition at the Museum of Royal Treasures and Contemporary Arts of Benin.

During their address, Macron and Talon hailed the quality of bilateral ties between the two countries.

"If I have to describe our relations in recent times, I would say that they are relaxed and free from the burdens of the past," said the Beninese president, giving credit to his French counterpart.

Talon expressed a desire to see more French investments in Benin, praising the development of an "unparalleled" economic cooperation between the two countries over the past two years.

France has been economically supportive outside the bond market while the economic relations have reached "an unhoped-for level never approached before, more than 10 times their volume on a five-year average over the last 30 years," Talon said.

He announced the signing of a new strategic partnership agreement for the 2022-2026 period which will take relations to a new level.

Separately, an agreement on the Beninese education system was signed. The West African country has decided to focus on technical vocational training and expects the European Union to provide significant support.

"We hope that France will support us with the EU so that this can be achieved quickly," said Talon, who also asked for direct support from France in terms of deploying trainers in Benin.

Macron's visit was also an opportunity to visit the 26 artworks that France returned to Benin in February. These treasures of Beninese culture had been looted in 1892 by French colonial troops from the Royal Palaces of Abomey in south-central Benin.

They are currently on special display in Benin and are, according to Talon, proof of the "good relations, unencumbered and free of the burdens of the past" between the countries.

Macron reiterated the restitution of art pieces in accordance with French rules protecting works of art.

"We want to make the framework of this restitution simpler," he said, adding that academic work is underway for it.

This restitution is "neither a gift nor a political gesture" but corresponds to "very scientifically established criteria on the conditions of exit, reception and conservation" of these, the French president said.

Benin and France have also committed to supporting each other in cultural projects. 

Political prisoners

Asked about the political exiles and detainees in Benin during the recent political upheavals, including his second reelection, Talon said no one in the country is detained for their political views.

No one has also been expelled from Benin, he said, speaking of the exiles who, according to Talon, should return to the country to be cleared by justice.

"For me, there is no such thing as a valid claim that concerns perpetrators of crimes and misdemeanors. They must face up to what they have done," he added.

During the meeting, Macron also spoke about the Russia-Ukraine war, mentioning the Russian involvement and behavior, which he said was "imperial and colonial."

"Russia decided to invade a neighboring country to defend its interests. When you see them poking their heads out at you, don't see anything else, even if they tell you the opposite," he said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/macron-says-france-will-equip-benin-militarily-against-terrorism/2647368

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5 Tunisian parties reject results of constitutional referendum

Adel Al-Thabti  

27.07.2022

TUNIS, Tunisia

Five Tunisian parties on Wednesday rejected the results of a referendum on the country’s new constitution.  

This came in a press conference held in the capital Tunis by the National Campaign to Overthrow the Referendum, a coalition of five Tunisian parties. 

Members of the coalition are the Republican Party the Democratic Current, the Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties, the Workers Party, and the Qutb Party. 

According to Tunisia’s electoral commission, 94.6 percent of voters backed the new constitution during Monday’s referendum with a voter turnout of 30.5 percent. 

“Around 75 percent of Tunisian voters did not participate in the referendum,” Issam Chebbi, Secretary-General of the Republican Party, told the press conference. 

He termed the low voter turnout as a “slap to anyone who wanted to obtain an allegiance." 

Chebbi accused the Electoral Commission of "altering the voter turnout from 27.5 percent to 30.5 percent by adding 400,000 voters who participated after the polls were closed." 

There was no comment from the commission on the accusation.

Riad bin Fadl, the coordinator of the Al-Qutb Party, said the regime of President Kais Saied “will fall much sooner than anticipated." 

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country's economic conditions since Saied ousted the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority in July 2021. He later dissolved the assembly after lawmakers held a session to challenge his measures. 

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/5-tunisian-parties-reject-results-of-constitutional-referendum/2647059

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Southeast Asia

 

Don’t Let ‘Party-Hoppers’ Defend Their Seats, Says Ahmad Maslan Of Malaysia

Dineskumar Ragu

July 27, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: MPs who trigger a by-election when they switch to another party should be barred from defending their seats, says Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian).

While debating the anti-hopping bill in the Dewan Rakyat, he said he had been pushing for this since 2018 when he spoke in favour of the anti-hopping law.

Under the bill tabled by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob earlier today, any MP who decides to switch allegiance after being elected will automatically have their seat vacated, triggering a by-election.

“However it seems like we are allowing the party-hoppers to contest again in this (constitutional) amendment,” said Ahmad.

“I think it is not right since we need to punish those who have hopped. Therefore, we should not allow them to contest in the by-elections.”

He also pointed out that there was a lack of clarity in the bill with regard to party-hopping among component parties of a coalition.

“Let’s say if an MP from the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma) defects to Umno, would he be considered as a party-hopper?

“There would be two opinions on this matter, where some would say that he hopped to another party, while others would argue that he did not hop since he is still in the coalition,” he added.

In stating his support for the bill, Ahmad said it was needed to ensure political stability in Malaysia, but maintained that the infamous “Sheraton Move” that led to the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was not an act of massive party-hopping.

“The Sheraton Move happened because we did not have a prime minister then. Langkawi (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) had resigned. Therefore, it was not (a form) of betrayal.”

His statement prompted Mukhriz Mahathir (Pejuang-Jerlun) to interject, saying: “You might want to look at the chronology of events first. Which one happened first, the Sheraton Move or (Mahathir)’s resignation?”

The much-awaited anti-hopping bill is being debated in the Dewan Rakyat after it was tabled for its second reading by Ismail.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/07/27/dont-let-party-hoppers-defend-their-seats-says-ahmad-maslan/

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Extending Sosma clause allows cops to better maintain order, says IGP

July 28, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision to extend a provision under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) will allow the police to maintain public order and safety more efficiently.

Inspector-general of police (IGP) Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said police welcomed the decision and appreciated the home minister’s effort in re-tabling the motion.

“The ministry and MPs’ commitment in approving the motion to extend sub-section 4(5) of the Sosma Act and the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill 2020 is a huge support to law enforcement in Malaysia.

“The development involving the extension of sub-section 4(5) of Sosma will provide an opportunity for the police to carry out their responsibilities more efficiently for the wellbeing of the people,” he said.

Acryl Sani also said that police welcomed the government’s efforts toward the establishment of the IPCC in order to restore public confidence in the force.

Yesterday, the Dewan Rakyat passed the motion to extend sub-section 4(5) of Sosma for another five years from July 31.

The motion, re-tabled by home minister Hamzah Zainudin, was passed after bloc voting in which 111 MPs voted in support and 88 MPs against. A total of 21 MPs were absent.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/07/28/extending-sosma-clause-allows-cops-to-maintain-order-better-says-igp/

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Dr M’s nephew denies receiving RM2.6mil from UKSB

July 27, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s nephew has denied that he received RM2.6 million, on behalf of the former prime minister, from a company in the centre of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial.

Rahmat Abu Bakar said he was appointed as chairman and adviser of Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) in July 2018, but he resigned in November the same year following advice from former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed.

Rahmat said he had also returned the RM1.3 million cash paid to him for his services as he had doubts over the source of the funds.

On Tuesday, a witness in Zahid’s trial testified that RM2.6 million in political donations was given to Bersatu, the party which was formerly chaired by Mahathir.

David Tan, UKSB’s former administrative manager, said the sum was passed to Rahmat after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the 2018 general election and Mahathir was appointed the prime minister for the second time.

Rahmat said in a statement that the witness’ testimony was false and defamatory. He said he would take action if Tan did not withdraw his claim.

However, under civil law, witnesses have absolute privilege over statements made in the course of their testimony.

Mahathir has since denied the allegation.

Rahmat said Mahathir was not aware of his UKSB links.

“Neither was Tun Dr Mahathir involved.”

UKSB was appointed by the government in 2016 to handle the foreign visa system for Chinese tourists.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/07/27/dr-ms-nephew-denies-receiving-rm2-6mil-from-uksb/

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