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Islamic World News ( 24 Nov 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

To check Islamic State, focus is on counter-radicalisation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Times Group

India

To check Islamic State, focus is on counter-radicalisation

ISI may help al-Qaida gain foothold in India

If Amir Khan feels ‘intolerance’, he should go to Pakistan: Subramanian Swamy

PM Modi urges nations to unite against terror, says delink it from religion

If Assam Governor has a problem with minorities, he can go to Nepal: Azam Khan

AR Rahman identifies with Aamir Khan, says he too faced similar situation

Terrorists attack army camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Tangdhar area, 1 jawan killed, 4 injured

Modi, Obama to meet on sidelines of Paris climate conference

Govt ready for debate on 'intolerance' in Parliament

Global co-ordination required to tackle terrorism: SC

Pak flag hoisted on J&K CM’s house to protest killing of Hizb terrorists

Muslims condemn Facebook post against Pejawar seer

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia: Confront Daesh with both military and non-violent measures

‘Daesh’ the right term, say scholars

Radical Islam in Indonesia: the Islamic State Returnees

Exclusive: US, Malaysia and the War Against the Islamic State

Indonesia Islamic district to ban condoms in convenience stores

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Europe

Putin calls jet's downing 'stab in the back'; Turkey says warning ignored

French Muslim body calls for imams to need a permit to preach

Russia terminates military contacts with Turkey

Intimidation, imitation, economics: Why youth are taking to terror

Fighting Islamic State, ending blowback terrorism

EU must limit migrant numbers: French PM

Man who lent flat to Paris attacks ringleader hit with terror charges

French anti-terror police descend on ‘White Emir’ village

One of two Russian pilots picked up by Syrian army: Russian envoy to France

Probe into Paris attacks leads to another suspect

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Arab World

IS frees 10 kidnapped Syrian Christians

Syrian Forces Complete Full Control over All Areas around Kuweires Airbase

French jets strike ISIS command center in Iraq

Russia May Use Electronic Jamming Systems to Protect Its Pilots in Syria

Gov't Forces Continue Operations against ISIL Terrorists East of Aleppo

Gov't Forces Win Back More Territories in Syria's Lattakia Province

Senior Jund Al-Aqsa Commander Killed in Morek

Nusra Positions Sustain Heavy Losses in Syrian Airstrikes in Homs Province

Warplanes Bomb Terrorist' Strongholds in Aleppo

Jaish Al-Fateh Positions Hit in Syrian Airstrikes

Syrian Air Force Targets ISIL Military Sites East of Homs Province

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South Asia

Leaders vow unity against IS terror

Taliban seize 15 Afghan soldiers after chopper crash

1970 Bangladesh War Trials: Justice, Revenge, History and Acrimony

‘Jamaat’ man held for threatening intellectuals

Leader of religious unity forum attacked in Bangladesh

Afghan forces launch bid to rescue 18 captured by Taliban

German army shares Afghan mission with NATO partners

Drone strike kills Taliban shadow district governor in Nangarhar

SC may hear Nizami’s appeal 5 days more

Bangladesh court indicts 4 suspected Islamic State operatives

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Pakistan

ISIS not be correlated with Islam: Dr Al-Turki

‘Religious discrimination harms Pakistan, defies Quaid’s vision’

Mob attacks on Ahmadi Muslims and mosque in Pakistan condemned

Three policemen injured in Quetta blast

Govt ceding control over key issues: PTI leader

PTI, PPP agree to form joint opposition in NA

Registered Afghan refugees may be allowed to stay till Dec 2017

No space for religious parties in Pindi’s local govt setup?

Shahbaz for promotion of quality education

Two TTP men captured in pre-dawn raid

Breaking News: Unidentified gunmen kidnap 22 bus passengers in Pakistan’s Baluchistan

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Mideast

Siding With ISIL? Turkey Spotted Dealing With Radical Islamists in Syria

NATO urges calm after Turkey downs Russian jet

Tensions soar as Turkey shoots down Russian plane

Erdogan son-in-law wins key post in new Turkey cabinet

U.N. accuses Yemen’s Houthis of blocking aid

Turkey tells U.N. it shot down plane, defends right to do so

Violence flares as Kerry meets Netanyahu in Israel

Deputy FM: Iran nuclear deal to enter into force early January

Kerry seeks to restore ‘calm’ in Israel, Palestinian territories

Intensifying Syria tension sends wrong signal to terrorists: Iran FM

Accusing Basij of radicalism completes enemy’s infiltration project: Leader

Yemeni army, allied fighters kill dozens of Saudi mercenaries

New clashes between Turkey army, PKK leave six dead

Armed men attack policemen in southeast Turkey, kill one: Sources

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Africa

Tunisian President declares ‘war’ against terrorism

Blast kills 12 in Tunisia as terrorists target presidential guard

Landmine kills UN worker in Mali

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North America

Barack Obama, Hollande urge Russia to focus Syria attacks on Islamic State

Numero Uno

‘No specific, credible threat’ to U.S. from ISIS

Obama offers conditional support to Russian actions in Syria

US issues rare global terror alert

US Muslim boy demands $15m in damages from school

Canada delays deadline to take in 25,000 refugees

US court awards 40-year jail to Pakistani man

Kingdom slams racism against Muslim refugees

France, US vow unity against ISIL

Hollande arrives in Washington

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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India

 

To check Islamic State, focus is on counter-radicalisation

VIJAITA SINGH

November 25, 2015

First it was Badla (revenge), after Batla House encounter it was Farz (duty) and now it is Deen (religion) — this is the opening line of a secret document prepared by the Telangana police to explain the influence of the dreaded militant outfit, the Islamic State (IS) in India.

Though Indian intelligence agencies were little late to wake up to the dangers posed by the IS, already six of 23 who joined the fight in Iraq and Syria are dead, the agencies and the government have finally put their act together. Nearly 150 people are under watch. There are five women also among the probable recruits who were weaned away through community outreach. The thrust is on counter-radicalisation.

From roping in heads of Muslim religious bodies to issue fatwas against the IS to that of keeping an eye on educational institutions, the agencies are acting behind the curtain to discourage young Muslim men and women from being attracted to the IS.

Though it has always denied there is any influence of the IS here, government has taken multiple steps to counter the outfit.

A senior Home Ministry official told The Hindu that a three-pronged approach was being followed by them. “We have categorised the potential recruits of the IS in three categories — those who have come back, those who are curious about the IS and the ones who want to go.”

“There is no blanket rule to arrest all of them. It is being dealt with on a case to case basis. The Islam propagated by the IS is alien to Muslims in India,” said the official.

Another official said: “The concern for India is purely arithmetic as the country has the second largest Muslim population in the world. There is a tiny percentage of Muslims who have joined the IS.”

Role of social media

IS members post religious messages on Facebook and other social media platforms. They then develop contacts with the persons who have shared the post or liked it. These men and women are motivated further by sharing radical videos and pictures. “If seriousness is evinced by the person, the routes and logistics are explained to reach the IS. Phone numbers and Skype IDs are exchanged. The recruit then meets the intermediary and they are encouraged to travel to Syria based on the person’s willingness and drive,” said the official.

The government says it has roped in NGOs to deal with the IS. “Along with those who promote violent extremism, it is important to target extremist ideologies as well. Universities should conduct internal risk assessments. Waging an ideological battle is important,” said the official.

An official said the government was trying to have a wide “overt and covert” presence on the Internet. “Agencies are creating positive Internet content and pushing it across social media. Efforts are on to reduce the appeal of the IS through wide dispersion of counter-radicalisation messages,” said the official. He said the agencies were taking steps to deter people who produce and circulate radical content by booking them under penal provisions. “Another important area is collaboration with online community to strengthen reporting mechanisms and complaint procedures.”

The foremost thing was to find credible interlocutors, who could act as a bridge among the community members, the official said. The government had already brought the Imams on board, who have issued fatwas against the IS. “The Minority Welfare departments should be strengthened through human and material resources. It should be treated on a par with SC/ST departments. It will partner with police and other departments in a creative manner to address the issues of alienation and shared victimhood.”

‘Account for missing youth’

The government has asked all States to step up the traditional beat-policing to generate ground-level intelligence. Special emphasis is being laid on “identifying and accounting for the missing youth in the locality.”

“Custodial violence and unlawful arrests should be done away with. Police should be seen as impartial and fair in their dealings. Bipartisan role during communal violence can hardly be overemphasised. Keep a watch on the activities of communal offenders and persons with radical leaning and maintaining systematic records. Vulnerable youths should be identified,” said the official.

The local police should build effective and unobtrusive intelligence network in educational institutions. Surveillance should be kept on the activities of organisations with radical ideology. A mechanism was put in place to follow discourses in religious congregations and places of worship.

“Many recruits joining the IS are second generation migrants from Muslims from Africa and Gulf countries. It is more attractive than the al-Qaeda as it also appeals to moderate Muslims. The ones joining the IS subscribe to the Salafi ideology, which is not practised much in South Asia. Indian maulanas are opposing this brand of Islam by organising protests,” said the official.

The government is keeping a close eye on places of worship, places of political ideas and learning, communities, places of work, education, prisons and social network.

“All these groups produce groups of like-minded individuals whose shared purpose and experiences build enduring trust and a sense of ‘us, together against the world’ among its members,” said a senior official.

Bridging trust deficit

The government has asked the States to post at least one policeman from the minority community in each police station. Designing a special educational curriculum to sensitise policemen to communally sensitive issues is also being discussed.

India is carefully studying the models being followed in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia and neighbouring Bangladesh in developing a strategy to deal with the IS.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/to-check-islamic-state-focus-is-on-counterradicalisation/article7913146.ece

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ISI may help al-Qaida gain foothold in India

Raj Shekhar

Nov 25, 2015

NEW DELHI: Pakistan's ISI may play a key role in execution of al-Qaida's plans in India.

The terror organization's Indian subcontinent wing, AQIS, doesn't have much of a footing in India yet and will either have to seek on-the-ground support from Lashkar-e-Taiba or Indian Mujahideen, sources said.

For both it will need clearance from ISI, sources added.

The Pakistani spy agency will have no problem in helping Qaida at present as it can easily disassociate itself from any strikes the organization carries out, a highly placed source told TOI.

Sources in the intelligence agencies say that post IS slamming AQIS, the latter will not get support from Af-Pak based group Ansar-ul-Tawhid Fi Bilad Al Hind (AuT) as the outfit pledged its allegiance to IS last year. An offshoot of Indian Mujahideen, AuT was launched a few years ago by jihadi elements in the Af-Pak region and the IM operatives who rebelled against the leadership of Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal in Pakistan.

AQIS is unlikely to get support from SIMI either as IS seems to have tapped them already. Adnan Hasan, a SIMI member, was recently detained in Dubai for IS-related activities. He is alleged to be recruiting for the Islamic State and spreading its propaganda. Also, SIMI has lost most of its men and has a very few members of Safdar Nagori faction active in India. Most of the group's men are in jail.

However, IM will lend support to AQIS as several of its rebel members had defected and joined AuT in order to join IS and fight in Syria. Bada Sajid of IM - he orchestrated the 2008 serial blasts which killed 166 in Delhi Jaipur and Ahmedabad - was killed fighting in Syria in May this year.

Lashkar-e-Taiba which has been rebuked by IS will also want to support AQIS. Azam Cheema led LeT faction is learnt to be close to AQIS chief Maulana Umar.

Theories that Bangladeshi terror group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMD), whose presence in India was unearthed after Burdwan blasts in West Bengal, may also lend a helping hand to IS can't be ruled out. But agencies also believe that AQIS will first strengthen its footing in India before asking for help from splinter groups of POK and other regions.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/ISI-may-help-al-Qaida-gain-foothold-in-India/articleshow/49915657.cms

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If Amir Khan feels ‘intolerance’, he should go to Pakistan: Subramanian Swamy

Vijaysinh Parmar

Nov 24, 2015

RAJKOT: Lashing out at Bollywood actor Amir Khan for his remarks on 'intolerance in the country', senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said that if Amir Khan feels that he is unsafe in the country, then he should go to Pakistan and government should arrange free air ticket to him for his travel to that country.''

Subramanian Swamy said while interacting with media persons in coastal town of Somnath in Gir-Somnath district on Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier on Monday, Aamir had said that he felt "alarmed" by recent happenings in the country at a function in New Delhi where he said that his wife Kiran Rao had suggested that they should move out of the country in wake of recent happenings seen by many as incidents of intolerance.

"When I chat with Kiran at home, she says, 'Should we move out of India?' That's a disastrous and big statement for Kiran to make. She fears for her child. She fears what the atmosphere around us will be. She feels scared to open the newspapers every day. That does indicate that there is this sense of growing disquiet, there is growing despondency apart from alarm,'' Amir Khan said.

However, Amir Khan's remark triggered a massive war of words between the ruling BJP and opposition parties, especially Congress.

While referring Amir Khan as 'Namak Haram', Swamy further said that Amir Khan made his fame and fortune in this country and now talks about 'intolerance' "We went to theatre to watch his films and did not think that he was Muslims but now he feels unsafe he should left the country'' Swamy added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/IfAmir-Khan-feels-intolerance-he-should-go-to-Pakistan-Subramanian-Swamy/articleshow/49910495.cms

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PM Modi urges nations to unite against terror, says delink it from religion

November 23, 2015

Terrorism is the “biggest threat” to the world, and it needs to be “delinked” from religion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday. He pressed for a united global effort to ensure that no country provides sanctuary to terror.

Terrorism, Modi said in an address to the Indian diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia, “knows no boundaries. It uses the name of religion to draw people to its cause but kills people of all faiths.

“We have to delink religion from terror,” he said. “The only distinction is between those who believe in humanity and who do not… We also have to work within the society, especially the youth.”

The Prime Minister pushed for enhanced intelligence cooperation among nations, so that the “Internet does not become a recruiting ground” for terrorism. “I have said it earlier, I will say it again. The world must come together to combat the biggest challenge of our times… We can strengthen intelligence cooperation, we can use military force, we can make international legal systems for making cooperation stronger,” he told the audience at his 45-minute speech at the Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

Earlier, in his remarks to leaders of 18 countries at the East Asia Summit, the Prime Minister said, “We often thought of terrorism as a peripheral problem for this region. The barbaric terrorist strikes in Paris, Ankara, Beirut, Mali and on the Russian aircraft is a stark reminder that its shadow stretches across our societies and our world, both in recruitment and choice of targets.” He called for a new global resolve and new strategies to combat terrorism, without balancing it against political considerations. “There is no distinction between groups. There are no sanctuaries. There are no funds. There is no access to arms. But, we also have to work within our societies and with our youth,” Modi said. The East Asia Summit is the key forum to shape the region’s future, Modi said, adding that no region had seen greater engagement from his government than the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean region. “This reflects a long standing national consensus in India on the importance of this region for India and the world,” Modi said. During the upcoming climate talks in Paris, the PM said, “we must not only come together to craft a balanced and concrete outcome on climate change, but we must also stand together to send a clear message that we will not retreat in the face of terror.” On the tensions in the South China Sea, where China’s claims of sovereignty over the waters are contested by several countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan, the PM said: “India hopes that all parties to the disputes in the South China Sea will abide by the Declaration on the Conduct on South China Sea and the guidelines on the implementation… Parties must also redouble efforts for early adoption of a Code of Conduct on the basis of consensus.” He did not name any country. In his address to the Indian community, Modi said India draws strength from its diversity, and that his government is working to create an environment where enterprise flourishes and everybody’s basic needs like shelter, sanitation, water, healthcare and education are met. “The wheels of change have begun to move” in India, he said. “And, they are gathering speed now. And, it is showing in numbers.” India, the PM said, is the fastest growing major economy in the world today. “I know you feel proud about it. We are running at 7.5 per cent per year, but will grow even faster in the coming years.” Every major global institution has “placed its bets on India growing strongly,” Modi said. “This is at a time when the rest of the world, including parts of this region, is experiencing a slowdown.” Modi announced a grant of US $ 1 million to the India-students Trust Fund as financial assistance to Malay-Indian students, and the naming of India’s cultural centre in Kuala Lumpur after Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He said a bust of Mahatma Gandhi would be installed at the Gandhi Memorial Hall in Kuala Lumpur, and India would work with Malaysian government to set up a war memorial for Indian soldiers at the site of the Battle of Kampar in Perak in Malaysia. At a separate ceremony at the Ramakrishna Mission, Modi unveiled a 12-foot bronze statue of Swami Vivekananda, who he said personified the 1,000-year-old Indian culture. It was Swami Vivekananda who first gave the concept of ‘One Asia’ that ASEAN and the East Asia Summits were talking about, he said. Highlights 4:30 pm We have to delink religion from terror.Only distinction is between those who believe in humanity&those who don’t: PM Modi 4:28 pm We are making Government transparent and accountable, we are eliminating corruption at all levels: PM Modi 4:27 pm We are running at 7.5% per year, but we will grow even faster in coming years: PM Modi 4:27 pm

4:26 pm We produce doctors & engineers which serve the world and we are making products that are entering global market: PM Modi 4:19 pm Malaysia’s achievements are enormous, just 6 decades after Malaysia gained independence,this nation has much to be proud of: PM Modi 4:18 pm It is my proud privilege to announce that we will install bust of Mahatma Gandhi at the Gandhi memorial hall: PM Modi 4:13 pm Gandhiji did not manage to visit Malaysia, but he touched your hearts: PM Modi 4:11 pm Here in Kuala Lumpur, we will name our cultural centre after Netaji Subhas Chandra: PM Modi 4:10 pm Independent India owes a debt of gratitude to Malaya-Indians. Thousands of your forefathers came fwd to join Netaji Bose & the INA: PM Modi 4:10 pm I am reminded of the words of Thiruvalluvar: Friendship is not just a smile on face. Its what is felt deep within a smiling heart: PM Modi 4:09 pm Thousands of your forefathers came forward to join Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Indian National Army: PM Modi 4:08 pm The love and friendship of the Malaysian Indians have always had a special place in my heart: PM Modi 4:06 pm Tamil people have a big role in India’s path of development-PM Narendra Modi 4:02 pm India not confined to its territory: PM Modi 4:02 pm Modi says Vanakkam to Malaysia 4:01 pm Modi begins speech in Tamil

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/modi-in-malaysia-live-pm-addresses-indian-community-in-kuala-lumpur/

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If Assam Governor has a problem with minorities, he can go to Nepal: Azam Khan

November 24, 2015

Taking a jibe at Assam Governor P B Acharya, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on Monday said Muslims would prefer ‘kabristan’ over Pakistan and suggested that he can go to Nepal, if he has any problem staying with the minority community.

This came a day after Acharya stoked controversy saying Indian Muslims are free to go anywhere, including Pakistan and Bangladesh.

“We prefer kabristan (graveyard) over going to Pakistan. If the governor has any problem in staying with us, he can go to Nepal. For him doors of Nepal cannot be closed,” he told reporters.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/if-assam-governor-has-a-problem-with-minorities-he-can-go-to-nepal-azam-khan/

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AR Rahman identifies with Aamir Khan, says he too faced similar situation

Nov 25, 2015

PANAJI: Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman on Tuesday said he agreed with Bollywood star Aamir Khan's statement on growing intolerance in the country. Rahman explained that he faced a similar situation in September, when a Muslim group issued a fatwa against him.

The composer was speaking in Panaji at the 46th International Film Festival of India.

He was referring to the Mumbai-based Raza Academy's fatwa against him for composing the music for an Iranian film, 'Muhammad: Messenger of God'. The Muslim Academy alleged that the title of the film humiliated the Prophet.

"I had gone through something similar a couple of months ago," Rahman said in Panaji. "Nothing should be violent. We're all ultra-civilized people and we should show the world that we are the best civilization," the composer added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/AR-Rahman-identifies-with-Aamir-Khan-says-he-too-faced-similar-situation/articleshow/49914216.cms

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Terrorists attack army camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Tangdhar area, 1 jawan killed, 4 injured

Nov 25, 2015

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR: Militants attacked an Army camp in the Tangdhar sector near the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning, killing a jawan and injuring four others, news agency ANI reported.

The heavily-armed attackers used under barrel grenade launchers in the strike, an army official said.

"There was a stand off fire from Kalsuri Ridge (in Tangdhar sector) towards an army camp this morning," the official said. He added that there was a brief lull before the militants again opened fire, triggering a gunbattle which is still going on according to latest reports.

The Tangdhar sector in Kupwara district has been used as an infiltration route before. The official said it wasn't yet clear whether the militants in Wednesday's attack were part of an infiltrating group. "That is a matter of investigation. We can comment on it only after the operation is over," he added.

Meanwhile, a militant hideout was busted by security forces in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday night. A large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered, police said.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Terrorists-attack-army-camp-in-Jammu-and-Kashmirs-Tangdhar-area-1-jawan-killed-4-injured/articleshow/49916924.cms

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Modi, Obama to meet on sidelines of Paris climate conference

Nov 25, 2015

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Paris summit next week as part of an effort to forge a strong global agreement on climate change, the White House has announced.

Obama would meet Modi on November 30, the opening day of the Paris climate change conference. The US President will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at the start of the two-week climate summit, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters.

He said the US "wants to send a clear signal" in meetings with China, India and France that it will be working with the "key players" for a strong international agreement on climate change.

Obama's meeting with Modi will be their seventh since 2014.

"We have been engaging with India throughout the year in determining how they can contribute constructively to a successful outcome in Paris," Rhodes said.

Modi and Obama have had talks in this regard during the US President's trip to India, the bilateral meeting in New York at the UN General Assembly and on the margins of the recent summits they attended.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Modi-Obama-to-meet-on-sidelines-of-Paris-climate-conference/articleshow/49916114.cms

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Govt ready for debate on 'intolerance' in Parliament

Mohua Chatterjee

Nov 25, 2015

NEW DELHI: Anticipating that an opposition energized by the Bihar win will try to try and corner BJP over the "intolerance" debate, the government has indicated that it is ready for a discussion in Parliament on the issue - including incidents like the Dadri lynching and murder of rationalist M M Kalburgi - during the winter session.

Senior BJP ministers who met on Tuesday to brainstorm over the Parliament session discussed recent incidents of violence, and felt the government need not be on the defensive. They decided that if the opposition wants to discuss them, the ruling side is ready for a debate.

Though BJP has argued that the incidents - which triggered a chorus of protests over "growing intolerance" in India - were law and order issues that come under the state government's jurisdiction, the government does not want to make them a sticking point that will end up stalling Parliament.

On its part, the opposition is expected to argue that provocative and irresponsible statements by BJP members and ministers abetted and added to the atmosphere of intolerance, targeted at minorities and dissenters, and refer to the 'award wapsi' movement by writers, artistes and film personalities.

"The government will also be willing to facilitate discussion on any matter of larger concern sought to be raised by the opposition," a source said.

The discussions on Tuesday were attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu and defence minister Manohar Parrikar. The ministers also discussed legislative proposals, including three bills relating to the replacement of ordinances, and the GST and the real estate regulation bills. They decided to continue efforts to engage with other parties, including Congress, to bring about a consensus on the GST bill.

Speaking to TOI later, Naidu said, if necessary, he would reach out to the Congress leadership on the GST bill, just as he had done earlier. "If necessary, I will meet the Congress president," Naidu added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-ready-for-debate-on-intolerance-in-Parliament/articleshow/49915660.cms

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Global co-ordination required to tackle terrorism: SC

Amit Anand Choudhary

Nov 25, 2015

NEW DELHI: The growing menace of terrorism on Tuesday attracted the attention of the Supreme Court which said global co-ordination is required to handle the crisis by ensuring that fugitives do not get safe haven in any country after committing acts of terror.

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph said global network of criminals and terrorists cannot be tackled without proper co-ordination among countries and the courts should also take this into consideration while deciding on the pleas of fugitives taking shelter in a foreign land. It said the judiciary should not unnecessarily come in the way of extradition of fugitives to face trial.

"We know what is happening across the world. There has to be co-ordination and co-operation among countries as the terrorists are striking at will. We cannot do anything that would complicate things," the bench said while hearing a plea of a French woman challenging her extradition to Chile to face trial in a case of a senator's assassination there.

The 56-year-old woman, Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven, is wanted by Chilean authorities for her alleged role in the murder case. She was arrested while entering India from Nepal. Verhoeven said in her plea that she is being persecuted by the Chilean authorities for fighting for human rights and the Indian government has unreasonably and without basis accepted the extradition request from the Latin American country. She is accused of participating in the assassination of Chilean senator Jaime Guzman Errazuriz on April 1, 1991.

The bench refused to grant her interim bail in the case after noting that she has been travelling across the world and there is likelihood of her running away from the clutches of law.

"She is accused of terrorist activities. The moment she is released, she would flee as she has been travelling all over the world. You take it from us that we are not going to release her till we finally decide her plea. There is no mid-day. We will hear the case and pass final order," the bench said when her counsel T R Andhyarujina pleaded for her release on grounds of old age and ill-health.

The bench noted that even France did not come in her support by challenging the extradition process. "It is a diplomatic letter. It does not say that she is innocent and not to be extradited to Chile. There is no clear stand of the French government on the issue. There is no tug of war between France and Chile," the court said after going through a letter from the French embassy.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Global-co-ordination-required-to-tackle-terrorism-SC/articleshow/49915468.cms

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Pak flag hoisted on J&K CM’s house to protest killing of Hizb terrorists

M Saleem Pandit

Nov 25, 2015

SRINAGAR: Thousands of youth stoned Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's ancestral house before hoisting a Pakistani flag on it at Bijbehara in Anantnag district on Tuesday to protest against the killing of three Hizbul Mujahideen militants - Adil Sheikh, Sartaj Lone and Tanveer Bhat.

Reports said the protesters had taken to the streets in Bijbehara to offer funeral prayers to the three ultras who were killed in a gunfight a day earlier. The three were from Bijbehara. The slogan-shouting youth clashed with security forces before targeting Mufti's house.

Separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani addressed the protesters telephonically and slammed India and politicians. "Our youth are sacrificing for a great cause so we need to protect their sacrifices,'' he said. "The pro-India politicians are only prolonging our way to freedom.''

He said the three had sacrificed their lives for Islam and freedom from India. "We must honour their sacrifices,'' Geelani added.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-flag-hoisted-on-JK-CMs-house-to-protest-killing-of-Hizb-terrorists/articleshow/49915369.cms

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Muslims condemn Facebook post against Pejawar seer

November 25, 2015

A group of Muslim youth, who are also the members of the Pejawar Swami Blood Donating Team, staged a dharna in front of the Clock Tower here on Tuesday against the defamatory and derogatory post on Facebook on Vishwesha Tirtha Swami of Pejawar Mutt on Monday.

Addressing the protesters here, Mohammed Arif, president of the team, said that the team condemned the defamatory and derogatory post on Facebook. This post was the handiwork of some miscreants who wanted to divide society. The team has spoken to the seer on this issue.

Vishwesha Tirtha Swami was helpful. He had helped people of all communities during natural calamities. The Pejawar seer had shown respect to the Muslim community during his Paryaya periods, Mr. Arif said.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/muslims-condemn-facebook-post-against-pejawar-seer/article7914849.ece

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Southeast Asia

 

Malaysia: Confront Daesh with both military and non-violent measures

November 25, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has said the "evil" the Islamic State terror group should be confronted not only militarily but also by non-violent measures.

In his speech to open the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit on the heels of a recent series of deadly terror attacks in Beirut, Paris, Egypt and Mali, Najib said Saturday, "The perpetrators of these cowardly and barbaric acts do not represent any race, religion, or creed, nor should we allow them to claim to do so. They are terrorists and should be confronted as such, with the full force of the law."

"Malaysia stands ready to provide any help and support that we can, and be assured that we stand with you against this new evil that blasphemes against the name of Islam," he added.

Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country that practices a moderate form of Islam, has been battling the rising influence of Islamic State in the past two years.

Authorities here have detained some 150 terror suspects since 2013, and about 40 were known to have gone to Syria to fight for the terror group.

"We are ever vigilant against a threat that is very real in our region. Local militants and groups, such as Abu Sayyaf, have sworn allegiance to the so-called Islamic State. It was they who cruelly murdered our countryman, Bernard Then, on Tuesday," he said.

Then was beheaded reportedly after ransom negotiations fell through. He was abducted in May by the southern Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf terror group, which crossed the border into Malaysia's Sabah state in Borneo and raided a restaurant where Then was having dinner.

Najib said new solutions are needed to fight Islamic State.

"A military solution alone will not be enough to defeat those who...want to cause war," he said.

"This is how Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King won the hearts and minds of their enemies, and resolved the conflicts and injustices that they each were fighting against. They won by transforming their foes into friends. It can take a heroic effort," he said.

The issue of terrorism also cropped up during the bilateral meeting between Najib and United States President Barack Obama on Friday.

In a joint press conference after their meeting, Najib said they agreed to make Malaysia the "counter-messaging center" to offer an alternative narrative that presents true Islam.

"Malaysia, like Indonesia, is a majority-Muslim country that represents tolerance and peace," Obama said. "Its voice is critical in the debate that is taking place internationally around terrorism."

Full report at:

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/120676/malaysia-confront-daesh-with-both-military-and-non-violent-measures

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‘Daesh’ the right term, say scholars

BY MOHD RASHDAN JAMALUDDIN

November 25, 2015

PETALING JAYA, Nov 25 — Daesh, the acronym for al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham, is the appropriate term for the Islamic State militant group, say local Islamic scholars and organisations.

Commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s call yesterday to refer to the fighters as Deash, Universiti Malaya Academy of Islamic Studies Assoc Prof Dr Ishak Suliaman said the term was widely used in the Middle East.

“However, the term has not caught on in this part of the world due to the overwhelming use of the term Islamic State (IS) by the Western media,” he said.

Ulama Association of Malaysia chairman Datuk Sheikh Abdul Halim Abdul Kadir said he supported Zahid’s call, adding that it carried more weight for Malaysia to make such a stand after the country’s appointment as a counter-messaging centre in the global fight against terrorism at the Asean Summit in Kuala Lumpur recently.

“Although it is a literal translation of the English term, it would help distinguish the real Islam from the state these fighters are attached to,” Sheikh Abdul Halim said yesterday.

“It would benefit Muslims who practise the religion in peace and do not subscribe to the IS ideology of jihad. The fighters profess to be fighting in the name of Islam, but what they exhibit do not truly reflect what Islam preaches,” he said.

Concurring with Sheikh Abdul Halim, Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia vice-president Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsuddin said Muslims and the world at large should refer the IS as Daesh because the terrorists should be distinguished from the real practitioners of Islam.

“Over-usage and emphasis of IS only reaffirmed the recognition they have been hoping for. We need to discredit this militant group and disassociate it from Islam. They should be referred to as the ‘un-Islamic State’, instead,” Ahmad Fahmi said.

Full report at:

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/daesh-the-right-term-say-scholars

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Radical Islam in Indonesia: the Islamic State Returnees

25 November 2015

There is the risk that Indonesian returnees will try to recruit new members for the Islamic State by offering attractive income. As an example, in Indonesian media it was reported that a motorcycle taxi driver was offered a monthly wage of IDR 52 million (approx. USD $3,800) if he would join the militant organization. Such a high wage (especially for Indonesian standards) would make it very attractive for the tens of millions of Indonesians who live below or just above the poverty line to join the fight, not for ideological reasons but for the lucrative payment. There have also been reports in media about Indonesian fighters coming back to Indonesia because they did not receive the lucrative wage as had been promised before traveling to Syria.

Still, the "economic approach" is a very effective recruitment tool, especially in a country plagued by poverty. Currently, there are 28.59 million people living below the poverty line in Indonesia (March 2015 data), or equivalent to 11.22 percent of the total Indonesian population, according to the latest data from the nation's Statistics Agency (BPS).

BIN Director Sutiyoso, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, advises the Indonesian public to deal carefully and rationally with returnees from Syria, and insists on the importance to aid BIN when people have information regarding possible threats to public security.

The video that has been circulating on social media, featuring a still picture of fugitive terrorist Santoso and an audio track warning that the "black flag of Islamic State will fly into the State Palace's sky" is being studied by Indonesian police. Santoso is leader of the East Indonesian Mujahidin (MIT) terrorist cell, headquartered in the jungle surrounding Poso (Central Sulawesi). This group is known for its attacks on Indonesian security forces.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stressed the need to enhance intelligence sharing in Southeast Asia in order to avert possible Paris-style attacks.

The viciously militant Islamic State, known for its brutal mass killings, abductions, beheadings, and crucifixions, has been in the news headlines since 2014 when it gained control over large pieces of territory in Syria and Iraq, declaring the establishment of a caliphate ruled under Islamic Law (sharia). The organization has attracted support from radical Muslims across the globe, including Indonesia. Although being a minority among the estimated 200 million Muslim inhabitants of Indonesia, there exists a radical Muslim community in the country that not only believes Islam should be the sole guidance in life but is also willing to use extreme measures to reform and uproot established conditions.

Full report at:

http://www.indonesia-investments.com/news/todays-headlines/radical-islam-in-indonesia-the-islamic-state-returnees/item6220

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Exclusive: US, Malaysia and the War Against the Islamic State

By Prashanth Parameswaran

November 25, 2015

It has happened quickly and quietly. But over the past few months, Malaysia has cemented itself as one of the key American partners in the ongoing war on the Islamic State.

This is not a natural or easy position for the Muslim-majority nation to take. U.S. and Malaysian counterterrorism approaches differ in some significant ways, and aspects of American foreign policy in the Middle East – including lingering memories of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks – remain deeply unpopular in Malaysia.

But Kuala Lumpur’s current commitment, which was highlighted recently during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the country for the latest round of Asian summitry, reflects the seriousness of the Islamic State threat both generally and for Malaysia in particular.

The Threat

U.S. officials estimate that over 30,000 foreign fighters from 100 countries have now coalesced around Iraq and Syria, about double the number that went into Afghanistan during the 1980s that came from just a handful of nations.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, told reporters in a special briefing on the Islamic State on November 20.

Meanwhile, Malaysian officials say they have arrested over 100 citizens suspected of links to the Islamic State, with 39 identified as traveling to the Middle East to join the grouping. Alarmingly, recruits have included not just ordinary citizens, but lecturers, civil servants, and even security forces. With several deadly plots already foiled domestically and reports of militants seeking to unite groups in Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines to form a Southeast Asian branch of the Islamic State, some officials say it is only a matter of time before a major attack occurs.

“I think the Paris situation can also be transplanted here, in Southeast Asia,” Nur Jazlan Mohamed, Malaysia’s deputy home minister, admitted to Reuters in an interview last week, referring to coordinated terror attacks in the French capital on November 13 that killed 130 people.

He was speaking before a series of meetings held in Kuala Lumpur which Malaysia led as this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Those meetings saw tougher security measures and a heavily armed police presence amid unconfirmed reports of an imminent terrorist threat, with more than 4,500 soldiers deployed or on standby, in addition to thousands of police.

Joining the Global Coalition

On September 29, Malaysia, together with Nigeria and Tunisia, were officially welcomed as the three new members of the now 65-strong, U.S.-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL amid a summit meeting of the group in New York hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. That was a significant development as it meant one of Southeast Asia’s three Muslim-majority countries would be part of the Coalition in addition to Singapore (Indonesia and Brunei, the others, have yet to join).

What that exactly entails, however, is less clear. At this point in time, The Diplomat understands from sources familiar with the matter that Malaysia has only been welcomed as an observer and supporter of the coalition. But moving forward, U.S. officials are hoping that Kuala Lumpur will become a member and subsequently a co-lead in one of the five existing coalition working groups, each of which correspond with a particular strategy or approach: political-military; foreign terrorist fighters; counter-finance; stabilization support; and counter-messaging.

For now, Malaysia has determined that it would do best within the counter-messaging group – currently co-led by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Put simply, counter-messaging seeks to erode ISIL’s appeal by exposing the group’s message of hate and violence while presenting an alternative and inclusive vision of hope for a better future. The idea, the then-special presidential envoy for the Coalition General John R. Allen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, is to “defeat ISIL as an idea.”

That sort of role fits Malaysia well. It dovetails with Najib’s idea of a Global Movement of Moderates, an approach that emphasizes moderation to realize world peace and harmony which he called for in an earlier United Nations (UN) speech back in 2010. The Malaysian government has been taking steps to realize this vision. As Najib detailed in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, Malaysia had convened an international group of Sunni and Shia scholars in Kuala Lumpur to define what an actual Islamic State should look like based on centuries of Islamic thought, emphasizing principles like justice, compassion, and humility. In May, the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation and Google also organized the Content Creators’ Workshop on Countering the Narrative of Violent Extremism.

The Malaysian government has also emphasized the Islamic State issue during the country’s ASEAN chairmanship this year and will continue to do so next year, including by hosting an international conference on deradicalization in January (See: “Malaysia to Host New Conference to Tackle Islamic State Challenge“).

In return for its Coalition membership, The Diplomat understands that Malaysia will be entitled to several benefits, including access to the so-called Coalition Collaboration Workspace (CCW), an online, private portal that offers a secure work-space for exclusive use by coalition partners. Getting full access to that will require, among other things, identifying a point of contact back home in Malaysia to correspond with the Coalition secretariat and access the CCW.

A New Data Center

As part of its counter-messaging focus, Malaysia has also agreed to set up a joint messaging center with the United States known as the Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communication Center (RDC3) (See: “US, Malaysia to Set Up New Center to Counter Islamic State by End of 2015”). In doing so, the Southeast Asian state will become the hub for coordinating and driving counter-ISIL messaging activity in the region.

As of now, few specifics have been publicized. General Allen, the then-special presidential envoy, said in his testimony to Congress that Washington intends to use lessons learned from the Sawab or “Right Path” Center it has set up with the UAE in Abu Dhabi to set up new messaging centers in Malaysia in addition to Nigeria, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia with the OIC, and in Brussels with the EU.

Full report at:

http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/exclusive-us-malaysia-and-the-war-against-the-islamic-state/

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Indonesia Islamic district to ban condoms in convenience stores

Nov 25, 2015

BELOPA: A staunchly Islamic district in Indonesia plans to ban the sale of condoms in convenience stores in a bid to halt premarital sex, an official said yesterday, but activists criticized the move as misguided. The local administration in Luwu on central Sulawesi island will soon send a notification to convenience stores, giving them a week to remove condoms from their shelves, district head Andi Mudzakkar said.

Full report at:

http://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/indonesia-islamic-district-to-ban-condoms-in-convenience-stores/

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Europe

 

Putin calls jet's downing 'stab in the back'; Turkey says warning ignored

November 25, 2015

Istanbul (CNN)One of the world's most volatile regions was roiled further Tuesday when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey said it hit the plane after it violated Turkey's airspace and ignored 10 warnings.

One of the two pilots was killed in the air by fire from the ground, according to Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti. The fate of the second pilot wasn't disclosed.

Meanwhile, a Russian marine was killed on Tuesday during an operation to rescue the two pilots, who were flying an Su-24 warplane in a combat sortie, according to RIA Novosti.

Turkey and Russia exchanged bellicose language after the downing of the plane, raising fears in the international community that the Syrian conflict could spiral into something wider.

The Russian plane was dealt with because it "did not answer our warning," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.

ISIS isn't present at that border area, but Turkmen were there, Erdogan said. Anyone who bombs that area attacks "our brothers and sisters -- Turkmen," Erdogan said in Ankara. Turkmen are a Turkic-speaking, traditionally nomadic people who live primarily in Central Asia, but a small minority of them can be found in the Middle East, primarily in northern Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

Erdogan said the plane incident was not something Turkey wanted to see happen, and "this does not indicate any animosity" toward any country.

He added the downed jet was "one of two" planes but didn't elaborate beyond that.

It's been Turkey's cool approach that has prevented similar incidents up to now, he added.

Turkey's ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kilic, tweeted: "Understand this: Turkey is a country whose warnings should be taken seriously and listened to. Don't test Turkey's patience. Try to win its friendship."

A U.S. official told CNN that a calculation shows the Russian jet was in Turkish airspace for 30 seconds or less. The Turkish government has said that it issued 10 warnings over five minutes but did not say all of those warnings occurred while the jet was in their airspace.

'Serious consequences'

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the downing of the plane would have "serious consequences for Russia's relationship with Turkey."

The shooting of the plane, Putin said, "represents a stab in the back by the terrorists' accomplices. I can't describe what has happened today in any other way. Our plane was downed over Syrian territory by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet.

"The plane fell on Syrian territory 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away from the Turkish border. It was flying 1 kilometer away from the Turkish border when it was attacked. In any case, neither our pilots nor our jet posed any threat to Turkey. That is obvious. They were carrying out an operation fighting against ISIL in Northern Latakia." (ISIL is another acronym for ISIS.)

What happened

The two Russian pilots managed to eject their Su-24 plane, the Russian military said.

Two Russian Mi-8 helicopters performed a search-and-rescue operation, but one of them was damaged by small arms fire and made an emergency landing, Russian Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said. One Russian marine was killed.

"The helicopter was destroyed by mortar fire conducted from the territory controlled by illegal, armed groups," Rudskoy said.

Full report at:

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/24/middleeast/warplane-crashes-near-syria-turkey-border/

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French Muslim body calls for imams to need a permit to preach

Nov 24, 2015

France’s leading Muslim body called on Tuesday for imams to require a permit to preach in a bid to root out extremists, and for a new religious body to fight back against jihadist propaganda.

Anouar Kbibech, president of the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM), said the country’s imams should be given a certificate - “like a driving licence” - that ensured they promoted a “tolerant and open Islam”.

The CFCM said it would hand out the permits by testing theological knowledge and adherence to French principles, and make them sign an “imams’ charter” in which they agreed to “respect the laws of the Republic”.

Kbibech did not say whether he thought the process should be obligatory for all imams.

“The time for action has come. The Muslims of France will play their part,” said Kbibech.

He also said the CFCM would set up a “religious council” that would challenge jihadist ideology using theological arguments.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world/french-muslim-body-calls-for-imams-to-need-a-permit-to-preach/story-FXbohVByqvLLZfuLR3JlTL.html

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Russia May Use Electronic Jamming Systems to Protect Its Pilots in Syria

Nov 25, 2015

“Regarding the possible impact of this incident on the further developments of the operation in Syria, I think that from now on, our pilots will be more attentive and if the Turks continue behaving in such a manner, Russia will have to resort to electronic jamming and other warfare equipment, including special aircraft with special equipment on board, in order to protect our pilots from being stricken with missiles,” the lieutenant-general said, Sputnik reported.

Buzhinsky also added that the so-called means of objective control, including flight radar and other equipment, will allow Russia to verify exactly where and how the bomber was downed, excluding any possible discrepancies on the issue.

Earlier on Tuesday,a Russian Su-24 bomber was downed by an air-to-air missile in Syria near the Turkish border by the Turkish Air Force while carrying out precision strikes against terrorists in Northern Syria.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940903001641

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Intimidation, imitation, economics: Why youth are taking to terror

Abhijit Banerjee

Nov 25, 2015

Men between the ages of 18 and 35 become terrorists. They kill rationalists in Karnataka and cartoonists in Paris, in the name of Mao, Mohammad, or the mother religion. The same demographic supplies most drug dealers or violent criminals everywhere in the world, as well as that uniquely American phenomenon, the lone deranged gun-man. In south Asia and probably elsewhere, they also become the foot soldiers of political parties, offering intimidation wherever needed.

These are not new patterns; probably the same kind of people fought in the crusades, joined Gengis Khan in his marauding, manned Walter Raleigh’s pirate ships. Nor is it a universal — far from it. Most young men, now and perhaps always, opt for the mundane pleasures of love and work and family.

But it is definitely a pattern and it is worth thinking about what it means. The first point to be made is just as no one becomes a terrorist for the money, the same is also true of drug dealers. Steve Levitt of Freakonomics fame and Sudhir Venkatesh, a Columbia University sociology professor, collected data on this, and their finding is that the average person in the drug trade in the United States makes substantially less than minimum wages — indeed so little that they have no choice but to live with their parents. And while I don’t know this for a fact, I strongly suspect neither Uddhav Thackeray nor MK Stalin pays his boys a lot.

This is even more remarkable given that these jobs are risky — terrorists often end up dead, and Levitt and Venkatesh estimate that the monthly death rates in the community of drug dealers they studied were between one and 2%, orders of magnitude more than the average death rate for their age group. Most were killed. Even the Sena boys must worry about ending up in MNS territory and getting thrashed.

Why do they do it? In part because of imitation and/or intimidation. It is what a lot of my friends are doing; it is what the local big guy or the coolest dude wants me to do; and I dare not say no.

Two economists at UCLA, Leo Burzstyn and Rob Jensen, carried out a fascinating experiment to demonstrate the enormous power of conformity in the lives of the young. In three Los Angeles high schools that draw mostly from low-income populations, students in the 11th grade were offered free SAT coaching by a reputable coaching outfit. The offer was made in the middle of a class, and they were asked to take a decision on whether they wanted it then and there. Some were told that their decision will remain private; the rest were told that it would be shared with the rest of the classroom.

Read | Fighting Islamic State, ending blowback terrorism

What they found was rather remarkable. Those who, purely by chance, happened to be in an honours classroom (where the studious go) when they were asked to choose, were less likely to opt for the coaching when the decision was private. They clearly believed that the cool thing to do in an honours classroom would be to go for the coaching and therefore, when everyone was going to find out their decision was what they chose. By contrast, otherwise identical boys and girls who ended up being asked to make that same choice in a non-honours classroom, where the norm was to disdain school work and play tough, were much more likely to choose coaching when it was a secret than when it was not.

The power of cool is why organisations like the Islamic State (IS) rely so heavily on charismatic recruiters to fill their ranks and why it may be very important to expose young people to a diverse set of role models. It is also why ghettos are so dangerous — it is much harder for any one group of people to take charge of defining the cool in diverse environments where there are competing definitions of success.

Imitation is of course not enough of an explanation. We have wars over religion and drugs and politics, but no wars over cricket or free speech, even though many people also feel passionately about them. The key difference comes from the fact that there is a group of people who find it in their interest to encourage and fund violence in defence of their religion, their drug sales or their political influence, whereas cricket supporters may get into a fight but there is no one whose overarching interest is in people fighting over cricket.

While I do not doubt that there are people who take to violence only because they feel a threat to their religion, for many of those involved, the possibility of violence is exciting and a big part of the attraction, just as it is for the drug dealers and the political hoodlums. It is telling that many of those involved in the Paris massacre had at some point been petty criminals or drug dealers, and most of them seem to be into violent computer games, drugs and alcohol — their Islamic allegiances notwithstanding.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/columns/intimidation-imitation-economics-why-youth-are-taking-to-terror/story-RP4djMkubTVKiU7ofwqy3N.html

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Fighting Islamic State, ending blowback terrorism

Jeffrey D Sachs

Nov 24, 2015

Terrorist attacks on civilians, whether the downing over Sinai of a Russian aircraft killing 224 civilian passengers, the horrific Paris massacre claiming 129 innocent lives, or the tragic bombing in Ankara that killed 102 peace activists, are crimes against humanity. Their perpetrators--in this case, the Islamic State (ISIS)--must be stopped. Success will require a clear understanding of the roots of this ruthless network of jihadists.

Painful as it is to admit, the West, especially the United States, bears significant responsibility for creating the conditions in which ISIS has flourished. Only a change in US and European foreign policy vis-à-vis the Middle East can reduce the risk of further terrorism.

The recent attacks should be understood as “blowback terrorism”: a dreadful unintended result of repeated US and European covert and overt military actions throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Central Asia that aimed to overthrow governments and install regimes compliant with Western interests. These operations have not only destabilised the targeted regions, causing great suffering; they have also put populations in the US, the European Union, Russia, and the Middle East at significant risk of terror.

The public has never really been told the true history of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, or the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Starting in 1979, the CIA mobilised, recruited, trained, and armed Sunni young men to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The CIA recruited widely from Muslim populations (including in Europe) to form the Mujahideen, a multinational Sunni fighting force mobilised to oust the Soviet infidel from Afghanistan.

Bin Laden, from a wealthy Saudi family, was brought in to help lead and co-finance the operation. This was typical of CIA operations: relying on improvised funding through a wealthy Saudi family and proceeds from local smuggling and the narcotics trade.

By promoting the core vision of a jihad to defend the lands of Islam (Dar al-Islam) from outsiders, the CIA produced a hardened fighting force of thousands of young men displaced from their homes and stoked for battle. It is this initial fighting force – and the ideology that motivated it--that today still forms the basis of the Sunni jihadist insurgencies, including ISIS. While the jihadists’ original target was the Soviet Union, today the “infidel” includes the US, Europe (notably France and the United Kingdom), and Russia.

At the end of the 1980s, with the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, some elements of the Mujahideen morphed into al Qaeda, Arabic for “the base,” which referred to the military facilities and training grounds in Afghanistan built for the Mujahideen by bin Laden and the CIA. After the Soviet withdrawal, the term al Qaeda shifted meaning from the specific military base to the organizational base of jihadist activities.

Blowback against the US began in 1990 with the first Gulf War, when the US created and expanded its military bases in the Dar al-Islam, most notably in Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s founding and holiest sites. This expanded US military presence was anathema to the core jihadist ideology that the CIA had done so much to foster.

America’s unprovoked war on Iraq in 2003 unleashed the demons. Not only was the war itself launched on the basis of CIA lies; it also aimed to create a Shia-led regime subservient to the US and anathema to the Sunni jihadists and the many more Sunni Iraqis who were ready to take up arms. More recently, the US, France, and the UK toppled Muammar el-Qaddafi in Libya, and the US worked with the Egyptian generals who ousted the elected Muslim Brotherhood government. In Syria, following President Bashar al-Assad’s violent suppression of peaceful public protests in 2011, the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other regional allies helped to foment a military insurgency that has pushed the country into a downward spiral of chaos and violence.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/fighting-islamic-state-ending-blowback-terrorism/story-DamFWJW5CjrEqVyVyGxYRK.html

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EU must limit migrant numbers: French PM

Nov 25, 2015

PARIS: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday urged the European Union to limit the number of migrants it allows into the bloc, following heightened security concerns after the Paris attacks.

"Europe must say that it can no longer accommodate so many migrants, it is not possible," he said in extracts from a lunch with foreign media published by Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung.

"Controlling the European Union's external borders is essential to the future of the EU. If we don't do that, people will say: 'Enough, Europe!'" he added, in comments confirmed by his entourage.

Europe has been struggling for months to cope with its largest migrant crisis since World War II, but concerns about security have increased since members of the militant Islamic State (IS) group killed 130 people in Paris this month in the worst such attacks on French soil.

Read: France bombs IS HQ in Raqqa, hunts attacker who got away

The EU agreed Friday to rush through reforms to the passport-free Schengen zone by the end of the year during a meeting in Brussels, where France also pushed a controversial scheme to collect data on air passengers.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222164/eu-must-limit-migrant-numbers-french-pm

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Man who lent flat to Paris attacks ringleader hit with terror charges

25 November 2015

The man who lent his Paris suburb apartment to the suspected ringleader of the attacks on the city was charged with terror offences on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Jawad Bendaoud was arrested soon after last week”s massive police raid on the Saint-Denis flat, where Belgian attacker Abdelhamid Abaaoud and accomplices were killed.

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged him with “associating with criminals in a terrorist plot and possessing explosives and weapons as part of a terrorist plot,” and detained him in custody.

Police targeted the apartment in northern Paris while hunting the attacks” suspected ringleader Abaaoud, who was killed along with his female cousin, Hasna Aitboulahcen, and another as-yet unidentified man.

Police were alerted to Bendaoud”s possible involvement when they saw a man who resembled him talking with Aitboulahcen the night before the raid.

The meeting between the two could have been to negotiate payment for the apartment”s lease to the attackers, police said.

Aitboulahcen later picked up Abaaoud and another man from where they were believed to be hiding in the north of Paris.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/11/25/Man-who-lent-flat-to-Paris-attacks-ringleader-hit-with-terror-charges.html

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French anti-terror police descend on ‘White Emir’ village

24 November 2015

French anti-terrorist police accompanied by helicopters descended on a small southwestern French village on Tuesday searching for a Salafist preacher suspected of mentoring young jihadists, a source close to the case said.

The operation, one of dozens that police have been conducting in suspected Islamist circles after the Nov. 13 attacks, targeted imam Olivier Corel, nicknamed the “White Emir”, in Arigat in the Pyrenees mountains of southwestern France, the source said.

The search centred on Corel, 69, the suspected mentor for Mohammad Merah, who killed seven people in 2012, many at a Jewish school in Toulouse, and Fabien Clain, whose voice was identified on an audio tape in which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing 130 in Paris on Nov. 13.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/11/24/French-anti-terror-police-descend-on-White-Emir-village.html

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One of two Russian pilots picked up by Syrian army: Russian envoy to France

Nov 25, 2015

The Russian ambassador to France says one of the two pilots of a Russian jet downed by Turkey inside Syria has been picked up by the Syrian army.

Turkish fighter jets shot down a Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer, which they accused of having violated Turkish airspace, on Tuesday. Russia says the plane did not violate Turkish airspace.

The two pilots of the Russian jet ejected out of the targeted jet as it was going down in flames. While one of the Russian pilots was killed by militants in Syria, no information was available about the second one – until now.

“(He) managed to escape and according to the latest information we have, he was picked up by the Syrian army and will be taken to the Russian airbase (in Syria),” Russian Ambassador to France Alexander Konstantinovich Orlov told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday.

The Russian Defense Ministry has officially reported the death of the other pilot, whom, Orlov said, “was wounded when he parachuted down and killed in a savage way on the ground” by militants.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has described the downing of the jet as a “stab in the back” by “the accomplices of terrorists.” Russia has suspended all military cooperation with NATO-member Turkey, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has cancelled a planned visit to Ankara in the wake of the downing of the jet.

The downing of the jet by Turkey has fueled an already tense situation in the region, where various militant groups – some of them receiving support from Turkey – are wreaking havoc, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/439068/Russia-downed-jet-pilots-Syrian-army

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Probe into Paris attacks leads to another suspect

Nov 25, 2015

Investigations into the deadly November 13 attacks in the French capital, Paris, have led to the issuance of an international arrest warrant against another suspect in the case.

The state prosecutor’s office in Belgium – where the attacks are thought to have been nurtured after being planned in Syria – said on Tuesday it had issued an arrest warrant for Mohamed Abrini.

The 30-year-old was caught on camera with Salah Abdelslam, another suspect, two days before the attacks.

The series of coordinated bombings and armed attacks against different venues, including a concert hall, in the French capital killed 130 people and injured 350 others. Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which is mainly active in Iraq and Syria, has claimed responsibility for the terror acts.

Abdelslam is suspected of having intended an attack on the day, but “abandoned” it because “he had a technical problem” with his explosive vest. He has reportedly headed toward Germany after unsuccessful raids by police in Belgium, where he was thought to have gone into hiding.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/439053/Paris-Belgium-Abrini-Abdelslam-Abaaoud

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Arab World

 

 

IS frees 10 kidnapped Syrian Christians

Nov 25, 2015

BEIRUT: The militant Islamic State group has released 10 Assyrian Christians nine months after kidnapping them in northeastern Syria, two monitoring groups said on Tuesday.

The Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights said the 10, who include five women, were released “as the result of the tireless efforts and negotiations by the Assyrian Church of the East”.

The group are among more than 200 members of the Christian minority who were seized by the militants as they swept through the Khabur region in Hasakeh in February.

Around 140-150 of the hostages are believed to still be held by the group, which has periodically released a handful of the captured at a time.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222008/is-frees-10-kidnapped-syrian-christians

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Syrian Forces Complete Full Control over All Areas around Kuweires Airbase

Nov 25, 2015

The pro-government forces' mop-up operations in the Eastern countryside of Aleppo successfully have ended in liberation of all the villages and farms and recapturing of the Aleppo-Raqqa highway near Kuweires airbase.

The Syria forces completely cut off the ISIL supplying route from Raqqa.

The military analyzers underlined that by cutting the international Aleppo-Raqqa highway, army troops have seized back all villages surrounding the Air Force Academy and Kuweires Airport and completely securing their surroundings.

On Tuesday, the Syrian army continued their offensives against the terrorist groups in the province of Aleppo, killing tens of militants in heavy clashes.

Over 100 Takfiri terrorists were killed in the Southern parts of the Aleppo province.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000223

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French jets strike ISIS command center in Iraq

25 November 2015

French warplanes “destroyed” an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group command center and a training camp near the key northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

“The target was hit” in the nearby city of Tal Afar, a French official said.

It took place as French President Francois Hollande visited Washington for talks with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama.

Eleven days after the deadly attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, Obama and Hollande announced they would intensify their air raids against ISIS, and urged Russia to focus its military efforts against the group.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/25/French-jets-destroy-an-ISIS-command-center-in-Iraq.html

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Russia terminates military contacts with Turkey

25 November 2015

Russia’s military contacts with Turkey will be terminated, the Russian military announced Wednesday.

In a statement posted on the official website of Russian Defense Ministry, the chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Lt.Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, said: "Contacts with Turkey will be terminated at the military level".

Rudskoy’s remarks came following Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane Tuesday after it violated Turkish airspace.

"Air defense will be reinforced. For that purpose, the Moskva cruiser equipped with air defense system Fort, analogous to the S-300 one, will go to the shore zone of Latakia [in Syria]," he added.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/europe/166697/russia-terminates-military-contacts-with-turkey

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Gov't Forces Continue Operations against ISIL Terrorists East of Aleppo

Nov 25, 2015

The pro-government forces targeted ISIL concentration centers in Ayoub hill, Tal Ahmar and Deir Hafer in the Eastern territories of Aleppo province, and killed and wounded dozens of them.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000512

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Gov't Forces Win Back More Territories in Syria's Lattakia Province

Nov 25, 2015

The pro-government forces hit hard the militant groups in Por Abdullah region, Ketf al-Hareek , the fifth and sixth hills and Ketf al-Safeh and forced them to retreat the fighting areas after leaving behind scores of dead members.

On Tuesday, the Syrian army, backed by the National Defense Forces, captured a hill and more heights in Lattakia as the army's march on terrorists' positions in the coastal province is gathering pace.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000173

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Senior Jund Al-Aqsa Commander Killed in Morek

Nov 25, 2015

The army targeted the Jund al-Aqsa Takfiri militants' concentration centers in Morek town on Tuesday, killing dozens of terrorists, including their senior commander, Ahmad Khaled Abd al-Jalil.

A terrorists' mortar launch pad and a pickup truck were also destroyed in the operations, field sources said.

On Monday, the Syrian government forces killed at least 13 Jund al-Aqsa terrorists, including a senior commander, in Morek.

The army destroyed two vehicles of the so-called Jund al-Aqsa terrorist group, killing 13 terrorists, including the senior commander, Asa'd al-Kasem, in Morek town, 30 km North of Hama city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000468

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Nusra Positions Sustain Heavy Losses in Syrian Airstrikes in Homs Province

Nov 25, 2015

The Syrian warplanes traced the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra's movements in Jawalak and al-Ameriyeh villages and found two of their main military sites and bombed them heavily.

The Nusra sites' infrastructures were badly damaged and meantime scores of the militants were killed or wounded in this morning air attacks.

Also on Tuesday, the Syrian fighter jets heavily bombed terrorists' positions in the countryside of Homs.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000356

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Warplanes Bomb Terrorist' Strongholds in Aleppo

Nov 25, 2015

The Syrian fighter jets targeted positions of al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in the villages and towns of al-Barqoum, Zetian, Kafr Hamra and Hayan in the Southwestern and Northwestern countryside of Aleppo on Tuesday.

The air raids killed and injured tens of Takfiri militants and destroyed a number of their headquarters, fortified positions and machine gun-equipped vehicles.

Also on Tuesday, the Syrian Air Force bombers traced and targeted a group of ISIL terrorists North of Deir Hafer town East of Aleppo province.

The ISIL gathering near Tal al-Sous came under heavy attack of the Syrian Air Force, which ended in heavy death toll of the terrorist group.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000228

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Jaish Al-Fateh Positions Hit in Syrian Airstrikes

Nov 25, 2015

The air raids destroyed vehicles and positions of Jaish al-Fateh terrorists in Morek city and Skeik town in the Northern countryside of Hama on Tuesday.

Terrorists' ammo and weapons were also destroyed in the air attacks.

On Monday, at least 11 terrorists, including three commanders, were killed in Syrian army operations on the positions of Jaish al-Fateh terrorist group in Hama province.

The senior terrorist commanders, Ahmad Yaser al-Katan, Khalif al-Ali and Khaled al-Abdali, were killed in the military operations in the villages of Lahaya, Ma’arkabeh and Atshan in Hama.

The army also destroyed a mortar and rocket launch pad.

Also on Monday, the Syrian army troops killed several terrorists, including a senior commander of the "al-Izza Battalions and Brigades Coalition", in military operations in Hama.

Field sources said Ali al-Laban, a senior commander of the so-called "al-Izza Battalions and Brigades Coalition", and three of his group members were killed in army's operations in Kafr Zita town in the Northern countryside of Hama.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000360

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Syrian Air Force Targets ISIL Military Sites East of Homs Province

Nov 25, 2015

The Syrian warplanes' sorties over the ISIL positions in the Northeastern side of Jub al-Jarrah left scores of the terrorists dead or wounded and caused heavy damage on their military grid.

On Tuesday, the Syrian Army has launched another offensive against al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front entrenched near the city of Homs.

Syrian Army forces opened yet another front in the vicinity of Homs as they advance on the town of Ad-Dar al-Kabira, located on the Northwestern outskirts of the city.

Syrian soldiers managed to successfully repel a counterattack launched by al-Nusra Front militants, seizing fortifications held by Takfiri terrorists and driving the enemy back some 800 meters.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940904000304

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South Asia

 

Leaders vow unity against IS terror

November 25, 2015

France and the United States yesterday pledged to step up the fight against the Islamic State group, urging Russia to throw its weight behind global efforts to resolve the four-year Syria conflict.

President Francois Hollande met his US counterpart Barack Obama at the White House as the Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane dealt a severe blow to efforts to coordinate the fight against IS.

Speaking 11 days after jihadists killed 130 people in the French capital, Hollande urged an "implacable" joint response to crush the group in Syria and Iraq.

At a joint press conference, Obama pledged America's full support in the wake of the November 13 carnage, switching into Hollande's language to tell him, "We are all French."

"We are here to declare that the United States and France stand united in total solidarity to deliver justice to terrorists and those who sent them, and to defend our nations," Obama said.

"Americans will not be terrorised," he said.

Washington and Paris have both stepped up their fight against IS in Syria, with France launching its first strikes from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean on Monday and the US calling for more international cooperation against the jihadist group.

Hollande said he and Obama had agreed to "scale up our strikes both in Syria and in Iraq to broaden our scope to strengthen our intelligence sharing regarding the targets."

Both said they would boost support for forces battling IS on the ground -- while both continuing to rule out any ground intervention.

"France will not intervene militarily on the ground," Hollande said. "It is for the local forces to do so."

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/hollande-obama-talk-fight-against-177679

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Taliban seize 15 Afghan soldiers after chopper crash

November 25, 2015

KABUL - Fifteen soldiers including two foreigners were taken hostage by the Taliban on Tuesday after their helicopter crash-landed in northern Afghanistan, local officials and militant sources said.

The helicopter went down after experiencing technical problems, local officials said, and 15 people on board were seized by the militant group, including two foreign soldiers whose nationality is yet to be confirmed. Three people were also killed in the crash, which happened in the Pashtun Kot district of Faryab province, an area near the border with Turkmenistan that is partly controlled by the Taliban.

The Afghan army launched an operation late Tuesday to try and rescue the group, but was forced to abandon the raid after facing strong resistance from the insurgents.

“We captured 15 (people). If the army doesn’t stop (its rescue attempts) we will execute them,” Damullah Wakil, a local Taliban official, told AFP.

Provincial police chief Sayed Aqa Andarabi said: “The helicopter had a technical problem and had to crash land. Three people were killed.”

Another police source, who declined to be named, added: “They captured 15 passengers of the helicopter. Among them are two foreigners.”

Reza Razayee, Afghan army spokesman in Faryab province, confirmed that all of the 15 people seized were soldiers.

The US-led NATO coalition, which has 13,000 foreign troops in the country, declined to comment on the incident. A US defence official said there were no American personnel on board.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/25-Nov-2015/taliban-seize-15-afghan-soldiers-after-chopper-crash

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1970 Bangladesh War Trials: Justice, Revenge, History and Acrimony

Nov 25, 2015

On December 16, 1971 Pakistan surrendered to India. But before the victory, there was a civil war and a genocide, the ripples of which are being felt both within and outside Bangladesh even today.

In the 1970 Pakistan elections, the pro-Bangladesh Awami League, with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as its leader, emerged as the single largest party. The military and political establishment in Islamabad did not respect the verdict and a brutal regime of oppression followed.

Operation Searchlight and the Fight For Independence

The government in West Pakistan launched ‘Operation Searchlight’ in East Pakistan – what is now Bangladesh. From March 1971, military juntas and radical groups like the Razakars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams were called in to ‘assist’ the military to eradicate ‘traitors’.

What followed was a brutal genocide against the Bengali-speaking people of East Pakistan. While Pakistan government estimates put the death toll at about 26,000, other estimates by noted academics have pegged the number at as high as 3,00,000. There was violence across the country, from Dhaka to the countryside. In a particularly brutal incident, about 700 students at the University of Dhaka were murdered.

In retaliation, there was also violence against the Urdu-speaking population of Bihari-origin in Bangladesh.

Peaceful Protests Demand a Hanging, Religious Radicals Want the Opposite

Cut to 2008. The Awami League wins the election in Bangladesh and Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister decides to make good on her campaign promise to form a tribunal to convict war criminals involved in Operation Searchlight. The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) is formed in 2009 to punish those that assisted the Pakistan establishment with the genocide.

Among those first convicted, were members of the Pakistani military, now out of reach of the Bangladesh authorities.

However, the ICT isn’t just dealing with a historical problem. The Jamaat-e-Islami, a major opposition party, had its roots in the pro-Pakistan radical groups – the Razakaars, Al-Badr and Al-Shams.

By February 2013, 12 leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami were convicted of war crimes. Among them was Abul Kader Mullah, who was sentenced to life in prison for murder, rape and torture. Abul Kalam Azad, a former chief of the Jamaat was sentenced to death in absentia.

Protests from workers and supporters of the Islamist party engulfed Bangladesh. Many began calling the ICT a witch-hunt to target political foes.

Then a peaceful student protest began in Dhaka’s Shahbag Square. These young people wanted the death penalty for those they believed tortured, raped, maimed and murdered their countrymen. Many of those leading and organising these protest were young bloggers, who used the internet to spread their message.

Full report at:

http://www.thequint.com/deqoded/2015/11/24/1970-bangladesh-war-trials-justice-revenge-history-and-acrimony

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‘Jamaat’ man held for threatening intellectuals

November 25, 2015

Detectives today said they arrested a Jamaat-e-Islami man for threatening eminent personalities including Prof Anisuzzaman and Muntassir Mamoon with death.

The detainee, held from Dhaka’s Tejgaon area last night, issued the threats under the mask of so-called Islamic State, a text message floated to the media said.

Further details in this regard will be made public in a press briefing later today.

Eminent individuals of the country have been receiving life threats for quite some time. Militant outfits blatantly flashed their “hit-list” to the media seeking publicity.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/country/%E2%80%98jamaat%E2%80%99-man-held-threatening-intellectuals-177766

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Leader of religious unity forum attacked in Bangladesh

NOVEMBER 24, 2015

Two men wielding kitchen knives attacked a religious forum leader in Bangladesh on Tuesday, police said.

Local police chief Nazim Uddin said Alok Sen was assaulted outside his home in the district of Faridpur.

He shouted for help as the men slashed him and his wife came out, prompting the unidentified attackers to flee, Uddin said.

Sen, a Hindu, is secretary general in Faridpur of the Hindu-Bouddho-Christian Unity Parishad, a platform of Hindus, Buddhists and Christians in the South Asian country.

Members of the forum are generally considered to be supporters of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s political party.

Sen told reporters at the hospital where he is being treated that he had no known enemies and no idea who attacked him.

A day earlier, Faridpur residents buried Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, one of two men hanged over the weekend after being accused of involving in war crimes during the country’s 1971 independence war.

The executions, carried out despite concerns that the legal proceedings were flawed, sparked strong protests from the country’s main Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, as well as criticism from Pakistan and the United States.

Mujahid had been the general secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Also executed was Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury.

US lawmakers overseeing foreign policy described the war crimes tribunal as “very flawed” and a means of political retribution.

Full report at:

http://atimes.com/2015/11/leader-of-religious-unity-forum-attacked-in-bangladesh/

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Afghan forces launch bid to rescue 18 captured by Taliban

Nov 25, 2015

KABUL; Afghan security forces have launched an operation on Wednesday to rescue 18 people who Taliban insurgents captured after their helicopter made an emergency landing in territory under militant control, the Ministry of Defence said.

The MI-17 helicopter owned by a private foreign company made an emergency landing in the northern province of Faryab on Tuesday after it developed a technical problem, it said.

"The insurgents then attacked and as a result two soldiers and one member of the crew were killed ... 18 people were captured," the ministry said in a statement.

"Security forces have started a clearance operation to free the captives."

The Taliban, fighting to expel foreign forces and bring down the United States (US)-backed government, have made gains over the past year outside their southern and eastern heartlands and into northern areas including Faryab.

The ministry did not identify the captives or say if they were soldiers or civilians, or if any foreigners were among them.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222172/afghan-forces-launch-bid-to-rescue-18-captured-by-taliban

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German army shares Afghan mission with NATO partners

November 24, 2015

BERLIN: Germany is to maintain its military presence in northern Afghanistan in 2016 in cooperation with its NATO partners, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday.

"We have agreed - and this is very good news - that we are going to go ahead with our contribution in the mission of strengthening the security architecture in Afghanistan. That is a very good result because there is still a lot to do. We want to go on with the mission "Resolute Support" in 2016. That means that we want to secure the progress that has already been made and also facilitate further steps forward," von der Leyen told reporters in Berlin after a meeting with military experts from the 20 other countries with troops stationed in northern Afghanistan as part of NATO's "Resolute Support" mission.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/24-Nov-2015/german-army-shares-afghan-mission-with-nato-partners

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Drone strike kills Taliban shadow district governor in Nangarhar

Nov 25 2015

A drone strike carried out the coalition forces in eastern Nangarhar province has killed a Taliban shadow district governor, Ministry of Defense and Nangarhar’s police HQ announced on Wednesday.

According to a statement released by the ministry, Qari Salim the so-called governor for Gushta District and one of his companions was killed in Mohmand Dara District on Tuesday.

“two militants were killed in an airstrike in Dabila area of Mohmand Dara District around 5 o’clock yesterday, among them is a so-called district governor of armed militants,” a statement released by Nangarhar police HQ’s spokesperson Colonel Hazrat Hussain Mashriqiwal.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/drone-strike-kills-taliban-shadow-district-governor-in-nangarhar-4353

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SC may hear Nizami’s appeal 5 days more

November 25, 2015

The Supreme Court may have five more dates left to hear the appeal of Motiur Rahman Nizami challenging his death penalty for war crimes.

The court said it will hear argument from Nizami’s defence from November 30 to December 2 while from the attorney general on December 7.

Then, the apex court will hear the reply from the defence on December 8.

A four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha said this after concluding sixth day’s hearing on Nizami’s appeal.

A Lawyer, who was present at the courtroom today, sought anonymity to tell The Daily Star that the SC may fix the date for delivering verdict on Nizami’s appeal after holding hearing on December 8.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/politics/sc-may-hear-nizamis-appeal-5-days-more-177793

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Bangladesh court indicts 4 suspected Islamic State operatives

24 November 2015

A Bangladeshi court has indicted a suspected "coordinator" of the local branch of the Islamic State (IS) terror group and three other of its members, a media report said on Tuesday.

Those indicted on Monday under the Anti Terrorism Act are IS "coordinator" Shakhawatul Kabir, and three suspected members Anowar Hossain Baten, Rabiul Islam and Nazrul Islam. All except Kabir denied the charges and sought acquittal, but Dhaka's Fourth Additional Sessions Court rejected their appeal, prosecutor Bashiruddin Mian said adding the court fixed February 25 for witness deposition.

Police pressed charges in court against the accused on May 15, describing Kabir as the "coordinator of the Bangladesh chapter" of the Middle East-based IS terror outfit, news portal bdnews24.com reported. They were accused in a case registered under the Anti Terrorism Act on January 18.

Full report at:

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-bangladesh-court-indicts-4-suspected-islamic-state-operatives-2148612

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Pakistan

 

ISIS not be correlated with Islam: Dr Al-Turki

November 25, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a conference on “Challenges of Islamic World and their Solution” stressed on the need for evolving a joint mechanism to eradicate challenges of sectarian violence, extremism and terrorism being confronted by the Muslim Ummah.

Addressing the conference here Tuesday, the leaders of Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) and Muslim World League (MWL) said Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other such terrorists organizations were responsible for increasing challenges of the Islamic World.

The  ‘Islamabad Declaration’ adopted by the conference called for initiating joint endeavors to educate Muslim youth, Ulema, clerics, Imams and religious scholars on conventional vistas of knowledge and  against propaganda of extremist and terrorist forces.

Addressing the conference, Secretary General MWL Dr Abdullah-bin-Abdulmohsin Al-Turki said Islamic world had nothing to do with terrorists and extremists organizations and ISIS should not be correlated with Islam.

“The Ummah disowns any extremist or terrorist association,”  said Dr. Al-Turki. All the Ulema and religious scholars had termed  terrorism and extremism violation of Quran-o-Sunnah.

He said that Muslim World League was making endeavors for the unity  of Muslims. Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz was making efforts to resolve the issues of Islamic World.

He said Islam considers the killing of an innocent as killing of the entire humankind. It not only guarantees rights for Muslims but also for non-Muslims.

Full report at:

http://aaj.tv/2015/11/isis-not-be-correlated-with-islam-dr-al-turki/

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‘Religious discrimination harms Pakistan, defies Quaid’s vision’

IKRAM JUNAIDI

Nov 25, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Faith based prejudices have existed in Pakistan since the birth of the country and only deepened during Gen Ziaul Haq’s missionary rule, and after the 9/11 attacks on America, reveals a recent survey of religious minorities.

Titled ‘Living in fear: Pakistan’s unequal citizens’, the report was prepared by the Asia Foundation and the Pattan Development Organization and launched at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services on Tuesday.

“More than 95 percent of the respondents said all citizens should be treated equally,” the report said, adding that 80 percent of Muslim respondents thought the constitution guarantees that equality.

“But as many as two-third Muslims, non-Muslims, officials and MPs thought that the state officials responsible [for protecting] non-Muslim minorities were not doing their job responsibly.”

These findings referenced the resolution the National Assembly passed in August, recommending that the speech that the Quaid-e-Azam made in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947 be “regarded as a road map” for the country’s future.

In that speech, the founder of the nation had declared that all citizens will be equal in the Pakistan, and that their religious beliefs had “nothing to do with the state”.

In this context, the report cited a few instances of religious discrimination since the birth of Pakistan. It recalled that Satya Prakash Singha, leader of the then Punjab Christian League, became the first Speaker of the Punjab Assembly after independence, because he had supported the creation of Pakistan.

But he resigned the next day after an editor wrote in the biggest Urdu-language newspaper that he never imagined that a non-Muslim would occupy that office in Pakistan. And his resignation was accepted instantly.

Then there is the sad story of Dr Abdus Salam, Pakistan’s first Nobel Prize winner. Pakistan did not acknowledge the honour until India did, and Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi invited him and greeted him by touching his feet.

Many countries invited Dr Salam after that, but religious zealots won’t let his home country honour him because he was Ahmadi. Agitators prevented his appearance at Quaid-e-Azam University and Punjab University – and his alma matar, the Government College Lahore did not bother to take notice of his presence when he visited Pakistan in December 1979.

In contrast, Dr Salam turned down offers of citizenship from advanced countries and wished to be buried in native Pakistan and remembered as a Muslim. Though the first part of his wish was fulfilled, a magistrate ruled that the word ‘Muslim’ in the inscription on his gravestone identifying him as ‘the first Muslim Noble Laureate’ be sanded off.

Nowadays, the religious minorities in Pakistan suffer even worse, according to the 1,500 respondents surveyed in the report.

“Muslim parents object if their children are seated next to non-Muslim children in school,” said the father a Hindu student in Multan.

An Ahmadi teacher from Faisalabad said: “If neighbours find out that it is an Ahmadi family, they won’t eat with us and avoid inviting us.” Another Ahmadi said that a notice at the Hafiz Shopping Centre in Lahore states that ‘Ahmadis cannot do business here’. A Muslim businessman in Islamabad told the surveyors that Ahmadis should declare themselves non-Muslims instead of insisting that they are Muslims.

In 2014, the report says, 11 temples and churches were attacked in 144 incidents of sectarian violence across Pakistan.

A mob burned a Christian couple to death in Kot Radha Kishen in Punjab for allegedly desecrating the Holy Quran. Around 157 families belonging to religious minorities were displaced from Fata.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222133/religious-discrimination-harms-pakistan-defies-quaids-vision

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Mob attacks on Ahmadi Muslims and mosque in Pakistan condemned

by Rattan Mall

November 23rd, 2015

THE Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at on Monday condemned the recent extremist mob attacks to murder Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and destroy their mosque and property, after a local man falsely accused Ahmadi Muslims of desecrating the Holy Qur’an.

A violent mob of thousands was formed following the allegations, after which a chipboard factory belonging to Ahmadi Muslims was set on fire in Jhelum, with workers still inside. Police helped the Ahmadi Muslims escape, but not before the mob had attacked nearby homes belonging to Ahmadi Muslim families.

The violence then spread to the nearby town of Kala Gojran, where a second set of rioters ransacked the Ahmadiyya mosque Baitul Zikr on Saturday. Ahmadi Muslims have faced decades of often deadly persecution in Pakistan. Last year, an elderly lady and two children were murdered in a similar incident in Gujranwala.

Ahmadi Muslims in Jhelum have previously received threats on a number of occasions.

National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, Lal Khan Malik, stated: “The discriminatory laws in Pakistan’s constitution, which shelter perpetrators of such attacks with impunity against Ahmadi Muslims, are completely contradictory to international human rights laws.”

Full report at:

http://www.voiceonline.com/mob-attacks-on-ahmadi-muslims-and-mosque-in-pakistan-condemned/

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Three policemen injured in Quetta blast

SYED ALI SHAH

Nov 25, 2015

QUETTA: At least three policemen were injured in a bomb blast targeting a police vehicle in Qambrani Road area here on Wednesday.

Miscreants targeted a police mobile vehicle which was on routine patrol through a remote-controlled bomb, police sources said.

The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was planted on roadside and detonated when the police vehicle passed by, they said.

The blast shook the entire area and wounded at least three police personnel. The injured were rushed to Civil Hospital Quetta for treatment.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222166/three-policemen-injured-in-quetta-blast

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Govt ceding control over key issues: PTI leader

KHAWAR GHUMMAN

Nov 25, 2015

ISLAMABAD: In the words of one opposition lawmaker, the ruling PML-N has “given up its control of key issues such as the security and well-being of the country”, and in the process has rendered parliament useless.

On Tuesday, towards the end of an otherwise unremarkable sitting of the National Assembly, the PTI’s Shafqat Mehmood went after the government over their lack of interest in house proceedings, which had allowed other institutions to take over its role.

Quoting a recent statement made by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) head Lt Gen Asim Bajwa, Mr Mehmood asked: “Shouldn’t such a statement come from the defence minister on the floor of the house?”

Lt Gen Bajwa had said at a press conference in Washington earlier this week: “We already have about 182,000 troops deployed along the Afghan border. We are not looking for any involvement outside our region.”

Know more: Troops won’t be deployed outside region: ISPR

On a point of order, the PTI leader argued that in the absence of ministers, who “seem to be shirking their responsibilities”, important policy decisions were being taken outside the house.

Shafqat Mehmood says ISPR chief’s statement should’ve come from defence minister

“If issues as important as the ones highlighted by Lt Gen Bajwa will not be discussed on the house floor, what else are we here for,” he asked. “When it is said that parliament is supreme, it must also be accorded due attention by bringing every single national issue to it,” Mr Mehmood said.

If Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had made this statement, Mr Mehmood said, one might have asked him one or two follow-up questions.

When Mr Mehmood made these remarks, only one cabinet member – State Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnat – was present in the house and most of the treasury benches were empty.

Pointing towards the empty rows on the government’s side, the PTI leader said that with this attitude, people would stop taking parliament seriously “and the responsibility lies on all of us sitting in the house”.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222097/govt-ceding-control-over-key-issues-pti-leader

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PTI, PPP agree to form joint opposition in NA

Nov 25, 2015

ISLAMABAD: In a significant development on Tuesday, the two main opposition parties — PPP and PTI — decided to sit on opposition benches in the National Assembly and give a tough time to the government.

A PTI delegation headed by Shah Mehmood Qureshi called on Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah at the latter’s Parliament House chamber to discuss various options for playing the role of combined opposition.

The two sides, the sources said, had agreed to play an effective role in the parliament and to raise issues jointly from a single platform.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222109/pti-ppp-agree-to-form-joint-opposition-in-na

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Registered Afghan refugees may be allowed to stay till Dec 2017

ZULFIQAR ALI

Nov 25, 2015

PESHAWAR: Registered Afghan nationals are likely to be allowed to stay in Pakistan till December 2017.

According to official sources, the Ministry of State and Frontier Region (Safron) put up a summary to the prime minister secretariat a few days ago proposing that Afghans having Proof of Registration (PoR) cards be given another year to stay in the country.

If the federal cabinet approves the summary, this will be the fourth extension given to the refugees.

It is up to the federal cabinet to approve or reject the summary,” said an official who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to give statement to the media on the subject.

He said that during a meeting of the tripartite commission held in Kabul in August last year, the Afghan government had sought three-year extension for registered refugees. The commission comprising Pakistan, Afghani-stan and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had discussed a draft plan for repatriation of refugees.

Federal government had issued PoR cards to 1.6 million Afghans. The cards renewed last year will expire on December 31.

The stay of registered and unregistered Afghans for a large period was discussed at a recent meeting of Corps Commanders. Return of Afghans, particularly those not registered, was listed in the National Action Plan.

The government had decided to expel all unregistered Afghans after the massacre at the Army Public School and College, Peshawar, in December 2014. Implementation of the decision was put on hold because the federal and provincial governments could not work out a mechanism for the repatriation of illegal Afghans.

“We know nothing about compulsions of the federal government for its lenient policy despite the fact the establishment and provincial governments also wanted to resolve the refugees’ issue,” said a senior official.

“This may be the last extension for registered Afghans,” he said. If the cabinet approved the extension plan, sources said, the government, instead of renewing the PoR cards, would issue a notification to the quarters concerned to consider the document valid till December 2017.

The Afghan government and UNHCR are against forcible repatriation of registered refugees and have asked Islamabad to let them return to their country through the voluntary repatriation programme.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222121/registered-afghan-refugees-may-be-allowed-to-stay-till-dec-2017

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No space for religious parties in Pindi’s local govt setup?

AAMIR YASIN

Nov 25, 2015

RAWALPINDI: If the number of their candidates is anything to go by, the space for religious political parties is fast shrinking in the run up to the December 5 local government elections.

A cursory review of the candidates for the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation and Rawalpindi District Council, as well as municipal committees in various tehsils, reveals only a handful of panels affiliated with religious parties.

Mainstream parties, such as the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) have only fielded a few panels under their traditional electoral symbols.

JUI-F workers will mostly appear on the ballots in Taxila under the ‘book’ symbol. In Union Council (UC) Basti Afghana, Haji Obaidur Rehman and Mufti Bilal are candidates for the Rawalpindi District Council and Farooqul Hassan from Ward 6, Ziauddin Farooqi from Ward 14, Lal Mohammad from Ward 17 and Gulbaz Wazir from Ward 19, are candidates for the Taxila Municipal Committee.

JUI-F, JI only fielding handful of candidates under party symbol; smaller parties supporting PML-N, PTI at local level

In Rawalpindi City, the JUI-F has only fielded one panel in UC-9, led by Abdullah Asim. Otherwise, they only have general councillor in UC-4, four in UC-6, and one each in UCs 7 and 41.

The Jamaat claims to be a party of the educated classes, but has only managed six panels in six UCs in Rawalpindi City: Zafar Mehmood Shah in UC-2, Zafar Mehmood Bhatti in UC-3, Bakhtairul Haq in UC-6, Syed Arshad Farooq in UC-10, Abdul Jabbar Awan in UC-13 and Saifullah Gondal in UC-15.

The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) has not fielded any candidates, nor have the Majlis-i-Wahdat-ul-Muslimeen and the Tehreek Nifaz-i-Fiqah Jafriya (TNFJ). Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek, however, has six hopefuls contesting across the district, albeit not under their own party symbol, ‘motorcycle’.

TNFJ spokesman Qamar Zaidi told Dawn that the party had never fielded candidates in the elections because it supported other political parties and the 2015 local government elections were no different. He said TNFJ was supporting the ruling PML-N as they had reached out for support.

JI spokesperson Malik Azam claimed his party’s candidates were contesting the elections under their own electoral symbol of ‘weighing scales’ in six UCs, while in the others, it would be supporting candidates fielded by the PTI and Sheikh Rashid’s Awami Muslim League (AML).

JUI-F’s Dr Ateequr Rehman also told Dawn that his party was contesting the elections in some areas and supporting other political parties in others. He said that local leaders and workers were allowed to support other party’s candidates according to local requirements.

ASWJ leader Mohammad Younas told Dawn the party leadership had decided to avoid fielding candidates in these local elections, while MWM’s Hassnain Zaidi said they had allowed district chapters to support local politicians as necessary at the UC and city-level.

Electability

In contrast, candidates from the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal alliance (which also included JI and JUI-F) won at least five nazim seats in the garrison city during the 2001 local government elections.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222137/no-space-for-religious-parties-in-pindis-local-govt-setup

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Shahbaz for promotion of quality education

November 25, 2015

LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over a high level meeting yesterday which decided to take immediate and comprehensive steps for the promotion of quality education in schools and training of teachers on modern lines.

The chief minister directed the department for carrying out third-party audit of repair and construction work of school buildings besides ordering immediate half of the educational activities in school housed in buildings declared dangerous after recent earthquake.

Shahbaz Sharif directed the Provincial Minister for Education to pay personal visit to such buildings and submit a report. He said that provision of missing facilities in schools should also be completed at the earliest. He said that a sum of Rs.5 billion has been allocated in the current fiscal year for providing missing facilities in schools.

Shahbaz Sharif expressed displeasure over the delay in the installation of solar panels in schools and said that there was no justification for this delay. He said that the work should be carried out speedily in this regard and a report be submitted within three months.

He directed that strict implementation of the decisions should be ensured as he wants results with regard to promotion of education. He said that institutional framework is necessary for speedy implementation of decisions.

The chief minister directed Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board to devise a plan for extending the pilot project of smart school system in Lahore to the schools of southern and northern Punjab.

The chief minister said quality education depends upon modern training of teachers and which can be good way to improve enrollments in schools. He directed that all possible measures should be taken under Schools Support Programme for improving standard of education. He directed that a comprehensive model be evolved for training of teachers on modern lines.

Shahbaz Sharif directed that educational activities in the totally dilapidated buildings of schools be stopped immediately and these activities should be started in new buildings. He said that the repair and construction work of total and partially dilapidated buildings should be completed within stipulated period.

He said that a huge sum of Rs.8.5 billion has been allocated in the current budget for the construction and repair of buildings and proper and transparent utilization of the funds should be ensured at any cost.

SANA CALLS ON SHAHBAZ: Provincial Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif yesterday and discussed the measures for the security in the third phase of the local government elections in Punjab.

Law and order situation in the province and the measures for protecting life and property of the people during the third phase of local bodies’ elections were discussed from different angles.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/25-Nov-2015/shahbaz-for-promotion-of-quality-education

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Two TTP men captured in pre-dawn raid

November 25, 2015

LAHORE - The Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department yesterday arrested two suspects who were “plotting terror attacks to target government officers” in Lahore.

Both the militants are said to be members of the terror outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

A spokesperson for the CTD said that both the arrests were made during a pre-dawn raid at a hideout near Badian Road. The CTD personnel also recovered 410-kg explosive material, detonators, and electric circuits from the hideout.

Investigators identified the suspects as Muhammad Yousaf, a resident of Manawala, and Anzar Gull, who belongs to Mohmand Agency. The suspects were shifted to an unknown facility for further interrogation.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/25-Nov-2015/two-ttp-men-captured-in-pre-dawn-raid

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Breaking News: Unidentified gunmen kidnap 22 bus passengers in Pakistan’s Baluchistan

Nov 25 2015

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped a group of bus passengers in Gwadar District of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province on Wednesday.

Reports suggest that the bus left Karachi this morning as it arrived in Pasni town, a group of unknown gunmen stopped it and took its passengers to an undisclosed location.

Initial investigation suggests the armed men have taken 22 people with them who were all laborers.

Full report at:

http://www.khaama.com/breaking-news-unidentified-gunmen-kidnap-22-bus-passengers-in-pakistans-baluchistan-4357

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Mideast

 

Siding With ISIL? Turkey Spotted Dealing With Radical Islamists in Syria

Nov 25, 2015

Referring to fresh evidence and citing various sources, British investigative journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed has revealed that Turkey is up to its eyeballs in clandestine collaboration with Syrian Islamist groups including the notorious ISIL; to make matters worse, the major Western powers are not going to do anything about it.

In the wake of the infamous attack on Paris, French President Hollande has declared war on ISIL and announced a plan to strengthen the powers of his country's police and security services, according to Ahmed.

"The murder of 129 people, the injury of 352 more, by the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) acolytes striking multiple targets simultaneously in the heart of Europe, mark a major sea-change in the terror threat," the British investigative journalist notes in his recent article for Insurge Intelligence, Sputnik reported.

"Conspicuously missing from President Hollande's decisive declaration of war, however, was any mention of the biggest elephant in the room: state-sponsorship," Ahmed emphasizes.

According to the investigative journalist, Turkey has long been playing a prominent role in supporting terrorists in Syria.

The journalist draws attention to the fact that Syrian passports discovered at the scene of the crime "were fake and likely forged in Turkey," according to a police source.

Ahmed adds that the Turkish media has already reported that more than 100,000 fake Turkish passports have purportedly been given to ISIL militants. Moreover, a number of Uyghur nationals were captured with fake Turkish passports in Thailand and Malaysia.

Quoting the award winning journalist Stuart Ramsay, Ahmed highlights that the Turkish authorities were "certifying passports" of would-be ISIL fighters at Turkey-Syrian border posts. This can only mean that Turkish officials were fully aware of the flow of militants pouring into Syria.

Furthermore, there is evidence that some Turkish officials have certain links to high-ranking ISIL members, he notes, citing an unnamed Western official familiar to intelligence sources on the matter.

"The same official confirmed that Turkey, a longstanding member of NATO, is not just supporting ISIS [ISIL], but also other jihadist groups, including Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria. 'The distinctions they draw [with other opposition groups] are thin indeed,' said the official. 'There is no doubt at all that they militarily cooperate with both'," the British journalist states.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940903001667

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NATO urges calm after Turkey downs Russian jet

24 Nov 2015

NATO has called on Turkey and Russia to show restraint as tensions rise in the wake of the downing of a Russian jet near the Turkey-Syria border.

The Russian warplane was shot down for violating Turkish airspace on Tuesday morning, Turkish officials said, angering Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who likened the incident to being "stabbed in the back".

According to Russia Today, Russia's defence ministry has announced that it is suspending its military cooperation with Turkey following the incident.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday night that the military alliance stands by key ally Turkey, but urged both sides to try to calm the crisis.

"As we have repeatedly made clear, we stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our NATO ally, Turkey," Stoltenberg said after an emergency meeting of all 28 members requested by Ankara.

"I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation. Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation," he said.

Turkish officials told Al Jazeera the Russian plane was shot down by the Turkish military according to the rules of engagement, but Putin said the jet posed no threat.

"Today's loss is linked to a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else," Putin said in televised comments.

"Our plane was shot down over the territory of Syria by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 jet. It fell in Syrian territory four kilometres from the border with Turkey. Our pilots and our plane did not in any way threaten Turkey."

Reports said the plane, believed to be a Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24, crashed in Syrian territory in Latakia's Yamadi village.

A Turkish military statement said the plane violated Turkish airspace in Hatay province and was warned "10 times in five minutes".

"Our two F-16 planes on air patrol duty intervened ... on November 24, 2015, 9:24am, according to the rules of engagement," the statement said.

A US official told Al Jazeera that the penetration of Turkish air space by the Russian jet lasted "only a matter of seconds" as it crossed a lroughly 3km wide section of Turkey that took only 20 seconds to traverse.

The fate of the two Russian pilots, however, is unclear.

Rebel forces told Al Jazeera the bodies of both pilots were recovered, but Russia's military has said only one pilot was killed. Moscow has not yet said what happened to the second pilot.

The deputy commander of a Turkmen brigade, located close to where the plane crashed, said the two Russian pilots were shot dead as they parachuted to the ground.

"Our comrades shot at them in the air and they were dead when they hit the ground," he said. "They...died in the air."

That claim, however, cannot be independently verified.

A Russian helicopter was also shot as it took part in the search for the two pilots near the Turkish-Syrian border, opposition groups in Syria said. Russia confirmed that one of the helicopter's crew members was shot dead in the incident.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey had a duty to act against anyone violating its borders.

"Everyone must know that it is our international right and national duty to take any measure against whoever violates our air or land borders," Davutoglu said in Ankara.

Turkey's foreign ministry on Tuesday summoned representatives from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to brief them on the downing of the Russian fighter jet, a Turkish official said.

Full report at:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/nato-turkey-russian-jet-syria-151124181649801.html

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Tensions soar as Turkey shoots down Russian plane

Nov 25, 2015

ANKARA: Turkey shot down a Russian war plane on the Syrian border on Tuesday, sending tensions spiralling as Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ankara its “stab in the back” would have serious consequences.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance stood by member Turkey after the incident, but echoed appeals for calm from other world leaders as fears grow of clashes between coalition and Russian planes in the skies over Syria.

“We stand in solidarity with Turkey and support the territorial integrity of our Nato ally, Turkey,” Stoltenberg said after an emergency meeting of all 28 members requested by Ankara.

“Diplomacy and de-escalation are important to resolve this situation," added.

Turkey's military said the fighter was shot down by two of its F-16s after it violated Turkish airspace 10 times within a five-minute period.

The Turkish Ambassador to the United Nations Halit Cevik said in a letter to the Security Council that two Russian planes had flown a little more than a mile into Turkish airspace for 17 seconds.

But Moscow bitterly criticised Turkey for downing the Su-24 plane, which it insisted was in Syrian airspace, and claimed that one of the two pilots who ejected from the craft was killed by gunfire from the ground as he descended.

Putin branded the shooting down of the aircraft a “stab in the back committed by accomplices of terrorists”, warning: “The tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations."

Know more: Downing of Russian plane is a 'stab in the back' from Turkey, says Putin

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov scrapped a planned visit to Turkey Wednesday, and warned Russians against travelling to Turkey.

He said the risk of attacks “is no less of a threat than in Egypt,” where all 224 people onboard a Russian passenger jet were killed in October in an attack claimed by the militant Islamic State (IS).

Russia's Moskva guided missile cruiser will now be stationed near Latakia, on Syria's Mediterranean border, and all bombers in Syria will now be escorted by fighters, Russian military spokesman General Sergei Rudskoi said, adding the shooting down would have the “the gravest consequences”.

“All targets representing a potential threat to us will be destroyed,” he warned.

'Flagrant aggression'

While Russia and Turkey have traded barbs before over alleged incursions by Russian fighters into Turkish airspace during forays over Syria, this is the first time Turkey has shot down any Russian planes since Moscow started airstrikes in September.

The incident has sparked concern in the West it could escalate into clashes between Russian and other members of the US-led coalition, which include Turkey, during their separate campaigns to target jihadists in Syria.

It also risks derailing efforts to bring peace to Syria that were gaining tentative momentum following the November 13 Paris terror attacks, claimed by militants from the IS group, which controls swathes of northern Syria.

Damascus, an ally of Moscow, denounced the incident as “flagrant aggression” against Syrian sovereignty.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222163/tensions-soar-as-turkey-shoots-down-russian-plane

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Erdogan son-in-law wins key post in new Turkey cabinet

November 25, 2015

ISTANBUL - Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday unveiled a new cabinet stacked with loyal allies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including the strongman’s own son-in-law as energy minister.

The announcement came on the same day Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian war plane on the Syrian border, creating a new security challenge for the govt. Ankara is also confronting a renewed conflict with Kurdish rebels as well as a wave of bloody attacks blamed on IS. Davutoglu said the new government would focus on achieving structural reforms over the next four years, with the country now facing a faltering economy.

The new cabinet was unveiled just over three weeks since the November 1 election where the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) co-founded by Erdogan regained the majority it had unexpectedly lost in a June vote.

Interest had focused on whether Erdogan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak would be in the cabinet after unconfirmed reports that Davutoglu was opposed to his presence in the government.

Davutoglu named Albayrak as energy minister but he did not get the key economic post some had tipped him for, a prospect that had unnerved markets.

Another longstanding Erdogan ally, Binali Yildirim, was named transport minister.

But there was no space in the cabinet for former deputy premier Ali Babacan, a trusted figure in global financial markets and seen as a champion of reform.

Former finance minister Mehmet Simsek, who also enjoys the respect of the markets, was appointed deputy prime minister and is expected to take over Babacan’s role.

Albayrak was until late 2013 the chief executive of the Calik Holding conglomerate but has more recently been writing economic commentaries in pro-government newspapers.

Erdogan is considered very close to the Albayrak family, in particular Berat Albayrak’s father Sadik.

Several world leaders attended Berat Albayrak’s marriage to the president’s elder daughter Esra Erdogan in July 2004. The new cabinet has several familiar faces from the government that was in place until the June vote.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, a figure seen as reassuring for the United States and the European Union, returned to his former post as foreign minister, while Efkan Ala also returned to the cabinet as interior minister.

Two women ministers will be serving in the new cabinet: family and social policies minister Sema Ramazanoglu and environment minister Fatma Guldemet Sari.

The November result was a huge personal victory for Erdogan, who may now be able to secure enough support for his controversial ambitions to expand his role into a powerful US-style executive presidency.

However the AKP still does not command the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution without support from other parties or a popular referendum.

Analysts say the new government is unlikely to achieve the much-needed reforms to help reach Erdogan’s target to make Turkey one of the world’s top 10 economies by 2023.

“I don’t think these old names can instill vigor into existing policies and help Turkey achieve its 2023 goals,” said Ersin Kalaycioglu, professor of political science at Sabanci University.

Fuat Keyman, another professor at Sabanci, said Erdogan is likely to continue to pull the strings in the AKP, creating a power struggle with Davutoglu.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/25-Nov-2015/erdogan-son-in-law-wins-key-post-in-new-turkey-cabinet

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Downing of Su-24 'Will Have Serious Consequences' for Russia-Turkey Ties

Nov 25, 2015

The Russian president underscored that "either way, our pilots and our plane were not posing a threat to the Republic of Turkey."   

“This tragic event will have serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations. We have always regarded Turkey not only as a close neighbor, but also as a friendly state. I don’t know who needed what was done today, but we didn’t in any case,” Putin said during a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Sochi.

Russia will analyze everything that happened with its crashed Su-24 military aircraft in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.

"We will, of course, carefully analyze everything that happened," Putin said at a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II.

"Instead of contacting us immediately Turkey addressed their  NATO partners  — as if it was us who downed their plane, not vice versa. Do they want to put NATO at the service of ISIL?" Putin said.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940903001636

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U.N. accuses Yemen’s Houthis of blocking aid

25 November 2015

The U.N. aid chief on Tuesday accused Yemen’s Houthi militias of blocking and diverting deliveries of aid to the country’s third city of Taez where some 200,000 people are living under siege.

Government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition have been battling since September to push the Shiite militias out of Taez as part of their campaign to recapture the capital Sanaa farther north.

“Houthi and popular committees are blocking supply routes and continue to obstruct the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid and supplies into Taez city,” said Stephen O’Brien, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

Trucks carrying aid are blocked at checkpoints and “only very limited assistance has been allowed in,” he added in a statement.

O’Brien said it was “unacceptable” that some of the aid destined for the city’s needy was being diverted away from those people.

Some 200,000 people are in need of drinking water, food, medical treatment and other life-saving assistance in Taez, a “deeply concerned” O’Brien said.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/25/U-N-accuses-Houthis-of-blocking-Yemen-aid.html

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Turkey tells U.N. it shot down plane, defends right to do so

24 November 2015

Turkey told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday it had shot down on an unidentified plane that violated Turkish airspace and defended its right to do so as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Turkey and Russia to reduce tensions.

Russia has accused Turkey of shooting down one of its fighter jets nearly a mile inside Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin and warned of “serious consequences.”

Ban hopes “a credible and thorough review will clarify the events and help prevent future recurrences,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“He urges all those who are engaged in military activities in Syria, especially air campaigns, to maximize operational measures to avoid unintended consequences,” Dujarric said.

A U.S.-led coalition has been bombing Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq for more than a year, while Russia began air strikes in Syria in September.

In a letter to the 15-member council and Ban, Turkish U.N. Ambassador Halit Cevik said two planes approached Turkish airspace on Tuesday morning and were warned 10 times in five minutes to change direction.

Cevik said both planes then flew more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds. He said the nationality of the planes was unknown.

“Following the violation, plane 1 left Turkish national airspace. Plane 2 was fired at while in Turkish national airspace by Turkish F-16s performing air combat patrolling in the area,” Cevik wrote in the letter, seen by Reuters.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/24/Turkey-tells-U-N-it-shot-down-plane-defends-right-to-do-so.html

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Violence flares as Kerry meets Netanyahu in Israel

24 November 2015

A Palestinian motorist rammed his vehicle into a group of Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint on Tuesday, wounding three, Israel’s military said, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited for the first time in over a year, hoping to calm two months of deadly violence.

Kerry touched down amid a new rash of deadly attacks that have dampened any lingering hopes of renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians during the Obama administration’s final year. Ahead of his trip, Kerry conceded he was coming without the ambitious agenda of past visits and was primarily focused on stemming the violence.

“There can be no peace when we have an onslaught of terror, not here, not anywhere else,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he welcomed the chief American diplomat.

With Netanyahu nodding, Kerry said Israel had a right and obligation to defend itself and that “no people anywhere should live with daily violence, with attacks in the streets with knives, with scissors, with cars.” At the same time, he said he would speak with the Israeli leader about how “to push back against terrorism, to push back against senseless violence, and to find a way forward to restore calm and begin to provide opportunities.”

Kerry will travel to the West Bank for discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later on Tuesday.

The current spate of violence erupted in mid-September over tensions surrounding a sensitive Jerusalem holy site and quickly spread across Israel and into the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Nineteen Israelis have been killed, mostly in stabbings. Israeli fire has killed 89 Palestinians. Israel says 57 of these were attackers, while the rest died in clashes with security forces.

The past week has been the deadliest thus far.

In recent months, Kerry and other U.S. officials have suggested a renewed peace push might be possible. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton made unsuccessful attempts at brokering a two-state solution during their final months in office. But the rising death toll seems, for now, to have created an environment that makes a similar commitment by President Barack Obama unlikely.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/24/Violence-flares-as-Kerry-meets-Netanyahu-in-Israel.html

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Deputy FM: Iran nuclear deal to enter into force early January

24 November 2015

Iran expects July’s landmark nuclear deal with major powers to enter into force in early January, when Tehran will have implemented its commitments, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said Tuesday.

“We expect it will be in early January,” Abbas Araghchi told reporters in Vienna after meeting the head of the UN atomic watchdog, which is tasked with verifying the accord.

Under the July 14 deal with six powers that ended a potentially dangerous decade-long standoff, Iran undertook to dramatically scale back its nuclear programme.

This includes reducing by two-thirds the number of centrifuges which purify or “enrich” uranium, making it suitable for nuclear power generation but also for a nuclear bomb.

In addition Iran agreed to reduce its stockpile of uranium and modify a new reactor it is building at Arak.

In exchange, the six world powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- will lift painful sanctions.

An IAEA report last week showed that Tehran still has a way to go to fulfil its commitments under the nuclear deal.

The report said that Iran has so far removed around 4,500 centrifuges, meaning that it still has to take close down another 10,000.

The report also showed that so far, no changes have taken place at Arak and Iran’s stock of enriched uranium has even grown slightly.

Under the July deal Iran has to reduce this stock by some eight tonnes.

Araghchi said that talks with Russia on buying this material in exchange for raw uranium have been completed.

“Discussions have already been concluded between Iran and Russia and the deal (should take place) soon,” he said.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/24/Iran-expects-nuclear-deal-to-be-implemented-in-early-January.html

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Kerry seeks to restore ‘calm’ in Israel, Palestinian territories

24 November 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry began a one-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories on Tuesday saying he would discuss ways to restore calm with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Today I express my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives and disrupts the day-to-day life of a nation,” Kerry said.

With U.S.-backed Palestinian statehood negotiations frozen since 2014, Netanyahu said there could be no peace while an “onslaught of terror” continued.

Kerry was due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later in the day in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have accused Israel of using excessive force to quell attacks, saying that in many cases assailants could have been stopped and detained without being shot and killed. They have also described the violence as a consequence of Israel’s 48-year occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

In Abu Dhabi on Monday, Kerry said Washington had ideas “for how things could proceed” to try to stem the violence. But he cautioned: “People aren’t in the mood for concessions”.

The recent wave of violence started on Oct. 1, with 92 Palestinians having been killed, as well as 17 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean.

Around half of the Palestinians killed, mainly teenagers, have been designated by Israel as alleged attackers. Others have been shot dead during clashes with Israeli forces.

The bloodshed has been driven in part by Palestinian frustration over stepped-up Jewish visits to East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, as well as decades-long occupation and Israeli policies.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/24/Kerry-to-discuss-ways-to-restore-calm-in-Israel-and-Palestinian-Territories-.html

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Intensifying Syria tension sends wrong signal to terrorists: Iran FM

Nov 25, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says increasing tension in war-hit Syria will send a “wrong signal” to terrorist groups that they can go on with their crimes.

In a telephone conversation, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, discussed the latest Syrian developments, including Turkey’s recent downing of a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaber-Ansari said on Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane close to the Syrian border, claiming that it had violated its airspace.

Zarif told Lavrov in the telephone conversation that such incidents will further “escalate the tension and complicate the situation” in Syria and send a wrong signal to terrorist groups” that they can continue their terrorist acts against Syria and other parts of the world by taking advantage of the rift between influential players, the spokesman said.  

According to the spokesman, Zarif stressed that the incident once again highlights Syria’s critical situation, the impact of developments in the Arab country on international peace and security, and the need for a united global front against terrorism.

“The [Iranian] foreign minister also reiterated that the success of anti-terror bids depends on the existence of a united regional and international will and determination in dealing with terrorism,” Jaber-Ansari said.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/439074/Iran-Russia-Zarif-Lavrov-Syria-crisis-terrorist-groups

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Accusing Basij of radicalism completes enemy’s infiltration project: Leader

Nov 25, 2015

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says those people who accuse Basij force of being radical are in fact completing the enemy’s infiltration project.

Ayatollah Khamenei made remarks in a meeting with thousands of Basij commanders from across the country in Tehran on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the Leader once again explained about enemy’s efforts to infiltrate the country under various excuses, saying, “The [issue] of [enemy’s] infiltration is a very important issue.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said the fact that some people intend to take advantage of the issue of “influence” in favor of their own political faction, does not reduce the importance of this issue because the enemy is devising plots against the country.

“Today, infiltrating into [political] currents is more dangerous than influencing individuals,” the Leader noted, adding that infiltrating into a political current means to build a network within the nation by spending money and banking on sexual attractions in order to change beliefs, ideals, views and lifestyle of the nation.

Praising Iran's Basij force as an “unending treasure,” the Leader warned that those people who accuse Basij of being extremist and radical “are completing the enemy’s infiltration project.”

“Basij is among strong embankments [of the country], which should not be undermined,” Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/439070/iran-leader-Ayatollah-Khamenei-Basij-commanders-

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Yemeni army, allied fighters kill dozens of Saudi mercenaries

Nov 25, 2015

The Yemeni army, backed by Popular Committees loyal to the Houthi Ansarullah movement, has killed dozens of Saudi mercenaries in a retaliatory attack in the southwestern Yemeni province of Ta’izz.

According to a report by Yemen’s official Saba Net news agency, Yemeni forces also liberated the al-Kasarah and Ra’as al-Najd districts of Ta’izz from Saudi forces late on Tuesday.

Ansarullah fighters also destroyed a Saudi tank in the al-Omari district of Ta’izz.

Also on Tuesday, two Yemeni civilians were killed in a Saudi airstrike on the al-Rahedah district of Ta’izz.

In another development, Saudi fighter jets mistakenly bombarded the Riyadh-allied militants who fight against Ansarullah forces in Yemen’s southern province of Shabwah, killing 18 of them.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/439075/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-Taizz-Ansarullah-Marib

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New clashes between Turkey army, PKK leave six dead

Nov 25, 2015

At least six people have been killed in fresh skirmishes between Turkish security forces and members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak.

The provincial governor’s office, in a statement released on Tuesday, said a police officer lost his life during a clean-up operation against PKK fighters.

The statement added that five Kurdish militants were also killed as they engaged in fierce exchange of gunfire with Turkish security personnel.

The development took place only hours after one Turkish police officer was killed and another sustained injuries in a surprise attack by a group of unidentified gunmen against security forces in the country’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 31-year-old police officer, Serdal Toprak, and his comrade, Sinan Sengul, were on patrol in the Siverek district of the province, situated some 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east of the capital, Ankara, early on Tuesday when unknown attackers opened fire on them.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/439049/Turkish-police-PKK-militants-Sirnak

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Armed men attack policemen in southeast Turkey, kill one: Sources

Nov 25, 2015

At least one Turkish police officer has reportedly been killed and another sustained injuries in a surprise attack by a group of unidentified gunmen against security forces in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 31-year-old police officer Serdal Toprak and his comrade Sinan Sengul were on patrol in the Siverek district of the province, situated some 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) east of the capital, Ankara, on Tuesday when unknown attackers opened fire on them.

Both policemen sustained gunshot wounds, and were transferred to Siverek State Hospital, where Toprak succumbed to his injuries.

The development took place only hours after six Turkish soldiers were slightly injured in a roadside bomb explosion targeting their armored vehicle in the Varto district of Turkey’s eastern province of Mus. Turkish security sources blamed members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for the incident.

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale military campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the recent past. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the PKK in northern Iraq.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/25/438948/Turkey-Sanliurfa-police-PKK-Mus-Suruc

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Africa

 

Tunisian President declares ‘war’ against terrorism

Nov 24, 2015

Tunisian President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi has declared “war against terrorism”, calling for international cooperation against extremists.

Speaking in a televised address on Tuesday, Essebsi declared a state of emergency across the North African country for 30 days and an eight-hour-long curfew throughout the capital Tunis in the wake of a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of a dozen of presidential guards in the capital, the Associated Press reported.

“I want to reassure the Tunisian people that we will vanquish terrorism,” he added.

His office also said that Essebsi had cancelled a trip to Switzerland, which had been scheduled for Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, a bomb blast ripped through a bus carrying presidential guards on the Mohamed V avenue in Tunis, killing at least 12 people and wounding 16 others.

The attack was likely caused by a bomber detonating explosives inside the vehicle, a presidential source said. No individual or group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, which marked the first in the capital this year.

Full report at:

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/11/24/439021/Tunis-Mohamed-Beji-Caid-Essebsi-Daesh-terrorism

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Blast kills 12 in Tunisia as terrorists target presidential guard

Heba Saleh in Cairo

November 24, 2015

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An explosion in central Tunis has hit a bus carrying members of the presidential guard, killing at least 12 people.

The bus was travelling down the Mohamed V avenue during Tuesday’s rush hour when the blast occurred near the headquarters of the former single ruling party.

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Beji Caid Sebsi, the Tunisian president, declared a state of emergency in the country in response to the attack. Tunis has been placed under a curfew until 5am. Mr Sebsi told the nation in a televised address that the country was at “war against terrorism” and vowed to vanquish the terrorists

Attacks by militants affiliated to Isis have killed scores in the North African country this year. In June 38 holidaymakers were shot dead when a gunman opened fire on the beach in the resort of Sousse. In March, attackers killed 21 tourists at the Bardo museum in Tunis.

Last week the Tunisian authorities said they had thwarted a major terrorist attack in Sousse and announced the arrest of 17 people and the seizure of weapons including Kalashnikovs, explosives and a bomb belt. The attack planned for this month would have targeted hotels, security facilities and politicians, they said.

Earlier this week the Tunisian interior ministry was reported to have informed Moncef Marzouki, the former president, that militants were planning to assassinate him.

Among Arab countries that witnessed uprisings against authoritarian rulers in 2011, Tunisia is the only one seen to have undergone a successful democratic transition.

Moderate Islamists and secular politicians were able to agree a compromise constitution, allowing the country to hold parliamentary and presidential elections last year. A coalition government including Islamists holds power. Four Tunisian civil society groups that mediated the agreement between the two sides salvaging the transition to democracy received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Full report at:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/22517e48-92d8-11e5-bd82-c1fb87bef7af.html#axzz3sTqCaiQg

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Landmine kills UN worker in Mali

25 November 2015

A civilian employee of the United Nations mission in Mali has been killed in a landmine explosion.

The civilian employee died in the Timbuktu region after his vehicle struck the explosive device, the UN announced late on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the incident occurred approximately 25 kilometers [15 miles] west of Timbuktu, on the road to Goundam. The vehicle was part of a logistics convoy.

Mongi Hamdi, UN mission head, said he was "outraged" by the death.

The incident came four days after a terror attack in Mali´s capital Bamako which killed at least 21 people.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/africa/166694/landmine-kills-un-worker-in-mali

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North America

 

Barack Obama, Hollande urge Russia to focus Syria attacks on Islamic State

November 25, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande pressed Russia on Tuesday to focus its attacks in Syria on Islamic State militants after Turkey heightened tensions in the region by downing a Russian plane.

Obama and Hollande also urged Russia and Turkey not to let the situation escalate after Turkey, a NATO ally, said it shot down a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border after it repeatedly violated Turkish air space.

Obama said the United States did not have enough information yet to form conclusions about the incident but added similar confrontations could be avoided if Russia stopped attacking “moderate” Syrian rebels who are battling forces loyal to the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“This points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries,” Obama said. If Russia directs its energies toward Islamic State forces, “some of those conflicts or potentials for mistakes or escalation are less likely to occur,” Obama said.

Russia is supporting Assad’s government. Western nations insist Assad needs to step down for peace to take hold in Syria.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the United States believed the Russian jet was hit inside Syrian air space after a brief incursion into Turkish air space. The assessment was based on heat observed from the jet, the official said.

Russia condemned the Turkish action, vowing severe consequences.

The White House said later on Tuesday that Obama spoke by phone with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan about the need to de-escalate tensions after the incident.

Full report at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/barack-obama-hollande-urge-russia-to-focus-syria-attacks-on-islamic-state/

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Numero Uno

23 November, 2015

The message from Africa is distressing. It is a cruel irony of education that Nigeria-based Boko Haram - "against Western learning" in translation - has surpassed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in terms of terrorist rankings, indeed to emerge as "the world's deadliest terror group". The parameter of casualties inflicted by either entity appears to have been the singular point of reference in the latest assessment of the Global Terrorism Index; for by the yardstick of expansion of tentacles, there is not a single terrorist entity that can stand comparison with ISIS. Neither the Al Qaida nor Taliban have attempted such expansion in so short a time-span - between September 2014 and now. Boko Haram is scarcely known outside of North Africa, though it has expanded with awesome intent to Chad and Cameroon. ISIS has made its sinister presence felt in a little over a year - from Europe to the subcontinent via the Middle East and Africa. In course of this week, it has extended its fanatical fury from France to Beirut to Dhaka, Friday's massacre in Mali being the latest instance of fundamentalist malevolence.

The data, furnished in the immediate aftermath of the Paris massacres, is chilling in itself; we do not know if the timing is coincidental or calculated. Yet we do know that in 2014 alone, Boko Haram was responsible for as many as 6,644 deaths, not to forget the kidnapping of hundreds of children in search of learning. Over the same period, ISIS is believed to have killed 6,073 people and over a far wider swathe of the world. The depredations of Boko Haram have been largely confined to Nigeria, indeed the richest part of largely impoverished Africa. During the past year, Nigeria alone witnessed a 300 per cent increase in fatalities from terror acts, the largest number of deaths on account of terror strikes in any country.

Full report at:

http://www.thestatesman.com/news/opinion/numero-uno/105845.html

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Obama offers conditional support to Russian actions in Syria

Nov 25, 2015

WASHINGTON: After a meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the White House on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama said he could work with Russia in Syria to combat the militant Islamic State (IS) group.

But to get US support for its operations, Moscow needs to shift its focus to wiping out IS instead of helping the Syrian government stay in power, he added.

President Obama also declared that the United States and France “stand united” in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

US declares support to France in its fight against militants

He acknowledged that after the attacks earlier this month, there were fears that this could be replicated in the US and vowed to keep his nation safe.

“What happened in Paris is truly horrific. I understand that people are worried that something similar could happen here,” Mr Obama said. “Even as we are vigilant we cannot and will not succumb to fear... We cannot give them the victory of changing how we go about our lives.”

In France’s fight against terrorists, “we stand by our friends in good times and bad, no matter what,” Mr Obama said.

The IS posed a “serious threat to all of us,” he declared. “It cannot be tolerated. It must be destroyed. And we must do it together.”

President Hollande arrived in Washington earlier on Tuesday as part of a world-wide tour to generate support for France’s war against extremists. He expects the United States to play a major role in this war.

But Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane has created problems for both France and the United States.

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222010/obama-offers-conditional-support-to-russian-actions-in-syria

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US issues rare global terror alert

Nov 25, 2015

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has issued a rare global travel alert for possible travel risks due to “increased terrorist threats.”

The alert, issued on Monday evening, does not mention any specific threat, but warns that people should be more vigilant after recent multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey and Mali. The travel alert will remain in place until Feb 24, 2016.

The alert, posted on the State Department’s website, said: “Current information suggests that [Islamic State], Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.”

The State Department warns that the attackers “may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.”

It reminds travellers that extremists have targeted “large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services.”

The alert urges travellers to “exercise vigilance” while in public and “avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.”

The US government has regularly issued individual country travel alerts since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, but worldwide alerts are rare.

“Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of [Islamic State] return from Syria and Iraq,” it said. “Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organisations but conducted on an individual basis.”

The advisory will affect millions of travels inside the United States where more than 25 million people are expected to fly during the year’s busies travel seasons, the Thanksgiving holidays. Americans prefer to spend the Thanksgiving Day with their families and travel hundreds of miles to be at home on the last Thursday of November.

The alert warns travellers to “be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.”

Full report at:

http://www.dawn.com/news/1222007/us-issues-rare-global-terror-alert

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US Muslim boy demands $15m in damages from school

November 25, 2015

NEW YORK - An Muslim-American student who was suspended from school when his teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb is seeking $15 million in damages from the city and school district of Irving, Texas, his lawyer said.

Attorneys for Mohamed claimed in letters sent to the city and school district the teen's civil rights were violated and his "reputation in the global community is permanently scarred"

Kelly Hollingsworth, representing the teen and his family who have since moved to Qatar, is requesting $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the school district.

Hollingsworth also issued a demand for written apologies from the school district, Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd and Beth Van Duyne, mayor of Irving.

"The numbers are huge and we admit that," Hollingsworth said.

"But the damages caused against this young man and his family are incalculable.

"

In the letters, Hollingsworth explained the psychological effects of the incident as well.

"One also would anticipate that Ahmed, quite reasonably, will have a lifelong fear of the law enforcement and educational establishments that have let him down so terribly," he wrote.

"Ahmed was subjected to on-campus detention and 7-on-1 interrogation [that] went on for approximately one hour and 25 minutes," Hollingsworth wrote.

"Ahmed constantly was pressured to sign a written statement admitting that he intended to bring a 'hoax bomb' to school.

"

Further, Hollingsworth stressed Mohamed's questioning by police was a "wrongful interrogation" in which the teen was denied "the right to talk with his parents, and questioning Ahmed without first reading him his Miranda rights should be an affront to all Americans.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/25-Nov-2015/us-muslim-boy-demands-15m-in-damages-from-school

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US court awards 40-year jail to Pakistani man

November 25, 2015

NEW YORK - A 28-year-old Pakistani man who represented himself at a trial was on Tuesday sentenced to 40 years in jail for allegedly plotting to bomb a shopping center in Manchester, England, according to a media reports.

The man, Abid Naseer, who was extradited from the United Kingdom, was sentenced by a Federal judge in New York.

Naseer had faced up to life in prison following his conviction by a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, in March on charges including that he provided material support to the Islamic militant group.

Well educated, charismatic and from a family he described as “wealthy,” Naseer declined to be represented by a court-appointed lawyer during the two-week trial.

“I wanted the people to hear my voice and hear my story,” he told the jury.

Naseer listened to the verdict without any visible reaction. He rose and clasped his hands together, blinking frequently, as the jury left the courtroom.

Asked by Judge Raymond J. Dearie if he had anything else to state, he requested 60 days to file post-trial motions. Judge Dearie gave him 30 days and did not set a sentencing date. Abid Naseer faces up to life in prison.

Naseer, who at trial denied involvement with al Qaeda, sought leniency from US District Judge Raymond Dearie,stating he was “not nor have I been a career criminal.”

But while Dearie gave Naseer a path to leaving prison someday, he said the evidence established his guilt.

“I know you’re not what I’d say for lack of a better word a ‘typical’ criminal. Not in any sense of the word,” Dearie said. “You’re a terrorist.

James Neuman, Naseer’s lawyer, said he plans to appeal.

Naseer was first arrested in April 2009 in a British anti-terrorism operation. British authorities never charged Naseer, but he was later indicted in the United States and extradited in 2013.

Naseer, who was raised in Peshawar, Pakistan and called himself a semi-professional cricket player, led an al Qaeda cell that plotted to bomb a shopping centre in Manchester, England, in 2009, prosecutors said. The proposed bombing in Britain was part of an overall al Qaeda plot that included attacks against New York City’s subway system and a Copenhagen newspaper, prosecutors said.

Full report at:

http://nation.com.pk/international/25-Nov-2015/us-court-awards-40-year-jail-to-pakistani-man

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‘No specific, credible threat’ to U.S. from ISIS

25 November 2015

President Barack Obama’s national security team believes there is “no specific, credible threat” to the United States from ISIS, the White House said Tuesday, amid stepped up coalition strikes on the extremist group.

Obama convened his National Security Council to discuss the recent string of attacks by ISIS, which claims it has created a caliphate taking in huge swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Washington and Paris have stepped up their fight against ISIS, with France launching its first strikes from a newly deployed aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean and the United States calling for more international cooperation against the group.

Underlining heightened global fears of attacks after violent extremists killed scores in Mali, Lebanon, Nigeria and Turkey in recent weeks, the U.S. government issued a worldwide travel alert on Monday warning American citizens of “increased terrorist threats.”

But Obama “was briefed that there is currently no specific, credible threat to the homeland from ISIL,” the White House said in a statement.

“The president directed his national security team to continue to intensify ongoing efforts to degrade and destroy ISIL.”

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/25/-No-specific-credible-threat-to-U-S-from-ISIS.html

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Canada delays deadline to take in 25,000 refugees

25 November 2015

The Canadian government on Tuesday pushed back to the end of February its deadline for accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees, in a concession that its original Jan. 1 target was too difficult to meet.

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sworn in this month, made the initial pledge part of his election campaign but a wide array of critics said the goal was unrealistic.

Some provincial and municipal leaders have complained the short timeline did not allow for enough security checks to root out possible ISIS militants. Others said they could not cope with such a heavy flow of new arrivals.

“We just looked at the logistics, we looked at what it would take to bring them in by Jan. 1, and we had options around that,” Trudeau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

“We realized that we wanted to make sure that it was done absolutely right.”

The government will fly in 10,000 refugees by the end of the year and the remainder by end-February.

In another sign of the challenges it is facing, Ottawa cut back its commitment to sponsor all 25,000. Instead, 10,000 will be sponsored privately, with Ottawa aiming to reach its 25,000 target by the end of 2016.

The opposition Conservative Party said it was pleased Trudeau “had abandoned a timeline that was not workable”.

One of the biggest political challenges for the government is the fear that militants could sneak into Canada disguised as refugees. Since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris claimed by ISIS, an anti-refugee petition launched in Quebec has garnered more than 75,000 signatures nationwide.

Full report at:

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2015/11/25/Canada-delays-deadline-to-accept-25-000-Syrian-refugees.html

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Kingdom slams racism against Muslim refugees

25 November 2015

NEW YORK: The Kingdom has drawn the world’s attention again to the racist and inhuman rhetoric against Muslim refugees.

It also called on all countries and humanitarian agencies, civil society organizations and the media to abandon any racist speeches and contribute to raising awareness and responsibility in order to boost protection for refugees who are fleeing brutal regimes and terrorist groups.

“We are facing an unprecedented humanitarian disaster since the Second World War as the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirms that there are nearly 20 million refugees and 40 million displaced people, numbers that are increasing every day amid a lack of funding and the absence of appropriate mechanisms for protection,” said Saad bin Abdullah Al-Saad, deputy permanent representative of the Saudi delegation to the UN.

The diplomat was addressing a meeting of the UN General Assembly on “Global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean basin, with specific emphasis on Syrian asylum seekers.”

The Syrian crisis is the biggest humanitarian tragedy of the 20th century, he pointed out.

The diplomat also said that Saudi Arabia has received 2.5 million Syrian refugees since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. It did not treat them as refugees or put them in refugee camps in order to preserve their dignity and safety.

It gave them complete freedom of movement, and awarded those who wanted to stay in the Kingdom legal residence like the rest of expatriates with all consequent rights to free health care, work and education.

The number of Syrian students receiving free education totaled more than 100,000, he said.

“Saudi efforts have not been confined to receiving and hosting the Syrian brothers after their humanitarian tragedy in their country, but extended to include support and care for millions of Syrian refugees in their country’s neighbors, Jordan, Lebanon and other states,” he added.

The efforts included providing humanitarian assistance in coordination with the governments of their host countries, as well as with international humanitarian relief organizations, whether through financial or in-kind support, he said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/840761

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France, US vow unity against ISIL

25 November 2015

France and the United States pledged Tuesday to step up the fight against the ISIL group, urging Russia to throw its weight behind global efforts to resolve the four-year Syrian conflict.

President Francois Hollande met his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama at the White House as Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane dealt a severe blow to efforts to coordinate the fight against ISIL.

Speaking 11 days after extremists killed 130 people in the French capital, Hollande urged an "implacable" joint response to crush the group in Syria and Iraq.

At a joint press conference, Obama pledged America's full solidarity in the wake of the November 13 carnage, switching into Hollande's language to tell him, "We are all French."

Washington and Paris have both stepped up their fight against ISIL in Syria, with France launching its first strikes from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean and the U.S. calling for more international cooperation against the extremists.

While announcing no specific new action, Hollande said he and Obama agreed to "scale up our strikes both in Syria and in Iraq to broaden our scope to strengthen our intelligence sharing regarding the targets."

Both leaders said they would boost support for forces battling ISIL on the ground -- while continuing to rule out any ground campaign.

"France will not intervene militarily on the ground," Hollande said.

Illustrating the leaders' message on tighter cooperation, France said its warplanes had hit an ISIL command center near its key western Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, in a strike led with the U.S. Air Force.

- Influence on Assad -

The talks in Washington came as Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane at the Syrian border threatened to dramatically fan tensions in the volatile region.

The most serious incident involving Russian forces since they entered the conflict in support of President Bashar Al-Assad -- the downing drew a furious response from President Vladimir Putin who accused NATO-member Turkey of "a stab in the back."

Obama and Hollande joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in warning against any escalation.

In a call, Obama and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan "agreed on the importance of de-escalating the situation and pursuing arrangements to ensure that such incidents do not happen again," the White House said.

The U.S. military has backed up Turkey's claim that Turkish pilots warned the Russian jet 10 times -- but failed to get a response -- before shooting it down.

Obama said NATO ally Turkey had a right to defend its airspace -- but also appealed to Russia to engage at the side of the 65 countries battling ISIL in Syria.

"Given Russia's military capabilities and the influence they have on the Assad regime, them cooperating would be enormously helpful in bringing about resolution of the civil war in Syria," Obama said.

"If and when they do, it will make it easier for us to go after ISIL."

- Shuttle diplomacy -

Both Hollande and Obama reiterated their determination to see Assad step down in order to give Syria a chance for peace, with Hollande saying "it should be as soon as possible."

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

Hollande was in Washington as part of a frantic week of shuttle diplomacy as he tries to rally global support for increased strikes against ISIL, which claimed the Paris attacks.

Acting on a French resolution, the UN Security Council last week authorized "all necessary measures" to fight ISIL.

The French leader will hold talks in Paris with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday and with Putin in Moscow on Thursday, before dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the French capital on Sunday.

But the delicate diplomacy around the conflict was thrown brutally off course by the fighter jet downing, as Putin warned of "serious consequences for Russian-Turkish relations."

- Manhunt -

The U.S. government has issued a worldwide travel alert warning American citizens of "increased terrorist threats" in the wake of Islamist attacks in Paris, Mali, Turkey and elsewhere.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/166695/france-us-vow-unity-against-isil

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Hollande arrives in Washington

24 November 2015

President Francois Hollande of France arrived Tuesday for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama on how to confront the threat posed by the ISIL group in the wake of the Paris attacks.

The French president landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside the U.S. capital, and was to go directly to the White House for talks followed by a joint press conference.

Hollande's trip to Washington is part of a frantic week of shuttle diplomacy by the French leader to rally global support to fight ISIL.

Gunmen linked to the group killed 130 people in near simultaneous gun and bomb attacks across Paris on November 13.

Full report at:

http://www.worldbulletin.net/america-canada/166676/canada-wont-make-syrian-refugee-target-by-years-end

 

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/to-check-islamic-state,-focus-is-on-counter-radicalisation/d/105419

 

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