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Islamic World News ( 31 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan suicide bomb blast: 63 killed, over 100 hurt in blast at mosque in Peshawar

New Age Islam News Bureau

31 January 2023

Blast inside a Peshawar mosque killed over 93 people on Monday. (Credit: Getty Images)

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• End systematic persecution of minorities, India tells Pakistan

• Council of Europe criticises Denmark for creating room for anti-Muslim acts

• ISIS-Khorasan increases its attacks on Chinese Projects in Afghanistan

• Iran worried over Chinas recent embrace of Saudi Arabia

• ‘Silence is unacceptable’ in response to victims of atrocities, UN experts tell Libyan authorities

• US Secretary Blinken urges Israelis, Palestinians not to ‘inflame tensions’

• Bomb hits bus transporting police in south Syria wounding 15

• Israeli raid on Iran facility: Officials

 

Pakistan

• Pakistan and Turkey launch joint counter-terrorism drill

• What’s behind the Pakistani Taliban’s insurgency?

• UAE president's trip to Islamabad postponed due to 'extreme weather conditions'

• Imran Khan to contest all 33 parliamentary seats in upcoming Pakistan bypolls

• Pakistan Church leaders deplore Quran burning

• Senators demand joint sitting of parliament on terror resurgence

• ‘Cruel’ Peshawar attack widely condemned

• Pakistan expects no US interference in Russia ties

• Appeals for blood donation after Peshawar blast termed uncalled for

• 4 ‘militants’ killed in twin KP operations

• Terrorist involved in intelligence officers’ martyrdom killed in Kurram IBO

• Pakistan urges diplomatic resolution of Ukraine conflict to ward off negative economic impact

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India

• ‘India (Adani) attacked’, Abu Dhabi to the rescue

Muslim Leader Of Dawood Bohra Calls For Ban On Female Genital Mutilation, Writes Letter To PM Modi

• Surprised over morcha against ‘love jihad’: Shiv Sena

• ‘Will bring Muslims in development agenda of Modi govt’

• Anti-conversion laws: SC to hear on Friday Jamiat plea for clubbing pleas in HCs

• Muslim leader questions delay in action against Mahant Raju Das

• Uorfi slams Kangana for drawing line between Hindu & Muslim actors

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Europe

• Ex-politicians who converted to Islam in Netherlands slam double standards against Muslims

• UN chief condemns 'abhorrent' suicide bombing at Pakistani mosque

• UK police face calls to prosecute Iranian accused of promoting terrorism

• Muslim family racially attacked in eastern Germany

• Berlin calls on Israel, Palestinians to defuse tensions

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South Asia

• Afghans urge international support amid Taliban bans

• UN: Taliban Ban On Women Aid Workers Is Potential Death Blow

• US seeks consensus against Afghan Taliban after deviation from Doha deal

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Southeast Asia

• EU is not Islamophobic, says bloc's ambassador

• Disheartening that Malaysian Muslims have to defend their religion in their own country

• March 20 hearing if King’s emergency decree can be challenged

• Appointment of Anwar’s daughter as senior economic and finance adviser sparks controversy in Malaysia

• Indonesian Muslims protest Quran burning in Sweden

• Swedish flag burnt in Jakarta amid Turkey Nato row

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Africa

• Muslim leaders protest alleged rape of woman in Ibadan mosque

• Burkina Faso says 28 killed in 2 attacks by armed assailants

• Tunisia president blames hatred of parliament for low turnout in elections

• Herders in Ethiopia forced to give up their nomadic existence

• South Sudan optimistic papal visit will bring peace

• Somali court hands wife of Daesh/ISIS ringleader 8 years in prison

• Tunisia opposition calls for united front against President Saied following low election turnout

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North America

• NYC considers renaming Harlem street after controversial Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad

• US says 'horrific' Pakistan mosque attack 'indefensible'

• Blinken stresses countering Iran, affirms need for two-state solution to Netanyahu

• US again issues warning of possible terrorist attacks against tourists in Turkey

• Quebec calls for Canada's anti-Islamophobia representative to resign

• US 'had no hand' in drone attack on Iran military site: Report

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Arab World

• ‘Exciting, overwhelming’: Officials and visitors hail Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah

• Saudi crown prince receives phone call from Putin

• Saudi project clears 1,081 Houthi mines in Yemen

• Saudi Arabia condemns suicide attack on Pakistan mosque

• Cluster munitions continue to claim lives in Syria

• US Secretary of State meets Egypt’s Sisi during regional tour

• Syria censures botched Israeli drone strike on defense facility in central Iran

• Presidential election key to resolution of Lebanon’s crises, senior Hezbollah official says

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Mideast

• Iran Summons Ukrainian Envoy over Zelensky Aide's Threatening Remarks

• Iran's Human Right Chief in Iraq to Pursue Gen. Soleimani Assassination Case

• Iranian, Russian Banks Ink MoU to Broaden Cooperation

• Iran Blames German Chancellor for Standing on Wrong Side of History

• Iran Underlines Unconditional Support for Palestinians Amid Israeli Armed Crackdown

• Iran: US Taxpayers' Money Not to Avert Israel's Fate Amid Domestic Crises

• Israeli troops shoot Palestinian man in West Bank ahead of Blinken visit

• Palestinian legal center files objection to plans to build US embassy in Jerusalem on illegally confiscated land

• Israel’s Ben-Gvir threatens Palestinians with death penalty by ‘electric chair’

• Iran military facility works on hypersonic missiles: Ex-Mossad chief

• Hamas captures Israeli spy drone, extracts ‘sensitive information’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/pakistan-suicide-bomb-blast-mosque-peshawar/d/129003

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Pakistan suicide bomb blast: 63 killed, over 100 hurt in blast at mosque in Peshawar

Jan 31, 2023

Blast inside a Peshawar mosque killed over 93 people on Monday. (Credit: Getty Images)

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NEW DELHI: At least 63 people were killed and over 100 others injured when a suicide attacker blew himself up at a mosque in Pakistan's Peshawar on Monday.

Also See: Pakistan Bomb Blast Live Updates

Officials said the blast occurred near the Police Lines area around 1.40 pm when the Zuhr prayers were being offered.

Security officials inspect the site of a mosque blast inside the police headquarters in Peshawar on January 30, 2023. At least 17 people were killed in a mosque blast at a police headquarters in Pakistan, a (1).

Most of the casualties were policemen as the mosque is located within a compound that also serves as the city's police headquarters.

Pakistan Taliban claims responsibility

Sarbakaf Mohmand, a commander for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter. The main spokesman for the militant group was not immediately available for comment.

A brother of the slain commander of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Umar Khalid Khurasani claimed that the suicide attack was part of the revenge attack for his brother who was killed last August in Afghanistan.

High-security zone

According to security officials, the suicide attacker was present in the front row during the prayers when he exploded himself, injuring dozens of people offering prayers. "A portion of the building had collapsed and several people are believed to be under it," police official Sikandar Khan said.

The compound is located in a high-security zone in Peshawar, along with several government buildings, and it was unclear how the bomber managed to penetrate so deep inside the zone unnoticed.

Police officers clear the way for ambulances leaving after carrying wounding peo....

The injured are being shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, the officials said.

Hospital sources said 23 of those injured were in a critical condition. The toll is likely to go up.

An emergency has been imposed in the locality and the area has been cordoned off.

PM Sharif vows stern action

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif condemned the bombing, and ordered authorities to ensure the best possible medical treatment to the victims. He also vowed “stern action" against those who were behind the attack.

He later travelled to Peshawar to meet the wounded and held a meeting with officials to assess the security situation in the region.

Strongly condemn the terrorist suicide attack in police lines mosque Peshawar during prayers. My prayers &condolen… https://t.co/LMkgUAD8Rg

— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) 1675069990000

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned the bombing, calling it a “terrorist suicide attack" in a Twitter posting. “My prayers and condolences go to victims families," said the ex-premier. “It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism.”

Rise in terror attacks

Peshawar is the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan and has been the scene of frequent militant attacks.

The Pakistani Taliban, are known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, and are separate group but also a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, who seized power in neighboring Afghanistan in August 2021 as US and Nato troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.

The TTP has waged an insurgency in Pakistan over the past 15 years, fighting for stricter enforcement of Islamic laws in the country, the release of their members who are in government custody and a reduction of Pakistani military presence in the country’s former tribal regions.

Pakistan has witnessed a surge in militant attacks since November when the Pakistani Taliban ended their cease-fire with government forces.

Cash-strapped Pakistan is currently also facing one of the worst economic crisis and is seeking a crucial installment of $1.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund — part of its $6 billion bailout package — to avoid default. Talks with the IMF on reviving the bailout have stalled in the past months.

Source:TimesOfIndia

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/28-killed-150-hurt-in-blast-at-mosque-in-pakistans-peshawar/articleshow/97443534.cms

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End systematic persecution of minorities, India tells Pakistan

Jan 31, 2023

India slams Pakistan at UNHC

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NEW DELHI: India called upon Pakistan Monday to end systemic persecution of minorities, misuse of blasphemy laws and forced conversions of minority community girls. In its statement at a review of Pakistan’s record by a UN Human Rights Council working group, India said Pakistan’s human rights record had deteriorated drastically.

India also asked Pakistan to stop targeting political dissidents and legitimate political activities in Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and to take credible, verifiable, irreversible and sustained action against terrorism emanating from territories under its control. “Minorities in Pakistan, including Muslim minorities like Shias, Hazaras and Ahmadiyya, have been subjected to sectarian violence and systemic persecution. People in regions such as Baluchistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have continued to suffer political repression, persecution and denial of their rights,” said Indian diplomat Pawan Badhe.

“Extrajudicial abductions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and tortures have been used by Pakistan as tools of State Policy to target human rights defenders, political activists and journalists,” he added.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/end-systematic-persecution-of-minorities-india-tells-pakistan/articleshow/97466558.cms

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Council of Europe criticises Denmark for creating room for anti-Muslim acts

Muslim protesters demonstrate against Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan, who set fire to a copy of the Quran in Stockholm, in Indonesia's Bogor on January 27, 2023. (AFP)

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Hate speech in Denmark benefited from "police protection" under "the name of freedom of expression," said the latest report of the Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission ECRI.

The report was released on Monday amid furore over recent Islamophobic acts by Danish-Swedish politician Rasmus Paludan, leader of the far-right StramKurs (Hard Line) Party, who burned copies of the Quran in both Denmark and Sweden.

"As regards hate speech, ECRI regrets to note that Muslims in Denmark, including guest workers and persons who have been granted asylum, are increasingly depicted, including by politicians of different political parties, as a threat to Danish values and culture," said the ECRI's 2022 Denmark report.

"In the worst manifestation of this trend, one political party has made it its main political platform to advocate the 'cleansing' of Muslims and to threaten, scorn and insult Muslims and Black people in their own neighbourhoods, with almost no counter speech following from other politicians, and often under police protection provided in the name of freedom of expression," it stated.

Underlining that Paludan's party is entitled to significant public financial support, the report urged cutting off “all financial and other forms of support by public bodies from political parties and other organisations that use hate speech or fail to sanction its use by their members."

It also warned that "the strong focus" on freedom of speech may result in a lack of sufficient action against hate speech among pupils and students in schools.

The ECRI encouraged Danish authorities to strengthen the training of teachers and other educational professionals to address the matter.

Source: TRTWorld

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

https://www.trtworld.com/europe/council-of-europe-criticises-denmark-for-creating-room-for-anti-muslim-acts-65029

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ISIS-Khorasan increases its attacks on Chinese Projects in Afghanistan

By Fidel Rahmati

January 30, 2023

Representative Image

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Since August 2021, China has increased its diplomatic relations and economic investments with Afghanistan’s de facto government. In the recent past, Islamic State-Khorasan and other terror outlets in Afghanistan have targeted these significant investments.

Sources reported that an attack on Chinese projects is considered a kind of retaliation for the cruel behaviour of the Chinese government against the Uyghur Muslim population in China.

Earlier in January, the Chinese company- China Petroleum Economics and Information Research Center (CPEIC) signed the extraction agreement of the Amu oil field with the Taliban-ruled government.

The investment amount on the said project would be more than USD 700 million, with a 20% share of Afghanistan within three years. This deal is a significant investment in Afghanistan’s since retook of power by the current regime in the country.

In December, the terror attack in a Chinese-run hotel resulted in the injury of several Chinese nationals, forcing them to leave the country immediately; it has been said that ISIS-K claimed the attack. Subsequently, the attack on Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry was thought to be targeting a Chinese delegation was also claimed by the same group.

The Chinese officials immediately shared their concerns with the Taliban’s government to ensure the complete security of Chines nationals, institutions and projects in the country.

On the contrary, the security of Chinese projects, citizens, and companies remain a challenge in the country. However, Afghanistan’s security institutions always ensure the security of Chinese citizens and investors. They strongly reiterated that they would not allow any groups or entities to use Afghan soil to launch operations against such targets.

Source: Khaama Press

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

https://www.khaama.com/isis-khorasan-increases-its-attacks-on-chinese-projects-in-afghanistan/

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Iran worried over Chinas recent embrace of Saudi Arabia

30th January 2023

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Photo: Twitter)

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Tehran: Iran which is facing its lowest level of domestic legitimacy and international acceptance, seems to have lost China as well, reported The Jakarta Post.

Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia caused a shock for Iran. It has left Tehran wondering whether China is changing its priorities in the region, especially in the aftermath of declining American presence.

This visit is being seen as a turning point in Beijing’s foreign policy toward the Persian Gulf states, reported The Jakarta Post.

Although China maintains close relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia, the latter has emerged as one of Beijing’s leading strategic partners in the region.

Tehran is worried about China’s recent embrace of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations as Iran believes that China has taken a neutral stand in Iran’s rivalry with Saudi Arabia in the Gulf region.

The Chinese leader published a joint statement with the government of Saudi Arabia in which he asked Iran to cooperate in the controversial nuclear case and avoid interfering in the affairs of neighbouring countries.

To make matters worse, Xi signed another statement with the governments of the Gulf Cooperation Council supporting the United Arab Emirates in its dispute with Iran over three islands, reported The Jakarta Post.

Notably, Iran and China have signed a 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership agreement. China is also due to discuss additional economic cooperation, but for the most part, the arrangements remain vague as geopolitical tensions rise, reported The Jakarta Post.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been the largest crude oil supplier to China since 2020. China is dependent upon Saudi Arabia for its energy needs and Beijing is making all efforts to have a long-term relationship with Riyadh to address this need.

Iran is asking “compensation” for the joint statement signed between China and the GCC nations, reported The Jakarta Post.

China’s relationships with Saudi Arabia and Iran are very complex. China has to carefully manage its relations with both countries to maintain neutrality to protect its trade interest in the region.

However, If China crosses its limit, it will have to face retaliation from the Islamic world, reported The Jakarta Post.

Most Muslim countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, are aware of the conditions of the Muslims in Xinjiang, but have refrained from joining the US crusade against China to militarize Xinjiang Muslims.

The reciprocity of the Arab world toward China on Xinjiang can be gauged by the recent visit by a delegation of Muslim scholars and clerics from developing nations who voiced support for China’s policies in the far-western region.

The group of more than 30 Islamic representatives from 14 countries — including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Serbia, South Sudan, and Indonesia — arrived in Xinjiang to visit the cities of Urumqi, Turpan, Altay and Kashgar and to meet with government officials.

Al Nuaimi, chairman of the UAE-based World Muslim Communities Council, who was part of the delegation was quoted by state media as praising efforts by the Chinese government to eliminate terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang as the correct way to protect China’s national interests, reported The Jakarta Post.

China has detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will over the past few years in a large network of what the state calls “reeducation camps”.

In the aftermath of China taking sides in Gulf politics, the Xinjiang affair can be used against its interests. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and UAE have so far refrained from even mentioning the issue and respecting China’s national sovereignty over it. China is doing all it can to fix the UAE declaration against Tehran, reported The Jakarta Post.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has understood its mistake and is trying to do damage control. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the reaction of the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who said, “The islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb in the Persian Gulf are inseparable parts of the pure land of Iran and belong to this motherland forever”.

Beijing understands the complexity of the region and tries to walk a tightrope as long as it can sell its products and expand its influence within the Muslim world.

Source: Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/iran-worried-over-chinas-recent-embrace-of-saudi-arabia-2514112/

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‘Silence is unacceptable’ in response to victims of atrocities, UN experts tell Libyan authorities

EPHREM KOSSAIFY

January 30, 2023

Mohammad Auajjar, chairperson of the UN’s Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya. (Screenshot/UNTV)

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NEW YORK CITY: The UN Human Rights Council on Monday called on Libyan authorities to step up their efforts to ensure justice for the large numbers of victims of long-standing human rights violations in the country, and provide compensation for them and their families.

These include cases of torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, human trafficking and internal displacement, along with families who have been denied access to mass graves and morgues containing the remains of relatives.

“Victims and their families are impatient for authorities to provide timely information on investigations and ensure the perpetrators are held accountable,” said Mohammad Auajjar, chairperson of the UN’s Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya, which was established by the HRC in June last year to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in the country since 2016.

He was speaking following a visit by his team to the North African country, where they heard testimonies from the relatives of victims. Many of them had traveled from the cities of Benghazi, Sirte, Murzuk, Sabha and Misrata to meet the representatives of the mission.

“The families of these victims have waited far too long for justice,” said Auajjar. “Libyan authorities owe it to them to share information about their loved ones, to meet them and give them answers. Silence is unacceptable.

“We, too, have asked repeatedly for answers to the status of multiple investigations concerning serious human rights violations but to date there has been no satisfactory response.”

Members of the mission were supposed to visit Sebha, the capital of the southern Fezzan region, to meet victims of human rights violations but they were denied access by local authorities. People traffickers have transported huge numbers of migrants from Niger, Chad and Sudan to Europe via Sebha.

The team’s experts also expressed regret that they were unable to meet the attorney general and ask about the testimonies of victims, which he has a mandate to investigate. In addition, Libyan authorities denied the team access to prisons and detention centers across the country.

ChalokaBeyani, an expert in international law, said: “Arbitrary detention in Libya has become pervasive as a tool of political repression and control, which explains why thousands of persons are deprived of their liberty, often in poor conditions, without due process or access to justice.”

Lawyer Tracy Robinson from Jamaica, who is a member of the fact-finding mission, said: “The state authorities we met told us of their efforts to strengthen the rule of law but these efforts have not produced justice for the victims and their families.”

The UN team also called for the immediate release of Iftikhar Boudra, who was detained in Benghazi four years ago after making critical comments on social media about militarization in eastern Libya. She is reportedly critically ill and has been denied visits from her family for months.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241786/middle-east

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US Secretary Blinken urges Israelis, Palestinians not to ‘inflame tensions’

30 January ,2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials as part of his three-day visit to the Middle East.

Blinken was in Egypt’s capital Cairo earlier where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The officials held talks on different issues including efforts to de-escalate tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

After landing in Tel Aviv, Blinken called on Israelis and Palestinians not to inflame tensions amid one of the deadliest recent surges of violence in the decades-long conflict.

“It’s the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them,” the top US diplomat said, ahead of his talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid concern at home and abroad over the policies of Netanyahu’s new right-wing government.

He is also expected to hold talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

After arriving in Egypt on Sunday, Blinken said he wanted to strengthen Washington’s “strategic partnership” with Egypt, a major recipient of US military aid that has helped mediate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Blinken’s meeting with Sisi also addressed regional issues including attempts to relaunch a political transition in Sudan and to break the deadlock between rival factions in Libya, according to a statement from US State Department spokesman Ned Price.

He then spoke in a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, where he said that a two-state solution is the only path to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Blinken also added that he will encourage parties in Israel and the occupied West Bank to calm things down and de-escalate tensions.

During the news conference, Blinken touched on the situation with Iran saying that it is important to continue to work against Iran’s actions in the region.

“For the United States as well as for many of our partners in the region, it is very important that we continue to deal with and work against, as necessary, the various actions that Iran is engaged in throughout the region and beyond,” Blinken said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/30/US-Secretary-of-State-Blinken-meets-Egypt-s-president-in-first-leg-of-Mideast-tour

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Bomb hits bus transporting police in south Syria wounding 15

30 January ,2023

A roadside bomb targeting a bus transporting Syrian police in the country’s south Monday wounded 15 of the officers, the Interior Ministry said.

The ministry said in a terse statement that the officers were returning to the capital Damascus from the southern province of Daraa. The bomb exploded on the north-south highway near the town of Khirbet Ghazaleh.

It said seven officers were seriously wounded.

Such attacks are not uncommon in Syria, where a nearly 12-year-old conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

In October, a bus bombing killed 18 Syrian soldiers in a Damascus suburb and wounded at least 27 others.

Similar attacks over the years have killed and wounded dozens of soldiers in government-held parts of the war-torn country. In March last year, militants attacked a military bus near the historic town of Palmyra in central Syria, killing 13 troops and wounding 18 others.

Syrian authorities usually blame members of the ISIS group who have been active in southern and central Syria, despite their formal defeat in Syria in 2019.

The leader of ISIS, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in battle with Syrian opposition fighters in Daraa province in mid-October.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/30/Bomb-hits-bus-transporting-police-in-south-Syria-wounding-15

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Israeli raid on Iran facility: Officials

31.01.23

A drone attack on an Iranian military facility that resulted in a large explosion in the centre of the city of Isfahan on Saturday was the work of the Mossad, Israel’s premier intelligence agency, according to senior intelligence officials who were familiar with the dialogue between Israel and the US about the incident.

The facility’s purpose was not clear, and neither was how much damage the strike caused. But Isfahan is a major centre of missile production, research and development for Iran, including the assembly of many of its Shahab medium-range missiles, which can reach Israel and beyond.

Weeks ago, American officials publicly identified Iran as the primary supplier of drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine, and they said they believed Russia was also trying to obtain Iranian missiles to use in the conflict.

But US officials said they believed this strike was prompted by Israel’s concerns about its own security, not the potential for missile exports to Russia.

The strike came just as secretary of state Antony J. Blinken was beginning a visit to Israel, his first since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office as Prime Minister.

Source: TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/israeli-raid-on-iran-facility-officials/cid/1913163

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Pakistan

 

Pakistan and Turkey launch joint counter-terrorism drill

January 30, 2023

KARACHI: The opening ceremony of the Pakistan-Turkey Joint Exercise, ATTATURK-XII 2023, took place today at Tarbella. The national anthems of both nations were played at the beginning of the event.

The exercise involves troops from the Turkish special forces and the Pakistan Special Services Group (SSG).

The two-week exercise is aimed at improving counter-terrorism techniques, with a focus on compound clearance, cave clearance, sniper training, counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) training, and combat medical care.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/30/pakistan-and-turkey-launch-joint-counter-terrorism-drill/

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What’s behind the Pakistani Taliban’s insurgency?

January 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: When a suicide bomber struck a mosque inside a police compound in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Monday, suspicion immediately fell on the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP.

In a post on Twitter, a commander for the group, Sarbakaf Mohmand, claimed responsibility for one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in recent months.

But more than 10 hours later, TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khurasani distanced the group from the bombing, saying it was not its policy to target mosques or other religious sites, adding that those taking part in such acts could face punitive action under TTP’s policy. His statement did not address why a TTP commander had claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The TTP’s denial also came after the Afghan Foreign Ministry condemned attacks on worshippers as contrary to the teachings of Islam.

Relations already are strained between Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers, who are sheltering the TTP leadership and fighters.

A look at the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which has waged an insurgency in the country for 15 years:

Why is the TTP fighting an insurgency?

Angered by Pakistan’s cooperation with Washington in the war on terrorism, the TTP was officially set up by Pakistani militants in 2007 when different outlawed groups agreed to work together against Pakistan and support the Afghan Taliban, who were fighting US and NATO forces.

The TTP seeks stricter enforcement of Islamic laws, the release of its members in government custody, and a reduction in Pakistani military presence in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province bordering Afghanistan that it has long used as a base.

The TTP has stepped up attacks on Pakistani soldiers and police since November, when it unilaterally ended a cease-fire with the government after the failure of months of talks, hosted by Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers in Kabul. The TTP has repeatedly warned police not to take part in operations against its fighters in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

What is the relationship between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban?

The TTP is separate from but a close ally of the Afghan Taliban, and that group’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021 emboldened the TTP, which shares the group’s ideology.

TTP fighters used to hide in Pakistan’s tribal northwest and also had sanctuary in Afghanistan, but they mostly lived a fugitive existence.

However, the Afghan Taliban started openly sheltering the TTP when they came to power. The Afghan Taliban also released TTP leaders and fighters who had been arrested by previous administrations in Kabul.

The Taliban have repeatedly said they will not allow anyone, including the TTP, to use Afghan soil for attacks against any country, including Pakistan. But Pakistani officials say there is a disconnect between the words and actions of the Afghan Taliban, who could stop the TTP from launching attacks inside the country but are failing to do so.

The Pakistani Taliban have expressed their allegiance to the head of the Afghan Taliban, said Abdullah Khan, a senior defense analyst and managing director of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies.

He added, however, that they have their own agenda and strategy.

TTP’s operations have largely been aimed at targeting Pakistani forces, similar to the Afghan Taliban’s agenda of ousting foreign forces from the country.

Khan fears that Pakistan will see a surge in militant violence in the coming weeks and months.

Has viollence increased recently?

Pakistan has seen innumerable militant attacks in the past two decades, but there has been an uptick since November, when the TTP ended a cease-fire with the government that had lasted for months.

The Pakistani Taliban regularly carry out shootings or bombings, especially in the rugged and remote northwestern Pakistan, a former TTP stronghold.

The violence has raised fears among residents of a possible military operation in the former tribal regions of North and South Waziristan, now two districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241896/world

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UAE president's trip to Islamabad postponed due to 'extreme weather conditions'

Jan 30, 2023

ISLAMABAD: United Arab Emirates President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is on a visit to Pakistan, has postponed his one-day trip to Islamabad due to "extreme weather conditions," the Prime Minister's Office announced on Monday. The leader of the oil-rich Gulf nation was scheduled to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here to discuss bilateral ties and broaden his country's investment footprint in the cash-strapped country.

Islamabad's sky was overcast with intermittent rains accompanied by gusty winds lashing it since Sunday night, which apparently made it impossible for the royal aircraft to land.

"Due to weather conditions, President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan's visit to the friendly Islamic Republic of Pakistan scheduled for today has been postponed to a later date," according to the PMO statement.

The PMO said the visit would be rescheduled with new dates being announced soon.

Sharif said the "guest's safety and protection were dearer to him and a risk could not be taken in extreme weather conditions".

Prime Minister Sharif and members of the federal cabinet were poised to welcome the UAE President at the Pakistan Air Force's Nur Khan Air Base on Monday.

The UAE President arrived in Pakistan on January 25 in Rahim Yar Khan in the country's Punjab province for a private visit, during which he briefly met Sharif for talks.

On his arrival in Pakistan, Sheikh Nahyan hinted that his government was planning to broaden its investment footprint in cash-strapped Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Sharif travelled to the UAE to ramp up bilateral economic and trade ties, days after the country's powerful Army chief General Asim Munir concluded his trip to the Gulf emirate.

Pakistan is facing the worst economic crisis as its reserves have dropped to a critical level of USD 3.7 billion and need urgent support to avoid default.

The IMF is the only forum that can save the country.

But many people wonder about the future of the country without any long-term planning in sight to tackle similar economic situations.

Pakistan secured a USD 6 billion IMF bailout in 2019.

It was topped up with another USD 1.1 billion in 2022 to help the country following the unprecedented floods.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/uae-presidents-trip-to-islamabad-postponed-due-to-extreme-weather-conditions/articleshow/97441640.cms

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Imran Khan to contest all 33 parliamentary seats in upcoming Pakistan bypolls

Jan 30, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan will contest all 33 parliamentary seats in the bypolls to be held in March, his party has announced. Addressing a press conference here on Sunday evening, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice-chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the decision was taken during the party's core committee meeting.

"Imran Khan will be PTI's sole candidate in all 33 parliamentary seats. The decision was taken in the party's core committee meeting which was presided over by Khan at Zaman Park Lahore on Sunday," Qureshi said.

On Friday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that bypolls to 33 seats of the National Assembly will held on March 16.

Khan's party had quit the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan parliament, en masse following his ouster from power in April last in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence.

However, Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf did not accept the resignations and said he needed to individually verify if the lawmakers were resigning of their own accord. Last month, the speaker accepted the resignations of 35 PTI lawmakers, after which the ECP de-notified them.

Subsequently, the speaker also accepted another 35 (and ECP de-notified them), and the remaining 43 resignations of PTI lawmakers after Khan announced returning to the National Assembly to put Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to the test of a vote of confidence.

The ECP has yet to de-notify 43 PTI lawmakers. If the ECP de-notifies the remaining 43 PTI lawmakers, Khan's party would be virtually wiped out of the National Assembly.

In October last year, Khan contested eight parliamentary seats after the speaker accepted 11 resignations of the PTI lawmakers. Khan won six of them.

The federal coalition of nine parties (Pakistan Democratic Movement) has said it might not take part in the bypolls. If the PDM sticks to its decision the PTI may grab all seats without any problem.

Of the 33 bypolls in lower house seats, 12 will be held in Punjab province, eight in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, three in Islamabad, nine in Sindh, and one in Balochistan.

Earlier this month, Khan's PTI also dissolved the provincial assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces where his party was in power, to push the Shehbaz Sharif government to call for snap polls.

The PTI has already moved the court against the caretaker chief minister governor for not giving the election date in Punjab. After the dissolution of an assembly, the caretaker setup has to hold polls within 90 days under the constitution.
Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/imran-khan-to-contest-all-33-parliamentary-seats-in-upcoming-bypolls/articleshow/97431623.cms

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Pakistan Church leaders deplore Quran burning

By Kamran Chaudhry

January 30, 2023

Church leaders in Pakistan have supported Muslims in the country, condemning the burning of copies of the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Thousands of Muslims rallied in Pakistan following the Friday prayers on Jan. 27 to denounce the desecration of the Muslim Holy Book in three separate incidents by far-right European leaders.

At least 12,000 people protested in the city of Lahore alone shouting slogans as part of a nationwide protest against the desecration of the Islamic holy book.  

“We lament the desecration and burning of the Quran in Sweden, and demand its government to bring the culprit to justice,” said Father James Channan, director of the Dominican Peace Center in Lahore.

The priest was addressing the Jan. 25 Interfaith Peace Conference in the capital Islamabad.

At the meeting, Pakistan president ArifAlvi, urged the international community to take necessary measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Muslims across Asia began protesting after reports of two incidents of Quran desecration began to emerge.

Reports said earlier this month, far-right activist Rasmus Paludan, who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenship received police permission to protest in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, where he burned the Quran.

A few days later,  far-right Dutch leader Edwin Wagensveld of Netherlands, tore pages of the Quran near the Dutch parliament and stomped on them.

On Jan. 27 Paludan repeated the desecration in front of a mosque in Copenhagen near the Turkish Embassy.

He said he will continue it every Friday until Sweden is admitted into NATO, media reports said.

Father Bonnie Mendes, the former regional coordinator of Caritas Asia, expressed sadness over the untoward incidents in Europe.

“We have to build bridges and inter-faith harmony. These incidents are very unfortunate. We must all condemn these incidents in the strongest possible terms,” he told UCA News.

Insult to Islam and its holy people is a burning issue in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where violence against minorities increases after desecrations abroad.

The Arab and Islamic worlds have condemned the burning. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Jan. 29 tweeted to express his displeasure over the third incident of Quran's desecration.

“…The need for global unity to fight Islamophobia couldn't be more urgent than it is now.,” he stated.

During the inter-religious meeting in Islamabad, president Alvi gave away shields to two Christian leaders as a mark of appreciation for their work to promote interfaith peace and harmony in Pakistan.

Source: UCANews

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

https://www.ucanews.com/news/pakistan-church-leaders-deplore-quran-burning/100206

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Senators demand joint sitting of parliament on terror resurgence

Iftikhar A. Khan

January 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Senators on Monday raised the alarm over the rising tide of terrorism, price hike and shortage of wheat flour in the country.

Taking part in a debate on a surge in terrorist attacks, with a particular reference to the Peshawar blast, they observed that a joint sitting of parliament should be convened to thrash out a way forward to address the issue.

Members from both sides of the aisle spoke about the whopping increase in the prices of petroleum products and the alarming economic situation.

The Jamaat-i-Islami’s Mushtaq Ahmad called for summoning a joint sitting of parliament, suggesting that an in-camera session be convened where the authorities concerned should be held answerable for the prevalent law and order situation.

Upper house witnesses heated debate over increasing attacks, petrol price hike, flour shortage; minister urges major reforms to eradicate terror

He said since the poor nation was giving away billions to the armed forces, the judiciary and the police, it has a right to ask the security institutions to explain why such incidents were happening and why the intelligence agencies were unable to pre-empt them.

“The sleeper cells of terrorists were unearthed, but who will eliminate them and when,” he wondered.

Had the Bannu jailbreak, the kidnapping of a major and a DSP and the CTD Bannu attack been probed, the Peshawar blast would never have occurred, the JI lawmaker insisted.

Endorsing the call for the joint session, Senator Fida Muhammad Khan asked how long the Pakhtuns would continue to carry coffins.

He claimed that there was a link between the series of terrorist attacks and the conduct of elections.

Senator Rubina Khalid said that the political parties, whose ministers had backchannel communications with terrorists, paid extortion money and made compromises with them, should introspect.

At the outset, Leader of Opposition Dr Shahzad Waseem said the government’s decision to increase the petrol price by Rs35 per litre came like a bombshell for the citizens. The irony is that this would not stop and the government would continue to give such bitter pills, he claimed.

He pointed out that the government had already indicated to increase the gas and electricity tariffs while a mini-budget is also being introduced to levy new taxes amounting to Rs200 billion.

“How long will you keep on killing the poor?” he questioned.

Mr Waseem chided PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif for merely expressing his displeasure every time fuel prices are increased. He also criticised the government over continuing devaluation of rupee against the dollar.

He cautioned that the ruling coalition would be violating the Constitution if it delayed the election of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. He said the system would work only if the Constitution was followed.

“There is no other way to take the country forward expect for holding free and fair elections,” he concluded.

Minister for Law Azam Nazeer Tarar said major reforms would be needed to root out the menace of terrorism.

Lashing out at the PTI, he said the party itself had remained involved in violation of Constitution and therefore it should not give lessons of abiding by the sacred document.

“The destruction that you are seeing today is a result of the ‘dictatorship’ of last four years (when PTI was in power),” he said.

MrTarar appealed to the PTI to have mercy on the state and sit with them in parliament and talk to them to pull the country out of the crisis.

During the speech of PML-N’s Syed Asif Kirmani, Senator Haji Hidayatullah of ANP passed some remarks against the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, but after strong protest by MrKirmani and others he retracted his words.

Haji Hidayat not only apologised to MrKirmani and other senators, but also praised the Quaid-i-Azam as a great leader.

Many members expressed concern over the shortage of wheat flour across the country.

In response, the Minister for National Food Security Tariq Basheer Cheema said the Centre had met the demands of the all the provinces, adding it was the provinces’ duty to ensure uninterrupted supply of the staple.

Legislation

The Senate passed “The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2022” and “The Federal Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2022”. The first bill seeks to stop individuals and factory owners from throwing any amount of untreated wet waste directly into the rivers.

The other bill seeks to provide powers to the academic council to prioritise practical learning, requiring all students to take part in some sort of internship experience.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1734513/senators-demand-joint-sitting-of-parliament-on-terror-resurgence

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‘Cruel’ Peshawar attack widely condemned

January 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: As a suicide attack on a mosque in Peshawar sent shockwaves through the country, a number of politicians from across the spectrum denounced the terror act and expressed solidarity with the victims of the gruesome bombing.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who also visited Peshawar shortly after Monday’s brazen attack, said the pain of the grieving families cannot be described in words.

“My message to the perpetrators of today’s despicable incident is that you cannot underestimate the resolve of our people,” he said in a statement after coming back from Peshawar. “The sheer scale of the human tragedy is unimaginable,” he said, adding that terrorism is Pakistan’s “foremost national security challenge”.

“I strongly condemn the heinous and cowardly blast that has taken place in Peshawar mosque,” President ArifAlvi said, adding that the culprits will be found and punished. “Condolences to families who have lost an innocent member and prayers for injured. Terrorism must be buried forever,” he tweeted.

While condemning the suicide attack, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that the federal government was assisting the KP administration in the probe pertaining to the deadly bombing. He said the incident was being thoroughly investigated.

According to the state-run APP, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and the chairperson of PPP vowed that terrorists and their facilitators would be taken to task for their role in the deadly bombing. He stressed implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) to eliminate terrorism. Mr Bhutto-Zardari also condemned the blast from his personal Twitter handle.

Former prime minister Imran Khan said there was a need to equip police and improve intelligence gathering capacities to fight terrorism. “My prayers and condolences go to victims’ families. It is imperative we improve our intelligence gathering & properly equip our police forces to combat the growing threat of terrorism,” he tweeted.

Azad Jammu Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Tanvir Ilyas termed the attack “the worst example of brutality” and termed perpetrators the “enemy of Islam and humanity”. “This [attack] warrants collective and individual efforts by all segments of society to curb the menace of terrorism from the country,” he added.

Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N senior vice president, condemned the terrorist attack in Peshawar in the “strongest terms”, saying her heart goes out to the families of the martyred.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, in a tweet, called for national unity to fight terrorism as he termed the attack on the mosque and worshippers an “extreme form of cruelty”.

MNA Mohsin Dawar blamed the attack on Pakistan’s “flawed Afghan policy”. “The state refuses to abandon its flawed Afghan policy,” he said, demanding that those who continue to support the Taliban needed to be held accountable as well.

The prime minister’s adviser, Amir Maqam, stated that the attack in a high-security zone in the provincial capital needed to be “taken seriously”.

He added that the entire nation came together after the Army Public School attack and the leadership made a decision to nip terrorism in the bud. “Today, the leadership needs to sit together and make a decision [in this regard]. Peace first, then politics,” Mr Maqam informed media persons during his visit to the site of the blast.

PTI leader Shireen Mazari said the blast was the result of “another intelligence failure”.

“Our police are frontline defenders against terrorists, especially in urban areas, and need better resources, including equipment,” the former human rights minister added.

World reaction

Reacting to the Peshawar bombing, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that terrorism, for any reason, was indefensible.

In a brief statement, the chief US diplomat noted that “worshipers at a mosque in Peshawar endured a horrific attack today, which killed and injured many.”

Mr Blinken reiterated the US stance that “terrorism for any reason at any place is indefensible.” He also extended his deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

In a separate statement, the US Embassy in Islamabad assured that “the United States stands with Pakistan in condemning all forms of terrorism.”

The Russian foreign minister also condemned the terrorist attack and called for global cooperation to eliminate terrorism.

UN Secretary-General Anto­nio Guterres denounced the blast, according to AFP.

“The secretary-general strongly condemns the suicide bombing that took place at a mosque in Peshawar in Pakistan earlier today,” said Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief’s spokesman.

“It is particularly abhorrent that such an attack occurred at a place of worship.”

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1734522/cruel-peshawar-attack-widely-condemned

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Pakistan expects no US interference in Russia ties

Syed Irfan Raza

January 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday expressed the hope that the United States would not interfere in growing bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia.

FM Bhutto-Zardari was in Russia on a two-day official visit during which both sides, according to APP, agreed to pursue initiatives to deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields, including education, economy, energy and connectivity.

“As far as interference by other countries are concerned, I expect that they will not interfere in bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia,” the foreign minister said during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. He was replying to a question whether Pakistan has managed to receive guarantees from the US that it will not block the [energy] deal or impose sanctions.

“We absolutely will do whatever is necessary to provide our people they require. The people of Sindh, Balochistan, South Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been devastated by a natural catastrophe and recent flooding have thrown up severe economic challenges and we will do whatever we can to reduce difficulties of poor people of Pakistan,” he added.

Bilawal, Lavrov agree to pursue education, economic and energy cooperation

However, the foreign minister evaded a question in what currency Pakistan would pay for Russian oil.

He said Pakistan could act as a bridge between super powers. “Pakistan sees itself as a bridge builder between super powers as we equally value our relation with the US and Russia.”

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, the situation in Afghanistan and cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) were also discussed during the meeting before the joint presser.

Ukraine conflict

In reply to a question about the Ukraine conflict, Mr Bhutto-Zardari called for resolution of the issue through diplomatic means, saying that developing countries like Pakistan were facing consequences in terms of its economic impact, according to APP.

“We have a firm belief that all conflicts can be resolved peacefully and there are no obstacles which diplomacy cannot surmount. Ukraine conflict is no exception. Developing countries like Pakistan are facing negative consequences of the conflict in terms of economic impact,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said.

He expressed the hope that the strong tradition of diplomacy of Russia would help achieve the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan considered Russia an important player in the West, South and Central Asia, and it would keep up high-level contacts with it.

He said their friendly and detailed discussion encompassed all aspects of bilateral relations and regional matters. He said both countries were celebrating the 75th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic relations and that Pakistan desired to strengthen its cooperation with Russia in the fields of trade, security, defence, counter-terrorism, education, and people-to-people contacts.

He also recalled the summit-level meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand as well as the 8th Inter-Government Commission meeting held in Islamabad focusing on trade, economy, and energy cooperation.

Afghanistan situation

The foreign minister said that Pakistan and Russia had good cooperation on Afghanistan, and wanted to achieve common goals of peace and stability in the war-torn country.

In reply to a question about Russia-Pakistan military cooperation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia was satisfied over its military cooperation with Pakistan. He said the two countries were holding regular military contacts, including joint exercises and military training.

He said the elimination of terrorism from the region was directly linked with Afghanistan, and they had agreed to use the capacities of SCO, particularly its Contact Group on Afghanistan, for the purpose.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1734512/pakistan-expects-no-us-interference-in-russia-ties

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Appeals for blood donation after Peshawar blast termed uncalled for

Ashfaq Yusufzai

January 31, 2023

PESHAWAR: Private organisations on Monday made appeals to people to donate blood despite the fact that Lady Reading Hospital, which received 147 injured persons and 32 dead bodies after police lines mosque bombing, had enough stock to be transfused to the critically-wounded people.

“Soon after the bombing, we saw appeals by private blood banks and welfare organisations that the wounded people were in need of blood. When we reached the hospital, there was no such need and the administration told us that there was enough stock of blood,” Adnan Khan, a student of Edwardes College, told Dawn.

He said that he was accompanied by his three classmates and all were ready to donate blood but the administration said that the hospital blood bank had huge quantity of blood.

The news of blood shortage at the province’s biggest hospital spread like a wildfire and people thronged its blood bank but all were told about the real situation.

Even Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif took to social media and asked PML-N workers and students to donate blood and save lives.

LRH spokesperson says the hospital has enough stock of blood for emergency

LRH spokesperson Mohammad Asim told Dawn that the hospital had been receiving victims of bomb and suicide attacks for the past two decades and had a good quantity of blood to be provided to the seriously-wounded people.

He said that the hospital was transfusing 45,000 pints of blood on average per year to people. He added that the hospital had stock of blood for such massive emergencies.

He said that private blood banks and welfare organisations made hue and cry about scarcity of blood.

He said that they wanted to hold blood collection camps at the hospital but the administration didn’t allow them. He asked the people to ignore such calls as LRH would make official requests to them in case of need.

Mr Asim also praised the local media for professional reporting and avoiding to disturb healthcare providers.

He said that as opposed to their previous experiences when media people rushed to the hospitals and made footage of injured patients, that time the role of journalists was praiseworthy.

He said that journalists waited in the designated corner of the hospital where the administration provided the latest information to them.

Doctors at the hospital, however, said that the VIP visits continued to create disruption in smooth care of patients.

“Doctors and other health professionals remain busy in lifesaving procedures but visits by ministers and politicians create problems,” said a senior surgeon at the accident and emergency department of LRH.

He said that dignitaries should enquire after the health of the victims of bomb and suicide attacks a day after the occurrence.

He added that on the day of occurrence of attacks, the hospital staff remained extremely busy in providing healthcare to victim.

“The entire administration swings into action to provide protocol to the visiting dignitaries during such visits, leaving aside their basic duty of ensuring supervision of their staff and the services being given to the people,” said the surgeon.

He said that the government was providing free treatment to the victims of terrorism acts.

“The VIPs don’t come alone to the hospital but they are accompanied by their staff and political workers. The senior administration officials also accompany them much to the embarrassment of the patients in wards,” he added.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1734503/appeals-for-blood-donation-after-peshawar-blast-termed-uncalled-for

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4 ‘militants’ killed in twin KP operations

Muqaddam Khan | Muhammad Irfan Mughal

January 31, 2023

SWABI/DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Four alleged militants were killed and another surrendered to the police during intelligence-based operations in Swabi and Dera Ismail Khan districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday.

According to Swabi District Police Officer Najamul Hassan, two militants blew themselves up and a third surrendered to police after law enforcement personnel encircled their hideout in ChotaLahor tehsil.

Officials in Swabi said the personnel of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), police and intelligence agencies launched a joint operation after receiving information about the presence of militants in Hund village.

They said the militants opened fire on law enforcers after they were ordered through a megaphone to surrender. The security forces retaliated and during a heavy exchange of fire, two militants blew themselves up with hand grenades, while another surrendered to police.

Two constables were also injured during the encounter. They were identified as Mujibullah and Naseeb Khan and were taken to Bacha Khan Hospital.

In Dera Ismail Khan, two militants were killed during an encounter with security forces in the Loni area of Kulachi tehsil.

According to sources, a search operation was conducted in the area on a tip-off about the presence of militants there. During the operation, the militants opened fire on the security forces. In the retaliatory firing, two militants were killed.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1734517/4-militants-killed-in-twin-kp-operations

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Terrorist involved in intelligence officers’ martyrdom killed in Kurram IBO

January 31, 2023

RAWALPINDI: The security forces on Monday killed a terrorist who martyred two intelligence officers in Khanewal during an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in Kurram District.

According to the official sources, on January 3, 2023, a terrorist named Umar Niazi shot and martyred Naveed Sadiq, the director of a sensitive institution, and Inspector Nasir Abbas in Khanewal.

The intelligence agencies tracked the terrorist day and night, using extreme diligence and advanced technology to nab him before he tried to flee Afghanistan.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/31/terrorist-involved-in-intelligence-officers-martyrdom-killed-in-kurram-ibo/

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Pakistan urges diplomatic resolution of Ukraine conflict to ward off negative economic impact

January 30, 2023

MOSCOW: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday called for the resolution of the Ukraine conflict through diplomatic means saying that developing countries like Pakistan were facing consequences in terms of its economic impact.

“We have a firm belief that all conflicts can be resolved peacefully and there are no obstacles which diplomacy cannot surmount. Ukraine conflict is no exception. Developing countries like Pakistan are facing negative consequences of the conflict in terms of economic impact,” the foreign minister said addressing a joint press conference with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Moscow.

He expressed the hope that the strong tradition of diplomacy of Russia would help achieve the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The foreign minister said Pakistan considered the Russian Federation an important player in the West, South and Central Asia, and would keep up high-level contact with it.

Apprising the media of their meeting, Foreign Minister Bilawal said their “friendly” and “detailed” discussion encompassed all aspects of bilateral relations and regional matters.

He said both countries were celebrating the 75th anniversary of their bilateral diplomatic relations and that Pakistan desired to strengthen its cooperation with Russia in the fields of trade, security, defence, counter-terrorism, education, and people-to-people contacts.

He mentioned the summit-level meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand as well as the 8th Inter-Government Commission held in Islamabad which focused on trade, economy, and energy cooperation.

He said during their meeting, they also discussed bilateral cooperation at multilateral fora, including the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Foreign Minister Bilawal said Pakistan and Russia had “good cooperation” on Afghanistan, and wanted to achieve common goals of peace and stability in the war-torn country.

To a question on Pak-Russia energy cooperation, the foreign minister said the incumbent government was committed to coping with the country’s energy needs.

He said Pakistan valued its cooperation with Russia, the United States, and Europe, and it consistently called for dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes.

In his remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia was satisfied over its military cooperation with Pakistan. Both countries were holding regular military contacts, including joint exercises and military training.

He said the elimination of terrorism from the region was directly linked with Afghanistan, and they had agreed to use the capacities of SCO, particularly its Contact Group on Afghanistan for the purpose.

The Russian foreign minister condemned the terrorist attack in the Peshawar mosque earlier in the day, and called for global cooperation for the elimination of terrorism.

Source: Pakistan Today

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

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2023/01/30/pakistan-urges-diplomatic-resolution-of-ukraine-conflict-to-ward-off-negative-economic-impact/

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India

 

‘India (Adani) attacked’, Abu Dhabi to the rescue

31.01.23

The Adani group has cobbled a plan to rescue the Rs 20,000-crore follow-on public offer (FPO) of Adani Enterprises that seemed to teeter on a precipice after investors showed little appetite for the stock flotation which received bids for around 14 lakh shares, or just over 3 per cent of the 4.55 crore shares on offer.

The issue closes on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company (IHC), which is closely linked to the royal family, announced that it would invest $400 million (around Rs 3,260 crore) in the FPO which has been battered by accusations of shenanigans in the Adani group that were levelled by Hindenburg Research, a US-based short seller, last week.

The Adanis have said the allegations are  “not merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India....”

IHC will pick up 16 per cent of the shares on offer in the FPO.

IHC will be pumping money into the FPO through its subsidiary Green Transmission Investment Holding RSC Ltd. A statement from IHC said this was its first investment of the year. It aims to scale up and diversify its investments locally and internationally, focusing on Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America Markets in 2023.

“Our interest in Adani Group is driven by our confidence and belief in the fundamentals of Adani Enterprises Ltd; we see a strong potential for growth from a long-term perspective and added value to our shareholders,” said IHC chief executive officer Syed BasarShueb.

The Adanis have already raised Rs 5,985 crore from 30 marquee institutional investors ahead of the FPO at the upper end of the Rs 3112-3276 per share price band.

After the commitment from the Abu Dhabi fund, the Adanis have sewn up close to half of the amount that they were planning to raise through the FPO.

The Adanis have been confident from the start that they will be able to raise funds from a clutch of institutions even if retail investors remain spooked by the fact that the Adani Enterprises stock closed on the bourses 7.5 per cent short of the floor price for the FPO.

The Adani Enterprises stock rose 3.93 per cent in Monday’s trading to Rs 2869.85 on the National Stock Exchange and by 4.21 per cent to Rs 2878.50 on the BSE.

Observers said the issue can sail through if it garners at least 90 per cent subscription. If it sinks below that threshold, the Adanis will have the choice to revise the price band and extend the closure date by three days.

This may be unnecessary if the Adanis are able to persuade other institutions, including those in India, to stump up the money.

Market sources say it isn’t unusual for a company or its merchant bankers to begin backroom parleys with a variety of entities during a share flotation at the first sign of trouble.

LIC has already invested Rs 300 crore in the FPO through the anchor book among the domestic institutions. Some reports said the life insurer had indicated that it would not put up any more money in the share float. With Adani group shares falling in the bourses, the LIC counter had also come under pressure because of worries over its exposure to the conglomerate.

The insurer said on Monday that it had an exposure of Rs 36,474.78 crore to the Adani group’s debt and equity, and the amount is less than one per cent of the total investments.

LIC’s total assets under management stood at over Rs41.66 lakh crore as of September 2022.

“Our total holding in the Adani group companies under equity and debt as on date is Rs 36,474.78 crore. This was Rs 35,917.31 crore as of December 31, 2022.  Total purchase value of these equities of the group companies, bought over the past many years, is Rs 30,127 crore and the market value for the same at close of market hours on January 27, 2023, was Rs 56,142 crore,” LIC said in a tweet.

The war of words between Hindenburg Research and the Adani group escalated after the US short seller denounced the Adani group’s 413-pageresponse to its litany of accusations as a blatant attempt to stoke a nationalist narrative while ducking straight answers to the 88 pointed questions that it had lobbed last week.

Source:TelegraphIndia

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

https://www.telegraphindia.com/business/india-adani-attacked-abu-dhabi-to-the-rescue/cid/1913186#

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Muslim Leader Of Dawood Bohra Calls For Ban On Female Genital Mutilation, Writes Letter To PM Modi

31 JAN 2023

A religious leader of the Dawood Bohra sect of the Muslim community has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for a ban on female genital mutilation (FGM), further drawing attention to the immoral practice of khafz (clitoral de-hooding) that is done on minor girls.

According to a report by The Print, in his letter dated 23 January, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin wrote, “I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate my position and unequivocally condemn the practice of FGM. I also call on the government to introduce legislation to ban the practice and make FGM illegal.”

In his letter, he further drew attention to the immoral practice of khafz, which is often done on minor girls without their consent in an "unsafe, unhygienic, and unsanitary" condition without their consent. "This practice has also drawn considerable attention from activists. A few years ago, women from our community came to me, highlighting their legitimate concerns regarding the unhygienic, unsanitary and unsafe conditions under which it is routinely carried out on young girls without their consent and which can lead to lifelong medical complications and trauma,” he wrote in the letter.

He informed that earlier he had appealed to the community to stop the practice of Khafz and wait until the girls reach adulthood where they can consciously choose to undergo the process under safe conditions.

FGM refers to the complete or partial removal of the female external genitalia, on the premise that it will keep their sexual desires under control. However, in his letter, Syedna wrote how khafz has been misreported over the years by the media. Talking about khafz, he wrote, "The khafz procedure is analogous to Clitoral De-Hooding (CDH), which is a medically sanctioned and fairly common procedure, especially in the West. It is not the removal of part of the clitoris as inaccurately reported by some media outlets. The purpose of this procedure is to improve a woman’s sexual health. It is performed by qualified surgeons in a clinical environment," as reported by The Print.

According to WHO, “FGM is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s right to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.”

Source:OutlookIndia

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https://www.outlookindia.com/national/muslim-leader-of-dawood-bohra-calls-for-ban-on-female-genital-mutilation-writes-letter-to-pm-modi-news-258169

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Surprised over morcha against ‘love jihad’: Shiv Sena

30th January 2023

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena (UBT) on Monday took a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party over right-wing groups taking out a march against “love-jihad” and questioned the need for such a protest when the “so-called Hindutvavadi government” is in power at the Centre and Maharashtra.

In an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana, the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena said BJP plays its “trump card” whenever it feels jolts of defeat. Now they have begun the game of playing the Hindu-Muslim card, it said.

Activists of right-wing organisations on Sunday took out a ‘Hindu Jan Akrosh Morcha’ in Mumbai against ‘love jihad’ and demanded anti-conversion laws and a crackdown on land grabbing in the name of religion. Leaders and workers of outfits including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) marched in the rally.

The rally, organised by Sakal Hindu Samaj, began from Shivaji Park in Dadar — where Shiv Sena Bhavan, the headquarters of the UBT faction of the party, is located.

“There is a so-called fierce Hindutvavadi government in the state as well at the Centre. Then how come your (the ones who took out the rally) Hindutva is in danger?

“With Modi-Shah at the Centre, there is a Ramrajya and this state is a heaven for Hindus this is what their (supporters of the BJP) people say. So it is surprising that there was still the ‘Aakrosh’ morcha (rally),” it said.

The Saamana further said taking out such a march would have been logical had the Muslim League been (ruling) the Centre and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) government in Maharashtra.

“If there is a question of love-jihad or forced conversion then there should be a strong law. But whenever elections are around the corner there is a talk of ‘Hindutva being in danger’ in BJP-ruled states,” it said.

If the ‘Aakrosh’ morcha was just for elections, then it is dishonesty towards Hindutva, it said.

Source:Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/surprised-over-morcha-against-love-jihad-shiv-sena-2514545/

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‘Will bring Muslims in development agenda of Modi govt’

By Rajesh Kumar Thakur

The BJP’s minorities wing is currently engaged in a massive outreach drive, identifying 60 minority-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies across the country where the party will directly interact with such communities, the Pasmanda (the ‘left out’/backward) Muslims, in particular. That’s quite an effort given the perception as well as the projection of the party’s adversaries about the party’s image.

“Neither the BJP nor does the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) nurture enmity or hatred towards Muslims. They want welfare of the marginalised people belonging to the Pasmanda and other minority communities,” Jamal Siddiqui, national president of the BJP Minority Morcha, tells Rajesh Kumar Thakur in an interview.

Excerpts:

What’s the current campaign of the party’s Minority Morcha about?

The BJP is a party that works for everyone’s development irrespective of caste and religion. The BJP’s Minority Morcha has planned a comprehensive four-month-long outreach programme across 60 minority-dominated Lok Sabha constituencies across the country. We will be meeting people belonging to minority communities, including Muslim Pasmandas, and inform them about the Modi government’s welfare schemes for their all-round development.

The outreach programme is due to begin after February 10. This will be preceded by an in-depth discussion at the national executive meeting of the Minority Morcha in Chhattisgarh, due February 1 and 2. We will identify 5,000 prominent minority community members, including spiritual leaders and mentors and local traders’ unions. They will be informed about the government’s development schemes.

Which states are you focusing on?

We have a comprehensive outreach schedule for 60 identified minority-dominated LS constituencies. There are13 Lok Sabha seats each in UP and West Bengal to be covered by us. Besides, there are 10 LS constituencies identified by us in Kerala that have a strong presence of minority communities, including Muslims.

In the Lok Sabha constituency of Rahul Gandhi (Wayanad), the Morcha will be conducting a wider outreach programme. Similarly, we have identified J&K’s five LS constituencies -- Baramulla, Anantnag, Srinagar, Ladakh and Udhamapur.

The general perception is that the BJP and RSS are anti-Muslim...

It is a totally wrong assumption. It is a politically motivated propaganda fuelled by the Opposition to mislead the minority communities. Neither BJP nor does the RSS nurture enmity or hatred towards the Muslims or any other minority community. They want inclusive development and that’s why the PM has decided to bring changes to the lives of Pasamanda Muslims and other poor and marginalised sections.

I am a Muslim; I never faced discrimination or hatred. The RSS chief encourages us to serve the people of minority communities.

Who will you specifically interact with during the outreach programme?

The PM has directed us to meet Sufi saints, influential people of minority communities, including Pasmandas and Bohras, and traders. The PM has also told us that “India will not develop until every section is developed. So, our objective is to bring everyone in the mainstream of development and not use them for electoral gains only. This outreach is not meant to garner minority votes but to link them with economic and social development.

Is there any plan to explore potential leadership among the Muslim youth?

The BJP is not untouchable to anyone as evident in the recent elections in UP and Gujarat. What all communities want is development, equality and safety. The BJP has been promoting representation of Muslims in the party. The party has many leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and others. I also get equal participation in the party. But, yes, the Minority Morcha has started exploring potential leadership among the Muslim youth.’

The BJP has not given nomination to Muslims in many elections...

Those who blame the BJP for not giving the party ticket to Muslims are perhaps unaware of our party’s criteria of giving nominations in any election. A deserving candidate can be decided on the winnibility factor. Castes and other factors do come in. The fact is that the BJP accords equal value to Muslims.

Congress and others often accuse PM Modi of neglecting the Muslims and other minority communities...

Source:New Indian Express

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https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2023/jan/31/will-bring-muslims-in-development-agenda-of-modi-govt-2542925.html

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Anti-conversion laws: SC to hear on Friday Jamiat plea for clubbing pleas in HCs

Jan 31, 2023

By Abraham Thomas

The Supreme Court will hear on Friday a petition of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind for the transfer to the top court six pleas in high courts challenging state anti-conversion laws.

A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala ordered the listing of the Muslim body’s petition while hearing a batch of pleas questioning the state laws and a public interest litigation seeking a law to curb alleged forced conversion.

“We will hear the entire bunch of matters on Friday. By then, the transfer petition will be numbered.”

In its plea filed through advocate MR Shamshad, the Jamiat’s Gujarat wing said the laws are violative of core fundamental values such as secularism, fraternity, dignity, and privacy. It sought the transfer of cases pending in high courts in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh.

“The provisions in the Acts passed by different states raise the common issue of constitutionality and legality of the provisions of laws to be tested within the ambit of Articles 14 [equality], 15 [non-discrimination], 19 [free speech], 21 [life and liberty] and 25 [freedom of religion].”

Attorney general R Venkatramani opposed the plea. “The high courts should hear them as these are state legislation. I may have some serious objections.”

The bench allowed the Union government to raise all objections on Friday.

For Jamiat, senior advocate Kapil Sibal submitted that since his client is not a party in each high court, the Supreme Court registry did not accept the petition unless it received a no objection from all petitioners before each court.

The Union government objected to another petition of social activist Teesta Setalvad-led NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) challenging the constitutional validity of anti-conversion laws in Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, and Karnataka. The NGO earlier filed a petition challenging similar laws in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta objected to the maintainability of the petition and sought permission to show a short affidavit indicating the Union government’s objections.

The affidavit, which will be considered on Friday, raises doubts over the credential of the petitioner. It accuses the NGO of selectively taking up public causes at the behest of some “selected political interest” and earning out of such activity.

“Under the guise of serving the public interest, the petitioner deliberately undertakes and consciously and surreptitiously espouses divisive politics in an attempt to divide the society into religious and communal lines,” the affidavit said.

CJP’s lawyer CU Singh questioned how could an affidavit be entertained before notice is issued on the petition. He said using the earlier anti-conversion laws, some states have enacted “more virulent” laws which have created a grave situation as people cannot get married.

Advocate Vrinda Grover mentioned the National Federation of Indian Women’s plea seeking to highlight the impact of these laws on women.

Another justice MR Shah-led bench in November heard the matter related to alleged forced religious conversion and challenge to religious conversion laws. It observed that if the allegation of forced conversion is found to be true, “it is a very serious issue” that may ultimately affect the security of the nation and violate citizens’ right to freedom of conscience and right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion.

The observation came while the bench was hearing Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay’s plea.

“Everybody has a right to choose religion but not by luring them. If you want to help a particular community, you may do it for charity. That is welcome. But not for any other purpose,” the bench said.

Christian, and Muslim organisations and individuals sought intervention in the proceedings alleging scurrilous charges were levelled against their communities without any factual basis. They objected to Upadhyay’s plea when a complaint of alleged hate speech is pending against him in Delhi.

On January 9, the court changed the case title to “Issue of Religious Conversion”.

Source: Hindustan Times

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/anticonversion-laws-sc-to-hear-on-friday-jamiat-plea-for-clubbing-pleas-in-hcs-101675136255195.html

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Muslim leader questions delay in action against Mahant Raju Das

30th January 2023

Lucknow: All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat President Navaid Hamid on Monday questioned the delay in action against Mahant Raju Das who has announced a reward for beheading SP leader Swami Prasad Maurya.

In a tweet, Hamid said: “The government announces reward on those who proclaim ‘Sar tan se juda’ so why is action not being taken against others who have made similar proclamations? Will any legal action be taken against Mahant Raju Das and others like him?”

Source:Siasat Daily

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https://www.siasat.com/muslim-leader-questions-delay-in-action-against-mahant-raju-das-2514462/

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Uorfi slams Kangana for drawing line between Hindu & Muslim actors

30th January 2023

Hyderabad: Bigg Boss fame and actress UorfiJaved, who usually remains in controversies, slammed Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut for creating divisions on Twitter. Uorfi quoted Kangana’s tweet and wrote that ‘art is not divided by religion’. She wondered why Kangana is creating divisions between Hindus and Muslims on Twitter.

Taking a dig at Kangana, Urofi replied to one of her tweets and wrote, ”Oh my gosh ! What is this division , Muslim actors , Hindu actors . Art is not divided by religion . There are only actors.”

Kangana replied quickly to the tweet of UrofiJaved. Mentioning the latter, she wrote, ”Yes my dear Uorfi that will be an ideal world but it’s not possible unless we have The Uniform Civil Code, till the time this nation is divided in the constitution itself it will remain divide, Let’s all demand Uniform Civil Code from @narendramodi ji in 2024 Manifesto. Shall we?”

Kangana, who recently made a comeback on the micro-blogging site Twitter, has been sparking a lot new controversies. It seems that the Queen actress is not happy with the success of ‘Pathaan’ at the box office as she is trying to relate religion and politics with Bollywood.

In one of her tweets, she said that Hindus are making Muslims famous and she even said in a tweet that ‘Pathaan’ is just the name of the movie but India will chant only ‘JaiShri Ram’. She wrote, “Lekin all those who are having high hopes please note… Pathan sirf ek film ho saktihai … goonjegatohyahansirf Jai Shri Ram …Jai Shri Ram.”

The actress started a Hindu-Muslim debate on Twitter after she tweeted, ”All those who are claiming Pathan is triumph of love over hate, I agree but whose love over whose hate? Let’s be precise, whose is buying tickets and making it a success?Yes it is India’s love and inclusiveness where eighty percent Hindus lives and yet a film called Pathan.”

Wondering why Pathaan is running successfully at the box office, Kangana said that movies which show Pakistan and ISIS in good light are running because Indians do not promote hate. After a few celebrities claimed that Pathaan movies success is a triumph of love over hate, she wrote, ”Which shows our enemy nation Pakistan and ISIS in good light is running successfully, it is this spirit of India beyond hate and judgements that makes it Mahan… it is the love of India that has triumphed hate and petty politics of enemies.”

Kangana Ranaut also tried to relate left-wing parties and Congress to the Pathaan movie’s success. In a tweet , she wrote, “If success of Pathan is openly and shamelessly associated with success of Left Wing politics, which is associated with a party ( congress) then why film industry cries foul if Right Wing ideology opposes them ? First decide whether films / art is political or not.”

One of her tweets read,  ”Warning: If film industry doesn’t want to bear the burnt of political propaganda than they should condemn such propaganda using their films, tum khelotoh game hai hum kheleintoh shame hai, aisanahichalega bhai… baadmein mat rona hum toh artists haiabhi se aukatmeinraho.”

The Fashion actress recently tweeted as a response to a producer’s tweet which read, “Big Congratulations to @iamsrk & @deepikapadukone for the runaway success of #Pathaan!!! It proves 1) Hindu Muslims love SRK equally 2) Boycotts controversies don’t harm but help the film 3) Erotica & Good music works 4) India is super secular”. Quoting the tweet she wrote, ” “Very good analysis. This country has only and only loved all Khans and at times only and only Khans. And obsessed over Muslim actresses.”

Source:Siasat Daily

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

https://www.siasat.com/uorfi-slams-kangana-for-drawing-line-between-hindu-muslim-actors-2513978/

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Europe

 

Ex-politicians who converted to Islam in Netherlands slam double standards against Muslims

Abdullah Asiran

30.01.2023

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands

Attacks against Islam's holy book, the Quran, are hate crimes, said some former far-right politicians who converted to Islam in the Netherlands, adding that Muslims are subjected to double standards.

Former politician Arnoud van Doorn, who left the extreme right-wing Freedom Party in the Netherlands and converted to Islam, told Anadolu that he finds leader of Pegida -- an Islamophobic movement -- Edwin Wagensveld's action against the Holy Quran "outrageous."

On Jan. 23, Wagensveld in The Hague shredded some pages from a copy of the Holy Quran and then burned them.

This is a situation that hurts and humiliates Muslims, Van Doorn said, noting: "It is very strange that this is allowed, especially in times of polarization in the Netherlands. The state should bring ethnic groups together instead of constantly humiliating and marginalizing an ethnic group."

He underlined that the action should be considered hate speech in the entire EU.

"As you know, there is a double standards against Muslims. If you burn the Israeli flag, it becomes antisemitism; if you burn the rainbow flag, it is hate speech. They are all provocative, they are all criminal offenses. But if you burn the Quran, harm it, or make fun of it in any other way, then that is freedom of expression," he said.

"In this way, you set ethnic backgrounds against each other and create hatred," he added.

Urging both politicians to stand up and condemn this action and the mayor to use all means to ban such a meeting, Van Doorn said allowing such incidents under police protection would create the perception that such actions can be done "very easily" with impunity.

"What is the next step? Will the Quran be burned, windows of mosques broken, mosques set on fire, Islamic schools attacked, and Muslim children beaten? What is the limit?" he asked.

Governments should say that they do not tolerate this for any religion, Van Doorn noted.

Islamophobia becomes 'huge, growing problem'

Joram van Klaveren, a former Freedom Party MP who became a Muslim while writing an anti-Islamic book, said Pegida constantly provokes Muslims.

Insulting a religion in the Netherlands was a criminal offense until 2014, van Klaveren said, adding that the police prevention of Torah burning last week in front of the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm seems to show that permission for such incidents is given depending on which holy book is subjected to the act.

Burning sacred books not expression of opinion, but of hatred

A press release by the Dutch Jewish Dialogue Committee said the burning of a sacred book was not an expression of opinion, but an expression of hatred.

Such acts aim to set people against each other and they are "disgusting," the committee said, voicing solidarity with those affected.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/ex-politicians-who-converted-to-islam-in-netherlands-slam-double-standards-against-muslims/2801501

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UN chief condemns 'abhorrent' suicide bombing at Pakistani mosque

BetülYürük

30.01.2023

UNITED NATIONS

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday condemned the suicide bombing at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan which killed at least 59 people.

''It is particularly abhorrent that the attack occurred at a place of worship,'' his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. ''Freedom of religion or belief, including the ability to worship in peace and security, is a universal human right.''

The secretary-general extends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a prompt recovery to the injured, he added.

At least 59 people, including policemen, were killed and over 150 injured on Monday in northwestern Pakistan when a suspected suicide bomber blew himself up during midday prayers in a mosque, authorities and local media reported.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/un-chief-condemns-abhorrent-suicide-bombing-at-pakistani-mosque-/2801891

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UK police face calls to prosecute Iranian accused of promoting terrorism

January 31, 2023

LONDON: The UK’s Metropolitan police is facing calls to prosecute a former senior Iranian government official accused of endorsing the fatwa against author Sir Salman Rushdie.

Met officers are examining a legal case file that accuses Sayed Ataollah Mohajerani, who lives in London, of violating the Terrorism Act 2006 by promoting terrorism, the Guardian newspaper reported on Monday.

The fatwa against Rushdie, following publication of his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses,” was issued in February 1989 by Ayatollah Khomeini, who was Iran’s supreme leader at the time. It has never been lifted. In August 2022, Rushdie was stabbed several times and seriously injured while appearing on stage at a literary festival in New York.

A complaint was filed against Mohajerani that same month by Iranian human rights lawyer Kaveh Moussavi and British solicitor Rebecca Mooney, according to the Guardian. It states that Mohajerani was deputy to the Iranian prime minister in 1988 and vice-president for parliamentary and legal affairs between 1989 and 1997, a period of time during which the regime in Tehran ordered the assassinations of hundreds of dissidents in Europe.

Moussavi and Mooney allege that Mohajerani did not attempt to prevent the killings and, since moving to the UK, he has on several occasions lauded as an Iranian national hero Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, who was killed by a US drone strike in January 2020 in Iraq.

They also say that in his 1989 book, “A Critique of the Satanic Verses Conspiracy,” Mohajerani defended the fatwa against Rushdie and clearly expressed his view that it was religiously justified and irrevocable, and therefore impossible to withdraw.

Mohajerani denied the allegations and said his book is simply a critique of Rushdie’s novel that aims to shed light on its religious origins, the Guardian reported.

“When Salman Rushdie was attacked by an American citizen, I tweeted that I hope Salman Rushdie will recover from this event, and based on William Falkner’s advice, write a novel through concentrating on the beauties and moral values, at the service of human beings,” Mohajerani told the Guardian.

“On the contrary, in ‘The Satanic Verses,’ he added a huge amount of oil to the fire. Hopefully he will find a proper chance to correct himself.”

Mohajerani also said that because of the separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive in Iran, he had no role in the executions of prisoners in 1988.

Moussavi condemned Mohajerani’s defense as being “indicative of his culpability.”

“The idea that this is or was an independent judiciary is plain absurd. That he repeats it confirms again who he really is,” he told the Guardian.

“In law, he was required to protest and do his utmost to stop these crimes and, if unable, he must resign. I doubt very much if his defense counsel will offer these concoctions in a court case, as defense or mitigation.”

Police in London have reportedly said that the complex issues raised by the case file will require significant resources and additional time to investigate.

Mooney, representing the human rights charity Ending Immunity, highlighted the obligations on UK authorities to prosecute international crimes under international law.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241881/world

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Muslim family racially attacked in eastern Germany

Oliver Towfigh Nia 

30.01.2023

BERLIN

A Muslim family was attacked by seven men in the East German town of Merseburg, public broadcaster MDR reported on Monday.

The attack took place Saturday evening as the Muslim family was walking on the street pushing a stroller. The suspects, aged between 19 and 33 years, first racially insulted the family and then physically attacked them.

According to police, passers-by got involved and used irritants against the attackers, injuring four of them.

The family did not require any medical treatment following the assault.

Police launched a criminal investigation as the seven attackers are known to them by name.

German authorities registered at least 662 Islamophobic crimes in 2021.

There were more than 46 attacks on mosques and at least 17 people were injured because of anti-Muslim violence.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/muslim-family-racially-attacked-in-eastern-germany/2801704

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Berlin calls on Israel, Palestinians to defuse tensions

Oliver Towfigh Nia  

30.01.2023

BERLIN

Germany on Monday called for the immediate de-escalation of spiraling Israel-Palestine tensions following deadly attacks on both sides.

"We view the situation with great concern. It really is a matter of doing everything we can to defuse this precarious, this tense situation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse told journalists in Berlin.

She urged both parties to show “a readiness for dialogue” to help de-escalate the situation.

Seven Israeli settlers were reportedly killed in a gun attack near a synagogue in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, while at least two more were injured in another shooting on Saturday.

The attacks came after the Israeli military killed nine Palestinians and wounded dozens in an operation in the occupied West Bank town of Jenin on Thursday.

Sasse also criticized the new Israeli administration, which includes ultra-nationalist parties, for wanting to ramp up settlement construction in the occupied territories.

“In the past we have repeatedly made it clear that in our opinion the construction of settlements in the occupied areas is contrary to international law and endangers a sustainable solution to peace,” Sasse said.

Despite being a staunch ally of Israel, Germany has repeatedly gone out of its way to criticize continued Israeli settlement-building, saying it would only further complicate efforts for peace.

Berlin has vowed to continue its efforts, together with the US and other European Union partners, to achieve a mutually acceptable, negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that addresses the legitimate concerns of both sides.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is seen as occupied territory under international law, thus making all Jewish settlements there illegal.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/berlin-calls-on-israel-palestinians-to-defuse-tensions/2801662

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South Asia

 

Afghans urge international support amid Taliban bans

PARWIZ KAROKHAIL

January 30, 2023

KABUL: Afghans are calling for more international support following increasingly restrictive edicts issued by the Taliban administration, as the US special representative for Afghanistan began a trip on Monday aimed at refining an international response to support the country.

The Taliban has introduced a series of restrictions on Afghan women since taking control of the country in 2021, including barring women from university and secondary schools. Authorities in December ordered all NGOs to ban women employees, though those in health were allowed to return to work earlier this month.

The moves drew widespread condemnation, with high-ranking UN officials and leaders of major international organizations visiting Afghanistan this month to try and reverse the Taliban’s crackdown on women and girls.

Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West will travel to Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland on a mission to “consult with partners, Afghans and humanitarian relief organizations,” the US Department of State said in a statement, in one of the latest efforts to address the situation in the South Asian country.

“SRA West will work with counterparts to refine a unified regional and international response that reflects a collective commitment to Afghan women and girls’ rights, and access to vital aid,” the statement added.

Afghans are hopeful that West’s trip could benefit Afghanistan, with some urging the international community to increase pressure on the Taliban.

“No doubt this mission will help in the case of Afghanistan. I believe if this mission is implemented in a way to find a solution for the misery of Afghan people it will most definitely work,” Mohibullah Sharif, an Afghan political expert based in Kabul, told Arab News.

“However, if like previously, the mission is only for securing the interests of regional and international players, this will bring no good for Afghans and will worsen the situation.”

Life in Afghanistan has grown increasingly difficult for women, said ShamsiaHassanzadah, a member of the Afghan Women’s Network and former director of Star Education Center in Kabul, who was affected by the ban on women working for NGOs.

“Women in NGOs should be allowed to work because a woman’s work is very important for their family economy,” Hassanzadah told Arab News, adding that she was the breadwinner in her family.

“We want the international community to bring further pressure on the current government of Afghanistan and we believe such steps and measures will help to decrease the Taliban’s restrictions toward Afghan women,” she added.

“It will also prevent or even stop the Taliban from issuing further decrees against women’s education and employment in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan needs more support from the UN and the global community, according to women’s rights activist FarimahNikkhwah, who was also affected by the recent ban.

“In the current situation, Afghanistan needs the special attention of the UN and the international community to prevent the negative and illogical actions of the Taliban,” Nikkhwah told Arab News.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said last week following a Kabul visit that Taliban ministers are working on new guidelines to allow women more freedom in humanitarian work.

“The needs of Afghanistan, for us, are of the highest importance because of its people, because of its obvious, deserved priority for us in our humanitarian world. The need for Afghanistan to be properly serviced by humanitarian operations is also a global priority,” Griffiths told AFP in an interview.

When it comes to Afghan girls’ education, pleas are also coming from within the country, said Dr. Hatef Mokhtar, head of the Afghanistan International Strategic Studies Center.

“Afghans want Afghanistan to come out of isolation,” Mokhtar told Arab News.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241651/world

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UN: Taliban Ban On Women Aid Workers Is Potential Death Blow

31 JAN 2023

The UN humanitarian chief warned Monday that the Taliban's ban on women aid workers in Afghanistan is “a potential death blow” to many important humanitarian programmes.

If the Taliban don't make exceptions to their edict “this would be catastrophic,” Martin Griffiths said at a news conference.

He said a delegation including international aid groups made the case that Afghan women are critical to humanitarian operations during meetings last week with nine Taliban officials, including Afghanistan's foreign affairs and economy ministers.

“We were asked to be patient,” Griffiths said. “We were told that guidelines are being developed by the Taliban authorities which would provide, allegedly, the functioning of women in humanitarian operations.”

He said the Taliban's consistent message “that there will be a place for women working” was “a slightly patronizing message, but it's an important one.”

Griffiths noted that after the Dec. 24 edict by the Taliban barring aid groups from employing Afghan women, the health minister granted an exception for women in the health field and the education minister granted an exception for those involved in primary education.

He said the humanitarian delegation told the Taliban that if they weren't going to rescind the edict “then we must expand these exceptions to cover all the aspects of humanitarian action.”

Griffiths, who is the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, wouldn't speculate on what will happen.

“Let's see if these guidelines do come through. Let's see if they are beneficial. Let's see what space there is for the essential and central role of women in our humanitarian operations,” he said.

Despite initial promises, the Taliban have imposed increasing restrictions on girls and women since they took power in August 2021 during the final weeks of the U.S. and NATO forces' pullout after 20 years. Their takeover drove millions into poverty and hunger after foreign aid stopped almost overnight.

Omar Abdi, deputy executive director for programming for the U.N. children's agency UNICEF who was part of the delegation, said 6 million Afghans face emergency levels of food insecurity and are one step away from famine. He said 875,000 children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition this year, which is why “it's critical to continue these operations.”

Abdi cited some positive signs. He said that despite the Taliban ban on girls attending secondary school, an estimated 200,000 girls continue to receive secondary education in around 12 provinces. He added that female secondary school teachers continue to receive their salaries from the Taliban authorities.

He said Taliban officials reaffirmed to the delegation “that they are not against girls learning in secondary schools, and again promised to reopen once the guidelines are approved by their leader."

“In addition, over the last year the number of community-based education classes taking place in private homes, public places has doubled, from 10,000 to 20,000 classes,” he said. “These serve about 600,000 children, of whom 55% are girls.”

Abdi said these positive signs are the result of both the commitment from Taliban authorities and pressure from local communities to keep schools and community schools open.

“Without education,” he said, “certainly there is no hope for a better future for girls and women of Afghanistan.”

Sofia SprechmannSineiro, CARE International's secretary-general, saidthat “tying the hands of NGOs by barring women from giving life-saving support to other women will cost lives.”

JantiSoeripto, president of Save the Children US, said women account for 30% of the 55,000 Afghan nationals working for NGOs and many of them are the sole breadwinners for their families.

Without them, she said, aid can't be delivered to millions of women and children, and “if the ban isn't reversed, the consequences for the people of Afghanistan will be dire.”

So far, Griffiths said, women working for the U.N. and its agencies haven't been banned and continue to work, but he insisted that Afghan women must also be allowed to contribute to the country's economy.

“Afghanistan is going through a savage winter, the second under the Taliban,” he said. “Last winter, we managed to survive. I don't know if we can do this indefinitely, not with all these bans.”

He said 28 million Afghans need help and the $4.6 billion needed for humanitarian aid for the country this year is the largest amount in the world.

Source: OutlookIndia

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

https://www.outlookindia.com/international/un-taliban-ban-on-women-aid-workers-is-potential-death-blow-news-258127

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US seeks consensus against Afghan Taliban after deviation from Doha deal

Kamran Yousaf

January 30, 2023

ISLAMABAD:

The United States is building a fresh consensus among key regional and international players against the Afghan Taliban government after the de facto rulers banned female education and resorted to other steps that Washington believes are contrary to the Doha deal.

As part of efforts to recalibrate the Afghan strategy, US Special Representative for Afghanistan (SRA) Thomas West on Monday held a series of meetings in Islamabad.

Official sources confirmed to The Express Tribune that the US point-man for Afghanistan met his Pakistani counterpart Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, Foreign Secretary Asad Majid, and other relevant officials.

The visit came against the backdrop of growing anxiety in Pakistan as well as other countries including the US over the Afghan Taliban's policies that are seen as deviations from the commitments that the ultra-orthodox group made with the international community.

The Taliban's move to ban female from attending universities drew strong reaction from the US and other countries. The interim government took the decision when the world was expecting them to open schools for all girls.

The return to hardline policies by the Afghan Taliban has diminished chances of any international recognition, according to officials. Unlike the past, Pakistan has decided to go along with the international consensus on Afghanistan.

Ahead of the three-country tour that will take him to Switzerland and Germany after Pakistan, the US special envoy said in a statement that the purpose of the visit was to consult with partners, Afghans, and humanitarian relief organisations

Thomas West, however, expressed concerns over the recent Taliban moves.

"The Taliban’s recent edicts have presented the international community with extraordinary challenges as we seek to support the Afghan people and protect our interests," his office said.

The US envoy will work with counterparts to refine a unified regional and international response that reflects a collective commitment to Afghan women and girls’ rights and access to vital aid, according to the statement.

The visit of the US special envoy coincided with a deadly terrorist attack in Peshawar in which scores of people, mostly police officials, were martyred.

The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility of the suicide bombing inside the highly fortified Police Lines area. Pakistan believes that the TTP is operating out of Afghanistan with impunity.

Source:Tribune Pakistan

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

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2398438/us-seeks-consensus-against-afghan-taliban-after-deviation-from-doha-deal

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Southeast Asia

 

EU is not Islamophobic, says bloc's ambassador

January 30, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: The European Union (EU) is not Islamophobic, and the brazen act of extremists burning the Quran does not reflect the true picture of the bloc.

EU Ambassador to Malaysia, Michalis Rokas, said the recent acts of the two extremists, who burned the holy book, were deplorable and the EU had made clear its position in not condoning them.

"My message is, do not perceive Europe as Islamophobic," he said at Wisma Bernama here today (Jan 30).

Earlier, while appearing on The Nation programme on Bernama TV, Rokas said those extremists' actions did not reflect what Europe is and how it thinks.

"It does not reflect Europe's attitude, especially towards the Muslim world," he said.

Rokas said there was a need for dialogues between the West and Muslim states, including Malaysia as well as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on this issue, to create a better understanding among people of different faiths.

"We should not allow such incidents to happen again. We should not allow extremists to create an image of Islamophobia.

"We need to unite and address deplorable acts by extremists around the world," he said.

On Friday, Rasmus Paludan, the leader of Danish far-right party StramKurs (Hard Line) had burned the Quran in front of a mosque in Denmark days after he burned a copy of the holy book outside the Turkish Embassy in Sweden.

In another earlier provocation, Edwin Wagensveld, the leader of Islamophobic group Pegida also burned the pages of the holy Quran in The Hague on Jan 22, drawing the wrath of Muslims worldwide.

Malaysia strongly condemned Paludan and Wagensveld's acts.

Source:NST

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

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2023/01/874972/eu-not-islamophobic-says-blocs-ambassador

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Disheartening that Malaysian Muslims have to defend their religion in their own country

31 Jan 2023

WRITER June HL Wong, in her So Aunty, So What column on Jan 25 ("The rise and rise of our belle") seems to imply that Michelle Yeoh’s home country had no hand in her brilliant success on the world stage because, according to Wong, the current set up in Malaysia “makes it impossible for talents in Malaysia to become accomplished artistes”.

According to Aunty, this is “because Finas (the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia) ... has been guided by the National Culture Policy formulated in 1971 which was based on the principle that the national culture must be based on Malay culture with Islam as an important component, and that only ‘suitable elements’ from the other cultures may be accepted”.

Without context, I see this as a thinly-veiled attack on Islam that casts it in a very negative light – what comes across to me in her writing is that Malay-Muslim culture is prohibitive, and this is the root cause of Malaysia's talent drain.

Aunty does not mention that the National Culture Policy was formulated alongside the National Economic Policy and the Rukun Negara; these were all policies aimed at diffusing racial tensions and driving nation-building following racial riots in May 1969.

On May 13 that year, Malays and Chinese – to put it bluntly – killed each other due to distrust and hate sown by poverty and racist politics. The instability caused by economic disparities and a lack of racial integration would have led to further bloodshed if the situation had not been handled quickly and well by the then predominantly Malay-Muslim government.

Aunty goes on to say that other non-Malay artistes from Malaysia had to leave for China, Hong Kong or Taiwan to find “mega success” without including the fact that these countries have a far more established entertainment industry and also far bigger markets compared with Malaysia.

Yuna and ShilaAmzah found fame and fortune overseas too, yet, according to Aunty’s reasoning, as Malays, they would have been megastars at home without needing to leave the country.

She also does not mention that they all, Yeoh included, had their formative years nurtured in a Muslim country.

Aunty says that Yeoh’s fluency in English “clearly contributed” to her success in the West but doesn’t mention that the actress is a product of the Malaysian education system. Wasn’t Yeoh just brilliant because she was inspired to speak like a Malaysian in Everything Everywhere All At Once, the movie that garnered her a Golden Globe award?

Anyone watching her work would be super proud. Her dedication over years in the filmmaking industry has taken her to the pinnacle of achievement, and it is all down to her own talent, sheer hard work and grit.

In one of her acceptance speeches (she has made many!), Yeoh proudly announced that she came from Malaysia at a time when no one in the West knew where Malaysia was and many were shocked that she could speak English.

She went on to say that, growing up, she was inspired by watching movies and dramas, both local and foreign – the latter of which were brought into the country by the very same Finas that, according to Aunty, is the reason Yeoh had to leave the country to find success.

Aunty and others in the media are playing with fire.

Following the recent general elections, inflammatory articles and terms have come up time and again in the mainstream Malaysian press. While attacks on Islam by non-Muslim agencies from non-Muslim countries are de riguer, it certainly raises a lot of eyebrows when non-Muslim media agencies in a Muslim country use words like “religious extremists” and “Taliban” to describe their fellow Muslim countrymen.

(A couple of examples – “United we stand” in On the Beat by Wong Chun Wai, Sunday Star, Jan 1: “Even if PAS comes to power and imposes a Taliban-style regime, gambling, drinking and even prostitution will still exist.” And “Mandate to help the marginalised”, in Frankly Speaking, an editorial by The Edge, Jan 25.)

It is disheartening to see Muslims in Malaysia having to defend their religion and beliefs in their own country.

Source:TheStar

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

https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/letters/2023/01/31/disheartening-that-malaysian-muslims-have-to-defend-their-religion-in-their-own-country

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March 20 hearing if King’s emergency decree can be challenged

January 30, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will hear on March 20 whether an emergency proclamation can be challenged despite an ouster clause in the Federal Constitution that prevents the judiciary from hearing a complaint related to a state of emergency.

On the same day, Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh will also hear an application by the government to strike out the suit filed in November 2020 by lawyer Syed Iskandar Syed Jaafar.

Lawyer R Kengadharan said High Court deputy registrar SyeelaMarlinaUttaman fixed the new date after consulting Wan Ahmad Farid during an online proceeding today.

Kengadharan said he had sought an adjournment after informing the court of lawyer Gopal Sri Ram’s death yesterday.

He said the government and 10 others who had been allowed to become interveners had no objection to the adjournment.

Sri Ram and other lawyers had been scheduled to make oral submissions on both matters today. All had filed written submissions last year.

Kengadharan later told FMT he would most likely step in to argue the case for Syed Iskandar.

On Oct 23, 2020, then prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin advised the Yang di-PertuanAgong to issue a proclamation of emergency under Article 150 after the Cabinet agreed to it at a special meeting.

Two days later, after a special meeting among the Malay rulers, the King decreed that a proclamation of emergency in the entire, or part of the country, was not necessary.

This prompted Syed Iskandar to file an originating summons in the High Court here.

The government in 2021 filed an application to strike out the suit, stating it was “scandalous, frivolous and vexatious” and an abuse of the court process.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was among eight individuals and two rights groups who were allowed to become interveners as they had legitimate interest in the case.

The rest linked to Mahathir are his son Mukhriz (former Jerlun MP), Amiruddin Hamzah (former Kubang Pasu MP), Shahruddin Salleh (former Sri Gading MP) and then senator Marzuki Yahya.

The others are Centre for A Better Tomorrow, the Association of Muslim Lawyers, and lawyers Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, Malcolm Fernandez and Nazirah Abdul Ghani.

Source:Free Malaysia Today

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

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/01/30/march-20-hearing-if-kings-emergency-decree-can-be-challenged/

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Appointment of Anwar’s daughter as senior economic and finance adviser sparks controversy in Malaysia

Rhea Yasmine BteAlisHaizan

31 Jan 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s appointment of his daughter as his senior economic adviser has sparked controversy, with several members of the opposition calling for Ms Nurul Izzah Anwar to step down from the role.

In a statement on Monday (Jan 30), Leader of the Opposition Hamzah Zainudin called for Mr Anwar to withdraw Ms Nurul Izzah’s appointment as senior economic and finance adviser to the prime minister, calling it nepotism.

“The prime minister has to withdraw this appointment. Nepotism in PKR (PartiKeadilan Rakyat) cannot be dragged into government administration. Walk the talk please,” said Mr Hamzah.

Mr Anwar and Ms Nurul Izzah are the president and vice-president of PKR respectively.

“Pro bono is not an excuse to legitimise nepotism,” the secretary-general of Perikatan Nasional (PN) warned. According to local media reports, Mr Anwar said on Sunday that Ms Nurul Izzah is not getting paid for the senior adviser role. The appointment took effect on Jan 3.

In his statement, Mr Hamzah called Ms Nurul Izzah’s appointment an act of betrayal to the Malaysian people as it contradicts the values which Mr Anwar has sought to practice under his leadership. 

“The practice of nepotism … is a betrayal to the people of Malaysia.

“This appointment is not only unreasonable, wrong, as well as damaging to the image of the government, but also completely contrary to good governance practices, integrity and freedom from corruption,” said Mr Hamzah.

He pointed out that Mr Anwar already has an adviser - Mr Hassan Marican, who is the former president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Petronas.

“Apparently, Malaysia Madani is just empty rhetoric because the prime minister's priorities seem to be more directed to his own family members rather than solving the cost of living issues, addressing economic challenges and exploring new markets for Malaysia,” said Mr Hamzah.

The Malaysia Madani, or Civil Malaysia, slogan conceptualised by the Anwar administration emphasises six core values - sustainability, prosperity, innovation, respect, trust and compassion - that are meant to guide government policies.

Besides Mr Hamzah, former prime minister and PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin also condemned Ms Nurul Izzah’s appointment.

“It has never happened in the history of Malaysia that a prime minister appoints their child as an adviser,” he said in a statement on Monday, calling on Mr Anwar to get his daughter to resign from her post.

“Advise Nurul Izzah to resign as prime minister's adviser … Don't let this little misplaced appointment be a black spot on her political journey to a possibly brighter future.”

Mr Muhyiddin also called on Mr Anwar to step down as finance minister and to focus on his duties as the prime minister.

“It's not too late for Anwar to make things right. Resign as finance minister. Focus more on your duty as prime minister as the people and the country are facing difficult times,” he said.

Separately, a former member of a pro-Anwar Ibrahim group has also reportedly criticisedMs Nurul Izzah’s appointment.

According to the Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Mr Abdul Razak Ismail - a former member of the “OtaiReformis” group - said that the prime minister will now have to deal with the perceptions surrounding his daughter’s appointment.

“The perception is simple, out of 32 million people, is there really no one else who can be the prime minister’s adviser?” he was quoted as saying by FMT.

“We have economic affairs minister Rafizi Ramli, is it not enough?”

Mr Abdul pointed out that Pakatan Harapan (PH), the coalition led by Mr Anwar, would have reacted poorly if former prime minister Najib Razak had appointed his wife, Rosmah Mansor, as an adviser.

According to FMT, Mr Abdul said that a better move would be for Ms Nurul Izzah to join a non-governmental organisation.

Mr Anwar had previously told local media that Ms Nurul Izzah’s appointment was made based on her qualifications.

Mr Anwar was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail that he was the finance minister for eight years previously despite not having a finance-related university degree or certificate.

“Even the ministers in (the previous) PN (government) do not have (the relevant) degrees or certificates, but when it comes to us, they bring it up.

“As for Nurul Izzah, she has an engineering degree and a public policy degree. Indeed, I asked her to help me as an adviser,” said Mr Anwar. 

According to the Malay Mail, Ms Nurul Izzah holds a degree in engineering, as well as another in public and social policy from Johns Hopkins University.

On Tuesday, Ms Nurul Izzah's political aide Amir H. Ghazali denounced the recent criticism over her new role, adding that there is no nepotism involved as the appointment was made in the interest of the country.

“I am confident that the appointment has been thoroughly discussed taking into account various elements that prioritise effectiveness in implementing the diverse national agenda,” he said in a statement.

“After all, Nurul Izzah is not a CEO or chairman who has any authority to approve projects, tenders and so on. So there is no cronyism or nepotism in the administration of the unity government as the appointment was made in the interest of the country.”

He further said that it was Mr Anwar’s prerogative to appoint Ms Nurul Izzah to the role and that it “must be respected”.  

“I would like to emphasise that whoever is appointed, even one’s own child, is actually the prime minister’s prerogative that must be respected and not disputed,” said Mr Amir, adding that Mr Anwar should also not be pressured to resign as finance minister.

During the recent 15th General Elections (GE15), Ms Nurul Izzah lost her PermatangPauh seat which she held for one term.

Source:ChannelNewsAsia

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

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/malaysia-anwar-ibrahim-nurul-izzah-controversy-senior-economic-finance-adviser-3243226

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Indonesian Muslims protest Quran burning in Sweden

By ANDI JATMIKO

January 30, 2023

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Hundreds of Indonesian Muslims marched to the heavily guarded Swedish Embassy in the country’s capital on Monday to denounce the recent desecration of Islam’s holy book by far-right activists in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Waving white flags bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, more than 300 demonstrators filled a major thoroughfare in downtown Jakarta and trampled and set on fire portraits of Danish anti-Islam activist Rasmus Paludan along with the flags of Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Authorities blocked streets leading to the embassy, where more than 200 police and soldiers were deployed in and around the building that was barricaded with razor wire.

Earlier this month, Paludan received permission from police to stage a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, where on Jan. 21 he burned the Quran. Days later, Edwin Wagensveld, Dutch leader of the far-right Pegida movement in the Netherlands, tore pages out of a copy of the Quran near the Dutch Parliament and stomped on them.

It angered millions of Muslims around the world and triggered protests, including in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Protesters in Jakarta chanted “God is Great” and “Get out, Swedish embassy!”

Indonesian government has strongly condemned the burning of the Quran by Paludan and summoned Swedish Ambassador Marina Berg last week, said Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson TeukuFaizasyah.

“This act of blasphemy has hurt and tarnished religious tolerance,” the ministry said in a statement on Jan. 22. “Freedom of expression must be exercised in a responsible manner.”

Turkey has accused the government in Stockholm, which has applied jointly with Finland to join NATO, of being too lenient toward groups it deems as terror organizations or existential threats, including Kurdish groups. NATO requires unanimous approval of its existing members to add new ones, but Turkey says it would only agree to admit Sweden if the country met its conditions.

Protest organizer Marwan Batubara told the crowd that Paludan was being aggressively hostile to Islam and called on Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark to punish those who desecrated the Quran and apologize to Muslims.

“It hurt us deeply and we demand that Sweden bring him to court so that such incidents don’t happen again,” he said. “Defending those who insult Islam under freedom of expression will only invite martyrs to defend Islam.”

The Swedish Embassy in Jakarta said in a statement that “the Islamophobic act committed by a far-right extremist in Sweden is strongly rejected by the Swedish government.”
Source:APNews

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

https://apnews.com/article/sweden-government-protests-and-demonstrations-netherlands-stockholm-c89348d0077bcc7e25cce3171e22cfea

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Swedish flag burnt in Jakarta amid Turkey Nato row

By Nadeem Shad

January 30, 2023

Protesters gathered outside Sweden's embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday to demonstrate against the burning of a Quran by a far-right Danish politician.

Rasmus Paludan destroyed the Muslim holy book in Stockholm earlier in January outside the Turkish embassy.

The burning, and other protests, have led to a major diplomatic row between Sweden and Turkey.

Sweden needs Turkey's approval to join Nato - something now under threat.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said his country may approve Finland's bid, but not Sweden's.

Other anti-Sweden protests have also taken place in Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Lebanon this month.

The Swedish embassy in Jakarta said the burning does not reflect the government's opinion.

"We urge the Indonesian government to not just condemn this, but to also join in boycotting everything Swedish," said one protester in Jakarta, Wati Salam.

"What they [the Swedes] did was an insult to our holy scripture," said another, JunaediAbdilla.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year, both Sweden and Finland have applied to join Nato.

Any Nato enlargement must be approved by all 30 members - and Turkey seemingly agreed to Sweden and Finland's bid in June.

But formal approval has been held up. Turkey has told Stockholm it must extradite Kurds it view as terrorists.

Turkey has put pressure on Sweden to specifically distance itself from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The group is regarded as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Sweden has made legal changes that allows it to make tougher anti-terror laws demanded by Turkey.

The government has also lifted a ban on selling military equipment to Turkey, in place since Ankara's military intervention in Syria in 2019.

But Turkey was angered when an effigy of the Turkish president was hanged by Kurdish groups in Stockholm in January.

Turkey then cancelled a planned visit to the country by Sweden's defence minister, at the time of the Quran burning.

It had been hoped the trip could resolve Ankara's objections to Sweden's Nato bid.

The Turkish government described the Quran burning as a "vile act" and said the Swedish government's decision to allow the protest to go ahead was "completely unacceptable".

Source: BBC

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

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-64457233

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Africa

 

Muslim leaders protest alleged rape of woman in Ibadan mosque

January 31, 2023

By Musliudeen Adebayo

Some Muslim youths, scholars and organisations in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, have staged a protest over alleged rape of a Muslim lady in one of the mosques in Ibadan.

The woman was in ‘Niqob’ Purdah when the incident occurred, a source told DAILY POST.

The protest was staged by the concerned Muslim leaders on Monday.

The protesters demanded prosecution of the suspect.

DAILY POST gathered on Monday that a Muslim lady, who was in purdah, was allegedly raped inside a mosque at Iwo Road area of Ibadan on Sunday.

A source said, “An unfortunate incident happened on Sunday in Ibadan, when the son of a road transport union sneaked into a mosque and raped a niqobite.

“This then prompted the concerned Muslim leaders to stage the protest on Monday.”

The concerned Muslims were led in the protest by an Ibadan-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Amubieya.

Another source told DAILY POST that the suspect had been arrested.

He said, “The thug who raped a niqobite (Muslim lady in veil) has been identified as Idris, also known as Kesari.

Source:DailyPost Nigeria

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

https://dailypost.ng/2023/01/31/muslim-leaders-protest-alleged-rape-of-woman-in-ibadan-mosque/

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Burkina Faso says 28 killed in 2 attacks by armed assailants

Jan 31, 2023

OUAGADOUGOU: At least 28 people, including soldiers and civilians, were killed in two attacks by armed assailants on Sunday and Monday in Burkina Faso, a regional governor and the army said in separate statements on Monday.

The army said a combat unit in Falangoutou, in the north of the country near its border with Niger, came under attack and that 10 soldiers, two fighters of the volunteer force and a civilian were killed.

The army said the corpses of 15 assailants were found after the attack.

In a separate statement on Monday, Colonel Jean Charles ditYenapono Some, governor of the country's Cascades region in the south near the border with Ivory Coast, said the bodies of 15 men, all civilians, had been found following an attack on Sunday.

The governor said armed men stopped two transport vehicles carrying eight women and 16 men. The women and one man were freed, he said.

"This January 30, the corpses of the victims, showing signs of bullet impact, were found near Linguekoro village," the governor said in the statement.

The West Africa Sahel state and its neighbours Mali and Niger are is battling insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

The militants have occupied territory in the country's arid and mainly rural north, executing hundreds of villagers and displacing nearly 2 million more. They have blockaded towns and villages, worsening a food crisis.

Insecurity because of militant attacks contributed to political instability and two military two coups in the country in January and September 2022.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/burkina-faso-says-28-killed-in-2-attacks-by-armed-assailants/articleshow/97469998.cms

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Tunisia president blames hatred of parliament for low turnout in elections

January 31, 2023

TUNIS: Tunisia’s president on Monday blamed ultra-low turnout for parliamentary elections on hatred among voters of the parliament, not to a decline in his own popularity.

The electoral commission announced that only 11.4 percent of the electorate had voted on Sunday in parliamentary runoffs. Critics of President Kais Saied said the empty polling stations were evidence of public disdain for his agenda and seizure of powers.

Opposition parties called Saied to resign after what they called a “huge failure,” saying early parliamentary and presidential elections were the only route out of the crisis.

Saied rejected accusations, calling his critics “traitors.”

“90 percent did not vote. ... This confirms that Tunisians no longer trust this institution. ... During the past decade, Parliament has been an institution of absurdity and a state within the state.,” Saied said.

“Our popularity is greater than theirs,” he added during a meeting with prime minister NajlaBouden.

Saied closed parliament with tanks in 2021, dismissed the government and started ruling by decree, a move the opposition called a coup.

He accused lawmakers of accepting huge sums of money in return for passing laws.

The newly configured parliament has had its role shrunk as part of a political system Saied introduced last year.

Many Tunisians appeared initially to welcome Saied’s seizure of powers two years ago, after years of weak governing coalitions seemed unable to revive a moribund economy, improve public services or reduce stark inequalities.

But Saied has voiced no clear economic agenda except to rail against corruption and unnamed speculators, whom he has blamed for rising prices.

Unlike the previous parliament, the new one elected on Sunday will have limited powers. The formation and dismissal of governments will be in the hands of the president.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241886/middle-east

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Herders in Ethiopia forced to give up their nomadic existence

January 30, 2023

KELAFO: Mohammed Hassan Gureh has made up his mind: He’s going to sell the last of his goats and leave his village to find a new life.

Like many herders in the east of Ethiopia, he has been forced to give up his nomadic existence after seeing his livestock decimated by drought.

The 32-year-old says he can no longer bear seeing his animals die. Out of a herd of 250 goats, only 35 are left.

And in his village of El Gel, in a corner of the Somali region of Ethiopia not far from the border with Somalia, two-thirds of the animals have been wiped out.

Gureh, like other nomadic herders across the Horn of Africa, has been waiting desperately for more than two years for rains that have not come.

The last five rainy seasons since the end of 2020 have failed, triggering the worst drought in four decades in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. And the next rainy season, from March to May, is also expected to be below average.

According to the UN, drought has plunged 12 million people into “acute food insecurity” in Ethiopia alone, where a deadly conflict has also ravaged the north of the country.

More than 4.5 million livestock have died since 2021 and another 30 million “weakened and emaciated” animals are at risk, the UN’s humanitarian agency OCHA said in a January 18 report.

Gureh waited and prayed, but he has had to face the grim reality. “There is no sign of improvement. I think the drought will continue and get worse over time.” So he has decided to sell his goats before it is too late.

With the small amount of money he’ll make from a sale, he plans to leave El Gel and head to the nearby town of K’elafo, hoping he will finally be able to support his wife, his four children, his blind father and his crippled mother.

His plans are vague: He will probably try to eke out a living as a small-time trader selling charcoal, firewood or incense.

“I also want to start adult education and develop my skills in order to find employment opportunities,” he says.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241791/world

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South Sudan optimistic papal visit will bring peace

Benjamin Takpiny

31.01.2023

JUBA, South Sudan

South Sudan is optimistic that the upcoming papal visit to help galvanize various communities toward peaceful co-existence in the country, a senior official has said.

"We are hopeful that South Sudan will be in peace and harmony and that we will benefit and be blessed by the three religious leaders," Michael MakueiLueth, the Minister of Information, Communication, Technology and Postal Services, told Anadolu.

"The coming of the Pope is a historical event and it had never happened in the world that the three churches come together except when President Kiir and Dr. Machar and the rest went to the Vatican," he added.

Malak Marial, a resident of the Capital, Juba, hopes that Pope Francis's visit to South Sudan's capital next month will inspire political leaders to finally restore peace and stability, allowing them to stay peaceful.

He said that the coming of the Pope would bring peace and stability to South Sudan.

"The way our government has been cleaning the city and renovating roads brought hope to us that this time they will accept each other and bring peace and stability."

He said that the activities taking place in Juba shows that Pope Francis is coming with total peace and stability.

Mary Nyoka said that Pope coming is a sense of peace by itself and told the leaders to honor Pope and put aside all their differences.

"I want the pope to tell our leaders to understand the suffering we are going through and show their commitment to total peace in the country."

On Feb. 3, Pope Francis will arrive in Juba from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) accompanied by the Head of the Episcopal Church of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr. Iain Greenshields.

The government has declared Feb. 3 a public holiday to honor the visit of Pope Francis, who will be jetting into the country for a three-day tour.

In April 2019, President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar attended the Vatican retreat in Rome hosted by Pope Francis. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Portal Welby, and Rt Rev Dr. Iain Greenshields, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, were also present.

The retreat aimed at convincing the two once rival leaders to end their political rivalry and implement the 2018 revitalized peace deal to end the brutal conflict that broke out in December 2013.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/south-sudan-optimistic-papal-visit-will-bring-peace/2802019

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Somali court hands wife of Daesh/ISIS ringleader 8 years in prison

Mohammed Dhaysane

30.01.2023

MOGADISHU, Somalia

A Somali military court sentenced the wife of the top local member of the Daesh/ISIS terrorist organization on Monday to eight years in prison, an official said.

The Somali National Army (SNA) court in the capital Mogadishu found Fartun Abdirashid Hassan guilty of membership in the terror group and running its finances, according to military court chief Hassan Ali Nur Shuute.

Fartun Abdirashid Hassan, the wife of Daesh/ISIS' ringleader in Somalia AbdukadirMoallimMumin, will be held in a military prison. Security forces arrested her in a March 2022 operation on the northeastern outskirts of Mogadishu.

"She is now the wife of Daesh leader Abduqadir Mu'min. They met when he was an al-Shabaab (member) and they got married in 2011 in Mogadishu," the court said.

She also had ties to the late Bilal Al-Sudani, another senior member of Daesh in the Horn of Africa nation, according to the court.

Al-Sudani was killed in a US military operation in Somalia's northeastern province Barri on Thursday.

Ten other terrorists were also killed in the operation, which had sought to capture al-Sudani, described as taking place in a "mountainous cave complex." However, he was killed in the ensuing hostilities.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/somali-court-hands-wife-of-daesh-isis-ringleader-8-years-in-prison/2801733

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Tunisia opposition calls for united front against President Saied following low election turnout

30 January 2023

Tunisia's main opposition coalition has called for formation of a united front against President Kais Saied after lackluster public participation in a second-round poll for a toothless parliament.

The call came after election results showed that only 11.3 percent of the electorate had partaken in the Sunday polls for what the opposition has denounced as a rubber-stamp parliament.

Independent observers have questioned official turnout figures, accusing authorities in many districts of withholding data they rely on to monitor the integrity of the elections.

"Almost 90 percent of Tunisian voters ignored this piece of theater and refused to be involved in the process," Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, head of the National Salvation Front, told journalists, adding, "I call on political groups and civil society to join hands to work for change, in the form of Kais Saied's departure and early presidential election."

The low turnout reflected Tunisian people's lack of confidence in President Saied, Chebbi said.

During the first round of the parliamentary election in December, the official turnout was only slightly lower at 11.2%.

Saied has decreed the new, mostly powerless parliament as part of a reconfigured presidential system that he introduced after shutting down the previous parliament in 2021 and assuming broad control over the state. He has practically stripped the legislature of its powers and granted himself far-reaching authority since his power grab.

Saied's critics accuse him of seeking to dismantle the democratic system enacted after Tunisia's 2011 revolution.

The National Salvation Front said the low turnout exposed "the total failure" of Saied's project, adding that it would not recognize the new parliament.

Chebbi urged key bodies, including the powerful UGTT trade union federation, which has hesitated to openly oppose the president, to join forces.

The cash-strapped country is struggling under debt worth around 80 percent of its gross domestic product.

With inflation above 10 percent and repeated shortages of household basics, the North African country's 12 million people have been focused on more immediate issues.

The election came in the shadow of drawn-out negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout worth nearly $2 billion.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/30/697223/Tunisia-opposition-elections-President-Kais-Saied

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North America

 

NYC considers renaming Harlem street after controversial Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad

30 January 2023

The New York City Council is set to vote on renaming a Harlem street after Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

The corner of West 127th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard, where the eastern regional headquarters of the Nation of Islam is located at Mosque Temple No. 7, would be named “The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad Way". It is one of the 128 street names changes the council will debate Tuesday.

But renaming the intersection could divide community members. Elijah Muhammad was once a mentor to Malcom X, but the two had a falling out, resulting in Malcolm X leaving the Nation of Islam.

Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 while giving a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Two men associated with the Nation of Islam were convicted of murdering the iconic figure.

Last year, they were exonerated after an investigation ruled that the New York Police Department and the FBI had undermined the case. However, speculation continues to swirl about Elijah Muhammad's role in the killing.

The Nation of Islam preached separatism and economic self-sufficiency for the Black community. Critics say the group promoted conspiracy theories and espoused the superiority of Black people over whites. The Southern Poverty Law Centre refers to the group as a Black supremacist hate group and accuses it of "deeply racist, anti-semitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric".

Advocates say that The Nation of Islam allowed for the self-empowerment of a disenfranchised minority.

The Nation of Islam's central message was economic self-reliance, and it developed a vast network of Black-owned business enterprises from bakeries to nightclubs.

The move to rename the street has sparked debate within the council.

Harlem councilwoman Kristin Richardson Jordan, a Democratic Socialist, put in the request. Robert Holden, a council member from Queens, called Muhammad “a Black supremacist” and said the renaming would be “an insult to Malcolm X Boulevard”.

Source: MiddleEastEye

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

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/new-york-city-considers-renaming-harlem-street-after-controversial-nation-islam-leader-elijah-muhammad

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US says 'horrific' Pakistan mosque attack 'indefensible'

Michael Gabriel Hernandez 

30.01.2023

WASHINGTON

The US on Monday sharply condemned a suicide bombing that struck a mosque in Pakistan, killing at least 59 people and injuring scores more.

"Worshipers at a mosque in Peshawar endured a horrific attack today, which killed and injured many," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter. "Terrorism for any reason at any place is indefensible. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims."

At least 59 people, including policemen, were killed and over 150 injured on Monday in northwestern Pakistan when a suspected suicide bomber blew himself up during midday prayers in a mosque.

Mohammad Asim, a spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital in the city of Peshawar, where the blast victims were taken, said that of the 157 people being treated for wounds sustained during the blast. "some" are injured critically. The deceased included several senior police officers and the imam or prayer leader. The mosque is located inside a police compound.

The Pakistani Taliban's mother organization, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/us-says-horrific-pakistan-mosque-attack-indefensible/2801894

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Blinken stresses countering Iran, affirms need for two-state solution to Netanyahu

30 January ,2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Palestinians and Israelis to de-escalate, reaffirmed the necessity of two-state solution for lasting peace and stressed the importance of countering Iran and preventing it from acquiring a nuclear weapon during a visit on Monday to Jerusalem where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Blinken condemned the synagogue attack which killed seven Israelis and was carried out by a Palestinian gunman, and told reporters upon arrival in Tel Aviv it “was more than an attack on individuals. It was also an attack on the universal act of practicing one's faith. We condemn it in the strongest terms.”

“And we condemn all those who celebrate these and any other acts of terrorism that take innocent lives, no matter who the victim is or what they believe. Calls for vengeance against more innocent victims are not the answer,” Blinken said.

He also called for easing tensions between both sides: “It is the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them.”

In a joint press conference with Netanyahu, Blinken addressed several topics: the Iranian threat, US steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, the importance of making the two-state solution vision a reality, as well as the importance of the Abraham Accords and plans to expand them.

Two-state solution

Blinken stressed that the US government has the “enduring goal of Palestinians and Israelis enjoying equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity, justice and dignity.”

He added: “We continue to believe the best way to achieve it is by preserving and then realizing the vision of two states. As I said to the prime minister, anything that moves us away from that vision is in our judgment detrimental to Israel’s long-term security.”

“That’s why we’re urging all sides now to take urgent steps to restore calm, to de-escalate. We want to make sure that there’s an environment in which we can create the conditions start to restore a sense of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike which is of course sorely lacking.”

After the synagogue attack, Netanyahu called for more Israeli citizens to carry guns for protection against street attacks.

Iran

Netanyahu stressed during the joint press conference the importance of countering Iran and preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

He said: “Your visit comes at an important time. It’s a time when many in the international community, I would say most of the international community, have seen the true face of Iran; have seen the barbarism of this regime against its own people. They have seen how it exports aggression beyond its border, and beyond the Middle East. I think there is a common consensus that this regime must not acquire nuclear weapons.”

He added: “We’ve had very good discussions on forging a common policy, on trying to work together to thwart the danger…. Our policy, my policy is to do everything within Israel’s power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. The fact that we and the US are working together is something that is important for this common goal as well.”

Blinken agreed with Netanyahu on the importance of countering Iran’s malign activities in the region and used the opportunity to re-affirm Washington’s condemnation of Tehran supplying Moscow with weapons which are used in the Russian war on Ukraine.

“We agree that Iran must never be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. And we discussed deepening cooperation to confront and counter Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region and beyond. Just as Iran has long supported terrorists that attack Israelis and others, their regime is now providing drones that Russia is using to kill innocent Ukrainian civilians. In turn, Russia is providing sophisticated weaponries to Iran. It’s a two way street,” Blinken said.

Abraham Accords

Both Blinken and Netanyahu praised the Abraham Accords and the “integration” of Israel into the region and building bridges with Arab countries.

The UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan normalized ties with Israel in 2020 through signing the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Netanyahu said: “We also see an opportunity of expanding the circle of peace. We intend to deepen the peace we’ve already made through the Abraham Accords. We discussed some of the initiatives that we are considering doing together. But also, to perhaps achieve dramatic breakthroughs that I think could be both historic and enormously significant in our common efforts to bring prosperity, security and peace to this part of the world and beyond,” he did not provide details as to which Arab countries Israel and the US had their sights on next.

“I also believe that expanding the circle of peace, working to close finally the file of the Arab-Israeli conflict I think would also help us achieve a workable solution with our Palestinian neighbors.”

Blinken said: “One of the most effective ways to make Israel more secure is to continue to build bridges in the region and even well beyond the region. That’s why we have worked relentlessly to deepen and broaden the Abraham Accords and other normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states.”

He added: “The prime minister has spoken about our ability to do big things together. Well, Israel’s greater integration in the region is very much one of them. A few years ago, this kind of cooperation would have been unimaginable. Today it is genuinely fostering new opportunities for people across the participating countries to connect, to collaborate... Each of these interactions helps chip away at enduring biases and mistrust.”

“We’re determined to keep building on that progress, on new issues, with new countries, as we work to strengthen the circle of peace.”

Blinken stressed, however, that normalization agreements between Arab countries and Israel were not a substitute to the two-state solution.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/30/Blinken-stresses-countering-Iran-affirms-need-for-two-state-solution-to-Netanyahu-

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US again issues warning of possible terrorist attacks against tourists in Turkey

30 January ,2023

The US embassy in Turkey warned Americans on Monday of possible attacks against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul, marking its second such notice in four days, following Quran-burning incidents in Europe.

In an updated security alert, the US embassy said “possible imminent retaliatory attacks by terrorists” could take place in areas frequented by Westerners, especially the city’s Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklal neighborhoods.

Turkish authorities are investigating the matter, it added.

On Friday, several embassies in Ankara including those of the United States, Germany, France and Italy issued security alerts over possible retaliatory attacks against places of worship, following separate incidents in which the Muslim holy book, the Quran, was burned in Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/30/US-again-issues-warning-of-possible-terrorist-attacks-against-tourists-in-Turkey-

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Quebec calls for Canada's anti-Islamophobia representative to resign

Barry Ellsworth 

31.01.2023

TRENTON, Canada

The government of Quebec province called Monday for the resignation of Canada's newly-appointed representative to fight Islamophobia, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he supports Amira Elghawaby.

Elghawaby, a human rights activist and the world's first government-appointed official anti-Islamophobia agent, wrote a newspaper column in 2019 critical of the then-recent passing of Quebec's secular law, Bill 21, which bans public servants from wearing religious symbols, including the hijab.

Provincial language minister Jean-Francois Roberge said Elghawaby, who was appointed four days ago, did not offer an acceptable apology for the criticism and that means she seems to hold "anti-Quebec sentiment."

"All she did was try to justify her hateful comments," Roberge said. "That doesn't fly. She must resign, and if she doesn't, the (federal) government must remove her immediately."

Elghawaby said she stands by what she wrote and never painted the majority of Quebecers as Islamophobic.

Trudeau said her role is to advise the government on policies to counter Islamophobia and to speak for Muslims. The column criticizing Bill 21 is an example.

"She is there to speak for the community, with the community, and build bridges," Trudeau said. "Her job now is to make sure that she is helping the government and helping everyone move forward in the fight against Islamophobia."

Groups representing Muslims have been highly critical of Bill 21, saying that banning provincial employees such as teachers from wearing the hijab forces a Muslim woman to choose between her religion and her career.

They are fighting the legislation in court.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/quebec-calls-for-canadas-anti-islamophobia-representative-to-resign/2801927

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US 'had no hand' in drone attack on Iran military site: Report

EkremBiceroglu

30.01.2023

The US has denied involvement in an overnight drone attack on a military facility in Iran, according to an Israeli media report.

Iran’s Defense Ministry said several drones targeted a military complex in the central Isfahan late on Saturday but there were no casualties or major damage.

“Washington had no hand in the Isfahan attack,” Israeli public broadcaster KAN quoted an unnamed US official as saying.

There have been a number of sabotage attacks on military facilities and nuclear plants in Iran in recent years, with Tehran mostly blaming its regional archrival Israel.

Israeli authorities have yet to comment on the latest attack.

In a statement on Sunday, the Iranian Defense Ministry said air defense systems at the Isfahan complex intercepted one of the drones, two others were caught in defense traps and exploded.”

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-had-no-hand-in-drone-attack-on-iran-military-site-report/2801117

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Arab World

 

‘Exciting, overwhelming’: Officials and visitors hail Islamic Arts Biennale in Jeddah

JASMINE BAGER

January 30, 2023

JEDDAH: After several years in the making, Jeddah’s Islamic Arts Biennale is offering visitors from across the Kingdom and around the globe ‘eye-opening’ access to Islamic art.

Themed “Awwal Bait,” or “The First House,” the event is taking place at the 1983 Aga Khan award-winning Western Hajj Terminal, which began accepting guests on the Jan. 23 launch.

The 118,000-square-meter space is housing five galleries, two pavilions and one grand canopy, 280 artifacts, as well as more than 50 new commissioned artworks from around the Muslim world.

Rakan Al-Touq, the vivacious vice chair of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, and also general supervisor of cultural affairs and international relations at the Ministry of Culture, hailed the event’s launch success.

Wearing a crisp white thobe and flashing a genuine smile, Al-Touq was visibly moved by how the event came together.

“We were super excited — this is a project a few years in the making, since 2019. It’s also been a passion project for me, personally. And we have a stellar group of people who came together for this project — a small but mighty team,” he told Arab News.

Al-Touq stressed the need for non-commercial experiences in which all hands are brought on deck to elevate concepts and cultures within Islamic art.

Bringing together never-before-seen priceless artifacts juxtaposed with freshly commissioned contemporary pieces within the space was like building a jigsaw puzzle from scratch, he added.

To create a cohesive and visually stunning space in which different areas and sensibilities were represented was quite a feat, Al-Touq said. Securing the iconic location to launch the world’s very first Islamic biennale was also significant to him and the team, he added.

Al-Touq said that the cooperation and support from the Saudi leadership, including Prince Badr Al-Saud, the minister of culture and governor of the Royal Commission for AlUla, has ensured the success of the monumental project.

The vice-chair’s praise went beyond the glamorous opening night ceremony, attended by many members of the royal family and public.

He took pride in the fact that half of the artists taking part in the event are Saudi.

“In 2019, we were planning for 2023 and the meeting point of doing something that is so, frankly, related to the identity of the Ministry of Culture and to Saudi Arabia, in a format that has never been done.

“To think about a biennale format for Islamic arts, that can bring together ancient history and current, and hopefully inspire future productions of art, just felt like the right thing to do.

“The team and the Diriyah Biennale Foundation started looking at options of locations and how we ended up here at the Hajj Terminal is also an important thing,” Al-Touq said.

CEO of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation Aya Al-Bakree, Al-Touq’s co-pilot in launching the event, said: “We are keen for people to join the dialog and experience the sense of community that the faith can evoke through art.”

The Islamic Arts Biennale is also meant to serve as a global reframe of Islamic art as a discipline , with the diversity of curators at the Islamic Arts Biennale a notable achievement.

Jennifer Pruitt, assistant professor in Islamic Art History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, traveled from the US to the Kingdom to visit the biennale with her friend, Dr. Stephennie Mulder, a professor in Islamic Art at the University of Austin, US.

Although immersed in the Middle East through their work, the two had very few expectations but were cautiously optimistic about their first visit to the Kingdom.

Before basking in the works displayed at the Islamic Arts Biennale, they spent eight whirlwind hours in Madinah and managed to explore AlUla before arriving in Jeddah.

“It's been a really exciting and overwhelming experience. My friend and I are here together and we’re both professors of Islamic arts. We’ve read about this space — we’ve read about Saudi Arabia,” Pruitt said.

“I knew that people would be friendly and warm, which everyone has been, in fact. We were commenting on the fact that unlike any trip we’ve taken, we literally haven’t encountered anyone that has been rude or annoying.

“Really everyone has been exceptionally warm and forthcoming,” she told Arab News.

“We’ve been to a lot of Islamic art shows and I think I think we all … we both agree that this is kind of in a really high category of quality and ambition, and execution,” she added.

The pair’s trip to Madinah was eye-opening — something that they were happy to experience first before venturing to the biennale.

“It was really powerful to see people kind of streaming to this sacred spot in Madinah. It was incredibly moving,” Mulder told Arab News.

“What we teach in our classes, which is that the power of Islam is all of these people converging like that … that that the power is not in the relic or in the architecture, but in these places where people pray … and I think that was really embodied seeing all these people from all over the world streaming into Madinah,” she added.

Due to earlier periods of restrictions, Saudi Arabia had been absent from the center of the Islamic art world for a long time.

But the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the introduction of tourist visas as well as academic trips has sought to change that.

“For me, like Jennifer, I just wanted to come here and be a student, and learn and observe,” Mulder said.

“We have this feeling that we’re here at the moment … of a people really discovering and being proud of and being able to construct their national narrative collectively.

“And having the freedom to do that — maybe for the first time very openly, and with a kind of joy.”

Both professors said that the enriching experience has encouraged them to change the way they teach upon their return to the US.

Although a picture is worth a thousand words, the pair said that Islamic art archive images are often “sterile,” and fail to encapsulate the feeling of experiencing art in person.

The sensation of standing beneath a monument while the Adhan (call to prayer) reverberates cannot be replicated through archives, they said.

The two professors are also keen to work and collaborate with Saudi archaeologists.

“We’re just really moved and we just feel like students, wide-eyed observing and learning, and taking it all in. It’s going to be amazing to take that all back into our classrooms,” Mulder said.

“I’m going to teach differently now; it’s kind of been percolating for a few days. I was telling Jennifer, even to have photographs of things we didn’t know before.

“We’re both architectural historians — it’s really important for us to have a sense of space and how people move through it.”

The biennale is free of charge for all visitors. It is also hosting 117 education workshops and more than 25 panel discussions.

The public programming schedule, including talks and screenings, is updated in real time.

The Islamic Arts Biennale, launched to the public on Jan. 23, will remain open until April 23.

Tickets can be booked via the official Diriyah Biennale website and on social media channels.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241716/saudi-arabia

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Saudi crown prince receives phone call from Putin

January 30, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a phone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

During the call, the two leaders reviewed bilateral relations and ways of developing them in various fields.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241706/saudi-arabia

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Saudi project clears 1,081 Houthi mines in Yemen

January 31, 2023

RIYADH: The Saudi Project for Landmine Clearance in Yemen dismantled 1,081 Houthi mines in the fourth week of January.

Overseen by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, special teams destroyed hundreds of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, unexploded ordinances and other explosive devices.

The KSrelief project, also known as Masam, is one of several initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia on the orders of King Salman to help the Yemeni people.

Masamteams clear routes for much-needed humanitarian aid aimed at supporting the country’s citizens.

The demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale and Saada.

A total of 384,220 mines have been cleared since the start of the project.

More than 1.2 million mines have been planted by the Houthi militia, claiming the lives of hundreds of civilians.

The Saudi project trains local demining engineers and provides them with modern equipment. It also provides support to Yemenis injured by the devices.

In June 2022, the project’s contract was extended for another year at a cost of $33.29 million.

Meanwhile, KSrelief carried out a project to empower and improve the living conditions of young people in the Al-Mahrah governorate of Yemen.

A total of 1,250 young people in eight governorates have benefited from the projects through vocational courses in 11 fields.

Elsewhere, KSrelief distributed food aid to flood victims in Sindh Province, Pakistan. The Saudi charity distributed 1,960 food packages, benefiting 13,720 people.

KSrelief also distributed 3,025 food parcels to Syrian and Palestinian refugees in several Lebanese regions, benefiting 15,125 people.

In Niger, 100 food packages were also distributed, benefiting 768 people.

Worldwide, KSrelief has implemented 2,246 projects worth more than $6 billion in 88 countries, in cooperation with 175 local, regional and international partners, since its inception in May 2015.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241851/saudi-arabia

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Saudi Arabia condemns suicide attack on Pakistan mosque

January 30, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia strongly condemned and denounced on Monday a suicide bombing that took place at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan.

A suicide bomber struck a crowded mosque inside a police compound in Pakistan, causing the roof to collapse and killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 150 others, officials said.

The attack happened during afternoon worship in the provincial capital of Peshawar, close to former tribal areas along the Afghan border.

The Kingdom’s foreign ministry said Saudi Arabia rejects the targeting of places of worship, terrorizing people, and shedding innocent blood.

The ministry said it stands by Pakistan in the face of violence, extremism, and terrorism, regardless of motives or justifications.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241641/saudi-arabia

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Cluster munitions continue to claim lives in Syria

30.01.2023

Cluster munitions continue to pose a serious threat to the lives of civilians in war-torn Syria, a human rights group warned on Monday.

In a statement, the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said cluster munitions were used by the regime and Russian forces in at least 496 attacks between July 2012 and January 2023.

According to the NGO, at least 1,053 civilians were killed in these attacks, including 394 children and 219 women.

SNHR said a total of 382 civilians, including 124 children and 31 women, also lost their lives as a result of the explosion of submunition, taking the overall toll to 1,435 civilians, including 518 children and 250 women.

Cluster munitions are dropped from aircraft or fired from the ground or sea, opening up in mid-air to release tens or hundreds of submunitions or bomblets, which can saturate an area up to the size of several football fields.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/cluster-munitions-continue-to-claim-lives-in-syria/2801771

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US Secretary of State meets Egypt’s Sisi during regional tour

İbrahim Khazen

30.01.2023

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi held talks in Cairo on Monday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A presidential spokesman reported the news, without providing any further details on the content of the discussions.

Blinken also met with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry following his talks with al-Sisi.

According to state news agency MENA, the discussions between the two chief diplomats will focus on bilateral cooperation and regional issues.

Blinken arrived in Egypt on Sunday at the start of a regional tour that will also take him to Israel and the West Bank.

According to the State Department, Blinken’s talks with Egyptian officials aim to advance the US-Egypt strategic partnership and promote peace and security in the region, including through shared support for elections in Libya and the ongoing Sudanese-led political process.

The top US diplomat’s visit comes amid rising violence in the Palestinian territories in recent days.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/us-secretary-of-state-meets-egypt-s-sisi-during-regional-tour/2801478

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Syria censures botched Israeli drone strike on defense facility in central Iran

30 January 2023

Syria has strongly condemned an Israeli drone strike on a military workshop in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, which was repelled by the country’s air defense units, voicing its strong support for the Islamic Republic amid the occupying Tel Aviv regime’s hostile moves.

“Syria expresses its solidarity with Iran’s leadership, government, armed forces and nation in the face of fiendish bids that seek to target the country’s safety, prosperity and principled policies,” the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement published on its Tweeter page on Monday.

It added that Damascus “calls for the punishment of all those involved in the crime, which threatens the safety and stability of the region and the whole world, and holding them accountable for the cowardly act.”

In a statement early on Sunday, the Iranian Defense Ministry announced that its air defense units had fended off a drone attack on a military workshop in Isfahan.

The ministry said one of the workshop complexes had come under attack from a number of Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), but the complex’s air defenses successfully repelled the attack.

The ministry underscored that the unsuccessful attack did not cause any loss of life and only led to minor damage to the roof of a workshop. The complex, it added, continues its ordinary operations following the attack.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed American officials and people familiar with the operation, later said in a report that “Israel carried out the drone attack on an Iranian military center for research and development midnight Saturday.”

The paper added that the attack targeted “what some sources said was Material and Energy Laboratory of Isfahan with ‘small drones’.”

The report claimed that the drones targeted a munitions factory next to a facility belonging to the Iran Space Research Center, which is under US sanctions for its work on ballistic missiles.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/30/697282/Syria-censures-botched-Israeli-drone-strike-on-defense-facility-in-central-Iran

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Presidential election key to resolution of Lebanon’s crises, senior Hezbollah official says

30 January 2023

A high-ranking official from the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has called for the immediate election of a new president to replace Michel Aoun, whose term expired last October, describing the development as the key to resolution of the country's years-long crises.

“We should elect a president as soon as possible, as all solutions are tied to an agreement on the next head of state. The election will result in the appointment of a new government, and development of financial and social plans aimed at economic salvation of the country. Lebanon would then start to make progress,” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh NaimQassem said at a ceremony in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Monday.

He added that there would be many "twists and turns" before the formation of a new government, especially "as US sanctions are seeking to target the country's vital sectors one after another, create a sense of despair among the nation, and paint a pretty grim picture that there is no future for Lebanon.”

The senior Hezbollah official went on to point to divisions among Lebanese political factions to elect a successor to Aoun, saying, “We believe that electing a new president.is the key to [settlement of]  the country's ongoing crises. Each party and faction has listed the characteristics of its prospective candidate. It is time to move ahead and elect a new head of state than to wrangle over a nominee.”

Sheikh Qassem noted that the parliament convened on January 19 for the 11th time to elect a new president, but failed again to come up with a consensus candidate.

“Remaining stuck in the current situation and persistence on uncompromising viewpoints will complicate election of a new president. Solution to the existing power vacuum lies in sincere dialog,” he said.

Sheikh Qassem underscored that Hezbollah, along with the Amal movement and other allies, has suggested an effective mechanism in order to elect a new president because it has always been honest with Lebanese people, and has sought national convergence

“Those who wish to fulfill their desires should know that the next president will not be elected in such a manner,” he stated.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has called for the election of “a brave [Lebanese] president who is willing to sacrifice.”

“We want the election of a president, the formation of a government and the salvation of the country,” the Hezbollah leader said.

“We want a brave president who is willing to sacrifice and does not care about the threats of the Americans. There are such examples and we must look for a government of this type and ministers of this type,” the Hezbollah chief underlined.

Lebanon’s presidency has seen stalemate several times since the 1975-1990 civil war. The country has also had only a caretaker government since last May.

The Arab country has been mired in an economic crisis that the World Bank has dubbed one of the worst in recent history, which comes amid crippling sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its value on the black market since 2019.

According to the United Nations, the ongoing financial crisis in Lebanon has caused poverty rates to reach more than 80 percent of the population, and food prices have risen by an astonishing 2,000 percent.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/30/697262/Presidential-election-key-to-resolution-of-Lebanon%E2%80%99s-crises,-senior-Hezbollah-official-says

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Mideast

 

Iran Summons Ukrainian Envoy over Zelensky Aide's Threatening Remarks

2023-January-30

The Iranian Defense Ministry on Sunday announced that the country's air defense units had thwarted a drone strike on a military workshop in Isfahan. Tehran confirmed that the unsuccessful raid did not cause any loss of life and only led to minor damage to the roof of a workshop.

A senior adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, Mykhailo Podolyak, expressed his joy over the attack. The top official stated that “Ukraine did warn you". Other Ukrainian officials have yet to publicly expand on his comments.

On Monday, Tehran summoned the charge d’affaires of Kiev to explain Podolyak’s remarks on Ukraine’s possible involvement in the strike.

Podolyak’s remarks come as a US official told Reuters that Israel appears to have been behind the drone attack.

Kiev and its Western allies have repeatedly claimed that Tehran has provided Russia with drones to be used in the war in Ukraine.

Iranian officials have repeatedly rejected claims about Tehran's arms sales to Russia to be used in the ongoing war against Ukraine, stressing such allegations are aimed at legitimizing the West's military assistance to Kiev.

They reiterated that Tehran will not help either side in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, and cautioned that arming Moscow or Kyiv will prolong the conflict between the two neighbors.

In Late February, President Vladimir Putin stated in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.

The US, the EU, the UK and a number of other states have imposed sanctions against Russian legal entities and individuals. They also increased supplies of weapons to the Ukrainian authorities. Russia has officially become the most sanctioned country in the world, surpassing Iran, Syria and North Korea, after launching a military operation against Ukraine.

Back in September, Iranian PresdientSeyed Ebrahim Rayeesi cautioned that the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a serious threat to the stability and security of nations.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011110000722/Iran-Smmns-Ukrainian-Envy-ver-Zelensky-Aide's-Threaening-Remarks

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Iran's Human Right Chief in Iraq to Pursue Gen. Soleimani Assassination Case

2023-January-30

"Iran's priority is to speed up the handling of the case of martyr Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abul Mahdi Al-Muhandis and their companions," Qaribabadi told the reporters upon arrival in Baghdad.

He stated that during his trip to Baghdad, the case of Martyr Soleimani "will be seriously pursued" and "the indictment will be issued in Iran soon".

"It is expected that Iraq will submit the indictment to the court as soon as possible so that all the perpetrators of the assassination of Martyr Soleimani and his companions will be tried," the judiciary official added.

"Fighting against terrorist groups is another priority of Iran, which will be discussed with Iraqi officials, and the two countries have suffered a lot from terrorism," he continued.

Qaribabadi said that it is necessary for Iran and Iraq to have good and close cooperation both at the level of national courts and at the level of international and human rights forums to deal with terror groups.

Back in late December, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, who heads a special committee formed to follow up on Lieut. Gen. Soleimani’s murder case from legal and international aspects, said Tehran is seriously pursuing a judicial process to serve justice in the case of the assassination of Iran's anti-terror commander, adding that the indictment in the case is nearing its final stages.

Lieutenant General Soleimani, Al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s PMU, and ten of their deputies were martyred by an armed drone strike that was directly ordered by the White House as their convoy left Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

Both commanders were highly revered across the Middle East because of their key role in fighting the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

Iranian officials have repeatedly emphasized that Tehran will certainly take revenge from the masterminds and perpetrators of the terror attack on the anti-terror icon. Tehran stresses Americans and Zionists rest assured that it is serious about revenge for the assassination of Martyr Soleimani, and they continue to live under the shadow of Iran's reprisal since they don't know when and where they come under attack.

On January 8, the the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted the US-run Ein Al-Assad in Iraq’s Western province of Al-Anbar by launching a volley of missiles in retaliation. According to the Pentagon, at least 110 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrike on the base. Iran has described the missile attack as a “first slap".

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011110000364/Iran's-Hman-Righ-Chief-in-Ira-Prse-Gen-Sleimani-Assassinain-Case

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Iranian, Russian Banks Ink MoU to Broaden Cooperation

2023-January-30

Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said that during the course of the past year the document for joint actions of the Iranian and Russian banks was signed and today the first practical action based on that document was implemented.

"The messaging networks of the two countries' banks are connected to each other as of today, and this provides a chance for the member banks in country's national banking system to exchange standard banking messages with the Russian banks as well," Mohsen Karami added.

He said that the entire Iranian banks abroad and the foreign banks connected to the national Russian banking messages services, which include 100 banks in 13 other countries, will now be able to exchange messages with the Iranian banks.

Vladislav Gridchin, for his part, said that the greatest privilege of this move is that the western sanctions can have no effect on it.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011110000319/Iranian-Rssian-Banks-Ink-MU-Braden-Cperain

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Iran Blames German Chancellor for Standing on Wrong Side of History

2023-January-30

During a visit to a memorial to victims of Argentina's military dictatorship in Buenos Aires on Sunday, Scholz drew a parallel between Argentina’s past dictatorship rule and the situation in recent months in Iran. He noted that visiting the memorial meant that he had to "think of the young people who are now being killed in Iran when they stand up for their freedom and for a better life".

In response, Kana'ani on Monday dismissed the repetition of interfering stances that the German chancellor had adopted against Tehran regarding the recent unrest in Iran.

“In an amateurish and biased simulation, the German chancellor once again proved that he still stands on the wrong side of history," the Iranian spokesperson emphasized.

"The comments can be used to draw a parallel between extremist stances adopted by leaders of Germany before the World War II and those of the country’s current leaders who use human rights as a means of burnishing their image,” he continued.

The Iranian diplomat deplored the German government’s attempt to use a project to gain “power through human rights” in order to present a positive image of itself and to pretend that it is a pioneer of that movement, adding that such behaviors are doomed to defeat.

Kana'ani also recommended German authorities to pay attention to recent crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Tehran and Berlin have been engaged in a diplomatic row over German meddlesome stance on recent unrest Iran.

Protests erupted in several cities across Iran over the death of MahsaAmini who fainted at a police station in mid-September and days later was pronounced dead at a hospital. The demonstrations soon turned violent.

An official report by Iran’s Legal Medicine Organization announced that Amini’s controversial death was caused by an illness rather than alleged blows to the head or other vital body organs.

Iranian officials blame Western countries for orchestrating the riots to destabilize the country.

The unrest has claimed the lives of dozens of people and security forces, while also allowing acts of terror and sabotage across the country. Iran's Interior Ministry has confirmed the enemy waged a hybrid war against the country to weaken national solidarity and hinder the country's progress, stressing that some 200 people lost their lives in the riots sparked by separatist and terrorist groups.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011110000498/Iran-Blames-German-Chancellr-fr-Sanding-n-Wrng-Side-f-Hisry

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Iran Underlines Unconditional Support for Palestinians Amid Israeli Armed Crackdown

2023-January-30

Following recent crimes committed by Israel in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank, Amir Abdollahian held separate phone conversations with Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh and Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine Ziyad Al-Nakhalah.

During the talks with Palestinian resistance leaders, the Iranian diplomat stressed that Tehran would continue support for the Palestinians.

He categorically condemned the Zionist regime’s crimes against the innocent people in Palestine and offered sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims as well as the Palestinian nation.

Haniyeh expressed gratitude for the support for the Palestinian resistance provided by Iran.

Al-Nakhalah, for his part, appreciated Iran for the principled positions of the Islamic Republic in support of the Palestinian people and resistance in all fields, noting that Palestinians are proud of the Islamic Republic’s stances and will stand against the Zionist regime’s desecration of the Islamic sanctities forever.

On Thursday, the Israeli military carried out a deadly raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Ten Palestinians were killed, including an elderly woman, following several hours of intense confrontations between dozens of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters.

The latest killings bring the total number of Palestinians killed in Israeli fire so far in 2023 to at least 30, including five children.

In a retaliatory operation near a synagogue in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied East Al-Quds on Friday, eight settlers were killed and many others injured. Tel Aviv has announced that the gunman involved in the shooting was "neutralized" by Israeli soldiers.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011110000220/Iran-Underlines-Uncndiinal-Sppr-fr-Palesinians-Amid-Israeli-Armed

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Iran: US Taxpayers' Money Not to Avert Israel's Fate Amid Domestic Crises

2023-January-30

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Kana’ani pointed out that each of the last five Israeli cabinets lasted less than one year and predicted that the current administration led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “will probably have the same fate".

“The US government may support the apartheid Zionist Regime out of American taxpayers money, but this will not help the regime’s survival,” the spokesperson wrote.

“This regime suffers from huge domestic crises,” the diplomay said, adding that the occupiers are losing all hope of survival and this is raising Palestinians’ hope of victory and liberation.

He noted that the “social and political fault-lines of the spider den of Zionists are jolting this hollow regime more than ever before, pushing it to the cusp of collapse".

Tens of thousands of protesters on Saturday held a massive rally in Tel Aviv for forth strait week against Netanyahu’s planned judicial reforms.

The Iranian diplomat also stressed that the Israeli regime’s crime in Jenin and the killing and wounding of dozens of innocent Palestinians “cannot distract the public opinion from the dire and shaky situation inside the temporary Zionist regime".

The Zionist regime’s attacks on Jenin, which coincided with the CIA chief’s visit to Tel Aviv, has killed 10 young Palestinians, he lamented.

On Thursday, the Israeli military carried out a deadly raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. Ten Palestinians were killed, including an elderly woman, following several hours of intense confrontations between dozens of Israeli soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters.

The latest killings bring the total number of Palestinians killed in Israeli fire so far in 2023 to at least 30, including five children.

In a retaliatory operation near a synagogue in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied East Al-Quds on Friday, eight settlers were killed and many others injured. Tel Aviv has announced that the gunman involved in the shooting was "neutralized" by Israeli soldiers.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011110000125/Iran-US-Taxpayers'-Mney-N-Aver-Israel's-Fae-Amid-Dmesic-Crises

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Israeli troops shoot Palestinian man in West Bank ahead of Blinken visit

30 January ,2023

Israeli troops killed a Palestinian man on Monday, Palestinian officials said, hours before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives on a visit dominated by a deadly shooting near a Jerusalem synagogue and growing violence in the West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry said 26-year-old Nassim Nayef Salman Abu Fouda was shot in the head by soldiers in Hebrown, a southern city in the occupied West Bank, early in the morning. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said he was shot by troops in his car at a checkpoint.

Israel is on high alert after a Palestinian opened fire in a street outside a synagogue on Friday, killing seven people in the worst such attack in the Jerusalem area for over a decade.

Recent violence, which also saw the deadliest Israeli raid in the West Bank in years, has overshadowed the visit by Blinken, who was due to land in Tel Aviv just after 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) and meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Blinken sees Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday.

So far this month, at least 35 Palestinians, both gunmen and civilians, have been killed in near-daily West Bank raids by the army - 10 of them in clashes on Thursday in Jenin refugee camp.

According to the Palestinian health ministry, January has been the bloodiest month in the West Bank since 2015.

With little immediate hope of a renewal of talks towards a political settlement of the decades-long dispute, the latest violence has added to gloom over prospects for peace, although Washington has reaffirmed support for a two-state solution.

US President Joe Biden has repeated his support for Israel’s security but Washington has also said there was an urgent need by all sides to de-escalate the conflict.

However containing the violence has been complicated by the actions of so-called “lone wolves” like the 21-year-old who carried out Friday’s attack and apparently had no connection with Palestinian militant groups.

Palestinian officials said Israeli settlers had set fire on Monday to two cars near the northern West Bank city of Nablus and thrown stones at a house near Ramallah, following a similar attack on Sunday.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/30/Israeli-troops-shoot-Palestinian-man-in-West-Bank-ahead-of-Blinken-visit

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Palestinian legal center files objection to plans to build US embassy in Jerusalem on illegally confiscated land

January 30, 2023

JERUSALEM: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed an objection on Monday to plans to build the US embassy in Jerusalem on illegally confiscated Palestinian land.

The objection was filed against the Jerusalem District Planning Committee, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the US ambassador to Israel on behalf of 12 of the descendants of the original Palestinian owners of the land upon which the State Department is seeking to build.

Four of the descendants are US citizens, three are Jordanians, and five are East Jerusalem residents.

The original owners’ land was confiscated by Israel under the Israeli Absentees’ Property Law of 1950.

Records discovered in the Israel State Archives show that the land was owned by Palestinian families and leased temporarily to British mandate authorities prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948, Wafa News Agency reported.

The objection was sent with a letter which said that in the event of the US proceeding with the plan, it would be “a full-throated endorsement” of Israel’s illegal confiscation of private Palestinian property.

It also said it would make the US State Department an active participant in violating the rights of its own citizens.

State Department officials recently claimed that no decision on moving forward with the construction plan had yet been made, and that the US was still deciding whether to pursue an alternative site.

SuhadBishara, legal director at Adalah, has argued that confiscating the land on which the US compound is to be built would violate international law, specifically article 46 of The Hague Regulations on land warfare. The regulations enshrine the need to respect private property rights and expressly prohibit confiscation of private property.

Adalah has said that the Israeli Absentees’ Property Law is one of the most arbitrary, broad, discriminatory, and draconian laws enacted in Israel.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2241796/middle-east

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Israel’s Ben-Gvir threatens Palestinians with death penalty by ‘electric chair’

30.01.2023

JERUSALEM

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Monday vowed to push for the death penalty by the electric chair against Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis.

"Anyone who murders, harms and slaughters civilians should be sent to the electric chair," Ben-Gvir said during a meeting of his far-right Jewish Strength Party as cited by Israeli Channel 13.

Ben-Gvir is pushing the Knesset (Israel's parliament) to pass a bill to use the death penalty against Palestinians involved in attacks against Israelis.

The far-right minister said he asked for imposing a curfew on Palestinian neighborhoods that pose a threat to Israel and to arrest those holding weapons.

On Sunday, Ben-Gvir ordered the demolition of 14 Palestinian-owned homes in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext of lack of construction permits, according to his office.

Tension has flared up in the Palestinian territories in recent days amid a spate of attacks.

Seven Israelis were killed in a gun attack near a synagogue in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, a day after nine Palestinians were killed in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in East Jerusalem.

The far-right politician triggered a storm of Palestinian condemnations on Jan. 3, when he visited the flashpoint site amid warnings of unrest.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-s-ben-gvir-threatens-palestinians-with-death-penalty-by-electric-chair-/2801835

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Iran military facility works on hypersonic missiles: Ex-Mossad chief

30.01.2023

JERUSALEM

The former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, Danny Yatom, said Monday that an Iranian military facility struck by drones has been producing hypersonic missiles.

Iran said Sunday that a workshop complex in the central Isfahan province came under attack from several micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) at around 11:30 p.m. local time (2000GMT) on Saturday, but its air defenses successfully repelled them.

The cause of the incident was still unclear, with authorities saying that an investigation was underway.

Speaking to Israeli Army radio, Yatom said the facility has been used to develop hypersonic missiles.

He argued that these missiles are fast enough to the extent that advanced air defense systems may find it difficult to intercept them.

Earlier Monday, Israel officially declined to comment on the attack on the Iranian facility.

"We don't have a comment on these reports. We don't comment on Western reports," an Israeli army spokesman told Anadolu on Monday.

On Sunday, an unnamed US official on Sunday denied any US involvement in the drone attack.

“Washington had no hand in the Isfahan attack,” the official was quoted as saying by Israeli public broadcaster KAN.

Yedioth Ahronoth daily, meanwhile, quoted another unnamed US official as saying that Israel was behind the attack.

According to the newspaper, the drone attack aimed to prevent Iran from developing hypersonic missiles, probably with Russian help.

There have been a number of sabotage attacks on military facilities and nuclear plants in Iran in recent years, with Tehran mostly blaming its regional arch-foe Israel.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/iran-military-facility-works-on-hypersonic-missiles-ex-mossad-chief/2801816

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Hamas captures Israeli spy drone, extracts ‘sensitive information’

30 January 2023

The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas says it has captured an Israeli spy drone over the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to Palestinian media reports on Sunday, the Hamas military wing Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades seized the multi-rotor aircraft (hexacopter) and extracted “sensitive information.”

“Al-Qassam Brigades was able to capture at dawn Friday, January 27, 2023, an Israeli drone that was on a special mission inside the Gaza Strip,” the Brigades said in a statement. “Our engineers were able to deal with the drone and extract important and sensitive information related to the occupation forces from it.”

Israel kept the disappearance of its drone secret until Hamas announced it had the UAV at its disposal.

An Israeli spokesperson admitted on Sunday that such a drone landed in Gaza during an operational activity last Friday.

Last week, Israel launched airstrikes on Gaza a day after killing at least 10 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, prompting the resistance to fire rockets at the occupied territories in retaliation. Israeli warplanes hit areas west and south of Gaza, including posts belonging to resistance, on Thursday night and Friday at dawn.

Israel withdrew its troops from Gaza in 2005. Two years later, though, the regime imposed a crippling blockade on the Palestinian territory after Hamas rose to power there. Ever since, Tel Aviv has waged three wholesale wars on the territory. Observers say the combination of the siege and military assaults is meant to render what is already the world’s largest open-air prison even more uninhabitable.

Over the past months, Israel has also ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

More than 170 Palestinians, including at least 30 children, were killed across the West Bank and East Jerusalem last year. In January 2023 alone, well over 30 Palestinians, including five children, have been killed.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/30/697279/Hamas-Israel-spy-drone-Qassam-

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