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Ancient Swastikas Found Near Varanasi Gyanvapi Mosque, Survey Stopped Amid Protests: Court Commissioner's Team

New Age Islam News Bureau

08 May 2022


 The survey team was allegedly denied entry to Gyanvapi Masjid by the mosque administration and a group of Muslim men (PTI photo)


• Swedish Authorities  Kidnap Muslim Children: Experts, Families Say Sweden's Social System Mistreats Muslim Children

• Music Festival, ‘Freaks of Nature’ Organized By Saudi Creative Agency, in Riyadh Attracts Huge Response

• Pakistan, Afghan Taliban Turning From Friends To Arch Enemies: Report

• ISIS Wants To Delegitimize Taliban Via Explosions: Singaporean Researcher



• Court Grants Pre-Arrest Bail To BJP Leader Who Played Drums Outside Mosque During ‘Azaan’

• 'Pahela Baishakh' Is Bangladesh's Biggest Cultural Festival, A Celebration Bengali Identity Held In Delhi

• 2 Mumbai Mosques Booked For Using Loudspeakers For Azaan

• Hajj 2022: Over 79 thousand Indian Muslims to fly for pilgrimage

• Haryana: High tension in Nuh amidst call for Mahapanchayat

• Hyderabad: BJP submits memorandum to Governor on Saroornagar honour killing case

• UP: Muslim man held in Firozabad for converting, marrying college-goer



• Al-Qaeda Chief Blames US For Ukraine Invasion In New Video

• UK ‘turns back on’ former Afghan prosecutor hunted by Taliban

• EU attempts to save Iran nuclear deal with last-ditch effort: Report


Arab World

• Iraqi Cleric Mahmoud Al-Sarkhi Deepens Intra-Shia Dispute

• Extremist attack kills 11 Egyptian troops: Army

• Unidentified aircraft target Syrian regime: War monitor

• Saudi Arabia, UAE strongly condemn ‘terrorist’ attack on Egyptian troops in Sinai

• Yemen officials: Two commanders killed in clash with militants

• Lebanese parliamentary elections: Second phase of expat voting scheduled for Sunday


South Asia

• Uzbekistan Not Ready To Recognise Taliban Government In Afghanistan

• Islamic Emirate Denies Clashes in Panjshir

• China Among Nations Committed ‘Brutal Actions’ Against Journalists


Southeast Asia

• Zahid calls PAS two-faced, says Umno wants loyal friends

• JPJ issues 8,000 summonses during Raya operation

• Bursa Malaysia seen as flat this week due to cautious sentiment



• Iran: Normalization of Ties Emboldens Zionists to Commit More Crimes against Palestinians

• Iranian Resistance Warns Iran’s Primary Goal Is To Build A Nuclear Weapon

• Iranian FM, UN Chief Confer on Vienna Talks, Region, Ukraine

• Over Half Million Foreign Children Attend Iranian Schools

• Two Palestinians wanted for killing three on Israel Independence Day apprehended

• Israeli troops demolish home of Palestinian assailant



• Pakistan Police Arrest 8 Men Of The Ahmadi Sect Of Islam Over Apparent Religious Killing

' • Chinese Confidence In Pakistan's Security System Shaken' After The Karachi University Attack

• Pak police guarded Farah Khan's residence during Imran Khan govt without reason: Report

• Governor justifies inviting army intervention in Punjab

• Pakistan: Medina sloganeering incident sharpens political slugfest

• Humanitarian Assistance Cargo from Pakistan Arrived in Balkh



• UN Rights Chief Denounces Muslim-Christian Clashes In Ethiopia

• UN experts favour keeping South Sudan arms embargo

• Nigeria’s central bank governor Emefiele says not decided on presidential bid


North America

• ‘US Envoy To UN Postpones Visit To Turkiye-Syria Border’

• Turkiye sympathizes with Cuba over deadly explosion

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Ancient Swastikas Found Near Varanasi Gyanvapi Mosque, Survey Stopped Amid Protests: Court Commissioner's Team


The survey team was allegedly denied entry to Gyanvapi Masjid by the mosque administration and a group of Muslim men (PTI photo)


Samarth Srivastava


May 8, 2022

The timeworn traces of two swastikas were seen near the Gyanvapi Masjid in the Gyanvapi-Shringar Gauri complex in Varanasi during the survey and videography exercise being carried out.

While the exercise was halted by the administration amid protests on Saturday, videographers on the court commissioner's team later told Aaj Tak that they came across the two faded but legible swastikas outside the mosque as they were conducting the survey. The swastikas were possibly drawn in ancient times, they said.

The videography and survey of some areas outside Gyanvapi Masjid was stopped on Saturday after the team of lawyers were denied entry inside the mosque due to protests by Muslim men.

Earlier in the day, a Varanasi court had ordered the continuation of videography and survey of areas outside Gyanvapi Masjid. Heavy police force was stationed in the area after a court-appointed official and a team of lawyers carried out an inspection near the area on Friday.

The survey is being done on the Varanasi district court’s order following a plea by Delhi-based women Rakhi Singh, Laxmi Devi, Sita Sahu and others seeking permission to worship Hindu deities whose idols are located on the outer wall of the Gyanvapi Masjid.

Speaking to Aaj Tak/India Today, the petitioners’ lawyer Subhash Nandan Chaturvedi said there will be no survey of the mosque till the district court hears and passes order on a plea by the mosque management committee seeking the appointment of a different court commissioner to oversee the exercise.

Chaturvedi said that on Saturday, around hundred men from the Muslim community surrounded the mosque when the team of lawyers and videographers approached, due to which they were unable to conduct the survey.

One of the petitioners, Rekha Pathak, told Aaj Tak/India Today that the team was denied entry into the mosque area by the mosque administration and a group of Muslim men, as a result the survey and videography could not be carried out on Saturday.

The court will now hear the matter on May 9 and they would ask for specific order to carry out the videography and survey of the Gyanvapi mosque, Pathak said. Live TV

Source: India Today

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Swedish Authorities  Kidnap Muslim Children: Experts, Families Say Sweden's Social System Mistreats Muslim Children


Photo: ToSNews


05 MAY 2022

Social agencies have the right to send their staff and take children from their homes or from school without their parents’ knowledge

Following several months of protests by Muslim families who claim their children are being “kidnapped” by Swedish authorities, one of the founders of the Nordic Committee for Human Rights is putting a harsh spotlight on Swedish social services.

“They are kidnapping Muslim children, that’s what I mean. They don't accept that they have other ways to live,” said Siv Westerberg, an internationally recognized lawyer who won eight cases at the European Court of Human Rights against Swedish social services.

A country proud of its social engineering established the Swedish Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act (LVU) in 1990, which gives authority to social service workers to remove children forcibly from their parents.

Without or even before they get the Swedish Administrative Court’s support, social agencies have the right to send their staff, assisted by the police, and take children from their homes or directly from school without their parents’ knowledge.

Children are taken far from home directly to a secret investigation home, foster home, or a Home for Care and Custody (HVB).

The impunity enjoyed by Swedish social services has led to countless violations of the LVU, which gives legal grounds for forced child removal.

Lena Hellblom Sjogren, a well-known Swedish forensic psychologist who has investigated alleged sexual abuse and children’s suffering, said she believes that those judging in the social care cases lack reliable tools for the work that they are doing and that “their obligation according to the Swedish fundamental law to be impartial and to be a matter of fact oriented is violated in every case.”

Author Erik Philipson, who chairs the group Barnets Basta (In the Child’s Best Interest), said the root cause for the failure is that social services workers in Sweden were not educated about scientific research methods “so that they can make an objective and impartial child investigation, and still they have the authority to be an expert authority on child matters and what is in a child’s best interests.”

Halima Marrie came to Sweden from the African country of Gambia with her husband Almamo Jarju and children, but after just a few months, her 6-year-old daughter was taken by social services.

Marrie claimed that from the very beginning, the school manipulated her daughter by telling her that “they will find a better home for her as we are likely to beat her."

The young girl was moved to five different homes from when she was 6 to 7 years old due to “sexual abuse by the foster families,” said the girl’s father Almamo.

Almamo said he suspects that his daughter, now 15, “is still a victim of sexual abuse in her current foster home and the social services are not doing anything about it.”

Halima and Almamo last saw their daughter “three years ago, when she was 12, as social services stopped any contact between us and we have no idea where she is,” Halima asserted.

Almamo believes that his family is a victim of racism and that the only reason why his daughter was taken away from them is “because we are Muslims.”

Westerberg, who is also a former medical doctor, believes that "if you are an immigrant family in Sweden, there is a larger possibility that social authorities will take your child away from you.”

Asked about the protests by the Muslim families, she replied: “I mean that they are kidnapping Muslim children, and those social workers find it a lot more interesting to go and kidnap Muslim children than to sit around the whole day taking care of Swedish alcoholics and giving them money and clothes.“

Swedish authorities denied allegations of kidnapping by the protesters, branding a conversation on Twitter “a disinformation campaign,” adding that social services “always put the safety and well-being of the child first.”

Lena Hellblom Sjogren, author of the book Barnets Ratt Till Familjeliv (The Child’s Right to Family Life), argues that the Swedish system is not fair to the child because “the child’s rights -- the human rights and legal rights and the child’s needs -- are violated, and if you don’t have a very sound investigation that the child needs to be protected, then you can take that last step to move away a child from his or her family, but not before that.”

The well-established Persons Act LVU/ HVB-system is thought to turnover billions of dollars per year, which is believed to be 2% of the Swedish state budget.

"It is a big business (in Sweden) taking away children from their mothers. It is a very big business in Sweden,” said Westerberg.

She pointed out that foster homes are given too much money by the social services and that “if you get a foster child in your home, you will get 25,000 (Swedish krona) (roughly $2,522) a month, and you must not pay any tax for that.”

“So lots of people who are psychopaths who don't have any feelings for children they take let's say two or three foster children and have an income that very few people in Sweden have.

“You can have a luxury life if you have two or three children,” Westerberg added.

Hellblom Sjogren agreed and thinks that “it is quite wrong that there are companies earning money from taking children in their homes. I think that it should be a last resort, and then you should recruit adults who love children, not adults who are in need of earning money.”

Swedish law states that children should be placed first with someone from their family system, but according to Sjogren: “This law is not followed, and that goes with many laws in Sweden. It looks very good on the paper, but in practice, it doesn’t. They don’t follow the law.”

Pratima Singh and her husband David McLean-Treat are a married Indian-American couple whose son Richard was taken away by social services when he was nine.

“They came with police, and social services came and took him, and they place him outside of Stockholm,” said McLean-Treat.

“Well for 10 years then we did nothing but take this up with them and take it to the courts for 10 years until he was 18 years old.

“We missed him. We wanted him home with us,” he added.

David and Pratima did not succeed in getting their son back.

When Richard was 18 years old, he was placed in a rehab center by social services.

“So he had gotten into bad company and was experimenting with drugs. So when he was 18, then instead of just letting him go because LVU is finished when children are 18 years old, they put him into a program for those who have problems with drugs or alcohol.

“We will never forgive and forget what they’ve done to our lives.

“They are only doing this to make money. That’s all,” he added.

Sweden’s social services are a powerful institution in the country, so much so that even in the rare case that a Swedish court sides with the family and rules against social services’ decision to take the child away, under the current law, the services can override the ruling and refuse to give the child back to their parents.

“But here we have a modern law, and here we have a modern authority -- the social services in Sweden -- and they are creating not objective, not impartial investigations, and they are creating tragedies -- awful tragedies -- for children, for their parents, and unfortunately these kinds of difficulties have a tendency to go on and sort of carry the burden over generations. And it is really, really sad,” said Philipson.

Source: yenisafak
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Music Festival, ‘Freaks of Nature’ Organized By Saudi Creative Agency, in Riyadh Attracts Huge Response


The festival presented a range of artists that included English 4-deck DJ James Hype, the ‘mashup-king’ WeDamnz from the Netherlands and a strong lineup of local artists, complete with strong visuals and flamboyant costumes. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)


Zaid Khashogji

May 08, 2022

RIYADH: More than 2,000 people attended the boutique electronic music festival “Freaks of Nature” this weekend as the festival lit up the night sky in Riyadh.

The two-day festival, organized by Saudi creative agency Disrupt, featured two stages, an art exhibition, a camping experience and an entertainment village with pop-up food and clothes stores.

The festival took place in Ammariyah, west of Riyadh, with tickets sold on the website for SR700 ($187) for one day or SR1,200 ($320) for the party weekend package that included all access to the festival and its entertainment zones. The camping experience granted people access to a pre-pitched tent at the “Freakville” camping zone.

The organizers said the aim of the festival was to “promote new artists, empower talented creatives and change the creative culture across the country.”

With an indoor main stage and vibrant outdoor area, the festival presented a range of artists that included English four-deck DJ James Hype, the “mashup-king” WeDamnz from the Netherlands and a strong lineup of local artists, complete with strong visuals and flamboyant costumes.

“This was an epic festival,” said Yazeed Al-Hashim,  chief disruption officer at Disrupt Group. “It was great to see so many creative people coming together to experience all types of music, the art exhibition and the pop-ups we had on offer. This shows what is possible for music and entertainment in Saudi as it continues to grow and evolve into a thriving industry where talent gets the chance to shine.”

Both nights featured sets from each act, spread over two stages. The main stage kicked off with Aziz.wav, Frozen, and Rash performing sets, before Frozen and Rash returned to combine their talents for an exclusive back-to-back set featuring a creative mash-up of styles.

Cosmicat and Soul carried on the good vibes by joining forces to delight the crowd with a set packed with ambient builds leading to an intense drop. The sound of Yaz and ARX was up next, letting loose with a euphoric set of festival anthems.

WeDamnz closed the show with an exceptional mash-up mix, going back and forth between styles and genres to entertain the crowd before a triumphant crescendo.

Yasir, ARX, Lesad, Mariam Arab, Dr. Shadow, and Bigg3 performed on the underground stage throughout the night, leading to Igniter bringing the festival to a triumphant end with his blend of Tech and Minimal House, going back and forth between decks to build to a fantastic close.

“Everyone brought their very best and put on an amazing show for the audience on both nights. I would also like to thank James Hype and WeDamnz for coming over, and MDL Beast for their continued support. We are all looking forward to the next event,” Al Hashim added.

The first day of the festival was interrupted by a three-hour power outage.

“Just when we were about to start, a power outage across the whole area hit us and shut down the power at the venue. But luckily we had the sound and visuals in a backup generator that pulled the crowd to the dance floor,” said Al-Hashim.

The festival also brought together local artists for a live wall painting by Big50, who created a huge mural during the festival, and art installations by Euphoria and Riyadh String Art. Gaze by Leen, Miish Art, and Aesthetic are also exhibited over the two days.

At the pop-up concept store, local clothing brands Forty7, Foshostore, and Gleamsby were promoting the very latest in festival wear throughout.

Source: Arab News

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Pakistan, Afghan Taliban Turning From Friends To Arch Enemies: Report


Representative Image/ ANI


7 May, 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 7 (ANI): Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban, who for long were the closest of allies, are now increasingly facing the prospect of getting involved in a war of attrition over their Islamist terrorism policies that have now come to haunt both of them, a report said.

Pakistan is now eager to wash its hands off the links with terror groups it supported and gave shelter to in the last few decades. In Pakistan, at the same time, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), sheltered in the inaccessible hilly terrains of Afghanistan, is planning attacks inside Pakistan, International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS) reported.

In recent months, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) is creating mayhem inside Afghanistan as it targets the Taliban, the report said.

Both countries and their governments are confronting each other over the resultant violence. They are blaming each other for encouraging the terrorist groups to attack the other side, the report said.

The terror groups that have close links with state agencies on both sides have now become Frankensteins neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan want to pamper any longer. But they find their hands ties for several reasons, the report further said.

This year’s Ramzan period was particularly violent with suicide bombers targeting civilians and religious places in both countries, the report said, adding, the last such incident was a powerful explosion at the Khalifa Sahib Mosque in the west of Kabul that killed over 50 worshippers.

The ruling Taliban was quick to counter global criticism that it had failed to secure the country because it was still supporting terrorist groups in Afghanistan, the report said.

The Taliban backs the Pashtun demand for Pashtunistan, as claimed largely by “Pashtun Taliban”. It encompasses a large area of Pakistani territory south of Kabul including Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North West Frontier Province or NWFP) inhabited by their ethnic clansmen, thereby taking their long-standing homeland claims to the municipal limits of Islamabad, the report further said.

The confrontation between the two countries has increased after the fencing work was taken up. Afghanistan says the fence affects the daily lives of families living on both sides of the border.

The farmers whose lands straddle the border also face problems. Same is the case with traders who make a living by exporting food products and other items from Afghanistan to Pakistan and vice-versa.

There is tension at the border after Taliban soldiers last December disrupted the fence construction work by the Pakistan military. The situation was not allowed to escalate with both sides backing down subsequently, the report said.

However, this January, a Taliban commander, Mawillawi Sanaullah Sangin, issued a warning to Pakistan. He was quoted by Afghanistan’s Tolo News as saying: “We (the Taliban) will not allow the fencing anytime, in any form. Whatever they did before, they did, but we will not allow it anymore.”

With the strained relations over the border fencing, the Taliban openly backing the demand for Pashtunistan, and Pakistan and Afghanistan both experiencing terrorist attacks, the region is literally sitting on a powder keg, the report concluded. (ANI)

Source: The Print

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ISIS Wants To Delegitimize Taliban Via Explosions: Singaporean Researcher

May 8, 2022

A Singaporean researcher says that the recent deadly explosions in Afghanistan were plotted by ISIS to undermine the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

“The recent explosions in Afghanistan are attempts by the extremist groups of discrediting and delegitimizing the Taliban, making it look weak on the domestic turf and creating challenges for it internationally,” Asif Shuja tells the Tehran Times.

“Many of such explosions are claimed by the local offshoots of ISIS, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), from which the Taliban claimed to have secured its country,” Shuja says.

The researcher believes that through these attacks ISIS-K is testing the grip of the power of the Taliban and trying to undermine its legitimacy.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you assess the recent explosions in Afghanistan? What are the implications of such developments?

A: The recent explosions in Afghanistan are attempts by the extremist groups of discrediting and delegitimizing the Taliban, making it look weak on the domestic turf and creating challenges for it internationally. Many of such explosions are claimed by the local offshoots of ISIS, known as the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), from which the Taliban claimed to have secured its country. While nullifying such claims, through these attacks ISIS-K is testing the grip of the power of the Taliban and trying to undermine its legitimacy.

Although most of the recent attacks are on Shia Muslims, it appears to be primarily because of the ease of such targets rather than the Shia-Sunni factor. For instance, last Friday’s attack on Kabul’s Khalifa Sahib Mosque which killed 50 people, as well as the attack on the Kunduz Mosque a week before which killed 33 people, were both against the Sunni Muslims. Since the Taliban has promised the security of the Shia minority in Afghanistan under their rule, such attacks not just discredit its rule domestically, but also delegitimize it in the international arena.

Q: Does the Taliban have the authority and power to run the country and maintain security?

A: After the withdrawal of the U.S., the Taliban has become the de facto ruler of Afghanistan, so it does have the authority to run the country. However, in its present political form, where Afghanistan remains largely unrecognized politically by the world, it happens to be in a unique position of having no external friends as well as no external enemies. This can be both liabilities as well as an opportunity. Taliban’s stiff stance of declining the demand of the world community to form an inclusive government and its conservative socio-religious views are the two major stumbling blocks coming in the way of its international recognition. Effectively, it is in the Taliban’s hands to turn the present adversity into an opportunity by accepting the world’s demands and getting down to the reconstruction of the country. It is only by confirming the international demand that the Taliban can have international cooperation to run the country and maintain security.

Q: How do you see the rivalry between ISIS and the Taliban? Would it be possible that a new wave of ISIS attacks sweep Afghanistan?

A: Both ISIS and the Taliban are Sunni Islamist groups. However, ISIS follows the ideology of the Caliphate, which implies transcending the political boundaries of states. This makes it an ideological opponent of the Taliban, which has established an Emirate of Afghanistan, confining itself to the territorial boundary. The two groups have been at odds since the beginning of ISIS's emergence in 2015. However, after the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan in August 2021, the conflict between ISIS and the Taliban has become that of between a non-state and state actor, injecting related dynamics. While the withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan made the Taliban rulers of the country, the same factor is also considered by ISIS as an opportunity to regain its own lost grounds, making it resurgent in Afghanistan.

Since the deadly attack of ISIS-K at the Kabul airport during the time of the U.S. withdrawal and evacuation, its attacks within Afghanistan have continued. To stop this, a powerful opposing force is required. The Taliban, which is struggling to carry out its day-to-day functioning as a government due to financial constraints, is not in a position to acquire much-needed capabilities. As the Taliban shows flexibility, earns international legitimacy, and gets access to financial means, it can be better equipped to tackle ISIS, just as any other state handles its internal security issues. The absence of that scenario may imply that a new wave of ISIS attacks sweeping Afghanistan is more likely.

Q: To what extent does the Taliban need security cooperation with its neighbors, especially Iran and Pakistan, to prevent rivals such as ISIS from emerging?

A: Afghanistan is currently facing an insurmountable humanitarian crisis, which is a major distraction for the Taliban, making it unable to fight ISIS alone. Now that the major international powers have abandoned Afghanistan to its own fate, it is only with the security cooperation of its neighbors, especially Iran and Pakistan that Afghanistan can effectively meet its domestic challenges, including its fight with ISIS. In terms of their opposition to ISIS, all three countries – Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan – are on the same page. So, it appears obvious that the three countries should come together to prevent the emergence of ISIS. However, the Afghanistan-Pakistan border dispute and Taliban-Iran ideological differences may prevent them from forging such cooperation.

Since the establishment of the Durand Line in 1893, which separated Pakistan and Afghanistan, rulers of all ethnicities and politico-religious ideologies of Afghanistan have opposed this demarcation. This may compel one to deduce that a strong government in Afghanistan may not be in Pakistan’s interests as that might renew the demand for redrawing the Afghan-Pakistan border, causing Pakistan to lose large swaths of land on its side of the Durand Line. Such deep-rooted differences are reflected in the events such as Pakistan’s airstrikes in Khost and Kunar Provinces on 16th April and subsequent warnings to Pakistan by Afghanistan’s Acting Minister of Defence.

Although the Taliban’s Sunni ideology brings it into conflict with Shia Iran, the problems that the Taliban have with Tehran are easier to solve than what it has with Islamabad. In fact, Iran can be the most useful ally to Afghanistan – Iran hosts the largest number of Afghan refugees, and it has been an active participant in the two international platforms to help the Taliban resolve its challenges in ruling the country. These include the “Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighboring Countries + Russia” which includes Pakistan, and the “Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan”, which excludes Pakistan.

Q: Given the strict laws enforced by the Taliban in Afghanistan, can the group gain international legitimacy?

A: While faith and religion define the relationship between humans and God, relationships between nation-states are primarily determined by national interests, which are most material in nature. Be it a cursory look around, or a deep excavation into the history of international relations, what emerges is that regardless of the sufferings of the people of a particular country due to the nature of its domestic laws, its international relations are not solely determined by them. So, regardless of the sufferings of the Afghan people, the domestic laws of the Taliban are not the only reason coming in the way of its international recognition.

The United States and its allies did not invade Afghanistan because the Afghanis were suffering due to the strict laws of Mullah Omar; they ravaged the country because Mullah Omar gave refuge to Osama bin Laden, who was wanted by the Americans for his attacks on the U.S. soil. Although it is important for the Taliban to revisit its conservative views in the interests of the Afghan people, for the international legitimacy and support all it needs is to think about what Afghanistan can offer to the other countries. If Afghanistan has nothing else to offer, and the world is demanding from the Taliban only the revision of its domestic laws and inclusive government, then the Taliban has no other option but to offer these virtues to gain international legitimacy and support.

Source: ABNA24

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Court grants pre-arrest bail to BJP leader who played drums outside mosque during ‘azaan’

Sonam Saigal

MAY 07, 2022

Special public prosecutor argues that offence is very serious, considering the effect on society

A court in Mumbai granted anticipatory bail to a BJP leader accused of playing drums in front of a mosque during ‘azaan’ and said, “The State must ensure that there shall be no interference by any one community into the religious feelings of any other community, so as to ultimately achieve the goal of fraternity, as sought to be promoted by the Constitution.”

Additional Sessions Judge S.U. Baghele was hearing a plea filed by Vinod Shelar, Sunil Koli and Deepak Raorane. They were booked under sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot—if rioting be committed—if not committed), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 141 (unlawful assembly), 142 (being member of unlawful assembly), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant provision of the Maharashtra Police Act.

The special public prosecutor argued that the offence was very serious, considering the effect on society. The prayer of other communities was obstructed, by playing drums, by organizing a procession, by selecting the time accordingly. It was a provocation to cause a riot. It has to be investigated into as to whether the crime was pre-­planned for which custodial interrogation is necessary.

‘Custodial interrogation not warranted’

The court said, “The nature of the allegations is such that the custodial interrogation of the applicants is not warranted at all. No purpose is going to be served, by interrogating the applicants, by taking them into custody. No slogans are said to have been raised by one community against another community, thereby directly instigating disharmony and creating hatred between two communities. In such a scenario, they are entitled to anticipatory bail.”

The court granted them anticipatory bail on furnishing a bond of ₹15,000 and said, “The rights guaranteed by Articles 14 (equality before law), 19 (freedom of speech ) and 21 (right to life) form the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. It is the responsibility of the State to devise a mechanism, to ensure that the said rights are given effect to, in letter and spirit. It is the responsibility of the State to ensure that all steps are taken to promote fraternity among different communities. The State should not shun its eyes and close its ears, in respect of the situation prevailing in the society, resulting in disrespect by any person belonging to one community for another community. The promotion of fraternity is one of the goals, set forth in the constitution.”

Source: The Hindu

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'Pahela Baishakh' Is Bangladesh's Biggest Cultural Festival, A Celebration Bengali Identity Held In Delhi

May 7, 2022

NEW DELHI: On May 8, Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi holds delayed Bengali New Year celebrations, that coincides with the birth anniversaries of two celebrated Bengali poets – Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam – in the same month. The colourful celebrations with food, music and other cultural activities had to wait for the month of Ramzan get over.

All the three occasions are celebrated through the Bangla month of Baishakh (between April 14 to May 14) on both sides of the border – in West Bengal and Bangladesh -- with equal fervour. But in Dhaka and across urban and rural Bangladesh “Naba Barsho” or the first day of the Bangla calendar, is one of the biggest festivals that is celebrated with gusto, apart from the 50- year-old nations’s Independence day celebrated on March 26, to commemorate declaration of independence from Pakistan in 1971 and February 21, commemorated as the nation’s language or mother tongue day.

The morning celebrations in Dhaka begin at the historic Ramna Park. People from across the city and beyond dress up in white and red and gather at sunrise under the historic old banyana tree (Batamul) at Ramna Park where artistes from Chhayanaut artistes usher in the first day of the year with a Tagore song to welcome the new year, Esho hey Baishakh… From the Institute of Fine Arts, Dhaka University, students and teachers organise a colourful procession and parade round the campus and then through the main streets of Dhaka. Observed as a national holiday in Bangladesh like a holiday in the state of West Bengal, Pahela Baishakh is the biggest cultural festival for Bengali speaking people on both sides of the political border, be it for Hindus, Muslims, Christians or other religious groups.

Politically, since the present Sheikh Hasina regime was installed in Dhaka, the government has encouraged the Naba Barsho celebrations even more as it cuts across religious lines in the Muslim-dominated Bangladesh. For a nation that was born out of its struggle to uphold the Bengali identity of its people, when it broke away from Pakistan in 1971, the festival celebrates that identity.

Source: Times Of India

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2 Mumbai Mosques Booked For Using Loudspeakers For Azaan

May 07, 2022

By Vinay Dalvi

MUMBAI: The Mumbai police on Saturday registered cases against functionaries of two mosques in the western suburbs for flouting noise pollution norms by using loudspeakers for the early morning prayers.

The cases come in the midst of a political row raked by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who sought the removal of loudspeakers from mosques last month, with the state government contending that the use of loudspeakers was legal as long as written permissions were sought and noise norms were adhered to.

The imams (head priests) of the Noorani Masjid on Bazar Road in Bandra and the Muslim Kabarastan mosque in Santacruz were booked for using the loudspeaker in contravention of the Noise Pollution Rules (2000), which prevents the use of the loudspeaker before 6 am.

While one case was registered at the Bandra police station based on a complaint lodged by police constable Hemant Pagare, the second was registered at the Santacruz police station.

According to the complaint, Pagare heard the Azaan (call to prayer in the Islam faith) being played on loudspeakers atop Noorani Masjid following which he met the mosque’s trustee Jakel Tuffel Khan and informed him that he was part of several meetings and even a WhatsApp group formed by police to create awareness about the norms.

Khan told the police that he had informed the mosque’s imam, Anwar Ashraf Mohammed Shabbir Shah, about the rules. The police registered a case against Shah under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant) and some relevant sections of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951.

The second case was registered at the Santacruz police station against Mohammed Shoaib Abdul Sattar Shaikh, the president of Muslim Kabarastan mosque on Linking Road at Santacruz west, and mosque imam Aarif Mohammed Siddiqui.

Police officials said the Santacruz mosque had taken permission to use loudspeakers for reciting Azaan and had given an undertaking that they won’t use loudspeakers from 10 pm to 6 am. However, on Friday, the loudspeaker was used at 5.35 am and a police constable reached the spot. A case was registered after he confirmed that loudspeakers were being used for reciting Azaan before 6 am.

“We met the representatives from various religious institutions and first created awareness about the Noise Pollution Rules within all communities. In the second stage, we gave warnings. Now, we have started taking legal action by registering cases,” said a senior police officer.

Raj Thackeray had announced that MNS workers will play the Hanuman Chalisa outside mosques to protest against loudspeakers used by them on April 2. On April 12, he issued a deadline to the state to remove the public address systems from mosques by May 3 to avoid law and order problems. He reiterated his stand in a rally in Aurangabad on May 1. The Aurangabad police later lodged an FIR against the MNS chief for delivering a provocative speech. The city police and the state government swung into action at the start of the month to ensure that political unrest did not disturb the peace. Raj Thackeray’s call to recite the Hindu prayer also went largely unheeded by his party workers.

Clause 5 of the Noise Pollution Rules (2000) lays down that a loudspeaker or a public address system shall not be used except after obtaining written permission from an officer authorised by the Central or the State Government.

Source: Hindustan Times

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Hajj 2022: Over 79 thousand Indian Muslims to fly for pilgrimage

7th May 2022

Mumbai: After a gap of two years of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, as many as 79,237 Indian Muslims will fly to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj 2022 pilgrimage which will start from July onwards, officials said here on Saturday.

They include around 50 per cent women with 22,636 going via Hajj Group Organisers and the remaining 56,601 through the Hajj Committee of India, from among 83,140 applications including 72,170 online, said Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

More than 1,800 Muslim women will go for Hajj 2022 without “Mehram” (male companion), and without the lottery system, he added.

Naqvi was inaugurating a two-day training camp for 400 aKhadim-ul-Hujjaj’ including 12 women, who will assist the Indian Hajj pilgrims in Makkah-Madina with processes related to Hajj, accommodation, transport, health and safety.

They will be trained by officials from HCI, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, Disaster Management agencies, doctors, airlines, customs and immigration professionals.

The Minister said that Hajj is taking place with significant reforms giving utmost priority to health and well-being of the Hajj pilgrims and all processes have been chalked out jointly by the governments of India and Saudi Arabia based on criteria like age, health, etc.

“We are making all out efforts to ensure there is no additional financial burden on the pilgrims as they will perform the Hajj without any subsidy. Process is going on to take accommodation, transportation and other necessary facilities in Saudi Arabia at affordable prices,” Naqvi said.

The selection process of Hajj pilgrims was in accordance with the COVID vaccination protocols and other norms decided by the two governments, he said.

Uttar Pradesh leads with a total of 8,701 pilgrims, followed by West Bengal (5,911), Jammu & Kashmir (5,281), Kerala (5,274), Maharashtra (4,874), Assam (3,544), Karnataka (2,764), Gujarat (2,533), Bihar (2,210), Rajasthan (2,072), Telangana (1,822), Madhya Pradesh (1,780), Jharkhand (1,559), Tamil Nadu (1,498), Andhra Pradesh (1,201).

Besides, there will be Hajj pilgrims from Delhi (835), Haryana (617), Uttarakhand (485), Odisha (466), Chhattisgarh (431), Manipur (335), Punjab (218), Ladakh (216), Lakshadweep Isles (159), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (114), Tripura (108), Goa (67), Puducherry (52), Himachal Pradesh (38), Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (34), and Chandigarh 25.

Naqvi said the government has arranged 10 flight embarkation points for Hajj 2022 pilgrims going through HCI – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.

Ahmedabad will cover entire Gujarat, Bengaluru (Karnataka and Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh), Cochin (Kerala, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Isles), Delhi (Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, western districts of Uttar Pradesh), and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh except western parts).

Guwahati embarkation point will cover (Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland), Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Kolkata (West Bengal, Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand and Bihar), Mumbai (Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli), and Srinagar (Jammu-Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh-Kargil).

Source: Siasat Daily

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Harayana: High tension in Nuh amidst call for Mahapanchyat

7th May 2022

Hindutva organisations Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, and the Gau Raksha Dal – have called for a Hindu Mahapanchayat in the Muslim-majority district of Nuh, Haryana on Sunday.

The event will be held at Sangel Gaushala in Ujjina, a Hindu-majority village located on Hodal-Nuh road, 11 kilometers away from the sub-district headquarter in Nuh.

The invitation, accessed by Maktoob Media gives an open call of threat to the sitting MLAs of the Nuh district. “Accepting the challenge given by the MLAs of Mewat to the Gau Rakshaks. We aren’t true Mewatis if you come to Mewat this time and go back alive,” read one of the invitations, in Hindi.

The invitation requested the fellow Hindus to join forces and “make the jihadi mentality feel their power”.

“No cow killing should happen in Nuh. This is the agenda of the Mahapanchayat.” 27-year-old Mohit alias Monu Manesar, who is the conveyor of the Manesar unit of Bajrang Dal, was quoted by Maktoob as saying over the scheduled event.

Monu Manesar has been an active Bajrang Dal member since 2016. He constantly shares several photos of himself with high-profile politicians and police officials.

On April 23 and 24, cow vigilantes and Bajrang Dal members entered Sheikhpur and Rawli villages situated in Nuh district, shouting slogans of “Jai Shree Ram”, fired shots, terrorized villagers, and abducted three Muslims – 26-year-old Sahib Hussain from Sheikhpur village and 45-year-old Hakmuddin and 25-year-old Raees from Rawli village. Manesar was one of the kidnappers, according to eyewitnesses.

Surprisingly, the three victims who were abducted by the cow vigilantes were booked by the Nuh police under sections 13 (1) and 13 (3) of the Haryana Gauvansh Sanrakshan and Gausamvardhan Act, 2015 and arrested for alleged cow smuggling.

Confirming the abduction of the Muslim men by his organisation, Acharya Yogendra Arya, the head of Gau Rakshak Dal Harayana said that the Mahapanchayat is being arranged as they have been challenged by those in the cow slaughtering business.

“Every day cows are being slaughtered. People involved in the cow slaughtering business in Mewat are challenging us that they will slaughter the cows. They are saying this country is theirs also and slaughtering and eating cows is their right,” said Yogendra Arya.

When asked if the organisers were granted permission for the event, he confidently said, “The place is our religious place. We can organise the event there.” He later clarified that permission was granted.

However, the Superintendent of Police in Nuh, Varun Singla has not yet confirmed that permission has been granted for the event. He said, “We will check all facts and circumstances and only then grant the permission. DC sir (Deputy Commissioner) will take the final call.”

Source: Siasat Daily

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Hyderabad: BJP submits memorandum to Governor on Saroornagar honor killing case

8th May 2022

Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) minority morcha on Sunday submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Telangana, Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, requesting a thorough enquiry into the brutal ‘honor killing’ of Billapuram Nagaraju, a Dalit man who was killed earlier this week for marrying a Muslim woman.

The letter stated that the police are showing no seriousness to grab the culprits even after three days of the incident. “The BJP SC Morcha is afraid that there is every likelihood that the police may water down the case just by registering cases under very weak sections,” they said.

The Telangana State BJP SC Morcha sought the intervention and order the State DGP to take “stringent action against the culprits and take the case to its logical conclusion so that the miscreants get rigorous punishment as per law.“

They also said that in view of the victim’s family belonging to a very backward Scheduled Caste (SC) community, financial support must be provided to them and a member of the family be given government employment or other aid from the state government.

On Thursday, two accused were arrested by police in the Saroornagar honor killing case. The accused- Syed Mobin Ahmed and Mohammed Masood Abdul Hameed are said to have murdered 25-year-old Billipuram Nagaraju.

On Wednesday night, B Nagaraju along with his wife Pallavi aka Syeda Ashrin Fatima was traveling on a bike when some unknown assailants are said to have attacked them.

Source: Siasat Daily

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UP: Muslim man held in Firozabad for converting, marrying college-goer

07th May 2022

FIROZABAD: A man was arrested here for allegedly forcing a college student to change her religion and marry her under Islamic rules, police said on Saturday.

Arif, the accused, was arrested for "abducting" a B.Com course student from her college and performing a Nikaah with her, police said.

According to them, the father of the woman had filed a missing person report after her daughter did not return home from college.

Superintendent of Police (city) Mukesh Chandra Mishra said that the woman had gone to her college with her brother on April 25, where Arif convinced her to elope with him.

He said the accused was arrested on Wednesday, and led the police to the woman, who was recovered on Friday.

The accused has confessed that he got the woman to change her religion and marry him under Islamic rules, Mishra said.

Source: New Indian Express

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Al-Qaeda chief blames US for Ukraine invasion in new video

May 7, 2022

BAGHDAD: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri made an appearance in a pre-recorded video to mark the 11th anniversary of the death of his predecessor Osama bin Laden.

Al-Zawahri says in the video that “US weakness” was the reason that its ally Ukraine became “prey” for the Russian invasion .

The 27-minute speech was released Friday according to the SITE Intelligence group, which monitors militant activity. The leader appears sitting at a desk with books and a gun.

Urging Muslim unity, al-Zawahri said the US was in a state of weakness and decline and cited the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan launched after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bin Laden was the mastermind and financier behind the attacks.

“Here (the US) is after its defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the economic disasters caused by the 9/11 invasions, after the Corona pandemic, and after it left its ally Ukraine as prey for the Russians,” he said.

Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by US forces on his compound hideout in Pakistan.

Source: Times Of India

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UK ‘turns back on’ former Afghan prosecutor hunted by Taliban

May 07, 2022

LONDON: The UK’s Afghan resettlement scheme is failing to support those looking to flee Afghanistan, a former senior prosecutor who lives in fear of his life in neighboring Pakistan has told The Independent.

The man, who is being hunted by the Taliban, has lived in Pakistan for almost 18 months after fleeing his homeland. But he is still being denied resettlement in the UK despite having family members in Britain.

He is “constantly terrified” that underground Taliban networks in the country will locate and kill him. The former director of prosecution for an Afghan province has already been targeted by a car bomb, which he escaped by switching vehicles before it detonated.

He told The Independent that family members back in Afghanistan have received threatening visits and letters.

The former prosecutor living in Pakistan said of the Taliban takeover: “Can you imagine all the prisoners that I had put in prison for their crimes escaping? All the jails were breaking down, and everyone was coming out by themselves. I was scared to death.

“Dealing with the Taliban is a nightmare for all the attorneys. It was unusual for the head of a province to speak to them directly, but I wanted to see if they had regrets for what they did, as many of them are young.

“But it was very difficult because some of them were the most dangerous people — who are proud of killing women and killing children — and they said they would never regret their crimes.

“I had worked for many years serving the people of Afghanistan and it was heartbreaking to see the Taliban takeover. I couldn’t believe what had happened. This was not only the failing of Afghanistan but the failing of our people.

The UK Home Office’s Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme aims to support “vulnerable people and members of minority groups at risk,” but has received significant criticism in the UK.

The program has prioritized Afghans who already traveled to the UK, leaving those still stuck in Afghanistan — including former lawyers, prosecutors, and government workers — at risk of Taliban retribution.

UK charities have warned that the scheme “still offers little or no capacity for those most at risk in Afghanistan or those who have fled into neighboring countries to come to the UK in a safe way.”

The former prosecutor’s nephew, who lives in London after migrating about seven years ago, has contacted the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Home Office for help.

He organized a phone call from an FCDO official to his uncle in Kabul during the Taliban takeover. But that effort failed when the city’s airport became crowded, preventing his uncle from boarding an aircraft to leave the country.

He said: “The Taliban have searched our two houses in Afghanistan, breaking doors and windows asking where he is. My dad and I look after him, but his life is still in danger in Pakistan. He has had to change location three times.”

MP Diane Abbott told The Independent: “We have raised this particular case multiple times, both with the Foreign Office and Home Office. We have yet to receive a reply.

“In general, the treatment of Afghan visa applicants has been appalling. Whatever your view of the Afghan war, this country was a key participant, and many of those who helped British forces are now in grave danger. Yet this government seems to have turned its back on them almost entirely.”

Source: Arab News

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EU attempts to save Iran nuclear deal with last-ditch effort: Report

07 May ,2022

The European Union is making a last-ditch attempt to save the Iran nuclear deal and break a deadlock, the Financial Times reported on Saturday.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told the Financial Times that he was seeking a “middle way” to end the impasse, which threatens to scupper more than a year of European diplomatic efforts.

Talks have been on hold since March, chiefly over Iran’s insistence that Washington remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the US Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.

Borrell is considering a scenario whereby the designation on the IRGC is lifted but kept in place on other parts of the organization, which has several arms and a sprawling business empire, the FT reported.

The foreign policy chief also said he wanted EU negotiator Enrique Mora to visit Tehran to discuss the issue, but added that Iran “was very much reluctant” and described the diplomatic push as “the last bullet,” according to FT.

The report also cited Borrell as saying that negotiators would not give Iran an ultimatum.

Reuters reported last week that Iran’s clerical rulers, emboldened by an oil price surge since Russia invaded Ukraine, are in no rush to revive the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers to ease sanctions on its energy-reliant economy.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Arab World


Iraqi cleric Mahmoud al-Sarkhi deepens intra-Shia dispute

By Shawn Yuan and Shawn Yuan

7 May 2022

Baghdad, Iraq – A mosque pulled down by tractors, angry protesters setting buildings on fire, and police arrests: despite their relatively small-scale, recent events across a few cities in Iraq were enough to startle the country over the last month, and all were linked to a controversial Muslim scholar – Mahmoud al-Sarkhi.

The trigger in the latest round of what has become an increasingly tense intra-Shia leaders’ dispute was an otherwise uneventful Friday sermon in early April, when Ali Masoudi, a representative of al-Sarkhi, who is a former student of the late prominent Shia scholar Mohammad Sadiq al-Sadr, demanded the demolition of shrines, or graves of Shia imams, across Iraq.

“We should follow the teachings of the Prophet [Muhammed] and Imam Ali and not build any structures on the graves,” Masoudi passionately told a group of people attending the sermon.

The demand was unsurprisingly dismissed by the majority of Iraqi Shia Muslims, but then came the fiery response: furious protesters, mostly supporters of Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr, the son of Sadiq al-Sadr and currently the biggest political player in Iraq, took to the streets and burned down some of al-Sarkhi’s offices in a number of cities, including Babil, Karbala, and Basra.

The Iraqi security forces soon arrested a number of al-Sarkhi’s followers. Babil governorate, where al-Sarkhi’s movement is based, promptly moved to close all of the leader’s offices, and one of al-Sarkhi’s mosques in the governorate was torn down.

Moqtada al-Sadr himself also issued a warning to al-Sarkhi that unless the scholar disavowed the representative who called for the destruction of the shrines, he would resort to “legal and customary methods”, according to a note al-Sadr posted on Twitter, although it is unclear whether al-Sadr would follow through with his threats.

In the weeks following the controversial sermon, al-Sarkhi has become the subject of widespread discussions in Iraq, igniting debates on his ideology and what threats he could pose to the now overall stable Iraqi security.

Despite the criticism towards al-Sarkhi’s demand to demolish graves, some experts are voicing their concern over how the government’s response has run the risk of further stoking violence and conflict in a deeply scarred country.

“The state has been reactive instead of proactive over the past few years, and none of [the reactions were] about taking the initiative to fight sectarianism,” Ruba Ali al-Hassani, a UK-based sociologist who studies Iraq, told Al Jazeera. “Instead of launching arrests of al-Sarkhi’s people, there should have been more restorative and correctional efforts.”

For al-Sarkhi, this is not the first time he managed to grab attention. This time, however, it coincided with a chaotic government formation process that has been definitively stalled by intra-Shia political division.

“He realises that Shias, in general, are passing through a very chaotic period with low confidence in all religious political parties and movements,” Munqith M Dagher, the founder of the Iraq-based Independent Institute of Administration and Civil Society Studies, told Al Jazeera. “Accordingly, this is the best time to find more followers who are hating the current players and welcome any different voices.”

Al-Sarkhi and his movement did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.


A figure who first emerged following the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Sarkhi had a rather low profile and would periodically re-emerge in the public discourse with at times controversial claims, and sometimes violent clashes with either US or Iraqi security forces.

Initially fighting alongside the once-formidable Mehdi Army, a now-disbanded paramilitary group led by Moqtada al-Sadr, against the US forces during the early days of the Iraq war, al-Sarkhi soon parted ways with al-Sadr.

Building on his staunch resistance towards both American and Iranian influence in Iraq, al-Sarkhi has so far accumulated a modest following in the tens of thousands.

“Unlike Moqtada, who changes his position every five days, al-Sarkhi has remained committed to rejecting the US and Iranian influence in our country,” Hassan, an al-Sarkhi follower living in Karbala told Al Jazeera, referring to the sometimes changing nature of Moqtada al-Sadr’s political stances.

“He may have some opinions that I don’t completely agree with, but I think he is the one who actually cares about Iraq and the people,” he added.

Al-Sarkhi has repeatedly voiced his opposition to Iranian influence in Iraq. During Iraq’s 2019 mass demonstrations, for example, al-Sarkhi’s movement reportedly encouraged protesters to set fire to the Iranian consulate in Karbala, which turned out to be one of the most dramatic nights of the entire protests.

He even rejected Ali al-Sistani, the most revered scholar among Iraqi Shia Muslims, based on his claim that al-Sistani had too much Iranian influence behind him. However, some experts say his rejection of Iran has often overstepped its boundary.

“He argues that Iran tried to shape the Shia public discourse and threaten national security in Iraq,” al-Hassani said. “However, he overreaches by claiming that there is no public Shia discourse in Iraq and that it was entirely Iranian.”

Negotiate with ISIL?

Al-Sarkhi has also faced criticism for his role during the rise of ISIL (ISIS) in 2014. At the time, al-Sistani had issued a fatwa, a religious decree, to call on all able Iraqis to take up arms to fight against the armed group that seized a vast swath of land in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

To most people’s surprise, al-Sarkhi refused to answer the fatwa, and instead called for conversations and negotiations with ISIL, despite the crimes committed by the group, and the failure of diplomatic efforts to reach out to them.

“Even now, many are questioning his stance towards ISIS,” al-Hassani said. “Even as someone who works on peacebuilding, I wouldn’t agree to negotiate with ISIS when the group was going on a killing rampage.”

His controversial claims, however, rarely caused any big issues to Iraqi security and, according to experts and common Iraqis who spoke with Al Jazeera, his relatively small following will unlikely constitute an actual threat in the future, despite the controversy generated recently.

Source: Al Jazeera

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Extremist attack kills 11 Egyptian troops: Army

07 May ,2022

Eleven Egyptian soldiers were killed on Saturday attempting to thwart a “terrorist” attack on the Suez Canal zone abutting the Sinai Peninsula, a hotbed of extremist activity, the army said.

It was the heaviest loss the army had suffered in years in its long-running campaign in and around the Sinai against militants loyal to ISIS.

Five soldiers were also wounded in the firefight on the eastern, Sinai bank of the canal, the army said, adding that security forces “are continuing to chase the terrorists and surround them in an isolated area of the Sinai.”

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi mourned the death of the troops, vowing in a Facebook post to continue fighting the militants and “uprooting terrorism.”

Two Northern Sinai residents said the attack took place in the town of Qantara in the province of Ismailia, which stretches eastward from the Suez Canal.

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The militants ambushed troops guarding the pumping facility, before fleeing to the desert in Northern Sinai, according to the residents who spoke on condition of anonymity for their safety.

No group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack.

Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been gripped by an armed insurgency for more than a decade, which peaked after the ouster of late president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.

In February 2018, the army and police launched a nationwide operation against militants focused on North Sinai.

More than a thousand suspected militants and dozens of security personnel have been killed since the start of operations, according to official figures.

In November, Egypt agreed with Israel to boost its troop numbers around the border town of Rafah in order to quell ISIS militants.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Unidentified aircraft target Syrian regime: War monitor

07 May ,2022

Unidentified aircraft struck oil-rich areas in eastern Syria held by government and Iran-aligned groups on Saturday, an opposition war monitor said.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there were no casualties or material losses in the attack, the second within a week in the province of Deir Ezzor.

At least five explosions were heard, according to the monitor, in the Hawijah Kateh area and a nearby bridge north of Deir Ezzor city.

Syrian state media also reported the attack but gave no details. Deir Ezzor is a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil fields.

Iran-backed militia groups and regime forces control the area and have often been the target of Israeli war planes in previous strikes. Israel has staged hundreds of strikes on targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi Arabia, UAE strongly condemn ‘terrorist’ attack on Egyptian troops in Sinai

07 May ,2022

Saudi Arabia and the UAE strongly condemned Saturday’s “terrorist attack” that targeted the Suez Canal zone abutting the Sinai Peninsula and claimed the lives of 11 troops.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry reaffirmed that the Kingdom stands with Egypt “against everything which targets its security and stability,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

It also commended the Egyptian army’s efforts in combating “terrorist and destructive” attacks and offered the Kingdom’s deep condolences to the families of the victims and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

The UAE’s foreign ministry also reaffirmed its stance in support of all measures that Egypt takes to protect its security and stability.

“The UAE strongly condemns these criminal acts and [completely] rejects all forms of violence and terrorism that aim to undermine security,” the ministry said according to state news agency (WAM).

Source: Al Arabiya

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Yemen officials: Two commanders killed in clash with militants

07 May ,2022

Clashes at a militia facility in southern Yemen following the arrest of a group of suspected al-Qaeda militants has killed at least a dozen people, including two force commanders, officials said.

The officials said the fighting took place late Friday at the headquarters of the so-called Security Belt force in Dhale province. The force is active in Yemen’s southern provinces.

The militia reported that Col. Waleed al-Dhami, deputy commander of the Security Belt, and Col. Mohamed al-Shoubagi, commander of the government’s counterterrorism unit in Dhale, were killed. It did not offer further details.

The security officials said the nearly hour-long firefight erupted when troops asked the militants to hand over their weapons.

The militants refused and opened fire at the troops, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Eight militants and four security forces were killed in the fighting, including the two commanders, they said. There were a number of wounded troops who were taken to a hospital, the officials added.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Lebanese parliamentary elections: Second phase of expat voting scheduled for Sunday


May 07, 2022

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s embassies in countries with a Sunday weekend have completed their arrangements for Lebanese expats to cast their votes in parliamentary elections.

There are over 190,000 Lebanese expats living in the UAE, the US, Australia, and across Europe and Africa who registered their names with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs months ago, out of the millions of Lebanese expats around the world.

The first phase of the Lebanese expat voting process in 10 Arab and Muslim countries ended on Friday night, with a final turnout of nearly 60 percent of registered voters.

Three opposition parties topped the general electoral scene, the Lebanese Phalange Party (Kataeb), the Progressive Socialist Party, and the Lebanese Forces party. Hezbollah and the Amal movement dominated the electoral scene in Iran and Syria, which had the highest turnout.

The turnout of the Sunni voter was remarkable in the Gulf states, specifically voting in the boxes designated for Beirut's second constituency.

It was impossible to trace the votes for the forces of change or what is known as the candidates of the revolutionary movements that took to the streets in 2019, as they had several lists which dispersed the expat vote.

Candidates are committed to an electoral silence that lasts until Monday, according to electoral law.

Arab News contacted sources close to them. One of them said on condition of anonymity: “According to our sources in the Gulf countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain, a good percentage of expats voted for the forces of change. Voters who voted for the revolution's lists posted pictures of their fingers dipped in blue ink.

“Votes in Beirut's second constituency, specifically by the Sunni voter, were remarkable, although some Sunnis boycotted the elections in line with the Future Movement's decision not to participate. Other voters boycotted because they did not find in the traditional parties’ lists anyone who would convince them to re-elect them, specifically the Shiite voter preferred to boycott the electoral process.”

According to the final results of the voter turnout, Syria had the highest, amounting to 83.79 percent, 73.83 percent in Iran, 66.45 percent in Oman, 65.59 percent in Kuwait, 49.26 percent in Saudi Arabia, 66.46 percent in Bahrain, 59.63 percent in Jordan, 48.72 in Qatar, 48 percent in Iraq, and 44 percent in Egypt.

About 18,000 expats voted in these countries, from around 31,000 registered voters. The general percentage was 58.89 percent.

In 2018, the turnout in Arab countries was about 65 percent.

The ballot boxes arrived in Lebanon on Saturday, sealed with red wax and equipped with a tracking device via DHL, with the exception of the two ballot boxes from Iran, which Lebanese ambassador Abbas Hassan brought personally by air as DHL does not deal with Iranian authorities. He said that the two boxes held 474 votes.

At the Masnaa crossing, on Lebanon's border with Syria, the Ministry of Interior received three ballot boxes containing 853 votes.

Source: Arab News

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South Asia


Uzbekistan Not Ready To Recognise Taliban Government In Afghanistan

May 07, 2022

Kabul: An envoy of Uzbekistan said that the country is not ready to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Ismatulla Irgashev, the Uzbek president's special representative for Afghanistan, in an interview with Voice of America (VOA), said it would be difficult for the new government in Kabul to qualify for international recognition any time soon, reported Tolo News.

"We will not recognize them alone," he said. "When it happens, we want a collective voice and stand."

While urging greater engagement with the Taliban, Irgashev said Tashkent is committed to moving ahead with formal recognition only in concert with the international community, reported Tolo News.

The Center for European-Asian Studies and the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation held a meeting in Kyrgyzstan on Afghanistan.

Envoys of Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, while emphasizing the need for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, said terrorist activities in Afghanistan are threats to the region.

"The rapid withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban has increased the threats against Russia and Central Asian countries, because it has been over eight months that the Taliban government has not fulfilled any of its commitments to the international community. Most importantly. After the political change in Afghanistan, neither women nor representatives of religious and ethnic minorities participate in the government," said Andrey Rusakov, Director of the Center for European-Asian Studies.

"The Taliban have been a part of the Afghan people since the takeover and must respect religious freedom and equality, and it is clear that this freedom has grown equally in Uzbekistan and other countries over the past 30 years," the Uzbekistan envoy said.

Source: ND TV

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Islamic Emirate Denies Clashes in Panjshir


The Islamic Emirate denied the clashes between the Islamic Emirate and the Resistance Front’s forces in the central province of Panjshir.

A spokesman for Panjshir’s governor, Abubaker Sediq, said there was a small amount of gunfire but the situation was controlled by the Islamic Emirate.

“We deny this allegation. This is a plot by some biased individuals. This is not true. There was a small amount gunfire yesterday evening in the Abshar area by the opponents, but the Islamic Emirate controlled the situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Resistance Front claimed that clashes are still underway in Abshar district of Panjshir province, and they have overrun several areas.

“An extended region of the Panjshir province, including a large part of Abdulah Khail and Abshar valley, fell to the resistance (forces),” said Sebghat Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Resistance Front.

This comes as reports of clashes between the Islamic Emirate and the Resistance Front in Panjshir have been posted on social media.

The Islamic Emirate’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, denied the reports and called them speculation.

Source: Tolo News

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China Among Nations Committed ‘Brutal Actions’ Against Journalists

By Arif Ahmadi

07 May 2022

BEIJING, China – A group of United States House lawmakers named among others China Russia and Belarus as nations that committed “repressive and brutal actions” against journalists, according to sources. 

But Beijing dropped the accusations, saying they are “lies” and that “the local people are living a safe and happy life” in Xinjiang.

On World Press Freedom Day honored Tuesday, the lawmakers introduced a resolution, listing countries that has “worst media environment in the world” for journalists and media practitioners. 

China is “one of the worst media environments in the world and seeks to curtail political speech inside and outside the country…,” stated the resolution, citing the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2021 findings.

In total, at least 50 journalists are imprisoned in China, according to CPJ’s 2021 report released last December. Of which, 22 of them are Uyghur journalists from Xinjiang, who make up 44% of the incarcerated journalists in China and 7.5% of the 293 jailed journalists worldwide in 2021.

Bahram Sintash, a Uyghur American, urged US government to “speak up” for Uyghur journalist who are detained in China, including his father for years. 

“The U.S. government should speak up for many Uyghur journalists like my father who are arbitrarily detained and imprisoned by the Chinese authorities,” Sintash, who lives in Virginia, told VOA.

Sintash father, Qurban Mamut, was the former chief editor of the China-controlled Uyghur journal Xinjiang Civilization.

Four years passed since Sintash lost contact with his father, saying in February he learned his fathers was taken by Chines officials form his residence in Urumqi, the capital of Xingjian in northwest China, for a 15-year imprisonment.

Afghan Journalists Face Ever-Increasing Restrictions

Afghan Journalists since the Taliban Takeover

Rights groups and some countries, including the U.S., have accused China of mistreating Uyghurs, including subjecting more than 1 million Uyghurs to mass internment for “reeducation,” forced sterilization and labor or those either in and out of detention since late 2016, as the VOA wrote.

Meanwhile, Journalists in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – Honoring the World Media Freedom Day on Tuesday, Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) expressed “deep concern” over the increasing number of media practitioners being arrested throughout the country, said AFJC in a written statement to Khaama Press.

The center underscored the sudden collapse of the media outlets since the Taliban takeover last August, warning of the “consequences” such a process could bring in the country.  

“On this day, the Afghanistan Journalists’ Center expresses its deep concern over the increase in the number of arrests of journalists and media workers and the sudden collapse of the media in the country, and warns of the consequences of this process,” said AFJC in a statement.

Statistics from last 12 months by the AFJC show at least four journalists and media practitioners have lost their lives in Afghanistan: three as a result of two ISIS-affiliated explosions in Kabul and one person during coverage of the war between the Taliban and former government forces in Kandahar.

Source: Khaama Press

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Southeast Asia


Zahid calls PAS two-faced, says Umno wants loyal friends

May 7, 2022

PETALING JAYA: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, describing PAS as “two-faced” and indecisive, has again dismissed the possibility of working with the party at the next general election as partners in the Muafakat Nasional (MN) pact.

Zahid accused PAS of often changing its opinion on various matters, and said Umno did not want to be friends with parties that did not have a consistent stand in its actions.

“We want friends who are loyal and that loyalty must not just be in words but in terms of actions and decisions,” he said, according to Berita Harian.

Umno and PAS leaders have been at odds for a year over the future of the MN alliance, which had been formed in 2019 by the two major Malay-Muslim parties to challenge Pakatan Harapan, then in power.

However, Zahid and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang later disagreed about whether to accept Bersatu into the alliance.

Zahid has often spoken against reviving the alliance, while PAS leaders have tried to keep MN alive. PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said yesterday MN was the best formula to unite the Muslim ummah.

“That’s PAS’s opinion,” Zahid said in response. “From early on, that has been our stand, but they have shown their two-faced attitude.” He reiterated that the best strategy for Umno was for Barisan Nasional to go solo at GE15.

Separately, Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said MN was not dead yet. However, he acknowledged that the alliance was “not well-nourished”, especially after the Melaka and Johor elections.

PAS contested against Umno-BN as part of Perikatan Nasional (PN), with Bersatu and Gerakan, to little success. In both states, the Umno-led BN stormed to strong victories.

Ahmad said Umno’s Supreme Council had not even discussed MN recently and whether to revitalise its pact with PAS. Once a final decision had been made by the top leadership, every state chapter should fall in line.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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JPJ issues 8,000 summonses during Raya operation

May 6, 2022

GENTING HIGHLANDS: The road transport department (JPJ) issued a total of 8,036 summonses nationwide in conjunction with Operasi Hari Raya Aidilfitri (HRA) 2022 until yesterday.

All the summonses were issued after JPJ had inspected 44,737 vehicles since the operation began on April 29.

JPJ senior director of enforcement Lokman Jamaan said this showed that there were still many drivers who disobeyed the traffic rules even though police had previously reminded drivers to abide by the rules.

“We hope that for the next few days before the Op HRA ends on Sunday (May 8), road users will comply with the rules and there will be a reduction in traffic offences,” he said.

Lokman said this to reporters after conducting a special inspection at the Genting Highlands Bus Terminal in Pahang today.

Meanwhile, in JPJ’s special technical operation, Lokman said a total of 11 buses were inspected and all of them were found to comply with the rules.

“JPJ is very strict with express and tour buses ferrying passengers to Genting Highlands, bearing in mind it is a difficult road (with dangerous twists and turns),” he said.

At the same time, Lokman said a total of 77 depots and 28 bus terminals were also inspected during the Op HRA.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

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Bursa Malaysia seen as flat this week due to cautious sentiment

08 May 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 (Bernama): Bursa Malaysia is expected to trade sideways from Monday (May 9) amid cautious market sentiments due to external factors, namely continued worries over aggressive monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve going forward and a grim economic outlook forecast by the Bank of England (BOE).

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the local bourse would track global equities, which are expected to be volatile in the immediate term amid global monetary tightening.

"This is because central banks globally are upping their arsenal to clamp down on inflationary pressures,” he told Bernama.

At the same time, he said monetary policy divergence such as in China and Japan also suggests a mixed feeling over global growth prospects this year.

"It seems that institutional investors would stay light and remain invested in cash-like instruments. In other words, they are going to stay defensive in the face of uncertainty,” he explained.

All eyes would also be on the latest economic assessment by Bank Negara Malaysia next week, including the gross domestic product (GDP) data for the first quarter of 2022.

"As such, the FBM KLCI is likely to remain in a narrow range of around 1,564 to 1,574 points next week,” he said.

Bursa Malaysia Bhd and its subsidiaries were closed from May 2 till May 4 in conjunction with the Workers’ Day replacement holiday and Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.

For the week just ended, the FBM KLCI traded mostly lower amid negative performance in regional markets and a decline on Wall Street as the US 10-year yield surged past the 3.0 per cent level.

On a weekly basis, the FBM KLCI fell 36.09 points to end the week at 1,564.34 from 1,600.43 in the previous week.

On the index board, the FBMT100 Index fell 264.99 points to 10,855.51, the FBM Emas Shariah Index eased 328.53 points to 11,693.75, the FBM Emas Index slid 260.52 points to 11,205.56, the FBM ACE shed 81.41 points to 5,497.26 and the FBM 70 lost 386.11 points to 13,386.07.

Sector-wise, the Plantation Index lost 287.91 points to 8,533.10, the Industrial Products and Services Index weakened by 5.93 points to 204.10 but the Energy Index added 22.43 points to 796.17.

The Financial Services Index trimmed 250.97 points to 16,675.83, the Healthcare Index shed 38.72 points to 2,011.10, and the Technology Index inched down 3.45 points to 67.88.

Weekly turnover declined to 5.79 billion units valued at RM4.81 billion from 12.90 billion units valued at RM10.72 billion last week.

The Main Market volume eased to 3.53 billion shares worth RM4.41 billion versus 8.49 billion shares worth RM9.71 billion in the previous week.

Warrants volume shrank to 726.98 million units valued at RM130.71 million against 1.76 billion units valued at RM315.60 million previously.

Source: The Star

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Iran: Normalization of Ties Emboldens Zionists to Commit More Crimes against Palestinians


Normalization of relations with the apartheid regime of Israel encourages the Zionists to show more aggression in the occupied lands, Khatibzadeh said on Saturday.

He added that fighting against the occupiers of Quds and Palestine is a natural, legal and legitimate right of the Palestinian people.

Khatibzadeh condemned the attack carried out once again by the Zionists on Al-Aqsa Mosque and against the worshipers and those who were defending the holy places in Palestine, saying that occupation and occupiers are declining.

He pointed to Israel’s intense aggression against the Palestinians and in the occupied lands, and called on the international and regional societies and the government and the nations to help Palestine defend itself.

Khatibzadeh stressed the importance of unity in the Islamic world to defend Palestine and save Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Iranian Parliament’s Permanent Secretariat of International Conference in Support of Intifada (Uprising) in Palestine also strongly condemned the Israeli regime's continued aggression and desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In a statement on Thursday, the Permanent Secretariat of International Conference in Support of Intifada in Palestine denounced the sacrilege of AL-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli military forces in the occupied lands and territories.

It said that today, the dire situation in the occupied lands and territories requires all nations and freedom-seekers of the world to condemn this sinister conspiracy orchestrated by Zionists against the Islamic and Christian sanctities which is being carried out amid silence and passivity of the international community and human rights organizations.

"The desperate Zionist regime must know that the Resistance movement and Palestinian youth and people in the occupied territories are ready to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque and liberate the occupied territories with all might more than ever," it added.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Iranian resistance warns Iran’s primary goal is to build a nuclear weapon


May 08, 2022

CHICAGO: Iran is close to building a nuclear weapon and is using negotiations with the West to give them more time to achieve that goal, according to Shahin Gobadi, the spokesperson for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

A thermal nuclear scientist who first joined the resistance while a college student at UCLA 40 years ago, Gobadi, 60, said the NCRI, which is based in Paris, works with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The PMOI/MEK operates inside Iran taking great risks to expose Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Gobadi said.

Without the PMOI/MEK resistance, Gobadi said, the world would never have known the true depth of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and how far it had advanced towards building a nuclear weapon.

“The Iranian resistance, mainly the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, have been the key factor, the key player that has brought the issue of the Iranian nuclear program to the international attention,” Gobadi said.

“If it were not for the Iranian resistance activities through the more than 120 press conferences and revelations regarding the secret Iranian nuclear sites, projects, facilities, the world would have been totally caught off guard regarding the mullahs’ secret drive to acquire nuclear weapons and by now the world would have been faced with a predicament of the worst regime being equipped with the worst weapon. Actually, this has been a part of our struggle of the past three decades through our vast human network inside regime, the vast network of the Mojahedin, the MEK, inside Iran taking huge risks to expose the various aspects of the mullahs’ drive to acquire nuclear weapons.”

During an interview on “The Ray Hanania Show” broadcast on Wednesday May 4, 2022, Gobadi said the resistance to Iran’s brutality continues to grow, not only outside of Iran under the leadership of the NCRI but also inside with everyday citizens protesting and engaging in significant disruptions.

“The protests and disruptions,” Gobadi said, “have been on the rise particularly during the past four years. Since January 2018 there have been eight nationwide uprisings in Iran against the regime. And in some of them like in November 2019, it caught on so quickly throughout the country, it spread to some 200 cities with people chanting ‘Down with Khamenei the Supreme Leader and down with the whole regime’.”

The mullahs, he said, responded by massacring more than 1,500 civilian protesters.

“But even that has not stopped people from coming to the streets. Or in 2021, in 21 nationwide protests and strikes teachers, who constitute more than 1 million people, have come to the streets. And also, after that, there has been a remarkable surge in the activities of the resistance which is affiliated to the Mojahedin, the MEK and their activities have been on a constant rise,” Gobadi said.

Gobadi said that everyday Iranian people “are standing up” and fueling “the continued rise of the resistance,” which makes the mullahs much “more vulnerable and much more worried” about their future.

“Since 1981 some 120,000 political activists, over 100,000 from the main resistance movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the principal resistance organization, have been executed by the theocracy simply for standing firm for secular government and gender equality,” Gobadi said.

“And that includes tens of thousands of women, which is an amazing aspect of our resistance in Iran. Hundreds of thousands of others have been imprisoned and severely tortured.”

Gobadi cited many incidents of resistance inside Iran. In January, the resistance disrupted 25 of the Iran regime’s television radio channels broadcasting chants of “Death to Khamenei and “Hail to Rajavi” — who is the leader of the resistance. The same month, they set fire to statues of Qassem Soleimani in several provinces.

On April 25, more than 100 computer servers of Iran’s Ministry of Agriculture were disrupted. In the past few weeks, resistance units have repeatedly broadcast anti-regime slogans in busy locations, in large cities and in shopping malls.

Gobadi said the Iranian mullahs have not only been brutal in their response against their own people, 70 to 80 percent of whom live below the poverty line but, just as importantly, the regime is “the primary source” of international terrorism.

He called it “foolhardy” to believe a brutal regime like Iran would abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions, even if the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is approved and the US removes the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Iran sees the negotiations as “appeasement,” he said, rather than preventing them from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

“An agreement that does not close the regime’s path to a nuclear drive is not going to stop the drive. If the West holds firm, the regime has no choice but to concede to the West. Unfortunately, that was not the desire at the time, particularly of the Obama administration,” Gobadi said.

“And look what happened. The mullahs took billions of dollars and it all ended up in the coffers of the regime’s leaders, Khamenei in particular, or the IRGC’s top brass, or has helped to prop up the regime’s surrogates and terrorist groups in the region to increase the regime’s capability of missile program ... and, the regime never, never, never gave up its nuclear weapons program.”

“Well, by far, they are the most active state sponsor of terrorism for years and years. Their tentacles have reached as far away as Europe, the US and even Latin America. Needless to say Europe, the Middle East. It’s very shocking.”

On the restoration of the JCPOA, Gobadi said, “We think such an agreement in and of itself is no guarantee that the regime does not get nuclear weapons.”

Source: Arab News

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Iranian FM, UN Chief Confer on Vienna Talks, Region, Ukraine


During the phone talks, Amir Abdollahian reviewed the latest status of Iran's nuclear talks with world powers, as well as some regional and international developments, including the situation in Yemen, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

On Vienna negotiations to terminate sanctions, he referred to the exchange of messages between Iran and the US through the EU, arguing that the erroneous US policy of imposing maximum pressure against Iran has led to the current conditions.

He criticized the non-compulsory US Congress ratification, arguing that if the US wishes to make up for its past wrong approach it needs to take a brave rational move.

Amir Abdollahian said that the prerequisite for reaching a sustainable, strong and justice-based agreement is a brave move by the US to compensate for its past wrong attitude.

Elsewhere, he referred to o a temporary ceasefire in Yemen, which he said needs to be extended continually, arguing that all the same the requirements of the temporary ceasefire such as ending the inhumane siege of that country are needed.

Amir Abdollahian also said that the living conditions and security status in Afghanistan are both seriously worrying, stressing the need for the establishment of an all-encompassing government comprised of the entire Afghan ethnic groups and tribes.

The Iranian foreign minister also referred to a wave of Afghan refugees in Iran asking the UN to pay heed to its responsibilities regarding the refugees.

Amir Abdollahian pointed to the increased range of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and the problems due to poverty in the that country, stressing that releasing the blocked monetary assets of Afghanistan can ease those problems to an extent.

He also referred to the legitimate expectations of the UN to harbinger peace in the world, and appreciated the secretary general’s efforts in that respect.

Amir Abdollahian voiced Iran’s objection to the ongoing war in Ukraine, and elaborated on Iran’s moves aimed at ending the war and resorting to diplomatic moves to minimize the human catastrophe and lower the level of crisis there.

He also made the point that the international community’s attention to Ukraine must not deviate the needed attention to the catastrophic conditions in Afghanistan.

The UN secretary general, for his part, appreciated the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constructive stances in supporting the ceasefire in Yemen.

Guterres expressed the hope that the obstacles would be removed and the flights to Sanaa Airport will be resumed, and also inter-provincial relations in Yemen would become possible through extension of the ceasefire.

He also welcomed the continuation of naturalizing trend of Riyadh-Tehran ties and giving priority to diplomacy.

Guterres emphasized on the need for the establishment of an all-encompassing government in Afghanistan and appreciated the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constructive role in hosting Afghan refugees and offering them humanitarian contributions.

In response to the Iranian foreign minister’s request from the UN to pay heed its responsibilities about refugees, he expressed the hope that the UNHCR would be able to contribute more to Iran for this purpose.

The UN secretary general also expressed the hope that the Vienna nuclear talks would continue and lead soon to a good agreement.

Amir Abdollahian said last Tuesday that the Vienna talks are still underway through exchange of written messages between Tehran and Washington via the EU coordinator.

“The Vienna talks have not been paused, but they continue in another process to remove the unilateral sanctions imposed on us and through the exchange of written messages with the Americans through the EU representative,” Amir Abdollahian said in an interview with Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network.

He underlined that Iran’s objective in the talks is to reach a “strong” and “permanent” agreement, adding, “We urged the American side to be realistic."

“Removing sanctions in all areas and receiving economic guarantees are among the most important items on our negotiating team’s agenda.”

The top Iranian diplomat also said he believes the Americans have perfectly understood Iran’s red lines.

“We will continue the dialog. As soon as an agreement is about to be reached, our representative in the negotiations will make the final changes to the agreement,” Amir Abdollahian said.

The Islamic Republic has made clear that both the JCPOA and the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 are the benchmarks for the Vienna talks, rejecting anything less or more than those two.

Several rounds of negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital since April 2021 to bring the US back into the Iran deal. The Vienna talks, however, exclude American diplomats due to their country’s withdrawal from the deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on May 8, 2018.

Recent weeks have brought the talks to a new impasse, as the US insists on its refusal to remove Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) from its foreign terrorist organization list.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Over Half Million Foreign Children Attend Iranian Schools


"Iran’s Ministry of Education has adopted appropriate policies for foreign national students, with 22 schools exclusively established for them," Abolfazl Kamaali.

He said that special schools were established in popular immigration destinations like Tehran, Qom, Kashan, and Mashhad and the Iranian Education Ministry would welcome private investment in such areas.

About 10,000 foreign national children study in these special schools, Kamali noted, adding that the students are taught in accordance with Iran education system.

No immigrant child, no matter legal or illegal, is deprived of education in Iran in line with official guidelines and in accordance with the instruction given by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, as said by the official.

Iranian universities, research institutes, and scientific centers have established broad academic cooperation with counterparts from different countries, specially the neighboring states.

In 2020, Iran and Afghanistan decided to further increase academic exchanges in the field of medical sciences, after universities from the two neighboring countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

The Chancellor of Qom University of Medical Sciences Mohammad Reza Qadir met and held talks with the Chancellor of Khatam Al-Nabieen University Vahid Binesh in Qom where the two sides signed an MoU and discussed the ways to expand scientific and academic cooperation during the meeting. 

“Iran and Afghanistan can have extensive ties in expanding scientific exchanges, therefore, we are ready to fully cooperate with Qom University of Medical Sciences”, said Binesh.

"We welcome the cooperation and signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Qom University of Medical Sciences and strive to expand this scientific cooperation," Deputy Head of Khatam Al-Nabieen University Mousavi said.

“Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the two universities is an important step in the development and advancement of scientific fields and we are also ready for further collaboration," said Qadir, for his part.

Source: Fars News Agency

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Two Palestinians wanted for killing three on Israel Independence Day apprehended

08 May ,2022

Two Palestinians who killed three Israelis in an attack in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish town on Israel’s Independence Day on Thursday have been apprehended, Israeli security forces said in a statement on Sunday.

The attack was the latest in a recent upsurge of Israeli-Palestinian violence that has raised fears of a slide back to wider conflict.

“The two terrorists who murdered three Israeli civilians in the deadly attack in the city of Elad have been caught,” Israel’s police, Shin Bet security services and military said in a joint statement, which gave no further details.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Israeli troops demolish home of Palestinian assailant

07 May ,2022

Israeli troops on Saturday demolished the home of a Palestinian man who killed a Jewish seminary student in a shooting ambush in the occupied West Bank five months ago, the military said.

The demolition took place around dawn in the village of Silat al-Khartiyeh, with troops swinging sledgehammers to break walls and setting off explosives. Residents threw stones and firebombs at soldiers who fired live rounds, the army said.

Palestinian medics said three Palestinians were injured by live fire and others by tear gas inhalation.

Such demolitions have been denounced by rights groups as collective punishment, and the military suspended the practice for several years, starting in 2005, after concluding it did not serve as an effective deterrent.

The army resumed demolitions several years ago and now carries them out routinely in response to attacks in which Palestinians kill Israelis.

In the most recent attack, two Palestinians from the West Bank killed three Israelis and wounded four in a mass stabbing in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Elad in central Israel on Thursday.

As of Saturday, the suspected assailants, two young men from the town of Jenin, remained at large.

Officials familiar with the investigation said the attackers arrived in Elad in a vehicle driven by one of the victims and then killed him.

At least one attacker also used an axe, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details with the media. A gag order has been placed on much of the investigation.

At least 18 Israelis have been killed in five attacks since March, including another stabbing rampage in southern Israel, two shootings in the Tel Aviv area, and a shooting last weekend in a West Bank settlement.

Nearly 30 Palestinians have died in violence - most of whom had carried out attacks or were involved in confrontations with Israeli forces in the West Bank. But an unarmed woman and two apparent bystanders were also among those killed, and rights groups say Israel often uses excessive force.

The ongoing conflict plays out against the backdrop of Israel’s occupation, now in its 55th year, of the West Bank and other lands Palestinians seek for a state.

Serious peace talks collapsed more than a decade ago, while Israel’s settlement expansion on occupied lands has continued unabated.

On Friday, Israel said it is set to advance plans for the construction of 4,000 settler homes in the West Bank. If approved, it would be the biggest advancement of settlement plans since the Biden administration took office.

The White House is opposed to settlement growth because it further erodes the possibility of an eventual two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Pakistan Police Arrest 8 Men Of The Ahmadi Sect Of Islam Over Apparent Religious Killing

MAY 07, 2022

Pakistani police say they arrested eight men of the Ahmadi sect of Islam on Saturday who had opened fire on a group of Sunni Muslims the night prior, killing one and wounding another

Pakistani police say they arrested eight men of the Ahmadi sect of Islam on Saturday who had opened fire on a group of Sunni Muslims the night prior, killing one and wounding another.

Senior officer Faisal Mukhtar said the Ahmadis shot at the Sunnis while they were chanting religious poems in the village of Bahuman, near Lahore in the eastern province of Punjab. One minor suspect was still missing.

The killing was a rare case of violence exercised by Ahmadis, who have long held a grievance against Pakistan's majority Sunnis, who consider them heretics.

Ahmadis believe that an additional prophet named Ghulam Ahmad was sent by God in the 19th century, centuries after the Prophet Muhammad. That view is at odds with the fundamental Islamic principle that Muhammad was God's final chosen messenger.

Source: The Hindu

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'Chinese Confidence In Pakistan's Security System Shaken' After The Karachi University Attack

May 8, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Chinese confidence in Pakistan's security system's ability to protect its citizens and projects is seriously shaken after the Karachi University attack last month, a senior lawmaker has said.

Three Chinese teachers were killed when an explosion triggered by a burqa-clad woman suicide bomber from the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) ripped through a van of the Confucius Institute at the prestigious University of Karachi on April 26.

This was the latest targeted attack against Chinese citizens in Pakistan. Sharing the mood of the Chinese side after the attack to Dawn newspaper on Friday, Senator Mushahid Hussain, who is also the chairman of the Senate Defence Committee, said: “It has caused serious concern and understandable indignation in China."

Hussain led a Senate delegation to the Chinese embassy last week to express his condolences over the loss of the Chinese lives in the university attack.

The Chinese confidence in Pakistan's security system's ability to protect their citizens and their projects is seriously shaken,” said Hussain.

The Karachi University attack was the third terrorist attack on Chinese citizens on Pakistani soil in a year.

"The pattern of attacks is so recurring and it's clear that Pakistani promises of ‘foolproof security' are mere words, not matched by countermeasures on the ground,” he maintained.

Criticising the security arrangements, he said security agencies seemed to have been caught napping.

“If such attacks continue, not just Chinese but other foreign investors will be forced to review their role in Pakistan,” he said.

There were reports on social media of Chinese workers leaving Pakistan in large numbers after the attack.

A Chinese source denied such reports, adding that it was a regular movement of Chinese workers and citizens living in Pakistan on a weekly flight from Karachi that was presented by some as an “exodus”.

The source, however, noted that terrorist attacks do impact the confidence of the Chinese community living here.

The Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) cybercrime wing said the tweet claiming that thousands of Chinese were leaving from the Karachi airport because of threats was a “baseless and panic-creating video tweet”.

Head of FIA Cyber Crime Sindh Imran Riaz told the newspaper that action would be taken against the person who tweeted it once the ongoing investigations were complete.

At a media conference in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lijian Zhao expressed hope that “the plot of terrorist forces to undermine the two countries' mutual trust and cooperation will not succeed”.
Source: Times Of India

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Pak police guarded Farah Khan's residence during Imran Khan govt without reason: Report

May 8, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Farah Khan, a close friend of former Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan's wife was provided security outside her residence by Punjab Police officials' soon after the PTI chief's was elected as the country's Prime Minister, even though neither Farah Khan nor her husband held a public office during that period.

The cops were posted outside her home, in the upscale Defence area of Lahore, first in September 2018, confirmed a police officer who was on duty there, on the condition of anonymity, reported Geo News.

The security detail was only pulled last month, on the first of Ramadan, he added.

The cop further told Geo. tv that the men in uniform were ordered to work in three shifts, eight hours each, to ensure the home was protected 24 hours. Four cops were deployed per shift, meaning 12 police officers and three police vehicles were dedicated to her home.

Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in April authorised an enquiry on Farah Khan, a close friend of ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, over allegations of accumulating "illegal assets beyond known sources of income" among other charges.

Last month, NAB opened a case to probe how her assets grew exponentially during the tenure of former prime minister Imran Khan.

However, Imran Khan defended Farah Khan and asked how a case of corruption can be made against her.

"She was not a public office holder," the former prime minister said, "She has been working in real estate for the last 20 years."

Regarding the case, when Geo TV spoke to another cop, he also claimed that the security detail was provided to Farah Khan on the orders of Superintendent of the Police Ayesha Butt.

On reaching out to Ayesha Butt, who is now posted as the Superintendent of Police Telecommunications in Punjab, the officer denied she had any knowledge of the officers being posted outside Farah Khan's home, adding that she was surprised to see her name even mentioned in the regards to this, Geo TV reported.

"I had no link to this," she said, "I have never been posted in the branch which decides where security will be deployed."

Source: Times Of India

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Governor justifies inviting army intervention in Punjab

Mansoor Malik

May 8, 2022

LAHORE: Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema has said the ‘foreign conspiracy facilitators’ are levelling allegations against the establishment and the army to achieve their goals.

In a thread of tweets on Saturday, the governor said the nation venerated and trusted its national institutions as well as the Pakistan Army, adding those who facilitated (the alleged foreign conspiracy against the PTI government) wanted to create a rift between the nation and the armed forces.

The governor’s latest thread of tweets comes a couple of days after he wrote a letter to the army chief seeking his intervention to lead Punjab out of the legal and constitutional crises plaguing it for months – a move that was panned by political and social circles. Mr Cheema had also announced to send a reference against Lahore High Court’s Justice Jawad Hassan to the Supreme Judicial Council for an “illegal decision” of asking the National Assembly speaker to administer the oath to the then chief minister-elect Hamza Shehbaz.

In another tweet on Saturday, Mr Cheema said several people had started offering their opinions on the ongoing constitutional, legal and political crises in Punjab. “Since Punjab is suffering from a constitutional crisis, it is not a crime to ask other constitutional office-holders to intervene and play their legal and constitutional role to avert the crisis,” he asserted.

The governor also expressed solidarity with the judiciary in a tweet, saying everyone should respect the judiciary and judges, whether the decisions are in favour of or against someone.

Source: Dawn

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Pakistan: Medina sloganeering incident sharpens political slugfest

7 May, 2022 

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 7 (ANI): The Medina sloganeering incident continues to vitiate the political atmosphere in Pakistan.

The Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) have been at the loggerheads since the Medina mosque sloganeering incident.

The PTI supporters had abused and insulted Pakistan’s Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and physically attacked Minister for Narcotics Control Shahzain Bugti, violating the sanctity of the holy mosque, Islam Khabar reported.

Sunni Islamist outfits, especially Barelvis, are angered over the incident since the loud sloganeering and abuses violated the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque in Medina and urged the Islamabad Police to register a case against Sheikh Rasheed under Pakistan’s infamous ‘blasphemy laws’ for provoking people for violence and for violating the sanctity of the Masjid-e-Nabawi.

In another statement, PTI’s top tier leader, and former minister of human rights, Shireen Mazari, alleged that the current finance minister of Pakistan Miftah Ismail “made fun” of some Islamic concepts during a talk in the United States, subtly charging him of committing blasphemy.

From openly blaming the Biden Administration for the alleged ‘conspiracy,’ and organising paid protests in foreign countries after his ouster, Imran Khan and other PTI leaders are desperately looking for some evidence to prove their points, while embarassing Pakistan internationally, noted Islam Khabar.

The key suspects in the case included close aides of Imran Khan such as former information minister Fawad Chaudhry, ex-special assistant to the Prime Minister for political communication Shahbaz Gill, National Assembly’s former deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri, Aneel Mussarat, a British-Pakistani businessman, among others, the report added.

Source: The Print

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Humanitarian Assistance Cargo from Pakistan Arrived in Balkh

By Saqalain Eqbal

07 May 2022

According to a statement released by Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office, aid has been delivered to flood victims in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, May 7th, a Pakistani military plane brought the goods to Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province.

100 tents, 2 tons of wheat, 200 tons of rice, and 450 kilograms of sugar were some of the items.

According to Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office, the second package of help for flood victims in Afghanistan will be delivered by May 9 this year.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif tweeted, “Pakistan will continue to stand by the Afghan brothers & sisters.”

He emphasized that the international community must not disregard Afghans and those who need assistance.

Source: Khaama Press

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UN rights chief denounces Muslim-Christian clashes in Ethiopia

Peter Kenny  


The UN human rights chief on Saturday expressed deep distress over recent violent clashes between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia, in which at least 30 people were reportedly killed and more than 100 others were injured.

“I call on the Ethiopian authorities to promptly initiate and conduct thorough, independent, and transparent investigations into each of these deadly incidents and ensure that those found to be responsible are held to account,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

She said the inter-religious clashes were first reported in Gondar, a city in the northern Amhara region, on April 26, which were reportedly connected with a land dispute, and they quickly spread to towns and cities in multiple other regions and the capital Addis Ababa.

She added, “I understand two mosques were burnt and another two partially destroyed in Gondar.

“In the apparent retaliatory attacks that followed, two Orthodox Christian men were reportedly burnt to death, another man hacked to death, and five churches burnt down in Silt’e Zone…. located in the southwest of the country.”

The UN rights chief said there was further violence on April 28 in the Debark town in the Amhara region, and in the Dire Dawa city in the northeastern Afar region.

Police have reportedly detained at least 578 people in at least four cities connected to the violent clashes.

“Individual accountability of perpetrators is essential to prevent further violence,” said Bachelet.

“Those arrested must be fully accorded their due process and fair trial rights in accordance with international human rights law, without discrimination.”

Bachelet stressed that the underlying causes of this shocking violence must be addressed promptly “with the meaningful participation of survivors, families and affected communities” to prevent further inter-religious violence.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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UN experts favour keeping South Sudan arms embargo

07 May ,2022

A panel of UN experts has recommended maintaining an arms embargo imposed on South Sudan because of persistent ceasefire violations, according to a report made public Saturday.

The embargo had been due to expire at the end of the month and the UN Security Council is due to discuss the matter on May 26.

The Panel of Experts on South Sudan recommended, in a 77-page report to the UN Security Council, that the embargo be maintained because of the continuing unrest there.

It has in any case been violated in the 12 months since it was extended in May 2021, said the experts, as the government had bought armored troop carriers.

A 2018 peace agreement ended five years of bloody civil war between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, a conflict that left 400,000 dead and forced four million people to flee their homes.

“Far from delivering transformational change to the predatory political system of South Sudan, the peace agreement has itself become a lucrative venue for elite power politics,” said the experts.

The peace accord provided for a power-sharing arrangement in a government of national unity, set up in 2020 with Kiir as president and Machar as vice-president.

But their rivalry has persisted, leaving many articles of the accord still to be respected, while armed clashes between the two sides have resumed.

While acknowledging there had been some progress, the report highlighted the continuing violence, as well as floods that had created “unprecedented levels of food insecurity.”

It added: “Millions remain displaced, with around 70 percent of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.”

It also described state corruption and a “chaotic system of public finances.”

“South Sudanese civilians, along with many of its political, military and civil society leaders, are deeply skeptical of the peace agreement’s prospects of delivering peace and stability to South Sudan without a dramatic course correction,” said the report.

South Sudan has been wracked by instability since independence in 2011 and is still struggling to draw a line under the devastating civil war.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Nigeria’s central bank governor Emefiele says not decided on presidential bid

08 May ,2022

Nigerian central bank governor Godwin Emefiele has not decided to run for president next February or for another elected office and will remain in his current post, he said on Saturday after critics called on him to resign following reports of his political ambitions.

After a spokesperson for the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) said on Friday Emefiele had bought forms to contest the party’s presidential nomination this month, he tweeted: “I have not come to that decision.”

Emefiele said he would continue to serve as central bank governor and would clarify his ambitions in the next few days.

Reports of Emefiele’s presidential bid sent the naira close to a record low of 591 per dollar on the black market on Friday, against a range of 413 to 417 naira on the official market where it has traded this year.

President Muhammadu Buhari will step down after serving two four-year terms following the February 2023 ballot. The APC has

set its primaries to decide on its presidential candidate for May 30 and 31.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Lagos state governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu are frontrunners in the race to be the next

candidate to head Africa’s top economy.

Political parties in Nigeria should pick presidential candidates by June 3, according to the electoral commission, while official campaigning will begin in September.

Emefiele is serving a second term at the central bank where he has pursued dovish policies on interest rates, introduced currency controls, and launched a company to help build infrastructure in Nigeria.

Source: Al Arabiya

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North America


‘US envoy to UN postpones visit to Turkiye-Syria border’

Servet Gunerigok  



US Ambassador to UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has postponed her visit to Turkiye's southern border with Syria, the US Mission to the UN said on Saturday

Thomas-Greenfield was scheduled to visit Hatay's Reyhanli district from Sunday to Monday to survey the Cilvegozu border crossing, opposite to Bab al-Hawa border crossing on the Syrian side.

"Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield will continue to travel as planned to Brussels May 9-10 to lead the United States delegation to the Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, Brussels VI Conference, chaired by the European Union," her office at the UN said in a statement.

"There, the Ambassador will underscore the United States’ commitment and our determination to work in partnership with the international community to help support the Syrian people," the statement added.

On the sidelines of the conference, Thomas-Greenfield is expected to host a ministerial meeting to discuss the future of international support for the Syrian political process.

"She will also meet with NATO and EU officials in Brussels to discuss Ukraine and other shared Transatlantic priorities," the statement added.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Turkiye sympathizes with Cuba over deadly explosion

Beyza Binnur Donmez  


Turkiye on Saturday extended its condolences to Cuba over a deadly explosion in the capital Havana.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that many people lost their lives in an explosion that took place yesterday at a hotel in Havana, Cuba," the ministry said in a statement.

"We extend our sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, as well as to the friendly people and Government of Cuba and wish swift recovery to the injured," it added.

A strong explosion hit the Saratoga Hotel in Havana on Friday, killing 18 people and injuring 64 others, the Cuban government said.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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