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Islamic World News ( 9 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Taj Mahal and Dara Shikoh Finest Example Of Hindu-Muslim Collaboration, Says Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen

New Age Islam News Bureau

09 January 2023

 

Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen

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• First Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Says US Must Stop Funding Israeli Apartheid Regime

• Expo City Dubai Extends Winter City To January 12 Kick-Starting Celebrations For Chinese New Year

• Hundreds Rally In French City In Support Of Iran Protesters

• Yemen’s Ansarullah Says Will Strike Deep Inside Saudi Arabia, UAE as No Option Left

 

India

• UP Children’s Rights body writes to Centre for disenrolling non-Muslim students from Madrasas

• ‘Students Of All Faiths Have Right To Madrasa Education’: Chairman Of UP State Madrasa Education Board

• Fast Track Court Defers Hearing In Six Cases In Shringar Gauri–Gyanvapi Issue

• Drone-mounted radars to help check tunnels near Pak border

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North America

• Pentagon Misled US Public On Kabul Drone Strike That Killed Children: Documents

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Arab World

• Brawl At Arabian Gulf Cup Opening Ceremony Shocks Onlookers, Forces Kuwaiti Delegation To Leave

• UAE embassy in China announces changes to COVID-19 travel policies

• Saudi Arabia congratulates Sudan on launching final phase of political process

• Saudi aid convoy arrives in Gaza via Rafah commercial crossing

• Syrian FM hails Iran’s 'constructive role' in fight against terror, securing political settlement

• Aid convoy enters Syrian rebel area ahead of key UN vote

• Drone shot down over Iraq air base: Report

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Europe

• More EU nations to summon Iran envoys over executions of two protesters

• Christmas mass held in Türkiye’s Armenian church

• Sweden cannot meet some Turkiye demands for NATO bid: PM

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Mideast

• Iran Sentences Three More To Death Over Amini Protests

• Israel suspends Palestinian foreign minister’s VIP pass amid ICJ row

• Human Rights Chief: Iran to Issue Indictment in Connection with Nuclear Scientist's Assassination

• Protest outside Iran prison against reportedly imminent executions of demonstrators

• Denmark to summon Iran envoy over protest executions

• Israel’s Netanyahu defends controversial judicial reforms amid protests

• Israel’s Ben-Gvir restricts Arab MKs’ visits to Palestinian prisoners

• ‘Extraordinary’ OIC meeting to discuss Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa

• Yemeni rights groups urging Houthis to release online influencers

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Pakistan

• Pakistani Ministry Making Efforts to Ensure Availability of Authentic Version of Quran with Literal Translation

• Case Against Five In Chiniot For Marketing ‘Altered’ Quran Translation

• ‘Still Open' To Ceasefire Agreement With Pakistan Government, Says TTP Chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsood

• Speaking on behalf of OIC, Pakistan slams Israeli minister’s visit to Al Aqsa Mosque

• Stampedes across Pakistan as flour shortage intensifies

• COAS Asim Munir, Saudi crown prince review bilateral relations

• ‘Court-martialled’ general continues legal battle to clear his name

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South Asia

• IEA Deputy PM Urged Leading Scholars to Interpret Reality of Afghanistan to Muslims of the World

• IEA facing criticism for implementing Sharia, says minister

• Ban on women: UN envoy meets Afghanistan education minister

• Taliban (IEA) Minister Speaks on Altering Journalism Curriculum

• Aid chief Taliban decrees against women paralysing NGO work

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Southeast Asia

• Saudi Arabia Draws In Malaysian Nurses With Opportunity To Grow

• Fleeing persecution, 200 Rohingya Muslims reach Indonesia

• Indonesia, Malaysia agree to fight against palm oil ‘discrimination’

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Africa

• King Abdullah Featured Next To Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque In New Jordan Banknote

• Taskforce arrests hawkers of Islamic herbal products in Cross River

• Five African migrants die, 10 missing after boat sinks off Tunisia

• Türkiye welcomes start of final round of Sudan’s political process

• Nigerian police intercept rocket shells, anti-aircraft ammunition in NW Zamfara state

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/taj-mahal-dara-shikoh-hindu-muslim-amartya/d/128836

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Taj Mahal and Dara Shikoh Finest Example Of Hindu-Muslim Collaboration, Says Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen

 

Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen

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Jan 9, 2023

KOLKATA: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen felt the need of the hour was to encourage people and communities to "work together". Speaking about collaborative work between Hindus and Muslims, he gave examples of Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan's eldest son, who translated 50 Upanishads from Sanskrit to Persian, enabling the world to know about Hindu scriptures, Hindu culture and Hindu tradition. Taj Mahal, he said, was one of the finest examples of "collaborative work between Hindus and Muslims".

Biswajit Roy, a professor at Visva-Bharati, read out excerpts from Kshitimohan Sen's 'Bharater Hindu Musalmaner Jukto Sadhana' at the beginning of the programme to highlight the tradition of the two communities working together in the fields of architecture, literature, music and several others.

Sen also spoke about some of the negatives of diversity, focusing on the "disparities" and "differences" in society. He said it was a "matter of concern" when a section of people went hungry and another had enormous wealth; when a section was deprived of education and could not afford school, while there were sections that could gain knowledge only because of their wealth.

"This raises a question as to what extent diversity is good. We should think of the positive sides of diversity as well as its problems," he said, adding that caste discrimination - which was also a "diversity" - should be done away with. Many diversities had swallowed the new India, he felt, something he had not seen earlier. In this vein, he referred to Gandhi's thoughts during the nationalist movement, where he had said that "differences" should be reduced.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/taj-mahal-finest-example-of-hindu-muslim-collaboration-says-nobel-laureate-amartya-sen/articleshow/96841738.cms

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First Palestinian-American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Says US Must Stop Funding Israeli Apartheid Regime

 

US-Palestinian Congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib.

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07 January 2023

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has called on Washington to stop its support for the apartheid Israeli regime, amid rising tensions across the occupied territories.

The first Palestinian-American woman ever elected to the chamber made the remarks in a post on Twitter, stressing, “Congress must stop funding apartheid.”

She further noted that 2022 was one of the deadliest years for Palestinians, adding that Israeli forces and settlers killed more than 200 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, last year.

Tlaib further took aim at Israel's new far-right cabinet for its plans to forcibly displace over 1,000 Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta region of the southern occupied West Bank.

“Just days after the new Israeli regime is sworn in, families in Masafer Yatta are already facing more ethnic cleansing,” she said.

“The Israeli military’s ongoing expulsion of Masafer Yatta residents will now be accelerated at an even faster rate. Don’t look away. Save Masafer Yatta,” the congresswoman added.

“Even one week into 2023, the new right-wing apartheid regime is moving to ethnically cleanse entire communities, which will displace over 1,000 Palestinians, including 500 children,” she said.

The Israeli army has reportedly informed Palestinian officials of their imminent plans to forcibly displace more than 1,000 Palestinian residents, including some 500 children, in the Masafer Yatta area of the southern occupied West Bank.

Home to some 2,500 Palestinians, Masafer Yatta falls in the 60 percent of the occupied West Bank designated as “Area C”, which is under full Israeli military and administrative rule.

Congresswoman Tlaib has frequently spoken out against the United States’ military support for Israel, and called for the protection of the Palestinians’ rights.

In an emotional speech at the House of Representative in May 2021, Tlaib criticized President Joe Biden and other top officials for offering statements that she said did not acknowledge “Palestinian humanity.”

Also in November of the same year, she called on Washington to give up its unconditional support for Israel and stop the regime from committing crimes against minors.

Over the past months, Israel has ramped up attacks on Palestinian towns and cities throughout the occupied territories. As a result of these attacks, dozens of Palestinians have lost their lives and many others have been arrested.

Since the start of 2022, Israeli troops have killed more than 210 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to the United Nations, the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank in 2022 was the highest in 16 years.

Local and international rights groups have condemned Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against Palestinians.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/07/695890/Palestine-US-Congresswoman-Rashida-Tlaib--Israeli-apartheid-Congress-stop-Palestinians-killed-occupied-territories

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Expo City Dubai Extends Winter City To January 12 Kick-Starting Celebrations For Chinese New Year

 

Expo City Dubai’s wintry wonderland activations will continue until January 12. (Supplied)

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08 January ,2023

The festive spirit continues at Expo City Dubai, with Winter City extended until January 12 and a parade on January 14 kick-starting celebrations for Chinese New Year.

Due to the overwhelming success of Winter City, Expo City Dubai’s wintry wonderland activations will continue until January 12, with new timings of 3 p.m. -to 11 p.m. from January 9.

Visitors can enjoy a market with arts and crafts, arcade games, and a range of seasonal food and beverages, Santa’s House, the zip line and skating rink will be open, and the spellbinding Christmas projection show at Al Wasl Plaza will round off the experience after the sun sets.

Marking the start of celebrations for Chinese New Year 2023, the “Happy Chinese New Year” Grand Parade at 1600 on 14 January promises to be the biggest Grand Parade outside of China, featuring around 60 parade group formations, more than 20 parade floats and 2,500 participants.

The carnival-style event will continue until January 28 and include kiosks and Chinese cuisine as well as entertainment, street dance, games, and a cultural area.

Expo City Dubai is a strategic partner of the “Happy Chinese New Year” Grand Parade, which is co-hosted by the Embassy of People’s Republic of China in the UAE, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Dubai, and Hala China, with support from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/life-style/entertainment/2023/01/08/Expo-City-Dubai-extends-Winter-City-to-January-12-with-Chinese-New-Year-celebrations-

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Hundreds Rally In French City In Support Of Iran Protesters

 

A protester holds a gallows rope during a rally in Lyon to pay tribute to Mohammad Moradi, an Iranian student who jumped into a river last month, and drowned, in an attempt to draw attention to the situation in Iran.—AFP

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January 9, 2023

LYON: Some 1,000 people rallied in the French city of Lyon on Sunday in support of unprecedented anti-regime protests in Iran, journalists saw.

The protesters walked through the streets of the eastern city carrying a banner that read “Woman, life, freedom” and chanting the words, which have become the slogan of the protests.

Demonstrations in Iran began after the September 16 death in custody of Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini, 22.

She had been arrested by morality police who enforce a strict dress code which requires women to wear a scarf-like covering over their hair and neck.

The protests have escalated into calls for an end to the Islamic regime, posing the biggest challenge for the clerics since the 1979 revolution deposed the shah.

Authorities have responded with deadly violence that has left hundreds dead.

Thousands have been arrested and 14 detainees sentenced to death, many for killing or attacking security force members, according to the judiciary. Four have been executed, the latest two on Saturday.

Many of Sunday’s protesters in France had a personal connection to the country.

“I am here to demand freedom in Iran,” Sholeh Golrokhi, 49, said. “When I was little, they arrested all of my family.” “We are here to ask Western countries to be the voice of our people” and “expel Iranian ambassadors”, said Samane Ramezanpanah, 35.

In late December a 38-year-old Iranian man drowned in the Rhone river that flows through Lyon, saying on social media that he was going to kill himself to draw attention to the crackdown of the protests in Iran.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730673/hundreds-rally-in-french-city-in-support-of-iran-protesters
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Yemen’s Ansarullah Says Will Strike Deep Inside Saudi Arabia, UAE as No Option Left

 

Troops from various units of the Yemeni Armed Forces participate in a massive military parade in the capital Sana’a, on September 21, 2022, to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the September 21 Revolution. (Photo by al-Masirah television network)

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2023-January-8

Ansarullah announced in a statement that even with the six-month truce that expired on October 2 last year and two rounds of negotiations to extend the ceasefire and lift the blockade on commercial airports and entry ports, the Riyadh-led alliance reneged on the terms of the ceasefire and did not honor previous agreements, presstv reported.

“The Saudi-led coalition’s main goal out of the truce was to stop the Houthi Ansarullah forces from carrying out retaliatory military operations against targets deep inside Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the crippling sea, land and air blockade on Yemen has created a humanitarian disaster in the country,” the statement read.

Ansarullah described the famine and siege as criminal and cruel strategies of the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen, arguing that the practice amounts to mass murder under the United Nations Charter and principles.

“Siege is same as a war, whose primary purpose is to kill as many Yemenis as possible and take revenge on them by destroying people’s livelihood. The Saudi-led coalition’s intention behind the ceasefire was to ramp up the economic blockade against Yemen,” the statement read.

Ansarullah noted, “The Riyadh-led alliance took advantage of the siege as a weapon of war against Yemen. The ceasefire also proved that the Saudi-led coalition was not looking for any measure to reduce the sufferings of the Yemeni nation. It is firmly against payment of salaries to civil servants and knows no limits to tighten the blockade.”

The Lebanese Arabic-language daily newspaper Al-Akhbar has reported that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto leader is seeking to get himself out of the crisis created in Yemen.

The newspaper wrote that Mohammed bin Salam has suggested that Ansarullah maintain control over Yemen in exchange for security guarantees to the Riyadh regime.

It said the latest round of indirect and behind-the-scenes talks between Ansarullah representatives and Saudi diplomats with Oman, a Persian Gulf country that borders both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, as mediator had more fateful results than the previous ones.

“Riyadh is now showing a lot of flexibility during negotiations. It currently has no concern other than getting security guarantees that strategic facilities deep inside the country would not be hit. It has abandoned the illusion of turning Yemen into a country under its tutelage, and has instead sufficed for security assurances,” the newspaper wrote.

Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015.

The objective was to crush the popular Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen, and reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to achieve any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: Fars News Agency

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

https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011018000636/Yemen%E2%80%99s-Ansarllah-Says-Will-Srike-Deep-Inside-Sadi-Arabia-UAE-as-N

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India

 

UP Children’s Rights Body Writes To Centre For Disenrolling Non-Muslim Students From Madrasas

Jan 08, 2023

Suchitra Chaturvedi, a representative of the State Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights in Uttar Pradesh, wrote a letter to Centre regarding disenrolling non-Muslim students from Madrasas. She also discussed the lack of NCERT implementation in madrasas. “Keeping in view that NCERT has still not been implemented in all madrasas, Islamic teaching is imparted in madrasas and teachers of those madrasas have studied in madrasas only and don’t have knowledge of other subjects, we wrote the letter,” said Suchitra Chaturvedi.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/city/lucknow/up-childrens-rights-body-writes-to-centre-for-disenrolling-non-muslim-students-from-madrasas/videoshow/96832458.cms#0

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‘Students Of All Faiths Have Right To Madrasa Education’: Chairman Of UP State Madrasa Education Board

Jan 09, 2023

Lucknow Students of every faith had the right to get education in state madrasas, said chairman of UP State Madrasa Education Board Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Javed on Sunday. He said,” Madrasas impart modern education in every subject along with religious teaching. If Muslims can get education in Sanskrit schools and colleges, why can’t students of other faiths get educated in madrasas? I don’t think one should discriminate between students on account of religion. I have also been a student of Banaras Hindu University.”

The statement was in response to a notice of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

A letter signed by Priyank Kanoongo, chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), asked for a detailed inquiry of all government funded/recognized madrasas admitting non- Muslim children. The inquiry should include physical verification of children. Subsequent to the inquiry, all such children should be admitted to schools for formal education, it said.

The letter also directed to undertake mapping of all unmapped madrasas in state/UTs and admit any/all children into schools for availing formal education with immediate effect.

The letter has also sought a copy of action taken report (ATR) within 30 days for records and further appropriate necessary action.

Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Javed said,” The madrasas, as an invaluable instrument of traditional education, have played a vital role in spreading literacy among the downtrodden segments of society. Students can be of any faith.”

Source: Hindustan Times

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

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/lucknow-news/students-of-all-faiths-have-right-to-madrasa-education-101673203107801.html

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Fast Track Court Defers Hearing In Six Cases In Shringar Gauri–Gyanvapi Issue

Jan 6, 2023

Varanasi: Civil judge senior division fast track court (FTC) on Thursday issued fresh dates for hearing in six Gyanvapi related cases, including five seeking worshipping rights at Shringar Gauri and ‘Shivling’ and one of a Muslim plaintiff seeking permission to offer fatiha and hold Urs.

Assistant district government counsel (civil) Sulabh Prakash said, as the parties concerned sought time to file replies and complete other formalities, civil judge senior division (FTC) Mahendra Kumar Pandey issued new dates for hearing.

He said, in Kiran Singh’s suit (no. 712/2022 Bhagwan Adi Vishweshwar Virajman and others vs. State of Uttar Pradesh through secretary and others) seeking ban on entry of Muslims in Gyanvapi mosque, handing over Gyanvapi premises to Hindus and permitting regular worshipping of Aadi Visheshwar (purported Shivling found during court mandated survey on May 16, 2022) court fixed January 21 for hearing.

On November 17, 2022 court had rejected Anjuman Intezamia Masajid (AIM) — the Gyanvapi mosque management committee-- plea challenging maintainability of this case. After it AIM had also filed revision petition in district judge court.

Next hearing in another suit filed by Hindu Sena chief Vishnu Gupta, Ajit Singh of Khajuri, Mangla Prasad Pathak and Abhishek Pathak seeking regular worship of purported Shivling will also take place on January 21, he said.

Prakash said the next date for hearing in environmentalist Prabhu Narain’s suit seeking regular worship of Lord Aadi Visheshwar, Shringar Gauri, Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman and other deities in Gyanvapi, removal of upper construction erected illegally over the temple and restoration of the heritage of the temple, was fixed on January 17. Next hearing in the suit filed by Mukhtar Ansari of Lohta area seeking rights to hold urs, offer chadar and fatiha at mazars insides Gyanvapi mosque compound will take place on January 17, added Prakash.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/ftc-defers-hearing-in-six-cases-in-shringar-gaurigyanvapi-issue/articleshow/96780333.cms?from=mdr

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Drone-mounted radars to help check tunnels near Pak border

Jan 9, 2023

NEW DELHI: Drone-mounted ground penetration radars have been deployed for the first time by the Border Security Force (BSF) to check for the presence of underground tunnels used by terrorists to infiltrate the India-Pakistan International Border in Jammu region, officials said.

The indigenously-made technical gadget has been pressed into action at this front recently as part of the below-the-earth tunnel detection exercise carried out by the force to ensure no terrorist is able to sneak into Indian territory and conduct strikes in Jammu & Kashmir or any other location of the country. These structures have also been used to smuggle narcotics, arms and ammunition.

BSF has unearthed at least five underground tunnels in the about 192 km of the Jammu front (of the India-Pakistan IB) in the last three years.

According to official data, two such cross-border tunnels were detected in 2020 and 2021 each, while one was found last year and all of them were detected in the Indreshwar Nagar sector of Jammu.

“The force has procured a smart technical tool to counter the menace of underground tunnels that have been reported regularly along the Jammu region of the India-Pakistan IB. More than one drone-mounted ground penetration radars have been deployed in the region to check these clandestine structures used by terrorists to infiltrate into India from Pakistan,” said a senior BSF officer.

Source: Times Of India

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

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/drone-mounted-radars-to-help-check-tunnels-near-pak-border/articleshow/96839162.cms

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North America

 

Pentagon misled US public on Kabul drone strike that killed children: Documents

07 January 2023

Documents obtained through a lawsuit have revealed how erroneous assumptions and biases by US military personnel led to the August 2021 Kabul drone attack killing of Afghan civilians, and that US military officials purposefully misled the public to conceal the assessments of civilian casualties.

On Aug. 29, 2021, an American MQ-9 Reaper drone shot a Hellfire missile at a white Toyota Corolla in a neighborhood near the Kabul airport.

An internal military investigation into the attack reportedly found that erroneous assumptions and biases by US analysts during the Pentagon’s chaotic August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan led to the Kabul drone attack that killed 12 civilians, including seven children.

Three days earlier to the deadly Kabul drone attack, a bomber had killed more than a dozen US soldiers and scores of Afghan civilians at a main gate of the Kabul airport. Then, officials had intelligence that there would be another attack there and that it would involve a white Corolla. Then, US military analysts observed a white Toyota Corolla park at what they believed was a Daesh compound. US officials hastily authorized a drone strike on the Toyota Corolla to thwart a suspected bombing attack. Hours later, US officials announced they had successfully thwarted the attack. As reports of civilian deaths started to emerge, the US military issued statements saying they had “no indications” but would assess the claims and were investigating whether a secondary explosion may have killed civilians.

A US Central Command investigation into the drone attack, which was partially obtained by The New York Times (NYT), showed that military analysts reported within minutes of the drone strike that civilians may have been killed, and within three hours, it had assessed that at least three children were killed in the attack.

US military officials, however, continued to conceal what they knew about the strike. Three days later, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said the attack was “righteous” and that it had killed a Daesh facilitator and unknown “others.”

The documents obtained by NYT also provide detailed examples of how assumptions and biases led to the deadly blunder that US military officials had wanted to cover up.

Military analysts had wrongly concluded, for example, that a package loaded into the car contained explosives because of its “careful handling and size,” and that the driver’s “erratic route” was evidence that he was trying to evade surveillance.

The investigation was completed a week and a half after the strike and was never released, but The New York Times has obtained 66 partially redacted pages of it through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Central Command.

Central Command declined to provide additional comment beyond statements it had previously made about the strike. The Pentagon previously acknowledged that the strike was a “tragic mistake” that killed 10 civilians, and told The Times that a new action plan intended to protect civilians drew on lessons learned from the incident.

Among those killed in the attack was Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime aid worker and the driver of the white Toyota Corolla.

Hina Shamsi, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing families of victims, said the investigation “makes clear that US military personnel saw what they wanted to see and not reality, which was an Afghan aid worker going about his daily life.”

Ahmadi had spent the day he was killed in the drone attack picking up his employer’s laptop, taking colleagues to and from work and loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring home to his family.US military analysts thought the water container was a bomb.

Officials insisted that their target had visited a Daesh “safe house,” but media investigations found that the building was actually the home of Ahmadi’s boss, whose laptop he was picking up.

Source: Press TV

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

https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/07/695907/US-Pentagon-Misled-Kabul-Drone-Attack

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Arab World

 

Brawl At Arabian Gulf Cup Opening Ceremony Shocks Onlookers, Forces Kuwaiti Delegation To Leave

07 January ,2023

A brawl ahead of the opening ceremony of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup in Iraq forced a shocked Kuwaiti delegation to leave the stadium.

A video shared on social media showed men in the VIP section at the Basra International Stadium arguing and pushing one another while others attempted to separate them.

According to media reports, the chaos erupted shortly after the Kuwaiti delegation arrived in the stadium.

Abdulaziz al-Samhan, a member of the board of directors of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA), told Kuwaiti media that the delegation left after Sheikh Fahad al-Nasser, who represents the country’s emir, couldn’t enter the stadium due to the chaos.

“We left after we heard [al-Nasser] couldn’t enter… This upset us and we [walked out] in solidarity [with him], and we’re currently at the hotel,” Samhan said.

Samhan also said that he was robbed as people jostled while he walked from the stadium’s entrance toward the VIP section, adding that when he sat on the chair, he realized that his pocket had been torn with a sharp object and his wallet was missing.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai cited sources as saying that rumors about the withdrawal of Kuwait’s national team from the tournament were false, adding that the team will play against Qatar as planned on January 7.

The eight-nation Arabian Gulf Cup will see teams from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - as well as Yemen and Iraq compete.

It’s the first time since 1979 that turmoil-wracked Iraq hosts the tournament.

Despite the brawl, the matches were held as scheduled on Friday and saw the host, Iraq, tie with Oman (0-0) and Saudi Arabia winning against Yemen (2-0).

FIFA President Gianni Infantino who attended the opening match said it was great to be at the “prestigious” tournament.

“It was great to have attended the opening ceremony and the opening game of the 2023 Arabian Gulf Cup in Basra, Iraq between Iraq and Oman,” Infantino said.

He added that he was glad to see such matches being held in Iraq after decades of conflict.

“I am so happy that competitive football has finally returned to Iraq, a real football loving country, even more so with such a prestigious tournament,” he said.

“I would like to congratulate Iraq, the Iraq Football Association and the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation for the warm welcome and the all the organizational efforts.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/sports/2023/01/07/Brawl-at-Arabian-Gulf-Cup-shocks-onlookers-forces-Kuwaiti-delegation-to-leave

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UAE embassy in China announces changes to COVID-19 travel policies

08 January ,2023

The United Arab Emirates’ Embassy in China said on Sunday that citizens and travelers leaving China for the UAE must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before their departure.

As of Sunday, quarantine procedures for “all personnel upon entry” were scrapped and the UAE now expects travelers from China to present a health declaration upon arrival by filling out a form provided at the Chinese customs port.

In recent weeks, several countries have imposed virus curbs on travelers departing from China.

In the European Union, France, Italy, and Spain were the first to enact such measures in response to rising cases. Other countries, including Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Qatar, South Korea, Taiwan, and the US, have also introduced additional measures for arrivals from China.

On Tuesday, the EU agreed on a coordinated approach to the changing COVID-19 situation, though specific details have yet to be announced. These measures may include testing and vaccination requirements, monitoring and surveillance for new variants, and health and hygiene measures for air passengers.

China recently lifted its stringent anti-virus controls, leading to a surge of COVID-19 cases in its population of 1.4 billion, many of whom have little natural immunity to the virus.

Funeral homes have reported an increase in demand, and international health experts predict at least one million deaths in China this year.

While the official number of COVID-19 deaths in China has been low, with a reported 5,258 as of January 3, it is widely believed that the actual death toll is much higher.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/coronavirus/2023/01/08/UAE-embassy-in-China-announces-changes-to-COVID-19-travel-policies
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Saudi Arabia congratulates Sudan on launching final phase of political process

January 08, 2023

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia welcomes and congratulates Sudan on the launch of the final phase of the political process in the country, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The Kingdom also congratulates Sudan on the measures taken to prioritize this process, and to implement measures to create a climate of trust between all parties, the ministry added.

The Kingdom also commended the international efforts of the UN Mission in Sudan, the African Union, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, affirming its permanent support for the return of political stability to Sudan.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2228901/saudi-arabia

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Saudi aid convoy arrives in Gaza via Rafah commercial crossing

HAZEM BALOUSHA

January 08, 2023

GAZA CITY: A Saudi aid convoy carrying tons of meat on Saturday arrived in Gaza via the Rafah commercial crossing with Egypt.

The Kingdom has donated 12,000 sacrificial animals under the terms of an agreement signed with the Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Diab Al-Louh during a recent ceremony held at the Saudi Embassy in Cairo.

As part of the deal, Egypt will also receive the same quantity of meat from Saudi Arabia.

Six trucks delivered the consignment to the Palestinian Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs through a project managed by the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, and the produce will be distributed throughout Gaza via zakat committees.

Salima Abu Ryala, 66, from Al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City, said she hoped to receive sacrificial meat for the second year running, adding that the aid would also be welcomed by her seven unemployed sons and their families.

“It is generous of Saudi Arabia to offer these sacrifices every year. We are in dire need of any assistance from any party,” she said.

Her neighbor, Abu Raed Abed, 57, said: “We only buy meat on special occasions. Our financial situation has been difficult in recent years. Saudi Arabia is a generous country, and we appreciate this effort in helping the Palestinians in Gaza.”

More than 80 percent of the 2.3 million population of Gaza depend on food aid from international or local institutions, according to UN statistics.

Saudi Arabia also provides other forms of support to Palestinians, mainly through the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, and late last year contributed $27 million toward UNRWA operations in the region.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2228881/middle-east

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Syrian FM hails Iran’s 'constructive role' in fight against terror, securing political settlement

09 January 2023

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has appreciated Iran’s constructive and effective role in the fight against terrorism, and in the political settlement of the foreign-sponsored crisis in the Arab country.

In a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Mekdad demanded that Iran continue to play an active role in any political initiative to end the Syrian crisis through the Astana format.

Iran and Russia, as the allies of the Syrian government, as well as Turkey, which sides with the opposition, set up the Astana peace process in January 2017 to put an end to the Syrian conflict through the involvement of the Syrian government and the opposition.

During their phone conversation, the two foreign ministers also discussed bilateral relations and the latest developments in Syria and the Middle East and expressed their countries’ determination to further develop mutual ties in various spheres.

The top Iranian and Syrian diplomats reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to supporting Palestinians’ legitimate struggle to safeguard their sanctities and historical rights, and strongly condemned the apartheid Israeli regime’s crimes against Palestinians.

Amir-Abdollahian underscored Iran’s support for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying the Islamic Republic will continue to assist the war-ravaged Arab country in the war against terrorism and in the face of Western sanctions.

Iran maintains an advisory mission in Syria at the request of Damascus with the aim of helping the war-torn Arab country get rid of the foreign-backed militants, who have been fighting against the Syrian government since 2011.

In 2017, Iran’s advisory assistance helped Syria defeat the Daesh terrorist group.

Source: Press TV

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https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/01/09/695988/Syrian-FM-hails-Iran-constructive-role-fight-against-terrorism

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Aid convoy enters Syrian rebel area ahead of key UN vote

08 January ,2023

A humanitarian convoy on Sunday delivered urgently needed supplies to Syria’s last rebel stronghold, a day before the UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution that would determine whether aid deliveries to the war-stricken territory can continue.

Syria’s conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million since it began in March 2011.

The convoy of 18 trucks entered the area of Idlib through frontlines held by Syrian government forces.

Russia, which is allied with Syrian President Bashar Assad, has moved to replace humanitarian aid crossing the Turkish border into Syria with convoys like Sunday’s shipment, which pass through government-controlled areas. In the early years of the war, Turkey strongly supported Syria’s rebels.

In July, the UN Security Council approved a resolution extending humanitarian aid deliveries to Idlib, which is home to 4.1 million people. Many of the people sheltering in the area have been internally displaced by the nearly 12-year conflict.

Russia is expected to abstain in Monday’s vote. The draft resolution would continue aid deliveries through the Bab al-Hawa crossing to rebel-held northwest Syria for six months, until July 10.

In Idlib, dozens of paramedics on Sunday protested outside a main medical center against any attempt by Russia at the UN to prevent the flow of aid from Turkey.

On Friday, 14 aid trucks crossed from Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa frontier point — Idlib’s only land connection with the outside world.

Last month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned in a report that the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening, and said if aid deliveries from Turkey to Idlib aren’t renewed millions of Syrians may not survive the winter.

In July 2020, China and Russia vetoed a UN resolution that would have maintained two border crossing points from Turkey for humanitarian aid into the northern Syrian rebel stronghold. Days later, the council authorized the delivery of aid through just one of those crossings, Bab al-Hawa, and this has been the case since.

Russia has repeatedly said the cross-border aid deliveries that began in 2014 were meant to be temporary.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/08/Aid-convoy-enters-Syrian-rebel-area-ahead-of-key-UN-vote

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Drone shot down over Iraq air base: Report

08 January ,2023

Defense systems at Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base, which hosts US forces, intercepted and shot down a drone while it was hovering near the base, Iraqi military sources said on Sunday.

The sources said it was not clear whether the drone was on a surveillance mission or if it was carrying any explosives.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/08/Drone-shot-down-over-Iraq-air-base-Report

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Europe

 

More EU nations to summon Iran envoys over executions of two protesters

09 January ,2023

Denmark and Belgium said Sunday they would summon Iran’s ambassadors after Tehran executed two men linked to protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, with fresh EU sanctions “on the table.”

The announcements came shortly after fellow EU nation the Netherlands announced similar action.

Iran’s envoy to Denmark will be summoned “to send him the strongest possible and imaginable message that the abuses committed against his people trigger our outrage”, Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told news agency Ritzau.

The Danish foreign ministry confirmed to AFP that the meeting would take place on Monday.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib wrote on Twitter that she was “horrified” by the executions.

“Together with like-minded EU member states, we will summon the Iranian ambassador. New EU sanctions are on the table,” she said.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra tweeted on Saturday that he was “appalled” and that the Iranian ambassador to the Netherlands would be summoned “to underline our serious concerns.”

A fourth EU sanctions package was “already in preparation” for the 27-nation bloc’s next foreign affairs council to be held on January 23, he added.

Iran on Saturday announced that two men had been hanged for killing a paramilitary force member in November during unprecedented protests sparked by the death in custody of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

The executions sparked international condemnation, with the United Nations denouncing “unfair trials based on forced confessions.”

The United States said the hangings were “a key component of the regime’s effort to suppress protests”, which have shaken the Islamic republic since Amini’s death in September last year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/01/09/More-EU-nations-to-summon-Iran-envoys-over-executions-of-two-protesters

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Christmas mass held in Türkiye’s Armenian church

Bestami Bodruk  

08.01.2023

DIYARBAKIR, Türkiye

Christmas mass was held on Sunday in Türkiye’s Diyarbakır Surp Giragos Armenian Church.

Hymns were sung and prayers were recited during mass led by three religious officials appointed by the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul.

Father Natan Arabyan said they are proud to celebrate Christmas in Diyarbakir, the cradle of civilizations.

Arabyan also thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top officials to provide the peaceful environment in Türkiye's southeastern Diyarbakir province.

"On this occasion, I wish everyone a happy new year and wish tranquility, peace, and brotherhood all over the world," he noted.

Sur District Governor and Deputy Mayor Asim Solak also visited the historical church before the mass and congratulated the participants' holiday.

In Western Christianity, Christmas Day is celebrated on Dec. 25, but due to a calendar difference, many Orthodox churches mark Christmas on Jan. 7.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/christmas-mass-held-in-turkiye-s-armenian-church/2782662

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Sweden cannot meet some Turkiye demands for NATO bid: PM

January 08, 2023

STOCKHOLM: Turkiye, which has for months blocked NATO membership bids by Sweden and Finland, has made some demands that Sweden cannot accept, Sweden’s prime minister said on Sunday.

Turkiye “has confirmed that we have done what we said we would do, but it also says that it wants things that we can’t, that we don’t want to, give it,” Ulf Kristersson said during a security conference also attended by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

“We are convinced that Turkiye will make a decision, we just don’t know when,” he said, adding that it will depend on internal politics inside Turkiye as well as “Sweden’s capacity to show its seriousness.”

Sweden and Finland broke with decades of military nonalignment and applied to join the US-led defense alliance in response to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. But Turkiye has refused to approve their bid until the two countries take steps, including joining Turkiye’s fight against banned Kurdish militants.

Most of Turkiye’s demands have involved Sweden because of its more robust ties with the Kurdish diaspora.

Finland’s foreign minister said that the country would join NATO at the same time as its neighbor.

“Finland is not in such a rush to join NATO that we can’t wait until Sweden gets the green light,” Pekka Haavisto, said at Sunday’s conference.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2228851/world
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Mideast

 

Iran sentences three more to death over Amini protests

January 09, 2023

TEHRAN: Iran has sentenced to death three people accused of killing three members of the security forces during the protests triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, the judiciary said Monday.

The Islamic republic has been rocked by civil unrest since the September 16 death of Kurdish Iranian Amini, 22, following her arrest for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.

The latest sentences, which can still be appealed, bring to 17 the total number of people condemned to death in connection with the more than three months of protests.

Four of those convicted have been executed and two others are on death row after their sentences were upheld by the country’s supreme court.

Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were sentenced to death on charges of “moharebeh” — or waging “war against God” — the judiciary’s Mizan Online news website reported.

Two others were handed prison terms for the incident that led to the deaths of three security force members in the central province of Isfahan on November 16, Mizan said.

All the sentences can be appealed before the supreme court, it added.

On Saturday, Iran executed Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini for killing a paramilitary force member in November in Karaj west of Tehran.

Source: Arab News

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https://www.arabnews.com/node/2229091/middle-east

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Israel suspends Palestinian foreign minister’s VIP pass amid ICJ row

Awad Rajoub  

08.01.2023

RAMALLAH, Palestine

Israel on Sunday suspended a VIP pass card of Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki, in response to a Palestinian bid to seek the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s opinion on the decades-long Israeli occupation.

The VIP pass card eases the minister’s travel in and around the occupied West Bank.

“The occupation authorities withdrew the minister’s VIP card as he returned from Jordan, in disregard of his position,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Political adviser Ahmed al-Deek termed the Israeli move as a “brazen violation” of international law and agreements signed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

“These measures will not deter us from rallying international political, diplomatic and legal support in all forums,” al-Deek said.

There was no comment from the Israeli authorities on the move.

On Friday, the Israeli government approved five sanctions against the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to the PA bid to involve the ICJ.

Al-Maliki, for his part, described the Israeli penalties as a “violation of international law”.

"Israel must realize that it’s not completely free to act against the Palestinian people,” he told Voice of Palestine radio.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-suspends-palestinian-foreign-minister-s-vip-pass-amid-icj-row/2782614

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Human Rights Chief: Iran to Issue Indictment in Connection with Nuclear Scientist's Assassination

2023-January-8

Qaribabadi said a court in Iran will soon issue a verdict over the murder, adding that the Judiciary will not let justice fail in the case.

He said two court sessions were recently held at the judicial organization of the armed forces and the trial will continue.

Source: Fars News Agency

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https://www.farsnews.ir/en/news/14011018001025/Hman-Righs-Chief-Iran-Isse-Indicmen-in-Cnnecin-wih-Nclear-Scienis's

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Protest outside Iran prison against reportedly imminent executions of demonstrators

09 January ,2023

Dozens of Iranians gathered early on Monday outside a prison near the capital Tehran where authorities are reportedly preparing to execute two protesters, videos posted on social media showed.

Human rights defenders had warned on social media that authorities planned to execute Mohammad Ghobadlou and Mohammad Boroughani early on Monday, promoting the protest outside Rajaei Shahr prison in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, where the two men are being held.

Ghobadlou, 22, and Boroughani, 19, were convicted of attacking members of the security forces in trials that human rights groups have described as “sham.”

The pair’s death sentences were recently upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court, the final step before authorities carry out the sentence.

Videos shared on Twitter by the activist group 1500tasvir showed the crowd outside the prison embracing Ghobadlou’s mother, who was present at the scene along with Ghobadlou’s father.

The crowd also chanted anti-regime slogans and urged other Iranians to join the protest. Sound of gunfire could be heard in other videos shared on Twitter.

Iran executed two more protesters on Saturday, bringing the total number of executions related to the demonstrations sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini in September to four.

These executions have drawn condemnation from Western powers, but have not deterred the Islamic Republic from executing more protesters.

Activists have called on Western governments to increase the political cost of executions for the regime by taking action such as expelling Iranian diplomats in the West and recalling their own ambassadors from Iran.

Since Amini’s death, protesters across Iran have been demanding the overthrow of the regime, creating one of the most significant challenges to the Islamic Republic since it was founded in 1979.

The regime views the protests as “riots” that are backed by foreign powers.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/09/Protest-outside-Iran-prison-against-reportedly-imminent-executions-of-demonstrators

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Denmark to summon Iran envoy over protest executions

08 January ,2023

Denmark will summon Iran's ambassador to express its "outrage" after Tehran executed two men linked to mass protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, the Danish foreign minister said on Sunday.

Iran's envoy will be summoned to the foreign ministry "to send him the strongest possible and imaginable message that the abuses committed against his people trigger our outrage", Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Danish news agency Ritzau.

The ministry confirmed to AFP that the meeting will take place on Monday.

Iran on Saturday announced that two men were hanged for killing a paramilitary force member in November during unprecedented protests sparked by the death in custody of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini.

The executions sparked international condemnation, with the United Nations denouncing "unfair trials based on forced concessions".

The United States said the hangings were "a key component of the regime's effort to suppress protests", which have shaken the Islamic republic since Amini's death in September last year.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2023/01/08/Denmark-to-summon-Iran-envoy-over-protest-executions

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Israel’s Netanyahu defends controversial judicial reforms amid protests

Zain Khalil  

08.01.2023

JERUSALEM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended controversial judicial reforms proposed by Justice Minister Yariv Levin, saying the reforms aim to "represent the voter's will."

"The claim that judicial reform is the end of democracy is baseless,” Netanyahu said during his Sunday cabinet meeting.

“The balance between the executive, legislative, and judicial powers has been violated in the past two decades, and more rapidly over the past few years,” he added.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Levin intends to complete by the end of January the preparation of draft laws necessary to advance his reforms, before submitting them to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament).

On Saturday evening, thousands demonstrated in Tel Aviv, including current and former Knesset members, to protest against the proposed judicial reforms.

"Netanyahu's government threatens to destroy the entire constitutional structure of the State of Israel," former Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a tweet.

Levin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, plans a comprehensive reform of the judicial system, which if enacted, would be the most radical change ever in the system of government in Israel.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-s-netanyahu-defends-controversial-judicial-reforms-amid-protests/2782609

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Israel’s Ben-Gvir restricts Arab MKs’ visits to Palestinian prisoners

Zain Khalil 

08.01.2023

JERUSALEM

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Sunday tightened restrictions on visits by Arab members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) to Palestinian prisoners.

Ben-Gvir informed Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana to cancel the practice under which any member of Knesset (MK) can visit security prisoners, Israeli Public Radio reported KAN.

"I have rescinded the procedure of Omar Bar-Lev (former public security minister) and Miki Levy (former police chief), which allowed any MK to meet with terrorists in prison, after concluding that these visits led to the incitement and promotion of terrorist actions," Ben-Gvir said in a tweet.

On Friday, during a visit to Israel's Nafha Prison, Ben-Gvir threatened to take action "to ensure that the conditions of Palestinian prisoners are not improved."

He also said he would pursue plans to pass a law that would impose the death penalty on prisoners accused of killing or attempting to kill Israelis.

"I visited Nafha Prison yesterday after new cells were built to ensure that those who murdered Jews do not receive better conditions than the existing ones," he tweeted.

From time to time, Arab MPs visit Palestinian prisoners to check on their condition, especially those who have called a hunger strike.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/israel-s-ben-gvir-restricts-arab-mks-visits-to-palestinian-prisoners/2782606

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‘Extraordinary’ OIC meeting to discuss Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa

January 08, 2023

RIYADH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation will hold an extraordinary open-ended meeting of its Executive Committee in Jeddah on Tuesday to discuss Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting follows escalating Israeli activity in occupied Jerusalem, most notably a “provocative” visit by Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to the mosque compound on Tuesday. It also comes in light of Israel’s attempts to alter the legal and historical status of the holy site.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2228826/middle-east

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Yemeni rights groups urging Houthis to release online influencers

SAEED AL-BATATI

January 08, 2023

AL-MUKALLA: More than 100 Yemeni human rights and civil society organizations have urged the international community to pressure the Houthi militia into freeing thousands of detained Yemenis, including several high-profile YouTubers.

The Yemeni organizations, including the Yemeni Network for Rights and Freedoms, Rasd Coalition and others, launched a petition urging the Houthis to release four social media influencers held captive for exposing the corruption of the militia’s leaders and condemning the movement’s repressive crackdown on dissidents.

“Civil society organizations in Yemen are closely monitoring the Houthi militia’s frantic and hysterical campaigns against journalists and social media influencers who have merely voiced their opposition to the machine of corruption and looting that has devoured everything, and left the populace suffering from the scourge of poverty and hunger,” the groups said in a joint statement.

They urged the UN and foreign mediators to act by ordering the Houthis to release critics and cease persecuting prominent dissidents.

Since late December, the Houthis have abducted and interrogated four prominent Yemeni social media influencers in Sanaa for criticizing the movement after it failed to pay public workers, ignored growing famine and neglected to provide basic services to Yemenis.

The Houthis first kidnapped Ahmed Hajar from a Sanaa street after he was featured in a widely circulated YouTube video. In the clip, Hajar strongly criticizes the militia for levying heavy taxation, failing to relieve poverty, ignoring deteriorating services and promoting endemic corruption.

The militia later abducted Mustafa Al-Mumari, Hamoud Al-Mesbahi and Ahmed Elaw. The three voiced support for Hajar and repeated the same charges against the militia.

The four YouTubers had long been seen as Houthi loyalists who used their social media clout to back the group’s military operations throughout the country, while also criticizing the Arab coalition and Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

Yemeni activists argue that the most recent round of crackdowns against critics, including previous loyalists, demonstrates that the militia will not tolerate criticism from its own supporters. It also shows that the Houthis are concerned about an escalation of public resentment that developed during the UN-brokered ceasefire, they added.

Zafaran Zaid, a Yemeni human rights activist and lawyer who was sentenced to death in absentia by a Houthi-run court, told Arab News that the abducted influencers obtained important documents that exposed Houthi officials looting public funds and pillaging state and private lands by force, as well as other forms of corruption. The documents also revealed growing rivalries between different wings of the militia.

“The activists went out to expose numerous truths and disprove the falsehoods and claims of the Houthi militia, who had monopolized essential utilities like water and gas, and commodities and services in the black markets,” Zaid said.

“As a result, the Houthis arrested the influencers and made up charges of them being mercenaries and supporters of the militia’s opponents.”

Similarly, the Mothers of Abductees Association, an umbrella organization representing thousands of women relatives of civilian war prisoners, accused the Houthis of torturing three Yemeni teachers from the province of Mahwet in order to coerce the trio into confessing to spying for the Yemeni government and Arab coalition.

The association said that Abdulaziz Ahmed Al-Aqeeli, 47, Sagheer Ahmed Fare’e, 45, and Esmail Mohammed Al-Melhani, 28, who were detained by the Houthis during separate periods in 2015, were so severely tortured by the Houthis that they were left unable to walk.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2228776/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Pakistani Ministry Making Efforts to Ensure Availability of Authentic Version of Quran with Literal Translation

January 09, 2023

Mufti Abdul Shakoor, the minister of religious affairs and interfaith harmony said on Sunday that the version of the Holy Quran with translation will be published after seeking the seal of approval of provincial Quran Boards.

The minister said that the standard version of the Holy Quran published by the Matbooa Anjuman Himayat Islam and translated by Matbooa Elm Foundation had been notified at the federal capital level by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony and Ministry of Federal Education respectively.

He said that all the stakeholders concerned were requested to get the above notified prescriptions and make arrangements for their availability at tehsil, district and province level.

He said that Quran Compulsory Education Act 2017 was passed by the Parliament and it ensured compulsory teaching of the Holy Quran to the Muslim students in all the federal capital and public sector educational institutions controlled by the federal government.

On the recommendation of the Ittehad Tanzeemat Al-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP), the Ministry of Federal Education constituted a committee comprising representative from all sectors to reach a consensus on the translation of the Holy Quran with regard to its compulsory teaching in the schools, he added.

Mufti Shakoor said that after several meetings of the said committee, a unified translation of the Holy Quran was prepared and a letter with the signatures of all the committee members was also published by the ILM Foundation.

Later, the Secretary of the aforesaid committee was asked to get a soft copy of the Holy Quran from the ILM Foundation and forward it to the provincial Awkaf Department to take approval from their respective Quran Boards, he maintained.

He said that Islamabad administration was requested to ensure the availability of standard version of the Holy Quran at the suitable places.

He also expressed the hope that it would help remove the controversy of distorted translation of the Holy Quran which had caused furry amongst the Muslims across the country due to a particular segment of the society.

Source: IQNA

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https://iqna.ir/en/news/3482003/pakistani-ministry-making-efforts-to-ensure-availability-of-authentic-version-of-quran-with-literal-translation

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Case against five in Chiniot for marketing ‘altered’ Quran translation

January 9, 2023

CHINIOT: Chenab Nagar police have registered a case against five Ahmadia community members under blasphemy charges and arrested one of them on Saturday night for publishing and distributing an ‘altered’ version of Quran’s Urdu translation.

The alleged desecration of the holy book took place some four years ago but the first information report was lodged against the printer, publisher, author, composer, proof reader and some other unknown facilitators under sections 295-B, 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code and Section 9-1 of the Punjab Holy Quran (Printing and Recording) Act, 2011 now.

According to complainant Muhammad Hassan Moawia, secretary general of Tahafuz Khatme Nabuwat Forum Pakistan, he has been striving since long for getting the altered translation of the Holy Quran blocked.

He also filed a writ petition with the Lahore High Court which directed all the institutions concerned to take action against such publishers in its March 2019 order.

He said during an annual ceremony of Madressatul Hifz, Ayesha Academy, Chenab Nagar, on March 7, 2019, the suspects distributed ‘altered’ translation version of the book among children.

“The ceremony was held on the lawns of Nusrat Jehan College for Woman where 62 boys and girls were given copies of altered version which was a clear violation of relevant laws,” the FIR added.

He said the altered version had also been banned by the Punjab home department in 2016. The Chenab Nagar police received an e-mail from the Chiniot DPO office having an attachment of Hassan Moawia’s application and a letter from Umar Draz, Secretary, Punjab Quran Board, Lahore, regarding action against the nominated and unknown accused.

The mail ordered registration of the FIR and subsequent investigation.

After learning about the case, scores of Ahmadia community members reached the police station and lodged a protest against the FIR and the arrest of their member. As a result, traffic on the Chiniot-Sargodha Road remained blocked for several hours.

The action was lauded by local clerics whereas a spokesperson of Jamat Ahmadia termed it another bid to implicate their members in fabricated cases across the country. He said the Jamat believed in rule of law and would go into a constitutional struggle.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1730608/case-against-five-in-chiniot-for-marketing-altered-quran-translation

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‘Still Open' To Ceasefire Agreement With Pakistan Government, Says TTP Chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsood

Jan 8, 2023

PESHAWAR: The chief of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has said that his group is “still open” to a ceasefire agreement with the Pakistan government, according to media reports.

In November last year, the TTP called off an indefinite ceasefire agreed with the government in June 2022 and ordered its militants to carry out attacks on the security forces.

The TTP, which is believed to have close links to al-Qaida, has threatened to target top leaders of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's PML-N and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's PPP if the ruling coalition continued to implement strict measures against the militants.

However, the dreaded outfit insisted that it has not scrapped the ceasefire agreement with the government.

“We held talks with Pakistan mediated by Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. We are still open to the ceasefire agreement,” the Dawn newspaper quoted TTP chief Mufti Noor Wali Mehsood as saying in a video on Saturday.

Mehsood's change in stance comes amid reports that he has sought guidance from religious scholars in Pakistan.

In the video message, Mehsood said his outfit is “open to guidance” from Pakistan's religious scholars if they believe “the direction of our jihad” is wrong, according to the Express Tribune newspaper.

“If you find any problem in the jihad that we waged [against this global infidel agenda], if you believe we have changed our direction, that we have gone astray, then you're requested to guide us. We're always ready to listen to your arguments happily,” the TTP chief said.

Mehsood's comments come amid a sharp uptick in violence across Pakistan.

On Saturday, Pakistan police arrested five TTP terrorists during intelligence-based operations in the country's Punjab province.

Over 5,000 tribesmen took out a rally on Friday in Wana, the headquarters of the South Waziristan tribal district, against the growing unrest, terrorism, and kidnappings in their areas.

The protest comes amidst rising terrorist attacks in the country, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces that are believed to have been carried out by TTP militants.

The TTP, also known as the Pakistan Taliban, was set up as an umbrella group of several militant outfits in 2007.

Its main aim is to impose its strict brand of Islam across Pakistan.

Pakistan had hoped that the Afghan Taliban after coming to power would stop the use of their soil against Pakistan by expelling the TTP operatives but they have apparently refused to do so at the cost of straining ties with Islamabad.

The TTP has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Pakistan, including an attack on army headquarters in 2009, assaults on military bases and the 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

In 2012, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was attacked by TTP.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/still-open-to-ceasefire-agreement-with-pakistan-government-says-ttp-chief/articleshow/96830190.cms

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Speaking on behalf of OIC, Pakistan slams Israeli minister’s visit to Al Aqsa Mosque

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan, speaking for the OIC group at the United Nations, has condemned the visit to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound by Israel’s new far-right security minister, after a UN Security Council meeting at which the 15-member body’s members called for preserving the historic status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites.

“We strongly demand that such acts have to be stopped and they have to be stopped, forthwith”, Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told reporters at the UNSC stakeout alongside all ambassadors of Islamic countries.

The Pakistani envoy said that the group met prior to the Security Council meeting at the request of Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN Ambassador Riaz Mansour, and strongly condemned Israel minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s action.

“We have to deal with such situations with the strength and the force of international law,” Ambassador Khan added.

At the Security Council meeting, Khaled Khiari, U.N. assistant secretary-general for the Middle East, said, “As we have seen numerous times in the past, the situation at Jerusalem’s holy sites is deeply fragile, and any incident or tension there can spill over and cause violence throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, in Israel and elsewhere in the region.”

He urged the parties to refrain from escalating tensions and respect the status quo, which allows Jews and Christians to visit the site at specific times but only Muslims to worship there.

The Council’s emergency meeting was requested by Palestine and Jordan and supported by council members United Arab Emirates, China, France, and Malta.

Israel’s new extremist government was sworn in on December 29, along with Benjamin Netanyahu, who returned as prime minister for an unprecedented sixth term. On Tuesday, the new national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, accompanied by a heavy security detail, visited the compound that houses al-Aqsa Mosque.

His visit marked the first time since 2017 that an Israeli minister had gone to Haram al-Sharif by and Temple.

Ambassador Mansour, the Palestinian envoy, said Ben-Gvir’s intentions were clear.

“He is pursuing the same extremist agenda he has pursued all his life: ending the historic and legal status quo. That is his objective, regardless of the consequences,” Mansour told the council.

Israel’s UN envoy defended the national security minister’s actions.

“Minister Ben-Gvir’s recent visit to Temple Mount was not an incursion into al-Aqsa or any other fabrication that the Palestinians branded his visit as,” Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan said. “Minister Ben-Gvir’s visit was in line with the status quo, and whoever claims otherwise is only inflaming the situation. Jews are allowed to visit the Temple Mount.”

“We expect the government of Israel to follow through on that commitment,” U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood said at the council meeting.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is the custodian of both Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. His envoy at the UN said Ben-Gvir’s unannounced presence was a status quo violation.

“This storming took place without the agreement of the Auqaf administration, which is the legal agency in charge of the Haram [al-Sharif],” Ambassador Mahmoud Hmoud said, adding that Israel also violated an international convention and two Security Council resolutions — one of which was adopted in 2000 in response to an incursion at the site by then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon. That incident led to Palestinian protests and riots that grew into the second intifada, which lasted more than four years and was deadly for Palestinians and Israelis.

“We expect the government of Israel to follow through on that commitment,” US Ambassador Robert Wood said at the council meeting.

Israel’s UN envoy defended the national security minister’s actions.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is the custodian of both Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. His envoy said Ben-Gvir’s unannounced presence was a status quo violation.

“This storming took place without the agreement of the Al Qaf administration, which is the legal agency in charge of the Haram [al-Sharif],” Ambassador Mahmoud Hmoud said, adding that Israel also violated an international convention and two Security Council resolutions — one of which was adopted in 2000 in response to an incursion at the site by then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon. That incident led to Palestinian protests and riots that grew into the second intifada (uprising), which lasted more than four years and was deadly for Palestinians and Israelis.

In his remarks, Ambassador Mansour called on the Security Council to take action.

“The record shows that Israeli persistence on this path does not lead to surrender but to uprising,” he said. “Those committed to international law and peace must act now, not lament once the fire spreads beyond control.”

Source: Brecorder

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https://www.brecorder.com/news/40219118/speaking-on-behalf-of-oic-pakistan-slams-israeli-ministers-visit-to-al-aqsa-mosque

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Stampedes across Pakistan as flour shortage intensifies

Jan 8, 2023

The absolute disarray in the sale of the Pakistan Sindh government's subsidised flour to the people resulted in the death of a man, a father of seven, in Mirpurkhas district during a stampede.

The death occurred near the commissioner's office where two mini-trucks carrying 200 bags each were selling flour outside Gulistan-e-Baldia Park, The Express Tribune reported.

The mini-trucks were selling flour bags of 10-kg each at the rate of Rs 65 per kg. People had gathered around the vehicles in a disorganised way, pushing each other to grab the bag before the others.

According to police, 40-year-old labourer Harsingh Kolhi fell on the road during the hustle and was instantly trampled upon by the surrounding people, The Express Tribune reported.

What triggered the stampede is still not known. Kolhi's family staged a sit-in outside the Mirpurkhas Press Club for five hours, demanding action against the officials of the food department.

They dispersed after the police assured them of taking action against those responsible for the mishap.

The incident's FIR has not been lodged so far. Similar scenes of chaos were witnessed in all parts of Sindh where flour was being sold through mini-trucks or vans.

Separately, three females, including a minor girl, suffered injuries while being crushed under the feet of a crowd when a stampede broke out outside a flour mill in Shaheed Benazirabad's (formerly Nawabshah) Sakrand town while buying cheap flour at the government rate, Express Tribune reported.

The prices of wheat and flour have hit unprecedented levels amid the ongoing crisis.

After an uptick of Pakistan Rs 20, flour in Karachi is being sold from Rs 140 per kg to Rs 160 per kg. In Islamabad and Peshawar, a 10-kg bag of flour is being sold at Rs 1,500 per kg. In Quetta, a 20-kg bag of flour is being sold at Rs 2,800.

Meanwhile, Balochistan's Minister for Food Zamarak Achakzai also made a startling revelation, stating that the wheat stock in the province had "completely ended", and noted that the crisis for the commodity in the province was "intensifying", The Express Tribune reported.

Addressing a news conference on the issue, the provincial minister maintained that Balochistan had not received the required stock of wheat.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/stampedes-across-pakistan-as-flour-shortage-intensifies/articleshow/96830480.cms

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COAS Asim Munir, Saudi crown prince review bilateral relations

January 9, 2023

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir on Monday met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Al-Ula, Madina and discussed bilateral ties between the two countries.

COAS Munir is on a week-long official visit to Saudi Arabia and UAE — the first since his appointment — culminating on Jan 10.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Prince Salman welcomed the army chief at the winter camp in Al-Ula earlier today.

“During the reception, they reviewed bilateral relations and the ways of enhancing them, in addition to a number of issues of common concern,” the SPA report said.

The reception was attended by Saudi Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and National Security Adviser Dr Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, it added.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ameer Khurram and other officials were also present.

Gen Munir had last week met Saudi Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman and discussed the ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries.

The leaders had discussed military and defence cooperation, and ways to support and enhance them, along with important regional and international issues of common interest.

Source: Dawn

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https://www.dawn.com/news/1730745/coas-asim-munir-saudi-crown-prince-review-bilateral-relations

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‘Court-martialled’ general continues legal battle to clear his name

Baqir Sajjad Syed

January 9, 2023

ISLAMABAD: A retired general convicted of sharing ‘classified information’ with foreign spies has been pardoned by the new military leadership and released from prison.

However, he still plans to continue challenging the guilty verdict, awarded to him by an army tribunal until he is honourably acquitted, his lawyer told Dawn on Saturday.

Lt Gen retired Javed Iqbal was released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on Dec 29 after the new military leadership reviewed his case soon after taking charge and, according to his lawyer Omer Farouk Adam, “realised the injustice done to him” by the previous command.

Gen Iqbal was awarded 14-years rigorous imprisonment by Field General Court Martial (FGCM) — a life term in Pakistan — on May 30, 2019 after being convicted of “espionage/leakage of sensitive information to foreign agencies prejudicial to the national security”, but eventually came out of jail after four years.

The 14-year sentence was commuted by the appellate authority by seven years, in May 2021. Later, former army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa further reduced the sentence by another two and a half years just before his departure from GHQ.

The jailed general was, therefore, scheduled to be freed on May 29 this year, but the new Army Chief Gen Asim Munir finished the sentence completely, paving the way for his early release.

Gen Iqbal has been pursuing a separate petition in the Lahore High Court since 2021, in which he has appealed for setting aside his conviction by the FGCM for being “coram non judice, without jurisdiction, and suffering from mala fides including malice in law and fact,” according to a copy of his appeal that is being heard by the court.

His counsel, Adam, says nearly a dozen hearings have been held by the court without much headway. He vows to press ahead with the appeal and is hopeful that his client would eventually get justice.

The next hearing in Gen Iqbal’s appeal is set for the end of this month.

Commenting on the pardoning of Gen Iqbal by Gen Munir, the lawyer said: “It’s a good start, but not acceptable. He must be acquitted of all malicious and malafide allegations.”

Mr Adam said his client was determined to continue fighting for an “honorable acquittal”.

Gen Iqbal’s conviction on espionage-related charges and sentencing was almost unprecedented for a three-star retired military officer, and more so for someone who had held key appointments, including director-general of military operations, adjutant-general, and corps commander.

He had also led the military’s internal probe into the US special forces’ raid in Abbottabad in 2011 in which Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed.

While announcing the sentence, the army had neither disclosed what secrets he had allegedly divulged to foreign spies, nor identified the foreign agency.

Gen Iqbal’s engagements with Americans, which ultimately landed him in trouble, allegedly started when he was approached by Ryan Kessler from Gaming Company Take-II during a visit to US after retirement and engaged as a consultant in 2016.

However, his involvement came to an end after he objected to plans for showing US forces thwarting an attempt to smuggle nuclear material through Karachi port.

He is alleged to have subsequently come in contact with two other individuals, one from the Harvard Group and someone who worked for the US National Security Adviser’s office.

The latter got in touch with him in 2018, and the general is said to have conveyed these engagements to Gen Bajwa. He was never granted a subsequent audience with the army chief and taken into custody on Dec 5, 2018.

After investigations, Gen Iqbal was charged under Section 3 of Official Secrets Act and Section 59 of Army Act, 1952 and court martial proceedings were initiated against him.

The allegations against him included sharing his career profile; disclosing the SPD deals with fissile material; explaining the selection process for the appointment of the army chief; detailing how the army channels its advice to the government and elaborating the National Security Committee’s composition; talking about Pakistani role in military operations in Afghanistan; divulging plans to erect fence on border with Afghanistan; revealing that a joint training exercise had been held with Russia and sharing information about negotiations with Russia for acquisition of military equipment, especially gunship helicopters; giving details of deployment of an infantry brigade at Gwadar for security of Chinese and CPEC and army’s involvement in CPEC security.

In his communications, he was also said to have told the Americans that UAE and KSA provided funds for the rehabilitation of militancy-hit areas of KP province; and that US assistance was going to the government instead of directly reaching the armed forces.

Source: Dawn

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

https://www.dawn.com/news/1730663/court-martialled-general-continues-legal-battle-to-clear-his-name

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South Asia

 

IEA Deputy PM Urged Leading Scholars to Interpret Reality of Afghanistan to Muslims of the World

2023-01-08

KABUL (BNA) Deputy Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mullah Abdul Ghani Beradar Akhund met with a delegation of leading scholars from Egypt, Sudan and Palestine in his office on Saturday.

Deputy Prime Minister, Beradar, welcomed the delegation of scholars and said “Muslims scholars, always sympathize with their Afghan brothers, adding Afghans are grateful for this”.

Later, Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Al-Sagheer, the leader of the delegation of scholars, and his members called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s jihad against the US and NATO an amazing stunt and congratulated the Afghan nation on this great stunt.

They called this victory a pride not only for Afghans, but for the entire Islamic Ummah.

The scholars delegation, called announcement of general amnesty by the leader of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, supreme leader a unique instance in the history of the world and similar to the general amnesty of the conquest of Makkah.

Deputy PM Beradar, besides being grateful for the arrival and spiritual support of these scholars, said that the real situation of Afghanistan has not been correctly interpreted in the world and unfortunately, the western media has a negative image of everything.

Source: Bakhtar News

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https://bakhtarnews.af/en/deputy-pm-beradar-urged-leading-scholars-to-interpret-reality-of-afghanistan-to-muslims-of-the-world/

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IEA facing criticism for implementing Sharia, says minister

January 8, 2023

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) minister of higher education said the government has come under fire by the international community, including Muslim countries, for implementing Sharia.

This comes after a delegation of religious scholars from Egypt, Sudan, Libya and Palestine met with the minister in Kabul on Saturday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

These religious scholars shared their experiences on education with Neda Mohammad Nadim, the higher education minister, on Saturday in his office in Kabul, the ministry said.

“Our goal is to implement Sharia law, but for this we are facing criticism from the West and some Islamic countries,” Nadim said.

The minister said that Islam is currently very poor and called on the scholars to cooperate and share their message with other scholars.

“Islam is currently very poor and has been attacked by infidels. I ask the scholars to share this situation with other scholars,” Nadim added.

In the meeting scholars of Islamic countries shared their experiences of education in their countries with the Higher Education Minister, the ministry said.

Experts believe that closing the doors of schools and universities to females will increase the gap between the government and the people.

Meanwhile, on the same day UN deputy envoy Markus Potzel met IEA’s Higher Education Minister and called for the urgent lifting of the bans on female education and work for aid agencies.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) announced that Afghanistan has entered a new period of crisis.

UNAMA stressed that the IEA ban on education for women and even stopping them from working for aid agencies will harm all Afghans.

Source: Ariana News

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https://www.ariananews.af/iea-facing-criticism-for-implementing-sharia-says-minister/

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Ban on women: UN envoy meets Afghanistan education minister

Jan 8, 2023

KABUL: A top UN envoy met with the Taliban-led Afghan government’s higher education minister Saturday to discuss the ban on women attending universities. Markus Potzel is the first international official to meet with minister Nida Mohammad Nadim since Taliban authorities, on December 20, ordered public and private universities to close for women immediately until further notice. It triggered widespread international condemnation, including from Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.

Source: Times Of India

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/ban-on-women-un-envoy-meets-afghanistan-education-minister/articleshow/96823888.cms

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Taliban (IEA) Minister Speaks on Altering Journalism Curriculum

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

January 9, 2023

The Ministry of Higher Education of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan announced that initial initiatives have been taken to revise the journalism curriculum at the universities in the country. 

Mawlavi Neda Mohammad Nadeem, the Acting Minister of Higher Education, in a ceremony said in his opening remarks, that westerners use media as a powerful tool to their own advantage through waging intellectual and propaganda war against Muslims.

The interim administration is planning to significantly revise the journalism curriculum to prepare the young journalists to sever the country with honesty and good faith, not to propagate wrong things against a group, regime, or Islamic values, Minister Nadeem said.

“Lying is forbidden in all religions, however, some media have made it their profession and are corrupting people’s minds through propaganda” Minister Nadeem added. He further stressed on the importance of honesty, reliability, and compliance with national and Islamic values in journalism.

Journalism is an important profession in the contemporary environment, it has the potential to change people’s mindset either negatively or positively,” Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Lutfullah Khairkhah said.

This comes as the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have imposed wide-ranging restrictions on media and free press since their return to power in August 2021. The set of regulations introduced by the Taliban administration restricts media and journalists to report on matters that are contrary to Islam, insulting national figures, or criticizing the ruling regime. It also adds that media outlets should maintain balance by not providing reports on matters that could negatively influence the attitude of the general public. The complete censorship of media has paralyzed the local and international media outlets to reflect the reality of the status quo in the country.

Source: Khaama Press

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https://www.khaama.com/taliban-iea-minister-speaks-on-altering-journalism-curriculum/

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Aid chief Taliban decrees against women paralysing NGO work

January 08, 2023

Kabul, Jan 8 (AP) The Taliban's “internal debates and extreme decrees” are paralysing humanitarian work in Afghanistan, the head of a major aid agency told The Associated Press on Sunday, after he arrived on a week-long trip to talk to Taliban leaders about reversing a ban on women working for national and international non-governmental groups.

Jan Egeland, the secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, is the first NGO chief to visit Afghanistan for talks with the Taliban since the ban came into effect more than two weeks ago.

Authorities have barred Afghan women from working at NGOs, allegedly because they weren't wearing the Islamic headscarf correctly. The ban follows a slew of moves that have severely limited or suspended women's rights and education.

Aid groups, foreign governments, and the United Nations say women are vital for the delivery of lifesaving assistance in Afghanistan and are calling for the ban's reversal. Many groups have suspended their operations, warning of dire and deadly consequences for a population already battered by decades of war, deteriorating living conditions and economic hardship.

The Norwegian Refugee Council says it has worked in Afghanistan since 2003 and employs 470 women. It helped more than 840,000 people last year and was intending to help 700,000 this year, the group said.

Egeland said that he was meeting Taliban leaders in the capital of Kabul and in the southern city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban movement and the base of the group's supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada.

Egeland has already met the economy minister, who initially announced the ban, and other Taliban officials. Egeland indicated that those in Kabul were more willing to contemplate women returning to work because of their crucial role in delivering humanitarian aid.

“They all say that they want us to continue work and hope we will continue without females," Egeland said in an interview Sunday at his group's Kabul office. "But when I say we're not willing or able to work with males only, they (Taliban officials) realize that the population is totally dependent on international assistance at the moment, food, shelter, sanitation.”

Women are needed to contact women, including female-headed households and widows, he said. Aid agencies say it is impossible for men to do this work because of Afghanistan's social and cultural norms as well as the Taliban's own prohibitions against the mixing of genders.

Separately, two aid officials have told the AP that they were given the impression by Taliban ministers in Kabul that they want women to resume their work at NGOs but that this decision lies with the leadership in Kandahar.

Egeland said the economy minister “sent us the message given by the supreme leader that we had to discontinue all work.” He said he is traveling to Kandahar because “it is there that the ideological and religious decrees come from."

“The (Taliban's) internal debates and extreme decrees have paralyzed our work," Egeland said.

The NRC chief said it was impossible to meet the supreme leader in Kandahar but hoped to influence those around him.

Two weeks after the ban, it remains unclear how comprehensive it is, and some groups have reported that they are able to continue their work.

Egeland said this raises further questions.

“Can this be a religiously activated ban if some (women) are working and some are not? It's not thought through at all," Egeland said. “We can't work with males only because we can't follow their (the Taliban's) rules and regulations.”

The Norwegian aid chief said the group's female staff have complied with the Taliban's dress codes, gender segregation rules and even the need to have a male chaperone on certain occasions. The damage caused by the ban will become worse the longer it continues, he warned, saying malnutrition and death is rising and maternal health is plunging.

On his trip, Egeland is also due to meet officials from embassies of Muslim-majority countries, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who retain a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and have condemned the Taliban crackdowns on female education and employment.

Despite initially promising a more moderate rule, the Taliban have widely implemented their interpretation of Islamic law, or Sharia.

They have banned girls and women from middle school, high school, and university, restricted women from most employment and ordered them to wear head-to-toe clothing in public. Women are also banned from parks and gyms.

Egeland said he was in Afghanistan shortly after the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

“All these promises were made. We were misled. What I would say is that the Taliban decrees on female workers, on education for girls is so wrong for Afghanistan, for the population, for the future, for the economy.”

Source: The Week

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

https://www.theweek.in/wire-updates/international/2023/01/08/fgn24-afghan-ngo-chief-women.html

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Southeast Asia

 

Saudi Arabia draws in Malaysian nurses with opportunity to grow

January 03, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: When Mohammed Amran Azizan decided to leave Malaysia and work in Saudi Arabia as a nurse, it was a leap of faith for him. Now, six years later, he sees the decision not only as career progression but also as an investment for his future.

While traditionally the most popular destinations for Malaysian nurses are those where English is the official language — like the UK, Singapore, Canada and the US — Azizan is among thousands of those who have made the Kingdom their second home.

He had initially applied to work in Singapore, but his prospective employer’s demand for him to know Mandarin cemented his decision to try his luck in Saudi Arabia, where he found employment in one of the most advanced centers in the Middle East: Prince Sultan Military Medical City in Riyadh.

“After my first year in the Kingdom, I fell in love with working here,” Azizan told Arab News.

“There are so many opportunities to further study. Salaries are tax-free and there’s a better opportunity for promotion.”

Azizan’s wife also works as a nurse, but in Makkah.

On their honeymoon, they explored the Kingdom in an experience that further sealed their decision to stay.

“When Saudis welcome a guest, they treat them like one of their family members,” Azizan said. “No one has ever treated me like this in a foreign country.”

Cultural comfort for Malaysians, whose country is also a Muslim-majority one, and the possibility to grow and learn are what appeal most to health professionals from the Southeast Asian nation.

“I didn’t experience any cultural shock going to Saudi because it is almost the same as Malaysia,” said Bridget Henriette Fernando, a senior midwife who used to work in King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh — one of the most comprehensive and highly advanced healthcare medical cities in Saudi Arabia.

She came back home during the pandemic but will be returning to the Kingdom in two months.

“They are very helpful because they know you are coming from afar,” she said.

Nurses from Malaysia began to join the Saudi healthcare market in the 1980s, attracted by competitive packages, work flexibility, advanced medical infrastructure and, for some, also the proximity to Islam’s holiest sites.

“Muslim nurses, they love it there, especially if they can work in Makkah and Madinah,” Malayan Nurses Union President Nor Hayati Abdul Rashid told Arab News.

About 20 percent of Malaysian nurses working abroad choose the Middle East. Rashid said they are quite welcome there as disciplined and experienced employees, as at home they have to undergo rigorous, multidisciplinary training. Every nurse is licensed by the Malaysian Nursing Board. Their certificates must be renewed annually.

“They are knowledgeable and skilled in their subject matter and can even teach the doctors,” she said.

But it is abroad where they can gain more experience.

“Nurses are given a bigger responsibility instead of playing the role of handmaiden to doctors,” said Irene Ng, who for the past eight years has been serving as a critical care nurse at Prince Sultan Cardiac Center in Riyadh.

When she arrived in Saudi Arabia, she was surprised that her workplace was not merely a hospital but a network of clinics.

“It is not a medical center but a medical city,” she said. “The place where I work here is a cardiac center, the whole building specializes in cardiac care, from cardiac medical to cardiac surgical, from the ward to the critical unit.”

And despite her busy schedule and 12-hour shifts, she manages to frequently fly back home as her compensation includes enough annual leave.

“I have more time at home to rest,” Ng told Arab News.

Source: Arab News

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

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2226076/world

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Fleeing persecution, 200 Rohingya Muslims reach Indonesia

January 09, 2023

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia: A wooden boat carrying nearly 200 Rohingya refugees, a majority of them women and children, landed on Indonesia’s western coast on Sunday, police said.

The ship is the fifth boat carrying Rohingya refugees to land in Indonesia since November, according to authorities. Thousands of the mostly Muslim Rohingya, heavily persecuted in Myanmar, risk their lives each year on long and expensive sea journeys -- often in poor-quality boats -- in an attempt to reach Malaysia or Indonesia.

The wooden vessel -- which carried 69 men, 75 women and 40 children -- arrived at around 02:30 pm local time (0730 am GMT) on a beach in Indonesia´s westernmost province of Aceh, local police chief Irwan Fahmi Ramli said Sunday.

“They are generally healthy, but there is one pregnant woman among them, and four people are sick,” Ramli said. “We had coordinated with doctors who will come here to conduct an initial health check of these refugees, particularly those who are sick.” He added that the refugees will be transferred to a local government facility.

According to one of the passengers, the boat departed Bangladesh on December 10. “We feel very happy because we arrived here. Already, our engine is damaged and also we don´t have food in the boat,” 26-year-old Fairus told reporters.

Around a million Rohingya were estimated to be living in refugee camps in Bangladesh after they fled persecution in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017. Four vessels carrying Rohingya refugees have already landed in Indonesia in November and December last year, carrying a total of more than 400 passengers.

More than 2,000 Rohingya are believed to have attempted the risky journey in 2022, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR -- at levels similar to 2020. The agency estimated nearly 200 Rohingya have died or remain missing after attempting hazardous sea crossings last year.

But the figure could rise after relatives of around 180 Rohingya refugees that were on another vessel drifting at sea for weeks lost contact and were feared dead. The UNHCR could not confirm their deaths.

Source: The News

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

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1028761-fleeing-persecution-200-rohingya-muslims-reach-indonesia

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Indonesia, Malaysia agree to fight against palm oil ‘discrimination’

January ,2023

Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s biggest producers of palm oil, agreed on Monday to work together to fight “discrimination” against the commodity after a meeting between leaders from the countries.

The comments by Indonesian President Joko Widodo followed a meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was making his first overseas trip since being elected last November.

Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, said the two countries would “fight discrimination against palm oil” and “strengthen cooperation through the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries” to address concerns.

The European Union plans to phase out palm-oil based fuels by 2030 because of perceived links to deforestation.

During their bilateral meeting, Anwar and Jokowi signed eight memorandums of understandings covering shipping, export-import financing, green energy, the development of battery industry, which they said they hoped would deepen cross border trade and investment.

The leaders also discussed the development of Indonesia’s planned new capital, Nusantara, with Anwar handing over 11 letters of interest from Malaysian companies related to possible investment in the new city, located in the Indonesian portion Borneo.

The new capital could boost regional development, Anwar said, with the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak located in the Malaysian part of Borneo island.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/world/2023/01/09/Indonesia-Malaysia-agree-to-fight-against-palm-oil-discrimination-

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Africa

 

King Abdullah featured next to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque in new Jordan banknote

08 January, 2023

The Central Bank of Jordan has revealed new dinar banknotes, one of which bears the image of King Abdullah II next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The new 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Jordanian dinar (JOD) banknotes will be put into circulation at a later date, according to the central bank, however the new 1 dinar note already began circulating since 26 December.

The Jordanian sovereign’s image next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem is on the 50 JOD bill.

It comes at a time of heightened tensions between Jordan and Israel, as the latter’s new far-right government threatens to change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The decades-old status quo allows only Muslims to worship at the compound – Islam’s third holiest site - which is managed by the Jordanian-affiliated Islamic Waqf.

Amman has increasingly raised concerns over Israel’s attempts to alter the situation and allow Jewish prayers and rituals at the site. King Abdullah has warned Israel of "crossing red lines," saying that Amman is ready for conflict.

Extremist settlers have already stormed the compound multiple times since Israel's new government was announced late last month, including once by Israel’s controversial new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir earlier this week.

The Jordanian central bank announced in a statement on Saturday evening that the latest issue, the first after nearly 20 years, includes better security features and quality that will allow the bills to last longer.

They will still feature the images of previous Jordan sovereigns.

Source: The New Arab

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

https://www.newarab.com/news/new-jordanian-banknote-features-king-next-al-aqsa-mosque

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Taskforce arrests hawkers of Islamic herbal products in Cross River

January 8, 2023

By Asare Asare

The chairman of Cross River State Health Taskforce and special adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on health, Mr David Ushie said several hawkers and sellers of Islamic herbal products have been arrested in Abakpa and Igoli towns in Ogoja LGA of the state.

He said the persons arrested claimed the products cure all manners of diseases.

Ushie said: “The medications have no NAFDAC safety certifications and they show no credible manufacturer’s information.”

On 3rd January 2023, the taskforce raided several medical centres and enforced a clampdown on suspected fake medical products in northern parts of the state.

Among the hawkers arrested were Michael Chia and Michael Ani who were charged to court on 5th January 2023. A shop belonging to one Rabiu along Audu Street in Ogoja was also sealed by the taskforce.

Those arraigned in Ogoja in January 2023 were the second batch of offenders. The first batch comprised of six quacks arraignment in October 2022, arrested mostly in Alladim community of Ogoja in September 2022.

Ushie further disclosed that one Rosemary Irima who owned and operated Divine Favour Clinic and Maternity in Yala had her facility sealed and practice items confiscated by the taskforce.

Source: Daily Post Nigeria

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

https://dailypost.ng/2023/01/08/taskforce-arrests-hawkers-of-islamic-herbal-products-in-cross-river/

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Five African migrants die, 10 missing after boat sinks off Tunisia

07 January ,2023

At least five African migrants died and another 10 were missing after a boat sank off Tunisia, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, a judicial official said on Saturday.

The coastguard rescued 20 migrants who had been on the overcrowded boat, which sank off Louata in Sfax region on Friday, the official told Reuters.

The coastline of Sfax has become a major departure point for people fleeing poverty in Africa and the Middle East for a chance at a better life in Europe.

In recent months, hundreds of people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy.

Source: Al Arabiya

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

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/north-africa/2023/01/07/Five-African-migrants-die-10-missing-after-boat-sinks-off-Tunisia

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Türkiye welcomes start of final round of Sudan’s political process

Diyar Guldogan 

08.01.2023

Ankara welcomes the start of the final stage of Sudan’s political process, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

"We attach importance to advancing the process in question on a broad basis covering all segments of Sudan. Our country will continue to stand by the brotherly people of Sudan, as it has always been," the ministry said in a statement.

On Dec. 5, 2022, Sudan’s military and political forces signed a framework agreement meant to resolve Sudan’s months-long crisis. The deal pledges a two-year transition period and the appointment of a civilian prime minister by the political parties that signed the framework agreement.

The four-day consultations will address five issues identified in the framework agreement to reach a "roadmap for the renewal of the dismantling of the 30 June regime process."

The framework agreement includes five topics, including justice and transitional justice, security and military reform, reviewing the peace deal, the dismantling of the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir, and resolving the issue in eastern Sudan.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkiye-welcomes-start-of-final-round-of-sudan-s-political-process/2782726

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Nigerian police intercept rocket shells, anti-aircraft ammunition in NW Zamfara state

Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu 

08.01.2023

KANO, Nigeria

Nigerian police in the Zamfara state on Sunday said its tactical operatives have intercepted rocket shells, anti-aircraft ammunition, and explosives.

Police spokesman Muhammad Shehu told Anadolu Agency that the gunrunners in Saturday's incident are suspected to be behind all the recovered weapons, including three live shells for rocket-propelled grenades, three explosive shells, 151 rounds of live ammunition for AK 47 rifles, and 200 rounds of live ammunition for anti-aircraft.

Shehu said two of the gunrunners were killed, adding: "I can confirm to you that it is gunrunners who supplied ammunition and other sophisticated weapons to bandits inside the bush. We intercepted them and made a serious recovery."

He said: "On 7th January 2023, Police Tactical Operatives have successfully killed two gunrunners along Gummi – Anka Road following an extensive gun duel that lasted for several hours between the police and the gunrunners, while conveying sophisticated arms and ammunition to terrorists' camp in Zamfara from Taraba state."

According to the spokesman, the gunrunners came from the northeastern Taraba state and supplied ammunition to the bandits when the tactical operatives engaged them.

Shehu also noted that the success was achieved following a tip-off received about the movement of the suspects inside a vehicle containing the arms and ammunition from the Taraba state en-route to a terrorist camp in Zamfara.

Two of the suspects were fatally injured, while others escaped and ran into the bushes with possible gunshot wounds, he said.

"The injured suspects were taken to Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital Gusau, and later confirmed dead by the doctor."

Shehu disclosed that a spot search by the operatives led to the recovery of the weaponry.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/nigerian-police-intercept-rocket-shells-anti-aircraft-ammunition-in-nw-zamfara-state/2782707

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URL:   https://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/taj-mahal-dara-shikoh-hindu-muslim-amartya/d/128836

 

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