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Islamic World News ( 15 Jun 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Turkey Vows to Mobilize 'Islamic Ummah' Against Israel’s Annexation

New Age Islam News Bureau

15 Jun 2020

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the re-opening of the Ottoman-era Yildiz Hamidiye mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, August 4, 2017

(photo credit: MURAD SEZER/REUTERS)


• UN Calls for Investigation Of ‘Horrible Reports’ of Mass Graves in Libya

• Flemish Minister Stops Cooperation with Imams on Radicalised Prisoners

• Imran Khan's Relationship with Army on The Rocks Amid Covid-19 Outbreak

• Iran's Zarif Says Trump Has More Than 50 Percent Chance To Be Re-Elected

• JamiatUlema-i-Hind moves SC against 'VishwaBhadraPujariPurohitMahasangh’s Challenge to Religious Places Law

• Qatari Capital to Host First Peace Talks Between Afghan Government, Taliban

• Turkish Military Dispatches New Convoy ToNortheastern Syria



• Turkey Vows to Mobilize 'Islamic Ummah' Against Israel’s Annexation

• Official: Plasma Therapy Halves Death Risk in Coronavirus Patients in Iran

• Hamas Urges Muslim Scholars To Form Committee To Counteract US-Israeli Plots

• Iranian Parliament Speaker's Advisor: Tel Aviv, Riyadh's Behavior Root Cause of Regional Insecurity

• Iranian MPs Preparing Bill to Confront US Hostile Acts, Economic Sanctions

• Iranian Company Exports Anti-Bacterial Carpets to Several Asian, European States

• Denying Turkish official claim, Iran says no Kurdish PKK fighters inside country

• Iran-trained Houthi militant leader in charge of drones killed east of Sanaa

• UAE-sponsored militants seize billions of Yemeni riyals destined for central bank

• Fatah and Hamas reconciliation still a long way off



• UN Calls for Investigation Of ‘Horrible Reports’ of Mass Graves in Libya

• US State Department contradicts White House messaging on Libya

• 20 soldiers, 40 civilians killed in Nigeria attacks

• Tunisia’s PM decides against relying on more external debt, will freeze salaries

• UN appalled by terrorist attacks in northeast Nigeria

• Nigeria: Gunmen kill 10 villagers in Benue state

• 4 killed in ethnic clashes in northern Kenya



• Flemish Minister Stops Cooperation with Imams on Radicalised Prisoners

• France Says Turkey Conduct in Libya 'Unacceptable'

• Yemen parties should ‘compromise to end the war,’ says British envoy

• ‘EU May Recognize Palestinian State If Israel Annexes West Bank’

• New group to move things in Turkey's direction in European Parliament

• Russia-Turkey talks on Libya and Syria postponed



• Imran Khan's Relationship with Army on The Rocks Amid Covid-19 Outbreak

• Pakistan warns coronavirus will peak at more than a million cases

• Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi advises Delhi to Focus On Domestic Issues

• Pakistan's Anti-graft Body to Approach Interpol to Bring Back Shehbaz Sharif's Son from UK

• Pakistan likely to record 1.2 million Covid-19 cases by July-end


North America

• Iran's Zarif Says Trump Has More Than 50 Percent Chance To Be Re-Elected

• Iran forces told to track several US merchant vessels in Gulf last month



• JamiatUlema-i-Hind moves SC against 'Vishwa BhadraPujariPurohitMahasangh’s Challenge to Religious Places Law

• More Muslims Are Killed in Riots, Then More Of Them Get Arrested, It’s Not New: JamiatUlama-i-Hind

• Mosques in Hyderabad Struggle To Afford Sanitisation Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

• Situation tense, India asks Pakistan to ensure staff safety

• ‘Radical Change In Jammu-Kashmir Over Five Years’:Defence Minister

• J&K: Army jawan killed, 2 injured in Pakistani firing in Poonch district


South Asia

• Qatari Capital to Host First Peace Talks Between Afghan Government, Taliban

• Afghanistan: Taliban killed or wounded over 400 security personnel in one week

• Kuwait takes a hard line on Bangladesh MP Shahid arrested on human trafficking charges

• Afghan forces repulse attack inflicting casualties on Taliban militants in Faryab

• Civilians suffer casualties in an explosion in Jalalabad city of Afghanistan

• Dr. Najibullah’s daughter reacts to President Ghani’s recent remarks


Arab World

• Turkish Military Dispatches New Convoy To Northeastern Syria

• Lebanon PM Says Coup Attempt Fell Apart After Violent Riots

• Jordanian and Yemeni al-Qaeda commanders killed in drone strike in Syria: Report

• No casualties reported as two rockets fall on Taji base in Iraq housing US troops

• Iraqi anti-Daesh forces become undertakers at cemetery for coronavirus victims

• Turkey launches airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq


Southeast Asia

• Trump Plans To Sign Bill Pressuring China Over Uighur Muslim Crackdown: Source

• RMCO: Muhyiddin proud of congregants’ compliance with SOP for Friday prayers

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Turkey vows to mobilize 'Islamic ummah' against Israel’s annexation

JUNE 14, 2020

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the re-opening of the Ottoman-era Yildiz Hamidiye mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, August 4, 2017

(photo credit: MURAD SEZER/REUTERS)


Turkey’s Minister of Religious Affairs Ali Erbas vowed over the weekend that “our struggle will continue until Jerusalem is completely free.”

The powerful religious scholar and voice in Turkey who is close to the country's leadership and leading party, was speaking to an online forum of Palestinian scholars. The comments were reported in Turkish on T24 media.

He said that Jerusalem is a universal value and that “Islamic civilization has a memory of historical knowledge and values, and that it is never possible for Muslims to give up on the blessed city.” His views echo those of Turkey’s Foreign Minister MevlutCavusoglu, who told a recent June 10 executive committee meeting that Turkey was putting its full support behind Palestinians against Israel’s annexation. “The ummah [Islamic community] will never give up on a sovereign Palestinian state with Quds al-Sharif as its capital.”

Erbas, who is also a professor, has as his Twitter background a photo of Jerusalem, not Mecca, which shows how Turkey’s government is trying to adopt the Palestinian cause and make Jerusalem an “Islamic” cause to rally the Middle East against Israel. It is part of an increasing Islamist rhetoric coming out of Turkey, where military campaigns have been compared to “jihad” and where Turkish-backed fighters call their enemies “atheists” and “infidels.” The rising rhetoric has also begun to suggest turning Hagia Sophia, the ancient church in Istanbul, into a mosque again.

Erbas wrote on June 10 that “conquest expresses a great ideal and moral value in Islamic thought; it is a blessed struggle.” The word “struggle” here to bless the conquest of Istanbul appears to be used in the same religious context as the vow to “struggle” for Jerusalem. The secular Turkish government had once eschewed these religious goals, but the current leaders of Turkey see their cause as increasingly religious. Turkey has met with Iran and Malaysia and other countries to discuss an Islamic currency and Islamic television station over the last year.

The comments by Turkey’s top religious official is an indication of how Turkey wants to oppose Israel’s plans for annexation. Erbas says that “those who occupy Jerusalem find courage because they see Islamic societies as scattered and weak.” This language is a reference to Israel and appears to hearken back to the period of Saladin, the Islamic leader who rallied the community against the Crusades.

The Turkish official appeared to channel the antisemitic comments that Malaysia’s leader Mahathir Mohamed is known for, accusing Israel of leading “the world to war and turmoil.” Mahathir had said in 2003 to the Organization of the Islamic Conference that “the Jews rule this world by proxy… not only are our governments divided, the Muslim ummah is also divided.”

The Turkish leadership now calls for Palestinian issues to be emphasized in education in Turkey and to strengthen the country’s connection to Al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem. “Our president  [RecepTayyipErdogan]  advocates the loudest for the case of Jerusalem. Turkey will always be with all Muslims from East Turkestan [Xinjiang province in China] to Palestine.” The speech didn’t appear to mention Israel, suggesting that Turkey’s officials are increasingly spreading a message denying that Israel exists, similar to the messaging that Tehran’s regime uses.

Turkey’s foreign minister has said that Israel’s annexation plan “destroys all hopes” of lasting peace in the Middle East. Turkey has long hosted Hamas and sought to have Hamas play a larger role in Palestinian issues. Turkey’s foreign minister also refused to refer to Israel by name in the meeting of the Islamic Cooperation Executive Committee. “If the occupying power crosses the redline, we [Muslim countries] must show that this will have consequences.”

After US President Donald Trump announced his decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, Turkey hosted a meeting of Islamic countries to coordinate efforts against American and Israeli policies.


UN calls for investigation of ‘horrible reports’ of mass graves in Libya

14 June 2020

The United Nations (UN)’s mission to Libya has called for an investigation of the “horrible reports” that several mass graves have been found in the North African country.


The United Nations (UN)’s mission to Libya has called for an investigation of the “horrible reports” that several mass graves have been found in the North African country.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Thursday expressed its “deep concern” about the “very horrible reports about the discovery of several mass graves, most of them in Tarhuna.”

The strategic town of Tarhuna, to the southeast of the capital, Tripoli, had for 14 months been the last major stronghold of Libyan rebels under the command of strongman KhalifaHaftar. Earlier this month, Libyan government forces retook control of the city.

UNSMIL said last Sunday that it had received “deeply disturbing” reports of deaths, destruction, and looting from the areas recently recaptured.

On Thursday, UNSMIL said that authorities “must conduct a prompt, transparent and effective investigation into reports of extrajudicial killings.”

It also welcomed a decision by Libya’s Ministry of Justice to form an investigation committee to protect mass grave sites.

The Libyan Justice Ministry has called on the committee “to identify victims and causes of death and return the bodies to the families of the dead.”

Mass graves were also found in the cities of Souq al-Khomis and al-Mashrou.

Haftar’s rebel forces — backed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — have been fighting to overtake Tripoli and unseat the UN-recognized government there for over a year.

The Libyan government receives backing from Turkey.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu will meet their Turkish counterparts, MevlutCavusoglu and HulusiAkar, in Istanbul on Sunday to discuss a potential ceasefire in Libya.

Separately, the president of Algeria, AbdelmadjidTebboune, has offered to mediate and help end the Libyan conflict.

Libya plunged into chaos in 2011 when a popular uprising backed by a NATO intervention led to the ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.


Flemish Minister Stops Cooperation with Imams on Radicalised Prisoners

15 June 2020

Zuhal Demir. © Nicolas Maeterlinck Belga


ZuhalDemir (N-VA), Flemish minister for justice and law enforcement, has called a halt to a programme set up with the region’s imams aimed prisoners who have become radicalised while in prison.

The programme – Theological Approach to Islamic Radicalisation – was set up in 2018 to work with radicalised prisoners who are about to be released back into society. The programme was led by the Ghent-based imam Khalid Benhaddou and his Platform of Flemish Imams (PVI).

But now, De Morgen reports, Demir has called a halt to the government’s support for the programme, following a thorough evaluation that raised a number of problems.

“The number of working hours in 2018 and 2019 did not correspond to the subsidy paid,” she told the paper.

“Certain accounts could not be associated with the project assignment. Also, only one imam was deployed at the start, while thirteen were promised. And you cannot charge unjustified costs to taxpayers,” she said.

The project, she explained, is intended to protect society, not to act as a source of subsidy. “The organisation was repeatedly given the opportunity to come up with a plausible explanation, but it was not forthcoming,”she said.

The minister now intends to pursue the same ends, but taking a different path.

“Imams don’t seem like the most suitable people for a sufficiently critical view of faith, she said.

However, she argues it is clear the project must involve people who know Islam. A likely source will be organisations that work on tackling extremism and radicalism among Muslims, but do so with a diverse team of theologians, therapists, psychologists and social workers. She also wants the local justice houses to make a risk analysis of every radicalised former prisoner.

Meanwhile imam Benhaddou told Het LaatsteNieuws he is disappointed. “I want to sit down with the minister’s staff anyway to hear what went wrong. Hopefully this project can somehow continue in the future.”

Imran Khan's relationship with Army on the rocks amid Covid-19 outbreak

Jun 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan's poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic fallout has placed it in a confrontation path with the Army whose top brass is unhappy at the failure of the Government to deal with the Pandemic.

WajidShamsulHasan, a former Pakistan diplomat, and journalist said that the total failure of Imran Khan government's anti-Covid-19 policies has justified the Generals to be back in the front seat in control in Pakistan -- though there is no official declaration of martial law.

"Until last induction of officers up to the rank of Lt. Generals in the civilian cadre, there are now more than a dozen former and current military officials in prominent government posts such as running the state-owned PIA, the power regulator and the National Institute of Health, which is leading the country's pandemic response. Three of those appointments happened in the last two months."

Hasan believes that Imran Khan has failed to make up its mind to decide its best options for combating the pandemic Covid-19.

"Having opposed lockdown since the day Sindh government decide to use it to minimise the surge, the latest decision from Khan is so-called 'smart lockdown' in places where the surge is more severe. By the time of writing this piece, the death toll has nearly 3000 and the spread of infection has hit more than 130,000".

Since the situation has become more threatening, the World Health Organization has warned Pakistan of dire consequences.

In its latest directive WHO has asked Pakistan to implement "intermittent" lockdowns to counter the surge in coronavirus infections that has come as the country's Prime Minister opted for loosening restrictions pertaining to lockdown.

Ever since the discovery of Covid-19's presence with a pilgrim from Iran's presence and the start of the outbreak in Pakistan in March, Prime Minister Khan has been emphasising against lockdown measures adopted by Sindh government and other provinces arguing the impoverished country could not afford massive unemployment due to it four provinces ordered a patchwork of closures, and last week Khan said most of these restrictions due to lockdown would be lifted.

That decision as such has come as Pakistan found the worsening of the surge across all of South Asia, which until recently had lagged Western nations in virus tolls.

WHO officials said last week they had recorded a total of 108,317 cases and 2,172 deaths - though with testing still limited, real rates are thought to be much higher.

"As of today, Pakistan does not meet any of the pre-requisite conditions for opening the lockdown", the WHO said in a letter to Punjab's provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid recommending an intermittent lockdown cycle of two weeks on, two weeks off.

WHO believes that 25 per cent of tests in Pakistan come back positive for Covid-19, the WHO said, indicating high levels of infection in the general population. Hospitals across the country say they are at or near capacity, and some are turning Covid-19 patients away.

In a panic reaction, the Health Authorities in Islamabad have identified and sealed off nearly 1,300 coronavirus hotspots across the country to contain the surging trajectory of new infections. The sealing of high-risk areas comes as government's Covid-19 portal reported 6,472 new cases in the last 24 hours, the country's highest single-day total.

Pakistan has reported 132,405 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, including 2,551 deaths since its first case emerged on Feb 26.

After initially imposing a countrywide lockdown, the government has now eased restrictions, saying it was necessary to save the country's economy, but it has caused a surge in infections.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has resisted demands from medical experts to reinforce the lockdown, citing its economy going bankrupt. Authorities, however, are now using the term coined as "smart lockdown" to close shops and markets and force people to stay home in areas where confirmed cases have increased in recent weeks.

Hasan believes that Imran Khan's influence has undermined due to the collapsing economy, galloping consumer prices, and grave law and order situation.

"He feels that his same page partners are stabbing it in the back on the quiet. Recent findings of anti-corruption investigations exposing mega corruption by his close aides is a clear indication that noose is tightening around his neck with Army's role as same page partners being rendered into a veneer", said Hasan.

The former diplomat believes that the Army's support was considered as the mainstay, critical together for a government that relies on several smaller coalition partners who are believed to be puppet on the Establishment's chain to stay afloat.

He said, "Developments as such are not new. One can find similarities now and the previous governments when powers that be took over gradually with subtle moves. It must be remembered that the military has always been Pakistan's most powerful institution and has directly ruled the country for most of the part of its seventy years independent existence."


Iran's Zarif says Trump has more than 50 percent chance to be re-elected

13 June 2020

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif said on Saturday that US President Donald Trump still has a good chance of being re-elected thanks to his strong support base, despite his declining support in recent months.

“The biggest mistake in human sciences is to predict, especially in fluid and grave conditions. But allow me to venture a prediction that Mr. Trump’s re-election chances are still more than 50 percent,” Zarif said in an interview. “Of course his chances have seriously decreased compared to four to five months ago.”

“But Mr. Trump has a 30-35 percent base that has not moved and, as long as this base does not move, there is still a chance of his re-election,” Zarif said in the live interview on Instagram with Iranian journalist FaridModarresi, the first of its kind with a senior official of the Islamic Republic.

Relations between Iran and the United States have taken a turn for the worse since Donald Trump last year pulled Washington out of the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Tehran’s economy. Iran has responded by gradually scaling back its commitments under the agreement.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Trump said earlier this month that Iranian leaders would be wrong if they expected his defeat in the November elections.

Recent opinion polls have seen President Donald Trump lose ground to Democrat Joe Biden.

“Don’t wait until after US Election to make the Big deal. I’m going to win. You’ll make a better deal now!,” Trump tweeted, addressing Iran.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry responded that Iran would not base its policies on internal US matters, such as elections.

Zarif said in the interview that Trump himself had likely reached the conclusion that his policies of “maximum pressure” against Iran had failed.

“I don’t think Trump believes anymore in talk that the Islamic Republic is about to collapse,” Zarif said. “But he keeps repeating his mistakes. It seems that they (US officials) know they have committed errors but don’t know how to correct them.”


JamiatUlema-i-Hind moves SC against 'VishwaBhadraPujariPurohitMahasangh’s Challenge to Religious Places Law

14 JUNE 2020

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) A Muslim group has moved the Supreme Court challenging a plea filed by a Hindu body, opposing the constitutional validity of Section 4 of The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, which provides for maintaining the "religious character" of holy structures as it existed on August 15, 1947.

The petition, filed by JamiatUlema-i-Hind, has urged the apex court not to issue notice in the matter.

"It is submitted that even issuance of notice in the present matter will create fear in the minds of the Muslim community with regard to their places of worship, especially in the aftermath of the Ayodhya Dispute and will destroy the secular fabric of the nation," said the plea, citing that it is an attempt to open litigation route on disputed religious structures other than the Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya.

The plea said: "Section 4 of the Places of Worship Act, prevents members of the Hindu Community from reclaiming those places of worship, which according to the Petitioners were Hindu places of worship but were allegedly, converted by Muslim invaders... it is apparent that the present petition seeks to indirectly target places of worship which are presently of Muslim character."

The petitioner contended that the top court itself noted that the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 protects and secures the fundamental values of the Constitution. And, the top court has also concluded that the Act imposes an obligation towards enforcing the commitment to secularism under the Constitution.

"It was further observed that it was a legislative instrument designed to protect the secular features of the Indian polity, which is one of the basic features of the Constitution. The Places of Worship Act is intrinsically related to the obligations of a secular state. It reflects the commitment of India to the equality of all religions," added the plea.

The Muslim body has also urged the apex court to allow it to implead as a party in the matter.

The PIL filed by ''VishwaBhadraPujariPurohitMahasangh'' sought directions from the apex court to declare Section 4 of the 1991 Act as ultra vires and unconstitutional. The petitioners'' contentions gains significance in the case of Kashi and Mathura where two disputed mosques stand. The law does not allow the conversion of a temple into a mosque and vice versa.


Qatari capital to host first peace talks between Afghan government, Taliban

Monday, 15 June 2020

Afghanistan’s government and Taliban have agreed to hold their first high-level meeting in a long-awaited peace process in Qatar.

Both sides announced on Sunday that the talks — known as the intra-Afghan dialog — will be held in the Qatari capital Doha, where Taliban reached a peace agreement with the US earlier this year before engaging in the political process with Kabul.

No date has been announced for the meeting, but it is expected to take place within one week after the release by the Afghan government of 5,000 Taliban prisoners.

Kabul has already released 3,000 prisoners under the agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban in February, which outlines a roadmap for withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan as well as peace talks to end the 2001-present war.

SediqSediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Presidential Palace, said in a tweet on Sunday that Doha would host the first session of talks, and that no permanent venue had been agreed.

The Afghan-Taliban talks were slated to start on March 10 as per the militant group’s deal with the US, which excluded Kabul, but the process has been delayed due to the existing disagreements between the two Afghan warring sides and a slow process of releasing the prisoners.

The prisoner swap is regarded as a confidence-building move ahead of the negotiations.

In recent weeks, however, the Taliban militants have sharply intensified their acts of violence against Afghan government forces.

The Kabul government said Sunday that Taliban had carried out 222 attacks against positions of Afghan security forces in a single week, killing or wounding 422 of them.

Afghanistan says the stepped-up violence is a Taliban tactic to put “psychological pressure” on the Kabul government ahead of the talks.


Turkish military dispatches new convoy to northeastern Syria

14 June 2020

Turkish military forces have reportedly brought in new reinforcements to Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah, as Ankara is aggressively seeking to cement its military presence in the embattled region following a cross-border offensive earlier this year.

A convoy of nearly 40 vehicles crossed into the Syrian territory through the KafrLusin border crossing on Saturday, and headed towards Turkish positions, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Turkish Defense Minister HulusiAkar announced on March 13 that Russian and Turkish military officials had agreed on the details of a new ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone following four days of talks in Ankara.

Akar said the first joint patrol by Turkey and Russia on the M4 highway in Idlib would take place on March 15, and that Turkey and Russia would set up joint coordination centers in the area.

The announcement followed a telephone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart RecepTayyipErdogan the previous day to discuss the implementation of the agreements the two leaders had reached in Moscow the previous week.

“Vladimir Putin and RecepTayyipErdogan reaffirmed the importance of continued close joint efforts, first of all between the Russian and Turkish defense ministries, in order to ensure a stable ceasefire and further stabilization of the situation,” a Kremlin press release read.

“It was agreed to maintain a regular dialogue at various levels, including personal contacts,” the statement added.

Turkish troops deployed to Syria test positive for COVID-19

Separately, a total of 140 Turkish soldiers and police officers deployed to the mainly Kurdish-populated northern Syrian city of Afrin and elsewhere in the country’s Idlib province have tested positive for coronavirus.

Governor of Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay, RahmiDogan, said 120 police officers in Afrin and 20 soldiers at Idlib Air Battalion have been infected with the virus.

According to Dogan, there were no confirmed cases among civilians in those areas.

Turkish-backed militants torch crop lands in Hasakah

Moreover, dozens of hectares of vital crops and farmland have been set on fire by Turkish-backed Takfiri militants in Hasakah province.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that wheat and barley fields have been burnt on the outskirts of the al-Arishah town.

Turkish-backed militants were deployed to northern Syria last October after Turkish military forces launched a cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

More than 200,000 people have been internally displaced by the Turkish offensive, according to the United Nations.

On October 22 last year, Putin and Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that required the YPG militants to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled "safe zone" in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow would run joint patrols around the area.




Official: Plasma Therapy Halves Death Risk in Coronavirus Patients in Iran

Jun 14, 2020

"The death rate in patients who were in special and critical conditions in ICU wards has reduced 50% after they received plasma in due time," Eshqi told reporters in an on-line press conference.

He added that the coronavirus patients who had received plasma have stayed 30% less at hospital and 50% less at ICU wards compared with others who were being treated through other methods.

Eshqi said that plasma therapy is now being practiced on 60 patients in regions which are in red situation of coronavirus epidemic.

Head of Iran's Razi Medical Institute Ali Es'haqi had announced in April that plasma therapy for patients diagnosed with coronavirus had already kicked off in the country.

Es'haqi said that due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country and studies on plasma therapy for patients suffering from it, joint meetings were held between Razi Institute, Alborz University of Medical Sciences and the Blood Transfusion Organization of Iran to start the implementation of this project in Alborz province as a joint research project.

"In this regard, Razi Institute will evaluate the level of antibodies of improved individuals for injection to patients and the relevant immune response in cooperation with Alborz University of Medical Sciences and the Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization," he added.


Hamas urges Muslim scholars to form committee to counteract US-Israeli plots

14 June 2020

A high-ranking Palestinian official with the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has urged Muslim scholars to establish a coordination committee aimed at formulation and implementation of a strategic plan to support the Palestinian cause against Israeli schemes and US President Donald Trump's so-called deal of the century.

Speaking at the online International Meeting of Muslim Scholars for the Support of Jerusalem al-Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque on Saturday, head of Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh stressed the need for the establishment of a group of scholars in order to stop sectarian and ethnic strife in the region, foster unity among Muslims, and confront US-Israeli plots that target the Palestinian cause and the entire Arab world.

“The issue  of [Jerusalem] al-Quds and Palestine is a unifying cause for the entire Muslim world, its scholars, nations, intellectuals and politicians,” Haniyeh said.

The Hamas leader then warned against potentially serious dangers against Jerusalem al-Quds and Palestine, and demanded a prompt strategy to stand against such threats.

Trump’s so-called peace plan on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, dubbed ‘the deal of the century,’ envisions Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allows the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley. The plan also denies Palestinian refugees the right of return to their homeland, among other controversial terms.

Trump’s plan has triggered waves of protest rallies around the globe.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was sworn into office for another term on May 17, has set July 1 for the start of cabinet discussions on extending Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

In response to Israel’s decision to annex large parts of the Palestinian territories and extend its authority over those areas, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared the end of all agreements signed with Israel and the United States on May 19.

“The Palestine Liberation Organization and the state of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the commitments based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones,” Abbas said in the statement.

Full report at:


Iranian Parliament Speaker's Advisor: Tel Aviv, Riyadh's Behavior Root Cause of Regional Insecurity

Jun 14, 2020

"The statement by the UN secretariat and claims about the Iranian origin of the fired missiles at Aramco oil company is politically-driven and are completely baseless," Amir Abdollahian wrote on his twitter page on Sunday.

"The root cause of insecurities in the region should be found in Tel Aviv and Riyadh's behavior," he added.

Amir Abdollahian underlined that Iran plays the most constructive role in the establishment of sustainable security in the region and the world.

In a statement on Friday, Iran's foreign ministry strongly dismissed the UN allegations that the cruise missiles used in several attacks on oil facilities and an international airport in Saudi Arabia last year were of Iranian origin.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran categorically rejects the allegations of the UN Secretariat, which is clearly under political pressure from the US and Saudi regimes, expresses its deep concern over the abuse of the UN Secretariat for political purposes," the foreign ministry said.

"While the Secretariat, based on an unusual interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, has so far refrained from reporting on numerous violations by the United States and European States with respect to UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA (Annex A to the Resolution) inter alia the unlawful withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, which is a grave violation of Resolution 2231 and its subsequent illegal actions towards UN Security Council Resolution 2231 by re-imposition of sanctions, the Secretariat treated with utmost tolerance and leniency. Surprisingly, the Secretariat is engaged with the issue in which it has no authority to point out highly technical and legal findings, and its so-called technical report is in no way in line with the practical arrangements of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 to perform its functions."

It noted that the Secretariat's report coincides with the US destructive plan which is reflected within the dangerous draft resolution that paves the way for extension of arms restrictions on Iran in an illegal way, adding, "and yet more surprisingly, the content of this report is used by the US two weeks prior to its official release. The aforementioned fact creates the impression that the report was prepared under direction of the United States and to be used in the efforts of that State in the Security Council against Iran."

The statement underlined that accusing the states of self-created processes and arbitrary procedures is heresy to the investigative processes of the international community, and said, "Such dictated processes will cause severe damage to the credibility and undermine the integrity of the United Nations. Preparing report with political motives never change the facts, and it is obvious to everyone that the current situation in the region is a direct result of the wrong policies of the United States and the child-murderer regime of Saudi Arabia. How is it that the UN Secretary-General refuses to take into consideration the sale of deadly weapons to Saudi Arabia, whose use against the defenseless people of Yemen are indisputable, but rather, he is sending his investigation teams to search through Saudi waste materials to provide evidence for US baseless claims?"

"Undoubtedly, the imposed reports will not only help bring peace and security to the region and implement UN resolutions, but will also completely destroy the credibility and reputation of the United Nations. Are the members of the Secretariat worried about the similar treatment of the members of the Secretariat of the International Criminal Court by the United States?" it asked

The statement said that the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly recommends the UN Secretariat not to move in the pre-planned US scenario to prevent the lifting of Iran's arms restrictions and not to assist a violating State in this illegal process by circulation of the imposed reports, and added, "The United States itself is the gravest violator of Security Council Resolution 2231, and no one can clear the name of that State from systematic violations of international rules."

Iran has several times dismissed the western states and Saudi Arabia's allegations on sending weapons to Yemen, saying that the Yemenis have progressed enough to produce them indigenously.

In a recent case, Iran in February dismissed allegations about supplying weapons to Yemen's Ansarallah resistance group, saying that "all that glitters is not gold".

"All that glitters is not gold and any similar weapon is not necessarily as an Iranian weapon," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

"Medicine and medical goods are sent to them (the Yemenis) with difficulty; then how could military equipment go through and sent to them?" he asked.

Mousavi said that the Yemeni nation has made astonishing progress in the military field and manufacturing weapons and military equipment after facing the Saudi-led aggression.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president AbdRabbuh Mansour Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarallah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

Full report at:


Iranian MPs Preparing Bill to Confront US Hostile Acts, Economic Sanctions

Jun 14, 2020

"Preparing the plan to confront the US hostile measures and economic sanctions against our country has started at the parliament," AbolfazlAboutorabi told FNA.

He added that the plan is now being signed by the Iranian lawmakers, adding that it will be submitted to the presiding board to be approved and turned into a law.

In defiance of global criticism, the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, which President Donald Trump called “the worst deal ever,” in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions.

Reports said in recent weeks that Washington is planning to use a threat to trigger a return of all UN sanctions against Iran as leverage to get the 15-member Security Council to prolong the arms embargo on Tehran.

The removal of Iran's arms embargo is based on the nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Full report at:


Iranian Company Exports Anti-Bacterial Carpets to Several Asian, European States

Jun 14, 2020

The carpets are woven with anti-bacterial threads and given the use of nanomaterials, the growth of bacteria and fungus becomes less likely.

The anti-bacterial carpets are a good choice for the rooms used by children and the elderly.

The Iranian company has so far exported its anti-bacterial carpets to Austria, Germany, China, Iraq, Russia, Britain, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Iran is a major exporter of carpets, specially the hand-woven products, to the foreign states.

A sum of 29 countries are the main buyers of Iran’s handmade carpets, among them are 13 Asian, 11 European, 4 Americans and 1 African countries.

Full report at:


Denying Turkish official claim, Iran says no Kurdish PKK fighters inside country

14 June 2020

The presence of the Kurdish PKK militia on Iranian soil is a “red line,” a senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Saturday, denying allegations by a Turkish official that Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) has fighters inside Iran.

Turkish Interior Minister SüleymanSoylu had said last week that there are around 100 PKK members in Iran’s north-western city of Maku, which “constitutes a real danger.”

Soylu called on the Iranian government to put an end to the PKK’s presence in Iran.

Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, the commander of the IRGC’s ground forces, denied the PKK has any members inside Iran, describing Soylu’s remarks as “baseless and irresponsible.”

“The officials of the friendly and neighbouring state of Turkey are expected to make contacts with the Islamic Republic of Iran through official channels after verifying the authenticity of an incident and before making any comments to the media about border incidents,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Pakpour as saying.

The presence of “terrorists” inside Iran is among the country’s red lines, Tasnim reported him as saying.

The PKK, which has waged an insurgency for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984, is deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Full report at:


Iran-trained Houthi militant leader in charge of drones killed east of Sanaa

15 June 2020

The Houthi militia in Yemen has confirmed the death of one of its prominent militant leaders, identified as Mohammed AbdoMusleh al-Ghouli, east of the capital Sanaa on Sunday.

Pro-Houthi activists and media outlets acknowledged the death of al-Ghouli on social media, with reports confirming that his body was buried during a funeral on Sunday in his hometown of the Raydah district in Amran governorate, north of Sanaa.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

The Houthi militia did not confirm where al-Ghouli was killed and only disclosed that a funeral ceremony was held on his behalf, identifying his “heroism” in the face of they called “aggression,” referring to the more than six-year war and conflict in Yemen.

Sources told Al Arabiya that al-Ghouli was an expert within the Houthis’ ranks in charge of the explosives-laden drones, adding that the slain Houthi militant leader was among the few who had received training in Iran at the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Full report at:


UAE-sponsored militants seize billions of Yemeni riyals destined for central bank

14 June 2020

Forces affiliated with Yemen's so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC), who are backed by the United Arab Emirates, have seized a convoy of billions of riyals destined for the central bank in the southern port city of Aden, as they seek to wrench control from the rival Saudi-backed militiamen linked to former president, AbdRabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The monetary institution said in a statement on Saturday that the separatists, who broke off alliance with Hadi’s administration and announced “self-administration rule” in Yemen’s southern areas in April, commandeered the convoy as it departed, warning of “dangerous consequences.”

An unnamed source was also quoted by AFP as saying that the convoy was carrying 64 billion riyals (approximately $256 million US dollars) in banknotes printed in Russia for the Hadi-controlled Yemeni central bank.

Another Hadi loyalist source said the cash was taken to a military base, describing the act as “piracy.”

“The action is part of several measures to end sources of corruption and to prevent the use of public money in supporting terrorism,” the STC said in a statement in return.

Back on June 8, pro-Hadi forces claimed territorial gains following fierce clashes with southern separatists in Yemen's Abyan Province.

A military official told Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency on condition of anonymity at the time that Hadi loyalists had captured the city of Ja'ar.

STC spokesperson Mohammad al-Naqib, however, dismissed the report, saying the UAE-backed militants had repelled an "infiltration attempt" against the city.

"Within half an hour, the infiltrators were eliminated," he said in a tweet.

Aden has been the seat of Hadi’s administration after HouthiAnsarullah fighters took over the capital, Sana’a, in late 2014.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to bring Hadi back to power and crush Ansarullah movement.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past five years.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, US and other Western nations.

Full report at:


Fatah and Hamas reconciliation still a long way off

June 15, 2020

GAZA: June 14 is a hard anniversary for Palestinians. For 13 years since the violent takeover of the Gaza Strip by Hamas, and the expulsion of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA), life has been difficult, exacerbated by Israel’s decision to blockade the territory as a result.

The blockade has negatively impacted all aspects of life, and Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank do not expect a solution to the division soon.

RubaEnaya, 27, has never lived in stability in Gaza.

“I grew up in Gaza in light of the split between Fatah and Hamas, and all the time I hear about attempts to restore unity, but I do not see it any time soon,” she told Arab News.

 “I graduated from university and do not work consistently. I have no opportunity to travel under the siege. There are restrictions on everything. The conditions are difficult for me, my family and all people,” she said.

Hamas and Fatah have always exchanged accusations of responsibility for the deteriorating Palestinian political situation, while Hamas believes that Fatah did not allow it to govern after its victory in the 2006 legislative elections. Fatah accuses Hamas of practicing violence to maintain control over Gaza.

“The Palestinian division (was) caused by the PA’s position rejecting the election results ... There is no national party that gained from this division,” said HazimQasem, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza.

Fatah said in a press release: “Hamas does not consider, and continues to systematically dismantle and disrupt, the Palestinian national situation, which is directly in the interest of Israel — whether in perpetuating the occupation, or in preventing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.” All political analysts agree that the division has led to a sharp retreat in international interest in the Palestinian issue, and justified Israel’s avoidance of reaching a political solution to the conflict.

Khalil Shaheen, a political researcher based in Ramallah, said that political interests that have arisen as a result of the Palestinian division help the current situation, and “Hamas’s control of Gaza exposed the Palestinian issue, regionally and internationally.

“Israel has the justification, now that there is no Palestinian party capable of negotiating and reaching a political solution, or capable of establishing an independent Palestinian political system,” he told to Arab News

Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip has raised unemployment rates and poverty among the population, and increased tension with Tel Aviv, during which three wars and many rounds of escalation have broken out.

Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, explained that the division, in addition to the decline in Arab and international interest in solving the Palestinian issue, gave Israel the incentive to increase settlement in the West Bank, and prompted the recognition of Jerusalem by the US as the capital of Israel.

“Without the division, all of this would not have happened,” he told Arab News.

He added that the prevailing conditions would not allow reconciliation to take place soon.

Full report at:




US State Department contradicts White House messaging on Libya

13 June 2020

Competing messages have come from the US State Department and President Donald Trump over the Egypt Initiative, Cairo’s new peace proposal for Libya. Meanwhile, the State Department Saturday called on all sides to open oil facilities across Libya.

The Egyptian Presidency said in a statement on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump welcomed Egypt’s proposal for Libya ceasefire in a call with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Reuters reported.

However, while Egypt says that Trump supported its new peace initiative, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the resumption of talks led by the UN between warring factions.

The State Department doubled down on this stance late Saturday, telling Al Arabiya that Washington was appreciative of Egypt's efforts but that the Berlin talks and UN-led process was the solution.

David Schenker, the top US diplomat for the Middle East, said he supported the UN-led process, though he voiced appreciation to Egypt, saying it was “productive to have more unity in Libya.”

“We think that the UN-led process and the Berlin process are really the framework – the most productive framework – to engage in negotiations to make progress on a ceasefire,” he told reporters.

Germany, which has stood by UN-backed talks as being the key to peace, in January brought together key stakeholders in Berlin in a conference aimed at ending the bloodshed and stabilizing Libya, a major gateway for migrants to Europe.

Sisi announced Cairo’s plan for a ceasefire in Libya, beginning June 8, after meeting with Libyan National Army (LNA) Gen. KhalifaHaftar on June 6.

Sisi said that the political initiative, which he called the “Cairo initiative” would pave the way for a return to normal life in Libya and warned against using military tactics to resolve the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Russia, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE have welcomed the peace initiative.

The UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and Turkey, which supports the GNA and has sent troops to fight in Libya, have voiced skepticism about the Egyptian initiative, Reuters reported.

Schenker called on both sides to “protect civilians and prevent further damage to infrastructure,” including schools, water supplies and oil facilities.

Reviving the energy sector is crucial to Libyan stability, the State Department said in its comments to Al Arabiya.

“We continue to call for de-escalation, a ceasefire, a return to political negotiation,” he said.

“Now is a time for Libyans on all sides to act so neither Russia, nor any other country, can interfere in Libya.”

Russian mercenaries have assisted Haftar, according to a UN report, who is also backed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have close relations with Trump.

On Saturday, the State Department lambasted Russian involvement in Libya as "not helping" reach a solution.

The US recognizes only the UN-backed government, but Trump caused confusion last year by praising Haftar after a telephone conversation with him.

The Cairo Declaration

The new initiative is backed by Haftar and Libya’s parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh and proposes and intra-Libyan resolution to solve the country’s conflict, a presidential council election that will be held with UN support, and a constitutional declaration to be drafted to regulate later elections.

The deal also calls for militias to disband and hand their weapons to the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF), which the plan says will be Libya’s only security force. Additionally, the deal would call for the expulsion of foreign mercenaries that assist the GNA, referring to Turkish fighters, but does not seem to call for Sudanese fighters on Haftar’s side to leave the country, US-based research institute the Atlantic Council reported.


20 soldiers, 40 civilians killed in Nigeria attacks

14 June 2020

At least 20 soldiers and more than 40 civilians have been killed in two separate militant attacks in northeastern Nigeria.

The attacks took place in the Monguno and Nganzai areas in northeasternBorno State on Saturday.

Eyewitnesses said militants armed with heavy weaponry, including rocket launchers, overran government forces in Monguno in the late morning hours, killing at least 20 soldiers and roaming the area for three hours. Hundreds of civilians were injured in the crossfire.

The local police station and the United Nations (UN)’s humanitarian hub in the area were set on fire in the attack.

The militants distributed leaflets among the residents warning them not to cooperate with security forces and international aid workers.

Another group of militants raided Nganzai also in the late morning hours. They arrived on motorcycles and in pickup trucks and killed more than 40 residents.

It was not immediately clear what group or groups of militants were responsible for the two attacks.

The new attacks came just days the Takfiri Boko Haram terrorist group killed at least 69 people in a raid on a village in Gubio.

Boko Haram and its offshoot, the so-called West Africa Province (ISWAP), have killed thousands of people and displaced millions more in the northeastern areas of Nigeria.

Full report at:


Tunisia’s PM decides against relying on more external debt, will freeze salaries

June 15, 2020

TUNIS: Tunisian Prime Minister ElyesFakhfakh said on Sunday he had decided against the use of more external debt and that all new expenses that arise for the country would be funded only through internal loans.

He said that he will freeze increases in the wages of public employees because of the critical state of public finances which was worsened by the coronavirus crisis.

This move could spark a conflict with the powerful UGTT Union, which is expected to reject the decision, and could lead to protests and strikes.

Tunisia needs an additional 4.5 billion dinars ($1.6 billion) of loans because of the coronavirus crisis, and the government will seek it from the local market, he added.

“External debt reached dangerous levels and now reached 60% of GDP, compared to 30% in 2013 and I decided not to continue in this way,” Fakhfakh said in interview with Attessia TV.

Tunisia expects the economy to shrink by up to 4.3% this year, the steepest drop since independence in 1956.

Tourism revenues fell by about 50% in the first five months of this year compared to the same period in 2019, as western tourists deserted Tunisia’s hotels and resorts.

“Public finances are very critical and we cannot continue with the approach of increasing wages,” Fakhfakh said.

If the situation continues as it is, the government could be forced to reduce wages, he added.

Tunisia is under pressure from the international lenders to freeze public sector wages — the bill for which doubled to more than 17 billion dinars in 2020 from 7.6 billion in 2010 — as part of measures to reduce its budget deficit.

Full report at:


UN appalled by terrorist attacks in northeast Nigeria

Olarewaju Kola  



The UN said Sunday it was appalled by the killing of dozens of civilians in northeastern Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists.

Edward Kallon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, in a statement described the attacks on civilians in the town of Monguno and a village in Ngazai district, both in Borno state, as horrific.

He said a four-year-old girl was among those killed in the attack on Monguno, where UN and other aid workers are based, while at least 37 people were wounded.

"I am deeply saddened by the news that many civilians, including an innocent child, lost their lives in these horrific attacks," Kallon said.

He said information shows the terrorists targeted Monguno for nearly two hours on Saturday afternoon. A military base is located about a mile away.

He said he was relieved that all UN staff were safe although the terrorists destroyed part of their base and burnt around a dozen vehicles parked in front of the facility.

There are 25 international and local humanitarian organizations providing aid to more than 15,000 civilians displaced from their homes by more than a decade of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram in the region.

Full report at:


Nigeria: Gunmen kill 10 villagers in Benue state

Adam Abu-bashal


At least 10 villagers have been killed and many wounded by armed attackers in Nigeria's Benue state, an official said Monday.

Agatu council chairman Usman Suleiman told local media that unidentified gunmen attacked villagers who were returning from the fields early Sunday.

Noting that the wounded were taken to the hospital, Suleiman said security forces were dispatched and an investigation has been launched.

Motorcycling has been banned in some states because armed individuals have been preparing attacks using them recently.

Full report at:


4 killed in ethnic clashes in northern Kenya

Andrew Wasike



In a possible escalation to a cycle of violence, four people were killed in ethnic clashes in northern Kenya on Sunday morning, officials said.

Marsabitcounty is mostly inhabited by nomadic ethnic Kenyan-Somalis. It has witnessed a spate of ethnic clashes that stem from competition for grazing land, water access points, and ethnic territorial expansion, but some argue that the violence might be politically instigated.

“The victims were waylaid while they were heading to a waterpoint to fetch water for their animals, and it was there that they were shot dead by gunmen," Marsabit Central Sub-County Police Commander Benjamin Mwanthi told reporters. Last week, four university students were killed in a similar manner, spreading fear of reprisal attacks across the county.

Residents have raised alarms over an escalating cycle of violence in the area, asking the national government to intervene and stop the killings, which have become common.

More than 20 people have been killed by gunmen in different locations across the county over the last week, police said.

Full report at:



France says Turkey conduct in Libya 'unacceptable'

June 14, 2020

PARIS: France on Sunday slammed Turkey's "aggressive" intervention in the Libya conflict as unacceptable, accusing its fellow NATO member of violating a UN arms embargo and sending half a dozen ships to the war-torn country's coast.

Turkey, supported by its main regional ally Qatar, backs the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli in the conflict against the forces of eastern Libya strongman KhalifaHaftar.

France, despite public denials, has long been suspected of favouring Haftar, who has the backing of Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Paris is angered by an "even more aggressive and insistent stance from Turkey, with seven Turkish ships deployed off the Libyan coast and violations of the arms embargo," a senior presidential official said.

"The Turks are behaving in an unacceptable manner and are exploiting NATO. France cannot just stand by," added the official, who asked not to be named.

French President Emmanuel Macron has already held talks on the issue this week with US leader Donald Trump, and "exchanges will take place in the weeks to come on this subject with NATO partners," the official said.

The comments came after a Turkish warship on Wednesday prevented a new EU naval mission enforcing the Libya arms embargo from checking a suspect freighter off the Libyan coast.

Turkey has sent Syrian fighters, military advisors and drones in support of the GNA, in a deployment which has changed the course of the conflict, with Haftar's forces enduring a string of defeats.

Tensions have risen over the last yeat between Macron and Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan, notably when the French leader said that the lack of NATO response to a unilateral Turkish operation in northern Syria showed that the alliance was undergoing "brain death".

Despite being on opposing sides of the conflict, some analysts think that Russia and Turkey may yet to find an accord for Libya as they did with Syria.

But Russia's foreign and defence ministers postponed a planned visit to Turkey on Sunday to discuss the Libya and Syria conflicts, without any clear reason being given.


Yemen parties should ‘compromise to end the war,’ says British envoy


June 14, 2020

AL-MUKALLA: All Yemen parties should offer concessions and come together for peace talks sponsored by the UN Yemen envoy, British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron has said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

They should strive to reach a peace agreement that would end the war in Yemen and the worsening humanitarian disaster there, he said.

“Everyone will have to compromise to end the war and reach an agreement, both of which are in the interests of the people of Yemen,” he said. “My P5 colleagues (permanent members of the Security Council) and I are working hard together to ensure that all parties come with an open mind and willingness to find a solution.”

The British envoy, who was appointed ambassador to Yemen in February 2018, said that his government has opposed the Houthi occupation of the Yemeni capital since day one and supported the legitimate government of Yemen in restoring institutions.

“We opposed the Houthi occupation of Sanaa and its attempt to take over the government. We support the restoration of the legitimate government of Yemen.”

Despite diplomatic efforts by the UN Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to convince warring factions in Yemen to come to the negotiation table, fighting has surged over the past several months, killing hundreds of people and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

“Regrettably, the situation remains dire,” Aron said. “We support the special envoy and all of his efforts to bring the parties closer together. We help where we can, talking to the parties, rallying the international community, and as pen-holders on the Security Council.”

On his country’s contributions to alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Aron said that the UK had donated £1 billion over the past few years, including £160 million through the latest pledging conference. Politically, he wants to push Yemenis into constructively engaging with the UN peace efforts.

“My job is to support the parties to work together, but also highlight where they are not helping — access restrictions by the Houthis in the north are a key concern for the UK.”

The UK ambassador hailed Saudi Arabia’s large donations to Yemen and its role in facilitating the UN- brokered peace efforts aimed at ending Yemen war.

“Saudi Arabia is the biggest donor and has shown leadership in this not only with money but by hosting the conference. They are committed to a peaceful solution and will continue to provide huge amounts of aid to support the Yemeni people,” he said.

“Saudi Arabia and the Saudi-led coalition have a vital role to play in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is working closely with the UN special envoy in support of his peace efforts, which they fully support.”

The Saudi-led coalition and the internationally recognized government agreed to stop fighting in response to a UN call for a humanitarian truce to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The Houthis have escalated military operations on the ground that hampered efforts to stem the spread of the disease, he said.

“We regret the fact that, despite the Saudi announcement of a unilateral cease-fire, the Houthis have continued to pursue their military campaigns. We hope that the Houthis will recognize that the UN proposals offer the only way out of the current desperate situation,” he said.

The British ambassador advised the government of Yemen (GoY) and the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) who are engaging in heavy clashes in the southern province of Abyan, to put into place the Riyadh Agreement and work with Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict.

“The focus needs to be on implementing the Riyadh Agreement, and the STC coming to Riyadh is very helpful to that end. But President Hadi also needs to take decisive steps to implement the Riyadh Agreement. The GoY and the STC need to work with Saudi Arabia to resolve their differences,” he said.

“By implementing it the GoY and STC will be in a situation where they are united in a newly formed government where they both feel they have adequate representation. The STC have been demanding a place at the UN talks and the Riyadh Agreement offers them a place at the table as part of the GoY delegation.”

Despite the escalating violence across Yemen and deadly missile and drone attacks by the Iran-backed Houthis on Saudi Arabia, Aron believes that there is still an opportunity for a comprehensive agreement to end the war. “Yes. The alternative does not bear thinking about. Yemen has already been set back a number of years, the coronavirus will not help either. The leaders need to do what is best for the people and get an agreement that allows Yemen to build for all its citizens,” he said.

Aron urged the Houthis to be more transparent about the coronavirus pandemic and allow local and international health experts to work freely inside areas under their control.

“We understand that the situation is far worse; this is from those who want to help and are trying to,” he said. “Let experts in to do their jobs, grant them the necessary access and take their advice. The population has suffered and will suffer further and unnecessarily unless there is cooperation.”

Impending disaster

The ambassador concluded the interview by warning that the Safer tanker, docked off the Yemeni city of Hodeida, would cause an environmental disaster worse than the damage caused by the recent spillage of 20,000 tons of fuel in Russia’s Siberia if the Houthis did not allow experts to resolve the problems there.

Full report at:


‘EU May Recognize Palestinian State If Israel Annexes West Bank’




The European Union’s recognition of Palestine as a state would become “inevitable” if Israel moves forward with its controversial plan to annex the West Bank, Luxembourg’s foreign minister has said.

Speaking to German weekly Der Spiegel, Jean Asselborn called for a tougher EU stance against the Israeli government’s plan to annex significant parts of the West Bank.

“To simply write reproachful letters would be a humiliation for the EU and would significantly weaken its credibility,” Asselborn stressed, suggesting stronger measures like economic sanctions or the recognition of Palestine as a state if Israel does not give up its plan, slated to begin July 1.

“The recognition of Palestine. This debate would gain a whole new dynamic, I would even consider it inevitable,” Asselborn said, noting that such a decision would not require a unanimous decision by all 27 member states.

So far nine EU member states – including Sweden, Hungary, and Poland – have recognized the state of Palestine.

“If others were to follow, it would likely achieve much more than economic sanctions,” he stressed,

Luxembourg’s top diplomat underlined that Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank are no different from Russia’s move to illegally annex the Crimean Peninsula, and this necessitates the EU taking a stronger stance.

“I see no difference at all. An annexation is an annexation. It is a gross violation of international law,” he said.

Asselborn underlined that the UN Security Council has also taken a clear position, and declared Israeli settlements illegal in several resolutions.

“In the Middle East, which is strongly shaped by religion, one could also say that an annexation violates the seventh of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not steal. An annexation of parts of the West Bank would be just that: stealing,” he said.

Encouraged by the US President Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century,” Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month announced that his government would formally annex the Jordan Valley and all settlement blocs in the West Bank.

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

Full report at:


New group to move things in Turkey's direction in European Parliament



A newly formed group will work to set an agenda in Turkey’s favor within the European Parliament, a senior Turkish lawmaker said Saturday.

"The aim of forming the Turkey-EU Friendship Group is to set an agenda in favor of Turkey under the roof of the European Parliament. This group will create a positive atmosphere in favor of Turkey within the EP," Ismail EmrahKarayel, the head of a joint parliamentary commission between Turkey and the EP, told Anadolu Agency.

Karayel said the group would strengthen communications channels between the EU and Turkey and also aims to carry out social and cultural activities.

"Some sport activities will be held,” he explained. “Some cultural activities will also be carried out under the roof of EP, such as cultural and art activities, painting exhibits, some traditional handicraft exhibits, and concerts, to create a positive atmosphere for Turkey."

A new initiative fostering cooperation between Turkish lawmakers and members of the European Parliament was launched Wednesday.

The EU-Turkey Friendship Group will work as an informal alliance between parliamentarians from Turkey and the EU to improve ties and pursue common political goals.

Aim is to boost Turkish-EU relations

Turkey has been a candidate country for EU membership since 1987, he pointed out.

"If you say 'Turkey' in the European Parliament, subjects like opening new chapters, visa liberalization, and updating the customs union all come to mind," Karayel said.

At the end of the day, these subjects will face votes in the EP, he said.

"This group will play an important role in solving the issues which will come to the agenda in the new era of Turkey-EU relations, and it will do some successful work," Karayel said.

He added: "Our aim is to accelerate Turkish-EU relations. With this group, we want to put Turkey's EU membership process back on the front burner."

Turkey applied for membership in the political and economic union of 27 member states in 1987, and accession talks began in 2005.

Negotiations, however, stalled in 2007 due to opposition from the Greek Cypriot administration, Germany and France.

Highlighting Turkey's success against COVID-19

Karayel stressed his group would stress Turkey's success in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We will hold some meetings to share Turkey's experience in the successfully managed COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

"This is so we can again show how important Turkey is for the EU."

Turkey confirmed Friday more than 1,242 daily recoveries from the novel coronavirus as it continues easing measures against the pandemic, according to its health minister.

The death toll from the virus rose to 4,778, as it reported 15 new fatalities.

Healthcare professionals have done more than 2.5 million tests.

The number of cases nationwide reached 175,218 with 1,195 new infections.

Since first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions.

The US, Brazil, Russia, and several European countries are currently the hardest hit in the world.

The pandemic has killed nearly 426,000 people worldwide, with some 7.6 million confirmed cases and 3.6 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

Karayel also pointed to rising xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia in the European Parliament.

Full report at:


Russia-Turkey talks on Libya and Syria postponed

June 14, 2020

An expected visit to Turkey by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Sunday has been postponed, with no reason or rescheduled date given.

Turkish Foreign Minister MevlutCavusoglu and Mr Lavrov decided to put off the talks during a phone call on Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

The visit was announced on Saturday by the two countries' foreign ministries, with Syria and Libya expected to feature high on the agenda.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Muammar Qadhafi, who was later killed, while Syria is facing fresh protests in the face of a spiralling economic crisis.

Iranian Foreign Minister JavadZarif was also due to visit Istanbul for talks with Mr Cavusoglu on Monday before travelling to Moscow, Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.

Turkey, Iran and Russia are behind the Astana process, an effort to end Syria’s nine-year civil war. While Turkey backs militias opposed to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, Russia and Iran have propped up his regime, enabling it to retake most territory apart from Idlib in the northwest.

Full report at:




Pakistan warns coronavirus will peak at more than a million cases

Jun 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's planning minister warned on Sunday that the number of coronavirus cases in the country could double by the end of June and peak at more than a million infections just a month later.

The warning from planning ministerAsad Umar comes as many in the country continue to ignore guidance on social distancing, hygiene and other measures to tackle the disease.

Pakistan currently has confirmed nearly 140,000 cases of Covid-19, with the death toll approaching 2,700.

Authorities have ramped up testing but this nonetheless remains limited, so real numbers are thought to be higher.

"Expert estimates say the number of confirmed cases could go up to 300,000 by the end of June if we keep on flouting SOPs (standard operating procedures) and taking the problem lightly," said Umar, who is helping coordinate the government's coronavirus response.

"We fear the number of confirmed cases could go up further to 1.2 million by end of next month," he told reporters in Islamabad.

After initially lagging infection rates in Western nations, Pakistan and other South Asian countries are experiencing a surge in cases.

Pakistan's increase comes after people violated government restrictions and thronged mosques and markets -- mostly without masks and gloves -- during Ramadan and ahead of the Eid festival last month.

Since the start of Pakistan's outbreak in March, Prime Minister Imran Khan opposed a nationwide lockdown of the sort seen elsewhere, arguing the impoverished country could not afford it.

Instead, Pakistan's four provinces ordered a patchwork of closures, but even those restrictions have now been lifted.

Umar said hotpsot areas such as Lahore are now subject to "smart" lockdowns in which authorities attempt to track coronavirus patients and limit who they come into contact with.

"The government has decided to go for smart lockdowns by tracking hotspots and then sealing them. This will start from Punjab province," Umar said.

Authorities in Islamabad already locked down one neighbourhood after tracking 200 confirmed coronavirus cases in just one day on Friday.

Hospitals across Pakistan say they are at or near capacity, and some are turning Covid-19 patients away.


Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi advises Delhi to Focus On Domestic Issues


June 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: While Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi advised the Modi-led government on Sunday to focus on its domestic issues rather than behaving like an “expansionist nation”, the Foreign Office strongly condemned and categorically rejected Indian defence minister’s remarks about the situation in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Qureshi tweeted: “Perhaps with necessary introspection, the current Indian government would be less focused on igniting border disputes with every neighbour, behaving like an expansionist nation, and more focused on serving the poor, downtrodden and minorities of India better,” he said.

“It would serve PM Modi’s government and ‘neighbourhood first’ policy well to realise India’s neighbours pose far less of a problem than their own domestic inadequacies, failures and fascism,” he said.

The foreign minister’s tweet comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer to the neighbouring country for sharing the success story of his Ehsaas cash programme initiative to help the country’s poor, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan rejects Indian defence minister’s remarks about situation in occupied Kashmir, AJK

Various studies have pointed out that income of 84 per cent of the households in India has declined because of Covid-19. Besides the economic setback, the pandemic has also fuelled hate against Indian Muslims, who are being falsely accused by the right-wing Hindu extremists of spreading coronavirus in India.

Meanwhile, India is also in boarder disputes with its neighbours, including Pakistan, China and Nepal. Pakistan has been accusing India of resorting to firing along the Line of Control.

In a statement, the Foreign Office strongly condemned the Indian defence minister’s delusional remarks about the situation in occupied Kashmir and AJK.

“Pakistan strongly condemns and categorically rejects Indian defence minister’s remarks about the situation in IOJ&K and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) through a video address to ‘Jammu Jan Samvad rally’ today,” said the statement. It said the Indian defence minister’s statement was another manifestation of the BJP government’s delusions about AJK and incurable obsession with Pakistan.

“It has been clear to the people of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, and the international community, from the outset, that the motive behind the RSS-inspired BJP government’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019 was to, inter alia, bring about demographic changes in IOJ&K so that the Muslim majority in the region could be changed by deceit, fraud and brute force,” it said, adding that the subsequent steps of promulgation of new domicile law and amendments to various laws, especially regarding acquisition of properties in India-held Kashmir, clearly showed that the primary motivation remained the disempowerment and disenfranchisement of the Kashmiri people and further usurpation of their rights.

The FO said the BJP government had been seeking to force its decisions upon the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir through the muzzle of the gun by deploying more than 900,000 security forces in the region; a lockdown that continues for over 10 months; arbitrary detentions of thousands, including political activists, civil society members, and common men, women and even the disabled; snapping all means of communications; and imposing curfew-like strict measures restricting movement, assembly, peaceful political activities even religious congregations. Since August 2019, hundreds of innocent Kashmiris have been martyred in extrajudicial and custodial killings.

“The egregious human rights violations by the BJP government in IOJ&K and collective punishment of entire communities, including destruction of homes and means of livelihood, are well-documented by international human rights and humanitarian organisations,” the FO said.

The Indian defence minister’s statement is another desperate attempt to divert the attention from India’s state-terrorism and unacceptable human rights violations in held Kashmir. It is also designed to ramp up flailing support for the ruling BharatiyaJanata Party through unabashed political opportunism and reckless disregard for peace, stability and security of the region.

The Foreign Office said that assertion about “international recognition” of the BJP government’s measures in held Kashmir could best be termed “obdurate and wilful amnesia”. To assist the Indian defence minister’s memory, the international opprobrium over the BJP government’s human rights violations in occupied Kashmir has been unequivocal, including, inter alia, three UNSC consultations for the first time in about five decades, US Congressional hearings, discussions in parliaments around the world, especially the European Union, condemnation by international human rights and humanitarian organisations, scores of parliamentarians, hundreds of editorials and op-eds in reputed international newspapers and magazines, and offers of mediation by different world leaders.

The statement said that while the world was preoccupied with the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian forces had intensified fake “encounters” and “cordon-and-search” operations and increased their repressive actions, including extrajudicial killings of Kashmiri youth. Even the remains of the martyred Kashmiris are not returned to families for funerals. There is stringent censorship of local media and suppression of dissenting voices by excessive use of force in place. All Hurriyat leaders remain under incarceration.

The FO said that rather than entertaining any further delusions about AJK, the Indian government must immediately remove all restrictions in held Kashmir, restore all means of communications, including 4G internet, withdraw occupation forces from the region, remove draconian PSA, AFSPA and UAPA laws, and allow unfettered access to international observers and independent media to the occupied territory.

Full report at:


Pakistan's Anti-graft Body to Approach Interpol to Bring Back Shehbaz Sharif's Son from UK

JUNE 15, 2020

Pakistan's anti-graft body on Sunday announced to approach the Interpol to bring back Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif's son from the UK to try him in a money laundering case.

An official of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said on Sunday that the agency would also request the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK to provide all possible assistance in deportation of SulemanShehbaz as per law.

"The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided in principle to bring back accused SulemanShehbaz from the UK through Interpol as he has been declared a proclaimed offender in money laundering case," the official told PTI.

Even though there is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK, the NAB expressed hope that with the help of the Interpol and the NCA, it will manage to bring Suleman back to face the money laundering case against him.

The Accountability Court in Lahore in October last year had issued arrest warrants against Suleman after NAB declared him a proclaimed offender in a money laundering/illegal assets case.

The NAB alleged that assets worth rupees 3.3 billion had been identified so far as illegally accumulated by Suleman, his elder brother Hamza and their father Shehbaz, who is the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and younger brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

"The whole Shehbaz family committed massive money laundering in the name of foreign remittances and loans. Hamza received benefits from different family members, including Suleman and sister Rabia, under the garb of gifts," it said.

NAB investigation conducted so far revealed that Suleman and Rabia received foreign remittances in their bank accounts, which were found to be fictitious.

Hamza has been in jail for the last one year in money laundering and income beyond means case.

Reacting to the NAB's decision, PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said, "the truth of the NAB-Niazi alliance is no secret anymore and it's truth (is) known within and outside Pakistan. PML-N, it's leadership, and the Sharif family have braved the world's worst political victimisation by this unholy alliance with resilience and answered every question asked by this vengeful team, with bravery, and evidence."

She said despite rigorous witch-hunt and non-stop persecution and a barrage of accusations for over two years, the NAB-Niazi alliance had not been able to file a single reference against Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza and Suleman.

"Whenever the courts asked for proof, the NAB-Niazi alliance always ran away and could not prove any corruption accusation. Where is the actual file and the proofs of the case of money laundering being alleged against SulemanShehbaz. The same practice was adopted against Ishaq Dar (former finance minister) and in the end the government had to bite dust and got nothing but embarrassment and shame," Aurangzeb said.

Full report at:


Pakistan likely to record 1.2 million Covid-19 cases by July-end

Jun 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The current trajectory of the spread of Covid-19 in Pakistan hinted that the cases could double by the end of June and was likely to reach 1.2 million by the end of July, a Minister said.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said: "We are in mid-June and our positive cases are reaching near to 150,000.

"With a heavy heart, I have to say that Pakistan's confirmed Covid-19 case tally could even reach 1 million to 1.2 million by the end of next month," reports Xinhua news agency.

Umar added that the projections are neither predictions nor a certainty and that the spread of the virus can be stopped if the government and people work together against it.

Full report at:


North America


Iran forces told to track several US merchant vessels in Gulf last month

13 June 2020

An Iranian news agency close to the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday Iran’s naval forces were preparing to target US commercial vessels in the Gulf last month in case US forces interfered with Venezuela-bound Iranian oil tankers.

Iran sent a flotilla of five tankers of fuel to gasoline-starved ally Venezuela in May. Tehran has said it will continue the shipments if Caracas requests more, despite Washington’s criticism of the trade between the two nations, which are both under US sanctions.

“According to reports received by Noor News, after increasing military threats against Iranian vessels headed for Venezuela, an order was issued to Iran’s armed forces to identify and track several US merchant vessels in the [Arabian] Gulf and the Gulf of Oman,” Noor News said on its website.

“Options for reciprocal action were immediately identified and monitored for possible operations,” the agency added.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Iran complained to the United Nations last month and summoned the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, who represents US interests in the Islamic Republic, over possible measures Washington could take against the Iranian tankers.

The United States, which did not hinder Iran’s tanker cargoes, is considering imposing sanctions on dozens of additional foreign oil tankers for trading with Venezuela, a US official told Reuters earlier this month.

Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf last year after British forces detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. Both vessels were released after a months-long standoff.

In an alert that appeared aimed squarely at Iran, the US Navy issued a warning last month to mariners in the Gulf to stay 100 meters (yards) away from US warships or risk being “interpreted as a threat and subject to lawful defensive measures.”

Tension between Washington and Tehran has escalated since 2018, when US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions targeting particularly its vital oil industry.




More Muslims Are Killed In Riots, Then More Of Them Get Arrested, It’s Not New: JamiatUlama-i-Hind


13 June, 2020

New Delhi: The arrests in connection with the Delhi riots have been one-sided and made with the intention to target one community, according to MahmoodMadani, general secretary of the JamiatUlama-i-Hind (JUH). But it’s nothing new, he said, alleging that the general trend has been that more Muslims are killed in a riot, and then more members of the community are later arrested.

“It is natural that any type of violence will lead to arrests. But the nature of the arrests show that that they have been one-sided, and targeting only one community,” Madani said in an interview to ThePrint.

“Whether it is riots that have taken place under the rule of BJP or Samajwadi Party or Congress, the one thing that’s common is that more Muslims get killed, more Muslims’ property is destroyed, and more Muslims are arrested,” he said.

The February Delhi riots killed 53 people, and several hundred others have been arrested in connection with the violence. Many of those arrested are activists who participated in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests earlier in the year, including four students of JamiaMilliaIslamia.

“At the time of a pandemic and lockdown, the manner in which law enforcement agencies have been arresting people is inhuman and irresponsible,” Madani said.

Madani further questioned why political leaders who made inflammatory statements haven’t yet been arrested.

“If a common person who may or may not have said something is arrested, then what about the leaders who talked about taking revenge; who said there will be blood on the streets. Why aren’t they being held accountable?” Madani asked, adding: “But if some people gather together to protest about a separate issue in a completely legitimate and democratic manner, they are subject to political vengeance.”

BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who held a pro-CAA rally just before the violence erupted, is accused of making inflammatory statements, while the Union Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur, stirred controversy for his “golimaaro” invocations weeks prior to the riots.

Kejriwal’s silence

Madani also questioned Delhi Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal’s silence over the arrests. Kejriwal was earlier criticised for keeping his distance from the ShaheenBagh protest, the centre of the anti-CAA demonstrations in the national capital, and had also later drawn flak for saying the protest site should be cleared.

Tahir Hussain, a now-suspended AAP leader, has also been named in the riot charge sheets, for allegedly playing a “pivotal role” in “organising the riots”. But Kejriwal continues to remain silent.

“The objection to his (Kejriwal’s) silence is valid; he should have spoken up,” Madani said.

However, he added that he wouldn’t like to blame one person and that there is a “silence all around” over the arrests.

Muslims reduced to second-class citizens

Madani further said that Muslims have been reduced to second-class citizens in the country, whether in the question of life or of respect.

“Jaan, maal, izzat, aabroo — on all these parameters, it has become clear that Muslims have been reduced to second-class citizens,” he said. “I want to say more, but I am stopping myself as I don’t want the community to feel hopeless. But all evidence shows we are definitely second-class citizens now.”

Madani also accused the police of communalising the violence, citing examples of the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“Most of these riots weren’t communal, 99 per cent of the violence in these cases was due to police action. In Delhi too, it’s the police which aided the mob to target Muslim colonies and Muslim shops,” he alleged.

Media communalised pandemic

Madani also hit out at the media for the “communalisation of the pandemic”.

“Both the mainstream media as well as the government are responsible for the communalisation of the pandemic in the country,” Madani said, adding that this has led to the harassment of ordinary Muslims.

Madani was referring to the TablighiJamaat congregation that took place in Delhi’s Nizamuddin in mid-March, which emerged as one of the initial hotspots of the virus.

In the weeks following the congregation, multiple reports of Muslims being harassed emerged. A group of Muslim vendors in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba district submitted a written complaint to the district magistrate in April, alleging that they were abused and stopped from selling goods by a group because of their religious identity, and some alleged they were accused of being TablighiJamaat members. A Muslim man in Himachal Pradesh, who was in touch with a TablighiJamaat member, committed suicide after he allegedly faced a social boycott by the villagers even after testing negative.

“At a time when Covid cases are on the rise, we should have been working together to fight the virus. Instead, a community is being targeted — whether it is in the name of the Delhi riots, or the TablighiJamaat incident,” he said.

He also said the media tried to term them ‘jihadi’, among other things.

“Everything bad they could associate with them, they did. I am surprised they haven’t yet been accused of being involved in anti-national activities, since they have already been accused of everything else that is bad,” Madani said.


Mosques in Hyderabad struggle to afford sanitisation amid COVID-19 pandemic

15th June 2020

HYDERABAD: Many mosque committees in the city are finding it hard to afford the extensive sanitisation efforts they are required to take for making their premises safe for visitors. Since religious institutions were reopened, their managing committees have had to take extra precautions to ensure that no one contracts COVID-19 from the premises. 

Many of these mosques have been using sodium hypochlorite or bleach for sanitizing the premises with chemicals before prayers. During lockdown when the institutions were closed, they could do with sanitizing the premises twice or thrice a month. However, with regular influx of devotees, they have to do it everyday. This is proving to be quite expensive.

For instance, the management of Jama Masjid in Charminar is expecting that they have to shell out Rs 15,000 for sodium hypochlorite at the end of the day. "With people coming in for five prayers, we have to sanitise the premises daily. With each packet of sodium hypochlorite costing Rs 500, we will have to shell around Rs 15,000 at the end of the month," they said.

Full report at:


Situation tense, India asks Pakistan to ensure staff safety

Jun 15, 2020

NEW DELHI: After India's expulsion of 2 Pakistan officials accused of espionage, the situation for Indian diplomats and other staff in Islamabad remains tense and fraught with risks. With Pakistan looking to enforce reciprocity, the Indian high commission is finding it difficult to resume normal functioning, faced as Indian diplomats and consular officials are with incessant and aggressive tailing and surveillance.

India on Friday registered another protest in the form of a note verbale to Pakistan authorities. The government has conveyed to Pakistan that the behaviour of its agencies violated Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and also the bilateral 1992 Code of Conduct which the 2 countries signed to provide diplomats immunity from hostilities in ties.

India has asked Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of the Indian high commission and its staff and to allow them to resume their activities in keeping with the Vienna Convention. To be sure, the activities have already been curtailed by the Covid-19 threat. However, Indian officials have found it difficult to step out without in-your-face tailing, aggressive surveillance and intimidation since May 31, when the 2 Pakistan officials were held, sources familiar with the issue said.

India's charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia himself has been subjected to aggressive tailing and intimidation.

Pakistan apparently is keen to "level the score" by expelling Indian officials on similar charges as those faced by its staff here who were declared persona non grata. The last time India expelled a Pakistan official (in 2016) for espionage, Islamabad managed to restore parity in 3 days by doing the same to an Indian official. This time though, even after 2 weeks, Pakistan has not yet been able to expel any Indian official.

India has already expressed fear that its officials in Islamabad could be detained illegally and tortured.

For Indian diplomats in Islamabad normally, as indeed their Pakistan counterparts here, tailing and surveillance are like water off a duck's back. For India though, Pakistan seems to have crossed the line since May 31. The risk now is that the already downgraded relations could slip into the pre-March 2018 days.

Full report at:


‘Radical Change In Jammu-Kashmir Over Five Years’:Defence Minister

Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Jun 15, 2020

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said Jammu & Kashmir will witness a radical change in terms of development over the next five years and that people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) will be envious and will seek to live with India. “The day it happens, our unanimous resolution of Parliament will also be fulfilled,” he said at a virtual rally focussed on Jammu & Kashmir.

Singh was referring to the February 1994 resolution that said the entire erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, including PoK, are India’s integral part and asked Pakistan vacate the areas of the region it has occupied through aggression.

Singh called Constitution’s Article 370, which was nullified last year , an “old stain”.

Singh said the weather has changed and Pakistan is feeling the heat. “Our channels are now showing temperatures of Muzaffarabad and Gilgit [PoK]. ...Therefore, there is now more mischief but our security forces and agencies are giving them a befitting reply. Terrorists are being killed in large numbers...”

In its response, the Pakistan Foreign Office rejected Singh’s remarks about the situation in J&K, while it described the Article 370 move as “illegal and unilateral” and said subsequent steps showed “that the primary motivation remains the disempowerment and disenfranchisement of the Kashmiri people…”

Pakistan alleged that Singh’s statements were a “desperate attempt” to divert attention and accused India of “human rights violations”.

Singh also questioned arch-rival Congress’s “discreet silence” over the nullification of Article 370.

Full report at:


J&K: Army jawan killed, 2 injured in Pakistani firing in Poonch district

June 14, 2020

An Army personnel was killed and two others were injured after Pakistani troops opened fire and resorted to shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Sunday.

This is the third fatality this month due to Pakistani firing and shelling on forward posts and villages in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri.

The firing, officials said today, took place in Shahpur-Kerni sector on Saturday night, prompting the Army to strongly retaliate.

Three Army personnel were injured and were immediately evacuated to hospital, where one of them succumbed to injuries, the officials added.

The officials also said that the casualties suffered by the Pakistani Army in the retaliatory action were yet to be clarified.

Three days ago, an Army soldier was killed and a civilian injured in Mendhar sector after Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms fire at various places in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

Army PRO Lt Colonel DevenderAnand said a few houses were damaged in Nowshera sector due to the “intense” mortar shelling along the LoC in Rajouri district and later in Poonch’sBalakote sector. The Indian troops retaliated befittingly, he added.

Full report at:


South Asia


Afghanistan: Taliban killed or wounded over 400 security personnel in one week

14 June 2020

Afghanistan’s government says the Taliban militants have killed or wounded more than 400 security personnel in one week.

“In the past one week, the Taliban carried out 222 attacks against the Afghan security forces, resulting in the death and injury of 422” personnel, said government official Tareq Arian at a press briefing in Kabul on Sunday.

He also blamed the Taliban for targeting religious scholars in a bid to put “psychological pressure” on the government.

“This has been the goal of the Taliban to target religious scholars, especially in the past two weeks.”

On Friday, a bomb blast ripped through a mosque in Afghanistan’s capital, killing at least four people, including the prayer leader.

The assault came just over a week after an attack claimed by the DaeshTakfiri terrorist group at a mosque on the edge of Kabul’s heavily fortified diplomatic district killed a prominent prayer leader.

Afghan National Security Council spokesman Javid Faisal on Sunday said the Taliban “have not reduced, but rather increased their attacks across the country.”

The United Nations (UN) has recently warned of an alarming uptick in violence against civilians and a “striking deterioration” in upholding international humanitarian law in Afghanistan.

Violence has surged despite a deal between the Taliban and the United States. Official data shows that Taliban bombings and other assaults have increased 70 percent since the militant group signed the deal with the United States in February.

Under the agreement, the US will withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, and the Taliban will refrain from attacking international occupying forces. The militants have made no pledge to avoid attacking Afghan forces and civilians.


Kuwait takes a hard line on Bangladesh MP Shahid arrested on human trafficking charges

15 Jun 2020

The Kuwaiti government has taken a hard line on Mohammad Shahid Islam alias KaziPapul after arresting the Bangladeshi MP on charges of human trafficking and money laundering.

The Gulf state’s Public Prosecution has quizzed Shahid for eight days in custody.

Deputy Prime Minister Anas Al-Saleh has vowed tough action over “one of the largest cases of human trafficking”.

Without naming Shahid, he said in a Twitter post on Sunday that “great efforts” by the Ministry of Interior recently culminated in placing the case involving residence for an Asian expatriate.

Investigations revealed the existence of “suspicious financial transactions carried out by a network of officials with weak souls in cooperation with companies that facilitated these operations”, Anas tweeted.

“Whoever is named in the investigations, whether he is a government official or a prominent person, will appear before the investigation authorities in the Ministry of Interior and be referred to the Public Prosecution to complete the procedures if his involvement is proven,” he added.

The arrest of Shahid has also become a big issue of discussion in Kuwait’s political arena, according to the Middle-Eastern media.

Kuwaiti MP Abdul Karim Al-Kandari demanded revelation of the names of all the people who dealt with Shahid, including representatives and government officials.

They turned into a public opinion issue related to corruption crimes such as the exploitation of influence and graft, Karim said on Twitter.

The Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait asked for information on Shahid’s arrest formally, but the Kuwaiti government did not reply, Ambassador SM AbulKalam said.

The investigators have recorded statements of 11 people in connection with the case, according to the local media.  

The prosecution brought the charges after hearing testimonies of five Bangladeshis. They alleged having paid up to 3,000 dinars in exchange for coming to Kuwait. They were also paying annual sums for renewing their residency visas, Gulf News said.

He runs the MarafieKuwaitia Group as managing director and CEO. The Bangladeshis in Kuwait said around 20,000 of them work at Marafie.  

The businesses of the company with presence in Kuwait, Oman and Jordan range from waste management, cleaning and janitorial services to security solutions to heavy equipment rental to engineering.

The Kuwaiti authorities have also detained MurtazaMamoon, a senior official of the firm.

They confiscated cheques and found evidence of illegal transactions during a raid on Shahid’s residence on Jun 6.

Having travelled to Kuwait as a migrant worker, Laxmipur-2 MP Shahid now owns a business empire there. He has permanent resident status in Kuwait. His wife Salina Islam is also an MP from a seat reserved for women.

The Middle-Eastern media had reported his links to human trafficking after the arrest of a Bangladeshi suspect in February. Shahid had denied the allegations.

Full report at:


Afghan forces repulse attack inflicting casualties on Taliban militants in Faryab

14 Jun 2020

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces repulsed an attack in northern Faryab province and inflicted casualties on Taliban militants, the Afghan military said.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said a group of Taliban militants attacked the security posts in Aarzalik and Bilal Beg Villages of Qaisar district.

The statement further added that the security forces effectively responded to the attack and clashed with the militants for a period of at least three hours.

The security forces killed 2 Taliban militants during the clash and wounded at least 3 others, the 209th Shaheen Corps said, adding that the security forces did not suffer any casualty during the clash.

Full report at:


Civilians suffer casualties in an explosion in Jalalabad city of Afghanistan

14 Jun 2020

An explosion inflicted casualties on ordinary civilians in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital of eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

AttaullahKhogyani, a spokesperson for the provincial government, said the explosion took place at around 8:30 am local time close to Customs House of Nangarhar.

Khogyani further added that a roadside bomb went off close to a civilian vehicle, killing one person and wounding at least three others.

He also added that the wounded individuals have been shifted to hospital where they are receiving treatment and their health condition has been reported as satisfactory.

No individual or group including Taliban has so far claimed responsibility for the incident.


Dr.Najibullah’s daughter reacts to President Ghani’s recent remarks

13 Jun 2020

The Prime Minister, Shri NarendraModi meeting the President of Afghanistan, Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on September 19, 2018.

MuskaNajibullah, the daughter of Dr.Najibullah, the former president of Afghanistan, reacted to the recent remarks of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani regarding recent political upheavals in the country.

“President Ghani, the war in Afghanistan isn’t a 20 year film project. By the way, every film also has an ending,” Muska said in a statement posted online.

She also added “Arrogance is an unhealthy ego in need of repair, Mr President. That smile at the end of your interview — highly uncalled for a leader of your stature.”

“Only Afghans understand Najibullah’s nationalism & intentions for peace. Not sure if you are one of them 🤔💡,” Muska added.

President Ghani had earlier said Dr.Najibullah committed a major mistake by stepping down, calling it a failed experiment which he would not prefer to repeat.

Ghani made the remarks during an interview which he conducted via a video teleconference in which he also compared the experiment by Dr.Najibullah to a film.


Arab World


Lebanon PM says coup attempt fell apart after violent riots

14 June 2020

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab has condemned the recent violent street protests, saying they were an attempt by opponents to overthrow his government and deepen a currency crisis in the debt-ridden country.

Diab made the remarks in a televised address late Saturday after demonstrations rocked the cities of Beirut, Tripoli and Sidon on Thursday, with participants calling for the government's resignation.

Diab said his political opponents were stirring unrest in a bid to thwart the government's fight against corruption.

The unrest was “a programmed campaign organized by parties known by name and method of thinking that are not deterred from using any method to shatter the image of others,” Diab said.

However, the Lebanese administration enjoys "a high percentage of citizens’ confidence, which has disturbed many of those who bet on its failure" and try to pump "lies and rumors to prevent the government from removing the rubble under which the secrets of corruption disappear,” he added.

Diab took office in January with Hezbollah's backing, putting an end to a nine-month political deadlock amid an economic crisis and nationwide protests against the nation’s ruling class.

In his televised address Saturday, the Lebanese premier censured efforts to mount a “coup” against the government and manipulate the value of the Lebanese pound.

“The state and the people are being subjected to blackmail,” Diab said as he vowed to defeat graft in the cash-strapped country.

"The coup attempt fell apart and all secret and public meetings and orders of internal and joint operations to stop discovering of corruption failed as well,” he added.

Anti-government protests broke out in Lebanon on Thursday after a rapid devaluation of the national currency against the US dollar. The Lebanese pound has lost some 70 percent of its value over the past several months.

The crash in the Lebanese pound's value and subsequent unrest coincided with the unveiling of the biggest-ever US sanctions package against Iran, which also targets Lebanon.

The 115-page strategy document put together by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest Republican caucus in Congress, called for a halt of all US security assistance to Beirut, claiming that millions of dollars given to Lebanon were being used to aid Hezbollah.

The US gives about $160 million to the Lebanese armed forces each year.

The Republican document specifically calls for sanctions against Hezbollah allies, mentioning former foreign minister Gibran Bassil and incumbent Parliament speaker NabihBerri by name.

Back in 2016, Saudi Arabia also declared that it was canceling $4 billion in aid to Beirut, $3 billion of which was earmarked for the Lebanese army.

Latest street rallies resembled those that broke out in Lebanon on October 17, 2019, when the government introduced a set of economic austerity measures.

Then prime ministerSaad al-Hariri resigned almost two weeks later under pressure from protesters, touching off a period of political turmoil at a time of acute economic crisis.

In December 2019, Diab was tasked with forming the new administration and the following month, he managed to form a government after Hezbollah and its allies agreed on the new cabinet.

The downward political spiral for Hariri followed his humiliating saga in Saudi Arabia where he announced his surprise resignation in November 2017, apparently under the orders of Saudi rulers.

Hariri rescinded his withdrawal after returning to Lebanon, apparently putting himself on a collision course with his Saudi mentors, which culminated in his resignation amid violent riots.

According to a UN report, Hariri was verbally humiliated and beaten after being summoned to Riyadh in 2017. He was reportedly abducted and taken to the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton hotel where he was interrogated and subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment.


Jordanian and Yemeni al-Qaeda commanders killed in drone strike in Syria: Report

14 June 2020

A drone strike in northwestern Syria on Sunday killed two senior commanders with an al-Qaeda-linked group, opposition activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the strike was believed to have been carried out by the US-led coalition, which has been targeting extremists in Syria for years.

The drone strike hit a vehicle carrying the two commanders — a Jordanian and a Yemeni — in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last remaining opposition stronghold in war-torn Syria.

The Observatory said the men killed were with the al-Qaeda-linked Horas al-Din group, Arabic for “Guardians of Religion.”

Al-Mohrar Media, an activist collective in northern Syria, said the dead were Horas al-Din’s general military commander, known as Qassam al-Urduni, or “Qassam the Jordanian.” It said the second man was a Yemeni citizen known as Bilal al-Sanaani, the commander of the group’s so-called “desert army.”

In December, a drone strike killed a senior Horas al-Din commander, the Jordanian citizen Bilal Khuraisat, also known as Abu Khadija al-Urduni.

In July last year, the US military said it struck an al-Qaeda leadership and training facility in northern Syria, where it said attacks threatening Americans and others were being planned. The US Central Command said in a statement at the time that the strike occurred near the northern province of Aleppo.

In neighboring Lebanon, the Lebanese army said the military carried out an operation in the eastern town of Brital on Sunday liberating 23 people, including women and children, who were kidnapped two weeks ago.

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No casualties reported as two rockets fall on Taji base in Iraq housing US troops

13 June 2020

Two Katyusha rockets fell in Iraq’s Taji base that hosts US-led coalition troops, with no casualties reported, the state news agency said on Saturday.

The attack late on Saturday north of Baghdad hit an Iraqi base but missed US-led coalition troops stationed there, Iraq’s military and a coalition official said.

A statement from Iraq’s security forces said the rockets were launched north of Baghdad and did not cause any damage to the Taji base.

A coalition official confirmed the projectiles fell outside the coalition’s segment of the base.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

It was the third attack in a week to target US troops or diplomats.

Two rockets struck the grounds of the vast Baghdad airport complex on Monday and an unguided rocket hit close to the fortified US embassy two days later.

The attacks follow several weeks of relative respite from more than two dozen similar incidents in recent months.

Since October, at least 30 attacks have targeted American troops or diplomats, severely straining ties between Baghdad and Washington.

Tensions reached boiling point in January when the US killed Iranian general QasemSoleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in a drone strike in Baghdad.

Washington has accused armed groups backed by Iran, Iraq’s powerful neighbor and the US’s top regional foe, for the repeated rocket attacks. But it also blamed the Iraqi government for not doing enough to protect US installations.

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Washington and Baghdad are hoping for a reset after launching a strategic dialogue this week that aims to better define their military, economic and cultural relationship.

As part of the talks, the US pledged to continue reducing in-country troop levels, which numbered about 5,200 last year.

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Iraqi anti-Daesh forces become undertakers at cemetery for coronavirus victims

15 June 2020

Members of Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), a group originally formed to fight the Daesh terrorist group, in the country, now help bury the victims of the coronavirus at a special COVID-19 cemetery in the outskirts of Najaf.

Body bags arriving in ambulances, personnel in full protective suits praying, handling bodies, and burying a victim of COVID-19 were seen at the site on Sunday.

As bodies often arrive at night, volunteers carry the coffins to the Muslim and Christian graves with the help of vehicles' headlights.

The new graveyard is located next to Wadi Al-Salam Islamic cemetery, believed to be the largest cemetery in the world.

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Turkey launches airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq

14 June 2020

Turkish jet fighters have launched an operation against Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq, according to Turkey’s Defense Ministry.

“The Claw-Eagle Operation has started. Our planes are bringing the caves down on the terrorists’ heads,” the ministry said on Twitter.

A source told Reuters the warplanes took off from various bases in Turkey, notably in the southeastern cities of Diyarbakir and Malatya, and struck PKK camps in Iraq, including in the area of the group’s stronghold at Qandil, near the Iranian border.

Turkey regularly targets Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, both in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast and in northern Iraq, where the group is based.

The PKK, designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict, focused in southeast Turkey.

While Turkish warplanes frequently target PKK targets in northern Iraq, Turkey has also warned in recent years of a potential ground offensive targeting the PKK bases in the Qandilmountains near Iran's border.

A few days ago, Interior Minister of Turkey SuleymanSoylu claimed that there are around 100 “terrorists” in Iran’s Dambat, near Turkey, which “constitutes a real danger.”

However, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force dismissed the claim as  “irresponsible and baseless”, saying the IRGC Ground Force  is vigorously present along the border with full preparedness, and is closely and constantly monitoring the situation across the border regions.

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Southeast Asia


Trump plans to sign bill pressuring China over Uighur Muslim crackdown: Source

June 9, 2020

US President Donald Trump plans to sign legislation calling for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for oppressing Uighur Muslims, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday without offering a time frame for the signing.

The bill, which passed the US House of Representatives and the Senate with bipartisan support last month, calls for sanctions against those responsible for repression of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in China's Xinjiang province, where the United Nations estimates more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps.

The Chinese embassy in Washington repeated a prior statement noting that the bill "blatantly smears China's counterterrorism and deradicalization measures and seriously interferes in China's internal affairs," which China "deplores and firmly opposes."

"We urge the US to immediately rectify its mistake, stop using Xinjiang-related issues to intervene in China's internal affairs and refrain from going even further down the wrong path," the embassy added.

The bill's progress comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus pandemic's origins and a recent Chinese bid to curb Hong Kong freedoms via a new national security law. China denies mishandling the outbreak and has said the United States should stop interfering in Hong Kong and Chinese affairs.

Trump said last week he was not considering imposing sanctions on Chinese President Xi Jinping personally over Beijing's push to impose the legislation in Hong Kong. But the Republican president recently ordered his administration to begin eliminating special US treatment for Hong Kong to punish China, and said Washington would also impose sanctions on individuals seen as responsible for "smothering - absolutely smothering - Hong Kong's freedom."

The Uighur legislation, proposed by Republican Senator Marco Rubio, singles out Xinjiang's Communist Party secretary, Chen Quanguo, a member of China’s powerful Politburo, as responsible for “gross human rights violations” against them.

Bloomberg earlier on Monday reported news of the bill's signing.


RMCO: Muhyiddin proud of congregants’ compliance with SOP for Friday prayers

12 Jun 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Prime Minister Tan Sri MuhyiddinYassin today expressed pride at the congregants’ level of compliance with the standard operating procedure (SOP) for Friday prayers.

He said based on his personal observation while joining the congregation to perform Friday prayers at the Saidina Umar Al-Khattab Mosque in Bukit Damansara here today, the congregants clearly gave their full cooperation in queueing and having their body temperature checked before entering the mosque.

Most of them also brought their own prayer mat and sat a metre apart from each other, he said.

“I pray that Malaysia will fully recover from Covid-19 soon so that Muslims will not only be able to perform Friday prayers, but also the five obligatory prayers in congregation in mosque and surau just like before the coronavirus hit us. InsyaAllah,” he said in a posting on his official Facebook page today.

Attached with the posting were several pictures of the prime minister coming in with his own prayer mat and filling in his details in the attendance registration book.

When the movement control order (MCO) was first implemented on March 18, all mosques and suraus were prohibited from holding any congregational prayers and Muslim men were advised to just perform Zohor prayers at home instead.

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