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Islamic World News ( 16 Dec 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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18 Pre-University Students in Mangaluru Suspended For Supporting Inter-Faith Relationship

New Age Islam News Bureau

16 December 2022


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• Over 120 Arrested As Moroccans Face 'Racist Violence' In France after World Cup Clash

• Peace Accord with S. Arabia Will Lead to Resolution of Conflict with Palestinians, Says Netanyahu

• Blasphemy: Sharia Court Sentences Kano Cleric Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara To Death By Hanging

• Canadian Charged With Trying To Set Up GoFundMe Accounts to Raise More Than US$20,000 For The Islamic State



• We Cannot Let Another '9/11 of New York' Or '26/11 of Mumbai' Happen Again': Indian Foreign Minister

• ‘Love Jihad’: Marriage Registrars in Madhya Pradesh May Soon Have To Get Police Pre-Verification of the Applicant Couples

• Annual Two Days Sunni Ijtema to be held at Mumbai, On December 16 the Ijtema Is Exclusively for Women and 18 for Men

• Telangana: 603 Muslim students secure convenor seats in MBBS



• Britain’s Sunak Appoints Egypt’s Mubarak-Era Minister As ‘Senior Treasurer’

• UK to hold inquiry into reports Afghan civilians killed British Special Forces

• Iran censures EU for new sanctions over protests

• Türkiye congratulates Bosnia and Herzegovina on obtaining EU candidate status

• Germany to maintain military presence in Mali until May 2024: Defence minister

• Bosnia-Herzegovina gets candidate status for EU membership


Arab World

• Dr. Al-Sheikh, Saudi Minister And Sheikh Al-Deen Of Russia Sign Executive Program For Rehabilitating Russian Imams, And Muezzins

• Lebanon’s caretaker PM says those responsible for Irish soldier’s death will be punished

• Saudi Arabia launches cultural capability development strategy

• Hajj and Umrah Conference returns to enrich religious, cultural experiences

• Around 80,000 Saudi citizens trained, qualified to work in tourist sector: Minister

• Saudi inflation rate eases to 2.9 pct in November; housing costs behind price rises

• UN chief urges 'swift' investigation into killing of Irish peacekeeper in Lebanon



• Nasarawa School Graduates 7, Honours 4 Muslims for Contributions To Islam

• Police officer killed during protests in Jordan over high fuel prices

• Libya’s Dbeibah defends extradition of alleged Lockerbie bomber


North America

• Ex-Twitter Employee Sentenced To 42 Months In Prison For Selling Info About Dissidents To Saudi Arabia

• Inquiry possible into forged papers sent to Muslim charity, Trudeau says

• Ontario man charged in FBI investigation into alleged Islamic State financial support

• Netanyahu: US needs to reaffirm support for allies, including Saudi Arabia

• US Congress urged to repeal war authorization to assure no ‘unchecked’ president could ‘misuse’ it



• Pakistan Miniature Satellite to Land on Moon with China's Probe to Detect Ice Traces on the Moon

• No enemy could do what General Bajwa Did to Pakistan: Ex-PM Khan

• Pakistan to increase its scholarships for students to go to universities in Türkiye

• Linking terrorism with Islam is mistaken notion: Bilawal

• FM Bilawal responds forcefully to Indian terror allegations

• Centcom chief Gen Michael Erik Kurilla hails Pakistan’s gains in fight against terrorism

• UK to extend technical support for economic improvement in Pakistan


South Asia

• Islamabad and Dushanbe Stress on Formation Inclusive Government in Afghanistan

• Afghan Nationals Make Half of Iran’s Foreign Investment

• Pakistan’s Policy towards Afghanistan to be reviewed: Pakistan Senate

• Pakistani Diplomat to Return to Kabul after Security Assurance: FO

• Afghan and Pakistani Forces in Yet another Cross-Border Armed Engagement

• Pakistan: Afghan Taliban shell border town, killing civilian


Southeast Asia

• Residents of Daegu Protest Mosque Construction with Pork Barbecue Stepping Up the Ongoing Clash with Muslim Residents of the City

• DAP critic Ridhuan Tee axed from RTM's Islamic forum

• Kit Siang criticised for 'provocative and extremist statements'



• Netanyahu: Unprecedented Iran Protests Have Led To US ‘Rethinking’ Of Nuclear Deal

• Mahmoud Abbas says against armed military resistance with Israel

• Turkiye makes arrests over alleged Israeli Mossad operation targeting Palestinians

• Palestine welcomes UN resolution in favour of Palestinian sovereignty over natural resources

• Palestinian activist’s family seeks ICC probe into his death

• Ansarullah warns UAE of retaliation if war on Yemen not stopped

• Car bomb blast in southeast Turkey wounds eight police officers: Security sources

• Police officer killed during clashes in southern Jordanian city: Police source

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



18 Pre-University Students in Mangaluru Suspended For Supporting Inter-Faith Relationship


Representative Image


14th December 2022

A private PU (pre-university) college in Vittalm, Mangaluru, has reportedly suspended 18 students over an alleged inter-faith relationship. The management has asked the students to appear only for the upcoming exams in March 2023.

According to a report by Deccan Herald, the college management was made aware of a relationship between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy.

When gossip about a love affair between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy started doing the rounds, the college management decided to inspect the mobile phones and bags of the students.

Upon inspection, they found an alleged love letter addressed to a Hindu girl by a Muslim boy. The boy was absent on that day.

The management asked the girl’s parents to come over and told them that their daughter need not attend further classes but can appear for exams in March 2023.

Meanwhile, as news of the girl’s suspension spread, the Muslim boy attended the class the following day. He faced the ire of a few Hindu boys who questioned him over his alleged affair with the girl.

As soon as the management came to know about the incident, they asked the parents of the Muslim as well as Hindu boys to come over for a discussion. As the discussion was held, it was revealed that there were six other Muslim boys had helped the alleged couple.

The college management then decided to put everyone, including the six Muslim students who support their friend, involved under suspension. They told their parents that their children can come to college only during the examination.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Over 120 Arrested As Moroccans Face 'Racist Violence' In France after World Cup Clash




Esra Taskin  



More than 120 people were arrested on Wednesday night for what lawmakers denounced as “racist violence” in Paris and other French cities after France’s World Cup semifinal win over Morocco.

Some 10,000 police officers were mobilized across France over fears of possible riots, including 5,000 for Paris and the surrounding area alone.

Despite the measures, Moroccan fans faced verbal and physical attacks from some far-right groups as raucous celebrations erupted across the country after France won the game 2-0.

At least 115 people were arrested in total in Paris and its surrounding areas, local media reported.

Among them were 40 far-right suspects who were trying to reach the Champs-Elysees, the capital’s busiest spot that was packed with football fans, the reports said.

Violence was also reported in major cities such as Lyon, Nice, and Montpellier.

At least six people, including two members of a right-wing group, were arrested after a fight between rival fans in Lyon, according to reports.

French lawmaker Thomas Portes condemned the “planned attacks” and “racist violence” against Moroccan fans.

“We are close to a tragedy. We must react,” he wrote on Twitter.

Antoine Leaument, another parliamentarian, said “fascists … shouting racist remarks” attacked Moroccan fans in Nice.

“Racism is a crime,” he said in a tweet, calling for the perpetrators to be punished according to French law.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Peace Accord with S. Arabia Will Lead to Resolution of Conflict with Palestinians, Says Netanyahu


A screenshot of presumed incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking in an interview with Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya that was aired on December 15, 2022. (Twitter screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)


December 16, 2022

A peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel would lead to a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish state’s prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Al Arabiya, a Saudi daily, on Wednesday.

Netanyahu suggested that extending the progress made in the 2020 Abraham Accords — a peace initiative between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain — to other Arab states would be a more effective route to peace than engaging with Palestinian leaders directly, who he alleged, were not willing to recognise Israel.

“I think peace with Saudi Arabia will serve two purposes: It will be a quantum leap for an overall peace between Israel and the Arab world, it will change our region in ways that are unimaginable,” he said.

“And I think it will facilitate, ultimately, a Palestinian-Israeli peace. I believe in that. I intend to pursue it.”

Netanyahu pointed the blame at Palestinian leaders for the failure to achieve peace.

“The reason we’ve not had an Israeli-Palestinian peace is because the Palestinian… leadership for the last century has refused to do what is finally happening in the rest of the Arab world — and that is to recognise that the state of Israel is here to stay.”

But Benjamin Netanyahu added that achieving peace with Riyadh was “up to the leadership of Saudi Arabia”.

In 2002, Saudi Arabia spearheaded the Arab Peace Initiative, a proposal to achieve Arab-Israeli peace if Israel agreed to reverse all occupation of Arab territories. When asked about the initiative and if he was prepared to use it as a blueprint, Netanyahu avoided committing to the terms it laid out.

He said it was “an indication of a desire to end the conflict in all its terms, but I think 20 years later we need to have a fresh view”.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the biggest backers of the Palestinian cause and has repeatedly stated that it needed to see a Palestinian state before taking up normalisation with Israel.

Although Riyadh has not officially commented on the Abraham Accords, there have been signs of a thaw in relations in recent years.

In an Oct 2020 interview with Al Arabiya, the influential former Saudi Ambassador to the US Bandar bin Sultan said: “The Palestinian cause is a just cause, but its advocates are failures. And the Israeli cause is unjust, but its advocates have proven to be successful.”

Source: Dawn

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Blasphemy: Sharia Court Sentences Kano Cleric Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara To Death By Hanging


Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abduljabbar Kabara,


December 15, 2022

An Upper Sharia Court sitting in Kano on Thursday sentenced Islamic cleric Sheikh Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara to death by hanging.

The Sharia court also ordered the State Government to seize the two mosques belonging to the accused.

The Kano State government had barred the cleric (Sheikh Kabara) from preaching in the State for his mode of teachings which were considered “too incendiary.”

The court presided over by Khadi Ibrahim Sarki Yola, convicted the embattled cleric after finding him guilty of the charge of blasphemy leveled against him.

“This Honorable Court is convinced that the prosecution counsels have proven their case beyond reasonable doubt.

“Therefore, the court has convicted the defendant of all the charges leveled against him, hence, sentenced him to death by hanging,” the judge, Khadi Ibrahim Sarki Yola said on Thursday.

Khadi Ibrahim Sarki Yola also urged the media to refrain from using any of Abduljabbar’s teachings and pictures.

Sheikh Kabara, who denied any wrongdoing, said he will not beg for leniency.

“I am ready to die and I will die like a hero,” he said.

The cleric has only 30 days to appeal the judgment, failure to which he will forfeit his right of appeal and will be hanged until he dies.

During the court proceeding, Counsel to the defendant, Barrister Aminu Ado Abubakar, prayed the court to accord leniency to the accused cleric, arguing that his client committed what he did out of ignorance.

But in what surprised everyone, the accused (Sheikh Kabara) stood up promptly and told the court he did not know the lawyer who claimed to be his legal counsel.

“I don’t know him. This is the first time I am seeing him. He should not be allowed to speak on my behalf. I can and should be allowed to speak for myself,” he stated.

The trial judge however responded that the lawyer is recognised by the court as the defence counsel.

“My lord, after I heard how you twisted all my evidence, you turned around all my submissions upside down, you have assigned words to me that I have never uttered.

“Deliver your judgement and I am not asking for leniency at all. I want all my followers to know that I will die a hero and I don’t want you (the judge) Ibrahim Sarki Yola to do me any favour or grant me leniency. This is my last word. Assalamu Alaikum,” Kabar told the judge.

Source: The Nation Online Nigeria

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Canadian Charged With Trying To Set Up GoFundMe Accounts To Raise More Than US$20,000 For The Islamic State

December 15, 2022

U.S. authorities have charged a Toronto man they say used Bitcoin Cryptocurrency and set up GoFundMe accounts to try to raise more than US$20,000 for the Islamic State terrorist group.

A U.S. criminal complaint unsealed in New York describes Khalilullah Yousef as a 34-year-old Canadian citizen and one of four members of an alleged terrorist fundraising conspiracy.

Mr. Yousef was arrested by police in Canada this week and now faces a U.S. extradition bid. The other three suspects are Americans citizens arrested in the eastern United States and are in their 20s or 30s.

All are facing charges that they conspired to provide material support for the Islamic State (IS). U.S. authorities say detectives unfurled the plot by using a confidential informant to spy on an encrypted group chat.

In that discussion, which began in early 2021, participants are alleged to have talked about raising funds to support the terrorist group – including by launching crowdfunding sites in the name of charitable causes.

But the ultimate intent was to help IS buy bullets and ammunition, according to a sworn statement from U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent Melissa Garcia.

In court documents, she states that more than US$25,000 in total cryptocurrency funds were routed from the conspirators to an unnamed Islamic State facilitator who claimed to be part of the group’s “central media organization.”

The FBI says that the lion’s share of donated cryptocurrency funds came from the Canadian suspect. He is accused of sending the equivalent of US$20,348 in bitcoin in 26 transactions between February, 2021 and July, 2022.

It is not clear how Mr. Yousef acquired the money. The criminal complaint says he created several GoFundMe pages where he urged donors to give money under pretexts, including to “help raise funds for some needy families for Eid.”

The complaint says that Mr. Yousuf came to the attention of U.S. authorities after the March, 2021, arrest of another suspected IS supporter. FBI searches of that suspect’s computers revealed “over 1,700 communications” involving Mr. Yousuf, according to the court-filed criminal complaint.

Last winter, when Ottawa invoked the Emergencies Act, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the federal government was taking measures to better scrutinize online money flows.

“We are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules so that they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment service providers they use. These changes cover all forms of transactions, including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies,” she said at the time.

The federal government gave greater authority to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada to scrutinize large and suspicious transactions.

In a statement, the organization said it could not comment on the new U.S. case. “FinTRAC is prohibited from speaking to information that it may have received or financial intelligence that it may or may not have disclosed to law enforcement or national-security agencies,” said spokeswoman Erica Constant.

GoFundMe said in an e-mail that it is in full compliance with all applicable rules and regulations: “While we do not comment on pending legal investigations, GoFundMe’s Terms of Service explicitly prohibit activities that support terrorism, and it is our policy to co-operate with formal law enforcement requests,” said spokesman Jalen Drummond.

Source: The Globe And Mail
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We Cannot Let Another '9/11 of New York' Or '26/11 of Mumbai' Happen Again': Indian Foreign Minister

Dec 15, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar hit out on Thursday at double standards on terrorism practised by China and Pakistan and said that the international community should collectively act against those countries trying to gain politically from it.

"We cannot let another '9/11 of New York' or '26/11 of Mumbai' happen again," he declared at the Security Council briefing on counter-terrorism.

Jaishankar quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi: "We consider that even a single attack is one too many and even a single life lost is one too many. So, we will not rest till terrorism is uprooted."

The "challenge is how do we deal with double standards, both inside and outside this Council", he said without mentioning China or Pakistan by name.

"The contemporary epicentre of terrorism remains very much alive and active, whatever gloss may be applied to minimise unpleasant realitiesa and "we cannot forget that old habits and established networks are still alive, especially in South Asia", he said.

There were double standards in taking action against terrorists, he said, in a reference to China blocking sanctions against Pakistan-based terrorists.

Jaishankar said that the "same criteria are not applied to sanctioning and prosecuting terrorists. It would seem sometimes that the ownership of terrorism is more important than its perpetration or its consequences".

"For too long, some have persisted with the approach that terrorism is just another instrument or stratagem. Those invested in terrorism have used such cynicism to carry on."

He warned: "It is not just plain wrong but could be downright dangerous, even for the very people whose toleration extends this far."

"No individual state should endeavour to seek political gain from terrorism and none of us collectively should ever put up with such calculations," he said.

"When it comes to tackling terrorism, we must overcome our political differences and manifest a zero-tolerance approach," he said.

At the start of the session, Jaishankar called for a moment of silence in memory of the victims of terrorism, the Irish peacekeeper killed in Lebanon on Wednesday in Lebanon and all peacekeepers killed in UN operations.

Before Jaishankar spoke, Anjali Vijay Kulthe, a nurse from Cama and Albless Hospital in Mumbai, told the Council about her face-to-face encounter with Pakistan-based terrorists on 26/11 and how she worked to save mothers, mothers-to-be, and newborns at the medical centre.

Jaishankar called on the Council "to re-invigorate its counter-terrorism agenda. And that is overdue because the threat of terrorism has actually become even more serious".

He called for vigilance against new and emerging technologies being adopted by terrorists.

"This is likely to be the next frontier of our battle," he said. Terrorists "have diversified their funding portfolio and expanded their recruitment toolkit" by exploiting "the anonymity afforded by new and emerging technologies", he said.

Source: Times Of India

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‘Love Jihad’: Marriage Registrars in Madhya Pradesh May Soon Have To Get Police Pre-Verification of the Applicant Couples

December 16, 2022

To check ‘love jihad’, marriage registrars and other institutions responsible for solemnising marriages in Madhya Pradesh may soon have get police pre-verification of the applicant couples, said State Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Thursday.

Talking to journalists, Mr. Mishra said the Marriage Registrar Bureau and other institutions involved in the registration process, including the notary, receive information about the bride and the groom one month prior [to the date of wedding], and discuss it with the police. They should consider getting police verification done.

‘Love jihad’ is a term used to describe alleged efforts by Muslim men to convert Hindu women to Islam post marriage. “We are serious towards ‘love jihad’ and therefore the government is thinking seriously that the marriage registrars and organisations like Arya Samaj get mandatory police verification [of the couple] done. Decision will be soon taken in this regard,” he said in a statement.

Highlighting one such alleged case from Bhopal that came to light on Wednesday, the Home Minister said police verification will give the girls “double protection”.

“MP Religious Freedom Act [2021] is already in implementation in the State for the purpose. By getting police verification done, marriages where actual identity is hidden could be prevented before registration. Police verification does not mean that the ‘love jihad’ law is not effective, but we want double protection. Therefore the proposal is being mulled seriously so that in future no Shraddha [Walkar, the victim in the infamous Delhi murder case] has to lose her life and incidents like chopping of her body could be prevented,” the Minister said.

Source: The Hindu

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Annual Two Days Sunni Ijtema to be held at Mumbai, On December 16 the Ijtema Is Exclusively For Women and 18 for Men

By Aditya Poonia

December 16, 2022

Over three lakh Muslims are expected to gather at Azad Maidan for two days, Friday and Sunday, for the annual Sunni Ijtema, a religious meet, where community leaders will give speeches on social issues like the role of women in society, poverty, ignorance and obscenity in public. Ijtema is a congregation for preaching. This is the 30th annual ijtema being organised by the Sunni Dawat-e-Islami.

Source: Indian Express

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Telangana: 603 Muslim students secure convenor seats in MBBS

15th December 2022

Hyderabad: Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences has completed the three phases of web counseling. Total 603 Muslim candidates got admission in MBBS A category on the bases of NEET 2022 score in Telangana.,

The number of Muslim candidates under Category A selected for Government Medical Colleges including Osmania, Gandhi, Kakatiya Medical stood at 179, while 94 students got admission in non-minority private medical colleges and 330 students got admission in four Muslim minority medical colleges.

The cut-off marks for the BC-E category was 422 and for Muslim minority colleges stay at 424. The cut-off of the categories after the final stage mop-up stood at OC (General category) 449, BCA 360, BCB 437, BCC 372, BCD 444 and BCE 422 and SC 373 and ST remained at 376.

Source: Siasat Daily

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Britain’s Sunak appoints Egypt’s Mubarak-era minister as ‘senior treasurer’

15 December 2022

Britain’s ruling Conservative party has appointed as senior treasurer an Egyptian billionaire who served as transport minister under autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The Guardian said in a recent report that Mohamed Mansour was given the position by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday night during a reception for donors.

Mansour is the owner of Unatrac, a British construction supplier owned by Egypt’s Mansour Group, which has donated over 600,000 pounds to the Conservatives. He was Egypt’s transport minister between 2006 and 2009.

“It is a great honor and privilege to have been appointed as senior treasurer of the Conservative party and a member of the treasurer’s team of the party.”

“The prime minister is making the hard choices that are necessary during a tough period for the country and, as a proud British citizen, I look forward to working with the team to support the party and the country,” the tycoon said.

Mubarak’s 30-year rule over Egypt was defined by cronyism and repression. He was ousted during the popular uprising in 2011.

The longtime ruler died in 2020. Mubarak was charged alongside several of his associates with corruption and killing protesters. But many of the sentences were overturned after then army chief and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seized power from Egypt’s first democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi in a coup in 2013.

The Guardian news follows a series of scandals which have hit the British government and royal family.

In July, Prince Charles, the then heir to the British throne, faced new scrutiny over the financing of his charities after a report found that one organization had accepted a donation of 1 million pounds from the family of Osama bin Laden. Charles became King following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II in September. As first reported by The Sunday Times, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund received the donation in 2013 from the brothers Bakr and Shafiq bin Laden, half brothers of Osama, the founder of al-Qaeda terrorist group and architect of the 9/11 attacks.

Source: Press TV

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UK to hold inquiry into reports Afghan civilians killed British Special Forces

15 December 2022

Britain's military has announced it would launch an inquiry into reports that its Special Forces carried out dozens of extrajudicial killings in Afghanistan.

The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) would concede to longstanding demands for an “independent statutory inquiry,” defense minister Andrew Murrison said in the House of Commons on Thursday.

BBC reported earlier this year that British elite Special Air Service (SAS) killed Afghan civilians "in cold blood".

Murrison said the Afghanistan inquiry, which is to start in early 2023, will focus on alleged unlawful killings by the British Special Forces during deliberate detention operations in Afghanistan from mid-2010 to mid-2013.

It will also examine the “adequacy of subsequent investigations” by the Ministry of Defense into allegations of wrongdoing, including murder.

However, Murrison noted the inquiry will ensure that all service personnel, veterans and current and former civil servants who are asked to engage with the inquiry will be given full legal and pastoral support.

The announcement follows reports that 54 Afghans were killed in suspicious circumstances by one SAS unit in Helmand province between 2010 and 2011, and accusations that this amounted to war crimes.

Tessa Gregory, from the UK law firm which is representing the families of the deceased, said an inquiry should have been launched years ago.

“The allegations of extrajudicial killings and cover-up are of such gravity, and the concerns expressed contemporaneously within the British and Afghan army and by a reputable international organization working on the ground in Afghanistan were so serious and so widespread, that an inquiry should have been instituted by the government years ago,” she said.

The families of eight people, including three young boys, reportedly murdered by British Special Forces in two separate operations during night raids in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2012 welcomed the inquiry, saying they waited 10 years for justice.

“Over 10 years ago, I lost two of my brothers, my young brother-in-law and a childhood friend, all boys with a life ahead of them,” one of the family members said.

“I was handcuffed, beaten and interrogated outside our family home by British soldiers.

“My relatives and friend were each shot in the head as they sat drinking tea.

“My family has waited 10 years to find out why this happened."

The family member expressed relief that “after so many years, someone is going to investigate this thoroughly”.

Source: Press TV

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Iran censures EU for new sanctions over protests

15 December ,2022

Iran condemned the European Union on Thursday for imposing new sanctions on the Islamic republic over its response to protests sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

Protests have swept Iran since the September 16 death of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after her arrest in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic's dress code for women.

Officials in the country say hundreds of people have been killed in the street violence, including dozens of security forces, and thousands have been arrested.

The EU announced on Monday sanctions targeting Iran's state broadcaster IRIB, its army chief, Revolutionary Guards commanders and a cleric over what it called the “repression” of the protests.

Iran's foreign ministry hit back on Thursday, branding the 27-member bloc's move as “unacceptable and groundless”.

“Iran's police and security forces have tried to control rampant violence in accordance with very precise and specific rules of conduct... as well as our religious teachings, based on respect for human rights and the rights of every individual,” it said in a statement.

Courts in Iran have sentenced 11 people to death in connection with the protests, and two people have been executed in the past week. Campaigners say a dozen other defendants face charges that could see them also receive the death penalty.

The EU also slapped sanctions on eight drone makers and air force commanders accused of being involved in supplying UAVs to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

Iran, however, maintains it has not sent any weapons to Russia to be used in the conflict.

The Islamic republic's “fundamental position in the Ukraine crisis is to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the need to end the conflict through political solutions,” the foreign ministry said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Türkiye congratulates Bosnia and Herzegovina on obtaining EU candidate status

Faruk Zorlu  


Türkiye congratulated Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday for being granted candidate status for European Union membership.

"We welcome the aforementioned decision of the EU and consider that it will make a contribution to the peace and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

EU leaders approved the decision at a summit in Brussels following a recommendation by the European Commission in October and voting in the European Council and General Affairs Council this week.

"We believe that the conditions specified in the decision will be fulfilled by Bosnia and Herzegovina as soon as possible, and we expect the EU to constructively support the process," it added.

Stressing Türkiye's role in the peace and prosperity of the Balkans and its support of all efforts in this direction, it said: "Within this framework, Türkiye has supported the integration of the Balkan countries with the EU and the Euro-Atlantic institutions from the very beginning."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Germany to maintain military presence in Mali until May 2024: Defence minister

Ahmet Emin Dönmez 


YAOUNDE, Cameroon

Germany will maintain its military presence in Mali until the end of the transition period in May 2024, the country's defense minister said Thursday.

Christine Lambrecht attended a meeting with her Malian counterpart Colonel Sadio Camara in the Malian capital Bamako.

Germany will maintain a military presence until 2024 when the military transition period in country ends, Lambrech stressed, noting that the purpose of her visit was to confirm cooperation between the two countries.

Germany has about 1,100 soldiers stationed at the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.

The rapprochement of Lieutenant Colonel President Assimi Goita, who took over the government in Mali through the 2021 military coup, with Russia caused the reaction of Western countries.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Bosnia-Herzegovina gets candidate status for EU membership

Talha Ozturk  



The European Council on Thursday granted Bosnia-Herzegovina a candidate status for EU membership.

The EU leaders approved the decision at a summit in Brussels following a recommendation by the European Commission in October and voting in the EU Council and General Affairs Council this week.

The bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell welcomed the decision.

"This is a decision for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political leaders can now turn this ambition into reality through decisive reforms," he said.

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry congratulated Bosnia-Herzegovina on its gaining EU candidate status.

"This decision is important for the EU, the Western Balkans region and for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We congratulate BiH on this historic day!" it said in a statement.

Oliver Varhelyi, an EU commissioner for enlargement, welcomed the decision as well, saying that Bosnia's future lies in the EU.

"The time has finally come! Bosnia and Herzegovina is now one step closer to the European Union," Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said.

Denis Becirovic, a Bosniak member of the tripartite Bosnian presidency, said that the decision is an encouragement for all the citizens.

"With this decision, the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU are further strengthened. The candidate status is a step forward in the process of European integration, although there is still a lot of work to be done," he added.

Bosnian Croat leader, Dragan Covic, who officially submitted Bosnia's application for the EU membership in 2016 as the chairman of the presidential council, said it took almost seven years to reach the decision on Thursday.

"We can last in this status for years. Our goal is to get out of this status by the end of next year. We have been given a hand, we must accept it to the end," Covic said.

Serb leader Milorad Dodik said he already lost his optimism.

"I admit that if it was a few years ago, I would have been more optimistic. Now I don't really care. Basically, I think that this is not part of the regular procedures. I think it's a belated reaction to the injustice that was done this year, after granting Ukraine and others that status," he said.

Bosnia-Herzegovina's top priorities are joining the political and economic community of European states, along with joining NATO.

The Balkan country became a potential candidate for the bloc during the European Council summit in Thessaloniki in 2003.

It officially applied for EU membership in 2016.

Candidacy status is the first step in a country's long-term EU accession process.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Arab World


Dr. Al-Sheikh, Saudi Minister And Sheikh Al-Deen Of Russia Sign Executive Program For Rehabilitating Russian Imams, And Muezzins

December 15, 2022

JEDDAH — Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif Bin Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh signed Thursday with the Head of the Religious Administration of Muslims of Russia Sheikh Rawi Ain Al-Deen, the executive program of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) previously signed between the two sides in Islamic fields.

The two sides agreed to carry out the MoU's executive program through diplomatic channels for the years 2023-2024-2025, holding scientific training sessions in Russia for rehabilitating preachers, imams, and muezzins to introduce Islam and explain its virtues, tolerance, and fight against extremism.

The executive program also called for both side clarifying their position on current issues, and supplying copies of the Holy Qur’an of King Fahd Complex to the Russian Muftis Shoura Council and the religious administration of Muslims in Russia.

The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance reaffirmed that under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Russian President Vladimir Putin, relations between the two countries experienced significant growth and cooperation in a variety of fields.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Lebanon’s caretaker PM says those responsible for Irish soldier’s death will be punished

December 16, 2022

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati said on Friday that investigations into the killing of an Irish soldier on a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon were ongoing, adding that those responsible “will be punished,” according to a statement.

Source: Arab News

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Saudi Arabia launches cultural capability development strategy


December 15, 2022

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has launched a cultural capability development strategy as part of the country’s Human Capabilities Development Program — a giant leap in the transformation process of the Kingdom’s education and culture sectors.

The Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education on Thursday launched the strategy in Riyadh. The plan aims to link academic output with the needs of the labor market in the cultural sector.

The 33-initiative strategy is a comprehensive national umbrella, under the support of the Saudi Vision Realization Program. It is also part of the Quality of Life Program, aiming to foster a creative generation that serves the 16 cultural sub-sectors on which the Ministry of Culture is focusing.

The strategy will help create a culture industry in accordance with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, which considers culture critical to improving quality of life.

The aforementioned ministries are collaborating with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, the Technical and Vocational Training Corp., the Education and Training Evaluation Authority, and the National eLearning Center on the strategy, which will work to include culture and the arts at all levels of public, technical and vocational education.

Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud said the strategy is a natural outcome of the great support and care the education and culture sectors are receiving from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“We always say that education comes first, especially in the fields of culture, arts, and creativity. So, we are, in light of this, launching the cultural capacity development strategy in order to develop the cultural and artistic capabilities and skills of society members, through a set of policies, standards, academic programs, and capacity development opportunities that can enrich cultural creativity in the Kingdom, ensure linking education outputs to the needs of the labor market and support sustainable practices in the cultural sector,” the minister said.

Minister of Education Yousef Al-Benyan said his ministry seeks to invest in human capital, as it is a significant element in building societies and developing nations.

“The inclusion of culture and arts in all education stages contributes to increasing competencies, developing the educational process, as well as remodeling activities and patterns of interaction; to create an attractive and inspiring learning environment,” he said.

Al-Benyan added that his ministry is implementing the strategy within an integrated project between various government entities, to hone local students’ talent and develop their capabilities to compete globally.

He affirmed his ministry’s readiness to support the strategy. The most important thing, he added, is to provide opportunities for talented minds in Saudi Arabia, and to nurture their abilities from an early age, in a way that can contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of the educational and cultural sectors, regionally and globally.

In a tweet posted on his official account, he said: “The strategy of developing cultural capabilities integrates with the efforts of the Ministry of Education in enhancing the national identity of male and female students, developing their skills, and investing their cultural talents in the educational environment to build globally competitive citizens.”

Source: Arab News

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Hajj and Umrah Conference returns to enrich religious, cultural experiences

December 15, 2022

JEDDAH: The Kingdom is set to host a conference and exhibition for Hajj and Umrah services aimed at improving the pilgrim experience at the Two Holy Mosques.

Organized by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Expo Hajj 2023 will bring together decision-makers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and researchers under one roof in Jeddah at the beginning of January next year.

The conference will involve discussions on pilgrim services, aiming to enhance the quality of pilgrimages while enriching the religious and cultural experiences of visitors. It comes as part of the Pilgrim Experience Program, a pillar of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Featuring a range of schemes and initiatives within the Hajj and Umrah sectors, several workshops will also be held to discuss activities through which the ministry seeks to achieve excellence and sustainability in serving pilgrims.

The conference will also present proposals for future projects to develop infrastructure and technical solutions, as well as rehabilitate religious sites and historical monuments.

On the sidelines of the conference, events and activities will take place in the presence of ministers of Islamic affairs, endowments, and Hajj, ambassadors and consuls in Saudi Arabia, in addition to pilgrim agency officials from the public and private sectors.

Source: Arab News

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Around 80,000 Saudi citizens trained, qualified to work in tourist sector: Minister

15 December ,2022

Saudi Minister of Tourism, Ahmed al-Khateeb, said the tourism sector in the Kingdom in particular, and the economy in general, was witnessing unprecedented growth, and called on hospitality operators, workers, and investors to keep pace with these rapid developments.

According to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the minister made the statement on Wednesday during his monthly meeting held virtually with more than 100 hospitality operators and investors from various parts of the Kingdom, in the presence of Princess Haifa bint Mohammed, Deputy Minister of Tourism, and a number of senior ministry officials.

During the meeting, al-Khateeb said the aim of the new tourism regulations was to support innovation and boost the tourism sector, underlining the Ministry’s keenness to attract investments in the tourism sector.

“The launch of the new tourism regulations, according to the minister, documents the aspirations of Kingdom’s leadership and attract investments -- one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Al-Khateeb said the Kingdom’s leadership was looking forward to diversifying the national economy, strengthening its non-oil economy, as well as attract 100 million visitors annually by 2030.

“We have been working on developing and enriching the tourism regulation in the Kingdom to culminate in a series of legislations and regulations issued over the past three years, with the aim of achieving the targets of the national strategy for tourism,” he added.

This involved upgrading and promoting the sector and its attractiveness based on the best practices that were selected based on the index of the top 20 countries in the competitiveness of travel and tourism issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The Tourism Minister stressed the importance of localizing the tourism sector and enhancing the role of citizens in its growth and prosperity, pointing out that the ministry has allocated $107 million (400 million riyals) to train and qualify 100,000 citizens to work in the local tourism sector, including 10,000 young men and women who are currently training outside the Kingdom in a some of the most prestigious hotel and tourism education institutions globally.

He pointed out that the ministry has so far completed the training of 80,000 Saudi young men and women, who are now ready to work in the sector.

The ministry is also currently moving towards adopting various technological innovations to enhance communication with various categories of beneficiaries, especially hospitality operators and investors.

Al-Khateeb also stressed that the ministry will not hesitate to protect investments and the rights of operators of hospitality facility operators, take care of them, and harness all capabilities that ensure their growth and prosperity.

He confirmed that the Ministry has adopted flexibility with regard to the requirements in the regions of Mecca and Madinah, including the allowing of the size of the hospitality units to differ from the standard specifications by no more than 30 percent of the size specified for no more than 20 percent of the total hotel units. The flexibility in requirements allow a 10 percent discrepancy rate in changing toilet spaces, exempting a four-star rating from a fitness room, and other exemptions that support hospitality facilities in the two holy cities.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Saudi inflation rate eases to 2.9 pct in November; housing costs behind price rises

15 December ,2022

Saudi Arabia’s annual inflation rate eased to 2.9 percent in November from 3 percent in October, government data showed on Thursday, with price rises driven mainly by housing costs.

Consumer prices increased slightly by 0.1 percent compared to October, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics said.

Housing rents rose by 5.4 percent, pushing the overall increase in housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels to 4.7 percent.

Food prices, which have been the main driver of increases in the last couple of months, increased by 3.6 percent while transport

costs rose 4 percent.

The Saudi government, in its recently released budget statement, forecast inflation in the Kingdom to average 2.6 percent by the end of 2022 “under the exceptional global circumstances.”

High oil prices have helped Saudi Arabia’s fiscal balance to tilt to its first surplus since 2013 this year, at 2.6 percent of GDP.

It also revised its GDP growth forecast for 2022 to 8.5 percent from 8 percent, boosted by an expansion in non-oil private sector activity.

Source: Al Arabiya

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UN chief urges 'swift' investigation into killing of Irish peacekeeper in Lebanon

Betül Yürük  



UN chief Antonio Guterres urged a "swift" investigation Thursday into the killing of an Irish peacekeeper in southern Lebanon, according to his spokesman.

Guterres is "deeply saddened" by the death of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeper, Stephane Dujarric told journalists.

"He urges a swift investigation by relevant authorities to determine the facts related to the incident and the need for accountability," he said.

The Irish soldier was killed and three other soldiers injured when their vehicle came under fire late Wednesday, according to the mission.

UNIFIL spokeswoman Andrea Teneti said details are still "sparse and conflicting" and added that UNIFIL is coordinating with Lebanese forces.

The multinational peacekeeping force has been deployed in southern Lebanon since 1978. Its primary objective is to maintain security in the region and monitor a cessation-of-hostilities agreement.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Nasarawa School Graduates 7, Honours 4 Muslims For Contributions To Islam

Dec 16, 2022

AN Islamic school based in Nyanya, Gwandara in Nasarawa State, Wa’dul Adabiyat School of Arabic and Islamic Studies, has graduated seven of its students after completing the learning of the Holy Qur’an.

The school also presented awards to four individuals for their contributions to the growth of Islam in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State and its environs.

The Ustadz-in-charge of the school, Alhaji Asim Amusat, called on parents to create time for their children to study the word of Allah.

According to Amusat, studying the Qur’an and understanding its message will enable the children to tread the path of Allah, be role models in the society and spread the message of Islam to the world.

He said those who were given awards have been outstanding in their contributions to the growth and development of Islam in the area.

“This is the 15th in the series of our Walimah Qur’an and we are happy for the progress so far. More than 100 students have passed through us and, Alhamdulillah (thank God), we have been able to impart in them the ways of Islam and how to relate with the people and promote peaceful coexistence in the society. They are our pride anytime any day.

“For the awardees, they have been outstanding in their contributions to Islam and we think we should give them the recognition they deserve and encourage them to do more,” Amusat said.

Source: Tribune Online Nigeria

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Police officer killed during protests in Jordan over high fuel prices

December 16, 2022

AMMAN: One senior police officer was killed on Thursday in clashes with demonstrators in the southern Jordanian city of Maan during protests over high fuel prices that spread to several cities across the kingdom, police and witnesses said.

In a statement, police said the officer was shot in the head while dealing with “rioting” by a group of outlaws in the impoverished city that has in the past seen bouts of civil unrest over fuel hikes and cuts to subsidies.

“We will strike with an iron fist anyone who tries to attack lives and property,” the police statement added.

A police source had earlier said the officer was shot by unknown assailants during clashes in the Husseiniya area of Maan. Four other policemen were injured, the source said.

Witnesses said a long convoy of armored vehicles was seen entering Maan as reinforcements were sent to the neighborhood where the police officer was killed.

Youths had clashed with police in several impoverished neighborhoods of the city and in the heavily populated industrial city of Zarqa, north east of the capital Amman, witnesses said.

Anti-riot police fired tear gas in the Jabal al Abyad neighborhood of the city of Zarqa to break up protests that broke out in Jordan’s second most populous city.

Witnesses said dozens of youths also staged a protest in the Tafiyla neighborhood of the capital, where police chased demonstrators who were chanting anti-government slogans.

Youths burned tires on a main highway between the capital and the Dead Sea, disrupting traffic, witnesses said.

In the north of the country near the border with Syria, youths clashed with police in several neighborhoods in Irbid, the country’s third-largest city by population.

Sporadic skirmishes spread to other smaller towns in the vicinity where police used tear gas to disperse stone throwing youths.

The US embassy issued a security alert saying US government personnel had been restricted from both personal and official travel to southern Jordan.

Tensions have been mounting in Maan and several cities in southern Jordan after days of sporadic strikes by lorry drivers protesting high fuel prices.

The government has promised to look into the strikers’ demands but has said it already has paid over $700 million (500 million dinars ) to cap fuel price hikes this year.

However, officials say they cannot spend more to subsidise prices because of limits in place under an International Monetary Fund (IMF)-backed structural economic reform program.

Shops in Maan and several other Jordanian provincial cities shut on Wednesday in solidarity with demands the government reduce diesel prices, which truck drivers blame for mounting losses.

Source: Arab News

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Libya’s Dbeibah defends extradition of alleged Lockerbie bomber

December 15, 2022

TRIPOLI: Libya’s interim prime minister on Thursday confirmed and justified the extradition of the man alleged to have made the bomb that destroyed a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988.

Tripoli-based premier Abdelhamid Dbeibah said he had “acted with respect for the sovereignty of Libya” in cooperating “when it comes to crimes committed outside its territory.”

Dbeibah has come under heavy criticism from political opponents and rights activists since the extradition.

Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, 71, who allegedly worked as an intelligence agent for the regime of former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, appeared in a US court on Monday to face charges for the terror attack that killed 270 people.

He was charged by the United States two years ago for the Lockerbie bombing.

Dbeibah, in a speech broadcast on national television, said Masud was “responsible for the bomb-making cell” in Qaddafi’s regime, and that “he is responsible for the deaths of more than 200 innocent people.”

Dbeibah added that it was important to “make the difference” in the case between the “responsibility of the Libyan state, and that of the individual,” stressing that as regards national responsibility, “the case has been definitively closed” since 2003.

“I will not allow it to be opened again,” he said.

In 2003, Libya agreed compensation for the victims of the bombing after lengthy talks with British and US officials, leading the UN to lift sanctions later that year.

“I no longer tolerate that Libya and its people pay for the consequences of more than 30 years of terrorist operations, and that Libyans are classified as terrorists because accused persons are in Libya,” added Dbeibah.

Only one person has been convicted over the deadliest-ever terror attack in Britain.

The New York-bound aircraft was blown up 38 minutes after it took off from London, sending the main fuselage plunging to the ground in the town of Lockerbie and spreading debris over a vast area.

The bombing killed all 259 people on the jumbo jet, including 190 Americans, and 11 people on the ground.

Two alleged Libyan intelligence operatives — Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet Al-Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah — were charged with the bombing and tried by a Scottish court in the Netherlands.

Megrahi spent seven years in a Scottish prison after his conviction in 2001 while Fhimah was acquitted.

Megrahi died in Libya in 2012, always maintaining his innocence.

Source: Arab News

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North America


Ex-Twitter employee sentenced to 42 months in prison for selling info about dissidents to Saudi Arabia

Michael Hernandez   



A former Twitter employee was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for acting as an undeclared foreign agent of Saudi Arabia, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Ahmad Abouammo, 45, was sentenced Wednesday to 42 months behind bars for using his role at Twitter to access, monitor and convey confidential and sensitive information that could be used to identify and locate people of interest to the Saudi royal family, the agency said in a statement.

“Mr. Abouammo violated the trust placed on him to protect the privacy of individuals by giving their personal information to a foreign power for profit. His conduct was made all the more egregious by the fact that the information was intended to target political dissidents speaking out against that foreign power,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen.

“We are committed to holding accountable those who act unlawfully as unregistered foreign agents and advance hidden influence campaigns on behalf of foreign regimes," he added.

Court records show Abouammo began receiving bribes from the Saudis beginning in at least December 2014 while he was a media partnerships manager for the Middle East and North Africa at Twitter. The bribes were made in exchange for information about dissidents and critics of the Saudi government and royal family.

Abouammo was convicted of lying to the FBI about the payoffs and he falsified a document about the payments in October 2018. The bribes came from a Saudi official who headed the royal family's "private office," and who was a minister of state before becoming a minister of defense and is now a deputy crown prince, according to the Justice Department.

Judge Edward Chen, of the Northern District of California, said in court while sentencing Abouammo that his actions were "serious" and "consequential," further emphasizing that "exposing dissident information is a serious offense."

Source: Anadolu Agency

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Inquiry possible into forged papers sent to Muslim charity, Trudeau says

December 15, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is open to pursuing an independent investigation into forged government documents that falsely suggest the RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency are paying informants within the Muslim Association of Canada to build a terrorist-funding case against the grassroots charity.

Although the evidence that the documents are fake is overwhelming, MAC remains skeptical that they didn’t originate inside the government, and is calling for an independent inquiry. Mr. Trudeau was asked by reporters whether he would heed that call.

“We are obviously very concerned about these reports of Islamophobic forged documents,” Mr. Trudeau said. “We are following up right now in understanding the situation. We will pursue an investigation if that is necessary.”

MAC operates mosques and community centres across the country. The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that, for more than year, the organization has been receiving documents from an anonymous sender that allege law enforcement and tax collection authorities are trying to entrap it by creating the appearance that it is funnelling money to extremist groups.

A Globe investigation found that the trove of documents – hundreds of pages sent in 11 packages from April, 2021, to late November of this year – are not authentic. They include fake RCMP search warrants, phony records of SWIFT money transfer payments to informants and printouts that look like internal government e-mails between RCMP personnel and CRA investigators. The CRA, the RCMP and the Bank of Canada have all said the documents are fake, and the authors of some of the supposed e-mails have sworn in affidavits that they didn’t write them.

The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group weighed in on Thursday, saying the “troubling allegations” of possible government targeting of MAC require further investigation by an independent party.

“Whether this is a hoax or not, the unfortunate reality is that we know Muslim Canadians and Muslim organizations have been targets for surveillance and criminalization under the guise of counterterrorism driven by systemic Islamophobia and racism. It is important that the government take this issue seriously and act on it quickly,” TICLMG national co-ordinator Tim McSorley said in a statement.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino, whose responsibilities include the RCMP, said the federal police force has assured him it will find out what happened. A police investigation would not satisfy calls from MAC and others for an independent probe.

“We have been in touch with law enforcement and I understand they are conducting their investigation to get to the bottom of this,” Mr. Mendicino told reporters.

He said the Mountie investigation must be done with great care, and he promised that the government will be transparent once it is completed.

”With the history of the community’s interactions with the RCMP and other institutions, it’s very important that there’s transparency about exactly what happened here. And obviously, if anyone broke the law in a way to target this organization … there should be an investigation and appropriate consequences that would follow from that.”

He also noted that the Liberals have tabled Bill C-20, which would create a public complaints commission that would provide independent civilian review of the RCMP.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, whose riding includes the part of Mississauga where MAC is based, called the allegations that the organization had been targeted “extremely troubling and serious.”

“I am going to let the RCMP do its investigation,” he said. “The way our system works is that politicians should not be directing the authorities – police and law enforcement – to influence their investigation.”

Ahmed Hussen, the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, declined to comment. He said he is staying silent because the matter is before the courts. (The purported targeting of MAC is not before the courts, although the charity is suing to stop an unrelated audit by the CRA.)

Four major Canadian Muslim organizations – the Canadian Muslim Public Affairs Council, Human Concern International, Justice for All Canada and Dawa Net – issued a joint statement saying the contents of the documents are “consistent with the experience of Canadian Muslims” over many years.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the statement said, national security agencies in Canada have increased their “surveillances and intimidation” of Muslims, eroding confidence in law enforcement.

“It is the government’s responsibility to thoroughly and transparently investigate these leaked documents,” the statement said. “The investigation must be independent, the results must be made public and those responsible must be held accountable.”

The Canadian Council of Imams issued a separate statement also urging the Prime Minister to order an “independent and transparent investigation to determine if these documents or their content are authentic and hold those involved in this unethical approach accountable.”

The fake records sent to MAC, which were obtained by The Globe, make it seem as if the charity is riddled with informants supplying the RCMP and the CRA with details of its operations. A purported Mountie “Informant Manifest” lists six informants who are supposedly working with the National Security Joint Operations Centre, as well as 18 “secondary asset” informants.

Perhaps the most explosive documents sent to MAC are purported records of cash payments and SWIFT wire transfers to RCMP and CRA informants who are supposedly supplying investigators with information on the organization.

The purported transfers show 13 payments into offshore bank accounts, supposedly for the benefit of three informants. All but one list the Bank of Canada as the sender. The documents show the equivalent of more than $320,000 being deposited into accounts in the British dependency of Guernsey.

But the Bank of Canada, in a statement to The Globe earlier this week, said the SWIFT transfer documents bearing its name are forgeries.

“We can confirm that the documents purporting to be SWIFT transfer records are not genuine,” the bank said.

The fake records sent to MAC portray the CRA as being under pressure from its leadership to nail the Muslim charity for wrongdoing. The documents make investigators appear willing to bend or break the rules in order to do so.

An e-mail dated March, 2022, and purportedly sent by Wayne Welch, an investigator with the CRA’s criminal investigation division in Mississauga, mentions the “urgency that the chief has placed on breaking ground on having a smoking gun on MAC.” It continues by saying: “We need to be more creative if not downright dirty in roping these bad actors in.”

Source: The Globe And Mail

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Ontario man charged in FBI investigation into alleged Islamic State financial support

December 15, 2022

An Ontario man has been charged after an FBI investigation uncovered an alleged scheme to use online campaigns disguised as humanitarian efforts to raise money for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The U.S. Department of Justice says the 34-year-old man was arrested by Canadian police Wednesday under a provisional arrest request, often the first step in the extradition process.

He is facing charges in the U.S., along with three Americans, for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.

The Canadian Department of Justice and the RCMP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

U.S. officials allege the Canadian was part of an encrypted social media group chat of ISIS supporters where members discussed posting donation links that appeared to support humanitarian causes but were actually intended to aid Islamic militants.

They allege he created multiple GoFundMe campaigns purportedly for humanitarian causes and allegedly contributed US$20,347 to a cryptocurrency address tied to the terrorist group.

Source: The Globe And Mail

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US Congress urged to repeal war authorization to assure no ‘unchecked’ president could ‘misuse’ it

15 December 2022

A coalition of 37 rights organizations and anti-war groups have urged the US Congress to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq, noting that such a measure could assure no other “unchecked” president could “misuse” the law to wage other wars.

The coalition has sent a letter to several Senate and Congress members, calling on the lawmakers to take action on what they called a “long overdue repeal.”

“Repealing this outdated and unnecessary law would constitute a basic act of constitutional hygiene while also ensuring that the 2002 Iraq AUMF cannot be misused to breathe new life into an unforeseen national security crisis, driven by an unchecked president,” reads part of the letter.

The 2002 resolution, dubbed the ‘Authorization for the Use of Military Force’ (AUMF), was overwhelmingly passed by the US Congress, granting the American president permission to wage military action – without the need for any Congressional approval – as laid out in the specific terms set in the legislative measure.

The resolution was used by former US president George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003. However, next presidents also used that despite the war in Iraq having ended.

One of the latest instances of reference to this resolution was in early January 2020 when ex-president Donald Trump ordered assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, along with the deputy chief of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

“This scenario has already played out once, in early 2020; there is nothing to prevent it playing out again, until Congress takes the 2002 Iraq AUMF off the books,” adds the letter.

By repealing the 2002 AUMF, Congress “would finally reclaim its constitutional war powers in a manner both deeply significant and increasingly uncontroversial. We urge you to seize this opportunity to get it off the books for good,” added the letter.

Efforts for repealing the resolution come as there is still a wider-ranging 2001 AUMF in place which was adopted in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

The congressional authorization has been applied entirely in Muslim-majority countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

Source: Press TV

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Pakistan Miniature Satellite to Land on Moon with China's Probe To Detect Ice Traces On The Moon

Dec 16, 2022

Pakistan will land on the moon with China. China space expert Andrew Jones tweeted on Thursday that Pakistan's ICECUBE-Q cubesat will fly to the far side of the moon in Beijing's lunar sample return mission, Change-6, slated for launch in 2025.

The role of the Pakistani instrument is to detect ice traces on the moon. Cubesats are miniature satellites based around a form factor consisting of 10cm cubes and weighing 2kg each.

Source: Times Of India

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No enemy Could Do what General Bajwa Did to Pakistan: Ex-PM Khan

By Arif Ahmadi

December 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Ouster Prime Minister Imran Khan said that General Qamar Javed Bajwa “did to Pakistan what no enemy could do to the country”, according to sources, adding that the former army chief gave NRO II to the then opposition.

Earlier this month, Khan accused Bajwa of playing a “double game” against the government, saying he committed a “big mistake” when extended the tenure of then military chief in 2019.

“Gen (retd) Bajwa asked me to grant NRO II to the then opposition when the government had to pass laws related to the Financial Action Task Force,” the PTI chief said in his address to the nation via video link, as The Siasat Daily quoted. “It was Gen (retd) Bajwa who gave NRO II to the then opposition.”

Khan said the way his party was treated in the past seven months was “unprecedented”.

“(Our allies) were receiving calls from unknown numbers and were asked to stop supporting Imran Khan,” he said.

“What happened with Arshad Sharif, Azam Swati, Shahbaz Gul and Jameel Farooqui happened only because they were giving statements in our favour,” he added.

The PTI chairman said he did not witness the kind of violation of human rights during the rule of former dictator General (Pervez) Musharraf that happened this time, Express Tribune reported.

“No enemy could do what General (retd) Bajwa did to Pakistan.”

“I want the establishment to be neutral so its honour increases,” he pressed and noted that the distance between the establishment and the public had widened over the last few years.

He reiterated that a strong army was in the country’s best interest and he did not want the institution to weaken. He pointed out that criticising some “black sheep” in the institution was “not the same as criticising the army”.

Earlier, Ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan accused former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa of playing a “double game” against the government, according to sources, saying he committed a “big mistake” when extended the tenure of then military chief in 2019.

Khan made the remarks during an interview with a local TV channel on Saturday, days after he hoped the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir will work to end the prevailing trust deficit between the nation and the State.

“I would believe in everything General Bajwa would tell me because our interests were the same… that we had to save the country,” said 70-year-old Khan, as India Today quoted.

The Paksitan Tahreek Insaf (PTI) chairman also claimed he received reports from Intelligence Bureau (IB) on “what games were being played against his government”.

He claimed that then military establishment was in contact with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif to topple his government and the plot against him became clear following the removal of Lt Gen (retd.) Faiz Hameed as ISI chief in October 2021.

General Omar Javed Bajwa as Pakistan’s Army Chief

On November 29, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa retired after completing a six-year tenure as head of country’s all-powerful military. General Syed Asim Munir was appointed for the position.

“Under the leadership of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army demonstrated exemplary services in effectively dealing with various challenges, including the country’s exclusion from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List, COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent flashfloods,” the PM office said in a statement.

“You had the honor of leading the best army in the world,” he added as quoted by the Arab News.

In an interview published in an international media outlet on Sunday, Bajwa reiterated the army’s resolve to remain apolitical and – in an apparent reference to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party – said that a campaign had been launched against the armed forces because it refused to intervene in politics.

“Despite some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives, the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast,” the outgoing army chief said in the interview, as Arab News reported.

“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.”

Source: Khaama Press

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Pakistan to increase its scholarships for students to go to universities in Türkiye

December 15, 2022

ISLAMABAD: A high powered delegation led by the Ambassador of Türkiye to Pakistan Mr Mehmet Paçacı called on the Federal Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain here on Thursday.

Rana Tanveer said the two countries have cultural, linguistic and people to people love for each other. He discussed exchange of expertise and knowledge regarding Vocational and Technical Training.

He said the two countries can benefit from the experience of each other. He acknowledged and praised the long standing brotherly relation between the two countries.

The Minister welcomed the exchange of teachers and students to further mutual cooperation especially for Skilled Vocational Training. He said that there is significant potential in cooperation between the two countries.

He said that Pakistan will increase its scholarships for students to go to universities in Türkiye to enhance people to people love and cooperation.

The Ambassador said that people of Türkiye have deep affiliation with Pakistan. He said University to University cooperation and Technical Institution to Technical Institution collaboration is the way forward. He briefed the Minister about the multiple ongoing projects by the Government of Türkiye under Turkish cooperation and coordination Agency (TIKA).

The projects cover a wide range of socio-economic aspects. He was told that TIKA completed 20 such projects in 2022 alone. The Minister was briefed about the various ongoing projects such as development of an Incubation center at QAU, establishment of Ultrasound ward and solarization of DHQ at D.I Khan..

Establishment of fashion design and culture centre in GB, Upgradation of medical equipment for Thalassemia patients in various hospitals, establishment of mobile health units in rural Sindh and Balochistan in addition with numerous primary and secondary schools that have more than 13,000 students enrolled.

Both delegations agreed to revive the Pak Turk Mobility grant Program which will enhance exchange of teachers between the two countries. In addition with that construction of Centre of Hospitality at NSU will also take place.

Rana Tanveer Hussain said that the future is in Vocational Training of the population of Pakistan. He said that it provides the best opportunity to the people to find jobs.

He said Pakistan and Türkiye through NAVTTC should exchange teachers and students to learn from the expertise of each other. Rana Tanveer Hussain praised the current government’s efforts in modernising the education system of Pakistan.

The Minister thanked the Ambassador and highlighted the cordial and friendly relations between the two countries. He said the two countries have shared history and literature.

Source: Pakistan Today

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Linking terrorism with Islam is mistaken notion: Bilawal

16 December, 2022

NEW YORK (Dunya News) – Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday urged the international community to help Pakistan combating and go after those who backed, supported, financed and facilitated terrorism in Pakistan.

The foreign minister, in a press briefing, after he hosted the Ministerial Conference of G-77 Plus China, apprised the media of a dossier issued by Pakistan containing the pieces of evidence of Indian involvement in a terror attack in Johar Town area of Lahore in 2021.

He said Pakistan had also sought the United Nations to list four individuals associated with the attack in Pakistan which was aimed at targeting Pakistan’s economic engagement with China under One Belt and One Road Initiative.

He said a former Indian National Security Advisor was also on record to have confessed the Indian backing of terrorism in Pakistan.

Calling upon the Indian government to end such tactics, the foreign minister said the terrorists would not be content to attack only Pakistan rather one day they would hit India too.

To a question, he said “Osama Bin Laden is dead but the Butcher of Gujarat is alive and the prime minister of India. This the prime minister and foreign minister of RSS which derives inspiration from Hitler.”

He said the RSS did not believe in the ideology of Gandhi but instead treated his killer as a hero.

“We should finally work together to put an end to this longstanding point of irritation between the two countries…Let us look to the future and ensure to going forward,” he remarked.

He told the media that in an open debate held on Wednesday, Pakistan had sought reforms and emphasised that permanent members had been unable to address the host of issues at the UN which necessitated the further democratisation of the world body.

Regarding the UNSC’s meeting on counter-terrorism, he said it could have been more “inclusive and transparent” if it was held as an open debate allowing all countries, particularly like Pakistan to share its experiences and strategy to defeat terrorism.

He said Pakistan was proud to have fulfilled two action plans of the FATF simultaneously and owing to the very achievement, Pakistan aspired to become the FATF member to share its experiences with other countries.

Bilawal Bhutto said that linking terrorism with Islam is mistaken notion. He called for the world to move away from the Islamophobic narrative and framing of terrorism as terrorism knew no religion or boundaries.

He said instead of knowing Muslims as a victim of terrorism, they were defined by those who carried out the attacks because the perpetrators were Muslims.

He said as per statistics, more Muslims were killed in terrorist attacks from 2001 to 2022.

About the flood-caused devastation in Pakistan, the foreign minister told the media that many parts of Sindh and Balochistan were yet under water.

He said the flood-hit areas were faced with climate, health and education emergency with malaria spreading and 47% of schools infrastructure partly or completely damaged.

He thanked the UN Secretary-General, who would co-host a conference in Geneva on January 9, for building climate resilience of Pakistan.

Coming to Afghanistan, the foreign minister called for the international community to engage with the Afghan government and also emphasised the measures to address the challenging economic situation of the war-torn country deteriorated by the frozen assets and closed banking channels.

However, he also urged the Afghan government to fulfill its commitment with the international community for the rights of women and girls’ education.

Asked about the attack on Imran Khan, the foreign minister emphasised the Punjab government to carry out a thorough investigation into an attack on the former prime minister. For the federal government’s part, the prime minister has written a letter to the superior judiciary for a judicial commission, he added.

He opposed the notion of the popularity of Imran Khan saying that he had lost his own party’s seats in the by-election and that he failed to gather an impressive crowd for his Rawalpindi procession.

Regarding an attack on Pakistan’s head of Mission in Kabul, he said the country had raised security concerns with the Afghan government which had also assured to apprehend the culprits.

He said the envoy was in Pakistan for consultations and would be back to his office once the security concerns were addressed.

Regarding the improvement in the Pak-US ties, he said after 2001, 90% of the discussions marked terrorism and extremism but currently it was replaced by talks on cooperation in health, climate change and economic opportunities.

Source: Dunya News

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FM Bilawal responds forcefully to Indian terror allegations

Anwar Iqbal

December 16, 2022

UNITED NATIONS: “The butcher of Gujarat lives, and he is the prime minister of India,” Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari told a UN briefing room on Thursday, minutes after his Indian counterpart accused Pakistan of perpetuating terrorism and sheltering Osama bin Laden.

“I would like to remind Mr Jaishankar that Osama bin Laden is dead, but the butcher of Gujarat lives, and he is the prime minister (of India),” said the Pakistani foreign minister while responding to Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs S. Jaishankar’s remarks.

“He (Narendra Modi) was banned from entering this country (the United States). These are the prime minister and foreign minister of RSS, which draws inspiration from Hitler’s SS,” he added.

Minutes before Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s briefing, Mr Jaishankar addressed the media at a UN stakeout site, repeating the allegations he made inside the UN Security Council on Wednesday, where he accused Pakistan of “hosting Osama bin Laden”.

Says not ‘pursuing or receiving’ discounted energy from Russia

He also responded to the remarks Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar made in Islamabad on Wednesday, calling India “the biggest perpetrator of terrorism”.

Mr Jaishankar said that Ms Khar’s remarks reminded him of the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Islamabad more than a decade ago when she reminded Pakistan that “if you have snakes in your backyard, you cannot expect them to bite only your neighbours”.

He claimed that Pakistan was “not great at listening to good advice … and now look what’s happening there. Today, it’s the epicentre of terrorism … and has its fingerprints over a lot of activities in the region and beyond”.

Urging Pakistan not to blame others, the Indian minister asked: “How long Pakistan intends to practice [terrorism] and hide it by taking that debate elsewhere? Please clean up your act. Please try to be a good neighbour.”

At Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s briefing, a journalist asked him why the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers were engaged in a war of words.

“This is not in a war of words. I have not noticed,” the minister said, adding that he was a victim of terrorism as his mother was killed by terrorists along with thousands of other Pakistanis.

“We have lost far more lives to terrorism than India did,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari while pointing out that “India has been playing in the space” that has made it “very easy” to bracket Muslims with terrorism. “India has very skilfully blurred this line, making like us all terrorists who are actually victims.”

The Pakistani foreign minister noted that India has continuously perpetuated this philosophy, not just for Pakistani but Muslims in India too.

Energy from Russia

Meanwhile, in an interview with PBS Newshour, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said Pakistan “is not pursuing or receiving” any discounted energy from Russia, according to a report.

“As far as Russia is concerned, we aren’t pursuing or receiving any discounted energy, but we are facing an extremely difficult economic situation, inflation, pump prices,” he said. He, however, admitted that Pakistan was facing energy insecurity. “We are exploring various avenues to expand our areas where we can get our energy from,” he said, adding that “any energy from Russia will take a long time for us to develop.”

Last week, State Minister for Petr­oleum Musadik Malik announced that Russia had decided to provide crude oil, petrol, and diesel to Pakistan at discounted rates. Mr Malik said that detailed terms and conditions of the discounted oil commodities would be settled during the upcoming visit of the Russian energy minister to Islamabad by mid-January, but rates would be similar to the discount being given to other countries or even cheaper.

Source: Dawn

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Centcom chief Gen Michael Erik Kurilla hails Pakistan’s gains in fight against terrorism

December 16, 2022

LANDI KOTAL: In his first visit to Pakistan after the change in the army’s command, US Central Command (Centcom) chief hailed the country’s gains in the fight against terrorism and visited the Torkham border crossing.

Centcom Commander General Michael Erik Kurilla also met Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir during his visit to the GHQ on Thursday, APP reported.

He acknowledged Pakistan’s achievements in flood relief and contributions to regional peace.

General Kurilla also held a delegation-level meeting with the army’s top brass where matters of mutual interest, regional stability, security cooperation and military ties were discussed, according to APP.

Later, the Centcom commander visited the Torkham border crossing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with an eight-member delegation, sources said.

The delegation, which arrived at the border crossing via a helicopter, was received by Peshawar Corps Commander Lieutenant General Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat.

The sources said Major General Noor Wali Khan, IG Frontier Corps, KP (North), briefed the delegation on the security and fencing of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The crossing was closed during the delegation’s visit and all activities were suspended leading to long queues of passengers and vehicles on both sides.

There are also concerns in the US over the resurgence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

“We remain committed to further degrading Al Qaeda, Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) and the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pak­­istan (TTP), and other terrorist groups that pose a threat to the US and our partners and allies,” the US State Department spokesperson told Dawn last week.

Source: Dawn

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UK to extend technical support for economic improvement in Pakistan

December 15, 2022

FAISALABAD: Counsellor and Group Head (Economy & Trade) British High Commission Islamabad Maheshwar Mishra Thursday said that mainstreaming of the female population could help Pakistan take a quantum jump towards economic improvement and the UK is ready to extend technical support for the purpose.

He was speaking during his visit to Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI). He had a detailed discussion with President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) Dr Khurram Tariq on this occasion.

Maheshwar underlined the importance of bilateral-trade between Pakistan and UK and said that Britain was one of the major trading partners of Pakistan. “Pakistan is included among the top five countries getting maximum financial assistance from the UK,” he said and added that Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office was extending a technical support to Pakistan so that it could graduate from developing to the developed countries.

He said that UK supported foundations and institutions and had launched many projects in Pakistan to improve its economy. He said that “Karandaaz” had been floated to support the SME sector through micro-finance support. This foundation had utilised a grant of 140 million euro, he said and added that the programme continued for ten years and now many more similar institutions had emerged to support this sector. Maheshwar said that the private sector of developing countries must follow the pattern of developed countries by treading on the growth trajectory initially by coping and utilising the technologies. He said that the government must provide a predictable policy environment and the private sector should talk to their government to catalyse industrial growth.

Dr. Khurram Tariq, President FCCI explained in detail the role of Faisalabad and FCCI and said that textile was the main economic strength of the city. However, other sectors were also playing their role to expedite the overall economic growth, he said.

Maheshwar Mishra said, “IT is one of the most promising sectors and we are contemplating to develop Faisalabad as an IT city on the pattern of silicon valley.” He said that the UK needs highly skilled human resources and Pakistan was ready to provide it in accordance with their requirement. He requested Mishra to identify the segment in which human resource was required, so that people could be trained in that specific sector with the technical support of UK experts.

Senior Vice President Dr Sajjad Arshad, Vice President Muhammad Aslam Bhalli, former president Women Chamber Mrs Nighat Shahid, Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry, Jawad Asghar, Engineer Ahmad Hassan, Muhammad Tayyab, Rana Muhammad Fayyaz and other executive members were also present during this meeting.

Source: Pakistan Today

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South Asia


Islamabad and Dushanbe Stress on Formation Inclusive Government in Afghanistan

By Saqalain Eqbal

December 15, 2022

The Prime Minister of Pakistan and the President of Tajikistan both underlined the imperative for an inclusive administration to be formed in Afghanistan, concurring that a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is to the security, prosperity and development of the region.

According to a statement from the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Tajik President, Emomali Rahmon paid a visit to Pakistan, upon an official invitation of the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of joint development matters as well as global and regional matters of shared interest during the president of Tajikistan’s two-day official visit to Pakistan.

The president of Tajikistan and the prime minister of Pakistan also exchanged congratulations on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to fostering additional bilateral cooperation in the areas of security and counterterrorism in order to address security challenges facing their countries as well as other countries in the region.

The officials of the two countries also signed 8 cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding vis-a-vis combating drug trafficking, trade and transit, industry and technology, and customs.

A call for the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan was made by the parties, who also announced an agreement between Islamabad and Dushanbe to increase their joint efforts to combat terrorism and support security and peace in Afghanistan.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan Nationals Make Half of Iran’s Foreign Investment

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

December 15, 2022

Afghan nationals are responsible for half of Iran’s foreign Investment in 2022 alone, stated, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the special envoy of the Iranian President for Afghanistan on Thursday.

Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the special representative of the Iranian President to Afghanistan said in his remarks, “Afghan nationals in Iran play a pivotal role towards the national economy. Half of Iran’s foreign investment comes from them, therefore, the high capacity of Afghan citizens should be utilized when the country is facing difficulties in attracting foreign investment.”

Mr. Qomi further added that during the past year the United Arab Emirates expelled 700 Afghan businessmen from this country, whose capital was estimated at $30 million. Unfortunately, we failed to attract this capital and embrace Afghan traders to invest in Iran.

Currently, Iran is plagued with a major challenge in attracting foreign investment. To address the issue the Iranian government needs to come up with a comprehensive policy to ensure that Afghan business owners can legally run their businesses and other economic activities without facing hurdles. In the past, the bank accounts of Afghan citizens were blocked for vague reasons which was a big blow to foreign investment.

The estimated assets of Afghan businessmen and companies operating in Khorasan province is around $1 billion according to the announcement of the Association of Afghan Economic Activists in Razavi Khorasan. This is a massive amount. To capitalize on the existing opportunity by providing work permits, visas, and license to Afghan citizens, Iran can attract more foreign investors from Afghanistan, the region, and beyond.

Source: Khaama Press

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Pakistan’s Policy Towards Afghanistan to be Reviewed: Pakistan Senate

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

December 16, 2022

Farook Hamid Naek, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs of Pakistan called on Islamabad to review its policy towards Afghanistan following the attack on the Pakistani Diplomatic Mission in Kabul.

Apparently, Pakistani politicians are frustrated with the failed assassination attempt on their Ambassador to Kabul, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani, which took place on December 2, 2022. Mr. Nizamani survived the attack but one of his security guards was critically injured.

“Peace and stability in Afghanistan were indispensable for Pakistan. However, the terror attack on our chief diplomat in Kabul and the on-and-off cross-border shelling in Spin Boldak suggests a dire need for Pakistan to review its foreign policy towards Afghanistan,” the senator said.

“We are functioning as the spokesperson for Afghanistan, not India, in the world, but on the contrary, the Afghan government often opposes Pakistan and uses guns against us, which is unfortunate,” said the Pakistan Peoples Party senator.

Meanwhile, the tensions between the security forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan are on the rise considering the recent cross-border shelling at the Chaman crossing point. The Pakistani politicians’ claim to be functioning as the spokesperson of Afghanistan in the world further undermines the credibility and independence of the de facto regime in Afghanistan. Pakistan in return expects respect and loyalty but receives opposition and gun-firing from Afghanistan’s Taliban government.

Pakistan and the world at large does not formally recognize Afghanistan’s interim government. Pakistan — along with China, Russia, Turkey, Qatar, and several other countries — has, however, kept its embassy in Kabul open.

Source: Khaama Press

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Pakistani Diplomat to Return to Kabul After Security Assurance: FO

By Nizamuddin Rezahi

December 16, 2022

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry announced that its diplomat ‘Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani’, who escaped unhurt in the Kabul attack, would return to Afghanistan after security assurance.

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a media briefing, Chargé d’affaires Nizamani was still in Pakistan and would leave once the consultation process was complete.

She described the recent visit of State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar to Kabul as “very successful that provided the opportunity to convey Pakistan’s concerns”. “We hope that the assurances given to us by the Afghan authorities will be fulfilled,” she said.

This comes as the terrorist attacks and bombings have intensified in Kabul over the past couple of weeks, the latest of which targeted the Chinese-run hotel, and the Diplomatic Mission of Pakistan in the heart of Kabul. These attacks sparked serious condemnation from world governments, NGOs, and organizations and signaled a lack of security for foreign nationals and business entities.

Meanwhile, this is the second time, shelling took place between the Afghan and Pakistani forces in Spin Boldak crossing the border over the past week, taking the lives of several civilians and injuring more from both sides. Pakistan warns of provoking firing of the Afghan Taliban security forces at the crossing point in Spin Boldak while the Taliban accuses the Pakistani military of the attacks.

Source: Khaama Press

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Afghan and Pakistani Forces in Yet Another Cross-Border Armed Engagement

By Saqalain Eqbal

December 15, 2022

Local authorities in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan said that Afghan and Pakistani forces re-engaged in an armed skirmish on Thursday near the Chaman border.

According to the local officials, the clash erupted between the Afghan and Pakistani sides on Thursday, December 15, at around 11:30 local time, in the Shiro Oba area of Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district, along the supposed Duran borderline.

Following a clash that occurred in the same week, four days ago, which left seven people dead and sixteen injured, there is currently an armed conflict between the parties at the Chaman border crossing.

Pakistan’s Samaa News Agency reported that at least 1 civilian has been killed and 12 others including women and children were wounded and were taken to the DHQ hospital, citing Pakistani military sources.

Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, earlier this week denounced the Afghan Border Forces’ “unprovoked shelling” of people in Pakistan’s Chaman district and urged the Afghan side to ensure that such occurrences “not repeated again.”

Source: Khaama Press

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Pakistan: Afghan Taliban shell border town, killing civilian

December 15, 2022

Pakistani authorities on Thursday said one person was killed and 11 were wounded when Afghan Taliban forces fired mortars toward civilians near the southwestern Chaman border crossing, reflecting increasing tension between the neighboring nations.

The latest violence follows a series of deadly incidents and attacks that have strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers in recent months. It was not immediately clear what preceded the shots near Chaman, a key trade route between the two sides.

Thursday's ongoing violence came days after seven Pakistani civilians were killed in the across-border shelling by the Taliban forces. No military spokesman was immediately available for comment and there was also no comment from the Afghan Taliban.

Akhtar Mohammad, a doctor at a hospital in Chaman, said staff there received 12 wounded people following the clashes. One of them later died and some of the injured were listed in critical condition.

Abdul Hameed Zehri, a government administrator in the town of Chaman in Baluchistan province, also confirmed the casualties. Security officials say Pakistan’s army responded to the Afghan fire, but did not give further details.

Authorities say mortars fired by the Afghan Taliban forces also hit a truck near Chaman. They accused the Afghan Taliban forces of intentionally targeting the civilian population, The officials said the exchange of fire had subsided and Pakistani authorities were in contact with the Afghan Taliban rulers in Afghanistan to prevent any further escalation.

Afghanistan’s Taliban seized the Afghan capital of Kabul last year. Since then, the countries have traded fire mainly over lingering disputes about Pakistan's construction of a fence along the Afghan border. Incidents of militant attacks on Pakistani security forces have also increased since the country's new army chief Gen. Asim Munir took the charge on Nov. 29 and replaced Qamar Javed Bajwa.

On Thursday, U.S. CENTCOM chief Gen. Erik Kurilla visited Pakistan and met with Munir in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, according to a military statement. The two military leaders discussed a range of issues, including the regional stability and security cooperation. The statement said Kurilla also visited the northwestern border town of Torkham near Afghanistan.

Source: The Hindu

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Southeast Asia


Residents of Daegu Protest Mosque Construction with Pork Barbecue Stepping Up the Ongoing Clash with Muslim Residents of the City

By Song Jung-hyun

Dec 16, 2022

Residents of Daehyeon-dong in Daegu in opposition to the construction of a mosque in the neighbourhood on Thursday cooked a whole pig near the construction site, stepping up the ongoing clash with Muslim residents of the city.

On the same day, the Daegu anti-mosque committee, which was formed to stop the construction, held a press conference at the west gate of Kyungpook National University, announcing the assault by a Pakistani international student.

“The Pakistani student was charged with a summary offense for shoving the arm of a resident of Daehyeon-dong who tried to remove the construction owner’s tent,” the committee announced. A summary offense occurs when a case is deemed light in nature and a judge assigns a fine in writing, without a formal trial.

“Despite the assault of our resident, the Muslim community is claiming that we are hampering the construction just because we placed the head of dead pig near the construction site,” the committee said, forewarning that they would take “firm responses to the assault by the Muslim student”

Earlier in October, residents of Daehyeon-dong had placed a pig's head near the construction site in protest of the mosque construction. Pork is a forbidden food in Islam in accordance with the Quran.

Following the press conference, members of the emergency committee immediately moved to the mosque construction site and held what they called a “Daehyeon-dong year-end party”

Source: Korea Herald

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DAP critic Ridhuan Tee axed from RTM's Islamic forum

December 14, 2022

A Muslim preacher known for his criticism of DAP politicians has been barred from appearing on a popular Islamic talk show by public broadcaster RTM, in a move set to raise questions on the new government's commitment to free speech.

Ridhuan Tee Abdullah said an invitation to appear as a guest panellist on Forum Perdana Ehwal Islam tomorrow was revoked "on the instruction of the minister".

"I think this is an immature move. Those who fight for freedom of speech suddenly are the ones who take action to block people from speaking," he told online news channel TV Pertiwi.

It also quoted Ridhuan as saying that the move to bar him from a forum that had featured him for so long showed that the new government "was afraid of its own shadow".

"Listen first to what we have to say. We have barely started talking, but we're already gagged. Strangely, these are the same people who used to fight for freedom of speech and all kinds of other freedoms," he said.

Ridhuan is known for his staunch criticism of DAP and has in the past used the "ultra kiasu" label on the party's leaders.

The latest development is bound to increase criticism against Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, who has come under the spotlight since he was appointed to the portfolio which also has jurisdiction over RTM and other government communication agencies.

Fahmi has drawn fire for a series of statements threatening the critics of the coalition government headed by Anwar Ibrahim.

Source: Malaysia Now

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Kit Siang criticised for 'provocative and extremist statements'

By Zuliaty Zulkiffli

December 11, 2022

ALOR STAR: Sik parliamentarian Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman has criticised DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang for making "provocative and extremist statements" about the steps Malaysia needs to take to prevent becoming an Islamic country in 10 years.

Tarmizi described Lim's statements as "extremely irresponsible" and a "serious accusation" made with malicious intent.

The incitement to raise a racial issue based on religion is also something that authorities need to investigate, he said.

He said it clearly showed that Lim does not understand the Federal Constitution which outlines Islam as the official religion and accused him of becoming an agent of injecting Islamophobia among the pluralistic society in this country.

Lim had on Dec 9 said the government should implement reform policies and national reconstruction programmes to prevent Malaysia from drowning in Pas' "green wave".

The former Iskandar Puteri member of parliament stressed the future of the "green tide" would depend on whether effective measures were taken to end the toxic politics of lies, fear, hate, race and religion, and whether the unity government could make Malaysia great again.

He had said the move could ensure that Malaysia does not become a fully Islamic country in two more elections, which he estimates will be in 2032, which is 10 years from now.

Source: NST

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Netanyahu: Unprecedented Iran protests have led to US ‘rethinking’ of nuclear deal

15 December ,2022

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the ongoing anti-regime protests in Iran are unprecedented and that they have led to Washington “rethinking” the tattered 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The current protests have swept across Iran since September 16 when 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died after being detained by the so-called morality police in Tehran.

They are the most significant demonstrations since the 1979 revolution that led to the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Netanyahu said in an interview with Al Arabiya English.

“If you look at what is happening now, since 1979, nothing like this has happened,” Netanyahu said.

“Initially, people thought well, it’s like the green revolution [of 2009], but it’s not. It’s stronger.”

The unrest today in Iran reflects the “weakness” of the Iranian regime, which unlike other regional powers like Israel and Saudi Arabia, has “not done anything" for its people, Netanyahu said.

The Islamic Republic’s failure to meet its citizens’ basic needs as well as its failure to implement reforms has led to the current situation in Iran, the Israeli politician said.

The Iranian regime is committed to a “radical ideology” that is “bad” for Iranians and everyone else, Netanyahu added.

“They don’t work for their people. They work for a radical ideology that is bad for Iranians, bad for Arabs, bad for Israelis, bad for Americans and everyone else in between.”

Netanyahu said it was too soon to say whether the protests will lead to the downfall of the regime.

‘Rethinking’ in Washington regarding the JCPOA

Netanyahu said the protests have also led to a “rethinking” in the US concerning the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“I think there is a re-thinking in Washington. From the initial contacts that we have [had with the Biden administration], I think there’s a rethinking of that. And I’m glad there is,” he said.

Under President Joe Biden, resurrecting the 2015 deal has been a foreign policy priority. Since April 2021, the Biden administration has sought through indirect talks with Iran to reenter the deal, which Washington pulled out of in 2018 under former President Donald Trump.

But efforts to revive the agreement have stalled for months, even since before the current protests in Iran.

The original deal offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for strict but temporary curbs on its nuclear program.

The “courage” of Iranian protesters has led “a lot of people” to give up on the JCPOA, Netanyahu said.

‘Horrible agreement’

Netanyahu reiterated his opposition to the JCPOA, calling it a “horrible agreement.”

He said he opposes the deal because the sanctions relief it offers Iran would not go to the Iranian people. He also said the deal fails to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state.

Israel will do “whatever is necessary” – with or without consent from the US – to stop Iran from having a nuclear arsenal, Netanyahu said.

“I want to protect [Israel] against Iran’s aggression, and against a regime that openly calls for the annihilation of my country. With or without an agreement [from the US],” he said.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Mahmoud Abbas says against armed military resistance with Israel

15 December ,2022

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said he was against armed military resistance with Israel, but said he could “change his mind” about that at any given moment.

“I might change my mind at any given moment, of course! Maybe tomorrow or the day after or anytime. Everything can change,” Abbas told Al Arabiya in an interview.

“The peaceful popular resistance is real, but when push comes to shove, the people will do anything… and I keep issuing warnings against making the Palestinian people get to this stage and lose their patience,” the president added.

Asked if he threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority (PA), Abbas said it will never be dissolved, after the years of struggle that went into establishing it.

“We would never do that. We built the Palestinian Authority with our effort, our struggle, and our martyrs.”

Source: Al Arabiya

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Turkiye makes arrests over alleged Israeli Mossad operation targeting Palestinians

December 15, 2022

ISTANBUL: Turkish security authorities on Wednesday reportedly arrested several people linked to an Istanbul consulting company allegedly involved in targeting Palestinian expats and organizations operating in Turkiye.

As part of an operation launched earlier this week, 44 suspects had been identified as having ties to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, Turkiye’s pro-government Sabah newspaper said.

Seven have been jailed, others remain at large, and some are still being investigated by Turkiye’s counter-espionage unit.

The alleged campaign against Palestinian citizens, non-governmental organizations, and institutions based on Turkish soil is thought to have involved threats and damaging reputational remarks made via social media channels, as well as information about them being leaked to Mossad.

Members of the network allegedly received thousands of dollars in exchange for their work, Sabah added.

The founder and president of the Private Detectives Association in Turkiye, Ismail Yetimoglu, was believed to have been among those arrested. He became a private detective in 2003 after 23 years working as a civil servant and opened his company in 2007.

In recent years, counter-espionage investigations have uncovered several networks operating in Turkish territories and working for Russia and Iran to kidnap and assassinate targets in Turkiye.

In June, members of an Iranian cell planning an attack on Israelis were caught in Turkiye as part of a joint operation by police and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

They were said to have been monitoring Israelis after having travelled to Turkiye posing as businesspeople, tourists, and students. However, they had been kept under Turkish surveillance.

In February, MIT also uncovered another Iranian-led plot to kill an Israeli-Turkish businessperson using a network of hitmen.

And in October last year, Turkiye arrested 15 people suspected of providing Mossad with information on possible foreign students from Turkish universities suitable for recruitment to the defense industry.

The network of operatives working for Mossad consisted of five separate cells with three people in each.

Turkish authorities have been scrutinizing Istanbul-based consulting firms for some time over claims some were being paid to spy on Palestinians and their non-governmental organizations.

Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, told Arab News: “This (Wednesday’s) operation demonstrates that Turkiye has a complicated set of calculations and interests that it balances with respect to Israel, Iran, and the Palestinians.

“It cracks down on Iranian terror plots targeting Israelis to appease Jerusalem to improve ties; it permits sanctions evasion; while at the same time trying to portray itself as a champion of the Palestinian people.”

Israel has so far not commented on the arrests or allegations.

Since July, Israel and Turkiye have been working toward improving relations and both countries recently exchanged ambassadors.

Louis Fishman, associate professor at Brooklyn College, said the latest arrests came at a time when Israel and Turkiye were doing their utmost to bring about reconciliation.

“This will only hurt the already strong intelligence-sharing the two countries have, and if there were any truth to it, it would seem like a big gamble for Israel, with little results.

“Still, with the general lack of transparency within Turkish courts, we may never get the full story. Thus, we need to wait and see how this unfolds over the next few weeks,” he added.

There are around 571 Palestinian students studying in Turkiye on Turkish government scholarships, while Palestinians living in Turkiye have launched several NGOs and business institutions in the country such as the Palestinian Friendship Association, and the Palestinian International Charitable Organization in Istanbul.

Source: Arab News

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Palestine welcomes UN resolution in favor of Palestinian sovereignty over natural resources

December 15, 2022

RAMALLAH: Palestinian leaders on Thursday lauded a UN resolution in favor of Palestine having sovereignty over its natural resources, the Palestine News and Information Agency reported.

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday renewed its position on the issue of the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan, over their natural resources.

A total of 159 member states backed the resolution, while Canada, Chad, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and the US voted against, and 10 abstained.

A UN statement said: “By the text, the (General) Assembly demanded that Israel, the occupying power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.”

The resolution called on Israel to stop exploiting natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and to halt any environmentally harmful activities of Israeli settlers, including the dumping of waste materials, the destruction of vital infrastructure, and the seizing of wells and agricultural land.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Riyad Al-Maliki said: “Voting in favor of the resolution affirms the Palestinian people’s right and their sovereignty over their natural resources, including land, water, and energy resources, including gas.”

Al-Maliki noted that the construction of a dividing wall and settlements in occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem, breached international law.

He urged the international community, “to compel Israel to implement the international resolutions and ensure the freedom of the Palestinian people to benefit from their natural resources.

“The Palestinian people have the right to demand compensation and redress for the exploitation, damage, loss, or endangerment of their natural resources in any way, and an end for all forms of exploitation, violation, and theft of their natural resources,” he added.

While thanking the countries that supported the resolution, Al-Maliki asked those who voted against or abstained to stop applying double standards and consider protecting the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to their land under international law.

Source: Arab News

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Palestinian activist’s family seeks ICC probe into his death

December 15, 2022

RAMALLAH, West Bank: The family of an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority who died last year after allegedly being beaten by Palestinian security forces said Thursday it has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the death.

Nizar Banat was a harsh critic of the PA, which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and had called on Western nations to cut off aid to it because of what he said was its authoritarianism and human rights violations. Banat’s family said he died after Palestinian security forces arrested him and beat him with batons.

“Having lost confidence in the independence of the Palestinian judiciary, Nizar Banat’s family sent a request to ICC prosecutor Karim Khan to investigate their son’s brutal murder and prosecute all those responsible,” the family said in a statement.

At the time of Banat’s death, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations called for an investigation, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced the formation of an investigative committee. But critics say the committee has dragged its feet on the probe.

It is rare for Palestinians to ask for an investigation into their own leadership.

Banat’s death came amid a crackdown on dissent by the internationally-backed PA, which faces a growing backlash from Palestinians who view it as corrupt and increasingly autocratic — a manifestation of a three-decade peace process with Israel that is nowhere close to delivering Palestinian independence.

His death sparked protests in east Jerusalem and demonstrators burned tires, blocked roads and clashed with riot police in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where the PA is headquartered.

Banat’s family said it views Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as bearing full responsibility for Banat’s death. Abbas was elected in 2005 for a four-year term and faced a crisis of legitimacy last year when he called off long-delayed elections where his Fatah party was expected to suffer an embarrassing defeat to its rival Hamas. Abbas cited a dispute with Israel for the latest delay.

Abbas’ forces coordinate security with Israeli troops, targeting Hamas and other armed groups that threaten both. The policy is deeply unpopular with Palestinians, many of whom view it as collaboration with an occupying power.

The Palestinians have asked the ICC to investigate alleged war crimes by Israel, a probe it launched last year. The family of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist killed during an Israeli raid in the West Bank this year, have referred a complaint on her death to the international court.

Source: Arab News

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Ansrullah warns UAE of retaliation if war on Yemen not stopped

16 December 2022

A member of the political bureau of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has warned the United Arab Emirates that the resistance movement will respond with missiles and drones if the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen is not halted.

Abdullah Muhammad al-Naimi said in a tweet on Friday that “the UAE thinks it is playing smart by handing over some of the Yemeni provinces and islands it occupies to the Israeli, British and American forces, but it should know that the answer to that will be ballistic missiles and drone attacks.”

He said the UAE is bullying the Yemeni people and is treating them as if these people are a backward nation, warning the UAE that it should reconsider its calculations and its role in Yemen.

“Now that we have ballistic missiles and drones, we will force this small country (the UAE) to come to its senses and repent before the world [for participating in the attack on Yemen],” al-Naimi added.

Pointing to the expired truce between the warring sides, he said that “during the ceasefire, the forces of Ansarullah have been able to make special progress in the field of building military equipment, and that the Saudi-led coalition will regret it if it wants to continue to besiege and kill the people of Yemen.”

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

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

Source: Press TV

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Car bomb blast in southeast Turkey wounds eight police officers: Security sources

16 December ,2022

A bomb hit an armored police van in southeastern Turkey on Friday, injuring nine people and reviving fears of new unrest in the mainly Kurdish region.

Eight police officers and another person were hurt in the attack near the city of Diyarbakir, the local governor’s office said.

The nine were rushed to hospital as a “precaution,” a statement said, adding that their injuries were not life-threatening.

Television images showed a white bus standing on a debris-strewn road with its luggage compartment heavily damaged.

The mangled remains of a smaller vehicle stood nearby.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

The blast on a road between Diyarbakir and the city of Mardin was the first in the region reported by officials in more than five years.

It came with Turkey stepping up air strikes against Kurdish forces in northern Syria, and continuing its limited ground campaign in Iraq.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch a new ground offensive in northern Syria after a November bombing killed six people in Istanbul.

Last Sunday, he told Russian President Vladimir Putin, a key player in the Syrian conflict, to “cleanse” Kurdish forces from the border region.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies, has claimed some of the past bombings in the region.

Source: Al Arabiya

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Police officer killed during clashes in southern Jordanian city: Police source

16 December ,2022

A senior Jordanian police officer was killed on Thursday during clashes with demonstrators in the southern city of Maan during protests over high fuel prices, a police source said.

The officer died after being shot by unknown assailants during clashes in the Husseiniya area of Maan. Four other policemen were injured, the source said.

Earlier, youths clashed with police in several impoverished neighborhoods of the city and in the heavily populated industrial city of Zarqa, north east of the capital Amman, witnesses said.

Witnesses said dozens of youths also staged a protest in the Tafiyla neighborhood of the capital.

Tensions have been mounting in Maan and several cities in southern Jordan after days of sporadic strikes by lorry drivers in protest at high fuel prices.

Shops in Maan and several other Jordanian provincial cities shut on Wednesday in solidarity with demands the government reduce diesel prices which truck drivers blame for mounting losses.

Source: Al Arabiya

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