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Islamic World News (04 Aug 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Ethnic Indigenous Catholics Joined By Priests, Nuns, Muslims and Buddhists Appeal to Bangladesh PM to Help Return 'Seized Land'








Ethnic Indigenous Catholics Joined By Priests, Nuns, Muslims and Buddhists Appeal to Bangladesh PM to Help Return 'Seized Land'

Muslim World League Launches Interfaith Summit in Sri Lankan Capital

Nigerian Ban on Islamic Movement Could Spark New Conflict: Zakzaky's Daughter

US, Taliban Push For Peace In Second Day Of Talks

UAE Diplomat Says Sudan Turning Page on Muslim Brotherhood Rule

Johnson's Campaign Manager Helped Saudi Arabia's Disinformation Efforts

Approach with White Flag and Take Back Dead Bodies: Indian Army Offer to Pakistan after Foiled Infiltration Bid

 

South Asia

Ethnic Indigenous Catholics Joined By Priests, Nuns, Muslims and Buddhists Appeal to Bangladesh PM to Help Return 'Seized Land'

Muslim World League Launches Interfaith Summit in Sri Lankan Capital

Rohingya Crisis: India Urges World to Help Bangladesh

Over 1500 Afghan civilians killed, wounded in the month of July only: UNAMA

Taliban’s deputy shadow governor for Panjshir province killed

District governor among 4 killed in an IED explosion in Herat province

Military sources confirm 35 of the 100 Taliban militants killed an airstrike in Farah city

Afghan forces inflict heavy casualties on Taliban militants in Daikundi and Kandahar

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Africa

Nigerian Ban on Islamic Movement Could Spark New Conflict: Zakzaky's Daughter

Sudanese celebrate power-sharing deal

Libya’s Mitiga airport halts air traffic following shelling

Mayor of Mogadishu dies as result of al-Shabaab attack

NAF jets kill scores of Boko Haram terrorists in Borno

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North America

US, Taliban Push For Peace In Second Day Of Talks

Trump Invited Zarif to White House, Was Snubbed: Report

Pompeo: US ‘very confident’ it can build maritime initiative in Gulf

US Defence Chief Claims Support For Anti-Iran Persian Gulf Force Despite Rejections

US envoy: Withdrawal from Afghanistan ‘condition based’

US: Education group sues FETO charter school in Alabama

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Arab World

UAE Diplomat Says Sudan Turning Page on Muslim Brotherhood Rule

Activist Murad Urges Yazidis to Return to Iraq

US Dispatches Massive Military Equipment to Occupied Bases in Aleppo, Raqqa

Aleppo: Turkish Army, Kurdish Militias Intensify Clashes as Ankara Sends Special Forces to Syria Borders

ISIL Emir, Mastermind Killed in Iraqi Airstrikes in Diyali

US welcomes conditional truce in Syria’s Idlib region

Syria airbase blast toll tops 30 regime fighters: Monitor

US welcomes conditional truce in Syria’s Idlib region

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Europe

Johnson's Campaign Manager Helped Saudi Arabia's Disinformation Efforts

New Wave Of Terrorist Attacks Possible Before End Of This Year: UN

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India

Approach with White Flag and Take Back Dead Bodies: Indian Army Offer to Pakistan after Foiled Infiltration Bid

Specific Terror Threats Led To Decision On Calling Off Amarnath Yatra

Imam Bara In Kargil Opens Doors — For Homework, Coaching

Gujarat: 4 Men Arrested For Thrashing Muslim Youth, Forcing Them To Chant Jai Shri Ram In Godhra

Demonstration by Social Democratic Party of India against Burning Of Muslim Teen

Hizbul Mujahideen leader asks police to shift sides

J-K: 4 militants killed in two encounters in Sopore

J&K tense as troops arrive, outstation students asked to leave Valley

Consular access to Jadhav can only be remedial & private, India tells Pakistan

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Mideast

Erdogan Lays Stone for Modern Turkey’s First New Church

Tehran Defies World, Issues New Threat to Boost Nuclear Program

Islam economy institute to hold int'l studies

Yemeni army gains control of new areas in Saada

Yemeni forces kill 8 Al-Qaeda militants and retake camp in south

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Pakistan

Tehreek-i-Insaf to Bag Three Tribal Districts Reserved Seats in PA

Maryam stands with her family for reaping benefits via TT: Firdous

Indian citizen with fake Pakistani identity papers arrested from Gujranwala

US enhances engagement with Pakistan

Fissures erupt in opposition over Senate vote fiasco

Court issues notice to Sethi over ‘derogatory’ remarks

Lahore High Court moved for ban on TikTok app

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Southeast Asia

Kit Siang: I Will Never Be A ‘Zakir Naik Or Jho Low’

PM: Malaysia proud of Tabung Haji's achievements

Malaysians seek removal of PKR senator suggesting protection for men from being ‘seduced’ into rape

Police: FB page featuring post insulting Islam 'fake'

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/ethnic-indigenous-catholics-joined-by-priests,-nuns,-muslims-and-buddhists-appeal-to-bangladesh-pm-to-help-return--seized-land-/d/119382

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Ethnic Indigenous Catholics Joined By Priests, Nuns, Muslims and Buddhists Appeal to Bangladesh PM to Help Return 'Seized Land'

August 2, 2019

Ethnic indigenous Catholics joined by priests, nuns, Muslims and Buddhists, have staged a protest rally and submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to get back land allegedly grabbed by a Buddhist monk in southeast Bangladesh.

About 200 people, mostly Catholics from ethnic Tripura and Marma communities, staged a human chain program in front of the Press Club in the Bandarban district of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) on July 31.

They also submitted a memorandum through the district’s chief government officer to seek PM Hasina’s intervention in returning the land.

Protesters have demanded the return of 40 hectares of land, including 2.3 hectares of land that they said is owned by the local Catholic Church.

Father Jerome Rozario, secretary of The Land Commission in Chittagong Archdiocese, claimed a local Buddhist monk, U Cha Hla Bhante, had forcibly grabbed the land in 2014 and that most of the victims were poor ethnic Christians.

“We have asked for support from government officials, taken legal action and held press conferences but Bhante is very powerful, so nothing is working. So, now we are appealing the PM to pay attention to our suffering,” the priest told ucanews.com.

The Church bought 5.7 acres land of St. Paul’s Church in Roangchaari, a mission center under Queen of Fatima Catholic Church in Bandarban district, which was grabbed by the monk on May 3, 2014, the priest alleged.

A local Catholic filed a court case to reclaim the land in 2014, which ended with a verdict in favor of the Church.

However, the Church lost the case after Bhante filed a review petition. Then the Church filed an appeal against the verdict, which is still pending at the court.

Dilip Barua, a local Buddhist politician and social activist, said that Bhante’s muscle flexing and land-grabbing spree had tarnished image of the local Buddhist community.

“For years Buddhists have fought to get their land back from Bengali Muslim settlers; now, ironically, a Buddhist cleric has become an oppressor due to his greed for land, money and power. This is a blow to a long-held harmonious relationship among various faith groups on the hills,” Barua told ucanews.com.

U Cha Hla Bhante brushed aside the land-grabbing allegation against him as “false and fabricated.”

“I didn’t grab any land by force. All the land I own was legally purchased,” he told ucanews.com. “An interested party is spreading false and fabricated propaganda against me for its personal interests. If anyone with valid legal documents lays a claim on my land, I will immediately return it without hesitation.”

The CHT, comprising the hilly forested districts of Bandarban, Rangamati and Khagrachhari, is Bangladesh’s only mountainous region, bordered by India and Myanmar.

The region is home to dozens of ethnic indigenous groups, most of them Buddhists but with some Christians.

The CHT has more than 20,000 Catholics belonging to ethnic minority communities among 30,000-plus Catholics in Chittagong Archdiocese.

https://www.ucanews.com/news/catholics-appeal-to-bangladesh-pm-to-help-return-seized-land/85792

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Muslim World League launches interfaith summit in Sri Lankan capital

August 04, 2019

RIYADH: The Muslim World League (MWL) launched an interfaith summit in Colombo in the presence of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

Participants included Islamic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu religious leaders, as well as more than 2,000 religious scholars, politicians, intellectuals and media professionals.

Sirisena delivered the opening speech. He thanked the MWL for holding the summit, and for donating $5 million to a support fund for families of victims of terrorist acts and injured people.

“I believe that this summit will spread the message of peace, harmony and coexistence,” he said. “We’re pleased to present the highest honor in Sri Lanka to the secretary-general of the MWL for his role in promoting interreligious peace.”

MWL Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa also delivered a speech. “This important summit on interfaith peace confirms the determination of followers of religions to clarify the truth of religions, which call for love, peace and harmony,” he said.

“Religion has never been a threat to humanity … Our duty as leaders, references and religious figures is to confront this false claim.”

The summit “has come to diagnose the current situation and find solutions to it, and to express the determination of the attendees to act effectively against the forces of terrorist evil, as well as to reveal the facts with transparency,” Al-Issa said. “This conference affirms the stability and dominance of good.”

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535151/saudi-arabia

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Nigerian ban on Islamic movement could spark new conflict: Zakzaky's daughter

Aug 3, 2019

The daughter of Nigeria’s detained prominent cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky has warned about the government’s recent ban on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), saying it could worsen the crackdown on the members of the group and ignite a new conflict in the West African nation.

Last month, a court in the capital Abuja ruled that activities of the IMN amounted to “acts of terrorism and illegality” and ordered the government to ban the movement.

Zakzaky’s daughter Suhailah Maleshiya said on Saturday that this would allow the government to further suppress the Muslim group and push it underground.

"They're trying so hard to get the Islamic movement to a point where we say, 'that's it, let's defend ourselves and take up weapons'," said Suhailah.

"Watching your brothers killed again and again would change how anyone thinks," she told AFP.

IMN members regularly take to the streets of the Nigerian capital to call for the release of Sheikh Zakzaky, who has been in detention since 2015. Nigerian forces have used live ammunition against the protesters.

Security forces killed at least 20 members of the movement during protests last month, according to a spokesman for the group.

Zakzaky, the founder and leader of IMN, was taken into custody after his residence in the city of Zaria was raided by Nigeria’s forces, during which he was beaten and lost vision in his left eye.

The 66-year-old cleric has been reportedly poisoned in prison and requires urgent medical care abroad, according to members of the IMN.

Zakzaky founded the organization in the late 1970s in Nigeria, which has a population of an estimated 3 million Shia Muslims.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/03/602538/Nigeria-Zakzaky-IMN-ban

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US, Taliban push for peace in second day of talks

August 04, 2019

The US and the Taliban will seek to thrash out elements of a deal to bring a close to Afghanistan's 18-year conflict in the second day of renewed talks in Doha on Sunday.

The US, which invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban in 2001, wants to withdraw thousands of troops and turn the page on its longest-ever war.

But it would first seek assurances from the insurgents that they would renounce Al-Qaeda and stop other militants like the Islamic State group using the country as a haven.

The talks, now in their eighth round, began on Saturday and were due to resume Sunday morning after pausing overnight, US and Taliban sources told AFP.

A Taliban source also said efforts were underway to organise a direct meeting between US envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Baradar, who heads the movement's political wing.

A coalition led by Washington ousted the Taliban in late 2001 accusing it of harbouring Al-Qaeda jihadists who claimed the September 11 attacks against the US that killed almost 3,000 people.

But despite a rapid conclusion to the conventional phase of the war, the Taliban have proved formidable insurgents, bogging down US troops for years.

Washington is hoping to strike a peace deal with the Taliban by September 1 — ahead of Afghan polls due the same month, and US presidential elections due in 2020.

US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that "we've made a lot of progress. We're talking".

"We are pursuing a peace agreement not a withdrawal agreement, a peace agreement that enables withdrawal," Khalilzad tweeted on Friday as he arrived in Doha after talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.

"Our presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based, and any withdrawal will be conditions-based."

In another sign of progress, the Afghan government has formed a negotiating team for separate peace talks with the Taliban that diplomats hope could be held as early as later this month.

'Negotiations will be tough'

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that an initial deal to end the war would see the US force in Afghanistan reduced to as low as 8,000 from the current level of around 14,000.

In exchange, the Taliban would abide by a ceasefire, renounce Al-Qaeda, and talk to the Kabul administration. An Afghan official hinted last week that the government of President Ashraf Ghani was preparing for direct talks with the Taliban, the details of which have yet to be announced.

"We have no preconditions to begin talks, but the peace agreement is not without conditions," Ghani wrote in Pashto on his Facebook page on Friday ahead of the talks.

"We want a republic government not an emirate," he said, a challenge to the Taliban which has insisted on reverting to the "Islamic Emirate" name Afghanistan bore under its rule.

"The negotiations will be tough, and the Taliban should know that no Afghan is inferior in religion or courage to them."

The thorny issues of power-sharing with the Taliban, the role of regional powers including Pakistan and India, and the fate of Ghani's administration also remain unresolved.

The latest US-Taliban encounter follows last month's talks between influential Afghans and the Taliban which agreed a "roadmap for peace" — but stopped short of calling for a ceasefire.

Kabul resident Somaya Mustafa, 20, said her country desperately needed a peace deal, but only one in which the Taliban "accept women and their achievements".

"It is a total mess in our country right now. And if it continues, women will suffer more than anyone else."

The United Nations has said that civilian casualty rates across Afghanistan matched record levels last month, following a dip earlier in the year.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498057/us-taliban-push-for-peace-in-second-day-of-talks

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UAE diplomat says Sudan turning page on Muslim Brotherhood rule

4 August 2019

The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Sunday Sudan was turning over the page of being ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Sudan is turning the page of the rule of al-Bashir and the Muslim Brotherhood into a new era in its political history by turning to civil rule,” Gargash said on Twitter. “The path to a state of institutions, stability and prosperity will not be filled with roses, but our confidence is in the brotherly Sudan and its people.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/04/UAE-diplomat-says-Sudan-turning-page-on-Muslim-Brotherhood-rule.html

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Johnson's Campaign Manager Helped Saudi Arabia's Disinformation Efforts

Aug 3, 2019

One of the closest aides of newly-installed British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been accused of running a massive online disinformation campaign on behalf of controversial clients, including Saudi Arabia.  

Lynton Crosby, an Australian political strategist, dubbed the “Wizard of Oz”, is so close to Johnson that he ran his successful London mayoral campaign in 2008. Crosby has reportedly been advising Johnson on his bid to become PM from as early on as June 2016.

Crosby’s lobbying firm, CTF Partners, allegedly ran well-concealed online disinformation campaigns for a wide range of controversial clients, most notably the government of Saudi Arabia.

This activity was so extensive that the Guardian’s investigative report into CTF partners has described it as a business model “that appears to have professionalized online disinformation”. 

The Guardian report, published on August 01, alleges that CTF Partners used Facebook to administer professional-looking “news” pages “reaching tens of millions of people on highly contentious topics, without apparently disclosing that they are being overseen by CTF Partners on behalf of paying clients”. 

This revelation comes against the backdrop of growing concern over the role and influence of “fake news” in determining the outcome of political contests. The House of Commons has been conducting extensive enquiries into “fake news” since 2017 and released its first detailed report on the subject in July 2018.

The House of Commons, in tandem with the rest of the British political establishment, adopts a selective understanding of “fake news”, often attributing it to state-sponsored activity by Britain’s adversaries, notably the Russian Federation.

The revelation that a trusted member of the British political establishment, and an ally of the new prime minister, has been running arguably the largest Facebook-based disinformation campaign in recent years, shatters the myth spun by the British political elite.

Another aggravating feature of the developing Crosby scandal is CFT Partners close relationship with Saudi Arabia.

According to the Guardian, Crosby’s firm took “millions of pounds” from the Saudi Arabian government to bolster the reputation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been implicated in the murder of dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The Crosby affair coincides with revelations that former foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, received funding from a close ally of Mohammed bin Salman, in his failed bid to become Tory party leader.

Ken Costa, a South African banker and Christian philanthropist, is reportedly bin Salman’s “point man” in Britain. According to an investigative report on BuzzFeed News on July 04, Costa had donated £10,000 to Hunt’s leadership campaign.

At the very least, these revelations are bound to shatter public confidence in the British government’s approach to fake news and foreign influence in British politics.

The government’s deliberate focus on Russia has apparently obscured the main source of the problem: namely, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/03/602549/Johnson-Crosby-Saudi-Arabia-Fake-News

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Approach With White Flag and Take Back Dead Bodies: Indian Army Offer to Pakistan After Foiled Infiltration Bid

August 4, 2019

New Delhi: The Indian Army has offered the Pakistan Army to take back the dead bodies of intruders killed during a failed infiltration bid by Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT) on a forward post along the Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Pakistan Army has been offered to approach with a white flag and take over the dead bodies for last rites, but was yet to respond on Sunday morning.

The BAT generally comprises special forces personnel of the Pakistani Army and terrorists.

"A BAT attempt was made on one of the forward posts in Keran sector (in Kupwara district) and foiled by alert troops resulting in neutralising of five to seven Pakistani regulars/terrorists," defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said on Saturday.

Sources said the BAT attempt was made on the intervening night of July 31 and August 1.

At least four bodies, possibly of Pakistan Army's Special Service Group (SSG) commandos or terrorists, were seen in close proximity of an Indian post in the sector, they said, adding search operations and attempts to take the bodies were being continuously interfered with by Pakistani troops deployed in the area.

The defence spokesperson said Pakistan has made a number of attempts in the last 36 hours to disturb peace in the Valley and to target Amarnath Yatra.

Four hardcore Jaish-e-Mohammad militants were neutralised in two operations in which a cache of sniper rifle, IED and mine with Pakistan markings were recovered, he said.

"This clearly indicates complicity of Pakistan in terror activities. Security forces will continue to respond to all nefarious activities along the LoC and hinterland," he said.

A senior Army official said that Pakistan has desperately attempted to push terrorists belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad and other outfits into Jammu and Kashmir over the last few days.

"The response by security forces vindicates the build up in the hinterland," he said.

The official said the terrorists who were killed in the last few days in Kashmir included Zeenat ul Islam, Umar Wani and Khalid Bhai.

https://www.news18.com/news/india/approach-with-white-flag-and-take-back-dead-bodies-indian-armys-offer-to-pakistan-after-foiled-infiltration-bid-2257389.html

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South Asia

 

Rohingya crisis: India urges world to help Bangladesh

SM Najmus Sakib  

03.08.2019

DHAKA, Bangladesh

India has urged the world community to help Bangladesh deal with the huge Rohingya influx from Myanmar, saying it poses a threat to regional security.

India recognizes the humanitarian burden on Bangladesh’s society and economy, said the Security Outlook 2019 of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum held on Friday, according to BSS, Bangladesh’s state-run news agency.

India praised Bangladesh’s generosity towards displaced people in the report, the agency reported on Saturday

“India is deeply conscious of the humanitarian and security implications of the displacement of nearly one million people (Rohingya) in Bangladesh from contagious areas of Rakhine state in Myanmar,” said the outlook report.

“India recognizes the economic burden this crisis places upon Bangladesh’s society and economy,” it added.

The report said bordering northeastern India, Myanmar’s stability and prosperity is crucial for regional security. India has provided aid to Myanmar to facilitate the return of Rohingya to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the place of their origin.

Thailand, as the ASEAN chair, hosted this year’s forum with the participation of foreign ministers from 26 countries and representatives from the European Union, U.S., U.K., Japan, China, and India.

Addressing the event, A K Abdul Momen, Bangladesh’s foreign minister, sought support and cooperation from the world community to carry out the Rohingya repatriation to Myanmar in a safe manner.

A persecuted people

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/rohingya-crisis-india-urges-world-to-help-bangladesh/1548878

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Over 1500 Afghan civilians killed, wounded in the month of July only: UNAMA

03 Aug 2019

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has reported that the preliminary findings of the mission indicate ongoing violence killed, wounded more than 1,500 civilians in the month of July only.

UNAMA said in a statement earlier today said the July casualties’ figure is the highest number of any month this year, and the highest number documented in a single month since May 2017.

Civilian Casualties in Anti-Government Armed Elements attacks:

The statement further added that the main driver in July was a sharp rise in civilian casualties caused by Anti-Government Elements (AGEs).

Furthermore, UNAMA said it documented an increase through July in the number of disproportionate and indiscriminate Taliban attacks in urban areas against Afghan military and security objects and personnel.

“These attacks caused great harm to civilians,” UNAMA said, adding that on 1 July, Taliban claimed an attack on an Afghan Army logistics centre in Kabul killing seven civilians and injuring 144 others.

Taliban also claimed responsibility for the 18 July attack on a Kandahar police facility resulting in seven civilians killed and 72 others injured.

In Ghazni, on 7 July, Taliban attacked a National Directorate of Security (NDS) facility resulting in 174 civilian casualties, the vast majority of whom were injured, UNAMA said, adding that more than 80 of the victims were children.

Meanwhile, UNAMA said there were several high-profile attacks in July for which no party claimed responsibility, such as the 28 July complex attack that used remote-controlled and suicide IEDs against the Green Trend offices in Kabul.

In this attack, which targeted the Afghan electoral process, at least 21 civilians were killed and 50 others injured, UNAMA added.

UNAMA also added that other types of AGE-employed IEDs that caused significant loss of civilian life during July were victim-activated pressure-plate IEDs (PPIEDs) that are inherently indiscriminate. “On 15 July, 13 civilians were killed and 40 injured, mostly women and children, when a minibus ran over a PPIED near Kandahar. On 30 July, at least 24 civilians were killed and 18 more injured when a PPIED detonated against a bus on the Kandahar-Herat highway.”

Civilian Casualties in Pro-Government Forces operations:

On the other hand, UNAMA said civilian casualties from operations by Pro-Government Forces (PGFs) remain at concerning levels, mainly from air and search operations, including by NDS Special Forces that are supported by International Military Forces.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/over-1500-afghan-civilians-killed-wounded-in-the-month-of-july-only-unama-03543/

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Taliban’s deputy shadow governor for Panjshir province killed

04 Aug 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed the shadow deputy governor of Taliban for northern Panjshir province, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said.

According to a statement released by MoI, the Special Unit of the Afghan National Police conducted an operation in Nejrab district of Kapisa on Saturday night.

The statement further added that the Special Forces killed Abdul Ahad alias Zulfiqar, the shadow deputy governor of Taliban for Panjshir province.

Furthermore, the interior ministry said the Special Forces also killed the military commission chief of the group for Panjshir and five other militants.

The interior ministry also added that the security forces confiscated some weapons and munitions and other military kits during the operation.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/talibans-deputy-shadow-governor-for-panjshir-province-killed-03544/

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District governor among 4 killed in an IED explosion in Herat province

03 Aug 2019

An Improvised Explosive Device explosion killed the district administrative chief of Zindajan in Herat province.

The provincial government officials confirmed that the incident took place before noon time in Zindajan district.

Jilani Farhad, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office in Herat said a roadside bomb went off in Tarakhel area of Zindajan district, killing four people.

Farhad further added that the explosion killed Shukrullah Shakir, the district governor of Zindajan, his brother and two security guards.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/district-governor-among-4-killed-in-an-ied-explosion-in-herat-province-03542/

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Military sources confirm 35 of the 100 Taliban militants killed an airstrike in Farah city

03 Aug 2019

The military sources confirmed that the security forces conducted an airstrike in Farah city killing at least 35 Taliban militants.

The sources further added that the security forces conductd the airstrike in Farah district, apparently pointing towards the overnight raid in Farah city.

The Farah Police Headquarters had earlier said in a statement that the security forces jointly conducted the operation in the outskirts of Farah city on Friday night.

The statement further added that the Air Forces also provided close air support to the ground forces during the operation.

Furthermore, the Farah Police Headquarters said the security forces killed around 100 militants including many commanders of Taliban during the operation.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/military-sources-confirm-35-of-the-100-taliban-militants-killed-an-airstrike-in-farah-city-03541/

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Afghan forces inflict heavy casualties on Taliban militants in Daikundi and Kandahar

03 Aug 2019

The Afghan security forces inflicted heavy casualties on Taliban militants during the operations in Daikundi and Kandahar province.

The 205th Atal Corps in a statement said the Afghan security forces killed 12 Taliban militants during an operation in Kajran district of Daikundi province.

The statement further added that the security forces wounded 10 other militants during the same operation.

Furthermore, the 205th Atal Corps said the security forces killed 9 Taliban militants and wounded 4 others during an operation in Panjwai district of Kandahar.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-inflict-heavy-casualties-on-taliban-militants-in-daikundi-and-kandahar-03540/

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Africa

 

Sudanese celebrate power-sharing deal

Mohammed Amin  

03.08.2019

Thousands of Sudanese celebrated an agreement concluded early on Saturday between the ruling military council and opposition.

Pro-democracy celebrators chanted slogans calling for civil rule, accountability for the killing of protesters and reforming and rebuilding the country.

They took to the streets in the capital city of Khartoum and other states in support of the agreement.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) coalition confirmed that they finished discussion of a constitutional declaration which would rule the transitional period. They have also agreed on putting the security organs and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia under the control of the sovereignty Council and the council of ministers.

Sudan has remained in turmoil since April 11, when the military establishment announced long-serving President Omar Bashir’s removal after months of popular protests against his 30-year rule.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/sudanese-celebrate-power-sharing-deal/1548607

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Libya’s Mitiga airport halts air traffic following shelling

3 August 2019

Libya’s Mitiga airport halted air traffic on Saturday after a shelling, the airport authority said on its Facebook page.

Mitiga is the only working airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli, which has been under attack by the eastern-based Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/08/03/Libya-s-Mitiga-airport-halts-air-traffic-following-shelling.html

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Mayor of Mogadishu dies as result of al-Shabaab attack

1 Aug 2019

The mayor of Mogadishu has died after being badly wounded in an al-Shabaab extremist attack in his office last week, the government of Somalia has announced.

Abdirahman Omar Osman was a naturalised Briton who returned to Somalia to help rebuild the war-torn country. He spent 17 years in the UK including a stint as housing manager at Ealing council in west London.

He died on Thursday in Qatar, where he had been airlifted for treatment after the attack on 24 July. Officials said he had been in a coma.

His son, Mohamed Omar, a student at London’s Queen Mary University, said: “Today the people of Mogadishu lose their mayor; but I lost my father. May Allah grant him the highest rank of paradise.”

Mohamed A. Omar

@1MohamedOmar

 إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

Today the people of Mogadishu lose their Mayor; but I lost my Father. May Allah Grant him the highest rank of Paradise.

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Osman was among several people seriously wounded when a female suicide bomber detonated a device inside the headquarters of Banadir district, which encompasses Mogadishu.

Six people, including two district commissioners and three directors, were also killed in the blast. It is unclear how the attacker managed to enter the mayor’s office, as visitors are required to pass through at least four metal detectors.

Responsibility for the attack was claimed by al-Shabaab, the al-Qaida-linked militants who have waged a deadly insurgency against the western-backed government in Mogadishu. It said they were targeting the UN special envoy James Swan, who had been in the building just hours earlier.

Swan condemned the “heinous” attack on those trying to rebuild their country and improve the lives of its citizens. He said Osman had spent years “helping his country on its path to peace and stability, and meeting the needs of Mogadishu’s most vulnerable”.

Osman had been an outspoken opponent of al-Shabaab. In the wake of a truck bomb attack that killed almost 600 people in Mogadishu in 2017, he wrote an article in the Guardian urging Somalis to speak out against the militant jihadi group. “The fight must go on, in everything we do, from reporting anything suspicious to the security forces to educating our boys and girls so they are not vulnerable to the violent, alien ideology of al-Shabaab,” he wrote in his previous role as minister for information.

Osman, who was nicknamed Engineer Yarisow (“Young Engineer”), had tried to clean up the city and rebuild its battered infrastructure.

Ben Fender, the UK’s ambassador to Somalia, pledged to help to continue the reconstruction work that Osman had begun.

Ben Fender

@benfenderfco

Goodbye @engyarisow, public servant, kind and gentle colleague, friend.  You have been called away much too soon.   Our hearts are so heavy today.  We will join hands to finish the work you started, and the Somalia we build will be your greatest memorial. https://twitter.com/benfenderfco/status/1154308509015654401 …

Ben Fender

@benfenderfco

Still in shock at the attack at the Mayor’s office and the awful loss of life.  Keep praying for the health of our dear friend @engyarisow and others injured.  His diverse, passionate team are doing so much to build a safe, tolerant city.  This makes us more determined than ever.

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Al-Shabaab was chased out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the capital is still hit regularly by the militants, who retained control of large swaths of the countryside.

Abdinur Mohamed Ahmed, a spokesman for the president, said the mayor’s death would unite Somalis in the fight against extremism. “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the Mogadishu mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman, and we share our grief regarding this painful death with the entire Somali public,” he said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/01/mayor-of-mogadishu-dies-as-result-of-al-shabaab-attack-somalia

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NAF jets kill scores of Boko Haram terrorists in Borno

August 2, 2019

Two Alpha Jets of the Nigerian Air Force have bombed a Boko Haram terrorists’ hideout in Alafa area in Sambisa Forest of Borno State, killing scores of the fighters.

The airstrike was conducted on Thursday, after some Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions revealed the presence of the fighters, alongside their logistics supplies and equipment, in a group of buildings.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said in a release on Friday that the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole dispatched the Alpha Jets to attack the location.

He noted that the air force, operating in concert with surface forces, will sustain its operations against the terrorists in the North-East.

Daramola said, “In continuation of its sustained efforts to wipe out remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East, the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has destroyed the terrorists’ hideout and killed some fighters at Alafa on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.

Full report at:

https://punchng.com/naf-jets-kill-scores-of-boko-haram-terrorists-in-borno/

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North America

 

Trump invited Zarif to White House, was snubbed: Report

Aug 4, 2019

Shortly before the United States placed sanctions on Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, US President Donald Trump invited him for a meeting at the White House through an intermediary while he was in the US, a report says.

According to the report, written by Robin Wright for American magazine The New Yorker, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, and reportedly tapped by Trump as a go-between with Iran, extended the invitation to Zarif during a meeting at the residence of Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) in New York on July 15.

The Iranian foreign minister was in the US for an event at the UN, and he rejected the invitation after consulting Tehran, according to the report, which cited “American and Iranian sources and a well-informed diplomat.”

An intermediary had reached out to Iran on Paul’s behalf three weeks before Zarif arrived in New York for the UN event, it said.

Zarif had his concerns.

He told Paul that the meeting would have no substance and would be little more than a photo op for Trump, who has used opportunities like that before to claim his administration is interested in diplomacy.

Nevertheless, and after the meeting with Paul, “Zarif relayed the overture to Iran’s leaders. They did not approve a meeting — at this time,” the report said.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment on the report. Iranian officials have said in the past that while they are open to diplomacy, the US would have to return to the 2015 Iran deal or lift certain sanctions before any engagement could take place.

On Wednesday, some two weeks after Trump failed to get the meeting with Zarif, the US said that it was imposing sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister for being Iran’s “primary spokesperson around the world.” The US had already restricted Zarif’s movements in the US, reportedly over fears that he made Iran’s case — in fluent English — in interviews with various US media, including Trump’s favorite channel Fox News.

Trump had also already been snubbed by President Hassan Rouhani of Iran — eight times.

The US president unilaterally withdrew from the multilateral deal with Iran in May 2018 and has since been following what he calls a campaign of “maximum pressure” on the country. In speeches at the UN General Assembly, where he has requested to meet with the Iranian president, he has used offensive language to talk about the Iranian government. He has also reportedly called Iran “a terrorist nation.”

Commenting on the US targeting of Zarif with sanctions, Paul, the US senator, tweeted, “If you sanction diplomats you’ll have less diplomacy.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/04/602625/Iran-Zarif-Trump-invite-White-House-meeting-Rand-Paul

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Pompeo: US ‘very confident’ it can build maritime initiative in Gulf

4 August 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that he was “very confident” the United States would be able to build a maritime coalition in the Gulf, despite a lukewarm response from European and Asian allies.

Pompeo and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper were speaking alongside their Australian counterparts in Sydney.

Seeking allies

Speaking at a meeting between US and Australian leaders, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he has already gotten a good response from allies and some announcements could be expected soon. And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that a lot of conversations are taking place.

But their Australian counterparts made no commitments.

“The request the United States has made is a very serious one, and a complex one. That's why we are currently giving this request very serious consideration,” said Australian Defense Minister Linda Reynolds. “No decision has been made.”

She said her country will decide based on what is in its own best sovereign interests.

Called “Operation Sentinel,” the plan was triggered in June amid Trump administration concerns that Iran was behind a series of attacks on commercial ships in the Gulf region.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said the Pentagon has developed a specific plan, and the US military’s main role would be to provide “maritime domain awareness” - intelligence and surveillance information - to the ships of coalition partners that would conduct patrols in vulnerable waterways like the Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Arabian Gulf from the Gulf of Oman, as well as the Bab el Mandeb, a heavily trafficked strait between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Djibouti and Eritrea in the Horn of Africa.

Any escorting of commercial ships would be done by military ships sailing under the flag of the commercial vessel, he said.

Esper broached the idea of a coalition to allies during a NATO meeting, but so far the US has received few public commitments from other nations. Instead, some European nations have expressed concerns that the operation could provoke conflict, and they are more interested in a diplomatic solution.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/08/04/Pompeo-very-confident-of-forming-maritime-coalition-in-the-Gulf-.html

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US Defence Chief Claims Support For Anti-Iran Persian Gulf Force Despite Rejections

Aug 4, 2019

The new US defense chief has claimed that a Washington-led scheme to police the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz against purported Iranian threat will soon gain commitments of several allied countries despite recent reports that even key US allies have snubbed the anti-Iran effort.

US Defense secretary Mark Esper further asserted on Saturday that representatives from over 30 countries had attended a conference earlier this week at Florida-based headquarters of the military’s Central Command (CENTCOM) to discuss what is dubbed as Operation Sentinel, a military coalition of allied nations to supposedly protect shipping lanes near Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.

“We had various degrees of commitment, so I think we’ll have some announcements coming out soon in the coming days where you’ll see countries begin to sign up,” Esper told reporters while traveling to Australia to take part in the Australia-US  Ministerial Consultations.

However, he refused to identify the countries that have submitted to such commitment, and when asked if any Asian countries have offered to join the US-led operation, Esper only replied, “Time will tell.”

Esper’s claims came after US Secretary of Stated Mike Pompeo revealed last week that Washington had called on France, Germany, Australia, Japan and South Korea to contribute to the so-called Operation Sentinel in the Persian Gulf.

Allies snub US call to join anti-Iran Persian Gulf force

Prominent US daily The New York Times, however, reported on Thursday that the Trump administration’s request to build the anti-Iran “coalition” in the Persian Gulf has been snubbed by either silence or outright rejection of its allies, including a blunt “no” from Germany.

The daily further underlined that many other European leaders have further tried to keep their distance from US President Donald Trump and his policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran in efforts to avoid being seen as aiding the hawkish approach.

It further noted that Washington is trying to project its anti-Tehran campaign as a bid to secure the Persian Gulf, but "the Europeans argue that Washington created the problem in the first place by trying to kill off Iran’s oil exports.”

On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that his country would not be joining the Americans.

“Germany will not take part in the naval mission proposed and planned by the United States,” Maas said.

“We are in close coordination with our French partners. We consider the ‘maximum pressure’ strategy to be wrong. We do not want a further military escalation; we will continue to focus on diplomacy.”

Citing an informed diplomatic source, Spanish El Confidencial newspaper also reported that Madrid had "no intention of participating in a mission led by the US in Hormuz."

Neither have France, Italy nor Sweden responded favorably to Britain’s suggestion of a European escort force, separate from the Americans, even after Iran seized the British-flagged tanker.

Moreover, Japan's Mainichi newspaper cited unidentified government sources as saying on Friday that Tokyo had decided not to deploy any warships to the Persian Gulf.

It further said Japan’s government would likely face opposition at home to any military venture that could put its Self Defense Forces in harm's way or threaten the well being of Japanese living in Iran.

According to the New York Times, "The refusals have underscored the divergent policies toward Iran and are aggravating distrust and resentment on both sides."

Britain, meanwhile, has opted to increase its own military assets in the Gulf rather than join with the US-led operation after one of its UK-flagged oil tankers was seized by Iranian forces in July.

US aims to 'internationalize' its anti-Iran naval mission

The US defense chief also claimed on Saturday that Washington’s goal with Operation Sentinel “has always been to internationalize it” but that regardless of countries’ commitments, the US will continue to provide both air and Navy-based surveillance in the region.

“What we want to do is stay on the diplomatic path, and we want to grow a coalition that will help us do that,” he further proclaimed.

“Nobody wants to be drawn into conflict with Iran. That’s why we first proposed the idea of a coalition of like-minded allies and partners,” Esper added.

“I think the key is that there is a unity of effort, a shared commitment, if you will, to preserving freedom of navigation in the straits, in the Gulf and deterring provocative behavior that could lead to a miscalculation that can escalate into a conflict. We want to avoid that.”

Tensions with Iran have nearly boiled over in the year after Trump decided to withdraw the US from the Obama-era Iran nuclear agreement and imposed brutal economic sanction against Tehran.

Since then, the US has accused Iran of attacking oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region and protested the shooting down of an advance US surveillance drone intruding into Iranian territorial waters. In a retaliatory move, Trump initially threatened a missile strike, only to change his mind at the last minute. He later claimed that American forces had downed two Iranian drones without providing a shred of evidence in face of fierce rejection of the claim by Tehran.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf flared up after a series of suspicious attacks on oil tankers, following the US deployment of a new naval group and B-52 bombers to the region amid claims of unspecified Iranian threats.

The UK waded into the standoff by seizing an Iranian oil supertanker off Gibraltar at the US request, according to local officials. Iran responded by detaining a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.  

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/04/602610/US-Defense-Secretary-Mark-Esper-antiIran-coalition-Persian-Gulf--Strait-of-Hormuz

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US envoy: Withdrawal from Afghanistan ‘condition based’

SAYED SALAHUDDIN

August 03, 2019

KABUL: The US is seeking a peace deal that can pave the way for the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, Washington’s special envoy said hours before the resumption of major talks with the Taliban on Saturday.

“We are pursuing a #peace agreement, not a withdrawal agreement; a peace agreement that enables withdrawal,” Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted.

“Our presence in #Afghanistan is condition based and any withdrawal will be condition based.”

There have been conflicting comments and reports in the US media about the fate of American troops in Afghanistan.

One report said US President Donald Trump’s administration “is preparing to withdraw thousands of troops in exchange for concessions from the Taliban, including a cease-fire and a renunciation of Al-Qaeda, as part of an initial deal to end the nearly 18-year-old war.”

While Taliban delegates have held a series of talks with Khalilzad and other American diplomats since last year, both the insurgents and Afghan troops — backed by US forces — have escalated their attacks to gain the upper hand at the talks.

The UN has reported a subsequent rise in civilian casualties. On Saturday, it reminded “all parties to the conflict of their responsibility to protect civilians and to comply with their obligations under international law.”

The Taliban has long insisted on a total withdrawal of US troops, and that it will engage in talks with the Afghan government after a timetable is set for the pullout.

US officials said an agreement could be finalized ahead of Afghan presidential elections in September, though they cautioned that the Taliban could drag its feet and that significant challenges remain, the Washington Post reported.

An Afghan official speaking on condition of anonymity said Washington had assured Kabul that the US military presence was condition-based.

Some American officials have said Washington seeks to keep a counterinsurgency intelligence force in Afghanistan even if a total troop pullout takes place.

Ahmad Saeedi, a university professor and former diplomat, told Arab News that in return for a US troop withdrawal, “the Taliban is required to commit that Afghanistan won’t become a nest for terrorists again.”

He said: “But there are ambiguities in the comments of US officials … The generals have different views than the politicians, and this has complicated the situation.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1534981/world

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US: Education group sues FETO charter school in Alabama

Vakkas Dogantekin  

03.08.2019

The Alabama Education Association (AEA) filed a lawsuit on Friday against a Texas-based member of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) seeking to open a charter school in rural southwest Alabama.

Residents of Washington County in the U.S. state of Alabama have strongly rejected plans to establish a charter school in the area, yet the project was approved despite major shortcomings and a lack of educational standards and credentials.

According to a report by the Al Reporter, a news magazine in Alabama, the lawsuit claims Soner Tarim "engaged in fraudulent conduct to conceal the extent of his involvement with the non-profit organization that is allegedly behind the creation of Woodland Prep, a charter school located in Washington County."

Tarim, one of the key figures running FETO's charter school network in the U.S., is the CEO of the Unity School Services and was the founder of Harmony Schools, a charter school network in Texas.

FETO and its U.S.-based billionaire leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Turkey also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

The lawsuit also claims Tarim "misrepresented the level of community support for the school and is advertising illegally in Mississippi in an attempt to attract enough students to be able to open the school."

Tarim's charter project in Alabama was granted a one-year extension by the Alabama Public Charter School Commission to delay the opening of the school a few months ago.

AEA Associate Executive Director Theron Stokes said, based on reports, that it was clear the group who made the charter school application for Woodland Prep was "nothing but a front for Tarim", as reported by Al Reporter.

"He (Tarim) got a taste for Alabama taxpayer money through LEAD Academy in Montgomery and has decided he wants to franchise corporate charter schools,” Stokes said.

"But the citizens of Washington County have risen up to fight the diversion of funds from a school system that, despite the odds, is thriving and succeeding. That is why contractors walked off the construction site, why he’s advertising in Mississippi to get students, and why we are taking this step -- to support our members and our local association in their fight," Stokes added.

According to an earlier report by the same magazine: "A copy of the USS contract with the Woodland Prep board shows that Tarim will make 15 percent of all federal, state and local funds received by Woodland. If Woodland’s projected enrollment of 260 students is accurate, Tarim will make more than $300,000," making him the highest paid official in the poverty-stricken county.

It also said "legal questions" had been raised about Harmony as well as Tarim’s use of the schools to exploit a visa program and skirt hiring laws in order to give contract jobs to Turkish workers and teachers, referring to loyalists of Gulen.

"There have also been other, education-related problems, such as a massive grade-change scandal at Harmony in Texas and financial fraud allegations related to grants at other Gulen schools," reported the magazine.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-education-group-sues-feto-charter-school-in-alabama/1548550

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Arab World

 

Activist Murad urges Yazidis to return to Iraq

August 04, 2019

STUTTGART: Nobel laureate Nadia Murad on Saturday urged Iraq’s Yazidi minority to return to their ancestral heartland of Sinjar, five years after militants launched a brutal assault on their community there.

Murad was one of thousands of women and girls from the ancient faith abducted by Daesh as they overran swathes of Iraq in 2014.

Speaking in the southwestern city of Stuttgart at the invitation of Germany’s central Yazidi council, she said that more than 90,000 had already returned to Sinjar.

But “we need even more to return there so as to thwart the Daesh’s plan to chase them out from Sinjar,” she said.

“The Kurdish and Iraqi authorities have done nothing for us and there is currently no local authority in the region of Sinjar,” Murad said.

Describing the de-mining of the territory and the exhumation of mass graves as “a positive step forward,” she called for the restoration of public services, including schools and hospitals, in the region.

She also argued that the Kurdish and Iraqi authorities should “compensate the Yazidi survivors of the Daesh, but so far they have still had nothing.”

Baghdad has awarded some Yazidis a one-off payment of $1,700, equivalent to just over three times the average monthly wage in Iraq.

On August 3, 2014, Daesh group fighters seized Mount Sinjar, and went on to slaughter thousands of Yazidi men and boys and abduct girls to be used as “sex slaves.”

The UN has said Daesh’s actions could amount to genocide, and is investigating militant atrocities across Iraq.

Of the world’s 1.5 million Yazidis, around 550,000 were living in the remote corners of northern Iraq before 2014.

The brutal assault by Daesh pushed around 360,000 Yazidis to flee to other parts of Iraq, including the Kurdish region, where they live in ramshackle displacement camps.

According to authorities, more than 6,400 Yazidis were abducted by Daesh and only half of them were able to flee or be rescued, while the fate of the others remains unknown. Another 100,000 fled abroad.

The number of Yazidis living in Germany is around 150,000.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535161/middle-east

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US Dispatches Massive Military Equipment to Occupied Bases in Aleppo, Raqqa

Aug 03, 2019

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that over 100 trucks carrying US military and logistical equipment arrived in areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Eastern Syria from Iraq.

The SOHR reiterated that over 2030 US trucks have entered the areas under the SDF control eversince the US declared the end of the ISIL in Northern Syria.

The Kurdish-language Xeber24 news website, meantime, reported that a large number of trucks carrying massive military equipment have been dispatched to the US-controlled military bases in the town of al-Jalbieh near the city of Kobani in Northeastern Aleppo and the town of Ain Issa in Northern part of Raqqa city near the border with Syria.

Turkey has recently increased its threats against the Kurdish militias to launch military operation against them in Eastern Euphrates.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Turkish army and affiliated militants attacked Kurdish positions in Northern Aleppo amid sending new military convoys to the border with Syria.

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that the Turkish forces targeted the Kurdish positions in the towns of Soqankeh, Miaseh and Zarnaiteh near Afrin region in Western Aleppo with over 180 mortar attacks.

Also, the Turkish army and affiliated militants attacked the town of Harb and several nearby towns in al-Shahba region in Northern Aleppo with artillery fire.

Meantime, the SOHR reported that heavy clashes have erupted between the Ankara-backed terrorists and the Kurdish militia near the towns of Harbal and Sheikh Issa in Northern Aleppo.

Concurrent with the events, the Turkish army sent new military convoys, consisting of tens of vehicles carrying military equipment to the borders with Syria near the towns of Ra'as al-Ein and Tal Abyadh in Hasaka and Raqqa provinces.

Also, the Arabic-language Step news website affiliated to militants reported that several Turkish reconnaissance planes have flown over the town of Manbij.

A senior Kurdish official warned on Monday that the US had given a greenlight to Turkey to attack Eastern Euphrates, calling on the Kurds to reach an agreement with the Syrian government as soon as possible.

Head of the Syrian Kurds' National Initiative Omar Ousi told the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper that the agreement between Washington and Ankara came amid Turkey's claim that negotiations to create a safe region on Syrian soil have failed, adding that the content of the negotiations between the two sides differs from what has been stated by the Americans and Turks.

He noted that Turkey's threats are very serious and dangerous this time, and said that Turkey's plan in Northern Syria will possibly start soon from Manbij region and then will spread to Ein al-Arab, Ra'as al-Ein and adjacent areas.

Ousi referred to the US attempts to pressure the SDF to accept Turkey's plan, and said the US has started settlement of differences with Turkey.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980512000386

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Aleppo: Turkish Army, Kurdish Militias Intensify Clashes as Ankara Sends Special Forces to Syria Borders

Aug 03, 2019

The pro-militant Step News website reported that the Turkish Army pounded the military points of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) around the city of Qameshli in Northeastern Hasaka and near the border with Turkey.

It noted that the attacks took place after the Kurdish militias attacked Turkey’s border checkpoint in Nasibin region along borders with Syria.

The Kurdish-language Hawar news website, meantime, reported that the Turkish Army and its allied militants pounded Tal Rafa’at and the towns of Balounieh, Harbal and Sheikh Issa in al-Shahba region in Northern Aleppo with tens of mortar attacks.

Meantime, two military points of the Turkish Army were destroyed while three Turkish soldiers were killed and four others were injured during two separate military offensives by the Kurdish militias.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Turkish army and affiliated militants attacked Kurdish positions in Northern Aleppo amid sending new military convoys to the border with Syria.

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that the Turkish forces targeted the Kurdish positions in the towns of Soqankeh, Miaseh and Zarnaiteh near Afrin region in Western Aleppo with over 180 mortar attacks.

Also, the Turkish army and affiliated militants attacked the town of Harb and several nearby towns in al-Shahba region in Northern Aleppo with artillery fire.

Meantime, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that heavy clashes have erupted between the Ankara-backed terrorists and the Kurdish militia near the towns of Harbal and Sheikh Issa in Northern Aleppo.

Concurrent with the events, the Turkish army sent new military convoys, consisting of tens of vehicles carrying military equipment to the borders with Syria near the towns of Ra'as al-Ein and Tal Abyadh in Hasaka and Raqqa provinces.

Also, the Arabic-language Step news website affiliated to militants reported that several Turkish reconnaissance planes have flown over the town of Manbij.

A senior Kurdish official warned on Monday that the US had given a greenlight to Turkey to attack Eastern Euphrates, calling on the Kurds to reach an agreement with the Syrian government as soon as possible.

Head of the Syrian Kurds' National Initiative Omar Ousi told the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper that the agreement between Washington and Ankara came amid Turkey's claim that negotiations to create a safe region on Syrian soil have failed, adding that the content of the negotiations between the two sides differs from what has been stated by the Americans and Turks.

He noted that Turkey's threats are very serious and dangerous this time, and said that Turkey's plan in Northern Syria will possibly start soon from Manbij region and then will spread to Ein al-Arab, Ra'as al-Ein and adjacent areas.

Ousi referred to the US attempts to pressure the SDF to accept Turkey's plan, and said the US has started settlement of differences with Turkey.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980512000589

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ISIL Emir, Mastermind Killed in Iraqi Airstrikes in Diyali

Aug 03, 2019

“The ISIL’s emir of Diyali province was killed in airstrikes by Iraq’s F-16 fighter jets on an underground military base of the terrorist group in Talal Hamrin region, the Arabic-language al-Ma’aloumeh news website quoted Head of Diyali Province Security Committee Sadeq al-Hosseini as saying.

Al-Hosseini reiterated that the slain ISIL emir was ISIL’s second strong man in Diyali province and had masterminded over 10 terrorists operations in Hamrin and its surrounding areas in recent months.

In a relevant development last Sunday, the Iraqi security forces killed ISIL’s media emir in Diyali province during the third phase of their mop-up operations in the region, the Arabic-language media outlets said.

The Arabic-language al-Maloumeh news website quoted a security source in Diyali province as saying that the Iraqi security forces continued their anti-ISIL military operations in Sabiayat and al-Miteh regions in Diyali province and near al-Azim area in Salahuddin province.

ISIL’s media emir Abu Eshaq Araqi was killed in the Iraqi security forces’ military operations in Diyali province, the news website said.

Meantime, the Iraqi forces declared the start of the third phase of their mop-up operations against the ISIL in Northern parts of Baghdad and in the surrounding areas of Diyali, Salahuddin and al-Anbar provinces.

The Iraqi al-Hashd al-Sha’abi also reported that the Iraqi Air Force also pounded and fully destroyed ISIL’s biggest military base which was used as a medical center near Sensoul lake in Southwestern Mosul.

In a relevant development earlier this month, at least 25 military positions and command centers of the ISIL terrorist group were destroyed in the Iraqi Army's cleansing operation in different parts of Western Iraq.

During the Iraqi Army's military operation known as Eradeh al-Nasr (Will of victory) in desert areas stretching from al-Anbar province to Salahuddin and Nineveh provinces in Western Iraq, more than a dozen hideouts of the terrorists were destroyed and all terrorists inside them were killed, Commander of Iraq's Hashd al-Sha'abi (Popular Mobilization Forces) in al-Anbar Province Qatar al-Abidi said.

Meantime, a security source in Iraqi Diyali province said that the Iraqi Army and security forces managed to fully cleanse Imam Veis region and its outskirts after destroying several of their military positions and hideouts.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980512000428

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US welcomes conditional truce in Syria’s Idlib region

4 August 2019

The United States Sunday welcomed a ceasefire in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region after months of deadly government bombardments but insisted attacks against civilians must stop.

Air strikes on Idlib province halted on Friday after the Syrian regime agreed to a truce on the condition that Turkey implements a buffer zone in the area.

Most of the region and parts of Hama, Aleppo, and Latakia -- which currently hosts some three million people - are controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an extremist group led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The area is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive under a September Turkish-Russian deal, but it has come under increasing fire by Damascus and its backer Moscow since the end of April.

The government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has accused Turkey of dragging its feet in implementing the deal, which provided for a buffer zone of up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) between the two sides, free of heavy and medium-sized weaponry.

Washington welcomed the conditional ceasefire, but “attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure must stop,” US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“The United States believes there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and only a political solution can ensure a stable and secure future for all Syrians,” she said.

The US also reiterated its support for a United Nations-led peace effort, with Ortagus calling it “the only viable path to a political solution.”

Since late April, 790 civilians have been killed in regime and Russian attacks, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor says.

Fighting over the same period has claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 combatants, including 900 regime loyalists, according to the monitor.

More than 400,000 people have been displaced and dozens of hospitals and schools damaged since April, according to the UN.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/04/US-welcomes-conditional-truce-in-Syria-s-Idlib-region-.html

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Syria airbase blast toll tops 30 regime fighters: Monitor

3 August 2019

A munitions blast killed more than 3o regime and allied fighters at a military airport in central Syria on Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, increasing an earlier toll.

State news agency SANA reported earlier that a “technical fault during the transport of expired ammunition” had killed an unspecified number of victims at the Shayrat airbase in Homs province.

The Shayrat airbase is one of the regime’s most significant installations in the center of the country.

In 2017, US air strikes hit the base in response to a suspected sarin gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun in northwest Syria that killed more than 80 people.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/03/Blast-kills-12-regime-fighters-at-Syria-airbase-Monitor.html

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US welcomes conditional truce in Syria’s Idlib region

August 04, 2019

SYDNEY: The United States Sunday welcomed a cease-fire in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region after months of deadly government bombardments but insisted attacks against civilians must stop.

Air strikes on Idlib province halted on Friday after the Syrian regime agreed to a truce on the condition that rebel backer Turkey implements a buffer zone in the area.

Most of the region and parts of Hama, Aleppo, and Latakia — which currently hosts some three million people — are controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a militant group led by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate.

The area is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive under a September Turkish-Russian deal, but it has come under increasing fire by Damascus and its backer Moscow since the end of April.

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad has accused Turkey of dragging its feet in implementing the deal, which provided for a buffer zone of up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) between the two sides, free of heavy and medium-sized weaponry.

Washington welcomed the conditional cease-fire, but “attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure must stop,” US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“The United States believes there can be no military solution to the Syrian conflict, and only a political solution can ensure a stable and secure future for all Syrians,” she said.

The US also reiterated its support for a United Nations-led peace effort, with Ortagus calling it “the only viable path to a political solution.”

Since late April, 790 civilians have been killed in regime and Russian attacks, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor says.

Fighting over the same period has claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 combatants, including 900 regime loyalists, according to the monitor.

More than 400,000 people have been displaced and dozens of hospitals and schools damaged since April, according to the UN.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535226/middle-east

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Europe

 

New wave of terrorist attacks possible before end of this year: UN

Aug 3, 2019

The United Nations has warned that a new wave of terror attacks may occur before the end of this year, as tens of thousands of foreigners, who had traveled abroad to join the Daesh or other terrorist groups, are said to be still alive.

Specialist monitors at the UN Security Council said in a report that despite recent decrease in attacks across the globe, terrorism continues to pose a significant threat to the world as up to 30,000 foreigners who traveled to the Iraq or Syria for joining the Daesh might still be alive.

Extremists from across Europe joined Daesh in droves in 2014, when the Takfiri terror group launched its campaign of death and destruction in Iraq and Syria.

European countries estimated that as many as 6,000 people traveled to the two Arab countries back then. About a third were killed, while another third remain detained in the region or have moved elsewhere.

“Their future prospects will be of international concern for the foreseeable future,” the report said. “Some may join al-Qaeda or other terrorist brands that may emerge.”

Europe has so far been unwilling to take back citizens who traveled to join Daesh, saying they pose a security threat to the European Union member states.

This prompted US President Donald Trump to threaten the EU on Thursday that he may release over 10,000 European Daesh members, captured in Syria and Iraq, to return to the place where they came from.

Trump for several times asked European leaders to act more decisively and take back their nationals. Back in February, he posted a tweet calling on Europe to take them back or Washington would be “forced to release them.”

The US said it has arrested around 850 foreigners on terror charges in the last few years.

Back in January, France said it was considering the repatriation of 130 men and women to be tried, but a month later no progress appeared to have been made. French officials also said last year that they were working on plans to return children born to foreign fighters.

Earlier this year, Germany said that a third of its estimated 1,000 nationals who are believed to have joined Daesh in Iraq and Syria since 2013, have returned to their homeland. Many of those have since been prosecuted or placed into rehabilitation programs, Berlin said.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/03/602551/UN-EU-Daesh-terrorist-attacks

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India

 

Specific terror threats led to decision on calling off Amarnath Yatra

Shishir Gupta

Aug 04, 2019

Specific threats to both the northern and southern routes leading to the holy Amarnath cave forced the hand of the administration in calling off the Amarnath Yatra two weeks ahead of the scheduled close of the pilgrimage on August 15, Hindustan Times has learnt.

According to top security officials based in New Delhi and Kashmir, an anti-personnel landmine manufactured by a Pakistani ordnance factory and a sniper rifle with a 1.5 kilometer kill range were recovered from Sangam top, just 3 kilometres short of the cave, by a 3 Sector Rashtriya Rifles unit deployed on the northern axis.

An improvised explosive device was recovered by a 1 sector Rashtriya Rifles unit, 1.5 kilometres north-east of Sheshnag, around 14 kilometres from the holy cave, on the southern route. The yatra was called off on Friday after the recoveries in the last week of July because it had become evident that Pakistani jihadists were out to target the pilgrims.

Under Operation Shiva, the security forces, on the basis of actionable intelligence inputs that indicated the targeting of civilians by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group, put in place enhanced measures to neutralise the opportunities available to the jihadists to target the yatris.

The roads to Chandanwari and Baltal, the starting points of the two routes to the cave, were covered by road opening parties of paramilitary forces, whose search and anti-sabotage teams were pressed into service. The Indian army’s Victor Force units searched parallel areas.

Preliminary reports suggest that the US-made M24 sniper rifle may have been procured from the Taliban by the JeM, a fellow Deobandi proponent, after the weapon was looted from the Afghan army. With the weapon having a range of 1.5 kilometres, the pilgrims would have been sitting ducks for the sniper, who would have been positioned around Sangam top.

With JeM seeking to avenge the February 26 Indian air force strikes on its camp in Pakistan’s Balakot camp, in which an unspecified number of its recruits were believed to have died, there has been a continuous flow of intelligence about the regrouping of the Pakistan-based group to attack Indian security forces in Kashmir.

Intelligence reports indicated that JeM cadre were planning an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on a security forces convoy on the Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri national highway on the lines of the February 14 Pulwama suicide car bombing that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers. Material for the IED’s fabrication, as per the reports, had already reached the Valley.

Another input highlighted the presence of a batch of three JeM terrorists in the Nezapir area of Poonch who could be used to plant IEDs on tracks used by Indian troops deployed in the posts of Barood, Sher, Shakti and Kaiyaan.

It is quite evident from the intelligence reports, whose contents were disclosed to Hindustan Times by security officials, that Pakistan had taken no action to restrain JeM. Fifteen Jihadists were moved to JeM camps in Markaz, Sanam bin Salma and Tarnab farms in Peshawar in Khyber Paktunkhwa (KPK) province after completing training in “askari jihad” at camps in the Jamrud area. Four of these 15 are from Nowhar and Peshawar, four from the Ali Masjid area en-route to Landi Kotal,located on the route across the mountains to Peshawar, and the remaining from Khyber province.

Given the serious threat posed by JeM to the Amarnath Yatra and the Kashmir valley as a whole, the Narendra Modi government decided to call off the pilgrimage rather than risk the lives of the pilgrims. On July 23-24, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval conducted an on-ground threat assessment in the Valley and briefed the three service chiefs and intelligence chiefs the same week on the need to reinforce security in the Valley to meet the terror threat.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/specific-terror-threats-led-to-decision-on-amarnath-yatra/story-DH0OvPt1yJG0Kd3djSulSI.html

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Imam Bara in Kargil opens doors — for homework, coaching

by Adil Akhzer

August 4, 2019

Every day after school, Zaheer Abbas, a Class IX student, heads to Imam Bara at his Hardas village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district. Though it is a place of worship, for Abbas and at least another 100 students, it’s where studies really begin.

This Imam Bara, which until a few years ago was closed most of the time except for 10 days during Muharram, has now opened its doors to school students from Hardas who need the extra coaching, help with homework and often, go just to listen to some good stories.

And to teach the students, Mohammed Hassan, who heads the village education committee, convinced young men from the village, particularly those studying outside Kargil, to return to Hardas in their college breaks and offer their services free of cost.

“Villagers were worried a few years ago when we received feedback from schools that children were unable to do their homework properly when they go back home. Also, fewer children attended school then. The villagers met and decided to start this initiative. We visited every household to convince them to send students to the Imam Bara for extra education,” says Hassan.

“When we started this initiative, the number of students were few. But today, that number has reached 100 now,” he says, adding that the Imam Bara “has found its calling. It opens round the clock to teach students.”

Abbas says his life has changed. “When I have any doubts, I go to any of them and they explain it to me properly. Here, we are taught things in a simpler way and every day, I come here with full interest,” he says, pointing towards his teacher, also named Mohammad Hassan, who is studying a post graduation course in Mathematics in Maharashtra.

Mohammad told The Sunday Express that other than the normal coaching, they also share experiences. “We give them more exposure by sharing our stories with them. Students here are always interested in listening to us and so, studies become more interesting for them,” he says.

At the Imam Bara, volunteers focus on reading and writing. “We also improve their communication skills. The change is now happening because we have young children who are yet to go to school coming to our centre. We have given them drawing books and develop an interest for education among them,” says Hassan, the education committee head.

Another college student Ghulam Ali, pursuing his a post-graduation in geology in Uttarakhand is also back in Hardas during his holidays and teaches at the Imam Bara every day.

“I give my time because I want to see these kids excel and do something well in the future,” says Ali, who voluntarily teaches from 10 am to 2 pm. He says he will go back to his college in the first week of September and by then, he hopes to complete a good portion of the syllabus.

Hardas village is famous for apricots and is among the major producers of this fruit in Kargil, but according to villagers, it had fallen behind on education.

“Few children attended school a few years ago as parents were not convinced about education, especially for girl students. But, we can say that things have improved now,” says Zakir Hussain, a member of the local education committee and a resident.

And when young men return to their colleges, residents of Hardas have also ensured that local teachers voluntarily to keep the Imam Bara coaching centre running.

But there’s still much more to do, say locals. According to Hardas residents, they are still focussed on convincing parents to send their daughters to school. “When we started this initiative, we visited each house and met parents to convince them. It worked and if we had 10 per cent of girls going to school then, we now have 80 per cent of the girls coming to our centre for tuition,” said Zakir Hussain.

The Imam Bara model is now slowly spreading across Kargil according to Nargis Bano, the Zonal Education Officer for Kargil. She said that in other Kargil villages, too, non-local volunteers have started visiting government schools to lend a hand. Inspired by the initiative, Altaf Hussain, the local area councillor, is planning free coaching classes for students during the three winter months, when the road connecting Kargil to Srinagar remains shut.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/imam-bara-in-kargil-opens-doors-for-homework-coaching-5876278/

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Gujarat: 4 men arrested for thrashing Muslim youth, forcing them to chant Jai Shri Ram in Godhra

August 3, 2019

Police in Godhra have arrested four men for allegedly thrashing three Muslim youth for not chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan.

The police have also caught hold of two minors in connection with the case.

Victims while addressing the media said that they were stopped by the accused on the road and were asked to chant 'Jai Sri Ram'. After they refused to comply, the six persons started beating them.

The Muslim youth were admitted to a hospital and are undergoing treatment.

Sharing the details of the incident, Superintendent of Police (Panchmahal), Dr Leena Patil told media that prima facie the case appears to be of a scuffle between two groups of youngsters.

Patil said, "We have registered a case under IPC section 324. As per our investigation, this is just a case of a scuffle. In the video, there is no exchange of words between them before the scuffle takes place."

Full report at:

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/gujarat-4-men-arrested-for-thrashing-muslim-youth-forcing-them-to-chant-jai-shri-ram-in-godhra-1576864-2019-08-03

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Demonstration by Social Democratic Party of India against Burning Of Muslim Teen

AUGUST 03, 2019

Condemning the burning of a youth in Uttar Pradesh after he refused to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) organised a demonstration here on Saturday.

District secretary of SDPI, Kottur Peer Masthan, said the well-planned attacks on Muslims that started ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister in 2014, has increased further. While attacks by ‘gau rakshaks’ were being unleashed on Muslims, who were taking cattle after getting all mandatory permissions from the authorities concerned, religious fanatics were beating Muslims to death after forcing them to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’.

After the killing of a man in Jharkhand, similar attacks were being organised by the Hindu fundamentalists on Muslims in Delhi, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, he added.

“Mr. Modi’s new ‘Digital India’ is witnessing the merciless killing of Muslims when they refuse to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’. The sangh parivar are being given free hand to orchestrate such crimes. Even after the Supreme Court’s intervention in this connection, neither the Modi-led Union Government nor the State Governments concerned act tough against these criminals. In fact, they encourage the killers. The Union Government should pass a legislation paving way for punishing the killers under stringent law,” Mr. Masthan said.

Full report at:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/demonstration-against-burning-of-muslim-teen/article28807954.ece

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Hizbul Mujahideen leader asks police to shift sides

August 4, 2019

Hizbul Mujahideen operations chief Riyaz Naikoo has asked people to remain united and urged J&K Police to switch sides as the Valley remains on edge with apprehensions of tinkering with Articles 370 and 35A.

In an audio message circulated on social media, Naikoo is heard saying, “…The political parties that were (earlier) martyring our youth to keep Delhi happy…today they have to beg to be allowed to move out of their houses.” Stating that policemen are first Kashmiris and then policemen, Naikoo said it is the time to “wash your stains”.

He said, “If you want, you can do anything. You understand what I mean.”

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/hizbul-mujahideen-leader-asks-police-to-shift-sides-5876040/

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J-K: 4 militants killed in two encounters in Sopore

August 4, 2019

Four militants were killed in separate encounters in the Valley, an Army spokesperson said on Saturday.

A J&K Police spokesperson also said that four militants were killed in two operations in the last 36 hours.

Police officials said that two militants were killed in an encounter between militants and security forces in North Kashmir’s Sopore on Saturday morning. One militant was identified as Umar Wani from Bandipora, while the other was a foreigner. “Both the killed terrorists as per police records were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit JeM,” the police said.

Two other militants were killed in South Kashmir’s Shopian district early Friday morning, police said. One of them was identified as Zeenat-ul-Islam, who, according to police, was affiliated with JeM. The second was Manzoor Ahmad, who as per police was affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen. One soldier was also killed in the operation.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/j-k-4-militants-killed-in-two-encounters-in-sopore-5876030/

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J&K tense as troops arrive, outstation students asked to leave Valley

Aug 4, 2019

SRINAGAR: Panic and fear, which have enveloped Jammu & Kashmir since the government called off the Amarnath Yatra citing terror threat from Pakistan, thickened on Saturday when the state administration asked outstation students to move out as soon as possible. The authorities made arrangements for outstation students at the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, to leave the Valley in state transport buses.

The principal of the Government Polytechnic College at Srinagar, too, instructed all residential students to vacate the hostel. The move came against the arrival of thousands of security personnel amid escalating speculation that the Modi government might implement BJP’s poll pledge to scrap Article 35A. Efforts by the authorities, including governor Satya Pal Malik, to tamp down the buzz about the “impending” decision of the Modi government have failed to quieten matters. Malik, who had late last night said that the decision to end the Amarnath yatra and send back pilgrims and tourists was necessitated only by the threat of an attack by Pakistan-backed terror groups, repeated his statement when a National Conference delegation called on him to seek clarity.

However, to many the latest denial did not sound unambiguous, with the governor admitting he wasn’t sure what might unfold later. “They’ve gone satisfied. Whatever they expected from me I did. As far as I know, there’s no inclination that something is going to happen here. I don’t know about tomorrow. That’s not in my hands. But till today, there’s nothing to worry,” Malik said after meeting Omar Abdullah and other NC leaders.

The uncertainty saw people scampering to stock up on medicines, edible oil, salt, tea, pulses, vegetables and other essentials. There were long queues at fuel stations, while people also rushed to ATM outlets. According to a commuter, Manzoor Ahmad Khan, petrol pumps in Srinagar had “completely dried up” and people are now trying to procure fuel from north Kashmir districts. Rumour-mongers had a field day.

Authorities had to struggle to quell one about local police being disarmed. ADG (law & order) Munir Khan denied cops have been disarmed and CRPF and Army have taken control of the situation. Authorities also intensified efforts to send back Amarnath yatris and tourists. Besides putting the road transport system on full throttle, state authorities also arranged Air Force planes to airlift them. “We are giving a 72-hour window to yatris and tourists to leave,” a government source said. Security has been put on high alert.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jk-tense-as-troops-arrive-outstation-students-asked-to-leave-valley/articleshow/70517610.cms

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Consular access to Jadhav can only be remedial & private, India tells Pakistan

Aug 4, 2019

NEW DELHI: Consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav in the presence of Pakistani officials and the recording of the same will seriously compromise the process which has to be carried out by order of the ICJ, India has warned Pakistan.

In its response to Pakistan’s consular access offer, the government said in its note verbale that Jadhav’s was a case of remedial, and not regular, consular access which the international court had sought for India while holding Pakistan guilty of having violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

After it managed to ferret out exclusive details of India’s note verbale, TOI learnt Saturday that India had called out Pakistan for disregarding the fact that, unlike regular cases of consular access where the degree of involvement of an accused in criminal acts is unknown, Jadhav had already been convicted by a military court on the basis of his alleged confession. This is the reason why, as a diplomatic source said, consular access can only be remedial and "private" in his case, with no Pakistani official or recording facility around.

``The failure to allow consular access before the alleged confessions were recorded now has to be remedied,’’ Indian government told Pakistan.

This is also expected to be the government’s main line of argument if it does decide to knock again on ICJ’s doors for justice to Jadhav. For India, it’s the most effective rebuttal of Pakistan’s contention that its offer, replete with riders like video and audio recording, is in line with jail manuals followed all over the world, including in India. India, in fact, said in its response that jail manuals only dealt with regular consular access.

India went on to say that, given the peculiar circumstances of the case, it was incumbent on Pakistan to provide consular access "in private" in an environment free from the fear of intimidation and that any access granted perfunctorily will not fulfil the ICJ judgment mandate.

India has also been worried, as obvious from the response, by Pakistan’s decision to repeatedly raise the Jadhav security issue, even after the ICJ judgment, as a basis for denial of consular assistance to him.

The government told Pakistan that this argument had already been rejected by the international court. Pakistan had earlier told India that it was examining the judgment with a view to "fully addressing the security concerns surrounding commander Jadhav''. As India has repeatedly said, consular access is meant to allow an accused to exercise his right to defence. The ICJ held Pakistan guilty of violating Article 36 of Vienna Convention by not informing him of his rights after his arrest and by denying India consular access.

In that regard, the government has mentioned in its response Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which, as the ICJ held, informs the interpretation of Article 36 of Vienna Convention. Some of the sections of the Article 14 which merited a mention in the Jadhav case included 3 (b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing and 3 (g) Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt. Then there’s also 3 (d) which calls for the accused to be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing.

These objectives, as India has said, would have been achieved in Jadhav’s case only if Pakistan had not failed in providing consular access to him immediately after his arrest. The denial of this right to Jadhav also raises question marks about the ‘evidence’ gathered by the Pakistan military against him, according to Indian officials.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/uphold-icj-judgment-with-remedial-not-regular-consular-access-for-jadhav-india-tells-pakistan/articleshow/70516948.cms

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Mideast

 

Erdogan lays stone for modern Turkey’s first new church

August 03, 2019

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday laid the foundation stone for the first new church in Turkey since it became a modern republic in 1923.

The church in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy will serve the 17,000-strong Syriac Christian community, which is also paying for the new building.

“It is the Turkish republic’s duty to meet the need for space to worship for the Syriac community, who are the ancient children of this geography,” Erdogan said during the stone-laying ceremony.

Syriac Christians are part of the eastern Christian tradition and pray in Aramaic, which Jesus is believed to have spoken.

Erdogan said he hoped the construction of the Syriac Orthodox Mor Ephrem Church would be completed within two years.

He had ordered the Istanbul metropolitan municipality to find space for the building in 2009 while he was prime minister.

It is being built on land belonging to the Latin Catholic Church and which is part of an Italian cemetery, the head of the Beyoglu Virgin Mary Syriac Orthodox Church Foundation in Istanbul, Sait Susin, said.

In recent years, Turkey has restored and reopened churches but the government has been criticized for trying to Islamicize the official secular country.

Christian minorities including Armenians have also complained of being treated as second-class citizens in the Muslim-majority country.

Christians make up around 0.2 percent of the total population in Turkey.

But Erdogan sought to extend a hand to other communities in the country of 82 million, saying “don’t forget, this country, this state belongs to everyone.”

“Anyone who has affection for, contributes to and is loyal to Turkey is a first-class citizen. There are no barriers to anyone in politics, trade or any other area.”

Official statistics show 98 percent of the Turkish population is Muslim but a poll by Konda group earlier this year showed the number of people identifying as atheist rose from 1 to 3 percent between 2008 and 2018.

In the same survey, 51 percent said they were religious in 2018 compared with 55 percent in 2008, although the number of those who said they were a “believer” rose from 31 percent to 34 percent in a decade.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535136/middle-east

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Tehran defies world, issues new threat to boost nuclear program

August 03, 2019

JEDDAH: Iran issued a new threat on Saturday to boost its nuclear program in defiance of international condemnation, as it emerged that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had snubbed an offer from US President Donald Trump of talks at the White House.

Tehran has said repeatedly that it would breach the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear activities unless the other signatories find ways to shield its economy from US sanctions. Washington pulled out of the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), last year.

Last month, Iran threatened to restart deactivated centrifuges and increase enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, both breaches of the JCPOA.

“The third step in reducing commitments to the agreement will be implemented in the current situation,” Zarif said on Saturday.

“We have said that if it is not completely implemented by others then we will also implement it in the same incomplete manner. And of course all of our actions have been within the framework of the JCPOA.”

Trump withdrew from the agreement last year and reimposed a raft of economic sanctions that are crippling the Iranian economy.  Last week the US extended sanctions to Zarif himself, blocking any property or interests he has in the US. Zarif said he was proud to be penalized by America “for defending the rights of Iranian people.”

However it emerged at the weekend that last month, at the height of a crisis over Iranian harassment of commercial shipping in the Gulf, Zarif had rejected an invitation from Trump for talks at the White House.

The offer was extended by Senator Rand Paul with permission from the president. Zarif said it was up to Tehran to decide whether to accept it, and in any case he would not agree to a White House meeting that produced only a photo opportunity and a two-page statement.

Trump has said that although Iran is a corrupt, incompetent and dangerous regime, and a threat to regional security and US interests, he is open to talks.

Meanwhile US Defense Secretary Mark Esper was in discussions with allies in Asia on Saturday about a contribution to a US-led force to protect shipping from Iranian state piracy in the Strait of Hormuz.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1534811/middle-east

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Islam economy institute to hold int'l studies

August 03 2019

Turkey's first institute on Islamic economy and finance aims to conduct international academic studies from Turkey's economic hub of Istanbul.

The Marmara University Institute of Islamic Economics And Finance (MUISEF) will expand its studies with further academic research on issues including sector-wise product diversification and participation banking, Erol Özvar, president of the Istanbul-based university, told Anadolu Agency.

In an interview, Özvar said the interest in Islamic economics and finance studies has become increasingly popular over the last 20 years, not only in Turkey but also in a broad range of countries from Japan to the U.S.

There are a number of centers in various universities on Islamic economics and finance, but MUISEF of Marmara University is the first of its kind in Turkey in terms of being an academic institute, Özvar stressed.

Özvar added that the institute was established under a joint protocol with the Finance Office of the Turkish Presidency.

"We will provide training on Islamic economy and finance for graduate and doctoral students coming from different disciplines," he said, stressing that the institute was conceived as a scientific establishment open to the world.

"We think that being open to international interaction, in terms of producing and disseminating academic knowledge, is crucial. The instruction language will be in English. We also want to train our students in Arabic and other languages," he said.

Great potential in Istanbul for Islamic finance

Göksel Aşan, Finance Office Chief in Turkish Presidency, underlined that no project could be accomplished without proper scientific background and qualified human capital. He added that MUISEF was founded with this motive.

Aşan added that the institute would espouse a more holistic view in the field of Islamic finance as well as a substructure to serve the purpose of making Istanbul a "finance center".

Emphasizing that the fields of financial technologies and Islamic finance were critical for The Istanbul Finance Center (IFC), he noted that it would differentiate itself from other examples in the world.

Istanbul has a great potential in terms of Islamic finance, Aşan said, adding: "Istanbul, unfortunately, has remained far below its potential. Islamic finance is one of the two things that will be central to the IFC. This is why this institute is very important for us as it will support this aim."

Noting that the share of participation banks was also insufficient, he stressed that the most important method to increase the share of participation banks was to ensure financial diversity.

"In other words, it is to create new structure in which they [participation banks] turn to different financial instruments," he said.

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/islam-economy-institute-to-hold-intl-studies-145501

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Yemeni army gains control of new areas in Saada

August 04, 2019

DUBAI: The Yemeni army regained control of the Al-Safra district in northern Saada on Saturday, Yemen’s state news agency, Saba, reported.

A military source said the Yemeni forces, with the support of the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, liberated the areas after clashes that killed and wounded dozens of Iran-backed Houthis.

The war in Yemen was triggered when the Houthis seized control of the capital Sanaa in 2014. The coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, intervened in 2015 to help restore the government.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535266

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Yemeni forces kill 8 Al-Qaeda militants and retake camp in south

August 03, 2019

SANAA: Yemeni officials and tribal leaders said security forces were pursuing Al-Qaeda militants Saturday in the southern Abyan province, leaving at least seven extremists and one soldier dead.

The fighting came a day after Al-Qaeda attacked and overran a military camp in the same province, killing at least 20 soldiers.

The troops chasing the militants through the mountainous areas of Al-Mahfad district are part of a force trained by the UAE, a member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels since 2015.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535141/middle-east

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Pakistan

 

Tehreek-i-Insaf to bag three tribal districts reserved seats in PA

Waseem Ahmad Shah

August 04, 2019

PESHAWAR: As five of the six independent MPAs elected from merged tribal districts lately have joined political parties, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is set to secure two Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seats reserved for women, while the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), new entrant to the province’s politics, will bag one seat each.

The PTI will also get a seat reserved for non-Muslims in the recently held provincial assembly elections in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Under the Constitution (Twenty-Fifth Amendment) Act, 2018, 21 seats are allocated to the erstwhile Fata for its first-ever provincial assembly elections, including 16 general seats, four seats reserved for women and one seat reserved for non-Muslims.

Spokesperson of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sohail Khan, told Dawn that the commission would name the successful candidates for reserved seats on Sunday or Monday.

In the July 20 polls held for 16 general seats, six were won by independent candidates, five by PTI, three by the JUI-F and one each by Awami National Party (ANP) and Jamaat-i-Islami.

Two of the independent MPAs, Mohammad Shafique from PK-107 Khyber-III and Syed Ghazi Ghazan Jamal from PK-110 Orakzai, have announced joining PTI. The latter is son of former federal minister Ghazi Ghulab Jamal.

With their joining, the tally of PTI in the polls has risen to seven seats.

In a surprising manner, three of the independents announced joining BAP in Islamabad on Friday amidst presence of Baluchistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal. They include: Abbasur Rehman from PK-104 Mohmand-II, Shafiq Afridi from PK-105 Khyber-I and BIlawal Afridi from PK-106 Khyber-II.

Shafiq Afridi and Bilawal Afridi are the nephew and son of former MNA Haji Gul Afridi, respectively. Similarly, Abbasur Rehman is the brother of Senator Hilal Rehman.

Presently BAP has no presence in the KP Assembly and with the joining of these three MPAs, it is now also entitled to a single women reserved seat.

The sixth independent MPA-elect, Mir Kalam Khan of PK-112 North Waziristan-II, who is affiliated with Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, has retained his independent status.

The ECP had issued the gazette notifications of the returned candidates on Aug 1.

It announced that that under the Constitution’s Article 103(3) sub-clause C, the members to fill seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, which are allocated to a province, will be elected through proportional representation system of political parties’ lists of candidates on the basis of total number of general seats won by each political party from the province concerned.

The provision also declares that the total number of general seats will include the independent returned candidate or candidates who may duly join such political party within three days of the publication in the official Gazette of the names of the returned candidates.

With seven seats, the ruling PTI is entitled to secure two of the four seats reserved for women, while the JUI-F and BAP, which both having three seats, will get one reserved seat each.

The PTI had given only a single name in its priority list for women reserved seat.

The nominee, Anita Mehsud, is a resident of Islamabad but her vote is registered in South Waziristan tribal district. Now, the party has now given another name for both reserved seats.

Similarly, former JUI-F MNA Naeema Kishwar, who hails from Wana in South Waziristan tribal district, will make it to the provincial assembly as her name is on top of the priority list of her party’s candidates. She remained MPA from 2002 to 2007.

As the BAP didn’t contest elections for general seats, no priority list of candidates was produced by it for seats reserved for women and non-Muslims.

Now as three lawmakers have joined it, the party will nominate a woman candidate for the seat to be allocated to it.

Wilson Wazir of the PTI will become MPA on the single seat reserved for non-Muslims for the tribal districts. A resident of Landi Kotal, Khyber tribal district, he is the lone candidate on the PTI’s priority list.

Currently, the 124-strong assembly has 85 PTI members, 13 of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, 11 of the ANP, six of the PML-N, five of the PPP, one of the PML-Q, and three independents.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1497994/tehreek-i-insaf-to-bag-three-tribal-districts-reserved-seats-in-pa

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Maryam stands with her family for reaping benefits via TT: Firdous

August 4, 2019

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday took a jibe at Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart Maryam Nawaz, saying that she has joined the ranks of her family members by receiving and sending Telegraphic Transfers (TT).

Firdous tweeted that Maryam getting telegraphic transfers from the controversial Hill Metals Establishment, which she had distanced herself from in the past, was shameful.

She added that all the ills in the political system that plague the country today can be traced to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/03/maryam-stands-with-her-family-for-reaping-benefits-via-tt-firdous/

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Indian citizen with fake Pakistani identity papers arrested from Gujranwala

August 3, 2019

GUJRANWALA: An Indian national with a fake Pakistani identity card was arrested in an operation led by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday.

Deputy Director FIA Amir Nawaz said that the Indian national, Pancham Tiwari, hails from Banaras and is a businessman in India.

According to sources, Tiwari had been living in Pakistan for the past decade. Tiwari has three children and is married to a Pakistani woman

FIA found a fake identity card among Tiwari’s belongings, to which he claimed that he had embraced Islam and had no intention of returning back to India.

Tiwari defended himself by telling the FIA that he conducted business with Kamran, a Pakistani citizen, in 2009. Influenced by Kamran, he abandoned Hinduism and converted to Islam.

He said Kamran offered him a place to stay and his sister’s hand in marriage because he could not return to India as a Muslim.

He also told the FIA that he made his way to Karachi via the sea route of human smuggling. Upon reaching Karachi, Tiwari met Kamran’s uncle who renamed him Bilal and made a fake identity card under his new name.

Tiwari says that being a Muslim, he wants to live in Pakistan.

The FIA has launched an investigation against Tiwari. Six people, including Kamran and his family, have been named in assisting the accused.

Earlier this year in March, news of a mentally challenged man crossing into the Indian territory by mistake broke out.

The differently-abled Pakistani citizen had been declared a spy by the Border Security Forces (BSF).

Earlier on February 12, an Indian teenage boy was repatriated to his homeland as a goodwill gesture after he mistakenly crossed into Pakistani territory.

Full report at:

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2027306/1-indian-citizen-fake-pakistani-identity-papers-arrested-gujranwala/

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US enhances engagement with Pakistan

Anwar Iqbal

August 04, 2019

WASHINGTON: A US delegation will reach Islamabad on Monday for talks with Pakistani officials, as the Afghan peace process intensifies and could lead to a presidential visit to the region, if it succeeds.

Also, US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, arrived in Doha on Saturday to “resume talks with the Taliban”, he wrote in a tweet in Dari. “The Taliban have shown signs of a willingness to compromise. We are ready for a good deal,” he added.

In Washington, diplomatic sources told Dawn that Alice Wells, the Trump administration’s point-person for South and Central Asia, was coming to Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials on Afghanistan and bilateral relations.

The sources said this would be a follow-up of the US-Pakistan consultations that began in Washington when Prime Minister Imran Khan visited and met US President Donald Trump at the White House on July 22.

They also said if the Doha talks led to an agreement between the United States and Taliban, President Trump might visit Afghanistan in September to finalise the deal.

And if Mr Trump visits Afghanistan, Pakistan would try to bring him to Islamabad as well to further strengthen the impression that relations between Islamabad and Washington are improving rapidly, according to the sources.

Although close allies once, relations between the United States and Pakistan deteriorated after May 2011, when the American intelligence discovered Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and a team of US Navy Seals took him out. But the ties began to improve late last year, when Pakistan persuaded the Taliban to hold direct talks with Washington.

Since then, the two sides have held eight rounds of talks in as many months and this weekend they began yet another. US-Pakistan ties got another boost last week, when President Trump met Prime Minister Khan and indicated in a joint news conference that he liked the new Pakistani leader and was looking forward to working with him to end America’s longest war.

Mr Trump also expressed his desire to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir at the White House news conference and reiterated the offer on Thursday, saying he would “certainly intervene” to help resolve the 70-year-old dispute, if asked to do so.

Much of the new-found warmth in the US-Pakistan friendship, however, revolves around the Afghan peace process. President Trump wants to “extricate” the United States from this “crazy war” before the 2020 US presidential election, and hopes that Pakistan will assist him in achieving this target.

Asked at a briefing if the Taliban could be trusted, the US leader said: “I don’t want to say if they can be trusted or not. Look, history, I would say, is not so good, but they don’t like us much either.”

He said in the last few months, he had brought the number of soldiers down very substantially and now all sides would get “a lot of advantages” by making a deal on Afghanistan.

“Let’s put this way: We’re more police than anything else, and that’s not for our soldiers,” said Mr Trump while explaining why he was so keen on withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan.

“I’ve said — I’ve said it a lot. We could win the war, if you look at it — and you can look at it any way you want — we can win the war in Afghanistan in less than a week,” he added.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498020/us-enhances-engagement-with-pakistan

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Fissures erupt in opposition over Senate vote fiasco

Amir Wasim

August 04, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The no-trust vote fiasco in the Senate has caused serious distrust between the two main opposition parties, with leaders from both Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz suspecting each other of foul play.

The leaders of the two arch-rivals of the past in their private conversations are found accusing each other of playing a “dirty game” during the secret vote on the no-trust motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in which the opposition faced a defeat due to defection of its 14 legislators.

Yet the two parties have a unanimous view that there is a need for changing the rules regarding no-trust resolution against Senate chairman or deputy chairman, as PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at a press conference in Lahore announced that the party would seek amendments to the parliamentary rules and constitution to do away with the requirement of “secret ballot” during votes in the parliament. He also expressed the hope that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) would back it as it was part of its manifesto.

Though both the parties have formed their fact-finding committees to identify the defectors and suggest a punitive action against them, background interviews with the members of the committees revealed that they had “very little hope” for success.

The PPP’s committee has convened its first meeting on Aug 6 in Islamabad. An official announcement by the PPP says that the “fact-finding committee” will meet on Tuesday in Islamabad to “begin investigations in whether and who among party senators defected in the secret ballot in the last week no-confidence move against the Senate chairman”.

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani is the convener of the PPP committee, having representation from all the provinces with no sitting senator in it.

A committee member said they would discuss their terms of reference (ToR) and finalise a methodology to probe the matter that had brought embarrassment to the joint opposition.

Sources said the mistrust between the two parties had been there since the day they had submitted the no-trust motion against Mr Sanjrani last week. In one of the meetings, a PML-N senator sought a clarification from the PPP leaders over a reported meeting between former president Asif Zardari, who is in NAB custody, and a top property tycoon a night before the voting to discuss as to how the move could be thwarted. The PPP leaders, the sources said, however, had categorically refuted these reports.

Similarly, after several complaints against the PML-N senators for not turning up in the opposition meetings, PPP’s parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman finally had to approach leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif through former speaker Ayaz Sadiq asking him to ensure their attendance, the sources said.

Ms Rehman criticised PML-N’s Khawaja Asif over his remarks on a TV channel against PPP senators holding them responsible for the Senate debacle and terming the PPP’s move to form the fact-finding committee a ‘drama’.

She said Mr Asif had tried to destroy the opposition’s unity and asked the PML-N leadership to give an explanation over it. She said the PPP also had reservations over some parties in the opposition alliance, but did not express this in the larger interest of the opposition’s unity.

Addressing a news conference, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s close aide Jehangir Tareen and Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar had contacted PPP senators and attempted to persuade them (to vote for Mr Sanjrani).

“The senators told me about this. I have full faith in my all senators and I haven’t accepted the resignations of any of them. Propaganda is being made against them,” he said, advising the opposition parties not to indulge in the blame game.

“When it was alleged that the PML-N had cut a deal, I rejected it. Now if someone from the opposition points a finger at my senators for foul play it means he is pointing the finger at me,” he said.

In reply to a question about alleged interference of an intelligence agency in the Senate election as alleged by National Party chief Hasil Bizenjo, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said: “I have no such reports. However, there had been involvement of non-democratic forces in the Senate elections in the past.”

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498021/fissures-erupt-in-opposition-over-senate-vote-fiasco

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Court issues notice to Sethi over ‘derogatory’ remarks

Malik Asad

August 04, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A local court on Saturday issued a notice to anchorperson Najam Sethi on a defamation suit filed by Prime Minister Imran Khan for passing “derogatory” remarks against him.

Mr Khan has claimed Rs10 billion in terms of damages and compensation from Mr Sethi for intruding on his private life.

Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Basit Aleem took up Mr Khan’s application and issued the notice to Mr Sethi for Aug 9. The judge, however, rejected a request from Mr Khan’s counsel for an order to the private television channel to restrain Mr Sethi from hosting his programme Najam Sethi Show, saying the matter may be raised before another ADSJ, Mohammad Ali Warraich, who would take up Mr Khan’s application.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498044/court-issues-notice-to-sethi-over-derogatory-remarks

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Lahore High Court moved for ban on TikTok app

August 04, 2019

LAHORE: A lawyer has approached the Lahore High Court seeking a ban on TikTok, an Android-based social media video application, in Pakistan for being a source of vulgarity and pornography.

“TikTok is a great mischief of modern times. It is destroying the youth and promoting immoral activities,” states Advocate Nadeem Sarwar in his petition.

The Federal Ministry of Law, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) have been listed as party in the petition.

The application in-question was created by a Chinese company and introduced in overseas market last year, says the petition.

The lawyer pleads that the application has been causing negative social impacts, wastage of time, energy and money and nudity, source of harassment and blackmailing.

He says the same application has been banned in Bangladesh and Malaysia for its pornography and inappropriate content and its use for mocking people.

He pleads that Pakistan is an Islamic country and it is the duty of the state to take steps to enable its Muslim citizens to live their lives in accordance with basic principles of Islam. The lawyer contends that a lot of tragic incidents of blackmailing have already been occurred where people recorded videos secretly and make them viral on TikTok. He claims that a girl also committed suicide out of fear of family after a video of her dancing in classroom filmed by her friend went viral on the application in-question. He submits that before more such incidents occur the government must ban the application.

The lawyer asks the court to direct the respondents to impose a complete ban on TikTok in Pakistan for degrading culture and encouraging pornography.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1497950/lahore-high-court-moved-for-ban-on-tiktok-app

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Southeast Asia

 

Kit Siang: I will never be a ‘Zakir Naik or Jho Low’

03 August 2019

BY DANIAL DZULKIFLY

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said today he will never run away and choose to become an international fugitive, unlike people like Low Taek Jho or controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik.

This follows after PAS lawmaker Ahmad Fadhli Shaari called for Lim to leave the country after the DAP MP had urged for Dr Zakir to leave Malaysia.

In his statement to the media today, Lim recalled his experience during the racial riots of May 13, 1969, in which many have claimed him to be an instigator of.

Lim, however, explained that he was in Sabah at the time to help an election campaign of an independent parliamentary candidate when news of the riot broke.

“I did not run away as I did not want to become a Jho Low, an international runaway from law and order and a fugitive from justice.

“I was expelled from Sabah as I had criticised the then Sabah Chief Minister, Tun Mustapha Mohamad, at the rally on May 13, 1969, and I was in Singapore for three nights as the Subang International Airport was not operational with the Klang Valley under curfew following a declaration of emergency.

“Despite advice by party leaders and family members not to return to Kuala Lumpur, as my name was on the blacklist for Internal Security Act arrests, I took the next available flight to Subang International Airport from Singapore on May 18, 1969, when the airport was re-opened.

“I had returned to KL from Singapore then as I felt that my place was with the people who had just elected me as Member of Parliament (Bandar Melaka), and that my duty demanded that I return home to be with the people inside the country instead of being an international fugitive from justice — and that even if I was to be detained under ISA, I must be man enough to face the consequences. I would never be a Jho Low or even Zakir Naik,’’ he said.

Lim also questions why he was lambasted his support for moderation advocate and author Anas Zubedy’s open letter to Dr Zakir on why he should leave the country voluntarily.

“Three days ago, I had said I supported Anas Zubedy’s open letter to Zakir Naik, who had given four reasons why Zakir Naik should leave Malaysia voluntarily.

“Now I am being attacked as being anti-Islam for supporting Anas’ Open Letter, but no attack had been made on Anas or to engage him on his Open Letter to Zakir Naik. Isn’t Anas a Muslim?

“Why is this the case and what is the rationale for such irrational behaviour?’’ he asked.

Lim also questions the motivation of “a leader of klepto-theocracy” who pledged support for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the preferred prime minister.

“Why did the propagandists of klepto-theocracy so easily forget that they had alleged earlier that Tun Dr Mahathir had become my stooge?

“Malaysian politics is in no-man’s land. On the one hand, Mahathir is alleged to be my stooge, but at the other end of the political spectrum, I am alleged to be Mahathir’s stooge.

“Can these leaders of klepto-theocracy decide who is whose stooge — whether Mahathir is my stooge or I am Mahathir’s stooge?’’ he asked.

Last month, PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang had stated that the Islamist party prefer for Dr Mahathir to serve his full term as the prime minister.

Lim also pointed out that PAS had in the past stated DAP was the only political ally that had defended them when BN had won Kelantan in the 1978 general elections, however, such facts was forgotten.

“A few years back, a leader of klepto-theocracy said only DAP defended PAS when the Kelantan state government fell to Barisan Nasional in 1978 and PAS was very grateful. Now all this is forgotten.

“It would appear that apart from misuse of Islam to support thievery, corruption intolerance, bigotry, lies and falsehoods, the proponents of klepto-theocracy needs another quality – political amnesia!

“Probably they need also another ‘quality’ — becoming ‘dumb and dumber’ over the years!” he said.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/08/03/kit-siang-i-will-never-be-a-zakir-naik-or-jho-low/1777385

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PM: Malaysia proud of Tabung Haji's achievements

04 August 2019

SEPANG, Aug 4 — Malaysia is proud to receive praise and recognition from the government of Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries over the achievements of Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) which has managed Malaysian Muslims’ Haj pilgrimage well, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking at the sending off ceremony for a batch of Malaysian pilgrims to the Holy Land for this year’s Haj season at the TH Complex Sepang here today, Dr Mahathir said that he hoped that TH would continue to be committed to improve the level of its services.

“This is good in terms of TH’s pilgrimage management, savings and investments so that it will remain in a good position and to be an example to other Muslim countries,” he added.

Dr Mahathir explained that Malaysian pilgrims were among the most fortunate compared to pilgrims from other countries.

The services and pilgrimage matters were more organised as everything was managed from beginning to end by TH, he said.

Dr Mahathir also urged Malaysian pilgrims to adhere to all the health advice and guidelines recommended by TH and the Ministry of Health to maintain good health in order to perform their religious obligations properly.

“While in the Holy Land, pray for our country’s peace and prosperity.

“Only with peace can we all perform our religious obligations as by almighty Allah without any worry or fear,” he added.

Dr Mahathir said he understood that more than 90 per cent of Malaysian pilgrims had already arrived in Mecca with only a few flights remaining.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/08/04/pm-malaysia-proud-of-tabung-hajis-achievements/1777535

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Malaysians seek removal of PKR senator suggesting protection for men from being ‘seduced’ into rape

04 August 2019

BY IDA NADIRAH IBRAHIM

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — An online petition demanding PKR senator Mohamad Imran Abdul Hamid resign or sack over his proposal for a law to “protect” men from being “seduced” into committing sex crimes has gained over 11,000 signatures today.

The petition was started last Thursday by one Mujahidin Zulkifli who said Mohamad Imran’s suggestion in the Dewa Negara was a form of victim blaming and goes against any ethical logic and social norms.

“If men can be protected from committing sexual offences against women and children, and get away by blaming the victims on they wear or how they behave, women and children will never sleep peacefully again.

“Such proposal shows how sick the mind of the Senator is, and such sick-minded people don’t belong in the country, let alone to be involved in the process of law-making as a Senator in Dewan Negara.

“He must resign or be sacked!” the petition read.

The petition aims to secure 15,000 signatures and has over 11,000 this morning.

Several signatories to the petition voiced similar concerns against Mohamad Imran as well.

“I am signing because his proposal is a true reflection of his character and moral standing and it does not suit the New Malaysia which we voted in which is clean, righteous and just,” David Liew said in the comments section of the online petition.

“This kind of mentality has no place in the New Malaysia we are trying to build. For someone in such a position to say things like what he said has negative influence on society as a whole,” said Prakash Rasagopal.

“I am signing this petition because I don’t want this moron to represent the new Malaysia. This is second time publicly he made chauvinist statement. At this time the wrong interpretation and practice of Islam gaining foothold this fellow must be kicked out,” said Muhammad Abdullah.

Reese Jalaini said: “Its blasphemy. Apologists and enablers like him do not deserve a place in the politics’ scene only for him to misuse his power to save rapists, molesters, paedophiles and incestors [sic].”

Mohamad Imran last Thursday apologised for proposing such law after his controversial suggestion triggered backlash from both sides of the aisle.

The PKR senator claimed his intentions were sincere and that he did not expect it would be seen as a grave mistake that was offensive to women and insulting to men.

While debating the Syarie Legal Profession (Federal Territories) Bill 2019 a day earlier, the retired admiral said there should be a law to protect men from the actions, words and clothing of women, which can seduce them into committing unlawful acts.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/08/04/malaysians-seek-removal-of-pkr-senator-suggesting-protection-for-men-from-b/1777492

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Police: FB page featuring post insulting Islam 'fake'

By Mohamed Basyir

August 4, 2019

GEORGE TOWN: Police believe that a Facebook account in which a message deemed insulting to Islam was recently posted, is fake.

According to an initial police investigation, the account, under the name “Wendy Leong”, is not genuine.

“The investigation is ongoing, and since this is a social media account, it will take time.

“But we believe it is a fake account,” Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor told reporters, today.

He was met at the 15th Police Volunteer Corps (Kor Suksis) appointment and certification handover ceremony at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), here.

Also present was USM vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Asma Ismail.

The user of the Wendy Leong Facebook account recently posted a message which was deemed insulting to Prophet Muhammad and the Kaabah.

The message has since been deleted – but police have received over 400 reports over the posting, and are working closely with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to investigate the case.

Mazlan added that police have yet to pinpoint the location of the original poster.

Meanwhile, some 1,167 trainees from 20 public universities were formally appointed today after undergoing their Police Volunteer Corps training.

On a related matter, Mazlan said that the next batch of Volunteer Corps will be using the updated version of the syllabus.

“For instance, the ISA (Internal Security Act) has been abolished, so it has been taken out and others have been included in the new syllabus.

Full report at:

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/08/509916/police-fb-page-featuring-post-insulting-islam-fake

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