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Islamic World News (05 Nov 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)



European Court Rules Insulting Prophet Mohammed ‘Not Freedom of Expression’

Photo: The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009 in which she insulted the prophet. (Shutterstock)

 

Limit Your Social Media Use, Appeal Clerics at Urs- Razvi

Jamaat-e-Islami Warns Countrywide Protest Campaign amid Aasiya Bibi Verdict

Jamal Khashoggi’s Son Placing Faith in Credibility of Saudi Investigations

Hasina Announces Building 560 Model Mosques, Islamic Varsity in Bangladesh

US Universities Reconsidering Ties with Saudi Arabia

Europe

European Court Rules Insulting Prophet Mohammed ‘Not Freedom of Expression’

German Schools Teach Islam to Students to Give Them a Sense of Belonging

Britain commits to leading fresh action on Yemen at UN Security Council

Belgian MPs seek answers over Libyan frozen funds

French Inmate Accused of Publishing Islamic State Propaganda from Prison

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India

Limit Your Social Media Use, Appeal Clerics at Urs- Razvi

Except Fridays, ASI Bans Daily Namaz in Taj Mosque

Calls For Ram Temple In Ayodhya Politically Driven, Says Muslim Board

'I'm Sure They'll Kill Me Soon': How Kathua Rape Victim's Lawyer Fights Death Every Day

Support Pakistan’s ‘quest for peace through dialogue’ with India: China

Pakistan trying to vitiate atmosphere: Army chief Bipin Rawat

J&K: Days after BJP leader’s killing, Hizbul Mujahideen posters in Doda

Uma Bharti says talk of building mosque close to Ram temple can make Hindus ‘intolerant’

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Pakistan

Jamaat-e-Islami Warns Countrywide Protest Campaign amid Aasiya Bibi Verdict

Hard-Line Pakistani Cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Twitter Account Suspended on Government’s Request

Jemima Assails Govt’s Concession to Protesters after Aasia’s Acquittal

Maulana Samiul Haq’s son selected acting JUI-S head

JUI-S sees foreign hand in Sami’s murder

Police issue security threat for Maulana Fazl

Over 1,100 held for rioting during protest against Aasia’s acquittal

Maulana Sami died an hour before reaching hospital

Peaceful Afghanistan in Pakistan’s best interest: Ashraf Ghani

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Arab World

Jamal Khashoggi’s Son Placing Faith in Credibility of Saudi Investigations

Egypt Police Kill 19 Terror Suspects Linked To Recent Attack on Coptic Christians

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Defends MbS after His Brother’s Release

Bahrain’s opposition chief gets life in jail over Qatar spy case

Kurdish Militia Furious at US Indifference to Ankara's Threats in Eastern Euphrates

Popular Uprising against Israeli Forces Reported again in Syria's Occupied Golan

Tens of Eastern Ghouta Terrorists Join Tahrir Al-Sham to Counter Syria Army in Lattakia

Infighting Erupts again among Turkey-backed Militants in Northern Syria

ISIS attack kills 12 US-backed fighters in eastern Syria

Blasts across Baghdad kill six people, say sources

ISIS says hits Syria’s Raqqa with car bomb

Assad, Russia envoy discuss Syria constitutional committee

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South Asia

Hasina Announces Building 560 Model Mosques, Islamic Varsity in Bangladesh

Afghan Govt’s Control over Territories Reaches Record Low

Taliban Attack An Afghan Forces Check Point, Killing 13

7 militants killed during a clash with the police forces in Kandahar

Myanmar government erases evidence of Rohingya 'genocide' in Rakhine State

Taliban in a fix over Moscow meeting on Afghan peace

Taliban’s military commission chief for 3 districts of Faryab has died

Afghan forces clash with the Taliban militants in Chahar Bolak of Balkh

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North America

US Universities Reconsidering Ties with Saudi Arabia

‘US Involved In Op Seeking Regime Change in Iran’

US unleashes ‘worst ever’ oil and financial sanctions on Iranian regime

US 'unilateral' anti-Iran sanctions aim at undermining Mideast peace: Syria

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Mideast

Jerusalem’s Catholic Leaders Seek Repeal of Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law

Iran to Europeans: Ready to Cooperate In Fight against Terrorism

Israeli court sentences Palestinian cancer patient to 13 months in prison

Muslim scholars of the world gather in Istanbul to elect new leader

Turkish forces must leave for security, stability to prevail in Syria: Deputy FM

Israel raids office of Palestinian Jerusalem governor

Amid renewed tension, US forces patrol Syria’s northeast near Turkish border

Yemeni forces carry out Parachute landing in Maran Mountain, Houthis’ stronghold

Yemeni army makes strategic gains east of Hodeidah

Iran slams life sentence for Bahrain's opposition leader

Child dies among 3 others in Saudi raids on Yemen

Israeli forces seal off Palestinian city of al-Khalil

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Southeast Asia

China to Face Grilling At UN Review over Internment Camps for Muslims

Gov't Urges Public Not to Be Provoked by Actions of Banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia

Malaysia sets example by abandoning the noose

Govt committed to raise status of Langkawi, Kedah MB says

Indonesia relations 'strong' despite Jerusalem embassy talk

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Africa

Nigeria: Politicians Using Religion to Divide Nigerians, Says Cleric

Boko Haram: Hunters Gun Down 8 Terrorists in Borno Village

Senator Shehu Sani Reacts to Gov El-Rufai’s Choice of Muslim as Running Mate

Muslim leaders warn politicians against divisive referendum talk

Jordan says Israel wants to discuss border land deals

Hamas hails Tunisian court ruling against Israeli visit

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/european-court-rules-insulting-prophet-mohammed-‘not-freedom-of-expression’/d/116799

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European Court Rules Insulting Prophet Mohammed ‘Not Freedom of Expression’

25 October 2018

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday that insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed is not covered by freedom of expression.

Defaming the Prophet “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate" and "could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace,” the ruling stated.

The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009 in which she insulted the prophet.

The court said that the woman's comments could not be covered by the freedom of expression, stating that it had found that "the applicant's statements had been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims" and "amounted to a generalization without factual basis."

An Austrian court convicted her of disparaging religious doctrines in 2011 and fined her 480 euros (548 dollars), a judgment that was upheld on two appeals.

“Mrs. S. appealed but the Vienna Court of Appeal upheld the decision in December 2011, confirming, in essence, the lower court’s findings. A request for the renewal of the proceedings was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 11 December 2013,” it said.

“Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), Mrs. S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.”

On today’s ruling, the ECHR said it “found in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2018/10/25/European-court-rules-insulting-Prophet-Mohammed-not-freedom-of-expression-.html

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Limit Your Social Media Use, Appeal Clerics at Urs- Razvi

Nov 4, 2018

BAREILLY: On the first day of 100th Urs-e-Razvi, city qazi Maulana Asjad Raza Qadri appealed to Lakhs of followers of Dargah Aala Hazrat to use social media in a limit as it causes more harm than benefit. Urs-e-Razvi, the death anniversary of Mujadid Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri, who is popularly known as Aala Hazrat and who propagated Sunni Barelvi school of Islam, is attended by lakhs of followers. The three-day event will conclude on Monday.

Salman Hasan Khan Qadri of Jamat Raza-e-Mustafa, said, "Due to misuse of social media, few people end up spreading rumours which lead to violence or at times, hurt religious sentiments."

Maulana Subhan Raza Khan, head of Dargah Aala Hazrat, performed the tradition of 'Parcham Kusai' at Islamia ground to mark the beginning of Urs-e-Razvi. Nasir Qureshi of Dargah Aala Hazrat said a procession was taken out. Though people from across the world gathered here, a group of 19 including clerics from Pakistan have come here after gap of few years. Sunni Barelvi clerics said the arrival of Pakistanis to Urs is a message of peace and harmony.

Mufti Ahsan Raza Qadri, sajjadanasheen (hereditary head) of Dargah Aala Hazrat, gave a message on education. He said, "People who are giving only religious education to their children should ensure they get modern education too. Apart from Urdu-Persian, children should know Hindi and English."

On the occasion, many prominent leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohiya) chief Shivpal Singh Yadav and former state minister and Samajwadi Party's minority cell head Riyaz Ahmed, sent their chadar to Dargah Aala Hazrat.

Meanwhile, a section of clerics under the aegis of Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam released a 'Muslim agenda' and said nobody should make statements on Babri mosque as the matter is subjudice. Maulana Shahbudin Razvi, national general secretary of Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam, said the government should not interfere in matters related to Muslim Personal Law, including divorce to create fear among community.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/limit-your-social-media-use-appeal-clerics-at-urs-e-razvi/articleshow/66497096.cms

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Jamaat-e-Islami Warns Countrywide Protest Campaign amid Aasiya Bibi Verdict

Nov 5, 2018

KARACHI: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Amir Senator Sirajul Haq has warned that his party would launch a countrywide protest campaign against the blasphemers of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Addressing a “Hurmaat-e-Rasool” march on the Main University Road, here Sunday, he said his party would launch a countrywide “Hurmaat-e-Rasool Tehreek” from Karachi to Khyber to Chitral.

He said, “We would sacrifice the last drop of our blood for the sanctity of ‘Namoos-e-Risalat’”.

He charged that the verdict on the Aasiya Bibi case has received praise from the ‘West and Jews’ but saddened the Ummah.

He asked from the PTI government to tell the people of Pakistan if Aasiya Bibi was inside the country or sent abroad. He said that Shaheed Maulana Samiul Haq, when he was alive had warned the rulers that if such a verdict was made it would be the end of their government.

He added that this issue is not a political matter but pertains to the core inner sentiments of the people of Pakistan and the nation would never compromise on this issue.

Other JI leaders also spoke. Later, the rally participants dispersed peacefully.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/ji-warns-countrywide-protest-campaign-amid-aasiya-bibi-verdict/

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Jamal Khashoggi’s son placing faith in credibility of Saudi investigations

5 November 2018

The son of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi says he is waiting for the Saudi investigation into the killing of his father to be over and for the facts to come out.

Salah Khashoggi was speaking alongside his brother Abdullah to CNN, in their first media interview following their father’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

"The King has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice. And I have faith in that. This will happen. Otherwise Saudi wouldn't have started an internal investigation," Salah said.

Asked if he was placing his faith in the King, Salah replied: "yes."

Speaking from Washingtion, Salah said he was due to go back to his banking job in Jeddah very soon.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/11/05/Jamal-Khashoggi-s-son-placing-faith-in-Saudi-investigation-into-father-s-death.html

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Hasina announces building 560 model mosques, Islamic varsity in Bangladesh

Nov 4, 2018

DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday announced that her government will construct 560 model mosques and an Islamic university with Saudi assistance, in an attempt to woo hardline Islamists ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled next month.

Speaking at an event here, Hasina said the Saudi government "will assist us in these projects", the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Hasina's Awami League party is considered as the secular party while her rival Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is close to hardliners.

Her move to build hundreds of mosques is seen as an attempt to woo Islamist voters who have been traditionally voting for Zia's BNP, according to experts.

The event was organised by Al-Hiyatul Ulya Lil-Zami'atil Qawmiya Bangladesh, the highest organisation of Dawra-e-Hadith of Qawmi madrasa, to honour the prime minister following her government's recognition of the Dawra-e-Hadith degree of the Qawmi madrasa system.

Thousands of students and teachers of Qawmi madrasas attended the rally.

At the rally, Qawmi leaders expressed their desire to see the prime minister in power for a third consecutive term.

"Since Sheikh Hasina has recognised (the top Qawmi madrasa degree) we want her to come to power again, so that she can fulfil the rest of our demands,” Qawmi leader Fazlul Karim said.

The speakers said "there is a change in Bangladesh now, and Qawmi leaders were not able to receive a prime minister before, with such warmth, because none had listened to their demands."

On September 18, parliament passed a bill to recognise the Dawra-e-Hadith degree as equivalent to a post-graduate degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/hasina-announces-building-560-model-mosques-islamic-varsity-in-bangladesh/articleshow/66498711.cms

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US universities reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia

Nov 4, 2018

American colleges and universities are reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia despite having received over $350 million from the kingdom over the past 10 years, according to a report.

This follows the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed after entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2.

The incident triggered international condemnation and in the US several lawmakers have called for sanctions against the kingdom, while others demanded Washington stop its nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia.

Now, the questions about Khashoggi’s death have caused some US colleges or universities to reconsider current or future deals, The Associated Press reported.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which cooperates with Saudi universities on research projects, has been working with Saudi company Aramco for a long time. 

In March, the company pledged to provide the school with $25 million for research in areas like renewable energy and artificial intelligence.

On October 22, the institute said, however, it planned to conduct a “swift, thorough” examination of its partnerships with Riyadh, calling Khashoggi’s disappearance a serious concern.

Another company, SABIC, has given Babson College, near Boston, $2.5 million through a contract, but  college officials told the AP they were pursuing events and gathering opinions from their community about how to continue their work with the company.

Babson trains Saudi business leaders in addition to other areas of work it shares with Saudi universities that include research and training partnerships.

Meanwhile, many other US universities have not indicated whether they are reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia.

The University of California, Berkeley, said their financial support from Saudi Arabia, that is part of a $6 million contract to develop special technology for renewable energy, was not being reconsidered.

Northwestern University refused to say whether it was reviewing any of the money it receives from Saudi Arabia.

Other schools, including the University of Michigan, refused to elaborate on Saudi Arabia’s financial support.

According to an examination by the AP, the amount of financial help from Saudi Arabia or organizations under its control that has gone to 37 American schools since 2011 is at least $354 million.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579023/US-Saudi-Arabia-Jamal-Khashoggi

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Europe

 

German schools teach Islam to students to give them a sense of belonging

Nov 5, 2018

It was the second week of Islam class, and the teacher, Mansur Seddiqzai, stood in front of a roomful of Muslim teens and pointed to the sentence on the chalkboard behind him: “Islam does not belong to Germany.”

He scanned the room and asked: “Who said this?”

Hands shot up. “The AfD?” one student with a navy blue headscarf said, referring to Germany’s far-right anti-refugee party. “No,” Mr Seddiqzai shook his head. “Seehofer,” tried another. “Yes, and who is that?” “A minister,” said a third.

Finally, someone put it all together, identifying Horst Seehofer, the head of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union and chancellor Angela Merkel‘s interior minister and coalition partner, who has on multiple occasions threatened to torpedo her government over the issue of immigration.

“Yes, that’s right,” Mr Seddiqzai said, turning to the others. “And what do you think? Is he correct?”

In a country where the debate over “who belongs?” has deeply divided Ms Merkel’s government, fuelled massive demonstrations and propelled the rise of anti-immigrant populism, these 16 and 17-year-olds confront versions of that question every day, in the headlines and in their personal lives: Do I belong, too? Can I be German and a Muslim?

Public schools in some of Germany’s most populous cities are helping such students come up with answers in a counterintuitive setting: Islam class.

The classes, taught by Muslims and intended for Muslim students, were first launched in the early 2000s and now are offered as electives in nine of Germany’s 16 states, by more than 800 public primary and secondary schools, according to the research network Mediendienst Integration. They include lessons on the Quran, the history of Islam, comparative religion and ethics. Often, discussions shift to the students’ identity struggles or feelings of alienation.

Germany has the European Union’s second-largest Muslim population after France, according to estimates by Pew Research. In 2016, 4.95 million people, or 6.1 per cent of the German population, were Muslim. But less than half of those pray regularly, and even fewer regularly attend a mosque, according to the latest government surveys.

The country’s leaders have expressed an ambivalent view of Islam, at best. Mr Seehofer’s statement that “Islam does not belong to Germany” came just months after the Islam-bashing AfD, or Alternative for Germany, entered parliament. Ms Merkel denounced the statement and ruled out sharing power with the AfD. Nevertheless, the AfD has steadily gained support over the past two years: on 14 October, it scored the biggest electoral gains of any party in Bavaria, Germany’s most populous state.

Last year, the AfD hung campaign posters in Dortmund featuring women in burqas and the slogan “Stop Islamisation”. This year’s poster bore the words “Islam-free schools!” under an image of five beaming, light-skinned children.

Mr Seddiqzai, who was born to Afghan parents in the German city of Bochum and who wears a full beard and Nikes to school, said he worries about the effect on his students. “These posters tell them, ‘We don’t want you here’,” he said.

“They are not accepted in Germany, they are not accepted in the countries of their parents, and that produces this craving for a group to belong to,” he continued. “And then an Islamist comes to you and says, ‘Yeah, you don’t belong to anyone. Therefore just be Muslim.’ They offer them a third way.”

Mr Seddiqzai sees it as part of his job to make his students more informed in their consumption of such appeals.

Earlier this year, when local politicians were discussing a ban on headscarves, a group calling itself Reality Islam launched a social media campaign to protest the proposal and recruit students. Mr Seddiqzai showed his students how to trace Reality’s Islam’s links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist group banned in Germany since 2003. He also encouraged them to question the group’s stance on the headscarf, which it claimed the Quran mandates for women.

“I show them the Quranic verses about the headscarf, and we discuss it and we see there is no clear rule that a woman or girl has to wear a headscarf,” he said. “Most of them think the Quran itself has no contradictions, and even that is wrong. There are many contradictions in the Quran.”

Some German politicians are pushing for an expansion of Islam classes in public schools as a way to encourage the cultural integration of Muslim students and to promote an interpretation of Islam that highlights German values.

“We need more religious education,” Kerstin Griese, a lawmaker from the governing centre-left Social Democratic Party, wrote in an op-ed, “because it’s the only way to start a dialogue about our own traditions and values and to understand those of others”.

Such advocates generally don’t envision non-Muslim students taking these classes to gain a better appreciation of Islam. While a few German school systems offer religion classes that include multiple faiths or ethics classes that touch on religion, religion as taught in public high schools and supported by Germany’s Basic Law is generally targeted at specific denominations.

A further rationale for Islam classes is to “immunise” Muslim students from fundamentalism, as Protestant leader Heinrich Bedford-Strohm put it.

Of particular concern is radicalisation that might lead to violence. Since 2013, more than 1,000 people have left Germany to fight with or support the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations, most of them under 30.

But some educators and politicians resist the notion that Islam has a place in German public schools.

“Besides the fact that we have much more important problems in schools, it can’t be true that a German bishop is promoting Islam,” Alexander Gauland, a leader of AfD, said after Bedford-Strohm voiced his proposal.

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No studies have examined the effectiveness of Islam classes in preventing radicalisation, according to Harry Harun Behr, a professor of Islam studies and pedagogy at Frankfurt’s Goethe University.

Still, he said, the classes are valuable because they show students their faith is as important as others taught in their schools and because they show Islam as a religion that is open to reflection and self-criticism.

At Mr Seddiqzai’s school, where almost 95 per cent of students are first or second-generation immigrants, Islam class is highly popular. When he crosses the schoolyard, he can barely walk five steps without being stopped by a student wanting to tell him about grades, romances or plans for the future.

“What Mr. Seddiqzai is teaching me is not really something you learn at mosque,” said 17-year-old Yusuf Akar. “How to interact with non-Muslims who may not be sure how to interact with us. Or who are scared of us.”

But it is more than that, too. “It shows me I’m welcome here,” Akar said. “Because the school no longer demands that we distance ourselves from our religion. They accept it and even create an opportunity to learn about it. And that gives me the feeling that I’m part of this society.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-islam-muslims-rightwing-extremism-afd-merkel-a8616886.html

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Britain commits to leading fresh action on Yemen at UN Security Council

November 5, 2018

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce on Monday that the UK is discussing with UN Security Council partners what more they can do to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and step up support for the work of the UN special envoy Martin Griffiths.

Mr Hunt has already discussed this step with Mr Griffiths and they had agreed that the time was right for the council to work together to bolster the UN led process.

As the Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, the foreign secretary, and Prime Minister Theresa May made clear last week, a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen will only have an effect on the ground if it is underpinned by a political deal between the conflict parties, the Houthis and the legitimate government of Yemen.

The action that the UK plans to take forward at the UN Security Council will help towards that goal, the foreign office said, hopefully ensuring that a full ceasefire, when it comes, is fully implemented.

Mr Hunt said: “For too long in the Yemen conflict both sides have believed a military solution is possible with catastrophic consequences for the people. Now for the first time there appears to be a window in which both sides can be encouraged to come to the table, stop the killing and find a political solution that is the only long-term way out of disaster.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/britain-commits-to-leading-fresh-action-on-yemen-at-un-security-council-1.788022

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Belgian MPs seek answers over Libyan frozen funds

November 4, 2018

The Belgian government faces fresh scrutiny this week over its role in sanctions-busting financial transfers out of frozen Libyan bank accounts that benefitted the country’s warring factions.

The transactions involving millions of euros of supposedly frozen Libyan assets has raised fears the funds may have been secretly used to buy arms for feuding militias.

The UN froze the estimated $67 billion funds of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund in 2011 to prevent money being seized during widespread violence that led to the overthrow and death of dictator Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

A UN report revealed in September that a bank in Belgium, reportedly holding more than $20 billion of the frozen funds, transferred dividends and interest to accounts controlled by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) outside of the country.

UN officials said that was a breach of the global sanctions regime and “could lead to the misuse and misappropriation of funds” because of continuing instability in the north African country.

The controversy was stoked last week after a report by the Belgian public service broadcaster RTBF cited an anonymous source as suggesting that the Belgian government had played a role in the financing of Libyan militias responsible for human trafficking. Belgian lawmakers have accused the government of years of evasion and stonewalling by failing to answer questions about the case and where the money went.

The government has claimed that it had relied on a European Union-wide interpretation of sanctions rules to allow interest and dividends to be returned to the LIA before 2017, when a Belgian court intervened to halt the payments.

Leaks of emails between the bank and the Belgian finance ministry to the news website Politico suggests that some $37 million was transferred to LIA controlled bank accounts in Bahrain and Luxembourg from 2011 to 2013.

Belgian lawmaker Dirk Van der Maelen told the National that he would be posing new questions to ministers and pushing for an investigatory panel to investigate what happened to the money.

He said he would be asking if other EU nations had paid money to the LIA in a similar way to the Belgian-based banks. He said he would be asking ministers “who we gave it to and what were the guarantees we got that this money would not be used for buying arms or financing human trafficking activities of Libyan groups”.

Questions over what happened to the money have been complicated by shifting accountability at the LIA, which has been at the centre of a continuing tussle over its leadership that mirrors the struggle in the country which is governed by rival administrations in the east and west.

Mohsen Derregia – who was chief executive of the fund for a year from 2012 – told Politico that the LIA received $630 million from interest on frozen accounts around the world during that period.

He said that none of the money was ever spent on the Libyan people and was used on for legal cases involving the LIA. The authority was involved in legal disputes with Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale over investments from the Qaddafi years in cases played out in London’s courts.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/belgian-mps-seek-answers-over-libyan-frozen-funds-1.788002

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French Inmate Accused of Publishing Islamic State Propaganda From Prison

4 Nov 2018

A French inmate serving time in Tarascon prison has been accused by investigators of publishing propaganda for the Islamic State terror group using a smuggled phone.

The inmate, identified by his first name Amir, is said to have used a Facebook profile under the name Amiro Amiro to publish Islamic State videos on a phone that was allegedly smuggled into the prison by his sister, La Provence reports.

Amir’s sister has denied that she had smuggled the phone and SIM card used but records show that she had purchased them both.

Amir, who has been in prison since 2012, also denied posting Islamic State videos to the Facebook account, saying that he had shared the phone with other prisoners and only ever used it to send pictures to his family.

When asked directly about the posts Amir said that he was a moderate Muslim and went on to add, “I do not share this ideology, I do not endorse that.”

The 25-year-old, who has been in prison for six years after convictions and reports of violence, theft, drugs, and an allegation of rape, is now scheduled for release in a matter of days but insists he has worked to rehabilitate himself.

“I want to go out, work, reintegrate, I did not ask to be delinquent, my father was an alcoholic, when I went out he said to me: come back at this time, and if I forgot, he locked the door and I stayed outside,” he claimed.

The allegations echo another case in which smuggled mobile phones were used by a pair of radical Islamic extremists to co-ordinate and communicate with Islamic State members. The pair, who were also close to the end of their prison sentences, were found to have been plotting a terror attack upon their release.

Full report at:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/11/04/french-inmate-accused-of-publishing-islamic-state-propaganda-from-prison/

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India

 

Except Fridays, ASI bans daily namaz in Taj mosque

Nov 5, 2018

AGRA: In a controversial move, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has ‘banned’ Muslims from offering namaz at the mosque in the Taj Mahal premises on all days except Fridays. While the ASI officials claimed they were implementing a July order of the Supreme Court, the apex court had upheld a local administration’s order barring non-residents from offering Friday prayers in the mosque on the grounds of security of Taj Mahal.

Since the Taj Mahal is closed for public on Friday, local residents are allowed to offer namaz between noon and 2pm without paying any entry fee. However, on the other days, any visitor, who had bought a ticket could visit the mosque and offer namaz until now.

In a surprise move, the ASI on Sunday locked the ‘vazu tank’, where namazis clean themselves up before offering prayers, leaving several tourists disappointed.

Even the imam and staff of the mosque have been asked to show up only on Fridays. Imam Syed Sadiq Ali, whose family has been leading prayers at the mosque for several decades for Rs 15 per month, said he was surprised by the order.

President of Taj Mahal Intezamia Committee, Syed Ibrahim Hussain Zaidi, told TOI that namaz had been offered at the mosque for the past many years and there was no reason to stop it. He said the present regime, both at the centre and state, has an “anti-Muslim” mindset and he will meet the ASI officials on Monday to raise the issue.

Superintending archaeologist, ASI (Agra circle), Vasant Swarankar said that it was “as per the order of the apex court”. He said, “Namaz can only be offered on Fridays and that, too, by local residents only.”

A January 2018 order by the Agra additional district magistrate (city) barred non-residents from offering Friday prayers in the mosque. The administration’s move came following complaints that “outsiders, including Bangladeshis and non-Indians,” enter the Taj Mahal complex on Fridays on the pretext of offering namaz.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/except-fridays-asi-bans-daily-namaz-in-taj-mosque/articleshow/66504125.cms

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Calls For Ram Temple In Ayodhya Politically Driven, Says Muslim Board

November 04, 2018

LUCKNOW: The remarks by an RSS leader that it would not hesitate to launch an agitation for a Ram temple in Ayodhya was "extremely dangerous", a senior leader of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said today.

On Friday, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi said it will not hesitate to launch an agitation for a Ram temple at Ayodhya, if needed. The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP.

The remark came amid growing calls for a law to clear the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

"The flurry of activities on the demand for construction of a Ram temple by the so-called Hindu outfits and their impatience clearly indicates that it is politically-driven," AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said.

"This is being done to build pressure for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But what those outfits do is still not clear," Mr Rahmani said.

He said if the RSS launched a movement for the temple, "it will be extremely dangerous" and will lead to an "atmosphere of chaos in the country".

"The quantum of hatred between Hindus and Muslims was not so much in 1992. In the recent years, the rift has widened..." Mr Rahmani said.

Maulana Ashad Rashidi, president of the Jamait Ulema-e-Hind's Uttar Pradesh unit, said, "All of us have to exercise patience and wait for the court's verdict. Whatever is the verdict of the court, it must be accepted. This will ensure an atmosphere of peace in the country."

Outlining the RSS' stand on the Ram temple issue at a news conference on Friday, Bhaiyyaji Joshi said Hindus were feeling "insulted" by the Supreme Court's declaration that it had priorities other than the Ayodhya issue and insisted for an ordinance if all options ran out.

Full report at:

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/calls-for-ram-temple-in-ayodhya-politically-driven-says-muslim-board-1942685

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'I'm Sure They'll Kill Me Soon': How Kathua Rape Victim's Lawyer Fights Death Every Day

November 2, 2018

Every time she steps back into her house, Deepika Singh Rajawat double-checks the main gate. She fears for the safety of her own daughter, her husband and herself.

This heightened 24x7 alertness has become a part of her life ever since she took up the gang-rape and murder case of an eight year-old girl of Rasana in Kathua.

State police provided her with security after she expressed threat to her life earlier this year. This was after Rajawat spoke about being flooded with rape and murder threats.

So severe has the backlash and pressure been that ever since she picked up the case, she feels that they will "kill me one day".

In a conversation with News18, almost 10 months after she took up the case on behalf of the parents of the minor girl, the 38-year-old lawyer spoke about how lonely she feels in her fight for justice, and about the support that she’s got during this trying time.

“I feel threatened that my family or I might be harmed physically. Also, I feel my attempts will be made to damage my dignity,” she said. She fears that one day a narcotic substance could be planted at her house to malign her reputation. This is another thing she looks for every time she unlocks the main gate.

Back in a trial court in Jammu, Rajawat walks through the corridors attracting stares and prompting pin-drop silence as she passes through crowds of lawyers, police and petitioners. Behind her people start whispering. Some point at her murmuring that “she is the woman who appears on television and newspapers”, others remember Rajawat from the widely shared photograph of her walking out of the Supreme Court, flanked by her colleagues.

She had just attended another hearing in the ongoing trial against the eight men who have been accused of gang-raping and murdering the Kathua girl with a motive of 'driving out Bakarwals from Jammu', where the crime was committed. The alleged hate crime sent ripples of shock waves throughout the globe.

The crime was followed by a protest march in support of the perpetrators, part of which were even Rajawat’s lawyer colleagues. The lawyers at Jammu also tried to stop the Crime Branch police from filing charges against the accused before Chief Judicial Magistrate's office in Kathua.

After Supreme Court refused the demand for a CBI inquiry in the case, the case was transferred to a fast-track court in Pathankot, Punjab.

As soon as she became the face of the aggrieving parents’ in the quest for justice, Rajawat started receiving abuses and threats, apart from being trolled on social media. She was labeled an “anti-national” and suffered a boycott by her colleagues, relatives and neighbors.

“Serious allegations have been leveled on me since I took the case. My life has changed completely,” Deepika told News18 in at the Jammu court. She says she volunteered to fight the case as soon as she read the details of the incident in newspapers.

“I volunteered to take their case after coming to know the horrific details of the case. Though it goes against my profession to approach someone but I felt I must help the family to get justice,” she said. There is nothing extraordinary about what she’s doing, the lawyer adds, all one needs to pick up such a case is some “sanity”.

“I am a woman, a mother, a lawyer and an activist. These reasons are enough to fight this case. More than that I am a responsible citizen who can differentiate between good and bad,” she said, clarifying that she is fighting the case pro-bono.

Mother of a six-year-old girl, Deepika was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family which migrated to Jammu in 1986 from north Kashmir’s Kupwara.

After graduating in law from the University of Jammu, she became a journalist and was active in the profession for five years.

In 2008, she began working for a child rights group in Delhi and worked as a human rights activist for seven years, before moving back to Jammu where she started practising as a lawyer.

She never thought she will be mentally harassed for fighting for justice of the girl. The events, which unfolded after the case came into limelight, put pressure on Deepika and her family.

“At one point in time, my husband was furious about it when he saw people calling me an anti-national. Even my parents and brother told me that I should not put myself in danger,” Rajawat, who received the Vogue Woman of the Year 2018 award for taking up the Kathua case, says.

The campaign against her was so relentless, she says, that her neighbors stopped talking with her parents.

“People started creating distance with my parents and my family. I was called a traitor and anti-national just because I was fighting the case of a Muslim girl,” she says.

Her parents and family were upset with her but she had made up her mind not to abandon the eight-year-old’s family.

“I told my parents that they can disown me if they feel insulted,” she adds, “but I made it clear to them that I am not going to leave the case.”

She feels proud and says the situation has turned her stronger and made her learn a lot.

“Their abusing cannot weaken me, it gives me strength and keeps me motivated always,” she says. “Even my daughter is learning out of it. When she sees her mother working for a Muslim child, I think she gains a sense that we need to believe in humanity first.”

Deepika’s relations with her colleagues soured also. “At court most of people don’t talk to me even today. They feel I am their enemy,” said Deepika.

But some ice is beginning to thaw. “Now I feel there are fewer people who hate me. People from my own community now even appreciate me. Even some of my colleagues in Jammu have also begun supporting me.”

At the end we return to the theme of her personal safety.

“There are people after me with an intention to harm for sure. But the case is being watched internationally so they feel this is not the right time to harm me.”

Full report at:

https://www.news18.com/news/india/they-may-kill-me-but-i-wont-back-out-how-kathua-rape-victims-lawyer-dodges-death-every-day-1927503.html

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Support Pakistan’s ‘quest for peace through dialogue’ with India: China

November 5, 2018

In a joint statement issued Sunday after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first bilateral visit to China, Beijing said that it “appreciates Pakistan’s quest for peace” with India and supported the settlement of “outstanding disputes between the two countries”.

The statement issued in Beijing after Khan’s talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, said: “China appreciates Pakistan’s quest for peace through dialogue, cooperation and negotiation, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and supports Pakistan’s efforts for improvement of Pakistan-India relations and for settlement of outstanding disputes between the two countries.”

After Khan met the Chinese leadership for the first time, the joint statement also expressed support for Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), while Beijing continues to block India’s bid in becoming a member of the NSG — the 48-member elite club, which controls global nuclear trade.

Stating that China appreciated steps taken by Pakistan in strengthening the global non-proliferation regime, the joint statement said: “In this context, China supports Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and welcomes its adherence of NSG Guidelines.”

The joint statement said that it was important to resolve all outstanding disputes in the region through dialogue. Without naming India, the statement said that countries should refrain from developing relations targeting any third country, while Islamabad called for a greater role for Beijing at SAARC.

“Both sides believe that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. Both sides emphasized the importance of the pursuit of dialogue and resolution of all outstanding disputes to promote regional cooperation and advance the goals of lasting peace, stability and shared prosperity,” the statement said.

China also lauded Pakistan’s commitment and efforts to counter terrorism and terror financing and urged the international community to look at Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts in an objective and fair manner.

While China has consistently blocked efforts to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar as an international terrorist at the United Nations Security Council, it had played along last year to grey-list Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force.

India had always conveyed its deep disappointment with Chinese interlocutors about its support to Pakistan on counter-terrorism and had pointed out the lack of action. The Chinese side has asked for “more information” and “evidence”, Indian government sources have said.

China, which wants Pakistan to crack down on Uygur Islamic militants crossing in and out of the volatile Muslim-majority Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, also got a commitment from Pakistan.

“The Pakistani side reaffirmed its support to the Chinese side in safeguarding its sovereignty and security, and combating separatism, terrorism and extremism including East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM),” the statement said.

China blames the separatist ETIM, an al-Qaeda linked group, for the violent attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere in the country.

The statement also made a reference to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor over which Imran Khan had criticised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the lack of transparency in the project. Khan, after taking over as PM, had said that the CPEC projects would be reviewed. In the joint statement, however, both countries expressed their support for the project.

“Both sides dismissed the growing negative propaganda against CPEC and expressed determination to safeguard the CPEC projects from all threats,” the statement said. In order to further expand cooperation under CPEC, the two sides announced the setting up of a working group on social-economic development to assist with livelihood projects in Pakistan.

In a precarious fiscal condition currently, Pakistan has sought an emergency bailout loan of $8 billion from the International Monetary Fund and is also seeking new loans from Saudi Arabia and China as its foreign reserves have plunged 42 per cent since the start of the year.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/world/support-pakistans-quest-for-peace-through-dialogue-with-india-china-5434031/

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Pakistan trying to vitiate atmosphere: Army chief Bipin Rawat

Nov 4, 2018

NABHA: A day after warning that attempts were being made to "revive insurgency" in Punjab, Army chief General Bipan Rawat Sunday accused Pakistan of trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the country.

Rawat also stressed that people needed to be careful during the ongoing festival season to prevent anti-national forces from succeeding in their nefarious designs.

"See we have a neighbouring country which always tries to vitiate atmosphere here. Our country is progressing which is not liked by them," Rawat told the media here.

Rawat had on Saturday said that "external linkages" were trying to "revive insurgency" in Punjab and Assam and if early action was not taken, it would be too late.

Noting that Punjab was progressing at a "very fast" pace, Rawat said attempts were being made to disrupt peace in the state.

"I have been reading what is coming out in the media. There is Referendum 2020 coming in the UK... Whatever we call it but there is an attempt being made to disrupt the peace again in Punjab," he said.

"We have to be careful," Rawat added.

Hundreds of people had turned up at the Trafalgar Square in London on August 12 in support of a pro-Khalistan rally. The Sikhs for Justice group had said its rally was intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020.

The Army chief further said terror modules were busted in Punjab recently and people of the state must remain alert.

"Punjab is such a state where militancy ended completely. Why? Because people of the state stopped it," Rawat said.

Punjab had seen one of the worst phases of insurgencies in the 1980s when the pro-Khalistan movement was at its peak, which was eventually quelled by the government.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-trying-to-vitiate-atmosphere-army-chief-bipin-rawat/articleshow/66501406.cms

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J&K: Days after BJP leader’s killing, Hizbul Mujahideen posters in Doda

by Arun Sharma

November 5, 2018

THREE days after the killing of a BJP leader and his brother in Kishtwar, posters of Hizbul Mujahideen appeared in the adjoining Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, asking people not to participate in the upcoming Panchayat elections.

Written in Urdu under the letterhead of the banned terror outfit, the posters appeared in Dhandal and Gurmal areas of Kashtigarh on Saturday. Police immediately removed these posters.

A case under various provisions of Ranbir Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was registered on Sunday and nearly a dozen people picked up for questioning.

Doda SSP Shabir Ahmad Malik said investigation was in progress. The police had called people dealing in photostat business, but all of them were let off after questioning, he added.

This has been the first incident of the appearance of a terror outfit’s posters in an area of the otherwise peaceful Jammu province asking people to not to participate in the Panchayat elections. The Panchayat elections are being held in the state in nine phases, beginning November 17.

Doda Deputy Commissioner visited the area and held a public darbar to reassure people about security arrangements in the area and asked them not to get scared and understand the design of miscreants. The police too have started patrolling the area to restore confidence of public.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-days-after-bjp-leaders-killing-hizbul-mujahideen-posters-in-doda-5433916/

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Uma Bharti says talk of building mosque close to Ram temple can make Hindus ‘intolerant’

November 4, 2018

A day after BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav said the delay in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit verdict had left the Hindu society and supporters of the Ram temple feeling “anxious”, Union Minister Uma Bharti on Sunday said any talk of constructing a mosque close to a Ram temple in Ayodhya could make Hindus “intolerant”.

“Hindus are the most tolerant community in the world. I will appeal to all politicians: please don’t make Hindus intolerant by talking about building a mosque on the outer periphery of the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya,” Bharti told PTI in an interview.

When there could not be a temple in the holy town of Medina or a mosque in the Vatican City, she said, it would be “unfair” to talk about a mosque in Ayodhya. The union minister also invited Congress president Rahul Gandhi to lay the foundation stone of the temple in Ayodhya with her, saying he could “atone for the sins” of his party which always created “hurdles” in building the temple in Ayodhya.

“We need support of all political parties on this issue. I invite all leaders including, Rahul Gandhiji, come let’s lay the foundation stone of the Ram temple with me,” Bharti said.

Describing the Ayodhya dispute as one of land and not faith, Bharti said, “This is now only a matter of dispute of land, not dispute of faith. It has been resolved that Ayodhya is the birth place of Lord Ram.”

She also stressed the need for an out-of-court settlement of the contentious issue, and urged all political leaders — including Gandhi, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, BSP leader Mayawati and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee — to support this.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh, Banerjee, Mayawati and the Left parties should support the BJP on this issue as it is of national interest, she said.

“But they aren’t letting the matter get resolved. The Congress will have to quit the habit of dividing the country in the name of religion,” Bharti said, reiterating that all political parties should unite on this issue.

Bharti, who had participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the 1990s, said she was fully committed to the construction of Ram temple.

“If they tell me that Ram Mandir will be built only over my dead body, then so be it,” she said.

On Saturday, speaking to ANI, Ram Madhav said the 1992 “dilly-dallying” “had led to certain consequences”. The Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/uma-bharti-ram-temple-ayodhya-dispute-mosque-5433592/

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Pakistan

 

Hard-Line Pakistani Cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Twitter Account Suspended On Government’s Request

November 05, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Twitter suspended the account of a ultra-right Pakistani cleric on Sunday following inflammatory statements targeting the judiciary, prime minister, and military after the acquittal of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, the government said.

Cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party blocked off roads in Pakistan’s biggest for three days last week and threatened the Supreme Court judges who acquitted Asia Bibi on Wednesday — urging their cooks and servants to kill them.

Bibi had spent eight years on death row before the court overturned her conviction and ordered her to be freed.

“We sent a request to Twitter that this account has been inciting hate and violence,” two senior officials at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority told Reuters.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The TLP condemned the suspension of Rizvi’s account, terming it a “conspiracy by the opponents of the protection of Prophethood and Islam.”

A second account that was created on Sunday was also suspended soon after.

The TLP ended protests late Friday evening following negotiations with the government and an agreement to open a review of the court’s decision as well as possibly putting Bibi’s name on an ‘exit control list’ that would bar her from leaving the country.

Bibi’s whereabouts are unknown, but Islamists have warned the authorities against taking her out of the country.

“There will be a war if they send Asia out of country,” TLP leader Rizvi said after the deal was reached.

Earlier in the week, Rizvi’s deputy and TLP co-founder Muhammad Afzal Qadri told supporters to kill the Supreme Court judges.

“Whoever, who has got any access to them, kill them before the evening,” he said.

The TLP was founded out of a movement that supported the bodyguard who assassinated Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer in 2011 after he began supporting Bibi, and pushing for her acquittal. Federal minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was also killed after calling for her release.

Bibi’s lawyer on Saturday said he had left Pakistan, fearing a mob attack against him and his family.

On Sunday, Bibi’s husband released a video asking for the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada to help get his family out of the country.

Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbors objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim. She always denied having committed blasphemy.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1399436/world

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Jemima assails govt’s concession to protesters after Aasia’s acquittal

November 05, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Jemima Goldsmith has severely criticised the government led by her former husband Imran Khan for tackling the mass protests organised in the country for three days by religious parties after the Supreme Court overturned on Oct 31 the death sentence awarded to Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case.

Jemima took to Twitter from her verified account @Jemima_Khan to express her displeasure.

“Not the Naya Pakistan we’d hoped for. 3 days after a defiant & brave speech defending the judiciary, Pakistan’s gov caves in to extremist demands to bar #AsiaBibi from leaving Pak, after she was acquitted of blasphemy-effectively signing her death warrant,” her tweet read, referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to nation in which he had issued a stern warning to the protesters spearheaded by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

In a related development, the husband of the Christian woman, who was acquitted after spending eight years on death row, has appealed to US President Donald Trump for refuge, citing danger to family members’ lives. Ashiq Masih appealed to the UK and Canada for assistance.

The TLP had blocked major roads in Pakistan’s biggest cities for three days, calling for the murder of the apex court judges who acquitted Aasia Bibi on Wednesday, and terming PM Khan and the army chief enemies of Islam.

“I am requesting the President of the United States Donald Trump to help us exit from Pakistan,” Ashiq Masih said in a video recorded by the British Pakistani Christian Association and seen by Reuters.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443702/jemima-assails-govts-concession-to-protesters-after-aasias-acquittal

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Maulana Samiul Haq’s son selected acting JUI-S head

Nov 5, 2018

AKORA KHATTAK: Son of the assassinated Jamiat Ulema Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Hamidul Haq, was selected as the acting chief of the party on Sunday.

Haq was assassinated at his Bahria Town residence when his staff were out. Haq’s servant had said he had gone outside to buy groceries, only to return to his employer lying in a pool of blood. Sami shortly died after that.

Talking to media, Hamidul Haq said that he has become an orphan. “Current party position will remain unchanged,” he said after being announced as acting chief.

“Maulana Samiul Haq’s killers should be arrested immediately,” he demanded.

On Saturday, police registered an FIR [first information report] against unknown assailants and reportedly interrogated slain cleric’s personal secretary Ahmed Shah and guard for three hours in connection with the murder.

The detainees in their initial statement said, “The two men [suspected of murder] had visited Maulana Haq on several occasions before as well and wanted to meet him alone.”

“The JUI-S chief sent us to the market to bring food and drinks,” they further said. “When we returned after 15 minutes, we found Haq lying in a pool of blood,” the staff workers added. However, the police agreed to release them on Haq’s son request so that they could attend the funeral. But they can be taken into custody again for further questioning, police added.

According to the FIR registered at Airport Police Station, Ahmed Shah had informed Hamidul Haq over the phone that someone had stabbed his father. It stated that Sami, who had received a total of 12 wounds on his stomach, heart, forehead and ears, was shifted to the Safari Hospital but could not be resuscitated.

The son commented on the post-mortem, saying said he did not want to have a post-mortem examination conducted on the body of his father as it was “against Islamic law”.

Separately, forensic experts and investigation officers gathered evidence from his residence in Rawalpindi. The investigation officers also carried out fingerprint scans on the phone, glasses and other personal items of the JUI-S chief. A CCTV footage of the housing society where the JUI-S chief resided is also being obtained to identify the suspects.

NA SPEAKER, MINISTERS CONDOLE WITH HAQ’S SON:

National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser and federal ministers condoled the death of Haq with his son on Sunday.

NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan visited Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania and called on Maulana Hamid-ul-Haq, son of the slain JUI-S chief.

They expressed deep grief and sorrow over the murder of Maulana Haq and prayed for the departed soul to rest in eternal peace and courage for the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with fortitude.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/maulana-samiul-haqs-son-selected-acting-jui-s-head/

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JUI-S sees foreign hand in Sami’s murder

November 05, 2018

NOWSHERA: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) has blamed foreign elements for the murder of its leader Maulana Samiul Haq.

“It is confirmed to thousands of his followers, the party, Darul Uloom Haqqania and his family that martyrdom of Maulana was not an internal issue rather Indians, Afghans and other elements are involved in this act,” said a statement issued by JUI-S here on Sunday.

Maulana Samiul Haq was stabbed to death at his home in Rawalpindi on Friday.

The statement said that some elements were trying to hide their incompetency by issuing different statements about the murder of JUI-S leader, terming it result of domestic dispute or sectarian issue.

The party appealed to security agencies to arrest the real killers of Maulana and award them exemplary punishment. It said that he always played key role in mediation between Taliban and other groups including Afghan government.

The statement said that a delegation of Afghan government had requested Maulana Samiul Haq in October to play role in talks between it with Taliban. They started propaganda against him and Darul Uloom Haqqania when they failed to persuade him, it alleged. It said that the entire Muslim Umma was showing grief over his tragic death but Afghan media were trying to tarnish his image. It said that Maulana had friendly relations with all sects and groups despite having ideological and political differences with them.

Thousands of people including top political leaders reached Darul Uloom Haqqania on Sunday to condole the death of Maulana Samiul Haq and condemned his murder.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, Federal Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, QWP chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Irfan Sadique, retired General Ihsanullah, Senator Hafiz Hamdullah, Maulana Ahmad Ludyanwi, Sikandir Sherpao, Ilyas Bilour, Arab Alamgir Khan and others were prominent among the participants of condolence gathering.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Qaisar said that government would leave no stone unturned to arrest of the killers. He said that they had developed a close liaison with provincial government of Punjab and other investigative agencies to arrest the culprits.

Talking to journalists, Aftab Sherpao said that Maulana played great role for restoration of democracy in the country. He urged people to shun difference and forge unity among their rinks against the enemies of the country. He said that the country was passing through a critical time.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443603/jui-s-sees-foreign-hand-in-samis-murder

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Police issue security threat for Maulana Fazl

November 4, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Police on Saturday issued a security threat alert for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

A senior superintendent of Peshawar Police informed him about the threat through a letter. He advised the Maulana not to visit Peshawar, which Fazl ignored and paid the visit to the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Nevertheless, JUI-F leader Maulana Rashid Soomro has sought foolproof security for Ameer of his party, saying that the letter about security threat could not weaken their resolve.

This development has emerged following assassination of JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq a day earlier at his residence in Rawalpindi.

Religious scholar and former senator Maulana Samiul Haq was buried alongside his father Maulana Abdul Haq in Nowshera’s Darul Uloom Haqqani, the religious seminary he served as patron-in-chief after his father’s demise. The influential religious scholar’s funeral prayers were offered in Nowshera’s Khushal Khan Degree College.

Politicians, known religious scholars and a large number of his followers and students offered the funeral prayers of the influential cleric who was stabbed to death at his Rawalpindi residence last night.

Full report at:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/389355-police-issue-security-threat-for-maulana-fazl

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Over 1,100 held for rioting during protest against Aasia’s acquittal

Mansoor Malik | Imran Gabol

November 05, 2018

LAHORE: Punjab police arrested 1,100 suspects till Sunday evening and registered 130 cases against them for their involvement in injuring policemen and people and damaging public and private properties during the protests following the Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi of blasphemy charge.

The crackdown was launched after the interior ministry directed all the provincial governments and federal agencies to take action against the culprits involved in violence and damage to public and private property during the last week protests and sought compliance report till 5pm on Monday (today).

The interior ministry sent first letter in this regard to the provinces on Saturday and followed it up with another office memorandum on Sunday , directing all (provincial governments and federal agencies) to strictly comply with the direction.

Stating that the Ulema had disowned the elements involved in violence, the interior ministry said video clips and photographs should be used to identify the miscreants in coordination with the PTA and Nadra.

The Punjab police spokesperson told Dawn 800 people were arrested for violating section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 and 300 others under the FIRs registered for injuring policemen, damaging public and private properties and vehicles in different areas of the province.

She said the protesters had injured 63 police officers in different areas of the province who were shifted to nearby hospitals for treatment. Of them, 58 policemen were discharged but five others who had sustained severe injuries were still getting treatment.

She said 300 suspects were identified through different footage available to the police. She said the number of the FIRs and the arrested would increase with the passage of time as the police were taking across-the-board action against the miscreants.

Answering a question, she said most of the arrests had been made from Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi divisions. The Islamabad police registered two FIRs against 25 people.

Interior Minister Shehryar Afridi chaired a meeting in Islamabad on Sunday and took stock of the situation. The meeting asked the provinces that general public should be advised to file/ lodge complaints against such people, share videos and help government in identifying such elements.

The interior ministry also asked all the provincial governments to convey WhatsApp numbers to general public through electronic and print media so that public could send information/ videos that might be referred to relevant departments for necessary action.

Phoolnagar police in Kasur registered cases against 348 protesters of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), including 48 nominated, under various sections including section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act.

The TLP activists had allegedly attacked police force on Friday on Multan Road at Jamber Chowk and injured six personnel, including a DSP, an inspector and four constables. The protesters had also damaged six police vehicles, an ambulance of Rescue 1122 and several vehicles stuck on Multan Road due to road blockade.

According to the FIR lodged on the complaint of Phoolnagar SHO Muhammad Azam, 48 nominated including four local prayer leaders and 300 unidentified agitators had attacked police when the later tried to prevent them from delivering anti-judiciary and anti-state speeches.

Receiving information, Pattoki circle DSP Muhammad Saleem along with a heavy contingent of police reached the spot.

The protesters who wielded weapons and clubs went violent and attacked the police. The protesters used clubs against police officials and pelted them with stones.

The FIR said the protesters also kidnapped two police constables Jahangir and Iqbal. Most of the nominated accused belonged to Kot Tank Singh village. Four local prayer leaders — Qari Nazar Imam, Mufti Naveed, Zainul Hassan and Qari Abdul Shakoor — were also nominated in the FIR. Police said additional force had been deployed in Phoolnagar and raids were on to arrest the accused.

In Gujranwala, police registered cases against nine identified and 2,500 unidentified people for thrashing citizens, damaging government and private properties and looting people on roads.

The Kotwali police DSP told Dawn video clips had been sent to the interior ministry to identify the culprits.

In Sindh, Nawabshah police booked two activists of TLP for resorting to aerial firing and forcing businessmen to close shops.

An FIR was lodged at A-Section police station against Bilal Arain and Sabir Arain under sections 147, 148 and 337 H II of the Pakistan Penal Code for carrying out aerial firing and forcing traders to shut their shops. The police arrested both the accused. Similar cases were also registered in Karachi.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443698/over-1100-held-for-rioting-during-protest-against-aasias-acquittal

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Maulana Sami died an hour before reaching hospital

Mohammad Asghar

November 05, 2018

RAWALPINDI: Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Samiul Haq, who was assassinated in his house in Bahria Town on Friday, had died an hour before he was taken to hospital and there was no bleeding from his body, a source close to the investigation revealed, quoting from a medical report.

“The Maulana had expired an hour before being brought to Safari Hospital, located about 300 metres from his private residence. There was no bleeding from his body and his ECG was at zero level,” the source told Dawn, quoting the doctor who first examined him.

Since the cell phone service was suspended on Friday in Rawalpindi and Islamabad due to a protest by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan across the country, no emergency call had been made either by the injured Maulana or anybody else to the management of the housing ­society or to the police.

A police team headed by Super­intendent of Police (investigation) Dr Ghayas Gull has been formed to investigate the ­murder of the former senator.

Sources said a police team was sent to Akora Khattak to interview the slain leader’s secretary, but they returned back after they were assured of full cooperation by the heirs of the Maulana.

The police team will be sent again to Akora Khattak within the next 72 hours.

A source close to the investigation revealed that Maulana Sami’s secretary Syed Ahmed Shah left the slain leader alone in his bedroom on the second floor of Safari villa and locked the main gate on the outside before leaving to fetch water from a nearby water filtration plant.

Maulana Samiul Haq was alone at his home as nobody else was there when the murder took place.

Initial police investigation revealed that the murder took place during the 15-minute absence of Ahmed Shah from the house. After his return, he unlocked the main gate and entered the house. Since he didn’t get a response from the Maulana’s bedroom, he opened the door and found his leader lying in a pool of blood.

Police believe that the killer might be hiding inside the house because the gate was locked by Ahmed Shah while leaving the house. He could have escaped from the kitchen door as it was found opened when the police reached there and collected evidence. The police were unable to determine the number of killers, but they suspected that he was alone.

The police could not recover the weapon used in the murder which they suspected could be an ordinary kitchen knife. A police team had already carried out combing of surrounding green areas and gardens of neighboring houses, but couldn’t find the weapon.

The sources said the police were likely to conduct a comprehensive search of surrounding areas for the murder weapon within the next two days.

After Maulana Sami was pronounced dead by the doctors, the city police officer asked the slain leader’s sons for an autopsy, but they refused. The investigators believe that they will face problems in the investigation in the absence of a postmortem report.

A senior official of the Counter- Terrorism Department told Dawn that since the Maulana’s murder was not a terrorism case, the local police have been investigating it with the assistance of special branch.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Basharat Raja has directed police officials of Rawalpindi to make all-out efforts to apprehend the killers of Maulana Samiul Haq.

Rawalpindi police officers briefed the minister on the progress of investigation on Saturday. They told him they had continued the investigation in accordance with the evidence, while forensic report would be obtained.

The minister expressed sympathy with the bereaved family and thousands of his followers.

He directed police officers to complete the investigation as soon as possible and arrest the culprits.

Airport police have registered a murder case on a complaint of Maulana Sami’s son Maulana Hamidul Haq. Nobody was ­nominated in the murder case by the complainant.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443703/maulana-sami-died-an-hour-before-reaching-hospital

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Peaceful Afghanistan in Pakistan’s best interest: Ashraf Ghani

Nov 5, 2018

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said that a peaceful Afghanistan is in the best interest of the region, especially Pakistan and one should realise this fact.

Talking to the media in Kabul on Sunday, Ashraf Ghani said that Afghanistan wants peace with Pakistan and good working relations based on mutual interests.

He said that any third party cannot be given the right to play an arbitrary role in peace talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Afghanistan desires good working relations with Pakistan based on mutual interest,” he added.

Commenting over talks with the Taliban, the Afghan President said that Taliban were ready for inter-Afghan peace dialogues to be hosted by the Russian government.

Ghani urged the Taliban to lay down arms, establish contacts with foreigners and return to normalcy.

It is worth mentioning here that talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban’s Doha Office group are going to be held on November 9, 2018, in Russia.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/peaceful-afghanistan-in-pakistans-best-interest-ashraf-ghani/

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Arab World

 

Egypt police kill 19 terror suspects linked to recent attack on Coptic Christians

Nov 4, 2018

Egyptian security forces have killed 19 terror suspects purportedly linked to a deadly attack on the country’s Coptic Christians.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Interior of Egypt on Sunday, those killed in an intense exchange of fire with police forces were part of a cell that claimed the lives of seven Coptic pilgrims in Friday's attack in Minya province.

“The terrorist elements opened fire on the (security) forces who responded,” it further read.

Minya’s archbishop said 14 people were also injured in the assault, where a bus heading towards St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in the province, 260 kilometers south of Cairo.

The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assault, which occurred almost at the exact location of a similar attack in May last year by the terrorists that killed 28 Coptic Christians.

The 19 suspected terrorists were found “as part of a pursuit of terrorist elements involved in carrying out hostile operations in the country, including the last armed attack which targeted citizens returning from the Saint Samuel monastery”, the ministry further said.

It added that raid on terrorists had been undertaken in the mountainous western desert of Minya province in a bid to track down the “fugitive terrorist elements.”

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's predominantly Sunni Muslim population of some 100 million.

The terror group also killed at least 45 people in twin church bombings in April 2017, and a Daesh gunman also killed nine people in an attack on a church in south Cairo suburb last December.

Last month, Egypt's parliament voted to extend a state of emergency in the country for yet another three months, prolonging the authorities’ ability to use special powers into 2019.

Cairo first imposed a state of emergency following the April 2017 massacre by Daesh, and has extended it at three-month intervals ever since.

Furthermore, over the past few years, terrorists have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt that erupted after the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in July 2013 through a military coup led by incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The Velayat Sinai group, which is affiliated with Daesh, has claimed responsibility for most of the assaults. The group later expanded its attacks to target members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community as well as foreigners visiting the country, prompting Cairo to widen a controversial crackdown, which critics say has mostly targeted dissidents.

The Sinai Peninsula, which is home to Velayat Sinai group, has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, after a deadly terrorist attack left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579056/Egypt-Coptic-Christians-Minya

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Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal defends MbS after his brother’s release

Nov 4, 2018

Saudi billionaire businessman al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has come out in defense of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of his brother’s release from jail amid an international outrage over the last month assassination of a dissident journalist in Turkey.

The wealthy and powerful prince appeared on Fox News "Sunday Morning Futures" to assure the American audience that the monarchy’s de facto ruler “will be 100 percent vindicated and exonerated," after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"Please let’s give some time for the investigation to finish," said the member of the Saudi royal family one day after his brother, Prince Khalid bin Talal, was freed from jail in Saudi Arabia.

He further urged Riyadh to be more transparent in the so-called investigation into Khashoggi’s torture, death, and dismemberment.

"I ask Saudi Arabia now publicly, through your program, to have the investigation made public as soon as possible so whereby I believe the Saudi Crown Prince will be 100 percent vindicated and exonerated," he added.

US lawmakers and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan maintain that the crown prince and other top Saudi leaders should be held accountable for Khashoggi's assassination,

Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the murder, yet left many questions unanswered.

Turkish intelligence intercepts reportedly show that Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2, was murdered on a direct order from Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579089/Saudi-billionaire-defends-MbS-on-Fox-Jamal-Khashoggi

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Bahrain’s opposition chief gets life in jail over Qatar spy case

November 05, 2018

DUBAI: Bahrain sentenced the head of the country’s Shia opposition movement to life in prison on Sunday for spying for rival Gulf state Qatar in a ruling rights groups have called a travesty.

Sheikh Ali Salman, who headed the now-banned Al-Wefaq movement, and two of his aides had been acquitted by the high criminal court in June, a verdict the public prosecution appealed.

The public prosecutor said in a statement that the three had been unanimously sentenced by the appeals court for “acts of hostility” against Bahrain and “communicating with Qatari officials ... to overthrow constitutional order”.

Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, severed all ties with Qatar in 2017, banning their citizens from travel to or communication with the emirate over its alleged ties to both Iran and radical Islamist groups.

Sunday’s verdict against the Shia cleric can still be appealed.

‘Unlawful verdict’

Opposition movements, both religious and secular, have been outlawed since 2011 and hundreds of dissidents imprisoned — many of them stripped of their citizenship in the process.

Salman’s Al-Wefaq was dissolved by court order in 2016. The cleric is currently serving a four-year sentence in a separate case — “inciting hatred” in the kingdom.

Human rights groups have said cases against activists in Bahrain — men and women, religious and secular — fail to meet the basic standards of fair trials.

Amnesty and HRW categorise Salman and other jailed opposition leaders prisoners of conscience.

Advocacy groups, including Amnesty, slammed Sunday’s ruling against 53-year-old Salman and his aides, Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad as political reprisal.

“This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.

“Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.”

Bahraini activists said Sunday’s verdict highlighted a broader regional policy towards freedom — the same policy that saw Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi murdered this month.

“Despite the ongoing scrutiny on the Gulf region, with Saudi Arabia being under the spotlight for its brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Bahrain has made a decision that reeks of arrogance,” said Sayed AlWadaei, head of advocacy for the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.

The verdict comes ahead of controversial parliamentary elections that Bahrain’s King Hamad has called for Nov 24.

Dissolved opposition parties, including Al-Wefaq and the secular Al-Waad, do not have the right to put forward their own candidates in the vote.

In June, Bahrain amended its law on political rights, prohibiting “leaders and members of political associations dissolved for violating the kingdom’s constitution or its laws” from running in legislative elections.

Alistair Burt, the British Foreign Office’s minister responsible for Middle East affairs, said he was “very concerned” by the life sentence, in a statement released on Sunday.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443709/bahrains-opposition-chief-gets-life-in-jail-over-qatar-spy-case

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Kurdish Militia Furious at US Indifference to Ankara's Threats in Eastern Euphrates

Nov 04, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Sunday that the Kurdish forces are dissatisfied with the US for continued deployment of the Kurds to the ISIL-held regions in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

The US-led coalition has sent over 1,200 Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the Kurdish-held regions, including Ein al-Arab (Kobani), to battlefields in Eastern Deir Ezzur, while a large number of Ankara-backed militants, equipped with heavy military equipment, have been put on alert near the towns of Tal Abyadh, Kobani and other regions held by the Kurds in Eastern Euphrates.

Meantime, field sources reported that the SDF has withdrawn from several military positions in Badiyeh al-Rozeh in Eastern Deir Ezzur for the fear of ISIL attacks.

Reports said on Saturday that the Turkish troops continued targeting the positions of the Kurdish militia in several regions in Hasaka and Raqqa provinces regardless of the deployment of the US army men at Syria-Turkey border.

The Turkish army targeted the positions of al-Sanadid fighters, affiliated to the SDF, in Northern Hasaka including the village of Tal Jahan, injuring a gunman.

In the meantime, the Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that the Ankara forces targeted Tal Abyadh's countryside in Raqqa province, injuring several people including two media activists.

Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the US army has deployed along the borderline between Syria and Turkey in a large region between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers and also in the town of Ein al-Arab in Northeastern Aleppo to prevent any military movement by the Turkish troops.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000992

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Popular Uprising against Israeli Forces Reported again in Syria's Occupied Golan

Nov 04, 2018

SANA said that Syrians in the occupied Golan held a sit-in in the small town of Majdal Shams to declare their opposition to any Israeli plan for Judaization of the Golan, including election for a local council.

It further said that the protestors underlined their adherence to their Syrian identity, vowing to continue uprising against Israeli forces to free the occupied Golan.

In the meantime, people gathered in Ein al-Tinah region in Quneitra province and declared their full support for the occupied Golan's resident, opposing the Israeli-planned election for a local council.

The protestors further condemned any Israeli move to stir a gap among residents of Majdal Shams, Baqa’atha, Ma’sdah and Ein Daqnah regions in occupied Golan. 

On Tuesday, a number of Syrian protesters were arrested in the occupied Golan Heights region, following a wide-scale demonstration against the ongoing Israeli municipal elections.

According to a report from the Damascus Now publication, several Syrians were arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) inside the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams.

The arrests reportedly took place after protesters from the nearby towns of Baqa’atha and Ma’sdah joined the demonstration in Majdal Shams.

Furthermore, Damascus Now reported that an explosion was heard near Majdal Shams after a land mine was detonated; they blamed the Israeli Defense Forces for planting the mine.

The Israeli Defense Forces did not comment on the current demonstrations in the Golan Heights, despite several reports from the Syrian government.

The Golan Heights was captured by the Israeli Defense Forces during the brief Six-Day War that was fought in June of 1967.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000679

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Tens of Eastern Ghouta Terrorists Join Tahrir Al-Sham to Counter Syria Army in Lattakia

Nov 04, 2018

A 300-member battalion of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorist group that were expelled from Eastern Ghouta after sustaining a heavy defeat in the battle against the Syrian army have joined Tahrir al-Sham along with their military equipment to counter the army units in Lattakia province.

Faylaq al-Rahman militants will join Tahrir al-Sham's elite gunmen in Northeastern Lattakia to face the army.

Several weeks after the conclusion of the Sochi Agreement to create a demilitarized zone in Northern and Northwestern Syria, the terrorist groups have not only avoided a retreat, but also reinvigorated their positions in the region.  

A senior Syrian military source revealed on Tuesday that the country's army was likely to start military operations against the terrorists in the weapons-free zone as the latter continued deployment in the region.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency quoted the source as saying that given Turkey's failure to implement its undertakings based on the Sochi agreement with Russia, the Syrian army will kick off military operations against the terrorists in the demilitarized zone if they continue attacks against the army positions.

He added that Northern Hama has in recent days witnessed attacks by the terrorist groups, specially Horras al-Din, against the Syrian army near the region under the supervision of Turkey near the town of Morek, noting that Jeish al-Izzah militants have also sent military equipment from Southern Idlib to al-Latamina front in Northern Hama.

The source said that the Syrian army has responded to the terrorists' offensives in demilitarized zone so far, adding that the army will launch massive military operations in the region if they continue.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000957

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Infighting Erupts again among Turkey-backed Militants in Northern Syria

Nov 04, 2018

Gunmen of Liwa al-Shamal and their rival terrorists known as Police Forces, both backed up by the Turkish army, engaged in heavy fighting in the town of Azaz in Northern Aleppo.

The infighting came after the Police Forces arrested 2 Liwa al-Shamal militants.

The infighting inflicted several casualties on both sides.

Local sources, meantime, said that al-Shamiyah Front sent its gunmen from Afrin to Azaz following the infighting.

Other sources in Afrin reported that militants of Sultan Murad clashed fiercely with other rival militants in the village of Kafr Janah in Afrin, adding that several terrorists were killed and at least 10 more were wounded in the infighting between the two Ankara-backed militant groups.

The Kurdish-language Hawar News reported on Thursday that Ferqat al-Hamzeh, Sultan Murad, Faylaq al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and other terrorist groups in Afrin cut the forest trees in the villages and jungles.

It added that a large number of the trees were sent to Turkey, while several other cargoes were sold to the Syrian dealers.

The terrorists also cut off and stole olive trees in different parts of Afrin after harvesting them.

According to the report, militants started imposing their rule over new regions in Afrin, including Tal Haloubiyeh in Shara region and a hill between the village of Marateh and Bablit in Central Afrin, starting measures to extract artifacts and crops.

Turkey-backed militants have intensified plundering historical artifact in occupied Afrin region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000882

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ISIS attack kills 12 US-backed fighters in eastern Syria

4 November 2018

ISIS killed 12 US-backed fighters in a surprise attack Sunday from the extremists’ holdout in eastern Syria on the Iraqi border, a Britain-based monitor said.

Twelve fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide car bombing and subsequent clashes in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

An SDF spokesman, however, denied any members of his Kurdish-led alliance had been killed.

“There are counter-attacks every day and the clashes are ongoing, but the talk of martyrs among our ranks is not true,” Mustefa Bali said.

According to Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman, Sunday’s attack “started with a car bomb driven by a suicide attacker against an SDF position between Hajin and Al-Bahra”.

The attack allowed ISIS to advance towards Al-Bahra from its holdout around Hajin, and push back the first lines of defense of the SDF, which is backed by the US-led coalition, the Observatory said.

The SDF, with the support of coalition air strikes, in September launched an offensive to wrest the Deir Ezzor pocket including Hajin from ISIS, making slow advances.

But the alliance suffered a major setback as they retreated last week from the entire pocket after ISIS suicide bombings and low visibility due to sand storms.

Last Wednesday, the SDF suspended its fight against the extremists after Turkish forces fired on the group’s positions in northern Syria.

The coalition estimates that 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in the Hajin pocket.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/ISIS-attack-kills-12-US-backed-fighters-in-eastern-Syria.html

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Blasts across Baghdad kill six people, say sources

5 November 2018

Explosions in several Shiite-majority districts in Iraq’s capital late Sunday killed six people, most of them civilians, and wounded several others, police and medical sources said.

In northern Baghdad’s Aden roundabout area, two civilians were killed and another six wounded by a blast near a bus stop, the sources told AFP.

A bomb in the nearby Tarmiyah neighborhood targeted an military convoy, killing a soldier and wounding two others.

A government employee was killed in the southwestern area of Al-Sahha when explosives attached under his car were detonated, according to a police officer and medical source.

In the eastern district of Sadr City, two people were killed and four wounded in two explosions in the conservative Shiite neighborhood.

And two other blasts went off on busses in other parts of Baghdad’s northeast, wounding seven.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the explosions.

Sadr City is the former bastion of the Mahdi Army, which fought US troops and was blamed for the killings of thousands of Sunni Muslims.

The militia was led by Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose political alliance triumphed in this year’s parliamentary elections.

Violence peaked in Iraq during 2006 and 2007, when sectarian tensions were at their highest.

But it has fallen across Iraq and particularly Baghdad since the government declared victory over the ISIS extremist group in December.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Blasts-across-Baghdad-kill-six-people-say-sources.html

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ISIS says hits Syria’s Raqqa with car bomb

5 November 2018

A car bomb exploded near a military position in Syria’s Raqqa on Sunday, local authorities and a war monitor said, and ISIS extremist group said it was behind the blast.

The blast came a day after the assassination of a local council leader in the city, the former Syrian capital of the militant group’s self-declared caliphate, which was seized a year ago by US-backed Kurdish-led fighters.

Raqqa security forces said a civilian had been killed and several people, including civilians and fighters injured. The war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the blast caused “a large number” of casualties.

ISIS said in a statement that it had detonated the bomb, targeting fighters from the Kurdish YPG militia, the strongest element in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) group that drove the militants from Raqqa last year.

The SDF is battling ISIS fighters in one of their last patches of territory in Syria, along the north bank of the Euphrates river close to the Iraqi border.

The militants took advantage of bad weather on Sunday to attack SDF positions, killing a dozen fighters, the Observatory

reported.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Iran-will-sell-oil-and-break-US-sanctions-President-Rouhani-says.html

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Assad, Russia envoy discuss Syria constitutional committee

4 November 2018

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an envoy from ally Russia on Sunday discussed “removing the obstacles” to forming a constitutional committee demanded by international powers to help end the seven-year war, the presidency said.

The leaders of Russia, rebel backer Turkey, Germany, and France last week in Istanbul called for the committee to be formed by the end of the year to discuss a post-war constitution, “paving the way for free and fair elections” in Syria.

On Sunday, Assad held talks with Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev on “forming the committee to discuss the current constitution”, the presidency said in a statement.

They agreed “to continue joint Syrian-Russian work towards removing the obstacles still in the way of forming this committee”, it said.

A Turkish-Russian deal for Syria’s last major bastion of Idlib has revived a push towards a diplomatic solution to the country’s conflict, with international efforts focused on setting up the 150-member committee.

Under a UN plan, the regime would choose 50 of the committee members, the Syrian opposition another 50 and the UN would nominate the final 50, composed of representatives of civil society and technical experts.

But last week, Damascus rejected a UN list presented by the world body’s outgoing envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Instead, the Damascus regime is to draw up its own list, along with Russia, Iran and Turkey, according to de Mistura, who is set to step down at the end of the month.

Even if the committee is formed, analysts say the task of discussing a post-war constitution will be difficult.

The opposition has pushed for an entirely new constitution, but the regime has said it will only discuss altering the current one.

Assad’s forces have notched up a series of victories against militants and extremists since Russia intervened militarily on its side in 2015, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Assad-Russia-envoy-discuss-Syria-constitutional-committee.html

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South Asia

 

Afghan govt’s control over territories reaches record low

Anwar Iqbal

November 05, 2018

WASHINGTON: The Afghan government has lost control over a record number of districts this year, although Taliban too have lost some areas, says an official US report sent to Congress this week.

The report — that covers the period between July 1 and Sept 30, 2018, — identifies a dangerous trend which could have disastrous consequences for Afghanistan and its neighbours, particularly Pakistan: a gradual increase in ungoverned areas.

It is these ungoverned areas that militant groups like TTP and militant Islamic group (IS) use for conducting raids into Pakistan as well as in major Afghan cities.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which prepares these quarterly reports for the US Congress, notes that Afghanistan’s thinly stretched security forces have been unable to retain their control over vast areas inside the country. The official Afghan forces have also sustained record casualties during this period, the report adds.

“Unclassified data shows the Afghan National Defence Security Forces (ANDSF) made minimal or no progress in pressuring the Taliban over the quarter,” says the report, quoting the data provided by the Pentagon.

The data shows that “the ANDSF failed to gain greater control or influence over districts, population and territory this quarter. While the districts, territory, and population under insurgent control or influence also decreased slightly, the districts, territory, and population contested … increased”.

The report describes the “uncontested” areas as under neither Afghan government nor insurgent control or influence.

The report points out that Afghan government control or influence of its districts reached the lowest level (55.5 per cent) since SIGAR began tracking district control in November 2015. The Afghan government controls or influences districts in which about 65 per cent of the population lives, unchanged since October 2017.

About two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population live in the areas still under Kabul’s control. The Afghan government’s goal is to expand its control or influence over areas where 80 per cent of the country’s 33 million people live by the end of 2019.

About 3.5 million people live in areas controlled or influenced by insurgents — a slight decrease since last quarter — while the number of people living in contested areas slightly increased to 8.1 million.

The report says that since late 2015, nearly a year after the Nato transition from a combat mission to one focused on training and advising Afghans, Afghan insurgent have continued to expand their gains.

Unofficial data, however, claim that the government losses are larger than the Pentagon acknowledges. The Long War Journal, published by the nonpartisan group Foundation for Defence of Democracies, reports that a little over half of Afghanistan’s people live in districts outside of government control.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443711/afghan-govts-control-over-territories-reaches-record-low

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Taliban attack an Afghan forces check point, killing 13

November 05, 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says the Taliban have attacked a checkpoint in eastern Ghazni province, killing at least 13 soldiers and policemen.

Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor, says seven soldiers and six policemen were killed. Four soldiers were also wounded in the early Monday attack at the joint army and police checkpoint in Khogyani district.

Noori added that six insurgents were killed and more than 10 others were wounded during a three-hour battle with Afghan forces.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to the media.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1399446/world

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7 militants killed during a clash with the police forces in Kandahar

Nov 04 2018

At least seven Taliban militants were killed during a clash with the Afghan National Police (ANP) forces in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said a clash broke out between the National Police forces and the Taliban militants in Shah Wali Kot district on Saturday.

The statement further added that the clash took place in Sur Sakhar area of the district, resulting into the deaths of seven Taliban militants.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the dead bodies of the militants along with eleven improvised explosive devices were also left in the area following the clash.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding clash so far.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior said the police forces and local residents have not suffered casualties during the clash.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/7-militants-killed-during-a-clash-with-the-police-forces-in-kandahar-02680/

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Myanmar government erases evidence of Rohingya 'genocide' in Rakhine State

November 5, 2018

A narrow dirt path runs through the village of Inn Dinn, in northern Rakhine state. On the western side, 900 Rakhine Buddhists live, farm, and worship at a large pink monastery. To the east is an overgrown tangle of brush and burned trees.

A Buddhist woman drinks tea in her yard, which overlooks the remains of charred huts. “There was a fire,” she says, but she doesn't know who started it.

What happened in Inn Din has been well documented. A report released in August by a UN Fact-Finding Mission established how during a Myanmar “clearance operation” in September 2017, soldiers shot and stabbed villagers, raped women, and burned homes while driving 6,000 ethnic Rohingya from their homes. A Reuters investigation in February detailed the murder of 10 Rohingya men and boys at the hands of Myanmar troops, police officers, and Rakhine Buddhist villagers on September 2, 2017. The Myanmar government corroborated this report when it sentenced seven soldiers involved to 10 years imprisonment.

But on a recent government-controlled press tour of Rakhine, there is no acknowledgment of the massacre of Inn Din, or of other events last year, when 700,000 ethnic Rohingya were driven from their homes in a state-sponsored campaign of ethnic cleansing that left 10,000 dead and was described by the UN Fact-Finding Mission as genocide.

Instead, the first tightly controlled visit to the state since the UN mission announced its findings reveals how in the past year, the Myanmar government and the passage of time have conspired to destroy evidence of this genocide. In its place an entirely different narrative has been constructed in the minds of the remaining, mostly Buddhist locals.

While memory of the Rohingya’s patrimony is being erased in Rakhine state, it remains compelling and vivid in the minds of Rohingya refugees living in exile in southern Bangladesh. And it is their eye witness testimony of ethnic cleaning, experts suggest, that may one day be sufficient basis for international war crimes prosecutions.

Long before last year’s campaign of mass displacement and destruction, the Myanmar government had subjected its Rohingya subjects to systemic persecution. Since the Rohingya are Muslim and speak a language similar to the Chittagonian dialect of southern Bangladesh, Myanmar's government and much of its Buddhist population consider them illegal “Bengali” immigrants. They cite this belief to justify denying the Rohingya citizenship, education, and the right to travel freely.

The Rohingya, however, are native to the land that Myanmar calls Rakhine state – a land that was inhabited by their ancestors long before it was crudely divided into two British colonies that later became Muslim-majority Bangladesh and Buddhist majority Myanmar.

Hatred of the Rohingya has intensified in the years since Myanmar opened its doors to international aid and investment, as Rakhine Buddhists, who are outnumbered by the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state, see themselves as receiving less assistance. Powerful Buddhist nationalist groups have capitalised on this resentment, creating a climate in which politicians can score points by appealing to Buddhist nationalism.

When a group of poorly armed Rohingya insurgents known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched a series of attacks on security installations in Rakhine state on August 25, 2017, Myanmar’s military responded with a campaign of unprecedented violence. According to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, “the nature, scale and organisation of the operations suggests a level of preplanning and design on the part of the Tatmadaw [military] leadership."

The Tatmadaw's commander Min Aung Hlaing stated at the height of the operations: "The Bengali problem was a long-standing one which has become an unfinished job despite the efforts of the previous governments to solve it. The government in office is taking great care in solving the problem.”

The nature and the scale of this apparent genocide campaign, recounted in grisly detail by Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to the members of the UN mission, are no longer evident in the landscape of Rakhine state. The government has bulldozed the remains of Rohingya villages and built new ones in their place, inviting non-Rohingya to settle there. Ruins are enveloped by foliage, covering nearly every trace of last year’s atrocities. Through a combination of concealment and neglect, Myanmar authorities have transformed their crimes scenes into a land of alternative facts, where physical evidence of crimes has been destroyed, and the history of the Rohingya has been erased.

In Inn Din, village administrator Kyaw Soe Moe denied knowledge of the mass graves documented by Reuters and confirmed by Myanmar’s imprisonment of seven soldiers. “I haven’t heard of any mass graves here.”

Other villagers, and security forces, likewise denied knowledge, consistently replying: “I’m not from here,” or “I wasn’t here at the time”.

This is apparently a deliberate government policy, says Matthew Smith, the CEO of Fortify Rights, one of the main groups documenting Myanmar’s crimes against the Rohingya. “The authorities routinely cycle people in and out of sensitive areas. This could be a tactic to suppress the truth.”

Fifty kilometres up the coast, in the district capital of Maungdaw, the charade continued. The reporters were ushered into a brightly lit conference room in the office of the General Administration Department – a powerful administrative body controlled by the military. Three local officials flicked through PowerPoint slides showing the bloody remains of people they claimed had been killed by “Bengali terrorists”. The military has been caught on several occasions staging photos of crimes allegedly committed by Rohingya or falsely captioning photos taken elsehwere to support its narrative.

“No police, no military forced people to flee. Only ARSA did,” said Maungdaw Township administrator Myint Khaing. “Genocide never happened in our country and never will happen.”

Blaming the flight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees on ARSA is a crucial element of Myanmar’s strategy to avoid accountability. Myanmar continues to maintain that its troops did not deport anyone and that “Bengali terrorists” ordered Rohingya villagers to burn their own homes and flee to Bangladesh in an effort to frame Myanmar.

Despite their best efforts at suppressing evidence, such as the jailing of the Reuters journalists who exposed the Inn Din massacre, contradictory evidence continues to emerge. A recently published video filmed in August 2017 shows a scene of apparently premeditated deportation. The video shows a Myanmar soldier instructing a group of non-Rohingya villagers to “clear out” Rohingya villages with sticks and swords. The soldier can be heard saying: “Slowly and step by step, [Rohingya] want to take the whole Rakhine State. Then, they will conquer the whole country…We’ll clear out their villages soon after we leave here.”

Maungdaw District administrator Ye Htoo responded to the video in the same way many Myanmar officials do when confronted with proof of wrongdoing: “I have no comment, but if it’s true, the military will take legal action.” But justice so far has been reserved for low-level offenders, who are scapegoated to forestall the threat of accountability for the clearance operations’ high-level organisers, who allegedly include Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Myanmar’s efforts to erase evidence in Rakhine state indicate that the government of Aung San Suu Kyi has no intention of pursuing justice for the Rohingya, even though the military orchestrated and carried out its genocidal operations without the consent or oversight of the civilian government she leads.

Rights groups now pin their hopes for accountability on international bodies. The most likely body to rule on the alleged crimes of Myanmar military leaders is the International Criminal Court. Absent a request by the UN Security Council, the ICC ordinarily only has jurisdiction over countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. Myanmar is not a member, so in order for the court to investigate the crimes in Rakhine state, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has argued for jurisdiction on the basis that Myanmar’s forced deportation of Rohingya took place in part on the soil of Bangladesh, which is a member. The court agreed with the argument and announced on September 6 that it does have jurisdiction to investigate Myanmar’s alleged deportation.

Ms Bensouda is currently conducting a preliminary examination of last year’s clearance operations in order to determine whether a full investigation is warranted. An indictment would be made on the basis of that investigation.

According to Hollie Nyseth Brehm, a genocide scholar at Ohio State University, “even if the ICC were to indict suspected perpetrators, international criminal trials are slow moving at best”.

Fortunately, Myanmar’s destruction of physical evidence would not necessarily be a barrier to prosecution. “Some courts, like Rwanda’s post-genocide gacaca courts, relied almost exclusively on eye-witness testimony,” said Ms Nyseth Brehm. “We know that eye-witness testimony is certainly flawed, but in the absence of other forms of evidence, it may be the only option.”

Wayne Jordash, a lawyer for the firm Global Rights Compliance, which is representing a group of Rohingya sexual assault survivors who have petitioned the ICC to investigate gender-based violence as a component of genocide, agrees that a lack of physical evidence is not the greatest obstacle. “The problem is not establishing whether hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were deported or persecuted or even [subjected to] genocide. The bigger problem is whether we’ll find the linkage witnesses... Every international trial relies on insider witnesses who have generally got a lot of blood on their hands themselves but are persuaded, cajoled, or coerced by the prosecution to assist their aims by giving evidence and pointing the finger within the organisation.”

On September 27, the UN Human Rights Council called for the establishment of an “independent mechanism” that will collect and preserve evidence, especially the type that could link crimes against the Rohingya to specific perpetrators, to be used in a future prosecution.

That same day, the journalists on last month’s media tour made their last stop at the fence 10-foot fence that separates Myanmar from a strip of land on the Bangladesh border known as No Man’s Land. Here, more than 5,000 Rohingya refugees subsist on food delivered by the Red Cross. Speaking through the fence and flanked by dozens of fellow refugees, a community leader named Dil Mohammad explained that he and his people will not return to Myanmar until a number of demands are met: a guarantee of safety, the right to citizenship, and accountability for the people who drove them from their homes and destroyed their villages.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/asia/myanmar-government-erases-evidence-of-rohingya-genocide-in-rakhine-state-1.788063

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Taliban in a fix over Moscow meeting on Afghan peace

Tahir Khan

NOVEMBER 5, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban are apparently in a fix over attending the upcoming meeting of the representatives of regional countries in Russia on peace in Afghanistan on November 9.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the representatives of the Taliban will take part in the next Moscow-format meeting on Afghanistan. However, two Taliban officials told Daily Times that they have not taken a final decision about their participation in the consultations, which will be attended by regional countries including Pakistan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent invitations for the event to Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the US and some other countries, TASS news agency reported.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has decided to send a delegation of the High Peace Council to the meeting.

The Moscow-format consultations were earlier scheduled to the held on September 4, but were postponed after Afghan government refused to attend on the plea that all meetings on Afghanistan should be Afghan-led. The US had also announced to stay away from the September meeting.

Diplomatic sources says Russia has extended invitation to US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zamaly Khalizad to attend the meeting.

Taliban political office in Qatar had earlier announced to attend the Sept 4 meeting. However, this time they were still undecided. “No decision has been taken yet. We do not know about the agenda. If the agenda remains the same that was shared earlier, we will definitely attend,” a Taliban leader said, requesting anonymity. “If the agenda is changed, we may stay away from the meeting. However, there is no final decision so far,” he said.

“To attend or not to attend … is yet to be known,” another Taliban leader said, who is familiar with the political consultations.

Taliban participation in the Moscow-format consultations is important for the insurgents as they would be viewed as a political entity in a very important meeting being attended by at least 11 countries. Taliban participation will also provide an opportunity for the Afghan peace council’s members to interact with them informally.

Diplomatic sources told Daily Times on Sunday that there is no specific agenda and all participants will be requested to share their views about political solution to the Afghan conflict.

It has been learnt that Pakistan will send an additional secretary to represent the country in the consultations. Earlier, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua was scheduled to lead Pakistani delegation at the meeting, but her name has been dropped due to pressing engagements at home.

Pakistan has long been insisting that it would take part in all events which help bring peace in Afghanistan and is joining the Moscow-format consultations as part of the same strategy.

Russia launched the Moscow-format consultations in 2017 as part of its diplomatic efforts to press for political solution to the Afghan problem. Russia has defended its contacts with the Taliban. Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said in Moscow on Oct 25 that the main objective of these contacts is to ensure the safety of the Russian nationals in Afghanistan and contribute to the national reconciliation process. She also rejected claim by the US that Russia was providing support to the Taliban, adding that the US and some other nations also have ‘regular contacts’ with the Taliban. The Moscow-format meeting has assumed importance as it takes place at a time when the Taliban and the US officials have already held two meetings in Qatar. The Russian initiative could evolve a regional consensus on the political solution to the problem.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/318630/taliban-in-a-fix-over-moscow-meeting-on-afghan-peace/

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Taliban’s military commission chief for 3 districts of Faryab has died

Nov 05 2018

The military commission chief of Taliban for three districts of Faryab province Qari Yousuf has died, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said.

According to a statement released by MoI, Qari Yousuf who was also famous as Haqyar, was critically wounded during a clash with the security forces in Sherin Tagab district two days ago.

The statement further added that Qari Yousuf was the military commission chief of the Taliban for Khwajah Sabzposh, Sherin Tagab, and Dawlatabad districts.

According to the Ministry of Interior, Qari Yousuf died of his wounds late on Saturday night in Pashtun Kot district.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not commented regarding the report so far.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/talibans-military-commission-chief-for-3-districts-of-faryab-has-died-02683/

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Afghan forces clash with the Taliban militants in Chahar Bolak of Balkh

Nov 04 2018

A clash took place between the Afghan armed forces and the Taliban militants in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan late on Saturday night, the Afghan Military said.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the clash took place Chahar Bolak district, leaving at least five militants dead or wounded.

The statement further added that two militants belonging to Taliban’s shadow governor Gul Nabi were killed and three others were wounded during the clash in Gor Tapa area.

At least two motorcycles belonging to the militants were also destroyed during the clash, the 209th Shaheen Corps added in its statement.

In the meantime, the 209th Shaheen Corps said the Afghan forces discovered and defused an improvised explosive device during a separate operation in Burka district of northern Baghlan province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-clash-with-the-taliban-militants-in-chahar-bolak-of-balkh-02681/

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North America

 

‘US involved in op seeking regime change in Iran’

Nov 4, 2018

The United States is involved in “an ongoing operation” that seeks to bring about regime change in Iran, international lawyer and political analyst Barry Grossman tells Press TV.

“The United States is totally open about its plans for Iran, and it does not even try to make a secret of it,” Grossman, who is based on the Indonesian island of Bali, made the remarks in a live interview with Press TV on Sunday, the anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, back in 1979.

“It is an ongoing operation to interfere in domestic operations and to stir up dissent, political unrest, and disobedience all with an aim... [of causing] what it describes as regime change,” Grossman said.

He also said that the US government had proven to be an untrustworthy interlocutor.

“It is impossible for Iran to engage in any kind of ties or negotiations with the United States. It is impossible for Iran to trust the United States,” Grossman said.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579030/US-Iran-regime-change-Barry-Grossman-interview

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US unleashes ‘worst ever’ oil and financial sanctions on Iranian regime

4 November 2018

The United States reimposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran on Monday, significantly turning up the pressure on Tehran in order to curb its missile and nuclear programs and counter its growing military and political influence in the Middle East.

The Trump administration reimposes sanctions on the Iranian regime's energy, shipping and financial sectors, targeting over 700 entities.

Many of these companies were initially hit by Obama-era sanctions that were subsequently lifted when the US entered the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

The move will restore US sanctions that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama, and add 300 new designations in Iran's oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors.

President Donald Trump announced in May that his administration was withdrawing from what he called the "worst ever" agreement negotiated by the United States. Other parties to the deal, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, have said they will not leave.

Details of the sanctions will be released at a news conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey - all top importers of Iranian oil - are among eight countries expected to be given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure crude oil prices are not destabilized.

The countries will deposit Iran's revenue in an escrow account, US officials have said.

The reimposition of the sanctions comes as the United States is focused on U.S. congressional and gubernatorial elections on Tuesday. Campaigning in Chattanooga, Tennessee, late on Sunday, Trump said his "maximum pressure" policy against Iran was working. "Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office," said Trump, adding: "They wanted to take over the whole Middle East. Right now they just want to survive."

Earlier, thousands of Iranians chanted "Death to America" at a rally to mark the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that Iran should implement policies to safeguard its macroeconomic stability in the face of sanctions.

Choice of date

According to some observers, the choice of date - Nov. 4 -  for the re-imposing of sanctions is a random choice.

But others argue that the date of the second round of sanctions is not coincidental, especially following the tweet of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who wrote: “Today marks the 39th anniversary of the US embassy takeover in Tehran, when more than 50 of our colleagues were taken hostage. Their courage & resolve over 444 days in captivity continues to underscore our commitment to compel Iran to permanently abandon its outlaw activities.”

On this day in 1979, the early days of the Iranian revolution against the Shah, a group of Iranian young men who were enthusiastic about the Khomeini movement stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and detained more than 50 American diplomats inside the embassy for 444 days, on 4 November 1979, and ended on 20 January 1981.

While all international conventions opposed and denounced what the radical students did at the start of the Iranian revolution storming the US embassy in 1979, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commanders celebrated today the anniversary of the storming of the embassy in speeches coinciding with the start of the second round of US sanctions on Sunday.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Why-November-4-a-chosen-date-for-Trump-s-sanctions-against-Iran.html

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US 'unilateral' anti-Iran sanctions aim at undermining Mideast peace: Syria

Nov 4, 2018

Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has denounced the US administration's bid to re-impose sanctions on Iran's vital oil and financial sectors, saying this move is in line with Washington's policies to undermine peace and security in the Middle East.

An official source at the ministry said in a statement on Sunday that a new wave of Washington's sanctions “reflects the US failure to deliver on its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" - the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

The US Treasury Department announced on Friday that all sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal would be back in force on November 5. This came after US President Donald Trump's decision in May to withdraw from the JCPOA.

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the sweeping sanctions will see 700 people blacklisted, including people who were granted relief under the JCPOA, as well as over 300 new names.

The White House also said it was "the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed" on Tehran. It targets both Iran and states that trade with it.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that Washington would allow eight countries to continue importing Iranian oil, but only at much lower levels after the re-imposition of sanctions. Iran is currently the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The Syrian source also strongly blasted the US tendency to impose unilateral and coercive measures against countries, which refuse to succumb to its diktats.

According to the statement, the United States acts in a way that contravenes the UN Charter, international law and the multilateral trade system and magnifies the humanitarian suffering of nations hit by these sanctions.

The source expressed Syria’s solidarity and support for the Iranian government and nation and voiced confidence that the new package of sanctions will only make Iran more determined to abort the US “unethical policies.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that US policies and decisions are facing "practical opposition" across the world.

"Most countries except few ones have started opposing the US behavior, particularly over the re-imposition of unilateral sanctions," the top Iranian diplomat said.

In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said Moscow "resolutely" condemned a recent "destructive" move by the US to impose a new wave of sanctions on Iran, urging Washington to immediately review its policy of sanctions pressure against Tehran.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579077/Syria-Iran-Foreign-Affairs-Expatriates-US-sanctions

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Mideast

 

Jerusalem’s Catholic leaders seek repeal of Israel’s Jewish nation-state law

5 November 2018

Senior Catholic clerics in Jerusalem called Sunday for Israel to repeal a controversial law giving Jews a “unique” right to self-determination in the country.

“We must draw the attention of the authorities to a simple fact,” bishops and archbishops of the Roman Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic and Greek Melkite churches said in a joint statement.

“Our faithful, the Christians, our fellow citizens, Muslim, Druze and Baha’i, all of us who are Arabs, are no less citizens of this country than our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

The nation-state act was passed by parliament in July and forms part of Israel’s basic laws- a de facto constitution.

It speaks of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jews and demotes Arabic from its former status as an official language.

Because it omits any reference to equality or the country’s democratic nature, Israeli Arabs say it will legalize discrimination.

There were widespread Arab protests after it passed into law and some Jewish politicians said it should be amended.

President Reuven Rivlin said the act “in its current version is bad for the state of Israel and bad for the Jews”.

Arabs account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s nearly nine million population.

“Christians, Muslims, Druze, Baha’i and Jews demand to be treated as equal citizens,” said the letter which was also signed by the Maronite archbishop of Cyprus and the Greek Melkite archbishop of Petra, in Jordan.

“We, as the religious leaders of the Catholic Churches, call on the authorities to rescind this basic law and assure one and all that the state of Israel seeks to promote and protect the welfare and the safety of all its citizens.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Jerusalem-s-Catholic-leaders-seek-repeal-of-Israel-s-Jewish-nation-state-law.html

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Iran to Europeans: Ready to cooperate in fight against terrorism

Nov 5, 2018

During a meeting with European diplomats, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official reiterates the Islamic Republic’s readiness to cooperate with European countries in fighting terrorism.

The meeting took place among the official, Norwegian and Swedish ambassadors to Tehran, and Denmark’s chargé d'affaires, the Ministry reported on its website on Sunday.

“At the meeting, it was announced that Iran was ready for comprehensive and expansive cooperation, including in security areas and implementation of joint fact-finding investigations, with the respective countries,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi.

The meeting was called following an armed attack against a military parade in the southern Iranian city of Ahvaz on September 22. Claimed by the al-Ahvaziya terror group, the attack killed 25 people, including a four-year-old child.

The Ministry official “laid emphasis on the responsibility borne by the countries (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) to confront terrorism,” Qassemi said. He also stressed “the unacceptability of [their] sheltering those who have officially claimed responsibility for the attack,” the spokesman added.

The gathering was also convened in the light of recent accusations leveled by Denmark against Iran of “plotting an assassination on the Danish soil,” and a similar previous accusation by France.

The meeting featured Tehran’s strong rejection of the accusations made against the country through “the Zionist regime [of Israel]’s machinations and devising of clumsy scenarios,” Qassemi said.

According to the spokesman, the issue of confronting terrorism was also a focus of an earlier meeting between the Netherlands’ ambassador and the Ministry’s deputy political director as well as recent phone calls between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his German, French, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish counterparts.

The Islamic Republic, Qassemi said, used the contacts to express preparedness towards identification of the terrorist elements, which had found havens across Europe.

The Dutch envoy Jacques Werner, meanwhile, said he had conducted the necessary coordination during the meeting concerning an upcoming visit to Iran by the Netherlands’ Deputy Foreign Minister Andre Haspels.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/05/579096/Iran-Europe-terror-fight

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Israeli court sentences Palestinian cancer patient to 13 months in prison

Nov 4, 2018

An Israeli court has handed down a jail term of 13 months to a young Palestinian cancer patient as prison authorities prevent Palestinian prisoners in poor health from receiving appropriate medical care and refusing to allow them to undergo urgent surgeries.

On Sunday, the Salem military base in the northern flank of the occupied West Bank issued the verdict against 22-year-old Ali Mahmoud Hanoun, who suffers from leukemia, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported.

The court also ordered Hanoun, a resident of the northwestern West Bank city of Qalqilya, to pay a fine of 3,000 shekels ($812).

Israeli military forces detained the cancer patient during an operation in March.

Israeli authorities claim that medical tests were performed on Hanoun following his detention, and the results showed that he no longer suffers from leukemia.

On August 10, the father of a Palestinian inmate accused the Israel Prison Service, commonly known in occupied territories by its acronym Shabas, of deliberately neglecting his son’s deteriorating medical situation and delaying the approval of an operation, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Azmi Annafaa, a local resident of the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin, is suffering from a bullet injury in his jaw, and urgently needs an operation before his face is disfigured.

He sustained the injury in 2015, when Israeli soldiers sprayed his car with bullets near Za’atara checkpoint south of Nablus, located approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds.

He was accused at the time of intentionally ramming his car into a group of Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint. An Israeli military court later sentenced him to 20 years in jail.

Meanwhile, the PPS says Israel has issued 33 orders for the so-called administrative detention against Palestinians.

The society confirmed that 23 out of the 33 administrative detention orders are renewed orders, while the remaining 10 detainees received detention orders for the first time or were re-detained after being released.

PPS added that the orders range from three to six months of prison.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, dozens of whom are serving multiple life sentences.

Over 500 detainees are under the so-called administrative detention, which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months, extendable an infinite number of times.

Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years without any charges brought against them.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detentions.

According to the Palestinian Information Center, at least 8,000 Palestinian minors have been arrested and prosecuted in Israeli military courts since 2000.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579064/Israeli-court-sentences-Palestinian-cancer-patient-to-13-months-in-prison

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Muslim scholars of the world gather in Istanbul to elect new leader

Nov 5, 2018

The General Assembly of Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) that brought together some of the renowned figures of the Muslim world, opened in Istanbul on Saturday.

During the six-day convention, the union will elect a new leader and new board members. It will also discuss challenges the world and the Muslim world in particular face.

In a speech addressing the convention that brings together more than 1,500 scholars from dozens of countries, Ali Erbaş, head of Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) said Muslims must work together to build a better future through "a realistic, constructive and holistic approach and a persuasive way."

He said Muslims across the globe are going through some difficult and uneasy processes due to the wars, poverty and terrorism.

In his speech, Erbaş also touched upon the importance of bringing Muslim scholars together to support each other and cooperate in areas like religious education, dissemination of religious knowledge, religious services for women, family and youth.

He added that terrorist organizations like the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the PKK, Daesh, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram are "damaging Muslims, our unity and future."

The chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Yousef al-Qaradawi said: "We pray that Turkey can become the administrative center of the Islamic world once again." He accused the West of plotting against Turkey to derail its advancement.

"Turkey is facing plots by those who don't like to see this nation [rising] and by the West," he said. "They would have succeeded [in their plots] but for Allah's support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his brothers," he said. "Allah will help Erdoğan to emerge victorious as long as true Muslims are standing by him," al-Qaradawi added.

Full report at:

https://www.dailysabah.com/istanbul/2018/11/05/muslim-scholars-of-the-world-gather-in-istanbul-to-elect-new-leader

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Turkish forces must leave for security, stability to prevail in Syria: Deputy FM

Nov 4, 2018

A high-ranking Syrian official has demanded that “occupation” forces from Turkey must leave, emphasizing that the troops must depart the territories of his conflict-plagued Arab country in order for security and stability to be restored there.

“The Syrian Arab army is the only party that stands against the Turkish occupation of the Syrian territories,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told the pro-government and Arabic-language al-Watan daily newspaper.

“We believe that these (Kurdish parties) should return to the spirit of citizenship and to believe in their homeland; not to use Americans, Israelis and others against the interests of their native soil,” he said when asked about calls by some Kurdish militant groups in the areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to stand against Turkish attacks.

Mekdad added, “The Syrian army stands with all groups, parties and tribes in order to tackle terrorism for the benefit of Syrian people.”

He stated that Syria will eventually emerge victorious over terrorism and its sponsors, and all areas will be liberated from the clutches of Americans, Turks and separatists, thanks to the high motivation and sacrifices made by the Syrian nation and Syrian army.

The senior Syrian official highlighted that the Damascus government cannot trust Turkish assurances, because Ankara’s objectives are colonial and expansionist.

“The Ankara government misleads the public opinion inside Turkey and in the (Middle East) region by announcing something but implementing something else,” Mekdad commented.

He further noted that Damascus will cooperate with new UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, if he avoids the “methods” of his predecessor Staffan de Mistura.

Mekdad went on to cite other conditions for his government' cooperation with Pedersen.

“He must declare his commitment to Syrian territorial integrity and to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic. He cannot take the side with terrorists like what his predecessor did. He should stand for the ideals and the superior values enshrined in the UN Charter, which aim at ensuring people's freedom within the framework of the fight on terrorism,” the Syrian deputy foreign minister said.

On October 31, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that he had appointed the Norwegian diplomat to serve as his Special Envoy for Syria, replacing outgoing envoy de Mistura.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579053/Turkish-forces-must-leave-for-security-stability-to-prevail-in-Syria-Syria-Deputy-FM

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Israel raids office of Palestinian Jerusalem governor

4 November 2018

Israeli forces raided the offices of the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem on Sunday, authorities said, after reports of an investigation related to a land sale.

Israeli authorities confirmed the raid in Al-Ram, just on the other side of Israel’s separation wall from Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, but provided few details.

It came after Israel’s detention of the Palestinian governor, Adnan Gheith, on October 20. He was released two days later.

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Jerusalem affairs minister, Adnan al-Husseini, told AFP that Israeli forces confiscated documents and material during the raid.

The same building houses his ministry and the governor’s office, both of which he said were raided in the first such Israeli action.

Palestinian government spokesman Yusuf Mahmud said it was a “dangerous escalation of the occupation and a flagrant violation of all international laws and agreements”.

Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said in a statement a joint raid with police and the army was over “illegal activity by the PA in Jerusalem”.

It said “various materials were seized which will be examined by security bodies.”

Asked to specify which illegal activity, the Shin Bet said only that all the Palestinian Authority’s activity in Jerusalem was illegal.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The Palestinian Authority has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in Al-Ram, with Palestinian Authority activities barred in Jerusalem itself.

Israeli media reported that the investigation follows the The Palestinian Authority’s arrest of a man last month accused of selling property in east Jerusalem to a Jewish buyer.

Such sales are highly controversial among Palestinians concerned with Israeli settlers buying property in east Jerusalem.

But among Israelis, there have been calls for authorities to free the man arrested by the Palestinian Authority over the sale.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Israel-raids-office-of-Palestinian-Jerusalem-governor-.html

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Amid renewed tension, US forces patrol Syria’s northeast near Turkish border

4 November 2018

US forces on Sunday patrolled an area in northeastern Syria bordering Turkey after renewed tensions between Ankara and Syrian Kurds, a spokesman and an AFP reporter said.

Three armored vehicles carrying soldiers wearing the US flag on their uniform arrived in the Kurdish-held northeastern border town of Al-Darbasiyah, the correspondent said.

Turkey last week raised threats against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, shelling their positions and flagging a possible new offensive.

The Kurds spearhead the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance, backed by the US-led coalition that has been fighting ISIS extremist group in Syria.

Coalition spokesman Sean Ryan said Sunday’s patrol was the second in a week, after a first one by US forces on Friday.

“The US forces’ assurance patrols enable us to maintain safety and security in the region,” he said, but are not carried out “on a regular basis”.

An SDF spokesman said the US patrols, in coordination with the SDF, were directly linked to recent tensions between the Kurds and Ankara.

“They are not routine patrols. They are directly linked to these threats. The objective is to call on Turkey to stop its aggression,” Mustefa Bali said.

Sunday’s patrols were headed towards Ras al-Ain, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) to the west of Al-Darbasiyah along the frontier, he said.

The US State Department has said it had been in touch with both the SDF and Turkey to push for de-escalation.

Turkey accuses Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)- which form the backbone of the SDF- of being “terrorists”.

In what appeared to be an attempt by Washington to appease Turkey, US and Turkish troops on Thursday launched joint patrols on the outskirts of the northern city of Manbij.

Although the YPG claim to have pulled out of the city after the SDF seized it from ISIS in 2016, Ankara has recently complained that the group still has a presence there, repeatedly threatening military action.

On Wednesday, Turkish shelling of Kurdish positions in the Kobane sector of northern Syria killed four fighters, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

On Tuesday, two days after another round of shelling of Kurdish posts in northern Syria, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country had completed preparations for a new operation to “destroy” Kurdish fighters.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Amid-renewed-tension-US-forces-patrol-Syria-s-northeast-near-Turkish-border.html

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Yemeni forces carry out Parachute landing in Maran mountain, Houthis’ stronghold

5 November 2018

The Yemeni national army, backed by the Arab coalition carried out a parachute landing by special forces and counterterrorism forces, in the mountains of Maran, south of the governorate of Saada, the military stronghold of the pro-Iranian Houthi militias. Major-General of the Special Forces, Colonel Ahmed al-Musabi, said that “the National army forces carried out an air landing on Thursday behind the enemy lines, during which they gained control of a number of positions in the mountainous region, paving the way for reinforcements to come in.

He added that the operation was “carried out by well-trained units” of the national army.

He pointed out that the Yemeni army forces are working in cooperation with the security forces to complete securing the liberated positions in the directorate of al-Dhaher, and the extraction of Houthi mines, in preparation for the return of citizens to their homes.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/11/05/Yemeni-army-executes-Parachute-landing-in-Maran-stronghold-of-Houthis.html

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Yemeni army makes strategic gains east of Hodeidah

4 November 2018

The Yemeni armed forces made strategic gains on Sunday after reaching al-Saleh city east of Hodeidah as fierce battles are being fought beyond the Kilo 19 area.

The Yemeni Defense Ministry said that those advances were made by the national army’s elite unit- the Giant Brigades- and local forces known by the name Tihama Resistance- loyal to Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and fighting alongside the Arab coalition backing the legitimate government.

The national army also took control of the “Yemen Mobile” roundabout, gaining control of the faculty of Engineering in the city.

The Yemeni army battled the Houthi militias on the southern entrance of Hodeidah after an offensive operation launched from al-Manar district.

Fierce battles also continue in several axes amid military field progress.

According to military sources, the Houthi militias suffered dozens of deaths and injuries among their fighters, as well as the destruction of ammunition and military equipment.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/11/04/Yemeni-army-makes-gains-en-route-to-strategic-city-of-Hodeidah.html

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Iran slams life sentence for Bahrain's opposition leader

Nov 4, 2018

Iran has slammed the decision by an appellate court in Bahrain to sentence prominent Bahraini Shia cleric and opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, to life in prison, urging the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to stop its inhuman approaches.

"This verdict leaves no room for any doubt in public opinion and the international community that the Bahraini government does not seek to improve conditions, but intends to intensify suppression and further deteriorate the situation," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday.

He added that Sheikh Salman pursues moderate and peaceful approaches and avoids violence.

Instead of relying on other countries and applying security approaches, Bahraini officials better solve the "self-made crisis" in the country by holding real and serious talks with opposition groups and meeting the Bahraini people's legitimate demands, Qassemi said.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson also urged Bahraini authorities to end their inhuman behavior and restrictions on people.

Earlier on Sunday, the Bahraini court overturned the acquittal of the 52-year-old secretary general of the dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and two of his colleagues, Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad, and levied charges of collaborating with Qatar “with the purpose of overthrowing the regime” against them.

The court went on to say that the trio had transferred confidential information to Qatar and received financial support in return. Sultan and Aswad were tried in absentia.

On November 1, 2017, Sheikh Salman and his two assistants were charged with “spying on behalf of a foreign country... with the aim of carrying out subversive acts against Bahrain and harming its national interests.”

Sheikh Salman was also charged with “revealing defense secrets to a foreign country and disseminating information that would harm Bahrain's status and reputation.”

The senior Shia Bahraini cleric has been in jail on a nine-year prison sentence since late 2014 for what the Manama regime has described as “insulting” government officials, “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during the 2011 uprising, attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579085/Qassemi-Sheikh-Ali-Salman-Iran-Bahrain-jail-court

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Child dies among 3 others in Saudi raids on Yemen

Nov 4, 2018

Saudi Arabian warplanes strike al-Hudaydah and Sa’ada Provinces in western Yemen, killing three people, including a child.

The aircraft targeted two displaced families in al-Hali District in al-Hudaydah, which lies along the country’s west coast, killing a couple and seriously injuring their child, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported on Sunday.

Subsequent Saudi aerial bombing of the area prevented arrival of rescue workers to retrieve bodies from the rubble, the network’s correspondent reported.

In Sa’ada, a child was killed after Saudi jets released dozens of missiles against Haydan District.

Saudi Arabia and many of its allies started invading Yemen in March 2015 to restore power to its former Riyadh-friendly officials.

According to Yemen’s Health Ministry, more than 15,000 have died since the onset of the warfare. This is while various reports put the death toll far higher, saying a Saudi-enforced media blackout has prevented proper investigation into the number of the fatalities.

The war has maimed the impoverished country’s infrastructure, including health facilities.

The coalition maintains a closely-monitored blockade against al-Hudaydah’s capital, which takes in 70 percent of Yemen’s imports.

Reports say Saudi warplanes carried out over 80 airstrikes on Hudaydah in only a day. A Yemeni armed forces spokesman said the army thwarted "enemy’s attempts to penetrate the defenses in Hudaydah."

Since earlier in the week, it has intensified its attacks against the strategic port city. On Tuesday, it was reported that the Saudi-led allies had deployed 10,000 of their forces around the city, with an apparent intention to seize it entirely.

Also on Sunday, the United Nation’s children agency said Yemen had turned into a "living hell" for children.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579093/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-airstrikes-Hudaydah-Saada

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Israeli forces seal off Palestinian city of al-Khalil

Nov 4, 2018

Israel forces have closed off several areas of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) under the pretext of marking an annual religious event, Palestinian media reports say.

According to the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency, large numbers of Israeli forces were deployed across the city to seal off various streets on Sunday.

Israeli soldiers and snipers also took up positions on rooftops to ease access for Israeli settlers to a religious site in the area.

Almost all shops and businesses were forcibly closed in the Bab al-Zawiya area and Beersheba and al-Shuhada streets.

Dozens of Israeli settlers raided Palestinian houses in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, also in al-Khalil city, and hurled stones at its residents

The restrictions and attacks come as thousands of pilgrims flock to tomb of the Patriarchs, the burial site of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his family. The site is revered by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.

Israeli media reports recently said that Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman plans to approve the construction of a new settlement in the Old City of al-Khalil, south of the West Bank.

The new settlement is to be established in an old Palestinian vegetables market in the Old City. Located in the center of al-Khalil, one of the largest cities in the West Bank, the Old City was divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas, known as H1 and H2, following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994.

The establishment of the new settlements comes in grave contravention of international law and a United Nations Security Council resolution against the Tel Aviv regime’s land grab policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Al-Khalil is home to some 200,000 Palestinians, among whom several hundred Israeli settlers live under heavy guard.

Over the past months, Israeli forces have fatally shot many Palestinians in the occupied territories, claiming they sought to attack the Israelis. Tel Aviv has come under fire by rights groups for encouraging a shoot-to-kill policy.

In January, Human Rights Watch voiced deep concerns over the increasing number of Israeli officials encouraging troops to kill Palestinians even when they are not a threat.

The occupied Palestinian territories have particularly witnessed increased tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds in August 2015.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579080/Palestine-alKhalil-Hebron-West-Bank-Prophet-Ibrahim

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Southeast Asia

 

China to face grilling at UN review over internment camps for Muslims

Nov 5, 2018

China will be grilled over its mass detainment of Uighur minorities during a UN human rights review on Tuesday, with Washington leading demands for Beijing to come clean on how many people are held in a sprawling network of camps.

As many as one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being kept in extra-judicial detention in China’s fractious far western Xinjiang region, according to estimates cited by a UN panel.

The centres where they are thought to be detained have come under increasing scrutiny this year, with rights activists describing them as political re-education camps. They say members of China’s Muslim minorities are held involuntarily for transgressions such as wearing long beards and face veils.

“The Human Rights Council must send an unequivocal message to the Chinese government that their campaign of systematic repression in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, including the arbitrary detention of up to one million people, must end,” said Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International.

All 193 United Nations member states must undergo a periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. China will present a report on its domestic human rights situation and on changes made since its last report in 2013, while diplomats from around the world will have the opportunity to ask questions — some of which have already been submitted.

One question by the US — which is leading demands for Beijing to come clean on the crackdown — says: “Can China clarify the basis for its apparent criminalisation of peaceful religious practices as justification to detain people in these political ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang, as well as which officials are responsible for this policy?”

Washington also wants Beijing to provide “the number of people involuntarily held in all detention facilities in Xinjiang during the past five years”.

Britain has asked when China will implement a UN racial discrimination panel’s recommendation that it “halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offence in any extra-legal detention facilities”.

The US and Germany have requested UN access to Xinjiang and Tibet to investigate allegations of mass detention and restrictions on religious freedoms.

‘Like a prison’

Beijing previously denied the existence of such camps, but now defends them as “vocational education and training centres” where happy students study Mandarin, brush up on job skills, and pursue hobbies such as sports and folk dance.

Chinese officials say the facilities are part of efforts to combat terrorism, religious extremism and separatism in Xinjiang following unrest that left hundreds dead in recent years.

But an AFP investigation published in October showed that local authorities had bought gear for the centres including police batons, electric cattle prods, handcuffs, pepper spray, stun guns and razor wire.

The centres should “teach like a school, be managed like the military, and be defended like a prison”, said one official document, quoting Xinjiang’s party secretary Chen Quanguo.

“The Chinese government owes some answers to international questions about Xinjiang,” Maya Wang, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told AFP.

The UN human rights review is a chance for countries to “focus their firepower on Xinjiang”, though its effectiveness will depend on “whether or not there is commitment from the states to push for accountability,” she added.

China will send a vice minister of foreign affairs, Le Yucheng, to head the delegation to the UN. Officials from Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau will also attend the review.

“China is willing to carry out constructive dialogue with all sides in an open and honest spirit,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday.

‘Double standards’

Beyond Xinjiang, China will also come under scrutiny for other aspects of its human rights record.

Since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, the Chinese government has cracked down on civil liberties and religious freedoms while ramping up digital surveillance.

In July 2017, dissident activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer while under police custody. In 2015, more than 200 Chinese human rights lawyers and activists were detained or questioned in a sweep known as the “709” crackdown.

That year also saw five Hong Kong-based booksellers known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders disappear, before they resurfaced in mainland China.

“China opposes human rights politicization and ‘double standards,’ and upholds international fairness and justice,” China said in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for the review.

“No country’s human rights situation is perfect. China still faces many difficulties and challenges in promoting and protecting human rights,” it said.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/china-to-face-grilling-at-un-review-over-internment-camps-for-muslims/

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Gov't Urges Public Not to Be Provoked by Actions of Banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia

November 01, 2018

Jakarta. The government has called for unity and asked the nation not to succumb to provocations by the banned mass organization Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.

This followed a meeting between Chief Security Minister Wiranto and related government ministries and institutions in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss a planned protest rally against the burning of the organization's flag by members of Banser, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, at a gathering in Garut, West Java, last month.

The flag displays the tawhid, or Islamic declaration of the Oneness of God, written in Arabic script in white against a black background, or sometimes with the colors reversed.

West Java Police confirmed that members of Banser burned a Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag but said the investigation was still ongoing. Banser and Nahdlatul Ulama have both since issued public apologies for the incident.

However, calls went out on social media platforms and popular messaging application WhatsApp this week for hardline Muslims to participate in the Defend Tawhid 211 rally in Central Jakarta on Friday.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which means "Party of Liberation" in Arabic, is a global Islamist movement that seeks to unite all Muslim nations in a caliphate to "resume the Islamic way of life."

The organization is banned in several Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The Indonesian government disbanded HTI in July last year, but the organization fought the decision in the Jakarta State Administrative Court, which in May this year rejected its plea for a revocation of the ban.

"We urge the public to maintain national unity and not to succumb to the provocations of HTI, which was legally disbanded through a decree issued by the minister of justice and human rights on July 19, 2017," the government said in a statement on Thursday.

The government said Friday's planned rally was irrelevant against the background of the current situation, with the nation still mourning recent natural disasters that hit parts of West Nusa Tenggara and Central Sulawesi, killing thousands, as well as this week's crash of Lion Air flight JT-610.

Full report at:

https://jakartaglobe.id/news/govt-urges-public-not-to-be-provoked-by-actions-of-banned-hizbut-tahrir-indonesia/

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Malaysia sets example by abandoning the noose

November 5, 2018

Malaysia's decision to abandon the death penalty is winning praise and adds further momentum to a growing global trend that human rights advocates hope will spell an end to state-sanctioned killing.

But there's still a long way to go, particularly across Asia.

From Pakistan and India to Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam, executions for a range of crimes — murder and treason to drug trafficking and blasphemy — remain on the statute books.

Of the 53 counties that maintain the death penalty, about a quarter are in Asia, with China topping the world in the number of state-sanctioned killings. Figures remain a state secret, but rights groups say at least 2,000 people were executed by lethal injection or firing squad in 2017.

That's more than the rest of the world combined, but Beijing's methods pale when compared to North Korea where torture often precedes public executions.

The number of executions is also a state secret in the despotic communist state that is estimated to carry out 50-100 executions a year — by firing squad, hanging or decapitation — for crimes that include attempts to access unapproved media.

Pushing the Chinese and North Koreans into abandoning the death penalty might seem like a lost cause. But Malaysia has announced that by the end of this year it will become the 107th country to end capital punishment, a significant increase on 64 nations just two decades ago.

Some other Asian countries have also jettisoned the death penalty while several others have curbed its use or imposed moratoriums.

It was abolished in Cambodia in 1989 amid peace negotiations aimed at ending three decades of conflict amid fears that state-sanctioned executions could be used for retribution.

East Timor abandoned the death penalty, which it inherited from Indonesia, following a 1999 United Nations-sponsored vote on self-determination. The Philippines suspended the death penalty in 2006, Mongolia abolished it in 2017 and there is a moratorium on executions in South Korea.

Vietnam executed 1,134 people between mid-2011 and mid-2016, but the number of people currently on death row is not known. Thailand carried out its last execution in June, the first in nearly a decade.

Brunei retains the death penalty, but it has not been carried out since 1957, likewise in Laos, where the last known execution was in 1989, and in Papua New Guinea where there has not been a hanging since 1954.

Singapore ignores pleas

Malaysia announced its decision to end judicial killing on Oct. 10, the World Day Against the Death Penalty, saying the practice was inconsistent with national sentiment.

That begs the question as to why Singapore has not followed suit, as its population is at least as civilized as those across the causeway border.

The case of Singapore, like Japan and Taiwan, is disturbing because it ranks "very high" on the Human Development Index and lays claim to be part of the first world where capital punishment has mostly long been spurned. The United States is a notable exception.

But the island state, famed for its squeaky-clean streets, had no hesitation in hanging Malaysian drug trafficker Prabu Pathmanathan in late October, ignoring pleas for clemency in what was branded "an unlawful and brutal act."

In some countries, such as Pakistan, zealots claim religious justifications for the death penalty. In the Muslim-majority nation there were 65 hangings in 2017 and a total of 499 since it ended a moratorium in 2014.

Yet neighboring India has executed only five people since 1995, the last being in 2015 in relation to 1993 terrorist bombings.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, where there have been up to 20,000 extrajudicial "drug war" killings since he come to power in mid-2016, has indicated that the nation's suspension of official executions could be lifted.

In Myanmar — where all death sentences were commuted in 2014 — 66 people have been sentenced to death since Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won historic elections less than three years ago.

Religious excuses

While it is impossible to conduct a global survey, evidence suggests that most people in a majority of countries believe that the death penalty is wrong, with this view particularly strong among Christians.

There is little stomach for the Old Testament concept of an eye for an eye, even in Israel where capital punishment is law, yet only two executions have been carried out since it was founded in 1948; the last in 1962.

In countries where a strict form of Shariah is imposed, Islam is used to justify executions — which can include beheadings and stoning — primarily for intentional murder and Fasad fil-ardh, which means the spreading of mischief in the land.

Such attempted justifications are problematic in the 21st century with cultures clashing as much as the old with the new. Intentional murder convictions grant victims' families the right to judge the severity of sentences, undermining the power of the courts and their independence.

Meanwhile, the stated offense of trying to destabilise the state is open to interpretation and the whims of those in power. Saudi Arabia's treatment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is an example.

There is no shortage of people who believe criminals should forfeit their lives for heinous crimes.

But sovereign states have too often condemned the wrong people and ignored their own laws when sanctioning the deaths of people who were mentally incapable of understanding what they had done.

Brazilian drug trafficker Rodrigo Gularte was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic with psychotic tendencies. Yet he was executed by firing squad in Indonesia for drug trafficking three years ago despite his illness and lack of comprehension.

Father Charlie Burrows, an Irish Catholic priest who ministers to condemned prisoners, for three days tried in vain to explain to Gularte that he was soon to die. Father Burrows described Gularte as a quiet and sensitive man who finally understood.

Why should state-sanctioned killing be a state right?

Police and judicial systems are far from infallible as found in the United States where at least 20 people sentenced to death have been exonerated since the introduction of DNA testing.

And the steadfastness of the law is only highlighted publicly when death row inmates become politicized and cause diplomatic friction, such as with condemned foreigners like Prabu Pathmanathan.

There are 81 Nigerians on death row in Malaysia, but they are now to be spared. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose government is abolishing the death penalty, was accused at the time of politically exploiting the 1986 hangings of British and Australian drug traffickers Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers.

The hanging in Singapore in 2005 of Van Nguyen, an Australian Vietnamese who was allegedly blackmailed into a narcotics ring to protect his troubled brother, was revolting. He turned state evidence amid promises this would go in his favor. It did not.

Such treatment is barbaric, particularly when meted out in narcotics cases where drug mules and other bit-players of syndicates are condemned while those in charge carry on with relative impunity from their home countries.

Great inroads have been made towards ridding the world of the death penalty and, in the meantime, curbing its use.

Malaysia, by announcing the scrapping of capital punishment, will be able to join other nations conforming to international norms in order to pressure those that don't, even China and North Korea.

In his last moments, as executioners strapped him to a post to be shot, Gularte turned to Father Burrows as the prospect of what was about to happen sank in.

Full report at:

https://www.ucanews.com/news/malaysia-sets-example-by-abandoning-the-noose/83755

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Govt committed to raise status of Langkawi, Kedah MB says

04 November 2018

KUBANG PASU, Nov 4 — The move to boost Langkawi as a duty-free zone proves the government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) is committed to continue defending the status of the tourism island as a duty-free haven.

In this regard, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said several proposals would be discussed with the federal government to propel Langkawi as an attractive tourist destination which could compete with the neighbouring countries such as Phuket in Thailand and Bali in Indonesia.

“Earlier, there were talks that the duty-free status of Langkawi maybe withdrawn by the previous administration. But in Budget 2019, we have been given the assurance that not only the status of Langkawi will remained, it will in fact be further enhanced.

“Besides the natural beauty and five-star hotels on the island, one of the other attractions of Langkawi is the duty-free status and we have submitted various ideas to the federal government for consideration,” he told reporters today.

In tabling Budget 2019 at Dewan Rakyat on Friday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced the government would be empowering the tourism sector of the country and among them was to expand the status of Langkawi as a tax free haven   

Earlier, Mukhriz who was closing the Kubang Pasu District Mosque Administration, Professionalism and Management course hoped the institution of mosques in Kedah could play a leading role to realise and translated the real values of Islam.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1690014/govt-committed-to-raise-status-of-langkawi-kedah-mb-says

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Indonesia relations 'strong' despite Jerusalem embassy talk

Nov 5 2018

The Morrison government's consideration of moving its embassy to Jerusalem won't derail the bilateral relationship with Jakarta, Indonesia's Finance Minister suggested during a meeting with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Canberra.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, one of Indonesia's most senior politicians in the world's most-populous Muslim-majority country, declined to answer media questions directly about Prime Minister Scott Morrison's surprise announcement last month that Australia may follow the US President Donald Trump in relocating the embassy to Jerusalem.

Speaking more broadly, she said the Australia-Indonesia relationship was "robust" and would always have "ups and downs".

"I'm sure the Indonesia-Australia relationship will continue to be positive and strong," she said at Parliament House.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull warned on a visit to Bali last week that if the proposal was implemented "it would be met with a very negative reaction in Indonesia", after meetings with Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Mr Frydenberg, who is Jewish and personally supports relocating the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, said alongside Ms Mulyani that Australia had a close and important relationship with the world's fourth most populated country.

"It is a giant by any standard and the Indonesian economy continues to grow strongly with annual growth above 5 per cent," he said.

The two ministers signed a memorandum of understanding between the Australian Treasury and Indonesia's Ministry of Finance to strengthen policy and technical exchanges between government officials.

Full report at:

https://www.afr.com/news/indonesia-relations-strong-despite-jerusalem-embassy-talk-20181105-h17j2q

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Africa

 

Nigeria: Politicians Using Religion to Divide Nigerians, Says Cleric

4 NOVEMBER 2018

The Senior Pastor, Father's Touch Ministry Church, Nyanya, Abuja, Pastor Evans Idoko, has accused some politicians of using religion and ethnicity to divide Nigerians ahead of the 2019 election.

Idoko made the allegation in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.

"It's regrettable that the unity of Nigerian is strengthened during sporting activities and otherwise becomes the case during electioneering activities.

"It is an indication that politicians have taken pleasure in using religion to divide Nigerians against themselves for political or selfish reasons. It must stop forthwith! Nigerians must resist it because it will take us nowhere," he said.

He recalled with nostalgia how Muslims and Christians lived together peacefully some years back irrespective of religious or ethnic differences.

He said such divisions have been responsible for the obvious hatred among Nigerians, which, he said, has slowed down socio-economic and political development in the country.

"As 2019 political activities gather momentum, we appeal to politicians seeking elective offices to eschew hatred and bitterness, and promote courses that will promote peace and unity among Nigerians," he said.

Idoko advised that the church should take the front row in moblising Nigerians to participate in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

"It doesn't come by words alone. We have to take a step further to empower people educationally, financially and otherwise so they could have voice and knowledge to take their rightful place in Nigerian political and economic discussions," he said.

Nigerians scramble for Ghanaian "Garri" at Lagos Trade Fair

He explained that the church could partner with the Social Exchange Market, to disburse financial grant to citizens not minding their religion or ethnicity.

"We are all one body in Christ Jesus," he said.

The cleric said that such empowerment initiative should be borne out of utmost desire of the church to rekindle the hope of Nigerians.

He, however, encouraged churches, corporate organisations and individuals with financial ability, to assist to lift the poor off poverty so they could confidently participate in political and economic activities.(NAN)

Uwazurike urges Igbos to shun Nnamdi Kanu's no election broadcast

https://allafrica.com/stories/201811050039.html

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Boko Haram: Hunters gun down 8 terrorists in Borno village

November 4, 2018

By Maina Maina

Hunters and members of the civilian vigilante of Gubio, in Gubio local government area of Borno State, on Sunday, engaged members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

DAILY POST reports that the fierce fight resulted in the killing of eight (8) militants in the area.

Few days ago, the same hunters in collaboration with some members of the civilian JTF dealt decisively with some terrorists in the area killing several of them in their efforts to rid the local government and surrounding villages of the activities of the Boko Haram.

The attack and subsequent engagement of the Boko Haram terrorists today, Sunday evening at Gazabure village, is said to be another effort to clear the Boko Haram elements from the northern part of Borno.

Full report at:

http://dailypost.ng/2018/11/04/boko-haram-hunters-gun-8-terrorists-borno-village/

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Senator Shehu Sani reacts to Gov El-Rufai’s choice of Muslim as running mate

November 4, 2018

By Winifred Austin

The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, has said people of all faiths must be treated with equal respect and dignity.

This came in reaction to Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai’s choice of a Muslim as his running mate for 2019.

The Governor had announced former Secretary of Kaduna Primary Health Care Development Agency, PHCDA, Hajiya Dr Hadiza Balarabe as his new running mate for the 2019 election.

Balarabe would be replacing his present Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, who is running for Kaduna South Senatorial seat on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Reacting to the development in his Twitter page on Sunday, the Kaduna lawmaker said Kaduna state is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state and that as such, none should be treated with contempt by any government or non-state actors.

Senator Sani, who recently moved to the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, and got the ticket to contest for the Kaduna Central senatorial seat after dumping the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), wrote, “Kaduna state is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state. We are a society of diversity. People of all faiths must be treated with equal respect and dignity.

Full report at:

http://dailypost.ng/2018/11/04/senator-shehu-sani-reacts-gov-el-rufais-choice-muslim-running-mate/

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Muslim leaders warn politicians against divisive referendum talk

Nov. 04, 2018

Muslim leaders have warned politicians against making divisive statements on the proposal to change the constitution through a referendum.

The leaders from different regions made the call after a two-day meeting at Jamia Mosque, Nairobi on Sunday.

They urged those pro and against constitutional change to recognise the right of all persons to their opinions.

"We ask that the politicians to consider making proclamations that will unite rather than divide the country," Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi said in a statement.

The National Muslim Leadership Forum chair further said they fully support the war on corruption adding that it must be carried out without any favour.

"Corrupt criminals must be dealt with, in accordance with the law, irrespective of their status, race, ethnicity, gender or religion," Abdi reiterated.

The lot said that for the war against corruption to succeed, "a sustained onslaught needs to demonstrate results particularly against top officials in public and private sectors."

They also resolved to fully engage in the preparation for 2019 national census "to ensure validity and justice in the exercise."

The Muslim leaders further said they will embark on a nationwide consultations to create awareness among the members.

A meeting is planned within 60 days with a larger national representation to broaden the consultations.

Abdi said they intend to "build strategic partnerships with other Kenyans on the basis of commonality of interest to promote cohesion, justice, equity and inclusivity."

Full report at:

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/11/04/muslim-leaders-warn-politicians-against-divisive-referendum-talk_c1845405

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Jordan says Israel wants to discuss border land deals

5 November 2018

Jordan said on Sunday, that Israel had asked for consultations on a special land deal agreed in their peace treaty that the Jordanian government wants to end.

Under the peace treaty, two border areas were recognized to be under Jordanian sovereignty but gave Israel special provisions to use the land and allow Israelis free access.

Jordan formally notified Israel two weeks ago it would not renew the 25-year deal over Baquora where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River and in the Ghumar area in the southern Wadi Araba desert where Israeli farmers have large plantations.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Reuters after the decision the kingdom was waiting for Israel to invoke a provision in the peace treaty to hold consultations after giving notice before the deadline.

Petra state news agency quoted government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat as saying Jordan had received the Israeli request but did not say when the discussions would begin.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Jordan’s move and said his country sought to enter negotiations on the possibility of extending the arrangement.

The 25-year special regime would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement.

Safadi said the deal, which was signed in November 1994, had been conceived as a temporary arrangement from the start. The kingdom had contemplated the move for a while before the Nov. 10 deadline.

King Abdullah, who stressed the territories were Jordanian lands and would remain so, said the move was made in the “national interest” at a period of regional turmoil.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Jordan-says-Israel-wants-to-discuss-border-land-deals-1752.html

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Hamas hails Tunisian court ruling against Israeli visit

04.11.2018

Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has welcomed a Tunisian court ruling banning the entry of an Israeli delegation into Tunisia.

The delegation was scheduled to take part in the conference of World Forum Interfaith Dialogue Ambassadors, due to be held on Nov. 4-8.

But on Friday, the Tunis-based Court of First Instance ruled to prevent the Israeli delegation from entering the country to attend the event.

“We appreciate the great Tunisian people and all the Tunisian organizations that worked hard for allowing the issuance of this decision,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Twitter.

The issue was brought to the court by the National Commission for the Support of Arab Resistance, an NGO, the Republican Party and the People's Movement against the country's Tunisian Scouts -- the forum's organizers.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/hamas-hails-tunisian-court-ruling-against-israeli-visit/1302394

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URL:

 

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Photo: The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009 in which she insulted the prophet. (Shutterstock)

 

Limit Your Social Media Use, Appeal Clerics at Urs- Razvi

Jamaat-e-Islami Warns Countrywide Protest Campaign amid Aasiya Bibi Verdict

Jamal Khashoggi’s Son Placing Faith in Credibility of Saudi Investigations

Hasina Announces Building 560 Model Mosques, Islamic Varsity in Bangladesh

US Universities Reconsidering Ties with Saudi Arabia

Europe

European Court Rules Insulting Prophet Mohammed ‘Not Freedom of Expression’

German Schools Teach Islam to Students to Give Them a Sense of Belonging

Britain commits to leading fresh action on Yemen at UN Security Council

Belgian MPs seek answers over Libyan frozen funds

French Inmate Accused of Publishing Islamic State Propaganda from Prison

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India

Limit Your Social Media Use, Appeal Clerics at Urs- Razvi

Except Fridays, ASI Bans Daily Namaz in Taj Mosque

Calls For Ram Temple In Ayodhya Politically Driven, Says Muslim Board

'I'm Sure They'll Kill Me Soon': How Kathua Rape Victim's Lawyer Fights Death Every Day

Support Pakistan’s ‘quest for peace through dialogue’ with India: China

Pakistan trying to vitiate atmosphere: Army chief Bipin Rawat

J&K: Days after BJP leader’s killing, Hizbul Mujahideen posters in Doda

Uma Bharti says talk of building mosque close to Ram temple can make Hindus ‘intolerant’

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Pakistan

Jamaat-e-Islami Warns Countrywide Protest Campaign amid Aasiya Bibi Verdict

Hard-Line Pakistani Cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Twitter Account Suspended on Government’s Request

Jemima Assails Govt’s Concession to Protesters after Aasia’s Acquittal

Maulana Samiul Haq’s son selected acting JUI-S head

JUI-S sees foreign hand in Sami’s murder

Police issue security threat for Maulana Fazl

Over 1,100 held for rioting during protest against Aasia’s acquittal

Maulana Sami died an hour before reaching hospital

Peaceful Afghanistan in Pakistan’s best interest: Ashraf Ghani

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Arab World

Jamal Khashoggi’s Son Placing Faith in Credibility of Saudi Investigations

Egypt Police Kill 19 Terror Suspects Linked To Recent Attack on Coptic Christians

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal Defends MbS after His Brother’s Release

Bahrain’s opposition chief gets life in jail over Qatar spy case

Kurdish Militia Furious at US Indifference to Ankara's Threats in Eastern Euphrates

Popular Uprising against Israeli Forces Reported again in Syria's Occupied Golan

Tens of Eastern Ghouta Terrorists Join Tahrir Al-Sham to Counter Syria Army in Lattakia

Infighting Erupts again among Turkey-backed Militants in Northern Syria

ISIS attack kills 12 US-backed fighters in eastern Syria

Blasts across Baghdad kill six people, say sources

ISIS says hits Syria’s Raqqa with car bomb

Assad, Russia envoy discuss Syria constitutional committee

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South Asia

Hasina Announces Building 560 Model Mosques, Islamic Varsity in Bangladesh

Afghan Govt’s Control over Territories Reaches Record Low

Taliban Attack An Afghan Forces Check Point, Killing 13

7 militants killed during a clash with the police forces in Kandahar

Myanmar government erases evidence of Rohingya 'genocide' in Rakhine State

Taliban in a fix over Moscow meeting on Afghan peace

Taliban’s military commission chief for 3 districts of Faryab has died

Afghan forces clash with the Taliban militants in Chahar Bolak of Balkh

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North America

US Universities Reconsidering Ties with Saudi Arabia

‘US Involved In Op Seeking Regime Change in Iran’

US unleashes ‘worst ever’ oil and financial sanctions on Iranian regime

US 'unilateral' anti-Iran sanctions aim at undermining Mideast peace: Syria

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Mideast

Jerusalem’s Catholic Leaders Seek Repeal of Israel’s Jewish Nation-State Law

Iran to Europeans: Ready to Cooperate In Fight against Terrorism

Israeli court sentences Palestinian cancer patient to 13 months in prison

Muslim scholars of the world gather in Istanbul to elect new leader

Turkish forces must leave for security, stability to prevail in Syria: Deputy FM

Israel raids office of Palestinian Jerusalem governor

Amid renewed tension, US forces patrol Syria’s northeast near Turkish border

Yemeni forces carry out Parachute landing in Maran Mountain, Houthis’ stronghold

Yemeni army makes strategic gains east of Hodeidah

Iran slams life sentence for Bahrain's opposition leader

Child dies among 3 others in Saudi raids on Yemen

Israeli forces seal off Palestinian city of al-Khalil

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Southeast Asia

China to Face Grilling At UN Review over Internment Camps for Muslims

Gov't Urges Public Not to Be Provoked by Actions of Banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia

Malaysia sets example by abandoning the noose

Govt committed to raise status of Langkawi, Kedah MB says

Indonesia relations 'strong' despite Jerusalem embassy talk

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Africa

Nigeria: Politicians Using Religion to Divide Nigerians, Says Cleric

Boko Haram: Hunters Gun Down 8 Terrorists in Borno Village

Senator Shehu Sani Reacts to Gov El-Rufai’s Choice of Muslim as Running Mate

Muslim leaders warn politicians against divisive referendum talk

Jordan says Israel wants to discuss border land deals

Hamas hails Tunisian court ruling against Israeli visit

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:

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European Court Rules Insulting Prophet Mohammed ‘Not Freedom of Expression’

25 October 2018

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday that insulting Islam's Prophet Mohammed is not covered by freedom of expression.

Defaming the Prophet “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate" and "could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace,” the ruling stated.

The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009 in which she insulted the prophet.

The court said that the woman's comments could not be covered by the freedom of expression, stating that it had found that "the applicant's statements had been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims" and "amounted to a generalization without factual basis."

An Austrian court convicted her of disparaging religious doctrines in 2011 and fined her 480 euros (548 dollars), a judgment that was upheld on two appeals.

“Mrs. S. appealed but the Vienna Court of Appeal upheld the decision in December 2011, confirming, in essence, the lower court’s findings. A request for the renewal of the proceedings was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 11 December 2013,” it said.

“Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), Mrs. S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.”

On today’s ruling, the ECHR said it “found in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2018/10/25/European-court-rules-insulting-Prophet-Mohammed-not-freedom-of-expression-.html

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Limit Your Social Media Use, Appeal Clerics at Urs- Razvi

Nov 4, 2018

BAREILLY: On the first day of 100th Urs-e-Razvi, city qazi Maulana Asjad Raza Qadri appealed to Lakhs of followers of Dargah Aala Hazrat to use social media in a limit as it causes more harm than benefit. Urs-e-Razvi, the death anniversary of Mujadid Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Qadri, who is popularly known as Aala Hazrat and who propagated Sunni Barelvi school of Islam, is attended by lakhs of followers. The three-day event will conclude on Monday.

Salman Hasan Khan Qadri of Jamat Raza-e-Mustafa, said, "Due to misuse of social media, few people end up spreading rumours which lead to violence or at times, hurt religious sentiments."

Maulana Subhan Raza Khan, head of Dargah Aala Hazrat, performed the tradition of 'Parcham Kusai' at Islamia ground to mark the beginning of Urs-e-Razvi. Nasir Qureshi of Dargah Aala Hazrat said a procession was taken out. Though people from across the world gathered here, a group of 19 including clerics from Pakistan have come here after gap of few years. Sunni Barelvi clerics said the arrival of Pakistanis to Urs is a message of peace and harmony.

Mufti Ahsan Raza Qadri, sajjadanasheen (hereditary head) of Dargah Aala Hazrat, gave a message on education. He said, "People who are giving only religious education to their children should ensure they get modern education too. Apart from Urdu-Persian, children should know Hindi and English."

On the occasion, many prominent leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohiya) chief Shivpal Singh Yadav and former state minister and Samajwadi Party's minority cell head Riyaz Ahmed, sent their chadar to Dargah Aala Hazrat.

Meanwhile, a section of clerics under the aegis of Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam released a 'Muslim agenda' and said nobody should make statements on Babri mosque as the matter is subjudice. Maulana Shahbudin Razvi, national general secretary of Tanzeem Ulama-e-Islam, said the government should not interfere in matters related to Muslim Personal Law, including divorce to create fear among community.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bareilly/limit-your-social-media-use-appeal-clerics-at-urs-e-razvi/articleshow/66497096.cms

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Jamaat-e-Islami Warns Countrywide Protest Campaign amid Aasiya Bibi Verdict

Nov 5, 2018

KARACHI: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Amir Senator Sirajul Haq has warned that his party would launch a countrywide protest campaign against the blasphemers of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

Addressing a “Hurmaat-e-Rasool” march on the Main University Road, here Sunday, he said his party would launch a countrywide “Hurmaat-e-Rasool Tehreek” from Karachi to Khyber to Chitral.

He said, “We would sacrifice the last drop of our blood for the sanctity of ‘Namoos-e-Risalat’”.

He charged that the verdict on the Aasiya Bibi case has received praise from the ‘West and Jews’ but saddened the Ummah.

He asked from the PTI government to tell the people of Pakistan if Aasiya Bibi was inside the country or sent abroad. He said that Shaheed Maulana Samiul Haq, when he was alive had warned the rulers that if such a verdict was made it would be the end of their government.

He added that this issue is not a political matter but pertains to the core inner sentiments of the people of Pakistan and the nation would never compromise on this issue.

Other JI leaders also spoke. Later, the rally participants dispersed peacefully.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/ji-warns-countrywide-protest-campaign-amid-aasiya-bibi-verdict/

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Jamal Khashoggi’s son placing faith in credibility of Saudi investigations

5 November 2018

The son of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi says he is waiting for the Saudi investigation into the killing of his father to be over and for the facts to come out.

Salah Khashoggi was speaking alongside his brother Abdullah to CNN, in their first media interview following their father’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

"The King has stressed that everybody involved will be brought to justice. And I have faith in that. This will happen. Otherwise Saudi wouldn't have started an internal investigation," Salah said.

Asked if he was placing his faith in the King, Salah replied: "yes."

Speaking from Washingtion, Salah said he was due to go back to his banking job in Jeddah very soon.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/11/05/Jamal-Khashoggi-s-son-placing-faith-in-Saudi-investigation-into-father-s-death.html

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Hasina announces building 560 model mosques, Islamic varsity in Bangladesh

Nov 4, 2018

DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday announced that her government will construct 560 model mosques and an Islamic university with Saudi assistance, in an attempt to woo hardline Islamists ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled next month.

Speaking at an event here, Hasina said the Saudi government "will assist us in these projects", the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Hasina's Awami League party is considered as the secular party while her rival Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is close to hardliners.

Her move to build hundreds of mosques is seen as an attempt to woo Islamist voters who have been traditionally voting for Zia's BNP, according to experts.

The event was organised by Al-Hiyatul Ulya Lil-Zami'atil Qawmiya Bangladesh, the highest organisation of Dawra-e-Hadith of Qawmi madrasa, to honour the prime minister following her government's recognition of the Dawra-e-Hadith degree of the Qawmi madrasa system.

Thousands of students and teachers of Qawmi madrasas attended the rally.

At the rally, Qawmi leaders expressed their desire to see the prime minister in power for a third consecutive term.

"Since Sheikh Hasina has recognised (the top Qawmi madrasa degree) we want her to come to power again, so that she can fulfil the rest of our demands,” Qawmi leader Fazlul Karim said.

The speakers said "there is a change in Bangladesh now, and Qawmi leaders were not able to receive a prime minister before, with such warmth, because none had listened to their demands."

On September 18, parliament passed a bill to recognise the Dawra-e-Hadith degree as equivalent to a post-graduate degree in Islamic Studies and Arabic.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/hasina-announces-building-560-model-mosques-islamic-varsity-in-bangladesh/articleshow/66498711.cms

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US universities reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia

Nov 4, 2018

American colleges and universities are reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia despite having received over $350 million from the kingdom over the past 10 years, according to a report.

This follows the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed after entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2.

The incident triggered international condemnation and in the US several lawmakers have called for sanctions against the kingdom, while others demanded Washington stop its nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia.

Now, the questions about Khashoggi’s death have caused some US colleges or universities to reconsider current or future deals, The Associated Press reported.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which cooperates with Saudi universities on research projects, has been working with Saudi company Aramco for a long time. 

In March, the company pledged to provide the school with $25 million for research in areas like renewable energy and artificial intelligence.

On October 22, the institute said, however, it planned to conduct a “swift, thorough” examination of its partnerships with Riyadh, calling Khashoggi’s disappearance a serious concern.

Another company, SABIC, has given Babson College, near Boston, $2.5 million through a contract, but  college officials told the AP they were pursuing events and gathering opinions from their community about how to continue their work with the company.

Babson trains Saudi business leaders in addition to other areas of work it shares with Saudi universities that include research and training partnerships.

Meanwhile, many other US universities have not indicated whether they are reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia.

The University of California, Berkeley, said their financial support from Saudi Arabia, that is part of a $6 million contract to develop special technology for renewable energy, was not being reconsidered.

Northwestern University refused to say whether it was reviewing any of the money it receives from Saudi Arabia.

Other schools, including the University of Michigan, refused to elaborate on Saudi Arabia’s financial support.

According to an examination by the AP, the amount of financial help from Saudi Arabia or organizations under its control that has gone to 37 American schools since 2011 is at least $354 million.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579023/US-Saudi-Arabia-Jamal-Khashoggi

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Europe

 

German schools teach Islam to students to give them a sense of belonging

Nov 5, 2018

It was the second week of Islam class, and the teacher, Mansur Seddiqzai, stood in front of a roomful of Muslim teens and pointed to the sentence on the chalkboard behind him: “Islam does not belong to Germany.”

He scanned the room and asked: “Who said this?”

Hands shot up. “The AfD?” one student with a navy blue headscarf said, referring to Germany’s far-right anti-refugee party. “No,” Mr Seddiqzai shook his head. “Seehofer,” tried another. “Yes, and who is that?” “A minister,” said a third.

Finally, someone put it all together, identifying Horst Seehofer, the head of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union and chancellor Angela Merkel‘s interior minister and coalition partner, who has on multiple occasions threatened to torpedo her government over the issue of immigration.

“Yes, that’s right,” Mr Seddiqzai said, turning to the others. “And what do you think? Is he correct?”

In a country where the debate over “who belongs?” has deeply divided Ms Merkel’s government, fuelled massive demonstrations and propelled the rise of anti-immigrant populism, these 16 and 17-year-olds confront versions of that question every day, in the headlines and in their personal lives: Do I belong, too? Can I be German and a Muslim?

Public schools in some of Germany’s most populous cities are helping such students come up with answers in a counterintuitive setting: Islam class.

The classes, taught by Muslims and intended for Muslim students, were first launched in the early 2000s and now are offered as electives in nine of Germany’s 16 states, by more than 800 public primary and secondary schools, according to the research network Mediendienst Integration. They include lessons on the Quran, the history of Islam, comparative religion and ethics. Often, discussions shift to the students’ identity struggles or feelings of alienation.

Germany has the European Union’s second-largest Muslim population after France, according to estimates by Pew Research. In 2016, 4.95 million people, or 6.1 per cent of the German population, were Muslim. But less than half of those pray regularly, and even fewer regularly attend a mosque, according to the latest government surveys.

The country’s leaders have expressed an ambivalent view of Islam, at best. Mr Seehofer’s statement that “Islam does not belong to Germany” came just months after the Islam-bashing AfD, or Alternative for Germany, entered parliament. Ms Merkel denounced the statement and ruled out sharing power with the AfD. Nevertheless, the AfD has steadily gained support over the past two years: on 14 October, it scored the biggest electoral gains of any party in Bavaria, Germany’s most populous state.

Last year, the AfD hung campaign posters in Dortmund featuring women in burqas and the slogan “Stop Islamisation”. This year’s poster bore the words “Islam-free schools!” under an image of five beaming, light-skinned children.

Mr Seddiqzai, who was born to Afghan parents in the German city of Bochum and who wears a full beard and Nikes to school, said he worries about the effect on his students. “These posters tell them, ‘We don’t want you here’,” he said.

“They are not accepted in Germany, they are not accepted in the countries of their parents, and that produces this craving for a group to belong to,” he continued. “And then an Islamist comes to you and says, ‘Yeah, you don’t belong to anyone. Therefore just be Muslim.’ They offer them a third way.”

Mr Seddiqzai sees it as part of his job to make his students more informed in their consumption of such appeals.

Earlier this year, when local politicians were discussing a ban on headscarves, a group calling itself Reality Islam launched a social media campaign to protest the proposal and recruit students. Mr Seddiqzai showed his students how to trace Reality’s Islam’s links to Hizb ut-Tahrir, an extremist group banned in Germany since 2003. He also encouraged them to question the group’s stance on the headscarf, which it claimed the Quran mandates for women.

“I show them the Quranic verses about the headscarf, and we discuss it and we see there is no clear rule that a woman or girl has to wear a headscarf,” he said. “Most of them think the Quran itself has no contradictions, and even that is wrong. There are many contradictions in the Quran.”

Some German politicians are pushing for an expansion of Islam classes in public schools as a way to encourage the cultural integration of Muslim students and to promote an interpretation of Islam that highlights German values.

“We need more religious education,” Kerstin Griese, a lawmaker from the governing centre-left Social Democratic Party, wrote in an op-ed, “because it’s the only way to start a dialogue about our own traditions and values and to understand those of others”.

Such advocates generally don’t envision non-Muslim students taking these classes to gain a better appreciation of Islam. While a few German school systems offer religion classes that include multiple faiths or ethics classes that touch on religion, religion as taught in public high schools and supported by Germany’s Basic Law is generally targeted at specific denominations.

A further rationale for Islam classes is to “immunise” Muslim students from fundamentalism, as Protestant leader Heinrich Bedford-Strohm put it.

Of particular concern is radicalisation that might lead to violence. Since 2013, more than 1,000 people have left Germany to fight with or support the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations, most of them under 30.

But some educators and politicians resist the notion that Islam has a place in German public schools.

“Besides the fact that we have much more important problems in schools, it can’t be true that a German bishop is promoting Islam,” Alexander Gauland, a leader of AfD, said after Bedford-Strohm voiced his proposal.

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No studies have examined the effectiveness of Islam classes in preventing radicalisation, according to Harry Harun Behr, a professor of Islam studies and pedagogy at Frankfurt’s Goethe University.

Still, he said, the classes are valuable because they show students their faith is as important as others taught in their schools and because they show Islam as a religion that is open to reflection and self-criticism.

At Mr Seddiqzai’s school, where almost 95 per cent of students are first or second-generation immigrants, Islam class is highly popular. When he crosses the schoolyard, he can barely walk five steps without being stopped by a student wanting to tell him about grades, romances or plans for the future.

“What Mr. Seddiqzai is teaching me is not really something you learn at mosque,” said 17-year-old Yusuf Akar. “How to interact with non-Muslims who may not be sure how to interact with us. Or who are scared of us.”

But it is more than that, too. “It shows me I’m welcome here,” Akar said. “Because the school no longer demands that we distance ourselves from our religion. They accept it and even create an opportunity to learn about it. And that gives me the feeling that I’m part of this society.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-islam-muslims-rightwing-extremism-afd-merkel-a8616886.html

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Britain commits to leading fresh action on Yemen at UN Security Council

November 5, 2018

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce on Monday that the UK is discussing with UN Security Council partners what more they can do to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and step up support for the work of the UN special envoy Martin Griffiths.

Mr Hunt has already discussed this step with Mr Griffiths and they had agreed that the time was right for the council to work together to bolster the UN led process.

As the Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, the foreign secretary, and Prime Minister Theresa May made clear last week, a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen will only have an effect on the ground if it is underpinned by a political deal between the conflict parties, the Houthis and the legitimate government of Yemen.

The action that the UK plans to take forward at the UN Security Council will help towards that goal, the foreign office said, hopefully ensuring that a full ceasefire, when it comes, is fully implemented.

Mr Hunt said: “For too long in the Yemen conflict both sides have believed a military solution is possible with catastrophic consequences for the people. Now for the first time there appears to be a window in which both sides can be encouraged to come to the table, stop the killing and find a political solution that is the only long-term way out of disaster.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/britain-commits-to-leading-fresh-action-on-yemen-at-un-security-council-1.788022

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Belgian MPs seek answers over Libyan frozen funds

November 4, 2018

The Belgian government faces fresh scrutiny this week over its role in sanctions-busting financial transfers out of frozen Libyan bank accounts that benefitted the country’s warring factions.

The transactions involving millions of euros of supposedly frozen Libyan assets has raised fears the funds may have been secretly used to buy arms for feuding militias.

The UN froze the estimated $67 billion funds of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund in 2011 to prevent money being seized during widespread violence that led to the overthrow and death of dictator Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.

A UN report revealed in September that a bank in Belgium, reportedly holding more than $20 billion of the frozen funds, transferred dividends and interest to accounts controlled by the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) outside of the country.

UN officials said that was a breach of the global sanctions regime and “could lead to the misuse and misappropriation of funds” because of continuing instability in the north African country.

The controversy was stoked last week after a report by the Belgian public service broadcaster RTBF cited an anonymous source as suggesting that the Belgian government had played a role in the financing of Libyan militias responsible for human trafficking. Belgian lawmakers have accused the government of years of evasion and stonewalling by failing to answer questions about the case and where the money went.

The government has claimed that it had relied on a European Union-wide interpretation of sanctions rules to allow interest and dividends to be returned to the LIA before 2017, when a Belgian court intervened to halt the payments.

Leaks of emails between the bank and the Belgian finance ministry to the news website Politico suggests that some $37 million was transferred to LIA controlled bank accounts in Bahrain and Luxembourg from 2011 to 2013.

Belgian lawmaker Dirk Van der Maelen told the National that he would be posing new questions to ministers and pushing for an investigatory panel to investigate what happened to the money.

He said he would be asking if other EU nations had paid money to the LIA in a similar way to the Belgian-based banks. He said he would be asking ministers “who we gave it to and what were the guarantees we got that this money would not be used for buying arms or financing human trafficking activities of Libyan groups”.

Questions over what happened to the money have been complicated by shifting accountability at the LIA, which has been at the centre of a continuing tussle over its leadership that mirrors the struggle in the country which is governed by rival administrations in the east and west.

Mohsen Derregia – who was chief executive of the fund for a year from 2012 – told Politico that the LIA received $630 million from interest on frozen accounts around the world during that period.

He said that none of the money was ever spent on the Libyan people and was used on for legal cases involving the LIA. The authority was involved in legal disputes with Goldman Sachs and Societe Generale over investments from the Qaddafi years in cases played out in London’s courts.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/belgian-mps-seek-answers-over-libyan-frozen-funds-1.788002

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French Inmate Accused of Publishing Islamic State Propaganda From Prison

4 Nov 2018

A French inmate serving time in Tarascon prison has been accused by investigators of publishing propaganda for the Islamic State terror group using a smuggled phone.

The inmate, identified by his first name Amir, is said to have used a Facebook profile under the name Amiro Amiro to publish Islamic State videos on a phone that was allegedly smuggled into the prison by his sister, La Provence reports.

Amir’s sister has denied that she had smuggled the phone and SIM card used but records show that she had purchased them both.

Amir, who has been in prison since 2012, also denied posting Islamic State videos to the Facebook account, saying that he had shared the phone with other prisoners and only ever used it to send pictures to his family.

When asked directly about the posts Amir said that he was a moderate Muslim and went on to add, “I do not share this ideology, I do not endorse that.”

The 25-year-old, who has been in prison for six years after convictions and reports of violence, theft, drugs, and an allegation of rape, is now scheduled for release in a matter of days but insists he has worked to rehabilitate himself.

“I want to go out, work, reintegrate, I did not ask to be delinquent, my father was an alcoholic, when I went out he said to me: come back at this time, and if I forgot, he locked the door and I stayed outside,” he claimed.

The allegations echo another case in which smuggled mobile phones were used by a pair of radical Islamic extremists to co-ordinate and communicate with Islamic State members. The pair, who were also close to the end of their prison sentences, were found to have been plotting a terror attack upon their release.

Full report at:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/11/04/french-inmate-accused-of-publishing-islamic-state-propaganda-from-prison/

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India

 

Except Fridays, ASI bans daily namaz in Taj mosque

Nov 5, 2018

AGRA: In a controversial move, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has ‘banned’ Muslims from offering namaz at the mosque in the Taj Mahal premises on all days except Fridays. While the ASI officials claimed they were implementing a July order of the Supreme Court, the apex court had upheld a local administration’s order barring non-residents from offering Friday prayers in the mosque on the grounds of security of Taj Mahal.

Since the Taj Mahal is closed for public on Friday, local residents are allowed to offer namaz between noon and 2pm without paying any entry fee. However, on the other days, any visitor, who had bought a ticket could visit the mosque and offer namaz until now.

In a surprise move, the ASI on Sunday locked the ‘vazu tank’, where namazis clean themselves up before offering prayers, leaving several tourists disappointed.

Even the imam and staff of the mosque have been asked to show up only on Fridays. Imam Syed Sadiq Ali, whose family has been leading prayers at the mosque for several decades for Rs 15 per month, said he was surprised by the order.

President of Taj Mahal Intezamia Committee, Syed Ibrahim Hussain Zaidi, told TOI that namaz had been offered at the mosque for the past many years and there was no reason to stop it. He said the present regime, both at the centre and state, has an “anti-Muslim” mindset and he will meet the ASI officials on Monday to raise the issue.

Superintending archaeologist, ASI (Agra circle), Vasant Swarankar said that it was “as per the order of the apex court”. He said, “Namaz can only be offered on Fridays and that, too, by local residents only.”

A January 2018 order by the Agra additional district magistrate (city) barred non-residents from offering Friday prayers in the mosque. The administration’s move came following complaints that “outsiders, including Bangladeshis and non-Indians,” enter the Taj Mahal complex on Fridays on the pretext of offering namaz.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/except-fridays-asi-bans-daily-namaz-in-taj-mosque/articleshow/66504125.cms

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Calls For Ram Temple In Ayodhya Politically Driven, Says Muslim Board

November 04, 2018

LUCKNOW: The remarks by an RSS leader that it would not hesitate to launch an agitation for a Ram temple in Ayodhya was "extremely dangerous", a senior leader of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said today.

On Friday, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh general secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi said it will not hesitate to launch an agitation for a Ram temple at Ayodhya, if needed. The RSS is the ideological mentor of the BJP.

The remark came amid growing calls for a law to clear the way for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh.

"The flurry of activities on the demand for construction of a Ram temple by the so-called Hindu outfits and their impatience clearly indicates that it is politically-driven," AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said.

"This is being done to build pressure for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But what those outfits do is still not clear," Mr Rahmani said.

He said if the RSS launched a movement for the temple, "it will be extremely dangerous" and will lead to an "atmosphere of chaos in the country".

"The quantum of hatred between Hindus and Muslims was not so much in 1992. In the recent years, the rift has widened..." Mr Rahmani said.

Maulana Ashad Rashidi, president of the Jamait Ulema-e-Hind's Uttar Pradesh unit, said, "All of us have to exercise patience and wait for the court's verdict. Whatever is the verdict of the court, it must be accepted. This will ensure an atmosphere of peace in the country."

Outlining the RSS' stand on the Ram temple issue at a news conference on Friday, Bhaiyyaji Joshi said Hindus were feeling "insulted" by the Supreme Court's declaration that it had priorities other than the Ayodhya issue and insisted for an ordinance if all options ran out.

Full report at:

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/calls-for-ram-temple-in-ayodhya-politically-driven-says-muslim-board-1942685

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'I'm Sure They'll Kill Me Soon': How Kathua Rape Victim's Lawyer Fights Death Every Day

November 2, 2018

Every time she steps back into her house, Deepika Singh Rajawat double-checks the main gate. She fears for the safety of her own daughter, her husband and herself.

This heightened 24x7 alertness has become a part of her life ever since she took up the gang-rape and murder case of an eight year-old girl of Rasana in Kathua.

State police provided her with security after she expressed threat to her life earlier this year. This was after Rajawat spoke about being flooded with rape and murder threats.

So severe has the backlash and pressure been that ever since she picked up the case, she feels that they will "kill me one day".

In a conversation with News18, almost 10 months after she took up the case on behalf of the parents of the minor girl, the 38-year-old lawyer spoke about how lonely she feels in her fight for justice, and about the support that she’s got during this trying time.

“I feel threatened that my family or I might be harmed physically. Also, I feel my attempts will be made to damage my dignity,” she said. She fears that one day a narcotic substance could be planted at her house to malign her reputation. This is another thing she looks for every time she unlocks the main gate.

Back in a trial court in Jammu, Rajawat walks through the corridors attracting stares and prompting pin-drop silence as she passes through crowds of lawyers, police and petitioners. Behind her people start whispering. Some point at her murmuring that “she is the woman who appears on television and newspapers”, others remember Rajawat from the widely shared photograph of her walking out of the Supreme Court, flanked by her colleagues.

She had just attended another hearing in the ongoing trial against the eight men who have been accused of gang-raping and murdering the Kathua girl with a motive of 'driving out Bakarwals from Jammu', where the crime was committed. The alleged hate crime sent ripples of shock waves throughout the globe.

The crime was followed by a protest march in support of the perpetrators, part of which were even Rajawat’s lawyer colleagues. The lawyers at Jammu also tried to stop the Crime Branch police from filing charges against the accused before Chief Judicial Magistrate's office in Kathua.

After Supreme Court refused the demand for a CBI inquiry in the case, the case was transferred to a fast-track court in Pathankot, Punjab.

As soon as she became the face of the aggrieving parents’ in the quest for justice, Rajawat started receiving abuses and threats, apart from being trolled on social media. She was labeled an “anti-national” and suffered a boycott by her colleagues, relatives and neighbors.

“Serious allegations have been leveled on me since I took the case. My life has changed completely,” Deepika told News18 in at the Jammu court. She says she volunteered to fight the case as soon as she read the details of the incident in newspapers.

“I volunteered to take their case after coming to know the horrific details of the case. Though it goes against my profession to approach someone but I felt I must help the family to get justice,” she said. There is nothing extraordinary about what she’s doing, the lawyer adds, all one needs to pick up such a case is some “sanity”.

“I am a woman, a mother, a lawyer and an activist. These reasons are enough to fight this case. More than that I am a responsible citizen who can differentiate between good and bad,” she said, clarifying that she is fighting the case pro-bono.

Mother of a six-year-old girl, Deepika was born in a Kashmiri Pandit family which migrated to Jammu in 1986 from north Kashmir’s Kupwara.

After graduating in law from the University of Jammu, she became a journalist and was active in the profession for five years.

In 2008, she began working for a child rights group in Delhi and worked as a human rights activist for seven years, before moving back to Jammu where she started practising as a lawyer.

She never thought she will be mentally harassed for fighting for justice of the girl. The events, which unfolded after the case came into limelight, put pressure on Deepika and her family.

“At one point in time, my husband was furious about it when he saw people calling me an anti-national. Even my parents and brother told me that I should not put myself in danger,” Rajawat, who received the Vogue Woman of the Year 2018 award for taking up the Kathua case, says.

The campaign against her was so relentless, she says, that her neighbors stopped talking with her parents.

“People started creating distance with my parents and my family. I was called a traitor and anti-national just because I was fighting the case of a Muslim girl,” she says.

Her parents and family were upset with her but she had made up her mind not to abandon the eight-year-old’s family.

“I told my parents that they can disown me if they feel insulted,” she adds, “but I made it clear to them that I am not going to leave the case.”

She feels proud and says the situation has turned her stronger and made her learn a lot.

“Their abusing cannot weaken me, it gives me strength and keeps me motivated always,” she says. “Even my daughter is learning out of it. When she sees her mother working for a Muslim child, I think she gains a sense that we need to believe in humanity first.”

Deepika’s relations with her colleagues soured also. “At court most of people don’t talk to me even today. They feel I am their enemy,” said Deepika.

But some ice is beginning to thaw. “Now I feel there are fewer people who hate me. People from my own community now even appreciate me. Even some of my colleagues in Jammu have also begun supporting me.”

At the end we return to the theme of her personal safety.

“There are people after me with an intention to harm for sure. But the case is being watched internationally so they feel this is not the right time to harm me.”

Full report at:

https://www.news18.com/news/india/they-may-kill-me-but-i-wont-back-out-how-kathua-rape-victims-lawyer-dodges-death-every-day-1927503.html

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Support Pakistan’s ‘quest for peace through dialogue’ with India: China

November 5, 2018

In a joint statement issued Sunday after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first bilateral visit to China, Beijing said that it “appreciates Pakistan’s quest for peace” with India and supported the settlement of “outstanding disputes between the two countries”.

The statement issued in Beijing after Khan’s talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, said: “China appreciates Pakistan’s quest for peace through dialogue, cooperation and negotiation, on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and supports Pakistan’s efforts for improvement of Pakistan-India relations and for settlement of outstanding disputes between the two countries.”

After Khan met the Chinese leadership for the first time, the joint statement also expressed support for Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), while Beijing continues to block India’s bid in becoming a member of the NSG — the 48-member elite club, which controls global nuclear trade.

Stating that China appreciated steps taken by Pakistan in strengthening the global non-proliferation regime, the joint statement said: “In this context, China supports Pakistan’s engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and welcomes its adherence of NSG Guidelines.”

The joint statement said that it was important to resolve all outstanding disputes in the region through dialogue. Without naming India, the statement said that countries should refrain from developing relations targeting any third country, while Islamabad called for a greater role for Beijing at SAARC.

“Both sides believe that a peaceful, stable, cooperative and prosperous South Asia is in the common interest of all parties. Both sides emphasized the importance of the pursuit of dialogue and resolution of all outstanding disputes to promote regional cooperation and advance the goals of lasting peace, stability and shared prosperity,” the statement said.

China also lauded Pakistan’s commitment and efforts to counter terrorism and terror financing and urged the international community to look at Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts in an objective and fair manner.

While China has consistently blocked efforts to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar as an international terrorist at the United Nations Security Council, it had played along last year to grey-list Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force.

India had always conveyed its deep disappointment with Chinese interlocutors about its support to Pakistan on counter-terrorism and had pointed out the lack of action. The Chinese side has asked for “more information” and “evidence”, Indian government sources have said.

China, which wants Pakistan to crack down on Uygur Islamic militants crossing in and out of the volatile Muslim-majority Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, also got a commitment from Pakistan.

“The Pakistani side reaffirmed its support to the Chinese side in safeguarding its sovereignty and security, and combating separatism, terrorism and extremism including East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM),” the statement said.

China blames the separatist ETIM, an al-Qaeda linked group, for the violent attacks in Xinjiang and elsewhere in the country.

The statement also made a reference to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor over which Imran Khan had criticised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for the lack of transparency in the project. Khan, after taking over as PM, had said that the CPEC projects would be reviewed. In the joint statement, however, both countries expressed their support for the project.

“Both sides dismissed the growing negative propaganda against CPEC and expressed determination to safeguard the CPEC projects from all threats,” the statement said. In order to further expand cooperation under CPEC, the two sides announced the setting up of a working group on social-economic development to assist with livelihood projects in Pakistan.

In a precarious fiscal condition currently, Pakistan has sought an emergency bailout loan of $8 billion from the International Monetary Fund and is also seeking new loans from Saudi Arabia and China as its foreign reserves have plunged 42 per cent since the start of the year.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/world/support-pakistans-quest-for-peace-through-dialogue-with-india-china-5434031/

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Pakistan trying to vitiate atmosphere: Army chief Bipin Rawat

Nov 4, 2018

NABHA: A day after warning that attempts were being made to "revive insurgency" in Punjab, Army chief General Bipan Rawat Sunday accused Pakistan of trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the country.

Rawat also stressed that people needed to be careful during the ongoing festival season to prevent anti-national forces from succeeding in their nefarious designs.

"See we have a neighbouring country which always tries to vitiate atmosphere here. Our country is progressing which is not liked by them," Rawat told the media here.

Rawat had on Saturday said that "external linkages" were trying to "revive insurgency" in Punjab and Assam and if early action was not taken, it would be too late.

Noting that Punjab was progressing at a "very fast" pace, Rawat said attempts were being made to disrupt peace in the state.

"I have been reading what is coming out in the media. There is Referendum 2020 coming in the UK... Whatever we call it but there is an attempt being made to disrupt the peace again in Punjab," he said.

"We have to be careful," Rawat added.

Hundreds of people had turned up at the Trafalgar Square in London on August 12 in support of a pro-Khalistan rally. The Sikhs for Justice group had said its rally was intended to raise awareness for a non-binding referendum in 2020.

The Army chief further said terror modules were busted in Punjab recently and people of the state must remain alert.

"Punjab is such a state where militancy ended completely. Why? Because people of the state stopped it," Rawat said.

Punjab had seen one of the worst phases of insurgencies in the 1980s when the pro-Khalistan movement was at its peak, which was eventually quelled by the government.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-trying-to-vitiate-atmosphere-army-chief-bipin-rawat/articleshow/66501406.cms

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J&K: Days after BJP leader’s killing, Hizbul Mujahideen posters in Doda

by Arun Sharma

November 5, 2018

THREE days after the killing of a BJP leader and his brother in Kishtwar, posters of Hizbul Mujahideen appeared in the adjoining Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, asking people not to participate in the upcoming Panchayat elections.

Written in Urdu under the letterhead of the banned terror outfit, the posters appeared in Dhandal and Gurmal areas of Kashtigarh on Saturday. Police immediately removed these posters.

A case under various provisions of Ranbir Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was registered on Sunday and nearly a dozen people picked up for questioning.

Doda SSP Shabir Ahmad Malik said investigation was in progress. The police had called people dealing in photostat business, but all of them were let off after questioning, he added.

This has been the first incident of the appearance of a terror outfit’s posters in an area of the otherwise peaceful Jammu province asking people to not to participate in the Panchayat elections. The Panchayat elections are being held in the state in nine phases, beginning November 17.

Doda Deputy Commissioner visited the area and held a public darbar to reassure people about security arrangements in the area and asked them not to get scared and understand the design of miscreants. The police too have started patrolling the area to restore confidence of public.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-days-after-bjp-leaders-killing-hizbul-mujahideen-posters-in-doda-5433916/

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Uma Bharti says talk of building mosque close to Ram temple can make Hindus ‘intolerant’

November 4, 2018

A day after BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav said the delay in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit verdict had left the Hindu society and supporters of the Ram temple feeling “anxious”, Union Minister Uma Bharti on Sunday said any talk of constructing a mosque close to a Ram temple in Ayodhya could make Hindus “intolerant”.

“Hindus are the most tolerant community in the world. I will appeal to all politicians: please don’t make Hindus intolerant by talking about building a mosque on the outer periphery of the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya,” Bharti told PTI in an interview.

When there could not be a temple in the holy town of Medina or a mosque in the Vatican City, she said, it would be “unfair” to talk about a mosque in Ayodhya. The union minister also invited Congress president Rahul Gandhi to lay the foundation stone of the temple in Ayodhya with her, saying he could “atone for the sins” of his party which always created “hurdles” in building the temple in Ayodhya.

“We need support of all political parties on this issue. I invite all leaders including, Rahul Gandhiji, come let’s lay the foundation stone of the Ram temple with me,” Bharti said.

Describing the Ayodhya dispute as one of land and not faith, Bharti said, “This is now only a matter of dispute of land, not dispute of faith. It has been resolved that Ayodhya is the birth place of Lord Ram.”

She also stressed the need for an out-of-court settlement of the contentious issue, and urged all political leaders — including Gandhi, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, BSP leader Mayawati and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee — to support this.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh, Banerjee, Mayawati and the Left parties should support the BJP on this issue as it is of national interest, she said.

“But they aren’t letting the matter get resolved. The Congress will have to quit the habit of dividing the country in the name of religion,” Bharti said, reiterating that all political parties should unite on this issue.

Bharti, who had participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the 1990s, said she was fully committed to the construction of Ram temple.

“If they tell me that Ram Mandir will be built only over my dead body, then so be it,” she said.

On Saturday, speaking to ANI, Ram Madhav said the 1992 “dilly-dallying” “had led to certain consequences”. The Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/uma-bharti-ram-temple-ayodhya-dispute-mosque-5433592/

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Pakistan

 

Hard-Line Pakistani Cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Twitter Account Suspended On Government’s Request

November 05, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Twitter suspended the account of a ultra-right Pakistani cleric on Sunday following inflammatory statements targeting the judiciary, prime minister, and military after the acquittal of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, the government said.

Cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) party blocked off roads in Pakistan’s biggest for three days last week and threatened the Supreme Court judges who acquitted Asia Bibi on Wednesday — urging their cooks and servants to kill them.

Bibi had spent eight years on death row before the court overturned her conviction and ordered her to be freed.

“We sent a request to Twitter that this account has been inciting hate and violence,” two senior officials at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority told Reuters.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The TLP condemned the suspension of Rizvi’s account, terming it a “conspiracy by the opponents of the protection of Prophethood and Islam.”

A second account that was created on Sunday was also suspended soon after.

The TLP ended protests late Friday evening following negotiations with the government and an agreement to open a review of the court’s decision as well as possibly putting Bibi’s name on an ‘exit control list’ that would bar her from leaving the country.

Bibi’s whereabouts are unknown, but Islamists have warned the authorities against taking her out of the country.

“There will be a war if they send Asia out of country,” TLP leader Rizvi said after the deal was reached.

Earlier in the week, Rizvi’s deputy and TLP co-founder Muhammad Afzal Qadri told supporters to kill the Supreme Court judges.

“Whoever, who has got any access to them, kill them before the evening,” he said.

The TLP was founded out of a movement that supported the bodyguard who assassinated Punjab provincial governor Salman Taseer in 2011 after he began supporting Bibi, and pushing for her acquittal. Federal minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was also killed after calling for her release.

Bibi’s lawyer on Saturday said he had left Pakistan, fearing a mob attack against him and his family.

On Sunday, Bibi’s husband released a video asking for the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada to help get his family out of the country.

Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Islam after neighbors objected to her drinking water from their glass because she was not Muslim. She always denied having committed blasphemy.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1399436/world

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Jemima assails govt’s concession to protesters after Aasia’s acquittal

November 05, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Jemima Goldsmith has severely criticised the government led by her former husband Imran Khan for tackling the mass protests organised in the country for three days by religious parties after the Supreme Court overturned on Oct 31 the death sentence awarded to Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case.

Jemima took to Twitter from her verified account @Jemima_Khan to express her displeasure.

“Not the Naya Pakistan we’d hoped for. 3 days after a defiant & brave speech defending the judiciary, Pakistan’s gov caves in to extremist demands to bar #AsiaBibi from leaving Pak, after she was acquitted of blasphemy-effectively signing her death warrant,” her tweet read, referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to nation in which he had issued a stern warning to the protesters spearheaded by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

In a related development, the husband of the Christian woman, who was acquitted after spending eight years on death row, has appealed to US President Donald Trump for refuge, citing danger to family members’ lives. Ashiq Masih appealed to the UK and Canada for assistance.

The TLP had blocked major roads in Pakistan’s biggest cities for three days, calling for the murder of the apex court judges who acquitted Aasia Bibi on Wednesday, and terming PM Khan and the army chief enemies of Islam.

“I am requesting the President of the United States Donald Trump to help us exit from Pakistan,” Ashiq Masih said in a video recorded by the British Pakistani Christian Association and seen by Reuters.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443702/jemima-assails-govts-concession-to-protesters-after-aasias-acquittal

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Maulana Samiul Haq’s son selected acting JUI-S head

Nov 5, 2018

AKORA KHATTAK: Son of the assassinated Jamiat Ulema Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Hamidul Haq, was selected as the acting chief of the party on Sunday.

Haq was assassinated at his Bahria Town residence when his staff were out. Haq’s servant had said he had gone outside to buy groceries, only to return to his employer lying in a pool of blood. Sami shortly died after that.

Talking to media, Hamidul Haq said that he has become an orphan. “Current party position will remain unchanged,” he said after being announced as acting chief.

“Maulana Samiul Haq’s killers should be arrested immediately,” he demanded.

On Saturday, police registered an FIR [first information report] against unknown assailants and reportedly interrogated slain cleric’s personal secretary Ahmed Shah and guard for three hours in connection with the murder.

The detainees in their initial statement said, “The two men [suspected of murder] had visited Maulana Haq on several occasions before as well and wanted to meet him alone.”

“The JUI-S chief sent us to the market to bring food and drinks,” they further said. “When we returned after 15 minutes, we found Haq lying in a pool of blood,” the staff workers added. However, the police agreed to release them on Haq’s son request so that they could attend the funeral. But they can be taken into custody again for further questioning, police added.

According to the FIR registered at Airport Police Station, Ahmed Shah had informed Hamidul Haq over the phone that someone had stabbed his father. It stated that Sami, who had received a total of 12 wounds on his stomach, heart, forehead and ears, was shifted to the Safari Hospital but could not be resuscitated.

The son commented on the post-mortem, saying said he did not want to have a post-mortem examination conducted on the body of his father as it was “against Islamic law”.

Separately, forensic experts and investigation officers gathered evidence from his residence in Rawalpindi. The investigation officers also carried out fingerprint scans on the phone, glasses and other personal items of the JUI-S chief. A CCTV footage of the housing society where the JUI-S chief resided is also being obtained to identify the suspects.

NA SPEAKER, MINISTERS CONDOLE WITH HAQ’S SON:

National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser and federal ministers condoled the death of Haq with his son on Sunday.

NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan visited Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania and called on Maulana Hamid-ul-Haq, son of the slain JUI-S chief.

They expressed deep grief and sorrow over the murder of Maulana Haq and prayed for the departed soul to rest in eternal peace and courage for the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with fortitude.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/maulana-samiul-haqs-son-selected-acting-jui-s-head/

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JUI-S sees foreign hand in Sami’s murder

November 05, 2018

NOWSHERA: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) has blamed foreign elements for the murder of its leader Maulana Samiul Haq.

“It is confirmed to thousands of his followers, the party, Darul Uloom Haqqania and his family that martyrdom of Maulana was not an internal issue rather Indians, Afghans and other elements are involved in this act,” said a statement issued by JUI-S here on Sunday.

Maulana Samiul Haq was stabbed to death at his home in Rawalpindi on Friday.

The statement said that some elements were trying to hide their incompetency by issuing different statements about the murder of JUI-S leader, terming it result of domestic dispute or sectarian issue.

The party appealed to security agencies to arrest the real killers of Maulana and award them exemplary punishment. It said that he always played key role in mediation between Taliban and other groups including Afghan government.

The statement said that a delegation of Afghan government had requested Maulana Samiul Haq in October to play role in talks between it with Taliban. They started propaganda against him and Darul Uloom Haqqania when they failed to persuade him, it alleged. It said that the entire Muslim Umma was showing grief over his tragic death but Afghan media were trying to tarnish his image. It said that Maulana had friendly relations with all sects and groups despite having ideological and political differences with them.

Thousands of people including top political leaders reached Darul Uloom Haqqania on Sunday to condole the death of Maulana Samiul Haq and condemned his murder.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, Federal Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, QWP chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Irfan Sadique, retired General Ihsanullah, Senator Hafiz Hamdullah, Maulana Ahmad Ludyanwi, Sikandir Sherpao, Ilyas Bilour, Arab Alamgir Khan and others were prominent among the participants of condolence gathering.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Qaisar said that government would leave no stone unturned to arrest of the killers. He said that they had developed a close liaison with provincial government of Punjab and other investigative agencies to arrest the culprits.

Talking to journalists, Aftab Sherpao said that Maulana played great role for restoration of democracy in the country. He urged people to shun difference and forge unity among their rinks against the enemies of the country. He said that the country was passing through a critical time.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443603/jui-s-sees-foreign-hand-in-samis-murder

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Police issue security threat for Maulana Fazl

November 4, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar Police on Saturday issued a security threat alert for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

A senior superintendent of Peshawar Police informed him about the threat through a letter. He advised the Maulana not to visit Peshawar, which Fazl ignored and paid the visit to the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Nevertheless, JUI-F leader Maulana Rashid Soomro has sought foolproof security for Ameer of his party, saying that the letter about security threat could not weaken their resolve.

This development has emerged following assassination of JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq a day earlier at his residence in Rawalpindi.

Religious scholar and former senator Maulana Samiul Haq was buried alongside his father Maulana Abdul Haq in Nowshera’s Darul Uloom Haqqani, the religious seminary he served as patron-in-chief after his father’s demise. The influential religious scholar’s funeral prayers were offered in Nowshera’s Khushal Khan Degree College.

Politicians, known religious scholars and a large number of his followers and students offered the funeral prayers of the influential cleric who was stabbed to death at his Rawalpindi residence last night.

Full report at:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/389355-police-issue-security-threat-for-maulana-fazl

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Over 1,100 held for rioting during protest against Aasia’s acquittal

Mansoor Malik | Imran Gabol

November 05, 2018

LAHORE: Punjab police arrested 1,100 suspects till Sunday evening and registered 130 cases against them for their involvement in injuring policemen and people and damaging public and private properties during the protests following the Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi of blasphemy charge.

The crackdown was launched after the interior ministry directed all the provincial governments and federal agencies to take action against the culprits involved in violence and damage to public and private property during the last week protests and sought compliance report till 5pm on Monday (today).

The interior ministry sent first letter in this regard to the provinces on Saturday and followed it up with another office memorandum on Sunday , directing all (provincial governments and federal agencies) to strictly comply with the direction.

Stating that the Ulema had disowned the elements involved in violence, the interior ministry said video clips and photographs should be used to identify the miscreants in coordination with the PTA and Nadra.

The Punjab police spokesperson told Dawn 800 people were arrested for violating section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 and 300 others under the FIRs registered for injuring policemen, damaging public and private properties and vehicles in different areas of the province.

She said the protesters had injured 63 police officers in different areas of the province who were shifted to nearby hospitals for treatment. Of them, 58 policemen were discharged but five others who had sustained severe injuries were still getting treatment.

She said 300 suspects were identified through different footage available to the police. She said the number of the FIRs and the arrested would increase with the passage of time as the police were taking across-the-board action against the miscreants.

Answering a question, she said most of the arrests had been made from Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi divisions. The Islamabad police registered two FIRs against 25 people.

Interior Minister Shehryar Afridi chaired a meeting in Islamabad on Sunday and took stock of the situation. The meeting asked the provinces that general public should be advised to file/ lodge complaints against such people, share videos and help government in identifying such elements.

The interior ministry also asked all the provincial governments to convey WhatsApp numbers to general public through electronic and print media so that public could send information/ videos that might be referred to relevant departments for necessary action.

Phoolnagar police in Kasur registered cases against 348 protesters of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), including 48 nominated, under various sections including section 7 of the Anti Terrorism Act.

The TLP activists had allegedly attacked police force on Friday on Multan Road at Jamber Chowk and injured six personnel, including a DSP, an inspector and four constables. The protesters had also damaged six police vehicles, an ambulance of Rescue 1122 and several vehicles stuck on Multan Road due to road blockade.

According to the FIR lodged on the complaint of Phoolnagar SHO Muhammad Azam, 48 nominated including four local prayer leaders and 300 unidentified agitators had attacked police when the later tried to prevent them from delivering anti-judiciary and anti-state speeches.

Receiving information, Pattoki circle DSP Muhammad Saleem along with a heavy contingent of police reached the spot.

The protesters who wielded weapons and clubs went violent and attacked the police. The protesters used clubs against police officials and pelted them with stones.

The FIR said the protesters also kidnapped two police constables Jahangir and Iqbal. Most of the nominated accused belonged to Kot Tank Singh village. Four local prayer leaders — Qari Nazar Imam, Mufti Naveed, Zainul Hassan and Qari Abdul Shakoor — were also nominated in the FIR. Police said additional force had been deployed in Phoolnagar and raids were on to arrest the accused.

In Gujranwala, police registered cases against nine identified and 2,500 unidentified people for thrashing citizens, damaging government and private properties and looting people on roads.

The Kotwali police DSP told Dawn video clips had been sent to the interior ministry to identify the culprits.

In Sindh, Nawabshah police booked two activists of TLP for resorting to aerial firing and forcing businessmen to close shops.

An FIR was lodged at A-Section police station against Bilal Arain and Sabir Arain under sections 147, 148 and 337 H II of the Pakistan Penal Code for carrying out aerial firing and forcing traders to shut their shops. The police arrested both the accused. Similar cases were also registered in Karachi.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443698/over-1100-held-for-rioting-during-protest-against-aasias-acquittal

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Maulana Sami died an hour before reaching hospital

Mohammad Asghar

November 05, 2018

RAWALPINDI: Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Samiul Haq, who was assassinated in his house in Bahria Town on Friday, had died an hour before he was taken to hospital and there was no bleeding from his body, a source close to the investigation revealed, quoting from a medical report.

“The Maulana had expired an hour before being brought to Safari Hospital, located about 300 metres from his private residence. There was no bleeding from his body and his ECG was at zero level,” the source told Dawn, quoting the doctor who first examined him.

Since the cell phone service was suspended on Friday in Rawalpindi and Islamabad due to a protest by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan across the country, no emergency call had been made either by the injured Maulana or anybody else to the management of the housing ­society or to the police.

A police team headed by Super­intendent of Police (investigation) Dr Ghayas Gull has been formed to investigate the ­murder of the former senator.

Sources said a police team was sent to Akora Khattak to interview the slain leader’s secretary, but they returned back after they were assured of full cooperation by the heirs of the Maulana.

The police team will be sent again to Akora Khattak within the next 72 hours.

A source close to the investigation revealed that Maulana Sami’s secretary Syed Ahmed Shah left the slain leader alone in his bedroom on the second floor of Safari villa and locked the main gate on the outside before leaving to fetch water from a nearby water filtration plant.

Maulana Samiul Haq was alone at his home as nobody else was there when the murder took place.

Initial police investigation revealed that the murder took place during the 15-minute absence of Ahmed Shah from the house. After his return, he unlocked the main gate and entered the house. Since he didn’t get a response from the Maulana’s bedroom, he opened the door and found his leader lying in a pool of blood.

Police believe that the killer might be hiding inside the house because the gate was locked by Ahmed Shah while leaving the house. He could have escaped from the kitchen door as it was found opened when the police reached there and collected evidence. The police were unable to determine the number of killers, but they suspected that he was alone.

The police could not recover the weapon used in the murder which they suspected could be an ordinary kitchen knife. A police team had already carried out combing of surrounding green areas and gardens of neighboring houses, but couldn’t find the weapon.

The sources said the police were likely to conduct a comprehensive search of surrounding areas for the murder weapon within the next two days.

After Maulana Sami was pronounced dead by the doctors, the city police officer asked the slain leader’s sons for an autopsy, but they refused. The investigators believe that they will face problems in the investigation in the absence of a postmortem report.

A senior official of the Counter- Terrorism Department told Dawn that since the Maulana’s murder was not a terrorism case, the local police have been investigating it with the assistance of special branch.

Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Basharat Raja has directed police officials of Rawalpindi to make all-out efforts to apprehend the killers of Maulana Samiul Haq.

Rawalpindi police officers briefed the minister on the progress of investigation on Saturday. They told him they had continued the investigation in accordance with the evidence, while forensic report would be obtained.

The minister expressed sympathy with the bereaved family and thousands of his followers.

He directed police officers to complete the investigation as soon as possible and arrest the culprits.

Airport police have registered a murder case on a complaint of Maulana Sami’s son Maulana Hamidul Haq. Nobody was ­nominated in the murder case by the complainant.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443703/maulana-sami-died-an-hour-before-reaching-hospital

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Peaceful Afghanistan in Pakistan’s best interest: Ashraf Ghani

Nov 5, 2018

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said that a peaceful Afghanistan is in the best interest of the region, especially Pakistan and one should realise this fact.

Talking to the media in Kabul on Sunday, Ashraf Ghani said that Afghanistan wants peace with Pakistan and good working relations based on mutual interests.

He said that any third party cannot be given the right to play an arbitrary role in peace talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Afghanistan desires good working relations with Pakistan based on mutual interest,” he added.

Commenting over talks with the Taliban, the Afghan President said that Taliban were ready for inter-Afghan peace dialogues to be hosted by the Russian government.

Ghani urged the Taliban to lay down arms, establish contacts with foreigners and return to normalcy.

It is worth mentioning here that talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban’s Doha Office group are going to be held on November 9, 2018, in Russia.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/peaceful-afghanistan-in-pakistans-best-interest-ashraf-ghani/

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Arab World

 

Egypt police kill 19 terror suspects linked to recent attack on Coptic Christians

Nov 4, 2018

Egyptian security forces have killed 19 terror suspects purportedly linked to a deadly attack on the country’s Coptic Christians.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Interior of Egypt on Sunday, those killed in an intense exchange of fire with police forces were part of a cell that claimed the lives of seven Coptic pilgrims in Friday's attack in Minya province.

“The terrorist elements opened fire on the (security) forces who responded,” it further read.

Minya’s archbishop said 14 people were also injured in the assault, where a bus heading towards St. Samuel the Confessor monastery in the province, 260 kilometers south of Cairo.

The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assault, which occurred almost at the exact location of a similar attack in May last year by the terrorists that killed 28 Coptic Christians.

The 19 suspected terrorists were found “as part of a pursuit of terrorist elements involved in carrying out hostile operations in the country, including the last armed attack which targeted citizens returning from the Saint Samuel monastery”, the ministry further said.

It added that raid on terrorists had been undertaken in the mountainous western desert of Minya province in a bid to track down the “fugitive terrorist elements.”

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's predominantly Sunni Muslim population of some 100 million.

The terror group also killed at least 45 people in twin church bombings in April 2017, and a Daesh gunman also killed nine people in an attack on a church in south Cairo suburb last December.

Last month, Egypt's parliament voted to extend a state of emergency in the country for yet another three months, prolonging the authorities’ ability to use special powers into 2019.

Cairo first imposed a state of emergency following the April 2017 massacre by Daesh, and has extended it at three-month intervals ever since.

Furthermore, over the past few years, terrorists have been carrying out anti-government activities and fatal attacks, taking advantage of the turmoil in Egypt that erupted after the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in July 2013 through a military coup led by incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The Velayat Sinai group, which is affiliated with Daesh, has claimed responsibility for most of the assaults. The group later expanded its attacks to target members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian community as well as foreigners visiting the country, prompting Cairo to widen a controversial crackdown, which critics say has mostly targeted dissidents.

The Sinai Peninsula, which is home to Velayat Sinai group, has been under a state of emergency since October 2014, after a deadly terrorist attack left 33 Egyptian soldiers dead.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579056/Egypt-Coptic-Christians-Minya

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Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal defends MbS after his brother’s release

Nov 4, 2018

Saudi billionaire businessman al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has come out in defense of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of his brother’s release from jail amid an international outrage over the last month assassination of a dissident journalist in Turkey.

The wealthy and powerful prince appeared on Fox News "Sunday Morning Futures" to assure the American audience that the monarchy’s de facto ruler “will be 100 percent vindicated and exonerated," after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"Please let’s give some time for the investigation to finish," said the member of the Saudi royal family one day after his brother, Prince Khalid bin Talal, was freed from jail in Saudi Arabia.

He further urged Riyadh to be more transparent in the so-called investigation into Khashoggi’s torture, death, and dismemberment.

"I ask Saudi Arabia now publicly, through your program, to have the investigation made public as soon as possible so whereby I believe the Saudi Crown Prince will be 100 percent vindicated and exonerated," he added.

US lawmakers and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan maintain that the crown prince and other top Saudi leaders should be held accountable for Khashoggi's assassination,

Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the murder, yet left many questions unanswered.

Turkish intelligence intercepts reportedly show that Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2, was murdered on a direct order from Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579089/Saudi-billionaire-defends-MbS-on-Fox-Jamal-Khashoggi

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Bahrain’s opposition chief gets life in jail over Qatar spy case

November 05, 2018

DUBAI: Bahrain sentenced the head of the country’s Shia opposition movement to life in prison on Sunday for spying for rival Gulf state Qatar in a ruling rights groups have called a travesty.

Sheikh Ali Salman, who headed the now-banned Al-Wefaq movement, and two of his aides had been acquitted by the high criminal court in June, a verdict the public prosecution appealed.

The public prosecutor said in a statement that the three had been unanimously sentenced by the appeals court for “acts of hostility” against Bahrain and “communicating with Qatari officials ... to overthrow constitutional order”.

Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, severed all ties with Qatar in 2017, banning their citizens from travel to or communication with the emirate over its alleged ties to both Iran and radical Islamist groups.

Sunday’s verdict against the Shia cleric can still be appealed.

‘Unlawful verdict’

Opposition movements, both religious and secular, have been outlawed since 2011 and hundreds of dissidents imprisoned — many of them stripped of their citizenship in the process.

Salman’s Al-Wefaq was dissolved by court order in 2016. The cleric is currently serving a four-year sentence in a separate case — “inciting hatred” in the kingdom.

Human rights groups have said cases against activists in Bahrain — men and women, religious and secular — fail to meet the basic standards of fair trials.

Amnesty and HRW categorise Salman and other jailed opposition leaders prisoners of conscience.

Advocacy groups, including Amnesty, slammed Sunday’s ruling against 53-year-old Salman and his aides, Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad as political reprisal.

“This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.

“Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.”

Bahraini activists said Sunday’s verdict highlighted a broader regional policy towards freedom — the same policy that saw Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi murdered this month.

“Despite the ongoing scrutiny on the Gulf region, with Saudi Arabia being under the spotlight for its brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Bahrain has made a decision that reeks of arrogance,” said Sayed AlWadaei, head of advocacy for the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.

The verdict comes ahead of controversial parliamentary elections that Bahrain’s King Hamad has called for Nov 24.

Dissolved opposition parties, including Al-Wefaq and the secular Al-Waad, do not have the right to put forward their own candidates in the vote.

In June, Bahrain amended its law on political rights, prohibiting “leaders and members of political associations dissolved for violating the kingdom’s constitution or its laws” from running in legislative elections.

Alistair Burt, the British Foreign Office’s minister responsible for Middle East affairs, said he was “very concerned” by the life sentence, in a statement released on Sunday.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443709/bahrains-opposition-chief-gets-life-in-jail-over-qatar-spy-case

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Kurdish Militia Furious at US Indifference to Ankara's Threats in Eastern Euphrates

Nov 04, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Sunday that the Kurdish forces are dissatisfied with the US for continued deployment of the Kurds to the ISIL-held regions in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

The US-led coalition has sent over 1,200 Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the Kurdish-held regions, including Ein al-Arab (Kobani), to battlefields in Eastern Deir Ezzur, while a large number of Ankara-backed militants, equipped with heavy military equipment, have been put on alert near the towns of Tal Abyadh, Kobani and other regions held by the Kurds in Eastern Euphrates.

Meantime, field sources reported that the SDF has withdrawn from several military positions in Badiyeh al-Rozeh in Eastern Deir Ezzur for the fear of ISIL attacks.

Reports said on Saturday that the Turkish troops continued targeting the positions of the Kurdish militia in several regions in Hasaka and Raqqa provinces regardless of the deployment of the US army men at Syria-Turkey border.

The Turkish army targeted the positions of al-Sanadid fighters, affiliated to the SDF, in Northern Hasaka including the village of Tal Jahan, injuring a gunman.

In the meantime, the Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that the Ankara forces targeted Tal Abyadh's countryside in Raqqa province, injuring several people including two media activists.

Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the US army has deployed along the borderline between Syria and Turkey in a large region between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers and also in the town of Ein al-Arab in Northeastern Aleppo to prevent any military movement by the Turkish troops.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000992

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Popular Uprising against Israeli Forces Reported again in Syria's Occupied Golan

Nov 04, 2018

SANA said that Syrians in the occupied Golan held a sit-in in the small town of Majdal Shams to declare their opposition to any Israeli plan for Judaization of the Golan, including election for a local council.

It further said that the protestors underlined their adherence to their Syrian identity, vowing to continue uprising against Israeli forces to free the occupied Golan.

In the meantime, people gathered in Ein al-Tinah region in Quneitra province and declared their full support for the occupied Golan's resident, opposing the Israeli-planned election for a local council.

The protestors further condemned any Israeli move to stir a gap among residents of Majdal Shams, Baqa’atha, Ma’sdah and Ein Daqnah regions in occupied Golan. 

On Tuesday, a number of Syrian protesters were arrested in the occupied Golan Heights region, following a wide-scale demonstration against the ongoing Israeli municipal elections.

According to a report from the Damascus Now publication, several Syrians were arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) inside the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams.

The arrests reportedly took place after protesters from the nearby towns of Baqa’atha and Ma’sdah joined the demonstration in Majdal Shams.

Furthermore, Damascus Now reported that an explosion was heard near Majdal Shams after a land mine was detonated; they blamed the Israeli Defense Forces for planting the mine.

The Israeli Defense Forces did not comment on the current demonstrations in the Golan Heights, despite several reports from the Syrian government.

The Golan Heights was captured by the Israeli Defense Forces during the brief Six-Day War that was fought in June of 1967.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000679

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Tens of Eastern Ghouta Terrorists Join Tahrir Al-Sham to Counter Syria Army in Lattakia

Nov 04, 2018

A 300-member battalion of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorist group that were expelled from Eastern Ghouta after sustaining a heavy defeat in the battle against the Syrian army have joined Tahrir al-Sham along with their military equipment to counter the army units in Lattakia province.

Faylaq al-Rahman militants will join Tahrir al-Sham's elite gunmen in Northeastern Lattakia to face the army.

Several weeks after the conclusion of the Sochi Agreement to create a demilitarized zone in Northern and Northwestern Syria, the terrorist groups have not only avoided a retreat, but also reinvigorated their positions in the region.  

A senior Syrian military source revealed on Tuesday that the country's army was likely to start military operations against the terrorists in the weapons-free zone as the latter continued deployment in the region.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency quoted the source as saying that given Turkey's failure to implement its undertakings based on the Sochi agreement with Russia, the Syrian army will kick off military operations against the terrorists in the demilitarized zone if they continue attacks against the army positions.

He added that Northern Hama has in recent days witnessed attacks by the terrorist groups, specially Horras al-Din, against the Syrian army near the region under the supervision of Turkey near the town of Morek, noting that Jeish al-Izzah militants have also sent military equipment from Southern Idlib to al-Latamina front in Northern Hama.

The source said that the Syrian army has responded to the terrorists' offensives in demilitarized zone so far, adding that the army will launch massive military operations in the region if they continue.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000957

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Infighting Erupts again among Turkey-backed Militants in Northern Syria

Nov 04, 2018

Gunmen of Liwa al-Shamal and their rival terrorists known as Police Forces, both backed up by the Turkish army, engaged in heavy fighting in the town of Azaz in Northern Aleppo.

The infighting came after the Police Forces arrested 2 Liwa al-Shamal militants.

The infighting inflicted several casualties on both sides.

Local sources, meantime, said that al-Shamiyah Front sent its gunmen from Afrin to Azaz following the infighting.

Other sources in Afrin reported that militants of Sultan Murad clashed fiercely with other rival militants in the village of Kafr Janah in Afrin, adding that several terrorists were killed and at least 10 more were wounded in the infighting between the two Ankara-backed militant groups.

The Kurdish-language Hawar News reported on Thursday that Ferqat al-Hamzeh, Sultan Murad, Faylaq al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and other terrorist groups in Afrin cut the forest trees in the villages and jungles.

It added that a large number of the trees were sent to Turkey, while several other cargoes were sold to the Syrian dealers.

The terrorists also cut off and stole olive trees in different parts of Afrin after harvesting them.

According to the report, militants started imposing their rule over new regions in Afrin, including Tal Haloubiyeh in Shara region and a hill between the village of Marateh and Bablit in Central Afrin, starting measures to extract artifacts and crops.

Turkey-backed militants have intensified plundering historical artifact in occupied Afrin region.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970813000882

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ISIS attack kills 12 US-backed fighters in eastern Syria

4 November 2018

ISIS killed 12 US-backed fighters in a surprise attack Sunday from the extremists’ holdout in eastern Syria on the Iraqi border, a Britain-based monitor said.

Twelve fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide car bombing and subsequent clashes in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

An SDF spokesman, however, denied any members of his Kurdish-led alliance had been killed.

“There are counter-attacks every day and the clashes are ongoing, but the talk of martyrs among our ranks is not true,” Mustefa Bali said.

According to Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman, Sunday’s attack “started with a car bomb driven by a suicide attacker against an SDF position between Hajin and Al-Bahra”.

The attack allowed ISIS to advance towards Al-Bahra from its holdout around Hajin, and push back the first lines of defense of the SDF, which is backed by the US-led coalition, the Observatory said.

The SDF, with the support of coalition air strikes, in September launched an offensive to wrest the Deir Ezzor pocket including Hajin from ISIS, making slow advances.

But the alliance suffered a major setback as they retreated last week from the entire pocket after ISIS suicide bombings and low visibility due to sand storms.

Last Wednesday, the SDF suspended its fight against the extremists after Turkish forces fired on the group’s positions in northern Syria.

The coalition estimates that 2,000 ISIS fighters remain in the Hajin pocket.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/ISIS-attack-kills-12-US-backed-fighters-in-eastern-Syria.html

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Blasts across Baghdad kill six people, say sources

5 November 2018

Explosions in several Shiite-majority districts in Iraq’s capital late Sunday killed six people, most of them civilians, and wounded several others, police and medical sources said.

In northern Baghdad’s Aden roundabout area, two civilians were killed and another six wounded by a blast near a bus stop, the sources told AFP.

A bomb in the nearby Tarmiyah neighborhood targeted an military convoy, killing a soldier and wounding two others.

A government employee was killed in the southwestern area of Al-Sahha when explosives attached under his car were detonated, according to a police officer and medical source.

In the eastern district of Sadr City, two people were killed and four wounded in two explosions in the conservative Shiite neighborhood.

And two other blasts went off on busses in other parts of Baghdad’s northeast, wounding seven.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the explosions.

Sadr City is the former bastion of the Mahdi Army, which fought US troops and was blamed for the killings of thousands of Sunni Muslims.

The militia was led by Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose political alliance triumphed in this year’s parliamentary elections.

Violence peaked in Iraq during 2006 and 2007, when sectarian tensions were at their highest.

But it has fallen across Iraq and particularly Baghdad since the government declared victory over the ISIS extremist group in December.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Blasts-across-Baghdad-kill-six-people-say-sources.html

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ISIS says hits Syria’s Raqqa with car bomb

5 November 2018

A car bomb exploded near a military position in Syria’s Raqqa on Sunday, local authorities and a war monitor said, and ISIS extremist group said it was behind the blast.

The blast came a day after the assassination of a local council leader in the city, the former Syrian capital of the militant group’s self-declared caliphate, which was seized a year ago by US-backed Kurdish-led fighters.

Raqqa security forces said a civilian had been killed and several people, including civilians and fighters injured. The war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the blast caused “a large number” of casualties.

ISIS said in a statement that it had detonated the bomb, targeting fighters from the Kurdish YPG militia, the strongest element in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) group that drove the militants from Raqqa last year.

The SDF is battling ISIS fighters in one of their last patches of territory in Syria, along the north bank of the Euphrates river close to the Iraqi border.

The militants took advantage of bad weather on Sunday to attack SDF positions, killing a dozen fighters, the Observatory

reported.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Iran-will-sell-oil-and-break-US-sanctions-President-Rouhani-says.html

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Assad, Russia envoy discuss Syria constitutional committee

4 November 2018

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an envoy from ally Russia on Sunday discussed “removing the obstacles” to forming a constitutional committee demanded by international powers to help end the seven-year war, the presidency said.

The leaders of Russia, rebel backer Turkey, Germany, and France last week in Istanbul called for the committee to be formed by the end of the year to discuss a post-war constitution, “paving the way for free and fair elections” in Syria.

On Sunday, Assad held talks with Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev on “forming the committee to discuss the current constitution”, the presidency said in a statement.

They agreed “to continue joint Syrian-Russian work towards removing the obstacles still in the way of forming this committee”, it said.

A Turkish-Russian deal for Syria’s last major bastion of Idlib has revived a push towards a diplomatic solution to the country’s conflict, with international efforts focused on setting up the 150-member committee.

Under a UN plan, the regime would choose 50 of the committee members, the Syrian opposition another 50 and the UN would nominate the final 50, composed of representatives of civil society and technical experts.

But last week, Damascus rejected a UN list presented by the world body’s outgoing envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Instead, the Damascus regime is to draw up its own list, along with Russia, Iran and Turkey, according to de Mistura, who is set to step down at the end of the month.

Even if the committee is formed, analysts say the task of discussing a post-war constitution will be difficult.

The opposition has pushed for an entirely new constitution, but the regime has said it will only discuss altering the current one.

Assad’s forces have notched up a series of victories against militants and extremists since Russia intervened militarily on its side in 2015, and now control almost two-thirds of the country.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Assad-Russia-envoy-discuss-Syria-constitutional-committee.html

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South Asia

 

Afghan govt’s control over territories reaches record low

Anwar Iqbal

November 05, 2018

WASHINGTON: The Afghan government has lost control over a record number of districts this year, although Taliban too have lost some areas, says an official US report sent to Congress this week.

The report — that covers the period between July 1 and Sept 30, 2018, — identifies a dangerous trend which could have disastrous consequences for Afghanistan and its neighbours, particularly Pakistan: a gradual increase in ungoverned areas.

It is these ungoverned areas that militant groups like TTP and militant Islamic group (IS) use for conducting raids into Pakistan as well as in major Afghan cities.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which prepares these quarterly reports for the US Congress, notes that Afghanistan’s thinly stretched security forces have been unable to retain their control over vast areas inside the country. The official Afghan forces have also sustained record casualties during this period, the report adds.

“Unclassified data shows the Afghan National Defence Security Forces (ANDSF) made minimal or no progress in pressuring the Taliban over the quarter,” says the report, quoting the data provided by the Pentagon.

The data shows that “the ANDSF failed to gain greater control or influence over districts, population and territory this quarter. While the districts, territory, and population under insurgent control or influence also decreased slightly, the districts, territory, and population contested … increased”.

The report describes the “uncontested” areas as under neither Afghan government nor insurgent control or influence.

The report points out that Afghan government control or influence of its districts reached the lowest level (55.5 per cent) since SIGAR began tracking district control in November 2015. The Afghan government controls or influences districts in which about 65 per cent of the population lives, unchanged since October 2017.

About two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population live in the areas still under Kabul’s control. The Afghan government’s goal is to expand its control or influence over areas where 80 per cent of the country’s 33 million people live by the end of 2019.

About 3.5 million people live in areas controlled or influenced by insurgents — a slight decrease since last quarter — while the number of people living in contested areas slightly increased to 8.1 million.

The report says that since late 2015, nearly a year after the Nato transition from a combat mission to one focused on training and advising Afghans, Afghan insurgent have continued to expand their gains.

Unofficial data, however, claim that the government losses are larger than the Pentagon acknowledges. The Long War Journal, published by the nonpartisan group Foundation for Defence of Democracies, reports that a little over half of Afghanistan’s people live in districts outside of government control.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1443711/afghan-govts-control-over-territories-reaches-record-low

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Taliban attack an Afghan forces check point, killing 13

November 05, 2018

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says the Taliban have attacked a checkpoint in eastern Ghazni province, killing at least 13 soldiers and policemen.

Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor, says seven soldiers and six policemen were killed. Four soldiers were also wounded in the early Monday attack at the joint army and police checkpoint in Khogyani district.

Noori added that six insurgents were killed and more than 10 others were wounded during a three-hour battle with Afghan forces.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to the media.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1399446/world

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7 militants killed during a clash with the police forces in Kandahar

Nov 04 2018

At least seven Taliban militants were killed during a clash with the Afghan National Police (ANP) forces in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said a clash broke out between the National Police forces and the Taliban militants in Shah Wali Kot district on Saturday.

The statement further added that the clash took place in Sur Sakhar area of the district, resulting into the deaths of seven Taliban militants.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the dead bodies of the militants along with eleven improvised explosive devices were also left in the area following the clash.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding clash so far.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior said the police forces and local residents have not suffered casualties during the clash.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/7-militants-killed-during-a-clash-with-the-police-forces-in-kandahar-02680/

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Myanmar government erases evidence of Rohingya 'genocide' in Rakhine State

November 5, 2018

A narrow dirt path runs through the village of Inn Dinn, in northern Rakhine state. On the western side, 900 Rakhine Buddhists live, farm, and worship at a large pink monastery. To the east is an overgrown tangle of brush and burned trees.

A Buddhist woman drinks tea in her yard, which overlooks the remains of charred huts. “There was a fire,” she says, but she doesn't know who started it.

What happened in Inn Din has been well documented. A report released in August by a UN Fact-Finding Mission established how during a Myanmar “clearance operation” in September 2017, soldiers shot and stabbed villagers, raped women, and burned homes while driving 6,000 ethnic Rohingya from their homes. A Reuters investigation in February detailed the murder of 10 Rohingya men and boys at the hands of Myanmar troops, police officers, and Rakhine Buddhist villagers on September 2, 2017. The Myanmar government corroborated this report when it sentenced seven soldiers involved to 10 years imprisonment.

But on a recent government-controlled press tour of Rakhine, there is no acknowledgment of the massacre of Inn Din, or of other events last year, when 700,000 ethnic Rohingya were driven from their homes in a state-sponsored campaign of ethnic cleansing that left 10,000 dead and was described by the UN Fact-Finding Mission as genocide.

Instead, the first tightly controlled visit to the state since the UN mission announced its findings reveals how in the past year, the Myanmar government and the passage of time have conspired to destroy evidence of this genocide. In its place an entirely different narrative has been constructed in the minds of the remaining, mostly Buddhist locals.

While memory of the Rohingya’s patrimony is being erased in Rakhine state, it remains compelling and vivid in the minds of Rohingya refugees living in exile in southern Bangladesh. And it is their eye witness testimony of ethnic cleaning, experts suggest, that may one day be sufficient basis for international war crimes prosecutions.

Long before last year’s campaign of mass displacement and destruction, the Myanmar government had subjected its Rohingya subjects to systemic persecution. Since the Rohingya are Muslim and speak a language similar to the Chittagonian dialect of southern Bangladesh, Myanmar's government and much of its Buddhist population consider them illegal “Bengali” immigrants. They cite this belief to justify denying the Rohingya citizenship, education, and the right to travel freely.

The Rohingya, however, are native to the land that Myanmar calls Rakhine state – a land that was inhabited by their ancestors long before it was crudely divided into two British colonies that later became Muslim-majority Bangladesh and Buddhist majority Myanmar.

Hatred of the Rohingya has intensified in the years since Myanmar opened its doors to international aid and investment, as Rakhine Buddhists, who are outnumbered by the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state, see themselves as receiving less assistance. Powerful Buddhist nationalist groups have capitalised on this resentment, creating a climate in which politicians can score points by appealing to Buddhist nationalism.

When a group of poorly armed Rohingya insurgents known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched a series of attacks on security installations in Rakhine state on August 25, 2017, Myanmar’s military responded with a campaign of unprecedented violence. According to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, “the nature, scale and organisation of the operations suggests a level of preplanning and design on the part of the Tatmadaw [military] leadership."

The Tatmadaw's commander Min Aung Hlaing stated at the height of the operations: "The Bengali problem was a long-standing one which has become an unfinished job despite the efforts of the previous governments to solve it. The government in office is taking great care in solving the problem.”

The nature and the scale of this apparent genocide campaign, recounted in grisly detail by Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to the members of the UN mission, are no longer evident in the landscape of Rakhine state. The government has bulldozed the remains of Rohingya villages and built new ones in their place, inviting non-Rohingya to settle there. Ruins are enveloped by foliage, covering nearly every trace of last year’s atrocities. Through a combination of concealment and neglect, Myanmar authorities have transformed their crimes scenes into a land of alternative facts, where physical evidence of crimes has been destroyed, and the history of the Rohingya has been erased.

In Inn Din, village administrator Kyaw Soe Moe denied knowledge of the mass graves documented by Reuters and confirmed by Myanmar’s imprisonment of seven soldiers. “I haven’t heard of any mass graves here.”

Other villagers, and security forces, likewise denied knowledge, consistently replying: “I’m not from here,” or “I wasn’t here at the time”.

This is apparently a deliberate government policy, says Matthew Smith, the CEO of Fortify Rights, one of the main groups documenting Myanmar’s crimes against the Rohingya. “The authorities routinely cycle people in and out of sensitive areas. This could be a tactic to suppress the truth.”

Fifty kilometres up the coast, in the district capital of Maungdaw, the charade continued. The reporters were ushered into a brightly lit conference room in the office of the General Administration Department – a powerful administrative body controlled by the military. Three local officials flicked through PowerPoint slides showing the bloody remains of people they claimed had been killed by “Bengali terrorists”. The military has been caught on several occasions staging photos of crimes allegedly committed by Rohingya or falsely captioning photos taken elsehwere to support its narrative.

“No police, no military forced people to flee. Only ARSA did,” said Maungdaw Township administrator Myint Khaing. “Genocide never happened in our country and never will happen.”

Blaming the flight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees on ARSA is a crucial element of Myanmar’s strategy to avoid accountability. Myanmar continues to maintain that its troops did not deport anyone and that “Bengali terrorists” ordered Rohingya villagers to burn their own homes and flee to Bangladesh in an effort to frame Myanmar.

Despite their best efforts at suppressing evidence, such as the jailing of the Reuters journalists who exposed the Inn Din massacre, contradictory evidence continues to emerge. A recently published video filmed in August 2017 shows a scene of apparently premeditated deportation. The video shows a Myanmar soldier instructing a group of non-Rohingya villagers to “clear out” Rohingya villages with sticks and swords. The soldier can be heard saying: “Slowly and step by step, [Rohingya] want to take the whole Rakhine State. Then, they will conquer the whole country…We’ll clear out their villages soon after we leave here.”

Maungdaw District administrator Ye Htoo responded to the video in the same way many Myanmar officials do when confronted with proof of wrongdoing: “I have no comment, but if it’s true, the military will take legal action.” But justice so far has been reserved for low-level offenders, who are scapegoated to forestall the threat of accountability for the clearance operations’ high-level organisers, who allegedly include Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Myanmar’s efforts to erase evidence in Rakhine state indicate that the government of Aung San Suu Kyi has no intention of pursuing justice for the Rohingya, even though the military orchestrated and carried out its genocidal operations without the consent or oversight of the civilian government she leads.

Rights groups now pin their hopes for accountability on international bodies. The most likely body to rule on the alleged crimes of Myanmar military leaders is the International Criminal Court. Absent a request by the UN Security Council, the ICC ordinarily only has jurisdiction over countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. Myanmar is not a member, so in order for the court to investigate the crimes in Rakhine state, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has argued for jurisdiction on the basis that Myanmar’s forced deportation of Rohingya took place in part on the soil of Bangladesh, which is a member. The court agreed with the argument and announced on September 6 that it does have jurisdiction to investigate Myanmar’s alleged deportation.

Ms Bensouda is currently conducting a preliminary examination of last year’s clearance operations in order to determine whether a full investigation is warranted. An indictment would be made on the basis of that investigation.

According to Hollie Nyseth Brehm, a genocide scholar at Ohio State University, “even if the ICC were to indict suspected perpetrators, international criminal trials are slow moving at best”.

Fortunately, Myanmar’s destruction of physical evidence would not necessarily be a barrier to prosecution. “Some courts, like Rwanda’s post-genocide gacaca courts, relied almost exclusively on eye-witness testimony,” said Ms Nyseth Brehm. “We know that eye-witness testimony is certainly flawed, but in the absence of other forms of evidence, it may be the only option.”

Wayne Jordash, a lawyer for the firm Global Rights Compliance, which is representing a group of Rohingya sexual assault survivors who have petitioned the ICC to investigate gender-based violence as a component of genocide, agrees that a lack of physical evidence is not the greatest obstacle. “The problem is not establishing whether hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were deported or persecuted or even [subjected to] genocide. The bigger problem is whether we’ll find the linkage witnesses... Every international trial relies on insider witnesses who have generally got a lot of blood on their hands themselves but are persuaded, cajoled, or coerced by the prosecution to assist their aims by giving evidence and pointing the finger within the organisation.”

On September 27, the UN Human Rights Council called for the establishment of an “independent mechanism” that will collect and preserve evidence, especially the type that could link crimes against the Rohingya to specific perpetrators, to be used in a future prosecution.

That same day, the journalists on last month’s media tour made their last stop at the fence 10-foot fence that separates Myanmar from a strip of land on the Bangladesh border known as No Man’s Land. Here, more than 5,000 Rohingya refugees subsist on food delivered by the Red Cross. Speaking through the fence and flanked by dozens of fellow refugees, a community leader named Dil Mohammad explained that he and his people will not return to Myanmar until a number of demands are met: a guarantee of safety, the right to citizenship, and accountability for the people who drove them from their homes and destroyed their villages.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/asia/myanmar-government-erases-evidence-of-rohingya-genocide-in-rakhine-state-1.788063

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Taliban in a fix over Moscow meeting on Afghan peace

Tahir Khan

NOVEMBER 5, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Afghan Taliban are apparently in a fix over attending the upcoming meeting of the representatives of regional countries in Russia on peace in Afghanistan on November 9.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the representatives of the Taliban will take part in the next Moscow-format meeting on Afghanistan. However, two Taliban officials told Daily Times that they have not taken a final decision about their participation in the consultations, which will be attended by regional countries including Pakistan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent invitations for the event to Afghanistan, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, the US and some other countries, TASS news agency reported.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has decided to send a delegation of the High Peace Council to the meeting.

The Moscow-format consultations were earlier scheduled to the held on September 4, but were postponed after Afghan government refused to attend on the plea that all meetings on Afghanistan should be Afghan-led. The US had also announced to stay away from the September meeting.

Diplomatic sources says Russia has extended invitation to US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zamaly Khalizad to attend the meeting.

Taliban political office in Qatar had earlier announced to attend the Sept 4 meeting. However, this time they were still undecided. “No decision has been taken yet. We do not know about the agenda. If the agenda remains the same that was shared earlier, we will definitely attend,” a Taliban leader said, requesting anonymity. “If the agenda is changed, we may stay away from the meeting. However, there is no final decision so far,” he said.

“To attend or not to attend … is yet to be known,” another Taliban leader said, who is familiar with the political consultations.

Taliban participation in the Moscow-format consultations is important for the insurgents as they would be viewed as a political entity in a very important meeting being attended by at least 11 countries. Taliban participation will also provide an opportunity for the Afghan peace council’s members to interact with them informally.

Diplomatic sources told Daily Times on Sunday that there is no specific agenda and all participants will be requested to share their views about political solution to the Afghan conflict.

It has been learnt that Pakistan will send an additional secretary to represent the country in the consultations. Earlier, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua was scheduled to lead Pakistani delegation at the meeting, but her name has been dropped due to pressing engagements at home.

Pakistan has long been insisting that it would take part in all events which help bring peace in Afghanistan and is joining the Moscow-format consultations as part of the same strategy.

Russia launched the Moscow-format consultations in 2017 as part of its diplomatic efforts to press for political solution to the Afghan problem. Russia has defended its contacts with the Taliban. Russia’s foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said in Moscow on Oct 25 that the main objective of these contacts is to ensure the safety of the Russian nationals in Afghanistan and contribute to the national reconciliation process. She also rejected claim by the US that Russia was providing support to the Taliban, adding that the US and some other nations also have ‘regular contacts’ with the Taliban. The Moscow-format meeting has assumed importance as it takes place at a time when the Taliban and the US officials have already held two meetings in Qatar. The Russian initiative could evolve a regional consensus on the political solution to the problem.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/318630/taliban-in-a-fix-over-moscow-meeting-on-afghan-peace/

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Taliban’s military commission chief for 3 districts of Faryab has died

Nov 05 2018

The military commission chief of Taliban for three districts of Faryab province Qari Yousuf has died, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said.

According to a statement released by MoI, Qari Yousuf who was also famous as Haqyar, was critically wounded during a clash with the security forces in Sherin Tagab district two days ago.

The statement further added that Qari Yousuf was the military commission chief of the Taliban for Khwajah Sabzposh, Sherin Tagab, and Dawlatabad districts.

According to the Ministry of Interior, Qari Yousuf died of his wounds late on Saturday night in Pashtun Kot district.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not commented regarding the report so far.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/talibans-military-commission-chief-for-3-districts-of-faryab-has-died-02683/

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Afghan forces clash with the Taliban militants in Chahar Bolak of Balkh

Nov 04 2018

A clash took place between the Afghan armed forces and the Taliban militants in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan late on Saturday night, the Afghan Military said.

The 209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the clash took place Chahar Bolak district, leaving at least five militants dead or wounded.

The statement further added that two militants belonging to Taliban’s shadow governor Gul Nabi were killed and three others were wounded during the clash in Gor Tapa area.

At least two motorcycles belonging to the militants were also destroyed during the clash, the 209th Shaheen Corps added in its statement.

In the meantime, the 209th Shaheen Corps said the Afghan forces discovered and defused an improvised explosive device during a separate operation in Burka district of northern Baghlan province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-clash-with-the-taliban-militants-in-chahar-bolak-of-balkh-02681/

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North America

 

‘US involved in op seeking regime change in Iran’

Nov 4, 2018

The United States is involved in “an ongoing operation” that seeks to bring about regime change in Iran, international lawyer and political analyst Barry Grossman tells Press TV.

“The United States is totally open about its plans for Iran, and it does not even try to make a secret of it,” Grossman, who is based on the Indonesian island of Bali, made the remarks in a live interview with Press TV on Sunday, the anniversary of the takeover of the US embassy in the Iranian capital, Tehran, back in 1979.

“It is an ongoing operation to interfere in domestic operations and to stir up dissent, political unrest, and disobedience all with an aim... [of causing] what it describes as regime change,” Grossman said.

He also said that the US government had proven to be an untrustworthy interlocutor.

“It is impossible for Iran to engage in any kind of ties or negotiations with the United States. It is impossible for Iran to trust the United States,” Grossman said.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579030/US-Iran-regime-change-Barry-Grossman-interview

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US unleashes ‘worst ever’ oil and financial sanctions on Iranian regime

4 November 2018

The United States reimposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran on Monday, significantly turning up the pressure on Tehran in order to curb its missile and nuclear programs and counter its growing military and political influence in the Middle East.

The Trump administration reimposes sanctions on the Iranian regime's energy, shipping and financial sectors, targeting over 700 entities.

Many of these companies were initially hit by Obama-era sanctions that were subsequently lifted when the US entered the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.

The move will restore US sanctions that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama, and add 300 new designations in Iran's oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors.

President Donald Trump announced in May that his administration was withdrawing from what he called the "worst ever" agreement negotiated by the United States. Other parties to the deal, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, have said they will not leave.

Details of the sanctions will be released at a news conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT) with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

China, India, South Korea, Japan and Turkey - all top importers of Iranian oil - are among eight countries expected to be given temporary exemptions from the sanctions to ensure crude oil prices are not destabilized.

The countries will deposit Iran's revenue in an escrow account, US officials have said.

The reimposition of the sanctions comes as the United States is focused on U.S. congressional and gubernatorial elections on Tuesday. Campaigning in Chattanooga, Tennessee, late on Sunday, Trump said his "maximum pressure" policy against Iran was working. "Iran is a much different country than it was when I took office," said Trump, adding: "They wanted to take over the whole Middle East. Right now they just want to survive."

Earlier, thousands of Iranians chanted "Death to America" at a rally to mark the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy during the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that Iran should implement policies to safeguard its macroeconomic stability in the face of sanctions.

Choice of date

According to some observers, the choice of date - Nov. 4 -  for the re-imposing of sanctions is a random choice.

But others argue that the date of the second round of sanctions is not coincidental, especially following the tweet of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who wrote: “Today marks the 39th anniversary of the US embassy takeover in Tehran, when more than 50 of our colleagues were taken hostage. Their courage & resolve over 444 days in captivity continues to underscore our commitment to compel Iran to permanently abandon its outlaw activities.”

On this day in 1979, the early days of the Iranian revolution against the Shah, a group of Iranian young men who were enthusiastic about the Khomeini movement stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and detained more than 50 American diplomats inside the embassy for 444 days, on 4 November 1979, and ended on 20 January 1981.

While all international conventions opposed and denounced what the radical students did at the start of the Iranian revolution storming the US embassy in 1979, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commanders celebrated today the anniversary of the storming of the embassy in speeches coinciding with the start of the second round of US sanctions on Sunday.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Why-November-4-a-chosen-date-for-Trump-s-sanctions-against-Iran.html

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US 'unilateral' anti-Iran sanctions aim at undermining Mideast peace: Syria

Nov 4, 2018

Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has denounced the US administration's bid to re-impose sanctions on Iran's vital oil and financial sectors, saying this move is in line with Washington's policies to undermine peace and security in the Middle East.

An official source at the ministry said in a statement on Sunday that a new wave of Washington's sanctions “reflects the US failure to deliver on its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" - the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

The US Treasury Department announced on Friday that all sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal would be back in force on November 5. This came after US President Donald Trump's decision in May to withdraw from the JCPOA.

According to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the sweeping sanctions will see 700 people blacklisted, including people who were granted relief under the JCPOA, as well as over 300 new names.

The White House also said it was "the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed" on Tehran. It targets both Iran and states that trade with it.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that Washington would allow eight countries to continue importing Iranian oil, but only at much lower levels after the re-imposition of sanctions. Iran is currently the third-largest producer among the members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The Syrian source also strongly blasted the US tendency to impose unilateral and coercive measures against countries, which refuse to succumb to its diktats.

According to the statement, the United States acts in a way that contravenes the UN Charter, international law and the multilateral trade system and magnifies the humanitarian suffering of nations hit by these sanctions.

The source expressed Syria’s solidarity and support for the Iranian government and nation and voiced confidence that the new package of sanctions will only make Iran more determined to abort the US “unethical policies.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that US policies and decisions are facing "practical opposition" across the world.

"Most countries except few ones have started opposing the US behavior, particularly over the re-imposition of unilateral sanctions," the top Iranian diplomat said.

In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said Moscow "resolutely" condemned a recent "destructive" move by the US to impose a new wave of sanctions on Iran, urging Washington to immediately review its policy of sanctions pressure against Tehran.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579077/Syria-Iran-Foreign-Affairs-Expatriates-US-sanctions

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Mideast

 

Jerusalem’s Catholic leaders seek repeal of Israel’s Jewish nation-state law

5 November 2018

Senior Catholic clerics in Jerusalem called Sunday for Israel to repeal a controversial law giving Jews a “unique” right to self-determination in the country.

“We must draw the attention of the authorities to a simple fact,” bishops and archbishops of the Roman Catholic, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic and Greek Melkite churches said in a joint statement.

“Our faithful, the Christians, our fellow citizens, Muslim, Druze and Baha’i, all of us who are Arabs, are no less citizens of this country than our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

The nation-state act was passed by parliament in July and forms part of Israel’s basic laws- a de facto constitution.

It speaks of Israel as the historic homeland of the Jews and demotes Arabic from its former status as an official language.

Because it omits any reference to equality or the country’s democratic nature, Israeli Arabs say it will legalize discrimination.

There were widespread Arab protests after it passed into law and some Jewish politicians said it should be amended.

President Reuven Rivlin said the act “in its current version is bad for the state of Israel and bad for the Jews”.

Arabs account for some 17.5 percent of Israel’s nearly nine million population.

“Christians, Muslims, Druze, Baha’i and Jews demand to be treated as equal citizens,” said the letter which was also signed by the Maronite archbishop of Cyprus and the Greek Melkite archbishop of Petra, in Jordan.

“We, as the religious leaders of the Catholic Churches, call on the authorities to rescind this basic law and assure one and all that the state of Israel seeks to promote and protect the welfare and the safety of all its citizens.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Jerusalem-s-Catholic-leaders-seek-repeal-of-Israel-s-Jewish-nation-state-law.html

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Iran to Europeans: Ready to cooperate in fight against terrorism

Nov 5, 2018

During a meeting with European diplomats, a senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official reiterates the Islamic Republic’s readiness to cooperate with European countries in fighting terrorism.

The meeting took place among the official, Norwegian and Swedish ambassadors to Tehran, and Denmark’s chargé d'affaires, the Ministry reported on its website on Sunday.

“At the meeting, it was announced that Iran was ready for comprehensive and expansive cooperation, including in security areas and implementation of joint fact-finding investigations, with the respective countries,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi.

The meeting was called following an armed attack against a military parade in the southern Iranian city of Ahvaz on September 22. Claimed by the al-Ahvaziya terror group, the attack killed 25 people, including a four-year-old child.

The Ministry official “laid emphasis on the responsibility borne by the countries (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) to confront terrorism,” Qassemi said. He also stressed “the unacceptability of [their] sheltering those who have officially claimed responsibility for the attack,” the spokesman added.

The gathering was also convened in the light of recent accusations leveled by Denmark against Iran of “plotting an assassination on the Danish soil,” and a similar previous accusation by France.

The meeting featured Tehran’s strong rejection of the accusations made against the country through “the Zionist regime [of Israel]’s machinations and devising of clumsy scenarios,” Qassemi said.

According to the spokesman, the issue of confronting terrorism was also a focus of an earlier meeting between the Netherlands’ ambassador and the Ministry’s deputy political director as well as recent phone calls between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his German, French, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish counterparts.

The Islamic Republic, Qassemi said, used the contacts to express preparedness towards identification of the terrorist elements, which had found havens across Europe.

The Dutch envoy Jacques Werner, meanwhile, said he had conducted the necessary coordination during the meeting concerning an upcoming visit to Iran by the Netherlands’ Deputy Foreign Minister Andre Haspels.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/05/579096/Iran-Europe-terror-fight

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Israeli court sentences Palestinian cancer patient to 13 months in prison

Nov 4, 2018

An Israeli court has handed down a jail term of 13 months to a young Palestinian cancer patient as prison authorities prevent Palestinian prisoners in poor health from receiving appropriate medical care and refusing to allow them to undergo urgent surgeries.

On Sunday, the Salem military base in the northern flank of the occupied West Bank issued the verdict against 22-year-old Ali Mahmoud Hanoun, who suffers from leukemia, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported.

The court also ordered Hanoun, a resident of the northwestern West Bank city of Qalqilya, to pay a fine of 3,000 shekels ($812).

Israeli military forces detained the cancer patient during an operation in March.

Israeli authorities claim that medical tests were performed on Hanoun following his detention, and the results showed that he no longer suffers from leukemia.

On August 10, the father of a Palestinian inmate accused the Israel Prison Service, commonly known in occupied territories by its acronym Shabas, of deliberately neglecting his son’s deteriorating medical situation and delaying the approval of an operation, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Azmi Annafaa, a local resident of the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin, is suffering from a bullet injury in his jaw, and urgently needs an operation before his face is disfigured.

He sustained the injury in 2015, when Israeli soldiers sprayed his car with bullets near Za’atara checkpoint south of Nablus, located approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds.

He was accused at the time of intentionally ramming his car into a group of Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint. An Israeli military court later sentenced him to 20 years in jail.

Meanwhile, the PPS says Israel has issued 33 orders for the so-called administrative detention against Palestinians.

The society confirmed that 23 out of the 33 administrative detention orders are renewed orders, while the remaining 10 detainees received detention orders for the first time or were re-detained after being released.

PPS added that the orders range from three to six months of prison.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, dozens of whom are serving multiple life sentences.

Over 500 detainees are under the so-called administrative detention, which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months, extendable an infinite number of times.

Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years without any charges brought against them.

Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to express their outrage at the detentions.

According to the Palestinian Information Center, at least 8,000 Palestinian minors have been arrested and prosecuted in Israeli military courts since 2000.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579064/Israeli-court-sentences-Palestinian-cancer-patient-to-13-months-in-prison

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Muslim scholars of the world gather in Istanbul to elect new leader

Nov 5, 2018

The General Assembly of Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) that brought together some of the renowned figures of the Muslim world, opened in Istanbul on Saturday.

During the six-day convention, the union will elect a new leader and new board members. It will also discuss challenges the world and the Muslim world in particular face.

In a speech addressing the convention that brings together more than 1,500 scholars from dozens of countries, Ali Erbaş, head of Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) said Muslims must work together to build a better future through "a realistic, constructive and holistic approach and a persuasive way."

He said Muslims across the globe are going through some difficult and uneasy processes due to the wars, poverty and terrorism.

In his speech, Erbaş also touched upon the importance of bringing Muslim scholars together to support each other and cooperate in areas like religious education, dissemination of religious knowledge, religious services for women, family and youth.

He added that terrorist organizations like the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the PKK, Daesh, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram are "damaging Muslims, our unity and future."

The chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Yousef al-Qaradawi said: "We pray that Turkey can become the administrative center of the Islamic world once again." He accused the West of plotting against Turkey to derail its advancement.

"Turkey is facing plots by those who don't like to see this nation [rising] and by the West," he said. "They would have succeeded [in their plots] but for Allah's support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his brothers," he said. "Allah will help Erdoğan to emerge victorious as long as true Muslims are standing by him," al-Qaradawi added.

Full report at:

https://www.dailysabah.com/istanbul/2018/11/05/muslim-scholars-of-the-world-gather-in-istanbul-to-elect-new-leader

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Turkish forces must leave for security, stability to prevail in Syria: Deputy FM

Nov 4, 2018

A high-ranking Syrian official has demanded that “occupation” forces from Turkey must leave, emphasizing that the troops must depart the territories of his conflict-plagued Arab country in order for security and stability to be restored there.

“The Syrian Arab army is the only party that stands against the Turkish occupation of the Syrian territories,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told the pro-government and Arabic-language al-Watan daily newspaper.

“We believe that these (Kurdish parties) should return to the spirit of citizenship and to believe in their homeland; not to use Americans, Israelis and others against the interests of their native soil,” he said when asked about calls by some Kurdish militant groups in the areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to stand against Turkish attacks.

Mekdad added, “The Syrian army stands with all groups, parties and tribes in order to tackle terrorism for the benefit of Syrian people.”

He stated that Syria will eventually emerge victorious over terrorism and its sponsors, and all areas will be liberated from the clutches of Americans, Turks and separatists, thanks to the high motivation and sacrifices made by the Syrian nation and Syrian army.

The senior Syrian official highlighted that the Damascus government cannot trust Turkish assurances, because Ankara’s objectives are colonial and expansionist.

“The Ankara government misleads the public opinion inside Turkey and in the (Middle East) region by announcing something but implementing something else,” Mekdad commented.

He further noted that Damascus will cooperate with new UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, if he avoids the “methods” of his predecessor Staffan de Mistura.

Mekdad went on to cite other conditions for his government' cooperation with Pedersen.

“He must declare his commitment to Syrian territorial integrity and to the people of the Syrian Arab Republic. He cannot take the side with terrorists like what his predecessor did. He should stand for the ideals and the superior values enshrined in the UN Charter, which aim at ensuring people's freedom within the framework of the fight on terrorism,” the Syrian deputy foreign minister said.

On October 31, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that he had appointed the Norwegian diplomat to serve as his Special Envoy for Syria, replacing outgoing envoy de Mistura.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579053/Turkish-forces-must-leave-for-security-stability-to-prevail-in-Syria-Syria-Deputy-FM

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Israel raids office of Palestinian Jerusalem governor

4 November 2018

Israeli forces raided the offices of the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem on Sunday, authorities said, after reports of an investigation related to a land sale.

Israeli authorities confirmed the raid in Al-Ram, just on the other side of Israel’s separation wall from Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, but provided few details.

It came after Israel’s detention of the Palestinian governor, Adnan Gheith, on October 20. He was released two days later.

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Jerusalem affairs minister, Adnan al-Husseini, told AFP that Israeli forces confiscated documents and material during the raid.

The same building houses his ministry and the governor’s office, both of which he said were raided in the first such Israeli action.

Palestinian government spokesman Yusuf Mahmud said it was a “dangerous escalation of the occupation and a flagrant violation of all international laws and agreements”.

Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said in a statement a joint raid with police and the army was over “illegal activity by the PA in Jerusalem”.

It said “various materials were seized which will be examined by security bodies.”

Asked to specify which illegal activity, the Shin Bet said only that all the Palestinian Authority’s activity in Jerusalem was illegal.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.

It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The Palestinian Authority has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in Al-Ram, with Palestinian Authority activities barred in Jerusalem itself.

Israeli media reported that the investigation follows the The Palestinian Authority’s arrest of a man last month accused of selling property in east Jerusalem to a Jewish buyer.

Such sales are highly controversial among Palestinians concerned with Israeli settlers buying property in east Jerusalem.

But among Israelis, there have been calls for authorities to free the man arrested by the Palestinian Authority over the sale.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Israel-raids-office-of-Palestinian-Jerusalem-governor-.html

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Amid renewed tension, US forces patrol Syria’s northeast near Turkish border

4 November 2018

US forces on Sunday patrolled an area in northeastern Syria bordering Turkey after renewed tensions between Ankara and Syrian Kurds, a spokesman and an AFP reporter said.

Three armored vehicles carrying soldiers wearing the US flag on their uniform arrived in the Kurdish-held northeastern border town of Al-Darbasiyah, the correspondent said.

Turkey last week raised threats against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, shelling their positions and flagging a possible new offensive.

The Kurds spearhead the Syrian Democratic Forces alliance, backed by the US-led coalition that has been fighting ISIS extremist group in Syria.

Coalition spokesman Sean Ryan said Sunday’s patrol was the second in a week, after a first one by US forces on Friday.

“The US forces’ assurance patrols enable us to maintain safety and security in the region,” he said, but are not carried out “on a regular basis”.

An SDF spokesman said the US patrols, in coordination with the SDF, were directly linked to recent tensions between the Kurds and Ankara.

“They are not routine patrols. They are directly linked to these threats. The objective is to call on Turkey to stop its aggression,” Mustefa Bali said.

Sunday’s patrols were headed towards Ras al-Ain, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) to the west of Al-Darbasiyah along the frontier, he said.

The US State Department has said it had been in touch with both the SDF and Turkey to push for de-escalation.

Turkey accuses Syria’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)- which form the backbone of the SDF- of being “terrorists”.

In what appeared to be an attempt by Washington to appease Turkey, US and Turkish troops on Thursday launched joint patrols on the outskirts of the northern city of Manbij.

Although the YPG claim to have pulled out of the city after the SDF seized it from ISIS in 2016, Ankara has recently complained that the group still has a presence there, repeatedly threatening military action.

On Wednesday, Turkish shelling of Kurdish positions in the Kobane sector of northern Syria killed four fighters, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

On Tuesday, two days after another round of shelling of Kurdish posts in northern Syria, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country had completed preparations for a new operation to “destroy” Kurdish fighters.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/04/Amid-renewed-tension-US-forces-patrol-Syria-s-northeast-near-Turkish-border.html

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Yemeni forces carry out Parachute landing in Maran mountain, Houthis’ stronghold

5 November 2018

The Yemeni national army, backed by the Arab coalition carried out a parachute landing by special forces and counterterrorism forces, in the mountains of Maran, south of the governorate of Saada, the military stronghold of the pro-Iranian Houthi militias. Major-General of the Special Forces, Colonel Ahmed al-Musabi, said that “the National army forces carried out an air landing on Thursday behind the enemy lines, during which they gained control of a number of positions in the mountainous region, paving the way for reinforcements to come in.

He added that the operation was “carried out by well-trained units” of the national army.

He pointed out that the Yemeni army forces are working in cooperation with the security forces to complete securing the liberated positions in the directorate of al-Dhaher, and the extraction of Houthi mines, in preparation for the return of citizens to their homes.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/11/05/Yemeni-army-executes-Parachute-landing-in-Maran-stronghold-of-Houthis.html

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Yemeni army makes strategic gains east of Hodeidah

4 November 2018

The Yemeni armed forces made strategic gains on Sunday after reaching al-Saleh city east of Hodeidah as fierce battles are being fought beyond the Kilo 19 area.

The Yemeni Defense Ministry said that those advances were made by the national army’s elite unit- the Giant Brigades- and local forces known by the name Tihama Resistance- loyal to Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and fighting alongside the Arab coalition backing the legitimate government.

The national army also took control of the “Yemen Mobile” roundabout, gaining control of the faculty of Engineering in the city.

The Yemeni army battled the Houthi militias on the southern entrance of Hodeidah after an offensive operation launched from al-Manar district.

Fierce battles also continue in several axes amid military field progress.

According to military sources, the Houthi militias suffered dozens of deaths and injuries among their fighters, as well as the destruction of ammunition and military equipment.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/11/04/Yemeni-army-makes-gains-en-route-to-strategic-city-of-Hodeidah.html

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Iran slams life sentence for Bahrain's opposition leader

Nov 4, 2018

Iran has slammed the decision by an appellate court in Bahrain to sentence prominent Bahraini Shia cleric and opposition leader, Sheikh Ali Salman, to life in prison, urging the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to stop its inhuman approaches.

"This verdict leaves no room for any doubt in public opinion and the international community that the Bahraini government does not seek to improve conditions, but intends to intensify suppression and further deteriorate the situation," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday.

He added that Sheikh Salman pursues moderate and peaceful approaches and avoids violence.

Instead of relying on other countries and applying security approaches, Bahraini officials better solve the "self-made crisis" in the country by holding real and serious talks with opposition groups and meeting the Bahraini people's legitimate demands, Qassemi said.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson also urged Bahraini authorities to end their inhuman behavior and restrictions on people.

Earlier on Sunday, the Bahraini court overturned the acquittal of the 52-year-old secretary general of the dissolved al-Wefaq National Islamic Society and two of his colleagues, Hassan Sultan and Ali al-Aswad, and levied charges of collaborating with Qatar “with the purpose of overthrowing the regime” against them.

The court went on to say that the trio had transferred confidential information to Qatar and received financial support in return. Sultan and Aswad were tried in absentia.

On November 1, 2017, Sheikh Salman and his two assistants were charged with “spying on behalf of a foreign country... with the aim of carrying out subversive acts against Bahrain and harming its national interests.”

Sheikh Salman was also charged with “revealing defense secrets to a foreign country and disseminating information that would harm Bahrain's status and reputation.”

The senior Shia Bahraini cleric has been in jail on a nine-year prison sentence since late 2014 for what the Manama regime has described as “insulting” government officials, “inciting” unrest through his speeches targeting the authorities during the 2011 uprising, attempting to overthrow the regime and collaborating with foreign powers.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579085/Qassemi-Sheikh-Ali-Salman-Iran-Bahrain-jail-court

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Child dies among 3 others in Saudi raids on Yemen

Nov 4, 2018

Saudi Arabian warplanes strike al-Hudaydah and Sa’ada Provinces in western Yemen, killing three people, including a child.

The aircraft targeted two displaced families in al-Hali District in al-Hudaydah, which lies along the country’s west coast, killing a couple and seriously injuring their child, Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported on Sunday.

Subsequent Saudi aerial bombing of the area prevented arrival of rescue workers to retrieve bodies from the rubble, the network’s correspondent reported.

In Sa’ada, a child was killed after Saudi jets released dozens of missiles against Haydan District.

Saudi Arabia and many of its allies started invading Yemen in March 2015 to restore power to its former Riyadh-friendly officials.

According to Yemen’s Health Ministry, more than 15,000 have died since the onset of the warfare. This is while various reports put the death toll far higher, saying a Saudi-enforced media blackout has prevented proper investigation into the number of the fatalities.

The war has maimed the impoverished country’s infrastructure, including health facilities.

The coalition maintains a closely-monitored blockade against al-Hudaydah’s capital, which takes in 70 percent of Yemen’s imports.

Reports say Saudi warplanes carried out over 80 airstrikes on Hudaydah in only a day. A Yemeni armed forces spokesman said the army thwarted "enemy’s attempts to penetrate the defenses in Hudaydah."

Since earlier in the week, it has intensified its attacks against the strategic port city. On Tuesday, it was reported that the Saudi-led allies had deployed 10,000 of their forces around the city, with an apparent intention to seize it entirely.

Also on Sunday, the United Nation’s children agency said Yemen had turned into a "living hell" for children.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579093/Yemen-Saudi-Arabia-airstrikes-Hudaydah-Saada

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Israeli forces seal off Palestinian city of al-Khalil

Nov 4, 2018

Israel forces have closed off several areas of the West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) under the pretext of marking an annual religious event, Palestinian media reports say.

According to the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency, large numbers of Israeli forces were deployed across the city to seal off various streets on Sunday.

Israeli soldiers and snipers also took up positions on rooftops to ease access for Israeli settlers to a religious site in the area.

Almost all shops and businesses were forcibly closed in the Bab al-Zawiya area and Beersheba and al-Shuhada streets.

Dozens of Israeli settlers raided Palestinian houses in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, also in al-Khalil city, and hurled stones at its residents

The restrictions and attacks come as thousands of pilgrims flock to tomb of the Patriarchs, the burial site of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his family. The site is revered by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.

Israeli media reports recently said that Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman plans to approve the construction of a new settlement in the Old City of al-Khalil, south of the West Bank.

The new settlement is to be established in an old Palestinian vegetables market in the Old City. Located in the center of al-Khalil, one of the largest cities in the West Bank, the Old City was divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas, known as H1 and H2, following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994.

The establishment of the new settlements comes in grave contravention of international law and a United Nations Security Council resolution against the Tel Aviv regime’s land grab policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

Al-Khalil is home to some 200,000 Palestinians, among whom several hundred Israeli settlers live under heavy guard.

Over the past months, Israeli forces have fatally shot many Palestinians in the occupied territories, claiming they sought to attack the Israelis. Tel Aviv has come under fire by rights groups for encouraging a shoot-to-kill policy.

In January, Human Rights Watch voiced deep concerns over the increasing number of Israeli officials encouraging troops to kill Palestinians even when they are not a threat.

The occupied Palestinian territories have particularly witnessed increased tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds in August 2015.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/04/579080/Palestine-alKhalil-Hebron-West-Bank-Prophet-Ibrahim

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Southeast Asia

 

China to face grilling at UN review over internment camps for Muslims

Nov 5, 2018

China will be grilled over its mass detainment of Uighur minorities during a UN human rights review on Tuesday, with Washington leading demands for Beijing to come clean on how many people are held in a sprawling network of camps.

As many as one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being kept in extra-judicial detention in China’s fractious far western Xinjiang region, according to estimates cited by a UN panel.

The centres where they are thought to be detained have come under increasing scrutiny this year, with rights activists describing them as political re-education camps. They say members of China’s Muslim minorities are held involuntarily for transgressions such as wearing long beards and face veils.

“The Human Rights Council must send an unequivocal message to the Chinese government that their campaign of systematic repression in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, including the arbitrary detention of up to one million people, must end,” said Patrick Poon, China researcher at Amnesty International.

All 193 United Nations member states must undergo a periodic review by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. China will present a report on its domestic human rights situation and on changes made since its last report in 2013, while diplomats from around the world will have the opportunity to ask questions — some of which have already been submitted.

One question by the US — which is leading demands for Beijing to come clean on the crackdown — says: “Can China clarify the basis for its apparent criminalisation of peaceful religious practices as justification to detain people in these political ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang, as well as which officials are responsible for this policy?”

Washington also wants Beijing to provide “the number of people involuntarily held in all detention facilities in Xinjiang during the past five years”.

Britain has asked when China will implement a UN racial discrimination panel’s recommendation that it “halt the practice of detaining individuals who have not been lawfully charged, tried, and convicted for a criminal offence in any extra-legal detention facilities”.

The US and Germany have requested UN access to Xinjiang and Tibet to investigate allegations of mass detention and restrictions on religious freedoms.

‘Like a prison’

Beijing previously denied the existence of such camps, but now defends them as “vocational education and training centres” where happy students study Mandarin, brush up on job skills, and pursue hobbies such as sports and folk dance.

Chinese officials say the facilities are part of efforts to combat terrorism, religious extremism and separatism in Xinjiang following unrest that left hundreds dead in recent years.

But an AFP investigation published in October showed that local authorities had bought gear for the centres including police batons, electric cattle prods, handcuffs, pepper spray, stun guns and razor wire.

The centres should “teach like a school, be managed like the military, and be defended like a prison”, said one official document, quoting Xinjiang’s party secretary Chen Quanguo.

“The Chinese government owes some answers to international questions about Xinjiang,” Maya Wang, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, told AFP.

The UN human rights review is a chance for countries to “focus their firepower on Xinjiang”, though its effectiveness will depend on “whether or not there is commitment from the states to push for accountability,” she added.

China will send a vice minister of foreign affairs, Le Yucheng, to head the delegation to the UN. Officials from Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Macau will also attend the review.

“China is willing to carry out constructive dialogue with all sides in an open and honest spirit,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters on Friday.

‘Double standards’

Beyond Xinjiang, China will also come under scrutiny for other aspects of its human rights record.

Since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, the Chinese government has cracked down on civil liberties and religious freedoms while ramping up digital surveillance.

In July 2017, dissident activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer while under police custody. In 2015, more than 200 Chinese human rights lawyers and activists were detained or questioned in a sweep known as the “709” crackdown.

That year also saw five Hong Kong-based booksellers known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders disappear, before they resurfaced in mainland China.

“China opposes human rights politicization and ‘double standards,’ and upholds international fairness and justice,” China said in a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council for the review.

“No country’s human rights situation is perfect. China still faces many difficulties and challenges in promoting and protecting human rights,” it said.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/11/04/china-to-face-grilling-at-un-review-over-internment-camps-for-muslims/

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Gov't Urges Public Not to Be Provoked by Actions of Banned Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia

November 01, 2018

Jakarta. The government has called for unity and asked the nation not to succumb to provocations by the banned mass organization Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.

This followed a meeting between Chief Security Minister Wiranto and related government ministries and institutions in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss a planned protest rally against the burning of the organization's flag by members of Banser, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, at a gathering in Garut, West Java, last month.

The flag displays the tawhid, or Islamic declaration of the Oneness of God, written in Arabic script in white against a black background, or sometimes with the colors reversed.

West Java Police confirmed that members of Banser burned a Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag but said the investigation was still ongoing. Banser and Nahdlatul Ulama have both since issued public apologies for the incident.

However, calls went out on social media platforms and popular messaging application WhatsApp this week for hardline Muslims to participate in the Defend Tawhid 211 rally in Central Jakarta on Friday.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, which means "Party of Liberation" in Arabic, is a global Islamist movement that seeks to unite all Muslim nations in a caliphate to "resume the Islamic way of life."

The organization is banned in several Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The Indonesian government disbanded HTI in July last year, but the organization fought the decision in the Jakarta State Administrative Court, which in May this year rejected its plea for a revocation of the ban.

"We urge the public to maintain national unity and not to succumb to the provocations of HTI, which was legally disbanded through a decree issued by the minister of justice and human rights on July 19, 2017," the government said in a statement on Thursday.

The government said Friday's planned rally was irrelevant against the background of the current situation, with the nation still mourning recent natural disasters that hit parts of West Nusa Tenggara and Central Sulawesi, killing thousands, as well as this week's crash of Lion Air flight JT-610.

Full report at:

https://jakartaglobe.id/news/govt-urges-public-not-to-be-provoked-by-actions-of-banned-hizbut-tahrir-indonesia/

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Malaysia sets example by abandoning the noose

November 5, 2018

Malaysia's decision to abandon the death penalty is winning praise and adds further momentum to a growing global trend that human rights advocates hope will spell an end to state-sanctioned killing.

But there's still a long way to go, particularly across Asia.

From Pakistan and India to Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam, executions for a range of crimes — murder and treason to drug trafficking and blasphemy — remain on the statute books.

Of the 53 counties that maintain the death penalty, about a quarter are in Asia, with China topping the world in the number of state-sanctioned killings. Figures remain a state secret, but rights groups say at least 2,000 people were executed by lethal injection or firing squad in 2017.

That's more than the rest of the world combined, but Beijing's methods pale when compared to North Korea where torture often precedes public executions.

The number of executions is also a state secret in the despotic communist state that is estimated to carry out 50-100 executions a year — by firing squad, hanging or decapitation — for crimes that include attempts to access unapproved media.

Pushing the Chinese and North Koreans into abandoning the death penalty might seem like a lost cause. But Malaysia has announced that by the end of this year it will become the 107th country to end capital punishment, a significant increase on 64 nations just two decades ago.

Some other Asian countries have also jettisoned the death penalty while several others have curbed its use or imposed moratoriums.

It was abolished in Cambodia in 1989 amid peace negotiations aimed at ending three decades of conflict amid fears that state-sanctioned executions could be used for retribution.

East Timor abandoned the death penalty, which it inherited from Indonesia, following a 1999 United Nations-sponsored vote on self-determination. The Philippines suspended the death penalty in 2006, Mongolia abolished it in 2017 and there is a moratorium on executions in South Korea.

Vietnam executed 1,134 people between mid-2011 and mid-2016, but the number of people currently on death row is not known. Thailand carried out its last execution in June, the first in nearly a decade.

Brunei retains the death penalty, but it has not been carried out since 1957, likewise in Laos, where the last known execution was in 1989, and in Papua New Guinea where there has not been a hanging since 1954.

Singapore ignores pleas

Malaysia announced its decision to end judicial killing on Oct. 10, the World Day Against the Death Penalty, saying the practice was inconsistent with national sentiment.

That begs the question as to why Singapore has not followed suit, as its population is at least as civilized as those across the causeway border.

The case of Singapore, like Japan and Taiwan, is disturbing because it ranks "very high" on the Human Development Index and lays claim to be part of the first world where capital punishment has mostly long been spurned. The United States is a notable exception.

But the island state, famed for its squeaky-clean streets, had no hesitation in hanging Malaysian drug trafficker Prabu Pathmanathan in late October, ignoring pleas for clemency in what was branded "an unlawful and brutal act."

In some countries, such as Pakistan, zealots claim religious justifications for the death penalty. In the Muslim-majority nation there were 65 hangings in 2017 and a total of 499 since it ended a moratorium in 2014.

Yet neighboring India has executed only five people since 1995, the last being in 2015 in relation to 1993 terrorist bombings.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, where there have been up to 20,000 extrajudicial "drug war" killings since he come to power in mid-2016, has indicated that the nation's suspension of official executions could be lifted.

In Myanmar — where all death sentences were commuted in 2014 — 66 people have been sentenced to death since Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won historic elections less than three years ago.

Religious excuses

While it is impossible to conduct a global survey, evidence suggests that most people in a majority of countries believe that the death penalty is wrong, with this view particularly strong among Christians.

There is little stomach for the Old Testament concept of an eye for an eye, even in Israel where capital punishment is law, yet only two executions have been carried out since it was founded in 1948; the last in 1962.

In countries where a strict form of Shariah is imposed, Islam is used to justify executions — which can include beheadings and stoning — primarily for intentional murder and Fasad fil-ardh, which means the spreading of mischief in the land.

Such attempted justifications are problematic in the 21st century with cultures clashing as much as the old with the new. Intentional murder convictions grant victims' families the right to judge the severity of sentences, undermining the power of the courts and their independence.

Meanwhile, the stated offense of trying to destabilise the state is open to interpretation and the whims of those in power. Saudi Arabia's treatment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is an example.

There is no shortage of people who believe criminals should forfeit their lives for heinous crimes.

But sovereign states have too often condemned the wrong people and ignored their own laws when sanctioning the deaths of people who were mentally incapable of understanding what they had done.

Brazilian drug trafficker Rodrigo Gularte was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic with psychotic tendencies. Yet he was executed by firing squad in Indonesia for drug trafficking three years ago despite his illness and lack of comprehension.

Father Charlie Burrows, an Irish Catholic priest who ministers to condemned prisoners, for three days tried in vain to explain to Gularte that he was soon to die. Father Burrows described Gularte as a quiet and sensitive man who finally understood.

Why should state-sanctioned killing be a state right?

Police and judicial systems are far from infallible as found in the United States where at least 20 people sentenced to death have been exonerated since the introduction of DNA testing.

And the steadfastness of the law is only highlighted publicly when death row inmates become politicized and cause diplomatic friction, such as with condemned foreigners like Prabu Pathmanathan.

There are 81 Nigerians on death row in Malaysia, but they are now to be spared. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whose government is abolishing the death penalty, was accused at the time of politically exploiting the 1986 hangings of British and Australian drug traffickers Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers.

The hanging in Singapore in 2005 of Van Nguyen, an Australian Vietnamese who was allegedly blackmailed into a narcotics ring to protect his troubled brother, was revolting. He turned state evidence amid promises this would go in his favor. It did not.

Such treatment is barbaric, particularly when meted out in narcotics cases where drug mules and other bit-players of syndicates are condemned while those in charge carry on with relative impunity from their home countries.

Great inroads have been made towards ridding the world of the death penalty and, in the meantime, curbing its use.

Malaysia, by announcing the scrapping of capital punishment, will be able to join other nations conforming to international norms in order to pressure those that don't, even China and North Korea.

In his last moments, as executioners strapped him to a post to be shot, Gularte turned to Father Burrows as the prospect of what was about to happen sank in.

Full report at:

https://www.ucanews.com/news/malaysia-sets-example-by-abandoning-the-noose/83755

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Govt committed to raise status of Langkawi, Kedah MB says

04 November 2018

KUBANG PASU, Nov 4 — The move to boost Langkawi as a duty-free zone proves the government under Pakatan Harapan (PH) is committed to continue defending the status of the tourism island as a duty-free haven.

In this regard, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said several proposals would be discussed with the federal government to propel Langkawi as an attractive tourist destination which could compete with the neighbouring countries such as Phuket in Thailand and Bali in Indonesia.

“Earlier, there were talks that the duty-free status of Langkawi maybe withdrawn by the previous administration. But in Budget 2019, we have been given the assurance that not only the status of Langkawi will remained, it will in fact be further enhanced.

“Besides the natural beauty and five-star hotels on the island, one of the other attractions of Langkawi is the duty-free status and we have submitted various ideas to the federal government for consideration,” he told reporters today.

In tabling Budget 2019 at Dewan Rakyat on Friday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced the government would be empowering the tourism sector of the country and among them was to expand the status of Langkawi as a tax free haven   

Earlier, Mukhriz who was closing the Kubang Pasu District Mosque Administration, Professionalism and Management course hoped the institution of mosques in Kedah could play a leading role to realise and translated the real values of Islam.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/s/1690014/govt-committed-to-raise-status-of-langkawi-kedah-mb-says

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Indonesia relations 'strong' despite Jerusalem embassy talk

Nov 5 2018

The Morrison government's consideration of moving its embassy to Jerusalem won't derail the bilateral relationship with Jakarta, Indonesia's Finance Minister suggested during a meeting with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in Canberra.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati, one of Indonesia's most senior politicians in the world's most-populous Muslim-majority country, declined to answer media questions directly about Prime Minister Scott Morrison's surprise announcement last month that Australia may follow the US President Donald Trump in relocating the embassy to Jerusalem.

Speaking more broadly, she said the Australia-Indonesia relationship was "robust" and would always have "ups and downs".

"I'm sure the Indonesia-Australia relationship will continue to be positive and strong," she said at Parliament House.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull warned on a visit to Bali last week that if the proposal was implemented "it would be met with a very negative reaction in Indonesia", after meetings with Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Mr Frydenberg, who is Jewish and personally supports relocating the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, said alongside Ms Mulyani that Australia had a close and important relationship with the world's fourth most populated country.

"It is a giant by any standard and the Indonesian economy continues to grow strongly with annual growth above 5 per cent," he said.

The two ministers signed a memorandum of understanding between the Australian Treasury and Indonesia's Ministry of Finance to strengthen policy and technical exchanges between government officials.

Full report at:

https://www.afr.com/news/indonesia-relations-strong-despite-jerusalem-embassy-talk-20181105-h17j2q

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Africa

 

Nigeria: Politicians Using Religion to Divide Nigerians, Says Cleric

4 NOVEMBER 2018

The Senior Pastor, Father's Touch Ministry Church, Nyanya, Abuja, Pastor Evans Idoko, has accused some politicians of using religion and ethnicity to divide Nigerians ahead of the 2019 election.

Idoko made the allegation in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.

"It's regrettable that the unity of Nigerian is strengthened during sporting activities and otherwise becomes the case during electioneering activities.

"It is an indication that politicians have taken pleasure in using religion to divide Nigerians against themselves for political or selfish reasons. It must stop forthwith! Nigerians must resist it because it will take us nowhere," he said.

He recalled with nostalgia how Muslims and Christians lived together peacefully some years back irrespective of religious or ethnic differences.

He said such divisions have been responsible for the obvious hatred among Nigerians, which, he said, has slowed down socio-economic and political development in the country.

"As 2019 political activities gather momentum, we appeal to politicians seeking elective offices to eschew hatred and bitterness, and promote courses that will promote peace and unity among Nigerians," he said.

Idoko advised that the church should take the front row in moblising Nigerians to participate in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

"It doesn't come by words alone. We have to take a step further to empower people educationally, financially and otherwise so they could have voice and knowledge to take their rightful place in Nigerian political and economic discussions," he said.

Nigerians scramble for Ghanaian "Garri" at Lagos Trade Fair

He explained that the church could partner with the Social Exchange Market, to disburse financial grant to citizens not minding their religion or ethnicity.

"We are all one body in Christ Jesus," he said.

The cleric said that such empowerment initiative should be borne out of utmost desire of the church to rekindle the hope of Nigerians.

He, however, encouraged churches, corporate organisations and individuals with financial ability, to assist to lift the poor off poverty so they could confidently participate in political and economic activities.(NAN)

Uwazurike urges Igbos to shun Nnamdi Kanu's no election broadcast

https://allafrica.com/stories/201811050039.html

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Boko Haram: Hunters gun down 8 terrorists in Borno village

November 4, 2018

By Maina Maina

Hunters and members of the civilian vigilante of Gubio, in Gubio local government area of Borno State, on Sunday, engaged members of the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

DAILY POST reports that the fierce fight resulted in the killing of eight (8) militants in the area.

Few days ago, the same hunters in collaboration with some members of the civilian JTF dealt decisively with some terrorists in the area killing several of them in their efforts to rid the local government and surrounding villages of the activities of the Boko Haram.

The attack and subsequent engagement of the Boko Haram terrorists today, Sunday evening at Gazabure village, is said to be another effort to clear the Boko Haram elements from the northern part of Borno.

Full report at:

http://dailypost.ng/2018/11/04/boko-haram-hunters-gun-8-terrorists-borno-village/

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Senator Shehu Sani reacts to Gov El-Rufai’s choice of Muslim as running mate

November 4, 2018

By Winifred Austin

The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, has said people of all faiths must be treated with equal respect and dignity.

This came in reaction to Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai’s choice of a Muslim as his running mate for 2019.

The Governor had announced former Secretary of Kaduna Primary Health Care Development Agency, PHCDA, Hajiya Dr Hadiza Balarabe as his new running mate for the 2019 election.

Balarabe would be replacing his present Deputy Governor, Bala Bantex, who is running for Kaduna South Senatorial seat on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Reacting to the development in his Twitter page on Sunday, the Kaduna lawmaker said Kaduna state is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state and that as such, none should be treated with contempt by any government or non-state actors.

Senator Sani, who recently moved to the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, and got the ticket to contest for the Kaduna Central senatorial seat after dumping the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), wrote, “Kaduna state is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state. We are a society of diversity. People of all faiths must be treated with equal respect and dignity.

Full report at:

http://dailypost.ng/2018/11/04/senator-shehu-sani-reacts-gov-el-rufais-choice-muslim-running-mate/

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Muslim leaders warn politicians against divisive referendum talk

Nov. 04, 2018

Muslim leaders have warned politicians against making divisive statements on the proposal to change the constitution through a referendum.

The leaders from different regions made the call after a two-day meeting at Jamia Mosque, Nairobi on Sunday.

They urged those pro and against constitutional change to recognise the right of all persons to their opinions.

"We ask that the politicians to consider making proclamations that will unite rather than divide the country," Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi said in a statement.

The National Muslim Leadership Forum chair further said they fully support the war on corruption adding that it must be carried out without any favour.

"Corrupt criminals must be dealt with, in accordance with the law, irrespective of their status, race, ethnicity, gender or religion," Abdi reiterated.

The lot said that for the war against corruption to succeed, "a sustained onslaught needs to demonstrate results particularly against top officials in public and private sectors."

They also resolved to fully engage in the preparation for 2019 national census "to ensure validity and justice in the exercise."

The Muslim leaders further said they will embark on a nationwide consultations to create awareness among the members.

A meeting is planned within 60 days with a larger national representation to broaden the consultations.

Abdi said they intend to "build strategic partnerships with other Kenyans on the basis of commonality of interest to promote cohesion, justice, equity and inclusivity."

Full report at:

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/11/04/muslim-leaders-warn-politicians-against-divisive-referendum-talk_c1845405

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Jordan says Israel wants to discuss border land deals

5 November 2018

Jordan said on Sunday, that Israel had asked for consultations on a special land deal agreed in their peace treaty that the Jordanian government wants to end.

Under the peace treaty, two border areas were recognized to be under Jordanian sovereignty but gave Israel special provisions to use the land and allow Israelis free access.

Jordan formally notified Israel two weeks ago it would not renew the 25-year deal over Baquora where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River and in the Ghumar area in the southern Wadi Araba desert where Israeli farmers have large plantations.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Reuters after the decision the kingdom was waiting for Israel to invoke a provision in the peace treaty to hold consultations after giving notice before the deadline.

Petra state news agency quoted government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat as saying Jordan had received the Israeli request but did not say when the discussions would begin.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Jordan’s move and said his country sought to enter negotiations on the possibility of extending the arrangement.

The 25-year special regime would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement.

Safadi said the deal, which was signed in November 1994, had been conceived as a temporary arrangement from the start. The kingdom had contemplated the move for a while before the Nov. 10 deadline.

King Abdullah, who stressed the territories were Jordanian lands and would remain so, said the move was made in the “national interest” at a period of regional turmoil.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/11/05/Jordan-says-Israel-wants-to-discuss-border-land-deals-1752.html

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Hamas hails Tunisian court ruling against Israeli visit

04.11.2018

Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has welcomed a Tunisian court ruling banning the entry of an Israeli delegation into Tunisia.

The delegation was scheduled to take part in the conference of World Forum Interfaith Dialogue Ambassadors, due to be held on Nov. 4-8.

But on Friday, the Tunis-based Court of First Instance ruled to prevent the Israeli delegation from entering the country to attend the event.

“We appreciate the great Tunisian people and all the Tunisian organizations that worked hard for allowing the issuance of this decision,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Twitter.

The issue was brought to the court by the National Commission for the Support of Arab Resistance, an NGO, the Republican Party and the People's Movement against the country's Tunisian Scouts -- the forum's organizers.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/hamas-hails-tunisian-court-ruling-against-israeli-visit/1302394

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