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Books and Documents

Islamic World News (04 Dec 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Federal Territories (Malaysia) Mufti: Nothing Wrong In Wishing Merry Christmas


















Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri

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Federal Territories (Malaysia) Mufti: Nothing Wrong In Wishing Merry Christmas

Saudi Arabia’s New Security Apparatus Quotes King Salman: No Place for Radicals

Kartarpur Corridor: Indian Punjab’s CM Sends Goodwill Message to Pakistan Punjab Assembly Speaker

Army Supporting PTI Govt, Says PM Imran

Report Says Rohingyas Should Only Return If There Is Security, Citizenship

 

Southeast Asia

Federal Territories Mufti: Nothing Wrong In Wishing Merry Christmas

Indonesia’s Largest Islamic Group Demands Recall of Saudi Envoy over Tweet

Jokowi Coalition Remains Confident Despite 212 Rally

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Arab World

Saudi Arabia’s New Security Apparatus Quotes King Salman: No Place for Radicals

Arab Coalition Rescues 102 Child Recruits from Houthi Militia in Yemen

Defections Intensify among Tahrir Al-Sham Terrorists in Northwestern Syria

Turkish Army Extends Range of Attacks against US-Backed Kurdish Militants in Manbij

Terrorists Destroy Several Bridges in Aleppo to Stop Syrian Army Advance

Scores of ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Mop-up Operation, US-Made Weapons Seized in Sweida Desert

Syrian Army Targets Terrorists, Preempts Attacks on Gov't Forces in Northern Hama

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India

Kartarpur Corridor: Indian Punjab’s CM Sends Goodwill Message to Pakistan Punjab Assembly Speaker

250 Odd Terrorists Still Active In Jammu & Kashmir: DGP Dilbagh Singh

Bulandshahr Violence: Son of a Policeman, He Had Probed Lynching Of Dadri Victim Akhlaq

China welcomes India, Pakistan’s efforts to open Kartarpur Corridor

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Pakistan

Army Supporting PTI Govt, Says PM Imran

Trump Seeks Pakistan’s Help in Negotiating Afghan Peace

PML-N, PPP term PM’s interview disappointing

CTD registers FIR regarding 'stolen' car explosion in Karachi

Speaker struggling to break stalemate over PAC chairmanship

PM Khan talks economy, governance and civil-military ties in wide-ranging TV interview

TLP moves Peshawar High Court against workers’ detention

US special envoy due in Islamabad today for Afghan peace talks

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South Asia

Report Says Rohingyas Should Only Return If There Is Security, Citizenship

Bangladesh Court Records Testimony of 1st Witness in 2016 Terror Attack Trial

Rohingya Muslims Victims of Genocide - US Human Rights Lawyers

NDS foil bid to assassinate religious scholar in Kabul city

Taliban’s shadow governor for Ghor has reportedly been killed

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Europe

UK Ethnic Minorities Up To Twice As Likely To Face Racial Bias, Report Finds

Bulgarian Minister of Defence: Four Countries Fund Radical Islam in Bulgaria

Palestine's Abbas, Pope discuss Middle East at Vatican

UN Security Council to meet on Iran missile test

France concerned by ‘provocative, destabilizing’ Iranian ballistic missile test

Formal probe launched in UK against anti-Iran TV station

Turkish Justice Ministry official in London recalled

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North America

CIA Chief to Brief Lawmakers On Khashoggi Murder: Report

Pompeo Pressured To Declare Rohingya Muslim Killings in Myanmar ‘Genocide’

Prince Khalid: Hezbollah helped Iran in ‘killing dozens of Americans’

US airstrike kills Islamic State figure in Syria, American military says

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Mideast

North Caucasus Muslim Envoys Visit Turkish Parliament

Gaza Court Says Six Sentenced To Death For Collaboration With Israel

Israel military says to expose Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanon

Israeli Knesset member, dozens of settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque

Houthis use children to fuel war, Yemen’s PM tells UNICEF regional director

Iran opposes US-drafted resolution against Palestinian resistance Hamas: FM

Saudi unwilling to shed old delusions, paying price for own mistakes: Iran

Israel forces attack new freedom flotilla in Gaza, dozens injured

Israel increased airstrikes, abductions, and demolitions in November: PLO report

Arab journalists hail Turkey's moves on Khashoggi case

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Africa

Saudi-Algerian Higher Council to Coordinate Counter-Terrorism Efforts

Nigeria's president rejects rumours of his death

Boko Haram raid kills two soldiers in NE Nigeria

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/federal-territories-(malaysia)-mufti--nothing-wrong-in-wishing-merry-christmas/d/117061

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Federal Territories (Malaysia) Mufti: Nothing Wrong In Wishing Merry Christmas

4 Dec 2018

PETALING JAYA: There is nothing wrong in wishing Christians “Merry Christmas”, said Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri

The Federal Territories Mufti pointed out Muslims are permitted to do so when it is a congratulatory expression on the celebration of other faiths without glorifying their religion.

“It is no more than a mere greeting to express happiness and enjoyment upon seeing the happiness of those celebrating.

“Muslims can wish Christians (Merry Christ­mas), provided they don’t glorify the latter’s religion,” he said when contacted.

He cited the Muzakarah National Fatwa Committee Council in Islamic Affairs’ 78th meeting in 2007 that had concluded that sending greetings through cards, emails or text messages to non-Muslims during their festive seasons was permissible, as long as such greetings did not glorify non-Muslim faiths or use religious symbols.

“It is important to create more awareness on this matter so that no confusion arises.

“Living in harmony with people of other religions is important,” Dr Zulkifli said.

Dr Zulkifli had already clarified the issue in 2016.

In 2014, certain conservative Muslim groups had said that Muslims should not greet Merry Christmas to Christians.

They had cited Islamic scholars who described the greeting as haram (forbidden).

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/12/04/ft-mufti-nothing-wrong-in-wishing-merry-christmas/

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Saudi Arabia’s new security apparatus quotes King Salman: No place for radicals

4 December 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Presidency of State Security, the kingdom’s security body which was created in 2017, posted for the first time on Twitter on Tuesday, reaffirming the kingdom’s rejection of radicals who use the war on extremism to spread their own radical goals.

The security apparatus quoted Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz who had that there is no place for those who see Saudi Arabia’s war on extremism as a means to spread chaos and disintegration, and those who exploit religion to spread their own goals.

The kingdom’s Presidency of State Security quoted King Salman who had said: “There is no place among us for a radical who sees moderation as impiety, and exploits the noble doctrine to achieve his goals. And there is no place among us for a degenerate who sees in our war on extremism a means to spread disintegration, and who exploits the ease of religion to spread his own goals.”

The security body combines the counterterrorism and domestic intelligence services under one roof. It is concerned with all matters related to state security, and is overseen by the king.

In another tweet on its official Twitter page, the security apparatus also quoted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who had said that the kingdom will eliminate the remnants of extremism “in the near future.”

“We will eliminate the remnants of extremism in the near future. I do not think this poses a challenge. We represent the values of tolerance, and moderation, and we have a right in everything we face,” the crown prince had previously said.

The Presidency of State Security is meant to enable the Interior Ministry to provide the best services to citizens and residents in all sectors. The new presidency will be able to focus on the fight against terrorism on the security and intelligence levels, as well as monitor its financing.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2018/12/04/Saudi-King-Salman-No-place-for-radicals-using-war-on-extremism-to-spread-chaos.html

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Kartarpur Corridor: Indian Punjab’s CM Sends Goodwill Message to Pakistan Punjab Assembly Speaker

Dec 3, 2018

LAHORE: A 10-member delegation of the Indian Medical Association, led by its president, Professor Ravi Wankhadeker, called on Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on Monday and delivered him a goodwill message from Indian Punjab’s Chief Minister Captain (r) Amarinder Singh on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.

The delegation also met Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

Speaking on the occasion, Ch Parvez Elahi said that opening of the Kartarpur Corridor would enable the Sikh community to easily reach their holy sites in Pakistan.

“The government of Pakistan attaches importance to all holy places of Sikhs, and the pilgrims are provided with all facilities during their stay in the country.”

Better relations between the two neighbouring countries would be advocated, he added.

Professor Ravi Wankhadeker said that Elahi’s establishment of Rescue 1122 Emergency Service, provision of free medicines and medical facilities in the hospitals besides other revolutionary measures in the health sector were a proof of his determination to serve the masses.

Among other delegates were Indian Medical Association Vice President Professor Bakhshi, Professor Virk, Professor Faisal Ghani, Nepal Society of Surgeons President Prof Bakhshi Verma, Prof Abdul Majeed Choudhry, Dr Sabeena and Dr Meena.

The Indian Medical Association delegation is in Lahore on a three-day visit to participate in a medical symposium.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/12/03/kartarpur-corridor-indian-punjabs-cm-sends-goodwill-message-to-parvez-elahi/

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Army supporting PTI govt, says PM Imran

Dec 4, 2018

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is not facing any issues as far as the civil-military relations are concerned, adding that the army has supported all decisions that he has taken till now.

The prime minister said this during a pre-recorded interview with a select group of TV journalists. He spoke on various subjects of national importance, including the state of the economy, civil-military relations, governance issues and Pakistan’s bilateral relations with the US, India and other countries, in the wide-ranging interview broadcast on Monday.

“The armed forces of the country are standing by the manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI),” said the premier, expressing confidence over cooperation among different state institutions.

“There isn’t a single decision that I haven’t taken on my own, and there’s not a single decision that doesn’t have the support of the army.”

The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was a significant decision of the government to defuse tensions with India and open new doors of bilateral relations with the neighbouring country, he said.

To a question, he said Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is standing steadfastly by the government and a meeting had been scheduled between him, Gen Bajwa and Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) president Sardar Akhtar Mengal to address the missing persons’ issue. However, Mengal could not make it to the meeting, he said.

“But for the record, Gen Bajwa has given me full assurance regarding resolving the missing persons’ issue,” Khan said.

Commenting on Pakistan’s foreign policy, PM Imran said, “We want to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia to end the war in Yemen.”

The PM also revealed that he had received a letter from US President Donald Trump urging Pakistan to bring the Afghan Taliban to the talks table.

“In the letter, Trump has asked Pakistan to play its role in Afghan peace talks which are aimed at catalysing an end to the 17-year invasion of Afghanistan by US troops,” the premier said and reiterated that Pakistan will play its role to end the war in Afghanistan.

He also vowed that the country would not become a part of any outside war.

‘DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT RUPEE DEVALUATION’:

Speaking about the current hike in the value of dollar, PM Imran revealed that the SBP did not ask the government before devaluing the rupee.

“I found out about the dollar hike through TV,” he said.

The rupee suffered a sharp devaluation in the interbank market on Friday, dropping to its lowest value ever against the US dollar at Rs144 before the State Bank intervened to raise its level to Rs136.5-137.5,

“Earlier as well when the price of dollar touched a record-high against the rupee, I was not informed beforehand. The central bank had devalued the currency and it’s an institution which overlooks these matters,” he added.

“Please remember, we are trying to make institutions autonomous,” he said.

“We have made SBP autonomous, they took the decision because they deem it fit,” PM Imran said, but acknowledged that situations such as a sharp drop in the value of the rupee create “uncertainty”.

He said the previous Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government had left a trade deficit of $19 billion, which increased from a previous deficit of $2.5bn.

“The PML-N govt had spent $7bn to maintain the value of the rupee,” he said.

“I have conveyed a message to the SBP to keep us in the loop so we can give our input,” the prime minister said. “The [rupee] adjustment is a temporary phenomenon. We are facing a crisis in foreign exchange. Our indicators are now in the right direction, we will not face the issue in the future.”

‘EARLY ELECTIONS POSSIBLE’:

Hinting at possible changes in the federal cabinet in the next 10 days, PM Imran, interestingly, said that early elections in the country cannot be ruled out.

The PM said that all ministers have reported their achievements to him and that he will review their performance during the ongoing week. “We might change some ministers,” he cautioned.

The prime minister said the country is currently facing crises on multiple fronts and all institutions are running in losses.

“As per the Singapore model, we will incorporate these institutions into holding companies,” he said. “Our performance in the given scenario is exemplary. You will see stability in the coming days.”

When asked about the issues facing the business community, Khan said Pakistan is lagging behind when it comes to ‘ease of doing business’.

“We are trying to create a [positive] environment. We are establishing an office entitled ‘ease of doing business’ to provide a one-window solution to investors and to resolve their issues,” he said. “Though it is a slow process, we are trying our best.”

He said the government will provide incentives to the industry.

He quoted the Chinese ambassador as saying that China is making investment contracts with Pakistan for the first time.

“China created export zones with foreign investment and local labour. We want to replicate the same model.”

‘NO NEPOTISM INVOLVED’:

Speaking about a case of alleged abuse of power against federal minister Azam Swati, PM Imran said he does not interfere in the matters of institutions to protect anyone.

“We will obey the court orders. Azam Swati will resign if found guilty,” he said.

He was also asked about the role allegedly played by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in the transfer of former Pakpattan district police office Rizwan Gondal.

“What is wrong if the chief executive of a province calls a police officer to inquire about the alleged abuse suffered by somebody’s daughter, who happens to be the daughter of Bushra begum, at the hands of police?” Khan questioned in response.

Imran expressed “regret” over remarks by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar in which the top judge pointed to alleged nepotism on the PM’s part in the appointment of Zulfi Bukhari as PM’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

He said the nation would have to decide whether “it wants to let corruption prevail”.

The premier cited the example of China in ridding itself of corruption. “China is sailing past the US in economy, they have convicted 400 ministers during the past five years,” he noted.

Khan said the major hurdle in his government’s anti-corruption plans are some “old-minded bureaucrats” who are “going slow [and] creating an impression that the government will not be able to run”.

“We have recovered land worth trillions of rupees,” he said. “Mafias are behind real encroachments. We have asked the authorities not to target poor people, but the mafias.”

“FBR, FIA and the anti-corruption [watchdog] are working under the government. We have signed agreements on data sharing of each others’ citizens with 26 countries.”

‘WILL UNMASK CORRUPTION’:

Sharing an “interesting aspect” of the drive, Khan said the UAE and Saudi Arabia had refused to share the data of Pakistani iqama holders saying it was equivalent to sharing their citizenship information. “Now, you’ll know why iqamas were sought secretly,” he remarked.

“My goal is across-the-board accountability and I’m willing to shake hands with anyone who won’t object to that,” he said.

The prime minister said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was an autonomous body and the government had no say in its affairs in any way. “My political opponents have been after us since day one as they fear that their massive corruption will be unmasked,” he remarked.

PM Imran also warned of stern laws against money laundering. “Big names will soon be revealed, and the opposition can walk away if they cannot support us,” he remarked.

He also stressed that the government will not let National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif become the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

“We will not grant any NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] to anyone,” PM Imran said. “The country was looted in the past in the name of the Charter of Democracy.”

However, he refrained from responding when asked if Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari is going to jail, saying he wanted to give all ‘thieves’ as little time as possible.

OF U-TURNS & ‘CHICKEN AND EGG ECONOMY’:

In response to a question regarding his recent statement on ‘chicken and egg economy model’, the prime minister said the actual poverty is in rural areas of the country, “that’s why we need to empower rural people. Halal food industry, for instance, should be exploited at its optimum.”

“We are working to introduce a uniform education and health system, which will provide equal opportunities to all,” he remarked, adding that the government will introduce health cards throughout the country, as well as a legal aid service to bring professional legal help within the reach of the masses.

Responding to a question on the formation of a new province in Punjab, the premier maintained that the formation of South Punjab province is a lengthy phase, and will take time.

Imran Khan once again defended his inclination towards reversing his own decisions, saying, “People always blame me for taking U-turns, I have never denied that and I don’t think of it as a bad thing. What’s wrong in changing the strategy to achieve your goals?”

The PM said he decided to travel abroad only when he knew the visit would be beneficial for Pakistan’s economy. “Right now everyone abroad is aware that our economy is destroyed. So, my focus is on fixing that before touring abroad.”

On a question pertaining to crackdown on Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), PM Imran said, “We tried our best to hold talks with TLP leadership and deal with the situation peacefully, but to no avail.” No country in the world would allow anarchy and chaos which followed the acquittal of Aasia Bibi, he added.

PM Imran also said he intends to turn the PM House into a post-graduate university.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/12/03/state-bank-depreciated-rupee-value-without-telling-gov-pm/

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Report says Rohingyas should only return if there is security, citizenship

December 3rd, 2018

The Rohingya community has continually expressed their unwillingness to return to Myanmar unless their security, basic human rights and citizenship are ensured.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN refugee agency, has repeatedly stated at different levels that the repatriation of the Rohingyas should be premised "upon the free and informed decision by refugees, on an individual basis, to return", reports UNB.

In the latest report by Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) that is coordinating the overall Rohingya refugee crisis, the refugees’ sentiments remain the same.

The report says: “The refugee return should only take place at their freely expressed wish and based on relevant and reliable knowledge of the conditions within the country of origin and the area of return.”

The report on the Rohingya situation in Cox's Bazar district is from November 13-26, ISCG said on Monday.

More than 14,922 new arrivals were reported from January 1 to November 15, 2018, the ISCG report quoted UNHCR.

UNHCR advised all the partners that they could refer refugees having questions on returning to the two UNHCR offices in the Kutupalong and Nayapara Registered Camps, the UNHCR protection hotline and UNHCR protection staff in the camps.

On August 25, 2017 extreme violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar drove over 700,000 Rohingyas across the border into Cox's Bazar in span of a few months.

The people and government of Bangladesh welcomed the Rohingyas with resounding generosity and open borders, the report reads.

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2018/12/03/report-say-rohingyas-should-only-return-if-there-is-security-citizenship

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Southeast Asia

 

Indonesia’s largest Islamic group demands recall of Saudi envoy over tweet

December 4, 2018

Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), has demanded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Indonesia be recalled from the country following his controversial tweet about a rally organized in Jakarta on Sunday by Islamists groups.

“[We] urge the Indonesian government to send a diplomatic note to the Saudi Arabian government to recall the ambassador, Usamah Muhammad Al-Syuaiby, as punishment for his reckless move to interfere in a matter of national politics,” NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj said in a press briefing on Monday.

On Sunday, a group calling itself the “212 Rally Alumni” organized a mass rally at the National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta to commemorate the second anniversary of the 2016 rally that demanded then Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama be prosecuted for blasphemy. Ahok was subsequently convicted and imprisoned.

Hours after the rally on Sunday, Ambassador Usamah posted photos of the rally on his Twitter account, @Os_alshuibi, accompanied by a caption in Arabic, which could be translated as: “The action of millions of Muslims as a reaction to the burning of a flag bearing the tawhid text by a deviant organization.”

The tweet referred to an incident in October, in which members of the NU's youth wing, Banser, burned a flag that had an Islamic text on it.

The tweet had been deleted on Monday afternoon but it sparked protests from the central board of the NU, the parent organization of Banser.

The NU’s Said also accused the ambassador of intentionally spreading slander in alleging the flag burning was done by members of a "jamaah al-muharifah", which means deviant organization. The NU chairman said the “rogue members” of the organization had been duly punished. “We also have regretted the burning.”

Said lambasted the ambassador, saying he had committed a "serious diplomatic violation" by getting involved in internal Indonesian affairs, in violation of his authority. "This clearly undermines Indonesia-Saudi Arabia relations," he went on.

Ahmad Suryana, a communication staffer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Jakarta, told journalists on Monday that the embassy had yet to make any comment about the ambassador's tweet. "We will let you know tomorrow," he said. (evi)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/12/03/indonesias-largest-islamic-group-demands-recall-of-saudi-envoy-over-tweet.html

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Jokowi coalition remains confident despite 212 rally

December 4, 2018

Members of the coalition endorsing the President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Ma’ruf Amin ticket shrugged off the call on Muslim voters to shun presidential candidates and political parties that supported former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama at a rally on Sunday, organized by a group calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni.

The call was a strong reference to Jokowi, who led Jakarta together with Ahok between 2012 and 2014, as well as most parties in the Jokowi coalition. Ahok, Jakarta’s first ethnic Chinese and second Christian governor, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for blasphemy following a series of rallies in 2016 organized by the 212 movement to demand his prosecution.

Billed as a “reunion”, the rally, attended by hundreds of thousands of marchers, quickly turned into a political arena for opposition leaders and outspoken critics of the Jokowi administration.

Komarudin Watubun, chairman of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), said actions against a nationalist party in Indonesia were not unusual. He was of the opinion that the PDI-P would not be affected much because eventually the hubbub would die down.

“I think we also wouldn’t need to anticipate problems from this because our voters are also Muslims. They are rational and mature Muslims. They are used to facing issues like this,” he said in Jakarta on Monday.

He believed that a straightforward call like this would backfire on presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto’s supporting parties because such aggressiveness could discourage prospective voters.

“After all, the call was conveyed to people who were against the PDI-P from the beginning. So, it would not affect our voters as each party has its own base,” he said.

Prabowo’s coalition includes the Gerindra Party, Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), National Mandate Party (PAN) and Democratic Party.

NasDem Party secretary-general Johnny G. Plate said the call was predictable given that the 212 movement’s leaders were also opposition leaders. “Of course there could be an electoral impact for us but it would not be significant enough to affect Jokowi’s electoral base,” he said.

Jazilul Fawaid, executive of the National Awakening Party (PKB), another member of the Jokowi coalition, suspected a potential violation of the Elections Law during the rally.

“For me, reunions are usual; people come together. However, reunions do not usually involve a political agenda,” he said without elaborating on the details.

After the rally, politicians with the Prabowo coalition expressed their gratitude because the rally had run smoothly and peacefully. Prabowo’s running mate, Sandiaga Uno, who was in Magelang, Central Java, at the time of the rally, said he believed the rally would boost Jakarta’s economic growth.

PAN chairman Zulkifli Hasan, who is also the People’s Consultative Assembly speaker, said the rally was proof that Indonesian Muslims were tolerant, as evidenced by the peaceful spectacle. “No one was harmed and no building was destroyed,” he said on his Instagram account.

During the rally, a video featuring leader Rizieq Shihab, who is residing in Saudi Arabia, was shown. He said it was haram (forbidden) to vote for presidential and legislative candidates backed by Ahok’s supporting parties, based on edicts issued by religious leaders. The Islam Defenders Front also endorsed the anti-Jokowi movement, bearing the moniker#2019GantiPresiden ( 2019ChangePresident ).

A political communication expert from Paramadina University, Hendri Satrio, said in consideration of Ahok’s defeat in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election to Anies Baswedan, the call for Muslim voters should be taken into account by Jokowi’s coalition. “The problem is the non 212 who came to the reunion,” he said.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/12/04/jokowi-coalition-remains-confident-despite-212-rally-reunion.html

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Arab World

 

Arab coalition rescues 102 child recruits from Houthi militia in Yemen

December 03, 2018

RIYADH: The Arab Coalition fighting to support the legitimate government in Yemen said it rescued and rehabilitated 102 child recruits from Houthi militia.

Speaking at a weekly press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Monday, spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki affirmed that the coalition is continuing its fight against Al-Qaeda and Daesh in Yemen.

He also said the coalition was continuing to grant permits to Yemeni ports and airports, however he added that Hodeidah port has been clear of ships for the past three days because the Iranian-backed Houthi militia has blocked vessels from entering.

Col. Al-Malki said 14 permits have been issued for ships heading to Yemeni ports, carrying food and petroleum products.

He added the coalition had issued 23 air permits, 14 maritime permits, 6 land permits, and 61 permits to protect convoys, a total of 104 permits, within 72 hours.

The coalition spokesperson added that there are five ships waiting to enter the port of Hodeidah and Salaf, and the waiting period is 26 days.

“The Houthi militia are affecting the Yemeni people by deliberately disrupting the entry and unloading of these five vessels,“he said.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1414926/saudi-arabia

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Defections Intensify among Tahrir Al-Sham Terrorists in Northwestern Syria

Dec 03, 2018

The Arabic-language al-Mayadeen reported that a large number of Tahrir al-Sham's militants have defected to Horras al-Deen West of Idlib city.

It further underlined widening rifts among Tahrir al-Sham militants, and said that those gunmen, who oppose the decisions of the ringleader of the terrorist group, Abu Mohammad al-Joulani, have threatened to defect to Horras al-Deen all together if Tahrir al-Sham continues to lean on Turkey.

Al-Mayadeen went on to say that a large number of non-Syrian members of Tahrir al-Sham have joined Horras al-Deen and Turkistani Islamic Party after Tahrir al-Sham colluded with Turkish intelligence service to hunt foreign members of the group in return for the guaranteed survival of Joulani and his group in case of an international agreement.

The TV Channel said that clashes are likely to break out soon between Horras al-Deen and Tahrir al-Sham after the recent defections.

Informed sources said last week that Tahrir al-Sham Hayat and Ahrar al-Sham terrorist groups resumed and intensified their clashes over a strategic road in the Southern part of Idlib province.

Heavy clashes broke out between Tahrir al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham militants on the outskirts of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman in Southern Idlib, field sources reported.

The sources noted that the infighting broke out after Tahrir al-Sham entered Heish region controlled by Ahrar al-Sham and set up an inspection post there. Ahrar al-Sham also targeted and pounded Tahrir al-Sham's post and put their forces on alert.

Tahrir al-Sham also hit the military posts of the National Liberation Front in Babolin area in Heish region, they added.

The sources also pointed to the preparations by Tahrir al-Sham Hayat to launch a large-scale military operation in the region, and said Tahrir al-Sham aims to seize control of the international highway passing through Ma'arat al-Nu'aman city.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970912000901

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Turkish Army Extends Range of Attacks against US-Backed Kurdish Militants in Manbij

Dec 03, 2018

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that the Turkey-backed militants targeted 12 gathering points of the Manbij Military Council in the villages of al-Dadat, al-Halounji, al-Mohsenli, Toukhar Kabir, al-Rafi'eh, Arab Hassan and Um Jaloud in Sajour frontline with heavy weapons.

It added that the two sides were engaged in clashes for several hours, noting that the Kurds have repelled the attack by the Ankara-backed militants.

The report said after the US and Turkey launched joint patrolling missions in Sajour, a region separating the Manbij Military Council forces and the Ankara-backed militants, the Turkish army has increased its aggression against the villages in Northern Manbij.

Hawar news had reported on Sunday that the Turkey-backed militants continued shelling the strongholds of the US-backed Kurdish militia in Manbij region in Northeastern Aleppo regardless of the US support for the Kurds.

It added that gunmen of the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield Force targeted the positions of the Manbij Military Council from the village of Tokhar in Northeastern Aleppo.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970912000931

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Terrorists Destroy Several Bridges in Aleppo to Stop Syrian Army Advance

Dec 03, 2018

The sources disclosed that Tahrir al-Sham has detonated several bridges between the small town of al-Eis that is under Tahrir al-Sham's control and the small town of al-Hadher in Southern Aleppo that is under the control of the Syrian army.

The army men have deployed in Tal al-Eis region to set up observation posts, the sources said, adding that Tahrir al-Sham's move to destroy the bridges aimed to slow down the army's advances an incoming operation in the region.

The terrorist groups deployed in Northern Syria had also made similar moves earlier and destroyed the infrastructures, including bridges, to prevent the Damascus forces' military advances.

The terrorists' refusal to implement the Sochi Agreement to establish a demilitarized zone is pushing the army to initiate its long-waited assault on militants in Idlib that had been put on hold due to the Sochi Agreement.

Colonel Mar'ei Hamdan, a Syrian military expert, was quoted by the Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency as saying last month that Tahrir al-Sham is in control of nearly 70% of towns and villages in Idlib province and makes provocative moves against the Syrian army, adding that the army's commitment to decrease tensions is not lasting forever.

He added that the Syrian army has so far repelled all attacks by terrorists against its positions and inflicted heavy damages on them, noting that the army is now necessitated to come out of the defensive mood to retake control of Idlib.

Hamdan said that Tahrir al-Sham will resort to a full-scale military operation against the Syrian and Russian armies soon, after rejecting the Sochi agreement last October, which leaves no room for ceasefire or disarmament anymore, and underlined that the Syrian army's battle against Tahrir al-Sham is inevitable.

Meantime, the Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham and National Liberation Front (NLF) terrorist groups has also dismissed the Russian-Turkish Sochi agreement and is preparing for military operations against the army in Northern Syria, calling for a coalition with Tahrir al-Sham.

Tahrir al-Sham and other allied terrorist groups have not left the demilitarized zone two months after the Sochi agreement and have instead reinvigorated their strongholds and targeted the army positions every day.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970912000666

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Scores of ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army Mop-up Operation, US-Made Weapons Seized in Sweida Desert

Dec 03, 2018

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted Spokesman for the Russian Armed forces Oleg Makarevich as reporting that the Syrian Army continued its cleansing operation in the Eastern desert of Sweida, hunting over 270 ISIL terrorists.

The Arabic Sputnik further said that the army also seized a large volume of arms and ammunition and landmines, adding that a sum of 12 US-made TOW anti-tank missiles was found at terrorists' positions.

The news agency pointed to the rugged terrain and bad weather conditions in Sweida desert during the army operation, and said that the Damascus forces first destroyed ISIL's supply lines and bases to pave the ground for easier liberation of the region from the terrorists.

The army forces launched their operation in the Eastern desert of Sweida and purged almost 3,000 sq/km of land of ISIL after the terrorist group attacked Sweida city and its nearby villages in late June, killing and injuring a large number of civilians.    

The army men that captured the entire Toloul al-Safa rugged terrain last month and started mop-up operation in the Eastern desert of Sweida immediately after. During the operation, the army seized control over a large number of regions, including Tal Marati, Sotoh al-Mahriqahaf al-Kawaber, al-Mosaha, Jour al-Hasaan, Jour Qarimah, Mobabyat, al-Motalah, Satah al-Jamal, al-Khazrah, Soto Salmi and al-Jafajef.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970912000410

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Syrian Army Targets Terrorists, Preempts Attacks on Gov't Forces in Northern Hama

Dec 03, 2018

The army men, deployed in the village of Shalitout, opened fire at a group of terrorists that tried to prevail over the army positions via the village of al-Zakah in the demilitarized zone, inflicting major losses on the militants and forcing their remaining pockets to retreat.

In the meantime, the army's artillery units shelled terrorists' movements South of the town of al-Latamina before they could conduct their planned attack on the Damascus forces in Zalin region.

The terrorists' refusal to implement the Sochi Agreement to establish a demilitarized zone is pushing the army to initiate its long-waited assault on militants in Idlib that had been put on hold due to the Sochi Agreement.

Colonel Mar'ei Hamdan, a Syrian military expert, was quoted by the Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency as saying last month that Tahrir al-Sham is in control of nearly 70% of towns and villages in Idlib province and makes provocative moves against the Syrian army, adding that the army's commitment to decrease tensions is not lasting forever.

He added that the Syrian army has so far repelled all attacks by terrorists against its positions and inflicted heavy damages on them, noting that the army is now necessitated to come out of the defensive mood to retake control of Idlib.

Hamdan said that Tahrir al-Sham will resort to a full-scale military operation against the Syrian and Russian armies soon, after rejecting the Sochi agreement last October, which leaves no room for ceasefire or disarmament anymore, and underlined that the Syrian army's battle against Tahrir al-Sham is inevitable.

Meantime, the Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham and National Liberation Front (NLF) terrorist groups has also dismissed the Russian-Turkish Sochi agreement and is preparing for military operations against the army in Northern Syria, calling for a coalition with Tahrir al-Sham.

Tahrir al-Sham and other allied terrorist groups have not left the demilitarized zone two months after the Sochi agreement and have instead reinvigorated their strongholds and targeted the army positions every day.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970912000343

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India

 

250 odd terrorists still active in Jammu & Kashmir: DGP Dilbagh Singh

Dec 3, 2018

SRINAGAR: There are at least 250 terrorists still active in Jammu and Kashmir even as security forces killed around 230 of them in counter-militancy operations in the Kashmir valley this year.

Director General of police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh told the TOI that though the militant recruitment had declined considerably in the last two months, there were still 250 active terrorists in the region. Fall in the recruitment, the DGP said was an indication that youth in Kashmir realized the futility of violence and didn't find it appealing anymore. Stone pelting incidents have also decreased, again an indicator of peoples' cooperation with the forces, the DGP said.

He said the police was targeting top commanders. "We try to ensure that operations are conducted without any collateral damage," he said adding that the government is seriously pursuing the rehabilitation policy for those who have shunned the path of violence.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/250-odd-terrorists-still-active-in-jammu-kashmir-dgp-dilbagh-singh/articleshow/66926664.cms

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Bulandshahr violence: Son of a policeman, he had probed lynching of Dadri victim Akhlaq

by Abhishek Angad

December 4, 2018

Station house officer Subodh Kumar Singh, who died in a clash between police and a mob protesting against alleged cow slaughter in Bulandshahr on Monday, was the first investigating officer in the murder of Dadri resident Mohd Akhlaq, who was lynched in 2015 by a crowd over rumours of cow slaughter and beef consumption.

“He was the IO from September 28, 2015 to November 9, 2015. He was subsequently transferred to Varanasi,” said Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar. Subodh was, at the time, in-charge of Jarcha police station in Noida and was instrumental in the prompt arrest of the accused, his colleagues said. Trial is yet to begin in the Dadri lynching as the city court is still hearing arguments on charges against the 18 accused. All of them are out on bail.

Anurag Singh, circle officer posted in Lucknow, said he had worked alongside Subodh on several assignments, including raids where the police team came under fire. “He was not one to run the other way. He always faced the challenge with bravery, head on. On at least three occasions, I saw him refuse to back down from such a situation,” Singh said.

Even after the Dadri lynching, he went to the village every day to quell rumours and keep the peace, Singh said, adding that Subodh held multiple meetings with representatives of both communities to make sure the situation did not escalate. After Akhlaq’s death, a Muslim wedding in the village was under a cloud, and he made sure it was not stopped under pressure, Singh said.

A resident of Tarigawa village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district, Subodh was the son of Ram Pratap Singh, who also served in the UP Police. “He got a job on compensatory grounds after his father died of a prolonged illness,” said Saurabh, his cousin.

Subodh’s wife Rajni and two children Shrey and Abhishek – one in school and another in an engineering college – live in Noida. “The family would regularly visit Tarigawa. Subodh’s elder brother Atul Singh retired from the Air Force and stays in Delhi,” said Subodh’s cousin Rahul Singh, adding that Subodh joined the police force in 1995.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/bulandshahr-violence-subodh-kumar-singh-5477166/

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China welcomes India, Pakistan’s efforts to open Kartarpur Corridor

December 3, 2018

China on Monday welcomed India and Pakistan’s efforts to open the Kartarpur Corridor, saying strengthening dialogue between them and properly addressing their differences means a lot to the world peace and development.

The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

Both India and Pakistan last month announced that stretches would be developed in their respective areas to link the two revered places.

“We are glad to see the good interactions between Pakistan and India. Both are important countries in South Asia. The stability of their relations means a lot to the world peace and development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here answering a question on the corridor.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/china-welcomes-india-pakistans-efforts-to-open-kartarpur-corridor-5476330/

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Pakistan

 

Trump seeks Pakistan’s help in negotiating Afghan peace

DECEMBER 4, 2018

Pakistan said on Monday US President Donald Trump has sought its help with faltering Afghan peace talks, part of intensifying efforts by Trump to end one of America’s longest wars.

Trump, in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, asked for Islamabad’s ‘support and facilitation’ in negotiating an end to the war and offered to renew the strained relationship, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The overture to Khan represents a sea change from Trump’s normally harsh rhetoric towards Pakistan, and will add to growing speculation that the United States is planning to pull out of Afghanistan in the near future.

A White House official said Trump had sent a letter to Imran Khan ‘requesting Pakistan’s full support for the US-led Afghan peace process’ and assistance to US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in a current trip to the region.

US officials have long been pushing Pakistan to lean on Taliban leaders, who Washington says are based inside Pakistan, to bring them to the negotiating table. “He has asked for Pakistan’s cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said. Trump told Khan the Pakistan relationship was very important to the United States and to finding a solution to the Afghanistan conflict, he added. Trump has been open about his desire to bring home about 14,000 US troops who remain in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support and a separate counter-terrorism mission aimed against militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“President Trump has also acknowledged that the war had cost both US and Pakistan. He has emphasized that Pakistan and US should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership,” the Foreign Ministry said, adding that Pakistan is committed to playing a ‘facilitation role in good faith’.

Trump has appointed Afghan-born US diplomat Khalilzad as a special envoy for Afghanistan, tasking him with pushing through peace talks. Khalilzad on Sunday began an eight-country tour, which includes Pakistan, Russia and Qatar, to promote peace and convince the Taliban to join negotiations.

In Trump’s letter, “the president recognizes that Pakistan has the ability to deny the Taliban sanctuary on its territory. The letter also makes clear that Pakistan’s assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring US-Pakistan partnership,” the White House official said.

Officially allies in fighting terrorism, Pakistan and the United States have a complicated relationship, bound by Washington’s dependence on Pakistan to supply its troops in Afghanistan but plagued by accusations Islamabad is playing a double game.

Last month, Trump said in an interview Pakistan doesn’t ‘do a damn thing’ for the United States despite billions of dollars in US aid, adding that Pakistani officials knew of former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s location before his killing by US troops in a 2011 raid inside Pakistan.

Khan hit back by saying the United States should not blame Pakistan for its failings in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials, who deny offering safe havens to the Afghan Taliban, say their influence on the group has waned over the years.

Last week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he had formed a 12-strong team to negotiate peace with the Taliban, but warned that implementation of any deal would take at least five years.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/329556/trump-seeks-pakistans-help-in-negotiating-afghan-peace/

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PML-N, PPP term PM’s interview disappointing

December 04, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Terming the latest interview of Prime Minister Imran Khan “a total disappointment”, leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Monday expressed their surprise over Mr Khan’s remarks about the possibility of fresh elections in the country.

In a statement, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the opposition didn’t need to do anything to topple the government because its “disastrous performance in the first 100 days and the incompetence of Imran Khan and his associates are already doing the job”.

“A prime minister who has given a vote of no confidence in his own government with this statement of early elections does not deserve the top office of the country for even one day, and should resign with immediate effect,” she said.

Ms Aurangzeb, who served as information minister in the previous PML-N government, ridiculed the prime minister’s statement that he had learnt from television that his “pathetic government” had caused another landslide devaluation of the rupee. The PML-N leader referred to the prime minister’s observation that the PML-N government’s finance minster Ishaq Dar had artificially controlled the exchange rate for dollar.

“Either that stance was a lie or his current position is a farce,” she added.

Ms Aurangzeb said that Mr Khan had once again used the “same lame NRO rhetoric” to distract the attention of the nation away from “the massive failures” of his government.

In a separate statement, PPP’s Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said it was very “irresponsible” of the prime minister to talk about early elections.

Senator Khokhar, who is also a spokesman for PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, said it was disappointing that the PTI government wasn’t even trying to solve problems.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1449314/pml-n-ppp-term-pms-interview-disappointing

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CTD registers FIR regarding 'stolen' car explosion in Karachi

Qazi Hassan

December 04, 2018

The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) on Tuesday — on behalf of the station house officer (SHO) of Darakhshan police station, Arshad Janjua — filed a first information report (FIR) regarding an explosion that occurred in a 'stolen' car in Karachi's Khadda Market a day earlier.

The FIR, that has been registered under Article 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, says that "unknown terrorists" had planned to launch "a huge terrorist attack" in Karachi.

Yesterday, a car that was reportedly stolen from Karachi's Jamshed Quarters on Sunday night, was traced to the Khadda Market area in DHA, where it had exploded overnight in an empty plot.

Deputy Inspector General South Javed Alam Odho said that the blast was caused by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) that had been planted in the car, along with multiple gas cylinders. However, the cylinders were found intact, the DIG said. The car's CNG cylinder was also found in one piece.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1449376/ctd-registers-fir-regarding-stolen-car-explosion-in-karachi

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Speaker struggling to break stalemate over PAC chairmanship

Amir Wasim

December 04, 2018

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Monday met Prime Minister Imran Khan along with other members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and discussed the issue of formation of house committees and a strategy to break the deadlock with the opposition over the chairmanship of the all-powerful Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament.

The meeting took place hours after the prime minister recorded an interview with TV anchors in which he had once again declared in categorical terms that Leader of the Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif would not be offered the PAC chairmanship.

Those who accompanied the speaker in the meeting included Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan and Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz.

And before going to see the prime minister, the speaker held a consultative meeting with the ruling party members and informed them about the “number of meetings” he had with the opposition on the issue of formation of standing committees. The consultative meeting was also attended by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and PTI chief whip in the National Assembly Malik Aamir Dogar.

A handout issued by the NA Secretariat quoted the speaker as having told the meeting that he was hopeful that the committees would be constituted during the upcoming session of the assembly scheduled for Dec 10.

In his interview which was aired on almost all TV channels in the evening, Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan would become a laughing stock in the world community if they allowed a detained person facing corruption cases to preside over the PAC meetings.

The government would not be “blackmailed” by the opposition on the issue, he said, adding that they would constitute the committees on their own without the opposition members. “We are making a decision. We are forming committees. If they (opposition) are not coming, then we will form the committees,” the prime minister said.

Well-placed sources in the PTI told Dawn that the government had decided to make another attempt to engage the opposition parties on the issue, adding that the PTI would ask the opposition parties to nominate a “clean person” other than Mr Sharif for the PAC chairmanship.

“We are making efforts to break the persisting deadlock,” said a senior PTI leader who was present in the two meetings. The PTI leader, while requesting anonymity, said the government was not interested in keeping the PAC chairmanship with it.

“We will suggest very reasonable options to the opposition and I hope it will respond positively,” he said, adding that they believed that there were some capable people in the opposition ranks. He, however, said that if the opposition did not accept their offer, they would have no option but to go ahead with the formation of the committees without them.

The opposition parties claimed that the speaker had during a meeting with them previously agreed to their demand of nominating Mr Sharif as PAC chairman, but he later backtracked due to resistance by PTI members.

When contacted, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said the government had not formally contacted them on the issue for the past almost two months. She said they were determined to stay away from all the committees if the speaker did not fulfil his commitment to appointing Mr Sharif as PAC chairman which he had made with them.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1449323/speaker-struggling-to-break-stalemate-over-pac-chairmanship

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PM Khan talks economy, governance and civil-military ties in wide-ranging TV interview

December 03, 2018

Prime Minister Imran Khan has shed light on various subjects of national importance including the state of the economy, civil-military relations and governance issues in a wide-ranging interview broadcast on TV on Monday.

In the pre-recorded interview, Khan answered questions by a panel of journalists representing various media organisations.

Rupee devaluation

The prime minister said he had found out about last week's plunge in the value of rupee after watching the news. He said the decision to decrease the value of the currency against the US dollar was taken by the State Bank.

"Please remember, we are trying to autonomise institutions," he said. "We have made SBP autonomous, they took the decision because they deem it fit."

He said the previous PML-N government had left a trade deficit of $19 billion, which increased from a previous deficit of $2.5 billion.

"The PML-N govt had spent $7 billion to [artificially] maintain the value of the rupee," he said.

Khan acknowledged that such a sharp drop in the value of the rupee creates "uncertainty", but stressed that he had not been aware of the decision to decrease the currency's value.

"I have conveyed a message to the SBP to keep us in the loop so we can give our input," the prime minister said, adding that he would have preferred if the devaluation took place a bit later.

"The [rupee] adjustment is a temporary phenomenon," he assured. "We are facing a foreign exchange crisis. Our [macroeconomic] indicators are now headed in the right direction, we will not face the issue in the future."

Khan said bringing in foreign investment will be crucial in raising the dollar reserves of the country. He quoted the Chinese ambassador as saying that China is entering investment contracts with Pakistan for the first time.

"China created export zones, with foreign investment and local labour. We want to replicate the same model."

Khan said all ministers have reported their achievements to him and that he will review their performance during the ongoing week. "We might change some ministers," he cautioned.

The prime minister said the country is currently facing crises on multiple fronts and "every single institution" is running in losses.

"As per the Singapore model, we will incorporate these institutions into holding companies," he said. "Our performance in the given scenario is exemplary. You will see stability in the coming days."

When asked about the issues facing the business community, Khan said Pakistan is lagging behind when it comes to 'ease of doing business'.

"We are trying to create a [positive] environment. We are establishing an office entitled 'ease of doing business' to provide a one-window solution to investors and to resolve their issues," he said. "Though it is a slow process, we are trying our best to ensure ease of doing business."

He said the government will provide incentives to the industry.

'Army totalling standing by PTI manifesto'

Answering a question regarding his government's relationship with the military, Khan said the Pakistan Army "is currently totally standing by PTI's manifesto".

"We have no problems at the present," he said, adding that his government also hasn't faced issues of "civil-military discord" as seen during past governments.

He said leaders around the world seek the opinion of their military establishment "since they are equipped with the means to brief us on security issues".

He said Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is standing steadfastly by the democratic government, and both are on the "same page". "There is not a single decision that was not taken by me, and there is not a single decision behind which the Pakistan Army does not stand."

Asked about his government's efforts to address the missing persons' issue, the prime minister said a meeting had been scheduled between him and Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) president Sardar Akhtar Mengal. However, Mengal could not make it to the meeting due to some reason, he said.

"I have full assurance from Gen Bajwa that they want to help in resolving the missing persons' issue," Khan said.

'Regret' over CJP's remarks

Speaking about a case of alleged abuse of power by federal minister Azam Swati, Khan said he does not interfere in the matters of institutions to protect anyone.

"We will obey the court orders. Azam Swati will resign if found guilty," he said.

He was also asked about the role allegedly played by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar in the transfer of former Pakpattan district police office Rizwan Gondal. "What is wrong if the chief executive of a province calls a police officer to inquire about the alleged abuse suffered by somebody's daughter, who happens to be the daughter of Bushra begum, at the hands of police?" Khan questioned in response.

Khan expressed "regret" over remarks by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar in which the top judge pointed to alleged nepotism on Khan's part in the appointment of Zulfi Bukhari's as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

Early election in Punjab?

Answering a question regarding his promise of creating a new province in south Punjab, Prime Minister Khan said it was a gradual process and that in the first phase, his government is administratively facilitating people of the southern region of Punjab.

Journalist Hamid Mir pointed out that if a South Punjab province is formed, the PTI risked losing its government in central Punjab, where it does not have a majority.

At this, Khan responded by suggesting that such a situation would perhaps arise by the time the next general elections are scheduled to be held. However, after interjection by some journalists, he said: "No no, it is possible that election happens even before [the scheduled time, in the two Punjab provinces]."

"You know a captain can change his strategy at any time," he added in a lighter vein.

'Old-minded bureaucrats'

Prime Minister Khan said the nation would have to decide whether "it wants to let corruption prevail".

He cited the example of China in ridding itself of corruption. "China is sailing past the US in economy, they have convicted 400 ministers during the past five years," he noted.

Khan said the major hurdle in his government's anti-corruption plans are some "old-minded bureaucrats" who are "trying to sabotage [our efforts] and creating an impression that the government will not be able to continue".

"We have recovered land worth trillions of rupees," he said. "Mafias are behind real encroachments. We have asked the authorities not to target poor people but the mafias."

"FBR, FIA and the anti-corruption [department] are working under the government. We have signed agreements on data sharing of each others' citizens with 26 countries."

Sharing an "interesting aspect" of the drive, Khan said the UAE and Saudi Arabia had refused to share the data of Pakistani iqama holders saying it was equivalent to sharing their citizenship information. "Now, you’ll know why iqamas were sought secretly," he remarked.

In a reference to his political opponents, he said people had laundered money out of the country but they weren't caught because they held UAE iqamas.

Accountability not 'revenge tactics'

Addressing the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) differences with the opposition parties regarding the appointment of the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Khan said the PML-N wanted Shahbaz Sharif to head the committee, even though he is currently in a NAB jail and facing cases regarding 56 public sector companies.

"Will it not be a joke of our democracy if a person comes from the jail to chair the [PAC]?"

He said the opposition has boycotted all standing committees over the issue of PAC chairmanship. "They are trying to pressurise us into saying, 'We support democracy, let’s work together' and giving them an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance]," Khan added.

The premier said the opposition parties "term accountability as revenge tactics", but that none of the corruption cases against opposition members was instated by his government.

'What's wrong in taking U-turns?'

Khan once again defended his inclination towards reversing his own decisions, saying: "People always blame me for taking U-turns, I have never denied that and I don’t think of it as a bad thing. What’s wrong in changing the strategy to achieve your goals?"

"My goal is across-the-board accountability and I’m willing to shake hands with anyone who won’t object to that," he said.

Khan said he decided to travel abroad only when he knew the visit would be beneficial for Pakistan’s economy. "Right now everyone abroad is aware that our economy is destroyed. So, my focus is on fixing that before touring abroad."

'Very nice' letter from Trump

Prime Minister Khan informed journalists he had received a "very nice" letter from US President Donald Trump seeking Pakistan's assistance in bringing about a negotiated end to the Afghan war.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1449190/pm-khan-talks-economy-governance-and-civil-military-ties-in-wide-ranging-tv-interview

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TLP moves Peshawar High Court against workers’ detention

December 04, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan on Monday moved the Peshawar High Court against the detention of its 133 workers in the province and sought orders for the provincial government to release them and not to make more arrests.

In the petition, TLP provincial chief Falak Niaz requested the court to order the recovery of its 133 workers from the ‘illegal and unlawful’ custody of the government by declaring their detention illegal and unconstitutional.

The petitioner claimed that the party hadn’t been informed about under what law its workers had been detained.

He requested the court to declare null and void the government notification of the detentions in question if any.

As interim relief, the petitioner prayed the court to stop the government from arresting more TLP workers until the final disposal of the petition and issue directions for the right of visitation to the detainees.

The petition filed through lawyers Yousaf Ali and Syed Saud Shah said the 133 TLP workers were taken away from their houses or other places on Nov 23, 24 and 30, before being kept at the Haripur Central Prison.

The respondents in the petition are the interior ministry through its secretary, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa home department through its secretary, KP inspector general of police, KP chief secretary, KP inspector general of prisons, and superintendents of Haripur, Dera Ismail Khan, Mardan and Peshawar jails.

The petitioner said the police had made forced entry to the TLP workers’ houses to arrest them.

He said the detainees’ repeated requests to the government and relevant officials to explain the reason for their detention had fallen on deaf ears.

The petitioner said the detained TLP workers had lived a peaceful life and there was no FIR registered against them anywhere in the province.

He added that his party workers were arrested without the issuance of any notification and without giving any opportunity of hearing to them at the time of their ‘illegal’ arrest.

The petitioner said Article 10-A of the Constitution gave the fundamental right of fair trial to everyone accused of committing any illegal activity but no such opportunity was provided to the TLP workers.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1449259/tlp-moves-peshawar-high-court-against-workers-detention

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US special envoy due in Islamabad today for Afghan peace talks

Tahir Khan

DECEMBER 4, 2018

ISLAMABAD: US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on Tuesday (today) to seek Pakistan’s help for a political solution to the Afghan conflict, officials said on Monday.

The State Department had announced earlier that Khalilzad will be traveling to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar with an interagency delegation from December 2-20. Khalilzad held three-day talks with the Taliban political envoys in Qatar last month and more discussions are expected during his upcoming visit to the oil-rich Gulf state. The US special envoy skipped Pakistan in his four-nation trip in November. He had earlier visited Pakistan in October.

The US envoy’s visit to Pakistan has assumed importance after President Donald Trump sought Pakistan’s help in negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict. A Foreign Office official told Daily Times that Khalilzad is also likely to brief the Pakistani officials about his talks with the Taliban.

The State Department said in a statement that Khalilzad will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate. He will be in communication with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, and other Afghan stakeholders to coordinate closely on efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Afghan government.

“The United States remains committed to supporting the Afghan people’s desire for peace, and to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never serves as a platform for international terrorism again,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman for political office Suhail Shaheen said preliminary meetings with the US officials in Qatar in July, October and November were mainly focused on trust building. “Though, end to invasion and security concerns were raised, a detailed discussion will be held when formals talks are started,” he told Taliban’s Haqiqat magazine. “We have reiterated our demands of opening of the office, scrapping the UN black list and release of the prisoners as confidence building measures,” he said while talking about the Taliban-US talks.

Shaheen was upbeat at the outcome of the Taliban’s participation in the Moscow conference on Afghanistan last month. “The world considers the Islamic Emirate as a political group and wants to listen to our demands and views to end foreign invasion. Russian, Chinese and Iranian delegates at the Moscow conference called for the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan and political solution to the problem. It will now be difficult for anyone to defend the invasion of Afghanistan under the excuse of terrorism,” he said.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/329540/us-special-envoy-due-in-islamabad-today-for-afghan-peace-talks/

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South Asia

 

Bangladesh court records testimony of 1st witness in 2016 terror attack trial

Dec 3, 2018

An anti-terrorism special tribunal in Bangladesh on Monday recorded the statement of first witness in the 2016 terror attack case, three years after the country’s deadliest attack killed 22 people, mostly foreigners, including an Indian national.

Militants of the banned Neo-Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Neo-JMB) attacked the posh Holey Artisan restaurant in the Gulshan diplomatic enclave on July 1, 2016 in the Bangladesh capital.

Twenty-two people—an Indian girl, nine Italians, seven Japanese and five Bangladeshis, including two police officers—were killed in the attack.

“Police sub-inspector Ripon Kumar Das testified before the court as the first prosecution witness, being the complainant in the case,” a court official said.

Six of the eight accused, who had earlier confessed to their involvement in the attack, appeared before the court on Monday amid heavy police security to face the trial. The other two accused are on the run, but were being tried in absentia.

All the accused belonged to the banned Neo-JMB.

The trial in the case began on November 26, when the court indicted them after reviewing the police charge sheet.

During investigations, it was found that 21 people were involved in the assault, but police said 13 of them died in subsequent anti-terrorism clampdown.

They said only five militants staged the carnage and all of them were killed on the July 2 in a raid by the military commandos.

The Neo-JMB, said to be inclined to Islamic State or IS, executed the carnage sparking an uproar globally and signalling the strong presence of militants in the Muslim-majority country.

The outfit emerged as the revived chapter of the radical Islamist group.

Counter terrorism unit chief of Bangladesh Police, Monirul Islam earlier said the police gathered 75 pieces of evidence for the trial and mobilised 211 witnesses to the carnage to testify before the court.

Investigators alleged that the militants staged the attack to announce their strong presence in the Muslim-majority Bangladesh and particularly show their brutality by killing foreigners and draw international attention.

They said since late 2015, the Neo-JMB militants, led by Bangladeshi-origin Canadian Tamim Chowdhury, killed in a subsequent security clampdown, were carrying out small scale attacks on foreigners and non-Muslims.

The victims of the Holey Artisan restaurant were found with their throats slit when the commandos and other security forces entered the scene.

Assailants gunned down two police officers and injured over 20 others when they approached the restaurant. —PTI

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/bangladesh-court-records-testimony-of-1st-witness-in-2016-terror-attack-trial/692761.html

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Rohingya Muslims Victims of Genocide - US Human Rights Lawyers

December 4th, 2018

After a months-long investigation into the Myanmar government’s persecution against the Rohingya, a U.S.-based humanitarian rights law group has found that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that Rohingya are victims of genocide.

The Washington-based Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) said it will hold a press conference on Monday for the release of the Factual Findings and Legal Analysis Report based on the investigation on Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

It said that the would-be-published report states there is a “reasonable basis to conclude that war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide were committed against the Rohingya population.”

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

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.

The U.S. State Department had tasked PILPG to undertake a comprehensive human rights documentation investigation mission in the Rohingya refugee camps and settlement areas in southeastern Bangladesh in March and April this year.

In September, the rights law firm had released an initial qualitative report to outline the factual findings and initial conclusions from PILPG’s investigation mission.

The second report, which presents the key factual findings and subsequent legal analysis of the interviews, including the patterns of violations committed against the Rohingya and recommendations for future justice and accountability efforts, is due to be released on Monday.

- Pattern of abuse

The first report revealed “clear patterns of abuse against the Rohingya, some of which stretch back for decades.”

The report is based on interviews of more than 1,000 refugees who had fled the Rakhine State of Myanmar after October 2016.

“The interviews revealed years-long patterns of violence and widespread human rights violations targeted against the Rohingya, including curfews and movement restrictions, property and land confiscation, restricted access to food, marriage and family restrictions, religious persecution, extortion and threats of violence, forced labor, and regular beatings, rapes, and murder,” the report said.

It emphasized that here was a long period of “most consistent persecution and escalating violence against Rohingya” that began in 2012 and intensified in August 2017, when the Myanmar army conducted major attacks against the group, causing a mass displacement of Rohingya to Bangladesh.

Violations and abuses targeting Rohingya were perpetrated by the Myanmar armed forces -- mainly the Tatmadaw-Army -- the Border Guard Police, Combat Police Force, and Rakhine State Police.”

It added that these attacks left out non-Rohingya civilians or they were evacuated by the security forces before the attacks.

It also noted that the investigation showed a notable increase in the military and police presence in the northern Rakhine State, where there are Rohingya villages, weeks before major systematic attacks in August-September 2017.

“The attacks were brutal. […] Of the 1,024 Rohingya interviewed, 20 percent were themselves physically injured in the attacks, nearly 70 percent witnessed their homes or villages being destroyed, and 80 percent witnessed the killing of a family member, friend, or personal acquaintance,” it reported.

- Burning bodies

It also said that the perpetrators did not just want to expel Rohingya but they wanted to “exterminate” them.

“[Violence against Rohingya] was well-planned, widespread, systematic, and aimed at terrorizing the Rohingya, rendering them defenseless, and ensuring their removal from Myanmar—whether by displacement or death,” it said.

“The Myanmar armed forces burned many of the bodies or sought to dispose of them in mass graves or in nearby bodies of water, including wells,” it reported, adding that findings suggest that “these attacks were all part of a highly coordinated military campaign that required tactical and logistical planning”.

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

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

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

Full report at:

https://www.albawaba.com/news/rohingya-muslims-victims-genocide-us-human-rights-lawyers-1221252

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NDS foil bid to assassinate religious scholar in Kabul city

Dec 03 2018

The Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS), has foiled bid to assassinate a religious scholar in Kabul city.

NDS in a statement said a prayer leader of mosque and his comrade were arrested on charges of plotting the assassination of a religious scholar in Kabul.

The statement further added that one of the individual arrested by NDS has been identified as Noor Ur Rehman who was a prayer leader in Hazrat Bilal mosque in the 5th police district of the city while his accomplice has been identified as Enayat son of Khan Shah.

According to NDS, the two individuals were appointed by Haqqani network member Qari Noor Agha to assassinate the religious scholar.

The two suspects were held during an operation on Friday, NDS said, adding that both men have confessed to their crime.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/nds-foil-bid-to-assassinate-religious-scholar-in-kabul-city-02868/

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Taliban’s shadow governor for Ghor has reportedly been killed

Dec 04 2018

The shadow governor of Taliban for Ghor province has reportedly been killed in a U.S. drone strike in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan.

The Afghan Military sources have confirmed that the group’s shadow governor for Ghor Abdul Qayoum alias Rouhani was killed in a coalition airstrike in Helmand province on Monday.

The sources further added that Qayoum was travelling in Bahramcha area of Helmand with his five comrades and were attempting to cross into Pakistan when they came under airstrike.

According to the army sources, Qayoum and his comrades were all killed in the airstrike.

The anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban militants have not commented regarding the killing of group’s shadow governor so far.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/talibans-shadow-governor-for-ghor-has-reportedly-been-killed-02873/

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Europe

 

UK ethnic minorities up to twice as likely to face racial bias, report finds

December 3, 2018

A survey on unconscious bias in Britain has revealed that ethnic minorities are more likely to face unfair treatment than white people.

The study, commissioned by the Guardian and carried out by independent pollsters ICM, asked 1,000 black, Asian and minority ethnic people and 1,797 white people several questions about negative experiences in their everyday lives as a result of such bias. The results showed in some cases minority ethnic people in Britain are up to twice as likely to be mistaken for an employee rather than a customer, be refused entrance to a bar or club for no good reason and be overlooked for a job application process or for a promotion at work.

Sixty-nine per cent of minority ethnic respondents said they had experienced a stranger being rude or abusive in public to them in comparison with 51 per cent of white respondents.

While 62 per cent of BAME respondents said they had been stopped going through airport security and customs.

The findings revealed that 69 per cent of people from a minority ethnic background believe Britain has a problem with racism.

Labour parliamentarian and civil rights campaigner David Lammy described the survey results as “harrowing”.

“Racial prejudice continues to weigh on the lives of black and ethnic minority people in the UK,” he wrote on Twitter. “We share the same hard-won rights, but our experiences are too often shaped by bias. Pretending to be colour blind has not worked. We need to talk about and properly understand race.”

The survey comes just days after a parliamentary report found that myths and lies about Muslims are contributing to discrimination in sectors of public life including employment, housing and the criminal justice system.

MPs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims have called for the government to introduce a definition of Islamophobia.

An interim report by Islamophobia monitoring group Tell MAMA also published last week warned that institutional and structural forms of anti-Muslim hatred “are insidious and often unspoken forms of prejudice”.

Religious hate crime in Britain is at an all time high according to latest police statistics, with more than half of offences committed between April 2017 and March 2018 directed at Muslims.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/uk-ethnic-minorities-up-to-twice-as-likely-to-face-racial-bias-report-finds-1.798787

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Bulgarian Minister of Defence: Four Countries Fund Radical Islam in Bulgaria

December 3, 2018

"Four countries fund the manifestations of radical Islamism in Bulgaria. Target is the Roma population, ghettos in particular. " Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov said during his visit to Rousse. The recent case, with a Bulgarian citizen arrested and convicted in Austria, is proof of this in his view.

Politicians in Bulgaria should stop watching the Roma population as a cheap electorate they buy and whose crimes are neglected, Karakachanov said. According to him, it is precisely the version of the Religious Law that the United Patriots offer will stop the political influence on religious communities.

Karakachanov criticized his colleagues from GERB, who have drafted a similar bill. According to him, however, it serves the interests of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), who hope to strengthen their influence over the Muslims in Bulgaria by providing funding.

It is still unclear which company will win the military airplane delivery order for our country. According to Karakachanov, there are three options left after the procedures that have been carried out so far. He also explained that the treaty would be interstate rather than a company.

Full report at:

https://www.novinite.com/articles/193637/Bulgarian+Minister+of+Defence%3A+Four+Countries+Fund+Radical+Islam+in+Bulgaria

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Palestine's Abbas, Pope discuss Middle East at Vatican

03.12.2018

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Pope Francis on Monday discussed the issues of the Middle East in a meeting at the Vatican, reported Italian media.

In the meeting at the Papal Palace, Abbas told Francis: "We pray for peace this Christmas season and we trust you."

The pontiff also conveyed his wishes to the Palestinian president for peace in the Middle East.

During the meeting, Abbas gave Francis a present showing ancient Jerusalem, and the pope gave a medallion depicting the Basilica of San Pietro in the 1600s, said Italian news agencies.

Meanwhile, Abbas stressed in an interview with Italian daily La Stampa that U.S. efforts will not make peace in the Middle East.

"The U.S. cannot be the only mediator in the Middle East. A state which constantly imposes punitive sanctions against Palestine cannot be a mediator. U.S. leadership is an obstacle in the Middle East," wrote Abbas.

"We do not want to continue to cooperate with the current U.S. administration," said Abbas. “We will not agree with conditions that violate international law."

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump sparked an international outcry by announcing plans to move Washington’s Israel Embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Since the move this May, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has rejected any mediating role by the U.S. in the moribund Middle East peace process.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/palestines-abbas-pope-discuss-middle-east-at-vatican/1328485

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UN Security Council to meet on Iran missile test

4 December 2018

The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday at the request of France and Britain after they accused Iran of test-firing a medium-range missile at the weekend, diplomats said.

The United States said the missile launch on Saturday was a violation of a UN resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which Washington has withdrawn.

That resolution calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear weapon.

France said it was concerned by the test-firing with the foreign ministry describing it as “provocative and destabilizing” and “does not conform” with UN resolution 2231 on the Iran deal.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt called the missile test “provocative, threatening and inconsistent” with the resolution and said Britain was determined “that it should cease.”

Iran has long maintained that its missile program is defensive in nature and not aimed at ensuring the delivery of a nuclear weapon, a stance supported by Russia at the Security Council.

Washington's Iran envoy Brian Hook urged the European Union to slap sanctions that target Tehran's missile program as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Brussels for talks with European partners.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2018/12/04/UN-Security-Council-to-meet-on-Iran-missile-test-.html

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France concerned by ‘provocative, destabilizing’ Iranian ballistic missile test

3 December 2018

France has said it is concerned by the Iranian ballistic missile test conducted last Saturday and called it provocative and destabilizing.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he described as Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the 2015 international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program.

“Iran’s missile program is defensive in nature... There is no Security Council resolution prohibiting the missile program and missile tests by Iran,” IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying in response to Pompeo’s remarks.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/12/03/France-concerned-by-provocative-destabilizing-Iranian-ballistic-missile-test.html

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Formal probe launched in UK against anti-Iran TV station

Dec 3, 2018

Britain’s media regulator has launched an official investigation into claims that a London-based TV station praised terror attacks in Iran apparently under influence and support of Saudi Arabia.

The Guardian said in a report on Monday that Ofcom had begun investigating whether Iran International, a TV station based in western London which broadcasts programs in Farsi, broke broadcasting standards by airing a footage in September in which a representative of a terror group outlawed in Iran praised an attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz.

“Under Ofcom’s rules, potentially offensive content must be presented with sufficient context,” said an Ofcom spokesperson, adding, “We are investigating whether this news program fell short of these requirements.”

The media regulator also issued an announcement saying that the probe, which was based on three complaints, did not mean that Iran International had broken the laws by airing comments of Yacoub Hor al-Tostari, a spokesman for the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, which condoned the killing of dozens of people and military personnel in the terrorist attack.

Iran’s Ambassador to the UK Hamdi Baeidinejad tweeted on Monday that Ofocm had officially confirmed that it was considering Iran’s complaint against Iran international.

Reports in the British media have suggested that Iran International has been directly sponsored by the Saudi Arabian government. Sources revealed to The Guardian in September that the channel had received an initial payment of $50 million, a fist installment of a $250-million budget, meant to help launch and operate the station over four years, from the Saudi royal court, through a company based in London and run by people close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Iran International has denied the allegations and has even called on Guardian journalist Saeed Kamali Dehghan, who reported on the secret links, to attend a debate on air to clarify the issue.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/03/581901/UK-Ofcom-probe-TV-station-terror-attack-Iran

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Turkish Justice Ministry official in London recalled

03.12.2018

A Turkish Justice Ministry official at Turkey’s Embassy in London has been called home amid a so-far unsuccessful attempt to extradite a member of the FETO terrorist group.

The attache was summoned home and faces an investigation over improper paperwork on the extradition of Akin Ipek, a fugitive suspected member of the Fetullah Terrorist Group (FETO), the group behind a 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.

“The post shared on social media allegedly sent by the Justice Ministry regarding FETO fugitive Akin Ipek's extradition process doesn’t reflect the truth,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Our ministry sent proper documents to the British court on Sept. 13. We have ascertained that our official in London prepared a one-page information sheet on his own and sent it to the British Prosecutor’s office without ministry approval.”

“It’s clear that this information note, which was allegedly sent by our ministry and shared on social media accounts, didn’t correspond with the procedures for correspondence in our ministry and didn’t include any title, name, or signature,” it said.

"We launched a probe into our London attache and summoned him to Ankara on Nov. 30,” it added.

On Nov. 28 a British court rejected Turkey’s request for extradition of three suspects linked to FETO, but the verdict is open to appeal.

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

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-justice-ministry-official-in-london-recalled/1328305

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North America

 

CIA chief to brief lawmakers on Khashoggi murder: report

December 04, 2018

CIA director Gina Haspel has agreed to brief Senate leaders on what the agency knows about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The briefing will take place on Tuesday, the Journal said, after the Central Intelligence Agency failed to take part when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke to senators on the issue last week.

Further details of the briefing were not available, and the CIA would not confirm or deny whether it would take place.

The spy agency is reported to have concluded with "medium-to-high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the October 2 assassination of Khashoggi by a team of Saudis in the country´s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The veteran journalist was a strong critic of Prince Mohammed and had been resident in the United States, where he wrote about politics in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East for The Washington Post.

The Journal, the Post, and The New York Times have all reported that the CIA has evidence Prince Mohammed exchanged 11 messages with his close aide Saud al-Qahtani, who allegedly oversaw the murder, just before and after it took place.

The New York Times reported Monday that Haspel was furious over the leak of the CIA´s conclusions, which increased pressure on the White House to take strong actions against the Middle East powerhouse.

With relations with Riyadh already fraught, President Donald Trump has declined to accept the conclusion that the powerful heir to the Saudi throne approved the murder, saying there is no direct evidence of it.

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event -- maybe he did and maybe he didn´t!" Trump said in a statement on November 20.

https://nation.com.pk/04-Dec-2018/cia-chief-to-brief-lawmakers-on-khashoggi-murder-report

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Pompeo Pressured To Declare Rohingya Muslim Killings in Myanmar ‘Genocide’

Dec 3, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is being pressured by lawmakers and activists to declare that Myanmar’s military is committing genocide against Rohingya Muslims.

Ohio House Representative Steve Chabot, a Republican, has sponsored a resolution over the matter that is expected to easily pass as early as next week.

It would declare that Rohingya are victims of genocide and crimes against humanity.

“The deliberate campaign of murder, intimidation and displacement against the Rohingya by Burma’s security forces clearly meets legal standards for genocide,” California Representative Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Politico in a statement. “It’s long past time the U.S. call these atrocities what they are.”

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Public International Law & Policy Group have also called for dubbing Rohingya crackdown genocide.

The Trump administration has so far declined to take a stance on the matter.

“By not acting, the US government is making itself complicit in the genocide of the Rohingya,” said Simon Billenness, the executive director of the International Campaign for the Rohingya.

Since August 2017, Myanmar’s armed forces, backed by Buddhist extremist mobs, have launched an intensified crackdown against the Muslim community in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been killed, and those who fled are now living in severely-overcrowded squalid camps in Bangladesh.

Myanmar, however, has blatantly denied the violence. However, massive evidence has been collected by international observers, medics, and journalists.

The United Nation has concluded that the atrocities amount to genocide.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/03/581905/Pompeo-pressured-to-declare-Rohingya-genocide-in-Myanmar

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Prince Khalid: Hezbollah helped Iran in ‘killing dozens of Americans’

4 December 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid bin Salman on Tuesday criticized the Iranian regime for its creation of Hezbollah which has helped Tehran in “killing dozens of Americans and committing genocide against the Syrian people”.

“The Iranian regime founded Hezbollah in Lebanon, a terrorist proxy which acts as it’s subcontractor in the region, helping the regime in killing dozens of Americans and committing genocide against the Syrian people, among other things,” Prince Khalid wrote on twitter.

“The regime of Iran is trying to copy the Hezbollah model in Yemen, where they finance the Houthi militia and arm it with lethal weapons, enabling them to attack the Yemeni people, disrupt international shipping routes, and destabilize the whole region,” he added.

The Iranian regime’s project, as described by Nasrallah, is to make the whole region a part of “the greater Islamic Republic”, ruled by the Ayatollah of Iran, the ambassador said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/12/04/Prince-Khalid-Hezbollah-helped-Iran-in-killing-dozens-of-Americans-.html

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US airstrike kills Islamic State figure in Syria, American military says

December 2, 2018

BEIRUT — A senior Islamic State commander involved in the execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig was killed in an airstrike in southeastern Syria on Sunday, the U.S. military said.

Col. Sean Ryan, a U.S. military spokesman, identified the Islamic State commander as Abu al-Umarayn and said he was killed in "precision strikes" in a desert area known as Badiya.

The coalition had reason to suspect that Umarayn posed an "immediate threat" to coalition forces in the area, Ryan said in an emailed statement.

Umarayn was also "involved in the killing of American citizen and former U.S. Army ranger Peter Kassig," the statement said, and was linked to or directly involved in executing several other prisoners.

Kassig, who changed his name to Abdul-Rahman Kassig after he converted to Islam while in Islamic State captivity, was executed at some point in November 2014, the year after he was taken hostage in Syria. His captors released a video showing his decapitated head beside his body but did not include scenes of the actual execution, unlike with the other hostages they killed.

Umarayn is the first Islamic State figure to be publicly identified as having been involved in Kassig's execution.

Emwazi had been the ringleader of a group of four Islamic State fighters nicknamed "The Beatles" by their captives and was identified as the man who appeared in the video of the execution of American journalist James Foley in August 2014.

The U.S. military did not say how it knew Umarayn was involved in Kassig's killing or what role he may have played. He was with several other Islamic State members when the strikes were carried out, Ryan said.

Full report at:

https://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/us-airstrike-kills-islamic-state-figure-in-syria-american-military-says-1.558981

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Mideast

 

North Caucasus Muslim envoys visit Turkish parliament

03.12.2018

A Muslim delegation from the North Caucasus region of Russia paid a visit to the Turkish parliament on Monday.

Ahmet Berat Conkar, head of the Turkish-Russian Social Forum, received the delegation led by Ismail Berdiev, mufti and chair of the Coordination Centre of Muslims of the North Caucasus, in the capital Ankara.

Conkar told reporters that Russia was an important and valuable neighbor for Turkey.

"Our Muslim brothers and brothers of Turkish origin in Russia form the most important circle of our relations [with Russia]," said Conkar, Istanbul lawmaker of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

He added: "They play an important role as a bridge for our relations."

The Muslim community reached around 25 million in Russia that has a population of 144.5 million, according to Grand Mufti of Russia Sheikh Rawil Gaynetdin.

Following the meeting, Conkar showed Berdiev and his delegation the sections of the Turkish parliament that had been bombed during the defeated coup of July 15, 2016.

Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup, which martyred 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/politics/north-caucasus-muslim-envoys-visit-turkish-parliament/1328476

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Gaza court says six sentenced to death for collaboration with Israel

3 December 2018

A military court in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Monday sentenced six people, including a woman, to death by hanging for “collaborating” with Israel, authorities announced Monday.

In total 14 people were sentenced for “collaborating with the occupation,” with six sentenced to be hanged, a statement from the interior ministry in Gaza said.

The rulings come three weeks after eight people were killed when an alleged Israeli army cell in Gaza was uncovered, leading to a vicious fire fight.

Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, with the Jewish state striking dozens of targets in Gaza before a ceasefire agreement.

The six sentenced to death Monday were not related to the November 11 flare-up.

The woman, named only as Amal, was sentenced in absentia and is alleged to have encouraged her nephew in Gaza to collaborate with Israeli intelligence.

Iyad al-Bozum, the spokesman of the interior ministry in Gaza, hailed the rulings.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/12/03/Gaza-court-says-six-sentenced-to-death-for-collaboration-with-Israel.html

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Israel military says to expose Hezbollah attack tunnels from Lebanon

4 December 2018

Israel’s military said on Tuesday it was beginning an operation to "expose and thwart" cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon into Israel that were dug by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israel military spokesman, said they were aware of a number of tunnels crossing into Israel from Lebanon to the north, and that the army would only be operating within Israel and not crossing the border.

The military had also enhanced its readiness along the border, the spokesman said.

“We see the Hezbollah activities as a flagrant and blatant violation of Israeli authority,” said Conricus.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/12/04/Israel-military-says-to-expose-Hezbollah-attack-tunnels-from-Lebanon.html

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Israeli Knesset member, dozens of settlers storm al-Aqsa Mosque

Dec 3, 2018

An ultra-Orthodox Israeli legislator and dozens of Israeli settlers have stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds amid frequent acts of violence committed by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency, citing Firas al-Dibs, spokesperson of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization, said that Israeli’s Knesset member Yehuda Glick, who is a member of the ruling party of Likud-National Liberal Movement, and dozens of other Israeli settlers stormed the compound on Monday.

The report added that Glick, who campaigns for expanding the settlers’ access to the al-Aqsa compound, entered there for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, performed prayers with his companions while under the armed protection of Israeli forces and police, who had been deployed across the area.

The number of Israeli lawmakers, or members of the Knesset, who storm the sacred compound, has increased in the past few months after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided in July to allow the legislators to visit the compound once every three months following a restriction of access that has been in place since October 2015.

Most of the Knesset members are right-wing extremists, who support the demolition of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead, on what is known among settlers as the Temple Mount.

On November 18, Uri Ariel, the minister of agriculture and rural development in the occupied territories, and dozens of other Israeli settlers stormed the compound. The Israeli minister had previously stormed the compound in September.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque.

Tensions continue in the occupied Palestinian territories as part of the aftermath of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s "capital" and relocation of the US embassy to the occupied city.

On December 21 last year, the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial policy shift.

Despite the vote, the US went ahead with the embassy transfer on May 14, triggering demonstrations in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Morocco and other Muslim countries.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/03/581866/Palestine-Israel-Knesset-Yehuda-Glick-alAqsa-Mosque

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Houthis use children to fuel war, Yemen’s PM tells UNICEF regional director

December 04, 2018

Houthi militia use children to fuel their war in Yemen, Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed told UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa on Monday in Aden, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During a meeting in Aden with Khairat Kabalari, the Yemeni prime minister said children were the most vulnerable in the war and that the militia were abducting them from their homes and using them to fight on the front lines.

Kabalari said UNICEF was working to expand its activities in Yemen in health, education, water and the environment, and to identify the emergency needs of the Yemeni people.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1415266/middle-east

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Iran opposes US-drafted resolution against Palestinian resistance Hamas: FM

Dec 3, 2018

Iran has voiced its objection to a US-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, saying the Islamic Republic would do its utmost to prevent its ratification at the United Nations General Assembly.

In a telephone conversation with the head of Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reaffirmed the Islamic Republic's full support for the Palestinian people's rights.

The UN General Assembly plans to vote on Tuesday on the motion that would reportedly condemn the resistance movement “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence."

"Iran will make its utmost efforts at the General Assembly in coordination with other Muslim and progressive countries to prevent the ratification of the resolution [which is] a violation of the United Nations Charter and runs counter to the Palestinian people's resistance," the top Iranian diplomat said.

He added that the policies of certain regional countries have emboldened the administration of US President Donald Trump not only to relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds in violation of international law, but also to propose a resolution against the Palestinian people's resistance at the General Assembly.

Earlier on Monday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party vowed to support its rival Hamas at the General Assembly against the US-drafted resolution.

“We will stand against all hostile efforts to condemn Hamas at the United Nations,” Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh said.

In a letter addressed to UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa late last month, the Hamas political bureau chief condemned "aggressive" attempts by the US to pass the resolution against the resistance movement, urging the world body to end Tel Aviv's “abhorrent” occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Haniyeh highlighted the importance of international work to thwart Washington's efforts meant to delegitimize the Palestinian resistance.

The letter came days after Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said that US diplomats had been in talks with their EU counterparts to win their backing for a draft resolution against Hamas.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/03/581860/Zarif-Ismail-Haniyeh-resolution-General-Assembly-resistance-Palestine

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Saudi unwilling to shed old delusions, paying price for own mistakes: Iran

Dec 3, 2018

Iran says Saudi Arabia is not willing to change course even though it continues to pay the price for its own mistakes, leaving little to hope for in terms of improving ties. 

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Tehran welcomes a more stable Middle East but there are no indications that the regime in Riyadh is ready to take on a more constructive role in the region.

“Iran’s policy in the region and towards its neighbors has always been clear and any country that is willing to improve ties will get a positive answer from Iran,” he told reporters in Tehran.

“Currently, we don’t see a similar vibe coming from the Saudi government,” Qassemi said. “We think they continue to live with the same delusions from the past.”

Iran has time and again called on Riyadh to abandon its destabilizing policies and work towards resolving regional conflicts.

Saudi Arabia stands accused of propping up terrorist groups wreaking havoc in Syria while also providing support to separatist groups that have carried out attacks against Iranian people.

The Saudi regime is also facing growing international criticism over the actions of its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Besides waging a deadly war on Yemen, which has prompted a backlash from even Riyadh’s closest Western allies, bin Salman has put the Saudi regime into more trouble by ordering the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Kahshoggi.

The young prince’s policies have chased away foreign investors while persuading a growing number of governments to reconsider financial and political ties with Riyadh.

“Saudi leaders are delusional and keep struggling with the problems that they have created in the region and pay the price today,” Qassemi said.

US seeking to promote Iranophobia

Qassemi also dismissed as “psychological warfare” a lawsuit at a US court that sought to hold Iran responsible for the deaths and injuries of US soldiers in Iraq.

During the three-day trial, which begins on Monday, a group of US veterans and their families will try to sue Iran for the deaths and injuries caused by what they claim have been “Iranian weapons” in Iraq.

Enemies want Iran to ignore atrocities: Rouhani

“This is part of the psychological warfare that the US is always in pursuit of in different ways,” Qassemi said, noting that the “baseless” accusations are only meant to spread Iranophobia.

“Iran has always played a constructive role in fighting terror in the region, specifically in Iraq,” he added.

Qassemi said Iraq is still suffering from the “widespread humanitarian atrocities” that resulted from America’s actions, including its 2003 invasion of the Arab country.

Special payment channel with EU coming through

Qassemi further said negotiations with the European Union to establish a special payment channel with Iran are ongoing although US pressure and the “complexity of the issue” has slowed down progress.

The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is supposed to bypass US sanctions against Iran and allow European businesses to freely trade with their Iranian peers.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/03/581850/Iran-Saudi-Arabia-delusions-mistakes-Qassemi-bin-Salman

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Israel forces attack new freedom flotilla in Gaza, dozens injured

Dec 4, 2018

Israeli forces have opened fire on a new flotilla attempting to break the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and people rallying in its support, leaving dozens of people wounded, Press TV reports.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip launched a new flotilla on Monday for the 18th week in a row in an attempt to draw attention to their plight under more than a decade of Israeli siege, but they were met with live fire from Israel.

Gaza has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, which has caused a sharp decline in living standards.

Dozens of demonstrators were injured by live ammunition and tear gas inhalation as Israeli troops attacked the boats and hundreds of peaceful protesters who had gathered on the coast to see off the flotilla.

The flotilla of boats is launched as part of the anti-occupation protests dubbed “The Great March of Return,” which began on March 30, during which Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland as a result of Israeli wars and other forms of aggression.

“Our peaceful rallies began on March 30 to draw the world’s attention to the plight of the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer due to Israel’s inhumane and illegal practices. Lifting the siege will be the first step in achieving our goals,” flotilla spokesman Mahmoud Masoud told Press TV.

Some 240 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 20,000 others wounded during the anti-occupation protests, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza Health Ministry.

Late in November, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said around 1,000 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces during the anti-occupation protests had infections that could leave them permanently crippled.

The international medical charity also warned that a “slow-motion healthcare emergency is unfolding in Gaza” as hospitals — already under-equipped due to the Israeli siege — were being overwhelmed by the “huge numbers of patients with complex and serious gunshot wounds.”

“The world must take a stance against the Israeli regime and exert real pressure on it to lift the blockade. The Gaza Strip is going through a humanitarian catastrophe because of the blockade. Many Palestinians have been killed and injured simply because they are demanding their rights,” Palestinian activist Amer Abu Qumsan said.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/04/581926/Israel-freedom-flotilla-Gaza

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Israel increased airstrikes, abductions, and demolitions in November: PLO report

Dec 3, 2018

There has been an escalation of Israel’s aerial aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli soldiers’ attacks against Palestinians across the occupied territories, demolitions of Palestinians’ properties in the West Bank, and abductions, a PLO report says.

According to a report by the International Relations Department in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), cited by the Palestinian Ma'an news agency on Monday, a total of 24 Palestinians were killed and 232 others sustained wounds during attacks by Israeli troops in the month f November.

The report added that of the 21 Palestinians lost their lives in the blockaded sliver and the rest had been killed in the occupied West Bank.

It further said that the Israeli troopers shot dead seven Palestinians during a military attack in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, while another eight lost their lives during three-day-long airstrikes conducted by Israeli fighter jets in the impoverished enclave.

The remaining six Palestinian succumbed to their wounds received during protest rallies along a border fence, which separates Gaza from the occupied territories, where most of the injuries were sustained either from live ammunition or tear-gas inhalation, it added.

The report went on to say that three more Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops during alleged stabbing or car-ramming attacks against Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

The report continued that Israeli army nabbed more than 260 Palestinians last month, mostly minors, adding that Adnan Ghaith, the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem al-Quds, and many activists of the Palestinian Fatah movement had been among those abducted.

Elsewhere in the report, the International Relations Department in the PLO said that Israeli authorities had also demolished dozens of Palestinian buildings, including 16 shops and a four-story building with 12 apartments in Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

It added that Israeli authorities also demolished several other buildings and Palestinian-owned structures in different neighborhoods of East Jerusalem al-Quds as well as in Area C of the West Bank.

Furthermore, Israeli settlers uprooted and cut down a number of trees in the West Bank, mainly olive ones, which are a main source of livelihood for Palestinians, in November.

The Israeli military also ordered Palestinian farmers to uproot at least 260 olive trees in the village of Bardala, in the northern Jordan Valley, and seized 500 palm trees in Ariha (Jericho).

Tensions have been running high near the Gaza fence since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests, dubbed “The Great March of Return,” demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 240 Palestinians have lost their lives and over 23,000 others sustained injuries by Israeli live fire during the protests since March 30

The territory has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in living standards as well as unprecedented unemployment and poverty.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/03/581899/Palestine-Israel-airstrikes-detentions-demolitions-Gaza-West-Bank-PLO

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Arab journalists hail Turkey's moves on Khashoggi case

03.12.2018

Arab political analysts and journalists are praising Turkey’s handling of the case of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkey acted professionally and followed a good media strategy for uncovering the truth in the case of Khashoggi, who was killed on Oct. 2 in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Hassan al-Jabri, a Yemeni political analyst, told Anadolu Agency.

Turkish authorities have considered the case a long-term process from the beginning, he said, adding that Turkey consistently pushed back on claims coming from Saudi prosecutors.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist working for The Washington Post, was killed shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After weeks of saying he had left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration later admitted he was killed there, blaming his death on a group of rogue Saudi operatives.

"The only positive side of this crime is that it was committed in Turkey," said Farouk Akkari, a political analyst and journalist, adding that if it had been committed in another country, it would have been covered up.

Also, Turkish media always followed developments closely without directly accusing or blaming anyone, he added.

Turkey had a skilled media strategy for getting the case out into the press, said Maher Hejaze, a Palestinian political analyst currently living in the Netherlands.

He also said authorities in Turkey provided technical and legal facilities for Arab, foreign, and local media organizations to carry out their duties.

According to Palestinian journalist Muaz Hamid, Turkey managed the case well and cleverly with high-level diplomacy, which put pressure on many governments around the world to find the truth.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/jamal-khashoggi/arab-journalists-hail-turkeys-moves-on-khashoggi-case/1328426

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Africa

 

Saudi-Algerian higher council to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts

3 December 2018

A joint statement issued on Monday announced the establishment of a higher council for coordination between Saudi Arabia and Algeria under the chairmanship of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia to enhance cooperation in the political and security fields and combating terrorism and extremism.

The statement comes after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince held talks with the Algerian Prime Minister during which he reviewed the bilateral relations between the countries and opportunities to develop them in various fields, in addition to discussing developments in the region.

The higher council will further exert bilateral efforts in the economic, trade, investment, energy, mining, and culture and education fields.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2018/12/03/Saudi-Algerian-higher-council-to-coordinate-counter-terrorism-efforts.html

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Nigeria's president rejects rumors of his death

Dec 3, 2018

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has denied claims spread on social media that he has died and been replaced by a double.

"It's real me, I assure you. I will soon celebrate my 76th birthday and I will still go strong," Buhari told fellow Nigerians at a town hall gathering in Poland, where he was attending a conference.

One of the questions that came up today in my meeting with Nigerians in Poland was on the issue of whether I‘ve been cloned or not. The ignorant rumours are not surprising — when I was away on medical vacation last year a lot of people hoped I was dead. pic.twitter.com/SHTngq6LJU

— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) December 2, 2018

It was widely rumored on videos posted on YouTube and Facebook that Buhari, who had spent five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed illness, had died and been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan named "Jubril."

"A lot of people hoped that I died during my ill health," he said, adding that those who spread the rumor were "ignorant and irreligious."

Meanwhile, Takfiri militancy persists as a main security issue in the country. Attacks by the once-weakened Boko Haram militant group seem to have gained momentum in the country's northeast in 2018, pushing into towns and villages in the restive Borno and Yobe states northeast of the country it had previously lost to the Nigerian military.

Buhari, who rose to power in 2015 pledging to wipe out militancy, is running for re-election in February.

A former army general who became the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent at the ballot box, Buhari hails from the Muslim-dominated north of Africa's most populous country.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/03/581831/Nigeria-Buhari-died-replaced-by-double

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Boko Haram raid kills two soldiers in NE Nigeria

2018-12-03

Boko Haram jihadists killed two soldiers and seriously wounded five militia members in separate attacks in the troubled northeast of the country, military and militia sources told AFP Sunday.

Gunmen from Boko Haram faction the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attacked a remote base in Buni Gari village, in Yobe state, 60km from the state capital Damaturu on Saturday, with six of the attackers killed.

"We lost two soldiers in the attack and six terrorists were also killed and their bodies recovered by soldiers," a military officer told AFP.

Air support and reinforcements from a military base in the nearby town of Buni Yadi "effectively routed" the jihadists, said the officer. He asked not to be named because he was not cleared to speak about the incident.

A member of the militia fighting beside the troops confirmed that the bodies of two soldiers and six jihadists had been recovered after the gun battle, which lasted less than an hour.

Buni Yadi district is a known ISWAP stronghold

Around the same time in Maiduguri, capital of neighbouring Borno state, a female suicide bomber seriously wounded five members of the local militia at a checkpoint.

Civilian militia members had stopped two female suicide bombers at Muna Garage security checkpoint, but one managed to detonate her suicide vest, militia leader Babakura Kolo said.

"The bomber and her accomplice were killed in the blast while five of our colleagues were injured," Kolo said.

"The explosives on the other bomber did not detonate and were defused by a bomb squad," he said.

The attack bore the hallmark of the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram, notorious for using suicide bombers to attack military and civilian targets.

Boko Haram has in recent months intensified attacks on military targets in Borno and Yobe states.

The two states, along with nearby Adamawa state, have born the brunt of nine years of jihadist violence that has claimed 27 000 lives and forced 1.8 million people to flee their homes.

Full report at:

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/boko-haram-raid-kills-two-soldiers-in-ne-nigeria-20181203

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