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Islamic World News (08 Sep 2018 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Indian SC Asks Centre, States to Give Wide Publicity on Mob Lynching Consequences

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and States to give wide publicity on radio, television and other media platforms to its direction that lynching and mob violence of any kind will invite serious consequence under the law.


Indian SC Asks Centre, States to Give Wide Publicity on Mob Lynching Consequences

Imran Khan Removes Minority Ahmadi Muslim from Pakistan Economic Council

French Far-Right Group Suspected Of Plotting Poison Attacks on Muslims

Two Suspected Islamist Group Members Shot Dead In Bangladesh

Pressing the Reset Button on Islam and the Academia



Indian SC Asks Centre, States to Give Wide Publicity on Mob Lynching Consequences

Sikhs to Get Visa-Free Access to Kartarpur Gurdwara: Pakistan

Bangladeshi Terrorists Living Under Guise of Construction Workers Charged By NIA

Kerala Muslim Jamaath Kanthapuram Come Out Against Section 377 Order

Maharashtra Muslim Sangh Joins Hands with Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh

People with vested interests in India, Pak don't want peace in Kashmir: Farooq Abdullah

Terrorist killed, policeman injured in attack on police picket in J&K

Will avenge border deaths, Pakistan warns India after US snub



Imran Khan Removes Minority Ahmadi Muslim from Pakistan Economic Council

Muslim Mob Beat Christian Student to Blind on Living among Muslim Families Housing

Ulema Back Seven-Point Code of Conduct For Muharram

Quality security interaction with Pakistan to continue: US

JIT chief says MLA request to Saudi Arabia was ‘incomplete’

PM Imran appeals overseas Pakistanis to wage ‘dam jihad’

Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar’s ashes to be immersed in Lahore’s River Ravi

Jemima Goldsmith expresses disappointment on Atif Mian’s removal from EAC

PM launches ‘jihad’ against water crisis



French Far-Right Group Suspected Of Plotting Poison Attacks on Muslims

Iran President Praises Russia’s Role in Maintaining JCPOA

Alleged N.B. shooter references N.L. cross in video protesting Muslim immigration

‘Mealy-mouthed’ Police Chief Skewered for Refusing to Say Radical Islamic Terrorism is ‘Islam-inspired’


South Asia

Two Suspected Islamist Group Members Shot Dead In Bangladesh

Ghani Issues Instructions for the Security of Ashura, Martyrs Weeks Ceremonies

WHO lauds Bangladesh support for Rohingyas

Awami League Joint General Secretary Urges Islamic Scholars To Help Restore Morals In Society

Ghani met with the U.S. defence delegation led by Mattis and Gen. Dunford


Southeast Asia

Pressing the Reset Button on Islam and The Academia

Stay United To Avoid Hostility, PM Tells Muslims

Dr Wan Azizah confirms parliamentary seat being vacated for Anwar

PAS Veep: Why Call Shariah Caning Cruel? Civil Caning Is Worse

Muhyiddin cautious of ex-Umno members joining PPBM


Arab World

1900 Trucks Carrying Military Hardware Sent by US to Deir Ezzur in 40 Days

Syrian Army Pounds Terrorists' Positions in Hama, Idlib

US-Backed SDF Goes on Alert, Arrests Raqqa Residents

Iraq’s main seaport port reopens after protesters leave entrance

UN Security Council warns against massacre in Syria’s Idlib



Philippines’ Duterte Offers Troops to Amman to Fight ISIS

Nigerian Troops Kill 14 Boko Haram Militants

Nigeria: Muslim Elders Task on Government on Youth Unemployment

Man linked to Shabaab arrested in a Lamu hospital

Aid group calls for migrant evacuations from Tripoli



US VP Pence Pressures Paraguay over Jerusalem Embassy Move

Iran, Turkey Stress Broadening of Mutual Cooperation

Erdogan Describes US Arms Supply to Kurdish Militias as Main Threat to Turkey

Saudi forces intercept, destroy Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Najran

Houthi commander, 16 militiamen dead after Arab Coalition air raids in Hodeidah

Iran, China discuss enhanced defense cooperation, anti-terror fight

Yemenis slam Saudi Arabia for barring Houthi delegation from attending Geneva talks

Israeli forces kill one Palestinian; injure 100s more in Gaza anti-occupation rally

Iran, Turkey agree to defy US sanctions by boosting business ties

Trump destroys US credibility, humiliates allies with ‘little games’: Iran FM

Turkey: Ex-Kurdish party leader sentenced on terror charge


North America

Turkey to Open Paraguay Embassy after It Moved Mission Back to Tel Aviv

US-led coalition stages war games in Syria

US military drawing up options should Syrian regime use chemical weapons

UN echoes Erdogan, fears potential catastrophe in Idlib

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/indian-sc-asks-centre,-states-to-give-wide-publicity-on-mob-lynching-consequences/d/116322



Indian SC Asks Centre, States to Give Wide Publicity on Mob Lynching Consequences

September 7, 2018

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and States to give wide publicity on radio, television and other media platforms to its direction that lynching and mob violence of any kind will invite serious consequence under the law.

The top court by its July 17 judgment had directed the Central and the state governments to "broadcast on radio and television and other media platforms including the official websites of the Home Department and Police of the states that lynching and mob violence of any kind shall invite serious consequence under the law."

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud directed the Centre and the state governments to carry out its July 17 direction as Attorney General K.K. Venugopal informed the court that a Group of Ministers (GoM) is considering the nature of legislation to be brought to deal with the crime of lynching by the vigilante groups.

The top court by its July 17 judgment had recommended to Parliament to create a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same as a special law would instil a sense of fear for law among the people involved in vigilantism and lynching.

Directing all the state governments and Union Territories to comply with its July 17 direction that provides for preventive, remedial and punitive steps to deal with the lynching crime, the court said that the home secretaries of the states and the UTs that would fail to file report on the compliance of its direction would be directed to appear before the court in person.

The court order came as senior counsel Indira Jaising told the court that only nine States and two Union territories have filed the compliance report.

Besides this, the court sought report from Rajasthan on the steps taken backed with documents against the police officials for delay in taking Rakbar Khan, a victim of lynching to hospital resulting in his death.

Rakbar Khan, 28, was beaten to death by suspected cow vigilantes in Lalwandi village of Ramgarh district in Rajasthan on July 24.

Rajasthan on Thursday informed the court that SHO of the police station concerned has been suspended. The court was also informed that three constables of the police station have been transferred to police lines.




Imran Khan removes minority Ahmadi Muslim from Pakistan economic council

September 7, 2018

A spokesman says the government of Pakistan’s newly elected prime minister has removed a minority Ahmadi Muslim from a recently set up economic council because of opposition from hard-line Islamists. The move indicates Prime Minister Imran Khan bowed to religious elements who opposed the appointment of Atif Mian to the Economic Advisory Council because of his faith. Khan set up the council recently to seek guidance for improving the country’s ailing economy.

A spokesman for the Ahmadi sect, Saleem-ud-Din, confirmed Mian’s removal, saying he will be available to the government if his services are sought in future. Ahmadis are a tiny minority in Pakistan. Their homes and places of worship are often targeted by Sunni militants who consider them heretics. Pakistan declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974.




French far-right group suspected of plotting poison attacks on Muslims

September 8, 2018

A far-right group broken up by French police this summer was discussing plans to attack Muslims by poisoning halal food, according to police interview transcripts secured by a French newspaper.

Thirteen people were arrested in June and July after an undercover police operation targeted the Operational Forces Action group (OFA), a small vigilante group dedicated to fighting the “Islamic peril”, according to media reports.

Four of those held were reportedly linked to victims or those caught up in the coordinated series of terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 that left 137 people dead. Other suspects were from middle-class backgrounds, or had police and military backgrounds, according to the transcripts secured by Le Monde and published this week.

The AFO – a small and little-known group - planned to respond to further Islamist extremist attacks in France by retaliating at a number of locations, according to a document recovered from the home of one of the suspects.

Plans included using a syringe to poison halal food in Muslim-populated areas, targeting imams identified by group members as fundamentalists and attacking mosques and bookshops with homemade grenades.

The suspects claimed the plans were ideas that were never going to be carried out, according to Le Monde. Members of the group were said, however, to have reconnoitred Paris supermarkets and were planning to test poisons on animals in August. One suspect was accused of buying material to turn into homemade explosives.

The group, which had more than 100 members, was allegedly led by a 64-year-old former police officer and they used code names from historical French figures. The ex-officer was known as Richelieu, after a 17th century cardinal.

The arrests were carried out across France, including the island of Corsica and within the Paris suburbs. Those arrested, aged between 32 and 69, included women. Four people remain in custody.

One member of the AFO, a 62-year-old mathematician code-named Fermat claimed the group was not fundamentalist and did not advocate violence.




Two suspected Islamist group members shot dead in Bangladesh

September 7, 2018

Bangladeshi police on Friday shot dead two suspected members of an Islamist group blamed for several attacks in the Muslim-majority country, including the murder of progressive writer-publisher, officials said.

The suspects were killed in what police described as "gunfight" in Sreenagar upazila of Munshiganj, bdnews24 reported.

Both men in their early 30s were the members of the banned Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militant group, said Nazrul Islam, a district intelligence officer of Munshiganj police.

The JMB is said to have links with the Islamic State.

The police had signalled two motor cyclists to stop around 2am on Sreenagar Highway which they ignored and entered the nearby Chashara KC road, said Additional Superintendent of Police Kazi Maksuda Lima.

"Police chased them and they opened fire forcing the police to retaliate. At one point, both of them were shot dead."

Two sub-inspectors and a constable of police were also injured in the incident, according to the police.

The law enforcement agencies seized 11 handmade bombs, a pistol and two machetes from the scene.

"We had information that both of them were involved in the murder of blogger Shahjahan Bachchu."

Abdur Rahman, the key suspect in the murder of Bachchu, died in a shootout with the police in June.

On June 11, four unidentified assailants on two motorcycles gunned down Bachchu in the Upazila.

The 55-year-old former general secretary of the Communist Party of Bangladesh's Munshiganj district unit was a publisher of Bishaka Prokashoni. He was known as a free-thinking writer in his ancestral village Kakaldi.

The killing of Bachchu, 60, was the first Islamist attack on a prominent secular figure in two years.

Police filed a case against four unidentified persons over the murder. The police said to have retrieved the information of the involvement of two more persons in the murder after interrogating Abdur Rahman, the report said.

The JMB was also blamed for the 2016 attack on a cafe in an affluent Dhaka neighbourhood, in which 18 foreigners and four other hostages were killed.




Pressing the reset button on Islam and the academia

Tajuddin Rasdi

September 8, 2018

A furore recently erupted over the appointment of Maszlee Malik as president of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Critics were quick to cry foul as they felt that Maszlee, being the education minister, might be biased towards the university and violate his own promise of making universities in Malaysia free from political interference.

Although I understand, appreciate and value this important criticism, I wish to take a different stand. I will put forth four arguments why I think we should let Maszlee accept the appointment by the Sultan of Pahang to be the new president of IIUM.

My first argument concerns change. In the book “The Art of War”, the author said if you kill a few soldiers in front of the other soldiers, you will most definitely see immediate change and total loyalty for the duration needed to win the battle.

Malaysians must understand that change in the country is similar to change in our families. Parents will notice that a smack here and there can bring about quick change when children are young, but when they reach adolescence, a more tactful method is required.

The euphoria over the so-called New Malaysia has vanished, leaving many disappointed because change is slow in coming. To me, though, change has already come and will come in future days – but we must be patient and understanding.

This does not mean that we say, “Whatever will be, will be”. We must monitor the subtle changes and, most importantly, monitor the attitudes of the elected leadership. It is not a good idea to criticise the royalty or abolish Mara, or open up UiTM now. Instead, we should instal a new leadership, perhaps a multiracial one, and bring about change from the inside for a decade or so. That Maszlee and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government are willing to change the universities is enough for now.

Secondly, we are going to witness a great battle for the Malay-Muslim mindset, and it must begin at a university. There is already a precedent set in that a minister like Anwar Ibrahim was president of IIUM. Anwar was there because it was his view that the Malays needed to abandon the racial mindset and adopt an Islamic mindset which is supposed to be colour-blind and more universal in values.

Anwar’s vision of a more liberal and progressive Malaysia may be difficult to achieve in the face of the strong ustaz conservatism in PAS and the racial rhetoric of Umno. The Malays must change, otherwise the country will burn. Islam is the choice, but an Islam that has a universal and global outlook.

Maszlee can be said to be the “second coming” of the spirit of what Anwar and, to a certain extent, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, envisioned.

The non-Malays must understand that the battle for Malaysia lies not only in economics but in the mindset of the Malay-Muslims. With a marriage between Umno and PAS just a few months away, Malaysia will be rocked by a strong conservative Malay-Muslim political force backed by an ignorant Malay populace nodding to every Zamihan-like fanatic, a middle-class academia that does not have a critical view of religion, and narrow-minded madrasah-educated state religious officials.

The only weapons PH have to combat the rising mainstream Islamic extremism that we now see are IIUM and a reinvented Jakim. For 20 years, IIUM has been Umno-ised, its academics left counting their journal marks for promotions. The professors there are useless at championing change in the mindset of Malaysian Muslims, judging by the issues that keep coming up and causing unrest in the country.

The reset button must be pressed on the academic culture and responsibility at IIUM to lead this fight against mainstream Islamic extremism. Maszlee has been in the civil society circuit and has shown himself to be a true academic by challenging the status quo at the cost of promotions and career advancements.

Thirdly, regardless of who the president or vice-chancellor is at any university, the professional fraternity are the ones who are supposed to give real substance to the institution. I have always given one simple piece of advice to aspiring young academics: in order to be a true academic, do not give your loyalty to an institution; instead, give it to knowledge, ideas and the conscience that comes with the two.

Professors at Malaysian universities give complete loyalty to institutions so that they will be conferred with proverbial titles and financial awards. Professors must reach out to the public and change society by making their knowledge and attitudes known to all and sundry because the ordinary layperson will be elected as the people’s representative and perhaps even the prime minister.

Books and media articles, as well as forums upon forums and discourses to enlighten the public must be the order of the day. Nowadays, if I am invited to speak at a public university, only a handful of academics and post-graduate students come. I have made it a practice to invite FMT journalists to all my public talks because public universities do not care whether anyone else attends. The same goes for conferences and seminars. The organising committees do not care who comes as long as they collect hundreds of papers and fees.

Public-funded universities like IIUM are simply big fat overstuffed elephants that keep feeding without giving any meaningful output to society. Maszlee would be in the best position to redraft not only the KPI of professors but also the ridiculous MyRA measures for university rankings.

My 45 books, hundreds of encyclopaedia articles and hundreds of media writings can only be slotted under “other publications”. These three types of writing that changed the Western world are now pushed to the periphery to make way for Scopus journals that keep producing narrow-minded PhD graduates. Uncaring professors producing narrow-minded graduates will send this nation back to the Stone Age. A university should be a beacon of change for society, not a factory to produce workers.

Fourthly, with respect to the claim of political interference, there is an easy answer. As long as public universities are funded by public money from taxes, there had better be “political interference”. Academics at public universities cannot think that they operate in a vacuum. The elected representatives are there to ensure that the public trust the university to do what is best for the people, not the ego and self-interest of academics.

The public will not fund academics’ “pet projects” just because they happen to “like” travelling to conferences and buying new cars. The bottom line is that politicians who are elected must ensure that the public get their money’s worth from the salaries of academics. What is abhorrent is politicians appointing mediocre leaders at universities that set the path to self-interested research, writing and papers. I agree with Gerak that there should be an independent committee to vet candidates for professorship and vice-chancellorship. The education minister can be one voice in this committee, but not the overriding voice.

In closing, I would like to ask our citizens to have patience and trust Maszlee to lead the battle for the Malay-Muslim minds for a few years. Let us see how he performs. If he comes up short, I will be the first to tell him so.






Sikhs to get visa-free access to Kartarpur gurdwara: Pakistan

Sep 8, 2018

CHANDIGARH/AMRITSAR: Pakistan's information minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that the Imran Khan government was planning to give Sikh pilgrims "visa-free direct access" to the historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara.

In an interview with BBC Urdu, Chaudhry said the Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaaf-led

government was developing "a system" for Sikh pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib and some forward movement is expected soon.

"Pakistan will soon open the border at Kartarpur for Sikh pilgrims who will be able to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur without visas," Chaudhry said, adding that "a road will be constructed for the pilgrims to come. They will then have to buy a ticket to go back."

There's, however, no clarity yet on the system - whether the access will be permanent or be specifically for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev next year.

There has been a longstanding demand in India for opening a corridor for the Sikh pilgrims between Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province and Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur- the two sites, barely 6km apart.

However, there has been no official announcement by the Pakistan government and no confirmation from New Delhi. But Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu convened a press conference on Friday to announce that Islamabad had decided to allow access to Kartarpur corridor.




Bangladeshi terrorists living under guise of construction workers charged by NIA

September 8, 2018

New Delhi, Sep 8: The National Investigation Agency has chargesheeted five Bangladeshi nationals for aiding and harbouring members of a terrorist organisation.

The five were first arrested by the Pune ATS for aiding and harbouring members of a Bangladesh based terrorist organization "Ansarullah Bangla Team" in Pune City. Subsequently, pursuant to the order of the MHA, investigation of the aforesaid case was transferred to the NIA.  Also Read | Ansarul Khilafa-KL: The Kerala module of the ISIS The five persons who were chargesheeted are Mohammed Habibur Rahman Habib, Ripen Hossain, Hannan Anwar Khan, Hassanali Mohd and Azarali Subhanalla Islam. The chargesheet was filed under sections 120B and 471 of the Indian Penal Code, sections 17, 19 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946. The Bangladeshi nationals were earlier arrested by the ATS, Pune. Investigation of the case by the NIA revealed that all the five arrested accused persons were illegally staying in India without valid documents and were working as workers at various construction sites in Pune. They had fraudulently obtained Indian PAN Cards, Aadhaar Cards, Election Cards and Ration Cards in fictitious names by providing fake/forged documents. They had used the said Aadhar and PAN card for procuring Indian SIM cards, for opening of bank accounts and for seeking employment in India.

Full report at:




Kerala Muslim Jamaath Kanthapuram Come Out Against Section 377 Order

SEPTEMBER 07, 2018

Prominent Sunni leader and president of the Kerala Muslim Jamaath Kanthapuram A.P Aboobacker Musliyar has said that the organisation will discuss in detail the Supreme Court verdict on legalising same-sex relations between consenting adults.

Replying to questions at a news conference here on Friday, the Musliyar, who showed his displeasure to respond to the issue, said that they will need to study the verdict in detail before responding. “If required we will meet the Prime Minister as well as approach the Supreme Court itself,” he said.

Several Muslim organisations, especially those affiliated to major Sunni sects in Kerala, have already publicly come out against the Supreme Court order. The Markazu Saqafathi Sunniyya, affiliated to the Kanthapuram faction of the Sunnis, said that the order will result in an increase in crimes but added that it would remove the stigma attached to sexual minorities.

The Sunni Yuvajana Sangham, a feeder outfit of the Samastha Kerala Jam’eyyath ul-Ulama, a religious organisation of the Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics, said that homosexuaility was a grave sin in Islam while the Ithihadul Subbanil Mujahideen said that homosexality is against human nature.

At the same time, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC) Family Commission has termed the Supreme Court verdict as “unfortunate”.

A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial era provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalises consensual unnatural sex.

Full report at:




Maharashtra Muslim Sangh Joins Hands with Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh

Sep 8, 2018

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Muslim Sangh, an umbrella organisation of around 40 Muslim NGOs, has snapped its ties with the BJP and joined hands with Prakash Ambedkar-led Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh to support secular parties in the next Lok Sabha and assembly elections. The Muslim outfit had backed the BJP in the 2014 assembly elections.

"Before we declared our support to the BJP, we had given it our charter of demands. The party included some of our demands in its manifesto and promised it would engage our members while implementing its agenda," said the Sangh's president, Fakir Mohammed Thakur. He added that senior BJP leader Madhav Bhandari tried his best to initiate a dialogue between the Muslim Sangh and the BJP but the BJP's state leadership did not show much interest.

"We are disillusioned and now will create a joint front with the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh of Prakash Ambdekar who is also Dr B R Ambedkar's grandson," said Thakur.

Thakur and other Sangh members had campaigned for the BJP in 2014 assembly elections and in several civic elections in Maharashtra. He claimed BJP got around 14% of Muslim votes because of aggressive campaigning by Muslim Sangh activists.

Full report at:




People with vested interests in India, Pak don't want peace in Kashmir: Farooq Abdullah

Sep 7, 2018

NEW DELHI: There are some people with vested interests in India and Pakistan who do not want peace in Kashmir for their own survival, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has said.

Inviting business leaders to the state for investments, Abdullah said "you will find more love from people in Kashmir than you think".

"Some politicians in Pakistan or in India do not want to resolve the Kashmir issue, they want the instability and hatred to continue in the valley so that they could survive," he said on Thursday night at a business event organised by the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO).

There is the vested interest that wants to crack everything, Abdullah, the Member of Parliament from Srinagar, said.

"The vested interest is everywhere, be it some of the politicians, leaders or military establishment. Many are making money and unless we throw them out, the Kashmir issue would not be resolved," the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir said.

He said the two countries have to move forward if they want peace and prosperity in the region.

Asked about the status of Kashmiri pandits and what he would like to do for their return to the valley, he said whoever wants to return, will surely return and there was a need to create a space inside the Muslim community with whom they have lived harmoniously and peacefully.

He said many of the young pandits may not want to return to the valley as they have never been there and have established themselves elsewhere.

"It's the older pandits who want to go back to the valley. Many of them have already sold their properties at throwback prices fearing that the valley will become Pakistan which was not true. So there is a need to create an area inside the Muslim community and not outside as they have lived together harmoniously and peacefully," Abdullah said, adding that at the time of partition, the people of Kashmir chose to stay with India.

Urging businesses to visit Kashmir and invest there, he said, "We are a muslim majority state but that doesn't mean we are not Indians. We believe India belongs to all of us. You will find more love from people over there."

"People often say is Kashmir safe to visit? I would ask them is New Delhi safe? Anything can happen to you when you go out even in New Delhi. You can be attacked or looted. But creating a notion that Kashmir is not safe for visiting is not correct," Abdullah said.

Even today, there are temples and mosques everywhere in Kashmir, he said, adding that people happily live together and only some people with vested interests are creating problems.

"We are not Pakistanis, we want to live with Hindustanis with love. We left everyone for this nation at the time of partition but it is very unfortunate that some of them call us traitors," the NC chief said.

The only difference is that there are certain safeguards in Kashmir as "our Constitution gives us some special rights under Articles 35-A and 370 which should not be taken away from the people of Kashmir. It is important for the state.

"There is hope that this nation would rise, no body will be harassed, no phones would be taped, no one would be targeted and people will have liberty," he said.

"I stand by me saying 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. When I said 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', I said that from my heart. I was even attacked by a group of people for saying that but I didn't care about it. There are some people who will not let the country go ahead and peace prevail in the valley," Abdullah said.

He also blamed the mainstream media for portraying a negative image of Kashmir, saying the media has played the most destructive role.

"The press is spreading lies," Abdullah said, adding that people living with in harmony and assisting each other never makes news.

Full report at:




Terrorist killed, policeman injured in attack on police picket in J&K

Sep 8, 2018

SRINAGAR: A terrorist was killed and a policeman injured when some ultras attacked a police picket in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said on Saturday.

Terrorists attacked a police picket at Achabal late Friday night, a police official said, adding but the attack was successfully repulsed.

In retaliatory action, one terrorist was killed and his weapon was recovered, he said.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain ultra is yet to be ascertained, he added.

The official said that in the shootout, a policeman sustained injuries and was shifted to a hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.




Will avenge border deaths, Pakistan warns India after US snub

Sep 07, 2018

Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa has pledged to “avenge” the deaths of troops on the frontier, an apparent reference to clashes with Indian forces on the Line of Control (LoC), even as Prime Minister Imran Khan said the country “won’t fight the wars of others” in what appeared to be a reference to a $300-million cut in security-related aid from the United States.

The leaders made the remarks at an event held at General Headquarters in Rawalpindi late on Thursday to mark Defence Day, observed every year to commemorate the defence of Lahore by Pakistani forces during the 1965 war with India.

Bajwa also raised the Kashmir issue, paying tributes to “the brothers and sisters of occupied Kashmir, who are writing an unparalleled history of bravery and sacrifice”.

Though he didn’t name any country, Bajwa apparently referred to clashes with Indian forces along the LoC in Kashmir when he said he wanted to assure the people that the “blood of martyrs wouldn’t be spilled in vain”.

“The blood that has been spilled on the frontier, the blood being spilled on the frontier, we will take revenge for this blood,” he said, speaking in Urdu.

Khan’s remarks during his speech at the same event appeared to be a riposte to the US demand for “sustained and decisive” action against terrorists threatening regional peace. The demand was made by secretary of state Mike Pompeo in his meetings with Pakistan’s civil and military leadership on Wednesday.

“I was opposed to the war on terror, I didn’t want Pakistan to get involved in someone else’s war,” Khan said, in Urdu. “I pledge today that Pakistan won’t fight someone else’s war.”

“Our work is to stand for our people and we will have a foreign policy that works for the betterment of Pakistanis,” he said.

The remarks came on the day a joint statement issued by India and the US after their two-plus-two talks in New Delhi mentioned Pakistan twice in the context of “cross border terrorist attacks”. The statement even referred to the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, raising the hope that the Trump administration will walk the talk on ramping up diplomatic pressure on India’s neighbour to rein in terrorist outfits.

Khan defended Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, saying no one had done more to defeat terrorism within the country. The remarks were significant in view of sustained US criticismof the Pakistani military’s failure to rein in terror groups such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba that operate from its soil.

He insisted there was no civil-military divide in Pakistan. Khan described the military as the “only merit-oriented organisation in Pakistan” and said he wanted to bring “meritocracy” to all institutions so that other organs of the state can become disciplined and established like the armed forces.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s information minister Fawad Chaudhry said the civilian and military leadership were keen on dialogue with India to foster regional peace but the new government hasn’t received a positive response from New Delhi.

Chaudhry told BBC Urdu that Prime Minister Khan had given several indications to India for holding talks but there was no “positive answer”. He noted that Khan had said in his first speech after his election victory that if India takes one step for peace, Pakistan will take two.

Asked how the new government’s policy towards India would be different from that of the previous administration, Chaudhry said the biggest difference was that all state institutions were on the same page and had adopted a united stance on foreign policy.

Both Khan and Bajwa believe no single country can develop on its own and it is important for the region to develop, Chaudhry said. “And both of them think that if there is no peace in the region, then everyone will be left behind,” he added.

Full report at:






Muslim mob beat Christian student to blind on living among Muslim families housing

Sep 8, 2018

Karachi: September 7, 2018. (PCP) A 2nd year chemical engineering student and resident of KDA 2, Mehmoodabad, Karachi, was beaten so badly by a mob of young Muslim men accompanied by an Islamic cleric, that he lost his sight. The mob using rods, clips and stick to beat the young man then stoned him outside his home.

On the 18th August 2018 at approximately 11:30 p.m. Vikram Alvin (25 yrs), was beaten till unconscious by 26 local Muslim men and an Islamic cleric outside his home. His neighbors use bigoted and abusive language against him as the swarm of 27 surrounded the family home and beat Vikram Alvin. When Vikram's father Alvin John (48 yrs), and brother, Sunil Alvin (23 yrs), saw what was happening they came out to rescue him but the mob pummeled all three of them with sticks, bricks and stones. The attackers were from all ages and in their display of contempt for good measure a few young boys threw stones at their house.

The brutal attack left Vikram Alvin severely injured with blood clots behind his eyes that have left him unable to see. Doctors have said that they do not expect his sight to return. A visit to one of Pakistan's best hospitals, Aga Khan Hospital was demoralising when doctors told the family of Vikram Alvin that he was incurable due to a lack of medical expertise. Doctors advised that there is some potential treatment that could be received via specialist hospitals in Malaysia and Turkey where medical treatment might restore partial sight to his left eye. Vikram Alvin's family have been told that there are no specialists who can perform this type of surgery in Pakistan.

The attack outside Mr Alvin's home came after a series of altercations with members of the local Muslim community who did not want to have a Christian family in the neighbourhood. Since moving to the area local Muslims have been trying to force out the Christian family. Neighbours had been tormenting the family and verbally harassing them in order to get them to move out of the community even though the family had only been living in that area for 8 months. The family had been warned that they would be killed if they did not leave the area but refused to move as they had no other options, having already moved from the Drigh Road area of Karachi following previous persecution.

When living at Drigh Road the family had been running a transportation business providing private bus services through the hire of vehicles. But recently, Karachi has been going through severe gang warfare and political violence from a political party named MQM who were forcing Christians to pay extortion to them. When the family failed to pay their regular payment they found themselves targeted for violence and abuse. The last straw was when gun shots were fired at their vehicle as the angst against them got out of control.

The brutal and harshly rendered hatred of their assault is clear, Christians are considered haram or unclean in the culture, so much so that in another BPCA story we reported about how some neighbours feared a church building in their neighbourhood would defile their community to such an extent that it would "make their ladies and families insecure" in that living next to a church would make their daughters unmarriageable! (click here)This violent assault upon this family is not in any way a land dispute or related to criminal gangs, but a direct act of persecution by neighbours because this is a Christian family.

Vikram Alvin, said: "I can't believe this has happened to me. I was going to complete my studies in Mechancal engineering this year and now that opportunity has been taken away from me. After completing my course, I had a job lined up with a large firm but the stable future I saw before me is now fraught with uncertainty.

"I have done nothing to deserve such treatment I only stayed faithful to God, yet these evil men began to be jealous of the success of our family and the hatred they have for our faith boiled over.

"I am unmarried and few women will want to marry me now what is left of my life will now be very difficult. I know God will help me through these difficult times and I seek him in prayer daily only He can save me from my dilemma."

Vikram's father Alvin John, has made a request to BPCA for urgent medical support, and they have not been able to return to their home due to threats. The opposition party is not only putting tremendous pressure on the police but also the hospital administration which has not released the medical certificate of Vikram Alvin. Vikram Alvin is recovering from his other injuries but he cannot see at all.

Vikram Alvin is admitted at Jinnah Hospital in eye ward and doctors are saying that he requires surgery as he has no vision, but Vikram and his father are afraid as a government hospital treatment is not known to be reliable and they are concerned they could eliminate any hope of recovery of his sight. The initial treatment in Jinnah Hospital was fine, but further treatment can only be done abroad, specifically, either in Turkey or Malaysia according to his father Alvin John. The potential cost for travel and medical treatment is difficult to estimate but we would need at least £6000 to begin even considering such help.

The family is still in grave danger and continue to receive serious threats, so they all are staying in the hospital in an attendee room while they monitor Vikram. The opposing parties have been sending messages to withdraw the case and to make a 'peace' agreement. They are stating that if the family fails to sign the agreement they will kill the brother of Vikram.

Alvin John, has expressed his serious concern about his family's safety and has asked BPCA to help provide a safe house for their protection. BPCA will need to raise an amount equivalent to £300 per month to achieve this in Karachi. A decent solicitor will cost around £600 to fight for justice for the family.

No First Incident Report (FIR) has been registered for the incident yet as Police ignore the concerns of this Christian family.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said: "It is devastating that a young Christian man could potentially lose his sight simply for being a Christian, this recent act of violence is deplorable as it exhibits the worsening intolerance in Pakistan.

"The very fact that the only trigger for this violence was a hatred for Christianity and that a family has had to move home twice to stay alive illustrates the pariah status Christians have in Pakistan, moreover it proves relocation is not a cure for persecution, despite what the UN and western governments say.




Ulema Back Seven-Point Code of Conduct For Muharram

Sep 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Ulema belonging to different schools of thoughts on Friday unanimously agreed to a seven-point code of conduct issued by the Ministry for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony for Muharram.

The code of conduct was agreed upon at a meeting presided over by the Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadari and attended by the Ulema from different schools of thoughts.

According to an official handout issued by the ministry, the meeting was not only to review the security situation but also to ensure law and order in Muharram. The code of conduct suggests that all schools of thoughts would make sincere efforts to create an environment of love, tolerance and respect elders belonging to all groups.

It also suggests religious scholars and Ulema would avoid making provocative speeches using public platforms that may hurt the sentiments of others. Efforts would be made to resolve sectarian differences through dialogue and reconciliation.

According to the code of conduct, no one would pass any remarks criticising any Muslim personality being revered by different schools of thoughts. Ulema and scholars would maintain unity on all issues keeping in view the current situation of the country.

The federal government also requested the provincial authorities to organise similar conferences at the provincial and district levels in order to ensure law and situation during the holy month of Muharram.

Full report at:




Quality security interaction with Pakistan to continue: US

Anwar Iqbal

September 08, 2018

WASHINGTON: A senior US official has said that the United States and Pakistan will continue to promote quality interactions in defence and security despite differences in other areas.

Randall G. Schriver, the assistant defence secretary for the Department of Defence’s (DoD) Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, also said that he had high hopes for the continuation of a respectful bilateral relationship beneficial to both countries.

Speaking at a Defence Day reception at the Pakistan Embassy on Thursday night, Mr Schriver said the recent visit of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford to Islamabad had paved the way for resetting this relationship.

The military linkages between the two countries, he said, had always remained a strong foundation for the two-way relations and he did not see that changing.

Mr Schriver, however, acknowledged that there had been “some bumps” on this long relationship that started the day Pakistan was founded.

But Pakistan “was a friend, a supporter, and a key partner” in the fight against terrorism and would continue to be a key partner.

“We know about the sacrifices that Pakistan has made in this long war on terror and we don’t take those sacrifices lightly. We value this relationship, we value this partnership.”But he reiterated Gen Dunford’s Wednesday statement that now was the time for both nations to deliver on their joint commitments.

“The military-to-military relationship is one that has remained in a place where some of the other relationships haven’t,” the top US defence official said.

Mr Schriver recalled that Pakistan has been a US partner in several key areas, “including our efforts to degrade Al Qaeda, the efforts to defeat [Daesh], the efforts made to the United Nations in peacekeeping”.

He said that the cooperation in these areas had yielded results and brought successes.

Mr Schriver noted that this week’s meetings between Secretary Pompeo, Gen Dunford and Pakistan’s top brass were held in a favourable environment.

Washington hoped to improve this relationship and use the good feelings generated in Islamabad to restore full cooperation in all areas. “We are very heartened ... and look forward to building on the momentum that that visit created.”

Full report at:




JIT chief says MLA request to Saudi Arabia was ‘incomplete’

Malik Asad

September 08, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case sent an ‘incomplete’ request for mutual legal assistance (MLA) to the Saudi government to get information about and documents of the company owned by Hussain Nawaz Sharif, the son of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

This was disclosed by the head of the JIT, Wajid Zia, during his cross-examination in the Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment reference on Friday.

Mr Zia conceded before the accountability Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik that the MLA request sent to Saudi Arabia did not mention full name of the Hill Metal Establishment, the company owned by Hussain Nawaz.

He said the JIT did not even know the complete title of the company when it sent the MLA request to Saudi Arabia.

According to Mr Zia, the star prosecution witness, the JIT learnt that the actual title of the company was “Hill Modern Industry for Metal Establishment” when Hussain Nawaz produced some documents related to the company during his appearance before the JIT on June 3, 2017.

The JIT sent the MLA request to Saudi Arabia on May 31 last year, Mr Zia said.

“In the MLA [request] JIT did not provide complete address of this entity and mentioned only ‘Jeddah’,” the JIT chief said.

“The JIT had solicited the information from Saudi authorities through MLA deeming the entity as a company. All the documents solicited by the JIT from the Saudi authorities through MLA were with reference to Hill Metal Establishment” the witness testified.

He told the court about the appearance of Hussain Nawaz before the JIT. According to him, Hussain Nawaz told the investigation team that the Hill Metal Establishment was a sole proprietorship and it had expanded gradually.

The land for this entity was purchased at the end of 2005. Initially, an automatic shredder scrap processing plant was set up on the land. A steel melting facility was added in 2008 and two furnaces were attached in 2010 and 2014, Mr Zia said.

Referring to the documents provided by Hussain Nawaz to the JIT, its head said that the shredder scrap processing plant was set up at a cost of 0.5 million British pounds and the building was constructed at a cost of three to four million Saudi riyals.

The court adjourned proceedings till Monday when Khawaja Haris, the counsel for Nawaz Sharif, will continue cross-examination of Mr Zia.

IHC constitutes bench to hear Sharifs’ appeals

Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi has constituted a two-member division bench to hear appeals the Sharif family has filed against their conviction in the Avenfield properties reference.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb will hear the appeals and the petitions filed by Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Capt Mohammad Safdar seeking suspension of their sentence.

Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir on July 6 had awarded 10-year imprisonment to Nawaz Sharif, seven years to Maryam Nawaz and one year to Capt Safdar in the Avenfield reference.

Full report at:




PM Imran appeals overseas Pakistanis to wage ‘dam jihad’

September 07, 2018

KARACHI: The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has urged overseas Pakistanis to wage a “dam jihad” by generously sending funds to the “PM-CJ fund for Diamer Bhasha and Muhammad Dam.”

In his recorded address to the overseas Pakistanis, televised on state-run and private television channels here on Friday evening, Prime Minister Imran Khan said each of the overseas Pakistanis in Europe and the US should contribute at least $1,000 in the fund for dams, which can be built within five years.

“Those working in Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East should send any amount they can contribute but Pakistanis in Europe and the US should send at least $1,000, which will not only help us build dams but also get dollars as we are facing shortage of them,” Khan told overseas Pakistanis, who, he said, numbered between eight and nine million. “That’s minimum, even more should be contributed.”

Dams are essential for the future of Pakistan, he said.

“We have 30 days’ water storage whereas a country like Egypt, which was once faced with worst water shortage, has storage capacity of 1,000 days.

“If we didn’t build dams, God forbid me, we will leave a hill of problems for our nation,” Khan said, adding the country could face complete drought by 2025.

“It’s not the Chief Justice’s job. It was the work of political leaders who should have thought for provision of the dam funds,” Khan said. PM said Rs180 crore?? were collected in the Chief Justice’s fund, which has now merged and will be called “PM-CJ fund for Diamer Bhasha and Muhammad Dam.”

“All Pakistanis, especially the overseas should contribute in the dam fund,” he said, adding that he had built and run hospital and university with the funding of overseas Pakistanis.

“No one has to give us a loan, we will have to make it on our own, and I assure you that I will protect your money and it will be spent on the dams only,” he pledged.

“There is no doubt that Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage for which Imran Khan has approached the overseas Pakistanis,” Aamir Latif, a Karachi-based analyst and journalist, told Arab News.

Latif is optimistic. “Given the fact that overseas Pakistanis have always been generous to send funds on Imran Khan’s appeals, they are likely to respond to his dams’ funds.

“The overseas Pakistanis had been funding Shaukat Khanum Hospital, the National University of Modern Languages and even sending election funds to the PTI, which is why PM Khan is sure that he will get a sizable amount. It will not only help the government build the dams but also bolster the rescinding foreign reserves,” he said.

However, others are not convinced.

Raza Rumi, a US-based Pakistani analyst, concurs that the PTI is the most popular of political parties among the overseas Pakistanis.

“Imran has high hopes from his followers abroad. Voluntary donations, however, can’t tackle the chronic issues faced by the country,” he said.

This is a populist measure and is hardly going to make an impact in terms of the serious challenges that Pakistan is facing, he said. adding: “The problem of water scarcity has less to do with dams and more to do with inefficient management of water resources.”

Similarly, Pakistan has billions of dollars’ foreign debt and it’s required to repay at least $16 billion as debt commitments within months.

“It is highly unlikely that oversees Pakistani will pay off even a fraction of this amount. It is also unfair to ask hardworking Pakistanis to compensate the excessive state expenditures, mismanagement and corruption.”

Shahab Osto, a water expert and petitioner who had moved the apex court over the issue of supply of contaminated water to Karachi, terms Imran Khan’s measure as “over-optimism” and with “no hopes of major impact.”

“Dams need a huge amount and can’t be built without going to the international financial institutions for funding,” Osto told Arab News.

“Public policy issues are resolved with financial feasibility not through just announcement,” Osto said, adding that the country had no water policy either and if he had ever heard of any plans to making it no such policy was made.

Full report at:




Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar’s ashes to be immersed in Lahore’s River Ravi

Sep 8, 2018

The ashes of noted activist and senior Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar would be immersed in the Lahore’s Ravi river later this month, a private media outlet reported on Friday.

Nayar, who was also a regular columnist for The Express Tribune, died at New Delhi’s Escorts Hospital on August 23. He was 95.

Before the immersion, a function would also be organised in which a sapling would be planted at the Government College University, Lahore, according to a press release.

Kuldip’s ashes were brought to Pakistan by Pakistani peace activists, including former senior judge Nasir Aslam Zahid, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research Executive Director Karamat Ali and other members including Haya Eman Zahid and Advocate Altaf Khoso.




Jemima Goldsmith expresses disappointment on Atif Mian’s removal from EAC

Sep 8, 2018

LONDON:  Former wife of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, Jemima Goldsmith has called the termination of Atif Mian’s services as a member of Economic Advisory Council(EAC) as ‘indefensible and very disappointing.”

“New Pak govt asks renowned and Prof of economics to stand down because of his faith. The founder of Pakistan, “Quaid-I-Azam” appointed an Ahmadi as his Foreign Minister,” said Jemima in a tweet.

Earlier during the day, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed the government has withdrawn the nomination of Atif Mian as a member of Economic Advisory Council(EAC).




PM launches ‘jihad’ against water crisis


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday appealed to all Pakistanis, particularly the overseas diaspora, to donate funds to help the country build dams.

“Pakistan is at risk of major droughts by the year 2025. The future of our next generations will be in jeopardy if we do not take any urgent steps to build water reservoirs now,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an address broadcast on the national television networks, adding the country faces a ‘serious crisis’. “Construction of dams in Pakistan is inevitable,” he said, and pointed out that the country had an average water storage capacity of only 30 days, as compared to 190 days of India, and 1,000 days for Egypt. He said on an average, a country should have 120-day storage capacity.

The prime minister said in 1947, the water storage for each Pakistani was around 5,600 cubic meters, while has now dwindled to 1,000 cubic meters. He said the experts had already warned about the impact of climate change on Pakistan, adding the country was expected to be hit by a drought by the year 2025. He warned that Pakistan would not have any water for its crops and for feeding its people.

“I laud Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar for his initiative of launching funds for the construction of dams,” he said, and admitted that it was not the job of the chief justice to take such steps, but of the political leadership of the country. He regretted that the past political leaderships of the country failed to do their duty.

The prime minister announced merger of the Prime Minister’s Fund and that of the chief justice and made an appeal to the overseas Pakistanis to send in remittances for the dams in US dollars. “I urge all overseas Pakistanis to send in at least 1,000 US dollars each. Those who cannot send it in one go, they may send as much as they can,” he said, and added that there were around eight to nine million Pakistanis living abroad. “We will not only get the money for the dams, but will also get the urgently needed foreign exchange reserves,” he said, and expressed the hope that with the funds available, Pakistan will be able to build the dams in five years.

Imran Khan said the overseas Pakistanis had always stood by him in the past and supported his initiatives of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and Namal College Mianwali. “We won’t need any loans,” he said. “I promise to protect every penny of your hard-earned money,” he added.

Full report at:






Iran president praises Russia’s role in maintaining JCPOA

Sep 7, 2018

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has commended Russia for its role in bringing the Iran nuclear deal into fruition and maintaining it despite the US’ illegal withdrawal.

Rouhani made the remarks in a Friday meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran.

“Despite Washington’s illegal and unilateral withdrawal from the deal, we hope the other parties would decisively and practically support it and live up to their commitments in full,” he noted, referring to a decision by US President Donald Trump to pull his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May.

Putin, for his part, highlighted the need for all parties to the 2015 accord to fulfill their commitments and protect it.

Russia plans to hold talks with the remaining JCPOA parties to find solutions to maintain and develop economic relations with Iran within the deal’s framework, the Russian leader noted.

Putin stated that those talks will continue on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Unlike his Iranian counterpart, the Russian president has no plan to attend the 73rd UN General Assembly session due to be held later this month in New York, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as the head of the Russian delegation, is expected to hold extensive talks with his counterparts on ways to salvage the nuclear deal on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

Iran, Russia to enhance business relations

During the Friday meeting, Rouhani said Tehran and Moscow must tap the new opportunities for expansion of cooperation and development of multilateralism.

Expansion of banking ties between Iran and Russia will play a crucial role in promotion of Tehran-Moscow business cooperation, he noted.

Rouhani also urged the two countries’ officials to speed up implementing earlier agreements and develop mutual cooperation in various fields, including energy, joint investment in construction of power plants, railroads, and infrastructure projects, among others.

In turn, Putin underlined the need for the development of bilateral banking relations and the use of national currencies in business transactions, vowing that no Russian firm would withdraw from any Iranian project amid the US sanctions imposed against Iran after Washington's pullout from the nuclear deal.

The use of national currencies in bilateral trade is what Iran, Russia, China, and Turkey are pursuing in a bid to ditch the US dollar in their business relations.

Putin also hailed the existing grounds for enhancement of cooperation in the trade, economy, agriculture, nuclear energy and infrastructure fields, saying his country is prepared to work with Tehran in constructing the International North-South Transport Corridor.




Alleged N.B. shooter references N.L. cross in video protesting Muslim immigration

Sep 8, 2018

FREDERICTON - The Fredericton man who allegedly murdered four people last month in a shooting spree was captured on video criticizing Muslim immigration in a 2017 protest outside the provincial legislature.

The 7-1/20minute interview with Matthew Raymond was filmed on June 3, 2017, by blogger Charles LeBlanc, who said Wednesday he only recently realized who he had spoken to.

On the video, LeBlanc repeatedly questions the truth of various statements from the 48-year-old Raymond, and his tendency to rely on the internet as a source for his assertions.

Raymond is alleged to have fired down upon four people from his apartment window with a long gun, killing two civilians as they loaded a car for a trip and two police officers who responded to the scene on Aug. 10.

In the video, Raymond states that Muslim immigrants in St. John's, N.L., had successfully demanded the removal of a cross from a church, citing the internet as his source.

The Canadian Press can find no record of a cross removal, though five years ago a high school removed a crucifix from the side of a building.

A spokeswoman for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District says the cross was removed during a renovation and wasn't reinstalled in 2013, “given denominational education in Newfoundland and Labrador had ended in 1996.”

“The original complainant was a proponent of secular education. We have no information to indicate a complaint was made by anybody of the Muslim faith, or any other particular religious faith,” wrote Cheryl Gullage.

In the video, Raymond bases his assertions on what's he gleaned from his memory of online searches.

“I've heard in St. John's they were told to take down the cross off a Catholic church. It's happening in Britain. It's happening worldwide,” he said.

When LeBlanc asked for his source, Raymond replies, “the internet,” but doesn't provide further details.

Raymond goes on to assert that a “whole group” of Muslims are coming into the country and making demands.

Pressed on the accuracy of his statement, Raymond shifts his position, saying, “wherever that cross is, it has been removed.”

Raymond was also wearing a sandwich board with statements opposing Sharia law and criticizing Motion 103 - a federal motion that condemned Islamophobia and passed in the House of Commons.

LeBlanc grows frustrated with Raymond in the interview, and asks him if he had mental illness.

Raymond replied that he did not.

Former friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered varying memories of the accused murderer, ranging from a boy who retreated into video games, a pleasant supermarket co-worker and an increasingly isolated loner in recent years.

Some business owners have described Raymond as becoming reclusive and occasionally unpleasant in the year before the alleged shootings.

A bicycle shop owner said on several occasions he asked Raymond to leave the bike shop due to his behaviour.

Raymond was frequently seen riding his fat-tire bicycle around the city.

Brendan Doyle, owner of a now-defunct Fredericton cafe, has said that Raymond had been a long-time patron, coming in almost every day for eight years and staying an hour or two on the patio in the evenings.

Full report at:




‘Mealy-mouthed’ Police Chief Skewered for Refusing to Say Radical Islamic Terrorism is ‘Islam-inspired’

7 Sep 2018

UKIP London Assembly member Peter Whittle raked Britain’s top police officer Cressida Dick over the coals for her “mealy-mouthed” description of radical Islamic terrorists as “so-called Islamist-inspired”.

Intervening in the London Assembly questions and answers session as there was some suggestion in the chamber that the English Defence League street protest organisation founded — but now abandoned — by Tommy Robinson might be a terrorist outfit, Mr Whitte said: “Whether you agreee with them or not, and I don’t, if you start talking about people like the EDL in terms of terrorism, I think you’re on to a real problem… You’ve got to be careful when you start saying people are terrorists.”

Mr Whittle used this intervention as a launchpad to question the use of terminology by the establishment and, in particular, Commissioner Dick herself, asking: “You’re talking about ‘right-wing’ groups… ‘extreme right-wing’, you have no problem saying that — but then you go on to say ‘so-called Islamist-inspired’. Why are you mealy-mouthed?”

“The guy who, for example, last year, ran into Westminster and killed what, five people with his car, was very clear: he was waging jihad. Most of these people have been very, very clear — why do you have to say ‘so-called Islamists’?” he demanded.

The Metropolitan Police chief, flustered, attempted to justify herself in terms of mollifying certain groups: “I think as a senior police officer it’s important for me, obviously, not to be mealy-mouthed, but equally not to randomly upset people who might get upset,” she said — not quite able to bring herself to say who these people may be.

“The majority of people carrying out terrorist attacks, 90 percent are Islam-inspired. We might not like it, you might not like to say it, but it is the case — why do you say things like ‘so-called Islamists’? You’re the Commissioner,” Whittle fired back. “Because, I… Chair, I really don’t think we should get into a long conversation about this, not least because you want to push on,” the policewoman spluttered, appealing to the chairman to save her, without immediate success.

“Because, I, ha… In the name of Islam is very different from Islamist for a start. We could get into a really long semantic conversation here, Peter,” she said to the UKIP assembly member, somewhat unintelligibly.

“The fact is, the vast bulk of terrorist attacks, whether it is 7/7, whether it’s Westminster, whether it was in Manchester, whether it was in Borough [Market], are Islam-inspired, Commissioner,” Whittle fired back again.

“The fact is, you have got to face up to this. You’re quite clear about what it is with right-wing extremist, I wish you would be explicit about this,” he added.

The chairman did step in and save her this time, however, telling the UKIP member, “That’s enough.”

Full report at:




South Asia


Ghani issues instructions for the security of Ashura, Martyrs Weeks ceremonies

Sep 07 2018

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has instructed the security and defense officials to prepare security programs for the upcoming ceremonies of Ashura and Martyrs Week.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said the meeting of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was organized in ARG Presidential Palace on Thursday evening.

The sstatemetn further added that the security and defense officials presented their report regarding the recent attack on a Wresting Club in the vicinity of the 6th police district of the city.

The meeting reviewed the report and instructed the security and defense officials to prepare security programs to cover the security of Kabul city, particularly for the western parts of the city as well as all other provinces during the upcoming ceremonies of Ashura and Maryrs Week, ARG Palace said.

The statement by ARG Palace also added that the security and defense officials have been asked to present the programs to the presidential palace.

This comes as the anti-government armed militants, specifically the ISIS loyalists have stepped up attacks against the Shi’ite targets in West of Kabul city during the recent months.

At least twenty six peope were killed and ninety one others were wounded in two back to back explosions in Dasht Barchi area in West of Kabul city on Wednesday evening.




WHO lauds Bangladesh support for Rohingyas

September 07, 2018

WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh has highly appreciated Bangladesh's all-out support in the full range of care, including good health care, for Rohingya people living here.

In the annual report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director, she made special highlights on the sufferings of 1.3 million Rohingya people who took shelter in Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh.

The report was presented at the 71st Regional Committee Meeting of the Health Ministers of the World Health Organization of the South-East Asia Region that ended on Friday at the Tajmahal Hotel of New Delhi.

A four-member delegation, headed by State Minister of Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque, represented Bangladesh at the event that began on September 3, according to a message received from New Delhi.

The other members of Bangladesh delegation are Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in New Delhi Rakebul Haque, Private Secretary to the State Minister Arifur Rahman Sheikh and Deputy Program Manager of the National Nutrition Program of DGHS Dr Mafizul Islam Bulbul.

Chaired by Health Minister of India Jagat Prakash Nadda, the meeting was also graced by WHO DG Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

It was informed in the meeting that Bangladesh will be nominated as Member of the WHO Executive Board at Geneva Headquarters for a three-year period beginning from 2019.

The five-day meeting took important decisions, among others, on elimination of malaria, and control of dengue and other vector-borne diseases from the region, and reviewed the progress on health workforce, universal health coverage, measles elimination, birth and death registration, and promoting physical activity.

An important outcome of the meeting is adoption of the Delhi Declaration for improving access to essential medicines in the region and beyond.

As part of the meeting, a special award was given to Bangladesh for outstanding performances in the control of rubella and congenital rubella syndrome.

WHO DG Dr Tedros, in his speech, also praised Bangladesh's exemplary role for the Rohingya people. He mentioned categorically that such a well-organised and well-coordinated camp healthcare for displaced population was not found anywhere in the world.

State Minister Zahid Maleque held several bilateral meetings. He met, amongst others, Health Minister of India Jagat Prakash Nadda, WHO DG Dr Tedros and WHO Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.

In his meeting with the WHO DG, he extended invitation to Dr Tedros to visit Bangladesh in his convenient time.

Zahid Maleque sought WHO's assistance to make a sustainable solution to universal health coverage in the country to begin with protecting the population under extreme poverty so that the extreme poor get full healthcare support without need to pay anything.

WHO's immediate assistance is also needed for making the National Drug Control Laboratory with international experts, and for making the public hospitals more efficient and welcoming to the ordinary people.

The State Minister also requested for more opportunities for Bangladeshi nationals to be employed in WHO positions.

Dr Tedros, in response, expressed that he will plan to visit Bangladesh sometime in January 2019 and will visit the Rohingya camps during this visit.

Dr Tedros also promised that he would extend necessary support to make the National Drug Control Laboratory functional and the Bangladeshi public hospitals more people-centered and efficient.

Full report at:




Awami League Joint General Secretary Urges Islamic Scholars To Help Restore Morals In Society

September 08, 2018

Awami League joint general secretary Mahabub-ul-Alam Hanif today urged the Imams and Islamic scholars to come forward to restore morality, honesty and values in the society.“Moral degradation is a major problem in our society . . . The Imams and Alems (Islamic scholars) can revive morality, honesty and values of people,” he said while inaugurating a five-day freshers’ training course for Imams at Imam Training Academy at Agargaon here.

Terming Jama’at-e-Islami a very harmful organisation against Islam, Hanif said they are distorting Islam and using it as a weapon of politics. They also stood against the 1971 Bangladesh Independence in the name of the religion, he added.Recalling the contribution of Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to promoting true Islam countrywide, he said Bangabandhu established the Islamic Foundation and also allotted land for the Biswa Ijtema (congregation) venue at Tongi in Gazipur.

“The Father of the Nation prohibited horse-race at the Racecourse Maiden (now known as Suhrawardy Uddyan), boozing, gambling and housie,” the ruling AL leader mentioned.About BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia’s imprisonment, he said she (Begum Zia) tarnished the reputation of the country as she is in jail on charge of theft of poor’s properties and urged BNP to prove their leader innocent through legal battle.

Full report at:




Ghani met with the U.S. defence delegation led by Mattis and Gen. Dunford

Sep 07 2018

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with a delegation of the U.S. Department of Defense led by the Defense Secretary James Mattis and the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford.

The Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said the meeting was organized at around noon time in Gul Khana Palace where the two sides discussed various topics of bilateral interest including peace and stability, positive impacts of the U.S. strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan, reforms in security and defense sectors, upcoming presidential, parliamentary, and district council elections, fight against terrorism, and peace talks with Pakistan.

The statement further added that the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressed satisfaction regarding his visit to Afghanistan and hailed the National Unity Government for its efforts in the areas of reforms, fight against terrorism, and countering-corruption, besides hailing the Afghan forces for their bravery in the fight against terrorism.

Mattis quoted in the statement by ARG Palace said the U.S. government and nation will stand by Afghanistan and the Afghan people for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The Chief Executive of the Unity Government Abdullah Abdullah spoke during the meeting and hailed the United States for its support in various sectors in Afghanistan, ARG Palace said.

In his turn, President Ghani also hailed the U.S. support in various sectors in Afghanistan, particularly in funding and equipping the Afghan forces.

Full report at:




Southeast Asia


Stay united to avoid hostility, PM tells Muslims

September 8, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Muslims in the country have been reminded to stay united to avoid disputes and hostility.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said slight differences in opinion and beliefs among people practising the same religion should not lead to hatred.

“A consensus happens when something gets 100 per cent agreement from all parties, but that is something impossible.

“Hence, the other way (of reaching an agreement is to accept) a majority’s decision. What is decided by the majority must be accepted with an open heart by the minority without any hue and cry,” he said in his speech at the 57th National Malaysian Islamic Welfare Association (Perkim) general annual meeting at Jalan Pahang here today.

In this way, the Muslim community can move as one with mutual respect and love, in keeping with what is enshrined in the Quran, he said.

Dr Mahathir added that the democratic approach would enable organisations and countries led by Muslims to run smoothly, and governments to bring prosperity to the people.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir, who is also Perkim president, said he hopes the organisation will continue to carry out its responsibility of explaining the true teachings of Islam to the people, including non-Muslims.

The Perkim annual general meeting was attended by 250 people, including Perkim National Council members, delegates and observers nationwide.

Also present were Perkim secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Yusof Noor, Perkim honorary treasurer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Rais Abdul Karim and Perkim vice president Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim.




Dr Wan Azizah confirms parliamentary seat being vacated for Anwar

08 September 2018

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 8 — Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has confirmed a seat is being selected for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest in a by-election.

She said the seat selection is still under discussion, with some MPs readily offering their seat up for Anwar.

“We are not yet ready to announce it but for now, we have identified (prospective) seats,” Dr Wan Azizah said during a Yayasan Kebajikan Negara fundraising event for Palestinians at the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry complex.

However, Dr Wan Azizah declined to speak further when asked which seats and states have been identified.

Full report at:




PAS veep: Why call Shariah caning cruel? Civil caning is worse

08 September 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Caning on those convicted under the civil laws is far worse than the Shariah caning recently of two women in Terengganu, PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad has said.

Idris was defending the Shariah canings which critics have labelled as cruel.

“If they want to say that this caning is cruel, why is it they never dispute civil caning. Everyone knows the way caning is done under civil laws is more cruel, to the extent the offender cannot urinate and walk,” he was quoted telling local daily Sinar Harian.

“The caning that was carried out in Terengganu clearly was completed in less than two minutes. Didn't hear the raungan (wailing) of the offenders at all,” he claimed.

He said the Shariah courts' jurisdiction was based on the laws and should be respected, adding that the decision to cane was not revolutionary or beyond the law as every state would have its legal adviser.

On August 12, the Terengganu’s Shariah court sentenced the two women to a fine of RM3,300 and six strokes of the cane each, after they pleaded guilty to the offence of attempted same-sex sexual relations under Section 30 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001 read together with the enactment's Section 59(1).

The sentence was carried out on the two women, aged 22 and 32, on Monday in front of a Shariah judge and around 100 people ― including public onlookers, government agencies’ representatives, and members of non-governmental organisations.

In a separate report by local daily Utusan Malaysia, the Association of Malaysian Shariah Officers president Ibrahim Deris defended the Terengganu canings as having been done according to the laws.

He noted that the duo in Terengganu did not file any appeals during a 14-day period after sentencing and that no parties with interest had filed for review of the Shariah judge's decision.

He said the caning was done behind closed-doors, adding that those who were allowed in to witness the caning were pre-screened and inspected to ensure that there would be no privacy breach on both those being caned and those carrying out the sentence.

He said the witnesses of the caning were also not allowed to bring in recording equipment.

He also said the Shariah High Court in Terengganu was not the first state to conduct caning outside of the prisons, as the Shariah High Court in Tawau, Sabah had in 2014 and 2015 carried out such caning in the courts' hearing hall.

Utusan Malaysia also reported Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria as responding to criticism of injustice over the Shariah canings of the two Terengganu women, where he said: “The punishment that was carried out is an Islamic punishment, Allah's punishment. It can't be that God is not just? Are humans more just?”

“If we are Muslims, we should carry out Islamic punishments. If we disagree, it means we oppose Islam,” he said when asked if such Islamic punishments should be carried out.

Full report at:




Muhyiddin cautious of ex-Umno members joining PPBM

08 September 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has expressed the need to be cautious of Umno members who want to join the ruling Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia party (PPBM) that he leads.

Muhyiddin noted that many from the former ruling party Umno were keen to join PPBM, but shared his concern that they could cause internal problems.

“Umno members have realised that their party has failed them and betrayed the Malays and Islam. That’s why senior leaders and members left and joined Bersatu instead.

“However, we have to be careful because we do not want to be misconstrued (by others) when we accept those from the party we all fought against.

“Bersatu is well aware of that sentiment,” the PPBM president was quoted as saying in an interview with news portal Malaysiakini and local daily Sinar Harian that was published today.

Muhyiddin said he believes that Umno members who are interested in joining PPBM are disappointed with their party leadership and no longer want to accept their own party.

“When they see a new leadership in Bersatu, they believe the party can lead the way and achieve what Umno has failed to,” he said.

“Most importantly, we do not want to have such prejudice against them.

“If they are truly sincere about joining Bersatu and they do not bring such culture with them, which we know is rejected by the people, then we are ready to consider their application to join us,” he added.

Muhyiddin reportedly said some of the former Umno members who became PPBM have been sincere, but said PPBM will continue to monitor them.

The interview was published on the second anniversary of the formation of PPBM, which had its roots as an Umno splinter party that was established following the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal linked to Umno’s then president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

PPBM chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was in the past president of Umno, while Muhyiddin was also at one time, Umno deputy president.

Full report at:




Arab World


1900 Trucks Carrying Military Hardware Sent by US to Deir Ezzur in 40 Days

Sep 07, 2018

The SOHR noted that the US army has sent over 1,900 trucks packed with military equipment to Eastern Syria since August 1, 2018.

"A sum of 150 trucks carrying military equipment, armored vehicles and logistic supplies have been sent to the East of the Euphrates only in the last few days," the SOHR added.

In a relevant development in late August, the Arabic-language al-Manar news network reported that the US Army had forwarded more military equipment to the Syrian provinces of Hasaka and Aleppo to develop its bases.

It reported that the US-led coalition has forwarded more military equipment to its bases in towns of Tal Tamar, al-Houl and al-Shadadi in Hasaka province.




Syrian Army Pounds Terrorists' Positions in Hama, Idlib

Sep 07, 2018

The Damascus Army forces on Friday hit hard the command centers of Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in al-Latamineh 8 kilometers East of Khan Sheikhoun and the village of al-Tah North of Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib.

The Syrian Army also pounded the terrorists' training centers in Tal Aas village in Southern Idlib.

Meantime, other Syrian army units hit the terrorists' positions in the outskirts of Kafar Zita town in the Northern countryside of Hama province, destroying terrorists' field hospital in the region.

News websites close to terrorist groups, meantime, reported that the Syrian army's missile and artillery units pounded the towns of al-Bariseh and al-Khovin on Thursday.

The Syrian air force also pounded al-Latamineh after bombarding the terrorists' positions in Northern countryside of Hama.

In a relevant development last month, the Russian and Syrian fighter jets carried out massive bombing raids on terrorists' positions in Northwestern Hama and Western Idlib, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

The Arabic-language Moraseloun news website reported that the fighter jets conducted a heavy bombing on terrorists' positions in a large region stretching from Southern Idlib to the al-Ghaab Plain in an introduction to the upcoming ground assault.

Full report at:




US-Backed SDF Goes on Alert, Arrests Raqqa Residents

Sep 07, 2018

"The SDF forces are on full alert in Raqqa city in security terms as the Kurdish forces have arrested a large number of civilians," local sources said.

Media activists in Raqqa city also pointed to the fury of Raqqa residents over SDF's measures, including detention of a large number of people on different pretexts by SDF in Raqqa city.

The news comes as the SDF has detained several civilians on charges of imaging its movements.

In a relevant development in late August, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) opened fire at protesting civilians in Raqqa city, injuring several people and arresting a number of others.

The SDF militias engaged in fighting with protestors in al-Mashlab neighborhood in Raqqa city, opening fire at people.

A number of civilians were injured in the clashes.

The SDF further arrested over twenty civilians and kept gunmen on alert to suppress further demonstration.

Earlier in August, the SDF stormed the farms near the village of Abu Qabih in Western Raqqa and forced the owners and their family members to leave their properties.

Local sources said that the SDF turned the farms into bases and command posts.

The sources said that the SDF occupied tens of farms, lands and houses of the people under different pretexts in the region.

Other sources reported that the SDF again arrested a number of young men in the town of Tal Abyadh under a forced recruitment plan.

Full report at:




Iraq’s main seaport port reopens after protesters leave entrance

8 September 2018

Iraq's main seaport Umm Qasr reopened on Saturday at 3 a.m. (0000 GMT) and all operations have resumed after protesters left the port's entrance, port employees and government sources in the area said.

All operations had been halted since Thursday, after protesters blocked the port's entrance.

Umm Qasr, 60 km (40 miles) south of Basra, receives grain, vegetable oil and sugar shipments that feed a country largely dependent on imported food.

Protesters stormed the Iranian consulate in Iraq’s southern oil hub Basra on Friday, local security sources said.

The consulate is in the upscale neighborhood of al-Barda’iya, southeast of the city center.

Demonstrators have targeted local government buildings and political party offices since protests intensified on Monday.

The Iraqi government has declared a state of maximum emergency in Baghdad and curfew in Basra.

Full report at:




UN Security Council warns against massacre in Syria’s Idlib

7 September 2018

The French envoy to the UN Security Council said on Friday, that any massacre in Syria’s Idlib would be the responsibility of the parties supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The UN Security Council meeting on Friday discussed the rebel-held Idlib province as the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey agreed during a summit in Tehran to work in a “spirit of cooperation” to stabilize the situation in Idlib.

The French envoy further added that there is still time to spare Idlib a military operation, calling on all parties involved to respect the ceasefire there.

For his part, linked by video-conference call from Geneva with the Security Council meeting, UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura called for evacuation corridors to be opened for civilians to flee a looming Syrian offensive in Idlibthat could lead to a “horrific and bloody battle.”

“People should be granted safe passage to places of their own choosing if they want to leave,” Staffan de Mistura told the Security Council meeting on the crisis in Idlib.

“We must allow the opening of sufficient number of protected voluntary evacuation routes for civilians in any direction: east, north and south,” he said.

De Mistura told the council that he was ready to make proposals on separating al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Idlib from other rebels in a bid to ensure the protection of civilians.

The UN envoy is scheduled to hold talks with the three guarantors - Russia, Turkey and Iran - next week in Geneva on the crisis in Idlib.

Full report at:






Philippines’ Duterte offers troops to Amman to fight ISIS

7 September 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to send troops to Jordan to help combat ISIS, after agreeing to deepen military cooperation with the Middle Eastern nation to fight extremism.

Both countries have been battling ISIS influence, with Jordan playing a key role in an international coalition, and the Philippines on alert after a five-month occupation of a city by the extremist group - its worst conflict since World War Two.

“If there is anything that we can do, if you are short in your army, let me know,” Duterte said on Thursday at a business forum in Amman in a comment to King Abdullah, who earlier lamented the “evil” both states were facing.

“You need one battalion... I will send them to you. I will commit my government in the right side of history.”

King Abdullah is an important Middle East ally of Western powers, with Jordan playing a prominent role in the US-led coalition against ISIS, providing military, logistical and intelligence support.

Earlier this year, Jordan announced it will provide the Philippines with two Cobra attack helicopters to help fight insurgents.

Duterte is on a six-day visit to Jordan and Israel, and his activities have been broadcast in the Philippines. He has signed agreements with Israeli companies to buy small arms, armored vehicles, and surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.




Nigerian troops kill 14 Boko Haram militants


Nigerian troops have killed 14 Boko Haram militants in an operation to free some civilians abducted earlier this week in Pulka village in the country's northeast, an army spokesman said on Friday.

“The troops have neutralized 14 Boko Haram militants and rescued 21 civilians, including six women and 11 children,” army spokesman Texas Chukwu said in a statement.

Chukwu said the rescue operation took place on Thursday in collaboration with the local vigilante group.

Some militants had on Tuesday ambushed a military escort in Pulka area of northeastern Borno state, burning a passenger bus and abducting some civilians.




Nigeria: Muslim Elders Task On Government On Youth Unemployment


By Shakirah Adunola

The Ahmadi Muslim Elders have urged government to tackle youth unemployment with much robustness, as this has been a major drawback in the march towards real development. Therefore, it should be confronted forcefully through proper technical training, moral re-orientation, financial aid, and educational empowerment.

In a communiqué signed, by the National President, Engineer Abdul Waheed Adeoye Sadr and Secretary, members of the Majlis Ansarullah (the Elders Forum of the world-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at), Nigeria branch Imran Bello made this call in a communiqué at its 43rd Annual National Ijtema (Convention) held in Badagry on the theme: GLOBAL SECURITY: THE CRITICAL NEED OF THE TIME.

After intensive reflections and deliberation on the situation in Nigeria, the Elder council of the Islamic group equally urged Federal Government of Nigeria not to relent on its efforts in containing the virulent virus called corruption. It firmly believes that this epidemic lies at the root of Nigeria's underdevelopment, poverty, and moral degradation, social and infrastructural decay.

The group implored the Federal and State governments to strengthen the various law enforcement agencies to fight the scourge and enact new laws to fortify existing ones so that the fans of corruption will have nowhere to hide.

According to the Ahmadiyya elders, since pluralistic societies have the fertile potential for conflicts, and Nigeria being one of such, there is the critical need for formidable security of lives and property of the citizenry.

The congregation urged the Government to invest more human, technical, logistic and financial resources in the security apparatus of the country. Efforts should be diligently directed towards de-escalating cases of kidnapping, ritual killing, armed robbery and ethnic conflict.

The group equally viewed developments of the agriculture sector as one the most potent tools of youth empowerment. It therefore called on the Government to increase the budget on agriculture, increase the provision of resources such as land for agriculture and improved seedlings in order to not only provide jobs on a massive scale for the populace but as well to improve the industrial, revenue, nutritional, and security potentials of the country.

Full report at:




Man linked to Shabaab arrested in a Lamu hospital


Police in Lamu County have arrested a man who is suspected to have links with Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab.

Speaking to the Nation on phone, Lamu County Directorate of Criminal Investigation Commander Paul Leting said they had also seized materials suspected to be used for making improvised explosive devices(IEDs).

“It’s true. We are holding a man whom we suspect has relations with terrorists. We are interrogating him and we intend to make more arrests after the interrogations. We have also nabbed some paraphernalia which we suspect to be materials used to make IEDs,” said Mr Leting.

A police source who talked to the Nation on condition of anonymity also said they arrested the man in King Fahad County Hospital's staff quarters.

“We are also trying to understand what exactly he was doing in the hospital staff quarters since he is neither a medic nor a patient,” said the officer.

Full report at:




Aid group calls for migrant evacuations from Tripoli

September 08, 2018

PARIS: Aid group Doctors Without Borders has urged the evacuation of thousands of migrants trapped in detention centers in Libya’s capital Tripoli, which is under a fragile cease-fire after deadly clashes.

The cease-fire brokered by the UN was agreed between armed groups on Tuesday after at least 63 people were killed in days of fighting around the city.

Doctors Without Borders, also known under its French name Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said migrants in squalid detention centers close to the frontline could yet come under shelling and artillery fire.

Analysts say the cease-fire is doomed without a sustainable political agreement between the myriad armed groups.

Ibrahim Younis, MSF’s mission chief in Libya, said food supplies to the detention centers were sparse as international groups had been forced to suspend their work due to the clashes.

The charity has been completely cut off from one of the most crowded detention centers, depriving some 700 people of aid, and has pulled some staff from the city.

The UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, last week said it had “evacuated” some 300 migrants from the Ain Zara detention center to another a few kilometers away as they risked getting caught in the crossfire.

But Younis said this was not good enough.

“Moving endangered refugees and migrants from one detention center to another in the same conflict zone cannot be described as an evacuation and it is certainly not a solution,” he said in a statement.

The aid group called on the UNHCR and the governments of peaceful countries to organize a mass evacuation for the migrants, who could then claim asylum.

The International Organization for Migration could arrange for those seeking to return home to do so, MSF said.

The group also called on the EU and Libyan authorities to stop blocking boatloads of migrants seeking to flee the conflict-torn country, “with the goal of reducing arrivals to Europe at all costs.”

Sub-Saharan African migrants have suffered appalling abuses since Libya descended into chaos following the death of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

A video showing African migrants being sold as slaves sparked global outrage last year.

Some 8,000 people picked up by the Libyan coast guard while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe are being indefinitely held in detention centers, according to the UNHCR.

Full report at:






US VP Pence pressures Paraguay over Jerusalem embassy move

7 September 2018

US Vice President Mike Pence urged Paraguay’s new president to stick to his predecessor’s decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Pence’s office said on Thursday after Asuncion announced plans to shift the diplomatic mission back to Tel Aviv. Paraguay on Wednesday dealt a blow to Israeli’s quest for recognition of Jerusalem as its capital, which appeared to have gained some traction this year when the United States, followed by Guatemala and Paraguay, relocated embassies there.

Most countries do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city.

Pence, who played a main role in President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, spoke on Wednesday to Paraguayan President Mario Abdo, who was elected on August, 15.

Pence “strongly encouraged” Abdo to follow through with Paraguay’s commitment to move the embassy to Jerusalem “as a sign of the historic relationship the country has maintained with both Israel and the United States,” Pence’s office said in a statement.

Former Paraguay President Horacio Cartes opened the new embassy in Jerusalem on May 21, just days after the United States and Guatemala did.

Hours after Paraguay announced its change on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by ordering the closure of Israel’s embassy in Paraguay.

The statement from Pence’s office did not say how Abdo responded to the vice president’s request.

It said only that Abdo “underscored Paraguay’s lasting partnership with Israel and the leaders agreed to work towards achieving a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Abdo on Wednesday defended his decision as part of an effort to support “broad, lasting and just peace” among Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump reversed decades of US Middle East policy. The status of Jerusalem - home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions - is one of the thorniest obstacles to forging a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel claims as its capital all of the city, including the eastern sector that it annexed after the 1967 war in a move not recognized internationally.

But the Palestinians want East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Negotiations between the two sides broke down in 2014.




Iran, Turkey Stress Broadening of Mutual Cooperation

Sep 07, 2018

During the meeting in the Iranian capital today, the Iranian and Turkish presidents explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating mutual cooperation in different political and economic fields.

The Iranian president pointed to the brotherly relations between Tehran and Ankara, and more efforts by the authorities of the two countries to achieve the goal of strategic relations.

President Rouhani also underlined that Iran and Turkey should boost efforts and cooperation to confront the US sanctions, and said, “Banking relations between the two countries should develop to make plans for solving problems”.

He also described Iran-Turkey commercial exchanges through national currencies as essential, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to further develop relations with Turkey in the energy sector."

The Iranian president stated that the multilateral relations between Iran and Turkey with other countries in the region, such as Russia, Pakistan and Qatar, could be the guarantor of peace, stability and security in the region, adding, "Our efforts to fight terrorism in the region should be such that less civilians are harmed."

The Turkish president, for his part, lauded Iran’s warm hospitality, and said, "Tehran-Ankara relations are positive.

"We need to develop, strengthen and deepen relations in all fields," President Erdogan said.

The Turkish president, meantime, described the stances of the United States administration towards other countries unacceptable, and said, "Iran and Turkey should plan to develop trade and economic relations in the current situation and expand business”.

Erdogan also emphasized the development of Iran-Turkey banking relations and the use of national currency in commercial exchanges.

The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey held a meeting in Tehran on Syria in on Friday.

Full report at:




Erdogan Describes US Arms Supply to Kurdish Militias as Main Threat to Turkey

Sep 07, 2018

Erdogan suggested that the three nations - Turkey, Iran and Russia - should pay attention to Kurdish militias in the Northeast of Syria, and the continued supply of arms to Kurds by the United States, arguing that this poses a major threat to his country’s national security.

“East of the River Euphrates, events are happening that concern us. Terrorists are trying to establish a foothold there with the help of foreign powers and stay there forever. We are very concerned with the attempts by the United States to empower and support those terrorist organizations,” the Turkish president said.

He added the threat posed by Kurdish militias requires Turkey to maintain its military presence in Northern Syria.

“We will in no way allow terrorist elements to gain strength near the border of our country. We will continue to take all necessary decisions as warranted by the sources and strength of the threat to us,” he stressed.

The Turkish leader also told his Russian and Iranian counterparts, Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin, that the Tehran summit may be the last chance to resolve the situation in Syria’s Idlib in a peaceful manner.

With the help of Iran and Russia, the Syrian Army is preparing for the Idlib operation, a strategically-important region and last major stronghold of militants.

As Rouhani earlier argued that the continued presence of militants in Idlib province warrants a major military operation, Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s concerns about potential loss of civilian lives and a mass exodus of refugees from the area into Turkey, which could be triggered by such a military operation.

American support for the Kurds in Syria is one of several major points of contention between Turkey and the US, which have soured the relations between the two NATO allies in the past several years.

The US relationship with Turkey is hitting new lows every time Washington announces a new round of sanctions against its longstanding NATO ally. The two states have been at odds over the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey.

As the war of words over the pastor escalated, US President Donald Trump doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkish imports up to 50 and 20 percent, respectively. Ankara retaliated by raising tariffs on 22 American-made products, ranging from cars to tobacco and also filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the US move.

Full report at:




Saudi forces intercept, destroy Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Najran

8 September 2018

Saudi forces on Friday evening have intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by Houthi militias toward the southern city of Najran.

Earlier, Yemeni army  had also intercepted a booby-trapped boat of the Houthi militias in the international waters of the Red Sea.

On Thursday evening also, Saudi forces had intercepted a ballistic missile fired by the Houthi militias toward the border Saudi city of Jazan.

The Houthis have stepped up missile attacks on the Kingdom in recent months.

Late on Wednesday, Saudi civil defense said the kingdom’s air defense forces intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis on Najran, wounding 37 people due to shrapnel.

The Yemeni legitimate forces have repeatedly highlighted the continued involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting the Houthi militias and supplying them with rockets carrying qualitative capabilities, in clear defiance of United Nations Resolutions 2216 and 2231 in order to threaten the security of Saudi Arabia and destabilize regional and international security.

Full report at:




Houthi commander, 16 militiamen dead after Arab Coalition air raids in Hodeidah

7 September 2018

Houthi commander of the 190th brigade Mohammed Abdul-Malik Atif was killed in Hodeidah following an air raid by Arab Coalition Apache fighter jets.

Sources confirmed that Atif was targeted near a naval college in the city. Alongside him was another Houthi commander as well as 16 other militiamen who were also killed in the air raid.

The source added that the coalition is continuing its air raid operations with its Apache fighter jets targeting Houthi gatherings in Hodeidah.




Iran, China discuss enhanced defense cooperation, anti-terror fight

Sep 7, 2018

The military brass of Iran and China have exchanged views about ways to boost defense and military cooperation, joint fight against terrorism and efforts to help establish global peace and stability as well as the latest developments in the Middle East and across the world.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, who arrived in Beijing on Thursday on an official visit, held talks with Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe on Friday.

He pointed to the ongoing insecurity in the Middle East and said the Islamic Republic has spared no efforts to restore regional peace, stability and security.

"We believe that security is a seamless [issue] and insecurity in the West Asian region has not only affected the surrounding areas but also other parts of the word," the Iranian military chief said.

He added that the unilateral US approach to violate various international regulations is a breach of international peace and security.

Hatami further said Tehran and Beijing have historical and cultural commonalities and added, "The two countries have common interests and threats and can expand cooperation in this framework."

The Chinese defense minister, for his part, said Tehran and Beijing share a view to develop cordial relations.

As a developing country, China is ready to boost interaction with Iran, he added.

In November 2016, former Iranian defense minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and the Chinese defense chief signed an agreement in Tehran to boost defense-military cooperation and fight terrorism.

Full report at:




Yemenis slam Saudi Arabia for barring Houthi delegation from attending Geneva talks

Sep 8, 2018

Thousands of Yemeni people have taken to the streets of capital Sana’a to protest against a Saudi-led military coalition for its alleged refusal to allow a delegation of the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement to fly to Geneva to attend the United Nations-sponsored peace talks in the Swiss city.

Speaking amid the protest rally on Friday, Loay al-Shamy, a senior Houthi official in the Ministry of Information, said that the Houthi delegation had been ready to leave Sana’a International Airport for Geneva, but the UN, under pressure by the so-called coalition, “could not fulfill what was agreed on, which is to provide an Omani plane for the delegation that will participate in Geneva and offer the assurances required for the return of the delegation.”

Saudi Arabia and some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan, launched a brutal war, code-named Operation Decisive Storm, against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which plays a significant role in aiding the Yemeni army in defending the impoverished country against the invading coalition.

The former Yemeni government resigned in 2015 as the country was experiencing political turmoil. Shortly afterwards, Hadi fled to Riyadh, where he encouraged the Saudis to launch attacks on Yemen in a bid to regain power.

The Houthi movement has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective administration since the onset of the imposed war, which has so far killed some 15,000 people.

The UN invited the two opposing sides, the Houthis and Hadi’s Saudi-backed administration based in the southern Yemeni city of Eden, to send their respective delegations to a fresh round of peace talks, which were slated to open on Thursday.

As the Saudi-led military coalition has imposed a tight sea and air blockade on Yemen for months, the Houthi delegation was scheduled to fly to Geneva through an Omani airplane provided by the UN, but it has so far failed to do so due to purported pressure from Riyadh.

On Wednesday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths voiced confidence in the planned negotiations despite a delay as the delegation representing the Houthis remains stranded at the Sana’a airport. He had to postpone the talks due to delay in the arrival of the Houthi delegation.

“The national Yemeni delegation that will participate (in Geneva talks) has not yet left from Sana’a airport, and that is because the decision not to send an Omani plane was made by the US and it is an American conspiracy with the help of Saudi Arabia. The US meant to delay the delegation from leaving, and the UN is helpless, and cannot do anything about it,” said Abdulrahman al-Mutawakel, a senior Houthi official during the Friday rally.

The UN envoy says the talks — the first since 2016 — are meant to be trying to build trust between the two parties.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country's infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations has said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.

Full report at:




Israeli forces kill one Palestinian; injure 100s more in Gaza anti-occupation rally

Sep 7, 2018

At least one Palestinian minor has lost his life and hundreds more sustained injuries when Israeli military forces opened fire at a group of protesters participating in an anti-occupation rallies along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israeli-occupied territories.

The Gaza Ministry of Health said in a statement that 17-year-old Bilal Mustafa Khafaja was fatally shot by a sniper during “The Great March of Return” protests east of the city of Rafah, located 30 kilometers south of Gaza City, on Friday evening. His body was taken to the Martyr Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital morgue.

The statement added that another 210 protesters were also injured. Forty-five people were struck with live bullets. A total of 70 demonstrators were admitted to hospitals and medical centers across Gaza Strip to receive medical treatment.

Earlier in the day, two Palestinians were moderately injured after Israeli warplanes launched a missile attack on a group of young men in the northeastern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Ministry of Health stated that the pair were injured in the town of Beit Hanoun, and were immediately transferred to hospital.

Israeli media outlets claimed that the Palestinians were seeking to launch incendiary kites and balloons into the southern edge of occupied lands.

Palestinian teen succumbs to Israeli gunfire wounds sustained in Gaza rally

Additionally, a Palestinian teenager, who was critically wounded by Israeli army gunfire during an anti-occupation protest along the border between the Gaza Strip and occupied territories, has succumbed to his injuries.

Palestinian medical sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 19-year-old Amjad Fayez Hamduna died of his injuries early on Friday morning.

He had been shot and wounded during a rally east of Jabalia city, located 4 kilometers north of Gaza City, on July 14.

Medical reports confirmed that Hamduna had been initially admitted to the Rumah Sakit Indonesia Hospital in Jabalia, before being shifted to the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following deterioration of his condition.

Nearly 175 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30. A total of 19,139 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on 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 East Jerusalem al-Quds.

On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.

The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

Full report at:




Iran, Turkey agree to defy US sanctions by boosting business ties

Sep 7, 2018

The presidents of Iran and Turkey on Friday called for further promotion of business ties between the two neighboring states in a bid to counter the effect of unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington on Tehran and Ankara.

“Iran and Turkey must further boost their economic relations to counter US sanctions,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a Friday meeting with Turkish President  Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is in Tehran to attend a trilateral summit on Syria with his Iranian and Russian counterparts.

Rouhani called for enhancement of banking and energy relations between the two sides, stressing that plans need to be made for resolving problems that hamper further economic cooperation.

He also underlined the necessity of using national currencies in bilateral business transactions, and called for a revision to Iran-Turkey preferential trade agreement.

Erdogan, for his part, condemned the US government’s “unacceptable and unstable” stances toward other countries, and echoed Rouhani’s call for boosting bilateral trade to defy the US sanctions.

“Iran and Turkey, under the current circumstances, must plan to develop their trade and economic relations,” he said, calling for further expansion of business ties between the two states.

“We must put more effort into developing, strengthening, and reinforcing our relations in all fields,” Erdogan noted, stressing the need for increased banking cooperation and use of national currencies in bilateral trade.

The Turkish president said earlier this week he has plans to ditch the US dollar in trade with Iran and instead use local currencies. 

Back in April, Iran and Turkey opened their first letter of credit for business transactions in their national currencies as part of their efforts to ditch the greenback and the euro in bilateral trade.

Both Iran and Turkey are under unilateral US sanctions, which have complicated transactions in dollars because they have to be processed through the American financial system.

US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Iran nuclear deal in May, and re-imposed the first batch of anti-Iran sanctions later in August.

He has vowed to impose "the highest level" of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Full report at:




Trump destroys US credibility, humiliates allies with ‘little games’: Iran FM

Sep 7, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has censured the remarks made by US President Donald Trump about the “game” he played before pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, saying that such “little games” played by Trump have destroyed US credibility and humiliated its allies.

“As @realDonaldTrump destroys US credibility & humiliates his 'allies' with "little games", we're delighted to engage with responsible powers today in Tehran to further move towards political solution in #Syria. Agreed to work to end terrorism & avoid human suffering in #Idlib,” Zarif tweeted on Friday.

His tweet came in reaction to Trump’s remarks in a phone conversation with his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner and a group of other Jewish figures, during which the US president said he played a “little game” before ultimately deciding to kill the multilateral 2015 nuclear agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Iran was something that I was against the deal from the first day I heard about it. I thought it was a horror show. It should never have happened. … It was the craziest deal. And, I said, if I get in, I'm going to consider, after studying it, terminating the deal. I had a Secretary of State that didn’t like terminating it. I played the game for a while; I wish I did it sooner. But I played that little game for a while, and then ultimately I decided I’m just doing it. And I did it,” he said in the conference call Thursday night.

In his Friday tweet, the Iranian foreign minister slammed the US’ irresponsible behavior by telling Trump how “responsible powers” – Iran, Russia and Turkey – behave.

Zarif was referring to the Tehran Summit, which was held Friday to discuss the latest developments in Syria, particularly the Syrian army's plan to launch an offensive to retake the northwestern Idlib province from terrorists.

The meeting was attended by the presidents of Iran, Russia, and Turkey, who according to Zarif “agreed to work to end terrorism and avoid human suffering in Idlib”, the last stronghold of militants in Syria.

Full report at:




Turkey: Ex-Kurdish party leader sentenced on terror charge

September 07, 2018

ANKARA: A court in Istanbul has convicted a former co-chairman of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish political party of “engaging in terror propaganda.”

The court sentenced Selahattin Demirtas to more than four years in prison after finding him guilty on Friday.

The trial is one of several faced by Demirtas, who has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016.

He ran as the People’s Democratic Party candidate in Turkey’s presidential election from prison and garnered 8.4 percent of the vote.

The court also convicted former legislator Sirri Sureyya Onder of the same charge and gave him a prison sentence of more than three years.

The two men were accused of supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in speeches they delivered in 2013 during festivities marking a Kurdish spring festival.

Full report at:




North America


Turkey to open Paraguay embassy after it moved mission back to Tel Aviv

Sep 7, 2018

Paraguay says Turkey will open an embassy in its capital Asuncion to express support for the South American country’s decision to move back its embassy from the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds to Tel Aviv.

Paraguay newly elected President Mario Abdo reversed a decision made by his predecessor Horacio Cartes in May to relocate the diplomatic mission to the occupied Palestinian city after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel's “capital” earlier in December.   

Paraguay Foreign Minister Luis Castiglioni said his country wants to contribute to an intensification of regional diplomatic efforts to achieve a broad, fair and lasting peace in the Middle East.

This has prompted Israel to close its embassy in Paraguay.

Turkey is expressing support for Paraguay’s stance on Israel by opening the embassy, Castiglioni told reporters.

The top Paraguayan diplomat said on Friday that he expected to meet his Turkish counterpart at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month.

Turkey’s ambassador to Paraguay has been operating out from Argentina. Ankara has a consulate in Asuncion and another in the country's second largest city, Ciudad del Este.

Castiglioni also described Israel’s decision to close its embassy in Asuncion as hasty and disproportionate.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas celebrated as “courageous” the reversal, which will be a setback to the momentum Israel had hoped to build after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds in May.

The Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah also thanked Paraguay for its decision.

The new government in the South American country is under pressure by Washington to stick to the former government’s decision.

US Vice President Mike Pence “strongly encouraged” President Mario Abdo in a phone conversation on Wednesday to follow through with Paraguay’s commitment to move the embassy to Jerusalem “as a sign of the historic relationship the country has maintained with both Israel and the United States,” according to a statement from Pence's office.

The statement did not say how Abdo responded to Pence’s request. It only said that Abdo “underscored Paraguay's lasting partnership with Israel and the leaders agreed to work towards achieving a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Pence had a crucial role in Washington’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds, a city which the Palestinians, with international support, want as the capital of a future independent state.

The US embassy relocation took place on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe), sparking international condemnation and deadly clashes in the besieged Gaza Strip.




US-led coalition stages war games in Syria



The U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition began war games Friday in eastern Syria in what it said are exercises aimed at honing "warfighting skills for counterterrorism operations".

The games were launched out of the at-Tanf garrison near the Iraqi border and included an aerial assault and about 100 U.S. troops who will conduct a live fire exercise before departing the airbase.

“Our forces will demonstrate the capability to deploy rapidly, assault a target with integrated air and ground forces and conduct a rapid exfiltration anywhere in the OIR [Operation Inherent Resolve] combined joint operations area,” Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said in a statement.

"Exercises like this bolster our defeat-ISIS capabilities and ensure we are ready to respond to any threat to our forces.”

Urban was using another name for Daesh.

The U.S. is de-conflicting the exercises with Russia using established protocols, the command said.

Despite the stated "counterterrorism" aim of the exercises, CNN reported they are actually a direct response to Russian military threats.

Moscow reportedly sent a written note to the U.S. on Thursday warning that it would carry out "precision strikes" on militants around the at-Tanf area despite a roughly 55-kilometer (34-mile) deconfliction zone around the base.

"The United States does not seek to fight the Russians, the government of Syria or any groups that may be providing support to Syria in the Syrian civil war. However, the United States will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend U.S., coalition or partner forces, as we have clearly demonstrated in past instances," CNN quoted Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson as saying.

Full report at:




US military drawing up options should Syrian regime use chemical weapons

8 September 2018

America’s top general on Saturday said he was involved in “routine dialogue” with the White House about military options should Syria ignore U.S. warnings against using chemical weapons in an expected assault on the enclave of Idlib.

Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no decision had been made by the United States to employ military force in response to a future chemical attack in Syria.

“But we are in a dialogue, a routine dialogue, with the president to make sure he knows where we are with regard to planning in the event that chemical weapons are used,” he told a small group of reporters during a trip to India. Dunford later added: “He expects us to have military options and we have provided updates to him on the development of those military options.”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has massed his army and allied forces on the front lines in the northwest, and Russian planes have joined his bombardment of rebels there, in a prelude to a widely expected assault despite objections from Turkey.

This week, a top U.S. envoy said there was “lots of evidence” that chemical weapons were being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib.

The White House has warned that the United States and its allies would respond “swiftly and vigorously” if government forces used chemical weapons in Idlib. President Donald Trump has twice bombed Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, in April 2017 and April 2018.

Dunford did not say, one way or the other, what he expected Trump to do should Syria use chemical weapons again.

France’s top military official also said last week his forces were prepared to carry out strikes on Syrian targets if chemical weapons were used in Idlib.

Dunford declined to comment on U.S. intelligence about the possible Syrian preparations of chemical agents.

“I wouldn’t comment on intelligence at all, in terms of what we have, what we don’t have,” he said.


Idlib is the insurgents’ only remaining major stronghold and a government offensive could be the last decisive battle in a war that has killed more than half a million people and forced 11 million to flee their homes.

The presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia on Friday failed to agree on a ceasefire that would forestall an offensive.

Asked whether there was still a chance the assault on Idlib could be averted, Dunford said: “I don’t know if there’s anything that can stop it.”

“It’s certainly disappointing but perhaps not (surprising) that the Russians, the Turks and the Iranians weren’t able to come up with a solution yesterday,” he said.

Tehran and Moscow have helped Assad turn the course of the war against an array of opponents ranging from Western-backed rebels to the Islamist militants, while Turkey is a leading opposition supporter and has troops in the country.

Turkey says it fears a massacre and it can not accommodate any more refugees flooding over its border.

But Russia’s Vladimir Putin said on Friday a ceasefire would be pointless as it would not involve Islamist militant groups it deems terrorists.

Full report at:




UN echoes Erdogan, fears potential catastrophe in Idlib


By Umar Farooq


UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura on Friday echoed remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying the world needs to avoid a "potential catastrophe" in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.

Speaking via video conference at a meeting of the UN Security Council, De Mistura emphasized the need for civilian voices in Idlib to be heard by the international community.

The Bashar al-Assad regime recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive in Idlib, which is controlled by various armed opposition groups.

During his remarks to the council, the UN envoy held up a photo of a woman civilian in Idlib and noted that 98.8 percent of the population in the area are civilians.

De Mistura also received a letter from 1,000 women currently in Idlib, who urged the international community to remember that they are civilians, not terrorists.

"They are teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, writers and homemakers, and many of them came from many parts of Syria. So Idlib in many ways symbolizes a mosaic of Syria," de Mistura said.

He went further to say that while there are different armed groups in Idlib, there needs to be a different approach in order to separate them from the rest of the population.

On Friday, the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey met in Tehran to discuss the situation and planned offensive in Idlib by the Assad regime. De Mistura noted that Erdogan had put a substantive number of ideas on the table, and he is looking forward to hearing more.

De Mistura will meet with representatives of the three countries in Geneva next week.

"We want a country without war, and we want a future in which we can be alive. They too are against terrorists, but they cannot show that because the situation is very difficult," he said on behalf of the population of Idlib.

Full report at:



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