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Islamic World News (05 Aug 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Kashmir Special Status, Article 370, Ends ‘At Once’







Kashmir Special Status, Article 370, Ends ‘At Once’

Full Text of Govt's Proposal to Revoke Article 370 in Kashmir

Religious Scholars, Clerics Reject Anti-Shariah Decrees Being Issued To Fan Extremism, Terrorism and Sectarian Violence

Is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Willing To Testify Against Saudi Arabia Or Qatar?

Sudan Generals, Protesters Sign Deal for Civilian Rule

Conservative Party to Face Inquiry Into Islamophobia

White Racial Terrorism In US As Old As America Itself: Dr. Randy Short of the African Orthodox Church

Taliban Militants Behead A Disabled Man In Sar-e-Pul Province

Israel Unveils Prototype ‘Tanks Of The Future’

Malaysian Survivor of Christchurch Mosque Shootings Thankful For ‘Unexpected’ Haj Invitation

 

India

Kashmir Special Status, Article 370, Ends ‘At Once’

Full Text of Govt's Proposal to Revoke Article 370 in Kashmir

Ahead Of Baqrid, AIMPLB Member Exhorts Muslims To Sacrifice Only Those Animals Permitted By Government

Namaaz on Roads: In A First, Friday Prayer Offered On Rooftops

Darul Uloom Deoband: Complaint of Helipad Proved False

Jammu and Kashmir: Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajad Lone placed under house arrest at midnight

J&K turmoil: Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah not to be allowed to move out of house, say officials

Section 144 imposed in Srinagar; public movement barred, schools, colleges shut

Restrictions imposed across Jammu region; high alert on India-Pak border

‘War-like situation’: Separatist Syed Ali Geelani on tension in Kashmir

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Pakistan

Religious Scholars, Clerics Reject Anti-Shariah Decrees Being Issued To Fan Extremism, Terrorism and Sectarian Violence

Imran Khan Sues TV Anchor Najam Sethi for Rs 10bn over Slander

Maryam Nawaz urges supporters to answer call for Islamabad march to 'topple government'

India’s ‘Irrational’ Actions to Unsettle Region, National Security Committee Warns the World

UN urges India, Pakistan to exercise restraint as tensions mount

OIC Shows Solidarity With Kashmiris

Pakistan to support the right of Kashmiri people to self-determination, says Firdous

Pakistan calls for Trump mediation on Kashmir as region remains tense

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Arab World

Is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Willing To Testify Against Saudi Arabia Or Qatar?

US, Israel Trying to Make Region Insecure by Supporting Terrorists: Beirut-based al-Akhbar

Christchurch mosque attack victims arrive in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj

US Plotting to Target Iraqi Hashd Al-Sha’abi in Nineveh Province

Tahrir Al-Sham's Ringleader Al-Jolani Vows Not to Withdraw From Demilitarized Zone

Nineteen dead in car explosion in central Cairo

Saudi Arabia welcomes Sudan agreement on constitutional declaration

Long-awaited truce gives wary Syrians in Idlib respite from airstrikes

Dozens killed in central Cairo explosion

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Africa

Sudan Generals, Protesters Sign Deal for Civilian Rule

Airstrike by Haftar forces kills 20 in Libya: Lawmaker

Macron pushes Libya ceasefire with Egypt’s Sisi

Somalia Executes Two Al-Shabaab Militants for Mogadishu Attack

Somali militant groups warn clan elders not to participate in upcoming elections

Boko Haram kills 27,000 in Nigeria in decade-long militancy: UN

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Europe

Conservative Party to Face Inquiry Into Islamophobia

Qatari owned British bank accused of backing extremists

Turkish Coast Guard rescues 22 irregular migrants in Aegean Sea

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North America

White Racial Terrorism In US As Old As America Itself: Dr. Randy Short of the African Orthodox Church

Canada resident home after Iran jail escape: Ministry, family

Tehran voices sympathy with victims of deadly shootings in US

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South Asia

Taliban Militants Behead A Disabled Man In Sar-e-Pul Province

15 Taliban militants killed, wounded after attacking army base in Balkh

Afghan Army arrests Taliban Intelligence Chief in Takhar Province

Afghan forces repulse coordinated Taliban attack on a security post in Ghazni

Afghan Army arrests Taliban Intelligence Chief in Takhar Province

Airstrikes target Taliban vehicles in Ghazni killing or wounding 13 militants

Afghan official: Policeman opens fire on colleagues, kills 7

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Mideast

Israel Unveils Prototype ‘Tanks Of The Future’

Erdogan: Turkey will carry operation in northern Syria

Israel’s Likud rules out Netanyahu stepping aside

Iranian fighter jet crashes in southern province, two onboard safe

Turkey warns of cross-border operation into eastern Syria

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Southeast Asia

Malaysian Survivor of Christchurch Mosque Shootings Thankful For ‘Unexpected’ Haj Invitation

Entrepreneur minister: Malaysia to unify worldwide halal certs for Muslim countries

Daesh ‘is losing public support in Mindanao’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/kashmir-special-status,-article-370,-ends-‘at-once’/d/119392

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Kashmir Special Status, Article 370, Ends ‘At Once’

August 05, 2019

NEW DELHI:  Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been removed, Home Minister Amit Shah said in parliament today, adding that President Ram Nath Kovind had signed an order that would come into force "at once". The announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting of his cabinet at his house this morning. Jammu and Kashmir will also be "reorganised," said the Home Minister, with the state's bifurcation into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Amid massive protests by the opposition in parliament and parties in Jammu and Kashmir, the centre has moved 8,000 paramilitary troops from different parts of the country to Kashmir, sources say.

Here are the 10 latest developments in this big story:

Article 370 gives Jammu and Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs.

The removal of this part of the constitution ends special status for Kashmir, which was key to its accession to India in 1947.

Article 370 made it necessary for the centre to get the state legislature's approval for introducing any policies or constitutional powers to the state.

Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be a state and become two union territories with two Lieutenant Governors. Ladakh will be a Union Territory without a legislature and Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature.

The government's huge step comes after a massive build-up of troops in the sensitive Kashmir Valley and a night where senior leaders including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were placed under house arrest.

Internet and phone lines have been forced out of service in parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of paramilitary troops have been sent to Kashmir after the government said it was cancelling the Amarnath Yatra, an annual pilgrimage, and asked tourists and outsiders to leave the state.

The cabinet met this morning at the home of PM Modi after which all ministers and the PM moved to parliament for Amit Shah's big announcement.

All educational institutions and offices are closed and groups have been banned from gathering in Kashmir and Jammu.

Arun Jaitley, however, said in tweets: "A historical wrong has been undone today. Article 35A came through the back door without following the procedure under Article 368 of the Constitution of India. It had to go."

Omar Abdullah said: "The government of India (GOI)'s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the State acceded to it in 1947. The decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences. This is an aggression against people of the State as had been warned by an all-parties meeting in Srinagar yesterday."

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/article-370-for-special-status-on-jammu-and-kashmir-to-be-removed-proposes-amit-shah-in-parliament-2080379

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Full text of govt's proposal to revoke Article 370 in Kashmir

August 5, 2019

Following days of mounting tensions, Home Minister Amit Shah pushed for the revocation of Article 370 that confers special status and powers to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Shah proposed the same at the Rajya Sabha on Monday. He added that the special status will be revoked after the President gives his nod.

The minister also proposed the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories - Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.

Here's the full text of the government's proposal to revoke Article 370:

MINISTRY OF LAW AND JUSTICE

(Legislative Department)

NOTIFICATION

New Delhi, the 5th August, 2019

G.S.R .551(E).- the following Order made by the President is published for general information:-

THE CONSTITUTION (APPLICATION TO JAMMU AND KASHMIR) ORDER, 2019

C.O. 272

In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of article 370 of the Constitution, the President, with the concurrence of the Government of State of Jammu and Kashmir, is pleased to make the following Order:-

1. (1) This Order may be called the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019.

(2) It shall come into force at once, and shall thereupon supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 as amended from time to time.

2. All the provisions of the Constitution, as amended from time to time, shall apply in relation to the State of

Jammu and Kashmir and the exceptions and modifications subject to which they shall so apply shall be as follows:-

To article 367, there shall be added the following clause, namely:-

"(4) For the purposes of this Constitution as it applies in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir-

(a) references to this Constitution or to the provisions thereof shall be construed as references to the Constitution or the provisions thereof as applied in relation to the said State;

(b) references to the person for the time being recognized by the President on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadar-i-Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State for the time being in office, shall be construed as references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir;

(c) references to the Government of the said State shall be construed as including references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of his Council of Ministers; and

(d) in proviso to clause (3) of article 370 of this Constitution, the expression "Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2)" shall read "Legislative Assembly of the State"."

https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/full-text-of-govt-proposal-revoke-article-370-kashmir-amit-shah/story/370587.html

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Religious Scholars, Clerics Reject Anti-Shariah Decrees Being Issued To Fan Extremism, Terrorism and Sectarian Violence

AUGUST 5, 2019

Clerics and religious scholars from different religious organisations and religious schools of thought on Sunday underlined that every bid of the enemies of Islam and Pakistan to fan extremism, terrorism and sectarian violence in the country would be foiled.

More than 1,500 leading Ulemas, Mashaykh and religious scholars from different religious schools of thought attended “Pakistan Stability Conference” that held here on Sunday in aegis of Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Lahore Chapter. The clerics and religious scholars announced that the entire nation is committed and united along with law enforcement agencies of Pakistan to purge the country from extremists and terrorists elements.

The religious scholars also announced to hoist national flags at all the seminaries and mosques on the eve of August 14. The conference also announced on behalf of all the Ulemas and Mashaykh of Pakistan to reject anti-Shariah decrees being issued on account of Quran-o-Sunnah. The Ulema addressing the conference stated that Islamic Shariah and constitution of Pakistan have categorically defined stature of Ahmedis and no one could alter this reality. “Attributing any Muslim as Ahmedis or non-Muslim is very sinful act and considered as infidelity. The constitution has categorically defined rights for non-Muslims living in Pakistan and any organisation or individual can’t be allowed to seize rights of non-Muslims as defined in constitution of Pakistan.”

The conference also pay respect and homage to the martyrs of the security forces stating that the entire nation is United with law enforcement agencies of Pakistan to purge the country from the menace of terrorism and extremism.

The conference also lauded decision of the government to link registration of seminaries with Ministry of Education. The conference also announced to reject all the decrees being issued against the teachings of Quran-o-Sunnah. Hafiz Muhammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi,Chairman Pakistan Ulema Council presided over the conference. The conference also announced that 2019 is being marked as year to eliminate the menace of terrorism and extremism from Pakistan. Among notable participants of the conference includes Maulana Qazi Matiullah Saeedi, Maulana Muhammad Rafiq Jaami, Pir Asad Habib Shah Jamali, Allama Tahirul Hasssan,Mufti Saeed Arshad, Maulana Shakeel Qasmi, Allama Pir Zubair Zahid, Maulana Ahsan Ahmed Husseini, Maulana Abdul Qayyum Farooqi, Qari Abdul Hakeem Athar, Maulana Sajid Jhangvi, Maulana Aminul Haq Ashrafi and Mian Irshad Mujahid.

The participants of the conference, speaking on the occasion, said that baseless propaganda was being fanned to make instability and anarchy in Pakistan. Enemies of Islam and Pakistan are publicising anti-Sharia decrees to make anarchy and chaos in Pakistan. The conference announced that any organization or individual will not be allowed to make politics in the country on account of the sanctity of prophethood and belief on the finality of prophethood.

Declaration issues at Stability of Pakistan Conference underlined that killings on account of religion and making terrorism on pretext of Islam are against the teachings of Quran-o-Sunnah. All the religious schools of thought announced to disassociate themselves from all these elements.

Any cleric, orator or scholar in their public sermon will not use sacrilegious words about Caliphs of Islam and Ahl-e-Bait. Elements using derogatory remarks will not be considered as representative of any particular religious sect and organisation.

Any Islamic sect will not be announced as infidel and any Muslim or non-Muslim will be announced for extrajudicial murder. Believers of every religion and religious sects will be allowed to live in Pakistan as per their cultural and religious values as allowed in Constitution of Pakistan.

A complete ban on usage of loudspeaker will be ensured except for Azaan and Friday sermons. Faithful of every religion with permissions of respective local administration will be allowed to arrange their gatherings and congregation.

Strict check will be maintained on hateful literature. Scholars will be appealed to stay away from making any derogatory remarks about others.

Being responsible citizens, responsibility rests on the shoulders of Muslim populace to ensure protection of worship places of non-Muslims living in Pakistan.

The government should ensure implementation on National Action Plan in letter and spirit.

According to the resolutions adopted at the Stability of Pakistan Conference, elements making decrees to obstruct Muslims from Hajj are enemies of Muslim unity. Government of Saudi Arabia has played every role to keep away Hajj & Umrah from politics. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has remained vigilant to serve pilgrims to their best. Pakistan thanked leadership of Saudi Arabia to include Pakistan in Road to Makkah Project to facilitate Pakistani pilgrims.

The resolutions stated that Pakistan has always played positive role for durable peace in Afghanistan. Ulemas and Mashaykh endorse the efforts being made by the security forces, UAE and Saudi Arabia for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Acknowledgment of Pakistan stance on solution of Afghan issue by US Administration is great achievement for Pakistan. All the stakeholders of Afghanistan issue should settle differences with bilateral talks.

Another resolution adopted at the conference condemned US move to put Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on watch list relating religious freedom. non-Muslims residing on Pakistan owns all the rights as defined in Constitution of Pakistan.

Another resolution adopted at the conference endorsed decision of Pakistan Ulema Council to mark 2019 as year to eliminate the menace of terrorism and extremism from Pakistan. The conference and leading Ulema and scholars stated that religious scholars are united to purge Pakistan from religious extremism and sectarian violence.

Another resolution adopted at the conference lauded stance of Prime Minister Imran khan on Kashmir and Afghanistan on his recent US visit. With the recent visit of PM Imran khan, Kashmir issue has once more came to limelight at world forum. The conference also lauded role of Shah Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Amir Muhammad bin Salman on Kashmir issue in support of Pakistan.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/442968/religious-scholars-clerics-reject-anti-shariah-decrees-being-issued/

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Is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Willing To Testify Against Saudi Arabia Or Qatar?

4 August 2019

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently published a report suggesting the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, attacks would be open to testifying against Saudi Arabia only if his death penalty would be reversed, citing court documents.

Al Arabiya English obtained the document in question – a status letter writing to US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn – which stated that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s lawyer said his client would not consent to a deposition “at the present time.”

His lawyer is then directly quoted as saying that the main reason for his client’s refusal was the “capital nature of the prosecution” and that “[i]n the absence of a potential death sentence much broader cooperation would be possible.”

The status letter in question was filed on June 26 in the US Southern District Court of New York by lawyers representing individuals and businesses seeking billions of dollars in damages from Saudi Arabia, which they accuse of being involved in the 2001 attacks.

International media outlets and agencies quickly picked up the story when it was published last Tuesday, with many echoing WSJ’s lede that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also known by his abbreviated name KSM, was ready to testify against Saudi Arabia in exchange for the US dropping the death penalty against him.

Throughout the WSJ article, there are no direct quotes from Mohammed, the other co-defendant in the case Ali Abdul Aziz Ali (who also happens to be KSM’s nephew), or their counsels stating either party would be willing to testify against Saudi Arabia specifically.

James Kreindler, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Reuters that he did not know whether Mohammed might be useful in their case.

“We’re just really leaving no stone unturned,” he said.

Sanctuary in Qatar

However, many outlets failed to report the possibility Qatar might be another country KSM would testify against.

In 2017, Richard Clarke, a former US National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism during the Clinton and Bush administrations, revealed in a New York Daily News article that Qatar provided sanctuary to Mohammed and might have helped him escape to Doha when the US closed in on him during the 1990s.

Mohammed is a Pakistani national who grew up in Kuwait and studied in North Carolina as an undergraduate. In the years to come, he would be connected to two terrorist attacks – one on the World Trade Center in 1993 and another in Manila in 1995 – before he arrived in Doha, where he worked at Qatar’s Water Department.

“There was a consensus in the group that we could not trust the Qatar government sufficiently for us to do what otherwise would have been obvious: Ask the local security service to arrest him and hand him over,” Clarke wrote, referring to the inter-agency Counterterrorism Security Group, which he chaired.

“To mitigate the risk inherent in that move, the US ambassador was asked to talk only to the Emir. He would ask the Emir to talk only to the head of the Qatari security service. The request was that they should grab KSM and hold him for a few hours until we could land an arrest team to fly him to the US,” Clarke wrote.

However, hours after the US ambassador met with the Emir regarding Washington’s request, Mohammed had disappeared from Doha.

“Had the Qataris handed him over to us as requested in 1996, the world might have been a very different place,” Clarke concluded.

Contradictions

While the WSJ article, written by its Washington reporters Andrew Restuccia and Jess Bravin, failed to mention any connection between Qatar and Mohammed, another WSJ report on June 19 written by financial reporters Ian Talley and Bradley Hope did so. They reported how loopholes in UN Security Council sanctions allowed blacklisted al-Qaeda and ISIS members and their backers to access to their bank accounts despite an asset freeze by the UN.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/08/04/Is-Khalid-Sheikh-Mohammed-willing-to-testify-against-Saudi-Arabia-or-Qatar-.html

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Sudan generals, protesters sign deal for civilian rule

August 05, 2019

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders signed a hard-won constitutional declaration on Sunday, paving the way for a transition to civilian rule after more than seven months of demonstrations and violence.

Under the agreement, signed at a ceremony in the capital Khartoum, a joint civilian-military ruling body will oversee the formation of a civilian government and parliament to govern for a three-year transition period.

The declaration was the result of fraught negotiations between the leaders of mass protests, which erupted last December against the three-decade rule of president Omar al-Bashir, and the generals who ousted him in April. It builds on a July 17 power-sharing deal between the two sides.

Protest movement leader Ahmed Rabie and the deputy head of the ruling military council General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo signed the declaration at a ceremony attended by African Union and Ethiopian mediators.

“We turned a tough page of Sudan’s history by signing this agreement,” Daglo, who flashed a victory sign after making a short speech, told reporters.

The signing was met by applause in the hall as representatives from both sides shook hands.

Members of the protest umbrella group, the Alliance for Freedom and Change, broke into tears as they exchanged hugs.

Crowds of jubilant Sudanese gathered outside the hall, chanting “blood for blood, our government is civilian” and “revolution, revolution”.

In the Bahari district of north Khartoum, dozens were chanting “this country is ours and the government is civilian” as drivers honked their horns in celebration.

In the city of Omdurman, hundreds were clapping, chanting and dancing to drum beats.

A formal signing with foreign dignitaries in attendance is to take place on August 17, another protest leader, Monzer Abu al-Maali, said. On the same day, Bashir is due to go on trial on corruption charges.

The next day, the generals and protest leaders are to announce the composition of the new transitional civilian-majority ruling council, Abu al-Maali said.

“The prime minister will be named on August 20 and cabinet members on August 28,” he said, adding that the sovereign council and cabinet would meet for the first time on September 1.

The talks had been repeatedly interrupted by deadly violence against demonstrators who have kept up rallies to press for civilian rule.

Talks were suspended for weeks after men in military uniform broke up a long-running protest camp outside army headquarters in Khartoum on June 3, killing at least 127 people, according to doctors close to the protest movement.

The movement has laid most of the blame on the powerful Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, commanded by Daglo.

Protest leaders say the accord calls for an investigation into protest-related violence which, according to protest-linked doctors, has cost more than 250 lives since December.

Under Sunday’s deal, RSF paramilitaries are to be integrated into the army’s chain of command.

Omar Hussein, a protester waving the Sudanese flag outside the negotiations hall, was overjoyed by the signing.

“Now we can tell the martyrs that their blood was not wasted,” he said.

Ibtisam al-Sanhouri, a legal affairs negotiator for the protest movement, said the constitutional declaration clears the way for a parliamentary system with a civilian prime minister.

She said the protest movement would have 201 of 300 seats in parliament and the premier, to be confirmed by the new sovereign council.

The document touches on a peace deal agreed with three armed groups last month in Addis Ababa, protest leader Babiker Faisal said.

These groups had spent years fighting Bashir’s government forces in the states of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

“A comprehensive peace conference is planned to take place within six months of the transitional period,” he added. Sudan’s Arab neighbours hailed the long-awaited deal.

Egypt said it was “a significant step on the right track”, while the Saudi foreign ministry welcomed it as “a quantum leap that will transition Sudan to stability and security”.

In the United Arab Emirates, minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said Sudan’s transition to civilian rule “turns the page” on Bashir and his Islamist allies.

On Sunday, Ethiopian mediator Mahmoud Drir told reporters the deal would see Sudan removed from the United States’ blacklist as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The country has been on the State Department’s list since 1993 over its alleged support of Islamist militants, a designation that has damaged the country’s economy and severely impeded foreign investment.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498192/sudan-generals-protesters-sign-deal-for-civilian-rule

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Conservative Party to face inquiry into Islamophobia

Basit Mahmood

4 Aug 2019

The Conservatives will face an independent inquiry into Islamophobia, party chairman James Cleverly has confirmed. The investigation comes after a YouGov survey for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme found that 56 per cent of the Tory membership thought Islam was ‘generally a threat’ to the British way of life and just 22 per cent thought it was ‘generally compatible’. A previous YouGov study carried out by anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate also found that just 8 per cent of the party’s members ‘would be proud of Britain, if we were to elect a Muslim as our prime minister’. The survey also revealed that 67 per cent of Tory members believe ‘there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law’. An inquiry into anti-Muslim racism and hatred was suggested by Sajid Javid, now the Chancellor, during the Tory leadership race.

Asked on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday whether there will be an independent inquiry, Mr Cleverly said: ‘Yes there will be. ‘We will be guided by a formal definition of Islamophobia but the point is we do and will always take firm action on anyone who steps outside the boundaries of appropriate behaviour.’ Former party chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi told Metro.co.uk: ‘I welcome the acceptance of my party for finally recognising the need for an independent inquiry into Islamophobia. ‘I would suggest the APPG on British Muslims definitions of Islamophobia is an appropriate definition to guide this process. ‘Nevertheless, I hope this process is independent, transparent and retains the confidence of British Muslim communities across the UK.’

Co-chair of the APPG on British Muslims, Wes Streeting MP said: ‘Given the catalogue of evidence of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, an independent inquiry into Islamophobia is both welcome and overdue. ‘For this process to have any credibility with Muslim communities it must be genuinely independent and willing to shine a light into uncomfortable corners of the Conservative Party. ‘A working definition on Islamophobia has already been agreed by a cross-party group of MPs and Peers with the support of Muslim communities across the country. ‘This would be a good starting point for such an inquiry.’

A Muslim Council of Britain spokesperson said: ‘An inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party has been long-awaited and will be welcomed if it is sufficiently independent and robust. ‘Words must be followed by action. The record of the Party has thus far been found wanting. ‘A litmus test will be whether the party adopts the definition of Islamophobia as formulated by the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims.’ He added: ‘We hope this process does not sidestep the over 100 incidences of Islamophobia identified by the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslim members of the Conservative party themselves.’

https://metro.co.uk/2019/08/04/conservative-party-face-inquiry-islamophobia-10516130/

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White Racial Terrorism In US As Old As America Itself: Dr. Randy Short of the African Orthodox Church

Aug 5, 2019

An American pundit says the endemic acts of terrorism by whites against people of other races in the United States are as old as the country itself.

Dr. Randy Short of the African Orthodox Church made the remarks during an appearance on the Press TV the Debate program from Washington, DC, on Sunday.

“We have an issue of white identity extremist and white racial terrorism that’s as old as this country,” he said.

The country has perennially harboured a culture teaching “to dominate, to conquer, and control land that’s not yours, people that are unlike you,” Short said.

This culture”has required this kind of terror and control,” He added.

The comments came after 29 people were killed and dozens more were injured in two separate mass shootings across the country.

One in El Paso, Texas, which was a targeted shooting focused on immigrants, claimed the most casualties and was rated as an instance of “domestic terrorism.”

So far this year, the country has witnessed 251 mass shootings, which is more than one a day.

Explaining the history of racially-charged killings in the country, Short also pointed to “lynching, where you’d have public murders of people, who are black and Indian, as a norm like a sports activity.”

Fredrick Peterson, a senior congressional defense advisor from New York, who was the other guest on the panel, countered the idea that the US was experiencing mass shootings on a regular basis.

He said the sources yielding figures about the fatal incidents were “very biased and misleading sources that have an interest in the issue politically.”

Peterson said the discussion over shooting incidents in the US had to be founded on a “reasonable definition of a mass shooting” and “common definitions.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/05/602702/United-States-mass-shootings

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Taliban militants behead a disabled man in Sar-e-Pul province

04 Aug 2019

The Taliban militants beheaded a disabled man in Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan, it has been reported.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the Taliban militants beheaded the disabled man in Sancharak district of Sar-e-Pul province.

Quoting the family members of the victim, the 209th Shaheen Corps further added that the Taliban militants initially shot dead the disabled man and decapitated him afterwards.

The Taliban group has not commented regarding the incident so far .

It is yet not clear why the Taliban militants brutally murdered the man.

Meanwhile, the district administrative chief of Sancharak Naqibullah Daqiq confirmed that the Taliban militants had abducted the victim two weeks ago.

Daqiq further added that the victim was a disabled farmer whose decapitated body was recovered two days ago.

The security situation in Faryab province has deteriorated during the recent years.

Taliban militants are active in some districts of Faryab and often conduct terrorist related activities.

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces routinely conduct counter-terrorism operations against the anti-government armed groups in this province.

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-militants-behead-a-disabled-man-in-sar-e-pul-province-03550/

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Israel unveils prototype ‘tanks of the future’

4 August 2019

Israel unveiled options on Sunday for its “combat vehicle of the future” – a tank with large touchscreens, 360-degree vision and, in one prototype, a video game-style controller.

The ministry of defense wants to procure an armored vehicle that can be operated by two soldiers instead of four with the hatch closed, something officials involved in the project say would be a unique achievement.

The ministry tasked three Israeli companies – state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, along with Elbit Systems – with drumming up ideas.

The so-called Carmel project, launched three years ago, aims to develop not the vehicle itself, but its brains and sensors, which can be installed into existing tanks.

All three firms succeeded in reducing the number of soldiers to two.

The vehicles also have options for autonomous driving and target identification with the help of sensors and cameras, along with artificial intelligence and other features.

“This is a revolutionary concept based on cutting-edge technology,” Brigadier General Yaniv Rotem, head of military research and development with Israel’s defense ministry, told journalists.

“Many countries and many armies are looking for future armored vehicles.”

Israel demonstrated options for the project to US army representatives on Sunday and plans to do the same for other countries.

The three companies presented tank models fitted out with their technologies at an army base in northern Israel.

Inside, soldiers look at a combination of large screens and use various methods of controlling the vehicle and its weaponry.

One of the options used a video game-style controller.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/04/Israel-unveils-prototype-tanks-of-the-future-.html

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Malaysian survivor of Christchurch mosque shootings thankful for ‘unexpected’ Haj invitation

04 August 2019

MECCA, Aug 4 — For Mohd Tarmizi Shuib and his family, the opportunity to perform the Haj, a duty mandatory for every financially and physically able Muslim to fulfil the fifth pillar of Islam, this year, is unexpected.  

“We are very thankful. After what we have gone through... we always pray to Allah to give us strength and, indeed, we did not expect this invitation to the Holy Land (to perform the Haj),” he said.

Mohd Tarmizi, 42, was one of the Malaysian victims of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, and had lost his son, Muhammad Haziq, 17, in the massacre. The terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch left 50 people dead and scores of others injured.

Mohd Tarmizi, together with his wife, Dr Marina Zahari, and their 12-year-old son Muhammad Hariz were among the 200 families of the victims of the incident, who were sponsored by Saudi Arabian king, King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud, to perform the Haj under the 2019 Saudi King’s guests programme.

“We’ve never expected such a gift, an opportunity to perform Haj this year. It was unbelievable after the several months of really tough episode we went through since the tragic incident. This is a reward from Allah, having us (his family) as His guest,” he told Bernama, when met at the programme, today.

During the incident, Mohd Tarmizi was seriously injured after being shot.

He said that he panicked upon hearing gun shots and fled to the front entrance before realising the gunman was there. He then grabbed his second son (Muhamad Hariz), exiting through an alternative door and quickly climbed several housing fences in order to escape with his son.

“I did not realise that I was injured until I saw that my leg was soaked in blood. I saw a garage nearby and decide to hide there with my son when it dawned on me that Muhammad Haziq was not with us. At that time, I fervently prayed for the safety of my sons and myself,” he vividly recalled.

Mohd Tarmizi admitted he and his family were in a state of grief for several months but they received a lot of moral support from the New Zealand’s community and government, and from the Malaysian government, to overcome the trauma and negative thoughts.

“The support showed me that everything we are facing in our lives are part of Allah’s tests, and we should always accept them in good faith,” said Mohd Tarmizi.

Mohd Tarmizi’s family arrived in Mecca on August 2 and was scheduled to return to New Zealand on August 16.

The annual programme is organised by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Da’wah and Guidance, and is personally financed by King Salman.

The cost covers the pilgrims’ accommodation, flight tickets, food and drink as well as Haj rites.

The programme, which had been conducted for more than 20 years, aims to get the pilgrims to come together to exchange views on Islam and to strengthen ties.

A total of 1,300 pilgrims from 72 countries were selected for this year’s programme including 20 from Malaysia.

Saudi Arabia plans to accommodate up to 30 million Haj and umrah (minor Haj) pilgrims in the coming years based on Vision 2030 introduced by the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. — Bernama

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/08/04/malaysian-survivor-of-christchurch-mosque-shootings-thankful-for-unexpected/1777547

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India

 

Ahead Of Baqrid, AIMPLB Member Exhorts Muslims To Sacrifice Only Those Animals Permitted By Government

Aug 04, 2019

Lucknow: Ahead of the Eid al-Adha commonly known as Bakr-Id or "festival of sacrifice", Imam Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has requested Muslims to sacrifice only animals, whose slaughter is permitted by the government.

"I appeal to all Muslims that on Eid al-Adha, like every year, this year too, the life of only those animals should be sacrificed on which there is no prohibition by government," said, Imam Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali. He also appealed to Muslims to not to sacrifice animals on roads and no photos of animal sacrifice should be clicked and shared on social media.

"Animal sacrifice must not be done on roads; it can be done inside a house or a madrasa so that other communities do not face any problem. No photos of animal sacrifice should be clicked or shared on social media," he added.

Traditionally, the festival of Eid al-Adha is celebrated two days after the beginning of the Hajj pilgrimage. The starting date of this festival depends on the sighting of the new crescent moon. It begins on the 10th day of one of the holiest months of the Islam calendar.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/ahead-of-bakri-eid-aimplb-member-exhorts-muslims-to-sacrifice-only-those-animals-permitted-by-government-7108281.html

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Namaaz On Roads: In A First, Friday Prayer Offered On Rooftops

August 04, 2019

ALIGARH: Days after Aligarh chief mufti urges Muslims to refrain from offering Namaaz on roads, the devotees on Friday offered the prayers at the roof of a building.

–‘Namaz on Streets’–

In a bid to defuse the controversy over ‘Namaz on Streets’ the Aligarh Shehar mufti, Mohammad Khalid Hameed has directed administrators of all the mosques to offer their “prayers on rooftops of neighbouring buildings wherever convenient” but not on streets.

Following the directive of the city mufti, hundreds of devotees thronged the Bu Ali Shah mosque in Aligarh and occupied the ground floor, first floor, and even the terrace and roofs for the first time.

A member of the community who made alternate arrangements for Namaz told DNA news portal, “Last week, some officials from Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) ordered us not to offer namaz on the street. Post that, we have made arrangements for the namaz on upper floors and terrace. There is a shortage of space, but it can’t be helped.”

–Ensure Safety–

To ensure no one should pray on the streets and no untoward incident takes place, police personnel was also deployed outside the mosque.

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/row-over-namaaz-muslims-offer-friday-prayers-rooftops-1571238/

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Darul Uloom Deoband: Complaint of helipad proved false

August 04, 2019

UP: State Convener of Bajrang Dal, Mr. Vikas Tyagi had written to CM of UP that a helipad is being constructed on the premises of Darul Uloom Deoband.

The DM and SSP along with a team of police officials visited the institution and elicited the details of the construction.

After the inspection, District Magistrate, Mr. Alok Pandey told the newsmen that a complaint was received about the construction of helipad for which he visited the institution along with SSP. He further told that PWD Engineer who had accompanied him will submit his report on the basis of which further action would be taken.

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/darul-uloom-deoband-complaint-helipad-proved-false-1571136/

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Jammu and Kashmir: Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Sajad Lone placed under house arrest at midnight

Aug 5, 2019

SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: In a series of fast-moving developments, former J&K chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and People's Conference chief Sajad Lone were placed under house arrest at midnight, fuelling speculation that the Centre is planning a major initiative like scrapping Article 35A of the Constitution.

Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir assembly to frame rules defining "permanent residents" and prohibits non-permanent residents from settling permanently in the state, acquiring immovable property, government jobs and scholarships.

Jammu & Kashmir: Live updates

The decision to place the Kashmir leaders under house arrest came in the backdrop of J&K governor Satyapal Malik on Sunday saying any initiative would not be a "secret" and could be revealed in Parliament, which is in session. Latest news reports indicated that Section 144 had been imposed till further orders in the entire Srinagar district, banning public meetings, rallies, and gatherings, and movement of people, though curfew was not officially imposed. There were also reports of internet services being restricted across the valley.

Forces' deployment a security measure, no knowledge of change in constitutional provisions: Jammu and Kashmir governor

All educational institutions were told to remain closed. In Jammu, too, all schools, colleges and educational institutions were advised to remain closed.

Security agencies are looking to pre-empt attempts by separatist organisations to fan trouble. A telecom shut-down seems in the offing.

The Modi government could move on its manifesto promise to do away with Article 35A, which government sources said does not require parliamentary approval. The massive induction of paramilitary troops and stepped-up action against infiltration attempts seem a political and security response ahead of of the Article 35A decision.

Shortly before midnight, Omar Abdullah tweeted: “I believe I’m being placed under house arrest from midnight and the process has already started for other mainstream leaders. No way of knowing if this is true but if it is, then I’ll see all of you on the other side of whatever is in store. Allah save us.” A few minutes later, his tweet was proved correct.

Omar Abdullah

@OmarAbdullah

I believe I’m being placed under house arrest from midnight tonight & the process has already started for other mainstream leaders. No way of knowing if this is true but if it is then I’ll see all of you on the other side of whatever is in store. Allah save us 🙏🏼

21.2K

11:30 PM - Aug 4, 2019

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Omar Abdullah

@OmarAbdullah

To the people of Kashmir, we don’t know what is in store for us but I am a firm believer that what ever Almighty Allah has planned it is always for the better, we may not see it now but we must never doubt his ways. Good luck to everyone, stay safe & above all PLEASE STAY CALM.

13.6K

11:32 PM - Aug 4, 2019

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Earlier in the day, J&K governor Satya Pal Malik was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “Parliament is in session... whatever will happen, it will not happen secretly, it will come to Parliament, it will be discussed.” He further asked people to wait until Monday or Tuesday even as he deepened the mystery by saying he had no specific information of what might be in the offing. “Till today, I have no inclination, no information. I have talked to everybody in Delhi, and nobody has given me any hint that we will do this or that. Whatever somebody is saying — there will be trifurcation, Article 35A, 370 — nobody has discussed with me these things, either the PM or the home minister,” he said.

Malik’s statement came even as the Union cabinet is scheduled to meet at 9.30am on Monday, just ahead of Parliament proceedings at 11am. On Sunday, home minister Amit Shah held a meeting with national security adviser Ajit Doval, home secretary Rajiv Gauba and heads of Intelligence Bureau and RAW. This was followed by discussions with senior officials of the home ministry’s J&K division with the focus on the security situation in the state.

While leaders and bureaucrats remained tight-lipped on the agenda of Monday’s cabinet meeting, it is learnt that the government had been planning abrogation of Article 35A even before the Lok Sabha polls were called. A senior functionary told TOI that the necessary paperwork for scrapping the article was completed in February and that BJP included the same in its manifesto only after doing its homework.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jk-omar-abdulah-mehbooba-mufti-sajad-lone-placed-under-house-arrest-at-midnight/articleshow/70527884.cms

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J&K turmoil: Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah not to be allowed to move out of house, say officials

Aug 5, 2019

SRINAGAR: Congress leader Usman Majid and CPM MLA M Y Tarigami claimed they were arrested on Sunday night as Kashmir remained on edge with authorities stepping up security deployment.

However, no official confirmation was immediately available.

Police officials said former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti would not be allowed to move out of the house as strict curfew would be imposed in Kashmir at the crack of dawn amid heightened terror threat and flare up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC).

Sources said that the former CMs have been detained at their respective house.

National Conference leader Abdullah tweeted, "I believe I'm being placed under house arrest from midnight tonight & the process has already started for other mainstream leaders. No way of knowing if this is true but if it is then I'll see all of you on the other side of whatever is in store."

Omar Abdullah

@OmarAbdullah

I believe I’m being placed under house arrest from midnight tonight & the process has already started for other mainstream leaders. No way of knowing if this is true but if it is then I’ll see all of you on the other side of whatever is in store. Allah save us 🙏🏼

21.2K

11:30 PM - Aug 4, 2019

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"To the people of Kashmir, we don't know what is in store for us but I am a firm believer that what ever Almighty Allah has planned it is always for the better, we may not see it now but we must never doubt his ways. Good luck to everyone, stay safe & above all PLEASE STAY CALM," he said in another tweet.

Omar Abdullah

@OmarAbdullah

To the people of Kashmir, we don’t know what is in store for us but I am a firm believer that what ever Almighty Allah has planned it is always for the better, we may not see it now but we must never doubt his ways. Good luck to everyone, stay safe & above all PLEASE STAY CALM.

13.6K

11:32 PM - Aug 4, 2019

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The authorities suspended mobile Internet connection in Kashmir Valley, the officials said, adding that satellite phones were being provided to police officials and district magistrates.

Reacting to the development, Mehbooba tweeted, "Hearing reports about internet being snapped soon including cellular coverage. Curfew passes being issued too. God knows what awaits us tomorrow. It's going to be a long night."

Mehbooba Mufti

@MehboobaMufti

Hearing reports about internet being snapped soon including cellular coverage. Curfew passes being issued too. God knows what awaits us tomorrow. It’s going to be a long night.

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11:12 PM - Aug 4, 2019

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"In such difficult times, I'd like to assure our people that come what may, we are in this together & will fight it out. Nothing should break our resolve to strive for what's rightfully ours," she said.

Mehbooba Mufti

@MehboobaMufti

In such difficult times, I’d like to assure our people that come what may, we are in this together & will fight it out. Nothing should break our resolve to strive for what’s rightfully ours.

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Kashmir remained on edge on Sunday as authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas amid heightened terror threat and flare up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC).

After the Jammu and Kashmir administration curtailed the Amarnath Yatra and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest on Friday, anxious residents continue to throng markets to stock on essentials and serpentine queues have been visible outside shops and fuel stations.

Jammu and Kashmir governor S P Malik has dismissed speculations that the Centre might be planning to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state's residents in government jobs and land.

Political parties in J&K had expressed apprehensions about such action after the Centre deployed additional troops and curtailed the Amarnath Yatra.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jk-turmoil-mehbooba-mufti-omar-abdullah-not-to-be-allowed-to-move-out-of-house-say-officials/articleshow/70527541.cms

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Section 144 imposed in Srinagar; public movement barred, schools, colleges shut

August 5, 2019

The Jammu & Kashmir government late Sunday night imposed restrictions under Section 144 CrPC in Srinagar district with immediate effect from Monday midnight i.e. August 5 and said it will continue to remain in force until further orders. Late Sunday evening, mobile, broadband internet and cable TV services were suspended in Srinagar.

The order comes minutes after mainstream leaders in the state including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were placed under house arrest.

According to the order, “there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed. All public movement has been curtailed and educational institutions will remain closed”. The order has also banned holding any kind of public meeting or rally until the order is withdrawn.

Identity cards of service officials would be considered as movement passes in various areas.

In Jammu, all the educational institutions were closed till further orders as a precautionary measure after Governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration imposed restrictions in Jammu region late Sunday night. According to Inspector General of Police, Jammu Zone, Mukesh Singh, mobile internet services across Jammu are also being closed.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/section-144-imposed-in-srinagar-public-movement-barred-schools-colleges-shut-5877989/

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Restrictions imposed across Jammu region; high alert on India-Pak border

Ravi Krishnan Khajuria       

Aug 05, 2019

Authorities clamped restrictions on all 10 districts of Jammu region late on Sunday as they imposed prohibitory orders, snapped mobile internet connection and shut educational institutions after similar steps in the Kashmir Valley.

Several local leaders, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, claimed they were placed under “house arrest” as officials imposed restrictions on the movement of people in Srinagar and across the Valley and suspended mobile data services.

Also read: In Kashmir, leaders put under ‘house arrest’, schools shut, internet snapped

The restive state has been on the edge since Friday when authorities suspended the Amarnath Yatra over security concerns and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave “immediately” forcing residents stock up on essentials and fuel.

Before that, there has been massive security build-up in the state.

Jammu, the summer capital of the restive state, woke up to deserted roads on Monday morning as police personnel made announcements urging people to stay indoors after the assembly of four or more people in public places was banned under section 144 of CrPC.

The administration also snapped mobile internet services across the region at around 12.30am.

“All schools, colleges and academic institutions, both private and government, are advised to remain closed as a measure of caution,” Jammu deputy commissioner Sushma Chauhan said in an order.

“This step has been taken in view of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the multi-fold increase in the security deployment due to threat perception,” read the order.

Follow updates here:Jammu and Kashmir Live Updates: PM Narendra Modi meets Cabinet amid tensions

Similar orders were issued by the deputy commissioners of nine other districts in the region.

More than 500 students from NIT Srinagar, who had reached Jammu on Sunday, were given food and sent homes in a special train.

The Indian Army and Border Security Force (BSF) have also been put on a high alert along the Line of Control and International Border.

Additional reinforcements of around 40 companies of paramilitary forces were also deployed across the region, especially in Ramban, Kishtwar, Doda, Rajouri and Poonch districts.

An official said that six companies in Jammu, two in Samba, two in Kathau, four in Udhampur, one in Reasi, eight in Rajouri, six in Poonch and 11 in Doda region have been deployed to maintain law and order.

“Though nothing has been told to us, we also anticipate a decision on Article 35-A and probably that is why over 35,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the state,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Authorities also imposed night curfew in Kishtwar and Rajouri districts and Banihal area of Ramban district on Sunday.

Security across Jammu region was strengthened earlier with the additional deployment of paramilitary forces, including Rapid Action Force (RAF) in several districts, especially in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri and Doda region.

No adverse reports poured from any of the 10 districts till 10am with people cautiously watching the development unfolding in Delhi.

On Sunday, leaders of political parties met in Srinagar and resolved to protect and defend the “identity, autonomy and special status” of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation in the state was discussed at the all-party meeting, which was held at the residence of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah.

“It was unanimously resolved that all parties would be united with their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever, modification abrogation of Article 35A, 370, unconstitutional delimitation, trifurcation of the state would be an aggression against the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” said Omar Abdullah’s father, Farooq Abdullah, reading from a copy of the resolution.

Governor Satya Pal Malik has dismissed reports that preparations are being made for an announcement on Article 35A and Article 370 or on the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir by creating three states of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, as has been rumoured in the state.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/restrictions-imposed-across-jammu-region-high-alert-on-india-pak-border/story-IqXc7OG8Dej3EO8IwLXFON.html

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Pakistan

 

Imran Khan Sues TV Anchor Najam Sethi For Rs 10bn Over Slander

Aug 5, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan PM Imran Khan on Saturday sent a defamation notice of Rs 10 billion to prominent TV anchor Najam Sethi, alleging false reporting about his personal life.

Khan’s counsel Imran Babar Awan has sent the defamation notice to Sethi for his “propaganda” about PM’s personal life. The notice said no leniency will be showed regarding fake news about the prime minister.

Asghar Leghari, central head of public relations of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said that Sethi had made “shameful” claims about the personal life of Khan and he also violated law and ethics on a private TV channel besides causing defamation to the reputation of the prime minister.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/pakistan/imran-khan-sues-tv-host-for-rs-10bn-over-slander/articleshow/70528561.cms

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Maryam Nawaz urges supporters to answer call for Islamabad march to 'topple government'

Adnan Sheikh

August 04, 2019

Maryam Nawaz Sharif, a vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, has appealed to supporters to join her when the party calls on them to march to Islamabad.

On Sunday, during her latest mass contact campaign — a 'Free Nawaz Sharif' rally in Khushab — the daughter of incarcerated former premier Nawaz Sharif called on supporters to "heed the call by their party to march to Islamabad for the final shove to topple the government".

"To [drive the final nail in the coffin] against this fake government, if your party Muslim League Noon calls on you to march on Islamabad, will you accompany me there?" she asked crowds gathered in a village off the Lillah interchange who gave her a rousing reception during her stop there.

The PML-N leader also spoke on the plight faced by the citizens of Indian-occupied Kashmir and Azad Jammu & Kashmir and said that "they are not alone as Pakistan stands with them".

"When Kashmiris are wounded, it is Pakistan that feels the pain. When unarmed Kashmiris bleed, it is the blood that runs through Pakistan's veins that is shed," she said.

She also made stops in the cities of Mangwal and Katha while enroute to Khushab.

Maryam had left her Jati Umra residence late Sunday afternoon amid fervent chants by party workers in her support.

She has been at the forefront of PML-N's allegations against judge Arshad Malik, who convicted Nawaz Sharif in the Al Azizia reference last year.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498072

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India’s ‘Irrational’ Actions to Unsettle Region, National Security Committee Warns the World

Baqir Sajjad Syed

August 05, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) on Sunday warned the world that India’s irrational actions could destabilise the region and vowed to firmly respond to any act of Indian aggression.

“The recent Indian measures will increase the levels of violence and turn this area into a flashpoint and a destabilising factor in the midst of two strategically capable neighbouring countries,” a statement issued after the meeting said while noting that India through its military buildup in held Kashmir and “brutal use [of force] against an unarmed population” was “adding fuel to fire”.

“Pakistan condemns Indian actions in this regard which would have adverse implications for regional and international peace,” the NSC said.

The top security body’s meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan was held to review the situation along the Line of Control in the aftermath of firing of cluster bombs by Indian forces on civilian population in Azad Kashmir, as well as the developments in held Kashmir where over 28,000 additional Indian troops have been deployed, tourists evacuated, rationing of essential items has been ordered and Amarnath Yatra, a Hindu pilgrimage, cancelled.

Indian allegation that it had foiled an infiltration attempt from Pakistan has added to the tense situation. The allegation was immediately denied by Pakistan which described it as a diversionary tactic to distract the world’s attention from India’s human rights abuses in the occupied valley and attempts to change the demography of the region.

The statement listed the possible motives behind India escalating the situation, including an attempt to malign and discredit the Kashmiri movement for the right to self-determination, conceal the intended change in demography through revocation of Article 35-A, an expression of frustration at the human rights abuses getting global attention, the unease at the growing momentum in the efforts for a political settlement of the Afghan dispute, and trapping Pakistan in an escalation spiral.

“Forum was briefed on India’s deplorable suppression of populace in IOJ&K [Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir], plans to use bogey of terrorism for political ends disregarding situation on ground, use of cluster munitions against civilians to provoke Pakistan and use of disinformation manoeuvre to confuse the real intent i.e. changing the demographic structure and the internationally recognised disputed status of IOJ&K,” the statement said.

The NSC maintained that India because of loss of moral authority in held Kashmir and setbacks suffered by its narrative on Kashmir at the international level was “resorting to illegal, undemocratic and inhuman measures”.

Linking the timing of Indian actions with progress in the Afghan peace process, the NSC stated: “The recent Indian measures will increase the levels of violence and turn this area into a flashpoint and a destabilising factor in the midst of two strategically capable neighbouring countries.”

Indian apprehensions about developments in the Afghan peace process could be related to the two offers of mediation on the Kashmir dispute made by US President Donald Trump in less than a fortnight. New Delhi fears that the US because of Pakistan’s role in the peace process may increase pressure on India for accepting a third-party intervention in the long-running conflict.

The NSC noted that the growing international focus on Indian rights abuses in held Kashmir could force Delhi to “resort to desperate and risky options, including false flag operations”.

It should be recalled that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the second consecutive year launched a report last month documenting the human rights situation in held Kashmir between May 2018 and April 2019. The report specifically noted the sharp aggravation in the situation after the Feb 14 attack on Indian paramilitary forces in Pulwama that led to a military standoff between Pakistan and India. It had also observed that India did not implement the recommendations from last year’s UN report for addressing the rights situation.

The NSC reaffirmed the resolve to defend the country “against any Indian misadventure or aggression” and to continue diplomatic, moral and political support to Kashmiri struggle for the right of self-determination. “Pakistan reiterates that Kashmir is a longstanding unresolved international dispute which needs peaceful resolution. Pakistan therefore urges India to come forth to resolve the issue in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people,” it added.

Prime Minister Khan, while addressing the participants of the NSC meeting, said Pakistan would not be deterred from its just stance based on UNSC resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. He said India was disregarding its international obligations and its arrogance would only result in heightening the conflict dynamics in the region.

He drew the attention of the world leaders and international bodies towards India’s “irresponsible, unilateral and irrational behavior” and emphasised that India should ensure the rights of the people including those living in occupied territories and abide by its commitments to the UNSC.

In a series of tweets before the meeting, PM Khan said Indian actions posed threat to international peace and security, and that sustainable peace in South Asia was possible only through “peaceful and just settlement of Kashmir dispute”. He recalled that President Trump had offered to mediate on the Kashmir dispute and said it was the right time to do so as aggressive Indian actions could set off a regional crisis.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498149/indias-irrational-actions-to-unsettle-region-warns-nsc

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UN urges India, Pakistan to exercise restraint as tensions mount

August 05, 2019

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations on Sunday appealed to India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum” restraint amid escalating tensions between the two countries along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region.

“The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (Unmogip) observed and reported an increase in military activity at the Line of Control in recent days,” the UN secretary general’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement e-mailed in response to a question.

“The United Nations appeals to both sides to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate,” the statement said.

The Unmogip was deployed in January 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the disputed region. While Pakistan allows UN observers to monitor the LoC, India does not.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498155/un-urges-india-pakistan-to-exercise-restraint-as-tensions-mount

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OIC shows solidarity with Kashmiris

August 05, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation in India-held Kashmir, including the reports of deployment of additional paramilitary forces there.

“The General Secretariat is saddened to learn about the civilian casualties resulting from ceasefire violations carried out by Indian forces across the Line of Control [LoC] and expresses solidarity with the people of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” the OIC said in a statement.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani also brought the attention of the international community’s to the fresh spate of Indian aggression by writing to speakers and presiding officers of all ­parliaments of the world. Mr Sanjrani wrote to the speakers and presiding officers and telephoned some of them, seeking their support to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.

He also apprised the speakers of the use of cluster ammunition by the Indian armed forces in held Kashmir and their indiscriminate firing across the LoC on civilian settlements. “World’s people representative parliaments should pressurise India to stop state terrorism in Kashmir,” the senate chairman said in his letter, adding that the international community should play its role in bringing India on the table for a dialogue on the issue.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, in a statement, urged the United Nations secretary general to play his role in stopping the genocide of Kashmiris.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1498158/oic-shows-solidarity-with-kashmiris

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Pakistan to support the right of Kashmiri people to self-determination, says Firdous

Aug 5, 2019

ISLAMABAD:  Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday condemned the blatant use of cluster bombs by Indian security forces targeting innocent civilians along the Line of Control (LoC) and further said that Pakistan will extend every help, that is necessary, to people of Kashmir in their effort to self-determination.

She also said that the whole nation stands with our forces and condemns all brutalities of Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir.

Firdous said that US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate Kashmir issue is the victory of Kashmiri people’s narrative of right to self-determination and India should look into it with logic.

She stated that India is openly violating international laws by attacking civilians and in this situation, no effort to materialise peace can succeed, “India cannot crush the indigenous movement of Kashmiri people through brutal use of cluster bombs,” she added.

She praised PM Imran and said that his vision to see a peaceful Asia is applaudable and every problem should be discussed through talks and discussion.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/04/pakistan-to-support-the-right-of-kashmiri-people-to-self-determination-says-firdous/

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Pakistan calls for Trump mediation on Kashmir as region remains tense

4 August 2019

Tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir have the potential to blow up into a regional crisis and it is the right time for US President Donald Trump to mediate, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday.

Khan’s comments come a day after Pakistan accused India of using illegal cluster bombs, killing two civilians and wounding 11, in the disputed Kashmir region. India denied it had used such weapons.

“President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as situation deteriorates there and along the LOC (line of control) with new aggressive actions being taken by Indian occupation forces,” Khan said on Twitter, referring to the heavily militarized de facto border that divides the two parts of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

“This has the potential to blow up into a regional crisis,” Khan said.

India’s foreign affairs ministry and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Khan’s remarks.

In July, Trump told reporters that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him during a meeting in Japan if he would like to be a mediator on Kashmir.

India denied Modi ever asked for any mediation.

India has long rejected any suggestion of third-party involvement in tackling Kashmir and, reacting to Trump’s offer last month, said it would deal with Pakistan only bilaterally.

Trump last week reiterated his offer, saying he would intervene if asked, and “it’s really up to Prime Minister Modi.”

Muslim-majority Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, has long been a bone of contention between the two. Tensions flared after a vehicle laden with explosives rammed into an Indian police convoy on Feb. 14, killing 40 paramilitary police, and leading to aerial clashes between the two nations.

India accuses Pakistan of funding armed militants, as well as separatist groups in India’s portion of the region. Islamabad denies the Indian accusation, saying it provides only diplomatic and moral support to a separatist movement.

Kashmir tense

Tensions have escalated particularly since Friday, when local Indian officials in Kashmir issued an alert over possible militant attacks by Pakistan-based groups.

Pakistan has rejected those assertions, but thousands of Indian tourists, pilgrims and workers left the region in panic.

Pakistan on Saturday also rejected India’s claims that it had killed at least five Pakistan-based militants who tried to attack its forces near the border.

On Sunday, Kashmir remained on high alert with Indian para-military forces deployed across major towns. One senior local official said a curfew was likely next week.

However, the city police chief in Srinagar, the state’s main city, told Reuters he had no knowledge of a curfew.

Hospitals were on alert, with staff told not to leave the city without permission, officials said.

The local government said on Friday it had intelligence about militant attacks and called off a major Hindu pilgrimage, asking pilgrims and tourists to return home.

Kashmir touts itself as a “Paradise on Earth”, with its Dal Lake, famous houseboats and mountains among major attractions.

Britain and Germany have in advisories discouraged their citizens from visiting, but around 160 foreign tourists arrived on Saturday, one official said. Some were not worried.

“Why should we be scared? It is a nice place and people are very helpful,” said Molly, a Swiss tourist.

Nevertheless, tourism is bound to suffer as tensions rise.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/08/04/Pakistan-calls-for-Trump-mediation-on-Kashmir-as-region-remains-tense.html

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Arab World

 

US, Israel Trying to Make Region Insecure by Supporting Terrorists: Beirut-based al-Akhbar

Aug 04, 2019

The Arabic-language Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper reported that the Southern parts of Syria, including Dara’a province and its surrounding areas have become scenes of resumed terrorist attacks on the Syrian Army’s military positions in line with coordinated efforts to make those regions insecure and stop the Syrian government peace initiative.

The daily pointed to the reorganization of Jordan’s Mouk Operations Room terrorist groups along the border in Western Syria, and said intel has revealed that a foreign officer who recently worked with the terrorist groups in Southern Syria has been recalled to the operation room.

The Syrian security sources also pointed to the monitoring of the ISIL’s movements in Eastern Sweida, and said that the US Army has recently dispatched two trucks carrying weapons from al-Tanf region to ISIL terrorists deployed near Sweida via Sahra.

The al-Akhbar, meantime, pointed to a connection between terrorists of Southern Syria with the foreign countries, including the US, Oman and the UAE, and said that Israel is benefiting the most from insecurities in Southern Syria and has helped the terrorists with the assassination of some officers of the Syrian Army in Southern Syria.

The daily also pointed to the meeting of Syrian-Russian commanders in Southern Syria, and said that the two sides will most probably conduct military and security operations to get rid of the remaining terrorists.

In a relevant development last week, the Arabic-language al-Masdar news website quoted a military source as saying that the Syrian Army was preparing for new military operation inside the Dara’a province.

According to the military source, the Syrian Army was preparing to cordon off the town of Sanamayn in northern Dara’a.

The source said the Syrian Army was demanding the militants to surrender themselves before an operation would be launched to arrest them for their recent attacks on the military checkpoints in Sanamayn.

In a relevant development last month, Secretary of the Syrian Parliament Khalid al-Aboud said attacks against the Syrian army were masterminded in Jordan and Israel, amid increased terrorist attacks against the country's Armed Forces in Dara'a province.

Al-Aboud was quoted by the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen news channel as saying that the terrorist groups which recently attacked the Syrian army forces in Dara'a province are those which have contacts with the Military Operations Command (MOC) room and take orders from Jordan and Israeli intelligence agency.

He added that the aggressive acts of these grouplets are not limited to the Syrian army forces as they have attacked the Russian forces and civilians and set fire at thousands of hectares of farmlands too.

Al-Aboud said based on intelligence, MOC has turned into a new center which intends to use the attacks against the Syrian government and insecurities in Southern Syria as a leverage to pressure Damascus.

The security outposts and military vehicles of the Syrian army have recently come under attack a year after the army won control over the province and granted amnesty to those militants who laid down their weapons.

Relevant reports said earlier this month that the US forces had resumed training of Washington-backed terrorists in al-Tanf region near the borders with Jordan after a one-year halt.

Turkey's Anadolu news agency quoted informed sources as saying that Jeish al-Maqawir terrorists affiliated to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) were again being trained by the US forces.

They added that the trainings were underway in al-Tanf base in the bordering triangle between Syria, Jordan and Iraq and some bases in Jordan, noting that the FSA militants undergo special trainings, including heliborne and combat operations as well as battle in hard conditions.

The sources also said that a number of US army and intelligence officers along with a number of US-led coalition advisors supervise these trainings.

Meantime, the US forces in al-Tanf region had paved the ground for recruiting more militants for Jeish al-Maqawir terrorist group.

A prominent Russian military analyst revealed last year that the US was training terrorists in 19 military bases in Syria in pursuit of its military and political objectives in the country.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980513000668

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Christchurch mosque attack victims arrive in Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj

4 August 2019

The families of the Christchurch mosque attack victims arrived to the Kingdom on Friday and Saturday to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

On Friday, the families were greeted by New Zealand’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Munro.

Ambassador James Munro

@NZinKSA

Terrific to greet Superintendent Nala Hassan, a senior NZ police officer as she begins her Haj as a guest of #kingsalman #MOIA #Hajj1440

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Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered the hosting of 200 people from the families of the Christchurch mosque attack victims to perform Hajj in the Kingdom, according to SPA.

Announcing the decision, the Minister of Islamic Affairs Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said that it is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to counter terrorism and support the families of those who were affected by the “abominable act that is contrary to all divine teachings and human values and principles.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/08/04/Christchurch-mosque-attack-victims-arrive-to-Saudi-Arabia-to-perform-Hajj.html

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US Plotting to Target Iraqi Hashd Al-Sha’abi in Nineveh Province

Aug 04, 2019

The Arabic-language al-Aba’a news network quoted representative of al-Fath Coalition Party in Nineveh province Mokhtar al-Mousavi as saying that the US is trying to target Hashd al-Sha’abi forces and Iraqi figures in Nineveh province in a series of new plots.

He pointed to the participation of several mercenaries in Nineveh province as saying that the plotters are doing their best to keep away Hashd al-Sha’abi from Nineveh province.

In a relevant development earlier in July, a senior member of the Iraqi parliament's Security and Defense Committee revealed the US plot to assassinate top commanders of Hashd al-Shaabi in collaboration with the former Ba'ath party officers.

Karim al-Aliwi told the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news agency that in addition to the Ba'ath party officers, the US has also missioned the terrorist groups under its support to assassinate Hashd al-Shaabi commanders, adding that the US so-called mistaken bombing against Hashd al-Shaabi is another way to kill the Iraqi commanders.

He added that the US targets Iraqi popular forces based on precise intelligence and data provided by the Ba'ath party commanders, saying that Washington aims to annihilate Hashd al-Shaabi as the only obstacle to attain its goals in Iraq.

A prominent Iraqi security expert warned earlier this week that members of the dissolved Ba'ath party were collecting intel for the US in Western Iraq, mainly through spying on Hashd al-Shaabi forces.

Al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Moa'ayed al-Ali as saying on Tuesday that members of Ba'ath party had infiltrated into the Iraqi security bodies in Western Iraq.

He added that they collected intelligence on security units and Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq and relay the intel to the US forces.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980513000512

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Tahrir Al-Sham's Ringleader Al-Jolani Vows Not to Withdraw From Demilitarized Zone

Aug 04, 2019

The pro-militant Smart News website quoted al-Jolani as saying that Tahrir al-Sham has no plans to withdraw from its military positions in Northwestern Syria.

Meantime, al-Jolani reiterated Tahrir al-Sham’s lack of commitment to Astana meeting, and claimed that the terrorist group will take military actions to retake the regions that it has recently lost to the Syrian Army.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper pointed to the violation of the ceasefire in Northern Syria by terrorists, and said that several civilians have been wounded in terrorists’ rocket attacks on Share al-Nil region in the city of Aleppo.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) underlined that the terrorist groups pounded the Syrian Army’s military positions in Tal Hawash in Sahl al-Ghab in Northwestern Hama and al-Qasabieh in Southern Idlib.

In a relevant development on Thursday, the Syrian army hit a heavy blow at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group's defense lines in the town of al-Latamineh in Northern Hama, forcing the militants to flee their most important headquarters in the region.

The Syrian army forces continued clashes with Tahrir al-Sham terrorists in the Eastern parts of the town of Tal Malah in Northern Hama on Thursday, retaking control of Wadi Hasmin region and the farms near the town of al-Zuka.

Meantime, a military source said that the Syrian army troops have regained control of Wadi Hasmin region, broken the first defense line of Tahrir al-Sham from al-Zuka and opened a new front towards the town of al-Latamineh as the militants' key base in Northern Hama.

He added that a large number of terrorists were forced to flee al-Latamineh as the army is advancing in the region.

The source also said that a group of 17 militants were killed in clashes in al-Zakah, adding that the army forces targeted the terrorists' supply lines in Hasraya and al-Arbaeen with artillery fire.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980513000443

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Nineteen dead in car explosion in central Cairo

5 August 2019

Nineteen people have died and 30 have been injured in an explosion outside Egypt's National Cancer Institute in central Cairo, Egypt’s health ministry said early on Monday.

A car driving against traffic on Cairo’s corniche collided with three other cars, causing the explosion, Egypt’s interior ministry said in a statement.

Egypt’s public prosecutor is investigating the cause of the incident, according to sources.

The National Oncology Institute is located in El Manial district and directly overlooks the Nile, an area with high traffic density.

According to the Ministry of Health, the explosion also caused damage to facilities inside the Institute.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/05/Seventeen-dead-in-car-explosion-in-central-Cairo-.html

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Saudi Arabia welcomes Sudan agreement on constitutional declaration

4 August 2019

Saudi Arabia on Sunday welcomed the final agreement reached in Sudan on the constitutional declaration of governance for the transitional period, a source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

The source added that the move is a qualitative step that will move Sudan toward security, peace and stability.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry source also praised the efforts exerted by all parties to give priority to the national interest and open a new chapter in the country’s history, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The source concluded by reiterating the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s full commitment to stand by Sudan and continue its support to contribute to Sudan’s advancement, stability and security.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/08/04/Saudi-Arabia-welcomes-Sudan-agreement-on-constitutional-declaration.html

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Long-awaited truce gives wary Syrians in Idlib respite from airstrikes

August 05, 2019

IDLIB: Shopkeepers and residents in Syria’s Idlib city have found relief from airstrikes but remain wary after a cease-fire halted fierce regime bombing against the opposition foothold.

For three months, an army offensive backed by Russia has killed at least 400 people in northwest Syria and uprooted more than 440,000, the UN says.

Since Damascus declared a cease-fire on Thursday night, its warplanes have not mounted airstrikes, though the combatants are still shelling each other.

Idlib lies in the last major chunk of territory opposition groups hold after facing defeat across much of Syria at the hands of Damascus with its allies Russia and Iran.

At the weekend, the streets of Idlib city buzzed with cars

and people. Some stopped by market stalls to look at clothes, while others lined up at kiosks to buy juice.

“Before, there was panic. Every time the warning sirens rang, the market became empty right away,” Mhamad Al-Omar, who sells cold drinks, told Reuters. “Now that there’s a bit of calm, there’s traffic today Praise God ... People are tired.”

Airstrikes have hit schools, hospitals, markets and bakeries in the latest assault, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said last week. Damascus, which denies striking civilians in the eight-year-old war, says it has been responding to militant attacks.

“The cease-fire is good for everyone. But we don’t know what’s waiting for us,” said Munaf Daher, a college student in Idlib. “We hope it will be good and people will keep coming back to their homes, this is the biggest joy.”

Hasan Abdelallal, a local aid worker who was displaced from his city of Aleppo in 2016, said people had started returning after weeks of living in olive groves near the Turkish border.

“But we don’t know what will happen under the table,” he added.

Other residents also said they remained cautious after a series of truce deals or Russian-Turkish talks that have failed to end the fighting.

Under its deals with Moscow, Ankara has forces stationed on the ground in the Idlib region at a dozen military positions.

Opposition factions have agreed to the latest cease-fire while reserving the right to respond to attacks.

Syrian state media said on Thursday the cease-fire would depend on opposition fulfilling a Russian-Turkish deal that tried last year to create an Idlib buffer zone. The terms include fighters and heavy weapons leaving the zone.

The dominant force in Idlib is the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) — formerly the Nusra Front — though Turkey-backed opposition also operates there.

HTS has rejected conditions of the 2018 “de-escalation deal” such as relinquishing its weapons. Its leader Abu Mohammad Al-Jolani was cited on Saturday night as saying his fighters would not withdraw from that zone.

In recent years, the population of the northwest — which UN estimates put at 3 million — has ballooned with civilians and opposition fighters whose hometowns went back under state rule.

Ahmed Hmeid, who owns a vegetable shop, said the cease-fire would at least let people enjoy the upcoming Eid Al-Adha holiday.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535551/middle-east

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Dozens killed in central Cairo explosion

YASMINE ISSA

August 05, 2019

CAIRO: Dozens have died and more than 32 have been injured in an explosion outside Egypt’s National Cancer Institute in central Cairo, Egypt’s health ministry said early on Monday.

Recent reports said the death toll is at 19. The Health Ministry said the affected places were being evacuated.

Local media reports quoted authorities as saying the fire was caused by an exploding gas tank inside the second floor of institute.

But Egypt’s Ministry of Interior later said in a statement that the explosion was caused by a car driving against traffic on Cairo’s corniche, colliding with three other cars.

Egypt’s public prosecutor is investigating the cause of the incident, a Reuters report said, adding that there was no official statement indicating that the explosion was an attack.

A report by news site almasryalyoum.com said the car explosion, which happened in front of the Institute, shattered the school's main façade. The report said several cars parked in front of the institute were burned, and patients, doctors and workers were evacuated from inside the building.

"Patients and their families lined the sidewalk in front of the Institute in light of the lack of ambulances to transport them to hospitals, prompting a number of residents of the area to transport the injured in their own cars," said the report.

Traffic enforcers closed the streets leading to the blast site, it said.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535596/middle-east

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Africa

 

Airstrike by Haftar forces kills 20 in Libya: Lawmaker

Ahmed Abdelmonem Khalifa Abdelbaky

05.08.2019

TRIPOLI

A total of 20 people were killed and more than 35 others were wounded in an airstrike carried out by eastern Libyan forces led by commander Khalifa Haftar in the country’s southwest on Sunday, local media reported.

The incident took place in Murzuq town and all the victims were from Tebu tribe, reported Al-Ahrar TV, citing Rahma Adem, deputy from the town,.

However, Murzuq's Municipal Councilor Mohammed Omar said there was no loss of life and property in the attack targeting Tebu tribe.

The local media reported the attack targeted a wedding procession.

No statement was made by Haftar’s forces.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/airstrike-by-haftar-forces-kills-20-in-libya-lawmaker/1549545

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Macron pushes Libya ceasefire with Egypt’s Sisi

5 August 2019

France’s President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday about the situation in Libya calling for a ceasefire “very soon” between the warring sides, the French presidency said.

Macron and Sisi discussed Libya “with the aim of backing the United Nations’ plan for a ceasefire very soon and a renewed dialogue” between Libya's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and strongman Khalifa Haftar, the presidency said.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame has proposed a ceasefire for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts around August 11, and has called for relaunching negotiations.

Nearly 1,100 people have been reported killed since Haftar, based in eastern Libya, launched an offensive against the capital Tripoli on April 4.

Paris has been seeking to position itself as a mediator in the Libyan crisis, fearing its destabilizing effects on the Sahel region of Africa.

Egypt, a key backer of Haftar, is concerned about the conflict as it has a long border with Libya.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/08/05/Macron-pushes-Libya-ceasefire-with-Egypt-s-Sisi-.html

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Somalia Executes Two Al-Shabaab Militants for Mogadishu Attack

By Mohammed Omar Ahmed

August 5, 2019

Somalian authorities executed two al-Shabaab militants who were convicted for a December attack that killed at least 13 people in the capital, Mogadishu.

The men “were executed by firing squad on Monday morning,” Chairman of the Somali military court Hassan Ali Nur told reporters.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-05/somalia-executes-two-al-shabaab-militants-for-mogadishu-attack?utm_source=google&utm_medium=bd&cmpId=google

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Somali militant groups warn clan elders not to participate in upcoming elections

August 5, 2019

Militant groups in Somalia have issued a stern warning to the clan elders asking them to stay away from the election process. On 15 July, the Somali militant Islamist group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen released a written statement attributed to its senior leadership, ‘A Call to Repentance to the So-Called Apostate Somali Tribal Elders’, in English and Somali language versions.

The statement, also read on Al-Shabaab’s two domestic radio stations, Radio al-Andalus and Radio al-Furqan, warned Somali clan and sub-clan elders to not participate in any way in upcoming election processes in either the semi-autonomous Somali regional states or the next federal elections, the latter of which is scheduled for 2020.

As per the tradition, clan elders currently select candidates for the regional and federal parliament elections based on the country’s “4.5” system which reserves an equal number of seats for Somalia’s four large clan families, the Hawiye, Dir, Darod, and Rahanweyn (1 to 1) and .5 seats (half a seat) to every 1 for the clan families to a collective group of minority clan and ethnic groups. The statement was also profiled on pro-Al-Shabaab Somali news websites including SomaliMeMo. The statement had religious undertones attached to it and opened with a lengthy citation from Quran 4:60–65 in which Allah excoriates the “hypocrites” (munafiqun) who “claim that they believe in that which has been sent down (Quran)” but continue to govern through un-Islamic, tyrannical (taghut), and polytheistic ways due to being “led astray” by Satan.

The verses state that anyone who does not abide by the traditions and example (sunnah) of the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran is not a Muslim. The Al-Shabaab statement noted that, as these verses make clear, the only legitimate form of governance for Muslims is Sharia (Islamic law) and any other form of legislation is impermissible and must be abolished.

This point was further underlined with citations of Quran 5:50 and 12:40 which further emphasized the necessity to rule only by Sharia, the Prophet Muhammad’s sunna including the ahadith (singular: hadith; reports of his sayings and actions), and the Quran.

The statement warned all Somali and non-Somali Muslims that the “so-called tribal (clan) elders” who participated in the selection processes for elections “have fallen into clear-cut disbelief (kufr) that has invalidated their Islam, nullified their faith and led them towards the path of apostasy and misguidance.” The statement emphasizes the primacy of Sharia and regards electoral democracy as antithetical to Sharia law.

The statement has called on clan elders who have participated in electoral processes to select MP candidates to “repent to Allah, disavow themselves from the disbelievers (kuffar), and accept the sovereignty of Allah’s law (hakimiyyah) above all forms of legislation”. Al-Shabaab’s leadership gave these clan elders 45 days, from the date of the statement’s issuance to 1 September, to repent and register with Al-Shabaab’s regional governing administrations (the “Islamic Wilayat”) “in order to safeguard their lives”. Those who do, the statement said, citing Quran 5:34 will be forgiven their major sin as “Allah, the oft-forgiving, most merciful, said” should happen.

Full report at:

https://www.newdelhitimes.com/somali-militant-groups-warn-clan-elders-not-to-participate-in-upcoming-elections/

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Boko Haram kills 27,000 in Nigeria in decade-long militancy: UN

Aug 5, 2019

More than 27,000 people were killed in Boko Haram’s militancy in Nigeria since the group launched its insurgency in the northeast region of the country in 2009, according to data by the United Nations (UN).

A statement made available to Xinhua in Abuja on Thursday quoted Edward Kallon, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, as saying 130,000 people have also been newly displaced from their homes.

“Rising insecurity in recent months has pushed over 130,000 newly displaced people on a long trudge. Arriving en masse to displaced camps, they are looking upon us for aid and protection,” the statement said.

Boko Haram, whose agenda is to maintain a virtual caliphate in the most populous African country, had also spread its tentacles to neighboring countries including Chad, Niger, and northern Cameroon.

The UN office in Abuja expressed the humanitarian community’s willingness to assist in abating the crisis while organizing on Wednesday a remembrance of 10 years of the security crisis in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe — the three most-affected northeastern states in Nigeria.

Humanitarian aid workers, school boys and girls, women, and security operatives, among others, have either been killed or abducted by Boko Haram during the decade of violence.

The Nigerian government has consistently declared winning the war against the Boko Haram militants, despite growing concerns by citizens.

On Tuesday, a presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had maintained that the group’s agenda had been largely defeated by government forces.

Full report at:

https://africa.cgtn.com/2019/08/04/boko-haram-kills-27000-in-nigeria-in-decade-long-militancy-un/

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Europe

 

Qatari owned British bank accused of backing extremists

August 05, 2019

DUBAI: Al-Rayan Bank, a British bank controlled by Qatar, is providing financial services to numerous British organizations linked to extremists, British daily The Times reported on Monday.

In a security clampdown, western banks froze and closed the accounts of Al-Rayan bank clients.

A charity labeled a terrorist organization and banned in the US for supporting hardline hate preachers and a mosque whose trustee is a Hamas leader, have accounts in the bank.

Sultan Choudhury, the chief executive of the bank until April, was also the director of the British affiliate of an international religious institute where some of the speakers and instructors advocated child marriage, female circumcision and death penalty for adultery and apostasy.

Choudhury held the position for seven years without compensation or pay.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535621/middle-east

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Turkish Coast Guard rescues 22 irregular migrants in Aegean Sea

Durmus Genc  

05.08.2019

At least 22 irregular migrants have been rescued in the Aegean Sea off Turkey's southwestern coast, said security sources on Sunday.

The migrants requested help from the Turkish Coast Guard when a boat carrying them got stuck off the Datca district in the Mugla province, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.

All of the migrants -- most of whom are Syrian, Palestinian and Iraqi nationals -- were referred to provincial migration office.

Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkish-coast-guard-rescues-22-irregular-migrants-in-aegean-sea/1549536

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North America

 

Canada resident home after Iran jail escape: Ministry, family

4 August 2019

An Iranian serving a life sentence on a conviction of designing a pornographic website has fled the country while on short-term release from prison and has arrived in Canada, the foreign ministry and his family said.

“Canada welcomes the news that Saeed Malekpour has been reunited with his family in Canada,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement received by AFP.

“We have advocated for Mr Malekpour’s release and are pleased that he is now in Canada,” the spokesman said, without elaborating due to privacy considerations.

Iranian authorities on Saturday confirmed state television reports that Malekpour, who is also a permanent resident of Canada, had left the Islamic republic.

“This individual was barred from leaving the country and has apparently left... via unofficial channels and has not returned,” said judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili.

“This individual was sentenced to life in jail and had served more than 11 years of his sentence,” Esmaili said, quoted by the judiciary’s official news agency, Mizan Online.

He said Malekpour was given a three-day furlough on July 20 and by the end of it did not turn himself in to the prison.

His sister posted a video on Twitter confirming he had returned to Canada.

“My brother Saeed Malekpour has just arrived to Canada! The nightmare is finally over!” Maryam Malekpour said.

“Thank you Canada for your leadership. And thank you to every single person who supported us throughout this time. Together we prevailed,” she added.

Canadian media said he had landed in Vancouver on Friday.

Payam Akhavan, a professor at McGill University in Montreal who supported Malekpour, told CBC TV that his family in Iran and his lawyer knew nothing about the escape.

Citing Akhavan, CBC said Iran released Malekpour under “intense pressure” and that he escaped through a third country which was not identified.

“It was far from certain that the plan to bring him to Canada would succeed. So we are all very relieved,” Akhavan said in a phone interview with CBC.

“It was dangerous. Really, until he set foot in Canada we were not sure that everything would go according to plan.”

Malekpour was arrested in December 2008 in Iran when he returned to his native land to visit his dying father. He was accused of operating a pornographic website.

He was initially sentenced to death, but that was commuted to life in prison in August 2013.

According to reports at the time, he had been found guilty on three counts, including “designing and moderating adult content websites” and “insulting the sanctity of Islam.”

Malekpour has denied the charges against him.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/08/04/Pentagon-chief-US-opposes-destabilizing-behavior-by-China-in-Indo-Pacific.html

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Tehran voices sympathy with victims of deadly shootings in US

Aug 4, 2019

Iran has voiced sympathy with the American people, particularly those affected by recent shootings in the United States.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Sunday wished a speedy recovery for those injured in the mass shootings in the states of Texas and Ohio.

'Domestic terrorism'

The attack on a Walmart and shopping center in El Paso, Texas, which left 20 people dead and dozens wounded, is being treated as a “domestic terrorism case.”

“We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case, and we’re going to do what we do to terrorists in this country,” said John F. Bash, the US attorney for the Western District of Texas. “Which is deliver swift and certain justice.”

The suspected shooter of the massacre has been charged with murder, which could carry the death penalty.

"The suspect has been charged for capital murder," police spokesman Sergeant Robert Gomez told a news conference.

Just hours after the El Paso mass shooting, at least nine people were slain hundreds of miles away in Dayton, Ohio.

There were reportedly six Mexicans among those killed in the El Paso attack, according to Mexican President Lopez Obrador.

US President Donald Trump, whose staff were reportedly deleting his racist tweets, also voiced "condolences to all,” asserting that "hate has no place in our country."

Mexico taking legal action

Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has also said that his country is taking legal action in the wake of the shooting.

"Regarding the incident that took place yesterday (August 03) in El Paso, Texas, Mexico expresses its absolute rejection and complete condemns this act of barbarity, which resulted in the loss of lives of innocent Mexicans. There have been nine people (Mexican citizens) injured,” said Ebrard.

“The president has instructed me to ensure that Mexico's indignation translates into, firstly protecting families that have been affected, and then with efficient, prompt, expeditious and forceful legal actions for Mexico to take a role and demand that conditions are established that protect the Mexican community in the United States. What happened is unacceptable and... the first legal actions that the Mexican government will take will be announced."

The US Justice Department is "seriously considering" bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges against the suspect.

Beto O'Rourke

@BetoORourke

El Paso is a community that shows up for one another—on our best days and our worst. I met Rosemary’s family on the plane back to El Paso. They asked that we visit her and share her story. She was shot in the chest but is doing well after surgery. She’s strong—just like our city.

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Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/04/602688/Iran-voices-solidarity-with-Americans-over-mass-shootings

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South Asia

 

15 Taliban militants killed, wounded after attacking army base in Balkh

04 Aug 2019

The security forces killed or wounded 15 Taliban militants by repulsing an attack on an army base in northern Balkh province.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the Taliban militants attacked the army base in Suryan area of Chahar Bolak district.

The statement further addd that the security forces killed 10 militants during the clash and wounded 5 others.

The Taliban group has not commented in this regard so far.

https://www.khaama.com/15-taliban-militants-killed-wounded-after-attacking-army-base-in-balkh-03549/

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Afghan Army arrests Taliban Intelligence Chief in Takhar Province

05 Aug 2019

The soldiers of the Afghan National Army arrested the Intelligence Chief of Taliban group for Takhar province.

The 217th Pamir Corps in a statement said the soldiers of the Afghan National Army laid an ambush in Qara Tapa of Takhar province.

The statement further added that the army soldiers arrested Qari Khan Mohammad son of Abdul Hamid, the shadow Intelligence Chief of Taliban for Takhar.

The Taliban group has not commented in this regard so far.

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-army-arrests-taliban-intelligence-chief-in-takhar-province-03554/

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Afghan forces repulse coordinated Taliban attack on a security post in Ghazni

05 Aug 2019

The Afghan forces repulsed a coordinated Taliban attack on a security post in Ghazni province.

The 203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said the Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on Nanai security post in Andar district.

The statement further added that the security forces repulsed the attack killing at least 6 militants.

Furthermore, the 203rd Thunder Corps said the security forces also wounded 2 Taliban militants during the clash.

Meanwhile, the 203rd Thunder Corps said the security forces killed a Taliban militant and destroyed a vehicle in Machlagho Band area of Ahmadabad district in Paktiya.

The security forces also killed a Taliban militant in the provincial capital of Logar province and confiscated an Ak-47 assault rifle.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-forces-repulse-coordinated-taliban-attack-on-a-security-post-in-ghazni/

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Afghan Army arrests Taliban Intelligence Chief in Takhar Province

05 Aug 2019

The soldiers of the Afghan National Army arrested the Intelligence Chief of Taliban group for Takhar province.

The 217th Pamir Corps in a statement said the soldiers of the Afghan National Army laid an ambush in Qara Tapa of Takhar province.

The statement further added that the army soldiers arrested Qari Khan Mohammad son of Abdul Hamid, the shadow Intelligence Chief of Taliban for Takhar.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-army-arrests-taliban-intelligence-chief-in-takhar-province-03554/

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Airstrikes target Taliban vehicles in Ghazni killing or wounding 13 militants

04 Aug 2019

The security forces conducted airstrikes against two vehicles of Taliban militants in south-eastern Ghazni province killing or wounding at least 13 militants.

The 203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said the security forces conducted the airstrikes in Khado Khel area of Aab Band and Abu Qala area of Qarabagh district.

The statement further added that the airstrikes killed 9 Taliban militants and wounded 4 others.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/airstrikes-target-taliban-vehicles-in-ghazni-killing-or-wounding-13-militants-03553/

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Afghan official: Policeman opens fire on colleagues, kills 7

August 05, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan: An Afghan official says a policeman in the southern province of Kandahar opened fire on his colleagues, killing seven other policemen. The Taliban have claimed the attack.

Sunday’s attack was the latest case of so-called “insider attacks,” when an Afghan policeman or soldier turns his weapon on Afghan forces or international troops.

Jamal Naser Barekzai, a provincial spokesman, says the attacker fled the scene of the shooting in Shah Wali Kot district. He says an investigation is underway.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusouf Ahmadi says the attacker joined the Taliban.

The Taliban now effectively control about half the country and carry out near-daily attacks.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535666/world

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Mideast

 

Erdogan: Turkey will carry operation in northern Syria

4 August 2019

Turkey will carry out an operation east of the Euphrates river in northern Syria, in an area controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.

Turkey has been running out of patience with the United States, who made an agreement with Ankara to implement a safe zone in northeastern Syria. Erdogan said both Russia and the United States have been told of the operation.

Following US President Donald Trump’s announcement last year of a planned US withdrawal from northern Syria, the two NATO allies agreed to create a safe zone inside Syria along its northeastern border with Turkey that would be cleared of the YPG militia.

The YPG was Washington’s main ally on the ground in Syria during the battle against ISIS extremist group, but Turkey sees it as a terrorist organization.

Ankara says that the United States has stalled progress on setting up the safe zone and has demanded that Washington sever its relations with the YPG.

The operation, which would mark the third Turkish incursion into Syria in as many years, was first signaled by Erdogan earlier this year but later put on hold.

“We entered Afrin, Jarablus, and Al-Bab. Now we will enter the east of the Euphrates,” Erdogan said on Sunday during a motorway-opening ceremony.

He added: “We shared this with Russia and the United States.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/04/Erdogan-Turkey-will-carry-operation-in-northern-Syria-Erdogan.html

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Israel’s Likud rules out Netanyahu stepping aside

4 August 2019

Lawmakers from Israel’s ruling Likud party say they will only accept Benjamin Netanyahu as the party’s candidate for prime minister, “regardless of the election results.”

Netanyahu’s party issued a statement Sunday saying that all of its Knesset members signed a “unity petition” affirming that Netanyahu “is the only Likud candidate for prime minister - and there will be no other candidate.”

The move appeared aimed at quashing any demand by potential coalition partners that Netanyahu step down.

Netanyahu passed David Ben-Gurion last month as Israel’s longest serving prime minister and seeks re-election for a fourth consecutive term. Israel is holding an unprecedented repeat election on September 17 after Netanyahu failed to form a government following April’s vote.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/08/04/Israel-s-Likud-rules-out-Netanyahu-stepping-aside.html

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Iranian fighter jet crashes in southern province, two onboard safe

4 August 2019

Iran said on Sunday that one of its fighter jets had crashed in the southern province of Bushehr because of a technical problem, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported, adding that two people onboard the jet were safe.

“The fighter jet crashed due to technical issues in the Tangestan area. Its pilot and co-pilot are safe,” Mehr quoted the governor of Tangestan Abdolhossein Rafiipour as saying.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/04/Iran-says-its-fighter-jet-crashes-in-southern-Iran-with-technical-problem.html

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Turkey warns of cross-border operation into eastern Syria

August 04, 2019

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s president has renewed a pledge for a cross-border military operation into northeastern Syria.

In a speech Sunday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “We’ve entered Afrin, Jarablus, Al-Bab. Now we will enter the east of the Euphrates.”

Talks between US and Turkish officials have stalled over creating a safe zone in Syria east of the Euphrates River. The aim is to address Turkey’s security concerns about Syrian Kurdish militias in the region.

Turkey views these Kurdish militias — who battled the Daesh group alongside US forces — as terrorists, allied with a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

Erdogan added: “We have shared this with the US and Russia.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535391/middle-east

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Southeast Asia

 

Entrepreneur minister: Malaysia to unify worldwide halal certs for Muslim countries

02 May 2019

By Thasha Jayamanogaran

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof said Malaysia will soon spearhead a move to unify halal certification worldwide.

Mohd Redzuan said the halal industry has always been one of the main agendas that his ministry has focused on and the aim to achieve a single halal certification was made after several countries agreed with Malaysia that the unification was needed.

“We obtained feedback from several countries.. and they agreed with Malaysia for the unification of the halal certification for the world.

“There is a major consensus on this though it has yet to be formalised, which is to have Malaysia to lead Muslim countries for the unification so that we are borderless in terms of applying halal lifestyle,” he told a special interview in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) first anniversary in power.

Mohd Redzuan said if the halal unification is successfully implemented it would mean that one single halal certification will govern everything in the entire world.

He said most Muslim countries have recognised that Malaysia has the highest standards set when it comes to halal certification guidelines.

“With our high standards being recognised by most Muslim countries, they want to use as a basis to unify the certifications so that we are more open to the entire market.

“We are seen as champions to spearhead he halal unification,” he said.

Mohd Rezuan cited as an example that there will be no difference between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia in the future if the halal certification is the same.

“At the moment there are some products accepted in other countries but not in Malaysia because it doesn't meet Jakim's requirement.

“With a unified halal certification it will no longer be like that,” he said.

Mohd Redzuan said his ministry will streamline all effort to pursue this with other relevant ministries.

It was announced during the 11th World Halal Conference (WHC) here last month that the global halal market is currently valued at RM7 trillion.

On April 4,  Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Senator Mohd Radzi Md Jidin urged Malaysian halal industry players to strengthen their efforts to tap into the RM7 trillion global halal market value.

He said with over 1.8 billion Muslims globally, Malaysia has a huge chance to capitalise on this market considering it has been recognised as the champion of the Global Islamic Economic Indicator by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre in its report released in October 2018.

Mohd Radzi said it will be more meaningful if Malaysia and all other Asean countries combined their strength collectively as together they have over 60 per cent of the world’s Muslim population and can provide a greater market for Islamic economy.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/05/02/entrepreneur-minister-malaysia-to-unify-worldwide-halal-certs-for-muslim-co/1748904

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Daesh ‘is losing public support in Mindanao’

August 04, 2019

MANILA: From Sept. 7, nearly 12,000 former members of the Philippines’ largest insurgency group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), are going back to normal life.

“We are set to decommission the first 30 percent of our combatants, scheduled on Sept. 7, tentatively. This will involve around 12,000 combatants, and the next 35 percent will be decommissioned after the regional security structure is set up,” Murad Ibrahim, chairman of MILF, said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

He added that the final third will be decommissioned once “all the agreements have been officially implemented.”

Ibrahim knows a thing or two about second chances.

Once one of the most wanted insurgents in the Philippines, the 70-year-old former rebel turned MILF chief is today the interim chief minister of the newly-formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

He’s hoping that the government will extend the same space to the first group of combatants to be decommissioned next month as MILF begins its political chapter in the restive south of the majority Catholic nation.

The process has been years in the making.

In 2014, the MILF signed a landmark deal with the government to end a separatist insurgency which killed nearly 120,000 people, displaced two million, and helped radical groups gain a foothold in the region since the 1970s.

The pact which led to the formation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) — a peace deal that will allow Muslims in the south to start moving toward achieving self-rule by 2022 — hopes to also tackle extremism and end half a century of conflict within Mindanao.

“We are already in the implementing process [of the BBL]. There are two tracks in the peace process. One is the political track, which includes the setting up of the Bangsamoro government, and the other is the normalization track, which also includes the decommissioning of our combatants,” he said.

In a landmark ratification, which had the support of the Philippine Congress and the Bangsamoro people, the BBL was passed in 2014.

Five years later, on March 29 this year, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority was launched.

“The transition government led by the MILF will serve as the governing structure in the territory in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. We are now fully functioning. The 15 different ministries... have already been set up and are functioning well... we have already passed around 15 laws during the four months of our operation of the government,” he said.

Next on the agenda, Ibrahim says, is to ensure that the first group of combatants are able to adapt to normal life.

“We have agreed with the Philippines government that there will be some waiving of qualifications both for the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of Philippines, so that any of our men who want to apply for enlistment will be ... admitted,” he said.

The task, however, is not without its challenges.

“The first challenge we are facing is [that] we have been a revolutionary organization and so we have to transform from the revolutionary organization to governance,” he said.

For that purpose, he said, the group needs “to capacitate our people for governance.”

“A lot of structure [is needed] in order to fit in with the central government. On the aspect of normalization, we are still facing some security challenges, especially from the small groups who did not join... We are trying to open our door for dialogue with all these groups, to gradually convince them to join,” he said.

The other groups in question include the Moro National Liberation Front [MNLF] and several offshoots of the Abu Sayyaf.

Ibrahim said that the need of the hour is to “mobilize the support of the entire Bangsamoro people.”

“Once the [smaller groups] no longer enjoy the support of the people, they will be... forced to join. We have been opening our door for dialogue and reconciliation with them — both the Abu Sayyaf group and its splinter groups...and then the MNLF. As far as the MNLF is concerned, I think more than half of them have already joined our group...,” he said.

However, he added that part of the challenge remains, especially in analizing the threats posed by Daesh.

The issue of how to handle Daesh fighters and their families looking to return to their homelands is a conundrum facing many countries, including the Philippines.

Several media reports this year have suggested that there were Filipino nationals among the thousands of suspected Daesh members who surrendered to US-backed forces following the group’s territorial defeat in Syria.

The Philippines government, for its part, has said that those who went to the Middle East to train with Daesh were not just from the Philippines, but from other areas of the Southeast Asian region too.

“As far as Daesh is concerned, I think our finding is they have not really built a structure in our area. But there are penetrations — there are some individual groups coming from the neighboring areas of Malaysia and Indonesia. Also, some are even coming from the Middle East — small groups. But they are gradually diminishing and we see that they do not enjoy the support of the people,” Ibrahim said.

He added that the immediate challenge was the reconstruction of Bangsmoro, which has been “devastated after more than 40 years of conflict and war.”

“We need to reconstruct and that is why we are calling for more investors from outside because we see that that is the only way we can rebuild and run the economy,” he said.

And while that may seem like an uphill task at the moment, Ibrahim said there is no room for failure.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1535441/world

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