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Islamic World News (11 Jun 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



An Analysis of Hate Speech and Disinformation on the Social Networking Site Facebook India Shows That the Highest Proportion Of Hate Speech — 37 Per Cent — Is Linked To Islamophobia

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An Analysis of Hate Speech and Disinformation on the Social Networking Site Facebook India Shows That the Highest Proportion Of Hate Speech — 37 Per Cent — Is Linked To Islamophobia

Pakistan Decides to Let PM Modi’s Plane Fly Over Its Airspace To Bishkek Summit: Report

Islamic Banking and Halal Investment Firm: After Raising Rs 2,000 Crore, Owner Of 'Bank' Threatens Suicide

J&K: Soldier succumbs to injuries in unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan

J-K: Two militants killed in Shopian encounter

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Europe

'Blasphemous' Nike Trainers with 'Allah' In Sole Ruined Eid - Burnley And Pendle Muslim Group

Germany: 3 mosques suffer assaults in 2 days

Man denies using threatening behaviour in connection with Stockton mosque disturbance

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Arab World

Over 800 ISIL Terrorists Join Al-Nusra for Battle against Syrian Army in Hama

Syrian Expert: Terrorists in Northern Syria Receive Advanced Weapons from Turkey

World's most costly painting on Saudi prince's yacht: Report

Senior Iraqi MP Discloses Deployment of Fresh US Forces in Erbil Base

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Pakistan

Pakistan Likely To Stay In FATF Grey List

Former Pak president Asif Zardari arrested by anti-graft body

Altaf Hussain Arrested In Connection With 2016 Speech

Better Pak-Afghan ties to bring peace: Khalilzad

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South Asia

Bangladesh PM Attacks Myanmar over Rohingya Deadlock

Afghan Special Forces free 34 hostages from a Taliban prison in Baghlan province

16 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Afghan-coalition forces operations in Farah

37 Taliban militants killed, wounded in deadly U.S. airstrikes in Paktiya

Prominent Taliban commander among 16 killed in Sar-e-Pul province

India pledges 1000 more scholarships for the Afghan students

Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo to reopen on June 12 after deadly Easter attacks

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Mideast

Iranian Envoy: US Economic Terrorism Biggest Threat to N. Deal

Islamic State Orphans Repatriated to France, Netherlands

US Sends Over 1,100 Military Trucks to Kurdish-Controlled Areas in Eastern Syria

Several Civilians Killed, Injured in Attacks by US, SDF in Deir Ezzur

Zarif after Meeting with German Counterpart: US Root of All Tensions

Arab Paper: Development of Yemeni Army's Defence Shield in Final Stage

FM: US Should Stop Economic War against Iran to Deescalate Tensions in Region

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Africa

Tribal Militia Kills Up To 150 In Mali As Islamist Insurgency Intensifies

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New Zealand

New Zealand Plans To Withdraw All Troops from Iraq By Next June

Mosque shooting witnesses want same support as injured

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North America

‘FBI’ Star on Importance of ‘Playing an Arab American Muslim as the Hero’

Former imam in NY terrorism sting is deported to Iraq

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Southeast Asia

Cops nab anti-Muslim mob leader in Mandalay

Resham Saeed is proud to be one of the first Muslim Filipinas 'to raise our flag' as Miss Supranational PHL 2019

Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia meets Imam of Istiqlal Mosque

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/an-analysis-of-hate-speech-and-disinformation-on-the-social-networking-site-facebook-india-shows-that-the-highest-proportion-of-hate-speech-%E2%80%94-37-per-cent-%E2%80%94-is-linked-to-islamophobia/d/118853

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An analysis of hate speech and disinformation on the social networking site Facebook India shows that the highest proportion of hate speech — 37 per cent — is linked to Islamophobia

Written by Shalini Nair, KarishmaMehrotra |

New Delhi |June 11, 2019

The report states that homophobic content is so widely prevalent on Facebook that it had to be tracked as its own category.

An analysis of hate speech and disinformation on the social networking site Facebook India by a South Asian American human rights and technology research organisation shows that the highest proportion of hate speech — 37 per cent — is linked to Islamophobia.

This is followed by false news (16 per cent), and content that can be classified as casteist and gender/ sexuality-related hate speech, each accounting for 13 per cent of the hate speech content.

The report by the US-based Equality Labs titled ‘Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech’ states that homophobic content is so widely prevalent on Facebook that it had to be tracked as its own category, separate from all other religious minorities. “Homophobic content is foundational to the hate speech echo chamber in Facebook India… (It) is often the most violent, most threatening, and most gruesome,” the report reads. Anti-religious minorities content, other than Islamophobia, accounted for another 9 per cent of the hate speech.

The report, which dis-aggregates hate speech content into categories in the Indian context as also analyses Facebook’s response, is set to be released on Wednesday at the RightsCon Summit on human rights in the digital age in Tunis.

It looks at more than 1,000 posts in six Indian languages over a period of four months. The sample set is based on Facebook’s own guidelines for tier 1 hate speech which include violent or dehumanising speech that targets a person or people based on Facebook’s defined protected categories (“race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender tech identity, and serious disease or disability”). This includes content advocating violence, bullying and use of offensive slurs.

The study points to failure of the content moderation process by Facebook, adding that 93 per cent of all hate speech posts reported are still available on the platform. It also faults Facebook’s hiring policies that do not include those with an understanding of issues of caste, religious, gender and queer minorities.

A further breakdown of posts within each category shows that of the Islamophobic posts, 6 per cent is anti-Rohingya “with calls to violence similar to content that led to the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar”. The rest were mostly pertaining to ‘love jihad’, glorification of violence by alluding to earlier instances of religious violence against Muslims, and Islamophobic profanities.

Less than half of the casteist hate speech on Facebook India, it states, is relating to India’s reservation policy with the rest being caste slurs, anti-Ambedkar messages and anti inter-caste personal relationships content. Similarly, a quarter of the posts containing gender/sexuality hate speech were found to be transphobic or queerphobic in content including calls for sexual violence.

Kathua case: Amid fault lines, a prosecution team that cut across divide

Outlining why Facebook needs to strengthen its content moderation policy, the report states, “In a country of 1.3 billion people with over 294 million active accounts, Facebook India’s user base will soon exceed the entire population of the United States. And, unlike the US, Facebook India has an unprecedented growth potential of over 400% because a whole new generation of users has yet to come online. The future of Facebook then is the Indian market.”

Facebook was unable to respond to queries from The Indian Express by the time of publication. ThenmozhiSoundararajan, executive director at Equality Labs, said, “Given the advocacy of many civil society groups in India about the scope and scale of hate speech and disinformation on the platform, Facebook has to work with civil society to conduct an independent human rights audit. This is a call for a thorough examination of their operations that Facebook should itself fund as they did in the US market.”

Following allegations of bias from conservatives and minority groups in the US and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearings, Facebook asked an American civil rights leader in 2018 to audit the company regarding voter suppression, content moderation, advertising targeting, diversity and more.

https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/islamophobia-in-37-of-hate-speech-disinformation-on-facebook-5774337/

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Pakistan decides to let PM Modi’s plane fly over its airspace to Bishkek summit: Report

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.

Published: June 11, 2019

Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari arrested in fake bank accounts case

Imran Khan asks Pakistanis to declare their undisclosed assets by June 30

Express daily briefing: Kathua rape-and-murder case verdict likely today, Champions get a masterclass in 2019 and more

Pakistan decides to let PM Modi's plane fly over its airspace to Bishkek summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan. (File)

Pakistan on Monday decided in principle to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14, where his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan would also be present.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.

India requested Pakistan to let Prime Minister Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.

The official confirmed to PTI that the Imran Khan government has approved in principle the Indian government’s request to let Prime Minister Modi’s aircraft fly over the Pakistani airspace to Bishkek.

“The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also be directed to notify the airmen subsequently,” the official said, adding Pakistan was hopeful that India would respond to its offer for peace dialogue.

He said Prime Minister Khan has recently written a letter to his Indian counterpart stressing Pakistan requires a solution for all geopolitical issues including Kashmir between the two neighbouring states.

The official further said Pakistan is still optimistic that India will respond to peace offer despite the fact both premiers were not meeting at the sidelines of the SCO Summit.

Pakistan had given special permission to India’s then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on May 21.

Apart from the two routes through southern Pakistan, the neighbouring country’s airspace remains closed for commercial airliners.

The IAF announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot airstrike have been removed. However, it is unlikely to benefit any commercial airliners unless Pakistan reciprocates and opens its complete airspace.

Among Indian airlines, the international operations of Air India and IndiGo have been affected by the closure of Pakistani airspace. IndiGo, India’s largest airline by share in domestic passenger market, has been unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of Pakistani airspace. The low-cost carrier started the Delhi-Istanbul flight in March this year. It has to take the longer route every time over the Arabian Sea and make a stop either at Doha in Qatar or at Ahmedabad in Gujarat for refuelling. Similarly, full-service carrier Air India is unable to fly non-stop flights from Delhi to the US since the closure of Pakistani airspace.

Pakistan, however, has extended its partial airspace ban on eastern border with India until June 14.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistan-decides-to-let-pm-modis-plane-fly-over-its-airspace-to-bishkek-summit-5774403/

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'Blasphemous' Nike trainers with 'Allah' in sole ruined Eid - Burnley and Pendle Muslim group

By Neil Athey  @NeilAtheyJourno

A PETITION has been launched to stop an international sports brand from producing a trainer which it is claimed blasphemously has the name Allah imprinted into its sole.

Burnley and Pendle Friends League launched the petition, which has been signed by thousands of people in a matter of days, to stop Nike from making and selling the Air Max trainer, which allegedly depicts the Arabic word for Allah.

The issue initially came to light in January but has since resurfaced when a Pendle man bought the shoes from a JD Sports store in Burnley.

At a friends league meeting, held during the celebration of Eid UlFitr at St Luke’s Parish Hall in St James Street, Brierfield, its members urged the government to order Nike to halt the production and sale of the trainer and want the company to apologise.

Mozaquir Ali, the group’s secretary, said Eid celebrations for many were spoiled for many Muslims in East Lancashire by the trainer depiction.

He said: “We are appalled and deeply hurt by this disgraceful action of Nike.

“They have yet again hurt not only Muslims in Lancashire, or millions in the UK, but billions around the world.

“We now demand from Nike a total stop of the production and the sale of these trainers immediately and Nike must also make a public apology for the hurt they have caused.”

The petition was handed to Andrew Stephenson, Pendle’s MP, at the meeting and it will be sent to Burnley’s MP, Julie Cooper, in the coming days.

Earlier this year a Change.org petition was started calling for Nike to remove its Air Max 270 trainers from sale after it was claimed its logo depicted the Arabic word for Allah.

Saghir Ahmed, chairman of Burnley and Pendle Friends League, said: “This is not the first time Nike has done this despite their assurances in the past that they will stop.

“It’s time for a total stop.

“We are seeking a public apology and a withdrawal of this product from sale.”

Nike was contacted for comment.

In January, a Nike spokesman said any likeness to the word for Allah was accidental and the company respects all religions.

The spokesman said the markings were intended to reflect Air Max and any other perceived meaning or representation was wholly unintentional.

https://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/17697342.nike-trainer-ban-petition-launched-over-allah-imprint-controversy/

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Over 800 ISIL Terrorists Join Al-Nusra for Battle against Syrian Army in Hama

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- More than 800 ISIL terrorists, including 300 suicide attackers, have arrived in Northern Hama regions to join Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in the battle with the Syrian Army, Arab media reported on Tuesday.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted local sources in Hama as saying that about 500 Ansar al-Tawhid terrorists affiliated to the ISIL terrorist group have entered battlefronts in al-Jobin and Tal al-Melh regions in Northern Hama to attack the Syrian Army's military positions in al-Hamamiat and Karnaz areas.

The sources underlined that Ansar al-Tawhid terrorists have stressed that they would fight in the battlefield only under their own flag.

Meantime, more than 300 ISIL suicide attackers, most of whom are Chinese Igur, have jointed Jeish al-Izza terrorists in al-Latamaneh, Kafar Zita and al-Zuka in Jisr al-Shoghour region in Southwestern Idlib.

On Monday, the Damascus Army backed by the Syrian and Russian air forces warded off several attacks launched by Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at in several regions to regain the regions they have already lost in Northern Hama, killing more than 130 terrorists.

"The Syrian Army in an ambush operation warded off a massive attack by Tahrir al-Sham terrorists from the town of al-Jamleh in Northern Hama, killing at least 30 terrorists and destroying a bomb-laden vehicle of Turkistan party," Sputnik quoted a military source as saying.

The source pointed to the continuation of clashes between the Syrian Army and terrorists in al-Hamamiat-Karnaz axis in Northern Hama, and said the Syrian Army troops have killed over 100 terrorists in that axis and reinforced all their military positions there by restoring security to the surrounding areas of both towns.

The clashes also continued for the third day in battlefronts of Tal al-Melh and al-Jobin.

Meantime, the Russian and Syrian warplanes pounded the military positions and movements of terrorists in Khan Sheikhoun, al-Latameneh, Kafar Zita, al-Zuka, al-Arbaeen, KafarNubl, Tarmeleh and Hass in Southern Idlib and Northern Hama, destroying a large number of their military vehicles and hardware.

The Arabic-language service of Russia Today also reported that 17 military and armored vehicles of the terrorists were destroyed and several foreign terrorists were killed during fending off of an attack by terrorists on Karnaz town.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980321000613

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Syrian Expert: Terrorists in Northern Syria Receive Advanced Weapons from Turkey

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A prominent Syrian expert said that the terrorist groups in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib have gained access to the state-of-the-art weapons, including missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and drones with the help of Turkey.

HissamSho'ayb told the Arabic-language website of Sputnik that the terrorists' drone attacks against Humeimim base have angered Russia which has been committed to the Sochi and Astana agreements.

He added that Ankara has used the recent ceasefire in Northern Syria to create new opportunities for the terrorist groups to reinvigorate and send new militants to the region via Turkey.

Sho'ayb said that Turkey is deeply sad and confused by the Syrian army's continued battle against the terrorist groups to liberate Idlib, and said not only Ankara but also other sides, including Washington, will be harmed by the collapse of Idlib.

He noted that a large number of civilians have been taken hostage by the terrorists in Idlib as militants also attack the infrastructures and civilians in Northern Syria, adding that the Syrian army operations will continue until liberation of the entire region.

Turkey has been aiding the terrorist groups militarily and supporting their family members.

Relevant reports said last week that Russia had warned Turkey that it would provide military support for the Kurdish militias in Northern Aleppo in case Ankara continued supplying weapons and equipment to the terrorists against the Syrian army in Idlib province.

Al-Rai al-Youm news website quoted an informed source as saying last Friday that Ankara had received a clear warning from Moscow after it extended military support for Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups in attacks against the Syrian army in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib.

It added that Moscow had cautioned Ankara that in case of continued supply of weapons and equipment to the terrorists in Idlib, it would provide the Kurdish forces in Tal Rafa'at with military support.

Based on the report, the Ankara-backed Faylaq al-Sham terrorist group receives weapons, military equipment and ammunition from Turkey and supplies them among the terrorist groups in different fronts across Northern Syria.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980320000971

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Pakistan likely to stay in FATF grey list

IndraniBagchi | TNN | Updated: Jun 11, 2019

Actions like sealing premises used by some terror groups is unlikely to pull Pakistan out of the FATF grey lis...Read More

NEW DELHI: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has given Pakistan an "all-clear" on only two out of the 27 action plans it has to complete to get out of the grey list - the warning given to a country when it fails to curb terror funding and money laundering. In the run-up to the FATF plenary in Orlando, Florida from June 16-21, diplomatic sources have said Pakistan will, at the very least, remain in the grey list which it went back into in 2018.

After the second review meeting in Guangzhou, China, the Asia-Pacific Joint Group - a committee set up by the FATF to monitor Pakistan's compliance, distinct from the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) - told Islamabad over the weekend that it has to take serious steps to stay off the black list which would mean shutting of all doors to international finance.

A third review of Pakistan's compliance will be in September, just before the October plenary. Pakistan was given 15 months to get its act together on a host of issues. It has until October, before FATF decides whether to keep Pakistan on the grey list or blacklist it.

India is pushing for Pakistan to be blacklisted. But the opinion among the others is that by keeping Pakistan in the grey list they can continue to pressure Islamabad as well as scrutinise its actions. In 2012-13, when Pakistan was put in the grey list, Islamabad had made the same promises they are making today. After they emerged from the list, Pakistan went right back to its bad old ways. The FATF, diplomatic sources said, do not want a repeat.

Pakistan is working overtime to avoid the black list. Some are hoping that Pakistan might get a breather with China taking on the presidentship of FATF from October. But that is unlikely to happen, because of the weight of the other members.

So far, Pakistan has seized 800 properties belonging to JUD, FIF, JEM and arrested some of their leaders. But pointing out that seizures do not show compliance, FATF has asked Pakistan to explain certain things, like where is the investigation about the source of funds for these bodies.

Secondly, Pakistan has not shown any action against terrorist assets - armouries, weapons, explosives and camps. FATF has asked for more detailed action and reporting on this.

Third, FATF has raised the fact that Pakistan's anti-terror laws are not yet in conformity with FATF guidelines.

Fourth, FATF had objected to an asset declaration amnesty programme that the Nawaz Sharif government rolled out last year. This was repeated by PM Imran Khan on Monday. FATF has said this scheme is contrary to its anti-money laundering rules which Pakistan has to follow.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-likely-to-stay-in-fatf-grey-list/articleshow/69732661.cms

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Bangladesh PM attacks Myanmar over Rohingya deadlock

AFP | Updated: Jun 10, 2019

DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has slammed Myanmar for delays in the repatriation of Rohingya refugees who fled violence in the neighbouring country.

Some 740,000 Rohingya took shelter in fetid, overcrowded camps in Bangladesh after Myanmar's military drove them over the border in a 2017 crackdown.

Many still fear for their safety if they return to Myanmar, where the Muslim minority has faced decades of repression and erosion of rights.

But the Bangladeshi Prime Minister's comments late Sunday are a sign that the country's patience is wearing thin.

The two governments signed a repatriation deal in November 2017, yet so far virtually no Rohingya have volunteered to return.

"The problem lies with Myanmar as they don't want to take back the Rohingyas by any means," Hasina told a press conference.

She also criticised international aid agencies working in the refugee camps in the border district of Cox's Bazar -- who object to any forced relocations -- saying they are not interested in ending the crisis.

"The problem that I now see is that different international agencies that are providing voluntary services or working at Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar never want any refugee to go back," she said.

"The principal problem lies here."

Bangladesh has said it will not force Rohingya to return to Myanmar, where the Muslim minority faced several waves of persecution before the 2017 crackdown which saw widespread murder, rape and arson.

But Hasina called for an investigation into the organisers of protests against repatriation that have been held within the squalid camps.

"Who instigated the movement?" she asked.

"Those who provide assistance to Rohingyas have a serious objection, though the government has constructed very beautiful houses and structures at Bhashan Char," Hasina said of the shelters Bangladesh has built on a barren, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal.

Hasina's comments follow the leak of a report by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations emergency response team, seen by AFP last week, which gave a glowing assessment of Myanmar's efforts to entice Rohingya refugees back.

The report left observers incredulous for glossing over army atrocities, ignoring the ongoing civil war in Rakhine state and blaming the delays in repatriation on bungled paperwork by Bangladeshi officials.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/bangladesh-pm-attacks-myanmar-over-rohingya-deadlock/articleshow/69727335.cms

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Iranian Envoy: US Economic Terrorism Biggest Threat to N. Deal

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Britain Hamid Ba'eidinejad said that the US economic terrorism against Tehran is putting the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers in a big danger.

Ba'eidinejad expressed the hope that every one would be aware of the fact that the US economic terrorism against Iran posed the biggest threat to the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and regional security.

He wrote on his twitter page that the US will paralyze the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) by adopting counter-measures in a bid to thwart the EU diplomacy.

US media 'Bloomberg' reported on Monday that the US is reviewing sanctions on the parallel mechanism of INSTEX in Iran.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi criticized Europe for its late reaction to the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying that Tehran has not pinned hope on implementation of the INSTEX.

"What the Europeans have to do and what they have done have not satisfied us so far," Mousavi told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

He said the European signatories of the deal (Britain, France and Germany) wasted a lot of time before taking action in response to US President Donald Trump's pullout from the landmark agreement last May.

"The first step which the Europeans took after the departure of the US was late and we said just then that this step, although having created a tiny bit of hope, is overdue," Mousavi said.

He said Tehran saw Europe's behavior after unveiling INSTEX as a testament to its "inability" to protect Tehran's interests in the face of US pressure.

"There is no will to resist the illegal demands that violate international norms in their entirety," Mousavi said.

He made it clear that Iran had chosen not to put much trust in the payment mechanism, adding, "We haven't put much hope in INSTEX.

"If INSTEX had been going to help us, it would have done so already," Mousavi underlined.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980321000502

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Islamic State Orphans Repatriated to France, Netherlands

By VOA News

June 10, 2019

Kurdish officials in northeastern Syria have handed over 14 orphaned children of Islamic State jihadis to delegations from France and the Netherlands, where they have familial ties.

The children, the oldest of whom is 10, had been held in camps with tens of thousands of people who fled recent fighting against Islamic State.

The French interior ministry said 12 children were handed over to the judicial authorities after they were brought to France and "are now subject to special medical monitoring and care by social services."

The other two children were take to the Netherlands.

Since the defeat of Islamic State in March, the international community has been trying to figure out what to do with the families of foreign jihadists captured or killed in Syria and Iraq.

Thousands of men and women from around the world left their homes to fight and live alongside Islamic State fighters. While the home countries have been agreeable about repatriating abandoned or orphaned children, many have refused to do the same for adults.

France has one of the largest contingents of suspected fighters who were captured or turned themselves in in the last days of the so-called caliphate. Their fate has sparked an alarm over what should be done with the foreigners.

Controversy over trials

Nearly a dozen French nationals are at risk of execution in Iraq after an Iraqi court sentenced them to death over IS affiliation. Iraq has vowed to take a hard line against anyone convicted of involvement with the group. 

Humans rights groups are calling on France and other countries to save those men, accusing Iraqi authorities of inconsistencies in the judicial process and flawed trials, leading to unfair convictions.

But many European nations, including France and Britain, have repeatedly ruled out allowing such individuals to return, arguing instead they should face trial for any alleged crimes before local courts.

They have made an exception for the children.

France has already repatriated five orphans from Syria in March and a 3-year-old girl whose mother had been sentenced to life imprisonment in Iraq.

Last week, a Norwegian envoy took custody of five children of IS members who were killed in Syria. Last month, Iraq handed over 188 Turkish children of suspected IS members to Ankara.

https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/islamic-state-orphans-repatriated-france-netherlands

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Tribal militia kills up to 150 in Mali as Islamist insurgency intensifies

10 JUNE 2019

A tribal militia killed as many as 150 men, women and children in a village in central Mali on Monday, heightening fears that an Islamist insurgency in the area is mutating into an ethnic war.

Firing indiscriminately, gunmen from the semi-nomadic Fulani ethnic group raided Sobane-Kou, a village inhabited by the Dogon, a rival tribe aligned to Mali’s government.

Many residents were burnt alive as they cowered in their houses, according to Ali Dolo, the mayor of a nearby town, who said that 95 charred corpses had been found in the ruins of the village.

At least 65 people remain unaccounted for. The raid appeared to be a reprisal for an attack carried out by a pro-government Dogon militia elsewhere in the Mopti region in March that killed 157 Fulani villagers.

Mali has been at the centre of an Islamist insurgency that is spreading rapidly through the West African fringes of the Sahara, a region known as the Sahel.

Some 10,000 civilians were killed in the Sahel last year, more than in Iraq and Syria combined, as the region establishes itself as arguably the new frontline in the war on Islamist terror.

The conflict has taken on an ethnic dimension as Islamist groups exploit tensions between rival groups that have long competed over land and grazing. Local Islamist groups have recruited heavily from the Fulani, who are mostly cattle-herders.

Struggling to cope against the emerging Islamist threat — despite the growing presence of Western forces in the region — local governments armed militias from tribes hostile to the Fulani, like the Dogon.

Across West Africa, from Nigeria to Burkina Faso, violence between the Fulani and tribal militias, often armed by their respective governments, has led to a dramatic escalation of violence between groups that have long competed with each other for grazing and land.

Civilians have mostly borne the brunt of the violence. Demonstrating the cross-border nature of the violence, at least 19 people were killed in a raid on a village in Burkina Faso, across the border from Mali, on Monday.

Relatively peaceful until recently, Burkina Faso has been dangerously destabilised as militias pledging allegiance to both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State gain a foothold in the country.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/10/tribal-militia-kills-150-mali-islamist-insurgency-intensifies/

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India

An analysis of hate speech and disinformation on the social networking site Facebook India shows that the highest proportion of hate speech — 37 per cent — is linked to Islamophobia

Written by Shalini Nair, KarishmaMehrotra |

New Delhi |June 11, 2019

The report states that homophobic content is so widely prevalent on Facebook that it had to be tracked as its own category.

An analysis of hate speech and disinformation on the social networking site Facebook India by a South Asian American human rights and technology research organisation shows that the highest proportion of hate speech — 37 per cent — is linked to Islamophobia.

This is followed by false news (16 per cent), and content that can be classified as casteist and gender/ sexuality-related hate speech, each accounting for 13 per cent of the hate speech content.

The report by the US-based Equality Labs titled ‘Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech’ states that homophobic content is so widely prevalent on Facebook that it had to be tracked as its own category, separate from all other religious minorities. “Homophobic content is foundational to the hate speech echo chamber in Facebook India… (It) is often the most violent, most threatening, and most gruesome,” the report reads. Anti-religious minorities content, other than Islamophobia, accounted for another 9 per cent of the hate speech.

The report, which dis-aggregates hate speech content into categories in the Indian context as also analyses Facebook’s response, is set to be released on Wednesday at the RightsCon Summit on human rights in the digital age in Tunis.

It looks at more than 1,000 posts in six Indian languages over a period of four months. The sample set is based on Facebook’s own guidelines for tier 1 hate speech which include violent or dehumanising speech that targets a person or people based on Facebook’s defined protected categories (“race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender tech identity, and serious disease or disability”). This includes content advocating violence, bullying and use of offensive slurs.

The study points to failure of the content moderation process by Facebook, adding that 93 per cent of all hate speech posts reported are still available on the platform. It also faults Facebook’s hiring policies that do not include those with an understanding of issues of caste, religious, gender and queer minorities.

A further breakdown of posts within each category shows that of the Islamophobic posts, 6 per cent is anti-Rohingya “with calls to violence similar to content that led to the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar”. The rest were mostly pertaining to ‘love jihad’, glorification of violence by alluding to earlier instances of religious violence against Muslims, and Islamophobic profanities.

Less than half of the casteist hate speech on Facebook India, it states, is relating to India’s reservation policy with the rest being caste slurs, anti-Ambedkar messages and anti inter-caste personal relationships content. Similarly, a quarter of the posts containing gender/sexuality hate speech were found to be transphobic or queerphobic in content including calls for sexual violence.

Kathua case: Amid fault lines, a prosecution team that cut across divide

Outlining why Facebook needs to strengthen its content moderation policy, the report states, “In a country of 1.3 billion people with over 294 million active accounts, Facebook India’s user base will soon exceed the entire population of the United States. And, unlike the US, Facebook India has an unprecedented growth potential of over 400% because a whole new generation of users has yet to come online. The future of Facebook then is the Indian market.”

Facebook was unable to respond to queries from The Indian Express by the time of publication. ThenmozhiSoundararajan, executive director at Equality Labs, said, “Given the advocacy of many civil society groups in India about the scope and scale of hate speech and disinformation on the platform, Facebook has to work with civil society to conduct an independent human rights audit. This is a call for a thorough examination of their operations that Facebook should itself fund as they did in the US market.”

Following allegations of bias from conservatives and minority groups in the US and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearings, Facebook asked an American civil rights leader in 2018 to audit the company regarding voter suppression, content moderation, advertising targeting, diversity and more.

https://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/islamophobia-in-37-of-hate-speech-disinformation-on-facebook-5774337/

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Pakistan decides to let PM Modi’s plane fly over its airspace to Bishkek summit: Report

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.

Published: June 11, 2019

Former Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari arrested in fake bank accounts case

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Pakistan decides to let PM Modi's plane fly over its airspace to Bishkek summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan. (File)

Pakistan on Monday decided in principle to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14, where his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan would also be present.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after an Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot. Since then, it has only opened two routes, both of them pass through southern Pakistan, of the total 11.

India requested Pakistan to let Prime Minister Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.

The official confirmed to PTI that the Imran Khan government has approved in principle the Indian government’s request to let Prime Minister Modi’s aircraft fly over the Pakistani airspace to Bishkek.

“The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once the procedural formalities are completed. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will also be directed to notify the airmen subsequently,” the official said, adding Pakistan was hopeful that India would respond to its offer for peace dialogue.

He said Prime Minister Khan has recently written a letter to his Indian counterpart stressing Pakistan requires a solution for all geopolitical issues including Kashmir between the two neighbouring states.

The official further said Pakistan is still optimistic that India will respond to peace offer despite the fact both premiers were not meeting at the sidelines of the SCO Summit.

Pakistan had given special permission to India’s then external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to fly directly through Pakistani airspace to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meet in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on May 21.

Apart from the two routes through southern Pakistan, the neighbouring country’s airspace remains closed for commercial airliners.

The IAF announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on Indian airspace post the Balakot airstrike have been removed. However, it is unlikely to benefit any commercial airliners unless Pakistan reciprocates and opens its complete airspace.

Among Indian airlines, the international operations of Air India and IndiGo have been affected by the closure of Pakistani airspace. IndiGo, India’s largest airline by share in domestic passenger market, has been unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of Pakistani airspace. The low-cost carrier started the Delhi-Istanbul flight in March this year. It has to take the longer route every time over the Arabian Sea and make a stop either at Doha in Qatar or at Ahmedabad in Gujarat for refuelling. Similarly, full-service carrier Air India is unable to fly non-stop flights from Delhi to the US since the closure of Pakistani airspace.

Pakistan, however, has extended its partial airspace ban on eastern border with India until June 14.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/pakistan-decides-to-let-pm-modis-plane-fly-over-its-airspace-to-bishkek-summit-5774403/

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Islamic banking and halal investment firm: After raising Rs 2,000 crore, owner of 'bank' threatens suicide

TNN | Updated: Jun 11, 2019

BENGALURU: Hundreds of investors gathered at the office of financial firm I Monetary Advisory (IMA) in Shivajinagar, Bengaluru, on Monday morning after its founder-owner, Mohammed Mansoor Khan, purportedly stated in an audio clip that he was ending his life as he was "tired of bribing corrupt politicians and bureaucrats".

In the audio clip, reportedly addressed to the city police commissioner, Khan alleged senior Congress leader and Shivajinagar MLA R Roshan Baig had refused to return the Rs 400 crore he had taken and that there was a threat to his life. The police are yet to ascertain if Khan has indeed ended his life and have intensified their search for the founder-owner and his family members.

The audio clip was widely circulated on WhatsApp and hundreds of investors tried to attack IMA's showroom in Shivajinagar. However, additional police personnel were deployed and the situation brought under control.

When will we get our money back, ask harried investors

Launched in 2006, IMA, an Islamic banking and halal investment firm, promised returns ranging from 14% to 18% per month before its operations turned into a sort of Ponzi scheme. The company had collected over Rs 2,000 crore in investments from the public, mostly members of the Muslim community. IMA had diversified into the jewellery, real estate, bullion trading, pharmacy, publishing, education and healthcare sectors.

Hundreds of investors outside IMA Group office in Shivajinagar

The audio clip, purportedly of Khan, surfaced a day after his partner (in building projects) Mohammed Khalid Ahmed filed a complaint with the Commercial Street police stating Khan had cheated him of Rs 1.3 crore.

Meanwhile, Baig, who was in New Delhi to attend a function, told TOI that he has not had any financial dealings with the firm and the clip was a conspiracy hatched by his opponents in Congress to defame him.

"I doubt the veracity of the audio clip as this is the second time that my name is being linked to IMA's financial transactions recently," Baig said. "On June 1, a message on WhatsApp said I would stand guarantee for investments made in IMA and that I would safeguard returns."

Baig said he would file a case with the cyber police. The Shivajinagar MLA also shared a WhatsApp message allegedly put out by the IMA management which stated: "We the management of IMA are working hard day and night to make sure IMA's transactions fall back on track in a week from now and we have left no stone unturned to achieve the same. We are optimistic and confident that this temporary volatility will pass by... in a week's time and business will blossom like ever. Also, we would like to highlight a few unwanted messages affiliating IMA Group with certain political parties or political leaders (that have) been circulating in social media and misleading the local population. The IMA group follows a strict Standard Operational Procedure and has never partnered with any organisation, company, trust or individual."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/after-raising-rs-2000cr-owner-of-bank-threatens-suicide/articleshow/69732891.cms

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J&K: Soldier succumbs to injuries in unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan

"The soldier was critically injured when Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing on the Indian side. He later succumbed to injuries," a spokesperson said.

Updated: June 11, 2019

J&K Bank shares tumble 20 per cent; hit lower circuit on removal of chairman

Way forward in Kashmir

j&k, pakceasfire violation, Lance Naik Mohammad Jawed, soldier killed at poonch, poonch sector, indian army

Lance Naik Mohammad Jawed was killed in Pak firing, Monday night.

A soldier, injured in unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector Monday evening, succumbed on Tuesday. The jawan has been identified as Lance Naik Mohammad Jawed, 28, a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

Jawed hailed from Bihar’s Marrar village in Morrahi tehsil of Khagaria district. He is survived by his wife.

“The soldier was critically injured when Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing on the Indian side. He later succumbed to injuries,” the spokesperson said.

“Lance Naik Mohammad Jawed was a brave and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” he added.

Meanwhile, Northern Commander Lt General Ranbir Singh along with all ranks offered deepest condolences to the family of jawan.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-soldier-injured-in-unprovoked-ceasefire-violation-by-pakistan-succumbs-5774885/

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J-K: Two militants killed in Shopian encounter

Shopian encounter: The search operation turned into an encounter after militants fired on the security forces who retaliated.

By Express Web Desk |

New Delhi |

Published: June 11, 2019

J&K: Militant, associate killed in valley shootout in Shopian district

Three killed in Shopian encounter: Police say one was ‘active associate of terrorists’, family says he was not militant

Two militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Awneera area of Shopian in early hours after receiving information about the presence of militants there, a police spokesman said. The search operation turned into an encounter after militants fired on the security forces who retaliated.

On Saturday, a militant was killed in a gun battle in Anantnag.

On Friday, two Special Police Officers (SPOs) who joined militant ranks were among four Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) men killed in Pulwama district. Shabir Ahmad Dar and Mohammad Salman Khan, residents of Pulwama and Shopian districts respectively, were killed less than 24 hours after they abandoned their posts. J&K police said after deserting, the SPOs had become the members of JeM and were killed in an encounter.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/shopian-encounter-live-updates-jammu-kashmir-indian-army-5774386/

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Europe

'Blasphemous' Nike trainers with 'Allah' in sole ruined Eid - Burnley and Pendle Muslim group

By Neil Athey  @NeilAtheyJourno

A PETITION has been launched to stop an international sports brand from producing a trainer which it is claimed blasphemously has the name Allah imprinted into its sole.

Burnley and Pendle Friends League launched the petition, which has been signed by thousands of people in a matter of days, to stop Nike from making and selling the Air Max trainer, which allegedly depicts the Arabic word for Allah.

The issue initially came to light in January but has since resurfaced when a Pendle man bought the shoes from a JD Sports store in Burnley.

At a friends league meeting, held during the celebration of Eid UlFitr at St Luke’s Parish Hall in St James Street, Brierfield, its members urged the government to order Nike to halt the production and sale of the trainer and want the company to apologise.

Mozaquir Ali, the group’s secretary, said Eid celebrations for many were spoiled for many Muslims in East Lancashire by the trainer depiction.

He said: “We are appalled and deeply hurt by this disgraceful action of Nike.

“They have yet again hurt not only Muslims in Lancashire, or millions in the UK, but billions around the world.

“We now demand from Nike a total stop of the production and the sale of these trainers immediately and Nike must also make a public apology for the hurt they have caused.”

The petition was handed to Andrew Stephenson, Pendle’s MP, at the meeting and it will be sent to Burnley’s MP, Julie Cooper, in the coming days.

Earlier this year a Change.org petition was started calling for Nike to remove its Air Max 270 trainers from sale after it was claimed its logo depicted the Arabic word for Allah.

Saghir Ahmed, chairman of Burnley and Pendle Friends League, said: “This is not the first time Nike has done this despite their assurances in the past that they will stop.

“It’s time for a total stop.

“We are seeking a public apology and a withdrawal of this product from sale.”

Nike was contacted for comment.

In January, a Nike spokesman said any likeness to the word for Allah was accidental and the company respects all religions.

The spokesman said the markings were intended to reflect Air Max and any other perceived meaning or representation was wholly unintentional.

https://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/17697342.nike-trainer-ban-petition-launched-over-allah-imprint-controversy/

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Germany: 3 mosques suffer assaults in 2 days

Racist graffiti, rock throwing, and Quran set on fire are among assaults on mosques in Germany, says local leader

Mesut Zeyrek   |

11.06.2019

Three mosques in Germany have suffered assaults over the past two days, a local Turkish Muslim community leader said on Tuesday.

At the Eyup Sultan Mosque in Kamen, North Rhine-Westphalia, a right-wing group desecrated the mosque walls with hateful graffiti such as “get out," said Mustafa Kose, the top official in Kamen from the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB).

In the city of Hessen, central Germany, vandals threw rocks at the Kassel Central Mosque.

Finally, at a mosque in Bremen, northwestern Germany, a copy of the holy Quran was set on fire.

"There is a fear in our congregations, and religious officials, they're considering locking the doors of the mosque during prayer time," Kose said.

Saying that police are investigating the attacks, he added that the attackers should be arrested as soon as possible.

The attacks take place amid Islamophobic groups gaining more political power in Europe, as well as deadly assaults on mosques in Western countries, including the New Zealand attack this March which took 51 lives.

* Writing by DilaraHamit

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-3-mosques-suffer-assaults-in-2-days-/1501194

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Man denies using threatening behaviour in connection with Stockton mosque disturbance

 

Arfan Asif faces a charge of using threatening behaviour on May 7, the same day police attended Bowesfield Lane in Stockton

A man has appeared at court in connection with a disturbance outside of a Stockton mosque.

Arfan Asif faces a charge of using threatening behaviour on May 7, the same day police attended Bowesfield Lane in Stockton after a group of people congregated near a mosque.

The 32-year-old is alleged to have committed the offence on Albion Street, but pleaded not guilty to the charge at Teesside Magistrates' Court on Monday.

Asif, of Fairview Farm, Skutterskelfe, Yarm, will appear back at the court for trial on July 30.

He was given unconditional bail until that date.

The charge he faces is in connection with an incident near the Farooq E Azam Mosque.

At least three police vans and two cars were on Bowesfield Lane on the same day with officers dealing with a disputed between a group of people.

Police attended the same Mosque on Sunday, May 5, following reports of a disturbance outside.

Police activity outside the Farooq E Azam Mosque in Stockton for the second time in two days

Police activity outside the Farooq E Azam Mosque in Stockton for the second time in two days (Image: Terry Blackburn)

Officers surrounded the mosque after a crowd of people were congregated outside on May 5 with up to 10 police cars and vans on scene.

Video footage of a huge crowd outside the Farooq E Azam Mosque and Islamic Centre was also widely shared on social media.

Women's screams could be heard on the video as two men argued with each other before scenes turned violent.

Slaps appeared to be thrown and a walking stick could also seen being raised among the crowd.

The footage was being studied by detectives.

https://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/man-denies-using-threatening-behaviour-16409391

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Arab World

Over 800 ISIL Terrorists Join Al-Nusra for Battle against Syrian Army in Hama

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- More than 800 ISIL terrorists, including 300 suicide attackers, have arrived in Northern Hama regions to join Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in the battle with the Syrian Army, Arab media reported on Tuesday.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted local sources in Hama as saying that about 500 Ansar al-Tawhid terrorists affiliated to the ISIL terrorist group have entered battlefronts in al-Jobin and Tal al-Melh regions in Northern Hama to attack the Syrian Army's military positions in al-Hamamiat and Karnaz areas.

The sources underlined that Ansar al-Tawhid terrorists have stressed that they would fight in the battlefield only under their own flag.

Meantime, more than 300 ISIL suicide attackers, most of whom are Chinese Igur, have jointed Jeish al-Izza terrorists in al-Latamaneh, Kafar Zita and al-Zuka in Jisr al-Shoghour region in Southwestern Idlib.

On Monday, the Damascus Army backed by the Syrian and Russian air forces warded off several attacks launched by Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at in several regions to regain the regions they have already lost in Northern Hama, killing more than 130 terrorists.

"The Syrian Army in an ambush operation warded off a massive attack by Tahrir al-Sham terrorists from the town of al-Jamleh in Northern Hama, killing at least 30 terrorists and destroying a bomb-laden vehicle of Turkistan party," Sputnik quoted a military source as saying.

The source pointed to the continuation of clashes between the Syrian Army and terrorists in al-Hamamiat-Karnaz axis in Northern Hama, and said the Syrian Army troops have killed over 100 terrorists in that axis and reinforced all their military positions there by restoring security to the surrounding areas of both towns.

The clashes also continued for the third day in battlefronts of Tal al-Melh and al-Jobin.

Meantime, the Russian and Syrian warplanes pounded the military positions and movements of terrorists in Khan Sheikhoun, al-Latameneh, Kafar Zita, al-Zuka, al-Arbaeen, KafarNubl, Tarmeleh and Hass in Southern Idlib and Northern Hama, destroying a large number of their military vehicles and hardware.

The Arabic-language service of Russia Today also reported that 17 military and armored vehicles of the terrorists were destroyed and several foreign terrorists were killed during fending off of an attack by terrorists on Karnaz town.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980321000613

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Syrian Expert: Terrorists in Northern Syria Receive Advanced Weapons from Turkey

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A prominent Syrian expert said that the terrorist groups in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib have gained access to the state-of-the-art weapons, including missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and drones with the help of Turkey.

HissamSho'ayb told the Arabic-language website of Sputnik that the terrorists' drone attacks against Humeimim base have angered Russia which has been committed to the Sochi and Astana agreements.

He added that Ankara has used the recent ceasefire in Northern Syria to create new opportunities for the terrorist groups to reinvigorate and send new militants to the region via Turkey.

Sho'ayb said that Turkey is deeply sad and confused by the Syrian army's continued battle against the terrorist groups to liberate Idlib, and said not only Ankara but also other sides, including Washington, will be harmed by the collapse of Idlib.

He noted that a large number of civilians have been taken hostage by the terrorists in Idlib as militants also attack the infrastructures and civilians in Northern Syria, adding that the Syrian army operations will continue until liberation of the entire region.

Turkey has been aiding the terrorist groups militarily and supporting their family members.

Relevant reports said last week that Russia had warned Turkey that it would provide military support for the Kurdish militias in Northern Aleppo in case Ankara continued supplying weapons and equipment to the terrorists against the Syrian army in Idlib province.

Al-Rai al-Youm news website quoted an informed source as saying last Friday that Ankara had received a clear warning from Moscow after it extended military support for Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups in attacks against the Syrian army in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib.

It added that Moscow had cautioned Ankara that in case of continued supply of weapons and equipment to the terrorists in Idlib, it would provide the Kurdish forces in Tal Rafa'at with military support.

Based on the report, the Ankara-backed Faylaq al-Sham terrorist group receives weapons, military equipment and ammunition from Turkey and supplies them among the terrorist groups in different fronts across Northern Syria.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980320000971

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World's most costly painting on Saudi prince's yacht: Report

AFP | Updated: Jun 11, 2019

In this file photo, Christie's employees pose in front of a painting entitled 'Salvator Mundi' by Italian poly...Read More

WASHINGTON: Since its sale for a record $450 million, the whereabouts of the "Salvator Mundi," said to be painted by Leonardo da Vinci, has become one of the art world's greatest mysteries.

On Monday, London-based art dealer Kenny Schachter, writing for the website Artnews, offered answers: the painting now resides on the gargantuan yacht owned by powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Since its record-setting sale at Christie's in 2017, the painting, in which Jesus Christ is depicted emerging from darkness blessing the world with one hand while holding a transparent globe in the other, has never been exhibited in public, triggering doubts about its ownership, whereabouts and authenticity.

Many art experts are split over whether the painting is genuine, saying it was not painted by the Italian master personally but instead by his workshop.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the painting was bought by Saudi prince Badr bin Abdullah, who acted in the name of the Saudi crown prince, known by his initials MBS.

Riyadh never confirmed or denied that report.

AFP could not corroborate Schachter's column, and in a nod to the opaque nature of international art sales, he wrote, "In the murky Middle Eastern waters nothing is quite crystal clear."

But citing several sources including two involved in the sale, Schachter claims the painting "was whisked away in the middle of the night on MBS's plane and relocated to his yacht, the Serene."

After saying the painting was originally found in shards and had to be reconstructed before its auction, he asks, "what harm could the occasional splash of seawater do?"

Schachter later wrote that the painting will remain onboard the massive yacht until it is relocated to the Al-Ula governorate, which Saudi Arabia is aiming to transform into a culture and tourism destination.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/worlds-most-costly-painting-on-saudi-princes-yacht-report/articleshow/69734102.cms

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Senior Iraqi MP Discloses Deployment of Fresh US Forces in Erbil Base

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior member of the Iraqi parliament's Security and Defense Commission said that fresh troops have arrived at the US base in Erbil in the Iraqi Kurdistan region without Baghdad's prior knowledge.

"Fresh US combat forces have arrived at the Erbil base at an agreement with the Iraqi Kurdistan region's government and not the Federal government or the defense ministry of Iraq," Karim al-Mohammadawi told the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website on Monday.

He added that Erbil has not informed the Federal government of the number of US forces and the number of military equipment in the region.

Al-Mohammadawi described the base in Erbil as one of the largest in Iraq, and accused the US of helping terrorists through the same base.

"Washington uses the base as a command center in the region and Iraq," he added, elaborating on the significance of the military center.

He added that over 50,000 American forces are stationed in Iraq, based on remarks by the US congress officials, and said most of these forces are deployed in Ein al-Assad airbase in al-Anbar and at the base in Erbil.

A former Iraqi legislator disclosed last week that the US had established 17 military bases in Iraq and deployed F35 fighter jets in Ein al-Assad airbase in the Western parts of al-Anbar province.

Al-Ma'aloumeh quoted Mohammad al-Dayeni as saying that Washington had set up 17 military bases in Iraq.

He added that the US had also deployed Spirit (stealth) fighter jets in Ein al-Assad, adding that the F-35 fighters which had earlier been stationed in the airbase fly on a daily basis to spy on Iran.

Al-Dayeni said that the US forces had specified 63,000 targets in and outside Iraq for attacks, including the positions of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces).

Meantime, a prominent Iraqi political expert revealed late last month that Washington continued to increase the number of its troops in Iraq, warning of the US plots to make aggression against the neighboring states.

Sabah al-Akili told al-Ma'aloumeh that the number of US forces had increased in Iraq despite the general demand by the Iraqi people for their withdrawal.

He added that the US forces' attacks on Iraqi security forces indicated that they were combat forces and were not deployed for advising or training purposes.

Al-Akili underlined that expansion of Ein al-Assad airbase, extension of its runway and deployment of Patriot missile systems at the base showed that Washington intended to stay in Iraq for the long-run, specially given the reports that the US planned to use Iraq as a platform to attack the neighboring states and was, thus, sending more forces to its bases in Iraq.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980320000890

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Pakistan

Pakistan likely to stay in FATF grey list

IndraniBagchi | TNN | Updated: Jun 11, 2019

Actions like sealing premises used by some terror groups is unlikely to pull Pakistan out of the FATF grey lis...Read More

NEW DELHI: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has given Pakistan an "all-clear" on only two out of the 27 action plans it has to complete to get out of the grey list - the warning given to a country when it fails to curb terror funding and money laundering. In the run-up to the FATF plenary in Orlando, Florida from June 16-21, diplomatic sources have said Pakistan will, at the very least, remain in the grey list which it went back into in 2018.

After the second review meeting in Guangzhou, China, the Asia-Pacific Joint Group - a committee set up by the FATF to monitor Pakistan's compliance, distinct from the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) - told Islamabad over the weekend that it has to take serious steps to stay off the black list which would mean shutting of all doors to international finance.

A third review of Pakistan's compliance will be in September, just before the October plenary. Pakistan was given 15 months to get its act together on a host of issues. It has until October, before FATF decides whether to keep Pakistan on the grey list or blacklist it.

India is pushing for Pakistan to be blacklisted. But the opinion among the others is that by keeping Pakistan in the grey list they can continue to pressure Islamabad as well as scrutinise its actions. In 2012-13, when Pakistan was put in the grey list, Islamabad had made the same promises they are making today. After they emerged from the list, Pakistan went right back to its bad old ways. The FATF, diplomatic sources said, do not want a repeat.

Pakistan is working overtime to avoid the black list. Some are hoping that Pakistan might get a breather with China taking on the presidentship of FATF from October. But that is unlikely to happen, because of the weight of the other members.

So far, Pakistan has seized 800 properties belonging to JUD, FIF, JEM and arrested some of their leaders. But pointing out that seizures do not show compliance, FATF has asked Pakistan to explain certain things, like where is the investigation about the source of funds for these bodies.

Secondly, Pakistan has not shown any action against terrorist assets - armouries, weapons, explosives and camps. FATF has asked for more detailed action and reporting on this.

Third, FATF has raised the fact that Pakistan's anti-terror laws are not yet in conformity with FATF guidelines.

Fourth, FATF had objected to an asset declaration amnesty programme that the Nawaz Sharif government rolled out last year. This was repeated by PM Imran Khan on Monday. FATF has said this scheme is contrary to its anti-money laundering rules which Pakistan has to follow.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-likely-to-stay-in-fatf-grey-list/articleshow/69732661.cms

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Former Pak president Asif Zardari arrested by anti-graft body

Omer Farooq Khan | TNN | Updated: Jun 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog on Monday arrested Asif Ali Zardari, the country’s former president and co-chairman of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), from his residence in Islamabad in a money-laundering and fake accounts case.

The arrest came hours after a two-member bench of the Islamabad high court rejected the pre-arrest bail pleas of Zardari and his sister, FaryalTalpur, in a case related to fake bank accounts and transactions — worth hundreds of millions of Pakistani rupees — with private companies allegedly owned by the two leaders.

A number of PPP workers and the children of the former president, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asefa Bhutto Zardari, saw him off as he was driven away by officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to their lock-up in Islamabad’s Melody area where he was to undergo a medical check-up. The NAB will present the medical check-up report, as well as Zardari, in court on Tuesday to seek his custody. Both Zardari and Talpur can appeal the high court order in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The NAB had issued a warrant for Zardari on Sunday. No warrant has been issued for Talpur as yet.

“The NAB chairman overrode judicial orders and issued a non-bailable warrant for Asif Ali Zardari. We already had bail so how can the NAB warrant override the court’s orders,” said Latif Khosa, Zardari’s counsel.

Zardari and his sister are accused of hiding financial kickbacks in fictitious accounts. Investigators say fake bank accounts were used to channel billions of rupees. Dozens of companies and hundreds of people have been implicated in the scam. In 2015, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had launched a probe into fake accounts and fictitious transactions conducted through 29 “benami” accounts in different banks. Initially, seven individuals, including Zardari and Talpur, were said to be involved in using those accounts for suspicious transactions.

Later, the Supreme Court court took suomotu cognisance due to a delay in the FIA probe and also constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the scam. The JIT uncovered 33 more suspicious accounts and around 170 individuals linked to the case.

According to a report submitted in court, 210 companies were also found to have alleged links to the case. Forty-seven of these companies and 334 people were associated with Omni Group, owned by a close aide of Zardari.

At one stage, the top court had frozen all assets and accounts of the group.

The FIA had filed the case before a banking court in Karachi which had issued an arrest warrant for Zardari. Subsequently, the PPP leader had obtained bail from the Islamabad HC and, later, the case was shifted from a court in Karachi to Islamabad as the investigators had accused the PPP of influencing the case.

On April 8, two accused in the case — Kiran Aman and Noreen Sultan — became approvers against Zardari and Talpur. Zardari denies wrongdoing in the fake accounts case. He already had spent 11 years in jail on corruption and murder charges before becoming president in 2008. He was never convicted.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/former-pak-president-asif-zardari-arrested-by-anti-graft-body/articleshow/69731050.cms

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Altaf Hussain arrested in connection with 2016 speech

Dawn.comUpdated June 11, 2019

MQM founder Altaf Hussain was arrested in London on Tuesday.

"A man has today, Tuesday, 11 June, been arrested in connection with an investigation into a number of speeches made by an individual associated with the MuttahidaQaumi Movement (MQM) in Pakistan," read a statement by London's Metropolitan Police, which did not name Hussain.

"The man, who is aged in his 60s, was arrested at an address in north west London. He was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007."

Section 44 'Intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence':

(1) A person commits an offence if — - (a) he does an act capable of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence; and - (b) he intends to encourage or assist its commission.

(2) But he is not to be taken to have intended to encourage or assist the commission of an offence merely because such encouragement or assistance was a foreseeable consequence of his act.

"He was detained under PACE [Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984] and taken to a south London police station, where he currently remains in police custody," added the statement.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 codes of practice regulate police powers and protect public rights.

"As part of the investigation, officers are carrying out a search at the north west London address. Detectives are also searching a separate commercial address in north west London.

"The investigation, which is being led by officers from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, is focused on a speech broadcast in August 2016 by an individual associated with the MQM movement in Pakistan as well as other speeches previously broadcast by the same person," said the statement.

"Throughout the investigation, officers have been liaising with Pakistani authorities in relation to our ongoing enquiries."

Over 20 identical FIRs pertaining to hate speech were registered against Hussain and several other leaders and workers of the MQM's London and Pakistan factions.

The London Met Police which began investigating Hussain's 2016 speech visited Islamabad in April this year to collect evidence and interview key witnesses.

Hate speech

The arrest is in relation to a hate speech made by Hussain on August 22, 2016.

Hours after Hussain delivered the incendiary speech, MQM workers had attacked the ARY News office in Karachi. Shortly after, the Rangers had detained a handful of senior MQM leaders overnight.

In the days that followed, the Karachi wing of the party led by Farooq Sattar distanced itself from Hussain and the London wing.

Perspective: The MQM crisis

Parts of Hussain's speech that went viral on social media minutes after the violence broke out in Karachi showed that while addressing the MQM workers protesting outside the Karachi Press Club against “enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of workers”, the MQM supremo had not only raised slogans against Pakistan but also called the country “a cancer for entire world”.

“Pakistan is cancer for entire world,” he had said. “Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan...it’s down with Pakistan.”

The minister for interior at the time had sought assistance from British authorities, and asked them to take action against Hussain for “inciting people of Pakistan to violence”.

On August 23, Hussain apologised to the then army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, and the Rangers director general for his vitriolic speech.

“From the depth of heart, I beg pardon from my remarks against Pakistan, the establishment including Gen Raheel Sharif and DG Rangers,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter by MQM spokesperson WasayJalil.

“I was under severe mental stress over extra-judicial arrests and precarious condition of my workers sitting at the hunger strike camp.”

Additional reporting by Farooq Shah.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1487536/altaf-hussain-arrested-in-connection-with-2016-speech

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Better Pak-Afghan ties to bring peace: Khalilzad

Anwar IqbalUpdated June 11, 2019

WASHINGTON: The United States appears focused on improving relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan for ending the Afghan war, shows a message US special envoy ZalmayKhalilzad released on Monday.

Mr Khalilzad, a US diplomat of Afghan origin, said after a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul on Monday that the talks also focused on the relations between the two neighbouring countries.

“Discussed building further international consensus for peace,” he wrote in a tweet released after the meeting.

“Also regional requirements and implications for peace including recent positive movement in Afghan-Pakistan relations.”

The two leaders also talked about the opportunities that peace in Afghanistan will provide for regional connectivity and development, he added.

President Ghani is expected to visit Islamabad on June 27 for talks on improving Pak-Afghan relations that are often hampered by mistrust and reciprocal accusations.

US diplomat meets Afghan president in Kabul

Mr Ghani said on June 4 that the visit was agreed on at a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan last week on the sidelines of an OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) conference in Saudi Arabia.

“I hope the visit will be positive,” Mr Ghani said in his message to mark EidulFitr last week. He said he was hopeful that years of mistrust can be replaced by mutual trust and cooperation toward peace.

Pakistan has offered support to US efforts to broker an end to America’s longest-ever war and is also willing to play a role in persuading Taliban to meet Afghan officials. Taliban have so far rejected direct negotiations with Kabul.

Last week, Mr Khalilzad held talks in Islamabad with senior Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Khan and Army Chief Qamar JavedBajwa.

The US diplomat, who is in the region to prepare for yet another meeting with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, said he plans to be in Kabul “for some time” for wide-ranging consultations with Afghan leaders.

“Peace talks are entering a new stage and Afghans must be engaged more than ever,” he wrote.

He said that he also discussed the need for an intra-Afghan dialogue with President Ghani.

“As the Afghan peace process talks continue to progress, we agreed preparation for intra-Afghan negotiations now is essential,” he wrote.

A separate note issued by his office said that during his stay in Kabul, Mr Khalilzad will meet members of the National Unity Government, political leaders, civil society, and women to discuss progress in US efforts to facilitate an inclusive peace process.

His arrival in Kabul followed stops in Islamabad, Berlin and Brussels.

Noting that the peace talks had reached a critical phase, the statement emphasised the need for engagement with more Afghans across the country on “how to achieve a negotiated political settlement that brings a durable peace”. Such consultations, were “of utmost importance”, the statement added.

Mr Khalilzad has also scheduled meetings with youth representatives, students, female business owners and religious leaders, his office said. The US envoy has held several rounds of talks with the militants in Doha. Both sides claim the talks have made progress, but so far there has been no concrete results.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019

https://www.dawn.com/news/1487443/better-pak-afghan-ties-to-bring-peace-khalilzad

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South Asia

Bangladesh PM attacks Myanmar over Rohingya deadlock

AFP | Updated: Jun 10, 2019

DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has slammed Myanmar for delays in the repatriation of Rohingya refugees who fled violence in the neighbouring country.

Some 740,000 Rohingya took shelter in fetid, overcrowded camps in Bangladesh after Myanmar's military drove them over the border in a 2017 crackdown.

Many still fear for their safety if they return to Myanmar, where the Muslim minority has faced decades of repression and erosion of rights.

But the Bangladeshi Prime Minister's comments late Sunday are a sign that the country's patience is wearing thin.

The two governments signed a repatriation deal in November 2017, yet so far virtually no Rohingya have volunteered to return.

"The problem lies with Myanmar as they don't want to take back the Rohingyas by any means," Hasina told a press conference.

She also criticised international aid agencies working in the refugee camps in the border district of Cox's Bazar -- who object to any forced relocations -- saying they are not interested in ending the crisis.

"The problem that I now see is that different international agencies that are providing voluntary services or working at Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar never want any refugee to go back," she said.

"The principal problem lies here."

Bangladesh has said it will not force Rohingya to return to Myanmar, where the Muslim minority faced several waves of persecution before the 2017 crackdown which saw widespread murder, rape and arson.

But Hasina called for an investigation into the organisers of protests against repatriation that have been held within the squalid camps.

"Who instigated the movement?" she asked.

"Those who provide assistance to Rohingyas have a serious objection, though the government has constructed very beautiful houses and structures at Bhashan Char," Hasina said of the shelters Bangladesh has built on a barren, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal.

Hasina's comments follow the leak of a report by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations emergency response team, seen by AFP last week, which gave a glowing assessment of Myanmar's efforts to entice Rohingya refugees back.

The report left observers incredulous for glossing over army atrocities, ignoring the ongoing civil war in Rakhine state and blaming the delays in repatriation on bungled paperwork by Bangladeshi officials.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/bangladesh-pm-attacks-myanmar-over-rohingya-deadlock/articleshow/69727335.cms

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Afghan Special Forces free 34 hostages from a Taliban prison in Baghlan province

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019

The Afghan Special Forces have freed 34 people from a Talian prison during an operation in Baghlan province.

Interior Ministry spokesman NasratRahimi said the operation was conducted on Monday evening.

Rahimi further added that the Special Forces freed 34 people including 7 army soldiers, 7 policemen and 3 intelligence operatives.

This comes as the Afghan Special Forces freed 13 prisoners from a Taliban prison in Kunduz province.

The Special Operations Corps said the Special Forces conducted the operation late last night.

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

Both Baghlan and Kunduz are among the relatively volatile provinces in North of Afghanistan where Taliban often conduct terrorist related activities.

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-special-forces-free-34-hostages-from-a-taliban-prison-in-baghlan-province-03587/

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16 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Afghan-coalition forces operations in Farah

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019

The Afghan and coalition forces conducted joint operations against Taliban militants in Farah province.

The provincial police headquarters of Farah in a statement said Tuesday that the security forces conducted the operation in the outskirts of the capital of Farah.

The statement further added that the security forces killed 12 Taliban militants and wounded 4 others.

A coalition airstrike also destroyed a vehicle packed with explosives, weapons and munitions, the statement added.

The anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the operation.

This comes as the security situation in some districts of Farah province has deteriorated during the recent years.

Taliban militants are active in districts of the province where they often conduct terrorist related activities.

In the meantime, the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against the anti-government armed groups in this province.

The U.S. forces also conduct regular airstrikes in restive parts of the country to suppress Taliban and other anti-government militants.

https://www.khaama.com/16-taliban-militants-killed-wounded-in-afghan-coalition-forces-operations-in-farah-03591/

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37 Taliban militants killed, wounded in deadly U.S. airstrikes in Paktiya

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019

The U.S. forces carried out airstrikes against Taliban militants in Paktiya province killing or wounding at least 37 militants.

The 203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said the airstrikes were carried out iWechGharak area of Ahmadabad district.

The statement further added that preliminary reports indicate 37 Taliban militants were killed or wounded.

The 203rd Thunder Corps also added that the airstrikes also destroyed a weapons and munitions depot of the Taliban group.

The Taliban militants have not commented regarding the airstrikes so far.

https://www.khaama.com/37-taliban-militants-killed-wounded-in-deadly-u-s-airstrikes-in-paktiya-03590/

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Prominent Taliban commander among 16 killed in Sar-e-Pul province

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019

The Afghan forces killed 16 Taliban militants including one of their commanders in Sar-e-Pul province.

The 209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said a clash broke out between security forces and Taliban militants in the provincial capital of Sar-e-Pul on Monday.

The statement further added that the security forces killed 16 Taliban including their key commander Badar during the clash.

The security forces also wounded 17 Taliban militants including their commander Mullah Mashood.

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

This comes as the security situation in some districts of Sar-e-Pul province has deteriorated during the recent years.

Taliban militants are active in districts of the province and often conduct terrorist related activities.

Meanwhile, the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against the anti-government armed groups in this province.

https://www.khaama.com/prominent-taliban-commander-among-16-killed-in-sar-e-pul-province-03588/

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India pledges 1000 more scholarships for the Afghan students

By Khaama Press / in Afghanistan / on Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019

The government of India has pledged one thousand more scholarships for the Afghan students.

According to a statement released by Higher Education Ministry, the Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar on Monday informed regarding the 1000 additional scholarships.

The statement further added that Ambassador Kumar made the commitment during a meeting with the Acting Higher Education Minister Abdul TawabBalakarzai.

The Ministry of Higher Education said the Indian government will award scholarships during the fiscal year 1399.

Ambassador Kumar also promised that the government of India will assist with the capacity building of university lecturers and Higher Education Ministry employees.

India has played a major role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime.

The government of India has invested over $2 billion in various reconstruction and infrastructure projects.

https://www.khaama.com/india-pledges-1000-more-scholarships-for-the-afghan-students-03589/

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Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo to reopen on June 12 after deadly Easter attacks

PTI | Updated: Jun 10, 2019

COLOMBO: Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo announced Monday that it will partially reopen on Wednesday, seven weeks after the five star property was attacked by a suicide bomber on Easter Sunday.

The Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo was one of three hotels hit by the suicide attacks on April 21 and suffered extensive damages. While the other two hotels reopened in recent weeks, most of the sections of the Shangri-La Hotel remained closed.

"From Wednesday 12 June 6pm onwards, popular dining establishments including Sapphyr Lounge, Capital Bar & Grill and Kaema Sutra will reopen for service. Guests will be able to enjoy room stays and Chi, the Spa from Saturday 15 June onwards," MahikaChandrasena, Director of Public Relations at Shangri-La, Colombo, told PTI.

The hotel said in a statement that the Shangri-La Group was grateful to the local authorities and the global community for their outpouring of support and messages of commendations received these past seven weeks.

The group's heartfelt sympathies and support continue to be with those who have suffered injuries and lost loved ones on April 21. They will always be remembered, it said.

At least five Indians were among the dead when the suicide bomber struck the hotel.

"In memory of, and to honour, those that lost their lives on that day, the Shangri-La Group will be making an initial contribution to the Dialog Foundation – this will help provide medical assistance, counselling, scholarships and vocational training for hundreds of families in Sri Lanka who were impacted," the statement said.

On April 21, nine suicide bombers, including a woman, carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through St Anthony's Church in Colombo, St Sebastian's Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and another church in the eastern town of Batticaloa, and three high-end hotels frequented by tourists.

The suicide bombings was the country's deadliest terror attack since the devastating civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ended in 2009.

The easter Sunday attack killed 258 people and injured 500 others.

The Islamic State claimed the attacks, but the government blamed local Islamist extremist group National ThawheedJamaath (NTJ) for the bombings.

A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the blasts.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/shangri-la-hotel-in-colombo-to-reopen-on-june-12-after-deadly-easter-attacks/articleshow/69727673.cms

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Mideast

Iranian Envoy: US Economic Terrorism Biggest Threat to N. Deal

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Britain Hamid Ba'eidinejad said that the US economic terrorism against Tehran is putting the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers in a big danger.

Ba'eidinejad expressed the hope that every one would be aware of the fact that the US economic terrorism against Iran posed the biggest threat to the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and regional security.

He wrote on his twitter page that the US will paralyze the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) by adopting counter-measures in a bid to thwart the EU diplomacy.

US media 'Bloomberg' reported on Monday that the US is reviewing sanctions on the parallel mechanism of INSTEX in Iran.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi criticized Europe for its late reaction to the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying that Tehran has not pinned hope on implementation of the INSTEX.

"What the Europeans have to do and what they have done have not satisfied us so far," Mousavi told reporters in a press conference in Tehran.

He said the European signatories of the deal (Britain, France and Germany) wasted a lot of time before taking action in response to US President Donald Trump's pullout from the landmark agreement last May.

"The first step which the Europeans took after the departure of the US was late and we said just then that this step, although having created a tiny bit of hope, is overdue," Mousavi said.

He said Tehran saw Europe's behavior after unveiling INSTEX as a testament to its "inability" to protect Tehran's interests in the face of US pressure.

"There is no will to resist the illegal demands that violate international norms in their entirety," Mousavi said.

He made it clear that Iran had chosen not to put much trust in the payment mechanism, adding, "We haven't put much hope in INSTEX.

"If INSTEX had been going to help us, it would have done so already," Mousavi underlined.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980321000502

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Islamic State Orphans Repatriated to France, Netherlands

By VOA News

June 10, 2019

Kurdish officials in northeastern Syria have handed over 14 orphaned children of Islamic State jihadis to delegations from France and the Netherlands, where they have familial ties.

The children, the oldest of whom is 10, had been held in camps with tens of thousands of people who fled recent fighting against Islamic State.

The French interior ministry said 12 children were handed over to the judicial authorities after they were brought to France and "are now subject to special medical monitoring and care by social services."

The other two children were take to the Netherlands.

Since the defeat of Islamic State in March, the international community has been trying to figure out what to do with the families of foreign jihadists captured or killed in Syria and Iraq.

Thousands of men and women from around the world left their homes to fight and live alongside Islamic State fighters. While the home countries have been agreeable about repatriating abandoned or orphaned children, many have refused to do the same for adults.

France has one of the largest contingents of suspected fighters who were captured or turned themselves in in the last days of the so-called caliphate. Their fate has sparked an alarm over what should be done with the foreigners.

Controversy over trials

Nearly a dozen French nationals are at risk of execution in Iraq after an Iraqi court sentenced them to death over IS affiliation. Iraq has vowed to take a hard line against anyone convicted of involvement with the group. 

Humans rights groups are calling on France and other countries to save those men, accusing Iraqi authorities of inconsistencies in the judicial process and flawed trials, leading to unfair convictions.

But many European nations, including France and Britain, have repeatedly ruled out allowing such individuals to return, arguing instead they should face trial for any alleged crimes before local courts.

They have made an exception for the children.

France has already repatriated five orphans from Syria in March and a 3-year-old girl whose mother had been sentenced to life imprisonment in Iraq.

Last week, a Norwegian envoy took custody of five children of IS members who were killed in Syria. Last month, Iraq handed over 188 Turkish children of suspected IS members to Ankara.

https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/islamic-state-orphans-repatriated-france-netherlands

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US Sends Over 1,100 Military Trucks to Kurdish-Controlled Areas in Eastern Syria

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Hundreds of trucks carrying US military and logistical aid have been dispatched to areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Eastern Syria despite declaring the end of the ISIL by Washington, media sources said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a convoy comprising 55 trucks containing logistical and military consignments was sent to Eastern Euphrates via Simalka crossing in Northern Iraq.

The SOHR also reiterated that a sum of 1,115 trucks have been so far sent to areas under SDF's control in DeirEzzur province.

In a relevant development last month, media reports said that the Kurdish forces backed by the US-led coalition had prepared to launch military offensive against the Syrian Army and resistance forces in DeirEzzur Province.

The Turkish-language Anatoly news agency quoted local sources as saying that After taking control of Eastern Euphrates region, the Kurdish fighters are preparing to launch an attack on Damascus-backed forces in DeirEzzur.

It noted that the US-led coalition forces are training the Kurdish fighters Ain Issa bases in Raqqa province and al-Amr oil region in Eastern DeirEzzur, adding that the trainings include passing through mobile bridges and rivers.

The US-led coalition forces and Kurdish fighters are looking for winning the support of regional tribes for launching the attack after residents of the region called for holding massive protests in Eastern Euphrates and called for expulsion of the US-backed Kurdish fighters.

Meantime, the US-led Kurdish militants have held meetings with tribal leaders in al-Amr oil zone.

Also last month, a large number of people and tribesmen of the Eastern Euphrates region called for the Syrian Army's return to the areas held by the US and the SDF to drive the occupying troops out of the region as popular protests against SDF had heightened.

Media activists in Eastern Syria reported that the residents of the town of al-Shahil in SoutheasternDeirEzzur in communiques released called for the return of the Damascus Army troops to the region and expulsion of the occupying forces.

The civilians blasted the US and SDF occupying forces for plundering the oil revenues of al-Jazireh region, and called for return of governmental schools and institutes to the regions.

Meantime, a large number of residents of the town of al-Tayaneh in SoutheasternDeirEzzur held protest rallies against the SDF's measures and called for exit of the occupying forces and setting the captured civilians free.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980320000572

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Several Civilians Killed, Injured in Attacks by US, SDF in DeirEzzur

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The US and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attacked the residents of two towns in Eastern DeirEzzur after they held protest rallies and hoisted the Syrian flag, demanding expulsion of the occupying forces.

A group of SDF fighters backed by the US-led coalition air force attacked civilians in two towns of Abu al-Nitel and al-Namileh in Eastern DeirEzzur who while hoisting the Syrian Army were calling for SDF and the US occupying forces to be expelled from Syria, local sources in DeirEzzur said.

The sources noted that two civilians were killed and wounded in SDF and US attack, and said that the entire regions under the SDF control in Hasaka and DeirEzzur provinces were the scenes of popular protests against the presence of occupying forces there.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Khabour News Website reported that the SDF in Hasaka province prevented civilians from leaving the regions under their control for safe regions controlled by the Syrian Army.

The SDF fighters also asked for the payment of a sum of about 100,000 Syrian liras from any vehicle trying to leave the SDF-controlled region for Hasaka.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency, meantime, reported that a military convoy of the US-backed militants came under attack by unknown assailants in the town of Abu Suseh in the Northern part of Raqqa city which killed four US-backed militants and injured nine others and also destroyed four of their military vehicles.

In a relevant development in early May, residents of Eastern DeirEzzur had called on the Syrian government to return to the Eastern parts of the country to expel occupiers from the region as tensions had heightened between the SDF and the civilians.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported that residents of different parts of Eastern DeirEzzur had raised the demand in several contacts with the paper.

It underlined that residents of towns and villages of DeirEzzur were highly dissatisfied with measures adopted by the occupying US forces and the SDF, including detentions, torture of civilians and seizure of the civilian properties.

The newspaper said that the occupied areas in Hasaka and DeirEzzur did not enjoy even the minimum living standards, including electricity, adding that a large number of residents of the towns and villages in Eastern DeirEzzur had been transferred to the Syrian army-controlled areas.

Meantime, residents of tens of towns and villages in Eastern DeirEzzur had staged rallies in late May against the SDF's vis-à-vis civilians and their hoarding of fuel and closed the roads, demanding their withdrawal from the region.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980321000504

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Zarif after Meeting with German Counterpart: US Root of All Tensions

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif, in a tweet after meeting his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Tehran, reiterated that the White House’s economic war is the cause of all tensions.

Zarif said in a tweet on Monday that he had "frank talks” with Heiko Maas in Tehran, voicing Welcome to Germany’s recognition that practical measures to ensure Iran’s economic dividends are essential to preserve the JCPOA.

“We concurred that dialog among regional countries is crucial," Zarif wrote.

He added, "But Donald Trump's ‘economic war’ is THE cause of all tensions."

Earlier on the day, Zarif, at a joint press conference with his German counterpart, lasted the US for imposing tough sanctions against his country, saying that regional tensions will relieve after Washington stops economic warfare against Tehran.

"The only way to ease tensions in the region is stopping the economic war. You may not expect that an economic war be launched against the ordinary people in Iran and then those who have launched the war and supported it remain safe. We believe that Germany and Europe can play an important role in this regard to stop the war and we welcome that role," the top diplomat underlined.

He also said that the problems in the Middle-East are rooted in Israel's aggressive policies and the US unlimited support for these crimes.

"The problem of our region is that the US has tried to violate the Palestinian people's rights with force and under the name of a new crime named 'Deal of Century'," Zarif said, referring to the occupation of the Golan Heights and holy Quds by Israel and Washington's support for them as a source of danger to the region.

He referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's threats to annihilate Iran while he was standing beside Dimona, one of Israel's centers to produce nuclear weapons, and warned that the regime is a source of danger to the region.

In relevant remarks last Monday, Zarif had also blasted the US for applying "economic terrorism" against his country, warning that ordinary people and patients in Iran were suffering from it.

Zarif posted a video on his official Twitter page, showing a "little boy whose heartbroken mother can't get him prosthetic legs as he grows", and emphasized that innocent civilians were being targeted by sanctions and economic terrorism applied to Iran by Washington.

"This is @realDonaldTrump's 'economic war'. And war and talks—with or without preconditions—don't go together," he underlined.

Zarif's remarks came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is keen to hold negotiations with Iran "with no preconditions" amid the intensification of tensions between the two countries.

Addressing a news conference in Switzerland earlier in the day, Pompeo said, "We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them."

In reaction to Pompeo's statements, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said a game of words by the United States was not important to Iran, but the Islamic Republic expected a change in Washington’s general approach to the Iranian nation.

"For the Islamic Republic of Iran, a game of words and expressing covert goals under the guise of new words is not a criterion for action, but a change in the United States’ general approach and practical stance toward the Iranian nation is the criterion,” he said.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980321000375

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Arab Paper: Development of Yemeni Army's Defense Shield in Final Stage

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- A leading Arab newspaper revealed that the Yemeni army and popular committees are in the last stage of building and deployment of an advanced air defense system.

The Arabic-language al-Rai al-Youm paper wrote that the Yemeni defense minister's recent remarks confirm that the Yemenis are in the final stage of developing an air defense shield, meaning that there is only one step left before they deploy the system.

It referred to the Yemeni army's recent success to bring down several US-made drones in Sana'a, al-Hudaydeh, Sa'adah and even Najran, and said that it is an important and unprecedented issue.

The paper added that the Sana'a forces have turned from defensive into an offensive mode, noting that although the Saudi-led coalition has the upper hand in aerial combat, even one air defense system is enough to shoo them away from Yemen's sky.

Yemen's Ansarullah movement announced late last week that its troops had shot down a US-made drone in the Western region of Yemen.

Also, Yemeni Defense Minister Major-General Mohammad Nasser al-Atifi visited his country's armed forces in Southern Saudi Arabia's Najran region for the first time, a move believed by experts to be a humiliation of Riyadh.

While visiting the Saudi forces, Major-General al-Atifi congratulated the Yemeni Army and popular forces on their high morale to face the Saudi aggressors.

The Yemeni defense minister underlined that the Yemeni Army and popular forces are very close to the city of Najran in Southern Saudi Arabia, and said that more victories are imminent.

"The Yemeni forces are just few kilometers away from Najran city and its airport," al-Atifi said.

The Yemeni defense minister reiterated the Yemeni Army and popular forces will never abandon defending their homeland as they were very close to victory over the Saudi aggressors.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980321000338

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FM: US Should Stop Economic War against Iran to Deescalate Tensions in Region

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad JavadZarif blasted the US for imposing tough sanctions against his country, saying that regional tensions will relieve after Washington stops economic warfare against Tehran.

"The only way to ease tensions in the region is stopping the economic war. You may not expect that an economic war be launched against the ordinary people in Iran and then those who have launched the war and supported it remain safe. We believe that Germany and Europe can play an important role in this regard to stop the war and we welcome that role," Zarif told reporters in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Tehran on Monday.

He also said that the problems in the Middle-East are rooted in Israel's aggressive policies and the US unlimited support for these crimes.

"The problem of our region is that the US has tried to violate the Palestinian people's rights with force and under the name of a new crime named 'Deal of Century'," Zarif said, referring to the occupation of the Golan Heights and holy Quds by Israel and Washington's support for them as a source of danger to the region.

He referred to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's threats to annihilate Iran while he was standing beside Dimona, one of Israel's centers to produce nuclear weapons, and warned that the regime is a source of danger to the region.

In relevant remarks last Monday, Zarif had also blasted the US for applying "economic terrorism" against his country, warning that ordinary people and patients in Iran were suffering from it.

Zarif posted a video on his official Twitter page, showing a "little boy whose heartbroken mother can't get him prosthetic legs as he grows", and emphasized that innocent civilians were being targeted by sanctions and economic terrorism applied to Iran by Washington.

"This is @realDonaldTrump's 'economic war'. And war and talks—with or without preconditions—don't go together," he underlined.

Zarif's remarks came a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is keen to hold negotiations with Iran "with no preconditions" amid the intensification of tensions between the two countries.

Addressing a news conference in Switzerland earlier in the day, Pompeo said, "We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them."

In reaction to Pompeo's statements, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said a game of words by the United States was not important to Iran, but the Islamic Republic expected a change in Washington’s general approach to the Iranian nation.

"For the Islamic Republic of Iran, a game of words and expressing covert goals under the guise of new words is not a criterion for action, but a change in the United States’ general approach and practical stance toward the Iranian nation is the criterion,” he said.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980320000827

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Africa

Tribal militia kills up to 150 in Mali as Islamist insurgency intensifies

10 JUNE 2019

A tribal militia killed as many as 150 men, women and children in a village in central Mali on Monday, heightening fears that an Islamist insurgency in the area is mutating into an ethnic war.

Firing indiscriminately, gunmen from the semi-nomadic Fulani ethnic group raided Sobane-Kou, a village inhabited by the Dogon, a rival tribe aligned to Mali’s government.

Many residents were burnt alive as they cowered in their houses, according to Ali Dolo, the mayor of a nearby town, who said that 95 charred corpses had been found in the ruins of the village.

At least 65 people remain unaccounted for. The raid appeared to be a reprisal for an attack carried out by a pro-government Dogon militia elsewhere in the Mopti region in March that killed 157 Fulani villagers.

Mali has been at the centre of an Islamist insurgency that is spreading rapidly through the West African fringes of the Sahara, a region known as the Sahel.

Some 10,000 civilians were killed in the Sahel last year, more than in Iraq and Syria combined, as the region establishes itself as arguably the new frontline in the war on Islamist terror.

The conflict has taken on an ethnic dimension as Islamist groups exploit tensions between rival groups that have long competed over land and grazing. Local Islamist groups have recruited heavily from the Fulani, who are mostly cattle-herders.

Struggling to cope against the emerging Islamist threat — despite the growing presence of Western forces in the region — local governments armed militias from tribes hostile to the Fulani, like the Dogon.

Across West Africa, from Nigeria to Burkina Faso, violence between the Fulani and tribal militias, often armed by their respective governments, has led to a dramatic escalation of violence between groups that have long competed with each other for grazing and land.

Civilians have mostly borne the brunt of the violence. Demonstrating the cross-border nature of the violence, at least 19 people were killed in a raid on a village in Burkina Faso, across the border from Mali, on Monday.

Relatively peaceful until recently, Burkina Faso has been dangerously destabilised as militias pledging allegiance to both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State gain a foothold in the country.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/10/tribal-militia-kills-150-mali-islamist-insurgency-intensifies/

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Newzealand

New Zealand plans to withdraw all troops from Iraq by next June

APUpdated June 11, 2019

WELLINGTON: New Zealand announced on Monday that it will withdraw all of its troops from Iraq by next June.

New Zealand has a small contingent of 95 so-called non-combat personnel deployed at the Taji Military Complex northwest of Baghdad, where they are tasked with training Iraqi security forces.

The training mission is a joint operation with Australia, which has about 300 troops stationed at Taji.

New Zealand’s Defence Minister Ron Mark said Australia also planned to downsize its presence in Iraq, although he didn’t offer any details. Australia had not made any formal announcements about its plans by Monday afternoon.

New Zealand Prime Minister JacindaArdern said it would reduce the number of troops to 75 by July and then to 45 by January before they were all withdrawn.

“When it comes to Iraq, it’s time to go,” Ardern said.

She said the troops had made a big contribution at Taji, where more than 40,000 Iraqi security forces had been trained since New Zealand’s deployment began in 2015.

“I think they have done an incredible job, but their job is coming to an end,” she said. “And now it’s time to bring them home and look at the contribution our defence force can make elsewhere.” Mark said that New Zealand would downsize alongside Australia and that both countries were working on “exiting and having an exit plan.” But when pressed, he declined to offer more details.

Ardern said it was not up to New Zealand to announce Australia’s long-term plans in Iraq, but she added that Australia had been kept informed of New Zealand’s decision and was supportive.

The 2015 decision on New Zealand’s Iraq deployment was made by the conservative government at the time, and was opposed by Ardern’s then-opposition Labour Party. The Labour Party formed a coalition government after the 2017 general election.

Ardern said her government did not withdraw the troops sooner because it was honouring commitments made to both Iraq and Australia.

Ardern also announced New Zealand would reduce the number of defence force personnel posted in Afghanistan from 13 to 11 by March, and that three of those positions would be focused on enhancing the involvement of women in peace and security initiatives.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2019

https://www.dawn.com/news/1487461/new-zealand-plans-to-withdraw-all-troops-from-iraq-by-next-june

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Mosque shooting witnesses want same support as injured

From Checkpoint, 5:38 pm today

A large group who witnessed the Christchurch mosque shootings fear people like them have been forgotten about.

To date, only $12,000 has been given to each of the witnesses, compared to $45,000 for the bereaved and $24,000 to the injured.

Worshippers at the Linwood mosque said many of those who saw the shooting unfold had struggled just like those with physical injuries, through the mental trauma they had suffered.

They said the millions that had been fundraised to help victims should instead be shared evenly between the bereaved, the injured and witnesses.

Abdul Aziz, who was credited with preventing further deaths by confronting the gunman, knew of one man who had only been back to the mosque three times because he was terrified of a repeat incident.

"Last year, all the 30 days of Ramadan, he was with us ... this year we could see him only three times.

"I asked him, 'brother, why?' [and] he said 'I am still scared to get out of my house and because I think somebody's coming to kill my kids and kill me'. You know that sort of thing it shows, you know, they're more wounded than a lot of other people."

Witnesses were often struggling as much if not more than some of those physically injured and should be paid the same as them, Mr Aziz said.

He plans this week to present a 50-strong petition to local MP Megan Woods asking for this to happen. 

"Always, when I was [looking] in the media and everywhere I just heard deceased and injured. They [witnesses] are injured as well. They're mentally injured."

Like everybody at the masjid, Azam Ali was struggling to move on with life, with memories of that fateful day still very fresh.

"A wound heals, a scar heals. But what you see you can't erase it ... I know there's kids over here. They are five or six years old. They were here on the day and over Ramadan, I've seen them when there's a bit of a noise, I see a five-year-old kid go like this [ducks head]."

Mr Ali drove trucks for a living but knew he was still in no state to get back behind the wheel of a 30-tonne vehicle.

Extra financial help from Victim Support would help to take the pressure off after weeks of not working, he said.

He also knew of others who, not being eligible for ACC, had no choice but to go back to work.

"God forbid if it's a family in front of the truck and the guy has a meltdown ... but people are going back to it [work] because of financial reasons. They've still got to eat. They have got to pay the bills. They have got to pay the mortgage."

Many of those spoken to made the point that somebody who injured an arm while jumping a fence to flee the shooter was getting more money than somebody who witnessed truly horrific events.

For 12-year-old Mohamad Wahabzadah, the sound of workers using nail guns often brought back memories of 15 March.

"My dad ran outside, so I ran outside with him because you know ... you just don't think in the moment and I was trying to throw rocks to get him [away from] my dad and he shot twice at me. I was able to dodge it and my dad dodged one [shot from] the car ... which is scary because you don't know what is going to happen."

Mohammad Sameer, who feared for the life of his father and his three siblings, including his five year-old-brother, still had flashbacks.

"While I was outside, I've seen three dead bodies in front of me. I've seen where the bullet entered the back of their head. Like it's just pretty hard. And I've seen the gunman face to face. He shot at me three times."

Mohammad Sameer, witness of Linwood mosque shootingMohammad Sameer Photo: RNZ/ Conan Young

Ultimately it was about respecting the wishes of the thousands of people who donated their money, he said.

"The people who donated it, if they specifically said 'okay, I'm donating this for the injured or for the deceased', okay no worries I step back but they didn't give a message saying 'okay this is for the deceased this much for the injured and you know nothing for the witnesses', like it was given for the victims and we are all victims."

After being criticised for not consulting closely enough with the people they were trying to help, Victim Support held meetings with the Muslim community in Christchurch asking how they thought the money should be divided up.

The last tranche of money did include witnesses for the first time, even if it was much less than the amounts paid to the bereaved and injured.

The final payment was due to be handed out by the end of this month with a decision yet to be made on who would get what.

Those spoken to at the Linwood mosque were speaking out now in the hope Victim Support would hear their plea for equal recognition.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018699124/mosque-shooting-witnesses-want-same-support-as-injured

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North America

‘FBI’ Star on Importance of ‘Playing an Arab American Muslim as the Hero’

By JORDAN MOREAU

Jordan Moreau

‘FBI’ Star on Importance of ‘Playing an Arab American Muslim as the Hero’

TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops Teaser for Animated Series ‘Undone’ (Watch)

Rachel Brosnahan on Emmy Win and 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Season 2

“I was able to fall back on my instincts for the character. It’s been a really fun journey to find the parts of me that I want to be in the character and the ones that I don’t. There’s a freedom to take chances, and there’s no wrong move as long as we’re honest on screen.

“[‘The Armorer’s Faith’] was kind of my ‘Mission: Impossible’ episode. It made the world bigger. As an actor, it’s exciting to get a meaty episode like that, and it adds a whole new layer to O.A. down the road. It’s like getting a treasure chest of information and lets you play things differently in the moment. Getting to do an episode with a little bit of a different flavor is really fun when you’re shooting constantly.

“It’s great how we’re portraying the race and religion of this character. We’re not shoving it down your throat. It’s just something that exists because it’s the reality of the situation. Normalizing it and making it not a big deal is reverse psychology on the audience, whether it’s in America or some parts of the world that feel a certain way about Arab American Muslims. Even if it’s in a TV show, those subconscious emotions can help change the narrative. If one person changes from going, ‘All Muslims are terrorists’ to ‘All Muslims are terrorists besides O.A.,’ there’s still a long way to go, but it’s something.

“The reaction of people who are picking up on exactly what we’re doing and how we’re trying to change the narrative with the representation on TV has been incredible. Arab American families are reaching out to me, saying, ‘We’re so excited to see this character,’ and how their kids have said in the past, ‘Why do all the people that look like us play bad guys?’ Now they have someone to look up to that looks like them. It’s something you don’t really realize isn’t there, until it’s there. It shows producers and writers that it’s OK to take those chances. We’re in an era right now where we’re re-creating old shows and movies, and it just feels like if we look at it in a different way, there might be a whole world of new stories that we can tell that people will respond well to.”

https://variety.com/2019/tv/features/fbi-star-on-importance-of-playing-an-arab-american-muslim-as-the-hero-1203234817/

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Former imam in NY terrorism sting is deported to Iraq

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

JUNE 10, 2019

A former imam who served 14 years in federal custody after being convicted of terrorism in an FBI sting in upstate New York has been deported to Iraq.

The son and lawyer of Yassin Aref tell the Albany Times Union that he was deported Sunday night.

Aref was imam at an Albany mosque when he was arrested in 2004 for his role in a money laundering scheme involving an FBI informant who posed as an illegal arms dealer. The informant said he needed to launder money from the sale of a shoulder-carried rocket launcher to be used to kill a Pakistani diplomat.

Aref maintained his innocence. His son Salah Muhiddin said Aref is returning to his home country as a free man to start a new life.

https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article231396308.html

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SouthEast Asia

Cops nab anti-Muslim mob leader in Mandalay

By Coconuts Yangon Jun 11, 2019

Authorities in Mandalay yesterday arrested the last of the two ring leaders of the armed mob that stopped prayer services last month during Ramadan in Yangon’s North Dagon neighborhood, according to the Myanmar Police Force. 

Michael KyawMyint, an outspoken nationalist — who earned admiration in some quarters in 2017 after confronting local officials with charges of corruption — went into hiding last month after South Dagon township officials filed lawsuits against both he and fellow nationalist ThihaMyoNaing, the other alleged ringleader behind the confrontation. The latter turned himself over to authorities last week.

According to the Myanmar Police Force, a “responsible citizen” tipped off Mandalay authorities to KyawMyint’s whereabouts. The fugitive had been hiding out at his parents-in-law’s residence in Mandalay’s Wundwin Township.

His wife, Aye Aye Thin, also confirmed to Myanmar Now that her husband had been arrested by authorities. He is being charged under article 505(b) of the Penal Code, which prohibits citizens from causing incitement or “fear or alarm to the public,” and carries a two-year sentence.

“They took him to the district office, so we haven’t received any word yet from them,” she told the news outlet.

On May 15, more than 100 self-described patriots descended on three temporary prayer houses armed with knives and sticks to demand their closure, despite the fact that the local Muslim community had received permission from the Yangon regional government to operate them during the month of Ramadan.

In a widely shared video of the incident, KyawMyint can be seen outside a prayer house chanting that they were “going to shut down this mosque tonight,” to a cheering crowd.

Myanmar’s civil society responded to this act of hate with a “White Rose” campaign that was kick started by the visit of a prominent monk just a day after the nationalist mob’s appearance in North Dagon.

The campaign has since become a rallying call for interfaith activists and community builders across Myanmar, marking the end of Ramandan with a symbolic show of support and solidarity with an “White Rose” campaign on Eid.

https://coconuts.co/yangon/news/cops-nab-anti-muslim-mob-leader-in-mandalay/

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Resham Saeed is proud to be one of the first Muslim Filipinas 'to raise our flag' as Miss Supranational PHL 2019

Published June 11, 2019

Resham Saeed took to Instagram to express how proud she is to win Miss Supranational Philippines 2019 and to be "one of the first Muslim Pinoy to Raise our Flag."

She posted a series of photos of her winning moment on Sunday, when JehzaHuelar passed on her Miss Supranational Philippines crown to the Maguindanao bet.

"Yesterday blew me away. It challenged everything I believed and expected. Sorry about the delayed post but to truly express my gratitude, I had to sit down and let last night’s victory sink in," Resham wrote.

The beauty queen said she won't take the opportunity for granted as she feels honored to be given the responsibility to represent the Philippines internationally.

"The responsibility bestowed upon me to represent my people on an international level is a feeling I can’t describe. All I have to say at this time is that I’m extremely grateful and humbled and that this responsibility isn’t one I’ll take lightly," she said.

"I am proud to be one of the first Muslim Pinoys to raise our flag! Maramiingsalamat and thank you to each and everyone of you who played a part in my success. This is all for you," she added.

Other queens who were crowned that evening include GaziniGanados (Miss Universe Philippines), Patricia Magtanong (Miss International Philippines), Emma Mary Tiglao (Miss Intercontinental Philippines), Samantha Lo (Miss Grand International Philippines), Leren Mae Bautista (Miss Globe Philippines). — Jannielyn Ann Bigtas/LA, GMA News

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/lifestyle/artandculture/697375/resham-saeed-is-proud-to-be-one-of-the-first-muslim-filipinas-to-raise-our-flag-as-miss-supranational-phl-2019/story/

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Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia meets Imam of Istiqlal Mosque

Tuesday 1440/10/8 - 2019/06/11

Jakarta, 11 June 2019 -- Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Essam Abed Al-Thaqafi met at the embassy here today with Imam and Speaker of Istiqlal Mosque in the capital, Jakarta, Dr. Nasr Eddin Omar.

During the meeting, religious, cultural and educational activities of the Mosque were reviewed.

https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=1933394


URL: http://newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/an-analysis-of-hate-speech-and-disinformation-on-the-social-networking-site-facebook-india-shows-that-the-highest-proportion-of-hate-speech-%E2%80%94-37-per-cent-%E2%80%94-is-linked-to-islamophobia/d/118853




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