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Islamic World News (11 Sep 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



International Commission of Jurists Calls upon the Malaysian Government to Ensure That Custom, Tradition, and Religion Are Not Used As a Justification To Undermine Human Rights







International Commission of Jurists Calls upon the Malaysian Government to Ensure That Custom, Tradition, and Religion Are Not Used As a Justification To Undermine Human Rights

Symposium Named 'Dara Shikoh A Hero of the Indian Syncretist Traditions' Will See the Participation of Eminent Leaders of RSS and BJP

Pakistan's Outcry over Kashmir Is Hypocrisy, Says Baloch Activist

Egyptian Cleric Claims Karate is Haram in Islam

18 Years after 9/11: Terrorism Needs To Be Prevented At The Source

Pakistan’s Stock Market Gets Its First Islamic Financing Instrument

Israeli Leader Says Iran Hid a Nuclear Weapons Site

Airstrikes Kill More Than 40 Taliban Militants in Takhar and Kunduz Provinces

 

Southeast Asia

International Commission of Jurists Calls upon the Malaysian Government to Ensure That Custom, Tradition, and Religion Are Not Used As a Justification To Undermine Human Rights

Let Shia Muslims Practise Faith In Private, Says Penang Mufti

Shariah-friendly guide for martial arts garb awaiting Jakim’s okay

Putrajaya, judiciary duty-bound to protect SIS, says jurists body

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India

Symposium Named 'Dara Shikoh A Hero of the Indian Syncretist Traditions' Will See the Participation of Eminent Leaders of RSS and BJP

Pakistan's Outcry over Kashmir Is Hypocrisy, Says Baloch Activist

UN observers must go to Pak, not India: MQM boss

Top LeT terrorist killed in an encounter J&K's Sopore

8 Lashkar men held in J&K for circulating threat posters

India fields officer from J&K to call Pak’s bluff

India rages as China-Pak statement refers to J&K

India rejects Pakistan's demand for international probe by UNHRC on Kashmir

India calls Pakistan epicentre of terrorism, rejects its false narrative on J&K

Pakistan foreign minister describes Jammu & Kashmir as 'Indian state'

Revocation of J&K's special status sovereign decision: India at UNHRC

As Kashmir apple growers face uncertainty, MHA promises central procurement

India rejects China-Pakistan joint statement on Kashmir, calls for status quo in PoK

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Arab World

Egyptian Cleric Claims Karate is Haram in Islam

Saudi Arabia reiterates support for Palestinians

US drops 40 tons of bombs on Daesh-’infested’ island in Iraq

Iraq: 31 Killed, 100 Injured In Stampede during Ashura Rituals in Karbala City

Report: 21 Iraqi Militia Members Killed in Explosion in Iran-linked Arms Depot

Iraqi troops kill 15 Islamic State jihadists in Salahuddin

Saudi crown prince hosts Christian evangelicals

Report: Over 120 Churches Damaged by War in Syria Since 2011

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North America

18 Years after 9/11: Terrorism Needs To Be Prevented At The Source

Trump adds TTP chief, 10 others on global terrorist list

Trump signals could meet with Iran, as security hawk Bolton exits

Holding moment of silence for 9/11 becomes law at NY schools

US government story is Achilles' heel in the official version of 9/11: Scholar

US announces new sanctions on Hamas, ISIS and Iran's Guard

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Pakistan

Pakistan’s Stock Market Gets Its First Islamic Financing Instrument

PM Imran Announces 'Big Jalsa' In Muzaffarabad on Friday

Pakistan demands UN probe of India actions in Kashmir, fears ‘genocide’

Pakistan asks UNHRC not to remain indifferent to situation in Kashmir

Pakistan urges UN chief for urgent steps as Gutteres voices concern on Kashmir situation

IHC constitutes bench to hear Nawaz’s appeal against his conviction

Pakistan warns of ‘genocide’ in Kashmir, sees no talks with India

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Mideast

Israeli Leader Says Iran Hid a Nuclear Weapons Site

Airstrikes kill 18 pro-Iran fighters in eastern Syria

Turkey’s Radical Plan: Send a Million Refugees Back to Syria

In last words, Khashoggi asked killers not to suffocate him

World Shiite Muslims Commemorate Ashoura

Iranians Commemorate Imam Hossein's Martyrdom Anniversary

Saudi Arabia condemns Netanyahu pledge to annex West Bank’s Jordan Valley

Zarif in Trump reminder: Did you know Netanyahu pushed you into Afghan war, too?

Yemenis vow to continue resistance against Saudi aggression

Israeli High Court allows military to hold bodies of slain Palestinians for use in negotiations

Netanyahu quits Israel election rally as rocket alert sounds

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South Asia

Airstrikes Kill More Than 40 Taliban Militants in Takhar And Kunduz Provinces

Taliban Says It Will Continue Fighting After Trump Negotiations Cancelled

China calls for continuation of Afghan peace talks

UN envoy: It’s ‘imperative’ to start Afghan-Taliban talks

Afghans Glad Trump Stopped Taliban Talks, Even if They Doubt His Explanation

Airstrikes kill 17 Taliban, ISIS militants; destroy a car bomb and weapons caches

Mullah Rahmat among 12 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Farah province

Special Forces kill, detain 11 militants in latest raids against Taliban, ISIS groups

Taliban group member disguised as woman arrested in Nuristan province

Rocket explodes near US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary

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Europe

Foiled Terrorist Attacks on UK Soil Have Risen To 22, Says Top Officer

ISIS remains resilient in Afghanistan, says UN chief Guterres

Muslims in London mark Ashura

Saudi Arabia’s Princess Lamia opens new and improved Islamic art space at Louvre in Paris

Turkey, EU political dialogue to be held in Brussels

Terror watchdog casts doubt over extremist hotspot plan

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Africa

Children Held In 'Horrific Conditions over Boko Haram Ties': HRW

Nigeria government forces kill 12 mourners on Ashura

5 Nigerian farmers shot dead in Boko Haram attack

Somalia: Five Killed As Al-Shabaab Target AMISOM Troops

UN says over 250,000 Somalis newly displaced in 7 months

Egypt Wants Sudan Off US Terror List

African refugees held in Libya to be evacuated to Rwanda: UN

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/international-commission-of-jurists-calls-upon-the-malaysian-government-to-ensure-that-custom,-tradition,-and-religion-are-not-used-as-a-justification-to-undermine-human-rights/d/119717

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International Commission of Jurists Calls upon the Malaysian Government to Ensure That Custom, Tradition, and Religion Are Not Used As a Justification To Undermine Human Rights

10 September 2019

BY JERRY CHOONG

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has called upon the Malaysian government to ensure that custom, tradition, and religion are not used as a justification to undermine human rights.

Its senior international legal advisor Emerlynne Gil said that in light of the Kuala Lumpur High Court's decision on August 27 to refer progressive feminist Islamic NGO Sisters in Islam (SIS) to the Shariah Court, states have an obligation under international law to protect people who are prevented from exercising their religious freedom by private actors, such as their own religious communities.

“The Malaysian government, including the judiciary, has the obligation to protect groups like Sisters in Islam when they face persecution from within their religious communities for propounding alternative views about their religion,” she said in a statement on ICJ's website.

Gil added that for women to fully exercise their religious freedom, they must be able to retain or adopt the religion of their choice, and they must be able to continue belonging to this religion without being discriminated against within the religion.

In a 2019 briefing paper on the challenges to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Malaysia, the ICJ had previously underscored the tensions emerging from jurisdictional disputes between civil courts, which apply federal and state laws, and Shariah courts, which use Islamic laws.

In 2018, when reviewing Malaysia's performance, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women voiced its own concern over the existence of a parallel legal system of civil law and multiple versions of Shariah law, which have not been harmonised in accordance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

The CEDAW Committee concluded that this 'leads to a gap in the protection of women against discrimination, including on the basis of their religion.'

The Selangor Fatwa Council decreed in 2014 that SIS is a deviant organisation, with the High Court subsequently making its decision per Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution, which states that secular courts do not have jurisdiction over matters pertaining to Islam.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/09/10/dont-use-custom-tradition-or-religion-as-excuse-to-undermine-human-rights-i/1789210

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Symposium Named 'Dara Shikoh A Hero of the Indian Syncretist Traditions' Will See the Participation of Eminent Leaders of RSS and BJP

Sep 11, 2019

New Delhi: A symposium on the spiritual legacy of Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh will see the participation of eminent leaders of RSS and BJP including Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi besides newly appointed Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan in the national capital on Wednesday.

The symposium named "Dara Shikoh: A hero of the Indian syncretist traditions", which will be addressed by RSS joint general secretary Krishna Gopal is being organised by Academics for Nation, an RSS-backed newly formed group of academicians.

Syed Ainul Hasan, a professor of Persian and Central Asian Studies School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, will also share the dais on the occasion.

Promoting Dara Shikoh as the good Muslim has been part of the RSS project for many years and the scheduled program is being seen as Sangh's effort of building a cohesive social and cultural edifice of India.

The event comes days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat met Jamiat leader Maulana Arshad Madani at headquarters in Delhi. The one-and-half-hours long meeting discussed the Hindu-Muslim unity.

The BJP has always been exploring the personality that was Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, as the good Muslim.

In 2017, Dalhousie Road in the national capital was named after Dara Shikoh, the elder brother of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Later Aurangzeb road was named after former president APJ Abdul Kalam.

"The objective of the conference is to present Dara Shikoh's contribution and initiatives in bringing about spiritual homogenisation of Hinduism and Islam and thereby building a cohesive social and cultural edifice of India," one of the organisers told ANI.

Born on 20 March, 1615, at Taragarh Fort Ajmer, he was the eldest son of Shah Jahan. He took the throne succeeded by his father and his eldest sister Princess Jahanara Begum. He took initiative to unite Hindus and Muslims.

Shikoh was beheaded in 1659 in a struggle for succession by his younger brother Aurangzeb, who then became king and appended the title Alamgir (Conqueror of the World) to his name.

https://www.firstpost.com/india/symposium-by-rss-and-bjp-on-spiritual-legacy-of-mughal-prince-dara-shikoh-to-be-held-in-new-delhi-today-7321181.html

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Pakistan's outcry over Kashmir is hypocrisy, says Baloch activist

Sep 11, 2019

GENEVA: Islamabad's outcry over Kashmir reeks of hypocrisy, said a Baloch activist, adding that Pakistani establishment is trying to hide their atrocities in Balochistan.

"This is what you call heights of hypocrisy. Because they want to hide the human rights violations they are doing in Balochistan, they have crying over Kashmir at the UN," Razzak Baloch, organiser of the US-based Baloch Rights Council, told ANI.

Razzak's remarks came in response to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's false narrative on Kashmir at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session, being maintained by his country following the Indian government's historic move to abrogate Article 370.

Interestingly, while Qureshi was addressing the session, protests were held outside the UN Headquarters against the dire situation of Human Rights in Pakistan.

Time and again Islamabad has been left red-faced after all its desperate attempts to internationalise the Kashmir issue fell flat with countries like Russia, UAE and US siding with India.

While Pakistan has been running from pillar to post, New Delhi has maintained that Kashmir is a strictly internal matter.

On Tuesday, Qureshi referred to Jammu and Kashmir as an "Indian state" following his speech at the UNHRC session here.

Speaking to reporters, Shah said, "India is trying to give an impression to the world that life has returned to normalcy. If the life has returned to normalcy, then I say, why don't they allow you, the international media, why don't they allow the international organisations, the NGOs, civil society organisations to go into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and see for themselves what the reality is."

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistans-outcry-over-kashmir-is-hypocrisy-says-baloch-activist/articleshow/71074900.cms

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Israeli Leader Says Iran Hid a Nuclear Weapons Site

By David M. Halbfinger and David E. Sanger

Sept. 9, 2019

JERUSALEM — Israel accused Iran on Monday of having harbored an undisclosed nuclear-weapons site that the Iranians destroyed a few months ago for fear of exposure. Iran ridiculed the accusation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel displayed satellite photographs that he said showed the site, and he called upon other countries to join the United States in maintaining pressure on Tehran.

Mr. Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem that Israel had first learned of the site, in the central Iranian city of Abadeh, in early 2018 when Israeli spies stole what he has previously described as a huge trove of the archives of Iran’s nuclear program.

When the Iranians learned that Israel was aware of the site, he said, “they simply destroyed it, just eliminated everything.”

Mr. Netanyahu showed the photographs a week before an election in which he is battling for political survival. His move also came after President Trump suggested he might meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, possibly during the United Nations General Assembly next month.

The Israeli prime minister described the satellite photos as having been taken in late June, and then about a month later, which appeared to show damage to buildings in a complex along a mountain ridge.

“Every time they hide, we reveal, and then they try to cover their tracks,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

He took no questions during the presentation. But his assertions left many questions unanswered, chief among them why Israel waited until now to reveal information from a trove of material seized at a warehouse in Tehran, in an espionage operation, 21 months ago.

Mr. Netanyahu first revealed some material from the trove last year. In the summer of 2018, he invited reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post to review some of the material under the watchful eye of Israeli intelligence officers.

During those briefings, the officers were explicitly asked whether the documents pointed to additional undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran, but there was no mention of Abadeh.

So it is unclear when Israel concluded that the facility was linked to the nuclear program, or why it did not raise the public alarm earlier, before it was dismantled.

While some information was given by Israel to inspectors at the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is not clear that Abadeh was included. Nor is it clear why Mr. Netanyahu did not reveal the facility’s existence as soon as the satellite imagery he cited had detected the Iranians dismantling it earlier this summer.

There was no immediate comment from the energy agency, the Vienna-based nuclear monitor of the United Nations, which polices Iran’s compliance with the Nonproliferation Treaty and the 2015 nuclear agreement that Mr. Trump has abandoned.

But hours before Mr. Netanyahu spoke, the agency’s acting director general, Cornel Feruta, said that in a just-completed visit to Iran, he had “stressed the need for Iran to respond promptly to agency questions related to the completeness of Iran’s safeguards declarations.”

Mr. Feruta declined to specify what the agency’s inspectors wanted to know from the Iranians.

The agency has said for years that Iran halted organized efforts at exploring possible nuclear weapons in 2003. American intelligence officials have made the same conclusion.

The Israelis have accused the agency inspectors of inadequate supervision of Iran. According to Yossi Cohen, the chief of the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, a major purpose of stealing the nuclear archive was to give the agency information on where to look in Iran.

“Make no mistakes: The target of the operation in Tehran was not only to obtain intelligence, or to make an impression on the world’s consciousness,” he said in speech last June.

The timing of Mr. Netanyahu’s news conference, with no opportunity for reporters to ask questions, led his political opponents to charge that he was exploiting national intelligence information for personal advantage.

“Netanyahu’s use of sensitive security-related intelligence for the purposes of his propaganda speaks volumes of his impaired judgment,” Benny Gantz, the former Israeli army chief of staff who leads the Blue and White Party and is tied with Mr. Netanyahu in the polls, told Israeli public radio.

Mr. Gantz and other Netanyahu critics, including former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, have repeatedly accused Mr. Netanyahu in recent weeks of improperly releasing secret information, often by disregarding Israel’s longstanding policy of ambiguity to claim credit for airstrikes on Iranian forces and their allies in Syria and Iraq.

Iran has repeatedly denied Mr. Netanyahu’s claims about its nuclear ambitions and has criticized Israel for amassing an arsenal of nuclear weapons, which according to the Arms Control Association, a Washington research group, totals between 80 and 90 warheads. Israel does not comment about its nuclear weapons.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, in a Twitter post, responded sarcastically to Mr. Netanyahu’s latest accusation: “The possessor of REAL nukes cries wolf — on an ALLEGED “demolished” site in Iran,” Mr. Zarif said.

Mr. Netanyahu has staked his career on his crusade against Iran and what he has described as its malevolent nuclear ambitions.

His success in helping to persuade Mr. Trump to abandon the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, which eased sanctions in return for Iran’s verifiable promises of peaceful nuclear work, was one of Mr. Netanyahu’s crowning foreign-policy achievements.

But the Trump administration’s current overture to Mr. Rouhani, and an offer to Iran by President Emmanuel Macron of France of $15 billion in aid, have undercut Mr. Netanyahu’s unremitting posture toward Tehran.

At his news conference Monday, Mr. Netanyahu warned that Iran was “systematically lying” and urged other countries to embrace Mr. Trump’s policy of stiff sanctions.

His message could have been aimed as much at Washington or Paris as at any other world capital: “The only way to stop Iran’s march to the bomb, and its aggression in the region, is pressure, pressure and more pressure,” he said.

One Israeli analyst who closely tracks the country’s stance toward Iran said Mr. Netanyahu was unlikely to change any minds with Monday’s announcement.

“The timing seems primarily related to imminent Israeli elections,” said the analyst, Ofer Zalzberg of the International Crisis Group.

“President Trump already believes Iran hid certain activities and nevertheless seems to lean towards engaging with President Rouhani,” he said. “Proof of another activity which Iran supposedly hid won’t make much of a difference for him.”

Israeli public radio quoted an unidentified aide to Mr. Netanyahu as having insisted that national-security “professionals,” not political appointees, had advised the prime minister to unveil the Abadeh site on Monday, following Mr. Feruta’s statement in Vienna.

Mr. Netanyahu also asserted Monday that the nuclear agency had found traces of uranium at a site Israel had uncovered in Turquzabad, where he said Iran had stored material and equipment for its nuclear program.

“This is what I have to say to the tyrants of Tehran: Israel knows what you’re doing, Israel knows when you’re doing it and Israel knows where you’re doing it,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “We will continue to expose your lies.”

The Abadeh complex is clearly visible on Google Earth. The most recent Google Earth image was taken in January, months before the destruction asserted by Mr. Netanyahu, and shows a dozen or so buildings that appear to have been little used, with no obvious checkpoints or fences typically associated with Iran’s military sites and large nuclear facilities.

David M. Halbfinger reported from Jerusalem, and David E. Sanger from Washington. Reporting was contributed by Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv and William J. Broad and Rick Gladstone from New York.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/09/world/middleeast/iran-israel-netanyahu-nuclear.html

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Airstrikes kill more than 40 Taliban militants in Takhar and Kunduz provinces

11 Sep 2019

The security forces conducted a series of airstrikes in Kunduz and Takhar provinces in North of Afghanistan killing more than 40 Taliban militants.

The informed military sources said Wednesday that an airstrike killed 33 Taliban militants in Darqad and Khwajah Bahawuddin districts of Takhar.

The sources further added that similar airstrikes killed 10 Taliban militants in Chahar DArah and Khanabad districts of Kunduz.

The sources also added that the airstrikes destroyed a car bomb as well.

https://www.khaama.com/airstrikes-kill-more-than-40-taliban-militants-in-takhar-and-kunduz-provinces-04007/

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Southeast Asia

 

Let Shia Muslims practise faith in private, says Penang mufti

Faiz Zainudin

September 11, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The mufti of Penang appears to have broken ranks with Islamic authorities in the wake of a recent series of crackdowns on Shia Muslims, saying followers should be allowed the freedom to practise their beliefs.

But Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor also agrees that Shia Muslims should carry out their rituals in private, saying doing so in the open among the predominantly Sunni Muslims could undermine Muslim unity.

“The Shias should be allowed the freedom to follow their teachings without the involvement of the public.

“If adherents of other religions are allowed to practise their faiths in private, why are the Shias excluded? We must be consistent, not selective,” he told FMT.

His comments follow a series of raids on private Shia Muslim functions as adherents observed the Ashura, the death anniversary of Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad and a central figure in Shia Islam.

Islamic authorities in Selangor and Johor have arrested dozens of Shia Muslim followers, including foreigners, in what has been labelled by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission as a violation of constitutional rights.

Wan Salim however advised Shia Muslims to keep their beliefs to themselves and not to propagate them to other Muslims.

He said the issue poses a dilemma for the Malaysian government.

“On one hand, the government has to respect the school of thought followed by the majority Muslims in Malaysia. On the other hand, it also has to ensure good ties with Iran and other predominantly Shia Muslim countries.

“So it would be unwise if such ties are soured by the actions of a handful of Shia Muslims,” he said.

Wan Salim also said it was the right of state religious authorities to take necessary action against Shia Muslims in protecting the interests of Muslims at large.

“This includes arresting individuals and groups who could cause confusion in the Muslim community in the respective states,” he said, noting that the arrests were made based on the decision by the National Fatwa Consultation Committee in 1996 prohibiting the spread of any teachings other than those of Sunni Islam.

He said there should be a balance between ensuring the constitutional right of religious freedom and the status of Islam as the federal religion.

Religious authorities in Malaysia have over the years been enforcing a fatwa declaring Shia teachings as “deviant”, with raiding parties mostly targeting local Shias.

Shia, which has a substantial following in Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon and several parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan, is the second largest branch of Islam.

But state Islamic authorities have declared its teachings “deviant”, with sermons in Selangor frequently condemning its followers as heretics.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/09/11/let-shia-muslims-practise-faith-in-private-says-penang-mufti/

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Shariah-friendly guide for martial arts garb awaiting Jakim’s okay

Nicholas Chung

September 11, 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu government’s call for ideas on shariah-compliant sports attire has prompted a martial arts exponent to resurrect a proposal he once made to Jakim, the federal authority on Islamic matters.

Alif Aiman, a taekwondo and hapkido practitioner and a former head instructor on close-quarter combat for the Malaysian armed forces, told FMT he submitted his proposed shariah-compliant guide for martial arts to Jakim about four years ago after working on it for two years.

There has been no news of Jakim’s response.

Alif emphasised that what he called his Shariah Compliant Capable (SCC) guide was offered as an option for those who wanted it and not meant to be forced on athletes.

He said it would guide non-Muslim instructors seeking to comply with the shariah and help shariah-conscious Muslims decide whether to join a martial arts class.

“Let’s say I’m a non-Muslim and I’m teaching a class and there are Muslim students there. They might feel more comfortable if I was qualified as SCC.

“I would suggest a cutoff point of 51% Muslim attendance. For example, if you have a class of 100 and 51 of them are Muslim, the instructor can ask the Muslims if they wish to make this particular class shariah-compliant.

“If the Muslims say yes, then he just follows the checklist. It’s a very easy checklist to follow.”

He said he called it SCC to emphasise that the decision to follow the guide should be made jointly by the instructor and his students.

Last week, Terengganu executive councillor Wan Sukairi Abdullah announced that the state would withdraw from sports events that did not conform with the shariah. He also said his government was drafting a shariah-compliant code of conduct for athletes and called for suggestions.

Alif claimed that some foreign governments and several international martial arts associations had expressed interest in endorsing his guide.

He also claimed that SCC was based on the Quran and some hadiths and was formulated with the help of experts, professionals and religious personages from the Middle East, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia, including shariah law expert Azmi Mohd Rais.

“I’m not an Islamic scholar,” he said. “I’m just a Malaysian involved in sports. I’ve achieved certain positions in martial arts and I just want to give something back.”

He said the SCC guide should be applicable to most sports, but he added that he understood the purpose behind the international code of conduct and attire for certain sports.

“Let’s say I participate in gymnastics and I cover myself head to toe. You won’t be able to see any movement. You’ll see only the clothing flowing all over the place. So, technically speaking, even if they let you wear whatever you want to wear, you won’t be able to get the points.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/09/11/shariah-friendly-guide-for-martial-arts-garb-awaiting-jakims-okay/

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Putrajaya, judiciary duty-bound to protect SIS, says jurists body

September 10, 2019

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is duty-bound to protect Muslim women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS), according to an international human rights NGO dedicated to the rule of law.

“The Malaysian government, including the judiciary, has the obligation to protect groups like SIS when they face persecution from within their religious communities for propounding alternative views about their religion,” said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement today.

Emerlynne Gil, ICJ senior international legal adviser noted that SIS had been for many years promoting more egalitarian interpretations of Islamic laws to end discrimination against women and achieve equality among Muslims.

She added that states had an obligation to protect people who were prevented from exercising their religious freedom by private actors, such as their own religious communities.

“For women to fully exercise their religious freedom, they must be able to retain or adopt the religion of their choice and they must be able to continue belonging to this religion without being discriminated against within the religion,” she said.

Gil also said ICJ expressed concern over the recent Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissal of an application on Aug 27 by SIS to challenge a fatwa against it by the Selangor Islamic religious authorities five years ago.

SIS sought to quash the 2014 fatwa by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) which stated that the rights group subscribed to liberalism and religious pluralism and had deviated from the teachings of Islam.

But Gil noted that the ICJ had previously underscored in a 2019 briefing paper on the challenges to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Malaysia the tensions emerging from jurisdictional disputes between civil courts and shariah courts.

She added that the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in reviewing the performance of Malaysia in 2018, had also voiced its concern over the existence of a parallel legal system of civil law and multiple versions of shariah law.

These, she said, had not been harmonised in accordance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The CEDAW committee concluded that this “leads to a gap in the protection of women against discrimination, including on the basis of their religion”, she said.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/09/10/putrajaya-judiciary-duty-bound-to-protect-sis-says-jurists-body/

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India

 

UN observers must go to Pak, not India: MQM boss

Sep 11, 2019

LONDON: The founder of Pakistani political party Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, living in exile in London, has hit out at Pakistan over its human rights records, saying the UN should send observers to Pakistan and not India.

Hussain told TOI by phone on Tuesday: “Pakistan should not take India to the United National Human Rights Council (UNHCR). Pakistan needs to give answers about thousands of killings of Balochs and Pashtuns in Pakistan first. The UN should be sending observers to Pakistan and not to India. India is doing very well.”

He made the comments as the 42nd session of the UNHRC got underway in Geneva where Pakistan accused India of committing human rights violations and a “genocide” in Kashmir.

Hussain, who was granted asylum in Britain in 1992, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres should send observers to urban Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan “to let the world know about enforced disappearances and human rights violations in Pakistan”.

He told TOI that mohajirs (Indians who moved to Pakistan at Partition) faced torture and arbitrary detention in Pakistan and that there had been more than 25,000 extra-judicial killings of them since 1992 — his elder brother and nephew among them.

“The UN needs to go into the tribal areas of Pakistan and take statements from people’s families to find out what is going on,” he said. More than 500 MQM officer-bearers are missing and more than 10,000 arrested he wrote in a letter to Guterres dated September 4 urging him to send UN observers to Pakistan

On Tuesday evening Hussain tweeted a video of a large protest against Pakistan in Rawalakot in PoK, near the LoC. “Kashmiris were peacefully demonstrating and chanting ‘We want independence from Pakistan in Kashmir. The army should get out of Pakistan-held Kashmir’,” he told TOI. “The people living in Pakistan-held Kashmir have now raised their voices since Pakistan started taking the Article 370 issue to international courts. They want freedom from the Pakistan army. This was the biggest protest so far. The Pakistan Army baton-charged them, used tear gas and arrested many of them,” he said.

“Protests are banned and there is no freedom of speech there. They cannot choose their own prime minister in Kashmir. They are all chosen by ISI. The army has instructed the electronic media in Pakistan not to report these protests. People are not allowed to speak against the Establishment,” he said.

Next to the video he tweeted: “I strongly condemn atrocities of PK security forces against peaceful pro-independence protestors in Pakistan held Kashmir. @UNHumanRights should immediately send its fact finding mission in Pakistan held Kashmir. Deep state’s brutal media black-out & hypocrisy can’t work anymore.”

On Sunday, after US President Donald Trump called off talks with the Taliban, he tweeted: “I request President of USA & President of Afghanistan to please find out which country is involved for years in creating Taliban, Al-Qaeeda & other Jihadi outfits, providing them shelters (safe havens) & training to carry out terrorist activities all over the world particularly neighbouring countries (sic).”

“In which country innumerable Jihadi Madarsas have been created (sic)? Please find out the root cause of all the mess in Afghanistan. I am sure, you are aware of the country in the whole world which is familiar & well known as epi-centre of notorious terrorists & also exporting jihadis throughout the world particularly in the neighbouring countries (sic),” he tweeted.

Hussain said all the various charges against him in a Karachi anti-terrorism court have been “fabricated and politically motivated.” He was arrested in London in June for a 2016 speech he made raising human violations in Pakistan after complaints were made that it amounted to hate speech. The matter is still under investigation.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/un-observers-must-go-to-pak-not-india-mqm-boss/articleshow/71073134.cms

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Top LeT terrorist killed in an encounter J&K's Sopore

Sep 11, 2019

NEW DELHI: Security forces on Wednesday killed a top-ranking LeT terrorist Asif in Jammu and Kashmir's Sopore, reported news agency ANI.

The terrorist was responsible for recent shootout and injuries to three family members of a fruit trader in the town, earlier this week. The injured also included a young girl Asma Jan. He was also responsible for shooting at a migrant labour Shafi Alam in Sopore.

The young girl was among four injured in the attack. She was later shifted to Delhi's AIIMS hospital on the orders of NSA chief Ajit Doval.

The encounter comes a day after security forces arrested eight Lashkar-e-Taiba "terrorist associates" from the area for allegedly circulating posters to locals to threaten and intimidate them at the behest of militants, police said on Tuesday.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/top-let-terrorist-killed-in-an-encounter-jks-sopore/articleshow/71075182.cms

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8 Lashkar men held in J&K for circulating threat posters

Sep 11, 2019

SRINAGAR: Even as curfew-like restrictions were reimposed in several parts of Kashmir to foil any plans on taking out Muharram processions, J&K police on Tuesday arrested eight Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, who were involved in threatening residents of Sopore in south Kashmir. Muharram processions have been banned in Kashmir since 1990 when armed insurgency began.

Commercial hub of Lal Chowk and adjoining areas were completely sealed off by placing concertina wires at all entry points where large number of security force personnel were deployed, officials said.

Restrictions have been in several parts of Kashmir as a precautionary measure for maintaining law and order in the Valley, they said.

Despite restrictions, Muharram processions were peacefully held in some Shia-dominated areas of Budgam district.

Sopore SSP Javid Iqbal said the arrested Lashkar operatives — Aijaz Mir, Omar Mir, Tawseef Najar, Imitiyaz Najar, Omar Akbar, Faizan Latief, Danish Habib and Showkat Ahmad Mir — were assigned the task of making and circulating posters threatening people against carrying out normal activities. The eight were being handled by three Lashkar terrorists namely Sajjad alias Hyder, Asif Maqbool Bhat and Mudasir Pandit. Computers and other accessories used for making the posters have been recovered from their possession, Iqbal added.

Terrorists have already tried to instil fear in Kashmiris by attacking the family of one fruit trader, Hamidullah Rather, of Dangerpora in Sopore on September 5 evening. In this attack, three men and a 30-month-old baby girl were injured.

Before this attack, terrorists had on August 29 killed 65-year-old Ghulam Mohammad of Parimpora on Srinagar outskirts for keeping his grocery shop open. These two incidents created so much fear among the residents that it resulted in total shutdown of shops and business establishments in the Valley, sources said.

Restrictions were first imposed across Kashmir on August 5 when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories. The restrictions were lifted in phases from many parts of the Valley as the situation improved with passage of time.

The authorities have been imposing restrictions in vulnerable areas of the Valley every Friday, apprehending that vested interests might exploit the large gatherings at big mosques and shrines to fuel protests.

Meanwhile, normal life remained severely affected in Kashmir due to shutdown in the Valley, which entered 37th day on Tuesday.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/8-lashkar-men-held-in-jk-for-circulating-threat-posters/articleshow/71073132.cms

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India fields officer from J&K to call Pak’s bluff

Sep 11, 2019

MEA’s secretary (east) Vijay Thakur Singh took on Pakistan’s attack over recent decisions regarding the status of J&K. “These decisions were taken by our Parliament after a full debate that was televised and enjoyed widespread support. We wish to reiterate that this sovereign decision, like other legislations passed by Parliament, is entirely internal to India. No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India,” Singh said.

Earlier in the session, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi demanded a probe by the UNHRC into the situation in Kashmir and urged the world rights body not to remain “indifferent” after India revoked J&K’s special status.

Qureshi asked the council to urge India to immediately stop the use of pellet guns, lift the curfew, reverse the clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental freedoms and liberties.

The back-and-forth over J&K do- minated the session, potentially setting the stage for a bigger showdown later this month when PM Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan will address the UNGA. India rebutted Pakistan’s allegations also while exercising its right to reply by fielding an officer who belongs to J&K, first secretary with India’s permanent mission in Geneva.

MEA first secretary Vimarsh Aryan questioned Pakistan’s locus to criticise India’s recent decisions on J&K, contending that Article 370 was a temporary provision. The official also said OIC, which too has been talking about alleged Indian atrocities, had no locus standi on the issue. Calling out Pakistan for its “false narrative”, Aryan said Pakistan’s was an ill-disguised effort to advance its territorial ambitions and that terrorism was the worst form of human rights abuse. Probably unsure of support from the 47-member council, Pakistan has not yet pressed for a resolution on the issue.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-fields-officer-from-jk-to-call-paks-bluff/articleshow/71073131.cms

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India rages as China-Pak statement refers to J&K

Sep 11, 2019

NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday strongly rejected the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the joint statement issued by China and Pakistan after the recent visit of Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi to Islamabad, and said J&K was an integral part of India.

In a statement, the government said India has consistently expressed concerns to both China and Pakistan on projects in the so-called China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947.

“India is resolutely opposed to any actions by other countries to change the status quo in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. We call on the parties concerned to cease such actions," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

According to the joint statement, China had reaffirmed its support for Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and said that it opposed any unilateral actions that could complicate the regional situation.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-rages-as-china-pak-statement-refers-to-jk/articleshow/71073028.cms

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India rejects Pakistan's demand for international probe by UNHRC on Kashmir

Sep 10, 2019

GENEVA: India on Tuesday said the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status was within the country's sovereign right and entirely an internal matter, rejecting Pakistan's "hysterical statements" and its demand for an international probe by the UNHRC into the Kashmir issue.

Exercising its right to respond to Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's statements at the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council here, first secretary in the ministry of external affairs Vimarsh Aryan said Article 370 was a temporary provision of the Indian Constitution.

The recent modification of Article 370 was "within our sovereign right and entirely an internal matter of India", the diplomat said.

"We are not surprised at Pakistan's hysterical statements with false narratives aimed to politicise and polarise this forum (UNHRC). Pakistan realises that our decision cuts away ground from under its feet by creating obstacles in its continuing sponsorship of cross-border terrorism," he said.

Amid Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's provocative anti-India statements, Aryan said, "Some Pakistani leaders have even gone as far as calling for jihad to encourage violence in Jammu and Kashmir and third countries to create a picture of genocide, which even they know is far from reality."

The Indian diplomat said the people of Kashmir are united to preserve the core values of democracy and Islamabad has "no locus standi to talk on Kashmir".

He said at the UNHRC forum, Pakistan has pretended to speak as the voice of the global community on human rights.

"But the world cannot be fooled. Pakistan's gory record speaks for itself. This rhetoric will not distract international attention from Pakistan's persecution and elimination of religious and ethnic minorities - be it the Christians, Sikhs, Shias, Ahmadiyas and Hindus," Aryan said, adding that the persecution of minorities in Pakistan is well documented.

Earlier at the session, Pakistan foreign minister Qureshi demanded an international investigation by the UNHRC into the situation in Kashmir and urged the world rights body not to remain "indifferent" after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

He said the UNHRC must not remain indifferent to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

"Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world's conscience on human rights, to seek justice and respect for the people of Kashmir," he said.

Qureshi asked the Council to urge India to immediately stop the use of pellet guns, lift the curfew, reverse the clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental freedoms and liberties, release political prisoners and fulfil obligations under the UN Security Council Resolutions and various human rights instruments, as required by international law.

He asked the Council to constitute a commission of inquiry into the situation in Kashmir, as recommended by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-rejects-pakistans-demand-for-international-probe-by-unhrc-on-kashmir/articleshow/71070182.cms

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India calls Pakistan epicentre of terrorism, rejects its false narrative on J&K

Sep 10, 2019

GENEVA: India on Tuesday rejected Pakistan's allegations at the UN Human Rights Council and hit back saying a "fabricated narrative" on Jammu and Kashmir has come from "the epicentre of global terrorism" and from a nation, which conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of 'alternate diplomacy.'

Making the national statement during the general debate at the UNHRC session, Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) in external affairs ministry, strongly defended the government's decision to abrogate Article 370 and reorganise Jammu and Kashmir, saying that legislative decisions on Jammu and Kashmir were "sovereign" and "entirely internal to India."

She responded to Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's claim earlier in the day that India has transformed Jammu and Kashmir into a largest "caged prison on this planet" after the abrogation of Article 370 and that the human rights were being "trampled with impunity" there.

Maintaining that the Indian delegation will separately exercise the right to respond, Singh said the decisions were taken by the Indian Parliament after a full debate that was televised and enjoyed widespread support.

"We wish to reiterate that this sovereign decision like other legislation passed by Parliament is entirely internal to India. No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India," she said.

She said the Council should call out those who are misusing this platform for malicious political agendas under the garb of human rights.

"Those who are attempting this speak on the human rights of minorities in other countries whilst trampling upon them at will in their own country. They cry victim when they actually are the perpetrators," she said.

Without naming Pakistan, she said one delegation "has given a running commentary with offensive rhetoric of false allegations and concocted charges against my country."

"The world is aware that this fabricated narrative comes from the epicentre of global terrorism, where ring leaders were sheltered for years. This nation conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of 'alternate diplomacy," she said.

Singh said terrorism poses a grave challenge to the commitment of the international community to protect the right to life and security of people globally.

"It is extinguishing innocent lives and spreading fear and uncertainty. Those who abet, finance and support terrorism in any form on territory under their control are in truth the worst violators of human rights," she said.

The senior MEA official said that the world, in particular India, has suffered greatly on account of the activities by "practitioners of state-sponsored terrorism" and it is time to collectively take decisive and firm action against terror groups and their abettors who threaten the fundamental human right to life.

"We must speak out. Silence only emboldens terrorists. It also encourages their intimidatory tactics. India appeals to the international community to work together in the fight against terrorism and their sponsors," she said.

Singh said despite challenging circumstances, Jammu and Kashmir's civil administration was ensuring basic services, essential supplies, normal functioning of institutions, mobility and nearly full connectivity.

"Democratic processes have been initiated. Restrictions are being eased continuously. Temporary preventive and precautionary measures were necessitated to ensure safety and security of our citizens in the face of credible threats of cross-border terrorism," she said.

Singh said the legislative measures taken by India within the framework of its Constitution will ensure that "the progressive legislative measures will also be fully applicable to our citizens in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh."

"As a result, there will be an end to gender discrimination, including on property rights and local bodies representation and there will be better protection of juvenile rights and laws against domestic violence. The rights to education, information and work will now be applicable. Longstanding discrimination against refugees and underprivileged sections will end," she said

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-calls-pakistan-epicentre-of-terrorism-rejects-its-false-narrative-on-jk/articleshow/71069929.cms

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Pakistan foreign minister describes Jammu & Kashmir as 'Indian state'

Sep 10, 2019

GENEVA: Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday described Jammu and Kashmir as an "Indian state", soon after he attacked India at the UNHRC here for revoking the special status of the state.

Pakistan has so far been referring to Jammu and Kashmir as "India administered Kashmir".

"India is trying to give an impression to the world that life has returned to normalcy. If the life has returned to normalcy, then why don't they allow you, the international media, the NGOs, civil society organisations to go into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and see for themselves what the reality is," Qureshi told reporters after his address at the UN Human Rights Council.

Qureshi is leading the Pakistani delegation at the 42nd UNHRC session in Geneva.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pakistan-foreign-minister-mentions-jammu-and-kashmir-as-indian-state/articleshow/71067802.cms

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Revocation of J&K's special status sovereign decision: India at UNHRC

Sep 10, 2019

GENEVA: India on Tuesday unleashed a very strong attack on Pakistan at the United Nations Human Rights Council and asserted that the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status was its sovereign decision and it cannot accept any interference in the country's internal affairs, as New Delhi hit out at Pakistan's "malicious" campaign on the issue and condemned "state sponsored terrorism".

Secretary (East) in the external affairs ministry Vijay Thakur Singh, in a clear reference to Pakistan, said those who speak on the human rights of minorities in other countries are "trampling upon them at will in their own country. They cry victim when they actually are the perpetrators".

There was a need to call out those who are misusing the United Nations Human Rights Council for "malicious political agenda under the garb of human rights", she said, rejecting Pakistan's charges against India on the Kashmir issue at the 42nd session of the UNHRC.

Singh said the recent legislative measures taken by India in Jammu and Kashmir were within the framework of its Constitution.

"These decisions were taken by our Parliament after a full debate that was televised and enjoyed widespread support. We wish to reiterate that this sovereign decision, like other legislations passed by Parliament, is entirely internal to India. No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India," she said.

In an apparent reference to the Pakistani delegation led by foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Singh said, "One delegation has given a running commentary with offensive rhetoric of false allegations and concocted charges against my country."

"The world is aware that this fabricated narrative comes from the epicentre of global terrorism, where ring leaders were sheltered for years. This nation conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of 'alternate diplomacy'," she said.

Today, Singh said, terrorism poses a grave challenge to the commitment of the international community to protect the right to life and security of people globally.

"Those who abet, finance and support terrorism in any form on territory under their control are in fact the worst violators of human rights," she said.

The world, in particular India, has suffered greatly on account of the activities by "practitioners of state sponsored terrorism" and it is time to collectively take decisive and firm action against terror groups and their abettors who threaten the fundamental human right to life.

"We must speak out. Silence only emboldens terrorists. It also encourages their intimidatory tactics. India appeals to the international community to work together in the fight against terrorism and their sponsors," Singh said.

Earlier, Pakistan demanded an international investigation by the UN Human Rights Council into the situation in Kashmir and urged the world rights body not to remain "indifferent" after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

On the issue of the National Register for Citizens in Assam, Singh said it was a "statutory, transparent, nondiscriminatory legal process mandated and monitored by the Supreme Court of India".

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/revocation-of-jks-special-status-sovereign-decision-india-at-unhrc/articleshow/71068851.cms

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As Kashmir apple growers face uncertainty, MHA promises central procurement

September 10, 2019

Days after apple growers from Kashmir met Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressing fear of massive losses this season due to restrictions on movement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decided to oversee a centralised procurement of apples from the Valley.

Last week, apple growers along with Panchayat members from the state met the home minister and apprised him of the difficulties they were facing in taking their produce to markets because of restrictions imposed since August 5 announcement on the abrogation of Article 370.

Sources in the Home Ministry said the government has decided that as many as 12 metric tonnes of apples would be procured through local Mandis in Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla and National Agriculture Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) would be the central agency in charge of procurement.

“NAFED will complete the entire process of procurement through designated state government agencies by 15th December 2019. Procurement will be made directly from genuine apple growers,” an MHA official said.

Payments for the produce procured would be transferred directly to the bank account of the apple farmer through the DBT route, sources said.

For fixing the price of the apple, based on its variety and grade, the government will constitute a State Level Price Fixation Committee for fixing the procurement price for A, B and C grade apple and other incidental charges like packaging, transportation, storage and related expenditure. The Price Committee includes a member from the National Horticulture Board, MHA sources said.

There would also be a Quality Committee that will ensure proper grading of varieties of apples.

“The implementation and coordination committee at the State level will be chaired by the Chief Secretary. Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Home Affairs and other Central agencies will oversee smooth implementation of the scheme,” a home ministry official said.

The chief secretary, sources said, has already directed all DCs to launch a sustained campaign to generate awareness among the fruit growers about Centre’s special market intervention scheme. He has also directed them to start the process of their registration, collecting their Aadhaar and bank account details so that after procurement of the apple, payment can be made directly into their bank accounts within a period of 48 hrs.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/as-kashmir-apple-growers-face-uncertainty-mha-promises-central-procurement-5982974/

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India rejects China-Pakistan joint statement on Kashmir, calls for status quo in PoK

September 10, 2019

A day after China and Pakistan said they opposed India’s “unilateral actions” in Kashmir and called for a dialogue, New Delhi on Tuesday rejected the joint reference to Kashmir and protested against the “so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor” running through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said: “We reject the reference to Jammu & Kashmir in the Joint Statement issued by China and Pakistan. J&K is an integral part of India. On the other hand, India has consistently expressed concerns to both China and Pakistan on the projects in so-called ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor’, which is in the territory of India that has been illegally occupied by Pakistan since 1947. India is resolutely opposed to any actions by other countries to change the status quo in Pakistan occupied J&K. We call on the parties concerned to cease such actions.”

On Sunday, Islamabad and Beijing issued a joint press statement during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s two-day visit to Pakistan. The two countries, according to the Express Tribune, said it was opposed to “unilateral actions” in Kashmir and called for a peaceful resolution on the issue.

And on Monday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet  expressed “deep concern” at the communication shutdown and detention of political leadership in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and urged the Indian government to ensure that human rights are respected and protected.

In her opening statement at the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet said: “My office continues to receive reports on the human rights situation on both sides of the Line of Control. I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on Internet communication and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists.”

“While I continue to urge the governments of India and Pakistan to ensure that human rights are respected and protected, I have appealed, particularly to India, to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people’s access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained. It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future,” she said.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-rejects-china-pakistan-joint-statement-on-kashmir-calls-for-status-quo-on-projects-in-pok-5982574/

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Arab World

 

Saudi Arabia reiterates support for Palestinians

September 10, 2019

The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday reiterated Riyadh’s support for Palestinian people and welcomed the speech by the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, at the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

In his speech, Al-Mouallimi reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s support for Palestinians’ legitimate rights to build their independent state along the lines of the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

The Cabinet, chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, also commended the joint Saudi-UAE statement affirming their continued support to the legitimate Yemeni government.

The ministers also welcomed the response of the Yemeni government and the Transitional Council to the Kingdom’s call for dialogue stressing the need to maintain this positive atmosphere and renounce division.

The Cabinet also emphasized the Saudi-UAE’s support to preserve components of the Yemeni state and efforts to thwart Iran’s nefarious designs, defeat the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and terrorist outfits in Yemen.

The Cabinet welcomed the formation of the transitional government in Sudan, considering it an affirmation of the will of the people and their keenness to preserve the security, safety and stability of the country.

The Cabinet condemned the suicide attack that targeted a residential compound and a checkpoint in Kabul, and offered condolences to the victims’ families, renewing the Kingdom’s stand and solidarity with Afghanistan against violence and extremism.

It also commended economic indicators contained in the 55th annual report of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, which reviewed economic and financial developments during 2018, stressing that the positive developments in the Saudi economy were the result of the Kingdom’s balanced economic policies.

The Cabinet welcomed the International Monetary Fund’s consultation report praising the tangible progress being made by Saudi Arabia to support economic diversification, inclusive growth, job creation and continued implementation of reforms aimed at strengthening its legal framework and improving the business climate through the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030.

Furthermore, the Cabinet authorized the minister of environment, water and agriculture to discuss with the Chinese government a draft memorandum of understanding between the Saline Water Conversion Corp. and research institutes in China in the field of seawater desalination.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1552761/saudi-arabia

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US drops 40 tons of bombs on Daesh-’infested’ island in Iraq

September 10, 2019

BAGHDAD: The US-led coalition says American warplanes have dropped 36,000 kilograms (40 tons) of bombs on an Island in the Tigris River “infested” with members of the Daesh group.

The coalition said F15 and F35 warplanes took part in the bombing on Qanus Island in the central province of Salaheddine, north of the capital Baghdad.

Tuesday’s attack is part of operations carried out by Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition against Daesh, which was defeated in Iraq in 2017.

Daesh sleeper cells have since carried out deadly bombings in Iraq.

Daesh controlled large swathes of Syria and Iraq where they declared a caliphate in 2014.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1552681/middle-east

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Iraq: 31 killed, 100 injured in stampede during Ashura rituals in Karbala city

September 10, 2019

Part of a walkway collapsed as tens of thousands of people celebrated Ashura on Tuesday, causing a stampede and killing at least 31 pilgrims on one of the most sacred religious holy days for the Shia sect, officials said.

Around 100 others were injured in the incident, which occurred toward the end of the Ashura procession, causing a panicked rush, according to two officials who spoke to The Associated Press from Karbala.

Hundreds of thousands of people converge on the holy city, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, for the occasion every year.

The somber day of Ashura commemorates the killing of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, the Imam Hussein, by a rival Muslim faction in Karbala in present day Iraq, in 680 AD Hussein and his descendants are seen by Shia as the rightful heirs to the prophet. Hussein’s killing has been attributed with cementing the schism between Shia and Sunni Islam.

In recent years, Ashura processions have been attacked by extremist Sunni militants but Tuesday’s commemorations were peaceful until the walkway collapsed.

The incident took place during the so-called Tweireej run, when tens of thousands of people run toward the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala around noon.

The 2-3 kilometer (1-2 mile) run symbolizes when maternal cousins of Imam Hussein’s half-brother al-Abbas ran from the nearby village of Tweireej to rescue him only to find out that he was killed.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of thousands held Ashura processions amid beefed-up security in Karbala and in the capital, Baghdad, marching through the streets. Many of the faithful beat their chests and lashed themselves with chains in a symbolic expression of grief and regret for not being able to help Hussein before his martyrdom.

Full report at:

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/iraqi-pilgrims-die-injured-stampede-ashoura-procession-officials-1597701-2019-09-10

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Report: 21 Iraqi Militia Members Killed in Explosion in Iran-linked Arms Depot

Sep 10, 2019

Twenty-one Iraqi militia members were killed in the explosion of a weapons warehouse belonging to Iran-affiliated militias in Iraq's Anbar province, Iraqi military sources told Arab media outlets Tuesday.

Saudi-affiliated sites, including Al Arabiya and Sky News, reported the explosion and said that rescue teams were called to the scene.

An Iraqi officer told local media that the sound of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) was heard in the region before the blast. At the moment it is unclear who is behind the blast however reports have linked the explosion to a recent series of attacks in the country, some of which has been attributed to Israel.

Syrian outlets have not reported on the incident and officials have so far denied the explosion.

The explosion comes one day after UAVs struck Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria, killing at least 18 militia fighters. A Syrian security official said Israeli jets staged the airstrikes, but denied there were any casualties.

On Monday, the Israeli army said Shi'ite units led by Tehran's Quds Force attempted to fire several rockets Sunday overnight which failed to cross over to Israel.

U.S. officials told the New York Times in August that Israel has been attributed to "several strikes in recent days" in Iraq, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted of possible Israeli involvement in the latest attacks against Iranian-linked targets in the country.

Full report at:

https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/iraq/.premium-report-21-iraqi-militia-members-killed-in-explosion-in-iran-linked-arms-depot-1.7825290

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Iraqi troops kill 15 Islamic State jihadists in Salahuddin

by Mohammed Ebraheem

Sep 9, 2019

Salahuddin (IraqiNews.com) – Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service announced on Monday that 15 Islamic Sate militants were killed during a security operation in Salahuddin province.

“Acting on intelligence information, the Counter-Terrorism Service, in coordination with the U.S.-led international coalition, carried out a security operation in Mutaibijah and desert areas in Salahuddin, leaving 15 terrorists dead, including suicide bombers,” the spokesman for the Counter-Terrorism Service said in a statement.

“The troops also arrested nine terrorists and destroyed several hotbeds and tunnels that were used by Islamic State militants,” the statement read.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

Full report at:

https://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/iraqi-troops-kill-15-islamic-state-jihadists-in-salahuddin/

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Saudi crown prince hosts Christian evangelicals

September 11, 2019

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince hosted a delegation of American Christian evangelicals on Tuesday, state media said, the latest such visit as the conservative Muslim kingdom seeks to repair its image of religious intolerance.

The visit comes on the eve of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, in which most of the hijackers who crashed jetliners into the twin towers in New York were identified as Saudi nationals.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met the delegation, led by Israeli-American author Joel Rosenberg, at his palace in the western city of Jeddah, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

“Honoured to be back in kingdom of Saudi Arabia for (the second) time in less than a year,” Rosenberg said on Twitter.

“We met (with) his royal highness the crown prince (and) other senior officials to discuss terrorism, peace, religious freedom and human rights.”

The delegation also met Prince Khalid bin Salman, the kingdom’s deputy defence minister, and secretary-general of the Muslim World League Mohammed al-Issa, SPA reported.

The crown prince hosted a similar delegation led by Rosenberg that travelled last November to Saudi Arabia, which is home to Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina and where the practice of other religions is banned.

Saudi leaders have courted a flurry of representatives of various Christian traditions in recent months.

In April 2018, Saudi Arabia hosted French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who headed the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Tauran, who died in July 2018, was seen as an energetic promoter of dialogue between the Catholic Church and Islam.

And in November 2017, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite church, Beshara Rai, paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia where he met King Salman and Prince Mohammed.

Prince Mohammed, the heir to the Saudi throne, has sought to project a moderate image of his austere kingdom, often associated in the West with jihadist ideology.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2019/09/11/saudi-crown-prince-hosts-christian-evangelicals/

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Report: Over 120 Churches Damaged by War in Syria Since 2011

September 9, 2019

BEIRUT, LEBANON - A Syrian war monitor associated with the opposition said Monday that over 120 Christian places of worship have been damaged or destroyed by all sides in the country's eight-year conflict.

Some of the attacks were deliberate, such as the Islamic State group using bulldozers to destroy the ancient Saint Elian Monastery in Homs province in 2015. The majority, however, were caused by front-line combat, shelling or rockets.

Christians made up about 10 percent of Syria's pre-war population of 23 million, who co-existed with the Muslim majority and enjoyed freedom of worship under President Bashar Assad's government.

Most have left for Europe over the past 20 years, with their flight significantly gathering speed since the start of the current conflict.

Around half of all Syrians are now either internally displaced or have left the country.

The report by the Qatar-based Syrian Network for Human Rights, which collects statistics on the war, said government forces were responsible for 60% of the 124 documented attacks since fighting erupted in March 2011. The rest were blamed on IS militants, the al-Qaida-linked group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other factions of the armed opposition.

There was immediate comment from the government, which rarely comments on reports from foreign organizations.

“Targeting Christian places of worship is a form of intimidation against and displacement of the Christian minority in Syria, said Fadel Abdul Ghany, the founder and chairman of SNHR.

The report said IS was behind 10 attacks on Christian sites, five of which were in the northern city of Raqqa, once the extremists de-facto capital. The group was known for displacing and killing Christians in areas it controlled and confiscating their properties.

Hardest hit was the northern province of Aleppo, with 34 attacks, 24 by rebels and six by the government.

The highest number of attacks by government forces - 27 out of 29 - was in the central province of Homs.

Full report at:

https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/report-over-120-churches-damaged-war-syria-2011

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North America

 

Trump adds TTP chief, 10 others on global terrorist list

September 11, 2019

A day before the anniversary of 9/11, President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order to expand the administration's ability to go after suspected terrorists and their financiers and supporters.

The list of 11 men the administration has termed as "global terrorists" includes Noor Wali, also known as Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud — who was named the leader of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in June 2018 following the death of former TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah.

“Today's executive order by President Trump adds further muscle to US counterterrorism efforts,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a briefing to reporters at the White House.

He said Trump's action amends an earlier executive order that former President George W. Bush initially signed after 9/11 by adding clauses to let the State and Treasury departments directly target leaders of suspected terror groups and their affiliates “without having to tie terrorist leaders to specific acts.”

Pompeo said the order also more effectively targets individuals and groups participating in terrorist training and provides new authorities to impose sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly do business with suspected terrorists.

Eric Lorber, a former Treasury Department senior adviser, said the new order is a “significant change.”

“While most financial institutions would not have done business with designated terrorists even before this new authority, this action makes clear that the US Treasury is willing to take serious steps to punish those financial institutions that do,” Lorber said.

Using the new order, Treasury on Tuesday imposed sanctions on more than two dozen individuals and entities from 11 terrorist groups, including TTP, the Quds Force, the foreign wing of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Hamas, the Islamic State, al-Qaida and their affiliates.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504588/trump-adds-ttp-chief-10-others-on-global-terrorist-list

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Trump signals could meet with Iran, as security hawk Bolton exits

September 11, 2019

Two of Donald Trump's top lieutenants said on Tuesday he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart without preconditions after the US president sacked his hawkish national security adviser, while insisting there will be no easing of pressure on Tehran.

Even as the removal of national security hardliner John Bolton triggered speculation that Trump might soften his approach to Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined Israel in alleging "possible undeclared nuclear activities" by Tehran, and the US administration imposed new terrorist designations on leaders of some groups linked to the Islamic republic.

Amid the fraught political climate, Trump loyalists signalled he is prepared to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani — something that French President Emmanuel Macron had proposed in an effort to salvage a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran from which Trump withdrew the United States.

"Now the president has made clear, he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions, but we are maintaining the maximum pressure campaign," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, just days after Iran announced it had fired up centrifuges to boost its enriched uranium stockpiles.

Pompeo, standing alongside Mnuchin in the White House, said "sure" when asked whether Trump could meet Rouhani later this month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The remarks came just 90 minutes after Trump announced he had sent Bolton packing, and Pompeo and Mnuchin cautioned that Bolton's exit should not be seen as heralding major policy shifts.

"I would say Secretary Pompeo and myself and the president are completely aligned on our maximum pressure campaign," Mnuchin said.

Tehran reacted swiftly to Bolton's departure, with a Rouhani aide saying it signaled Washington's pressure was failing.

"Bolton's marginalization and his subsequent removal isn't an accident but a clear sign of the defeat of America's maximum pressure strategy" against Iran, Hesameddin Ashena tweeted.

"Have no doubt that we have the power to manage the US approach towards Iran and will never back down. The blockade of Iran will break."

Going 'soft?'

If Tehran sees optimism in Bolton's ouster, some hawkish US lawmakers warned that easing the squeeze on Iran would be an enormous mistake, enabling Europe to, in Senator Ted Cruz's words, "send an economic lifeline to the Ayatollah."

Cruz tweeted that he hoped Bolton's departure "does not mean that the deep-state forces at State and Treasury — who have been fighting tooth and nail to preserve the Obama Iran nuclear deal — have finally convinced the president to go soft on Iran."

Meanwhile, the Trump administration announced new terrorist designations against leaders or operatives of organisations with close ties to Tehran, among them Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force and Hezbollah.

The US also designated leaders of groups within the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, and the operational arm of Hamas.

"You know we've done more sanctions on Iran than anybody, and it's absolutely working," Mnuchin said.

Tensions have been escalating between Iran and the United States since May last year, when Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran and began reimposing sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

On Tuesday, Washington joined Israel in accusing Iran of new deceptions about its nuclear program, a move that further strained European-led attempts to salvage a multinational deal.

Iran denounced the accusations levelled on Monday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that the clerical regime operated a previously undisclosed site aimed at developing nuclear weapons but destroyed it after it was detected.

Pompeo, without directly referencing Netanyahu, urged Iran to comply with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The Iranian regime's lack of full cooperation with @iaeaorg raises questions about possible undeclared nuclear material or activities," Pompeo tweeted.

"The world won't fall for it. We will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon."

A potential summit between Trump and the Iranian leadership sparked interest from the mogul-turned-president, but it is adamantly opposed by Netanyahu, who faces elections next week and sees Iran as an existential threat.

In a live television address, Netanyahu showed pictures of an alleged site near Abadeh, south of Isfahan, where he said Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504579/trump-signals-could-meet-with-iran-as-security-hawk-bolton-exits

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Holding moment of silence for 9/11 becomes law at NY schools

Sep 10, 2019

Schools in the US state of New York have been mandated to remember the 2001 terrorist attacks.

"September 11th Remembrance Day," was an outcome of legislation signed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, just days ahead of the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

"9/11 was one of the single darkest periods in this state's and this nation's history, and we owe it to those we lost and to the countless heroes who ran toward danger that day and the days that followed to do everything we can to keep their memory alive," the governor’s office said in the announcement. "By establishing this annual day of remembrance and a brief moment of silence in public schools, we will help ensure we never forget — not just the pain of that moment but of the courage, sacrifice and outpouring of love that defined our response."

The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/10/605855/Remembering-911-becomes-law-at-NY-schools

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US government story is Achilles' heel in the official version of 9/11: Scholar

Sep 10, 2019

“The US government story is Achilles' heel in the official version of” the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, says Dr. Kevin Barrett, an American academic who has been studying the events of 9/11 since late 2003.

Dr. Barrett, a founding member of the Scientific Panel for the Investigation of 9/11, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Tuesday following the release of a comprehensive study conducted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in association with Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth which found that fire was not the cause of the collapse of the Building 7 of the World Trade Center (WTC).

The US official story established that the 47-story building collapsed on its base after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at 5:20 p.m., when it was affected by the fire coming from the Twin Towers—Buildings 1 and 2 of the World Trade Center. The building was completely destroyed in just seven seconds.

However, after investing four years in computer simulations, the UAF scientists published a draft report that concludes that the collapse of the third WTC skyscraper on Sept.11, 2001 was not due to any fire, but “the almost simultaneous failure of every column in the building.”

Dr. Barrett said, “A new study from the University of Alaska led by Dr. Leroy Hulsey has determined with total precision that the destruction of the World Trade Center Building 7 on September 11, 2001 could not have happened the way the government tells us which is due to moderate office fire, that’s actually very minor office fire.”

“The US government story is Achilles' heel in the official version of 9/11 which is ridiculous in many, many respects.  Every single aspect of the official story collapses upon critical examination. The Building 7 is the most obviously false aspect of this,” he stated.   

“So the new study takes on the NIST report; the official government body has worked up a bizarre claim that this very modest office fire…has caused the 47-story building to come down at absolute freefall for two and hand a half seconds and then close to freefall for the rest of the way down straight into its own footprints,” he noted.

The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/10/605850/US-story-Achilles-heel-in-official-version-of-911

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US announces new sanctions on Hamas, ISIS and Iran's Guard

Joyce Karam

Sep 10, 2019

The US said it was imposing sanctions on a "wide range of terrorists and their supporters, including the Palestinian group Hamas and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, on Tuesday, the day before the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

The sanctions were imposed on 15 leaders, people and entities affiliated with the two groups and Al Qaeda, the US Treasury Department said.

The sanctions follow a counter-terrorism executive order by Donald Trump.

The order "enhances the authorities we use to target the finances of terror groups and their leaders to ensure they are as robust as possible,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, standing alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Newly sacked US National Security Adviser John Bolton was not present.

Among those sanctioned are Muhammad Izad, a leader with the IRGC based in Lebanon, who is identified as the Palestinian office chief for IRGC ­Quds Force's Lebanon Corp.

Also under sanctions is Zaher Jabarin, based in Turkey, who is the head of Hamas’s finance office, the US said.

Treasury Department

@USTreasury

Utilizing @POTUS’s enhanced Counter Terrorism E.O., Treasury sanctions over two dozen individuals and entities from 11 terrorist groups https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm772 …

128

11:25 PM - Sep 10, 2019

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“In his capacity as head of Hamas’s finance department, Jabarin was focused on developing a financial network in Turkey that would allow Hamas to raise, invest, and launder money prior to transferring it to Gaza and the West Bank,” the Treasury said.

Also on the list is the company Redin Exchange, which the department said provided money to Hamas’ militant arm, the Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades.

Redin’s leaders, Marwan Al Rawi and Ismael Tash, were designated individually. And Mr Tash owns Smart Ithalat Ihracat Dis Ticaret Ltd Sirketi, which was designated. Both companies are based in Istanbul.

Other companies sanctioned include the Saksouk Company for Exchange and Money Transfer, Al Haram Foreign Exchange and Al Khalidi Exchange, which were accused of supporting ISIS.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/us-announces-new-sanctions-on-hamas-isis-and-iran-s-guard-1.908859

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Pakistan

 

PM Imran announces 'big jalsa' in Muzaffarabad on Friday

Naveed Siddiqui

September 11, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday announced that he was going to hold a "big jalsa" (rally) in Muzaffarabad on September 13 (Friday).

In a post shared on Twitter, the premier said that the jalsa was in order to "send a message to the world about the continuing siege of [Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir] IOJK by Indian Occupation forces; [and] to show the Kashmiris that Pakistan stands resolutely with them".

Since India unilaterally decided to annex occupied Kashmir on August 5 and enforce a lockdown, Prime Minister Imran has repeatedly raised concern about the situation in the disputed region.

Earlier, he had also announced that an event would be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people, starting from August 30, when Pakistanis came out in droves to observe 'Kashmir Hour' from 12pm to 12:30pm to express solidarity with Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir.

Joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council

The premier's announcement of the Muzaffarabad jalsa today comes a day after Pakistan delivered a joint statement on behalf of over 50 countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir.

Addressing the president of the council, the statement said that the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir, particularly after India's action on August 5, required the "urgent attention of the Human Rights Council and human rights mechanisms".

"We share the concern expressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Michelle Bachelet regarding the impact of recent actions on the human rights of Kashmiris."

As per the statement, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Special Procedures in their joint press release on August 22 and civil society organisations as well international media had "repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the unprecedented restrictions and on the continuous curfew imposed since August 5, curbing of fundamental freedoms, communications blackout and reports of widespread torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, molestation of women, and enforced disappearances".

Additionally, it noted that in a statement on August 8, Guterres had said that the UN's position on the region was governed by the Charter of the UN and the applicable Security Council resolutions. The joint statement added that this had been corroborated by the OHCHR's Kashmir Reports.

According to the joint statement, the international community should ask for the following:

Respect and protection of fundamental human rights of the people of occupied Kashmir, especially the right to life, liberty and security

Immediate lifting of curfew, ending the communications shutdown and release of arbitrarily detained people

Immediate halt to the excessive use of force, especially the use of pellet guns

Access of human rights organisations and international media

Implementation of the recommendations of OHCHR’s Kashmir Reports including the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate egregious human rights violation

Regular reporting by the UN High Commissioner for human rights on occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

"We also support a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through the implementation of the UNSC resolutions," the statement added.

Meanwhile, in a press release issued by the Foreign Office spokesperson, Pakistan expressed gratitude towards countries that were part of the joint statement.

The same day Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva during which he that the international community "must not remain indifferent to the tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes" in occupied Kashmir.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504585/pm-imran-announces-big-jalsa-in-muzaffarabad-on-friday

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Pakistan demands UN probe of India actions in Kashmir, fears ‘genocide’

September 10, 2019

GENEVA: Pakistan’s foreign minister demanded Tuesday that the UN launch an investigation into the situation in Indian Kashmir, warning that a “genocide” could be looming in the Muslim-majority region.

“The people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are apprehending the worst,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, adding that “I shudder to mention the word genocide here, but I must.”

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1552516/world

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Pakistan asks UNHRC not to remain indifferent to situation in Kashmir

Sep 10, 2019

GENEVA: Pakistan on Tuesday said the UNHRC must not remain "indifferent" to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status, saying it is the repository of the world's conscience on human rights.

Addressing the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council here, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the top UN rights body should not be embarrassed on the world stage by its inaction over the issue.

He said the UNHRC must not remain indifferent to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

"Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world's conscience on human rights, to seek justice and respect for the people of Kashmir," he said.

"We must not allow this august body to be embarrassed on the world stage. As a founding member of this Council, Pakistan feels morally and ethically bound to prevent this from occurring," he said, adding that in order to do so the body should not remain indifferent to the situation that was unfolding.

"We must act decisively and with conviction," he said.

His statement came a day after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet expressed "deep concern" over the impact of restrictions in Kashmir, and asked India to ease the current lockdowns to ensure people's access to basic services.

India last month abrogated the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-asks-unhrc-not-to-remain-indifferent-to-situation-in-kashmir/articleshow/71064618.cms

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Pakistan urges UN chief for urgent steps as Gutteres voices concern on Kashmir situation

September 10, 2019

UNITED NATIONS:  Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, underscored the urgency of initiating practical steps to deal with the worsening situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir when she met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday.

During her 30-minute meeting at UN chief's 38th floor office, Ambassador Lodhi said that the grave political and humanitarian crisis, which began unfolding after India's illegal annexation of the disputed state last month, has now reached the point that it poses a threat to international peace and security.

She told the UN chief that the intensifying tragedy in occupied Jammu and Kashmir was, in fact, an urgent call to set into motion his initiative of “preventive” diplomacy before the crisis spins out of control, the sources said.

Now is the time to speak up for law, justice and human rights, the Pakistani envoy emphasized.

Tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan heightened on August 5 when the Modi government abolished the special status for the State of Jammu and Kashmir guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution and placed the territory in a state of indefinite curfew.

To prevent a violent backlash, India sent in thousands of additional troops to tighten its hold on occupied Kashmir.

Phone and internet lines were blocked and top political leaders, including former chief ministers, were detained.

During the meeting with the secretary-general, Ambassador Lodhi said India’s illegal annexation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir had triggered multiple crises -- a political and human rights crisis in Kashmir, a crisis with Pakistan, as a party to the dispute, and a humanitarian crisis which is growing as the lockdown there entered the 36th day with no end in sight.

The Pakistani envoy also highlighted the gravity of the situation in vivid terms: 36 days of a round the clock curfew, 36 days of a communication blackout, 36 days of food and essential supplies running out; 36 days without information of the well-being of family and friends; 36 days of darkness, and an abiding fear of the unknown.

Ambassador Lodhi said reports of widespread torture and arbitrary arrests in occupied Kashmir were coming in, and thousands, including young children, were being picked up from their homes in the dead of the night, without any trace.

She said the territory was on the verge of a health emergency, with hospitals running dangerously short of critical supplies including live-saving drugs, and patients left to the mercy of the elements.

The situation on the ground, she said, was brewing into a full-fledged humanitarian crisis, the true extent of which will only be known once the draconian restrictions are lifted.

The illegal Indian annexation of Jammu and Kashmir, Ambassador Lodhi said, was a gross violation of Security Council resolutions, and an affront to the rules-based international system.

Full report at:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/524876-pakistan-urges-un-chief-for-urgent-steps-as-gutteres-voices-concern-on-kashmir-situation

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IHC constitutes bench to hear Nawaz’s appeal against his conviction

Malik Asad

September 10, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has constituted a two-member bench to hear an appeal filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against his conviction in the Al-Azizia reference.

The bench, consisting of Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, will hear the appeal on Sept 18.

This will be the first hearing of Mr Sharif’s appeal since the controversy regarding the leaked video of judge Arshad Malik surfaced in July.

The video, purportedly showing judge Arshad Malik ‘confessing’ that he had convicted Nawaz Sharif under duress, was made public by Maryam Nawaz, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader, at a press conference.

Accountability judge Arshad Malik, who was removed from his position after the leak, was the author of verdicts in the Al Azizia and Flagship references on Dec 24 last year. He convicted Mr Sharif in the Al-Azizia case, but acquitted him in the other.

Judge Malik admitted that a video existed in which he was shown in a compromising position, but alleged that PML-N supporters Nasir Butt, Nasir Janjua, Mahar Ghulam Jilani and Khurram Yousaf had purchased this video from accused Mian Tariq Mehmood and were pressuring him into acquitting Nawaz Sharif.

The judge said in an affidavit that at a social gathering attended by both Nasir Janjua and Maher Ghulam Jilani, the former took him aside and requested him to give a verdict of acquittal in both references.

The judge further claimed that the two individuals later met him at a party and offered him euros equivalent to almost Rs100 million and told him that foreign currency worth Rs20m was already available in their vehicle outside.

The affidavit alleged that Nasir Butt told the judge that Nasir Janjua would make the video public soon. A couple of days later, Mian Tariq Mehmood visited the judge’s house and showed him the video.

While accused Tariq Mahmood was sent to jail on judicial remand, the three suspects — Nasir Janjua, Maher Ghulam Jilani and Khurram Yousaf — were remanded in FIA custody for interrogation.

After the expiry of their physical remand, the investigation officer submitted a discharge report to the local court last week, stating that during the course of investigation, “they [the accused] were found not involved in the commission of offences levelled against them in case…and the charges could not be established against them”.

The Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding any public office in July 2017 and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file three references against the Sharif family.

Earlier, the apex court had constituted a six-member joint investigation team (JIT), comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency, NAB, Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Securities and Exchange Commission and the State Bank.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1504524/ihc-constitutes-bench-to-hear-nawazs-appeal-against-his-conviction

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Pakistan warns of ‘genocide’ in Kashmir, sees no talks with India

10 September 2019

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday that India’s “illegal military occupation” of the Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir raises the specter of “genocide.”

India revoked the autonomy of the disputed region, home to 8 million people and a flashpoint for the nuclear-armed neighbors, on Aug. 5.

Qureshi, speaking to reporters after addressing the United Nations rights forum in Geneva, said that he saw “no possibility of a bilateral engagement with India” and called for the UN Security Council to act.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/10/Pakistan-warns-of-genocide-in-Kashmir-sees-no-talks-with-India.html

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Mideast

 

Airstrikes kill 18 pro-Iran fighters in eastern Syria

9 Sep 2019

Unclaimed airstrikes in eastern Syria have killed 18 Iranian and pro-Iran fighters, according to a war monitoring group, as tensions around Tehran’s military presence in the region intensify.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes in and around the town of Abu Kamal began late on Sunday and continued after midnight, targeting bases, arms depots and vehicles.

Suspicion is likely to fall on Israel, which has conducted hundreds of bombing raids in the country, often against Iranian military assets and personnel. It accuses Tehran of using Syria, which neighbours Israel, as a base to attack it.

The Israel Defence Forces did not comment on whether it was behind the attack. Later on Monday the Israeli military said an Iranian-backed Shia militia on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, had fired “a number of rockets” towards Israel. All failed to hit Israeli territory, it said. It was not clear if the attempted rocket attacks against Israel were a response to the bombing raid.

Separately, Iran’s main proxy force in Lebanon, Hezbollah, claimed it had shot down an Israeli drone that crossed the border, a week after the bitter enemies traded fire for the first time in years.

The unmanned aircraft was flying near the southern Lebanese town of Ramyah, the Iranian-backed group said, adding that it fighters had removed the wreckage.

Asked about the downed drone in Lebanon, Israel’s military confirmed it had lost a drone but said it “fell inside Lebanon territory during a routine mission”. An army spokesperson did not say what had caused the crash, adding that the drone was “standard size, nothing too big … There is no concern information could be taken from it.”

Hezbollah and the Israeli army exchanged brief but intense fire on 1 September, the fiercest bout since the 2006 war. It began when a Hezbollah squad fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military vehicle at the frontier, to which Israel immediately responded with heavy shelling and helicopter strikes on the area.

That flare-up was also sparked by claims of Israeli drone use in Lebanon. Days earlier, Hezbollah had accused Israel of attempting to attack it with two drones in its stronghold of southern Beirut. Those drones, about which Israel would not comment, were suspected of targeting equipment for making precision guidance missiles.

Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, blamed Israel for the alleged drone attack and promised to retaliate. He also vowed his fighters would target Israeli drones that entered Lebanon’s airspace in the future.

The two adversaries fought a deadly month-long conflict in 2006 that killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and roughly 160 in Israel. Since then incidents of hostile action have been rare but the renewed violence has raised fears of the potential for another conflict.

Israel says it has intelligence that Iranhas been helping Hezbollah build guided missiles in Lebanon, which it said it would not tolerate.

It has targeted Hezbollah in Syria, whose forces entered the civil war in support of President Bashar al-Assad, but has largely refrained from attacks on Lebanese soil, fearing it may lead to reprisal strikes.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said last month that Iran had “no immunity, anywhere”. He added: “We will act, and currently are acting, against them, wherever it is necessary.”

A crisis between Iran and the US over a collapsing nuclear deal, hefty sanctions imposed by Washington, and Iran’s support for Shia militia in Iraq have raised fears of an escalating conflict in the Middle East.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/09/hezbollah-says-it-has-downed-israeli-drone-over-lebanon

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Turkey’s Radical Plan: Send a Million Refugees Back to Syria

By Carlotta Gall

Sept. 10, 2019

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Turkey, which for eight years has welcomed millions of Syrian refugees, has reversed course, forcing thousands to leave its major cities in recent weeks and ferrying many of them to its border with Syria in white buses and police vans. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pushing a radical solution — resettling refugees in a swath of Syrian territory controlled by the United States and its Kurdish allies. If that does not happen, he is threatening to send a flood of Syrian migrants to Europe.

Mr. Erdogan has long demanded a buffer zone along Turkey’s border with Syria to keep out Kurdish forces, whom he considers a security threat.

But he has repackaged the idea for the zone as a refuge for Syrians fleeing the war — pushing it as resentment against Syrians in Turkey has increased, and a Syrian and Russian offensive in Syria has sent hundreds of thousands more refugees fleeing toward the Turkish border.

“Our goal is to settle at least one million Syrian brothers and sisters in our country in this safe zone,” Mr. Erdogan told leaders of his Justice and Development Party in Ankara on Thursday. “If needed, with support from our friends, we can build new cities there and make it habitable for our Syrian siblings.”

None of the other powers involved in the war in Syria has wholly agreed to the idea, but Mr. Erdogan is demanding immediate access to the territory or threatening to take it himself. If not, he said, he would “open the gates” for large numbers of refugees to head into Europe as they did in 2015.

The European Union has given Turkey about $6.7 billion since 2015 to help control the flow of migrants. But Turkey, which has given sanctuary to 3.6 million Syrians, says the migrant problem is growing exponentially.

“If there is no safe zone we can’t overcome this,” Mr. Erdogan said on Saturday.

Syrians have already turned their sights on Europe again. Turkish and international refugee officials have reported an increase in migrants and refugees trying to cross by boat into Europe from Turkey, many of them Syrians leaving Istanbul since the police crackdown. Over 500 refugees arrived by boat in the Greek island of Lesbos a week ago.

Mr. Erdogan was long seen as a champion for Syrian refugees. His tougher policy on them comes after his party suffered a humiliating defeat in the election for mayor of Istanbul in June, and as a deepening recession, soaring unemployment and inflation have stoked anti-Syrian feeling among Turks.

Officials are cracking down on Syrians working illegally or without residence papers, fining employers and forcing factories and workshops to close. Pro-government media have grown more critical of Syrians, landlords are raising their rents, and social media is bursting with anti-Syrian comments.

Local officials, many from Mr. Erdogan’s party, deny the government is deporting refugees but support the crackdown, saying Syrians must live within the law.

The change is evident in places like Esenyurt, a working-class district of Istanbul. A district spokesman, Fatih Yilmaz, said the municipality was providing buses for around 100 people a week to return to Syria. He said the departures had pleased Turkish citizens, even if factory owners complained they had lost workers and landlords had lost tenants.

For Syrians living in Turkey, the shift in policy and attitude is a painful shock.

“It’s a disaster for Syrian people,” said Mohanned Ghabash, an activist who works for a nongovernmental organization in the southern town of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.

Syrian workers were being told to acquire work permits and pay social security, he said, but many say they cannot afford the extra costs, and even if they can, they fear more rules will be enforced, including one that demands five Turkish citizens have to be employed for every Syrian in a company.

Police officers in Gaziantep visited a street of Syrian grocery and pastry shops and told store owners to remove the Arabic lettering from their shop signs or face a fine, enforcing a local law that had been ignored for eight years. The Syrians complied, painting out the Arabic and hanging Turkish flags in solidarity, but some said they were angry since it would cost them business.

Mohammad al-Azouar, whose family operated a well-known pastry shop in Aleppo, Syria, dutifully covered up a verse by the poet Rumi on the wall inside his shop.

“One fine from the police would finish me,” he said. “I am no burden. I came with my own money, just don’t squeeze us by the neck, let us survive.”

Syrians, who now make up 20 percent of the population in Gaziantep, have transformed the city, investing capital, and bringing business skills and cheap labor.

Most of them come from Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city and formerly a sophisticated cultural trading center. They have built a neighborhood of textile factories in Gaziantep, where Turkish and Syrian companies share buildings and workers. Hundreds of cafes, restaurants and pastry shops there cater to Syrians.

In the old city, Syrian stone masons have restored some of the crumbling monuments and skilled Syrian coppersmiths from Aleppo have found a place alongside Turkish craftsmen, beating intricate designs into copper jugs and platters in tiny workshops.

Ibrahim Nahlas, 55, a renowned master craftsman from Aleppo who sells his wares across the Middle East, said he had longstanding business ties with Turkish craftsmen. “You have to have respect, then you will not have any problem,” he said.

Nour Mousilly, a textile manufacturer who lost a $12 million factory in Aleppo in the war, brought trained workers with him as well as a customer base in the Middle East when he started anew in Gaziantep, making men’s underwear.

“We already had our international partners so you could throw us anywhere and we can work,” he said, making his business a net benefit to Turkey’s economy.

Syrian big business owners said if you followed the rules you could still work in Turkey even if the profit margins were down. But smaller businesses and laborers expressed concern at the changing atmosphere and crippling fines that have already forced factory closings.

“The factories laid us off because we have no work permits,” Ahmed Atalai, 24, said as he waited with a group to cross the border into Syria. He left Istanbul, but after a month looking for work in southern Turkey where he was registered, was leaving the country. “There’s no work.”

Mayor Fatma Sahin, a senior official in Mr. Erdogan’s party, has been a strong supporter of Syrian refugees for the economic boost they have brought the city but says they have to obey Turkey’s laws.

“What we say to the Syrians is there are rules to live here, so you have to obey those rules,” she said.

But Syrians see the new policies are aimed at making them leave. “They need to make us think it is better to go back to the safe zone,” said Abdulkarim Alrahmon, who runs a branch of a well-known Syrian perfumery in Gaziantep.

The vans and buses of Syrian refugees arrive almost hourly at the border crossing near the town of Kilis, adjoining a Turkish-controlled area of northwestern Syria. Syrians living nearby said the police were depositing unregistered refugees directly across the border.

The Syrians being deported represent only a fraction of the Syrian refugees in Turkey. But the deportations send a sharp message to Mr. Erdogan’s political opponents that he is taking action to reduce the number of refugees, and signal to Europe and the United States that he needs a new solution.

In Gaziantep, Mayor Sahin said she supported the plan for a safe zone in Syria and expected that half of the 500,000 Syrian refugees in her province would move there.

“Half of them will go, if opportunities are met and schools start to operate,” she said. “They have to feel safe.”

The United States and Turkey agreed in principle last month to establish a jointly patrolled zone for refugees along the border but they are still negotiating the details and major differences remain.

Mr. Erdogan wants the zone to be 20 miles deep and run for 300 miles along the Turkish-Syrian border east of the Euphrates. The United States has limited Turkey’s access to a few miles.

American and Turkish troops conducted their first joint patrol of a small zone on Sunday.

But Syria has already called the plan a violation of its sovereignty and Russia emphasized the need to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity. The Kurds oppose the deal but have reportedly pulled back heavy weaponry from part of the border area.

American officials are focused on preventing clashes between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

“Present conditions are not conducive to organized returns and repatriation of Syrian refugees in safety and dignity,” Lanna Walsh, spokeswoman for the International Organization of Migration, said. But she added that the group, in line with the United Nations, recognized that “not all areas inside Syria are unstable” and “recognizes the right for people to return.”

Syrian refugees remain circumspect about the safe zone. Some oppose any Turkish military expansion into Syria, but many still see Turkey as their best ally and a Turkish-controlled safe zone preferable to Syrian government or Kurdish control.

Full report at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/10/world/middleeast/turkey-syria-refugees-erdogan.html

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In last words, Khashoggi asked killers not to suffocate him

Sep 11, 2019

ANKARA: In his final words, slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi urged his killers not to cover his mouth because he suffered from asthma and could suffocate, according to Turkey's Sabah newspaper.

Sabah newspaper, which is close to Turkey's government, published new details of a recording of Khashoggi's conversation with members of a Saudi hit squad sent to kill him. The paper says the recording of Khashoggi's grisly October 2, 2018 killing and reported dismemberment at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul was obtained by Turkey's intelligence agency.

According to the transcript, Maher Mutreb, a member of the Saudi hit squad, tells Khashoggi that he has to be taken back to Riyadh because of an Interpol order against him. The journalist objects, saying there is no legal case against him and that his fiancee is waiting for him outside.

Mutreb and another man are also heard trying to force Khashoggi to send his son a message telling him not to worry if he doesn't hear from him, according to the paper. Khashoggi resists saying: "I will write nothing."

Mutreb is later heard saying: "Help us, so that we can help you. Because in the end, we will take you to Saudi Arabia. And if you don't help us, you know what will happen in the end."

Sabah also published Khashoggi's last words before he was apparently drugged and lost consciousness.

"Don't cover my mouth," he told his killers, according to Sabah. "I have asthma, don't do it. You'll suffocate me."

Some of the details of the transcript published by Sabah were already in a searing United Nations report over Khashoggi's killing that had been released in June. The U.N. report alleged that Saudi Arabia bears responsibility for the killing and said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's possible role in the killing should be examined.

Saudi Arabia initially offered multiple, shifting accounts about Khashoggi's disappearance. As international pressure mounted, the kingdom eventually settled on the explanation that he was killed by rogue officials in a brawl inside their consulate.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/in-last-words-khashoggi-asked-killers-not-to-suffocate-him/articleshow/71073405.cms

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World Shiite Muslims Commemorate Ashoura

Sep 10, 2019

A large number of Iranian Shiite pilgrims flocked into Karbala, some 110 km South of Baghdad, to commemorate Ashoura day, which marks the death of Imam Hossein (PBUH) who was killed and buried in Karbala in 680 AD.

People in Iran and other countries throughout the world mourned on Ashoura, the 10th day of the lunar month of Moharram, the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hossein (PBUH), on Tuesday.

Tasoua and Ashoura mark the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, marking the death of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)'s grandson, the revered Imam Hossein (PBUH) in the Battle of Karbala, in modern-day Iraq 1,300 years ago.

Ashoura is perhaps nowhere more ardently commemorated than in Iran. The only way to fully understand what this day means to so many Iranians is to delve into a history that has repeated itself there for years on end. From the Constitutional Revolution of the early 20th Century to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the history of Ashura is reflected in every struggle against injustice in Iran. Whether opposing monarchy, imperialism or crippling sanctions, the history of this day holds a unique position in the hearts of countless Iranians.

Growing up in Iran, no matter your faith or circumstance, you will learn the story of Karbala, if only because every year you will get a holiday from school on Tasoua (the ninth day of Moharram) and Ashoura and witness countless men fill the streets in a parade of tears and self-flagellation. You will watch or possibly join in as these devout and distinctly Iranian Shiite Muslims pound their chests and fill the air with impassioned invocations and chants of "Ya Hossein." Amid this mourning, there will be a unique and fervent enthusiasm, for it was on this day, some 1,300 years ago, that Imam Hossein (PBUH) stood tall and strong in the face of oppression, against insurmountable odds.

You cannot understand the role of Islam in Iran without knowing the story of Karbala, nor can you underestimate its influence.

On the 10th of the month of Muharram, in the 61st year of the Islamic Calendar (680 ACE), in a barren land (which is now the city) of Karbala, some 100 kilometers Southwest of Baghdad, Imam Hossein (PBUH) - the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the third Imam of Shiite Islam - was savagely slaughtered in battle and rose to martyrdom.

The Battle of Karbala was the result of Imam Hossein (PBUH)'s attempt to liberate the people of the region from the tyrannical rule of the second caliph of the Ummayad Caliphate, Yazid I. Over the days preceding his martyrdom, Imam Hossein (PBUH) and his small caravan of friends and family (between 72 and 124 men) were surrounded by Yazid's army of thousands (over 30,000 armed men). They were ultimately forbidden access to water for three days, and on the tenth day (Ashoura), Yazid's army attacked in full force, killing all 72 of Imam Hossein (PBUH)'s closest companions, including his six-month old son. The final and most brutal casualty of Karbala was Imam Hossein (PBUH) himself, who sustained countless unimaginable wounds from arrows, stones and swords before his throat was cut while he was prostrating before the Lord in prayer. Thus, on that day, Imam Hossein (PBUH) rose as a martyr and has remained so for over a thousand years.

So, what does this story have to do with modern-day Iran and Iranians? Everything.

For the vast majority of Iranians who identify as Shiite and even for many who don't, the story of Karbala lies at the heart of all struggles against oppression and tyranny - personal and political.

In 1979, Yazid's army was that of the Shah, the SAVAK (his vicious secret police and intelligence service), and the British and American imperialism they represented to Iranians. The Islamic Revolution was, if nothing else, a grand morality play of the Battle of Karbala on a world stage, with Imam Khomeini and his cronies claiming the roles of Imam Hossein (PBUH) and his caravan respectively.

Who plays the role of Imam Hossein (PBUH)'s crew in Iran today?

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980619000240

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Iranians Commemorate Imam Hossein's Martyrdom Anniversary

Sep 10, 2019

Tens of millions took part in massive processions across Iran, marking the anniversary of the martyrdom of one of Shiite Islam's most beloved leaders.

Mourners dressed in black took to the streets or gathered in mosques to grieve the slaying of Imam Hossein (PBUH).

Dressed in mourning black, they beat their chests with bare hands-rituals meant to show their grief over the death of Imam Hossein (PBUH).

Scores of men - moved by their grief - wept as they marched in Tehran, capital of Iran and Shiite Islam. Women watched from sidewalks and balconies, as the marchers filled the streets, led by young men carrying black, green and red banners.

Similar processions were staged in other cities across this nation of over 80 million people.

Ashoura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, marking the death of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)'s grandson, the revered Imam Hossein (PBUH) in the Battle of Karbala, in modern-day Iraq 1,300 years ago.

Imam Hossein (PBUH) was martyred in the 680 A.D. battle fought on the plains outside Karbala, a city in modern Iraq that's home to the Imam's holy shrine.

In the battle, Imam Hossein (PBUH) was decapitated and his body mutilated by Yazid's armies. All of Imam Hossein's male family members, relatives, friends, soldiers who all together formed a 72-member army were beheaded in an unequal war with a 30,000-strong army of the enemy in the desert of Karbala.

The occasion is the source of an enduring moral lesson for the Shiites.

Some bystanders in Tehran offered sweetened water to mourners. Songs eulogizing Imam Hossein (PBUH) played over loudspeakers. Imam Hossein (PBUH) and his companions were denied water by their enemies who controlled the nearby Euphrates.

Some Tehran streets were partially covered with blood from the slaughter of hundreds of cows and sheep. Volunteers cooked the meat and fed it to the poor.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980619000246

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Saudi Arabia condemns Netanyahu pledge to annex West Bank’s Jordan Valley

11 September 2019

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday condemned and rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex West Bank’s Jordan Valley if re-elected on September 17.

“The Kingdom affirms that this declaration is a very dangerous escalation against the Palestinian people and represents a flagrant violation of the UN charter and the principles of international law,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing the royal court.

In light of this, Saudi Arabia called for an “emergency meeting” of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the level of foreign ministers to discuss this issue to develop an urgent plan of action in order to confront Netanyahu’s pledge, the SPA added.

Saudi Arabia also called upon the international community to condemn and reject Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu issued the deeply controversial pledge on Tuesday.

Israel occupied the West Bank in a 1967 war in a move never recognized by the international community.

The Jordan Valley accounts for around one-third of the West Bank and Israeli right-wing politicians have long viewed the strategic area as a part of the territory they would never retreat from.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/11/Saudi-Arabia-condemns-Netanyahu-pledge-to-annex-the-Jordan-Valley.html

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Zarif in Trump reminder: Did you know Netanyahu pushed you into Afghan war, too?

Sep 10, 2019

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reminds the United States that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contributed to the launch of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan before he tried bringing about the Washington-spearheaded war on Iraq.

“Did you know, realDonaldTrump (the name of the US president’s Twitter account), that Netanyahu was also instrumental in pushing the US into the Afghanistan quagmire?” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday.

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

• Sep 9, 2019

Replying to @JZarif

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Javad Zarif

@JZarif

Did you know, @realdonaldtrump, that Netanyahu was also instrumental in pushing the US into the Afghanistan quagmire? The same one that you now cannot get out of?

His motto since 1986: Fight to the last American soldier.

Just watch this clip:

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The tweet incorporated a video showing the Israeli premier’s promoting the Afghan invasion before its realization in 2001 during a congressional hearing in the US.

“His (Netanyahu’s) motto since 1986: Fight to the last American soldier,” Zarif added. He was citing a remark made by the Israeli politician in a book written by him that year, to which Netanyahu himself is seen referring during the hearing.

About 18 years on, Zarif said, the United States is now bogged down in Afghanistan and unable to “get out,” referring to Washington’s inability to strike a peace deal with the Afghan militant group Taliban, which the US overthrew through the invasion but failed to eliminate.

On Monday, Zarif had posted another tweet indicating Netanyahu’s influence in realization of the US-led invasion of Iraq two years after the invasion of Afghanistan.

In that tweet, he pointed to Netanyahu’s remarks back in 2002, during which the Israeli premier promoted a US-led military aggression against the Arab country by claiming that it would hugely benefit the region.

The United States led its allies in the invasion a year later. The war was ensued by devastating chaos in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. The tumultuous aftermath also paved the way for the emergence of Takfiri terrorists in the Middle East.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/10/605826/Iran-United-States-Israel-Netanyahu-Afghanistan-invasion-Iraq

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Yemenis vow to continue resistance against Saudi aggression

Sep 11, 2019

Mohammed al-Attab

Yemenis have come together in the capital Sana’a to commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussain, the third Shia Imam, who was martyred in the Battle of Karbala, in southern Iraq, in 680 A.D. The demonstrators say the battle has inspired them to remain resilient against the relentless aggression by Saudi Arabia against the impoverished nation.

This year's martyrdom anniversary comes as Yemenis are in the fifth year of their resistance against Saudi war.

Since the onset of Saudi war in 2015, over 16 thousand civilians have been killed. The country's infrastructure of schools, hospitals, airports and seaports have been targeted and many have been leveled to the ground. The United Nations has warned that the situation in Yemen is further deteriorating as the Arab country is facing the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.

Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who had resigned amid popular discontent and fled to Riyadh, and to eliminate the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which had been running state affairs.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/11/605871/Yemenis-Resistance-Saudi-Aggression

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Israeli High Court allows military to hold bodies of slain Palestinians for use in negotiations

Sep 10, 2019

Israel’s so-called High Court of Justice has ruled that the military can withhold bodies of the Palestinians that it kills to grant the Tel Aviv regime leverage in future negotiations with Palestinians, drawing immediate condemnation from Palestinians.

The verdict was issued on Monday after a majority vote by an expanded panel of seven judges. Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and Justices Neal Hendel, Isaac Amit and Noam Sohlberg were in favor, while justices Uzi Vogelman, Daphne Barak-Erez and George Karra, who framed different minority opinions, opposed the decision.

The Israeli justices alleged in their decision that withholding Palestinians’ bodies falls within the purview of the Israeli regime’s security, and claimed that the practice was not illegal under international law governing armed conflict.

The measure was adopted in response to a petition by the families of six Palestinians, whose bodies are currently in the Israeli regime’s possession.

It reverses a 2017 High Court ruling on the matter, which determined that holding on to bodies was illegal, in a “violation of human rights as well as the rights of the deceased and his family.”

It noted at the time that Israeli authorities could hold on to the bodies of Palestinians who had purportedly committed “particularly egregious” acts of “terror,” and that the decision should be anchored in a specific and explicit law.

Israeli military forces regularly take custody of Palestinians’ bodies. Sometimes the bodies are later returned to their families for burial. At other times, they are withheld to prevent celebratory funerals in Palestinian towns, or with a view to using them in negotiations to retrieve the bodies of Israeli soldiers held by resistance groups.

According to Palestinian campaigners pushing for the release of the remains of those killed by Israeli forces, the Tel Aviv regime currently holds over 300 Palestinians' bodies.

‘An extension of Israel’s violations’

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has censured the Israeli High Court’s decision, and described it as an extension of the Israeli regime’s violations and its continued crimes and punitive measures against Palestinian people.

“Once again, the so-called judicial system in the occupying power, including the Israeli High Court, proved that it is an integral part of the occupation system, and has nothing to do with the principles and foundations of justice, and issues its decisions based on what the colonial system itself determines and decides for it,” the ministry said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The Palestinian foreign ministry emphasized that it is exerting efforts at all international levels in order to recover the bodies of Palestinian martyrs, and will continue to expose the crime of withholding the remains of deceased Palestinians.

It termed the Israeli regime’s move to hold slain Palestinians’ remains as a policy of extortion and bargaining aimed at achieving colonial purposes.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/10/605818/Israeli-High-Court-rules-to-hold-bodies-of-slain-Palestinians-for-use-in-negotiations

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Netanyahu quits Israel election rally as rocket alert sounds

September 10, 2019

JERUSALEM: Sirens warning of rocket fire from Gaza cut short an election rally by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the southern city of Ashkelon late Tuesday, public television reported.

KAN 11 broadcast footage of Netanyahu’s security detail closing in around him as he was speaking from the podium.

One of them whispered in his ear before the premier raised a hand in farewell and was hustled from the building.

The Israel army said in a brief statement that sirens had sounded in Ashkelon and the port city of Ashdod, but it did not elaborate.

There were no immediate reports of rockets falling in any urban area.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1552731/middle-east

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South Asia

 

Taliban says it will continue fighting after Trump negotiations cancelled

10 September 2019

The Taliban on Tuesday vowed to continue fighting against US forces in Afghanistan after President Donald Trump said talks with insurgents were “dead,” saying Washington would regret abandoning negotiations.

“We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan, one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.

“If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it.”

President Donald Trump  said on Monday that US peace talks with the Taliban are over and announced that the US military has dramatically scaled up attacks on the insurgents in Afghanistan.

“They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,” Trump said at the White House about the long-running attempt to reach an agreement with the Taliban and extricate US troops from the country after 18 years of war.

Speaking at a news conference in Kabul on Sunday, Sadiq Sediqi, a spokesman for President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, that the Afghan people would never accept an incomplete peace deal with the Taliban that results in their death.

Sediqi said that the Taliban leaders staying in Qatar for peace talks were “having [a] honeymoon in Doha,” adding that the “Taliban leaders [send] orders from Qatar to kill Afghans.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/10/Taliban-says-it-will-continue-fighting-after-Trump-negotiations-cancelled.html

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China calls for continuation of Afghan peace talks

Sep 10, 2019

BEIJING: Calling for the continuation of the Afghan peace talks, China on Tuesday urged both the US and the Taliban to let the "seed of peace" take root in Afghanistan after President Donald Trump declared the negotiations between the two sides as "dead." Trump on Saturday announced the cancellation of a secret meeting with the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David near Washington. It came after the Taliban claimed responsibility of an attack in Kabul last week, in which an American soldier were among the 12 dead.

The US has been conducting peace talks with the Taliban and the two sides were hopeful of a deal that included America cutting down on troops in Afghanistan and guarantees by Taliban of not allowing the Afghan soil to be ever used again for terror activities.

“Afghanistan situation has entered a key juncture,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters here, responding to a question on the cancellation of the talks between the US and the Taliban.

“We call on the US and Taliban to continue their negotiations for outcomes to let the seed of peace to take root in Afghanistan and create conditions for the final settlement of the Afghanistan issue,” she said.

Without directly naming the US, Hua called on all the foreign forces to "withdraw in orderly and responsible way, that means such an arrangement should be conducive to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.”

She said that Beijing believes that important progress has been made in the talks between the US and Taliban.

“They reached important consensus on the peaceful agreement. Now there are still uncertainties. But it is the aspiration of Afghanistan people to stop the war and realise the peace,” she said.

“China firmly support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned extensive and inclusive peace and reconciliation process and support all parties in strengthening their dialogue,” she said.

On the just concluded trilateral meeting between Pakistan, Afghanistan and China in Islamabad on September 7, she said China plans to build an expressway between Kabul and Peshawar.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/china-calls-for-continuation-of-afghan-peace-talks/articleshow/71065503.cms

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UN envoy: It’s ‘imperative’ to start Afghan-Taliban talks

By Edith M. Lederer 

September 10, 2019

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. envoy for Afghanistan said Tuesday it is imperative for direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to start quickly, and he urged the militant Islamist group to retract its threat to disrupt the upcoming presidential election.

Tadamichi Yamamoto told the Security Council that the events of recent days and weeks “have shown, more than ever, the urgency of finding a political settlement to the long Afghan conflict.”

Yamamoto spoke three days after President Donald Trump abruptly halted U.S.-Taliban talks, citing an upsurge in attacks by the Islamic insurgent group. The cancellation put a spotlight on the Sept. 28 presidential election.

The U.N. envoy said opportunities for peace over the past year “created hope, but also fear for many,” and made clear that the conflict can only be resolved by direct talks involving “the whole spectrum of Afghan society.”

“It is imperative therefore that direct talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban commence as soon as possible,” Yamamoto said.

He urged the parties to the conflict and all those interested in peace to keep working to bring about direct talks.

Recent informal talks between the Taliban and representatives of Afghan society in Doha and Moscow addressed some key issues for peace, Yamamoto said. He expressed hope this would be carried forward and deepened.

Peace efforts must address and lead to a reduction in violence and an eventual cease-fire, he said.

But, Yamamoto added, “any political settlement must include a promise to continue to protect and advance human rights and fundamental freedoms for all who live in Afghanistan, including those of women, youth and minorities as well as the freedom of expression and the media.”

Yamamoto said security, voter turnout and fraud are major challenges for the presidential election.

While the Afghan government’s technical and operational preparations for the elections are on track, he said, “we still hear much anxiety expressed by Afghan citizens particularly in view of the Taliban’s stated threat to disrupt the electoral process, especially by targeting civilians participating in the elections.”

Stressing that attacks on voters and polling stations are “clear violations of international law,” Yamamoto urged the Taliban to withdraw its threat. And he urged the government to provide adequate security to safeguard the electoral process.

Yamamoto said 9.6 million people have registered to vote, but turnout could be affected by security worries.

“Credible elections would provide an important political foundation for the future of the country as well as legitimacy and authority to the elected president, which would be particularly important in view of the expected peace process,” he said.

Afghanistan’s U.N. ambassador, Adela Raz, said that despite security threats and challenges, the Afghan people “are determined to hold and participate in the elections.”

Raz, the country’s first female ambassador, urged the Security Council to call on countries with influence on the Taliban “to respect the aspiration of every Afghan, and prevent them from attacks on the election day.”

She said the government remains committed to peace talks, stressing that any agreement must be endorsed by the Afghan people and ensure an immediate cease-fire and the preservation of the gains and achievements of the past 18 years.

Full report at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/un-chief-islamic-state-remains-resilient-in-afghanistan/2019/09/09/64afa5be-d35f-11e9-8924-1db7dac797fb_story.html?noredirect=on

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Afghans Glad Trump Stopped Taliban Talks, Even if They Doubt His Explanation

By David Zucchino

Sept. 9, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan — For several days after Abdul Sami was sent tumbling and knocked unconscious by a powerful Taliban car bombing last week, he had no idea that an American soldier was among the 12 people killed.

Perched on a hospital bed on Monday, his legs and abdomen wrapped in bandages, Mr. Sami just shrugged when told that the soldier’s death had been cited by President Trump as the basis for his decision to abort peace talks with the Taliban.

“Tell Mr. Trump I’m very, very tired and I don’t feel like keeping up with these peace talks anyway,” said Mr. Sami, 23, a travel agency employee. “There is no point in trying for peace when the Taliban does such terrible things to innocent people.”

For many Afghans, the abrupt suspension of talks after 10 months of negotiations was not entirely unexpected. What jarred them was the notion that a single attack, and the death of one American, could really have upended the talks when the deaths of thousands of Afghans this year — not to mention at least 15 other American soldiers — had not.

That was the question on the mind of Ghulam Mohammad, 35, a laborer wounded in the bombing that killed the American, Army Sgt. First Class Elis Barreto Ortiz. His wiry body was bent in pain Monday from a hole ripped in his stomach by shrapnel.

“It’s always the poor people who are stepped on and killed,” Mr. Mohammad said. “Nobody cares about us — not Trump, not our own government.”

The doctor who treated him also was skeptical.

“This is all a political game. Why talk for 10 months and then suddenly stop — and just because an American soldier was killed?” asked the doctor, who was not authorized to speak with reporters.

“I’d like to ask Mr. Trump why he didn’t stop the peace talks after all those attacks when the Taliban killed so many civilians,” the doctor said.

There had been deep skepticism in Afghanistan that the Taliban would ever agree to share power, cut ties with terrorist groups or stop killing civilians — especially after the group ramped up suicide attacks in urban centers during the talks.

In the countryside, Afghan forces supported by American advisers and air power also have intensified operations since last fall. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that more than a thousand Taliban fighters had been killed over the previous 10 days.

Since negotiations between the United States and the Taliban began last fall, many Afghans had lived in a state of suspended animation, between hope and dread. There was hope that decades of war might finally come to a close, but dread that under a peace deal the Taliban would return to power and reimpose their brutal repression.

Many Afghans also have expressed concern that the United States, eager to end nearly 18 years of war in Afghanistan, would withdraw its 14,000 troops abruptly. Some fear such a move would precipitate the kind of mayhem that nearly destroyed the country and brought the Taliban to power in 1996.

The suspension of talks between the United States and the Taliban appeared to open the way for proceeding with a presidential election Sept. 28. The election had been in doubt because of concerns that it would interfere with talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which had been expected to begin as early as this month as part of the proposed agreement scuttled by Mr. Trump.

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, who had fumed while his government was excluded from the Taliban talks with the United States, is running for a second five-year term. The Taliban, which fiercely opposes elections, has attacked polling stations in previous campaigns.

Violence continued unabated Monday. The Taliban besieged parts of three northern provinces, with civilians killed in the fighting along with government security forces and Taliban fighters.

In Kabul, gunmen in trucks raced through the streets, firing in the air to commemorate the anniversary of Al Qaeda’s assassination of a famous politician and military commander, the Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Masood, two days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Some clashed with security forces.

The police said one security force member and a civilian bystander were killed. A roadside bomb wounded three Masood supporters.

Speaking at a ceremony honoring the slain commander, Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s chief executive, said, “Today, we are as far from peace as we were years ago,” an Afghan news channel reported.

For many Afghans, such scenes only deepened a sense of futility and despair born of exhaustion from the violence that intensified on both sides during the 10 months of talks between the Americans and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.

“It was never in the interests of the Afghan people,” Shahla Farid, a law professor at Kabul University and a women’s rights activist, said of the proposed deal for an American withdrawal. “The Afghan people who are the main victims of this war were kept in the dark.”

For many Afghan women, who were confined to their homes by the Taliban and forced to cover themselves in public, the halt to negotiations was a blessing. Women interviewed in recent months have said the rights and freedoms won since the American-led invasion toppled the Taliban in 2001 would be threatened by any deal that returned the Taliban to power.

Ms. Farid was so disillusioned by the proposed deal, she said, that she had planned to take nearly 500 burqas to the United States for women to wear in protest if the agreement were consummated.

She said she believed Mr. Trump had seized on the American soldier’s death as a pretext to halt the proposed agreement, in part, over Taliban intransigence and concern that the group would not honor its commitments once American troops withdrew.

If not for public complaints about the proposed deal from women and other skeptics, a flawed agreement might have been finalized, said Mary Akrami, head of the Afghan Women’s Network, a coalition of rights groups. She said the deal would have legitimized the Taliban.

Ms. Akrami said she doubted Mr. Trump’s contention that he called off negotiations over the death of a single American soldier. If that explanation were true, she said, “it would be a disrespect to all Afghans, to all the victims who lost their lives.”

On social media Monday, many Afghans mocked the American special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, who said last week that a peace agreement had been reached “in principle,” pending approval by Mr. Trump.

“Khalilzad had a miscarriage in the ninth month,” one Facebook post read.

In the north, several civilians cut off by Taliban assaults but reached by telephone expressed relief that the talks were off.

When they heard the news, “people were happy, but still worried that this was another plot to hand us over to the Taliban,” said Malalai Saad, 46, a women’s rights activist in Kunduz.

Najmuddin Akrami, 65, a carpenter in Kunduz, said that regardless of any peace deal, the Taliban were getting stronger while “America is trying to play any game or trick to find a way to leave Afghanistan.”

At the hospital in Kabul, Momin Rasooli, 18, sat shirtless with a bandage covering a chest wound gained in a Taliban suicide bombing on Sept. 2. His brother, Jawad Jawed, 25, tried to console him.

Mr. Jawed said he never believed the American talks with the Taliban would produce real peace.

“As long as there is an Afghanistan, there will always be fighting and death,” he said. “It’s all I’ve known all my life.”

Full report at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/09/world/asia/taliban-talks-afghanistan-trump.html

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Airstrikes kill 17 Taliban, ISIS militants; destroy a car bomb and weapons caches

10 Sep 2019

The security forces conducted multiple airstrikes in various provinces in the past 24 killing at last 17 Taliban and ISIS militants.

The military officials said Tuesday that the security forces conducted an airstrike in Khugyani district of Nangarhar province which killed 1 ISIS militant.

The officials further added that a similar airstrike killed 5 Taliban militants and destroyed a small weapons cache in Ghorian district of Herat.

Furthermore, an airstrike killed a Taliban fighter in Jurm district of Badakhshan province, the officials said, adding that a similar air raid killed 3 Taliban militants in Deh Yak district of Ghazni.

The officials also added that an airstrike in Jaji district of Paktiya killed 7 Taliban militants and destroyed a small cache of weapons.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/airstrikes-kill-17-taliban-isis-militants-destroy-a-car-bomb-and-weapons-caches-04003/

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Mullah Rahmat among 12 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Farah province

11 Sep 2019

The security forces killed or wounded at least 12 Taliban militants including Mullah Rahmat, one of the local commanders of the group in Farah.

The Police Headquarters of Farah said in a statement that the Afghan Air Force conducted airstrikes in Posht Koh district of Farah which killed 6 Taliban militants.

The statement further added that the airstrikes also wounded 3 Taliban militants.

Furthermore, the security repulsed a Taliban attack in Shiwan Village of Posht Koh district killing Taliban commander Mullah Rahmat and his two comrades.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/mullah-rahmat-among-12-taliban-militants-killed-wounded-in-farah-province-04008/

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Special Forces kill, detain 11 militants in latest raids against Taliban, ISIS groups

11 Sep 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed at least 9 Taliban militants during an operaiton in Giro district of Ghazni province.

The military officials said Wednesday that the Special Forces also detained 2 Taliban militants during an operation in Nerkh district of Wardak province.

The officials further added that the Special Forces destroyed a cache of weapons belonging to Taliban in Baraki Barak district of Logar province.

Furthermore, the Special Forces destroyed a drug cache of ISIS terrorist group during a patrol in Chaparhar district of Nangarhar province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/special-forces-kill-detain-11-militants-in-latest-raids-against-taliban-isis-groups-04006/

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Taliban group member disguised as woman arrested in Nuristan province

11 Sep 2019

The security forces arrested a Taliban group member who had disguised himself as woman in eastern Nuristan province of Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the security forces arrested the Taliban group member in Saw Village of Nari district.

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

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior said the security forces arrested another militant who was assassinating security personnel in Herat province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-group-member-disguised-as-woman-arrested-in-nuristan-province-04005/

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Rocket explodes near US Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary

Sep 11, 2019

A large explosion has rocked near the US Embassy in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, but officials at the compound later declared an all-clear and reported no injuries.

A plume of smoke rose over the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood shortly after midnight on Wednesday and sirens could be heard.

Inside the embassy, employees heard a message over the loudspeaker saying a blast had gone off.

“An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound,” it said.

About an hour later the all-clear was given, with no injuries reported.

There was no immediate comment from Afghan officials. The NATO mission, which is nearby, also said no personnel had been injured.

The explosion came after US President Donald Trump abruptly called off US-Taliban talks over the weekend, on the brink of an apparent deal to end America's longest military campaign.

Last week, several civilians and two members of the NATO mission lost their lives when two Taliban car bombs shook Kabul.

Trump has cited the death of a US service member in one of those blasts as the reason why he now calls Washington-Taliban negotiations “dead.”

Iran urges US to leave Afghanistan 'sooner'

Meanwhile, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations has urged the US to withdraw from its military forces Afghanistan, saying Washington has no other option but to pull its troops out of the country.

“After some two decades of the US invasion of Afghanistan, it’s totally clear that the US has no other choice but to leave this country. The sooner, the better,” Majid Takht Ravanchi addressed the UN Security Council’s meeting on peace and security in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

He added, “We’ve said time and again that the Afghan nation wants a responsible withdrawal of all foreign forces within a specific time frame. We call on the Afghan government and all parties to be prudent and work closely with each other to pass this security crisis successfully.”

Takht Ravanchi then asked all eligible Afghan voters to cast their ballots in the September 28 presidential polls in a bid to strengthen democratic processes in their country.

The Iranian diplomat also held foreign powers responsible for an uptick in attacks carried out by Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Afghanistan, arguing that those states have facilitated the relocation of the extremists from Syria and Iraq to Iran’s eastern neighbor.

He also called upon all Afghan parties to exercise restraint so as to declare a complete ceasefire and conclude a national reconciliation agreement.

 “Whatever conflict and fratricide will help those who aren’t interested in witnessing a secure and stable Afghanistan,” Takht Ravanchi warned.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/11/605864/Rocket-explodes-near-US-Embassy-in-Kabul-on-911-anniversary

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Europe

 

Foiled terrorist attacks on UK soil have risen to 22, says top officer

9 Sep 2019

The UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has revealed that the number of attacks foiled since the Westminster atrocity has risen to 22, with seven relating to suspected far-right terror.

Speaking at a conference in Israel, assistant commissioner Neil Basu disclosed the updated figure as he laid out the law enforcement case in support of the government’s divisive anti-radicalisation strategy, Prevent.

He said the number of foiled terrorist plots since the March 2017 attack by Khalid Masood on Westminster Bridge, in which five people died including a police officer, had risen from 19 to 22.

Basu urged Lord Carlile – whose appointment as independent reviewer of Prevent has itself been met with controversy – to ignore “malign detractors” of the programme and advocated a public health approach.

“Rather than just treat the symptoms of terrorism we must treat the causes. Prevent – which offers a bespoke programme of support for vulnerable individuals – is the closest thing to a public health solution we have,” he said.

“Evidence indicates people with extremist views are more likely to be moved to violence when they feel excluded. We need to help people who see their position in society as hopeless to find hope – help them find a ‘family’ that believes in society, not a gang that wants to tear it apart.”

The review was announced following years of mounting criticism of Prevent, which has become a toxic brand for many within Muslim communities, with some viewing it as a state tool for spying on them.

Basu, the head of the national counter-terrorism policing network, conceded that the upcoming review would uncover shortcomings in the strategy.

“Critics are right to challenge ambiguity in the programme. It lacks clarity about thresholds for intervention – where safeguarding the vulnerable stops and pursuing a criminal starts,” added Basu.

“These are issues I accept and will work with our new independent reviewer and critical friends to address. But I won’t give ground to critics whose agenda is to discredit Prevent to suit their own ends. No one who has challenged Prevent to date has had a better idea.”

The Prevent strategy includes a statutory duty on specified authorities, including those working in schools, health and social services, to report any signs of “extremism” and to make referrals to the government’s counter-radicalisation Channel programme.

In a bid to reassure critics who accused him of being biased in favour of Prevent, Carlile said that “nothing would be off the table” during his review, which would take place next year, including scrapping the programme.

Brandon Lewis, the security minister, said: “We have seen how Prevent has supported many vulnerable people, stopping them from hurting others and themselves, and helping them turn their lives around.

“Since 2012, over 1,700 people have received tailored support through our Channel programme, with the vast majority leaving with no further CT [counter-terrorism] concerns.

“We know Prevent works best when delivered in partnership with communities which is why we support community groups to deliver projects against all forms of radicalisation.

“Last year 181 community projects were delivered, reaching over 88,000 participants. More than half of these were delivered in schools, aimed at increasing young people’s resilience to terrorist and extremist ideologies.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/09/foiled-terrorist-attacks-on-uk-soil-have-risen-to-22-says-top-officer

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ISIS remains resilient in Afghanistan, says UN chief Guterres

10 September 2019

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the ISIS extremist group remains resilient in Afghanistan despite “a high pace” of operations against it by government and international forces - and is urging all armed groups not to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.

The UN chief said in a report to the Security Council circulated on Monday that between mid-June and early September 183 incidents were attributed to ISIS extremists - nearly double the 93 incidents during the same period in 2018.

Guterres’ report was written before US President Donald Trump abruptly ended a nearly year-long effort to reach a political settlement with the Taliban on Saturday. Trump said on Monday that US peace talks with the Taliban were now “dead.”

In the report, the secretary-general says the US-Taliban talks, a dialogue between Afghan parties in Qatar and strengthened efforts “to build a regional consensus on peace have given rise to cautious optimism that a formal peace process may soon begin.”

Guterres cautioned, however, that a peace process could only be sustained if it is inclusive, protects the rights of all Afghans, and is “grounded in a broad consensus.” He reiterated his call for direct talks between the Taliban and the government, which the Taliban has rejected.

The secretary-general said Afghanistan’s “volatile security situation is highly concerning,” citing direct threats to the presidential election scheduled for September 28 “by anti-government elements that may discourage many Afghans from voting.”

Guterres called on the Taliban and other armed groups, including ISIS, “to desist from threatening or targeting electoral staff, candidates or voters.” He also urged anti-government forces to refrain from damaging electoral sites and to allow the Afghan people “to exercise their political rights in safety and without fear of violence.”

The secretary-general said the winner of the presidential election will take on “the hefty responsibility of leading the country through the next phase of its journey towards stability and self-reliance and, above all, of pursuing a negotiated settlement to end the devastating conflict.”

But what will happen now that the US-Taliban deal appears dead, at least for the foreseeable future, remains to be seen. The Security Council is scheduled to discuss Guterres’ report on Tuesday.

Guterres appealed to all Afghan leaders and candidates “to display leadership in discouraging fraud and to take firm action to prevent it.” He said the election “must be contested on a level playing field, without unduly favoring any candidate.”

He welcomed the public commitments of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah - both candidates for the top job - to contest the election fairly.

He also noted the steps taken by the government to separate functions of the state from the presidential race. But, he added, “At the same time, allegations of misuse of state resources and perceptions of interference in the work of the electoral management bodies are concerning.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/09/10/ISIS-remains-resilient-in-Afghanistan-says-UN-chief-Guterres.html

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Muslims in London mark Ashura

Sep 11, 2019

In Tuesday’s procession, hundreds of people gathered to add their voice to the chants. Shia Muslims from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and the UK itself came together in mourning. The organizers were asked to make sure the event was purged of factional messages but to do so would have defeated the message of Karbala.

What happened in Karbala on the day of Ashura has been commemorated in ceremonies like this for 14 hundred years. In many places across the globe, Ashura 2019 has been a trying one with Muslim men, women and children being denied the right to partake in processions like this or met with brutal force for defying the ban.

Today Ashura symbolizes the fight against tyranny, the uprising of the oppressed against the oppressor, which is vital in Islam and people everywhere can identify with.

Also mourned on this day are family members of Hussein Ibn-Ali who were revered for their strength, and piety, and stood by him to the last. His brother Abbas who died trying to get water for the children, and his sister Zeynab known as the "Heroine of Karbala" for her efforts to protect her nephew. The youngest of Hussein’s children, six-month-old son Ali-Asghar, who was shot in the throat, strikes a chord with parents, uncles and aunts most of all. We spoke to people at the procession about their feelings on this day.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/11/605869/Muslims-London-Ashura

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Saudi Arabia’s Princess Lamia opens new and improved Islamic art space at Louvre in Paris

September 10, 2019

PARIS: A new space at the Louvre Museum in Paris showcasing more than 12 centuries of Islamic art was unveiled on Tuesday by Princess Lamia Al-Saud, the secretary general of Alwaleed Philanthropies.

Boasting one of the most extensive collections of Muslim art and artifacts in the world, the new department contains 3,000 items collected from Spain to India via the Arabian peninsula and dating from the 7th century to the 19th.

Visitors to the exhibition will be shown the evolution of Islamic art and how it influenced and, in turn, was influenced by other artistic traditions.

مكتب الوليد بن طلال للإنسانية 🇸🇦

@phian_alwleed

We are excited to announce the opening of the new and expanded Center of Education in the Department of Islamic Art at Musée du Louvre, Paris. Our ongoing partnership with @MuseeLouvre is committed to using art and culture to achieve global understanding. View image on Twitter

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 The expansion over two floors was supported by Alwaleed Philanthropies, which has a longstanding partnership with the Paris museum dating back nearly 20 years. The global foundation chaired by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal donated $23 million in 2005 to help build the museum’s department of Islamic art.

Princess Lamia expressed hope that the newly expanded spaces would play a role in strengthening understanding of the rich artistic culture of Islamic history.

Speaking at the event, she said: “The new and expanded spaces allow visitors to enjoy world-class Islamic art and appreciate the shared human values expressed in its creativity. Importantly, this space has also been designed to be inclusive of everyone.”

مكتب الوليد بن طلال للإنسانية 🇸🇦

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Our Secretary General, Princess @Lamia1507 breaks down the importance of art being the great unifier.

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Jean Luc-Martinez, Louvre president, thanked  Alwaleed Philanthropies “for its commitment in favor of the Islamic Arts Department.”

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1552736/saudi-arabia

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Turkey, EU political dialogue to be held in Brussels

Fatih Hafiz Mehmet 

Sep 11, 2019

Turkey and the EU will hold a political dialogue meeting in Brussels on Friday, said a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

The statement said the Turkish delegation will be headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs Ambassador Faruk Kaymakci, while the EU delegation will be headed by the Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service Jean-Christophe Belliard

and the Director General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Christian Danielsson.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/turkey-eu-political-dialogue-to-be-held-in-brussels/1578564

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Terror watchdog casts doubt over extremist hotspot plan

Paul Peachey

Sep 10, 2019

A UK counter-terror watchdog has cast doubt on the effectiveness of a new measure to prosecute British extremists who travel abroad to fight for ISIS.

New powers were introduced in February that could see Britons jailed for up to ten years if they travelled to designated “no go zones” where extremists operated with impunity.

But Jonathan Hall, the UK’s new independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, warned that the new law could lead to undesirable unintended consequences.

He told The National that he had been contacted by charities worried that they could be criminalised for working in some of the most dangerous areas of the world.

He said that banks might be wary of allowing Britons to send money to their families in so-called terrorist hotspots because of fears of breaking the law.

“For what it is worth, I suspect that designating an area will be more relevant in terms of deterrence than in terms of prosecution,” Mr Hall said in his first speech since taking the job earlier this year.

The measure was introduced into law because of the difficulty of gathering battlefield evidence about the role of foreign fighters and made it easier to prosecute on their return home.

More than 900 Britons are believed to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the ranks of ISIS. Britain, like other EU nations, faces difficult decisions on what to do with the surviving fighters if they chose to return to the UK.

The new law on designated terrorist zones does not apply to people travelling to those countries for funerals, to care for terminally-ill relatives, or for certain professions, including UN and humanitarian workers, government staff and journalists.

The former interior minister, Sajid Javid, put Britons “on notice” in May when he said that he was looking at using the power in Syria with a particular focus on Idlib and the north-east of the country.

He also raised the prospect of using it in parts of west Africa where there has been a resurgence in Al Qaida affiliates and a continuing fighting involving the Boko Haram group.

But the measure has not yet been put in place amid doubts about its potential effectiveness after battlefield losses by ISIS has seen it lose control of territory and reverted to traditional terrorist activities.

The law would not apply retrospectively to any Briton who travelled to Syria to fight but cannot be prosecuted because of a lack of evidence.

Mr Hall questioned whether the new law would make it easier to prosecute given that it was already an offence to travel abroad to fight. Many people also remain beyond the reach of British law enforcement by remaining in the region.

“It is not possible to evaluate the efficacy of the power until it has been exercised but it is clear that any decision to designate an area requires shrewd judgment,” he said in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

“But what signals will designating a particular area as a terrorist hotspot send to the international community?

“What message would it send to the government of that country, or to allies who may have a different view about the threat posed by that territory? What if things are in a state of flux and shift decisively on the ground?”

The new legislation comes as Britain seeks to outsource to the US the trials of two of its most notorious extremists, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who are accused of being part of an ISIS assassination squad dubbed the Beatles.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/terror-watchdog-casts-doubt-over-extremist-hotspot-plan-1.908689

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Africa

 

Children held in 'horrific conditions over Boko Haram ties': HRW

Sep 11, 2019

Thousands of children have been held in recent years by Nigeria's military in "degrading and inhuman conditions" for alleged association with the Boko Haram armed group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said, calling for their "immediate" release.

The New-York-based rights group, in its report published on Tuesday, said many of the children were held without charge in crammed military barracks and unable to contact the outside world.

"Children are being detained in horrific conditions for years, with little or no evidence of involvement with Boko Haram, and without even being taken to court," said Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director at HRW, and one of the report's authors.

"Many of these children already survived attacks by Boko Haram. The authorities' cruel treatment adds to their suffering and victimises them further."

Nigeria's military denied the allegations in HRW's report, saying in a statement on Monday that the group's claims "are not only false but capable of undermining the joint efforts of the Armed Forces and other security agencies to restore peace in the North East [Nigeria]".

Boko Haram has been waging an armed campaign in northeast Nigeria since 2009, and the conflict has since spread to neighbouring countries.

'Didn't allow us to move'

In its 50-page report, HRW said Nigerian armed forces held more than 3,600 children between January 2013 and March 2019, citing figures reported by the United Nations. It said at least 2,200 children have been released from detention since 2013.

"According to UN reports, the number of children detained in 2018 dropped significantly, although Nigerian authorities have consistently denied the UN access to military detention facilities to verify the actual number held," HRW said, adding that it did not know how many children were currently in detention.

The group's report is based on 32 interviews with children and youth (25 male, seven female) who were held for suspected involvement with the armed group.

Children quoted in the report described severely overcrowded conditions, saying they were confined in cells of about 10-by-10 metres that held up to 300 detainees.

Nearly half of the children "said they saw dead bodies of other detainees", while "many" said they "suffered frequent thirst or hunger."

"We had to sleep in one position, they didn't allow us to move," Ibrahim, who is now 10, told HRW.

"If we tried to move, and they found out in the morning when they opened the door, they would take you and beat you severely, then make you lay in the same position again."

Khadija, now 14, said: "It was a deep kind of suffering."

"The army didn't take care of us, and they kept beating me, [we had] lice in our head, lice in our body, all our clothes were full of lice," she added.

But in its statement, the military said it "manages children in the North East theatre as victims of war and not as suspects."

"Apprehended children are kept in secured places, where they are adequately fed, profiled and de-radicalised before their release," it added.

'Exceptional basis'

According to HRW, some released children said they suffered social stigma, even if they did not have ties to the armed group.

"When Nigerian military authorities take children into custody, they should swiftly transfer them to civilian child protection authorities," Becker told Al Jazeera.

"Children should only be detained on a very exceptional basis, if there is clear evidence of a criminal offence. In such cases, they should be treated in accordance with international juvenile justice standards," she added.

HRW also called on Nigeria to sign and put into effect a UN handover protocol that would ensure the transfer of children apprehended by the military to authorities for rehabilitation, family reunification and reintegration.

Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to "Western education is forbidden", wants to establish an Islamic state, following a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Between June 2011 and June 2018, an estimated 37,530 people were killed in incidents involving Boko Haram, including at least 15,000 civilians, according to the Nigeria Security Tracker of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The battle against the armed group has displaced approximately two million people in Nigeria, and driven more than 24,000 into neighbouring countries as refugees.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/children-held-horrific-conditions-boko-haram-ties-hrw-190910050454020.html

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Nigeria government forces kill 12 mourners on Ashura

Sep 10, 2019

Government forces in Nigeria have attacked mourners marking the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH) on Ashura, killing at least 12 people and injuring many others.

The mourners came under attack in cities and towns across four states, including Kaduna in Nigeria’s north, on Tuesday.

Reports said 12 people were killed and many more wounded in the crackdown.

Nigerian forces also used tear gas to break up the processions.

Witnesses said the capital, Abuja, was put on lockdown, with blocks set up to prevent Ashura mourners from holding gatherings.

The Muslims were mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH), along with his 72 companions in the Battle of Karbala, in southern Iraq, in 680 AD after fighting courageously for justice against thousands of soldiers of the Umayyad caliph, Yazid I.

Citing its sources, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) said last week that the Nigerian police were preparing to prevent and disrupt the processions.

The Nigerian government has banned the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and has incarcerated its leader Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/10/605809/Nigeria-Ashura-mourners-Zakzaky

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5 Nigerian farmers shot dead in Boko Haram attack

Sep 11, 2019

ABUJA, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Five local farmers were buried on Monday in a village in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno following an attack by Boko Haram group, several sources said.

The farmers were shot dead while working on their farm earlier in the day at Shamawa village in Konduga local government area, about 35 km south to Borno's capital, Maiduguri, one security source said.

One farmer who escaped during the gun attack went to town with the news, the source, who preferred to be anonymous said of the latest violence by the terror group.

Several bullet wounds were seen on the body of each of the deceased farmers, said another source who helped in recovering the bodies and immediately prepared for burial.

Full report at:

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-09/10/c_138378954.htm

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Somalia: Five Killed As Al-Shabaab Target AMISOM Troops

9 SEPTEMBER 2019

At least 5 people including African Union peacekeeping mission forces in Somalia (AMISOM) were killed on Sunday when a roadside blasts targeted Amisom convoy in SoMiddle Shabelle region .

on Sunday, local media reported.

The attacks took near African Union forces base in Burane vicinity near the town of Mahaday Middle Shabelle region.

"At least five people, mostly Amisom soldiers from Burundi, were killed and several others wounded after their convoy was targeted in double explosions near Mahaday district," local radio broadcast Risaala said.

Muhiyidin Hassan, a police officer in the region, confirmed the attack to Anadolu Agency over the phone but did not provide further information on the attacks.

African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia also confirmed the incident and said that the attacks wounded two Amisom soldiers.

Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the double blasts saying that it had killed five Amisom soldiers in the attacks.

Full report at:

https://allafrica.com/stories/201909090555.html

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UN says over 250,000 Somalis newly displaced in 7 months

Sep 11, 2019

MOGADISHU, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- More than a quarter of a million people have been displaced between January and July in Somalia largely due to drought and conflict, the UN humanitarian agency said on Monday.

Citing figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and global charity, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)-led protection return and monitoring network (PRMN), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) says more than 100,000 people were newly displaced by drought in 2019 and this is 50 percent lower than recorded for the same period in 2018.

However, says the UN agency, an increase was reported in July with an estimated 28,000 people newly displaced, a 57 per cent increase compared to June.

"Most of the conflict-related displacement occurred in Lower Shabelle where armed operations by Somali security forces backed by international partners against the al-Shabab group resumed in April 2019,"said the UNOCHA in its latest humanitarian bulletin.

Armed conflict and insecurity have also uprooted an estimated 126,000 people from their homes as of July, according to PRMN.

Conflict-induced displacement in 2019 has remained below levels observed during the same period in 2018 when 208,000 people were displaced, said the UN.

"Evictions, sometimes forced with little or no warning, also continued to rise with an estimated 134,000 displaced person affected in the first half of the year. Of these, some 108,000 people were evicted in Mogadishu alone," said the UNOCHA.

The report says humanitarian partners have continued to provide life-saving, livelihood support and to advocate for durable solutions for internally displaced persons.

Full report at:

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-09/10/c_138378956.htm

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Egypt Wants Sudan Off US Terror List

September 9, 2019

CAIRO - Egypt’s foreign minister on Monday called for more support for neighboring Sudan’s new civilian-led government, including getting it off the U.S. list of countries sponsoring terrorism.

The U.S. named Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism in 1993. In one of its last acts, the Obama administration began a formal process to de-list Sudan. However, this was put on hold when mass protests erupted in December against President Omar al-Bashir’s three-decade rule, which ended when the military ousted him in April.

Sameh Shoukry said Egypt is now working with Washington to end Sudan’s international pariah status. The country has a newly installed government under a power-sharing agreement between the pro-democracy movement and the military, which many feared would cling to power.

Shoukry was the first foreign official to visit Sudan after its new cabinet was sworn in Sunday.

“What the Sudanese people have achieved is a role model,” Shoukry told a joint news conference at the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, alongside the country’s first woman foreign minister, Asmaa Abdalla.

He said Egypt has been working with regional and Western allies to build support for the transitional government and that efforts “to coordinate strongly with the Sudanese government will continue.”

He also met with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the sovereign council, and the new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok.

Sudan says getting off the U.S. state sponsor of terror list is crucial to rebuilding the country and readmitting it into the international economy after years of sanctions.

Prime Minister Hamdok said last week that he’d already held a “long discussion” with the Trump administration on the matter.

He also told a local TV station in August that Sudan needs up to $8 billion in foreign aid in the next two years and another $2 billion deposited as reserves to shore up the plunging local currency.

For years, Egypt’s ties with Sudan were frayed by repeated failures to reach a deal over an upstream Nile dam being built by Ethiopia, and the revival of a longstanding dispute over a border territory held by Cairo and claimed by Khartoum.

Ahmed Hafez, a spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry, said negotiations with Ethiopia over its $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam were “at the forefront” of Shoukry’s talks in Sudan.

Egypt accused al-Bashir of siding with Ethiopia in the dispute over the soon-to-be-completed dam. Egypt fears the dam could reduce its share of the Nile River which serves as a lifeline for the country’s 100 million people. Previous attempts at resolving the lasting dispute have failed.

Full report at:

https://www.voanews.com/africa/egypt-wants-sudan-us-terror-list

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African refugees held in Libya to be evacuated to Rwanda: UN

10 September 2019

African refugees being held in squalid conditions in detention in Libya will be evacuated to Rwanda under an agreement reached with Kigali and the African Union, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.

A first group of 500 refugees from the Horn of Africa will be evacuated in coming weeks out of 4,700 now estimated to be in custody in Libya, under a new “transit mechanism” partly funded the European Union (EU), UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/09/10/African-refugees-held-in-Libya-to-be-evacuated-to-Rwanda-UN.html

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