Bangladesh Film Censor Board
(BFCB) has banned screening of a controversial short film titled ‘Shonibaar
Bikel’ [Saturday Afternoon] in Bangladesh and abroad.
Organization Reveals Torture of Yemeni People in Secret Saudi Prison in
Film Director May Face Legal Consequences for Making a Film against Radical
League Chief under Fire after Saying Palestine Less Important
Christians Favour Law for Muslim Autonomy
Ties with Saudi Cannot Continue Unless Bin Salman Is ‘Dealt With': Sen. Graham
Sister Aleema’s New Jersey Property Bought with Zakat Money, Alleges PML-N
Am a Muslim and I Love India’, Says Farooq at United Opposition’s Rally
Refugees Feared Dead After Dinghy Sinks Off Libyan Coast
Debate ‘Airing Of Dirty Laundry’ After Al Arabiya’s Coverage Of Rahaf
World League International Forum Calls For Positive Coexistence
national identity a challenge: Saudi Arabia's Islamic affairs minister
30 ISIL Terrorists, Commanders Killed in Hashd al-Sha'abi Operations in Syria
Politician Rejects Deployment of Turkish Army in Safe Zone in Northern Syria
opposition sees window for political solution in Syria
prisoners of conscience in Bahraini regime’s detention, says rights group
Hashd al-Sha’abi forces kill, injure dozens of Daesh terrorists in Syria
strike on Daesh-held area in eastern Syria kills 20
Several Terrorists Killed in Massive Explosion in Tahrir Al-Sham's Headquarters
than 60 militants killed in Badghis, Baghlan and Nangarhar provinces
Hekmatyar to run for president in July elections
funder sacked army officer and family protected by Britain
won’t meet Afghan officials, talks with US on hold
convoy of Logar targeted in a suicide attack
ready to address legitimate concerns of all Afghan sides to achieve peace:
Slams US Aid Cut To Palestinians As ‘Political Blackmail’
snipers kill 14 Saudi troops in retaliatory attack
launches air strikes targeting Houthi drone capabilities in Sanaa
experts: Fuel from Iran is financing Yemen’s Houthis
unveils domestically-built radar near Pakistan border
join rally in Turkey in solidarity with detained Kurdish lawmaker
to cover cross-shaped road mosaic with paint after complaints from Muslim
group propose breach of ethics tribunal after Kota Kinabalu ‘twist’
cleric behind Bali bombing to be freed from prison
says Ba'asyir’s release not ‘gift' from Jokowi
used weakness in Polish politics to host anti-Iran summit: Analyst
treatment of Press TV anchor against law: Commentator
supports Venezuelan government amid US meddling: Qassemi
has legitimate reasons for leaving Syria: Ex-general
Extend Invitation to Sikh Businessmen from Across the Globe to Invest In
reject Pakistan’s offer to host Afghan talks in Islamabad
cops kill four in ‘cold blood’ near Sahiwal
to take up issues with Imran as differences deepen
Khan promises 'swift action' after JIT report on Sahiwal 'encounter'
continues to attack opposition on Twitter
‘commander’, two aides killed in Hangu shootout
will need 81,200 more schools in next 20 years
a Muslim aristocrat's art collection became a national treasure
Government to Press for Hike in Muslim, ST Quota’
Indo-Pak dialogue but diplomatic engagement still on
denies allegation of pushing Rohingyas into Bangladesh
airstrike in Somalia kills 52 Al-Shabab extremists
announces 'massive offensive' against Al Shabab in Somalia
union calls new nationwide strike to press wage demands
authorities investigate local role in Nairobi attack
readies ‘massive offensive’ on al-Shabaab in Somalia
killed, dozens hurt in latest bout of Tripoli fighting, says Libyan ministry
group's assets in Greece being sold illegally
patience with Iran wears thin, tiptoes toward Trump
government questions exclusion from meeting in Germany
denies allegations of spying on German army
charged in Bulgaria with financing ‘terrorist’ groups
by New Age Islam News Bureau
fate of tens of detainees who have gone through forced disappearance is
unknown, while others have seen extended detention without trial and were
denied proper treatment and family visits,” SAM said.
has received information that the detainees are kept in the so-called “Atteen
prison” which is an old abandoned prison since 2006 at Murima area in Seyun in
Hadhramout about 500 feet far from the new prison. The detainees are
interrogated for hours by Saudi interrogators supervised by Abu Salem and
Al-Khaledi in addition to the commander of the first military zone
indicated in the press release that most of the detainees who reported to SAM
were detained by the first military zone without any judicial warrants or legal
grounds and were detained from public streets or markets and made to disappear
for about a year.
received a complaint from one detainee who claimed that they’ve been treated
like goats with no dignity. "We are insulted, beaten, and kept in solitary
confinement, shocked by electricity, and sprayed with cold water in the
winter," he said, according to SAM.
relative of a detainee who visited his detained relative said “when I visited
him I found him in psychological trauma, with thin face and handcuffed since
his detention date”.
revealed that even children were detained and tortured in the first military
zone prison, where Sami Faraj Al-Zabedi, 15, was detained, according to his
father statement, and was beaten with iron cords and sticks, kept in cold water
and was humiliated and abused.
March 2015, two children Ghaleb Omar Ali,16, and Abdullah Wael Omar, 17, were
of the children told SAM that they were in a bad psychological condition with
skinny faces, handcuffed and were beaten severely and shocked by electricity.
also received reports from the detainee’s relatives that they were not allowed
to visit them, only after great suffer and follow-up at the first military zone
commander, and the security commander.
of the relatives told SAM that he was allowed to visit his son for half an hour
during three years of detention.
confirms that the detainee’s detention conditions is very bad, where some
suffer diseases and tumors and never receive proper medication by the prison
authorities, while their relatives are unaware of their condition due to denial
revealed that the detainees went on a hunger strike twice, due to the bad
conditions, demanding the Saudi-UAE coalition and the first military zone
commander to refer them to the court, to remove the iron legs cuffs, allow
family visits, and contact their families and provide needed medical care and
detainees are exposed to torture, according to testimony SAM received from an
ex detainee, who said that one day they protested one day, demanding the
presence of the Saudi-led Coalition officer, but they were tortured by the
military police force led by officers Mustafa Al-Muhya, and Abdullah Al-Ashwal
Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan,
launched a brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall Yemen’s
former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. Around 20,000
people have died since the war began, says Yemen’s Health Ministry.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The United Nations (UN) has said
that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger.
Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters,
Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the
impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, as Saudi Arabia's deadly
campaign prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and
blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.
film director may face legal consequences for making a film against radical
Film Censor Board (BFCB) has banned screening of a controversial short film
titled ‘Shonibaar Bikel’ [Saturday Afternoon] in Bangladesh and abroad.
title of the film translates to “Saturday Afternoon” and dramatises the July
2016 attack on an upmarket cafe by militants who killed 22 of their hostages,
including 18 foreigners. Bangladesh’s censor board said the film – a
Bangladesh-German co-production – could incite religious fervor in the
Muslim-majority nation of 165 million.
has suffered from homegrown extremism for decades, but the Holey Artisan Cafe
attack was the worst in years and seen as a major blow to the country’s image
as a moderate Muslim nation.
government has always denied the five young men who seized the cafe for hours
before killing many hostages and dying themselves were linked to the Islamic
State (ISIS) jihadist outfit although ISIS had uploaded photographs and video
of the attack claiming responsibility.
on the decision of the BFCB, internationally acclaimed anti-militancy
journalist, counterterrorism expert and editor of Blitz, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
said, “Although Mostofa Sarwar Farooki is no new name in the film circle, he
definitely does not have adequate knowledge on such extremely sensitive issues
like radical Islamic militancy and jihadist outfits. He should have consulted
with individuals have knowledge in this field before finalizing the script of
this film. Any wrong interpretation in a film would greatly damage the image of
Bangladesh internationally especially when it is connected to notorious
militancy outfits like ISIS.”
said, “Governments in Bangladesh always are sensitive to issues like militancy.
This was even worst during the rule of BNP-Jamaat government during 2001-2006,
when they falsely charged me with sedition, treason and blasphemy for my
investigative reports on Qawmi madrassas being the breeding grounds of
jihadist. Though I do not have any know details about the script of Mostofa
Sarwar Farooki’s ‘Shonibaar Bikel’, what I believe, members of BFCB must have
identified some specific points in it which they felt would be damaging to the
image of the country.”
if the film really is based on the story related to jihadist attack in Dhaka,
Mr. Choudhury said, “I am not sure. May be this is just a publicity stunt of
the director. Even I don’t know if Mostofa Sarwar Farooki has adequate
knowledge on radical Islam and jihad.”
of Mostofa Sarwar Farooki believe, the director is extremely inclined in
inviting criticism as he has done in the past with the goal of getting media
exposure. His previous film starring Irrfan Khan in ‘Doob’ had also been made
controversial although on release the film embraced flop.
just another publicity stunt of Mostofa Sarwar Farooki”, commented a senior
film director when asked about the ban on Farooki’s latest film.
the ban on the film, releasing posters photosets and trailers of Shonibaar
Bikel would be considered as illegal and authorities may bring charges against
Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and the producer of the film, in case they circulate any
such material. Defying the decision of BFCB, publicity materials of this film
have already been circulated on the YouTube and social media.
Bikel, a work of fiction, is loosely inspired from the Holy Artisan attack in
Dhaka. Starring Parambrata Chatterjee, Zahid Hasan and Nusrat Imrose Tisha
among others, the film is produced by Jaaz Multimedia and Chabial. Anna Katchko
of Tandem Productions (Germany) serves as the co-producer.
of the censor board have watched the film twice. Even though they praised the
film upon the first viewing, certain concerns were brought to light when they
watched it for the second time. “We think that the running time of the film,
which is an hour and twenty minutes, is more suitable for film festivals than a
theatrical release,” informs censor board member Nassiruddin Dilu. He added
that the film will damage the country’s reputation. Furthermore, Iftekhar Uddin
Naushad, another member of the censor board, claimed that this decision was
made because the film will be unfavorable to the global image of Bangladesh.
online groups on social media are criticizing the film, citing that the first
look gives out a wrong picture of religion.
League chief under fire after saying Palestine less important
Arab League chief has got himself in hot water after saying the importance of
the Palestinian cause has “reduced” even as Israel is stepping up its coercive
measures in the occupied territories.
are more pressing matters we (Arab countries) must contend with, since the Arab
world has dramatically changed," Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a recent
televised interview with a local Egyptian channel.
also stressed that the Arab region is currently going through tougher times
compared to 2010.
nations have recently seen the hardest of times,” Aboul Gheit noted, citing the
crises gripping Yemen, Syria and Libya.
must not forget the mistakes made by Arab rulers, inflicting tragedies upon the
region," he said.
political analysts condemned Aboul Gheit's remarks as a step towards the
normalization of relations between Arab countries and the Tel Aviv regime.
has full diplomatic relations with only two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, but
latest reports suggest the regime is working behind the scenes to establish
formal contact with Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Egyptian political analyst, identified as Mahmoud, told The Media Line that the
Arab League chief’s “statements are a clear attempt to prepare the ground for
the normalization of relations with the Zionist entity."
(Aboul Gheit) is not very smart because the Arab street would never accept this
entity in any way,” he said, emphasizing that Arab citizens have turned away
from their governments on the issue.
majority of Arabs see Israel as a foreign body, and feel threatened by it.
While politicians have their own agendas and interests with the Zionist entity,
the wider Arab nation does not and rejects it,” Mahmoud pointed out.
political commentator Moeen al-Taher said Aboul Gheit's comments implied that
he is seeking to establish formal ties with Israel and soften the Arab public
opinion on the matter.
political analyst Qasem Qaseer described the Zionist entity as "the
region’s core problem" and accused the Arab League of "trying to
de-prioritize" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
(Aboul Gheit) said he is not trying to prioritize other issues. Nevertheless,
the Zionist entity is the main issue and the reason for all other problems in
the region," he said.
referred to the Arab world's outrage over US President Donald Trump's
controversial recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli “capital” in
the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, citizens throughout the Arab
world took to the streets and loudly protested against it, which shows that the
ongoing conflict between the Zionist entity and the Palestinians is the most
pressing issue on the agenda,” he said.
this week, it was reported that UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al
Nahyan and National Security Adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed had paid a not-so-secret
visit to Israel with a direct flight from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv.
Christians favour law for Muslim autonomy
the supporters of a new law to give greater autonomy to a Muslim-majority
region of the Philippines are local evangelical Christians.
will support the law,” Aldrin Penamora, an evangelical Christian, told Anadolu
Agency. “The law will make many contributions to the region. I believe that the
law will bring economic development and security to the region where
Christians, Muslims, [indigenous] Lumads, and other local peoples live.”
Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) will eliminate injustice against Muslims, he
added, saying: “The centuries-long wounds of the historic injustice against the
Moro people will heal.”
referendum starting on Monday is set to grant the Bangsamoros or Moro -- a
collective term for Filipino Muslims living on an island in the southern
Philippines -- autonomy after a nearly 50-year process.
BOL law’s outcome is so important for our region,” said Anzarrih Mastura
Matalam, a local Muslim leader.
see the law as the future of the region and as a source of hope for our
children. I believe It will give the Moro more development, prosperity, and peace.”
at a rally for BOL ratification on Friday in Cotabato City, Philippines
President Rodrigo Duterte urged approval of the law in the referendum starting
referendum is set to begin on Monday, Jan. 21 in two cities, with a second
round to be held on Feb. 6 in other areas in nearby regions.
the bill is ratified, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
(ARMM) will be created.
for Muslims in the region was taken away by Americans in 1898 when the Spanish,
who had occupied the Philippines in the 16th century, left the country to the
Bangsamoro people, who were already deprived of freedom during the U.S.
occupation, also faced dire straits due to the Christian settlement policy of
the Manila government, when Americans left the region to Philippine Christians
after managing it until 1946.
BOL is set to increase legal and economic gains for Muslims in the region.
the establishment of the Bangsamoro government, courts of Islamic law will be
opened in the region.
authority will be handed over from the capital Manila to the Bangsamoro
the BOL is ratified, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) group is also set
to decommission 40,000 combatants of its Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces
ties with Saudi cannot continue unless bin Salman is ‘dealt with': Sen. Graham
between the United States and Saudi Arabia cannot move forward unless Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “dealt with,” says Republican Senator
Lindsey Graham, a close ally of President Donald Trump.
relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia cannot move forward until Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman is dealt with," Graham told reporters in Ankara
on Saturday, a day after discussing issues related to Saudi Arabia with Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
senator also said he will push for more US sanctions against those involved in
the killing in October of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside
Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul.
US Treasury Department has imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudis involved in
the murder. Trump. however, has been reluctant to go after bin Salman, who is
widely believed to have ordered the hit job.
has transpired over the last couple of years has been unnerving to say the
least," he said. "The leadership coming from MbS is not what I have
and American intelligence reports state that the body of Khashoggi – an
outspoken critic of bin Salman— was dismembered shortly after his murder inside
the Saudi diplomatic mission. There are also reports of sound recordings and
phone calls that directly tie bin Salman to the murder.
said that by ordering the brutal murder, MbS violated "every norm of
to the findings of a Turkish probe, a 15-member “hit squad” had been sent to
kill the ill-fated journalist in a “premeditated murder” operation.
gruesome murder of the journalist, which according to a CIA assessment was
ordered by the crown prince, sparked international outrage against the kingdom,
the prince as well as US President Donald Trump, who has since been running
interference for Riyadh and bin Salman, also known as MBS.
in October, Graham said that he felt “completely betrayed” by Riyadh over its
handling of the Khashoggi case. Graham said that “the relationship is important,
but our values are more important.”
trying to deflect international criticism by providing several contradicting
accounts, the Saudis finally admitted to the murder, claiming that Khashoggi
was killed after "discussions" to convince him return to his homeland
turned into "a brawl and a fist fight" inside the consulate.
said at the time that he believes "the answer is unequivocally yes"
that the crown prince was involved in the murder.
senator, who is a key ally of Trump, has taken a vocal approach as of late
against some of the president's decisions, including his attempts to shielding
those responsible for the murder of the Washington Post journalist in Istanbul.
Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Abid Sher Ali on Saturday alleged that Prime
Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan had acquired property in United States
with Zakat money.
a video message, Abid Sher Ali showed an apartment in New Jersey and claimed
that it belonged to Aleema Khan. He alleged that both Imran and his sister
Aleema had looted public money in the name of Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
Khan is the benamidar of Imran Khan, he claimed.
former state minister also demanded the Supreme Court (SC) form a joint
investigation team to probe this matter.
am a Muslim and I love India’, says Farooq at united opposition’s rally
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah Saturday called the EVM the “chor
machine” and demanded that the ballot paper system be brought back for the sake
at the united opposition rally organised by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, he
said, “It is not the question of ousting any single person (Prime Minister
Narendra Modi) but of saving the country and honouring the sacrifices of those
who fought for its freedom.”
EVM is chor machine. Honestly speaking, it is so. Its use must be put to an
end. Nowhere in the world is the machine used. The opposition parties should
approach the Election Commission and the President of India to stop the use of
the EVM and bring back the old ballot papers for the sake of transparency,” he
blamed the BJP for the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and said people are being
divided on religious lines. “People are being branded as Pakistanis. But all
people right from Ladakh to elsewhere want to continue in India.
am a Muslim and I love India, my country,” he said.
his tirade against the BJP, he said it stood for the Triple Talaq Bill in
Parliament but did not pass the Women’s Reservation Bill.
for a united fight by opposition parties in the coming Lok Sabha election, he
said the prime minister can be decided after the poll results.
have to fight and oust BJP. We have to come together to put up a one-to-one
fight against it. We should fight together to strengthen our country,” he said
and hoped the new government will take the country forward. PTI
refugees feared dead after dinghy sinks off Libyan coast
than a hundred asylum seekers headed to Europe are feared dead after their
vessel sank off the coast of Libya.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Saturday that some 117
asylum seekers, who had departed from the northwest of the country in a rubber
dinghy two days earlier, were feared to be dead.
people, rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, reported that the dinghy had sank.
three survivors told us they were 120 when they left Garabulli, in Libya, on
Thursday night. After 10 to 11 hours at sea ... (the dinghy) started sinking
and people started drowning," IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said on
IOM spokesman added that ten women, including one pregnant woman, and two
children, one of whom only two months old, were among the asylum seekers on
board the ship who were unaccounted for.
added that the asylum seekers aboard the dinghy were mostly from West Africa.
sinking dinghy was first sighted by an Italian military plane. Later, a navy
helicopter was dispatched to the area and rescued the three asylum seekers, who
were suffering from severe hypothermia and were taken to a hospital on the
island of Lampedusa.
Italian commander told a local news station that during the rescue operation,
the personnel aboard the helicopter had spotted at least three bodies of people
who appeared to be dead in the water.
Italian navy said it had alerted Libyan authorities who then coordinated a
rescue operation, ordering a merchant ship to go to the site of the sinking
vessel, though rescue efforts had ceased after the search for the dinghy had
to the IOM, 2,297 people trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa to
Europe died or went missing in 2018.
debate ‘airing of dirty laundry’ after Al Arabiya’s coverage of Rahaf
case of Rahaf al-Qunun, a Saudi teen who sought asylum abroad, has been widely
covered by international media outlets and regional Arab ones alike.
landing in Canada as a refugee, al-Qunun gave ABC News Australia an exclusive
one-on-one interview. Al Arabiya aired the entire footage unedited, in addition
to having covered the story from the beginning when it first started in
critics called out the media coverage of Al Arabiya and local Saudi television
channels by saying that the story of a local family dispute did not warrant
such intense global media attention.
Maha Al Muneef, Executive Director of Saudi Arabia’s National Family Safety
Program, said: “The case of Rahaf is a family issue. It involves a minor who is
young and confused. It must be resolved between a father and his daughter by
the means possible. We should not turn it into a state issue.”
Dundarawy, a Saudi national and the current host of ‘Tafa’olkum’, a show on Al
Arabiya that focuses on trending social media topics, said there was no doubt
there was a need to cover al-Qunun’s case.
our show, we talk about whatever people are talking, including all the issues
they are discussing and what is trending online. We wanted people to hear Rahaf’s
point of view and the other point of view as well,” Dundarawy told Al Arabiya
English. “That’s why for example we aired the entire interview in full,
unedited, and translated the presenter’s questions and included the tweets
explaining why she allegedly faced violence.”
online debate went further when Al Arabiya also covered a similar case from
Kuwait after a former law professor, Dr. Fatima al-Matar, said she fled the
country with her daughter to the United States seeking asylum after one of her
tweets was deemed blasphemous.
Arabiya’s ‘Tafa’olkum’ covered the story as it drew parallels to al-Qunun and
brought in a Kuwaiti lawyer to debate the case’s merits.
personally think this woman only sent out that tweet in order to seek political
asylum. She has a prior record of insulting His Highness the Emir but was still
pardoned and faced no jail time. This all points to her simply seeking
political asylum and fame at the same time,” the lawyer Fahad al-Haddad told Al
disagree with media channels who are covering the cases of Rahaf al-Qunun and
Fatima al-Matar. These women just want the attention unfortunately,” he added.
a ‘dangerous precedent’
al-Qunun now settling in Toronto as a refugee, one of Canada’s own diplomats
said Ottawa’s “privileging of Qunun’s case could set a dangerous precedent.”
happens the next time a teenage girl or adult woman from Saudi Arabia flees her
family and declares herself to no longer be a Muslim, does that mean automatic
sanctuary?” David Chatterson, Canada’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia from
2009-2011, told CBC News.
Arabia froze further trade deals with Canada in August last year and expelled
the Canadian ambassador following a public call by Ottawa’s embassy in Riyadh
to release Saudi nationals. The kingdom also announced it was ending
state-backed educational and medical programs in Canada.
Horak, who was Canada’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia until last year, told CBC
News that he “would hate to see us use this to keep trotting her [Rahaf
al-Qunun] out and have meetings with the Prime Minister... various photo-ops
[and] things like that become the mallet with which we bash Saudi Arabia.”
controversy regarding Canada granting asylum came under further scrutiny by
observers, with some calling out the “double-standards” on the speed of their
offer and the Western media’s focusing on al-Qunun, instead of other refugees
fleeing real conflicts and wars.
messaging that this sends out to refugees internationally is not a good one.
The way that this has been covered since implies that some refugees are more
deserving than others,” H. A. Hellyer, a nonresident senior fellow at The
Atlantic Council, tweeted.
air or not to air?
and Saudi critics are still debating online whether it is appropriate for media
channels to “air their dirty laundry” and asked whether social issues like
family disputes deserve so much air time.
subject is trivial. Airing the interview is not keeping pace with the global
media. The story is that of a teenager who has been duped and there was no need
to air her interview and hurt her family’s feelings. Al Arabiya, you have
wronged,” one Twitter user said.
Arabiya’s Dundarawy said that as a Saudi woman, she has been following foreign
media coverage of al-Qunun’s story and found that she disagreed with many
is a lot of misconceptions and stories about how we Saudi women are treated.
Stories like Rahaf’s are being treated like they are the norm when there are
many other stories which are positive and women are living normally,” Dundarawy
Saudi presenter then argued that her show on Al Arabiya was necessary to cover
social issues in a broader, more accurate light.
course, we should cover the story since people are already talking about it.
Why should we pretend that it's not happening? People are interested and
honestly this is reflected in the views in terms of the replies and tweets, so
that's why we took an interest,” she said.
AbuSulayman, a prominent Saudi talk show host, agreed but went further in
saying that cases such as al-Qunun open up discussions among Saudi society
about the age of majority, and raising questions regarding the specific age a
woman should be treated as an adult.
are questions that can only be asked by society, the answers cannot come from
outside,” she told Al Arabiya English.
World League International forum calls for positive coexistence
The first vice president of Burundi, Gaston Sindimwo, has praised his country
for overcoming its turbulent past, citing how religious organizations have
promoted peace and tolerance, at the Muslim World League (MWL) forum in the
Burundian city of Bujumbura.
stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence between people of different
faiths, praising the MWL for helping to strengthen ties between groups both in
Burundi and the rest of the world.
in Burundi, along with Islamic foundations, have worked for peace and security
following the civil war. This forum will be an opportunity to enhance security,
and prevent clashes and war,” he said in his opening address.
MWL’s secretary-general, Mohammed Al-Issa, underscored his eagerness to build
bridges with all countries, so as to achieve better global cooperation and
disagree but we talk and understand each other, love one another and respect
each other. When we disagree, then, we must compromise, cooperate, and
coexist,” he said.
forum, called “Religious and Ethnic Pluralism and Positive Coexistence,”
attracted a wide cross-section of senior clerics, politicians, businessmen and
public figures, from all corners of the Islamic world and wider Africa.
the summit, delegates called upon the MWL to cooperate more with public and
private bodies in Africa, to support and accelerate development and prosperity,
and to pressure various social media platforms to promote positive convergence
Saudi Arabia faces “great challenges” in preserving its national identity as it
keeps up with modern society, the minister of Islamic affairs said Saturday.
Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh told delegates at a conference in Cairo
that it was a shared duty to preserve religious constants and national
is especially significant as we face great challenges of building the national
character that combines preserving authentic national identity and keeping pace
with contemporary civil society,” he said.
was speaking at the 29th International Conference of the Supreme Council for
Islamic Affairs, which was organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf
(religious endowments) under the patronage of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah
than 150 people — including ministers, scientists, intellectuals and professors
— took part in the conference.
Saudi minister stressed it was important for people to actively participate in
developing their nation and contributing to its progress and prosperity.
explained that the process was hard on a practical level as it demanded loyalty
and perseverance, “especially amid the unprecedented openness” of traditional
and new forms of media and communication.
said that Saudi citizens were proud of their identity and protected their
nation against any danger because they loved and respected their country and
Hashd al-Sha'abi's artillery units, in a preemptive operation, targeted the
ISIL terrorists who were preparing to attack Hashd al-Sha'abi forces in
al-Souseh region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur," Commander of Hashd al-Sha'abi
in al-Anbar Province Qassim Muslih said.
noted that two ISIL commanders, namely Abu Vazah and Abu Hamzeh, were among the
35 terrorists killed in Hashd al-Sha'abi's operation.
reiterated that the Iraqi popular forces are in control of ISIL's movements in
Syria behind the borders with Iraq.
a relevant development earlier this week, an Arab media report said that over
30,000 Iraqi Army troops backed by the Russian Air Force had lined up for
launching joint military operations with the Syrian Army against the remnants
of the ISIL terrorist group in Eastern Syria.
Iraqi Army troops are standing orders to join the Syrian Army for an imminent
battle against the ISIL along Iraq-Syria borders, Al-Etejah Press quoted an
Iraqi military source as saying.
source said over 30,000 Iraqi soldiers are now behind the borderline in order
to enter Syria's Eastern deserts (Badiyeh) and engage in battle with remaining
ISIL terrorists along the border.
source noted that Iraq's Hashd al-Sha'abi (Iraqi popular forces) plan to
actively take part in the anti-ISIL operations.
noted that the military operations will soon start, and said the Syrian and
Iraqi governments have done the needed coordination to launch the joint assault
on ISIL in cooperation with the Russian Air Fore.
relevant remarks last Tuesday, Muslih underlined that his forces have prevented
the US Army's spying on security units along borders with Syria.
US troops are trying to obtain precise and sensitive intelligence from Iraq's
security forces along borders with Syria," the Arabic-language Al-Maloumeh
news website quoted Muslih as saying.
reiterated that Hashd al-Sha'abi operations command has stopped US spying
operations by preventing the US troops from getting close to Hashd al-Sha'abi
units and forcing them to return to Ba'er al-Morasemeh base.
pointed to the US forces' reconnaissance operations along Iraq-Syria borders
and questions from border police and Iraqi army about the battle zones off the
border regions, the amount of ammunition, type of weapons and the number of
troops of each region, and explained that secret intelligence related to the
forces stationed along the border regions helps them to easily target any
safe zone should be formed away from the presence of Turkey and Ankara-backed
militant groups like the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and it should be monitored by
the international bodies so that security and stability will be protected for
residents of these regions against Turkey's attacks," Aminah Omar said,
addressing a ceremony in the town of Qamishli on Saturday.
stressed that Turkey should no more be allowed to continue occupation of Syrian
relevant remarks earlier this week, a senior official of the People's
Protection Units (YPG) underlined that the Kurds were opposed to the
establishment of a safe zone in Northern Syria to be controlled by Turkey.
should first be clear who is a threat and the security of which side should be
protected to create a safe zone," Aldar Khalil, the head of YPG's
diplomatic relations committee, told the Kurdish-language Hawar news on
added that if the safe zone was meant to establish security in Northern Syria
and protect the region against Turkish threats, it was a good policy.
Turkey with controlling the safe zone in Northern Syria is a source of deep
concerns because it has threatened of occupation of all regions in Northern
Syria," Khalil said.
are opposed to the creation of a safe zone under the control and supervision of
Turkey in Northern and Northeastern Syria," he underlined.
President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have
both floated the idea of a safe zone in Northern Syria as a solution to prevent
a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish forces in the area. Ankara says
that the YPG are a terror organization and a threat to Turkey. The YPG denies
the charge and says Turkey is the aggressor.
and Erdogan discussed the proposal in a phone call last Monday, after Trump
tweeted about it.
now has a good opportunity to reach a political solution to its devastating
eight-year war as ceasefires have brought calm to many areas of the country,
Syria’s chief opposition negotiator said on Saturday.
think now that we have an opportunity, because nearly in Syria we have a
ceasefire now, in the northeast of Syria and the north of Syria, and the
efforts of fighting terrorism has achieved good results,” Nasr Hariri told
Reuters in an interview in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where he is based.
the opposition’s chief negotiator in UN peace talks, met with the newly
appointed United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen on Friday.
it is time to invest all of these developments: the ceasefire, fighting
terrorism, the belief of the majority of the Syrian people that the only
solution to the Syrian crisis is the political solution,” Hariri added.
December, Russia, Iran and Turkey - supporters of the main sides in Syria’s
complex civil war - failed to agree on the makeup of a UN-sponsored Syrian
Constitutional Committee but called for it to convene early next year to kick
off a viable peace process.
independent human rights group says it has documented the arrest of more than
5,000 prisoners of conscience in addition to 200 victims of excessive use of
force, murder and torture in the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom, as the ruling Al
Khalifah regime presses ahead with its heavy clampdown on political dissidents
and pro-democracy activists.
head of the Bahrain Center for Dialogue and Tolerance, Sheikh Maytham
al-Salman, said in a statement during a conference held in Lebanese capital
Beirut that "human rights as well as civil and political situation in
Bahrain have deteriorated."
deterioration of the human rights situation in Bahrain is taking place amid
silence from the international community, including the United Kingdom and the
United States of America,” Salman added.
then called on international diplomatic missions to investigate the trials of
political and human rights activists in Bahrain, record the violence they face
in prisons, and use diplomatic visits to examine the status of detainees.
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
pro-government fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have carried
out a counter-terrorism operation in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr,
killing and injuring dozens of terrorists from the Daesh Takfiri group in the
commander of the volunteer forces – better known by the Arabic name Hashd
al-Sha’abi – in western Anbar, Qassim Mosleh, said 35 Daesh extremists were
eliminated or sustained injuries as Iraqi forces pounded their positions in the
village of al- Susah. Mosleh went on to say that three militant commanders,
identified by the noms de guerre Abu Wadah, Abu Hamza and Abu Fatoum, were
killed in the offensive.
December 31, 2018, Iraqi military aircraft pounded a strategic position of
Daesh terrorists in Syria’s Dayr al-Zawr, after Syrians President Bashar
al-Assad allowed Iraqi fighter jets to conduct airstrikes against the
extremists in Syria.
media bureau of Iraq’s Joint Operations Command announced in a statement that
Iraqi F-16 fighter jets had bombed and destroyed a two-story building on the
outskirts of the village of Susah and killed 30 Daesh commanders as they were
holding a meeting. The statement added that the aerial assault was carried out
following close surveillance by the Iraqi Intelligence Service.
development came a day after a high-ranking Iraqi official, speaking on
condition of anonymity, told Russia's RT Arabic television news network that
Iraqi warplanes would be able to enter the Syrian airspace and bombard Daesh
sites under Assad’s directives.
Iraqi official, however, highlighted that the Syrian president had demanded
that the Baghdad government inform Syrian authorities before launching any
Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which
served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.
the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and Hashd al-Sha’abi
fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of
fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 that year.
An air strike hit militants and civilians trying to flee the last area
controlled by the Daesh group in eastern Syria on Friday, killing at least 20,
the country’s state media and opposition activists reported.
air strike on the Daesh-held village of Baghouz comes as the offensive against
the extremists by US-backed fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic
Forces has intensified over the past few weeks. It also comes as the United
States’ begins the process of withdrawal from Syria.
of civilians have fled from the area near the Iraqi border recently as Daesh
has steadily lost ground.
news agency SANA said 20 people were killed in the air strike on Baghouz, while
the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 23 people were
killed. It said 10 Daesh members were among the dead.
blamed the US-led coalition that has been providing air cover to the SDF in
their months long offensive to capture the area from the extremists.
bomb-laden vehicle exploded at a Tahrir al-Sham center on Ariha Road in the
Southern part of Idlib City, battlefield sources in Northern Syria said.
sources reiterated that at least 12 terrorists were killed and over 20 others
were also wounded.
Northern Idlib, Tahrir al-Sham commander Abdul Javad, nom du guerre Abu Fahd
Turki, was gunned down by unknown assailants near the town of Ma'arat Masrin.
three other Tahrir al-Sham terrorists were killed by unknown gunmen near the
town of Sarmada in Northern Idlib.
a relevant development earlier this week, a source was quoted a saying that the
terrorists of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at "are pursuing the new scenario to
establish a new integrated military organization in Idlib after the terrorist
group extended its presence in the province in cooperation" with Turkey.
terrorists of the National Liberation Front (NFL) affiliated to the Turkish
Army will soon be dissolved in Tahrir al-Sham as the militant groups have
agreed to form an integrated military structure," the Arabic-language Anab
Baladi affiliated to militants quoted a source close to Ankara-backed Free Syrian
Army (FSA) as saying.
source noted that the scenario started after Tahrir al-Sham's dominance over
most of Idlib's regions.
said that according to the plan, Idlib province will be divided into two
sections in political and military terms; the Ankara-backed Faylaq al-Sham
terrorists will take charge of the political affairs and Tahrir al-Sham will
represent the military wing.
al-Sham leader Abu Mohammad al-Jolani had previously called for setting up
integrated military formation in Idlib province with the partnership of all
terrorist groups once again, after he voiced full support for Turkey's assault
on Kurdish militants.
than sixty militants were killed during separate operations conducted in
northwestern Badghis, northern Baghlan, and eastern Nangarhar provinces.
to the informed military sources, the Afghan Special Forces conducted a
clearance operation of known Taliban staging locations in Qal’ah-e Now district
of Badghis province killing 48 Taliban and destroying 9 IEDs.
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces conducted a clearance
operation of Pul-E Khumri district of Baghalan province in order to prevent
attacks along Highway 1, leaving at least six Taliban militants dead.
Taliban commander, Gul Mohammad, was killed along with 10 Taliban fighters in
Hisarak district of Nangarhar province
on January 17, the sources said, adding that Gul Mohammad was responsible for
planning and directing attacks against Afghan security forces and civilians.
leader of Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin Hekmatyar will run for president during the
July 20th presidential elections.
registered his name for the elections in the Independent Election Commission of
Afghanistan (IEC) along with Fazal Hadi Wazin and Qazi Hafiz Ur Rehman Naqi who
are going to run for First and Second Vice President in the elections.
to reporters after registering his name as presidential runner, Hekmatyar said
he will run for president from an independent address emphasizing that he is
not favoring to form alliances with the other parties.
also rejected the establishment of a federal government as well as a
other parts of his speech, Hekmatyar slammed the government regarding the
existing situation in the country and claimed that the government leadership
was to blame for the ongoing violence.
a tipoff, Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Bangladesh
Police on Thursday, January 18, 2019 raided the Dhaka residence of a sacked
army officer named Shahid Uddin Khan and recovered huge volume of arms,
explosives, detonator, counterfeit Bangladesh currency and propaganda materials
of Islamic State (ISIS). Three separate cases have been already lodged with
Cantonment Police Station in this regard.
years, the second floor of House No. 184, Road No. 2, Baridhara DOHS in Dhaka
was being used as an warehouse of storing explosives, weapons and propaganda
materials of ISIS by its owner Shahid Uddin Khan. It also said, Khan is one of
the top funders of ISIS, who fled Bangladesh few months back along with his
wife Farjana Anjum and three daughters.
Col Shahid Uddin Khan was sacked from the army 15 years back on specific
allegation of corruption and money laundering.
busting of this huge ISIS warehouse in Bangladesh Lt Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin
Khan was known as a fraud who had cheated lots of people in the country by
selling properties with false documents and had smuggled-out millions of
dollars to the United Kingdom and to his hidden offshore bank accounts in some
are ongoing investigations by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) as well as
other intelligence agencies about series of financial crimes as well as
criminal activities of Lt Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan, his wife Farjana
Anjum, and a loyal cohort of this notorious couple – Sajjad Hussain, a
self-proclaimed agent of Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI).
According to report published in The Eastern Herald, Sajjad is currently living
in Houston, Texas in United States along with his wife and son. Sajjad has been
an active agent of Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) and
also was one of the key accomplices of Lt Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan in
coordinating with local and international network of Islamic State.
weeks back, based on information obtained from several credible sources, Blitz
published an exclusive report titled – ‘Bangladeshi ex colonel plotting
terrorist attacks’ exposing a secret conspiracy of terrorist attacks. Lt Col
(sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan was the key planner and funder of this notoriety.
another report also was published in Blitz about this sacked army officer.
wife Farjana Anjum:
to information, Lt Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan’s wife Farjana Anjum also is
affiliated with ISIS. Sitting in Britain, this couple now is now only funding
ISIS but also is recruiting members for this jihadist outfit.
top accomplice in United States:
Bangladesh, Shahid Uddin Khan’s top accomplice of his fraudulent activities is
an Income Tax Practitioner (ITP) named Nazrul. But the key associate of Shahid
Uddin Khan is Pakistani ISI agent Sajjad Hussain. According to information,
Sajjad has been regularly shuttling in between Bangladesh and United States.
newspaper The Eastern Herald on January 15, 2019 published an exclusive report
exposing activities of Sajjad Hussain. The newspaper said, “In Bangladesh,
Sajjad Hossain was living a posh life although he does not have any valid
source of earnings. His son, Asif Sajjad was a student of North South
University, where he also was affiliated with militancy outfit named
Hizb-Ut-Tahrir. Sajjad Hossain never hesitated in telling few of his friends in
Dhaka of his connections with Pakistani espionage agency Inter-Service
further said, “Although he resides in Houston, Texas and still is living a posh
life, this ISI handler does not have any valid source of earnings. His wife,
Nahid Parveen Neeru works as a deep-covered operative of ISI under her
husband’s command. It is learnt from credible sources, Nahid Parveen Neeru
connects with various targets in the United States, mostly Christians, Jews and
Hindus under the disguise of a sex worker and extracts information as per
instruction of ISI. To the locals, this couple is seen as dubious, while many
even believe Sajjad’s main source of income is from his wife profession as a
The Eastern Herald could not expose Sajjad Hussain’s connection with Islamic
Bangladesh, Shahid Uddin Khan maintains a huge gang of forgers which also
include several lawyers who play key role in preparing forged documents of
various properties and land thus helping this notorious man in giving legal aid
to several militants as well as in cheating locals by selling these properties
with forged documents. Income Tax Practitioner (ITP) Nazrul Islam (mobile
number 01798501227) is one of the members of this racket.
for accomplices of Shahid Uddin Khan:
the January 19 raid, CTTC and other intelligence agencies in Bangladesh already
are looking for accomplices of Shahid Uddin Khan. Photographs of this man and
his wife will be put into websites of Bangladesh Police, CTTC and Rapid Action
Battalion (RAB) as the couple already is amongst the ‘Most Wanted’ criminals.
Bangladesh may also send requests to United Kingdom and Interpol in this
contacting several people in Bangladesh:
the news about raid at Lt Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan’s house in Dhaka,
Shahid and his top accomplice Sajjad Hussain are contacting several people,
including some senior army and police officials.
is Brig Gen ASM Bhuiyan?
to investigation, a dubious write up by Brig Gen ASM Bhuiyan was found by the
team of this newspaper. This write up on a blogpost was posted on March 9,
2014. In this write up, extreme derogatory remarks have been made against some
patriotic and brilliant officers of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. After reading
the entire text, it is clearly understood; this content might even have been
created and uploaded by Shahid Uddin Khan himself. In this post, Brig Gen ASM
Bhuiyan has made extremely derogatory comments about a number of senior
officials of the Bangladesh Armed Forces.
the UK, Shahid Uddin Khan is running several businesses which were established
with the dirty money he had smuggled out from Bangladesh. But this ISIS funder
is trying to hide his real face from the Britons by maintaining several blogs
as well as posting his self-made profile in a number of websites. One of such
profiles was detected at
online.anyflip.com site, where Shahid Uddin Khan proclaims himself to be
an “honest” individual.
on this above site, a source inside ACC said, “We have already got lots of
evidences of forgery and fraud by this ex Colonel. But, few months back, he
fled Bangladesh and possibly now hiding in the UK. Investigations against him,
his wife and other members of this fraud racket are underway.”
Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan smuggled out millions of dollars from Bangladesh
to various countries including United Kingdom. In 2009, he invested one million
Pounds in the United Kingdom in exchange of obtaining immigrant status under
visa Tier 1, vide VAF No. 511702. The investment was made in the name of
Shahid’s wife Farjana Anjum.
inquired, sources in the foreign exchange control department of the Bangladesh
Bank told Blitz that Lt Col (sacked) Shahid Uddin Khan or his wife Farjana
Anjum did not take any permission from the central bank for the above mentioned
transfer of UK Pound one million. It said, such illegal transfer of significant
amount of money is a punishable crime under the Money Laundering Act.
further said, “The British authorities should have checked the legality of this
huge transfer of fund before granting immigration status to Shahid Uddin Khan
and his family members.”
said, “They [British authorities] always express concern about suspicious
transactions through banking channels in most of the nations, while they
themselves welcomed such un-declared illegal money into their own country. This
is just double standard. British authorities must immediately investigate
Shahid Uddin Khan, Farjana Anjum and children of this couple and remove their
immigration status and send them back to Bangladesh.”
funder Shahid gets shelter in Britain:
The Afghan Taliban have denied media reports that they would hold talks with
the US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation in Islamabad and
reiterated their refusal to meet officials of the Afghan government.
want to clarify that we will not hold any meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad (the US
representative) in Islamabad," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said
in a brief statement.
Khalilzad’s meeting with Pakistani officials, the local media reported on
Friday that militants have agreed to meet Khalilzad-led US officials in
Islamabad and that they would send their 12-member delegation to Pakistan.
to senior Taliban leaders, Islamabad had indeed asked them to meet Khalilzad
and also include Afghan government officials in talks in Islamabad. “We have
rejected Pakistan’s approach and suggestion. We are clear that Kabul’s puppet
regime is not in position to fulfill our demands,” said a senior Taliban
representative, requesting anonymity.
and senior US officials have been in Pakistan for the past three days. They
want the Pakistani authorities to arrange a meeting with the Afghan Taliban in
Islamabad. Ambassador Khalilzad reached Islamabad on Thursday and met Pakistan
prime minister Imran Khan, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, foreign
secretary Tehmina Janjua and army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
of the US special envoy is taking place in the background of a deadlock in talks
between the US and the Taliban over the start of a reconciliation process. The
stalemate has been caused by the Taliban’s refusal to talk to the Afghan
government. The Taliban representatives claimed that they had initiated peace
talks with Washington to discuss and resolve some of the basic issues before
moving forward. The US, according to the Taliban, had asked them in the last
meeting -- in Abu Dhabi in December 2018 -- to announce a two-month ceasefire
and also include the Afghan government in peace talks.
according to Taliban sources, during the Abu Dhabi talks it was decided to hold
another meeting in the second week of January 2019 in Riyadh. The Taliban
claimed that they had chosen their representatives for meeting in Saudi Arabia
but then, all of a sudden, Saudi Arabia demanded that the Taliban leadership
announce a two-month ceasefire ahead of talks in Riyadh.
rejected Saudi’s demand and announced our boycott of peace talks,” Taliban
suicide attack has taken place in the vicinity of central Logar province of
Afghanistan amid reports a convoy of vehicles carrying the provincial governor
and other senior officials was targeted.
local officials confirmed that the incident has taken place in Kabul-Logar
highway in Mohammad Agha district.
local security official confirmed that the governor has escaped unhurt from the
attack but eight security personnel have lost their lives and ten others have
member of the provincial council said the provincial director of the
intelligence was also travelling in the convoy but he has also escaped the
Taliban militants group has claimed that an attack has been carried out against
a convoy of the Special Forces in Logar province.
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad
has said the United States is ready to address legitimate concerns of all
Afghan sides in a bid to achieve peace.
see that many are concerned that the United States is willing to both talk and
fight. Let me be clear: the US wants peace,” Ambassador Khalilzad said in an
online statement posted in his Twitter account.
said “To achieve peace, we are ready to address legitimate concerns of all
Afghan sides in a process that ensures Afghan independence and sovereignty, and
accounts for legitimate interests of regional states. Urgent that fighting end.
But pursuing peace still means we fight as needed.”
slams US aid cut to Palestinians as ‘political blackmail’
Hamas resistance movement has condemned the US decision to cut humanitarian aid
to the Palestinian people as “political blackmail,” urging international
efforts to end Washington’s anti-Palestine pressure campaign and pro-Tel Aviv
spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement on Saturday that the decision by
the administration of US President Donald Trump to stop aid to the Palestinians
“is in line with the ‘deal of the century’ that is aimed to liquidate the
was referring Washington’s yet-to-be unveiled proposal aimed at resolving the
decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians have already
rejected Trump’s plan, which is said to be hugely biased towards the Israeli
statement came days after the US Agency for International Development (USAID)
said it would end all its projects in the occupied West Bank and the besieged
Gaza Strip on January 31 following the US administration’s decision to cut
funding to the Palestinians.
Trump administration’s decision to cut humanitarian aid provided to the
Palestinian people is political blackmail reflecting the US immoral demeanor
towards the Palestinians and their just cause,” Barhoum said.
also urged international institutions to stand by the Palestinians and support
them in the face of “the discriminatory behavior of the US administration that
is biased” in favor of the Israeli occupation.
calls on all international, humanitarian, and legal organizations to condemn
the US policies aimed at pressuring the Palestinian people to accept its
schemes in the region. Such organizations should shoulder the responsibility of
mobilizing support for and siding with the impoverished Palestinians,” he
year, the Trump administration ended all funding for UNRWA, the United Nations
agency that provides humanitarian aid to over 5 million Palestinian refugees.
controversial move came after President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian
Authority (PA) would no longer recognize Washington as a mediator of
Israeli-Palestinian talks amid anger over Trump’s decision in late 2017 to
recognize occupied Jeusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” in defiance of
said the aid cut is meant to eliminate the Palestinians’ demand for the right
to return, warning that it would cause more hardship for those living in the
Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Thursday, Dave Harden, former USAID mission director and managing director of
the Georgetown Strategy Group, said the US administration’s decision to cut aid
to Palestinians “demonstrates again a lack of nuance, sophistication, and
appreciation for the complexity of the situation.”
has been operating in the Palestinian territories since 1994, investing in
infrastructure, medical services, and education.
army snipers have killed 14 Saudi troops and injured two others in retaliatory
operations in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Jizan.
footage released on Saturday by the military media of the Yemeni army showed
the moment when the Saudi-backed militants were killed and injured in the
attacks that targeted several sites of the southern border front of Jizan.
army's sniper unit, supported by fighters from allied Popular Committees, have
over the past few days inflicted heavy losses on the Saudis in the Jizan front,
where four Saudi soldiers were killed on Tuesday in a sniper attack.
Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to
crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate former President Abd
Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime.
to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED),
a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far
claimed the lives of about 56,000 Yemenis.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a
record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering
from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
coalition planes launched air strikes on Houthi-held bases in order to target
the militants’ drone capabilities during an operation in northwest Sanaa, Al
Arabiya sources have confirmed.
sources said the operation late on Saturday targeted several Houthi-held camps
including one which was formally called the First Armored Division camp when it
was held by the Yemeni army before the Houthis took over.
al-Siyana, al-Hifa’a and the al-Nahdain military compounds as well as the
al-Dailami air base were also targeted.
coalition aircraft also launched two rockets towards the al-Hasba area north of
the Yemeni capital.
is being shipped illegally from Iran to Houthi militias in Yemen to finance
their war against the government, according to a report by a UN panel of
experts seen by AFP.
findings are expected to again raise questions about Iran's support for the
Houthis in the war.
its final report for 2018, the panel said it had "identified a small
number of companies, both within Yemen and outside, which operated as front
companies," using fake documents to conceal fuel donations.
fuel was "for the benefit of a listed individual" who is on a UN
sanctions blacklist, it added.
revenue from the sale of this fuel was used to finance the Houthi war
effort," said the 85-page report sent to the Security Council.
panel found that the "fuel was loaded from ports in the Islamic Republic
of Iran under false documentation" to avoid UN inspections of the cargo,
experts have in past reports pointed to a possible Iranian link to missiles
fired by Houthi rebels at Saudi Arabia, after they traveled to Riyadh to
examine weapons debris.
a previous report, the experts said they were investigating monthly fuel
donations from Iran valued at $30 million.
has repeatedly denied that it is providing military support to the Houthis.
experts also said the Arab Coalition backing Yemen’s government made
“significant progress” against the Houthis in 2018.
has unveiled a domestically-built radar in the city of Zahedan near the border
inauguration ceremony was held in the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan
Province by Brigadier General Alireza Sabahi-Fard, the commander of the Iranian
Army's Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, Fars News Agency reported on
radar, manufactured by Khatam al-Anbiya's experts, was rendered operational at
Vahdat-e-Birak radar site in the city of Zahedan.
inauguration came ahead of the fortieth anniversary of the victory of the 1979
who was conducting an inspection of the missile and radar units based in the
country’s east, praised the sensitive electronic surveillance site as well as
the level of their operational readiness against enemies’ threats.
the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base’s deputy commander, Brigadier General
Alireza Elhami told IRNA said the Islamic Republic was enhancing the range and
altitude covered by its radars as well as the precision of the equipment’s performance.
He said the country will soon unveil its achievements in the area.
commander has also said the country’s experts were developing radars that will
be capable of tracking satellites travelling in the orbits close to the Earth’s
border with Pakistan has witnessed many security incidents over the past two
years that have claimed the lives of the countries’ border guards on several
October, 12 Iranian border guards were kidnapped by members of the Jaish ul-Adl
terrorist group, which were based on the Pakistani soil. Five of them have been
released so far.
April 2017, 11 of the border guards were killed in an ambush claimed by Jaish
ul-Adl near the town of Mirjaveh in Sistan and Baluchestan. The assailants
escaped into Pakistan immediately after the attack.
of people have taken part in a rally in the main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in
southeastern Turkey to express solidarity with a detained lawmaker from a
pro-Kurdish party who launched a hunger strike in November.
Guven, a member of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), is
protesting against the prison conditions of Abdullah Ocalan, the head of the
outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
55, launched a hunger strike on November 8 to pressure the Turkish government
into allowing lawyers and family members to visit Ocalan.
flags of the HDP, the demonstrators on Saturday flashed victory signs in
support of Guven, whose condition her party describes as "life
threatening" as her hunger strike entered its 66th day.
is our duty to add our voices to that of Leyla's," HDP's co-president
Pervin Buldan told the crowd.
action was supported by more than 150 prisoners across Turkey in a show of
was arrested in January 2018 for her opposition to Turkey's military operation
against Syrian Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG) that
are considered by Ankara an offshoot of the PKK.
has been serving a life sentence for treason in an island prison near Istanbul
since his capture in 1999.
along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a
terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an
autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July
2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out
operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and
Surakarta administration in Central Java has finally decided to cover a
cross-shaped road mosaic in front of the City Hall with paint following
complaints from conservative Muslim groups.
administration has met with several religious leaders and came up with a number
of solutions. But to prevent the polemic from dragging on, we decided to cover
the mosaic with paint,” Surakarta deputy mayor Achmad Purnomo said on Saturday.
the Surakarta's Muslim Troops (LUIS) and the Surakarta Syariah Council (DSKS) questioned
the design of the mosaic and demanded that the city administration review it.
have asked the Surakarta administration to evaluate and replace the cross-like
mosaic with other motifs so as not to cause controversy and sectarian
disputes,” LUIS spokesperson Endro Sudarsono said.
aerial photo of the mosaic on Jl. Sudirman also went viral and caused
controversy among internet users.
response to the controversy, Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo, who is a
Catholic, said his administration never planned to have a cross-shaped road
mosaic in front of his office.
I [had planned] a cross on a road, I would have blasphemed my own religion. A
cross is very much respected by Christians. No cross is placed down below. All
are placed up above.”
said that the mosaic was actually inspired by keraton (royalty) symbols of the
Surakarta Sultanate and that its designer was also a Muslim. The art project
was not finished yet, he added.
administration, he said, decided to paint over it rather than change the mosaic
by adding more andesite tiles.
DSKS spokesman Endro Sudarsono said that the road mosaic could only be
perceived as a picture of a cross. “We give the the Surakarta administration
the discretion to choose how to change the cross. This is to avoid an incorrect
interpretation and to make Surakarta conducive.”
is the second incident in which Muslims have objected to the display of the
Christian symbol in the past few months.
December, villagers of Purbayan in Kotagede, Yogyakarta, cut off a wooden cross
on a Christian’s grave, arguing that the religious symbol was not welcome in
the village’s cemetery.
Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
LUMPUR, Jan 20 — The Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PPMM) today said
the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can set up a tribunal to take action against members
of the judiciary if ethics were breached when they danced at an event in Kota
president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said according to Article 125 of the
Federal Constitution, a complaint about breach of ethics should be lodged with
the prime minister who will present it to the King for action to be taken by
the chief justice.
(in this case) the chief justice himself cannot adjudicate the complaint as he
himself was present at the event,” he said in a statement in reference to Tan
Sri Richard Malanjum, who had attended the Opening of the Legal Year Gala
Dinner 2019 on Friday.
Yang Di Pertuan Agong can set up a tribunal if a representation is made by the
prime minister for a judge to be sacked for breach of ethics or for other
action to be taken under the law if termination is not applicable.”
Jan 18 — A radical cleric thought to be the spiritual leader of the Bali
bombers will be released from prison on medical grounds, Indonesia’s president
Bakar Bashir, 80, is believed to have been a key figure in terror network
Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which was blamed for the 2002 bombings on the holiday
island which killed more than 200 people, mostly foreign tourists.
was Indonesia’s deadliest militant attack and prompted Jakarta to beef up
anti-terror cooperation with the US and Australia, which has previously opposed
clemency for Bashir.
leader Joko Widodo said today that he had agreed to order the ailing preacher’s
release from a prison on the outskirts of the capital.
first reason is humanitarian,” Widodo told reporters.
is old... and his health condition was also part of the consideration.”
2011, the firebrand preacher — once synonymous with militant Islam in Indonesia
— was sentenced to 15 years in jail for
helping fund a paramilitary group training in the conservative Islamic province
the co-founder of an infamous Islamic boarding school known for producing
militants, was jailed after authorities in the world’s biggest Muslim majority
country broke up the camp.
militants convicted over their involvement in the Bali bombings have been
executed while two others, including Malaysian Noordin Mohammed Top, were
killed in police raids in 2009 and 2010.
who has repeatedly denied involvement in terror attacks, was also previously
jailed over the Bali bombings but that conviction was quashed on appeal.
JI was founded by a handful of exiled Indonesian militants in Malaysia in the
1980s, and grew to include cells across Southeast Asia.
well as the 2002 Bali bombings, the radical group was blamed for a deadly 2003
car bomb at the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta and a suicide car bomb the
following year outside the Australian embassy.
anti-terror crackdown weakened some of Indonesia’s most dangerous networks,
including Jemaah Islamiyah.
Islamic State (IS) group proved to be a potent rallying cry for Indonesia’s
radicals, with hundreds travelling to the Middle East to join the jihadists.
year, a wave of deadly suicide bombings at churches and a police post rocked
Indonesia’s second biggest city Surabaya.
legal team representing firebrand Muslim cleric and terrorism convict Abu Bakar
Ba'asyir rejected on Saturday claims that the unconditional release of the
cleric was “a gift” from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, saying that the
release was part of a regular judicial procedure.
of the lawyers, Muhammad Mahendradatta, said the decision was purely based on
humanitarian reasons and was provided for in Indonesian law
plan is free from political interest and is not unusual in our legal mechanism.
The public don’t need to credit the government for this, or praise [Jokowi’s
administration] for releasing a member of the ulema, for the sake of devotion
to the ulema. It’s not that,” he said.
explained that the legal basis of the plan was in the Law No. 12/1995 on
Prison, which is separate from the Criminal Code (KUHP). In the Prison Law, he
said, prison terms could be reduced if the prisoner faced declining health or
means less time in prison, we call it remission […] it’s already Ba'asyir’s
right by law,” he said.
added that Jokowi did not suddenly came up with the decision, because the legal
team had sent a letter to Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu seeking Ba'asyir’s
release and it had government support since then, following discussion with
legal experts, including those from the Presidential Palace.
might be the result of that process,” Mahendradatta said, adding that the release
had nothing to do with Jokowi as any president might have done the same.
President’s lawyer, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, who is also an adviser to the
Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin presidential-election campaign team, concurred that the
80-year-old cleric’s release was free from any political motive, but
acknowledged that it was carried out as a special measure.
who is eligible to be released on parole on Dec. 13, insists on defying a
general condition of parole that requires him to express loyalty to the
national ideology Pancasila, which is stipulated in Government Regulation No.
99/2012 on sentence reduction for inmates, including those convicted of
said that Ba'asyir would continue to insist that he ”would only obey God.”
spoke to Jokowi about this. We have been running back and forth on Pancasila.
While [Ba'asyir’s] condition is getting worse. And [the President] understood,
therefore, he would simplify the mechanism,” he said.
agreed that Ba'asyir’s parole would not require him to express a commitment to
[Ba'asyir] will be released unconditionally. His house will not be guarded by
police. He can opine that democracy is a transgression [of Islam]. We will let
him,” said Yusril.
United States was able to persuade Poland to jointly host an anti-Iran summit
next month due to vulnerabilities in Polish politics, says an American writer
and former professor.
poles were being “led to a trap by the nose,” said E Michael Jones, the current
editor of Culture Wars magazine.
summit, due to take place in Warsaw on February 13-14, was announced earlier
this month by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
top US diplomat said the meeting would "focus on Middle East stability and
peace, freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important
element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence."
Polish people are imminently unaware of this upcoming anniversary (summit);
they had been lured into this because of the Achilles heel in Polish politics,”
the Polish people don’t understand that … they are being led to a trap by the
nose by people like Pompeo,” he added.
has expressed its strong protest at the planned summit, with Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif denouncing it as a “desperate anti-Iran circus.”
led by a right-wing government, is a US ally that has better relations with
President Donald Trump than key European powers Germany and France.
US efforts to build pressure against Iran is facing a setback after ministers
from several European Union members opted out of the summit.
foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said she will not take part in what her
officials describe as an anti-Iran conference, according to Iranian and US
is also unlikely to send its foreign minister, according to European diplomats.
The UK and Germany haven't decided who will represent them. Luxembourg’s
foreign minister said he would miss the event because of a prior arrangement.
EU is at loggerheads with the Trump administration over the 2015 Iran nuclear
deal as it seeks to retain economic ties with Tehran despite renewed US
United States labels any media that is not in line with its own ideas as a
propaganda outlet, says a commentator, adding that Washington’s treatment of
Press TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi in order to pressure Iran is against the
United States administration, they always, every journalist or every news
agency or media or TV channel that does not speak in their language and does
not talk what they want, they call it propaganda. If it is the Iranian media or
it is the Syrian media or any other media in the world that does not go with
what they want, they call it propaganda but the number one propaganda is their
media and their news agencies,” Steven Sahiounie told Press TV in an interview
the United States is trying to do by arresting Ms. Hashemi, that is against the
law for arresting without giving charges or even arresting a person who is just
a witness. So what the United States is doing is a political message to Iran,
it is just trying to [put] pressure on Iran … so they can sit [at] the
negotiating table as the rules of the United States. That is not going to
happen because Iran has been through much more pressure and went out of it
victorious,” he added.
a 59-year-old US citizen who has been living in Iran for years, was detained
last week while she was in the United States to visit her ill brother and other
days of silence, the US government confirmed Friday that it has been holding
Hashemi in jail since Sunday as a “material witness” and that she will be
released after she testifies before a grand jury.
elder son Hossein, however, said she was unlikely to be freed soon. So far, the Press TV news presenter has
appeared twice before a US district judge in Washington.
authorities are now turning their focus on Press TV, Iran’s English-language
US government source told Reuters that the grand jury in Hashemi's case is to
examine on Wednesday whether Press TV is a propaganda outlet that failed to
register with the Justice Department as a “foreign agent.”
children - Hossein, Sarah and Reza - are also due to appear before the grand
jury on the same day, after a Friday session was postponed.
analysts appearing regularly on Press TV believe either US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo or hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton has ordered the
arrest and other possible action against the broadcaster.
Foreign Ministry has lashed out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for making
meddlesome remarks against Venezuela, saying the Islamic Republic supports the
"legal" government of the Latin American country.
Islamic Republic of Iran supports Venezuela’s legal government as well as its
nation in the face of Washington's illegal interference," Iranian Foreign
Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Saturday.
to reporters in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, on January 12, Pompeo
described Venezuela’s government under President Nicolas Maduro as illegitimate
and said the United States would work with like-minded countries in Latin
America to restore democracy there.
Maduro regime is illegitimate and the United States will work diligently to
restore a real democracy to that country,” Pompeo said.
reaction to the claims, Qassemi warned that any foreign intervention in
Venezuela's domestic affairs would be "unconstructive" and would
merely further complicate the situation in the country.
believes that the solution to Venezuela's domestic problems is dialog among the
country's political officials within legal frameworks, the Iranian spokesperson
which sits atop the world’s largest oil reserves, has been struggling with a
worsening economic situation over the past years, which has caused people to
cross border into Colombia to purchase basic commodities and foodstuff.
has accused the US of being behind Venezuela’s economic crisis, saying
Washington is orchestrating attempts to topple him as part of a wider offensive
against Latin American leaders defying US hegemony.
2017, US President Donald Trump said he would not “rule out” a military option
for Venezuela to solve the ongoing crisis in the country.
January 10, Maduro was sworn in for a second term in office amid regional and
international criticism that his presidency is “illegitimate” due to last
year’s disputed presidential vote, which faced irregularities claims as well as
an opposition boycott.
U.S. has legitimate reasons for deciding to withdraw its troops from Syria, a
former brigadier general said Friday.
Kimmitt, who also served as a top defense official under former President
George W. Bush, spoke at a panel discussion hosted by the Foundation for
Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), a think tank based in
remain legitimate reasons, and overwhelmingly positive reasons, for the U.S. to
be getting out of Syria rather than staying in it," said Kimmitt.
month, U.S. President Donald Trump surprised many, including his own cabinet,
when he announced plans to withdraw all American forces from Syria.
decision came during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination
over the civil war-torn country.
laid out the reasons for defending the decision, saying that for one thing, the
Daesh terrorist group is no longer a threat to the U.S.
may not be defeated. [But] it is certainly degraded. The caliphate is
gone," said Kimmitt, using another name for the Daesh. "They are not
an existential threat to the United States."
comments by U.S. Special Representative to Syria James Jeffrey, the former
defense official also noted that the nature of the U.S. alliance with the
YPG/PKK terrorist group was "temporary, transactional, and tactical".
notion that somehow the YPG are brave, democratic-seeking allies of the United
States, I think, needs to be questioned," he added.
its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a
terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been
responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people. The YPG is the group's Syrian
also said the U.S. did not want to get into a confrontation with Turkey, a NATO
Pakistan government has reportedly invited Sikh businessmen from across the
globe for the development of Sikh religious tourism in the country especially
at Kartarpur Sahib and Nankana Sahib.
to sources US-based Sikh businessmen Jasdeep Singh Jassi visited Nanakana Sahib
on Saturday and expressed keen interest in the development of religious tourism
in Pakistan. Singh also held a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
a video, Jassi is heard as saying that Imran Khan had informed him about the
ongoing preparations for the 550 birth anniversary of Sikh’s first master Guru
Nanak Dev and how it was being celebrated at with religious fervour. He also
talked about Imran informing him that construction work at Kartarpur Corridor
had been completed over thirty per cent. Jassi also asked the Indian government
to make the matching arrangements for construction of corridor.
post announcement of Kartarpur Corridor, a large number of foreign-based Sikhs
has shown expression of interest to built infrastructure at Kartarpur Sahib and
Nankana Sahib following which Pakistan government had extended an open invitation
to them to visit the Sikh religious places in Pakistan and invest in tourism
parents hailed from Gujjarkhan, Rawalpindi in Pakistan and had migrated to India
during Indo-Pak partition in 1947.
the video, Jassi has expressed gratitude towards Pakistan government for
preserving Gurdwaras in Pakistan. “We are in a bid to begin religious tourism
for Sikhs in near future. Sikh's from all over the world could visit their
sacred places in Pakistan and could get on arrival visa, they could build
hotels and invest in local businesses that would also improve the economy of
the area” says Jassi in the video.
Sikh hotelier form Bangkok Charanjit Singh who is currently on a visit to India
said his team had visited Pakistan last month to explore possibilities of the
opening of the hotel at Kartarpur Sahib and Nanakana Sahib. “We are encouraged
with Pak government as well as local residents support and enthusiasm to have
investment coming in, after all, we will also be providing a lot of jobs to
locals,” he said adding that another delegation of Sikh businessmen from
Bangkok would be visiting Pakistan in March.
Afghan Taliban on Saturday rejected media reports that they were prepared to
resume meetings with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad and
repeated their refusal to deal directly with the Afghan government, as the US
diplomat extended his stay in Pakistan in wake of the development.
reports suggested that a meeting in Islamabad was on the cards following
discussions between Khalilzad and Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister
Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Taliban leaders said that regional powers, including Pakistan, had approached
them and wanted them to meet the US delegation in Islamabad and also include
the Afghan government in the peace process but that the approaches had been
want to make it clear that we will not hold any meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad
in Islamabad,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement.
between the two sides have stalled after the Taliban accused Khalilzad of
straying from the agreed agenda and there is no clarity on when they may
have made it clear again and again that we would never hold any meeting with
the Afghan government as we know that they are not capable of addressing our
demands,” said a senior Taliban leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
to the US, any settlement in Afghanistan must be between the internationally
recognised Afghan government and the Taliban, who have so far refused to talk
to an administration they describe as an illegitimate puppet regime.
Taliban leader said peace talks with the US delegation could resume if they
were assured that only three issues would be discussed – a US withdrawal from
Afghanistan, an exchange of prisoners and lifting a ban on the movement of
arrived in Islamabad on Thursday and met PM Imran as well as Foreign Minister
Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other officials.
Saturday, diplomatic sources said that Khalilzad, who was scheduled to depart
from Pakistan on Saturday, had extended his stay in Islamabad and that the date
for his return has not been finalised yet.
two sides reviewed developments post Abu Dhabi, in order to take the Afghan
peace process forward,” a Foreign Office statement had said after a meeting
between Foreign Minister Qureshi and Khalilzad. An Afghan Taliban delegation
had a round of talks last month with US officials in Abu Dhabi.
statement didn’t give any further details on the talks, but media reports said
that Pakistan agreed to host the next round of talks between the Afghan Taliban
and the United States in Islamabad.
to reports, during the meeting, the US envoy informed the foreign minister that
the Afghan Taliban did not want to sit with the Afghan government nor were they
agreeing to a ceasefire. The envoy requested Pakistan’s assistance in this
matter. Reportedly, the foreign minister agreed to invite the Afghan Taliban to
hold talks with the US in Islamabad. Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar were also
likely to be part of the talks.
Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) officials have killed four people,
including a couple and their teenage daughter, and injured a teenage boy in a
suspicious ‘encounter’ on GT Road near Sahiwal on Saturday, triggering a
national outcry that prompted the government to take the security officials
into custody and order an investigation into the incident.
counter-terrorism officials claimed that the operation was conducted to capture
an ‘Islamic State (IS) commander’ on a tip off by an intelligence agency.
the uproar on mainstream and social media, Prime Minister Imran Khan took
notice of the incident and ordered Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to probe
the matter and submit a report in this regard.
a statement issued after the ‘encounter’, the CTD claimed that the raid was
carried out on the information of a “sensitive organisation”– though it did not
specify the particular agency.
[alleged] terrorists retaliated by firing at the CTD officials following which
a shootout ensued. Once the firing stopped, four people were found dead,
reportedly as a result of firing by their own accomplices, while three
terrorists had fled the scene,” the CTD said in a statement.
per the CTD statement, suspects identified as Shahid Jabbar and Abdul Rehman
were travelling towards Sahiwal and were reportedly in possession of arms and
used to travel with families to avoid police checking. Today, they were warned
to surrender but they resorted to firing,” read the statement, adding that
Shahid Jabbar, Abdul Rehman and another unidentified suspect fled from the
scene on a motorcycle.
include suicide jackets, hand grenades, rifles, etc,” it claimed.
SISTER KILLED IN COLD BLOOD’:
injured child Umair Khalil, who was present in the vehicle at the time of the
incident, told reporters that he was travelling to Burewala for his uncle’s
wedding with his father (Khaleel), mother (Nabeela), elder sister (Areeba),
father’s friend (Zeeshan) and two younger sisters when their vehicle was
stopped by police officials.
father begged the policemen to take money and let us leave but they opened fire
without any reason,” the boy claimed, adding that his father, mother, elder
sister and father’s friend were killed in the firing and kept back in the
vehicle. “The police left us [Umair, younger sisters] at a petrol pump and we
were later taken to a hospital,” he added.
a video, a man who identified himself as an uncle of the children, said that
several family members were going from Lahore to a village near Burewala in
four vehicles to attend a wedding. He said he was travelling in another vehicle
and lost contact with the deceased as their mobile phones were off.
alleged that the CTD personnel tried to rob the victims as they were carrying
cash, jewellery and other valuables, and then killed them.
another video, doing rounds on the social media, eyewitnesses and people present
at the hospital can be seen suggesting that police shot the family members in
cold blood and following the incident, the CTD personnel initially abandoned
the wounded children at the crime scene and left.
alleged that it was only after some time that they returned to the crime scene
and shifted the three injured children to a government-run hospital nearby.
added that the car’s passengers, who were coming from Lahore, did not have any
weapons and that the CTD officials had opened fire without any provocation.
encounter sparked protests on the outskirts of Lahore, leading to traffic jams
on Ferozpur Road. Consequently, Chief Minister Buzdar ordered the formation of
a JIT headed by a senior police official and comprising representatives of
intelligence agencies to probe the matter and submit its report within three
the police have arrested the CTD officials on the orders of the chief minister.
who left for Sahiwal himself, also directed Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat
to remain in contact with Sahiwal’s deputy commissioner and ensure the
provision of best-possible treatment to the injured children at the DHQ
the hospital later in the day, the Punjab chief minister inquired after the
health of the injured and condoled to the bereaved family. “Justice will be
served at all costs,” he said.
Minister for Information and Culture Fayazul Hassan Chohan said there will be
clarity about what happened within an hour for it seems that CTD officials
abused their authority by initiating the encounter. The CTD officials took
action against the suspects on a tip-off from an alleged terrorist, who had
been arrested by the intelligence agencies in Karachi, he said.
Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the Punjab government would soon provide a
detailed account of the incident. “The CTD officials say that the people killed
in the incident were suspected terrorists,” Chaudhry said.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has decided to take up a host of
issues with Prime Minister Imran Khan after Chief Minister Usman Buzdar failed
to placate the Chaudhrys of Gujrat.
is a host of issues the PML-Q is having with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf
(PTI), particularly in Punjab. Our differences with the PTI have deepened as
our party is being kept out of the consultative process. Now the time has come
to take up the matter with PM Imran Khan to decide the future of the
coalition,” PML-Q information secretary Kamil Ali Agha told Dawn on Saturday.
Minister Buzdar on Friday night visited the residence of PML-Q leader and
Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi after the lone minister of the
party, Hafiz Ammar Yasir, in the Punjab cabinet handed over his resignation to
the PML-Q leadership citing “undue interference” in his mines and mineral
ministry by the PTI.
Buzadr’s effort to resolve the resignation issue could not succeed as he failed
to convince Mr Elahi to ask Mr Yasir to withdraw his resignation.
joined the coalition in the best interest of the country, but we are not being
taken into confidence in decision making. Our lawmakers are facing problems in
solution of problems of the people of their constituencies. Besides, the PTI
had promised us two ministries each in Punjab and the Centre, but it has yet to
honour its commitment,” Mr Agha said.
the coalition “no importance” was being given to the PML-Q, he said. “We have
remained in coalitions in the past but have never faced such discrimination,”
PML-Q leader also complained about CM Buzdar’s “callous attitude” towards the
issues raised by PML-Q lawmakers. “Despite problems of PML-Q MPAs being brought
to the knowledge of the chief minister, no remedial measures have been taken to
address them during the last two months,” he said.
of pushing the PML-Q against the wall, the PTI leadership should come forward
and resolve the matter before it’s too late,” Mr Agha said.
his resignation note, PML-Q minister Yasir had pointed out “unwarranted
interference, undue pressure and hurdles” in his ministry since he assumed the
portfolio over four months ago. “Owing to undue pressure and hurdles, I can no
longer perform my duty, therefore, I resign,” the minister had stated.
within the ruling coalition started appearing this week after Federal Information
Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s remarks about creating a forward bloc in the PML-Q
that prompted a strong reaction from the party compelling him to apologise (to
in Punjab and at the Centre, the PML-Q is an important ally with 10 MPAs and
five MNAs, respectively. As the PTI is ruling, particularly in Punjab, with a
thin majority, it may not afford to lose PML-Q support.
in the elections for the office of Punjab chief minister and president as well
as Senate polls, the PML-Q leadership had reportedly made inroads in the
opposition, particularly PML-Nawaz, and secured votes for the coalition
contacted, the prime minister’s spokesman Nadeem Afzal Chan said that
differences among the coalition partners were not unusual. “We [the PTI and
PML-Q] will sit together and resolve the issues amicably,” he said, adding that
there was no serious threat to the coalition.
Impervious to the opposition’s criticism over his long absence from the
parliament and “running the affairs through social media,” Prime Minister Imran
Khan on Saturday launched yet another attack on the opposition parties through
his official account on Twitter over the issue of the Exit Control List (ECL).
majestic beauty and diversity of our land is unparalleled. Sadly, this beauty
is not appreciated by our ruling elite which is why ECL is such a calamity for
them,” he said in a series of tweets.
captivating grandeur of our land is why I would be happy just remaining
confined here working for our people,” Mr Khan tweeted two days after he
incurred the wrath of the opposition parties, particularly Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, over a similar tweet.
prime minister also posted video clips of the snow-capped mountains and
wildlife in the northern part of the country with his tweets. The video clips
have been taken from some foreign documentaries about Baltoro glacier, the
world’s biggest mountain glacier located in the Karakoram Range of
Gilgit-Baltistan. The clips show rare wildlife like Markhor and snow leopard
and a number of peaks, including the world’s second highest mountain K-2.
a similar tweet, Mr Khan had indirectly criticised the PPP leaders on Thursday,
the day the federal cabinet decided to remove the names of Mr Bhutto-Zardari
and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah from the ECL.
are some of our lawmakers so scared of ECL? Why are they so keen to go abroad?
There is so much work to be done by politicians in and
Pakistan — the land they claim to love but some cannot wait to take frequent
trips abroad and lawmakers have Iqamas of residencies abroad,” he had tweeted.
another tweet, the prime minister had said: “Can anyone explain this strange
phenomenon to those of us who would be quite happy to remain in and work for
Pakistan because we actually love Pakistan.”
hours after these tweets, Mr Bhutto-Zardari while speaking on the floor of the
National Assembly had responded that he wanted to reply the prime minister on
his face but “perhaps, he has no courage (to come to the parliament)”.
young PPP chairman said he did not care if his name remained on the ECL or not,
freedom of movement “is not a favour, but a fundamental right.”
governments should protect the fundamental rights of the people,” he said.
a number of other opposition leaders, including PPP stalwart Syed Khursheed
Shah, also severely criticised the prime minister for constantly ignoring the
parliament and for, what they said, “trying to run the parliament and the
country through Twitter and Facebook while sitting at his Banigala residence.”
A leader of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who was said to be
involved in the Kalaya market blast, and two of his accomplices have been
killed in a shootout with security forces near the Hangu prison, officials
police officer Shahab Ali Shah told Dawn on Saturday that the army intelligence
agency had been chasing the ‘militants’ for sometime after the blast in the
Kalaya area of Orakzai district.
the exchange of fire near the Hangu jail, TTP ‘commander’ Islam and two
would-be suicide bombers — who had been planning more attacks — were killed,
three members of the TTP belonged to the Orakzai district and their mission was
to disrupt sectarian peace in the region.
counterterrorism department of Kohat after registration of a case was
investigating the case.
will require at least 81,000 new schools in the next 20 years in the wake of
rising population and dismal condition of educational institutes in the
country, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF).
a report, the UN highlighted the dismal condition of schools in different parts
of the country and growing illiteracy.
report relays that the province of Punjab will require 35,000 schools in the
next 20 years whereas Sindh will need 25,000, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 14,000 and
also adds that one out of four children between the age of 5 to 16 is out of
school. The percentage breakdown depicts that 22% boys and 31% girls are not
enrolled in Punjab.
46% girls are out of school in Sindh and 40% in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The report
further states that more than half of the overall female population in
Balochistan has no access to schools.
Human Rights Watch report last year in November had stated that Pakistan’s
school system was in a crisis, with a lack of government facilities creating
“education deserts” for poor children, especially girls.
said one-third of girls across the country were not attending primary school,
compared with 21% of boys. “By the ninth grade, just 13% of girls are still in
Jan 20 In this city of Charminar and Golconda Fort, of pearls and palaces,
Salar Jung Museum stands tall as it boasts of the largest one-man collection of
antiques and art treasures in the world.
on the banks of Musi River, Salar Jung Museum welcomes you as you enter the old
city, popular for historical monuments, opulent palaces, mouth-watering cuisine
and a distinct culture.
one walks through 40 galleries of this spectacular museum, it takes a visitor
through an amazing journey to a bygone era rich in aristocratic history and
culture. The artefacts on display at India's third largest museum are unique
and range through varied periods of time and places in the world.
popular as the world's largest one-man collection of antiques, it is actually
the collection by three generations of a family of nobles who served as prime
ministers of Nizams, as the rulers of princely State of Hyderabad were known.
The family, with the title Salar Jung, was famous for its zeal for acquiring
art objects from around the world. The tradition started with Nawab Mir Turab
Ali Khan, Salar Jung I. His prized possessions included the 'Veiled Rebecca',
an enchanting marble statue acquired by him from Rome in 1876.
Laiq Ali Khan, Salar Jung II, died at the young age of 26. The majority of
nearly 50,000 artefacts were collected by Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung
III. An art connoisseur, he resigned as prime minister of the Nizam in 1914 and
devoted his life to collecting artefacts from various parts of the world.
precious and rare art objects collected by him for about 40 years find place in
the portals of the Salar Jung Museum, which spellbinds history lovers, art
aficionados and heritage students.
Ali Khan visited Europe and other parts of the world to collect art objects.
Later, traders from various countries used to come to Hyderabad to sell their
artefacts to him.
never spent his money on extravagant spending and never opted for big parties
and singing sessions. He invested his money in purchasing rare pieces of art
because of which over a period of time thousands of articles were stored in his
palace Diwan Deodi. He had this frenzy for collecting more and more and a time
came when he realized that there was no more space in his palace and he planned
to shift them to another palace but passed away before he could execute his
plans," Nawab Ahteram Ali Khan, a direct descendant of the Salar Jung
family and a member of Salar Jung Museum Board, told .
Yousuf Ali Khan died a bachelor in 1949, the vast collection of precious art
objects and library were arranged in a museum in Diwan Deodi to perpetuate the
name of Salar Jung as a world renowned art connoisseur. It was opened to the
public by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, on December 16, 1951. Thus the
Salar Jung Museum came into existence. The museum was administered by Salar
Jung Estate Committee till 1958, when the Salar Jung family donated the entire
collection to the Government of India.
the collection was distributed among shareholders, one day or the other it
would have been sold off or may have even gone out of the country. The most important
thing was to see that it remained in India and in a museum where it could be
displayed," said Ahteram Ali Khan, whose grandfather Nawab Mir Turab Yar
Jung was the first cousin of Salar Jung III.
Yar Jung was of the view that by donating it to the nation they were not doing
any favour but were only saving their own articles as it was felt that
preservation and restoration would incur lot of expenses and only an
institution like the Government of India could take care of them.
priceless collection was donated unconditionally. "Nobody else has done
this anywhere in the world. This family should be kept up in a high esteem but
it is most unfortunate that by just providing board membership to one member of
the family they think they are doing a great favour. What is important is
gratitude," feels Ahteram Ali Khan.
1961 by an Act of Parliament Salar Jung Museum was declared an institute of
national importance and from 1961 its affairs were managed by the board headed
by the state's governor. In 1968, the collection was shifted to a new building
constructed on the banks of the Musi river. Mir Turab Ali Khan Bhavan (Western
Block) and Mir Laiq Ali Khan Bhavan (Eastern Block) came up in 2000.
over 10 acres of land, the museum has 9,000 manuscripts, 43,000 art objects and
47,000 printed books. Galleries exhibit artefacts including the ones that date
back to the 4th century. It has Indian Art, Far Eastern Art, Children Art,
European Art, Middle Eastern Art and Founders' Gallery.
biggest attraction at the museum is the 19th century British Musical Clock.
Visitors assemble in the clock hall every hour to watch tiny mechanized figures
emerge through a door to strike the toy bell.
other prized possession of SJM includes veiled marble statue of Rebecca created
by Italian sculptor G. B. Benzoni. There is a set of ivory chairs presented by
Louis XVI of France to Tipu Sultan of Mysore.
Ali Khan believes the museum has art pieces in every category one can think of
as a treasure of art and history. He feels SJM can boasts of articles which
sometimes put even Europeans to shame. Veiled Rebecca, he points out, is one of
the four fabulous sculptures, Benzoni spent all his life on. The other three
are in France, UK and Italy.
you walk into Salar Jung Museum, you see life everywhere. Even the best of
European collections are without life. There is dent in French collection. We
have dressing table of Marie Antoinette (the last Queen of France before French
Revolution) Can you imagine. They would die to keep something like this in
collections on display include Indian Textiles, Arms and Armour, Indian
Miniature Paintings, Bidri Art, Arabic, Persian Manuscripts, Chinese
collection, European Clocks and Furniture, European Marble Statue, Egyptian and
Syrian Art, Far Eastern Statuary.
collection comprises more foreign than Indian artefacts and most of the art
objects are decorative pieces. We have collections from almost 33
countries," said A. Nagender Reddy, Director, Salar Jung Museum.
day 3,000 to 4, 000 people visit the museum and on weekends and holidays the
numbers go up to 6,000. Sometimes 12,000 to 13,000 people visit the museum on a
weekly feature series is part of a positive-journalism project of and the Frank
Islam Foundation. Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
government to press for hike in Muslim, ST quota’
The Telangana government will continue its fight to get the central
government’s nod on increasing reservations for Muslims and STs, governor ESL
Narasimhan said on Saturday. The government had proposed enhancement of
reservation from four to 12% for Muslims (BC-E category) and six to 10% for STs
and forwarded the assembly resolutions to
the Centre almost two years ago.
government will implement the report of the committee appointed for drafting
schemes for integrated development of SCs and STs. It will continue to press
for implementation of 33% reservation to BCs and 33% reservation to women in
legislatures. The SC categorisation resolution of the assembly was also
forwarded to the Centre,” Narasimhan said while addressing the joint session of
the assembly and council on Saturday.
said that the state government would initiate and implement new plans and
schemes as per the aspirations of the people in the next few years. In the last
four and half years, it had implemented several schemes that were not mentioned
in the manifesto. It was committed to make the state Bangaru Telangana, he
said priority was given to agriculture, power, irrigation, rejuvenation of
rural economy, promotion of industrial and IT sector and health sectors.
registered the highest growth rate in India, he said, adding that, “From
2014-2018, the state had achieved 17.17% compound annual revenue growth rate
and during the current 2018-19 financial year, the growth rate stands at
29.93%. Even in GST collections, Telangana stands first among states.”
governor mentioned about Mission Bhagiratha, Rythu Bandhu and Kanti Velugu,
among other schemes, during his speech.
DELHI: There may not be any substantive dialogue between India and Pakistan at
the moment but both governments are working to ensure there isn't a complete
breakdown of diplomatic engagement between them. This past week saw Indian high
commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria calling on Pakistan foreign secretary
Tehmina Janjua and Bisaria’s counterpart here Sohail Mahmood having a rare
meeting with Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale.
meetings, according to multiple sources, focused on strengthening engagement
over humanitarian issues, including the need to expedite release of prisoners
by both sides, apart from touching upon issues related to the proposed opening
of the Kartarpur corridor later this year.
maintaining that there is no question of any formal dialogue with Islamabad,
India has sought to focus, as suggested by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in
October 2017, on resolving humanitarian issues related to elderly, women and
mentally unsound prisoners in each other’s custody and their early release and
government has proposed to revive the mechanism of Joint Judicial Committee and
also requested that a team of Indian medical experts be allowed to visit the
mentally unsound prisoners to facilitate their nationality verification and
to official sources, the government sought to know from Pakistan why it has not
been providing consular access to Indian prisoners since July 1, 2018.
According to Indian estimates, there are 49 Indian civilian prisoners and 482
fishermen lodged in Pakistan jails. The nationality of 370 of these fishermen,
according to Indian authorities, has been verified.
sources said such high-level meetings could also help take the sting away from
cases of harassment of diplomats which are being reported now almost on a
weekly basis. The meetings happened in the middle of a diplomatic tiff which
saw Pakistan accusing India of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Relations by detaining a Pakistan high commission official. India recalled how
its own diplomats in Islamabad were having to put up with aggressive
surveillance and attempts to hack their emails and social media accounts.
officials here confirmed that the 2 meetings took place this week and around
the same time, they were quick to add that for any formal dialogue between the
2 countries Pakistan needed to take tangible action against terror groups
The BSF on Saturday rebuffed claims made by the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB)
that it was deliberately pushing Rohingyas into their territory.
Bangladesh-based newspaper had on Friday reported that the Border Security
Force (BSF) was trying to force 31 Rohingyas into their country from the Kasba
Upazilas Kajiatali border area in Brahmanbaria.
area falls in Tripura's Kamalasagar in Sipahijala district, about 32 km from here.
the allegations as false and baseless, the BSF Tripura Frontier in a statement
said that on January 18, at about 8.30 pm, Lt Col Gomal Kabir, Commanding
Officer of BGB called BSF Commandant Ratnesh Kumar and informed him that they
had detained 31 Rohingya Muslims at the International Border.
Officer 25 BGB insisted the BSF Commandant to take over those Rohingyas inside
the Indo-Bangladesh Border (IBB) fencing. Commanding Officer BGB also alleged
that BSF have been pushing Rohingyas into Bangladesh territory," the statement
strictly denies any such attempt and refutes the allegation as published in
Bangladesh media," the statement added.
BSF further said that during search and spot verification, no tell-tale signs
of any such type of illegal crossing of Rohingyas from Indian territory to
Bangladesh side were found.
said that it has learnt from reliable sources that the BGB have brought a group
of Rohingyas from the interior of Kasba Upazila and falsely shown them to have
been detained near the border pillar "under a specific strategic
contacted, a BSF Public Relation Officer on condition of anonymity said,
"The allegation is completely false and baseless and BSF has no such plan
or never had any such plan earlier".
said in 2017, 12 Rohingyas were apprehended and in the following year another
62 were held from different parts of Tripura, but not a single one of them was
pushed to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh newspaper had reported that BGB had confirmed the presence of
Rohingyas in no man's land on the Indian side.
The US military on Saturday said it had carried out its deadliest airstrike in
Somalia in months, killing 52 Al-Shabab extremists after a “large group”
mounted an attack on Somali forces.
US Africa Command said the airstrike occurred near Jilib in Middle Juba region.
There were no reports of Americans killed or wounded.
US statement did not say whether any Somali forces were killed or wounded by
the Al-Qaeda-linked extremists. Al-Shabab via its Shahada news agency asserted
that its attack on two Somali army bases killed at least 41 soldiers. It
described the location as the Bar Sanjuni area near the port city of Kismayo.
was no immediate comment from Somalia’s government.
neighboring Ethiopia, state television cited the defense ministry as saying
more than 60 Al-Shabab fighters had been killed and that four vehicles loaded
with explosives had been “destroyed.” Ethiopia contributes troops to a
multinational African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia and has troops
there independently under Ethiopian army command.
controls large parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to
carry out high-profile suicide bombings and other attacks in the capital,
Mogadishu, and elsewhere.
Islamic extremist group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a
luxury hotel complex in the capital of neighboring Kenya on Tuesday, the latest
high-toll assault inside that county in retaliation for Kenya sending troops to
Somalia to fight Al-Shabab.
United States has dramatically stepped up airstrikes against Al-Shabab in
Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, carrying out at least 47 such
strikes last year. Some have targeted top Al-Shabab leaders or key financial
officials; the extremist group funds its attacks with an extensive network of
“taxation” and extortion.
October, the US said an airstrike killed about 60 fighters near the
Al-Shabab-controlled community of Harardere in Mudug province in the central
part of the country.
airstrikes hamper the extremist group but have not “seriously degraded
Al-Shabab’s capability to mount strikes either inside or outside Somalia,” Matt
Bryden of Sahan Research, an expert on the extremists, told The Associated
Press after the Nairobi hotel attack.
alone cannot defeat the extremists, Bryden said, and must be combined with more
ground-based attacks as well as a non-military campaign to win over residents
of extremist-held areas.
US on Saturday said it is committed to “preventing Al-Shabab from taking
advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the
people of Somalia.”
forces are preparing a “massive offensive” against Al Shabab in Somalia
following a militant ambush on an Ethiopian peacekeeping convoy and last week's
Nairobi hotel attack.
Ethiopian National Defence Force confirmed on Saturday that the Al Qaeda-linked
militants had attacked its troops in Somalia but denied that Ethiopian troops
Ethiopian convoy was traveling from Burhakaba to Baidoa in Somalia's southwest
when it was attacked, the statement said. No further details on when the ambush
occurred or whether there were casualties were given.
contributes troops alongside Kenya and other African nations to the African
Union mission in Somalia. Alongside US airstrikes, the African Union force has
reduced the ability of Al Shabab to operate but the group still carries out
spectacular trans-boundary attacks.
has never orchestrated a major attack inside Ethiopia but in October the group
claimed it has killed 30 Ethiopian troops inside Somalia. Weeks earlier, Ethiopian
state meda had reported that the Ethiopian Air Force had killed 70 Al Shabab
militants who had tried to attack Ethiopian forces.
group claimed responsibility for last week’s deadly hotel attack in Nairobi, in
which at least 21 people were killed.
attackers stormed the hotel complex opened fire and set off grenades, sending
panicked people running for cover as security forces converged. Security camera
footage released later showed a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a grassy
area. Authorities identified him as 25-year-old Mahir Khalid Riziki, who was
born in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa and was sought several years ago by
police for alleged extremist activities. All four other gunmen died in the
response to the attack, which was motivated by the presence of Kenyan
peacekeeping troops in Somalia, showed that Kenyan security forces had learned
lessons since the chaotic response to Al Shabab's 2013 Westgate mall attack, in
which 67 people were killed.
700 people were rescued in last week’s attack thanks to a swift response under
a single chain of command, which saw the area rapidly cordoned off and
procedures in place to take care of survivors, analysts said.
was much more efficient, and it seems to have been better co-ordinated and the
tactics they employed were better practised, they had better equipment so all
in all, a much better performance," Matt Bryden, director of the Sahan
think-tank in Nairobi, told AFP.
the attack, the Kenyan government announced plans to allow more private
security guards in the country to carry firearms. Currently few private guards
are licensed to carry firearms.
employees of a private security company were reported killed in Tuesday’s
Private Security Regulatory Authority said on Friday it would implement a
vetting process to prevent suspected criminals within security companies
gaining access to firearms.
a Canadian national and five other people accused of helping the gunmen who
staged the attack appeared in court on Friday to face investigation for
judge ordered five of the suspects to be held for 30 days while authorities
investigated the hotel attack.
who appeared in court were identified as Joel Nganga Wainaina, Oliver Kanyango
Muthee, Gladys Kaari Justus, Guleid Abdihakim and Osman Ibrahim. Mr Abdihakim
is a Canadian national, according to prosecutors.
Mohammed, another suspect who was arrested in Mandera county along the border
with Somalia, was brought to court separately, prosecutors said.
suspect the alleged accomplices, including two taxi drivers and an agent for a
mobile phone-based money service, of "aiding and abetting" the
attackers, according to a court document.
powerful UGTT union called on Saturday for another national strike for two days
next month to press its demand for higher wages for 670,000 public servants,
the UGTT chief said.
bus and air traffic and all services stopped in Tunisia and street protests
drew thousands on Thursday in a one-day nationwide strike to challenge the
government’s refusal to raise salaries.
negotiations with the government failed and the purchasing power has
deteriorated significantly, UGTT decided to approve a nationwide strike on Feb.
20 and 21,” UGTT chief Nourredine Taboubi told reporters.
decision will raise the pressure on the government which is struggling to
revive the faltering economy.
government is also under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to
freeze public sector wages, the bill for which doubled to about 16 billion
dinars ($5.5 billion) in 2018 from 7.6 billion in 2010, as part of measures to
reduce its budget deficit.
the UGTT says the monthly average wage of about $250 is one of the lowest in
the world, while the state Institute of Strategic Studies says real purchasing
power has fallen by 40 percent since 2014.
government had said it does not have the money to pay for the increases
strikers want, worth about $850 million in total.
spokesman Iyad Dahmani said that increase would lift annual inflation to 10
percent from 7.4 percent.
in Kenya are exploring the possibility that some of the militants who attacked
a Nairobi hotel and office complex may not have been ethnic Somalis, stoking
fears that militants are deepening their pools of recruitment in the region.
have released few details about the five-man assault team that carried out
Tuesday’s siege at the dusitD2 hotel complex, an attack that killed 21 people
and was claimed by al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate.
police, private security sources and local media reports have highlighted the
involvement of a 26-year-old suspect identified in court documents as Ali Salim
Gichunge, who was born and raised in central Kenya, as evidence of the group’s
lure to some people outside its traditional strongholds.
government needs to look at (Gichunge’s) profile. How did he get to where he
is?” said a private security official in Kenya, who asked not to be identified
for operational reasons.
al-Shabaab can replicate this model, then there is a fundamental problem.”
five assailants were killed in Tuesday’s attack, the country’s president said
in a televised address the next morning. Police said on Friday they had
detained nine other suspects in connection with the incident.
of the suspects, one of them listed as a Canadian citizen, were taken to a
magistrate’s court and ordered detained for 30 days. Two were taxi drivers and
one was a mobile phone financial services agent, court documents said.
Ethiopian National Defense Force is confirming an ambush by al-Shabaab
extremists on an Ethiopian peacekeeping convoy in neighboring Somalia and says
Ethiopian forces are preparing a “massive offensive” in response.
statement on Saturday rejects reports and an al-Shabab claim that several
Ethiopian troops were killed. It does not give further details on casualties.
ambush was reported as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab claimed responsibility
for the deadly hotel assault in Nairobi and deadly attacks on forces inside
Somalia. The statement does not say exactly when the ambush occurred.
contributes troops to a multinational African Union peacekeeping mission.
Libya’s Health Ministry said fighting in the capital Tripoli between rival
militias has left 13 people dead.
ministry said late Friday that 52 people were injured in the fighting which
flared up Wednesday, shattering a UN-brokered cease-fire reached in September
that ended hostilities in the city.
earlier bout of violence killed nearly 100 people.
a statement, the ministry appealed to rival militiamen not to target ambulances
fighting between militias allied to the UN-backed government in Tripoli and an
armed group from a nearby town underscores Libya’s lingering lawlessness since
the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Qaddafi.
and Daesh have been using southern Libya as a base for attacks in Libya and
neighboring countries, exploiting a security vacuum since 2011.
Eastern Libyan forces have said they had killed a senior Al-Qaeda figure in
southern Libya, during an operation to secure oil and gas assets and fight
militants in the lawless south.
Libyan National Army (LNA) faction said it killed Abu Talha Al-Libi, a
commander in Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and two other militants
near the city of Sabha, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari said.
assets owned by a Muslim Turkish foundation on the Greek island of Kos are
being sold off "illegally," the head of an NGO told Anadolu Agency.
to an official announcement seen by Anadolu Agency, a plot of land spanning
over 34,000 square meters (some 366,000 square feet) belonging to the
foundation is set to be sold off in an auction later this month.
an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Mustafa Kaymakci, head of the
Culture and Solidarity Association of the Turks of Rhodes, Kos, and the
Dodecanese, said there are around 9,000 Turks living on Rhodes and Kos, two
Greek islands within sight of the Turkish coast.
group is a non-governmental organization founded by Turks who emigrated to
Turkey from the islands, which belong to the Dodecanese group of islands in the
southeastern Aegean near the Turkish shore.
Nov. 27 announcement by the Kos Muslim Foundation Asset Administration -- a
group appointed by the Greek government -- says the plot of land on Kos will be
sold in an auction on Jan. 31.
Kos, the foundation’s assets are being sold illegally," Kaymakci said.
said there are international principles regarding foundations which are
recognized by the UN.
to these principles, foundations’ assets definitely cannot be transferred or
sold. But Greece isn’t abiding by this," Kaymakci said.
added that under the Greek Constitution, religious foundations are supposed to
be exempt from property tax.
of this, he said, Christian groups in Greece pay no property tax, yet
Turkish-Islamic foundations are still unfairly required to pay tax.
what we're saying to Greece,” said Kaymakci.
foundation assets cannot be sold or transferred.
whatever [policies] are applied to other religious foundations, the same must
apply to our [Turkish-Islamic] foundations. That is to say, we must be exempt
from property tax."
and Kos' historic mosques in ruins
said Rhodes and Kos -- both islands former holdings of the Ottoman Empire --
boast "very impressive" specimens of Ottoman architectural heritage.
rich heritage includes mosques, fountains, almshouses, and a library, but over
the years these buildings were left neglected and fell into disrepair, he said.
mosques on Rhodes and Kos have deteriorated to near the point of collapse, he
Turkey wants to restore this invaluable heritage, Greece forbids it, he said.
said the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) -- the state-run
development aid agency -- has carried out many projects restoring Ottoman
architecture in the Balkans, with full consent of the local governments, but
Greece has blocked TIKA from doing the same in Greece.
wants to see the mosques and almshouses collapse. That is to say, it wants the
traces of Turks and Muslims to disappear," he said.
said the Turks currently living on Rhodes and Kos also face a number of
problems maintaining their traditional culture, dating back many centuries.
primary problem is that they lack the right to learn their mother tongue,"
1972, bilingual schools teaching both Greek and Turkish were closed down,
said since that time, Turkish children in Rhodes and Kos have been hindered
from learning their mother tongue, and a rapid assimilation process had begun.
of the most basic human rights is the right to learn your own mother
tongue," he stressed, but on the Greek islands, that fundamental right is
In Tehran on Jan. 8 during a meeting with European envoys, Iranian officials
abruptly stood up, walked out and slammed the door in an extraordinary break
French, British, German, Danish, Dutch, and Belgian diplomats in the Iranian
Foreign Ministry room had incensed the officials with a message that Europe
could no longer tolerate ballistic missile tests in Iran and assassination
plots on European soil, according to four EU diplomats.
was a lot of drama, they didn’t like it, but we felt we had to convey our
serious concerns,” one of the diplomats said. “It shows the relationship is
becoming more tense,” a second said.
official declined to comment on the meeting.
next day, the EU imposed its first sanctions on Iran since world powers agreed
the 2015 Vienna nuclear arms control deal with Tehran.
sanctions were largely symbolic but the stormy meeting encapsulated the
unexpected shift in European diplomacy since the end of last year. Smaller,
more dovish EU countries have joined France and Britain in a harder stance on
Tehran, including considering new economic sanctions, diplomats say.
could include asset freezes and travel bans on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and
Iranians developing the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program, three
new approach moves Europe closer to US President Donald Trump’s policy of
isolating Iran with tough sanctions even though European governments still
support the 2015 Vienna deal from, which he withdrew in May.
there are diverging views in Europe, the shift could have consequences for
President Hassan Rouhani’s government as it looks to European capitals to
salvage that deal.
could also strengthen anti-Western sentiment in Iran and lead to more
aggressive Iranian moves around the Middle East, where the Islamic Republic is
involved in proxy wars with its main regional rival Saudi Arabia.
firing of short-range ballistic missiles into Syria on Sept. 30, missile tests
and a satellite launch this month have niggled Western powers.
For Europe, alleged assassination plots by Iran
on French and Danish soil in 2018 were the last straw, diplomats say.
denies the plots and says the missile tests are purely defensive. “The
accusations against Iran over the past few months have awoken a few countries
in Europe that were against a tougher line on Iran,” a European-based Middle
East diplomat said.
same day as the meeting, the Netherlands publicly blamed Iran for killings on
its soil in 2015 and 2017. Tehran denies any involvement. Then on Jan. 9, the
EU designated a unit of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry a terrorist organization,
froze its assets and those of two men.
the Dutch for example. They had kept very quiet until the Danish attack and now
they are more hawkish than the French,” said the diplomat.
by Trump’s “America First” policy, Europe considered his May 8 decision to pull
out of the Iran accord a severe setback but Iran’s international ambitions
appear to offer Brussels and Washington a chance to work more closely.
US State Department official said there was now “a growing international
consensus” on the range of Iranian threats.
US welcomes Europe’s efforts to counter Iranian terrorism on European soil, its
missile launches, human rights abuses, and other threats,” the official said.
the Trump administration accused Iran last year of harboring nuclear ambitions
and fomenting instability in the Middle East through its support for militant
groups in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, the EU sought dialogue with Tehran.
meetings between European and Iranian diplomats last year, Britain, France, Germany
and Italy, pressed for gestures on Iran’s role in Syria’s war and for help to
end the conflict in Yemen.
multiple bilateral talks on the ballistic missile program have yielded no
EU tried to show Iran that compliance with the nuclear accord would still mean
economic benefits despite Trump’s decision to reimpose US sanctions and choke
off Iranian oil exports by pressuring US allies.
EU is set to officially launch a mechanism, the special purpose vehicle (SPV)
to trade with Iran later this month but it will not be operational for several
will be registered in France, run by a German and likely to include Britain as
a feeling of frustration among Britain, France and Germany, and others, after
the first phase of diplomacy with Iran,” another senior EU diplomat said. “We
thought we could get some effort from the Iranians in several areas.”
says Europe may not be able to safeguard the nuclear deal anyway and accused
European officials of dragging their feet.
Deputy Foreign Minister and senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi said last
week “operational steps” were needed from Europe as political support not
Ahmad Jannati, head of Iran’s powerful Assembly of Experts said on Thursday
Europe “would do nothing in our interest.”
Europeans are worse than the Americans. If not, they are not any better,” he
said, state TV reported.
March, as part of efforts to convince Trump to stick to the nuclear deal, France,
Britain and Germany proposed asset freezes and travel bans on the IRGC and
Iranian companies and groups developing the missile program, according to a
document seen by Reuters.
a similar set of measures is being prepared, three diplomats say.
prefer not to take these measures, but they need to stop trying to kill people
on our territory and over the last three years they have beefed up their
ballistic program,” said one senior European diplomat.
diplomats say getting all 28 EU members to agree will take time.
EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini, who helped seal the 2015 deal, is wary of
moving too fast for fear of provoking a complete collapse of the accord, four
foreign ministers planned to issue a rare joint statement on Jan. 21 about what
they say is Iran’s interference in the region and calling for an end to missile
tests. Diplomats said Mogherini wants to see the SPV established first.
EU official denied any split in policy between Mogherini and EU governments,
saying the statement will be published as soon as the SPV is launched.
diplomats said eastern European governments could also go too far against Iran
to please Trump in return for security guarantees against Russia.
diplomats said there was a risk that a two-day conference in Poland in February
focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, convened by US Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo, could divide eastern and western Europe.
is unable to attend due to another official engagement, an EU official said,
and it is not clear at what level France, Britain and Germany will be
Yemen’s internationally recognized government expressed reservations about
Germany’s decision to hold an international conference on Yemen without
consulting or coordinating with it.
conference, hosted by Germany’s Foreign Ministry, brought together senior
officials from 17 countries, including key actors and major donors.
included the UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the UN
humanitarian coordinator for the country, Lise Grande.
foreign minister told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper: “The launching of any
programs, plans or mechanisms by the UN or the international community to
assist states requires consultation and coordination with the beneficiary state
… in accordance with the principles of the UN.”
Al-Yamani added: “UN Security Council resolutions… stipulated that the Yemeni
government is the legitimate representative of Yemen.”
said: “The government of Yemen is currently in need of the international
community’s support and cooperation to enhance its ability to perform its
functions in the service of all Yemeni people.”
Trump administration has thwarted “attempts to impose a solution that would
give the Houthi militias and Iran a permanent foothold in Yemen to threaten
regional and international security and stability,” Al-Yamani added.
reimposition of US sanctions on Iran is contributing to “cutting off its
(Tehran’s) expansionist arms in the region, including the Houthi militias in
Yemen,” the foreign minister said.
government is “exerting great efforts … to explain the dimensions and risks of
the Houthi coup in Yemen, the dangers of the control of Iran-backed terrorist
militias in the region, and the importance of supporting Yemen-led efforts to
restore the state in accordance with UN resolutions, the Gulf (Cooperation
Council) initiative, and the outputs of the comprehensive National Dialogue
(Conference),” he added.
Yemeni government is in “constant coordination” diplomatically with member
states of the Arab coalition supporting it, particularly Saudi Arabia and the
UAE, Al-Yamani said.
part of his commitment to review the performance of Yemeni diplomatic missions
abroad, he said the Foreign Ministry has adopted a plan to improve their
Iran has dismissed allegations by German prosecutors that an army employee was
spying for Tehran.
semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi
as saying that “enemies” were aiming to “sour relations” between Iran and
appeared to be referring to the United States and Israel, which have pressed
European nations to withdraw from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
federal prosecutor’s office said last week that a 50-year-old German-Afghan
dual citizen was detained in the western Rhineland region. The German Defense
Ministry confirmed the allegations but declined to give any further details.
Five Syrians and a Bulgarian have been charged with financing terrorist groups
in the Middle East with 25 million euros ($28.4 million), Bulgaria’s attorney
general said Saturday.
group transferred at least 25 million euros to terrorist organizations over
four years,” Rumiana Arnaudova, a spokeswoman for the attorney general said.
were also charged with “preparing terrorist acts in another country,” she said.
money was moved about by the “hawala” system, an informal method of payment
based on trust that is far more difficult to trace than bank transfers.
Attorney General Ivan Guechev said such a network was “without precedent in the
money transferring network operates in many European countries and has
facilitated the movement of 100-300 million euros per year, according to
sources close to the enquiry cited in the Bulgarian 24 Chasa newspaper.
six charged make up part of a haul of 43 people arrested in seven Bulgarian
cities and towns on Friday.
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