take a group photo after the CPHM Chistmas Dinner in Subang Jaya December 13,
2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
at Makkah Conference Warn Against Sectarianism
Interfaith Christmas Dinner, Malay Mufti Calls For Tolerance And Understanding
NRC in West Bengal, Illegal Bangladeshi Muslim Immigrants ‘Thrown Out’: Hindu
Visit Jamrud Fort for the First Time Since Independence
Islamic State Finding ‘Fertile Ground’ in Africa after Mideast Defeats
Hasina's Fight against Islamic Terror Might Help Her Keep Power in Bangladesh
Corpses of ISIL Victims Found in Mass-Grave at Syria-Iraq Borders
says Syria reconstruction to cost $400bn
Commander: US Forces Spying on Hashd Al-Shaabi at Borders with Syria
Readying to Battle Turkey's Pending Attack in Eastern Euphrates
Members of Syrian Family Killed in US Airstrike in Deir Ezzur
Western Arms, Equipment Caches Found in Southern Syria
Security Council authorizes Syria aid deliveries for another year
king, crown prince condemn French attack
Syrian forces smash Daesh defences in east
Says Didn’t Issue List Of Muslim Preachers To Be Shunned By TV
limit for Sabah governor removed despite objections
still struggling for footing ahead of convention
recovers from divisive election: BPS
Check: This Protest March by Muslim Organisations Has Nothing To Do With
men who left to join IS are ex-PFI workers
Pakistani citizens resettle in J&K, SC asks state govt
asks Pakistan to repatriate Ansari as his prison term nears end
terrorist killed in Sunday encounter had cameo in 'Haider'
kids among 10 who left Kerala to join IS: Police
Outcry over INGOs’ Closure In Pakistan
Hindu Lawmaker from Presenting Bill Seeking Ban on Alcohol
Arrest Samiul Haq’s ‘Missing’ Personal Secretary
say despite problems, media disseminating untwisted news
welcomes govt’s offer for dialogue on INGOs registration issue
stresses need for opening Pak-Italy legal migration channels
passes resolution against Pakistan’s addition to religious freedom blacklist
TTP terrorists held, arms recovered
Khan vows to make Pakistan a economically sound, self-reliant state
House: Myanmar Crimes against Rohingya ‘Genocide’
possible in Yemen, says Pompeo on agreement reached in Sweden
military support for Saudi-led Yemen war must stop: US Senate
'delusional' on Iran nuclear deal: Sen. Kaine
seeks compensation from Saudi for refueling services
Turkey's planned Syria operation 'grave concern'
warns Turkey against unilateral military action in Syria
Strikes Leave At Least 15 Militants Dead In Ghazni and Paktika
forces eliminating Taliban field commanders seen obstacle to peace
a Muslim lawyer's murder, Myanmar's shattered dream
assures peace talks with Taliban will yield positive outcome
envoy for Afghan peace to meet with NATO Secretary General in Brussels
of Legitimate Yemeni Gov. and Houthi Delegations Shake Hands
Bin Salman: Saudi Arabia Committed To Supporting and Rebuilding Yemen
ambassador: Military pressure forced Houthis' withdrawal
regime’s disturbed dreams will never come true: Iran
vows to expand settlements in response to attacks
hails ‘promising’ deal between warring Yemeni sides
soldiers kill Palestinian in alleged car-ramming attack in West Bank
troops besiege Ramallah after two soldiers killed
Mufti Demands Lawsuit against UK Embassy in Libya for Anti-Islam Activities
Anti-Terror Scheme Records Major Surge in Far-Right Activity
'Working twenty-four seven' to set up Iran payment channel
investigation delves into Daesh’s crimes against Yazidis
parliament urges Egypt to lift human rights constraints
police reports 578 Islamophobic crimes in 2018
to establish military base in Kuwait: News Report
urged to adopt new definition of Islamophobia following rise in hate crimes
Muslims Mark 2015 Massacre Anniversary
Police Scuffle in Anti-Tax Protests In Jordan
al-Shabaab spokesman arrested in SW Somalia
more police reservists recruited to fight Al-Shabaab
by New Age Islam News Bureau
at Makkah conference warn against sectarianism
Scholars attending a conference on Islamic unity, which was held in Makkah on
Wednesday, have reiterated that Saudi Arabia is the “heart of Islam” in the
modern era. The forum, which tackles sectarianism and the strife plaguing the
Muslim world, was attended by prominent thinkers and researchers from 127
1,300 scholars and intellectuals took part in the conference, titled “Islamic
unity: The perils of labeling and exclusion.”
Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inaugurated the event, which was organized by the
Muslim World League. During the conference, participants called for a
comprehensive plan to address sectarian-inspired extremism.
Al-Turki, adviser to the Royal Court, told Arab News that politicians in Tehran
continue to create strife in the Muslim world, while scholars around the world
warn against such discord.
Arabia is home to Makkah and Madinah and hosts millions of Muslims from around
the world every day,” he said. “This is why the Muslim World League strives to
foster unity by inviting scholars, thinkers and researchers to the table and
this is why people of all races are here today.”
does Iran continue to fuel sectarianism?” said Al-Turki.
will only fuel vulnerability within already-weak states. If Muslims deviate
from scripture, they will continue to suffer.” Egypt’s grand mufti, Shawki
Allam, told Arab News that scholars heavily rely on the recommendations put
forth by the conference. “Islam calls for us to join ranks and liaise on
socioeconomic projects in order to better confront the regional challenges
facing our nation today,” he said.
continues to support the Kingdom, on which regional stability remains
contingent. Terror groups that continue to hijack Islam don’t speak in the name
of this nation, and yet, the Prophet’s teachings forbids exclusion.”
Abdullah Gholamallah, president of the Islamic Council, told Arab News that the
House of God unites people regardless of race or sect and that unity should be
a principle of patriotism. “Cultural, historic and geopolitical variants have
played a role in creating division,” he said.
Al-Amin, a Lebanese Shiite scholar, told Arab News that the conference is
unique in its nature. “Saudi Arabia has always pioneered unification
initiatives,” he said. “Labeling people as ‘believers’ or ‘non-believers’ only
contributes to alienating minorities.”
Atiyeh, a Yemeni minister responsible for religions endowments, told Arab News
that he only wished the conference had existed sooner.
are sending a message to the world that we won’t tolerate attempts to reap
discord,” said Atiyeh.
have come from Yemen to take part and to renounce Iran’s continued meddling in
JAYA, Dec 13 — Peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims is an
essential principle in Islam and one that Malaysians should strive to emulate,
the Federal Territories (FT) Mufti said today.
peacefully with non-Islamic beliefs is an essential Islamic principle that is
clearly stated in many Quranic verses, which has been practised by Muslims
is no contradiction between Islam and devotion to civil society, social culture
and co-existence with others; it is essential to Islam,” Datuk Seri Zulkifli
Mohamad Al-Bakri said in his speech delivered at the Christians For Peace and
Harmony in Malaysia (CPHM) annual Christmas dinner here.
speech was read by his special officer Mohamad Razif.
dinner at Dorsett Grand Subang was attended by more than 150 people of various
denominations, in an effort to promote interfaith understanding.
also spoke about the importance of being tolerant others, saying it was
compulsory in Islam to do so.
also suggested that local religious leaders band together to speak and
strategise ways to deal with religious conflicts in the country.
order to achieve this objective, we would like to call upon all religious
leaders to develop a cultural and intellectual strategy to face the threat of
religious conflicts, religious zealotry and madness of the age.
is high time for Malaysians to cherish the peace and harmony that we enjoy in
this beautiful nation; we know that deep in our hearts there is a deep love for
the country,” he said.
also invited all present at the dinner to his office to engage in discussions.
would like to invite all religious leaders here to come to my office at
glass of teh tarik and nasi lemak together would be a perfect combination for a
kickstart to a series of interfaith and intrafaith discussions among us.”
after the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) held a massive Ram temple rally in New
Delhi, its affiliate Hindu Jagran Manch will organise its first ‘Virat Hindu
Sammelan’ in Kolkata Saturday.
‘Sammelan’, which will be held at the Shaheed Minar grounds in heart of the
city, has the same objective as the VHP’s in the national capital —
construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya — with the addition of several
Jagran Manch’s media in-charge Vivek Kant Singh said, “You will find that the
work on construction of the Mandir will begin in another 2-3 months. Hindutva
is on the rise…We are not dependent on the government or any one political
party to get the Mandir done. Who demolished the Babri Masjid, it was the
Hindus right? It’ll be the Hindus who construct the Ram Mandir as well…”
added that the Hindu Jagran Manch also had a three-point list of demands to
place before the state and central governments. “The first is to throw out all
illegal Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants from the country. Secondly, to
immediately give citizenship to all Hindus who come to India from neighbouring
countries and thirdly, to pass the Citizenship Bill in Parliament and implement
the NRC in West Bengal,” he said.
are demanding NRC for West Bengal. The demographic of the state has changed
alarmingly over the past few years. Also, look at what has been happening in
the state the past couple of years, look at Basirhat-Baduriya and the Dhulagarh
riots, these are incidents of grave concern. There has been tension over
Saraswati puja and other Hindu festivities. Having said that Hindutva is on the
rise…is the reason why Ram Navami processions have become so successful and
popular in West Bengal. Our sammelan is an attempt to unite all Hindus across
party lines as well, for all Hindus to come together and defend our community,”
he further said.
claimed that the Manch was not against the “Bhartiya Musalman” (Indian Muslim).
“…But we want Muslims from Bangladesh and Pakistan to be turned away…The Muslim
has been given Pakistan as their country. Hindustan is for Hindus and the
government needs to declare that India is a country for Hindus — a Hindu
Rashtra,” he said.
the HJM maintained that Hindus from across the state were expected to
participate in the ‘sammelan’ in “large numbers”, the operations of the organisation
are restricted to South Bengal, with it having little presence in the rest of
visit Jamrud Fort for the first time since independence
HAMID KHAN WAZIR
The leaders of the Sikh community visited Jamrud Fort in Khyber District on
Wednesday for the first time since the independence of Pakistan.
Jamrud Fort is located beside Bab-e-Khyber at the entrance of the Khyber Pass
and is 17km away from Peshawar. It was built by the Sikhs in 1836 in 54 days to
keep a watch over the invading Afghans who had been entering the plains of
Punjab for hundreds of years. At Jamrud, the Sikhs succeeded in creating a
frontier defence line against foreign invaders. It was at this fort that the
famous Sikh general of Ranjit Singh’s government, Hari Singh Nalwa, breathed
to the absence of a strong government and a proper security network in the
area, and the rough mountainous terrain, the area became the hub of the
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Islam,
Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi militants after the US-led NATO invasion
of Afghanistan in 2001. Over 90 per cent of the Khyber Agency was under the
control of the militants in 2007 until Pakistan Army started an operation in
2008 to clear the area of militants in order to restore routine life. The
operation continued for years and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of TTP
militants and the martyrdom of Pakistan Army soldiers. In October 2014, the
armed forces of the country launched a military offensive named Operation
Khyber-1 in the Khyber Agency, resulting in the displacement of thousands of
locals. However, peace has now been restored in the area to a great extent.
on the occasion, Sikh leader Gopal Singh said that during the meeting with
Peshawar Corps Commander Mazhar Shaheen two days ago, they informed him about
the problems faced by the Sikhs in districts Khyber, Ourakzai, Kurram and
Peshawar. He also said that they expressed their desire to visit the historical
places built by the Sikhs in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
25-member delegation was taken to various parts of the fort and was given a
detailed briefing about its strategic importance. They were told that two of
Hari Singh’s rooms were still intact with one being the room where he recovered
from the injuries sustained in a battle and the other being the room where he
conducted his daily business.
Singh said that on the instructions of the Peshawar Corps commander, Sector
Commander Shahbaz Khattak visited the Bara Bazar and listened to the problems
faced by the Sikh community in order to resolve them forthwith.
the Sikh community demanded security for the protection of their historical
sites and sought restoration of the places which were in use of Hari Singh.
They were assured that the restoration work would be started soon after
consultations with the relevant departments.
Islamic State Finding ‘Fertile Ground’ in Africa After Mideast Defeats
State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda-linked jihadi groups that pose a threat to the
United States are expanding and increasing their lethality in Africa, U.S.
President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton warned on
Thursday, echoing the latest Global Terrorism Index (GTI).
comments came in the wake of the near complete destruction of ISIS’s physical
caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
latest GTI, compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and
released last week, acknowledged that ISIS is shifting its resources away from
its fallen territorial caliphate in Iraq and Syria and into its other branches
in “North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia.”
a speech at the Heritage Foundation announcing the release of the president’s
Africa strategy, Bolton asserted that combating the “serious threat” to the
United States posed by “radical Islamic terrorism” on the continent is a top
priority for the Trump administration.
recent years, ISIS, al-Qaida, and their affiliates operating in Africa have
increased the lethality of their attacks, expanded into new areas, and
repeatedly targeted U.S. citizens and interests.
Mali, Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin or JNIM—which describes itself as an
al-Qaida affiliate—is increasing in strength and has killed and wounded scores
of peacekeepers, partner forces, and innocent civilians, in addition to
kidnapping Westerners and threatening U.S. allies.
Libya, the local ISIS-affiliate has found fertile ground to recruit new
terrorists and plot attacks against the United States.
once housed the largest ISIS stronghold outside of Iraq and Syria, where the
terrorist group only controls one percent of the territory it once held,
courtesy mainly of the U.S.-led coalition and local fighters.
GTI revealed that while most of the world experienced a decrease of “27 percent
to 18,814” deaths from terrorist attacks last year when compared to 2016, five
African countries experienced some of the “largest increases in deaths from
terrorism” during the same period.
of the countries with the largest increases in terrorism are located in Africa,
with rises also occurring in the Central African Republic, Mali, and Kenya,”
the report noted.
GTI identified the ten countries that experienced the largest increases in
terror-linked deaths from 2016 to 2017 as Somalia, Egypt, Central African
Republic, Myanmar, Mali, Kenya, Afghanistan, the Philippines, India, and the
United Kingdom, respectively.
is home to three of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups: ISIS, al-Shabaab,
and Boko Haram, also noted the index, which treats affiliates like al-Shabaab
and Boko Haram as separate groups from their parent organization.
identified the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and sub-Saharan Africa as two
of the top three deadliest regions in the world for terror last year, with
33,126 and 9,342 fatalities, respectively.
to the assessment, ISIS remained the most lethal terrorists in the world.
four terrorist groups responsible for the most deaths in 2017 were the Islamic
State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Taliban, Al-Shabaab, and Boko Haram.
These four groups were responsible for 10,632 deaths from terrorism,
representing 56.5 percent of total deaths in 2017,” the index noted.
the threat posed by African jihadi groups, the Pentagon is expected to withdraw
more than 700 American troops from Africa as part of the Trump administration’s
decision to pivot away from the war on terror to focus on deterring strategic
competitors like China and Russia.
acknowledged that “predatory practices” by China and Russia “interfere with
U.S. military operations’ in Africa, adding that Trump’s strategy will address
complete destruction of ISIS’s physical caliphate, which has been reduced to an
ever-shrinking pocket of land near the Iraqi border in Syria, is imminent, said
Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the U.S.-led coalition against
the terrorist group, on Tuesday.
he conceded that ISIS “clandestine cells” will continue to pose a menace
stressed that ISIS’s enduring defeat — the U.S.-led coalition’s primary goal —
will be a “long-term” process.
Hasina's fight against Islamic terror might help her keep power in Bangladesh
[India], Dec 13 (ANI): Apart from the noticeable socio-economic growth track,
what is favourable for Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's comeback is
her government's "zero-tolerance" policy to counter violent
extremism. She has also positioned the Awami League as a secular nationalist
party, emphasising on its prosecution and execution of hardline Jamaat-e-Islami
leaders who were found guilty of war crimes during the Liberation war in 1971.
government's main focus had been on a "quick-fix" strategy to curb
terrorism, they say, until the attack on the popular Holey Artisan Bakery in
Dhaka's upmarket Gulshan neighbourhood on July 1, 2016, which led to the
massacre of more than 20 hostages, most of them foreigners. It is termed as one
of the deadliest attacks in Bangladesh's history. This, after a series of
killings of secular bloggers, writers, publishers, cultural activists and
politicians since 2013, that led many to believe that Bangladesh was losing its
war against terror, says Dr Smruti S. Pattanaik, a senior fellow at the
Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), who has been
following studying Bangladesh for more than two decades.
say Bangladesh has been susceptible to religious extremism, even though
terrorist attacks appear to have declined in the past two years. The only other
major incidents include the armed attack during Eid prayers at the Sholokia
Mosque that killed three people on July 8, 2016, and three botched-up suicide
bomb attacks in March 2017. Hasina, realising the threat to herself and her
government, is committed to the fight against terrorism and radicalisation and
has managed to get wider public support from across the political spectrum and
civil society, adds Pattanaik.
to a US State Department's Country Report on Terrorism, 2017, since Holey
Artisan Bakery attack, at least 79 suspected radicals have been killed and more
than 150 others arrested in an aggressive anti-militancy crackdown. To support
counter-terrorism, the Bangladesh government also enacted the country's first
anti-terrorism law in 2009, which was amended in 2013. Moreover, to cripple
terror at the heel, the government also formulated the Money Laundering
Prevention Act, 2012.
a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and with the central
bank and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, is leading the government's
efforts to counter the financing of terrorism," the report says.
carefully targeted arrests have visibly weakened the most threatening
organisations in the country and reduced the danger of terrorist attacks. The
government also imposed bans on six groups, including home-grown terror groups
like Harkat-ul-Jihad Bangladesh, Ansar-ul-Bangla Team and Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen
Bangladesh," explains Dr Pattanaik.
per capita income growth has risen to 6.2%, according to figures released by
the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects (GEP), 2018. This figure is higher
than the 5.4% average compared to developing countries, based on the same
report. Bangladesh - the eighth most populous country in the world - has as
many 165 million citizens, and is growing rapidly. Its economic growth reached
7.2% last year and has exceeded 6% for two straight decades, lifting 50 million
people out of extreme poverty in the process, according to a report by the Centre
for Research and Information, Bangladesh.
strong rule brought political stability to Bangladesh, enabling it to make
noticeable socio-economic progress over the past 10 years, says Dr Arifin,
former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, adding - "Hasina has managed
to overcome political and fundamentalist challenges that were also faced by her
predecessor Khaleda Zia, with a different outlook and vision. Bangladesh is
listed to become a middle-income country by 2024, provided that we maintain the
current socio-economic development trajectory."
is the second largest exporters of garments in the world, running into billions
of dollars annually, based on data from the International Trade Statistics of
the World Bank, 2014. Hasina is also betting big on a self-financed 20 km-long
$3.9 billion railroad bridge project on the mighty Padma River, expected to be
a major turnaround for South Asia's youngest nation. The small nation, once
written off as a "basket case" by former US secretary of state Henry
Kissinger, is on the verge of completing its biggest-ever infrastructure
project all alone, says Dr Shafiul Alam from Dhaka University. "It will be
a game-changer for Bangladesh's economy, a great boost to its national pride
and a major poll plank for Prime Minister Hasina," he says.
fate, however, hinges in the hands of its young voters - about 23.5 million of
the 104 million-strong electorate, aged between 18 and 30, according to latest
figures released by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). Former
Bangladesh Election Commissioner Brigadier General (retd) Dr M. Sakhawat
Hussain says: "Though it is too early to say which side the first-time
voters and other young voters are going to tilt, this segment, which has been
ignored by political groups, will be the deciding factor as even a few hundred
votes may work in the winner's favour." Bangladeshi youngsters want a
stable future and they will carefully consider promises of political parties
before voting, adds Alam.
united, yet weak opposition
analysts say that the ruling party is facing a relatively united opposition for
the first time in more than 10 years. The contest has been thrown open, they
say, with the formation of an opposition alliance - the Jatiya Oikya Front -
which includes the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and other smaller opposition
parties. It is being led by former president Badruddoza Chowdhury and former
Awami League foreign and law minister Kamal Hossain, both of whom are
contesting polls this year.
watchers, however, say if infrastructure development, economic growth and the
"zero-tolerance" policy adopted by the Hasina government to counter
violent extremism and prevent the country from becoming a terrorist "safe
haven", are taken as yardstick, then the Bangladeshi voters have no better
option than to vote the Awami League back to power. The opposition's unity will
polarise the political narrative into Awami League versus the rest, but it has
no consensus on a candidate for prime minister or a vision to match Hasina's,
says Dr Arifin - "Bangladesh's socio-economic progress is robust, its
entrepreneurial and grassroots economy is among the fastest growing in Asia, in
Hasina's 10-year tenure, which will work in her favour."
Muslim-dominated country's political narrative revolves around two major
parties, the Awami League and BNP, both controlled by two powerful women and
bitter rivals - Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia - who between each other, have
alternately ruled South Asia's youngest country for decades. However, Khaleda
Zia's indictment on October 29 raised her prison sentence from three to 10
years. Facing 37 cases, including 2004's grenade attack on Hasina, Zia has been
barred from contesting polls, while her son and political heir, Tarique Rahman,
is now a fugitive from justice, living in exile in London after a life sentence
- this predicament has left the BNP leaderless, and many believe that it may
limit their electoral prospects.
of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces) in al-Anbar province Qatari al-Obaidi
said on Wednesday that the mass-grave of ISIL victims includes more than 900
corpses, most of them Iraqis.
added that most of the bodies belong to the people who had been detained and
kept in ISIL prisons in al-Qa'em after voicing opposition to the occupation of
Western al-Anbar by the terrorists.
added that the ISIL terrorists had transferred and executed tens of inmates at
these prisons before the Iraqi security forces started military operations in
a relevant development on Wednesday, the Syrian Army continued cleansing
operation in Albu Kamal region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur near the border with
Iraq and found 7 mass graves with over 100 bodies of victims killed by the ISIL
army's engineering units carried out cleansing operation in the Western
direction of Albu Kamal region near the border with Iraq and discovered 7 mass
graves with a large number of bodies of people that were killed by the ISIL.
Syrian Red Crescent has thus far discovered 101 bodies of the people who had
been tortured by the ISIL before their execution.
Red Crescent announced further that unearthing bodies of victim from the mass
graves is still underway.
President Bashar al-Assad predicts that Syria’s reconstruction will cost
between $250 billion and $400 billion, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri
Borisov has said after meeting with the Syrian head of state.
office said Thursday that the diplomat had discussed industrial, medical, and
energy cooperation with Assad in Damascus on Thursday, as a years-long fight
against foreign-backed terrorists nears its end.
range of questions discussed with the Syrian leader included political affairs,
Russia’s participation in Syria’s postwar reconstruction and restoration of
life to normal, and cooperation in industry, medicine, energy and other
branches of the economy," Borisov’s office said.
has been able to purge Daesh and other terrorist groups from most of the
country with support from Iran and Russia as well as the Lebanese resistance
war, which began in March 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and
dislocated thousands more while destroying most of the country’s infrastructure
and industrial capacity.
said it was critical for Damascus to maximize the effectiveness of its planning
by using the existing capacities in order to create the required financial and
noted that Syria didn’t have much time to begin the process as vestiges of what
was once a united front against the government could still pose a threat by
got to act fast, because any delays in economic recovery will be fraught with
serious problems, including an upsurge in the activity of defeated terrorists.
Extremists would find it far easier to recruit supporters from the class of
impoverished people unable to support their families," Borisov said.
leads a Russian delegation that is in Damascus for a meeting of the permanent
Russian-Syrian commission for trading, economic, scientific and technical
China abstain in UN vote on Syria cross-border aid
on Thursday, Russia and China refused to vote on United Nations Security
Council resolution that sought to extend approval for cross-border humanitarian
aid deliveries to Syrian territories that were controlled by terrorists back in
2014, when the resolution was first adopted.
Nebenzia, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, said the text of the resolution --
drafted by Sweden and Kuwait-- was outdated and "divorced from
reality" because the situation in Syria had changed drastically.
fact that the stabilizing trends are strengthening in Syria is undeniable ...
Despite remaining problems there are positive steps in improving the
humanitarian situation," Nebenzia said.
Russian envoy said the UN needed to help Damascus speed up its recovery process
is a critical moment and the international community needs to now give a
helping hand to the Syrians in order to overcome the devastation and making
sure that people who voluntarily decided to return can live normally," he
countries, however, have made it clear that they will not approve
reconstruction funding for Syria, or remove sanctions on the Assad government
unless a political solution is reached.
Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Qassem Moslih, the Iraqi
popular forces' commander in Western al-Anbar, as saying that the US forces fly
different types of planes over the Iraq-Syria bordering areas, spying on Hashd
added that 20,000 Hashd al-Shaabi forces are deployed near the border with
Syria from al-Qa'em to the Southern Iraq near Jordan, stressing that they are
prepared to confront any threats against the country.
US military has widened its buildup in bordering areas between Iraq and Syria,
Iraqi sources said in September.
news agency quoted Farhan Mohammed al-Dulaimi, a member of al-Anbar province's
council, as saying last month that the US forces were still present in
different parts of Western al-Anbar near the borders with Syria.
dismissed media reports claiming that the US forces had withdrawn from al-Qa'em
border passageway and other regions in Western al-Anbar to Ein al-Sad airbase,
and said they had even reinforced their deployment.
a relevant development in November, Hashd al-Shaabi foiled the US army plans to
seize an airbase in al-Anbar province in the Western parts of the country at
the borders with Syria.
said that his forces had prevented a US plane carrying military forces from
landing at Abu Radha al-Baladawi airbase, adding that they wanted to capture
the military base.
commander for Hashd al-Shaabi said that their forces cordoned off the runway at
the Abu Radha al-Baladawi airbase.
added that Hashd al-Shaabi opposes the presence of US military personnel in the
area which, as the source said, contradicts Washington’s claim of contributing
to the ongoing anti-ISIL efforts on the ground.
are always provoking our troops while in the area and interfering in the
security affairs,” he said. “The western Anbar region does not need any foreign
deployments as the Iraqi forces, whether from the army or the Hashd al-Shaabi,
are able to defend it at any time.”
Kurdish-language Hawar news reported on Thursday that the 'Executive Council
for Autonomous Forces in Northern and Eastern Syria' has ordered all troops to
go on alert after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch
military operations against Kurds in coming days.
Kurdish forces in a statement claimed Ankara attempts to support the ISIL,
calling on the US-led coalition, the international community, specially the UN,
and the NATO members to voice opposition to Ankara's aggressive plans.
commander of Ferqat al-Hamzeh, affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army
(FSA) terrorist group, said that nearly 20,000 FSA militants are prepared to
take part in the Turkish army's military operations against Kurds in Eastern
Euphrates, specially the town of Manbij in Aleppo and Tal Abyadh in Raqqa.
said on Wednesday that Ankara would launch an operation in the East of
Euphrates in Syria in a few days to save it from separatist terrorist
expressed that we will launch an operation in East of Euphrates in a few days
to save it from a separatist terrorist organization," Erdogan stated at
the Turkish Defense Industry Summit.
added Turkey's target has never been US soldiers, but rather members of terror
is clear that the purpose of US observation points (in Syria) is not to protect
our country from terrorists but to protect terrorists from Turkey,"
possible mission East of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been
suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish
operations into Syria --- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch
– which were both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and ISIL
terrorists near Turkey’s borders.
Arabic-language al-Manar news channel reported on Wednesday that the US
warplanes bombed the village of Kashmeh in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing 15
members of a family.
to other reports, a large number of civilians who were continuously targeted by
the US fighters in al-Sha'afah region had sheltered in al-Kashmeh.
by the US-led coalition warplanes have killed many civilians in Deir Ezzur
under the pretext of fighting against the terrorists.
US-led coalition fighters pounded a hospital in a small town in Southeastern
Deir Ezzur on Saturday, local sources reported, adding that a sum of 8
civilians were killed and several more were wounded in the US air raid on
residential areas in the province.
warplanes fired several missiles on the town of Hajin in Southeastern Deir
Ezzur, leveling a medical center to the ground.
engineering units of the Syrian army found the arms caches in the Western parts
of Nawa in Northwestern Dara'a which included missiles, missile launchpads,
Israeli LAV missiles, different types of anti-tank missiles, some of them
Israeli, as well as a large number of ammunition for heavy and mid-sized
machine guns and explosives, RPG rockets, mines, Dushka guns, artilleries,
mortars and thermal cameras.
a Syrian field source reported that the engineering units also found another
cache which included different types of medicine produced by the Persian Gulf
littoral states and western countries.
reports said that the Syrian army has discovered a cache of weapons and
military equipment in a 15-meter-deep tunnel between the Syria-Jordan border in
the Southwestern parts of al-Nassib passageway which included at least 20
ground-to-air missiles along with launchpads.
a relevant development last Thursday, the Syrian army discovered a large number
of weapons, military equipment and ammunition, including the US and
Israeli-made arms, during cleansing operations in the Southern province of Dara'a.
engineering units of the Syrian army found US-made TOW missiles, Israeli
weapons, sniper guns, a large number of combat guns, cannons, mortars, RPGs,
machine guns and drones in a former terrorist base in Dara'a al-Balad region.
UN Security Council on Thursday approved a one-year extension of humanitarian
aid deliveries across war-scarred Syria. The move came despite reluctance from
Russia, which called to amend the period to six months.
United States along with the majority of the Council members, however, approved
the one-year extension, citing Syria’s dire need for humanitarian supplies.
More than 4.3 million people need aid in areas not controlled by the
government, according to the United Nations.
figure includes more than three million people who can only be reached via
cross-border operations. During negotiations, Russian Deputy Ambassador Dmitry
Polyanskiy said relief supplies were being seized by armed groups, subject to
extortion at checkpoints and had generated millions in monthly revenue for the
authorization allows humanitarian organizations to cross borders after simply
notifying the government. The US believes there is no credible alternative to
such deliveries, and has accused the regime of distributing aid unequally at
the expense of communities considered less loyal to Damascus during the eight-year
King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have condemned the recent
shooting attack in the French city of Strasbourg as a “heinous and criminal
sent cables of condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron about the
attack. The king said: “We have learned of a shooting incident which took place
in the French city of Strasbourg and resulted in a number of deaths and
injuries. We strongly condemn this heinous and criminal act.”
king added: “We express our sincere condolences to your excellency, the French
people and the families of victims, wishing all the injured speedy recovery.”
Kurdish-led forces on Thursday moved deep into Hajjin, the main village in the
last pocket still held by the Daesh group in eastern Syria, a war monitor said.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with support from airstrikes conducted by the
US-led coalition, deployed across the Euphrates Valley village.
SDF managed to break the defenses of the Daesh group after massing a large
number of fighters backed by the international coalition,” the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said.
achieved quick progress inside Hajjin, the largest of the villages that were
controlled by IS,” Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based monitoring
SDF said on social media they had “liberated the city center of Hajjin and the
lies on the east bank of the Euphrates in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor,
about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the border with Iraq.
area held by IS is sometimes referred to as the “Hajjin pocket,” the last rump
of a once-sprawling “caliphate” the group proclaimed in 2014 over parts of
Syria and Iraq.
SDF Kurdish-Arab alliance launched an operation in September to flush out Daesh
but their advance has been fraught with obstacles.
push to retake Hajjin was delayed by Turkish threats on Kurdish heartlands
further north and deadly counter-attacks by die-hard jihadists making a bloody
Daesh is confined to tunnels and to the edges of town,” Abdel Rahman said.
on the group and air strikes are continuing. The mines planted by the jihadists
are the main remaining obstacle,” he said.
casualty toll was immediately available for the latest fighting but according
to the Observatory close to 500 SDF fighters have been killed since the start
of the operation on September 10.
says didn’t issue list of Muslim preachers to be shunned by TV
Dec 14 ― A list purportedly of Muslim preachers that local television operators
should avoid did not originate from the Prime Minister’s Department, said Datuk
Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa.
he did not know who produced the list circulating online, the minister in
charge of Islamic affairs said his office only issued general guidelines on
religious sermons and for preachers.
my knowledge, my office did not issue any instructions to ban any of the
lecturers. What we have is issue general advice to them,” he said.
to reporters at the sidelines of the Amanah national convention at Casuarina @
Meru here today, Mujahid added that as long as what the group preached was
consistent with these guidelines, his ministry would not interfere in their activities.
stressed that his office does not blacklist any individual based on personal
preference and repeated that the guidelines were strictly about content.
asked about the circulating list, he suggested that it could have been made to
cause confusion and provocation.
long as they perform their duty, the issue of us disturbing their rice bowl
does not arise,” he said.
now, we feel some of the ustaz are issuing unfavourable views (about the
government), but we never block them,” he added.
list being shared online alleged that a “liberal gang” was attempting to
undermine Muslims in the country.
KINABALU: The two-term limit for the Sabah Yang DiPertua Negeri (TYT) post was
lifted at a special state assembly sitting Thursday (Dec 13) amid opposition
amendment will now allow for the Sabah governor to serve beyond two terms of
four years each, which is widely expected to see incumbent Tun Juhar
Mahiruddin’s tenure extended for a third term.
second term ends on Dec 31.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal is expected to recommend to the
Yang diPertuan Agong for Juhar's extension for a third four-year term following
the amendments he tabled to delete Clause 3 under Article 2 of the state
Constitution that limited the TYT to two terms.
debates, state opposition leader Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (Sabah
STAR-Tambunan) said there was no need for the amendment as it was not
said issues like switching back the name of Yang DiPertua Negeri to Yang
DiPertuan Negara was more pressing to regain Sabah’s status as an equal partner
in the federation of Malaysia.
also said that amendments to the Constitution should benefit the people, and
this matter does not affect the rakyat, nor was it in the public interest to do
assemblyman Jamawi Jaafar said deleting the clause was a step further in
reinstating state rights according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), and
in strengthening the Istana Negeri institution.
we keep having former TYTs, the state would need to pay for their retirement
fee and they still enjoy the same benefits as they were when they were the
TYT,” he said.
assemblyman Datuk Abidin Madingkir (Upko) said the amendment to the
constitution refers back to the original MA63 which did not limit the term of a
is to get back what is written under MA63,” he said, adding he also agrees with
Jamawi that the move would help the government reduce expenditure.
assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (PBS) however argued that there was no
reason or purpose in lifting the term limits of the TYT.
Sabah, we celebrate diversity and there are also people of other races waiting
and wanting to see a representative from their own race be in such a position
of power,” he said.
STAR’s Dr Jeffrey also said that in the earlier MA63 clauses, it was agreed
that if a TYT was a Muslim, a chief minister has to be non-Muslim and vice
do you agree with this?” he said.
this, Abidin said the such matters needed to be checked to see if they
contradicted the Federal Constitution.
assemblyman Datuk Masidi Manjun (Independent) said he felt that it was shameful
that anyone would take the issue of the state budget and the TYT’s pension to
debate this matter.
former TYT gets only about RM2,000 a month, and this is such a small amount. We
as representatives get more, so I am ashamed that we are even talking about the
pension,” he said.
said what was important what to have a reliable and capable person to sit in
the TYT’s seat.
assemblyman Datuk Masiung Banah said he sees that the post of a TYT is
time after a government changes, we see that the TYT is blamed for having
something to do with it; and every time something happens, the TYT of that time
is blamed,” he said in agreeing to the proposed amendments.
said that the move to lift the TYT’s term limit had nothing to do with rumoured
negotiations that took place between them regarding his appointment as Chief
who is Parti Warisan Sabah president, said that his appointment as Chief
Minister on May 10 happened not because of any private deals with the TYT but
because he commanded the majority of the house.
don’t want any question to surface about this. My appointment was made based on
the majority, not because there were any deals, nor was it solely the TYT’s
decision,” he told the house, adding that the authorities had stopped him from
going to the Istana Negeri for his swearing-in.
TYT was not happy with this,” he added.
day after leaving Sabah Umno en bloc, five of its assemblymen voted against the
proposed constitutional amendment to lift the limit on a governor’s term.
Datuk Hajiji Noor (Sulaman - Independent) and Datuk Mohd Ariffin Arif (Membakut
- Independent) were not present for the voting.
LUMPUR, Dec 14 — By all accounts, Amanah profited richly from the 14th general
election; almost all of its 11 MPs are in the government and the party can
count five ministers and four deputy ministers in its stable.
as Amanah heads into its national convention in Ipoh, a majority-Chinese tin
mining turned gentrified town in Perak, the three-year-old Islamic party still
appears to be searching for a unique identity that will not only set it apart
from PKR and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), but also appeal to the
coveted Malay-Muslim voter who lives in the villages of Kelantan, Terengganu,
by the progressive exodus from PAS, the party is viewed as too liberal for the
conservatives but also too conservative for the liberals, limiting its appeal
at either end of the political spectrum.
has no support base,” Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia political analyst Datuk
Mohammad Agus Yusoff said bluntly.
can’t compete with PAS even though they have five ministers.”
noted that Amanah has no leaders in Kelantan and observed that the party’s
success in the west coast was because of support from the Chinese, not Malays.
The Malay middle class, he said, tended to support Pakatan Harapan (PH) and not
Amanah per se.
said it is fine for Amanah to be a progressive Muslim party, but it needs an
“ideology”, just like how PAS — the conservative Muslim party that Amanah
leaders had broken away from to form their own party — has its own belief
Research Centre principal adviser Oh Ei Sun also noted that Amanah has yet to
find its “niche” “with the urban, middle-class-or-above Malay support covered
by PKR and Bersatu, and the rural, lower-class Malay support cornered by Umno
retained Kelantan and took over Terengganu from Umno in the 2018 election,
while Umno retained the Malay heartlands of Perlis and Pahang. Amanah’s sole
mentri besar is Adly Zahari in Melaka.
Putra Malaysia analyst Jayum Jawan said Amanah’s support base, judging from the
distribution of its elected representatives, did not bode well for the young
has 11 MPs, 5 per cent of the 222-seat Parliament. It also won a handful of
state seats in Johor, Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Penang, and
Melaka. But Amanah does not have a single federal or state representative in
Kelantan or Terengganu.
is essentially a splinter of PAS and so far, it doesn’t seem that it is
successful in drawing ‘good/ reputable’ PAS leaders to its side,” Jayum told
the impending party convention, it will heat up as people vie for position.
This is expected as the party could in some way sway the spoils to members
because the party is part of the power at the federal level. So, people are
competing not so much to want to contribute and strengthen the party, but for
the expected goodies that would come with positions in the party,” he added.
Amanah leaders think should be done
Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge
of Islamic affairs, said Amanah had its own identity — a progressive and
inclusive “party for the future” — but acknowledged the need to improvise.
Malaysia demands new thinking in policies and politics,” Mujahid told Malay
Mail. “Amanah intends to lead that frontier.”
he said, seeks to promote a “new narrative” for Malays: “progressive and
understanding the context of a multiracial environment, self-reliance, and
adopting a culture of honesty and trustworthiness.”
must also get out of their “siege mentality”, said the Amanah vice president.
will Amanah’s “progressive” message — alluring in metropolitan cities but
overlapping with stances taken by multi-racial PKR and PPBM, the less
right-wing twin of Umno — appeal to Malay-Muslims in monoethnic rural areas?
communications director Khalid Samad believes it will, saying most Muslims feel
that the party’s understanding of Islam lines up with theirs.
of course, our problem is that we got some of the more traditional ‘ulama’
coming up with their more right-wing messaging,” Khalid told Malay Mail.
I think this will end when Hadi is being shown as what he is; when it becomes
more apparent that PAS has received funding from Umno and it’s closer to Umno,”
he added, referring to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
just a matter of time.”
deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said six months after the May 9 election,
Amanah had the opportunity to position itself in the government.
try to be down-to-earth people,” he told Malay Mail.
a good opportunity for us to bring ourselves and to ensure that our image is
still preserved and together with the government to ensure good governance.”
he said, would judge for themselves which party they wanted to join at the end
of the day.
Entrepreneur Development Minister Hatta Ramli said Amanah’s “middle path” in
Malay politics and Muslim concerns was not populist rhetoric, but a “rational,
Islamic and responsible approach towards nation building”.
support from Malaysians post-GE14 is very heartening, including from former PAS
members and non-Malays. Our perceived good standing in the government is
helping us to break into difficult terrain in Sabah and Sarawak and also PAS
strongholds in Kelantan and Terengganu,” the Lumut MP told Malay Mail.
Amanah can win over conservative Malay-Muslims — especially after last
weekend’s rally here organised by PAS and Umno that saw over 50,000 Malays
demonstrate in favour of Malay privileges and Islamic superiority — remains to
James Chin, director of Asia Institute at University of Tasmania, current
events are largely irrelevant until 2020 when PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar
Ibrahim is expected to succeed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.
has always a bloc of Islamists following him, so it will be interesting to see
how he will position the PH government in terms of Islamic vote.
study has indicated that democracy in the country’s capital has recovered since
a polarizing gubernatorial election two years ago.
the latest release of the Indonesian Democracy Index (IDI), Statistics
Indonesia (BPS) has revealed that Jakarta is the most democratic among 34
provinces with a score of 84.73.
to the report, the number of democratic events in each province relates
directly to its democracy rating.
report noted that, before 2016, Jakarta consistently achieved a “good”
democracy ranking and was always at the top. However, its democracy index
dropped drastically from “good” to “bad”, with only 70.85 points in 2016 amid
campaigns for the 2017 gubernatorial election.
report stated that, from 2016 to 2017, there was a heavy use of identity
politics in the lead-up to the 2017 election, which led to violations of
election rules and democratic principles.
good democracy can be reversed easily just because of certain political events.
For example, Jakarta was disturbed by widespread [campaign violations] from
2016 to 2017,” the report stated.
2017 gubernatorial election saw then-governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama
seeking reelection. He was challenged by former education minister Anies
Baswedan and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s son Agus Harimurti.
candidacy was hobbled by a criminal trial in which he was accused of blasphemy
against Islam during a campaign appearance in September 2016. He was hit by a
string of smear campaigns by conservative Muslim groups, grouped under the
“212”, that had called for his prosecution.
social security statistics director Harmawanti Marhaeni said democracy in
Jakarta improved quickly after the 2016 gubernatorial election. The ranking for
civil liberties rose 6.62 points to 87.73, political rights rose 12.32 points
to 80.86 and democratic institutions rose 23.93 points to 87.12.
to the data, civil liberties returned to the level of 2015,” she said on Thursday.
the report questioned how permanent the divisions were in society after the
sharp decline in the index in 2016.
to and during the election, Jakarta was hit with anti-Chinese and
anti-Christian sentiment. Banners with text that threatened to refuse to carry
out Islamic burial rituals for deceased Muslims who supported Ahok, a
Chinese-Indonesian and Christian, were put up in parts of the capital.
of the 2019 presidential election, in which President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, a
close ally of Ahok, is seeking reelection, the 212 movement is making its
a large rally that shows the enduring presence of the Islamists in politics,
hundreds of thousands of conservative Muslims flocked to the National Monument
(Monas) on Dec. 2 to commemorate the second anniversary of the 2016 anti-Ahok
now Jakarta’s governor, said the group’s revival showed the maturity of
democracy. Therefore, he added, this should be an example for other provinces.
“If the capital city has matured democratically in carrying out basic rights,
this can be spread to all over the country,” he said.
Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2017 referred to Indonesia as a
flawed democracy. It fell from 48th place to 68th in the index.
Muslim organisations take out a rally chanting pro-Pakistan slogans and
demanding the rebuilding of Babri Mosque after the Congress's victory in
Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh?
to a video, these claims have been shared made on social media. The caption in
one of the Facebook posts reads, "Yeh lo Congress ki jeet ko abhi 24
ghante bhi nahi hue aur Babri Masjid ke liye juloos aur Pakistan ke nare lagne
lage. (It has not even been 24 hours since the Congress has won and a
procession demanding the Babri Mosque and pro-Pak slogans are being
raised)." At the time of filing this report, this post has been shared
more than 9,000 times from a single Facebook page, Politics Solitics.
has been shared on many other Facebook pages as well.
Today Fact Check found these claims to be misleading. The rally was taken out
much before the results of Assembly elections were declared. People in the
rally did demand rebuilding of the Babri Mosque but did not raise pro-Pakistan
the video, Indian Union Muslim League Sambhal city can be seen written on
banners. Sambhal is a district in western Uttar Pradesh.
keywords - Sambhal and Babri Masjid - we found the same video on YouTube which
was uploaded two years ago in 2016. In the video, it can be seen that the
people are carrying placards with pictures of the Babri Mosque and raising
slogans for its rebuilding.
spoke to Mukimur-Quereshi, the district president of Muslim League in Sambhal.
He said, Every year on December 6, we take out a march demanding the rebuilding
of the Babri Mosque. This particular video is from our protest march but not
from this year. The Babri Mosque was demolished on December 6, 1992.
insisted, We have been taking out this March very year since the Babri Mosque
demolition. Neither do we ever raise pro-Pakistan slogans nor do this rally has
anything to do with the recent victory of the Congress party.
similar video is being shared widely on Facebook with the claim that Pakistani
flags were waived at the Congress victory rally in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan Police has officially refuted the claim and termed it false.
Two peope from Kannur who left the country allegedly to join the Islamic State
(IS) in Afghanistan last month are former workers of Popular Front of India
said K Sajjad and Anwar Poothappara went missing along with their families on
November 19 after they told relatives they were going to Mysuru. T P Nisam,
another youth from Kuruva in Kannur, also has been reported missing and is
believed to have joined the group.
has gone with wife Shahina and two children and Anwar with wife Afsila and
three children. Police said they went to UAE on November 20 and from there to
Iran. It is believed the group has sneaked into IS areas in Afghanistan.
sources said Anwar had severed ties with the organisation eight years ago after
he went to the Gulf. Sajjad was ousted from the organisation three years ago
for 'financial irregularity', the sources added.
was a regular visitor to a Salafi mosque now managed by an extreme Salafi
group, police said. He has raised questions on certain religious issues to the
Salafi preachers. Some controversial Salafi preachers are associated with the
mosque, whose speeches had led to widespread protest in Kerala.
is co-brother of Muhammad Shameer T K, the PFI division-level leader from
Pappinassery, believed to have been killed in Syria along with his two
children. Shameer, who left for Syria in 2015, is suspected to be the motivator
for the group from Kannur which joined the IS last year.
to charge-sheet filed by National Investigating Agency in the Kannur IS case,
it was Shameer who motivated others, including PFI workers Abdul Razak,
Mithilaj, Rashid, Abdul Manaf, Muhammad Shajil and Abdul Khayoom, to join the
DELHI: More than 35 years after the Jammu and Kashmir assembly enacted a law
permitting state residents who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 to return with
their descendants for resettlement, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked the
state whether it intended to allow Pakistani citizens to settle in J&K.
up a bunch of long pending petitions filed by Panthers Party through its chief
Bhim Singh and four others challenging the validity of J&K Grant of Permit
for Resettlement in (or Permanent Return to) the State Act, 1982, a bench of
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph said
an 18-year-old who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 would now be 90 years old.
“Will you allow his children and grandchildren and their wives, who are born in
Pakistan and citizens thereof, to come back and settle in J&K?” the bench asked.
the Act is put into operation, the grandchildren of those who migrated to
Pakistan in 1947 can now come with their families and settle in Jammu and
Kashmir. How do you include his/her children? This will amount to allowing
someone other than those who migrated to Pakistan to settle in the state,” the
behalf of the Centre, solicitor general Tushar Mehta echoed the petitioners’
apprehensions against the 1982 law and said permitting resettlement of
descendants of state residents who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 would not only
create a serious security situation for the country but also contravene
provisions of the Citizenship Act.
for the state, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said the SC could read down the
provision to mean that only those who had migrated to Pakistan in 1947 could be
permitted to come back and settle in India provided they swore loyalty to the Constitution
of India and of J&K.
Gogoi asked Dwivedi whether he was making this statement on instructions from
the state government. After conferring with state standing counsel Shoeb Alam,
Dwivedi told the court, “It is a sensitive issue. I cannot make any statement
as the situation in the state is far from normal.” Understanding Dwivedi’s
predicament, the bench told him to take instructions on this question and
adjourned hearing to the second week of January.
bench also asked the J&K government to furnish details of the number of
applications it had received from original migrants from the state to Pakistan
expressing their intent to resettle in India. Dwivedi said the state government
had indeed received some applications for resettlement under the 1982 law. “We
have not considered any of the applications,” he said. The bench asked him to
apprise the court on the factual position during the next hearing.
its affidavit, the Centre had cited a few examples of consequences of the 1982
law and said, “The Act purports to enable persons who may have voluntarily
migrated to Pakistan, taken Pakistani citizenship, appropriated evacuee
property, even served in Pakistani civil or armed services or fought against
India or committed other treasonable acts against India to return at any time
of their choosing and settle in J&K... This will endanger national security
and public order.”
is looking to turn up the heat on Islamabad for the release of Mumbai youth
Hamid Nehal Ansari who crossed over to Pakistan looking to meet a woman he had
apparently fallen in love with. The government issued a note verbale to
Pakistan on December 11 seeking immediate repatriation of Ansari, official
sources here said.
government also sought release of 11 other Indian civilian prisoners who have
served their sentence in Pakistani jails and whose nationality has been
confirmed. The note verbale for Ansari is significant as it comes days ahead of
the end of his prison term on December 16. Pakistan has so far remained
non-committal on the issue of his repatriation.
the absence of any substantive engagement, India and Pakistan have mostly
focused on promoting religious tourism and addressing issues related to
prisoners and fishermen. While Pakistan has released Indian fishermen at
regular intervals, India is upset that Islamabad never allowed any consular
access to Ansari.
the government pointed out before Pakistan authorities, India had sought
consular access to Ansari on at least 95 occasions before the December 11 note
verbale. Ansari has been in Pakistan’s custody for around 6 years now,
including his pre-trial period. India has so far not received any official
communication from Pakistan on the nature of the charges against Ansari. India
has described the denial of consular access to Ansari as violative of all
international diplomatic and humanitarian norms.
media reported in August this year that the Peshawar High Court had asked
Islamabad to deport Ansari to India immediately after the completion of his
3-year sentence. The Indian government has also not taken kindly to the fact
that despite Ansari being a civilian, his trial was carried out by a military
court. While Ansari was arrested in 2012, his name, according to Indian
authorities, was included in the list of Indian prisoners by Pakistan only in
government has also urged Pakistan to expedite visas for a team of Indian
medical experts constituted to visit Pakistan to examine mentally unsound,
women, children and elderly prisoners awaiting repatriation to India. India has
offered a similar arrangement to Pakistan for examination of Pakistani
and Pakistan had arrived at an agreement over the humanitarian issue of
prisoners last year in October after a meeting between foreign minister Sushma
Swaraj and Pakistan high commissioner Sohail Mahmood. Swaraj had suggested that
both countries cooperate in matters related to mentally unsound prisoners and
also juvenile, elderly and women prisoners. She had also suggested revival of
the Joint Judicial Committee mechanism for visiting jails. Pakistan had accepted
these proposals in March, 2018. While India has reconstituted its Joint
Judicial Committee, it has not been able to visit Pakistani jails because of, according
to Indian officials, lack of approval from Islamabad.
The 2013 blockbuster ‘Haider’ which captured the ironies of the violent
conflict in Kashmir, has a new climax—a 17-year-old Kashmiri boy who did a
cameo in the Bollywood adaption of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, was one of the three
Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists killed in an encounter in Srinagar last Sunday.
teenager, Saqib Bilal, appeared in the Vishal Bhardwaj movie ‘Haider’ and
earned Rs.1400 for two shots at centaur Lake view hotel here five years ago,
his maternal uncle Ajaz Parray, told the TOI.
was contacted by Kashmiri coordinators in Srinagar because he was one among the
“chocolate-boys” the movie director required for several scenes, Parray said.
“I took my nephew Saqib, who was 13 or 14 at that time, for screening. He was
taken to Srinagar along with a dozen boys in a cab to Lake view hotel for
shooting in December 2013. The scene he appeared in pertained to the elections in
Kashmir ,” Parray said.
grief-stricken father of the slain terrorist, Bilal Ahmad Sheikh, an employee
in Hajin municipality, described Saqib as a good-looking bright student who was
interested in theatre. He said he couldn’t recall even one instance when his
son had exhibited radical behavior.
and how Saqib got radicalized is a mystery to the entire family. His uncle
Parray claimed that Saqib was happy-go-lucky boy who was fond of good food and
a typical fair-complexioned sharp Kashmiri looks, Saqib had acted in a play
called ‘Vath Chhi Yeahiy’ (This is the Way), at Srinagar’s Tagore Hall. “He
even went to Odisha for the same drama,” his uncle Parray said.
sung several Kashmiri folk songs at my wedding in 2016, when the whole valley
was gripped by violence post-Burhan Wani killing,” Parray recalled. The
teenager, he said, used to eat half a dozen eggs daily.
entirely family was shocked when he left home on August 31, this year and
joined militancy. We tried to get in touch with him but he could not meet any
of us,” the uncle said.
sources on Sunday had said that 14-year-old Mudasir Parray, who was a courier
boy of Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists since 2014, influenced Saqib and
persuaded him to pick up arms and join the terror group.
said Mudasir lived three villages away from Saqib’s and it was astonishing to
know about their closeness. “Saqib was studying in class 11th in Sumbal New
Greenland school while Mudasir was in class 9 in government high school at
Hajin in Bandipora district. The two had different hobbies as well. While Saqib
played cricket, Mudasir was fond of football. How they met is still a mystery,”
Police suspect that 10 people, including five children, from Kannur have
sneaked out of the country with the intention to join the Islamic State.
to police, two families, including their five children, and another person from
Azhikode region have been missing since November 19. “They have left their
houses informing relatives that they were going to Mysore. However, we have now
come to know that they did not go to Mysore, instead flew to the UAE. We could
confirm that these persons, including two women, have moved to Iran,” said
said police are collecting specific details about their journey from Kerala to
Iran. “The families of the missing persons haven’t so far made a formal
complaint, although they know that their dear ones have left the country. It is
confirmed that they have left the country after moving out of their homes under
the guise of visit to Mysore. We haven’t registered any case so far. In the
past, we had registered cases only when someone either returned from IS areas
or was deported back to India,” sources said.
sources said one of the missing families is related to Fousiya, who had
allegedly moved to Syria in 2016. Fousiya’s husband T V Shameer and son Salman
had reportedly died in Syria last year while fighting for the IS. Another
person among the missing was close to Shameer.
outcry over INGOs’ closure in Pakistan
A European Union delegation, the heads of mission of the European Union member
states represented in Pakistan, and the heads of mission of Australia, Canada,
Japan, Norway and Switzerland have expressed concern over the closing down of
activities of international NGOs in the country.
read: Time to review NGO policy
a joint statement issued on Thursday, they said: “We fully respect the
government’s right to maintain an INGO registration policy but we share a deep
concern over the way in which it has been implemented, the potential for more
INGOs to be closed without clear justification, the impact on Pakistan’s civil
society, and the implications for Pakistan in achieving good governance and
urged the government that, in the interest of the population of Pakistan, not
least its most vulnerable citizens, a solution be found as soon as possible to
avoid the closing down of further INGOs’ activities.
strongly believe that a vibrant civil society is indispensable for good
governance and inclusive development, issues that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s
government promotes and which are at the heart of the Sustainable Development
have been engaging with the leadership of Pakistan to revisit the situation of
those international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) whose registration
was initially rejected by the previous administration. We welcome the recent
offer for an open dialogue as proposed by the government of Pakistan, and hope
that this dialogue will be initiated shortly,” the joint local statement says.
this month the deadline given by the government to the 18 reputable and
well-known INGOs to wind up their operations expired, leaving them with no
other option but to terminate their operations and to re-apply in six months’
means that financial support to Pakistani organisations will be reduced as most
INGOs work through local institutions to carry out their activities,” according
to the statement.
joint local statement issued by the European Union office says “We believe that
the work of INGOs contributes in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals in
Pakistan. We are of the view that the rejected INGOs have been positively
contributing towards these goals in many areas.
their expertise, flexibility, and ability to operate under difficult
circumstances, international and national NGOs have made invaluable
contributions to Pakistan and are indispensable for our countries to continue
our wide-ranging cooperation activities in partnership with the government.
bars Hindu lawmaker from presenting bill seeking ban on alcohol
– A Hindu lawmaker was barred from tabling a constitutional amendment bill,
seeking a ban on the sale of alcohol, in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
Tehreek Insaf’s (PTI) Hindu MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar sought permission to present
the bill, stating that alcohol consumption is prohibited in all religions,
including Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. He called for cancelling the
alcohol permits in the country.
PTI and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal supported the bill but it was opposed by the
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The bill
seeks an amendment to the Article 37 of the Constitution.
section of the Article states,
Speaker Qasim Suri, however, barred the minister from presenting the bill after
the majority of lawmakers, who were present at that time, voted against it.
MMA, in response to the deputy speaker’s order, protested and demanded voting
on the bill again.
opposition parties, including PML-N and PPP, staged a walk out in NA over not
running the session according to the agenda.
session of the lower house of the parliament was then adjourned till Wednesday.
to media outside the assembly, Kumar called for introducing strict laws to ban
sale of alcohol in the name of any religion.
said unfortunately a number of people had obtained the permits for alcohol
business in the name of Hindu religion, which was unacceptable.
expert is of the view that the PTI legislator could get approved the bill from
the NA easily by ensuring the presence of the members of the his party and
allies as the Imran Khan-led party is in the majority.
2014 when Kumra was also the MNA had said alcohol is strictly forbidden
according to the teachings of the Shrimad Baghwat Piran – a Hindu holy book,
while also emphasising that decision makers (MNAs) or other higher-ups in the
community are prohibited to drink under any circumstances.
arrest Samiul Haq’s ‘missing’ personal secretary
on Thursday arrested Maulana Samiul Haq’s personal secretary over his alleged
involvement in the murder of the Jamiat Ulemae Islam-Sami (JUI-S) chief, a
private media outlet reported.
to reports, Ahmed Shah was arrested with the assistance of the deceased’s
an influential religious scholar and former senator, was stabbed to death by
unidentified suspect(s) at his Rawalpindi residence on November 2.
personal secretary had “mysteriously disappeared” following Haq’s funeral
prayer and despite repeated efforts, the police had previously been unable to
secretary is currently being interrogated.
Speakers at a session in the ongoing Festival of Arts and Ideas organised by
Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) on Thursday said that despite being
influenced by highly divisive society of the country, Pakistani media has still
managed to play its role in trying to disseminate untwisted information to
a session titled ‘Media and the state: Is honeymoon over?’, speakers, however,
blamed a section of the electronic media for “negative” reporting because of
rat race for ratings that eventually painted negative image of the country.
said the country was divided on various fronts as there were people who
supported fundamentalism and there were others who sided with liberal and
progressive ideas, yet media outlets in general were ensuring that factual
information reached the people.
however, blamed the rat race for ratings that had often forced a section of the
electronic media to run twisted and incorrect news reports and disinformation
on prime-time talk shows.
has gripped the country on the one hand and on the other there are liberal
forces. Similarly, our society is divided on ideological grounds as well and in
such a situation, media is still making it possible to inform people honestly,”
said journalist Ghazi Salahuddin.
Wusatullah Khan said that media was not just limited to a newspaper or a news
channel, but books, poetry, fiction and drama also fall in its vast definition.
said that freedom of expression had been achieved through great struggles in
Khan also spoke about the current financial crisis as being claimed by some
media outlets. He said that media organisations got merely a quarter of their
advertisements from the government while the rest [75 per cent] came from the
said that the overall nature of media was also changing because it had to
entertain the dictation of clients who paid for advertisements.
Mazhar Abbas said that most talk shows on news channels were negative in nature
and ratings were the key culprit to blame for it.
said that most of the wrong information being relayed on electronic media was
the result of continuous pressure of deadlines and race for ratings, and such
misreporting could not be rectified later on.
reporting is irresponsible and this is leading society to the negative path.”
Zaidi of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority said that people
were gradually getting aware of what was happening in the country and elsewhere
in the world.
at the distinguished lecture series, journalist and intellectual I.A. Rehman
spoke at length about the history of media in the country.
informed the young audience about troubles that journalists faced while
struggling for freedom of press in the country.
said that Gen Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship was the worst in the country’s history
when newspapers had been forced to publish empty spaces as authorities used to
censor the news originally pasted on pre-press copy.
country’s revered rights activist said that the authorities at the time had
censored Faiz’s poetry and even the reference to pharaoh, as written in the
holy texts, in newspapers perturbed authorities.
said such events were highly important for the young generation as they would
help create a culture of tolerance and respect for dissent.
European Union Thursday welcomed the offer for an open dialogue by the
government of Pakistan on the issue of the cancellation of the registration of
some International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) by the previous
European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of the European Union Member
States represented in Pakistan, and the Heads of Mission of Australia, Canada,
Japan, Norway and Switzerland strongly believe that a vibrant civil society is
indispensable for good governance and inclusive development, issues that Prime
Minister Imran Khan’s government promotes and which are at the heart of the
Sustainable Development Goals,” a Joint Local Statement said on the situation
of INGOs issued here by European Union Delegation in Pakistan.
said they had been engaging with the leadership of Pakistan to revisit the
situation of those INGOs whose registration was initially rejected by the
welcome the recent offer for an open dialogue as proposed by the government of
Pakistan, and hope that this dialogue will be initiated shortly,” it added.
European Union said it fully respected the government’s right to maintain an
INGO registration policy but showed reservations on implementation method and
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi while appreciating the
longstanding relationship between Pakistan-Italy on Thursday, underlined the
need for opening channels of legal migration between the two countries.
a meeting with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary General
Elisabetta Balloniat, who had called on him here at the Foreign Office (FO),
Qureshi lauded the strong bilateral institutional mechanisms of cooperation in
diverse fields, including the political dialogue process between the two
two sides discussed a wide range of regional and bilateral issues of mutual
interest and expressed satisfaction at the current state of relations.
emphasised the need to enhance high-level exchanges and augment cooperation in
the spheres of trade, investment, economic development, culture and tourism.
two sides agreed to pursue joint ventures in trade and economic spheres through
the transfer of technology.
also reaffirmed the excellent cooperation existing between the two countries at
the multilateral fora, including the United Nations (UN), and agreed to further
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution condemning
United States’ act of putting Pakistan on its blacklist of countries violating
assembly members from minorities, including Wazir Zada and Ravi Kumar, moved
the resolution in the house, which was passed unanimously by the assembly after
being signed by all parliamentary leaders.
condemn this act of America. It is baseless and constitutes prejudice. Our
worship places are safe and minorities enjoy all their rights here,” Wazir Zada
stated while reading the resolution.
does not see the atrocities on Muslims and Sikhs in India, Burma and Palestine,
the resolution stated.
minorities living in Pakistan want to make it clear that our worship places are
safe in Pakistan and we enjoy all our rights here. We can raise our voices and
can struggle for our rights at all forums. Pakistan is our country and we will
not tolerate anything against its sovereignty. We do not need dictation from
anyone,” it said.
Kumar and Wazir Zada in their speeches said that minorities in Pakistan enjoy
the freedom to follow their religion and never in the history of the country
has anyone stopped the minorities from going to their worship places or
performing their religious rituals.
Counter Terrorism Department on Thursday arrested four terrorists of a banned
outfit in Chichawatni and recovered arms, ammunition and explosives from them.
CTD conducted the operation on an intelligence tip-off in Gogera area of
the operation, four terrorists of defunct Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),
including Muhammad Yaqoob, Raaz Muhammad, Maulvi Muhammad Younas and Ghazi
Hayatullah were arrested.
CTD also recovered weapons, explosives, ball bearings, detonators and material
used in making suicide jackets.
the CTD produced the detained terrorists in an anti-terrorism court (ATC),
which remanded them into the CTD custody for eight days.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that his vision is to make Pakistan
a financially viable and economically self-reliant state, by getting rid of the
Pakistan Economic Fourm (PEF) the Prime Minister said that his government will
deal with money laundering and smuggling identically.
prime minister said that wealth creation is necessary to take the country
forward, adding that PTI-led government will introduce a business friendly
culture in the country and businessmen will be encouraged to invest their
capital in various sectors.
Khan stated that a country seeking help from other cannot move forward.
stressed the nation to adopt the approach of self-reliance rather than relying
on others. “China pulled 700 million people out of poverty over 30 years,” Khan
premier said that his government is working determinately to provide a safe and
healthy atmosphere to investors and we would make all efforts to increase the
taxation, he said the government separating tax collection and tax
policy-making bodies from each other.
said the country was rich in natural resources, adding, “Investors don’t come
to a country as long as making money is not easy there.”
House: Myanmar crimes against Rohingya ‘genocide’
House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation Thursday labeling as
"genocide" Myanmar's ongoing crimes against the country's minority
Muslim Rohingya population.
resolution cleared the chamber 394-1.
Chabot, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement after its passage
that he asked fellow lawmakers to "affirm that the Burmese military’s
actions were genocide against the Rohingya people and that the Burmese
government’s imprisonment of two Reuters journalists is patently unjust,"
using the U.S.'s preferred name for Myanmar.
applaud my colleagues for standing with me and passing this important
humanitarian legislation," he said.
addition to formally considering the attacks to be genocide, it condemns
attacks on civilians by Myanmar's military and security forces.
also calls on Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint
to pardon a pair of Reuters journalists who have been imprisoned for their work
in exposing the massacres against the Rohingya.
Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been imprisoned for over a year.
Chabot's resolution directly labels Myanmar's acts "genocide," the
State Department continues to refrain from labeling the actions as such.
Robert Palladino told reporters earlier this week that while the department
currently considers the violence, which includes mass rapes, destruction and
killing to be ethnic cleansing, it "in no way prejudices any potential
further analysis on whether mass atrocities have taken place, including
genocide or crimes against humanity.
efforts have been and remain focused on steps that will improve the situation
for Rohingya refugees and all people in Burma and as well as promoting
accountability for those that were responsible for these atrocities," he
UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar found the country's military guilty of
genocide and crimes against humanity including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery,
forced nudity, mutilations, torture, persecution, and enslavement.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya have been killed by Myanmar’s state
forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency
United States commends participants from the Yemen consultations in Sweden for
making progress on key initiatives, including a cease-fire and withdrawal of forces
in Hodeidah, prisoner exchanges, and opening humanitarian corridors to the city
of Taiz,” according to a press statement on Thursday by Michael R. Pompeo, US
Secretary of State.
many details remain subject to further discussion, these consultations between
the Republic of Yemen Government and the Houthis marked a pivotal first step,”
parties have an opportunity to build upon this momentum and improve the lives
of all Yemenis,” it commented.
forward, all must continue to engage, de-escalate tensions, and cease ongoing
hostilities. This is the best way to give these and future consultations a
chance to succeed.
United States thanks UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths for his leadership on
these efforts, continued optimism, and ability to inspire reconciliation. We
also thank the Government of Sweden for hosting, as well as the governments of
Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the many others that
helped facilitate and support the consultations.
US Senate has voted to stop US armed forces from supporting Saudi Arabia in its
military aggression against its impoverished southern neighbor, Yemen.
historic bipartisan vote on Thursday, for the first time, invoked Congress' war
powers to challenge US military involvement abroad despite the Trump
administration's unwavering support for the Saudi regime in its aggression
56-to-41 vote by the Democrats and some Republicans was both a condemnation of
the Saudi-led war on Yemen – which has killed thousands of civilians and
created a humanitarian crisis – and another rebuke to US President Donald Trump
for his all-out support for the Saudi regime and its disgraced de facto leader
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman --known by media as MbS -- who allegedly
ordered the murder of US-based dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
half-dozen Republican senators joined all the chamber's Democrats in passing
the unprecedented resolution against Trump.
senators disagreeing with the move all cast no votes.
vote approved a resolution that will require US forces to stop providing US
intelligence, targeting assistance in bombing, and other military support to
the Saudi-led campaign against the Yemeni nation.
analysts described the resolution as a direct challenge to Trump by Senate.
of the resolution maintain that US forces involvement in the Yemen war was
unauthorized, unconstitutional and immoral.
motion was sponsored by Sanders, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and conservative
Sen. Mike Lee, of Utah.
is Congress, not the president, that has the power to send our men and women
into war,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders as the Senate opened debate on Wednesday.
Vermont independent Senator, who championed US withdrawal, said Congress had
abdicated that responsibility for decades.
described the vote as a message to Riyadh. “Today we tell the despotic regime
in Saudi Arabia that we will not be a part of their military adventurism.”
also unanimously approved a separate nonbinding resolution naming Saudi
Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, as responsible for Khashoggi's
Washington Post columnist was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on
Oct. 2 by a team of Saudi operatives, many of whom have been tied to the crown
resolution, introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob
Corker, calls on the Saudi regime “to ensure appropriate accountability for all
those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder” and urges the kingdom to
“moderate its increasingly erratic foreign policy,” among other steps.
said the measure would put Congress on record as holding the crown prince
responsible for Khashoggi's murder.
United States Senate has said the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is
responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," Corker said. "That is
a strong statement ... I think it speaks to the values that we hold dear."
to reports that Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered, Sen. Lindsey Graham (
Rep-S.C) said, "The crown prince is so toxic, so tainted, so flawed that I
can’t ever see myself doing business with Saudi Arabia ... Do you really want
to transfer your most advanced technology to somebody who thinks it’s okay to
lure a journalist to a consulate in Turkey … and chop him up?"
has downplayed evidence that Saudi Arabia's crown prince was involved in
Khashoggi's murder and said the incident should not harm US-Saudi relations.
relies heavily on Saudi Arabia for buying arms from US weapons manufacturers
which has led to an economic boon in the US since he entered office.
some of the senators said they hoped that the Thursday's resolution would help
the current Yemen peace negotiations in Sweden sponsored by the UN.
President Donald Trump is being “delusional” about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal,
says Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, accusing the Republican leader of
undermining the international deal out of spite for his Democratic predecessor
claimed in a tweet on Wednesday that the Obama administration had paid Iran
$150 billion to negotiate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which
was signed between Tehran and six world powers – the US, the UK, France, China,
Russia and Germany.
businessman-turned-politician left the deal in May, arguing that it didn’t address
Washington's concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear energy and ballistic missile
Trump is delusional and clearly has never read the Iran deal,” Kaine wrote on
Iran deal did not "give" Iran one penny; it released Iran's own money
frozen in bank accounts. It imposed restrictions and inspections on Iran for
decades and prohibited the country from ever purchasing, acquiring or
developing any nuclear weapons,” he added.
Virginia senator, who ran against Trump in 2016 as the running mate of
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, said Trump’s “insecurity” over
Obama fueled his decisions.
Trump blew the whole Iran deal up—over his own military leaders' objections, by
the way—because of his insecurity over President Obama,” he added, noting that
other countries, like Saudi Arabia, were playing Trump’s insecurities “like a
truth about payments to Iran is that the Obama administration paid $1.7 billion
to Iran in 2016 to settle legal disputes over a sale of military equipment to
Tehran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
officials have already dismissed Trump’s claim that Iran's frozen assets in
overseas banks amounted to around $150 billion.
total, $29 billion of Iranian cash has been blocked as a result of US
sanctions, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced in 2015.
United States is seeking reimbursements from Saudi Arabia and United Arab
Emirates (UAE) after the Pentagon failed to charge them for fuel and refueling
services, the Pentagon said Thursday.
oversight was reported by The Atlantic last week, and now the U.S. is now
requesting $331 million from the two countries.
Central Command reviewed its record and is seeking $37 million for fuel and
$294 million for mid-air refueling services conducted by American forces.
partners have been individually notified about our intent to seek
reimbursement, and have been given estimates as to how much they owe,"
Pentagon spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich said in a statement.
has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the
country and the crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition, with
support of the U.S., launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back
violence has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and
sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as one of the
worst humanitarian disasters of modern times.
of thousands of people, including civilians, are believed to have been killed
and the UN estimates 14 million Yemenis are at risk of famine.
United States voiced grave concern Wednesday over an operation planned by
Turkey in northeastern Syria against the YPG/PKK terror organization.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that an offensive east of the Euphrates River
is imminent and Turkey will launch it "within a matter of days" to
clear the region of the terrorist group.
has long criticized U.S. cooperation with the YPG/PKK against Daesh, pointing
out that the YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK.
military action into northeast Syria by any party, particularly as U.S.
personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern," said
Pentagon Spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson. "We would find any such actions
said "coordination and consultation between the U.S. and Turkey is the
only approach to address issues of security concern in this area."
U.S. military is committed to working closely with the Turkish military to
boost cooperation and coordination, said Robertson, adding "uncoordinated military
operations" will undermine that shared interest.
commander praised Turkey as a "NATO ally" for more than six decades
and "a key partner" in the international fight against Daesh.
have solemn obligations to one another's security. We are fully committed to
Turkey's border security," he said.
said the U.S.-led coalition is working closely with the YPG/PKK-led SDF group,
which he said is "in the midst of offensive operations against ISIS in the
Middle Euphrates River Valley," using another name for Daesh.
SDF remains a committed partner against ISIS and we remain committed to working
with them to ensure ISIS's enduring defeat," he said.
possible mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been
suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish
operations into Syria since 2016 – Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation
Olive Branch – both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh
terrorists near Turkey’s borders.
Pentagon has said unilateral military action in north-east Syria by any party
would be "unacceptable", in a warning after Turkey said it would
launch a new military operation in the region within days to target Kurdish
and Washington have long been at odds over Syria, where the United States has
backed the YPG Kurdish militia in the fight against ISIS militants.
says the YPG is a terrorist organisation and an extension of the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in south-eastern
Turkey for 34 years.
hours of Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan's announcement on Wednesday of a
planned operation against the Syrian Kurdish militia, the US defence department
said such action would undermine the shared interest of securing the border
between Syria and Turkey in a sustainable way.
military action into north-east Syria by any party, particularly as US
personnel may be present or in the vicinity, is of grave concern,"
Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson said.
would find any such actions unacceptable."
has launched military campaigns over the past two years to sweep YPG fighters
from territory west of the Euphrates, but has not gone east of the river -
partly to avoid direct confrontation with US forces.
Mr Erdogan's patience with Washington over Syria - specifically a deal to clear
the YPG from the town of Manbij, just west of the Euphrates - seems to have
will start the operation to clear the east of the Euphrates from separatist
terrorists in a few days. Our target is never US soldiers," Mr Erdogan
said at a defence industry summit in Ankara.
step will allow for the path to a political solution to be opened and for
has repeatedly voiced frustration about the speed of implementation of the Manbij
deal, saying last month that the agreement should be fully carried out by the
end of this year.
Pentagon said co-ordination and consultation between the US and Turkey was the
only way to address security concerns and that Washington was focused on
working closely with Ankara.
believe this dialogue is the only way to secure the border area in a
sustainable manner, and believe that unco-ordinated military operations will
undermine that shared interest," Commander Robertson said.
added that while the US was fully committed to Turkey's border security, it
also remained committed to working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),
which includes Kurdish YPG fighters, to defeat ISIS.
and US troops began joint patrols near Manbij last month, but that co-operation
has been complicated by Turkey shelling Kurdish fighters to the east of the
this year, the SDF temporarily suspended an offensive against ISIS after
Turkish shelling in northern Syria.
Pentagon says it has about 2,000 troops in Syria.
month, the US said it would set up observation posts on the border between
Kurdish-held northern Syria and Turkey after Turkish cross-border shelling
killed four Kurdish fighters.
observation posts have now been set up, a US official told Reuters on
Wednesday. The official said the positions were clearly marked and any force
attacking them "would definitely know they are attacking the United
officials held talks in Ankara this week with the US special representative for
Syria engagement, Jim Jeffrey. An SDF military source said Mr Jeffrey met the
force's leadership in northern Syria on Wednesday.
Erdogan said Turkey was the victim of a "stalling tactic" over Manbij
and that ISIS no longer posed a threat in Syria.
strikes leave at least 15 militants dead in Ghazni and Paktika
U.S. forces have carried out a series of airstrikes in southeastern Ghazni and
Paktika provinces of the country, leaving at least 15 militants dead.
Thunder Corps of the Afghan Military in the Southeast in a statement said the
U.S. forces carried out airstrikes using unmanned aerial vehicles in Gomar
district of Paktika province.
statement further added that the airstrikes were carried out in SyedKhel,
Chahar Baran, and Zuhda areas of the district, leaving at least 12 militants
U.S. forces carried out airstrikes in Andar district of Ghazni province which
left at least 3 militants dead.
to 203rd Thunder Corps, a motorcycle and a Ak-47 rifle of the militants were
also destroyed in the airstrikes.
Ghazni and Paktika provinces are among the relatively volatile provinces in
Southeast of Afghanistan where Taliban militants and other groups are active in
some of its districts and often carry out terrorist related activities.
forces, backed by US aerial raids, are targeting Taliban field commanders whom
they see as a major obstacle to possible peace talks with Kabul and Washington,
officials and security sources say.
Danish, Afghan interior ministry spokesman, said on Thursday that government
forces would use all means to remove hurdles to peace and stability.
unnamed senior security official said the current campaign is part of a
strategy to apply heavier battlefield pressure on the Taliban.
war-hardened Taliban field commanders are the biggest obstacle to peace efforts
because they believe they are winning militarily," media outlets quoted
the official as saying.
plan was designed to eliminate them and pave the way for future talks," he
military commanders have pressed Afghan government forces to go on the attack
to strengthen their hand in any talks.
realigned support and precision lethal assets to precisely target the Taliban
more often and more effectively to set conditions for the negotiated
settlement," said Colonel David Butler, spokesman for US forces in
don't consider the death of these leaders decisive, unfortunately many more
will die until the Taliban decide to stop fighting. The only lasting solution
will be a political settlement," he said.
commanders have been targeted regularly in recent weeks.
Manan, the shadow Taliban governor of the
southern province of Helmand and the militants’ top commander in the
south, was killed in a joint operation by US and Afghan special forces on Dec.
days later, the Taliban shadow governor of central Ghor province was killed
while on a visit to Helmand and on Saturday, the shadow governor of Paktika was
killed in a raid by Afghan special forces on the border with Pakistan.
air and ground operations have surged in recent weeks, so has the risk of
civilian casualties. But Afghan security officials say despite the danger, the
local commanders remain high priority targets.
Taliban, whose fighters briefly overran the central city of Ghazni in August,
have steadily increased territorial gains in recent months.
the Kabul government has stepped up efforts to convince the Taliban to end the
17-year militancy amid Washington’s failures on the battleground.
have already started between US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban
representatives to build a favorable position in advance of any talks.
the request of the US, a Taliban office was established in Doha in 2013 to
facilitate peace talks. In recent months, Taliban representatives and Khalilzad
have discussed their conditions to end the war in Afghanistan.
(Reuters) - As Ko Ni walked out of Yangon International Airport on a warm
January afternoon in 2017, the legal adviser to Myanmar’s ruling party had
reason to smile.
grandson, two years old with chubby cheeks, was waiting for him. Ko Ni, 63,
scooped the boy up in a tight hug. On the sidewalk outside the airport, their
faces close, they gazed at the bustle of luggage and taxis.
Ni did not see the man in a pink shirt and shorts step out of the crowd behind
them. The man raised a Czech-made 9mm pistol to the base of Ko Ni’s skull and
pulled the trigger. A bullet punched a small hole in the back of Ko Ni’s head
and then blew out his teeth on the other side. His grandson went tumbling. Ko
Ni crumpled. His blood spread across the ground.
prominent member of the country’s marginalized Muslim minority, Ko Ni had been
receiving death threats for months. He was treading a perilous path in Myanmar:
openly calling for reforms meant to reduce the military’s dominant role in
government. But his political idol, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu
Kyi, was in power. And so, he continued to work to squeeze the generals out of
gunshot that ended Ko Ni’s life was a flash of brutality that revealed a truth
about Myanmar: Hopes for genuine democracy and ethnic harmony, largely pinned
to Aung San Suu Kyi, have broken apart. They were shattered by the military, by
Buddhist nationalism and, ultimately, by Aung San Suu Kyi’s inability or
unwillingness to confront these forces.
Ni believed that Aung San Suu Kyi, who’d gained world fame for championing
democracy in Myanmar, would prevail over a military whose patronage and power
reach into many corners of politics and business. That belief ended in tragedy.
the weeks after Ko Ni’s murder, three former military officers were accused by
police of organizing his assassination by a hired gunman. Two have pleaded not
guilty to murder at a trial in Yangon expected to end in the coming months. The
third has evaded capture. The gunman admitted shooting Ko Ni, but says he acted
under duress. No evidence has emerged that active military officials ordered
official narrative, presented in court and to the public, portrays the three
ex-officers as disaffected men swept up by extreme nationalism and acting in
a Reuters examination of hundreds of pages of court records and corporate
filings, including incorporation documents and director registers, uncovered
close and enduring links between the security establishment and one of the men
on trial. Accused of bankrolling the plot, he is a former military intelligence
captain named Zeyar Phyo.
leaving military intelligence in 2004, Zeyar Phyo, then in his late twenties,
began building a web of companies that included communications and
construction, according to court records and company documents maintained by
Myanmar’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration. His firms
undertook work for the security services, such as building a police barracks,
and won contracts from government ministries.
of Zeyar Phyo’s businesses in Myanmar was given access by the military to
communications equipment, a transaction recorded by supply forms - and a sign
of friends in high places, according to a former officer.
social circle includes a parliamentary deputy for the military-backed Union
Solidarity and Development Party, a man who is also a former longtime assistant
to the military’s current commander-in-chief.
court testimony, Zeyar Phyo revealed that in his career as a military
intelligence instructor, he “taught and led discussions on matters related to
assassinations that had taken place in the international realm.” He didn’t
to Reuters, Zeyar Phyo’s lawyer rejected allegations that her client remained
connected to the military and received its communications equipment. Zeyar Phyo
“just built some buildings for the police, some police homes,” said the lawyer,
Pa Pa Win.
authorities detained Zeyar Phyo in early February 2017, he was at a Buddhist
monastery in Yangon and wearing monk’s robes as part of what he later told the
court was an annual retreat. He’d become more religiously observant, according
to his testimony, going deeper into a Buddhist culture that views Muslims with
suspicion. At its extreme are ultra-nationalists who say they don’t accept the
presence of Muslims in Myanmar.
how far hardline Buddhism and nationalism had intertwined in Myanmar, Witha
Dara, the head monk at the monastery where Zeyar Phyo was found, said he didn’t
know how to respond. Then he added, “As for the Muslims’ religion, it’s not
just in our country: There are problems all over the world. It’s based on them
trying to gain more territory.”
Zeyar Phyo’s arrest, a political specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Yangon wrote
an analysis examining what was known about Ko Ni’s murder. What stood out was
the proximity of some of the accused to military power, Lian Bawi Thang, the
paper’s author, told Reuters. He pointed to the association between two of the
alleged conspirators - Zeyar Phyo and another ex-officer named Aung Win Khine -
and the former longtime assistant to the commander-in-chief. Photographs
entered as evidence showed the three men spending time together.
Embassy spokesperson Aryani Manring said the embassy consulted “many actors”
about the murder and provided information to Washington, but did not issue a
formal report or “draw a legal determination” about what happened. “However,”
she said, “the killing itself and problematic elements of the resulting trial,
which has continued for over a year, raise serious questions about who was
behind the murder and whether they will face accountability.”
San Suu Kyi did not attend Ko Ni’s funeral. Nor did she speak of him in public
until a televised memorial service a month later, where she praised him as a
comrade and adviser. Behind closed doors, just after the murder, she said Ko
Ni’s being “taken away from us” was a terrible blow and a warning to those left
behind, according to a person familiar with her remarks.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal views, the assassination - and her weeks of public
silence - sent a chilling message to the nation’s Muslims. Her party had
already taken steps to publicly distance itself from Muslim politicians. The
killing underlined the grave risk of talk of taming the military.
about Aung San Suu Kyi’s reticence, Ko Ni’s son chose his words carefully.
“People were quite unhappy about her absence the day of the funeral, as well as
keeping too quiet,” said Thant Zin Oo, a software engineer living in Singapore.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s office nor the Ministry of Defense replied to requests for
comment for this story.
the time he was gunned down, Ko Ni was lobbying to replace a constitution that
entrenched the power of the generals. About four decades earlier, when Ko Ni
enrolled at the Rangoon Arts and Science University, there was no indication of
the role he would one day play in his nation’s history.
moved to Rangoon – its name was later changed to Yangon by the military junta –
from a hamlet of peanut farmers and fishermen near the Irrawaddy River in
northern Myanmar. His family planted crops and worked at a small shop. A
university classmate described Ko Ni’s economic status succinctly: “very poor.”
He earned money as a day laborer to pay his way through his legal studies.
Ni began work in a law office in the late 1970s, taking whatever cases he could
find at local courts. He was an orderly man, said his wife, Tin Tin Aye. “You
were not allowed to touch his books. If you picked up a book, you had to put it
back exactly as you found it,” she recalled. “He always knew if you touched one
taught law students on the side. Among them was Robert Sann Aung, a fellow
Muslim. Ko Ni never spoke about his faith or his experience practicing law as a
Muslim, said Robert Sann Aung. Nor was he interested at the time in joining
Robert Sann Aung’s political activism that challenged Myanmar’s military
Ni was not a politician, he was only a lawyer,” said Robert Sann Aung, who is
an attorney at the trial of the men accused of murdering Ko Ni, representing
the family of a taxi driver killed in the melee after the shooting.
Ni built a comfortable life. His wife gave birth to two daughters and a son. He
lived with his family in a downtown apartment and played golf, winning a small
silver trophy at a Myanmar Golf Club holiday tournament. And he loved to sing
old Burmese songs. “If you didn’t know better, if you just heard his voice,”
said his wife, “you would think he was Bamar” – the country’s majority Buddhist
him, though, Myanmar was changing. Aung San Suu Kyi returned home to care for
her dying mother in April 1988, after some three decades abroad. Aung San Suu
Kyi’s late father holds a place in Myanmar’s history similar to that of George
Washington in America. He is revered as the father of the modern nation and its
army, a man who helped end British colonial rule.
Aung San Suu Kyi began giving speeches in Yangon, Ko Ni showed up, curious
about the slender woman with flowers in her hair who spoke out against the
military and co-founded a political party, the National League for Democracy
(NLD). “Ko Ni would bring a water bottle, potato chips and sit and listen,”
said a friend of his, Kyaw Nyein.
new party contested elections in 1990 and won by a landslide, but the results
weren’t recognized by the military junta. Aung San Suu Kyi was under house
arrest. Activists were rounded up and imprisoned.
Ni continued his life as a lawyer outside the public spotlight. In 1995, he
opened a law firm with two other attorneys. As the office grew, he was the only
Muslim, a fact that didn’t seem to bother Ko Ni.
SHADOW OF DEMOCRACY’
military announced an end to half a century of junta rule with a stage-managed
election in 2010 that allowed generals to exchange their uniforms for public
office. Six days after the vote, Aung San Suu Kyi was freed. She said she would
run for a parliament seat in by-elections to be held in 2012.
Ni was convinced the nation was finally at a turning point. “He said, ‘I can
see the shadow of democracy and I am starting to have hope,’” recalled his
wife, Tin Tin Aye.
by the dramatic changes, he released a 36-page booklet in January 2012. With a
plain brown cover showing a hand with a ballot, its title conveyed his
practical approach to life and law: “How to vote in the upcoming election.” The
manual gave voters step-by-step instructions on how the process worked.
photograph on Ko Ni’s living room wall shows him presenting a thin volume to
Aung San Suu Kyi. The image is larger than a nearby inscription of a verse from
the Quran, beseeching God for protection from evil, and two small panels of
about five months, starting in November 2011, Ko Ni volunteered for Aung San
Suu Kyi’s party, driving around the country in a Toyota to give instructional
speeches about voting. As he made his way from town to town, he “talked about
how much he respected” Aung San Suu Kyi, said his law office assistant of more
than 20 years, a Buddhist named San Naing. “He wanted this country to become
democratic, he wanted the country to improve and to be governed by educated
Aung San Suu Kyi won the by-election in 2012, she entered parliament, where she
headed a committee on the rule of law. Ko Ni volunteered to help at every turn,
providing written legal opinions about what was possible under Myanmar law.
was among those who proposed a way around a constitutional provision that
barred someone who had children with foreign citizenship from running for the
presidency. The clause, drafted by the military government, held a specific
effect: It prevented Aung San Suu Kyi, whose children were born in Britain,
from being head of state. Instead of wrangling about that obstacle to the
presidency, Ko Ni argued, there could be an entirely new position that allowed
her to exercise similar powers. The title of State Counsellor, which she now
holds, did just that.
noted, also, that while the constitution set a high bar for amendments, its
text didn’t contemplate the possibility of someone replacing it entirely. Why
not write a different one?
a 2016 interview with Myanmar media, Ko Ni explained: “If the military still
focuses on protecting its interests, it will be impossible to change any part
of the constitution within parliament. That’s why writing a new one is the best
way to pursue a democratic constitution.”
was stepping on dangerous ground.
the military, the constitution ensures it has a dominant role. The document
puts the generals in charge of nominating the heads of the ministries of
defense, home affairs and border affairs, giving them control over the army,
the police and frontier security. Through the General Administration Department
they oversee the backbone of the nation’s bureaucracy.
emergence of a Muslim lawyer at Aung San Suu Kyi’s side who was speaking about
changing the constitution was “a direct threat to the military,” said Win Min,
a senior research fellow at the Centre for Economic and Social Development, a
Yangon research institute. “It coincided with the rising nationalist movement
against Muslims.” Speaking in a low tone in a hotel cafe, Win Min added: “Given
that he was a Muslim,” ultra-nationalists considered Ko Ni “a target.”
the opening up of Myanmar, religious tensions bottled during military rule
began to erupt. In western Rakhine State, an army crackdown that began in
August 2017 sent more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. The
United Nations has said the onslaught included widespread rape and murder,
carried out with “genocidal intent.” In all, more than 900,000 Muslim refugees
from the 2017 campaign and prior waves of bloodshed are now living in
Ni became the target of online smears, including allegations he was the leader
of a militant Rohingya group.
social media attacks were a warning bell: As a Muslim, Ko Ni had pushed beyond
his allotted place in society.
of Ko Ni’s death, Han Tha Myint, a senior member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party,
said there were some people, “not a very significant portion,” in the country’s
military who “want to warn the Muslim community.”
it has been quite effective, I think, because after that the Muslims have
become very careful,” he said. “They have become a little bit silent. It is a
sad thing but I think it’s quite effective.”
growing anti-Muslim sentiment fed into the political calculations of Aung San
Suu Kyi and her party.
February 2014, Ko Ni was scheduled to speak at an event in Yangon hosted by the
National League for Democracy to mark a holiday celebrating national unity. But
a nationalist group, the Patriotic Myanmar Buddhist Monks’ Union, demanded that
Ko Ni and a second speaker, also a Muslim, be removed from the program, for the
sake of “our national affairs, our religion and our country.” The party
canceled the event. Explaining the decision, a local official from Aung San Suu
Kyi’s party said he’d done his best to negotiate with the monks.
remarks to a Myanmar newspaper about the episode, Ko Ni said: “I’m really
worried for my country’s future.”
Buddhist groups began suggesting that Aung San Suu Kyi and her party were
selling out the nation to Muslims by failing to safeguard its “race and
religion.” Confronted with those accusations, the National League for Democracy
decided not to field any Muslim candidates in the 2015 elections. Aye Lwin, a
Muslim community leader in Yangon whose family had long known Aung San Suu
Kyi’s, said he met with her at the time to demand answers.
said we cannot afford to lose even one constituency, so please wait until we
have the full-fledged democracy, please try to participate in our effort to
achieve this, to overcome this transitional period,” Aye Lwin recalls her
saying. “If there is any Muslim among the NLD candidates, the other side will
have a chance to propagate that the NLD is using Muslims.”
Aye Lwin added, his voice rising, “If they really claim to be democrats,
including Aung San Suu Kyi, democracy means human rights.”
National League for Democracy swept the elections at the end of 2015. In April
the following year, Aung San Suu Kyi became state counselor, making her
Myanmar’s de facto leader.
power, she began to disappoint some longtime supporters. Among them was Thein
Than Oo, a senior member of the Independent Lawyers’ Association of Myanmar, a
group Aung San Suu Kyi had previously championed. Thein Than Oo recounted
meeting Aung San Suu Kyi at a judicial reform conference. He told her he
disagreed with her government’s proposal to make a law on peaceful assembly
more restrictive. Aung San Suu Kyi responded with a smile and a small joke,
said Thein Than Oo.
Ko Ni was becoming more prominent as he pushed for constitutional reform. The
threats against him mounted. He would answer his cell phone and a voice would
say he was going to die. At least 10 threats against his life came in the eight
months before his death, said Nay La, a lawyer representing Ko Ni’s family.
conspiracy to murder Ko Ni began in April 2016 as three former officers met at
a Yangon teahouse and discussed their “dissatisfaction” with Aung San Suu Kyi’s
legal adviser, according to findings delivered at a press conference by the nation’s
police chief and home affairs minister. Media coverage of those remarks was
later presented in court.
the teahouse were Zeyar Phyo, the retired military intelligence captain, and
Aung Win Khine, a retired lieutenant colonel, according to the account by the
police chief. They were joined by Lin Zaw Tun, an ex-colonel who served in the
office of the military commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, from 2011 to 2015.
Since 2016, Lin Zaw Tun has sat in parliament for the military-backed Union
Solidarity and Development Party.
three men had entered the elite Defense Services Academy within two years of
one another in the 1990s. Lin Zaw Tun testified that he and Aung Win Khine
served in the same battalion after graduation. He also told the court that Zeyar
Phyo was a moral and noble person, devoutly religious and “unblemished by
entered as evidence showed the three spending time together in Hong Kong in
August 2016, smiling and posing for the camera. In his testimony, Lin Zaw Tun
said that was the result of a chance encounter.
police chief alleged that Aung Win Khine asked one of his brothers to find a
gunman to kill Ko Ni. Zeyar Phyo in turn gave Aung Win Khine 100 million
Myanmar kyat (about $80,000 at the time) to pay for the operation.
shooter was an ex-convict named Kyi Lin, jailed previously for stealing
religious artefacts. In court, Kyi Lin admitted killing Ko Ni but said he did
so because his life had been threatened by another man, a version of events
that didn’t hold up to police investigation, according to testimony.
delivering the shot that killed Ko Ni that afternoon in January 2017, Kyi Lin
ran off, a 9mm pistol in his hand and another gun tucked in his shoulder bag.
He didn’t get far. A mob formed and chased him down.
Kyi Lin’s arrest, it emerged he had previously served time in prison with Aung
Win Khine’s brother. That information helped lead investigators to the other
accused, according to court testimony. Airport security video, entered as
evidence, showed Aung Win Khine’s brother standing beside Kyi Lin on the day of
the shooting. They appear to be speaking to one another. The footage also shows
Aung Win Khine nearby.
intelligence officer Zeyar Phyo, who has let his hair and beard grow long in
jail, pleaded not guilty to murder and abetment. He denied bankrolling the plot
or participating in the teahouse meetings.
Win Khine’s brother, Aung Win Zaw, pleaded not guilty to murder and conspiracy.
Aung Win Khine has evaded arrest.
Win Zaw’s lawyer said neither his client nor Aung Win Khine had anything to do
with the killing. They “are former military people - if they had done it, it
would have been more systematic,” the lawyer said.
third man alleged to have attended those teahouse meetings, Lin Zaw Tun, the
former assistant to the commander-in-chief, hasn’t been charged. Investigators
say they found no link between him and the assassination.
Zaw Tun told the court that on the evening after Ko Ni’s assassination, Aung
Win Khine traveled to his house in the capital city of Naypyitaw. During that
visit, Lin Zaw Tun said, he gave Aung Win Khine a million Myanmar kyat of his
own money. He said Aung Win Khine told him he needed the cash for business
Zaw Tun declined to answer Reuters’ questions about his relationship with Zeyar
Phyo and Aung Win Khine. “I have answered that in court,” he said.
Reuters review of evidence presented at the trial and company filings -
including incorporation documents and director registers - shows the extent of
Zeyar Phyo’s military connections. It is a world little understood outside
Myanmar, of former soldiers who represent a deep well of influence, an
intertwining of business, religion and friends in uniform.
leaving the intelligence service in 2004, Zeyar Phyo struck deals involving the
security services, including building a police barracks and importing machinery
and tools for police use, according to court testimony and the website of one
of his firms.
2012, he set up a company in Singapore, ZYP Pte Ltd, according to registration
documents filed with the country’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory
Authority. The firm approached a Chinese state-owned shipyard about purchasing
two patrol boats, according to the shipyard’s website. Payment came from a
Myanmar-based company, a manager at the shipyard told Reuters. Zeyar Phyo was
listed as the company’s managing director. An employee in one of Zeyar Phyo’s
firms, a former major in the military who began working for him in 2012,
testified that his employer imported boats for the police.
five months before Ko Ni was killed, employees of Zeyar Phyo received
communications equipment from the military, according to military supply forms
found during police searches and entered as evidence in the trial. During his
testimony, Zeyar Phyo acknowledged that forms showing the equipment transfer,
stamped by a military department and bearing his company’s name, were
former Myanmar military officer told Reuters the gear that Zeyar Phyo’s company
received from or turned over to the military department, including a
transceiver and a “main board support encryption card,” taken together suggests
point-to-point communication designed to avoid a third party listening in. The
former officer, who reviewed a copy of the supply forms and is familiar with
the requisition process, said the equipment transfer showed Zeyar Phyo had
contacts in the highest echelons of the army. Military staff would only sign
out such equipment to a civilian with the permission of top brass, the former
police searched the offices of one of Zeyar Phyo’s companies, they found a disc
with the teachings of an ultranationalist Buddhist monk named Wirathu, according
to court evidence. In the past Wirathu has called Muslims the “enemy.” In a
speech about Muslims posted online last year, Wirathu asked a crowd, “Sometimes
I wonder, when these guys eat, do they eat with their ass?” As the crowd
laughed, he asked, “When they use the toilet, do they use their mouths?”
Phyo told the court that the disc was not found in his personal work space and
that he is “not a religious extremist.”
was photographed in 2015 accepting a donation of 20 million Myanmar kyat (about
$15,500 at the time) from Lin Zaw Tun, the former assistant to the
Ko Ni’s murder, Wirathu posted a comment on Facebook. Myanmar’s constitution
and the political power it enshrines for the military, he said, is “important for
the security of the entire race,” an allusion to the Buddhist majority. Then he
thanked the men accused of killing Ko Ni.
by phone, Wirathu declined to comment for this story.
the threats against his life as the tide of anti-Muslim sentiment rose in
Myanmar, Ko Ni told his wife that the only option he saw was to keep working
what he’d been doing when he got off the plane at Yangon International Airport
on the day he was shot. He was returning from Indonesia. A delegation of
Myanmar officials and activists had traveled there to discuss lessons for
transitioning away from military dictatorship. Among them was a group of
Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. They’d agreed to nominate small teams of
negotiators to talk about reconciliation between their communities in Rakhine
believed that this was part of the road to peace,” said Mya Aye, a
pro-democracy activist who was on the trip.
Ni’s assassination, he said, put an end to that. About seven months later, the
military’s crackdown in Rakhine would send hundreds of thousands of Rohingya
fleeing to Bangladesh.
Swe Oo, a former military officer who runs a defense studies center in Yangon,
was also on the trip. He said he heard the gunshot that killed Ko Ni.
Naing Swe Oo’s estimation, the military was not involved. But after Ko Ni
continued to pursue constitutional reform, he said, there were people who
thought such talk “may be dangerous for the country.”
senior presidential adviser in regional affairs for peace consensus Mohammad
Omar Daudzai assures that the peace talks with the Taliban will yield positive
made the remarks at the end of the second national conference of district
chiefs which concluded in Kabul on Wednesday evening.
told the district administrative chiefs that the peace talks will yield a
positive outcome and peace will return to country in the near future.
further added that “We want a lasting peace, a reconciliation which should be
fair and strengthen the national unity.”
senior presidential adviser also added that the reconciliation process which
the nation demands must be finalized within the framework of the constitution
of Afghanistan, should be led by the government and must guarantee international
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad
will meet with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels today.
Thursday, 13 December 2018, the NATO Secretary General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg
will meet the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan
Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad,” NATO said in a statement.
statement further added that Ambassador Khalilzad will also address the North
Zalmay Khalilzad had earlier met with the foreign minister of Turkmenistan as
part of regional trip aimed at reviving Afghan peace talks.
shared a brief statement in his official Twitter account regarding his recent
trips to Russia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan regarding Afghan peace.
his Twitter post, Ambassador Khalilzad has said he met with the Foreign
Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and emphasized on joint efforts for
peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
of legitimate Yemeni gov. and Houthi delegations shake hands
heads of the legitimate Yemeni government and Houthi delegations shake hands in
the presence of United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on
Thursday, at the conclusion of Sweden's peace talks whicl culminated with a
deal between Yemeni warring parties.
present at this historical moment was Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot
Wallstrom, who said that the outcome of Yemen’s peace consultations will be
conveyed to the UN Security Council on Friday.
bin Salman: Saudi Arabia committed to supporting and rebuilding Yemen
bin Salman, Saudi Ambassador to US, in a series of tweets today stated that the
Hodeidah agreement will help in increasing access for aid to Yemen.
agreement announced today will help bring back security to the region including
the security of the Red Sea, a vital water way for international trade.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Coalition strongly support the agreement
announced in Sweden today. We commend @OSE_Yemen for all of his remarkable
efforts. The agreement is a major step towards alleviating the humanitarian
crisis and reaching a political solution.
commend @OSE_Yemen for his efforts to bring together the different parties to
the Sweden talks. With a number of confidence building measures already in
place, we hope to achieve tangible progress that will bring long lasting peace.
hope that the Houthis accept a comprehensive political solution, in accordance
with relevant UN resolutions, that serves the interests of Yemen and its people
rather than working on behalf of the Iranian regime’s interests.
Iran backed Houthis must not repeat their mistake of abandoning the political
process, like they did with the outcomes of Yemeni national dialogue, Geneva,
and the Kuwait talks, as the brotherly Yemeni people deserve a real opportunity
Arab Coalition to Support the Legitimacy in Yemen was founded to protect the
Yemeni people and end the war and the humanitarian crisis that started as a
result of the Iranian-backed Houthi takeover of Yemen.
legitimate government of Yemen supported the former UN envoy’s proposal of UN
control over the port of Hodiedah. The Houthis refused, and only consistent
military pressure by the Yemeni armed forces and the Arab coalition forced them
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have contributed the most
towards the 2018 UN humanitarian response plan and have provided a number of
initiatives worth billions of dollars towards alleviating the suffering in
Yemen. We remain committed to ending the humanitarian crisis to help Yemen
Arabia’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohamed al-Jaber, commented on Thursday on the
outcomes of UN brokered peace talks on the Yemeni crisis - which convened last Thursday in Rimbo, Sweden
and ended today - saying that Sweden deal emphasizes on the withdrawal of
Houthis from Hodeidah city and its ports.
Jaber who heads the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen
(SDRPY), said on twitter that the Sweden deal also provides for the withdrawal of the Houthis
from Taiz and the release of thousands of detainees.
the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said in a press
conference that what have been achieved so far between the two sides is an
important step for the Yemeni people.
Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman has described the Zionist regime of Israel
as the main cause of instability in the region, noting that its bad dreams
about Iran will never come true.
Qassemi made the remarks on Thursday in reaction to earlier statements by the
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had noted on Wednesday that Israel
was prepared to launch attacks inside Iran if its survival was at stake.
red line is our survival,” Netanyahu was quoted by AFP as saying at a meeting
with foreign media where he was asked what his “red line” was for attacking
Iranian territory, instead of Iran’s allies in Syria and Lebanon.
reaction to Netanyahu’s ranting, Qassemi said, “Although the corrupt and
aggressive Zionist regime, which is symbol of delusions, grudge and hatred,
will never dare to take such a step, uttering such outrageous and shameful
words out of ignorance or delusion by the prime minister of an aggressive
regime, knowingly or unknowingly, amounts to threatening a big and historical
country with military action, which will be certainly followed up on in legal
and international forums and institutions.”
Iranian official noted that although the Zionist regime has been the main
disturber of stability and security during past decades, but “expresses false
concern about stability in the region in a ridiculous way and with no shame.”
to the defeats sustained by Israel at the hands of resistance groups in the
region, Qassemi warned that in case of any warmongering measure by Israel,
Iran’s high military and defensive capabilities will make Zionists regret such
“sick and melancholic” remarks.
short history full of wars
came into existence on occupied Palestinian land in 1948, but its short history
has seen numerous wars and attempts to occupy sovereign states. This is while
Iran neither attacked any nation nor threatened to do so over the past hundreds
the past years, the regime has been intensely lobbying with its American and
European allies to dissuade them from engaging in diplomacy with Iran,
especially over its nuclear program, and support instead a military action
against the Islamic Republic.
considering itself to be incapable of confronting Iran on its own, the regime
has now resorted to the repressive Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf region, with
which it has no formal ties. It has intensified its efforts to make secret ties
with those Arab regimes, especially Saudi Arabia, public in the hope of getting
rid of the Palestinian issue and form a united front against Iran.
has repeatedly said the occupying entity sees its survival tied to wars and
instability in the Middle East region.
the US –Israel’s staunchest supporter—has hinted that Israel needs others for
month, US President Donald Trump said Washington intended to remain a steadfast
partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure interests of the US, Israel and regional
partners, suggesting that the entity risks elimination without Riyadh’s
September, Haaretz reported that a document prepared by Major General Yitzhak
Brick, the ombudsman of the Israeli military, shows the regime is unprepared to
engage in new warfare, contradicting previous claims by Tel Aviv to the
latest threats against Iran came weeks after the regime unleashed a wave of
deadly attacks against Gaza, which prompted a firm response from the resistance
fighters there, triggering a political crisis inside the premier’s cabinet.
crisis saw the Israeli minister of military affairs resign and forced Netanyahu
to take over the post himself to prevent early elections in Israel.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to authorize new settlement units
in the occupied West Bank in response to a series of recent attacks against
asked the Israeli attorney general Avichai Mendelblit on Thursday to facilitate
the construction of new residential units in the West Bank.
responded by approving the so-called market amendment law, which is expected to
legalize the construction of some 2,000 units in Palestinian lands Israel
occupied in 1967.
the prime minister's office said it would authorize the construction of 82 new
units in the settlement of Ofra, as well as two new industrial zones near the
settlements of Avnei Hefetz and Betar Ilit.
decision came after protesters gathered outside the PM’s residence, blasting
him for not delivering on his promises of security, hours after two Israeli
soldiers were shot dead and two others were injured in the Palestinian city of
we suffered a harsh attack in which two soldiers were killed. We will settle accounts
with whoever did this,” Netanyahu said as he was flanked by chief of staff Gadi
guiding principle is that whoever attacks us and whoever tries to attack us –
will pay with his life. Our enemies know this and we will find them. They think
they can uproot us from our land. They will not succeed," Netanyahu added.
also ordered more Palestinian homes – or as Israeli media put it “terrorist
homes” – to be razed in the West Bank within the next two days.
Israeli military forces put the town of al-Bireh near Ramallah under siege and
stepped up arrests of Palestinians in the West Bank.
also sent a hostile message to the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas,
warning that he would not hesitate to violate a shaky ceasefire that was agreed
upon in November, according to Israeli media.
did not take responsibility for the Thursday attack despite announcing earlier
this week that it was behind another shooting incident that had injured seven
Israelis in Ofra.
has been under immense pressure to confront Hamas since late March, when his
crackdown on the Palestinian protests at the Gaza border, dubbed the Great
March for Return, backfired and prompted retaliatory attacks from the
between the two sides peaked in November, when Hamas fired hundreds of rockets
to the occupied territories following a botched Israeli commando mission.
Palestinian response was so overwhelming that Tel Aviv had to call for a truce,
a decision that forced Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s former minister for military
affairs, to resign.
has hailed preliminary deals between Yemeni parties as "promising",
expressing hope that they would prepare the ground for the next round of talks
in order to reach a final agreement.
Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Thursday welcomed "positive
confidence-building measures" taken by the warring groups under the
supervision of UN chief Antonio Guterres in Sweden.
said Thursday the Yemeni parties had reached an agreement on a ceasefire in the
Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, bringing the first round of the talks to a
two sides agreed that the world body would play a “leading role” in Hudaydah
which is currently controlled by the Houthis.
referred to the deal on Hudaydah as a very important one, and praised the Yemeni
parties for discerning the catastrophic situation which the impoverished
country is going through.
agreement shows that the Yemeni groups participating in the talks have
carefully and correctly understood the catastrophic situation of the innocent
people of Yemen, and … have preferred the continued dispatch of humanitarian
aid to their own interests,” he noted.
also expressed hope that the agreements would be implemented within the
specified framework, paving the way for holding the next round of talks in the
near future with the aim of clinching a final deal.
highlighted the “constructive” role played by the Islamic Republic of Iran in
facilitating the Yemeni-Yemeni talks in Sweden, saying Tehran made the
contribution as part of its responsible approach toward regional crises.
still believes that the final solution to the Yemen crisis lies in the
cessation of war and bloodshed and the continuation of Yemeni-Yemeni talks, as
stipulated in the four-point plan earlier proposed by the Iranian foreign
minister,” Qassemi added. In April 2015, the Iranian foreign minister submitted
a four-point peace plan for Yemen to the United Nations in an attempt to end
the bloodshed in the Arab country.
troops have shot dead a Palestinian man in the central part of the occupied
West Bank, alleging that he attempted to ram his car into the regime’s forces.
Palestine Health Ministry announced the news in a brief statement, adding that
the unnamed Palestinian lost his life in the industrial area of al-Bireh, a
neighborhood near Ramallah, on Thursday afternoon.
to other reports, the 60-year-old man, who had owned an aluminum factory in the
neighborhood, was shot by Israeli soldiers when his vehicle deviated from its
Palestinian Ma’an news agency, citing a number of eyewitnesses, reported that
the incident had been merely a car accident, as the driver saw the unexpected
presence of the Israeli soldiers in his way and attempted to turn away from
them before they heavily opened fire at him.
the Israeli military said in a statement that the victim “attempted to run
over” soldiers, lightly injuring one.
Palestinian Red Crescent also announced that the Israeli forces had barred the
group’s medical team from reaching the scene.
fatal incident occurred hours after Israeli troops shot another Palestinian,
accusing him of shooting dead two Israelis, wounding several others, one
critically, at Asaf Junction, north of Jerusalem al-Quds.
claimed the shooting attacks.
the heightened tensions, Israeli forces encircled the occupied West Bank city
of Ramallah and sent in reinforcements.
shooting came hours after Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians,
including two Hamas members in the West Bank.
troops also shot dead a young Palestinian over an alleged stabbing attack in
the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds earlier on Thursday.
Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority also blamed Israel’s illegal settlement
activities on occupied Palestinian land for renewed tensions in the West Bank.
Israeli military regularly opens fatal fire on Palestinians, accusing them of
seeking to attack its personnel.
rights groups have repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime for its shoot-to-kill
policy as a large number of the Palestinians killed at the scene of attacks did
not pose any serious threat to Israelis.
forces have besieged Ramallah in the occupied West Bank and sent in
reinforcements after two soldiers were shot dead in the Palestinian city.
spokesman Jonathan Conricus said on Thursday the military was sending "a
few more infantry battalions" to conduct operations in the West Bank.
and exits to the city are all closed. We are conducting searches," media
outlets quoted him as saying.
least one man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers and several others injured as
violent clashes broke out in multiple places.
Israeli army said the attacker emerged from a vehicle and shot at soldiers near
the settlements of Beit El and Ofra. Two soldiers were killed and at least two
other people, including a soldier, were wounded and the attacker fled.
the shooting, Israeli forces detained four Palestinians, including a female
minor, during raids in search of the suspect.
Wednesday night, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in separate
operations over the span of six hours.
total six people were killed in the most violent 24 hours to hit the West Bank
and Jerusalem al-Quds in months.
Sunday, Israeli forces have made a series of incursions into central Ramallah,
where the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas is based.
authority has blamed Israel’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied
territories for renewed tensions in the West Bank.
climate created by the policy of repeated intrusions into the cities, the
provocations against the sovereignty of the president and the lack of a horizon
for peace are what led to this" flare-up, Abbas said.
a separate development in the West Bank on Thursday, dozens of extremist
settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles near the Israeli settlement of Yizthar
south of Nablus.
sources said one person sustained injures as Israeli settlers showered
Palestinian vehicles with rocks, severely damaging at least three cars.
600,000 Israelis now live in settlements considered illegal by the
escalated in the occupied Palestinian territories after President Donald
Trump's recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s "capital" and
relocation of the US embassy to the city.
Mufti demands lawsuit against UK embassy in Libya for anti-Islam activities
December 13, 2018
Libyan Grand Mufti, Al-Saddiq Al-Gharyani, has called for filing a lawsuit
against the British embassy in Libya for sponsoring activities that violate
Libya's sacred norms and for motivating anti-religion and sedition activities.
Mufti's call came as a reaction to a new strategy launched by UK's embassy last
week, promoting equality between the two sexes in Libya.
want to make changes that can alter lives of men and women as well as boys and
girls in Libya." The embassy remarked.
Tanasuh TV Channel on Wednesday, the Mufti said foreign embassies in Libya are
working with some liberals and seculars to rebel over the fixed norms and
religious teachings in the country.
is a religion of justice, equity but not absolute equality. Those who call for
equality between man and woman are accusing Islamic Sharia of injustice,"
the Mufti added.
western-motivated activists and liberals have called for gender equality in
Libya, especially with regard to “inheritance in Islam.”
is a topic that is prominently dealt with in the Qur'an, and all Muslims must
follow and implement the rules of Islamic inheritance.
in November, the UK's embassy organized a seminar chaired by the special envoy
of Gender Equality of Britain and announced a new strategy for Libya's sexual
activists from Libya and the international community attended the UK embassy's
workshop where the strategy of gender equality in Libya was explained.
anti-terror scheme records major surge in far-right activity
British government has received a significantly high number of complaints
regarding the surge in far-right activity in the country as it seeks as part of
a program called Prevent to stop people being attracted and recruited by
officials said Thursday that a total of 7,318 people had been referred to the
Prevent program over concerns related to extreme right-wing activity over the
past twelve months.
said the figure of direct far-right referrals, a total of 1,312 cases, showed a
major increase of 36 percent compared to the previous period in which some 968
cases had been recorded.
BBC said in a report that there were questions regarding the British
government’s determination to tackle far-right extremism as many of those
referred to Prevent, more than 40 percent, left the anti-terrorism process
without requiring further action. The findings come amid a surge in far-right
sentiments among the UK public. There have been numerous reports of attacks by
racist and nationalist groups on members of ethnic minorities, especially the
Muslims. In a most recent case in November, which sparked huge outrage, a
Syrian refugee boy was racially abused in his school in Huddersfield, in
northern England. The assault on Jamal was defended and justified by Tommy
Robinson, the top Islamopphobe figure in Britain, with the far-right activist
saying the Muslim boy was the victim of his own conduct in the school against
the white and non-Muslims.
is “working twenty-four seven” to launch the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a
payment mechanism aimed at facilitating business with Iran in the face of US
sanctions, an official says.
the details of the process are confidential, former head of the European
Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran Tarja Cronberg said.
European officials in charge of the SPV are working on it twenty-four seven,
trying to bring it into operation as soon as possible,” she told the news
website of Iran Chamber of Commerce on her visit to Tehran.
mechanism is a totally new experience both for Iran and the European Union, and
this has resulted in some delay in the process, she said.
lot of education will be needed for the companies on our side and on Iran’s
side, so that we know how to use and take best advantage of it.”
said the finance ministers of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are
working on the mechanism, but the details are secret.
former Finnish minister of labor and a current member of the executive board of
the European Leadership Network, Cronberg also expressed hope that the
mechanism would be finalized by the end of the year.
we mean by finalizing is the techniques through which the mechanism works. It
will take some more time for the companies to come in and use it,” Cronberg
companies that will especially benefit from the SPV are the small and
medium-sized ones. It would be great for them in terms of developing trade with
Iran,” she added.
also expressed hope that the mechanism could be used for exports of medicine
and food to Iran.
US claims it has exempted exports of food and medicine to Iran, but its banking
and shipping sanctions and other threats make it extremely difficult for the
Islamic Republic to import them.
said new US sanctions are different from the sanctions before, because the US,
through controlling the dollar transactions, actually controls the European
companies have fears and have decided not to work with Iran because of this
fear,” she said.
month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed US claims that
its sanctions would not impact the export of humanitarian supplies to Iran,
citing evidence to prove that his American counterpart Mike Pompeo was lying.
Trump administration announced on November 5 the “toughest” sanctions ever
against Iran's banking and energy sectors with the aim of cutting off its oil
sales and crucial exports.
bans had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
A UN investigation into atrocities committed against Yazidis and others in Iraq
will do more than simply gather information that will molder in an archive, the
probe’s leader said on Wednesday, it will help bring perpetrators to justice.
team, led by British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad Khan began its work in August, a
year after it was approved the UN Security Council.
on the sidelines of a London event celebrating Yazidi activist Nadia Murad —
who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize —
Khan said the investigation will get into full gear in 2019.
will be pushing forward with greater capacity next year once we have a budget
from the United Nations,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
investigation aims to collect and preserve evidence of acts by Daesh in Iraq that
may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. In September 2017 —
after a year of talks with Iraq — the UN council adopted a resolution asking UN
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to create the team “to support domestic
efforts” to hold the militants accountable.
evidence gathered is primarily for use by Iraqi authorities.
that evidence will then be shared with international courts, will “be
determined in agreement with the Government of Iraq on a case-by-case basis,”
according to the resolution.
mandate was not created to create simply an archive that would gather dust,”
bid is ... to ensure that the best possible evidence is presented, is
preserved, is collected. The necessary investigations are committed so that
those who committed these horrendous acts are subjected to the vigour of the
experts warned in June 2016 that Daesh was committing genocide against the
Yazidis in Syria and Iraq, destroying the minority religious community through
killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.
of the Yazidi cause have expressed irritation at delays the probe has faced.
years have passed since the crimes of genocide committed against Yazidis but we
have seen no justice as yet for the victims and survivors,” Karwan Tahir, the
Kurdish regional government’s representative in Britain told the London event.
7,000 women and girls were captured in northwest Iraq in August 2014 and held
by Daesh in Mosul where they were tortured and raped.
The EU’s lawmaking body has condemned Egyptian authorities for human rights
abuses and is urging them to lift restrictions on free speech and assembly,
halt mass trials and stop sentencing minors to death, and release political
a resolution passed by a vote on Thursday, the European Parliament says Cairo
enforces continuous restrictions on fundamental democratic rights. It implored
authorities to also “drop all existing baseless criminal investigations into
the work of non-governmental organizations.”
resolution urged the release of several detained human rights advocates by name
, saying that “the long-term prosperity of Egypt and its people goes hand in
hand with the protection of universal human rights.”
European Union has occasionally condemned Egypt vocally under
general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s rule, although it rarely impacts
trade or weapons sales.
police recorded 578 hate crimes against Muslims between January and September
this year, according to figures released on Thursday.
least 40 Muslims were injured in the attacks which were mostly carried out by
far-right extremists, the Interior Ministry said in response to a parliamentary
crimes registered by the police included insulting, threatening letters,
physical assaults and attacks against mosques.
opposition Left Party, which submitted the parliamentary question, has warned
against growing hate campaign and violence against Muslims in the country.
27 Muslims were injured in attacks between January and September last year.
and the U.K. have reached an agreement to establish a British military base in
the Gulf state, local Kuwaiti media reported Thursday.
private Alrai newspaper said the two countries concluded a deal to establish
the British military base in Kuwait.
daily, citing diplomatic sources, said officials from both countries will meet
on Thursday to discuss aspects of cooperation between the two sides.
newspaper also quoted Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Khaled al-Jarallah while denying
any link between the British base and a border dispute between Kuwait and Saudi
dispute with our brothers in Saudi Arabia is brotherly,” he said. “I can term
it as a misunderstanding.”
private al-Qabas newspaper also said Thursday’s meeting between Kuwaiti and
British officials will discuss the establishment of a British military base to
train the Kuwaiti army.
newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the U.K. base will be limited and will
be opened soon.
was no comment from Kuwaiti or British authorities on the report.
ambassador to Kuwait Michael Davenport earlier said in an interview with Forces
Network that London was considering a permanent military presence in Kuwait.
government has been urged by more than 50 cross-party parliamentarians to adopt
a new definition of Islamophobia which would classify discrimination against
Muslims as a form of racism, The Independent can reveal.
of a cross-party group of MPs and peers have warned discrimination against
Muslims in the UK is going “unreported and unchallenged” because of the absence
of a concrete definition.
warning comes weeks after official government statistics showed reports of
racial and religiously motivated hate crime in England and Wales had risen for
a fifth consecutive year.
six months of consultations with various groups, the All-Party Parliamentary
Group (APPG) on British Muslims proposed “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and
is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived
Muslimness” as an official definition.
in a cross-party letter from the APPG seen by The Independent, dozens of
parliamentarians are calling on the government to adopt the phrase to clearly
identify what constitutes discrimination against Muslims.
policy domains, from employment, education and criminal justice to housing,
healthcare and hate crime, Islamophobia has a significant negative impact on
the life chances and quality of life enjoyed by British Muslims,” the letter
us be clear, Islamophobia is rooted in racism and its victims are not just
Muslims but also those who are perceived to be Muslims. Its effects are seen in
individual behaviours and institutional processes.
it is Muslim women who are denied job opportunities because they wear a headscarf,
gurdwaras that are defaced because they are mistakenly identified as mosques,
or Muslim students who fail to secure entry offers from Russell Group
universities, the effects of Islamophobia are real and measurable.”
than 71,000 racially motivated hate crimes were recorded in England and Wales
in 2017-18, almost double the 35,800 that took place in 2012-13, according to
Home Office figures.
the same period, hate crimes committed against a person due to their religion
had increased more than fivefold, up from just over 1,500 in 2012-13 to 8,300
MP Wes Streeting, who co-chairs the APPG on British Muslims with Conservative
counterpart Anna Soubry, said it was “encouraging” the definition had achieved
definition recognises the deep-rooted nature of Islamophobia and therefore
quite rightly has support from parliamentarians across party lines,” Ms Soubry
added. “I hope it will now enable the serious work that needs to be done to
APPG’s report on Islamophobia, released in November, found large sections of
the UK population bought into “myths” about Islam and Muslims.
report noted previous studies that found a third of British people believe in
the existence of “no-go zones” where non-Muslims are not permitted to enter.
also criticised false or misleading news stories that stoked mistrust or anger
towards the Muslim community, including the “Winterval” myth, which baselessly
claims orchestrated efforts are being made for Christmas to be suppressed or
rebranded in an attack on Christianity.
Conservative government announced in 2016 it would adopt the International
Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition on antisemitism in a bid to
curb hate crime against Jews.
Tory peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi also claimed earlier this year the “poison” of
Islamophobia was “widespread” at all levels of her party.
June, the chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum accused his own party of
failing to root out Islamophobia because he said they were scared of damaging
their political power.
Muslim Council of Britain also called on the government to adopt the APPG’s
working definition of Islamophobia.
definition of Islamophobia not only has credibility due to the endorsement of
over 75 academics, but also has community support with the endorsement of
Muslim organisations from a range of backgrounds including representatives of
hundreds of mosques from different parts of the country,” a spokesman for the
Muslims mark 2015 Massacre anniversary
of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have staged a peaceful rally to mark the 3rd
anniversary of the Zaria massacre. In December 2015, hundreds of people were
killed at the hands of the Nigerian army during a raid on the residence of
Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky. Press TV’s correspondent Danjuma
Abdullahi has more.
police scuffle in anti-tax protests in Jordan
Jordan: Hundreds of people have protested in Jordan’s capital against the
government’s planned tax increases and high youth unemployment.
protesters near the prime minister’s office scuffled with riot police who fired
several rounds of tear gas. Several people dropped to the ground in coughing
marked the first time police and protesters clashed since regular Thursday
night protests resumed several weeks ago.
demonstrations in the spring forced the resignation of then-Prime Minister Hani
Mulki who was replaced by economist Omar Razzaz.
promised a more inclusive style of governing, but is also under pressure from
international lenders to cut the government’s large deficit.
economy has been hit by the fallout from years of conflict in neighboring Syria
and Iraq, including trade disruptions and an influx of refugees.
former al-Shabaab spokesman has been arrested in southwestern Somalia, an
Robow, also known as Abu Mansor, was arrested by Somali and Ethiopian troops in
a joint operation in the city of Baidoa, said a senior government official on
condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Internal Security Ministry confirmed the arrest of former al-Shabaab spokesman
in a statement.
Thursday, our security forces have arrested Mukhtar Robow in Baidoa, where he
was working to organize unlawful militias that risk the security of the town,”
the statement said.
was a presidential candidate for the South West State election scheduled for
Dec. 5. However, the country’s election commission postponed the polls on Dec.
1 for the third time.
government has recruited over 600 police reservists who will complement
security officers operating in terror hotspots along the border with Somalia.
to journalists in his office on Thursday, Garissa County Commissioner Joshua
Chepchieng' said every location in the affected areas will receive 30 police
reservists who will be stationed within the villages.
recruitment follows a request from local leaders who called for reservists to
be enlisted from retired locals who have served in the disciplined forces with
known good records and who can pursue the militants on foot in areas the
security officers cannot access.
Chepchieng' said the reservists will work closely with chiefs, elders, wananchi
and the security agencies in eliminating the Al-Shabaab menace in the area.
the current recruitments, the reservists will go into interior areas to pursue
Al-Shabaab. This, we believe, will work and [we will] eliminate these
characters," he said.
which is part of Boni Forest, one of the hideouts of Al-Shabaab militants, is
the worst hit.
areas that have been targeted by Al-Shabaab attackers are Hulugho, Fafi and
menace has forced officers along the border to spend sleepless nights so that
we can enjoy the peace we are witnessing today in Garissa and several other
parts of the country," he added.
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