Afrin, Assam’s pride, said
she was shocked to learn of the fatwa.
Support Swells for Nahid Afrin After Fatwa Says She
Can't Sing in Public
Man Breaks Into US Mosque, Tears Apart Copies of Holy
Afghanistan Facing a Brutal Enemy, Jihad Fatwa
Unjustified: Afghanistan’s Ulema Council
Swedish Minister Says Returning ISIS Fighters Should
Pakistan Violates Truce in J&K for 3rd Time in 24
Donate wedding clothes and help the poor
India suspends cross-border trade with Pakistan
Donald Trump Gives CIA Authority to Carry Out Drone
US government says new travel ban ‘substantially
US envoy ends Mideast visit with vows to seek peace
Failing to prosecute South Sudan atrocities is
appeasement, says UN
Muslim couple sues US’ United airlines after being
kicked off flight
Sufi Leader, Daughter Murdered In Bangladesh
17 foreign ISIS militants killed in US airstrikes in
East of Afghanistan
President Ghani rejects proposed uniform design for
Probe team updates on Kabul military hospital attack,
50 confirmed dead
Top Haqqani commander Abdullah among 10 killed in
Russian-Backed Syria Talks Derailed As Rebels Boycott
Dutch PM hits back: "Erdogan's tone is getting
more hysterical, against The Netherlands, Germany"
Forced Conversion a Crime in Islam, Says Nawaz Sharif
'Pakistan, US Should Work Together To Destroy IS
Before It Gains Foothold in Afghanistan'
Three militants hanged in Sahiwal prison, says ISPR
Blasphemy is unpardonable sin, says Nawaz Sharif
Pakistan promises nuclear arms responsibility:
Balochistan higher education secretary abducted from
Musharraf ready to face trial if army provides
No army brigade sent to Saudi Arabia, claims defence
Turkey Vows To Mobilize Islamic World against
Gaza Tailor Makes Prayer Caps for Jewish Worshippers
Bahrain's Top Shi'ite Muslim Cleric Trial Postponed
Jewish MP Raps Netanyahu for Lying about Iran
Kurdish Leader: World Losing Trust in Turkey
Turks hack Twitter accounts of Borussia Dortmund,
UNICEF and others after diplomatic row
European Council Chair Tusk slams Turkey amid Dutch
Over 800 Health Workers Killed In Syrian ‘War Crimes’:
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Trump Meeting A 'Turning
Point' In Ties: Saudi Adviser
Mosul IS commander killed as Iraqi forces march to
recapture Tigris River Bridge
Yemen: 2 Al-Qaeda suspects killed in air strike, says
In war crime, Syria deliberately bombed Damascus water
supply – UN
Syrian Army Deploys Forces 3km Away from ISIL-Held
Syria: US Forces Evacuating ISIL Commanders from Deir
Homs: Syrian Army Wins Back More Territories in
Intelligence Minister Says Iran Mounts Intel Devices
in Syria to Monitor Terrorists
Libya’s Eastern Parliament Speaker Says Russia Offered
Death toll reaches 72 in Ethiopia landfill collapse:
Somalian pirates hijack first commercial ship since
Malaysia to Deport 50 North Koreans Despite Ban:
North Korea blames US and South Korea for Malaysia
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
March 15, 2017
Shonipur (Assam): Days after a Muslim girl was trolled
on social media for singing Hindu devotional songs in a Kannada show, a fatwa
has been issued ‘barring’ a 15-year-old girl from singing in public.
Citing Sharia laws, 46 Muslim clerics have issued a
fatwa against up-and-coming singer Nahid Afrin asking her to stop performing in
public. Afrin was the runner-up in the 2015 season of a singing reality TV
show. She has also lent her voice to a song in Sonakshi Sinha-starrer Akira.
Afrin has reportedly sung songs denouncing the Islamic
State terror group and Assam Police are investigating whether the fatwa was in
reaction to it.
Following the intervention of Chief Minister
Sarbananda Sonowal, the clerics said the fatwa wasn’t against Afrin, but
against loud music near religious places.
Taking to Twitter, Sonowal wrote: Freedom of artists
are essence of democracy. Spoke to Nahid and reiterated our Govt's commitment
to provide safety and security to artists.
An unidentified man broke into an Arizona mosque early
Monday morning and ripped up copies of the Holy Quran.
The Islamic Centre of Tucson deplored the incident in
a Facebook post and said it seemed that the unidentified man wanted to damage
the centre’s property.
“He ripped copies of the Holy Quran and threw them
around the prayer room before leaving the building,” the centre wrote.
“Thankfully no one was hurt.
The man can be seen in the CCTV footage wearing a
University of Arizona T-shirt and breaking into the mosque at about 3:30 in the
Mosque management went on to say that the police was
as usual very cooperative to the community and executed a comprehensive
investigation to nail the culprit.
“The camera footage leads us to believe the sole
intent of this individual was to damage the centre’s religious property,” they
wrote. “The Tucson Police Department responded quickly. As always, they were
kind, courteous, and thorough with their investigation.”
Tucson Police Sgt Kim Bay said the police were
searching for the man seen in the footage. “There is no indication this was a
hate crime,” he said while adding that the department can only say this for
sure once they have interrogated the person.
“Although we are disheartened by this incident, we
understand that this is an isolated incident,” the mosque said. “The ICT has
been a part of the Tucson community since the late 1980’s and since then, the
Tucson community has been kind, welcoming, and supportive.”
Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of Arizona chapter
of The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), urged the “local, state
and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a
possible hate crime and for religious and political leaders to speak out
against the growing Islamophobia in our state and nation that results in such acts
Afghanistan Facing A Brutal Enemy, Jihad Fatwa
Unjustified: Afghanistan’s Ulema Council Wed Mar 15 2017
The Chief of Afghanistan’s Ulema Council Maulvi
Qeyamuddin Kashaf has dismissed the Jihad Fatwa in Afghanistan as incorrect as
he condemned the deadly attack on Kabul Military Hospital in strongest words.
In his meeting with the Chief Executive Officer
Abdullah Abdullah, Mawlavi Kashaf said Afghanistan is facing a brutal enemy,
noting that attack on wounded patients and doctors in Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan
Calling the attack a massacre of the defenceless
people, Maulvi Kashaf said the militant groups are for issuing Fatwa’s while
carrying suicide attacks in mosques, insisting that mosques are not the places
where the foreign forces are coming for prayers.
Maulvi Kashaf further added that those issuing Jihad
Fatwas are moving in a wrong direction and their stance is not justified,
insisting that Sharia Law is enforced in the country.
In his turn, Chief Executive Abdullah slammed the
militants for misusing Islam to carry out insurgency against an Islamic
He said the militant groups have paved the way for the
other terrorist groups to come to Afghanistan and conduct insurgency in the
Abdulalh further added that investigations are
underway regarding the attack on Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan Hospital.
According to Adullah, at least 49 people were killed
and more than one hundred people were wounded in the attack.
Swedish minister says returning ISIS fighters should
By LIZZIE STROMME
Tue, Mar 14, 2017
Alice Bah Kuhnke, minister of Culture and Democracy
made the remark on Sunday evening as she was quizzed on how Sweden should deal
with jihadi defectors by the state broadcaster SVT.
Ms Kuhnke said: “First of all if there are suspicions
of crimes, they need to be investigated. And any such crimes should be
“But after that we need structures locally, such as
social services, around our country to integrate them back into our democratic
More than 300 people have travelled from Sweden to
join extremist cults in the Middle East and an estimated 150 have since
returned, according to Sweden’s security service (Säpo).
Appearing on television programme Agenda, Ms Kuhnke
was also challenged on how many of the jihadi fighters had been de-radicalised
upon their return to the European nation.
She said: “No one knows.”
She was then asked about how many people had been
given support to integrate back into society, to which the government minister
said: “About 10, 20, 30 people have been supported by our municipalities. That
is too few.
“We must cooperate much better. Police, the social
services and Säpo have to work together. There are many municipalities which
don’t even know who is responsible.”
Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund hit out against the
remarks, branding Ms Kuhnke’s comments “ignorant”.
Speaking to Expressen.se, he said: “The answers she
gave were obviously wrong, she blamed authorities and municipalities, and
seemed to want to free herself from responsibility.
“She seemed very ignorant. It's very strange. It was
quite obvious that the culture minister was ignorant of the issues, even though
she knew what she was going to be interviewed about on television. [It left] a
very amateurish impression.”
Responding to the criticism of his minister, Prime
Minister Stefan Löfven said the suggestion that returning ISIS fighters were
the responsibility of municipalities was wrong.
He said: “Terrorism is an extremely serious issue, it
is about the security of citizens, therefore it is a clear national issue and a
national responsibility, and a priority of the government.”
The Swedish PM also added he had every confidence in
Ms Kuhnke as she herself has said some of the comments in the interview came
In January, it was revealed authorities are preparing
to deal with terrorism, similar to the Paris terror attacks in November 2015,
on Swedish soil.
At the time, Säpo chief Anders Thornberg outlined
Islamic extremism as one of the greatest threats to national security.
In October 2016 it emerged one Swedish council had
considered giving ISIS fighters state-financed driving licenses and housing
grants as incentives to reintegrate into society.
At the time, Lund County’s municipal co-ordinator
against violent extremism, Anna Sjostrand, said her region would deal with the
returned radicals the same way they would deal with criminals attempting to
Ms Sjostrand said: “When the subject first came up, we
thought, ‘Oh God, how should we handle this?’ But we pretty quickly realised
that we should deal with [people defecting from ISIS] in the same way [we deal
with people defecting from criminal gangs].”
Pakistan violates truce in J&K for 3rd time in 24
Mar 14, 2017
JAMMU: In yet another violation of the truce along
Line of Control in border district Poonch of the Jammu region, the Pakistani
troops on Monday targeted the forward Indian posts along the LoC for the third
time in the last 24 hours, forcing the authorities to suspend the
Poonch-Rawalkote bus service and postpone examinations.
Sunday's firing partially damaged the Trade
Felicitation Centre (TFC), Chaka da Bagh, in Poonch and forced authorities to
suspend the Jammu-Rawalkote bus service, sources from Poonch said.
"The Pakistani Army fired unprovoked in Poonch
sector from 0640 hours on Monday," Jammu defence spokesperson Lt Col
Manish Mehta said here on Monday.
He said, "Pakistani troops using 82 mm mortars,
automatic weapons targeted our forward defended locations along Line of Control
(LoC) and the fire was responded by our troops in a befitting manner, ensuing a
heavy exchange of fire."
Mar 15, 2017
MANGALURU: The Zawaj Charitable Trust, an organization
of Muslim youths, has started a novel campaign of collecting wedding clothes
from recently married couples to help the poor.
It is quite common for couples to store away wedding
clothes and not use them after a few months or a year. Considering this, the
trust decided to place clothes collection boxes at masjids, shopping malls and
other places in and around Mangaluru.
Though the main aim is to inspire newly wedded couples
to donate, the trust also pleads with others to donate clothes for the poor.
The trust, formed through a WhatsApp group, plans to expand this initiative to
all districts of the state to help the economically weaker sections.
Trust president Ismail Kana told TOI the objective is
to help the poor by donating collected clothes. "Most couples do not use
their wedding clothes after wearing it for two or three times. They should
donate such clothes to the poor. I sought the cooperation of friends through
social media networks. As a result, the Zawaj Charitable Trust was formed on
February 28 after a meeting at Surathkal," he said.
Initially, the trust collected clothes directly from
donors. Now, it plans to place clothes collection boxes at all major masjid
premises, Forum Fiza Mall, City Centre Mall, Thokkotu, Moodbidri, Surathkal and
other towns. "We commenced the initiative by placing a clothes collection
box in front of the Kutchi Memon Masjid at Bunder in the city on Monday,"
Ismail said adding that the collected clothes will be distributed to the poor
The trust also plans to extend financial support to
marriages in poor families. "We have already distributed two sarees each
to 39 brides and gifted a suit to a groom. With this new initiative of clothes
collection, we expect more people to support us," he added.
Trust convener Sameeruddin Padubettu said, "We'll
also collect used clothes from donors directly and distribute them among the
poor and needy. Donors may contact 9686584868 or 9164435578 to hand over
clothes to the trust."
JAMMU: Indian authorities suspended cross-border trade
with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday after Pakistan
continued unprovoked ceasefire violation in the border district of Poonch. The
firing severely damaged the Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) at Chaka-da-Bagh.
On Monday, the cross-LoC bus service from Poonch to
Pakistan's Rawlakote had been suspended as a "precautionary measure".
According to TFC officer Tanveer Ahmed, trucks were
sent by Indian traders to `zero point' at Chaka-daBagh on Tuesday , but
Pakistani authorities didn't open the LoC gate. "After waiting for some
time, we returned," Ahmed said.
Sources said there was no likelihood of trade resuming
on Wednesday . On March 1, Jammu & Kashmir police recovered a cache of arms
and ammunitions being smuggled in a truck along the Muzaf smuggled in a truck
along the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar route. A Chinese pistol, two pistol magazines,
14 rounds of pistol ammunition, four AK magazines, 120 AK ammunitions and two
Chinese grenades were recovered from a "camouflage cavity" of the
truck by police.
Trading between two sides began in 2008 but has since
witnessed highs and lows. Pakistan suspended trading in August 2016 without
sighting any reason.
On November 2, tension along LoC and the International
Border had led to the suspension of trading and the Karvan-e-Aman Bus Service.
Donald Trump gives CIA authority to carry out drone
CIA drone strikes were quite successful in elimination
of high profile terrorists from the safe havens of Pakistan.
March 14, 2017
US President Donald Trump has reportedly given CIA
necessary authorisation to carry out drone strikes against terror groups, a
move that could have implications for Pakistan. This is a change from the
policies of the previous Obama Administration under which the Department of
Defence was authorised to carry out such strikes and the CIA used drones to
gather intelligence information, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing
The White House and the CIA have so far not responded
to the news report.
According to the daily, Trump gave such an
authorisation to the CIA not long after he visited its headquarters on January
“The Trump administration is also giving the military
more authority to conduct operations on its own without first getting a sign
off from the Pentagon or the White House,” the report said.
The report said Trump’s unexpected decision to give
the CIA the strike authority created ferment inside the US government within
days of his visit, as US military officials scrambled to respond to the new
According to New America’s research — a Washington DC
based think-tank — before Obama changed his policy and only authorised the
Department of Defence to carry out drone strikes, CIA’s drone strikes were
mostly used in Pakistan.
It has resulted in the death of at least 1,904 people
and the figure could be as high as 3,114, US scholars Peter Bergen and David
Sterman wrote in CNN on January 21, a day after Trump was sworn in as the US
US drone strikes were halted in the last eight months
of the Obama Administration.
In recent weeks, top Pentagon generals have expressed
concerns over the continued presence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.
“The United States has killed more than 50 al-Qaeda
and Taliban leaders in Pakistan since the beginning of the CIA drone campaign,”
Bergen and Sterman wrote in the CNN op-ed.
At the same time they warned that before taking a
decision on reviving drone strikes in Pakistan, the Trump administration should
take into account that the US is quite unpopular in Pakistan.
“Under Obama, the drone war in Pakistan reached its
height, and Trump, should he choose to do so, can easily bring that war back,”
the two American scholars said and had predicted that Trump may well escalate
the drone war in Pakistan and there is not much to stop him if he chooses to do
Trump's revised ban applies to Somalia, Iran, Syria,
Sudan, Libya and Yemen and temporarily shuts down the US refugee program.
March 15, 2017
President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban is
“substantially different” from the original and a judge shouldn’t apply a
previous restraining order to the new version, federal lawyers said in a court
filing. Justice Department lawyers filed the documents in US District Court in
Seattle, two days before the executive order is set to go into effect.
Washington and several other states are trying to block the revised ban that
affects six mostly Muslim nations, saying it’s unconstitutional.
Government lawyers say the new version removed
provisions that “purportedly drew religious distinctions â€” erasing any doubt
that national security, not religion, is the focus.”
They made their filings with Judge James Robart, who
blocked the original ban last month. Washington state wants him to apply that
decision to the new order.
Trump’s revised ban applies to Somalia, Iran, Syria,
Sudan, Libya and Yemen and temporarily shuts down the US refugee program.
Unlike the original order, it says people with visas
won’t be affected and removes language that would have given priority to
religious minorities for entry to the US Washington Attorney General Bob
Ferguson, joined in his lawsuit by heavily Democratic California, Maryland,
Massachusetts, New York and Oregon, said the revised ban is still flawed and
harms residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies such as
Microsoft and Amazon that rely on foreign workers.
Lawyers for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities filed documents
Tuesday with the court supporting Washington state’s lawsuit.
A hearing in a separate lawsuit by Hawaii is scheduled
Trump campaigned on promises that he would depart from
decades of American policy in the region
A US envoy wrapped up his first visit to the Middle
East with commitments from Israel and the Palestinians to advance “a genuine
and lasting peace.” A joint US-Palestinian statement gave few details on how
President Donald Trump plans to break decades of deadlock and hostilities. It
said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would discuss possibilities for peace
with Trump on an upcoming visit to Washington.
Trump campaigned on promises that he would depart from
decades of American policy in the region, and he signaled a much closer
relationship with Israel than former President Barack Obama.
His platform made no mention of Palestinian statehood,
a key goal of the US and international community for two decades. He promised
to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to disputed Jerusalem, a move favored by
Israel and bitterly opposed by the Palestinians, and signaled much greater
tolerance for Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands.
But since taking office, Trump appears to have
backpedaled. He seems to be in no rush to move the embassy, and during a White
House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, he
urged restraint on Israeli settlement construction. He also has left the door
open to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
The visit by Trump’s envoy, Jason Greenblatt, appeared
to be aimed largely at listening to both sides as the White House decides how
to move forward. The US issued similarly worded statements after a meeting with
Netanyahu on Monday and Abbas yesterday.
In his talks with the Israelis, Greenblatt affirmed
Trump’s commitment to Israel’s security. With the Palestinians, he discussed
plans to help grow their economy. On the settlement issue, the statement said
the US and Israel held discussions in hopes of finding an approach “that is
consistent with the goal of advancing peace and security.”
In a gesture to Israel, yesterday’s statement said
that Abbas committed to “preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement” and
to “heighten his outreach efforts to the Israeli public.” Both men also
affirmed the “joint determination to combat violence and terrorism.”
"The challenge for accountability is that alleged
perpetrators still occupy senior political and military positions," said
Yasmin Sooka, the head of a UN human rights investigation
The failure to prosecute atrocities in South Sudan is
“appeasement” and makes the world complicit in the continuing bloodshed, the
head of a UN human rights investigation said on Tuesday. “The challenge for
accountability is that alleged perpetrators still occupy senior political and
military positions,” Yasmin Sooka told the UN Human Rights Council.
“A small coterie of South Sudan’s political leaders
show total disregard not just for international human rights norms but for the
welfare of their own people. They have squandered the oil wealth and plundered
the country’s resources.”
An attorney for the couple said they think
"inherent bias" prompted flight crew members to kick the Shebleys off
the United Flight after Eaman asked for assistance with a child booster seat.
A Muslim couple has sued US’ United Airlines for
forcing them off a flight last year after they sought help with a child booster
seat, alleging that they were discriminated against based on faith. Mohamad and
Eaman Shebley, of northern Chicago suburbs, alleged that they were preparing to
take off on a flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Washington
DC when they were suddenly kicked off.
The Shebleys filed the lawsuit on Friday in a federal
court through attorneys with the local chapter of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in connection with the March 20, 2016,
incident aboard the SkyWest flight, operating as United Express from Chicago to
Washington, the Chicago Tribune reported. An attorney for the couple said they
think “inherent bias” prompted flight crew members to kick the Shebleys off the
United Flight after Eaman asked for assistance with a child booster seat.
In a statement, a spokeswoman with United declined to
comment on the suit, but said, “Both SkyWest and United hold our employees to
the highest standards of professionalism and have zero tolerance for
discrimination.” The suit comes at a time of growing anxiety among Muslims who
worry they can be targeted and removed from flights just for making other
passengers feel uncomfortable, CAIR officials said.
“We believe the time is right now to bring this to the
attention of the courts and the federal government and ask for some
accountability on behalf of the airlines — that’s really what this suit is
about,” Phil Robertson, CAIR Chicago’s lead attorney who is representing the
Shebleys in the suit, told reporters. “This affects more than the Shebley
family…It affects our entire community,” said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR Chicago’s
The family’s removal from the flight came after the
parents requested an additional shoulder harness that goes around the back of
the seat and attaches to the lap belt for their youngest daughter’s booster
seat. The 15-page, three-count suit, states that they had sought a strap for
their child sitting in the booster seat, but were told by a flight attendant
that the airline did not provide over-the-shoulder harnesses for passengers.
Another crew member told the family that the child
could not sit in a booster seat but ignored subsequent questions from Eaman, a
Lebanese-American who wears a headscarf. Despite removing the booster chair and
storing it, the Shebleys claimed they were asked to leave the plane by the
flight attendant and the plane’s pilot.
Sufi leader, daughter murdered in Bangladesh
There have been systematic assaults in Bangladesh in
recent years specially targeting minorities, secular bloggers, intellectuals
A Sufi spiritual leader and his daughter were brutally
murdered by unidentified attackers in Bangladesh, amid a series of systematic
assaults targeting minorities, Sufis and bloggers in the Muslim-majority nation.
Farhad Hossain Chowdhury, 55, and his adopted daughter Rupali Begum were found
murdered last night in a Khanqah — a building designed specifically for
gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood — close to the man’s home in Dinajpur’s
Bochaganj upazila, about 350 kilometres north of Dhaka, police said.
“Both of them had bullet marks on their bodies and the
young woman’s neck was slit with a sharp weapon,” Dhaka Tribune reported.
Police said there was a power cut in the area when the
incident took place. Farhad, a Pir or Sufi spiritual leader, was also the
former president of Setabganj municipality unit of the opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) which is headed by former prime minister Khaleda Zia.
Bochaganj police station Officer-in-Charge Habibul
Haque said the case was under investigation.
Haque said that there had been no immediate clues to
the means and motives of the murder. They suspect that it could be an Islamist
extremist attack or result of a political or personal conflict.
“We are carrying out an inquest,” the officer added.
Over a dozen Sufi Muslims have been found with their
throats slit in Bangladesh since 2013. The authorities blamed homegrown
Islamist extremists for the killings.
Wed Mar 15 2017
At least seventeen militants affiliated with the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have been killed in a
series of airstrikes in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.
The provincial police commandment in a statement said
the airstrikes were carried out late on Tuesday night in Achin district.
The statement further added at least four airstrikes
were carried out targeting the militants in the vicinity of Pekh and Mamand
According to the police commandment, several weapons,
ammunition, and explosives belonging to the militants were also destroyed.
The local residents and security forces did not suffer
any casualties during the airstrikes, the police commandment added.
Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in
eastern Afghanistan but the anti-government armed militant groups have recently
increased their insurgency activities in some parts of the province during the
The latest coordinated attack by ISIS loyalists came
as the Afghan forces are busy conducting counter-terrorism operations in the
restive districts of Nangarhar under the Shaheen-25 operations launched several
The operations are being conducted with the support of
the US forces based in Afghanistan who are providing close-air support under a
broader role granted by the Obama administration earlier last year to target
the terrorist groups in the country.
Mar 15 2017
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has rejected the
proposed uniforms for the school girls prepared by the Ministry of Education.
Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman for President
Ghani, said the proposed designed has been dismissed as in appropriate and in
contrast with the culture of the country.
He said President Ghani has rejected the proposed
design, insisting that no design will be acceptable unless the economic
situation of the families has been taken into consideration.
President Ghani has instructed the Ministry of
Education to work on another design in consultation with the teachers, parents,
and the school students.
He has said the proposed should include the
considerations to be economically viable for the families and in line with the
traditions of the country.
This comes as the picture so of the proposed design
went viral on social media today after it was released by the Ministry of
There have been mixed reactions regarding the proposed
design with some saying the government should not force the school students to
wear the new uniform.
According to the design, the blue color dress has been
proposed for the school girls studying in preliminary classes while the gray
color has been proposed for the medium and high school students.
A delegation which has been given the task to
investigate the deadly Kabul military hospital attack provided partial updates
regarding the investigation.
According to the head of the probe team Hialuddin
Hilal, investigations confirm fifty people were killed in the attack and at
least 30 others were wounded.
He said the attack was carried out by a group of at
least five insurgents who managed to open entry into the tightly secured
compound by detonating a vehicle packed with explosives.
Hilal further added that no evidences have been found
to confirm that the attack on the hospital was carried out by insider support.
However, he said at least twenty people having
different positions and duties have been charged with negligence and an
investigation is still underway.
According to Hilal, the militants had used a vehicle
with a fake registration plate and the owner of the vehicle has been confirmed.
He also added that the militants main target was to
attack the specialists of the hospital who were busy in a meeting and the
militants used automatic rifles, hand grenades, and military knives to kill the
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist
group claimed responsibility behind the attack but Hilal said it would be early
to confirm who was behind the attack as investigations are still underway.
A top commander of the Haqqani terrorist network was
killed in an airstrike conducted in southeastern Paktika province of
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said “Yesterday
evening, a top commander of the Haqqani terrorist network along with nine
others killed and two others wounded in a targeted airstrike of the Afghan Air
The air raid took place in the Dara-e-Shinki village,
Zirok district of eastern Paktika province, MoI added.
According to the Ministry, during the air raid, two
vehicles and some amount of light and heavy rounds of ammunition were also
Haqqani network was formed in the late 1970s by
Jalaluddin Haqqani. The group is allied with al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban
and cooperates with other terrorist organizations in the region.
The US Department of State designated the HQN as a
Foreign Terrorist Organization on September 7, 2012.
This come as local officials in Paktika said at least
twenty nine insurgents of the Taliban group including two senior leaders of the
group were killed in a US drone strike in the same district on Monday.
Russian-backed Syria talks derailed as rebels boycott
Russia has sought to revive diplomacy over Syria since
its air force helped government forces defeat rebel groups in eastern Aleppo in
December, Assad's biggest victory of the war.
March 14, 2017
Russian-led peace talks on Syria were derailed on
Tuesday as rebels backed by Turkey boycotted a third round of meetings in
Kazakhstan and the Kremlin indicated there were international divisions over
the process. Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s most powerful ally,
said the rebels’ reasons for staying away were unconvincing and their decision
came as a surprise. Describing the rebels as Turkish proxies, the Syrian
government envoy said Ankara had broken “its commitments” to the Astana
process. The rebels said they would not attend the talks, scheduled for Tuesday
and Wednesday, because of what they called Russia’s unwillingness to end air
strikes on rebel-held areas and its failure to get the Syrian army and
Iranian-backed militia to abide by a ceasefire. Russia has sought to revive
diplomacy over Syria since its air force helped government forces defeat rebel
groups in eastern Aleppo in December, Assad’s biggest victory of the war.
The cooperation of Turkey, one of the main backers of
rebel groups fighting in northern Syria, has been crucial to the Russian
diplomatic effort, helping to broker a ceasefire in December after the rebels’ Aleppo
defeat. Two previous rounds of Astana talks have sought to consolidate that
ceasefire, reflecting an improvement in Russian-Turkish ties that had been
strained to breaking point by the Syrian war. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov said the Russian Defence Ministry was in touch with Syrian rebel leaders
who boycotted the talks, the Interfax news agency reported. He said Russia was
dealing with the situation.
The Kremlin spokesman described the talks as hugely
complex. “Sometimes the situation at these talks is really complicated because
of substantial differences in approaches of various countries,” Dmitry Peskov
said during a conference call. Alexander Lavrentiev, the head of the Russian
delegation in Astana, told reporters the opposition’s absence was “sad” but
there was still “many things to discuss and make decisions about”.
SYRIAN ENVOY ACCUSES TURKEY
Russian President Vladimir Putin had credited the
Kazakhstan talks, which focus on reducing the fighting, with jumpstarting
UN-led peace talks in Geneva seeking a political settlement to the six-year
conflict. The Geneva talks broke off without any progress as seemingly
unbridgeable divisions persist, chiefly over the future of Assad who seems
militarily unassailable in the areas of western Syria under government control.
The previous Astana talks had been attended by rebel groups fighting under the
Free Syrian Army banner. A spokesman for the rebels on Monday accused Russia of
“continuing its crimes” against civilians in Syria – a reference to Russian air
strikes – and of supporting “the crimes of the Syrian regime”.
The spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee,
which groups armed and political opponents of Assad, suggested the rebels could
yet go to Astana, though the decision was so far not to. “They are waiting to
hear a response from Russia, but until this moment nothing came,” Salem
al-Muslat told the al-Hadath news channel in an interview. The rebels say
Russia has failed to live up to its commitments as a guarantor of the
ceasefire, saying government and allied forces continue to press attacks on
remaining rebel-held areas in western Syria.
The Syrian government envoy to the talks said his
delegation was in Astana to meet Syria’s Russian and Iranian allies, not the
rebel factions. “When one of the three guarantors breaks their commitment – and
I mean Turkey – this means that Turkey must be the one that is asked about the
non-attendance or participation of these armed groups,” Bashar al Ja’afari, the
envoy, said in broadcast remarks from Astana. Last week, Turkish President
Tayyip Erdogan was in Moscow seeking to build cooperation with Putin over
military operations in Syria. Turkey is attempting to create a border “safe
zone” in northern Syria free of Islamic State and the Kurdish YPG militia. The
Russian-backed Syrian army has advanced to the frontier of YPG-held areas, but
is not fighting the Kurds.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday slammed
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he said the Dutch “character” was
“broken” over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. “He (Erdogan) continues to escalate
the situation,” Rutte told Dutch news TV channel RTL Nieuws, adding “it’s a
repugnant historical falsehood”, as a diplomatic row between The Hague and
Ankara reached a new low point.
peaking in Ankara, Erdogan touched a raw nerve with
the Dutch when he recalled the mid-1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia, where
lightly-armed Dutch peacekeepers were overrun by Bosnian Serb forces and failed
to protect Muslim refugees. Almost 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were then
massacred and their bodies thrown in mass graves in the biggest incident of
bloodshed on European soil since World War II.
The incident caused the Dutch government’s resignation
in 2002 after it finally admitted that it could have done more –and the
incident remains a source of national soul-searching to this day. “The
Netherlands and the Dutch, we know them from the Srebrenica massacre. We know
how much their morality, their character is broken from the 8,000 Bosnians that
were massacred,” Erdogan said.
“We know this well. No one should give us a lesson in
civilisation,” he added. But Dutch premier Mark Rutte hit back saying:
“Erdogan’s tone is getting more and more hysterical, not only against The
Netherlands, but also against Germany.” “We won’t sink to that level and now
we’re being confronted with an idiotic fact,” Rutte said.
“It’s totally unacceptable,” he said. Turkey on Monday
suspended top level talks with The Netherlands in a spiralling spat with The
Hague and the EU after Turkish ministers were blocked from staging rallies to
court the votes of expatriate Turks in a referendum to give Erdogan greater
powers. Ankara was especially angered by the acts of the Dutch days ahead of
general elections in the country when authorities prevented the foreign
minister’s plane from landing and expelled the family minister over the
Forced conversion a crime in Islam, says Nawaz Sharif
Omer Farooq Khan
PM Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday that Pakistan was a
progressive country where no one could force others to adopt a certain
religion. "It is not for us to decide who will go to heaven or hell, but
our duty is to make this place a heaven on earth," Sharif said in a Holi
"Forced conversion is a crime in Islam," he
said. Sharif said his duty was to serve the followers of all religions.
"God will not ask aruler what he did for followers of a certain
religion," said Sharif.
"Prophets preached religion and forced nobody to
accept teachings. Our Constitution consists of these principles."
"Pakistan was not created to oppose any religion, but to prevent religious
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'Pakistan, US should work together to destroy IS
before it gains foothold in Afghanistan'
Pakistan’s new ambassador to the United States Aizaz
Chaudhry has expressed the confidence that President Trump and his new
administration will engage positively with Pakistan, saying the two nations
have been partners for last seven decades and their multifaceted ties have
It was vital that the United States and Pakistan work
together to destroy the militant Islamic State (IS) before it gains any
footholds in Afghanistan, he said.
In his first interview with APP, after assuming his new
assignment in Washington on Monday, Ambassador Chaudhry said he would work to
deepen the mutually beneficial ties the two countries have enjoyed since long.
The ambassador said that given that both President
Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have strong business backgrounds, the two
countries can certainly profit from strong economic relations.
“One area where the two countries have cooperated
closely in the recent past is the shared desire to defeat the menace of
terrorism. Our partnership has helped to defeat Al-Qaeda,” the ambassador said.
Underscoring Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to
counter terrorism, the ambassador said Pakistan and the US could continue this
mission until our region is rid of terrorism in all its forms and
On Afghanistan, the ambassador stated that the two
countries could also work together to stabilise Afghanistan. “Pakistan would
like to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. We have suffered in
the past from instability in Afghanistan.”
When his attention was drawn to the fact that some US
lawmakers continue to express reservation about Pakistan’s commitment to fight
terrorism, the Ambassador said it was important that the US lawmakers were
apprised of the reality of today’s Pakistan, which was way too different from
the perceptions created by some detractors.
“The US remains one of our most important
relationships in terms of trade, economy, defence, energy, health, education,
and culture,” the ambassador said and added the he was here to build on the
excellent history of cooperation the two countries have enjoyed since long.
“I am confident that US President Trump and his
administration will engage positively with Pakistan for the common benefit of
our two countries,” the ambassador added.
He said that Pakistan has turned the tide against
terrorism and Operation Zarb-i-Azb was a resounding success. “We are now
consolidating through a new military operation Raddul Fasaad, which is meant to
search and eliminate terrorists hiding in our society,” he added.
The ambassador said that the implementation of the
National Action Plan has become one of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s top
“As foreign secretary of Pakistan, I was honoured to
sit in many high level meetings where such decisions were taken and reviewed. I
can say it with authority that Pakistan is now well on its way to defeat
terrorism in our country.”
He said he would make efforts to take this positive
story to each member of the US Congress and show them the fast emerging
positive reality of Pakistan. “We would also welcome the US legislators to
visit Pakistan and see for themselves the new, stronger and prosperous
Pakistan,” he added.
Ambassador Chaudhary said that before arriving in
Washington, he called on the president and the prime minister as well as senior
civil and military leadership, and there was a complete consensus in Pakistan
to have friendly and cooperative ties with the United States.
Three militants convicted by military courts were
executed on Wednesday at a high security prison in Sahiwal, read a statement
issued by military’s media wing.
According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, the
militants were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism,
including attacks on armed forces and law enforcement agencies.
The military courts, in their two-year tenure, handed
over a total of 161 death sentences of which 21 have been executed so far, said
Sharing details of the executed convicts, ISPR said
that two of the convicts — Said Zaman Khan and Muhammad Zeeshan — were members
of banned outfit Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami. While the third convict was member
of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
All the three convicts were found guilty of attacking
armed forces and law enforcement agencies, said ISPR.
They admitted their offences before the magistrate and
the trial court and were subsequently awarded death sentences, the statement
The execution of militants convicted by military
courts had resumed after a gap of nearly one year as five members of the banned
TTP were hanged in the district jail earlier this month.
During its two-year constitutional life, the military
courts, set up to try civilians charged with terrorism after the carnage at the
Army Public School in Peshawar in 2014, have convicted 274 accused. Of them 161
were awarded death sentence and 113 prison terms, mostly life imprisonment.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on
Tuesday ordered authorities to take immediate action against 'blasphemous'
content on the social media and remove sacrilegious contents and punish the
perpetrators, days after a high court order.
"Those behind this heinous crime should be dealt
with, without any delay," Sharif ordered Federal Interior Minister
Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan.
"The blasphemous content on social media is a
nefarious conspiracy to hurt the religious sentiments of entire Muslim ummah
(community)," he was quoted as saying.
He also ordered to take necessary actions in
accordance with the judicial guidelines issued by the court.
"Those responsible for blasphemy should be traced
and punished according to the law," he said.
The Islamabad high court judge Shuakat Siddiqui last
week directed the interior ministry to take actions against Facebook pages with
alleged anti-Islam material.
Sharif also said that accountability of those who
misuse the blasphemy law for their personal interests should be ensured.
He also asked the relevant departments to approach
international social media platforms to put the blasphemous content off the
Meanwhile, Pakistan's National Assembly on Tuesday
passed a unanimous resolution condemning the sacrilegious contents appearing on
social media and agreed to constitute a ten-member committee to monitor such
The lower house also agreed that, if required, the
government should take legislative action against those posting blasphemous
content on social media.
The resolution said that the "objectionable
material is hurting the sentiments of the Muslims."
The House adopted a motion authorising Speaker
National Assembly to constitute a ten-member special committee to suggest
measures for blocking the sacrilegious and blasphemous material on social media
and action against the responsible persons for this crime.
Blasphemy is very sensitive issue in Pakistan and those
accused of it become an easy target for extremists.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan vowed on Tuesday to work to
prevent non-nuclear states from gaining the technology that would put them on
the path to acquiring nuclear weapons _ even though both Islamabad and neighbor
New Delhi have defied non-proliferation treaties to become competing nuclear
The pledge was delivered by Sartaj Aziz, adviser to
Pakistan's prime minister on foreign affairs, at a multi-nation conference on
non-proliferation in Islamabad, attended by representatives of South and
Central Asia, as well as China and Russia.
Pakistan is signatory to the 13-year-old United
Nations resolution aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear, biological and
chemical weapons, with a particular emphasis on preventing non-state actors
from getting their hands on massively destructive technology as well as
But Islamabad has had a sketchy history in this area,
with the architect of its nuclear weapons program, Qadeer Khan, accused of
clandestinely giving North Korea nuclear weapons technology.
When India started down the nuclear road by launching
its program in the early 1970s, Pakistan was quick to follow. The tensions
between the two countries _ neither of which is a signatory to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Agreement _ have raised the specter of a nuclear confrontation
between the two hostile neighbors.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since 1947
when majority Muslim Pakistan was created from the larger South Asian
Armed men kidnapped Balochistan Higher Education
Secretary Abdullah Jan in Quetta on Wednesday morning, police sources said.
They said unidentified gunmen picked up the official
from Quetta's Sabzal Road area when he was on his way to work.
Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri took notice of the
kidnapping and directed the inspector general of police to ensure his immediate
recovery. A search operation was launched in various parts of Quetta to recover
Jan's abduction comes at a time when Pakistan's 6th
census is underway throughout the country and a large number of government
employees, including those from the education department, are participating in
March 15th, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Former president Pervez Musharraf has said
he will end his self-exile if he is provided security by the armed forces.
The former military ruler’s counsel, Akhtar Shah,
submitted an application in an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in which he said Mr
Musharraf will face the stalled judges detention trial if he is given security
by the Ministry of Defence.
The former president had earlier requested the ATC to
direct the authorities concerned to provide foolproof security for his
appearance in court in the judges detention case.
The court had then ordered the IGP and interior
secretary to make arrangements for the provision of security to the former
general to ensure his presence in court.
He has now specifically asked for security from the
defence ministry. Mr Shah told the court that his client did not trust the
interior ministry, which had filed a complaint under Article 6 of the
Constitution for high treason. Mr Musharraf has sought exemption from personal
appearance till arrangements are made.
In the application, Mr Shah has said the petitioner
intends to appear before the court if provided adequate security. Given the
situation in the country, the counsel said, security threats are more serious
He has said Mr Musharraf is under constant watch of
doctors, is being treated and has been advised not to travel.
The prosecutor, Amir Nadeem Tabish, said the interior
ministry had time and again submitted that Mr Musharraf would be provided
security if he was ready to appear before the court. However, he said, Mr
Musharraf submits a new application at every hearing and has not appeared
before the court for one reason or the other.
Mr Tabish said being a fugitive of law, Mr Musharraf
could not seek relief nor would any lawyer represent him unless he surrenders
before the court.
ISLAMABAD: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday
categorically rejected reports regarding the deployment of Pakistani army
personnel to Saudi Arabia to assist the kingdom in its ongoing war with ongoing
“No military personnel have been sent to Saudi Arabia
in perspective of the Saudi Arabia-Yemen conflict,” said the minister.
Equating terror with Islam promoted extremism: Khawaja
He was speaking on the floor of the National Assembly
in response to a point of order raised by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA
Mahmood was referring to some reports and posts on the
social media which suggested that a Pakistan Army brigade was sent to Saudi
Asif said, “It is our policy not to get involved in
Saudi Arabia-Yemen conflict. If any decision had to be taken, it will flow
through the parliament.”
As discussed in this house and approved, he stressed,
“It would be our endeavour that our role is not partisan rather we would play a
According to the federal minister, under a 1982
agreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, just above 1,000 Pakistanis
including technicians, doctors and engineers have been living in the country
for many years.
Khawaja Asif directs nuclear threat at Israel after
reading fake news
“The decision of this house [National Assembly] is
like an order for the government that Pakistan will not get involved Saudi
Arabia-Yemen conflict,” Asif maintained.
Saudi Arabia and its mostly Gulf Arab allies
intervened in Yemen’s civil war in March 2015 after Houthi rebels deposed the
Hadi administration, which went into exile in Saudi Arabia.
The coalition has since launched thousands of air
attacks on the Houthis and their allies in Yemen’s army but paused the strikes
on Sanaa in March after reaching an informal agreement with the Houthis to cool
combat on the Yemeni-Saudi border.
Turkey vows to mobilize Islamic world against
Turkey will intensify its efforts against racism,
Islamophobia and xenophobia on all international platforms, especially at the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as Turkey’s government is currently
the term president, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said March 14.
“This matter is not a matter merely for Turkey. This
fascism that shows its dirty face is negatively impacting all Muslims and
foreigners living in Europe,” he said at a Doctor’s Day meeting.
Erdoğan called on Turks, Muslims and foreigners living
in Germany and the Netherlands not to vote for parties that espouse anti-Turkey
In a new attack against the Dutch in their spat,
Erdoğan also held the Netherlands responsible for Europe’s worst mass killing
since World War II.
“We know the Netherlands and the Dutch from the
Srebrenica massacre. We know how rotten their character is from their massacre
of 8,000 Bosnians there,” he said.
“We are familiar with how the character of their
civilization was corrupted, how they have massacred 8,000 Bosnians there; we
know them well,” Erdoğan noted.
Erdoğan was referring to a Dutch battalion of United
Nations peacekeepers who failed to halt the slaughter by Bosnian Serb forces of
some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia in 1995.
In 2002, the government of Dutch Prime Minister Wim
Kok resigned en masse in recognition that the country’s soldiers failed to do
enough to prevent the slaughter.
Some European countries have turned into “toys of
racist and fascist parties” Erdoğan stated. He also slammed German Chancellor
Angela Merkel for siding with the Netherlands.
“We know that you are no different from them. We do
not expect anything else. [Dutch PM Mark Rutte] attacks with his horses and
dogs, and you [Merkel] attack with your horses and dogs.”
The Netherlands exhibited “state terror” by not
permitting Turkish ministers to rally with Turks in the country on March 11 and
by intervening against protesters with police, Erdoğan said, adding that the
country had greatly damaged Europe and the EU. “Now, the EU, for those who want
to cooperate with, is not a symbol of the law, freedoms and human rights
anymore. Europe is so important that it cannot be left at the mercy of a rogue
state. I invite the whole world to take a determined position to be more
Gaza tailor makes prayer caps for Jewish worshippers
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
March 13, 2017
GAZA (Reuters) It’s not easy doing business from Gaza,
but tailor Mohammad Abu Shanab has found a demand he can supply – his sewing
factory is churning out religious skull caps, for devout Jewish men.
Since Israel resumed importing clothing from Gaza in
2015, Abu Shanab has renewed commercial contacts to sell merchandise to
neighboring Israel. With salaries in Gaza much lower, Abu Shanab’s costs are
“We make all kinds of clothes and recently began
making the skull caps that are worn by Israeli rabbis and Christian priests,”
said Abu Shanab, adding that as far as Gazans were concerned, religion was not
“In the foundation of our religion, we believe in
Christianity and Judaism, we believe in the prophets Musa (Moses) and Issa
(Jesus), so we have no problem making the headwear even if they are for Jews or
Abu Shanab, 61, added a new production line to cater
to the increased demand, even as the pace remains slow and exporting goods from
the blockaded territory is rife with bureaucracy.
Israel imposes strict export procedures which greatly
increase transport costs. Every shipment, no matter how small, must be sent
So far Abu Shanab has sent 400 skull caps, also known
as kippot or yarmulkes, and 1,000 bow ties to his Israeli client. Gaza
factories also make goods according to design specifications of Israeli
companies who send them the fabric.
Abu Shanab said he is also in talks with an Israeli
buyer to produce the long coats worn by ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Before Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, after
defeating forces loyal to the party of President Mahmoud Abbas, the territory’s
sewing sector was one the largest employers with over 900 factories employing
around 40,000 people.
But in the past decade, Israel and Egypt have imposed
a blockade on Gaza and its two million people. Unemployment stands at 43
percent and 80 percent of the population is dependent on aid, according to the
“Before (2007) I used to employ 70 workers but later I
could keep only 10 to 15 of them,” said Hassan Shehada, another factory owner.
“Today I have 50 workers and I can increase it to
100,” he said.
But there’s still some way to go. Shehada said Israeli
clients are afraid to trade with Gaza out of fear that another violent flare-up
would force crossings to close and lead to financial losses.
DUBAI (Reuters) - A Bahraini court on Tuesday delayed
a ruling in the trial of the spiritual leader of the country's Shi'ite Muslim
majority on charges of collecting funds illegally and money laundering, local
Ayatollah Isa Qassim, who is in his mid-70s, faces up
to 15 years in jail if convicted in the trial that has ratcheted up tensions in
the Western-allied Gulf Arab state where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based.
The kingdom had been convulsed by occasional protests
since authorities crushed 2011 protests mainly by Shi'ites demanding a bigger
share in running the country.
The court had been expected to issue a ruling on
Tuesday. But the Arabic-language al-Wassat said that, after convening under
heavy security, it postponed the ruling in Qassim's case until May 7, giving no
reason for the decision.
Overnight, hundreds of protesters took to the streets
in Qasim's village west of the capital Manama, to show their support for the
elderly cleric, according to videos and pictures posted online by activists.
Qassim also faces expulsion from the kingdom after
authorities revoked his citizenship last year for alleged foreign links and
fomenting violence, charges he had denied.
The charges emanate from the collection of an Islamic
tax called Khums, which in Shi'ite Islam is collected and spent by a senior
cleric in the interest of the needy.
Qassim's defense lawyers have refused to attend the
hearing, which they saw as an attack on the country's Shi'tes.
State news agency BNA, which also reported the
postponement, quoted the public prosecutor as saying Qassim and two other
co-defendants are accused of collecting donations without permission and
"conducting operations with the aim of hiding its source and to render it
"It is a strictly an organizational matter that
has nothing to do with religious duties," he added, according to BNA.
The trial is part of a wider crackdown on dissent that
included a ban last year on the main Shi'ite Muslim group Wefaq. Authorities
accuse it of fomenting sectarian unrest and having links to a foreign power, an
apparent reference to Iran.
Bahrain's justice ministry took steps last week to
dissolve the secular National Democratic Action Society (Waad) it accuses of
Tue Mar 14, 2017
TEHRAN (FNA)- Representative of the Iranian Jewish
community at the parliament Siamak Mareh Sedq blasted Israel's prime minister
for his recent remarks against Iran, and said nothing more is expected from
"racist" Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Netanyahu is an insane vampire drowned in crimes
from head to toe and the recent remarks made by the racist Israeli prime
minister is not surprising to me," Mareh Sedq said, addressing an open
session of the parliament in Tehran on Tuesday.
He referred to Netanyahu's role in killing innocent
Palestinian women and children and occupation of the Palestinian lands, and
said nothing is expected from him but nonsense.
Mareh Sedq said contradictory to the statements made
by Netanyahu against Iran, anti-Semitism and racism have never been witnessed
in the Iranian culture.
In relevant remarks on Sunday, Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted Netanyahu's remarks, and said he is
falsifying the Jews' holy book and resorting to fake history.
"To sell bigoted lies against a nation which has
saved Jews 3 times, Netanyahu is resorting to fake history and is falsifying
Torah," Zarif wrote on his Twitter account in reaction to the recent
anti-Iran claims by Netanyahu.
The Iranian foreign minister said that once again
Netanyahu not only distorts the realities of today, but also distorts the past,
including Jewish scripture.
"It is truly regrettable that bigotry gets to the
point of making allegations against an entire nation which has saved Jews three
times in its history,” Zarif added.
Also on Sunday, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali
Larijani said that Netanyahu had both misreported Iran’s pre-Islam history and
inverted facts. “Apparently, neither he is acquainted with history, nor he has
read the Torah,” Larijani said.
Netanyahu made his claims during a meeting with
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday by referring to a legend
commemorated through the Jewish holiday of Purim, which Israel started
celebrating Saturday night.
While scholars do not agree on the accuracy of the
Purim story, Netanyahu has constantly referred to the legend as a basis of his
anti-Iran arguments in his meetings with different world leaders.
Tue Mar 14, 2017
TEHRAN (FNA)- A senior leader of the Syrian Democratic
Union Party underlined that the Turkish government's wrong policies in the
region have damaged the world states' trust in Ankara.
"We can say that the world countries have lost
trust in Turkey and its supporters who call themselves as moderate dissidents
in Syria, as Turkey is not yet neutral in the Syrian issue and is after
spreading extremist thoughts in the region with the help of its Syrian and Arab
mercenaries," Ebrahim, the media official of the Syrian Democratic Union
Party in Europe, told FNA on Tuesday.
Noting that Turkey is not after annihilating the ISIL,
he said Ankara wants to suppress the Kurds and their friends in other Syrian
His remarks came after Dutch authorities banned two
ministers from campaigning for Turkey’s April constitutional referendum which
seeks to extend Erdogan's powers.
Erdogan has warned that the Netherlands will “pay the
price” for its “shameless” treatment of Turkey’s ministers.
Several German municipalities have also canceled
rallies by Turkish ministers campaigning for a “yes” vote in the April
Turkish hackers have hacked a number of Twitter
accounts following a diplomatic row with Germany and the Netherlands over a ban
on Turkish ministers entering the country.
Among the hacked accounts were those of Borussia
Dortmund, UNICEF USA, Amnesty International, Forbes, BBC North America, Reuters
Japan, and Duke University.
Hackers shared a video of President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan at Davos 2009 with his famous “One Minute” dialogue with former Israeli
President Simon Peres.
“A little bit of an Ottoman Slap to you, see you on
April 16,” the hackers added in a reference to the referendum on controversial
The hackers reportedly did not explain the connection
between such institutions such as Toyota Italy and Duke University and Turkey’s
diplomatic spat with EU members.
The hacked accounts were subsequently reclaimed.
Turkish accusations of fascism in the Netherlands are
“completely detached from reality,” European Council President Donald Tusk
wrote via his official Twitter account on March 15.
Turkey’s remarks came after the Netherlands cancelled
rallies by Turkish politicians in Rotterdam, which had aimed to drum up support
for a referendum that would change the constitution.
“Rotterdam, the city of Erasmus, totally destroyed by
the Nazis, which now has a mayor born in Morocco: If any anyone sees fascism in
Rotterdam they are completely detached from reality,” Tusk told a plenary
session of the European Parliament.
His remarks were echoed by European Commission
President Jean Claude Juncker, who told the European Parliament that he was
“scandalized” by comments from the Turkish government, saying they drove Turkey
further away from becoming a member of the European Union.
Over 800 health workers killed in Syrian ‘war crimes’:
In the crosshairs, an estimated 15,000 doctors --
about half the pre-war number -- fled the country, leaving hundreds of
thousands of civilians without access to basic care.
More than 800 health workers have died in “acts of war
crimes” in Syria since 2011, in hospital bombings, shootings, torture and executions
perpetrated mainly by government-backed forces, researchers said on Wednesday.
The Syrian government and its ally, Russia, have turned the violent withholding
of healthcare into a weapon of war, according to an analysis published in The
Lancet medical journal.
This “weaponisation” of healthcare, it said, “has
translated into hundreds of health workers killed, hundreds more incarcerated
or tortured and hundreds of health facilities deliberately and systematically
In the crosshairs, an estimated 15,000 doctors — about
half the pre-war number — fled the country, leaving hundreds of thousands of
civilians without access to basic care.
“The international community has left these violations
of international humanitarian and human rights law largely unanswered,” the
authors of the report said.
It was compiled by experts from universities in
Beirut, Britain and the United States, as well as the Syrian American Medical
Society (SAMS) and Multi-Aid Programs, an NGO.
The data they gathered showed that 782 health workers
were killed from March 2011 to September last year.
Of the total, 247 (32 percent) were doctors, 176 (23
percent) nurses and 146 (19 percent) medics, according to Physicians for Human
Rights, a nonprofit group.
The rest included pharmacists, medical students,
ambulance workers and veterinarians who were added to the list because they
were killed while treating people.
Shelling and bombing of hospitals and clinics
accounted for 426 (55 percent) of deaths, the report said.
Shootings of medical professionals followed with 180
deaths (23 percent), torture with 101 (13 percent) and executions with 61
Since September 2016, at least 32 more lost their
lives, “which brings the total number of health workers killed in acts of war crimes
over the six years of the conflict to 814,” the study said.
This was probably a gross underestimate, it added.
The war in Syria has killed at least 320,000 people
and displaced millions in six years.
The evidence suggested that the Syrian government
targeted medics as a strategy, and to an extent never before seen in war, the
The majority of the attacks on health facilities, 94
percent, were the work of “the Syrian government and its allies, including
“With the military surge that began in late September
2015, when Russia joined Syrian government forces, 2016 marked the worst year
of the conflict to date in terms of attacks on medical facilities,” the study
Saudi deputy crown prince, Trump meeting a 'turning
point' in ties: Saudi adviser
Saudi Arabia hailed a “historical turning point” in
US-Saudi relations after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Deputy
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman highlighted the two leaders' shared view that
Iran posed a regional security threat.
The meeting on Tuesday appeared to signal a meeting of
the minds on many issues between Trump and Prince Mohammed, in a marked
difference from Riyadh's often fraught relationship with the Obama
administration, especially in the wake of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“This meeting is considered a historical turning point
in relations between both countries and which had passed through a period of
divergence of views on many issues,” a senior adviser to Prince Mohammed said
in a statement.
“But the meeting today restored issues to their right
path and form a big change in relations between both countries in political,
military, security and economic issues,” the adviser said.
Saudi Arabia had viewed with unease the administration
of US President Barack Obama, whom they felt considered Riyadh's alliance with
Washington less important than negotiating the Iran nuclear deal.
Riyadh and other Gulf allies see in Trump a strong
president who will shore up Washington's role as their main strategic partner
and help contain Riyadh's adversary Iran in a region central to US security and
energy interests, regional analysts said.
The deputy crown prince viewed the nuclear deal as
“very dangerous”, the senior adviser said, adding that both leaders had
identical views on “the danger of Iran's regional expansionist activities”. The
White House has said the deal was not in the best interest of the United
The meeting was the first since Trump's January 20
inauguration with the prince, who is leading the kingdom's efforts to revive
state finances by diversifying the economy away from a reliance on falling
crude oil revenues.
Under the plan, which seeks to promote the private
sector and make state-owned companies more efficient, Riyadh plans to sell up
to 5 per cent of state oil giant Saudi Aramco in what is expected to be the
world's biggest initial public offering.
The two leaders, who discussed opportunities for US
companies to invest in Saudi Arabia, kicked off their talks in the Oval Office
posing for a picture in front of journalists.
US Vice President Mike Pence, Trump's senior adviser
and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, chief of staff Reince Priebus and strategist
Steve Bannon were also present at the Oval Office meeting with Prince Mohammed.
The meeting also appeared to illustrate support for
some of the most contentious issues that Trump has faced since taking office.
On a travel ban against six Muslim-majority countries,
the adviser said Prince Mohammed did not regard it as one that was aimed at
“Muslim countries or Islam”.
Earlier this month Trump signed a revised executive
order on banning citizens from Yemen, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Libya
from traveling to the US but removed Iraq from the list, after his
controversial first attempt was blocked in the court. Trump's travel ban has
come under criticism for targeting citizens of several mainly Muslim countries.
The senior adviser said Prince Mohammed “expressed his
satisfaction after the meeting on the positive position and clarifications he
heard from President Trump on his views on Islam”.
The senior adviser said the leaders discussed the
“successful Saudi experience of setting up a border protection system” on the
Saudi-Iraq border which has prevented smuggling.
Trump has vowed to start work quickly on the barrier
along the nearly 2,000-mile US-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigrants and
drugs from crossing to the north.
Mosul IS commander killed as Iraqi forces march to
recapture Tigris river bridge
Federal police killed the military commander of the
Old City, Abu Abdul Rahman al-Ansary, during operations to clear Bab al-Tob
district, a federal police officer said.
Iraqi government forces killed the Islamic State
commander of Mosul’s Old City on Tuesday as the battle for the militants’ last
stronghold in Iraq focused on a bridge crossing the Tigris river. As fighting
intensified on Tuesday after the previous day’s heavy rains, civilians streamed
out of western neighbourhoods recaptured by the government, cold and hungry but
relieved to be free of the militants’ grip. IS snipers were slowing the advance
of Interior Ministry Rapid Response units on the Iron Bridge linking western
and eastern Mosul but the elite forces were still inching forward, officers
said. Government forces also pushed into areas of western Mosul, Islamic
State’s last redoubt in the city that has been the de facto capital of their
Federal police killed the military commander of the
Old City, Abu Abdul Rahman al-Ansary, during operations to clear Bab al-Tob
district, a federal police officer said. With many IS leaders having already
retreated from Mosul, Ansary’s death comes as blow to the militants as they
defend their shrinking area of control street-by-street and house-by-house.
Capturing the Iron Bridge would mean Iraqi forces hold three of the five
bridges in Mosul that span the Tigris, all of which have been damaged by the
militants and US-led air strikes. The southernmost two have already been
retaken. “We are still moving toward the Iron Bridge. We are taking out snipers
hiding in the surrounding building, we are still pushing for the Iron Bridge,”
Brigadier General Mahdi Abbas Abdullah of the Rapid Response force told
Near the Mosul Museum, Iraq forces used armoured
vehicles and tanks to attack snipers pinning down troops clearing areas around
the bridge. An air strike targeting one Islamic State position hit a building,
engulfing nearby troops in smoke and dust. Since starting the offensive in
October, Iraqi forces with US-led coalition support have retaken eastern Mosul
and about 30 percent of the west from the militants, who are outnumbered but
fiercely defending their last stronghold in Iraq. For much of Tuesday, the
troops were within 100m (330 feet) of the bridge. “It’s very key for our forces
to secure the riverside and prevent Daesh militants from turning around our
advancing forces,” a Rapid Response spokesman said in the morning, using an
Arab acronym for Islamic State.
They expected to gain control of the Iron Bridge and
the nearby area by the end of the day, he said. “Seizing the bridge will help
further tighten the noose around Daesh fighters entrenched inside the old
city,” he said.
The boom of shelling and heavy machinegun fire could
be heard from the centre of Mosul and helicopter gunships strafed the ground
from above on Tuesday morning. Amid the combat, a steady stream of refugees
trudged out of the western districts, carrying suitcases, bottles of water and
other possessions. Some pushed children and sick elderly relatives in handcarts
and wheelbarrows. Soldiers packed them into trucks on the Mosul-Baghdad highway
to be taken to processing areas. Most left in the dark early morning hours or
after the army recaptured their neighbourhoods. Food had been scarce, they said.
“We fled at 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) after the army had arrived. There has been a lot
of shelling by Daesh,” said Hamid Hadi, a teacher. “Mostly we’ve been eating
water mixed with tomatoes.”
Ashraf Ali, a nurse who escaped with his wife and two
children, said mortar rounds were falling as they fled. They took advantage of
the army retaking their district to get out. “Daesh wanted us to move to their
areas but we escaped when the army arrived,” he said. As many as 600,000
civilians are caught with the militants inside Mosul, which Iraqi forces have
effectively sealed off from the remaining territory that Islamic State controls
in Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi forces include army, special forces, Kurdish
peshmerga and Shi’ite militias.
More than 200,000 Mosul residents have been displaced
since the start of the campaign in October. The Ministry of Immigration and
Displacement said on Tuesday that in recent days, almost 13,000 displaced
people from western Mosul had been received seeking assistance and temporary
accomodation each day. “Whenever we advance there are more people coming out,”
said one Iraqi officer directing refugee transport. “There are more people on
this side of the city and people are trying to leave because there is no food
and no supplies in their area.”
Losing Mosul would be a major strike against Islamic
State. It is by far the largest city the militants have held since their leader
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself leader of a caliphate spanning Iraq and
Syria from a mosque in Mosul in the summer of 2014.
The United States has conducted more than 40 air
raids, including drone strikes, against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP) in March alone.
Two suspected members of Yemen’s Al-Qaeda were killed
today in an air raid on the southern Hadramawt province, a security official
said. The two, going by the names Abu Jandal al-Hadrami and Abu Hashim
al-Sharuri, were killed in what appeared to be a US air strike, the official
said, requesting that his name be withheld. The United States has conducted
more than 40 air raids, including drone strikes, against Al-Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in March alone.
Many of the strikes have targeted towns in southern
provinces where the radical group is known to operate. At least 25 suspected
AQAP members have been killed in the raids. The United States regards AQAP as
the jihadist network’s most dangerous branch. However, Washington rarely
reports on its drone raids on Yemen, which began in the aftermath of the
September 11, 2001 attacks.
More than two years of civil war between government
forces and Shiite rebels in Yemen have created a power vacuum which AQAP has
exploited to consolidate its presence in the south and east. At least 7,400
people have been killed and 40,000 wounded over the past two years, according
to the United Nations. Hadramawt, Yemen’s largest governorate, is currently
under government control. AQAP continues to hold limited sway in the province.
There was no evidence of Russian involvement in
Syria’s air force deliberately bombed water sources in
December, a war crime that cut off water for 5.5 million people in and around
the capital Damascus, the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry
on Syria said on Tuesday. The commission said it had found no evidence of
deliberate contamination of the water supply or demolition by armed groups, as
the Syrian government maintained at the time.
Rebels had controlled the springs of the Wadi Barada
valley, northwest of Damascus since 2012 and faced a major offensive by Syrian
government forces and their allies, despite a ceasefire deal. The rebels
withdrew at the end of January. The commission, led by Brazilian investigator
Paulo Pinheiro, said there were no reports of people suffering water
contamination on or before Dec. 23, when the Syrian air force hit al-Fija
spring with at least two air strikes.
“While the presence of armed group fighters at (the)
spring constituted a military target, the extensive damage inflicted to the
spring had a devastating impact on more than five million civilians in both
government and opposition controlled areas who were deprived of regular access
to potable water for over one month,” the commission’s report said.
“The attack amounts to the war crime of attacking
objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population, and further
violated the principle of proportionality in attacks.”
The commission’s conclusions were based on interviews
with residents and satellite imagery, as well as publicly available
information. The report, which covered the period between July 21, 2016, and
Feb. 28 this year, came less than two weeks after the commission said that
Syrian government aircraft deliberately bombed and strafed a humanitarian
convoy, killing 14 aid workers, in September last year.
In a separate incident, aircraft – most likely Syrian
or Russian – bombed the longstanding headquarters of the Syrian Arab Red
Crescent in the town of Idlib, Tuesday’s report said.
The commission also documented the use of lethal
chlorine gas on multiple occasions by government and pro-government forces, in
the suburbs of Damascus and Idlib province.
There was no evidence of Russian involvement in
chlorine attacks, the report said.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army soldiers continued to
advance against ISIL in vast areas in Eastern Aleppo and captured territories
only 3km away from the strategic town of Deir Hafer, a field source said
The source pointed to the army advances in Shweilakh,
Karkiz regions and Tal (hill) Hamimeh, and said the Syrian pro-government
forces are just 3km away from Deir Hafer and will liberate the ISIL-held town
The source said army's control over Deir Hafer will
open the path for the Syrian army to move from the Eastern parts of Aleppo
province to Raqqa, while they can also move towards the town of Khanasser to
complete their operation there to reinvigorate security to the Aleppo-Hama
Reports said earlier today that the army troops
managed to drive the terrorists out of one more key settlement near the key
town of Deir Hafer.
The army units engaged in another round of intense
battle with ISIL West of Deir Hafer and managed to recapture Hamimeh al-Saqireh
settlement, killing and wounding a number of terrorists.
In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out
several combat flights over the positions and movements of ISIL in the Western
direction of Deir Hafer, killing tens of terrorists and destroying several
positions and military vehicles.
A local source said that the army's control over
Hamimeh al-Kabireh and Hamimeh al-Saqireh reinvigorated security to Kuweires
TEHRAN (FNA)- Arab media outlets said that the US
troops have carried out another heliborne operation to evacuate 10 more ISIL
commanders from the Eastern province of Deir Ezzur.
The Arabic language al-Hadath news website reported
that several US military helicopters landed on kilometer 10 of Deir
Ezzur-Hasaka road and evacuated a number of ISIL commanders from the region.
"After the helicopter landed, several US marines
took 10 ISIL commanders on board and left the region," the report said.
"Abu Dajane Fransawi has most likely been among
the top ISIL commanders taken away by the US marines," it added.
Abu Dajaneh was ISIL's man in charge of the terrorist
group's financial affairs in Forat (Euphrates) oilfield.
Local sources disclosed in January that the US-led
coalition's helicopters carried out an unprecedented heliborne operation in
areas West of Deir Ezzur city to relocate ISIL's foreign fighters from the
The sources said that 6 helicopters were present in
the operations, including two that carried a number of soldiers and Arabic
translators in a region near al-Kebr station.
The source said the US troops left the helicopters and
staged a raid on the terrorists at a water pump station, killing a number of
them. "Then they took several ISIL terrorists captive, in an action that
more seemed like a theatrical move".
"It looked like a drill and our suspicions grew
when we came to realize that they only took captive those ISIL members who were
foreigners," he added.
Other sources said that "the coalition forces
that could speak Arabic with the accent of the Persian Gulf states took with
them some of the non-Syrian members of the ISIL".
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian Army troops continued their
advances against ISIL in Eastern Homs, driving terrorists out of more regions
near the oil and gas fields.
The army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL
Northeast of the newly-liberated city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and pushed the
terrorists back from the strategic region of al-Sawameh along the road to Arak
In the meantime, the army soldiers took back al-Qabab
region North of Tal (hill) al-Ameriyeh and Palmyra from ISIL.
A military source said, meantime, that the army's
control over the Northeastern and Southern fronts, Sabkhat al-Mouh, power
convertor station, al-Kaziyeh and Maktab al-Dowar Southeast of Palmyra, will
restore more security to the ancient city.
The source further added that a large number of ISIL
terrorists were killed and a number of its vehicles equipped with heavy
machinegunswere destroyed in the army attacks, including a vehicle with license
plate number registered in Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, the army troops targeted heavily a long
military column of ISIL terrorists East of the newly-liberated city of Palmyra
en route to Deir Ezzur, inflicting heavy damage on the terrorists' convoy.
The army units targeted ISIL's military convoy of
vehicles that were retreating from the Eastern direction of Palmyra towards the
terrorist-held regions in Deir Ezzur province, destroying several vehicles and
killing or wounding their crew.
In the meantime, the Syrian Air Force carried out
several combat flights over ISIL's positions in Arak village and near the Third
Station in Eastern Homs.
Also, the army soldiers continued to attack ISIL's
positons from Palmyra's military airport towards Bayarat al-Sharqi and engaged
in fierce clashes with them on a road between Palmyra and al-Sukhnah town,
killing and wounding a number of terrorists.
Elsewhere in the province, the army men targeted badly
the terrorists' positions and concentration centers in Tal Zahab settlement in
al-Houleh plain and in al-Qantou town.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud
Alavi revealed on Tuesday that the country has sent intelligence devices to
Syria to gather intel from the terrorists and monitor their moves.
"Security goods are a type of products exported
by the Islamic Republic and today the intelligence ministry's technical team
has installed the most powerful devices in Syria and the terrorists' bases are
precisely monitored through this vitally necessary intel" gathered by
these devices, Alavi said, addressing a forum in the Central city of Isfahan on
Iran is providing Iraq and Syria with military
advisory and humanitarian aid in their fight against terrorist groups.
Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force
Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani said in March that Takfiri terrorism
threatens all Muslims, and Iran has waged war on those terrorists that trade
enslaved women and children.
"The fire of Takfiri and Takfirism has engulfed
in homes of our Sunni brothers. Those behind this are under the illusion that
they can bring Shiism and the Islamic Republic to their knees. More than
anywhere else, Takfiri groups have targeted the sanctity of humanity and the
Sunni world," General Soleimani said, addressing a ceremony in Tehran.
General Soleimani then asked those behind the smear
campaign to question Iran's policy in its ongoing war on terror, "Is it
adventurism if the Islamic Republic makes sacrifices to defend Muslims? Is it
wrong for the Islamic Republic to battle a group that in just one region is
buying and selling some 20,000 unfortunate enslaved young women? Is it wrong
for the Islamic Republic to stand against the anti-Muslim current and stop the
demolition of Mosques and Muslim holy sites?"
Libya’s eastern parliament speaker says Russia offered
In January, he also visited a Russian aircraft carrier
off Libya's coast and had a call with the Russian defense minister.
The speaker of the parliament based in the eastern
part of Libya said that Russia has promised military assistance. House of
Representatives President Agila Saleh told Russia’s state RIA Novosti news
agency that authorities in the east have asked Moscow to help train army
personnel and repair military equipment.
Saleh says that “we were promised assistance in the
fight against terrorism.” Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, a military chief allied
with the parliament opposed to the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli,
twice traveled to Moscow last year. In January, he also visited a Russian
aircraft carrier off Libya’s coast and had a call with the Russian defense minister.
Saleh said that about 70 soldiers from Hifter’s forces
were sent to Russia last month for medical treatment. At the same time, Russia
also hosted Faez Sarraj, the prime minister of the government in Tripoli, this
month in an apparent effort to expand its clout in the fractured country by
talking to both sides.
Libya sank into chaos following the 2011 uprising that
toppled and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and has remained split between
rival parliaments and governments in the east and west, each backed by a set of
militias, tribes and political factions.
Officials say they have already relocated hundreds of
people from the landfill, where waste-pickers salvaged items to make a living
and others found inexpensive housing.
The death toll has risen to 72 after Saturday’s
collapse of a mountain of garbage in a landfill outside Ethiopia’s capital,
state broadcaster EBC reported on Tuesday. Many victims were women and children
as makeshift homes inside the Koshe landfill were buried in debris. It is not
clear how the collapse occurred.
Officials say they have already relocated hundreds of
people from the landfill, where waste-pickers salvaged items to make a living
and others found inexpensive housing. Ethiopia has declared three days of
national mourning that will be observed as of tomorrow. The first funerals of
victims began Monday.
Pirates have hijacked a Sri Lankan-flagged oil tanker,
a Somali official said on Tuesday, the first time they have successfully taken
a commercial ship since 2012. The Aris 13 sent a distress call on Monday,
turned off its tracking system and altered course for the Somali port town of
Alula, said John Steed of the aid group Oceans Beyond Piracy.
“The pirates hijacked the oil tanker and they brought
it near Alula,” Mohamud Ahmed Eynab, the district commissioner for Alula, told
Reuters on Tuesday by phone. Pirates in the town confirmed they were expecting
The tanker was believed to have eight crew on board,
said Steed, an expert on piracy who is in contact with naval forces tracking
“The ship reported it was being followed by two skiffs
yesterday afternoon. Then it disappeared,” he told Reuters.
Aircraft from regional naval force EU Navfor were
flying overhead to track the ship’s progress and to try to determine what was
happening, he said.
Data from Reuters systems showed it made a sharp about
turn just after it passed the Horn of Africa on its voyage from Djibouti to
The 1,800 deadweight tonne Aris 13 is owned by Panama
company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab
Emirates, according to the Equasis shipping data website, managed by the French
The ship was being monitored by the United Kingdom
Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMTO), which coordinates the management of all
merchant ships and yachts in the Gulf of Aden area, the head of the
International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting
centre in Kuala Lumpur, Noel Choong, said.
The UKMTO in Dubai said it had no further information.
In their heyday five years ago, Somali pirates
launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia in 2011, the International
Maritime Bureau says, and held hundreds of hostages.
That year, Ocean’s Beyond Piracy estimated the global
cost of piracy was about $7 billion. The shipping industry bore roughly 80
percent of those costs, the group’s analysis showed.
But attacks fell sharply after ship owners tightened
security and avoided the Somali coast.
Intervention by regional naval forces that flooded
into the area helped disrupt several hijack bids and improved security for the
strategic trade route that leads through the Suez Canal and links the oilfields
of the Middle East with European ports.
Malaysia to deport 50 North Koreans despite ban:
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will deport 50 North Koreans
for overstaying their visas, the deputy prime minister said on Tuesday, in an
apparent exception to a departure ban imposed after the assassination of Kim
The killing of the half-brother of North Korea's
leader Kim Jong-Un with VX nerve agent in Malaysia last month triggered an
angry standoff between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang that has seen them expel each
other's ambassadors and refuse to let their citizens leave.
But Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told
reporters that 50 North Koreans working in Sarawak state on Borneo island --
home to coal mines which often employ foreign workers, would be deported from
Malaysia despite the ban.
"We will send the North Korean workers in Sarawak
who have exceeded their visa back to Pyongyang for overstaying," he said.
"They will be deported soon."
He did not say why the government had decided on the
expulsion despite Kuala Lumpur's bar on North Korean nationals leaving the
country -- a tit-for-tat measure put in place after Pyongyang prohibited
Malaysians from leaving its borders last week.
The diplomatic crisis erupted last month after North
Korea attacked the Malaysian investigation into Kim's killing as an attempt to
smear the secretive regime.
Three Malaysian embassy staff and six family members
are stranded in North Korea as a result.
Pyongyang, which has never confirmed Kim's identity,
has repeatedly demanded the return of his body but Malaysian authorities have
refused to release it without a DNA sample from next-of-kin.
The body, which is currently being kept in a morgue in
the capital, has been embalmed to prevent it from decomposing more than a month
after the assassination, the deputy prime minister said.
"It's an effort to preserve the body, because if
it is kept in the mortuary it might decompose," he said.
Two women -- one Vietnamese and one Indonesian -- have
been arrested and charged with the murder. CCTV footage shows them smearing the
45-year-old's face with a piece of cloth. Pyongyang has insisted that he most
likely died of a heart attack.
Relations between North Korea and Malaysia had been
particularly warm, with a reciprocal visa-free travel deal for visitors, prior
to the high-profile killing.
Up to 100,000 North Koreans are believed to be working
abroad and their remittances are a valuable source of foreign currency for the
Malaysian authorities have identified the victim as
Kim Jong Nam, though he was using a North Korean passport under the name Kim
North Korea has tried to shift the blame for the
deadly attack in Malaysia on the estranged half-brother of its leader Kim Jong
Un to the United States and South Korea. North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador,
Kim In Ryong, told a news conference that “from A to Z, this case is the
product of reckless moves of the United States and South Korean authorities,”
who he said are trying to tarnish the North’s image and bringing down its
Malaysian authorities say Kim Jong Nam died after two
women smeared his face with the banned VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur’s airport
on February 13, but North Korea which is widely suspected to be behind the
attack rejects the findings.
Ambassador Kim said the cause of Kim Jong Nam’s death
“has not yet been clearly identified, but the United States and the South
Korean authorities are groundlessly blaming the DPRK,” using the initials of
the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Malaysian authorities have identified the victim as
Kim Jong Nam, though he was using a North Korean passport under the name Kim
Chol. The ambassador, like other North Korean officials, referred to him only
as Kim Chol and did not say he was Kim Jong Un’s half brother.
He asked why the person who applied the VX agent,
which is fatal if a tiny amount is inhaled, is still alive while the man it was
applied to died.
The ambassador asserted that the US is one of the few
countries that can manufacture VX and that it has stockpiled chemical weapons
in South Korea, which could have provided the chemical agent for the attack on
Kim Jong Nam.
“It is a final aim sought by the United States to
store up the international repugnancy towards the DPRK,” he said of the attack,
with the intention of provoking a “nuclear war against DPRK at any cost.”
“So the US and South Korea were starting the political
chicanery to bring down the social system in DPRK,” the ambassador said.
He said the DPRK will respond by continuing to bolster
its defenses “and the capability for the pre-emptive strike with a nuclear
The North Korean envoy held a press conference at UN
headquarters in New York after the DPRK boycotted a meeting of the UN Human
Rights Council in Geneva, which was addressed by its special investigator on
human rights in the reclusive northeast Asian nation.
Tomas Ojea Quintana told the council that tensions
caused by North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear tests are jeopardizing
efforts to improve human rights in the secretive country.
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