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Islamic World News (01 Sep 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Malaysia ‘Obliged To Arrest Naik’ If Interpol Issues Red Notice







Malaysia ‘Obliged To Arrest Naik’ If Interpol Issues Red Notice

Saudi Human Rights Commission To Modernize, Be Granted More Powers, Say Sources

Al Shabaab Bribing Elders to Have an MP In 2020 Polls

Angry Muslim Voters Clamor For Democrats’ Attention At Annual Conference

‘Islam Has Nothing to Do With Terrorism’, PM Imran Addresses American Muslims

Kerala: 30 Students Booked For Waving Flag Resembling That of Pakistan inside Campus

More Than 50 Taliban Militants Killed, Wounded In Faryab Airstrikes

 

Southeast Asia

Malaysia ‘Obliged To Arrest Naik’ If Interpol Issues Red Notice

Umno-PAS charter not healthy for Malaysia as it plays on race, says Dr M

No Pahang ban but Naik must meet conditions, says mufti

Sultan Nazrin hits out at leaders willing to stoop to gain influence

This church funeral service in Cempaka Baru mosque brings hope for tolerant Jakarta

Mahathir urges patriotism on National Day

Indonesia arrests dozens for Papua protests that set buildings afire

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Arab World

Saudi Human Rights Commission To Modernize, Be Granted More Powers, Say Sources

At Least 45 Militants Killed In Post-Truce Missile Attack In Syria’s Idlib: Monitor

ISIL’s Baghdad Emir Killed in Iraqi Military Operation in Al-Anbar Province

ISIL's Belgian Executioner Captured in Northeastern Syria

Syrian Army Declares Ceasefire in Idlib After Conquering Vast Strategic Regions

Hezbollah chief: We have enough precision-guided missiles for any confrontation

US sanctions Iranian oil tanker, its captain for ‘selling illicit oil to Syria’

Saudi entertainment authority sends off first scholarship program students

UAE-backed separatists arrest scores of pro-Saudi forces in Aden

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Africa

Al Shabaab Bribing Elders to Have an MP In 2020 Polls

Sudan court charges ousted president al-Bashir with illegal foreign fund deals

Four killed in Turkish drone attack south of Libya’s Tripoli

Nigeria soldiers killed in ISWAP ambush near Monguno

Boko Haram kills 8 in Nigeria attacks

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North America

Angry Muslim Voters Clamor For Democrats’ Attention At Annual Conference

Houston: Islamic Group Hosts Sanders And Castro As Rightwingers Protest

US denies entry to Canadian Muslims crossing border

Kashmir issue may impact Afghan talks, warns US report

Trump offer to mediate on Kashmir still stands: Qureshi

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Pakistan

‘Islam Has Nothing to Do With Terrorism’, PM Imran Addresses American Muslims

War not an option to deal with Kashmir issue: Pakistan FM Qureshi

U-turn: After Imran threat, Pakistan minister says ready for talks

Imran Khan cites NRC, says ‘illegal annexation’ of Kashmir part of wider policy to target Muslims

FATF revises anti-terror targets for Pakistan

OIC calls for India-Pakistan talks on held Kashmir

Govt failed to make useful diplomacy on Kashmir, claims Ahsan

China, Pakistan to join Russian military exercise in September

Muharram ul Harram reminds us about supreme sacrifices, says President

Kashmir issue is internationally recognised dispute, says OIC

Pakistan will continue to raise Kashmir issue at all forums, says Mazari

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India

Kerala: 30 Students Booked For Waving Flag Resembling That of Pakistan inside Campus

Kalraj Mishra Is New Governor of Rajasthan, Arif Mohd Khan Gets Kerala

NRC Final List: Myth Of Illegal Migrants Has Been Busted, Says Owaisi

Aurangzeb, not Babur demolished Ram temple

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South Asia

More Than 50 Taliban Militants Killed, Wounded In Faryab Airstrikes

Khalilzad concludes talks in Doha saying ‘U.S. at the threshold of an agreement with Taliban’

RAB arrests 2 suspected Ansar-al-Islam members in Dhaka

Taliban launch 'massive attack' on Afghan city of Kunduz

Taliban attack northern Afghan city amid peace talks with US

2 policemen injured in ISIS attack targeting Bangladesh Minister in Dhaka

Afghan Special Forces destroy multiple caches of weapons of Taliban

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Mideast

Netanyahu Repeats Pledge to Annex Israeli Settlements In Occupied West Bank

UAE Minister Urges Yemeni Government, Transitional Council To Enter Saudi Initiative To Ease Tension

Iran’s Rouhani warns Macron of looming nuclear step

Palestinian dies of wounds from Israeli gunfire

Gargash: Yemeni govt, STC must engage in Saudi initiative to reduce tension

Iran unveils high-speed tracking, long-haul strike drones

60 killed, 100 injured in fresh Saudi strikes on Yemen’s Dhamar

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Europe

UK Minister Javid Says He Has Fantastic Relationship With PM Johnson

France’s Macron hails Iran commitment to talks amid nuclear standoff

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/malaysia-‘obliged-to-arrest-naik’-if-interpol-issues-red-notice/d/119623

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Malaysia ‘obliged to arrest Naik’ if Interpol issues red notice

V Anbalagan

September 1, 2019

PETALING JAYA: If an Interpol red notice is issued on preacher Dr Zakir Naik, the Malaysian police would have no choice but to arrest him, according to a lawyer who has served on the International Criminal Court.

Naik is wanted by authorities in India for alleged money laundering and hate speech. An Interpol red notice is an alert to member police forces to apprehend a wanted person.

It would then become Malaysia’s obligation as a member country of Interpol, to perform that task, said lawyer N. Sivananthan. “We will have to arrest Naik and hand him over to Interpol who will send him back to India,” he told FMT.

He said it was unfortunate that India had to seek assistance from Interpol when there is an extradition treaty with Malaysia since 2010.

Sivananthan said this in response to India which is pressing Interpol to take action on its request for red notices against certain fugitives avoiding the law, including Naik, who has permanent resident status in Malaysia.

On Friday, India’s Home Secretary, AK Bhalla, met the visiting Interpol secretary-general, Jurgen Stock, for 30 minutes and raised the matter of its request for red notices on certain fugitives including Naik,

It was also reported in May that India has filed charges of money laundering against Naik, accusing him of acquiring about Rs1.9 billion (RM114.5 million) worth of criminal assets.

Naik, who is a permanent resident in Malaysia, was charged in absentia in a court in Mumbai with acquiring about 1.9 billion rupees (RM114.6 million) in criminal assets. Naik is also accused of making “inflammatory speeches and lectures” resulting in some Muslim youths committing acts of terrorism.

Naik has strongly denied the accusations against him.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said several times that Malaysia is reluctant to deport Naik because of the risk that he would be killed and from doubts of whether he will receive a fair trial.

Recently, Naik’s comments during lectures in Kelantan led to more than 100 police reports being lodged against him. He has since apologised and Mahathir has said the government will revoke Naik’s permanent residence if his actions are detrimental to the well-being of the country.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/09/01/malaysia-obliged-to-arrest-naik-if-interpol-issues-red-notice/

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Saudi Human Rights Commission to modernize, be granted more powers, say sources

August 31, 2019

RIYADH: The Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) will undergo serious modernization and be granted more powers, a knowledgeable government source within the commission has told Arab News.

“The aim is to empower HRC so that the human rights file and practices are in line with all the progress and reform in the Kingdom under Vision 2030, and also in line with best possible practices,” the source said.

“Procedural reasons” were responsible for 90 percent of what the source described as “negative aspects” relating to human rights issues in the Kingdom, he said.

These procedural errors would “rapidly and carefully be corrected through the work of the Human Rights Commision during the next period.

“The aim will be to close any gaps or loopholes in laws and legislation, and stop any negative exploitation of the bureaucracy in a way that goes against the Kingdom’s ambitious vision when it comes to human rights.”

The source said the Saudi government was determined to reinforce the role of the Human Rights Commission in accordance with the highest standards. “This will be achieved through moving the laws and authorities related to the human rights file to the desired level that matches the Kingdom’s prestige and reputation,” he said.

In a government reshuffle last week, former Saudi information minister Awwad Alawad was appointed by royal decree to head the HRC.

Alawad, who is also Saudi Arabia’s former Ambassador to Germany, has been a Royal Court adviser since he was relieved of his duties as information minister late last year.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1547866/saudi-arabia

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Al Shabaab bribing elders to have an MP in 2020 polls

01 September 2019

As bizarre as it might sound, al Shabaab militants seem to now find a short cut to legally take over reins of power secretly through the ballot, with help from clan chiefs rather than with the violence often associated with them.

As if wanting to prove its influence, the militants recently summoned elders involved in the 2016 election to go and repent.

Those elders who heeded the call for fear of reprisals were literally held hostage for 20 days in secret locations around the country. The meeting became an al Shabaab civic engagement plan, plotting a silent takeover of power.

“They gave us clothes and money and even promised to pay us $300 every month on one condition which is that we do what they order us to do. They told us the country is being taken over by infidels and that we have to salvage it. We are still waiting for their order,” a clan chief who did not wish to be named said.

Considering there are three parliamentary elections coming up in Galmudug and South West State in September and October and of course the countrywide presidential and parliamentary elections in 2020.

The latest revelation makes many people wonder the influence the militants can have on the elections, if indeed the elders, just like before, are involved.

ELDERS INFLUENCE

Subject to change, under Somali’s current electoral system, elders choose MPs, who in turn elect the president. In previous election models, the clans directly nominated the MPs. We can never dismiss the influence of elders in Somalia politics.

Some of the elders who took part in the ‘al Shabaab civic education’ say the militants plan to use force and persuasion to convince the elders to nominate their own to parliament in 2020.

The only way these elders will be rendered invaluable is if Somalia succeeds in organising a one-person-one-vote election.

However, that depends on several factors, including the adoption of the interim charter, the liberation of areas still controlled by al Shabaab and preparing the country for the vote. Recent events such as the Jubaland elections show cracks in national unity, which are likely to be used by the militants to further their agenda.

One year before the next election, al Shabaab continues to destabilise peace at will. Just recently, they claimed responsibility for a suicide attack inside the office of the late Mogadishu mayor Eng Abdirahman Omar Osman “Yarisow”, who died from the attack.

Such sad incidents make people wonder how Somalia plans to secure its next election. As a benefactor, am sure al Shabaab will do everything in its power to disrupt the election, playing dirty politics of bribing, threatening officials as it often does or even going out to kill their targets to silence their critics just to clear the way for their candidates of choice.

STATUS QUO

It is highly likely that come next year, the status quo will remain, making it almost impossible for national elections to be conducted. Al Shabaab is now likely preparing itself for a scenario where the elders will be needed for the nomination of clan delegates who elect MPs.

Al Shabaab must have realised the value of these elders, no wonder they treated them so well and fed them like kings. However, little or much they spend on their upkeep is an investment they are likely to demand something in return.

They gave us first-class treatment. They used to feed us like kings. They made us renew our Islamic vows as if we were non-Muslims before meeting them. They bought us clothes, shoes and head turbans. They paid us $200 each when we were leaving and promised to give us a $300 salary every month,” the elder added.

As much as we loathe them, the question now seems to be how many al Shabaab MPs they will get and not if because they have already proved their ingenuity and strategic thinking. Time and again they are ahead of us in implementing their evil plots.

Following the cold-blooded murder of Yarisow, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo reportedly admitted the possibility of al Shabaab moles in government and ordered security agencies to flush them out. Some of those elders who heeded the al Shabaab invite have reportedly been arrested in some parts of the country.

My biggest worry is the level of corruption in Somalia elections. Recent news of the increased al Shabaab revenue from their extortion rackets shows the group has lots of cash and could easily buy off parliamentary seats.

This is why the Somalia National Independence Election Commission and the government need to quickly develop strategies curtailing al Shabaab members or even sympathizers from becoming MPs, or worse, president. Let us hope not.

https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2019-09-01-al-shabaab-bribing-elders-to-have-an-mp-in-2020-polls/

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Angry Muslim voters clamor for Democrats’ attention at annual conference

August 31, 2019

Angry Muslim American voters are tired of being ignored by the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates — even though they make up a fast-growing source of Democrat votes.

Only two of the party’s White House contenders, Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro, agreed to speak at Saturday’s presidential forum at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) which has drawn 30,000 attendees to Houston, Tex. this weekend.

But a dozen Dems, along with President Donald Trump, were invited, organizers said.

“If they’re serious about courting the Muslim vote, they have to show up,” advocate Wa’el Alzayat told Politico Friday. “The entire system is rigged to keep our issues out of the spotlight when it’s inconvenient.”

“We’ve recently realized the Muslim community has a strong voting bloc,” ISNA board member Lubabah Abdullah told the Guardian. “Unfortunately [anti-Muslim sentiment] has become the norm.”

“It’s important that the presidential candidates engage American Muslims directly on the issues that matter most to us,” said Kalia Abiade of the Pillars Fund. “We need the others to step up if they want our communities’ consideration.”

Muslim-American voters lean heavily Democratic, with about 66 percent of them identifying with the party, according to the Pew Research Center. All of the Muslim representatives currently serving in the US Congress are Democrats.

That leaves many of the ISNA attendees feeling snubbed by the candidates’ absence from their event.

“We often hear a lot of really nice words when people like Donald Trump go after Muslim Americans,” Abdul El-Sayed, gubernatorial candidate in Michigan last year, told Politico. “But there’s another side to this: You have to come and listen to the things we’re asking of our government if you want to leverage our pain.”

Federal prosecutors named ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator in their case against the Holy Land Foundation, a group that was convicted of raising millions of dollars for Hamas, a State Department-designated terror organization.

https://nypost.com/2019/08/31/angry-muslim-voters-clamor-for-democrats-attention-at-annual-conference/

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‘Islam Has Nothing To Do With Terrorism’, PM Imran Addresses American Muslims

September 1, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday addressed the 56th Convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) through video link.

The premier briefed the American Muslims of what is currently happening in the Occupied Kashmir where the fascist Narendra Modi government has imposed curfew and has cut all the communication lines to suppress the protests against the abrogation of Article 370.

The Indian government on August 05 revoked the constitutional provision that provided autonomy to the people of the IoK.

Since then, there’s a complete blockade and the occupation forces have launched a military crackdown on the innocent people.

The PM said that Islam is a religion of peace and it has nothing to do with terrorism and the act of one person cannot be attributed to the whole community.

He said the Muslim places of worship were also attacked in Europe.

Referring to the situation in the IoK, he said the Kashmiris are under siege for the last 28 days.

The prime minister said the current Indian regime is a follower of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

He said the West will have to understand the philosophy of the RSS in order to think clearly of this problem, which led to the carnage of the Muslims in Gujarat earlier.

The premier reminded the world that we are talking of a country of one billion people, with nuclear weapons taken over by extreme ideology and philosophy.

He urged the American Muslims to raise awareness about this  critical situation in the  region.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/520523-pm-imran-khan-addressing-islamic-society-of-north-america-live

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Kerala: 30 students booked for waving flag resembling that of Pakistan inside campus

P S Gopikrishnan Unnithan

August 31, 2019

Kerala Police has filed a case against 30 students for allegedly waving a flag that resembled that of Pakistan on campus. The incident happened in Silver College, Perambra in Kozhikode district of Kerala and the students belong to the Muslim Students Front (MSF).

Muslim Students Front (MSF) which is now in the eye of storm claims that it was a mistake from their end as their intention was to use a flag of their organisation.

According to the police, the incident happened on Thursday, during the college union election campaign. Students belonging to the United Democratic Front, which includes the KSU and MSF held a procession on one side of the campus. Among the smaller flags of the respective organisations, a group of students also waved a larger flag which resembled the flag of Pakistan.

Shivangi Thakur

@thakur_shivangi

More than 30 students booked for allegedly waving #Pakistan flag in college campus of Kerala. Case has been filed against students from MSF (Muslim Students Front). This incident happened when students were carrying out procession as part of union elections.

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12:53 PM - Aug 31, 2019 • Mumbai, India

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Soon after the visuals of the incident went viral on social media, Perambra police launched a probe into the incident. Following the preliminary enquiry an FIR was registered against 30 students belonging to the MSF under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 153 (intent to cause riot) and 149 (offence committed under unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code.

"We have enquired about the background of the students involved in this, as of now there isn't anything suspicious or alarming about their past. The students claim that the mistake happened while printing the flag, anyway we are verifying the facts," the Peramabara CI told India Today TV.

A representative from the student organisation who spoke to India Today TV admitted that there was a mistake at their end. "They [students] did not properly inspect the flag after printing. Our flag has two equal halves of white and green with MSF marked at the white portion. But this flag was out of proportion making it look similar to the Pakistani flag. We cannot even think about using a Pakistani flag," he said.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/kerala-30-students-booked-for-waving-flag-resembling-that-of-pakistan-inside-campus-1593947-2019-08-31

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More than 50 Taliban militants killed, wounded in Faryab airstrikes

01 Sep 2019

The security forces conducted multiple airstrikes in northern Faryab province which killed or wounded more than 50 Taliban militants.

The 209th Shaheen Corps said in a statement that the security forces conducted the airstrikes in Gurziwan district of Faryab.

The statement further added that the airstrikes targeted two compounds of Taliban which killed at least 47 militants.

Furthermore, the 209th Shaheen Corps said the airstrikes also wounded 5 Taliban militants and destroyed the two compounds of the group.

The 209th Shaheen Corps also added that the airstrikes also destroyed various weapons, munitions and other military kits.

https://www.khaama.com/more-than-50-taliban-militants-killed-wounded-in-faryab-airstrikes-03916/

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Southeast Asia

 

Umno-PAS charter not healthy for Malaysia as it plays on race, says Dr M

30 August 2019

BY AZRIL ANNUAR

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — The upcoming Umno-PAS charter is not healthy for a multi-racial and religiously diverse country like Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

Speaking to a press conference after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council meeting today, the prime minister claimed that the charter will seek to play the race card, which is dangerous for the country.

“They want to play up race and religious issues. This is not healthy for our nation, a country that is multi-racial. This creates enmity which has happened in other countries.

“We should discuss or battle each other on policies and not stir up race relations and fire up ethnic and religious emotions,” said Dr Mahathir.

Malaysia’s two biggest Malay-based parties Umno and PAS will be signing a Unity and Understanding Charter during the Muslim Unity Gathering (Himpunan Penyatuan Ummah — HPU914) at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on September 14.

In a joint press conference last week, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa and his PAS counterpart Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said that the charter will be their agreement leading to the 15th general election.

They said this is an initiative from both parties to cooperate for better political harmony for the country.

Annuar said PAS and Umno believe that uniting the ummah is something that must be done, but it will not stop at party-level cooperation.

The charter will contain certain philosophies and agreement between both parties and after its signing ceremony on September 14 by both party presidents, a state-to-state movement led by the party presidents will follow.

Separately, touching on the call for the boycott of non-Bumiputera products by certain members of the Malay grassroots, Dr Mahathir said these are the call of those who are simple minded.

“Boycotts are the ineffective weapons. It’s useless to boycott and will only trigger anger. Don’t boycott anyone’s products — Bumiputera or no,” he said.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/08/30/umno-pas-charter-not-healthy-for-malaysia-as-it-plays-on-race-says-dr-m/1785907

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No Pahang ban but Naik must meet conditions, says mufti

Faiz Zainudin

August 31, 2019

PETALING JAYA: In contrast to several other states, the Pahang religious department has imposed conditions but no public speaking ban on Dr Zakir Naik, the state Mufti, Abdul Rahman Osman, said.

He said there was no prohibition on the controversial preacher from making public speeches but Naik must comply with the conditions set by the Pahang Islamic Affairs Department. Among them is obtaining advance approval for the event. He must also obtain permission from the police.

“Everyone who wishes to give public speeches on religion must obtain prior approval,” he told FMT.

The police have advised all state authorities against approving public speeches by Naik since a storm of criticism arose after he gave public lectures in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

He was alleged to have insulted Malaysian Hindus and the Malaysian Chinese community, and was called up by federal police for a series of interviews after more than 100 reports were lodged against him. He has since apologised for his remarks, which he said were taken out of context.

However, Pahang mufti Rahman said Naik had not sought to insult other religions in his speeches, but had only made comparisons to other religions in explaining to fellow Muslims why Islam did not accept other religious beliefs.

“Those who disagree should debate with him, not resort to emotional outbursts,” Rahman said.

He said non-Muslims should respect the freedom of Muslims to evangelise, while the freedom to practise other religions was respected.

The police advice against public speeches by Naik was based on a perceived threat to national security, to strike a balance between growing resentment among non-Muslim groups against the controversial speaker and sympathy among Muslims.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/08/31/no-pahang-ban-but-naik-must-meet-conditions-says-mufti/

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Sultan Nazrin hits out at leaders willing to stoop to gain influence

September 1, 2019

IPOH: The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, today criticised a handful of people, including leaders, who would go to the extent of lowering their self-esteem to gain influence and political support.

He said that the political climate in the country after the 14th general election was getting hotter through acts carried out by political leaders, whether from the government or the opposition parties.

Speaking at the state-level Maal Hijrah event here this morning, Sultan Nazrin said that after 62 years of achieving independence, the act of instilling hatred between the races and religions was being committed “more often”.

He said provocations which were extreme in nature were being made, including placing dolls and hurling pork into mosques, placing the head of cattle in Hindu temples, disseminating slanders through the social media, and insulting Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad.

Such acts, he said, were actually like setting up time bombs which were waiting for the right time to explode.

“Beware, the splinters from such time bombs do not discriminate their victims. In fact, the grandchildren and other family members of those who set up such time bombs are also exposed to the dangers due to the action of those with shallow minds,” he said. Sultan Nazrin lamented that facts and authenticity of news were now considered not important. On the other hand, he said, emotions played a bigger role in influencing the people, including the learned, to the extent that their minds were being poisoned and possessed.

He said every incident – from crime on the road to the disciplinary action of teachers in schools or employers at the work place, the colour of leaders’ attire, errors in raising the national flag, and changes in school curriculum – was being negatively interpreted according to racial and religious dimensions.

“Such situations are very unhealthy, placing the nation in a dangerous and worrying situation. The majority of the people in the country love peace. The people are becoming more restless and fearful,” he said.

Sultan Nazrin said the “raised temperatures” must be immediately brought down, and the acts of instilling racial feelings and spreading enmity between the religions stopped.

He said the rule of law must remain sovereign so that personal security and the safety of public property would be protected and ensured.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/09/01/sultan-nazrin-hits-out-at-leaders-willing-to-stoop-to-gain-influence/

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This church funeral service in Cempaka Baru mosque brings hope for tolerant Jakarta

August 31, 2019

Amid reports of intolerance between ethnic groups and religious communities, pictures showing a Christian funeral service in the courtyard of a mosque has attracted people's attention on the internet.

The pictures were uploaded on Monday on the Facebook account of Jeferson Goeltom, who wrote in his post that they were the pictures from the funeral of his nephew’s wife. The post has been shared almost 10,000 times on Facebook and received more than 38,000 likes as of Saturday afternoon.

Three pictures in the Facebook post show a white-robed priest standing in front of a casket decorated with a floral cross, while the people attending the ceremony are sitting on plastic chairs.

Some Muslim men wearing their kufi skullcaps can also be seen in the pictures.

“Our house is located in a narrow alley, which the coffin was too big to pass through. It was a great blessing that we felt to be allowed to do the ceremony in front of the mosque,” Jeferson wrote.

“This is a form of super high tolerance. Thank you, the mosque caretakers and my local folks.”

The mosque turned out to be the Darussalam Mosque located on Jl. Cempaka Baru Tengah, Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.

Agus, 45, one of the caretakers of the mosque, said the service was also held on Monday, the same day as when the pictures were posted.

“[Jeferson] represented the family to talk to the mosque head to ask for permission to use the courtyard, because of the narrow alley situation,” Agus said on Thursday, as quoted by kompas.com.

As observed, the path to the family’s home is indeed narrow. The entrances to the alley are not even 1 meter wide. There is no other choice other than to use the mosque’s courtyard.

After the mosque head allowed them to use the mosque’s courtyard for the funeral, the service began at around 12:30 p.m. and lasted for 30 minutes before the coffin was closed and taken to the cemetery, Agus recalled.

Agus said the mosque had to postpone its Quran study so as not to disturb the service happening in the courtyard.

“We have a weekly Quran study every Monday taking place after shalat dzuhur (midday prayer) and lasting until shalat ashar (afternoon prayer). The study was postponed until 2:30 p.m.,” said Agus.

Shalat dzuhur, which is performed at around noon, and shalat ashar, which is performed at around 3 to 4 p.m., are two of the five obligatory prayers for Muslims.

“Alhamdulillah [thank God], I have lived here for 30 years. It is safe here for everybody. Those who celebrate Christmas, they are allowed. Those who celebrate Idul Fitri, they are also welcome,” Agus said.

“People here have a high sense of tolerance and have never clashed with each other just for differences. The whole country should learn, we cannot disturb the value of Bhineka Tunggal Ika [Unity in Diversity].”

The story has also spread on Twitter and sparked discussion on the beauty of diversity.

Comedian and filmmaker Ernest Prakarsa on his Twitter account @ErnestPrakasa said “[We] really need news like this.”

Ernest’s post had been retweeted more than 3,800 times as of Saturday afternoon. Twitter user Thahir Syaugi, on account @thahirsyaugi, responded to Ernest's tweet and agreed that the nation needed to see more news like that.

“Many acts of tolerance happen around us from all religions, both minority and majority, unfortunately we often only see the intolerance stories.”

This story is probably what the capital needs the most right now amid the rising intolerance in Jakarta. 

In 2017, human rights group Setara Institute revealed that Jakarta was at the bottom of a list of 94 cities studied from November 2016 to October 2017. The study, called "The 2017 Index of Tolerant Cities," measured cities' medium-term regional development plans, government actions and statements, discriminatory policies, intolerant acts and demographic composition based on the harmony among people of different groups.

Full report at:

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/08/31/this-church-funeral-service-in-cempaka-baru-mosque-brings-hope-for-tolerant-jakarta.html

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Mahathir urges patriotism on National Day

August 31, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s prime minister has condemned “ugly and disgusting” behavior online, urging citizens to show respect toward each other.

Mahathir Mohamad made the remarks on the eve of Malaysia’s 62nd National Independence Day celebrations in an address on public broadcaster RTM.

The country ranks among the top five globally in terms of internet penetration, with users spending an average of eight hours and five minutes online every day. Almost three hours of this is spent on social media.

“History showed how the country was built on the values of tolerance, noble character, mutual respect and sharing, unselfishness and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the country,” said Mahathir.

“But these values should not stop when we achieve independence or progress as we enjoy them today.

“Unfortunately, when we look around us, in our midst of communication and digitalization, good values are being replaced with ugly and disgusting behavior online.”

In defending religion and ethnicity, insults are thrown against other races and religions, he said.

 In defending religion and ethnicity, insults are thrown against other races and religions using profane and abusive language, in return can lead to anger and anxiety, he said.

Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957 and its cultural melting pot became the backbone of its economic development throughout the decades.

But pervasive corruption and racial politics led to discontent with the previous Barisan Nasional government, resulting in last year’s surprise election win by the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Mohamad and his government are harking back to his previous stint in office, in the 1980s and 1990s when the country experienced rapid industralization, by releasing a music video to remind people of the good times.

His administration has also adopted a theme — “Love Our Malaysia: A Clean Malaysia” — to refocus people’s attention to the damage wrought by corruption and efforts to tackle it.

The former prime minister, Najib Razak, has been hit with 42 criminal charges of graft and money laundering at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and other state entities.

1MDB, founded by Najib in 2009, is being investigated in at least six countries, and the US Department of Justice says about $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1547921/world

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Indonesia arrests dozens for Papua protests that set buildings afire

September 01, 2019

JAKARTA: Indonesian police have arrested dozens of people in the easternmost region of Papua following protests last week in which buildings were set ablaze, a police spokesman said on Sunday.

The area has been racked by civil unrest for two weeks over perceived racial and ethnic discrimination. Some protesters are also demanding an independence vote, although authorities have ruled out such a possibility. In the provincial capital of Jayapura, 28 people have been arrested and named as suspects, and more face investigation, Papuan police spokesman Ahmad Kamal said by telephone.

“Twenty-eight people are suspects in cases of damaging and burning properties, violence, provocation, and looting,” Kamal said, adding that all had been arrested after a protest in Jayapura on Thursday.

The rioters set cars and buildings ablaze, including a local parliament office and a building housing the offices of the state-controlled telco firm, during the protest.

Kamal said the situation in Papua was now calmer. In Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta, two students suspected of crimes against state security have been arrested, police said in a statement on Saturday. The evidence against them included their mobile telephones, and a shirt and a shawl emblazoned with the ‘Morning Star’ flag pattern, a banned symbol of Papuan nationhood.

Jakarta Legal Aid lawyer Michael Himan said the two were arrested from a Papuan dormitory in Depok, in a southern part of the capital, late on Friday. They were charged with treasonous intent against the unity of the nation, Himan told Reuters on Sunday.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1548081/world

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Arab World

 

At least 45 militants killed in post-truce missile attack in Syria’s Idlib: Monitor

Aug 31, 2019

At least 45 foreign-backed militants have been killed in a missile attack in Syria’s embattled province of Idlib, says a UK-based monitor.

According to a statement by the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the missiles hit “a meeting held by the leaders of Hurras al-Deen, Ansar al-Tawhid and other allied groups inside a training camp” near Idlib city in Syria’s northwest on Saturday.

It was not yet clear who had been behind the attack, or whether the missiles were launched from fighter jets or positions on the ground.

Large parts of Idlib province, home to three million people, and parts of neighboring Hama province constitute the last major militant stronghold in Syria. The Idlib-based militants regularly conduct attacks against Syrian troops, Russia’s bases and civilian districts.

The government troops, supported by Russian airstrikes, are resolute to liberate the province from the grips of militants, who have practically taken the civilians hostage.

Earlier this month, the Syrian government troops announced the start of an offensive against militants in Idlib after those positioned in the de-escalation zone failed to honor a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey and continued to target civilian neighborhoods.

The missile attack came hours after the Syrian government started a Russian-backed unilateral ceasefire in the de-escalation zone of the flash-point province. However, Damascus said the Syrian army reserves the right to respond to any violation by the Takfiri terrorists. 

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria had earlier announced the ceasefire in a statement released on Friday.

Moscow, a key ally of Damascus, launched its military campaign against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and other terror outfits in the Arab country in September 2015 at the Damascus government’s request. Russia's airstrikes have significantly helped the Syrian forces deal heavy blows to foreign-backed militants operating in the Arab country since 2011.

The Syrian army has opened a humanitarian corridor in Idlib and Hama for the safe exit of civilians fleeing violence terrorists.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/31/604958/Syria-Idlib-militants-Hama-Russia-missile

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ISIL’s Baghdad Emir Killed in Iraqi Military Operation in Al-Anbar Province

Aug 31, 2019

The Iraqi Hashd al-Sha’abi in a statement announced that its Brigade 18 in a special operation in al-Anbar province killed Abd al-Salam Hamd Hamoud nom de guerre Abu Nour.

The deputy of Abu Nour was injured and six of his assistants were also arrested in Hashd al-Sha’abi operation.

Meantime, Commander of Iraq’s Joint Military Operations Colonel Yahya Rasoul told the Arabic-language al-Youm that 10 percent of Iraqi territories have been cleansed in Eradeh al-Nasr operations.

He added that the mop-up operations against the ISIL remnants will continue in desert areas of al-Anbar, Nineveh and Salahuddin provinces until arresting or killing ISIL ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

In a relevant development in late August, a senior member of Iraq’s al-Nujaba Movement underlined that the US special forces have increased their movements in Western Iraq, and relocated large groups of the ISIL terrorists.

The Arabic-language al-Mosleh news website quoted member of the Political Council of al-Nujaba Movement Faras al-Yasser as saying that according to the intel obtained by Iraq’ Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, the US forces have relocated the ISIL terrorists in heliborne operations to regions both in and outside Iraq to use them as pressure leverage against the Iraqi government.

Al-Yasser also pointed to the US’ efforts to increase the number of its army troops in Iraq, and said that the US special forces are present in the liberated areas in Salahuddin, al-Anbar and border regions.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980609000668

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ISIL's Belgian Executioner Captured in Northeastern Syria

Aug 31, 2019

The Arabic-language website of Russia Today cited Belgian De Morgen newspaper as reporting that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested Anwar Hadoushi nom de guerre Abu Soleiman al-Belgiki and known as ISIL's executioner was captured in Raqqa.

The newspaper said 35-year-old Abu Soleiman has decapitated over 100 people in Raqqa.

Meantime, Hadoushi is also said to have been the main financial supplier of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.

In a relevant development earlier on Saturday, Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi (Iraq’s Popular Mobilization) forces conducted an anti-terror military operation in al-Anbar province, and killed ISIL’s Baghdad emir and arrested six of his aides.

The Iraqi Hashd al-Sha’abi in a statement announced that its Brigade 18 in a special operation in al-Anbar province killed Abd al-Salam Hamd Hamoud nom de guerre Abu Nour.

The deputy of Abu Nour was injured and six of his assistants were also arrested in Hashd al-Sha’abi operation.

Meantime, Commander of Iraq’s Joint Military Operations Colonel Yahya Rasoul told the Arabic-language al-Youm that 10 percent of Iraqi territories have been cleansed in Eradeh al-Nasr operations.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980609001223

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Syrian Army Declares Ceasefire in Idlib After Conquering Vast Strategic Regions

Aug 31, 2019

The Arabic-language SANA news agency quoted a battlefield source as saying that the Syrian Army has declared implementation of truce in the demilitarized zone while reiterating that it will respond to any violation of ceasefire by the terrorists.

After taking full control of al-Tamane’ah strategic town, the Syrian Army continued its advances in Southern Idlib and regained control of the towns of al-Khovein al-Kabir, al-Sakiat, Eastern and Western Farms of al-Tamane’ah, Tal Turki, Tal Sayyed Jafar and strategic Sayyed Ali Hilltop just one kilometer to the North of al-Tamane’ah that overlooks al-Azizieh-Tahtaya Road.

The battlefield sources also reported that the Syrian Army troops killed at least 37 Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front), Haras al-Din and Turkistani terrorists and destroyed several of their military vehicles and equipment.

In a relevant development on Thursday, the Syrian Army continued its advances in Northwestern Syria, and managed to take full control of the strategic town of al-Tamane’ah.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted a military source from Colonel Soheil al-Hassan forces as saying that the Syrian Army troops started bombardment of Southeastern Idlib on Thursday night.

He noted that the Syrian Army’ military operation covered farms located between the strategic town of al-Tamane’ah and the town of al-Khovein which has just been liberated.

The source said that the Syrian Army heavily pounded the terrorists’ military positions in al-Tamane’ah after bombardment of their positions.

The Syrian Army managed to make advances in the Northern direction of al-Tamane’ah after its bombardment and clashes with the terrorists.

“Meantime, two other groups of Syrian Army troops continued their military operations from the Southern and Eastern sides of al-Tamane’ah,” he noted.

The Syrian Army has laid siege on the center of al-Tamane’ah and started its raids from three directions.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980609000617

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Hezbollah chief: We have enough precision-guided missiles for any confrontation

31 August 2019

Hezbollah has enough precision-guided missiles in Lebanon for any confrontation with Israel, the Iran-backed movement’s leader said on Saturday, denying Israeli claims that the group harbors facilities to build the weapons.

Nasrallah said in a televised speech that Hezbollah has “enough precision-guided missiles in Lebanon for any confrontation, small or big.”

He said drones like the ones used in an attack in Beirut’s suburbs, which he blames on Israel, open the door to assassinations if left unanswered.

Hezbollah chief said that the response to Israel is in the hands of the group’s field commanders “who know what they must do and what the limits are.”

In a related development, Israel’s military said on Saturday it had ordered extra forces to deploy its northern command as tensions remained high with Lebanon’s heavily armed Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/31/Hezbollah-chief-We-have-enough-precision-guided-missiles-for-any-confrontation.html

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US sanctions Iranian oil tanker, its captain for ‘selling illicit oil to Syria’

31 August 2019

The United States on Friday sanctioned Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 and its captain for enabling Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps to “ship and transfer large volumes of oil… to fund the regime’s malign activities and propagate terrorism.”

This comes shortly after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US had reliable information that the tanker, which is carrying 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil, was headed to Tartus, Syria.

Pompeo had earlier said that if the tanker went to Syria, Washington would take every action it could consistent with US sanctions.

Secretary Pompeo

@SecPompeo

FM @JZarif guaranteed to the UK that the IRGC oil tanker #Grace1 / #AdrianDarya1 would not head to Syria. We have reliable information that the tanker is underway and headed to Tartus, Syria. I hope it changes course. It was a big mistake to trust Zarif.

View image on Twitter

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When the ship was released off Gibraltar in mid-August after a five-week standoff, Iran assured Britain that the cargo was not headed to Syria.

The latest twist sets it in the direction of Syria, and raises the possibility that a ship-to-ship transfer of cargo may be attempted once it nears Lebanon’s coast.

Treasury said the Adrian Darya's captain, Akhilesh Kumar, is also sanctioned under the order, which generally prohibits dealings with the blocked property by US persons.

“Anyone providing support to the Adrian Darya 1 risks being sanctioned. The path to relief is to change course and not allow the IRGC-QF to profit from illicit oil sales,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Faced with the US warnings, the tanker has been bouncing around the Mediterranean.

Turkey said on Friday that an Iranian oil tanker at the center of a confrontation between Washington and Tehran was headed to Lebanon’s waters.

According to Refinitiv tracking data, the Adrian Darya, formerly called Grace 1, after changing course several times headed on Friday for Turkey’s Iskenderun port, 200 km (124 miles) north of Syria’s Baniyas refinery, the tanker’s suspected original destination.

Secretary Pompeo

@SecPompeo

Today, @USTreasury designated the #AdrianDarya1 and its captain for providing assistance to the IRGC to sell illicit oil from Iran to Syria. The U.S. will not idly watch the Assad regime use Iranian oil to terrorize its own people. http://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm765 …

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier on Friday that despite the tracking data, the tanker was “for sure” not going to Turkish ports but rather towards Lebanese waters.

Earlier on Friday, the minister told Reuters the ship was headed to Lebanon’s “main” port. “I didn’t mean that this tanker is going to a Lebanese port, but (rather) according to the information coordinates it is heading to the territorial waters of the country,” he later told reporters at an Oslo forum.

“It doesn’t mean that it is going to reach a Lebanese port,” he said of the tanker that was carrying 2 million barrels of oil when released at Gibraltar. “We are monitoring it very closely.”

In response, Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said in a separate interview: “We have not been informed of the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya heading (here).”

Western threats

The apparent confusion underlines the risk of reprisal that countries face taking in the tanker, which at 1400 GMT was headed east toward the channel separating Turkey and Cyprus after a series of turns in the Mediterranean Sea, according to tracking data.

The ship had been detained off Gibraltar due to British suspicion that it was carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions.

The United States says the tanker is controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which it considers a terrorist group.

“What’s important here is that it is carrying oil that enables the terrorism of (President Bashar al-Assad’s) regime,” a State Department spokesperson said. The Trump administration has conveyed “our strong position via diplomatic channels to all ports in the Mediterranean that should be forewarned about facilitating” the tanker, said the spokesperson, who declined to be named.

The US Treasury Department on Friday blacklisted the ship and sanctioned its captain.

Washington last year pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran aimed at blocking its path to a nuclear bomb, and has ramped up sanctions to pressure and isolate Tehran. Iran denies ever having sought to build or acquire a nuclear weapon.

Cavusoglu told Reuters that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke about the ship’s coordinates with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday. In a readout of the call, London said the leaders agreed it was vital to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon but did not mention the tanker.

Options ahead

Shipping sources said the tanker would need to conduct a ship-to-ship transfer before being able to enter a port such as Beirut’s, which does not have deep water facilities necessary for fully laden supertankers.

It could potentially discharge its cargo offshore towards Lebanon’s Tripoli port further north, which is closer to Syria’s coastline between Lebanon and Turkey, they said. There is a ship-to-ship transfer anchorage outside of Tripoli port limits.

Beirut and Tripoli ports have both served as transhipment hubs for cargoes bound for Syria in recent years during Syria’s conflict.

An Iranian government spokesman was quoted on Monday as saying Iran had sold the oil aboard the tanker and that the vessel’s owner, whose identity he did not disclose, would decide its destination.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/31/US-says-Iranian-oil-tanker-headed-towards-Syria.html

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Saudi entertainment authority sends off first scholarship program students

31 August 2019

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) held a send-off for its first batch of students who will be studying abroad at the Central Florida University in the US under the Entertainment Scholarship Program.

The program, in collaboration with Al-Qiddiya Investment Company, aims to prepare Saudi youth to develop the Kingdom’s entertainment sector.

The 60 selected students will study to obtain bachelor’s degrees in entertainment disciplines, after which they will be working on Saudi Arabia’s al-Qiddiya entertainment megaproject, which is being established 40 kilometers outside of Riyadh within the framework of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

“After the students complete their studies abroad… They will return to the Kingdom to work in al-Qiddiya to operate the landmarks and facilities in al-Qiddiya. They are the human resources that we depend on to be the leaders of the future of al-Qiddiya and other large projects,” Faisal Almoither, the chief of staff at the Al-Qiddiya Investment Company, said.

According to al-Qiddiya’s website, the megaproject will have more than 300 recreational and educational facilities designed around five cornerstones of development.

Some of the entertainment facilities at al-Qiddiya will include training academies, theme parks, water and snow activities, outdoor adventures, safaris and nature experiences.

The megaproject will also include commercial centers, restaurants, cafes, hotels, real estate project opportunities and services that meet the needs of all segments of society.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/08/31/Saudi-entertainment-authority-sends-off-first-scholarship-program-students.html

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UAE-backed separatists arrest scores of pro-Saudi forces in Aden

Aug 31, 2019

Southern Yemeni separatists, who are supported by the United Arab Emirates, say they have arrested dozens of rival Saudi-backed militants in Aden after they withdrew from the port city following airstrikes by the UAE.

UAE warplanes on Thursday pounded the positions of militants loyal to ex-Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, in Alam area at the eastern entrance to Aden, exposing a deep rift between the two camps leading a coalition in a bloody war on Yemen.

The airstrikes came hours after Emirati-backed southern separatists regained control of Aden, forcing Saudi-sponsored militants, who had entered the port city a day earlier, to withdraw.

According to reports, more than 300 pro-Hadi troops were killed or wounded by the UAE airstrikes on Aden and nearby Abyan province.

After Saudi-backed militants pulled out of Aden, forces of the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) raided homes and businesses and arrested "scores" of pro-Hadi activists, politicians and clerics, accusing them of "terrorism," STC officials and witnesses said.

Arrests continued on Saturday, as separatist forces patrolled Aden's streets surrounded by an uneasy calm, residents told Reuters.

The self-proclaimed Hadi administration said the arrests were "politically-motivated."

An STC source denied this, saying dozens of "terrorists and outlaws" had been rounded up.

Both the UAE-sponsored separatists and the Saudi-backed pro-Hadi militants serve the Riyadh-led coalition and have been engaged, since 2015, in a bloody war on Yemen aimed at reinstating Hadi and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.

Ties between the two sides have soured over a number of issues, including what the Yemenis view as Abu Dhabi’s intention to occupy Yemen’s strategic Socotra Island and gain dominance over the major waterways in the region.

Last month, the UAE announced a surprise plan to withdraw part of its troops from Yemen, largely because Abu Dhabi believes the war appears to have become “unwinnable,” according to US reports.

The Western-backed war on Yemen, coupled with a naval blockade, has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and led to a massive humanitarian crisis.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/31/604969/UAEbacked-separatists-Yemen-Aden-Saudi-forces

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Africa

 

Sudan court charges ousted president al-Bashir with illegal foreign fund deals

31 August 2019

A Sudan court on Saturday charged former president Omar al-Bashir with illegal foreign fund deals, offences which could put him behind bars for a decade.

Al-Bashir, 75, had arrived in a courtroom in Khartoum on Saturday where he began his third trial session on money found at his residence.

Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman said at the third session of Bashir’s trial that foreign funds of multiple currencies were found at his home.

The judge said illegal acquisition of wealth was punishable by up to 10 years in jail, while illicit use of foreign funds carried up to three years.

Al-Bashir’s lawyer, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, said in previous statements to Al Arabiya and Al Hadath that the amount found in Bashir’s possession came as “a grant.”

Al-Amin had also stressed that al-Bashir “did not take a dollar” of this money.

The trial was adjourned until September 7, said an AFP correspondent who attended the session.

Al-Bashir was ousted in April after mass protests against his three-decade rule rocked Sudan for months.

Sudan has embarked on a transition to civilian rule following a power-sharing deal signed on August 17 by protest leaders and the generals who ousted al-Bashir.

Protesters have called for al-Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the country’s deadly conflicts.

The former Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in mass killings in the western region of Darfur.

“Now is the time for the people of Sudan to choose law over impunity and ensure that the ICC suspects in the Darfur situation finally face justice in a court of law,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council in June.

Sudan’s prosecutor general has said al-Bashir would also be charged over the killings during the anti-regime protests which eventually led to his ouster.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/31/Sudan-court-charges-ousted-president-al-Bashir-with-illegal-foreign-fund-deals.html

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Four killed in Turkish drone attack south of Libya’s Tripoli

1 September 2019

At least four people have been killed in a Turkish drone attack in the Wadi al-Rabea area southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli, an Al Arabiya correspondent reports.

Early in August, the Libyan National Army said it had destroyed an IL-76 Turkish military cargo plane that was carrying drones and missiles at an airbase in Misrata.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, with a multitude of militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/09/01/Several-Libyan-Hajj-pilgrims-injured-in-attack-on-Mitiga-airport.html

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Nigeria soldiers killed in ISWAP ambush near Monguno

AUGUST 31, 2019

Eight Nigerian soldiers were killed in an insurgent ambush in the Lake Chad area of Nigeria’s Borno state on Friday, August 30, two military sources told AFP.

Heavily-armed fighters believed to be from Islamic State West Africa Province opened fire on a military convoy, 35 km (22 miles) west of Monguno, where the soldiers were based.

Daily Trust reported a security source as saying the troops were ambushed in the Gasarwa area, between Monguno and Gajiram.

The patrol was heading to the state capital Maiduguri when they came under “heavy fire from the terrorists who used RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] and heavy guns,” a military officer told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The terrorists killed eight troops in the ambush which happened around midday,” said a second officer, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “Five more soldiers are still unaccounted for,” he said.

The militants destroyed two trucks and a pick-up fitted with a machine gun, before seizing weapons and withdrawing into the bushes, the army officials said.

Soldiers who arrived after the attack briefly closed the highway while a Nigerian Air Force jet patrolled in search of the attackers, civilian eye witnesses told AFP.

ISIS has not yet claimed fighters from its West Africa affiliate were responsible for the ambush.

ISWAP began to intensify attacks on Nigerian military targets in July 2018, and the Lake Chad area, where it is the dominant insurgent group, has seen particularly fierce fighting.

On August 17, ISWAP fighters killed four soldiers in an ambush on a Nigerian military patrol in Mogula, close to the border with Cameroon.

ISIS claimed ISWAP fighters killed five Nigerian soldiers in an ambush in the Dikwa area on August 20.

On August 24 and 25, ISIS claimed ISWAP fighters had targeted soldiers in Niger in two IED attacks in the Lake Chad area.

The jihadist group known as Boko Haram began its bloody insurgency in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, but it has since spread into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military response.

Boko Haram split into two factions in mid-2016. One, led by long-time leader Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians. Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in March 2015, but ISIS central only gives formal backing to the other faction, which it calls Islamic State West Africa Province.

The U.S. assesses that Boko Haram and ISWAP have been responsible for more than 35,000 deaths since 2011. More than two million people have been displaced, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

Full report at:

https://thedefensepost.com/2019/08/31/nigeria-soldiers-killed-iswap-ambush-monguno/

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Boko Haram kills 8 in Nigeria attacks

01 SEPTEMBER 2019

Kano, Sep 1 Boko Haram jihadists murdered eight people and abducted two others in attacks on farmers and a village in northeast Nigeria, residents and local militia members said Saturday.

Fighters on Friday evening stormed the village of Balumri, 15 kilometres (10 miles) from state capital Maiduguri, cutting the throats of four male residents and abducting two others, inhabitants said.

Jihadists on Saturday then beheaded four farmers after attacking them as they worked on their crops in the Gidan Waya suburb of the city, members of an anti-Boko Haram militia said.

The decade-long insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed around 35,000 people, displaced some two million, and spilt over into neighbouring countries.

Boko Haram has been notorious for carrying out brutal attacks on civilians, abducting people, and unleashing suicide bombers on bus stations, mosques and schools.

Balumri resident Bura Abdiye said the fighters arrived at his village on foot late Friday evening to carry out the attack.

"They slit the throats of four people and took away two others," he said, adding that the jihadists also looted food.

In a separate assault on Saturday, Maiduguri militia leader Babakura Kolo told AFP "insurgents seized four famers while working on the farms and decapitated them".

"The bodies were found with the severed heads lying beside them and brought to the city this afternoon," he said.

Boko Haram are known to target farmers, loggers and herders, accusing them of passing information to soldiers and vigilantes fighting against them.

The area around Maiduguri has been repeatedly attacked by jihadists -- despite claims from the Nigerian army that it has crushed the group.

In an earlier incident on Thursday, fighters also shot dead two Balumri residents as they worked on their farms outside the village, local residents said.

Full report at:

https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/yashaswini-shoots-down-gold-secures-9th-olympic-quota-for-india/1609144?scroll

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North America

 

Houston: Islamic group hosts Sanders and Castro as rightwingers protest

31 Aug 2019

In Houston on Saturday, an annual Islamic convention hosting presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro braced for an armed far-right protest and a counter-demonstration.

The 56th Islamic Society of North America (Isna) convention was billed as one of the largest yearly events held by Muslim American advocacy groups. Castro and Sanders were slated to take the stage for one-on-one presidential forums. Organizers estimated around 30,000 would attend the three-day event.

“We are really happy [Castro and Sanders] are coming in to address our community,” Lubabah Abdullah, an Isna board member, told the Guardian. “We’ve recently realized the Muslim community has a strong voting bloc, if we do go out and register and actually show up to vote.”

In the 2018 midterm elections, Muslim Americans in four key states – Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia – showed up to the ballot box at a rate of 25% higher than the 2014 midterms, according to a study by the advocacy group Emgage.

After coming to office in January 2017, the Trump administration introduced a travel ban targeting mostly Muslim-majority countries, slashed the number of refugees admitted to the US to an all-time low of 30,000 per year, and drummed up the threat of “unknown Middle Easterners” attempting to cross the southern border.

John Esposito, director of Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, a project focusing on Islamophobia, said Trump’s policies and rhetoric “play into an idea of a white nation” while demonising Muslims, immigrants, refugees and others.

“People are afraid to go to a mosque or a meeting of a major Muslim organization,” he said, adding: “The most dangerous part is when you’ve got the president of the United States … engaging in this kind of [violent rhetoric].”

Abdullah, also executive director of the Council for American Islamic Relations (Cair) Houston chapter, said organizers of the convention had worked closely with local and federal law enforcement.

“Unfortunately [anti-Muslim sentiment] has become the norm … and unfortunately we’ve seen a dramatic rise in hate crimes and Islamophobia,” she said.

In late July, the California-based Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism (CSHE) found hate crimes have swelled by 9% in 30 large US cities.

In addition to 75 hate crimes targeting Muslims during the first half of 2019, Cair recorded at least 759 anti-Muslim bias incidents, a pace expected to reach a 22% increase this year over 2014.

Liza Acevedo, deputy press secretary for Castro, told the Guardian American Muslims “play a critical role in shaping our nation’s culture, economy and political process”.

“At a time when our president continually scapegoats and vilifies the Islamic faith for political gain, candidates should show up and speak directly to these communities about their plans to support them in the years ahead,” she added.

In the weeks leading up to the convention, the far-right, anti-Muslim Texas Patriot Network and local radio host James “Doc” Greene called for a demonstration against what it claimed was evidence of collusion between “leftists” and the “Muslim Brotherhood”, according to a now-defunct Facebook page.

Informing participants that the “Texans Against Radical Islam” protest was “open carry”, the page described the Isna convention as a “terrorist fundraiser” and stated: “Texans will stand against this tyranny.”

Texas Patriot Network did not reply to requests for comment but rightwing groups have targeted Isna for years, apparently owing to its inclusion as an unindicted co-conspirator in the widely criticized Holy Land Five case in 2007. A US district court judge later ruled the government violated the rights of Isna and other Muslim groups.

In response to Saturday’s anti-Muslim rally, civil rights groups, anti-racist organizations and anti-fascist activists announced a counter-protest. The coalition included the Houston Socialist Movement (HSM), the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Familias Inmigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha (Fiel), among others.

The counter-demonstrators hoped to “out-shout” their counterparts, said David Michael Smith of HSM.

“This is nothing but racism and religious bigotry on the part of the fascists,” he told the Guardian. “Beyond that, we don’t think fascists should have a platform … so we’d like to basically drive them off the streets on Saturday.”

A Houston police spokesperson said the department would be “there to ensure citizens are able to express and exercise their constitutional rights. We are there to ensure that it is a safe environment, and we staff accordingly to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

In 2018, Greene and the Texas Patriot Network called for a similar protest. Around two dozen far-right demonstrators came out, conclusively outnumbered by anti-racist protesters. Leaked chat logs revealed that rightwingers identified potential targets for assault, among them Smith and other demonstrators, Houston Press reported.

On Saturday, several dozen counter-demonstrators outnumbered about 15 far-right protesters, several of whom carried firearms, from Texas Patriot Network and other rightwing groups. Dozens of officers kept the two sides separated and confined to fenced-in areas. Police also patrolled on horseback.

Counter-demonstrators held placards declaring “Stop Islamophobia” and “Smash Fascism. Anti-Muslim demonstrators held signs that said “No Sharia USA” and “All Women Equal USA”.

Greene addressed convention attendees. “Welcome to Houston, home to the largest Islamic population in America,” he repeated, through a loudspeaker.

He and others led prayers. Many rightwingers wore pro-Trump shirts and hats and waved “Make America Great Again” signs.

“I am very concerned for the souls of these Muslims,” Greene told the Guardian, “so that they may also enter into the joy of being a Christian. The only policies [Trump] introduced were not anti-Muslim; they were anti-terrorist … We love the fact that he’s stopping illegal immigration.”

Greene claimed Muslim Americans attempt to “blend in” in US society and hide their real beliefs. He also accused “hooligan Castro” and “crazy Bernie” of being part of a “communist” plot.

Around 10 demonstrators from the Westboro Baptist Church held a separate rally. Known for protesting at the funerals of soldiers and against LGBTQ events, they held signs that read “God hates Islam” and stomped on flags of Middle Eastern countries.

On the anti-fascist side, a handful were armed with rifles and some wore masks.

“No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here,” they chanted.

Falko Mueller, an activist with Houston United Front Against Fascism, said the demonstration was a “show of solidarity”.

“I’m not Muslim, but I’m here to stand with people under attack,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/31/houston-islamic-society-sanders-castro-far-right

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US denies entry to Canadian Muslims crossing border

30.08.2019

At least six Canadian Muslims have been denied entry at the Canada-U.S. border in the past two weeks, news reports said Friday.

Two are eminent -- one a Toronto imam who is chaplain to a regional police force. The other is an Iraqi-Turkmen community leader and he has relatives fighting Daesh in the Middle East.

They were traveling separately with their families and were turned away at different border crossing points.

Neither are from countries listed by U.S. President Donald Trump under his "Muslim ban" executive order.

The men were given scant information on why they were turned back but were told they needed to apply for visas at Toronto's U.S. consulate, a procedure not common for those with Canadian passports.

Canadian immigration lawyers said there has been an increase recently in the incidents of Canadian Muslims turned away at U.S. border crossing points.

"We've seen a lot more in the last few weeks and we don't know what to attribute it to," said Toronto-area immigration lawyer Daud Ali. "We know the climate there in the U.S. has changed, it's a bit different, but at the same time there are processes and procedures and people should be afforded opportunities to challenge a case."

Ali's law firm, CFIL, is representing the six men.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said there have been no new policy changes. However, Canadian citizens are not automatically entitled to enter the United States. It is at the discretion of the U.S. Customs officers and they have a lot of leeway to turn anyone away whom they deem inadmissible.

Ali said that the six are Muslims and is troubling.

Full report at:

https://www.dailysabah.com/americas/2019/08/30/us-denies-entry-to-canadian-muslims-crossing-border

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Kashmir issue may impact Afghan talks, warns US report

Anwar Iqbal

September 01, 2019

WASHINGTON: The developing situation in India-held Kashmir might negatively impact the Afghan peace process, warns a US think tank as a congressional subcommittee scheduled a hearing to review the situation in the valley.

“Pakistan has been wary of Indian intentions in Afghanistan for decades, and this turn of events in Kashmir will make Islamabad that much more mistrusting of its neighbour,” warns the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in its report on Kashmir.

“Pakistan has been playing a significant role in the recent US-Afghan peace negotiations with the [Afghan] Taliban. The Kashmir issue may not only detract Pakistani resources and political will away from Afghanistan but potentially could also be used as leverage to persuade the United States to intervene with India,” the report adds.

The Afghan peace talks are in their final phase and the US and Taliban delegations are now holding their ninth meeting in Doha, Qatar, to finalise a deal. But reports from Doha indicate that Washington may fail to conclude a deal by Sept 1, as it had expected. The delay will further enhance Pakistan’s role in persuading the Taliban to stay engaged with the US.

Washington also expects Islamabad to convince the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government. Taliban leaders view the Kabul government as a US puppet and refuse to hold direct talks with them.

On Friday afternoon, Congressman Brad Sherman, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia announced that he will soon hold a hearing on human rights in South Asia. “The hearing will also focus on the Kashmir Valley, where many political activists have been arrested and daily life, the internet, and telephone communications have been interrupted,” he said. “The hearing will review the humanitarian situation in Kashmir. Are people able to get food, medical care, etc.?”

Mr Sherman has invited Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, who oversees the US State Department’s policy on South Asia, Sam Brownback, the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, and other US State Department officials.

While US lawmakers are still trying to determine what caused the Indian government to revoke the guarantees that the Indian constitution provided to Kashmir, the CSIS report attributes it to the political ideology of the ruling BJP party.

The report notes that these guarantees “have long been an ideological sticking point for the BJP, who view India as a fundamentally Hindu nation and have qualms about a Muslim-majority state with special privileges”.

Kashmiri constituents

The congressman, who is known in Congress for his critical views on Pakistan, said his Kashmiri constituents convinced him to focus on Kashmir during this hearing. “I had an opportunity to meet with Americans from Kashmir Valley just a week ago in the San Fernando Valley, along with my colleague Congressman Andre Carson,” Mr Sherman said in a statement. “We heard stories of difficulties encountered by my constituents and others, and the fears they have for their loved ones. I look forward to learning more about human rights in Kashmir.”

Earlier in the week, Congressman Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, tweeted he had heard from his constituents that they were unable to reach their families in Kashmir. “Democracies like India should not be engaging in a communications blackout that has lasted over three weeks. We need de-escalation, not the hiding of what’s happening,” Mr Lieu said.

Even the Indian media acknowledged “the number of lawmakers commenting on Kashmir could possibly increase when [US] Congress, which is in recess, reconvenes in September”.

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, tweeted she was “excited to see so many members joining us in calling attention to what is happening in Kashmir”. She encouraged US citizens to “continue to call your members and ask them to speak up. We expect openness from India”.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1502862/kashmir-issue-may-impact-afghan-talks-warns-us-report

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Trump offer to mediate on Kashmir still stands: Qureshi

NAIMAT KHAN

September 01, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan’s foreign minister on Friday told Arab News that US President Donald Trump had said his offer to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad on the Kashmir conflict “still stands” despite the Indian prime minister’s insistence that the issue is bilateral.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated since Aug. 5, when New Delhi revoked the constitutional autonomy of the part of Kashmir that it administers, and moved to quell objections by shutting down communications and clamping down on local leaders.

Pakistan has reacted with fury to New Delhi’s decision, cutting trade and transport ties and expelling India’s ambassador. Both countries claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part.

Trump has previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, a mountainous region that has been the source of repeated confrontations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

This week, he revised his statement and said India and Pakistan could handle the dispute on their own.

But Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi quoted Trump as saying in response to India’s insistence that the issue is bilateral: “This has been going on for decades. Why was this not resolved? But fine, if you (India and Pakistan) can go ahead and do it yourselves, it’s OK with me. But my offer (to mediate) still stands.”

Qureshi did not specify if Trump had communicated this to him directly. Arab News could not independently verify the foreign minister’s statement.

Qureshi said India’s revocation of Kashmir’s special status, sparking tensions with Islamabad, had “distracted” from negotiations between the US and the Taliban to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

“As far as Pakistan is concerned, we’re pushing ahead with the peace process in Afghanistan; we’ve facilitated the process,” he added.

“But now with this action (of revoking Kashmir’s autonomy), obviously our attention is diverted,” Qureshi said.

“To that extent, I think India has in my view tried to play the role of a spoiler. The West, and particularly the US, should see through that.”

Qureshi denied that India had fared better diplomatically than Pakistan during the latest spat over Kashmir.

He said Islamabad had succeeded in taking the issue to the UN Security Council, and the conflict is now being discussed by world leaders and at major international forums.

The Kashmir conflict “is being recognized; it’s being talked about all over the world today,” Qureshi added. “So how can it be (Pakistan’s) diplomatic failure? I think it’s a diplomatic achievement.”

He said he had written to the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir, and will convene a meeting of the group on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) next month.

“I expect not just ministerial participation. I’m expecting a ministerial communique on this issue,” he added.

Qureshi said Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will highlight the Kashmir issue during his address at the upcoming UNGA on Sept 27.

When Khan does so, Qureshi added, “I think the Kashmir issue will be mentioned loud and clear. Our message will go through to the international community loud and clear.”

Qureshi urged the Muslim world to recognize India’s human rights violations in Kashmir and speak up against them.

“A fundamental right of religious freedom has been seriously undermined by Indian authorities,” he said.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1547926/world

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Pakistan

 

War not an option to deal with Kashmir issue: Pakistan FM Qureshi

August 31, 2019

Amid soaring tensions between India and Pakistan over the revocation of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has stated that war is not an option to deal with the Kashmir issue.

Qureshi’s comments came a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an op-ed article for The New York Times, warned that a “direct military confrontation” with India “will get ever closer” if the world ignores the Kashmir issue. Khan had said that a nuclear shadow was hovering over South Asia and that India and Pakistan have to “move out of a zero-sum mindset to begin a dialogue on Kashmir.”

In an interview to BBC Urdu published on Saturday, Qureshi said Pakistan never followed an aggressive policy and always preferred peace. He further said that the Khan-led government has repeatedly offered India to start talks because the two nuclear-armed neighbours cannot take the risk of going on a war.

Rebutting India’s assertion that Kashmir is just a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan, Qureshi said it is an international issue.

The Pakistan Prime Minister has been ratcheting up his attack on India ever since the Narendra Modi-led government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status enjoyed under Article 370. Calling India’s move on Kashmir as “illegal”, Khan said it was a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and the Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan.

India, however, has maintained the stance that abrogation of Article 370 provisions is its internal matter and has criticised Pakistan for making “irresponsible statements” and provocative anti-India rhetoric over internal issues.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/war-not-an-option-to-deal-with-kashmir-issue-pakistan-foreign-minister-5954163/

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U-turn: After Imran threat, Pakistan minister says ready for talks

Sep 1, 2019

NEW DELHI: After Pakistan PM Imran Khan had ruled out dialogue with India until it reversed the decision to revoke J&K's special status, his foreign minister S M Qureshi in an apparent turnaround on Saturday said that Pakistan was open to dialogue if India released the J&K leaders and allowed him to meet them. This was even as India again underscored its position that talks were possible only in an environment free of terror.

Qureshi was quoted as having said that Pakistan had never said no to dialogue with India. However, he added that "we cannot see the environment of dialogue being created by India". Some of the conditions for dialogue Qureshi was said to have specified in his interview to BBC included India lifting restrictions in the Valley, releasing the imprisoned Kashmiri leaders and allowing him to meet them.

In his NYT opinion piece, Khan was quoted as having said that dialogue was possible only when India reversed "its illegal annexation of Kashmir, ends the curfew and lockdown, and withdraws its troops to the barracks''.

While Khan and other Pakistani leaders have threatened that the situation the Valley could lead to a war, if not a nuclear exchange, Qureshi also said Saturday war was not an option to deal with the issue of Kashmir.

Qureshi's emphasis on dialogue came even as India again underscored its position that talks were possible only if, as the government has repeatedly said, Pakistan took verifiable and irreversible action against cross-border terrorism.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/u-turn-after-imran-threat-pakistan-minister-says-ready-for-talks/articleshow/70929575.cms

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Imran Khan cites NRC, says ‘illegal annexation’ of Kashmir part of wider policy to target Muslims

August 31, 2019

Soon after the final list of the updated National Register of Citizens was out on Saturday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan attacked the Modi government, linking the NRC as part of a wider policy to target Muslims.

Khan, who has ratcheted up the rhetoric against India in the last few weeks over the government’s decision to end special status for Jammu and Kashmir, said the ethnic cleansing of Muslims by India should send alarm bells ringing across the world.

“Reports in Indian and international media on Modi Govt’s ethnic cleansing of Muslims should send alarm bells ringing across the world that the illegal annexation of Kashmir is part of a wider policy to target Muslims,” Khan tweeted tagging a report on the NRC final list.

In a series of tweets last week, Khan has called the Indian government “fascist”, “racist”, following “Nazi ideology”, and accused it of “ethnic cleansing & genocide ideology”.

The final list of updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was out on Saturday. Out of 3.3 crore applicants, 19,06,657 people were excluded, almost half of the 40 lakh people excluded in the final draft published last year.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/modi-govts-nrc-drive-a-wider-policy-to-target-muslims-imran-khan-5953831/

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FATF revises anti-terror targets for Pakistan

Aug 31, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Financial Action Task Force has set new targets for Pakistan to check terror financing and asked it to monitor the sale of jewelery and prize bonds in this regard, according to a media report on Saturday.

State Bank of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Investigation Agency and National Counter Terrorism Authority would record details of the monetary deals, including telecom banking, reported Dunya News.

The state banks' monitoring unit will have to provide data of prize bond owners.

Terrorists accessing prize bonds and transferring money through phone banking has been hit, sources told the news network.

The sources said welfare organisations would also be monitored at the federal and provincial levels.

The FATF last year placed Pakistan on the grey list of countries whose domestic laws are considered weak to tackle the challenges of money laundering and terror financing.

In June, the FATF said that Pakistan had failed to complete its action plan on terror financing.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/fatf-revises-anti-terror-targets-for-pakistan/articleshow/70928922.cms

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OIC calls for India-Pakistan talks on held Kashmir

September 01, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Saturday called for a dialogue between Pakistan and India aimed to resolve the Kashmir dispute and urged New Delhi to lift curfew and other restrictions imposed on the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir in early August.

The organisation also called for resumption of telephone and internet services in the disputed Himalayan region.

A statement released to the media said: “It (OIC) calls for the immediate lifting of the curfew, restoration of communication and respect for the fundamental rights of Kashmiris.”

The OIC General Secretariat has been following with concern developments in Jammu and Kashmir as a result of the unilateral decision taken by India on Aug 5 of revoking Article 370, thereby ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, said the statement.

“The General Secretariat reaffirms the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the internationally recognised status of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its final (resolution) through a UN-supervised plebiscite,” it added.

The OIC General Secretariat also stressed the need for resumption of the dialogue process between Pakistan and India, which was a prerequisite for development, peace and stability in South Asia.

The latest OIC statement on Kashmir came amidst criticism in Pakistan over the Muslim bloc’s lukewarm response to India’s move to annex occupied Kashmir.

Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Friday even suggested that it was time for Pakistan to pull out of the bloc of Muslim countries.

Taking part in a debate in the upper house of parliament, he said the “bubble of an Islamic Ummah has burst” and Pakistan should reappraise its relationship with the Muslim world.

Pakistan approached the OIC immediately after India had revoked the special status enjoyed by the occupied region. After a meeting of an OIC group held on Aug 6 in Jeddah, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the organisation recognised that the Indian government’s aggression had put more than 1.5 billion people of South Asia at risk.

A statement issued by the OIC General Secretariat on the occasion of Eidul Azha expressed concern over the curtailment of religious freedoms of Muslims in held Kashmir, terming it a “serious violation of international human rights law”.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1502859/oic-calls-for-india-pakistan-talks-on-held-kashmir

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Govt failed to make useful diplomacy on Kashmir, claims Ahsan

September 1, 2019

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal has said the government should make serious diplomatic efforts to highlight the Kashmir dispute.

Addressing a press conference after a PML-N re-organization committee meeting on Saturday, he said giving more time to the government was tantamount to putting the country’s security and democracy at risk.

The PTI government failed to make diplomacy useful for Kashmiris only because of

its inexperience and ineligibility. The former interior minister said Indian should be compelled to lift curfew and end blackout and for this purpose, the government should seek help from the US president and other superpowers.

He said the justice system should be transparent and impartial in the country. He demanded if an accountability judge had been transferred on the basis of video evidence which was proved genuine, Nawaz Sharif’s sentence should also be reversed.

He said the nomination of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) members had to be made with the consensus of prime minister and the leader of opposition, and the government solely did not have any constitutional right to nominate ECP members.

He urged PML-N workers to get prepared for the next general elections as the PML-N would launch a campaign to hold early elections in the country.

Full report at:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/520405-govt-failed-to-make-useful-diplomacy-on-kashmir-claims-ahsan

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China, Pakistan to join Russian military exercise in September

Sep 1, 2019

BEIJING: China and Pakistan besides some regional countries will participate in the “Centre 2019” Russia Military Exercise scheduled to be held from Sept. 16 to 21, according to a Defence Ministry spokesperson.

Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang said at a regular press conference that China will send around 1,600 soldiers from the PLA West Theatre Command, around 300 pieces of military equipment and almost 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to join the “Centre 2019” exercise in Orenburg, the largest one Russia is holding this year.

Focusing on “multinational combined forces conducting group count-terrorism missions to protect military security in Central Asia,” the exercise will also be joined with six other nations including Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Participating in the upcoming Russian exercise is designed to strengthen Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, deepen pragmatic and friendly cooperation in the military sphere.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/09/01/china-pakistan-to-join-russian-military-exercise-in-september/

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Muharram ul Harram reminds us about supreme sacrifices, says President

Sep 1, 2019

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has said that to become an ideal society, we have to adopt traits like unity, forbearance and religious harmony.

He congratulated Muslims on commencement of the new Hijrah calendar 1441 and wished them well.

“This government is for change, every milestone will be achieved soon and people will have a prosperous life,” he said.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/09/01/muharram-ul-harram-reminds-us-about-supreme-sacrifices-says-president/

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Kashmir issue is internationally recognised dispute, says OIC

Sep 1, 2019

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has reaffirmed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on the internationally recognised status of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its final disposition through a UN supervised plebiscite.

The General Secretariat has been following with concern developments in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as a result of the unilateral decision taken by New Delhi on August 5, revoking Constitutional Article 370, thereby removing the special status of the occupied valley, said a statement issued by the international Islamic body on Saturday.

“Recalling the OIC Summit decisions and Council of Foreign Ministers resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, the General Secretariat reiterates the solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it added.

The OIC also urged the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately lift the brutal curfew, which has been imposed in the occupied valley for almost a month, along with restoration of communication and the respect for the fundamental rights of Kashmiris.

The international body also recognised the centrality of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India and stressed the need for seeking a durable and just solution according to the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.

The OIC General Secretariat also urged for an immediate resumption of dialogue process between Pakistan and India, “which is a prerequisite for development, peace and stability in South Asia”.

The statement comes the same day when Islamabad once again offered conditional talks to New Delhi in connection to IOK if the Modi government lifts the curfew, release arrested leaders and cease human rights violations in the occupied valley.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/31/kashmir-issue-is-internationally-recognised-dispute-says-oic/

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Pakistan will continue to raise Kashmir issue at all forums, says Mazari

Sep 1, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari has said that Pakistan will continue to raise the Kashmir issue at all international forums.

Talking to President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Ahmad Khan, she assured that the people and government of Pakistan will continue their moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people on attaining their right to self-determination. Condemning the massive human rights violations taking place in Occupied Kashmir, Dr Shireen Mazari said that innocent Kashmiri people are denied to the fundamental right to self-determination as guaranteed by the International resolutions.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/31/pakistan-will-continue-to-raise-kashmir-issue-at-all-intl-forums-says-mazari/

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India

 

Kalraj Mishra is new governor of Rajasthan, Arif Mohd Khan gets Kerala

Sep 1, 2019

NEW DELHI: In a reshuffle on Sunday, the President announced new governors for five states in the country.

Kalraj Mishra has been transferred from Himachal Pradesh to Rajasthan, where he replaces Kalyan Singh as the new Governor. Bandaru Dattatreya replaces Mishra in Himachal Pradesh.

Bhagat Singh Koshyari has been appointed the new Governor of Maharashtra shunting out Vidyasagar Rao.

In Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan replaces P. Sathasivam as the new Governor.

Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan has been made the new governor of Telangana replacing ESL Narasimhan.

The appointments take effect from the dates the new governors take charge of their respective offices.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/kalraj-mishra-is-new-governor-of-rajasthan-arif-mohd-khan-gets-kerala/articleshow/70932116.cms

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NRC Final List: Myth Of Illegal Migrants Has Been Busted, Says Owaisi

Aug 31, 2019

HYDERABAD: Reacting to the final list of Assam National Register of Citizenship (NRC), AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the myth of illegal migrants was busted.

“So-called myth of illegal migrants has been busted, BJP should learn a lesson. BJP should stop asking for NCR throughout the country in terms of Hindu-Muslim,” said Owaisi.

“It is for the home minster to clarify because Amit Shah has made a speech in which he said that there are 40 lakh ghuspaitas (illegal migrants),” saidOwaisi.

He also said several names are still missing in NRC.

“I spoke to many people in Assam they said that while their father's name was included their children names were not included,” said Hyderabad MP.

Parliamentarian is expecting that the number will further come down if the foreign tribunal does not act in an arbitrary manner.

“As 120 days’ time period has been given, I am pretty much sure that people will definitely appeal, there are three lakh people out of the 19 lakh who have not given documents. If the foreign tribunal acts in a judicious way this number will further come down. I hope they act in a judicious way and not act in an arbitrary manner,” said AIMIM chief.

Expressing his concern over Citizen Amendment Bill, the lawmaker said that, “I have my own doubts that, BJP through Citizen Amendment Bill can bring a bill wherein they can try to give citizenship to all non-Muslims, which will again be a violation of Right to Equality,".

Final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam excluded 19.07 lakh names.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nrc-final-list-myth-of-illegal-migrants-has-been-busted-says-owaisi/articleshow/70927227.cms

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Aurangzeb, not Babur demolished Ram temple

September 01, 2019

Ayodhya: Amid daily hearings by the Supreme Court on the issue of the Babri Masjid-Ram temple in Ayodhya, a book written by a former IPS officer has claimed that the Ram temple was not demolished during the reign of Babar, but of Aurangzeb.

The book brings forth old records of the British era, ancient Sanskrit texts and reviews from archaeological excavations, to prove that a temple did exist at the place of birth Lord Ram in Ayodhya before a mosque was built on it.

Titled “Ayodhya Revisited”, the book is written by Kishore Kunal, a retired IPS officer of the 1972 batch.

Kunal hails from Bihar and is known for his stints there as a police officer as well as an administrator and president of the Bihar Board of Religious Trusts. He was Officer on Special Duty in the Home Ministry and was officially associated with the Ayodhya dispute in 1990, before the disputed structure was razed to the ground.

After retirement, he was appointed vice chancellor of KSD Sanskrit University in Darbhanga.

Former Chief Justice of India G.B. Patnaik has written the foreword of the book in which he says that the author has given a “new dimension to the history of Ayodhya” and establishes several facts, which are contrary to common beliefs as well as opinions of several historians.

The book says the “demolition of the temple” did not take place in 1528 AD (during Babur’s regime), but in 1660 AD when Fedai Khan was the Governor of Aurangzeb in Ayodhya.

“It is wrong to say that Babar ordered the demolition of the Ram Janambhoomi Temple at Ayodhya. He never visited Ayodhya. The claim of historians that Mir Baqi, the then governor of Awadh, got the Babri mosque constructed in 1528 is fictitious,” says the book.

It insists that the inscriptions on the disputed site are fake and therefore the conclusions drawn by many historians based on these are wrong.

It goes on to argue that Mughal rulers right from Babur to Shahjahan were quite liberal and extended patronage to all religions.

“All the Mughal emperors from Babur to Shahjahan were magnanimous and liberal rulers and the Bairagis of Ayodhya enjoyed patronage of the first four nawabs of Awadh. However, it was during the long rule of Aurangzeb, the the country got engulfed in the fire of fanaticism,” it says.

The book says that Babar never visited Ayodhya or ordered demolition of the Ram Janambhoomi Temple there.

The book also quotes from the account of Father Joseph Tieffenthaler, an Austrailain traveller who visited India and stayed here for more than two decades.

Quoting Sanskrit, English and French scholars, Kunal has tried to establish that a temple did exist at the site in question in Ayodhya. The author has heavily relied upon literary sources of travel accounts of foreigners and archaeological excavation reports.

In the foreword, Patnaik says the accounts of Western scholars Thomas Herbert, Joannes De Laet and C. Mentelle have also been produced for the first time while writing the history of Ayodhya.

“It is a historical fact that until the British takeover of Avadh administration in 1858, both the Hindus and Muslims used to perform puja and offer namaz respectively at the site,” he says.

The author has expressed hope that this book, first published in 2016, will remove misconceptions on the Ayodhya issue and transform the thinking of people.

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/aurangzeb-not-babur-demolished-ram-temple-1602552/

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South Asia

 

Khalilzad concludes talks in Doha saying ‘U.S. at the threshold of an agreement with Taliban’

01 Sep 2019

The U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has said that he has concluded the 9th round of peace talks with Taliban in Qatar.

Ambassador Khalilzad said in a Twitter post “We’ve concluded this round of talks with the Taliban in #Doha. I’ll be traveling to #Kabul later today for consultations.”

Furthermore, Ambassador Khalilzad said “We are at the threshold of an agreement that will reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together to negotiate an honorable & sustainable peace and a unified, sovereign Afghanistan that does not threaten the United States, its allies, or any other country.”

The 9th round of peace talks between the U.S. and Taliban representatives kicked off nearly 10 days ago in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Earlier, reports had emerged that the U.S. and Taliban representatives have reached to an agreement on final draft of a peace agreement.

Counter-terrorism assurances, intra-Afghan dialogue, ceasefire and troops withdrawal are among the key issues the two sides have held extensive talks so far.

https://www.khaama.com/khalilzad-concludes-talks-in-doha-saying-u-s-at-the-threshold-of-an-agreement-with-taliban-03915/

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RAB arrests 2 suspected Ansar-al-Islam members in Dhaka

August 31st, 2019

Both of them are from Barisal

Members of Rapid Action Battalion 2 (RAB 2) have arrested two suspected activists of banned militant outfit Ansar-al-Islam from Sadarghat Launch Terminal in Dhaka.

The arrestees are: Saleh Imu, 22, a 4th year student of management department at Barisal BM College and Shafikul Islam Saif, 31, a teacher of the college.

They were arrested on Saturday.

Mohiuddin Faruki, commander of Crime Prevention Company 3 of Rab 2, confirmed this and said they arrested the militants in a drive at the Launch Terminal at around 7:30am when the duo arrived from Barisal.

The elite force also recovered books on extremism and leaflets from their possession, he said.

Both of them are from Banaripara of Barisal and they are directors of Banaripara Ummah Network and Ibadah Dotcom, Faruki added.

Full report at:

https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2019/08/31/rab-arrests-2-ansar-al-islam-members-in-city

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Taliban launch massive attack on Afghan city of Kunduz

August 31, 2019

The Taliban have launched a new large-scale attack on one of Afghanistan's main cities, Kunduz, and taken hospital patients as hostages, the government said Saturday, even as the insurgent group continued negotiations with the United States on ending America's longest war.

The militants, who have demanded that all foreign forces leave Afghanistan, now control or hold sway over roughly half of the country and are at their strongest since their 2001 defeat by a US-led invasion. Such attacks are seen as strengthening their negotiating position.

Presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi said Afghan security forces were repelling the attack in parts of Kunduz, a strategic crossroads with easy access to much of northern Afghanistan as well as the capital, Kabul, about 200 miles (335 kilometers) away.

Seddiqi told reporters that the assault was "completely against the peace talks" and asserted that the militants were sheltering among civilians.

The Taliban were in control of the hospital in Kunduz and both sides in the fighting had casualties, provincial council member Ghulam Rabani Rabani told The Associated Press. He could not give an exact number.

The militants had taken hospital patients as hostages, defense ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai told reporters. He did not say how many.

"We could very easily attack but we don't want civilian casualties," he said. Hospital officials could not immediately be reached.

Ahmadzai asserted that 26 Taliban fighters had been killed in an airstrike but did not mention any casualties among civilians or Afghan security forces.

The Taliban launched the "massive attack" from several different points around the city overnight, said Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, spokesman for the provincial police chief.

"I can confirm that intense gun battles are going on around the city, but the Taliban have not been able to overrun any security checkpoint," he said. Reinforcements had arrived and Afghan air forces were supporting ground forces, Hussaini said.

Officials with the NATO mission in Afghanistan did not immediately respond to a question about whether its forces were responding to the attack.

The Taliban have continued bloody assaults on civilians and security forces even as their leaders meet with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar to negotiate an end to nearly 18 years of war.

Talks continued on Saturday, the Taliban spokesman said. Both sides in recent days have signaled they are close to a deal. The Afghan presidential spokesman said Khalilzad will visit Kabul at some point to brief the government on the details.

One Afghan analyst, former deputy interior minister Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, said the attack on Kunduz showed the Taliban are not interested in a cease-fire, which has been a key issue in the Qatar talks.

The United States in the negotiations has also sought Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will no longer be a launching pad for terror attacks such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the US by al-Qaida. The Taliban government had harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Some 20,000 US and NATO forces remain in Afghanistan after formally ending their combat role in 2014. They continue to train and support Afghan forces fighting the Taliban and a local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Many Afghans worry that an abrupt departure of foreign troops will leave Afghan forces vulnerable and further embolden the Taliban, who already portray a U.S. withdrawal as their victory.

"We have lost the city in the past and know the Taliban can attack again from insecure areas," a lawmaker from Kunduz, Fatima Azizi, told the local Ariana television channel on Saturday.

"Unfortunately, civilians are again the victims," she said.

Full report at:

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/taliban-afghan-kunduz-attack-1593885-2019-08-31

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Taliban attack northern Afghan city amid peace talks with US

Aug 31, 2019

KUNDUZ (AFGHANISTAN): Taliban forces attacked the northern Afghan city of Kunduz on Saturday, Afghan and Taliban officials said, even as the United States and the hardline Islamist group seem close to finalising a deal for the withdrawal of American troops.

Heavy fighting has been going on in Kunduz city after the Taliban fighters mounted attacks from several directions on Friday night, forcing the Afghan forces to retaliate and secure reinforcement to prevent the insurgents from gaining control over parts of the city.

Electricity and most telephone services were cut and residents were sheltering in their houses.

"The city is completely empty, shops are locked, people aren't moving and light and heavy weapons can be heard in several parts of the city," said local resident Khaluddin, who like many Afghans goes by a single name.

Government officials in Kunduz and Kabul said the Taliban were seeking shelter inside homes, making it impossible for Afghan and US forces to conduct air strikes, and some of the fighters had entered the main hospital in the city.

The interior ministry said at least 34 Taliban insurgents were killed in ground and air operations in three areas of Kunduz city and clearance operations were underway.

"Security forces are repelling the Taliban attack on some parts of Kunduz city. Their top priority is to protect the civilians," said Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

"As always the Taliban have taken positions in civilian areas," he said in a tweet.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed the attack on Kunduz city. Over the past two years, the insurgent group has thrice managed to seize large parts of areas surrounding the city before being driven off after days of fighting with the Afghan forces and air strikes conducted by the US forces.

The fighting in Kunduz, a strategic northern city that the Taliban came close to capturing twice in recent years, came as expectations have grown that US and Taliban negotiators in Doha were close to securing an agreement that would see a timetable for the withdrawal of thousands of US troops.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born US diplomat leading the talks for Washington, is expected in Kabul in the coming days to outline the terms of a settlement to the Afghan president ahead of meetings with NATO partners.

A US-Taliban accord would not in itself end the fighting in Afghanistan but it would open the way for talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul for a wider peace agreement.

US President Donald Trump said on Friday the United States had good negotiations going on with the Taliban but had not yet reached a deal with the Islamist group on US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Sources in the Taliban said Trump's statement that the United States will continue to maintain a force in Afghanistan even after a deal was reached was unacceptable to them as they demand a complete pull-out of foreign forces from the country.

About 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are now in Afghanistan as part of a US-led Nato mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations.

Despite peace talks, fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces, who are backed by US air power, has not subsided.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-attack-northern-afghan-city-amid-peace-talks-with-us/articleshow/70921838.cms

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2 policemen injured in ISIS attack targeting Bangladesh Minister in Dhaka

SEPTEMBER 01, 2019

The bomb was thrown from the footbridge at the Science Lab intersection on Saturday night when the Minister was passing through the area, reports said.

Two policemen were injured in a blast near the car of a Bangladeshi Minister in Dhaka, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terror group, a media report said on Sunday.

The bomb was thrown from the footbridge at the Science Lab intersection on Saturday night when the Minister was passing through the area, the Daily Star reported, quoting police and eyewitnesses. The Minister was unhurt in the attack.

“Six policemen were in the Minister’s security team and the Minister was going to a programme of Border Guard Bangladesh. We got stuck at the traffic lights at Science Lab intersection. The bomb exploded when I got off [from the escort vehicle] and walked ahead to ask traffic police to clear the way for the Minister,” the paper quoted an injured Assistant Sub-Inspector A.B. Shahabuddin as saying.

Traffic constable Aminul Islam was also injured in the blast. Mr. Aminul suffered splinter injuries to his right hand fingers while Mr. Shahabuddin had injuries to his legs, one of which had a fracture. They were at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and out of danger, said a doctor.

“Police are investigating the incident and trying to identify the attacker by scrutinising the CCTV footage,” said Asaduzzaman Miah, Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

A CCTV camera installed at a shop nearby did not cover the spot while another one at a mosque was broken, an officer said.

Hours after the blast, SITE Intelligence Group, an American company that tracks online activity of white supremacist and jihadist organisations, said the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Bangladesh has repeatedly denied the presence of the Middle Eastern terror group in the country. However, the ISIS and al-Qaeda in the Indian Peninsula have claimed responsibility for some of the attacks.

An official, requesting anonymity, told the paper that the bomb was similar to the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) recovered at the capital’s Paltan and Khamarbari on July 24.

“We suspect that the same group who planted the IED’s at Paltan and Khamarbari are behind this attack. But investigation could prove that,” the officer said.

On May 26, two people, including a woman police officer, were injured after a bomb went off near a police pickup in the Malibagh intersection. On April 29, two traffic police constables and a community traffic policeman were injured in a blast in Gulistan.

Full report at:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/2-policemen-injured-in-isis-attack-targeting-bangladesh-minister-in-dhaka/article29314343.ece

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Afghan Special Forces destroy multiple caches of weapons of Taliban

01 Sep 2019

The Afghan Special Forces destroyed multiple caches of weapons of the Taliban group in the past 24 hours.

The informed military sources said Sunday that the Special Forces destroyed a weapons cache of Taliban while conducting a patrol in Ghazni district of Ghazni province.

The sources further added that the Special Forces destroyed another small weapons cache of Taliban during a similar patrol in Deh Bala district of Nangarhar province.

Furthermore, the Special Forces destroyed another small weapons cache during a raid in Sayyidabad district of Wardak province.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/afghan-special-forces-destroy-multiple-caches-of-weapons-of-taliban-03918/

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Mideast

 

Netanyahu repeats pledge to annex Israeli settlements in occupied West Bank

1 September 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday he intends to annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, but again gave no timeframe in repeating an election promise he made five months ago.

“With God’s help we will extend Jewish sovereignty to all the settlements as part of the Land of Israel, as part of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said in a speech in the West Bank settlement of Elkana, where he attended a ceremony opening the school year.

Netanyahu had pledged in July not to dismantle even the remotest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The Israeli elections will be held on September 17. If Netanyahu is successful in the elections, he will try to form a coalition again.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal under international law and major obstacles to peace since they are located on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The settlers are a major plank of support for Netanyahu’s right-wing government and his bid for re-election.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/01/Netanyahu-declares-Israeli-sovereignty-over-all-settlements-.html

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UAE minister urges Yemeni government, transitional council to enter Saudi initiative to ease tension

September 01, 2019

DUBAI: The Yemeni government and the transitional council should go ahead with the Saudi initiative to ease tension and avoid escalation in the war-torn country, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said in a series of tweets

He said the coalition was concerned that terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh would exploit the recent escalation in troubles in southern Yemen.

And he said Yemen’s government and the transitional council should enter the Saudi initiative to ease recent tension.

“The way to move forward is through Saudi-led dialogue,” Gargash tweeted..

He reiterated the UAE’s commitment to the Arab Coalition, adding: “The UAE as part of Coalition will continue to act firmly against the re-emergence of terror groups in Yemen.”

And he said internal unity was the key to defeating the Houthi militia.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1548101/middle-east

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Iran’s Rouhani warns Macron of looming nuclear step

1 September 2019

President Hassan Rouhani spoke with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron Saturday, warning him Iran would take the next step in reducing its nuclear commitments unless Europe lives up to its own undertakings.

Tensions have spiked in the Gulf since May last year when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers – known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Ships have been attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized in the Gulf in recent months.

Macron has been leading efforts to de-escalate the situation and he expressed hopes of bringing together Rouhani and Trump for a meeting during a G7 summit days ago.

But Rouhani has downplayed the likelihood of that happening unless the United States first lifts crippling sanctions that it has slapped on Iran since pulling out of the deal.

“If Europe cannot operationalize its commitments, Iran will take its third step to reduce its JCPOA commitments,” Rouhani reportedly told Macron in the phone call.

However, “this step, just like the other ones, will be reversible,” he added, quoted on the Iranian government’s website.

“Unfortunately after this unilateral move by the US, European countries did not take concrete measures to implement their commitments,” he continued.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/09/01/Iran-s-Rouhani-warns-Macron-of-looming-nuclear-step.html

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Palestinian dies of wounds from Israeli gunfire

31 August 2019

Gaza’s Health Ministry says a Palestinian man has died of his wounds sustained from Israeli gunfire the previous day at protests along the perimeter fence.

The ministry said on Saturday that Badr Abu Moussa, 25, was being treated at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip, after a bullet hit him in the head.

He was among 6,000 Palestinians who participated in the weekly protests along Gaza-Israel perimeter fence.

The ministry said 42 protesters were wounded by live fire.

The Israeli military said a soldier was lightly injured and an army vehicle was damaged as the demonstrators threw grenades at the fence.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/31/Officials-say-Gaza-man-dies-of-wounds-from-Israeli-gunfire.html

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Gargash: Yemeni govt, STC must engage in Saudi initiative to reduce tension

1 September 2019

It is important that the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council engage in the Saudi initiative aimed at avoiding escalation and reducing tension, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Sunday.

د. أنور قرقاش

@AnwarGargash

 1/3 Important that Government of Yemen & Southern Transitional Council accept & engage in Saudi initiative to reduce tension and avoid escalation. The way to move forward is through Saudi-led dialogue.

97

12:29 PM - Sep 1, 2019

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In a series of tweets on his official account, Gargash reaffirmed that the UAE, as part of the Arab Coalition, will continue to fight the re-emergence of terror in Yemen, adding that the “coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, is solid and vital to regaining peace and stability.”

د. أنور قرقاش

@AnwarGargash

2/3 Coalition very concerned with terrorists, including AQAP and Da’esh, taking advantage of current escalation in the South. The UAE as part of Coalition will continue to act firmly against the re-emergence of terror groups in Yemen.

106

12:31 PM - Sep 1, 2019

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د. أنور قرقاش

@AnwarGargash

3/3 Coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, solid & vital to regaining peace & stability in Yemen. Focus on internal unity, through continued dialogue, essential to address/ confront the challenge of the Houthi coup.

86

12:34 PM - Sep 1, 2019

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- Developing

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/09/01/Gargash-Yemeni-govt-STC-must-engage-in-Saudi-initiative-to-reduce-tension.html

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Iran unveils high-speed tracking, long-haul strike drones

Sep 1, 2019

Iran has unveiled a drone in two different versions, for swift tracking and identification and for precision strikes on distant targets.

The unmanned aerial vehicle, dubbed Kian, was inaugurated in the presence of Commander of the Iranian Army’s Air Defense Force Brigadier General Alireza Sabahi-Fardand and other senior commanders on Sunday.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Sabahi-Fard said that Kian had been designed in two types: one with high-speed capability for tracking and identification purposes and the other built for long-haul flights to conduct precision-strike operations.

Sabahi-Fard said the drone was designed, produced, and tested by experts at the drone unit of the the Iranian Army’s Air Defense Force.

The long-haul vehicle, he said, is capable of hitting targets far from Iran’s borders and engaging in defense on hostile territory.

Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing military equipment and hardware despite facing sanctions and Western economic pressure.

The Islamic Republic says its military power is solely for defensive purposes and does not pose any threat to other countries.

On June 20, Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) shot down an advanced US-made RQ-4 Global Hawk over the territorial waters off the coastal province of Hormozgan.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/01/605011/Iran-drone-Kian-tracking-strike

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60 killed, 100 injured in fresh Saudi strikes on Yemen’s Dhamar

Sep 1, 2019

Saudi Arabia has carried out new air raids on Yemen’s western Dhamar Province, killing at least 60 people and wounding 100 others.

The al-Masirah TV channel reported on Sunday that warplanes belonging to the Saudi-led coalition had pounded a jail where prisoners of war were being kept.

Head of Yemen’s National Committee for Prisoners Affairs Abdul Qader al-Mortada said that the targeted prison housed over 170 prisoners of war, most of whom were supposed to be part of a local exchange deal.

Almasirah English

@Almasirah_Eng

#Breaking_News | Almasirah Correspondent: After US-Saudi airstrikes on prison in Dhamar, over 40 dead victims have been pulled out of rubles and 30 others sent to hospitals#Almasirah

4

8:38 AM - Sep 1, 2019

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The Saudi-led coalition claimed in a statement on Sunday that its aerial assaults on Dhamar had targeted a military site belonging to the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

It alleged that Houthi fighters had stored drones and air defense systems at the site, and claimed the strikes were “in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a deadly war on Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall a former regime and eliminate the Houthis, who have been defending the country along with armed forces.

The Western-backed military aggression, coupled with a naval blockade, has destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and led to a massive humanitarian crisis.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/01/605001/Saudi-Arabia-Yemen-Dhamar-prisoners-of-war

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Europe

 

UK minister Javid says he has fantastic relationship with PM Johnson

31 August 2019

Britain’s finance minister Sajid Javid said on Saturday he had a “fantastic” relationship with Boris Johnson after reports of a furious argument with the prime minister following the sacking of one of his aides.

British media had reported that Javid was “livid” about the firing of his press aide by Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings, who was looking into whether government officials had helped opponents of the premier’s Brexit plans.

Javid said that though it would be inappropriate to directly discuss personnel issues, his views were “well understood” after the media reports. However, he said he got on well with Johnson.

“The relationship is fantastic with the prime minister,” Javid told BBC radio. “(He’s) someone I’ve always got on with incredibly well, and it’s been a real privilege to work with him so closely.”

Javid would not be drawn on how well he got along with Cummings, but denied assertions by the opposition Labour party that Johnson’s aide was effectively running the Treasury.

“The Labour party, they’re our opponents and they will say all sorts of nonsense all the time, and I’m used to it,” he said.

Johnson gave Javid the finance portfolio when he came to office in July, and the apparent tensions between Downing Street and the Treasury come at a delicate time.

Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a transition deal on Oct. 31, heralding a showdown with parliament, while his government also seeks to outline new domestic priorities.

Javid is due to announce a one-year government spending plan on Wednesday with a focus on more funding for education, health and the police.

Johnson announced details of the rise in schools spending on Friday, while Javid announced 400 million pounds ($491.08 million) of investment for further education on Saturday. Javid said such moves were a sign of the smooth operation of government, which has a majority of just one in parliament.

“From the moment this new government was formed, how much activity and focus has taken place, just in the last few weeks... That only happens when you have a government that is working well together,” he said.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/08/31/UK-minister-Javid-says-he-has-fantastic-relationship-with-PM-Johnson.html

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France’s Macron hails Iran commitment to talks amid nuclear standoff

Aug 31, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron has praised Iran’s commitment to talks on how to resolve a standoff over its nuclear program.

In a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday, Macron said a trip earlier this week by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to France, which coincided with a summit of G7 group of industrial nations in the country, showed that Iran was still committed to the principle of diplomacy on its nuclear dossier despite sanctions imposed by the US.

The comments came after Iran said it would be ready for renewed talks on an international nuclear deal which has suffered since the United States withdrew from the agreement in May last year.

However, Iran said after the G7 meeting in France, where US President Donald Trump was also present, that talks would only be possible if the US lifted all of its sanctions on Iran.

Macron, who has sought to mediate between Iran and the US, told Rouhani on Saturday that France would continue its efforts for de-escalation on Iran case, saying that would lead to solutions to regional conflicts, including a war in Yemen.

During the conversation, Rouhani reiterated Iran’s position on the 2015 nuclear agreement signed between his country and world powers, known as the JCPOA, saying Tehran would continue to scale back its commitments under the deal to force other parties to observe their own obligations.

Iran has already reduced its commitments under the JCPOA in two occasions, demanding other parties to the deal to expedite efforts that could enable Iran to benefit from the economic advantages of the agreement.

Rouhani repeated previous statements suggesting that the European parties to the JCPOA, namely France, Britain and Germany, have done little in line with their promises to save the deal from the impacts of the US sanctions.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/31/604985/Iran-nuclear-talks-Macron-Rouhani-phone-conversation

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